Pop Culture

‘Survivor’ winner goes to head of the class

Challenge king wins it all: Bob joked to the cameras that he could be a spokesman for AARP as he went on his five-challenge winning streak, and the 57-year-old physics teacher may be getting calls from the group. He's earned it, winning "Survivor Gabon" by the narrowest of margins. He received four votes from the seven-person jury, as his ability to make his own luck by winning immunity beat out Susie's flying under the radar and Sugar's strategic maneuverings. Susie came agonizingly close with three votes, taking second place.

Nasty girl: Pin-up model Sugar didn't get any votes for the top prize and the million dollars, as the cameras apparently loved her more than her competitors. No one, however, was as bitter as Corrine in the final vote. "You are an unemployed, uneducated leech on society," she said to Sugar. "The only thing I would vote to give you is a handful of antidepressants so it would seem a little more sincere when you are crying about your dead father."

Solid house of cards: Susie didn't do much to win airtime for most of the game, but she came through when it really counted. She won the first immunity challenge, flew under the radar, and then she won the last to earn her spot in the final three. She did so by building a house of cards to a height of eight feet, more than any of the competitors, perhaps because she was convinced that if she didn't win it, she'd be voted out.

Clipping Chatty Cathy's string: Susie didn't get much airtime this season, but judging from the finale, there was a reason for that. She was so happy that she won the final immunity challenge that she wouldn't shut up, and Bob finally snapped and asked her to stop talking. Corrine told her at the jury that if she could answer yes to one question, she'd get Corrine's vote. The question: "If you get the money, will you agree to have your vocal cords removed?" (Uh, that would be a "no.")

Saved by Sugar: Bob's winning streak ended at the worst possible time, and he was feeling vulnerable. It looked like he was a sure bet to go, and Matty told him with regret, "I have to write your name down, Bob. I'm sorry. You were the best competitor out here." But he was saved when Sugar couldn't bring herself to write down the name of her Gabon father figure.

Be prepared: As soon as Bob learned that Sugar might be throwing him a lifeline and voting for Matty instead, he told the rest of the tribe that he wanted to go off and be alone. Instead of moping, he practiced the art of making fire, hoping that it would be the tiebreaker at Tribal Council. He guessed right, and that practice paid off when he built a roaring blaze while Matty was struggling to create sparks,

Too naughty to be nice: Day 38 brought the traditional "honor your competitors" challenge, where the remaining four contestants gathered masks representing their comrades. For most of the fallen 14, the final four found something positive to say. They all stopped, however, when they came to the mask representing Randy.  "The thing I liked about Randy is that he never minced words. You always knew where he stood," Bob finally said. But Sugar was having none of it. "What I think about Randy... 'pfbbbbbbbt,'" she said as she gave him a long-distance raspberry. And the feeling was mutual: "I genuinely don't like any of these people," Randy said of the final three.

Eleven is enough: Kenny survived 11 Tribal Council visits, but the twelfth one was fatal, and doomed him to a fifth-place finish. After feeling blindsided at Tribal Council by Crystal's exit, he took solace when Sugar told him that Susie would be voted off if Bob won immunity. When Bob saved himself with his fifth challenge win in a row, Kenny relaxed, assuming that he was safe. But ultimately he was too big of a threat, and got blindsided himself. "I was playing a lot of people, and in the end I got played myself. They got me good," said the video-game champion.

Contract voided: Kenny felt that Bob broke his word in not giving him the immunity necklace as he originally promised, but Bob quickly ran out of patience. "Why don't you get your own idol?" Bob asked. Bob later pointed out that since Kenny was planning to betray him, that rendered the original deal null and void. "I was going to take care of him, and he was going to take advantage of me," he said at the next Tribal Council before voting Kenny out. "That was the small print at the bottom of the contract that you forgot to read."

Fire away: The final three went out in a blaze of glory, literally. They torched the camp as they left by setting the huts on fire."39 days just like that. Done." Susie said as she watched it burn. Then they left the camp while it was still on fire. Hopefully the production crew swooped in with some fire extinguishers.

More on 'Survivor'

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C.

TOP