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Surviving Thailand, the Finale: It's All Brianby David Bloomberg -- 12/25/2002
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Okay, so this is a bit later than usual. Normally, of course, I would provide a recap of the show immediately following it. However, since I was actually in the live studio audience watching the finale, that was a bit difficult. So, now that I've watched it again from home (on tape), I can give you the perspective of one who was there as it was happening. That said, I did manage to get Why Helen Lost, Why Jan Lost, Why Clay Lost, and Why Brian Won posted that night or the next morning.
Anyway, let's just get right to it.
It's night 36 and the final four are returning from Tribal Council, where they booted Ted. Clay notes that Ted wouldn't even look back at them as he was leaving. They all knew that at this point it would be Ted, but he was in total shock, thinking it would be Jan. Helen notes that he was probably furious (hmmm, a bit of foreshadowing, perhaps?) and that it's getting cutthroat, with every person for him/herself. But Clay says there should be no hard feelings and Brian echoes that it's just part of the game. Jan says it was a little harder this time, as Ted was the first of the last Chuay Gahn five. It's the beginning of her realization that everybody has to go except one.
The following day, they get treemail that is not part of a challenge, but rather consists of little boats and flowers and other items to decorate them. They are to be made in honor of each person who has been voted out so far. Everybody participates, and Clay even does Ghandia's boat, claiming that nobody else would (I find it hard to believe that Helen or Jan wouldn't, but this is Clay talking). Brian says this whole thing is a business trip to him, where his attire is a beard and bathing suit (we all know he's worn less on previous "business trips"). He pats himself on the back for making it so far and not being one of the names on the boats.
While Jan and Helen are getting more treemail, Clay and Brian reaffirm their final two alliance. Of course Brian does - Clay is precisely who he wants to be up against in the final two!
The treemail contains a description of the next immunity challenge. From the wording on it, everybody seems to understand what it will be. Brian even says, "It's obvious what it is." Pause. Clay responds, "What?" The studio audience (unheard by viewers, of course) breaks out laughing. Truly, a classic moment. Anyway, what is obvious is that the challenge will be made up of parts of previous challenges.
And indeed it is. There are numerous parts. First, dig up a wicker ball from the sand. Second, carry it over a bamboo balance beam. Third, push it through a fishnet tube. Then put down the ball and do a slide puzzle to release a knife. Cut a rope and release material that is then taken to a jail cell and used to get a key from the outside. From there, sprint to a table where a special food item is awaiting. Whoever finishes it up first wins.
Clay takes an early lead by finding his ball first and getting over the bamboo beam quickly. Jan and Helen get the ball but keep falling off the beam. Brian finally finds his ball and goes over the beam. Clay is through the fishnet tube and to the puzzle, but he just can't get the hang of it. Brian catches up and moves ahead by finishing the puzzle. He then wisely messes up the puzzle so Clay can't look over and cheat. The women are still at the beam. Brian, apparently not wanting to duplicate his "raod trip" error, very calmly goes through the rest of the challenge. Eventually, Helen makes it over the beam, followed by Jan. But by this point, Brian gets to the food item - a tarantula. He considers it briefly and then swallows it down. Clay never does make it past the puzzle - which should make him consider how difficult it was for Ghandia in the first episode. Brian wins!
At this point, it had seemed that it would be Jan's turn to go. But now Brian is saying that it looks like it's Helen's turn. There appeared to be a relationship between her and Ted and Brian doesn't trust her now. She's making him nervous and is a threat to him. So he asks Jan if she knows who's going. Jan points to herself. Brian says no, it's Helen's turn. Jan looks shocked. She wants to think about it. Hello? Think about it? It's either you or Helen! What is there to think about?
Some have e-mailed me to suggest that she should have gone to Helen with a plan to tie it up. But there are several reasons against this. First, apparently the group had made a decision not to do any ties and face the purple ball of death. Second, let's look at it from Jan's position. If she goes along with Brian and Clay, she is guaranteed a spot in the final three. As host Jeff Probst would later note in the reunion show, that's a $15,000 difference over fourth place - nothing to sneeze at. And she has a chance to make it into the final two if she can win the next immunity challenge. After all, Kim Johnson made it that way. If she gets to the final two, I'd say she could beat either Brian or Clay in a jury vote because she was fairly well-liked. However, if she goes for a tie, she has a 25% chance of being booted by the purple ball of death. If Brian flips and votes off Clay so he doesn't have to take that risk, she makes it into the final three and is essentially in the same position as she would be without the tie. If she wins immunity, she's in the final two and can win; if she doesn't, she's out because she's too popular to be up against. So in the end, she can either vote out Helen or face a 25% chance of being voted out herself - all with the same endpoint. Therefore, her decision should be to vote off Helen.1 2 3 4 5 Next-->
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