Survivor 21.15 “What About Me?” Finale Recap

If you missed the penultimate episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, check out my recap here.

This season’s finale begins with reviews of the Final Five’s journeys through the first thirty-six days. After the title sequence, on Day 37, Fabio confesses that it is in his interest to break up Chase, Holly and Sash. Dan and Fabio agree that Holly should go next. Fabio asks Holly if she”d rather go to the Final Three with him instead of Chase. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t answer. Fabio says that he needs to win Immunity to stay in the game.

Sash confides to the camera that he recognizes the threat of Fabio going on an Immunity run. So, he finds Fabio and tells him that he wants to go the Final Three with him. Sash confesses that he has to promise everything to everyone to make sure he is safe. Sash then goes to Chase and tells him to watch out for Fabio and make sure he doesn’t win the next…

…Immunity Challenge. For this Challenge, the players will race out to a station and find a question about Nicaragua with five answer choices. The player will select an answer and grab a bag associated with that answer. If the answer is right, there will be puzzle pieces in the bag when the player brings the bag back to the start. If the answer is wrong, the bag will contain all-black puzzle pieces. After they answer all three questions correctly, the pieces will be used to assemble a puzzle. The first player to assemble the puzzle wins Immunity.

In the pouring rain, Jeff starts the Challenge. The first question is: Whom does Nicaragua share a northern border? Holly quickly answers correctly (Honduras), as do Sash, Fabio, Dan and Chase. Question Numebr Two: What is the east coast of Nicaragua called? Holly, Chase and Sash all answer correctly (Mosquito Coast. Lovely, right?). Fabio gets it wrong nad has to go back out to the second station. Holly, Chase and Sash rush to Question Number Three: Who claimed Nicaragua for Spain? Chase, Holly, and Sash each head back with their third bag by giving hte correcft answer, the Conquistadors. As these three head back to the start to begin their puzzles, Fabio goes out for his third bag. Jeff announces that the puzzle is the logo for the season. Fabio is correct on the final question and hurries back. As the four start furiously working on the puzzle, Dan finally makes it back to the start. Sash jumps out to a huge lead, with Holly close behind. Fabio, however, catches up quickly. It becomes a race between Fabio and Sash, as Chase dropped a piece on the ground. Sash only has two pieces left, but Fabio slams his final piece into the board. Fabio wins Immunity! As Jeff sends the tribe back to camp, Holly says Fabio winning puts a real monkey wrench in the plan, but they will have to vote out Dan tonight.

Back at the beach, Holly gives Fabio a high five. Fabio tells the camera that knew he had to win, and now he’s loving it. He wants to talk to Chase and Sash about getting Holly out. Fabio tells Chase that they should keep Dan because no one on the Jury respects him. Chase confesses that he has been so close to Holly that he can’t vote her out. Sensing Chase is immovable, Fabio tells Dan that Chase wants to vote him out. Dan replies that he’s going to try to convince Sash that Holly is a bigger threat. Dan goes to Sash and tells him that Holly is a big threat because she’s well-liked and has a struggling farm.

Fabio tries to work Sash too to get a sense of how Sash is feeling about the vote. Sash confesses that Dan is maybe getting too much credit as a threat. Further, Holly is the last woman and there are a lot of her fellow Espada members on the Jury. Fabio tells Sash that he wants to break up Holly and Chase as soon as possible. Just then, Holly arrives and sensing something wrong, asks who Fabio and Sash are voting for; they’re both voting for Dan, which is news to Holly. She thinks Fabio and Dan will be gunning for her at…

