Monday, December 18, 2006

Yul-Tide Winnings

Survivor 13 (Holy cow. 13?!?!?!) produced the most satisfying result in the show's history last night. The Aitu4, decimated at a 2-1 disadvantage after Candice and Jonathan's mutiny, defied the odds and took out 8 members of the other tribe to become the show's Final Four. They managed to widdle themselves down to the final three without having to backstab each other, and then the brain behind the entire operation and the most intelligent player ever in the game, not to mention one of the nicest, Yul Kwon, won the million dollars, 5-4, over the most physicaly dominant player ever in the game, Ozzy Lusth. Ozzy later won a car, so he didn't come away empty-handed.

The last two immunity challenges also provided drama, as the lone Raro member Adam nearly won the immunity challenge by solving what Jeff Probst called the hardest puzzle in Survivor history. Dumb-ass Adam! What the hell?! But Ozzy prevailed, again, allowing the Aitus to make it to the Final Four together. Adam did try to go out with a bang, trying to convince Ozzy and Sundra to flush out the Idol from Yul, but they thankfully didn't bite. And in the final immunity challenge, a balance/endurance challenge, Ozzy outlasted them all, despite a valiant and impressive effort from Sundra, who lasted for over 2.5 hours.

With Yul holding the immunity idol, it was down to Sundra and Becky for who would join the two men in the final. Yul offered up his immunity idol to Becky, but she ultimately decided she didn't want to take the easy way into the final. The editing made it seem as if she seriously was going to take it, but apparently, they quickly decided against it. Thank god, because if Yul had done that, he would have lost by a large margin. Ozzy came up with a brilliant idea to decide the girls' fate - a tiebreaker. It was the fairest thing to do, and no one would have to stab another in the back. It was the perfect scenario for the group, and I'm so glad that it did go down like that.

Becky and Sundra had the most hilarious tiebreak challenge - fire-building. As Probst put it, 39 days, and you can't build a fire? One hour later, and the girls couldn't build a fire with flint. Probst gave them matches, and still more ineptitude. The camera work was great here - they panned to shots of the jurors looking bored, Ozzy and Yul looking horrified and embarrassed for them, Probst looking exasperated. Half an hour or so later, Sundra ran out of matches, and then Becky finally built a fire. Based on interviews I've read after the show, it seems as if Becky and Sundra shared their supplies, and when Sundra ran out of matches, she cheered Becky on. That's great. She had the classiest exit ever (and I do have to give Adam props for his exit speech as well, where he congratulated the four for making it to the end).

So it was down to Becky, Yul and Ozzy for the last tribal council. Technically. Becky was a non-factor, receiving few questions and no votes. The final vote was justifiably close between the two people who dominated the show, Ozzy with winning every challenge and Yul with turning the game on its ear by engineering Jonathan's flop.

Ozzy totally gave Yul a run for his money with the jury questioning. His answers were passionate and heart-felt. In fact, I thought he had it won after he told his sob story about his biological father not wanting to be part of his life. Yul was a bit more political and PC, but he did give the best answer I've heard on this show in the final TC. When Jonathan asked him about lying and deceiving, Yul answered that everyone there knew what game they were getting into and what kind of game this was, and in real life he would never treat people that way. Jonathan had a similarly good answer in the reunion when asked about being considered the villain of the show. His response? "It's a game! There's no villain in Monopoly. There's no villain in a poker tournament!" Heh.

Anyway, in the end brains won out over brawn. Not that Yul has no brawn. Hello, Mr. Six-Pack! Without Aqua Man Ozzy on his season, Yul would have been the physically dominant one, although I suspect he would have tried to downplay that so as to not put a target on him. Because he's smart that way.

It's a shame that Ozzy had to lose, but he can take solace in the fact that he lost in a close vote to the most brilliant player in the show's 13 seasons. There's always Survivor All-Stars II! I'd love to see him duke it out with hot fireman Tom Westman!

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