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Survivor: Season 31 Finale, 12/16/15

December 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

So one more season of Survivor has ended, this time featuring a cast that host Jeff Probst labels a Survivor dream team. The finale of season 31 crammed the six finalists (including three immunity contests, four tribal councils, and the reading of the votes plus the cast reunion) into three hours last Wednesday. In the future I’d prefer to see fewer final contestants (maybe start with the final four or even three), less recapping of the season, limited commercial interuptions, and more focus on the final tribal council and post-game recap. After all, the reason we watch is to learn all we can about why the contestants make the moves they do.

Featured players:  Spencer Bledsoe, Kelley Wentworth, Kimmy Kappenberg, Tasha Fox, Keith Nale, Jeremy Collins

Night 35:  Kim and Kelley scheme against the guys.

Day 36:  Spencer wins immunity. After the immunity challenge, Kim lobbies Keith to vote out Jeremy. Spencer, Tasha, and Jeremy are expecting Kimmy to be their fourth vote against either Keith or Kelley. Spencer thinks they should all vote for Kelley but Jeremy wants to split the votes. The players expect they may have to draw rocks to break a deadlock.

At the tribal council, Jeremy plays his immunity idol, which nobody knew he had. Kelley plays hers, which nobody knew she had, either. The entire vote is null and void: three people (Tash, Spencer, and Jeremy) voted for Kelley. The other three (Kim, Kelley, and Keith) voted for Jeremy.

Survivor goes where it’s never gone before, because never before have immunity idols cancelled all votes. Host Jeff Probst moves to a tiebreaker vote.  No one can vote for Spencer, Jeremy, or Kelley. This time Jeremy, Spencer, and Tash vote for Kim, since she flipped on them. The other three contestants vote for Tash.

So the vote is deadlocked again. Jeff asks if anyone will change their vote to break the deadlock. No one does. Jeff tells them that unless they can agree unanimously to send Kim, Tash, or Keith to the jury, the next step is to draw rocks. Except under Survivor rules for tiebreaks, five contestants have immunity from drawing rocks. That leaves Keith.

Keith volunteers to go, but suddenly everyone including Kimmy are saying, “No, Keith, don’t go.” The core alliance wants to send Kimmy to the jury, so Keith agrees with them. Since the numbers are now against her, Kim agrees to go. The council’s action is so complicated, Jeff breaks it down for the TV studio audience before the episode continues.

Day 37:  Another immunity challenge, and Kelley continues to lead a charmed life this season. For the third time she pulls immunity from out of nowhere and shifts the course of the game.

Kelley and Keith go off to strategize together, including making a fake immunity idol. Their closeness makes Jeremy nervous, so he whispers to them, “Spencer.” This raises the possibility Jeremy is planning to get rid of Spencer.

At tribal council it turns out Jeremy invoking Spencer’s name was a ploy. The voting block of Jeremy, Spencer, and Tash vote out Keith.

Day 38:  At the final immunity challenge, the contest comes down to Jeremy or Spencer, and Jeremy wins.

Spencer thinks he’s in trouble. He starts talking to Kelley about how he could win–but she could win, and he’d lobby for her if she’s in the final three. (Nobody lobbies for or against Tash.) Spencer keeps talking at tribal council and is in danger of talking himself right out of the game.

Despite Spencer’s worries and threats over Kelley, she gets three votes and becomes the final jury member.

Final tribal council:  Jury members Andrew and Kim call Spencer out for his behavior at the last council. There are no opening statements or closing arguments, at least not in the broadcast–but in response to a question from Kelley Wentworth, Jeremy goes on and on about how he played for his wife and children. Neither of the other two finalists make such an emotional appeal.

When Jeff Probst reads the first five votes before the studio audience, they’re all for Jeremy, who wins the one million dollars. Jeff reveals all the votes were for Jeremy. One mystery remains concerning Kelly Wigglesworth’s vote, however. At the final tribal council she reached back to her own experience in season one and asked the three finalists to pick a number. Jeff should’ve asked her–did Jeremy choose the correct number, or did she vote for him anyway?

That leaves Spencer and Tash tied for second place, with no explanation of how the show will handle the tie. They began as teammates/adversaries in season 28, were forced to work together, toughed through that season together, and now have gone to the end of season 31 together. They may be considered one of the odder odd relationships in Survivor history. During the reunion Spencer talks about how his mistake was to not vote out Jeremy.

Season 32:  Preview promises “Brains, Brawn, and Beauty II” but also one of the more punishing and dangerous seasons. Premiere date is Feb. 17.



Tags: Survivor