…Tribal Council. Jeff brings in the Jury, with Jane and her huge hair(!) bringing up the rear. Jeff asks Fabio about his Immunity win, which Fabio says ig huge. Jeff asks how Fabio will vote, and he replies that he’ll need to consider how the Jury will vote. Jeff then turns to Dan and asks about focusing his strategy on how no one will vote for him. Dan rusn through how many millions and cars and clothes he has, so no one will vote for him to win. Is this a good argument. Jeff asks Sash. Sash calculates some fuzzy voting math, but yes, it’s a good strategy for Dan. Jeff asks Holly if, based onthe last Tribal Council, she thinks she’s still in trouble. She thinks she is: the guys could band together to vote her out, but she doesn’t see how she is a threat. Dan jumps right in and tells her that as a small town mother, she’s a sympathetic player. Holly says that those qualities do not make her a threat, but Jeff poitns out that obviously, she’ll say that’s not a threat. It all comes down to perception, right Chase? Absolutely, he replies. The perception of him is that he is, as Brenda called him, paranoid. He admits to this characterization, “I’m paranoid as Hell.” Jeff asks Fabio if he’s aware of the million dollar mistake he could be making? He does, but he knows that the women on the Jury respect Holly, and he does too because she’s a pretty cool lady.

It’s time to vote, so they do, and Jeff collects the ballots. The first two votes are for Dan. The third vote is for Chase(huh?). Jeff reads the fourth vote. “The fourteenth person voted out of Survivor: Nicaragua and the eighth member of our Jury…Dan!” Dan doesn’t have much to say as Jeff suffs his torch and dismisses him into the blue Light of Death. Jeff congratulates the remaining players on making it to the Final Four, and tells them to prepare for the Final Immunity Challenge tomorrow. As the remaining members of Libertad head back to camp, Dan tells the camera that he switched his vote to Chase to show how much he hates the guy. He continues ripping the remaining players by calling Holly is a thief and Sash a whiner. Stay classy, Dan!!

On Night 37, Libertad returns to camp. Fabio confesses that he felt very comfortable with the Immunity necklace on at Tribal Council, but that he’ll need it again tomorrow because he doesn’t know where Sash and Chase’s minds are. Fabio asks them if the Final Three will be the three guys, and he receives such assurances. Sash confesses that he has put himself in a position where everyone left will take him to the Final Three. He figures, however, that Fabio is the biggest threat to his endgame so he needs to go.

Holly chats with Chase about their mutual thought that if Fabio makes it to the end, he will win. If Fabio wins Immunity, they will have to vote out Sash because he will garner a lot of Jury votes. Chase confides that he is putting a lot of pressure on himself to win the final Immunity. He and Fabio go grab Tree Mail, which tells them all to go on the loathed Rites of Passage hike on their way to the final Immunity Challenge. The Final Four go on the trek, collecting shields with the names of their fallen comrades on them, and it is just as boring as ever. Eventually, after burning the shield and pretending to care about their dismissed competitors, they make their way to the…

…Final Immunity Challenge. For this final Challenge, each player will have a sword that they balance on a shield with one hand. With the other hand, the players will stack coins on the handle of the sword. If the coins fall, the player is out of the Challenge. Jeff has them pick up their swords and find a spot on their shield that feels comfortable, and starts the Challenge.

He starts them with a medium-sized coin. With each coin, they have five seconds to place it on the sword, and adjust their stack if they so desire. Next, are two large coins in a row. Jeff notes that these are not perfectly shaped coins. These are Survivior Challenge coins, so some are slanted and uneven. Fast forward to about fifteen coins into the Challenge. Fabio appears close to losing his stack, but he recovers. With the next coin, Fabio is again wavering. Jeff orders a large coin, followed by a medium coin. As Holly removes her hand from her stack, her coins fall. Holly is out. Jeff next asks for a large coin, but Chase, too, is unable to keep his stack balanced, and is dismissed. Jeff calls for a large coin and then a medium one. Fabio has to lean his sword to keep the stack upright. Jeff calls for another large coin and counts down the five seconds the lpayers have to adjust their stacks. As time runs out, Sash’s stack falters. Fabio wins Final Immunity!! His competitors applaud his win, as Jeff points out Fabio’s three wins in a row. With such a streak, Jeff expects an intense afternoon back at camp.

