Survivor I, The Finale in Retrospectby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
The rerun was preceded with the final "Survivor Secret" mini-interview (there was not one following this episode, which kind of surprised me). Kelly talked about her feud with Sue, saying their personalities clashed and she wouldn't tolerate that type of person in her regular life. She adds that she was proud of herself for putting up with Sue as long as she did. While this is nice hindsight, I find it, like so much else Kelly says, difficult to believe. At the time, before the huge blowup, she had talked about how much she trusted and liked and cared about Sue. Now she claims they never would have gotten along at all? Maybe, just maybe, if Kelly hadn't stabbed Sue in the back, their personalities wouldn't have clashed so much. In fact, I think it likely that Kelly might have won the million if she had held fast to the alliance with Sue. Ah well, you reap what you sow.
Moving on to the episode itself, Sue is talking about a similar topic – what it's like to be sleeping, eating, and living with the enemy (Kelly). She said that all you can do is treat them in a civil manner. Obviously, this doesn't apply to the time after you're no longer living with them and speaking out as part of the voting jury!
Rudy spends a bit of time looking back and notes that the final four are the same four that were part of the Tagi Alliance. They were in a position of power to get rid of whomever they wanted, and were just lining them up. He offers this piece of advice: TO win, you either make an alliance, or you don't show up. Rich joins in the retrospective to say he was shocked at how few people were actually planning. The Pagong didn't understand this. People going into the next round certainly should.
Kelly, of course, wins the final two immunity challenges, just as she had won the previous two, plus some reward challenges thrown in. The woman is a challenge-winning machine, and it's the only thing that got her to the final two. Later, she would try to use her trivia challenge win to show how much she knew about the jury members, and how much she cared. But watching that contest again, it shows that the challenge was not as person-oriented as it has now been made out to be. Many of the questions didn't relate to the ex-contestants real lives, but to meaningless island things. For example, there were two questions about items of clothing (Jenna's shirt and Greg's bandanna). There was a question on who ran the legs of an earlier challenge. Who got one vote in the first Tribal Council? What did Pagong bring over from their beach when the tribes merged? Who in Pagong didn't run the obstacle course? What was the order in which Pagong members were voted off? These had nothing to do with getting to know these folks personally, even though Kelly, and even Jeff Probst, would later portray the challenge that way.
After the challenge, the first and only tie vote occurred, with Kelly not standing by her earlier promise/threat to make sure Sue wouldn't make it to the final three. She did end up changing her vote and Sue was gone, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the vote remained tied.
The most interesting part of the tie vote was that Rich, in his plea to Kelly, admitted in front of the jury that he was responsible for bringing the alliance together and bringing them along. That could have caused him trouble, but he was lucky that it didn't.
The following morning's final immunity challenge finds Rich throwing it and saying he knows he couldn't have won. Maybe not, but I think he realized that he would lose by winning and could win by losing. If he had won, he would have either had to vote off Kelly and face a vote against the well-liked Rudy – almost certainly losing – or he could have violated his trust with Rudy and voted him off, almost certainly giving his vote to Kelly, which we now know would have guaranteed him a loss. By losing the challenge, he puts that in Kelly's lap, and he is smart enough to know that she knows she would definitely lose against Rudy, so she pretty much had to bring Rich into the final two with her.
So Rudy slipped up and lost a million, and Kelly won the last challenge.
She still whines in this episode that she regrets being part of the alliance. Of course, she'd be a much poorer woman if she hadn't joined, so it's hard to take that seriously.
What she should regret is that they burned all the stuff from camp. They could have saved it and sold it all on E-bay for big bucks!
The jury got to ask their questions, and Sue got to make her infamous speech that she would later, on Rosie O’Donnell’s show, compare to "bad gas" that she had to let out.
Gervase, Jenna, and Colleen voted for Kelly to win. They all noted that Kelly was a back-stabber and not generally a nice person, but voted for her anyway. Interestingly, some people have claimed that Colleen changed her vote from Rich because of Sue's speech. However, that doesn't appear to be so, as she explained fully her reasons – that Kelly talked about "will" being key. She never mentioned the speech at all.
Sean saw the same back-stabbing aspect in Kelly, and so voted for Rich, who was at least a likeable scoundrel. Sue, of course, voted for Rich. Rudy carried his "alliance to the end" and voted for Rich. It came down to Greg, the only Pagong to cross party lines and vote for Rich. Was it, as some have said, simply because Rich guessed closer to the number in Greg's question? Almost certainly not. That was just Greg's clowning answer. His real answer probably lies in what he said to the camera before the voting. He noted that he caught on to Kelly's changes in personalities throughout. He was obviously not impressed by her shifts. Other indications show that he probably liked the way Rich played the game. Greg voted for the person he thought deserved to win, and he was right.
One interesting part of looking at this vote in retrospect is that Kelly claimed, in a TV Guide interview , that two of the people who voted for Rich have told her they wish they could go back and change their vote. Who? I can't believe Greg would confide that in her, even if it were true. Sue and Rudy certainly wouldn't have changed it. Sean? Maybe, but even if so, that would be only one – and that's pretty unlikely as well. Considering Kelly's problems with honesty throughout the game, it really makes one wonder.
But, the game is over. Rich was the ultimate survivor. He had said so before the game even began, and he was right. It ends with Rich driving off in the new Aztec he won, which, in retrospect, is a bit odd, since he would later say on Rosie’s show that he hadn't even gotten it yet! But, hey, what's a little unreality to end a reality show?
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