We did it guys! We made it to the end of another season of Survivor. And we’ll tell you what, despite what the general consensus seems to be, we found this to be a thoroughly entertaining season. Filled with a disconcerting number of weak, unlikable players, yes. Lacking a truly great storyline, showdown or blindside, perhaps. Nearly ruined with the loss of Jimmy Johnson, you bet. A total failure in attempting to change the game with the Medallion of Power, for sure. An all-time great Sole Survivor, not likely. But coming on the heels of All-Stars, we feared the worst. And, thanks in part to one of the more gratifying wins in recent memory (it certainly helps make up for giving the million to Sandra), Survivor: Nicaragua restored our faith in the franchise, proving it could still entertain and astonish, even without Russell Hantz, Tom Westman, or water-based challenges.
But before we get to the finale, we need to first revisit the trend that has dominated the most recent episodes.
Read on: The creepiness continues. And we have a winner! And we’re happy! Plus, Jimmy Johnson!
Allllllllllright, alright, the penultimate episode of Survivor: Nicaragua is nearly here, so let’s quickly look back at last week’s show.
First off, Benry proved to us, once and for all, that he’s a douche. Completely against our better judgement, we’ve been developing an affinity for Benry over the last few weeks, mostly because he was aligned with our current favorite Fabio, as well as with Dan, who’s won us over despite being physically incapacitated. Also, compared to the sorry group of players left in stock – Sash, Jane, Holly, Chase – Benry looked great by comparison. The lesser of several evils. However, by so easily agreeing to sell out Fabio for his own advancement (in a move that would have only gotten him one, maybe two Tribal Councils further), Benry proved who he really is. A club promoter. Yes, he was honest about that from the start, so shame on us for even giving him the benefit of the doubt. But, to reiterate: DOUCHE.
More: The creepiest reward yet, words of wisdom from Fabio, and our A-B-C of the week, y’all!
In last week‘s Survivor: Nicaragua recap we pointed out that we felt Brenda and Sash were not really in control, and could very well find themselves on the outside looking in. We also meant to add that, despite appearing to call the shots, Brenda is not Parvati, the cunning siren (and arguably best player in Survivor history) who probably seems like the best comparison for Brenda. Unfortunately for Brenda, there are critical, significant differences between the two. Brenda might feel like she has everyone under her thumb, but she lacks both the charm and, more importantly, the ruthlessness of Parvati (and while Brenda has seemed more than physically capable, we’d argue that she doesn’t possess Parvati’s considerable strength). Yes, Brenda had a seemingly strong alliance, with two of her closest allies, Sash and NaOnka, possessing immunity idols, but those two people are clearly intent on keeping those idols for themselves, while Parvati managed to acquire idols without even trying. Brenda went to Tribal Council with an idol in Sash’s pocket, while Parvati basically went with a bucket overflowing with her own. (And speaking of Sash, we probably should have also been pointed out that he’s no Russell Hantz, lacking his killer instinct, his courage, and, most notably, his deviousness).
More: Does anyone remember the day before? What goes on inside Purple Kelly’s brain? And who spiked Probst’s coffee?
Maybe we were spoiled by the last season of All-Stars. Not just that it offered unmatched drama, familiar characters, surprise twists, but also that those guys knew how to play the game. Granted, that’s a benefit of playing the game for the second, and in some cases, third time, and there were still plenty of dummies out there (Tyson and JT committing two of the all-time unforgivable blunders in Survivor history), but the people running the game, at the top of the food chain – Russell, Parvati, Boston Rob, even Rupert – did so with intelligence and cunning. It truly was a game managed by all-stars. Heck, even Sandra knew how to play game. And she also knew to save the vindictive vandalism for the last day, and when Russell steals other player’s shoes he doesn’t tearfully confess an hour later (lessons to be learned, NaOnka, Holly). But over here on Nicaragua, even though there are clearly leaders on each tribe, they’re not nearly as crafty and clever as they think they are. And, now, you can’t even blame it on youth, because Marty, self-proclaimed master of the game, is racking up the mistakes along with the kids. Who among the tribes is truly grasping this game, making smart, logical moves, not just tricky, creative ones? Right now, it’s hard to say.
More: Hey, Marty, stop listening to your gut! And we say goodbye to Jill the proper way. Plus: Let’s milk some milk!
For a while there it looked as if, for the fourth week straight, we’d lose one of the older males from Survivor: Nicaragua. All signs pointed to Marty joining the parade out into the graveyard, following in succession former Espada tribemates Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy T and Tyrone. Traded two episodes ago to the La Flor tribe, Marty had only his Immunity Idol (and Fabio, for some reason) to protect him. And when, at Tribal Council, he elected not to use it, he had nothing to left. He was a goner.
Read on: What? Why? STUPID.
Well, Survivor: Nicaragua just became a little tougher to watch every week. While we were initially skeptical of the inclusion of former NFL head coach Jimmy Johnson’s in the cast, we were quickly won over by his charm and gung-ho attitude. We still think it was a questionable decision by the producers, big picture-wise, but it enabled us to enjoy his positivity, humor and variety of faces every week. That is, until the Espada tribe made the curious (aka egregious, outrageous) decision to cut Coach Johnson, engineered by Jimmy T and Marty’s testosterone-driven need to prove that they can be a better leader (than a Super Bowl winning NFL head coach). Why Jimmy T felt threatened by Jimmy Johnson, or why he desired to usurp the leadership role when it makes more sense to let Jimmy J maintain the mantle and thus the pressure, is beyond us. And why Marty feels compelled to “accelerate” the game is even more baffling. Now they’ve put themselves both in the cross-hairs, while they could have let the bullseye rest on Coach Johnson. It was way to early for a power grab, and completely unnecessary, and they’ll likely realize this sooner rather than later. At least vote out the dude who can’t even walk (Danny).
But, for now, the damage is done and Jimmy J is gone. In his honor, our (perhaps) final Faces of Jimmy Johnson:
Continue: The sad final Faces of Jimmy Johnson. Then we rundown who’s left!