When they return to the beach, Fabio confesses that he is on fire. He’s loving this! He now gets to hear the other three players plead their case on why he or she should go to the end. Sash tells Fabio that Holly has to be nervous now. Fabio replies that he hasn’t made up his mind yet; he needs to think about things. Sash confides that he is now as desperate as he can be,a nd tells Fabio that he’ll vote however Fabio does. Sash then finds Chase and runs through all of the Jury votes, saying Holly will win a majority.

Fabio concerned he would’ve been next to go, asks Sash if he (Sash) would’ve taken Chase and Holly to the Final Three. Sash says no, and that Fabio is his best friend in the game. That really, really, bad lie earns an unseen eye roll from Fabio. Fabio tells Chase that Sash went behind his back and told Fabio that he’ll vote for whomever Fabio wants, which pisses Chase off. Chase replies that Sash was talking about taking Chase and Holly with him to the Final Three. Fabio confesses that he finds it funny how Sash doesn’t know Fabio can see through him. Further, the other players are now like cockroaches scurrying when the lights come on.

Fabio then asks Chase if he would have voted him out if he didn’t win Immunity. Chase admits that, yes, he would have voted Fabio out. When Fabio speaks with Holly, she says that she respects Fabio, and also admits that she would have voted him out. He confides that Holly might deserve to go to the Final Three for not ever lying to him, but that might mean she’ll win Jury votes as well. Fabio needs to figure out how to not blow the million dollars with his vote at…

…Tribal Council. Jeff notices that Fabio is just bursting with joy tonight because he had the Immunity necklace. Fabio agrees, saying it was a fun afternoon with everyone wanting to talk to him. Sash was the first one to talk to him. Fabio asked him if he would have taken Fabio to the end? “Oh yeah,” Sash replied, but Fabio saw through that. Fabio continues, saying that Chase and he had a good chat, and that he asked Chase the same question. Chase admitted that he wouldn’t have taken Fabio.

Jeff asks Sash what his plea was to Fabio to take him to the end. Sash says that they have been talking about it for a while and reviewed who would win each of the Jury votes. Sash says that the truth is he had many alliances that he broke, and he’s not afraid to admit to it. Jeff asks him point blank if he would have taken Fabio? “I believe I would have,” Sash replies. “Believe? Or would have?” Jeff demands. Sash weasels out by saying that he didn’t have to make that choice. Holly chimes in and says that Sash is a big threat, and she would have voted Fabio out. Jeff notes that Sash is the only person in doubt on how he would have handled voting out Fabio. Jeff tells Fabio that he needs to decide who he wants to sit next to in the end? Fabio says because the other three essentially told him he would have been voted out, he doesn’t have to hold to any of his previous agreements. Sash tells Fabio that he has been the most committed to Fabio. Fabio asks Chase if he was honest with him. Chase sasys he was, but Fabio replies, “Yeah…at very last second.” Holly says she has always been honest, and likes that Fabio thinks highly of her. Jeff says that the decision they are about to make could be a million dollar decision.

It’s time to vote; they do, and Jeff collects the ballots. Vote number one is for Sash. Number two is for Holly. Vote number three is for Holly. “The fifteenth person voted out of Survivor Nicaragua and the ninth member of our Jury…Holly!” Holly wishes the guys good luck, and heads into the Blue Light of Death (watch out for Dan, he might still be shuffling through that graveyard!) Jeff congratulates the Final Three, but says the power now shifts to the Jury. With that, he sends them back to camp.

That night, Fabio is a ten on a scale of one to ten. Putting Sash against Chase with him let’s the Jury know that he knows what’s been going on. Plus, he has more to say to the Jury. Chase states that he will be coming out guns a-blazing in the Final Tribal Council. Sash confesses that he got called out at Tribal Council for his broken alliances. Further, he doesn’t think Fabio and Chase belong in the Final Three because he played the most strategic game. He tells Chase and Fabio that he’s proud to have his “wingmen” with him in the Finals. That little slight earns quite the guffaw from Fabio.

