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'Survivor' recap: Stupid wins as stupid does?

December 20, 2010 | 11:15 am

99280_SGFE0001 As silly as the Rites of Passage tradition is, Jimmy T. had a great quote during that part of the "Survivor" season finale last night.

"You can't control 'Survivor.' And I tried to take control. and it got more and more frustrating."

That seems apt for everyone who complained about this season, saying that it wasn't up to snuff -- because the finale of "Survivor: Nicaragua" was just about a perfect wrap-up to everything that we watched. Once you've accepted what you have and aren't hoping for or demanding more, you're good. Those in attendance at the live finale at CBS Studios seemed to get that, getting rather excited throughout the night.

But it must be said that, on a season in which we did want more personality from the castaways early on, most seemed to have found bucketfuls of the stuff for the three-hour finish. We had some genuine, Susan Hawk-like anger, and saw that some folks will do anything to get their full 15 minutes of fame. Let's put a bow on it.

We started off with Fabio once again realizing he absolutely has to win immunity to move on, which he does even after stumbling at another recover-and-solve-the-puzzle challenge. Dan (oh, Dan) tried to make his rich self look better by making small-town South Dakotan Holly look like a bigger threat. Just like last week with Jane, it all seemed like a fight in the dark as he didn't even vote for her. And after keeping his mouth shut and doing nothing for 37 days, Dan became quite loud and bitter -– voting for Chase out of nowhere just to say he hates him, calling Holly a crook who should have her hands chopped off, and much more to come.

Then, after the Rites of Passage (wherein "friendly" NaOnka said she always had a smile on her face?), the final four had to point and hold a sword downward and stack uneven coins on top. A very tense, dramatic challenge that, what do you know, Fabio won. It must be said that Fabio got the most reactions out of the live finale crowd, and everyone cheered when Chase and Sash dropped. Muy interesante, they just couldn't hold it in.

Neither could Fabio, who was just beaming at the final four tribal council. He'd spent the afternoon listening to the others pitch their cases and didn’t have to scramble. All he had to do was sit and try not to laugh that hard when Sash told him he was his best friend. Fabio seemed the most upset about Sash, saying he would've taken him to the final three had anyone but Fabio won, while Chase and Holly were honest and said they wouldn't have. But although it hurt a little, the guys were smart to get rid of Holly here.

We then saw the celebratory last-day breakfast, and the writing was pretty much on the wall already as to how the final tribal council would play out. Sash had been unmasked as the season's most underhanded player, and when caught, those people rarely win reality-TV competitions. Fabio played under the radar the whole time, helping his team but not offending or backstabbing anyone, and winning for himself in the end when it mattered. Chase tried doing that the whole time, but did just about the opposite, going back and forth every week trusting his heart and different alliances to get further.

Chase knew that, though, and told the jury to bring the tough questions that night. Sash seemed unprepared for the vitriol that was thrown at him. He tried to say Chase could've done more to keep Brenda in the game, but she stopped to remind him that he, her true partner in crime, could've given her his immunity idol. Almost everyone had something to get off their chest to Sash (Jane went off and called him a "New York City river rat," while Dan called him spineless and suggested that he fix "that thing with your eye"), but of course Purple Kelly still had little to say. Marty looked dumb trying to ask Chase who won the "dumber than a bag full of hammers" award, but said it couldn't be him (oh, Marty). And Na actually seemed about something, asking her "hippie friend" Fabio (ha) about his mom motivating him for the rest of the game. That started the waterworks, with Fabio's voice cracking and Brenda and Benry shown tearing up.

With the crowd in Fabio's pocket, and Sash pretty much torn apart, it was definitely the model’s $1 million to lose. The cast and Jeff Probst showed up live in Hollywood, and Chase actually went up 4-to-2 votes at first, getting lots of gasps in the studio. But Fabio got the rest of the votes and won 5-4.

The reunion would see him make not a lot of sense, Chase perform his new country music single (?!), Holly gift Dan with some new boots, Na's mom say she wasn't really surprised at what she saw from her daughter, and Shannon act a damn fool yet again when Probst tried to let him make up for the whole Sash-is-gay hot mess. I'll have some choice quotes from the after-show red carpet up in a bit, but if you're already in "Survivor" withdrawal, don't forget about the Ponderosa videos to watch. And Probst talks about the twist to next season, starting in February, here. Hope to see you then, but for now, the tribe has spoken.

— Anthony Williams

Photo: The final five castaways of "Survivor: Nicaragua." Credit: CBS


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