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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Survivor wraps up a strong season in a neat narrative bow

Justin Starrett, Hannah Shapiro, and David Wright (Image: CBS)
Justin Starrett, Hannah Shapiro, and David Wright (Image: CBS)

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • This is one of the more interesting final groups of people the show has had in quite a while.There are no clear goats and pretty much anyone could make a case for why they should win.
  • David decides to plant a fake immunity idol in order to mess up someone’s game. It’s certainly a strategy, especially because Jay falls for it immediately—and that’s exactly who David wants to fool.
  • The legacy advantage turns out to be immunity, which is a pretty darn good advantage for Ken that would have been very interesting if someone actually in danger had it instead.
  • Once David wins immunity, the first vote comes down to Jay vs. Bret, and the scheming from Jay to get there coupled with Bret’s incredulity that anyone is seriously considering Jay’s proposal makes for a very entertaining segment.
  • Jay’s face when Jeff reveals the immunity idol is fake is absolutely the best thing, as is his gleeful “you got me” reaction when he gets voted out. It’s fun when people treat Survivor like the game it is and have a good time with it.
  • Adam finding that immunity idol so late in the game is kind of insane and I’m not sure how I feel about it, especially because it has the potential to affect gameplay so dramatically. (It turns out it doesn’t because Adam plays his idol and no one voted for him, but still. It could!)
  • David managing to hold onto his final three with Ken and Hannah and get Bret voted out is darn impressive, especially considering what a threat David is to win the game.
  • The final immunity challenge is as thrilling as it could possibly be, considering it comes down to Ken and Hannah – and David and Adam are probably the most in danger of going home.
  • Hannah has done a great job of playing both sides for pretty much the entire game but her biggest test is trying to convince Ken to vote out David instead of Adam. Somehow, she does it, which in my opinion should be the thing that wins her the game. She won’t win, but damn. That was impressive.
  • Ken campaigning on loyalty when he voted his strongest ally out in the previous Tribal Council is certainly a choice.
  • Hannah is very, very good at the final Tribal Council, but it’s the kind of good that will likely be completely ignored when the vote comes around.
  • Adam’s final Tribal Council is a lot like his performance during the Tribals during the season (so, spotty) but his tearful reveal of his mother’s cancer brings it home strong for him.
  • Look. I didn’t think I would say this coming into tonight’s finale, but it feels like Hannah might have deserved the win. She was maybe the best example of playing all sides of the game and being in the position socially with everyone to be able to sustain that sort of game I’ve seen in quite a while. The key moment (at least in the editing) was when Chris advocated that Adam should win for flipping Ken when from what we saw, that was totally Hannah’s win. Did she defend herself and they cut it? Or did she let that moment slide? Either way, it’s a bit of a bummer even if an Adam win does wrap up his entire season’s narrative in a neat bow. And he did play well, except when he played really terribly! Congrats, Adam.