Fabio wakes up on Day 39 and feels pretty great. The guys go to Tree Mail and find the Final Three breakfast feast. Sash fuels up for the final battle, but he realizes that though they have been great friends, they are also his enemies. For his part, Chase is still trying to find a way to win. His current strategy is to make Fabio over-confident by telling him how he is going to win. For Fabio, it’s time to switch gears and go into the Final Tribal Council swinging. Sash is worried because he’s lied so much, so for this Tribal Council, he is going to lay out everything on the table. Chase thinks he’s played better than Sash and Fabio because he had real realatonships with the people on the Jury, and was a marked man at the beginning because he’s a physical threat. Now, he just has to convince the Jury that he deserves to win at the…

…Final Tribal Council. Jeff reiterates that the power now shifts to Jury. Each of the Final Three will make opening statements, followed by the Jury’s questions. In his statement, Chase thanks everyone for playing with him, and asks the Jury to bring on the questions, because he knows some of them are pissed at him because he’s been wishy-washy. Fabio just had a great time, which earns a classic NaOnka stink face. He highlights his three Immunity Challenge wins in a row. Further, he didn’t backstab anyone; he deserves the million dollars because he had a lot of fun. Sash says he played teh game differently than the other two. The game is to outwit, outplay, and outlast. All three of them outlasted the Jury, so it comes down to strategy. He says breaking alliances is part of the game, but all of their friendships are real.

Brenda gets to go first. She is really proud of the guys. She enjoyed playing with Sash, and says making alliances is smart, but breaking them…Sash then cuts her off. Sash is remorseful, but breaking alliances was his strategy. His friendship is something different. Chase was her snuggle buddy, and she developed an emotional attachment to him. The again, he said he could never vote for her, but then it was so easy to cut her loose. Chase defends himself by saying he came to her immediately about Holly’s maneuvering, but when Fabio and NaOnka backed out, he was stuck. Sash chimes in and says Chase could’ve done more, but Brenda shuts him down, by saying he should have done more to save her.

Marty. There are obviously good reasons tjat they are there and the Jury is here. He asks Chase that if a “Dumber Than a Bag of Hammers Award” was to be given to someone other than Marty, who would Chase pick? Chase says it’s a BS question because Marty is the only one he’s give the award to. Marty tells Sash that he is a cerebral player, and points out to Chase, that “cerebral” means smart. He congratualtes Fabio as changing the most as person and a player, and winning three Immunities.

Holly. Chase what was your most strategic move? Chase answers when he voted out Shannon to play with people he could trust instead. She asks Fabio if winning the final three immunities was too little too late? Uh…No! In fact, it was perfect timing because he won when he had to win. Holly asks Sash if he ever lied to her. He did when he voted her out. Holly concludes by saying she respects them all, and had a great time.

Jane. She tells Sash that someone raised him very well to be such a New York City river rat (whoa! No need to slag off NYC there, Jane!). She wants him to crawl back into the sewer he came from. Fabio laughs at this pretty loud. Jane tells Chase that he made her time out there pretty fun. She asks how he would use the money if he won. Chase replies that he’d give $100,000 to the cancer charity his brother started, and then take care of mom. Fabio wants to take care of mom and dad too, which causes Jeff to laugh. Fabio swears that he’s not just saying that because Chase did.

Benry doesn’t want to hear from Chase. He congratulates Fabio for his three Immunity wins. He tells Sash that he was able to see through Sash’s fake smile and laugh. He wants to know what Sash saw was was wrong with him (Benry). Well, if Benry could see through Sash, he should’ve taken a shot at him to get him out. This shuts Benry up right quick.

Dan just rages, and calls Sash a liar and a phony. Sash is spineless, and Dan hates his smile. He wishes Sash would get his eye fixed for the little wink he does. Chase backstabbed everyone, including Jane, so Dan has not time for him. He concludes on Chase, telling him, “Beauty fades, but dumb is forever.”

Purple Kelly tells the guys that they did what she couldn’t do (you know, finish the game!). She gives Sash a minute to say how he outwitted them. Sash replies that he should’ve been voted out at Merge, but he wasn’t. With that, Purple Kelly sits back down. That’s all she has! She truly is the most useless Survivor competitor ever.

It’s NaOnka’s turn. Fabio was her hippy friend, and Sash was a great strategic player. She asks Fabio if seeing his mom was gasoline to finish so strong. As he cries, Fabio says yes. He was gong through a lot of emotions because the other three were always plotting against him, but thoughts of his family helped him through. This response moves the Jury, as Brenda and Benry start crying. (And in my notes, I wrote down, “Fabio wins.”)

Alina finishes up. She tells Fabio that he’s the ultimate surfer boy, but she doesn’t want to give money to a boy. She asks Sash why he deserves the win instead of the younger guys. He says Fabio was always the last to know what was going on. Fabio interjects that he knew more than they thought. Sash continues, saying Chase was wishy-washy. Chase repeats Sash’s indictment of Fabio, saying that whenever they’d get back from Tribal council, Fabio would always wonder what just happened. Fabio defends himself by saying he didn’t have to backstab anyone, unlike Chase. Sash takes a swing at Fabio’s greatest achievement, by saying winning three Immunity Challenges in a row is not special. “Dude, that’s outplaying,” Fabio reminds him and the Jury. Fabio concludes that Sash didn’t outplay anyone.

It’s time to vote. Purple Kelly, in one last indignity, tries to pull off the wrong end of pen. We see Marty vote for Fabio because Chase is dumb and Sash a weasel. Alina votes for Chase because he impressed her at Tribal Council. Dan votes for Fabio because he hates the other two. Brenda takes a long time, but reveals her vote for Chase. It appears Sash is out of it at this point. Jeff collects the votes, tells the guys that they will have to wait until he beings the votes to the…

…live Reunion show in Los Angeles! The Jury and Final Three are looking much helathier (and much cleaner), with Fabio sporting a new Justin Bieber haircut. Jeff begins to reead the votes. The first four are the four we saw at the final vote: Fabio, Chase, Fabio, Chase. The next two are for Chase, followed by two for Fabio. It’s four votes for Fabio, and four votes for Chase with one vote to go. “The winner of Survivor: Nicaragua is…Fabio!!!” The youngest winner ever at the age of 21, jumps up and down, and runs into the audience to hug his family.

In the reunion, Jeff starts by asking Fabio if his nickname has stuck. It has. Is he really a goofball or just playing that role as strategy? He says it comes down to knowing himself well. He’s aware of the vibes he gives off and his surroundings. Did his family life help him prepare? Yes, he’s been crazy for a while. He comes from a family of artists. One grandfather invented the folding card table, and another invented the color wheel. Fabio had a modeling career before the show, but his life is going to change tomorrow. He’s going to have a lot of fun. He wants to start a production company that explores the intersection of communications and art.

Other reunion highlights include Chase saying nothing happened between he and Brenda besides a little flirtation. Sash didn’t give Brenda the Hidden Immunity Idol because NaOnka told him about a huge plan Brenda had constructed to oust him, which she then admitted to plotting. Chase has a passion for music, but Survivor hasn’t helped him in Nashville. Nashville only cares if you can write and sing, so Jeff gives him the opportunity to play an original song as they go out to commercial.

Jimmy Johnson said Survivor saved his life because the first time he applied, the Survivor doctor told him he had two blocked arteries. Dan won’t admit to how much money he has because the IRS might be watching. Jane prepared for the game by running and swimming and learning how to make fire. When asked why she and Marty fought so much, she said she tried to start an alliance with him on Day One, but he wasn’t having it because she was alilgned with Jimmy J and Wendy. Jeff asks if they are friends now, but Marty wants nothing to do with her. Stay classy, Marty!

Is NaOnka really that way in real life? She says she “acted a fool” because she was trying to win. She didn’t mind shoving over Kelly B because she took Kelly to be just another competitor. Kelly appreciated that, actually. Why did NaOnka leave after 28 days? She had just had enough. She wanted to leave at The Merge, but Chase convinced her to stay. She thinks none of the should be judged in their real lives based on how they played the game. Jeff starts to ask Shannon about his comments at Tribal Council about Sash, but Shannon cuts him off and starts talking about walking and talking like a duck. Then he says how he met Sash’s girlfriend, but he starts becoming offensive, so Jeff shuts his dumb ass up.

Jeff then starts making big announcements. The first is that the producers will reserve the right to kick quitters off of the Jury. Second, by the largest margin ever, Jane was slected the Sprint Player of the Season (I’d say this is Blatant Product Placement, but since Sprint is kind enough to put up the $100,000, we’ll let them be). Boston Rob and Amber had another child, but, evidently, there were complications, which none of us needed to know about.

Then we get to the much-hyped big twist for next season. The season is entitled Survivor: Redemption Island. What will happen is when someone is voted out, that person does not go home. The ousted player will live alone on Redemption Island. When the next person is voted out and is sent to Redemption Island, the two players will duel. The duel winner remains on Redemption Island, and the other is now out of the competition. At some point later in the game, the last person on Redemtion Island will re-enter the game.

I have to say, this is pretty interesting, and could be a lot of fun. There was a lot of criticism for Survivor: Pearl Islands for the Outcasts twist, which allowed the six previously ousted players back into the game as their own tribe. Personally, I didn’t think it was that bad, but I think Redemption Island is better. The person who survives Redemption Island, especially if it is someone voted out early in the game, will have no idea of the dynamics back at camp when they return to the game. How will that person be received when they return? Will everyone automatically try to get rid of them again because they were already voted out? Will players in the minority alliance try to pull the Redeemed in to gain the upper hand? There are many possibilities. Plus, there is the opportunity to have some great one on one challenges over at Redemption Island. If anything, it will be a nice departure from this pretty lame season (though Redemption Island was also shot in Nicaragua, where the surf was too rough to have any open water challenges). I have been assured by Entertainment Weekly‘s resident Survivor expert, Dalton Ross, that next season’s cast is infinitely better than this most recent one, so I’m pretty psyched for Survivor: Redemption Island come February!

But we still have a bit of work left with Survivor: Nicaragua. Let’s take a look back at my original Odds to Win:

1) Chase 2) Fabio (Jud) 3) Yve 4) Alina
5) Jill 6) Holly 7) Brenda 8) Tyrone
9) Jimmy T 10) Kelly B 11) Marty 12) Shannon
13) Sash 14) NaOnka 15) Dan 16) Purple Kelly (Kelly S)
17) Jimmy J 18) Benry 19) Jane 20) Wendy

Now let’s look at the ultimate finishing order:

1) Fabio 2) Chase 3) Sash 4) Holly
5) Dan 6) Jane 7) Benry 9) NaOnka & Purple Kelly
10) Brenda 11) Marty 12) Alina
13) Jill 14) Yve 15) Kelly B 16) Tyrone
17) Jimmy T 18) Jimmy J 19) Shannon 20) Wendy

I have to say, I’m pretty impressed that I nailed the Top Two. Granted, I had them reversed, but to come within one vote of nailing it exactly, and to have slected two of the three most athletic men (who almost never win the game) as my Top Two? Well, I’m feeling good going into next season’s predictions. If I missed poorly (which I did), it was in Jill and Yve doing much worse than I thought, and Purple Kelly and Benry doing much better. Then again, my Odds are figuring out the chance those players would win the whole game, and since Purple Kelly really had no shot at winning, I still feel pretty good.

Alright, that’s Survivor: Nicaragua! What did you think of the finale, and the season as a whole? Were you happy Fabio won? Can you believe Chase almost did?!? What do you think about the Redemption Island twist? Please leave your comments, questions and theories below. Be sure to check back at TVOvermind for more information on Survivor: Redemption Island, and be on the lookout for my review of the new cast when it is announced. Until then, I’m off to buy me a new pair of pure-quill ostrich boots!

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