Here's our future Survivor Season 21 final three: Sash, Chase and Fabio.

This is it. The one mystery left on “Survivor: Nicaragua”: What did Matthew “Sash” Lenahan do that was so controversial that Jeff Probst stopped taping of the final tribal council, no one voted for Sash to win and some cast members still seem to dislike him?

*Post-Finale Update* It looks like the big event did NOT happen at final tribal, it happened during Jane’s boot, which aired the week before the finale. The controversy itself was never addressed on air. *End Update*

Thanks to some pretty good “Nicaragua” spoilers from multiple sources — but in large part from missyae on the Survivor Sucks board — we’ve known every week what was going to happen next on season 21, including how NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn (she will forever be Kelly Purple or Purple Kelly) will quit in the next episode (not the recap this week) and it will eventually come down to the final three of Judson Birza (aka Fabio) as the winner, Chase Rice in second and Sash in third.

From where I’m sitting, Sash has played a darn good game so far — certainly the best of the three. At this point, Fabio is sitting back, “being cool.” Chase is playing too many sides, trying to please everyone. People think he’s even more of an airhead than Fabio.

Sash, on the other hand, has been controlling the game with Brenda Lowe. Except Brenda didn’t have an idol last week. Sash still has the idol Marty Piombo never should’ve given him. Sash never owed Brenda his idol and for not sharing it he will earn a place in the finale.

Chase supposedly gets NaOnka’s idol (which Brenda helped her find) next week. And Fabio is the one who goes on a wild immunity run, winning everything from here on out. The jury supposedly starts openly cheering for him.

Fabio winning tons of immunity challenges and being “cool” to everyone — those are decent reasons to win “Survivor.” But zero votes for Sash? Zero, after being arguably the strongest strategic player of the season?

What happened?


That’s the question James Barber wrote on the Sucks board: “So what exactly happens with Sash and the jury? Over and over when I watch his Insider clips he is talking about what a great player he is and how he’s in control. In the latest he says he’s surprised he hasn’t been blindsided yet, which makes me wonder if he might have suspected he’s not as important in the game as he thinks. Is this a case of Sash really not playing as good a strategic game as he thinks, or does he just not have any ability to get this across to other people in the game, or the jury?”

As missyae responded, “Something that will never be aired.”

And so launched the current insane speculation.

Missyae has added a few more details, but not much:

“I don’t think they will show it because the stopped the cameras from rolling.
You know something happened for 2 reasons.
1. He played too good of a game to not get a vote.
2. I told you there was a controversy”

“TC, Jeff stops TC and shuts off the cameras and calls for the producer.
That’s it gang.
Maybe since they read all my postings they will figure out how to show it. Tough when you stop the cameras though.
I just don’t see them showing it, I really dont.
It was made out to be, ‘who do you believe’
When they voted, we saw who they believed.”

“It did happen at TC. Once Sash made the final 3 it became part of the equation. He played very solidly BUT did he really do that? Guess they decided he did. The other part of the equation was not a Mr. or Ms. clean either, so it did warrant some consideration.”

“When I ‘first’ started releasing stuff about this season I mentioned a number of ‘firsts’. The final 3 were very aware they would be the ‘first’ all male final 3. This deal with Sash could have been another ‘first’ had they not ignored it, or sided with the other person involved. I doubt it is the ‘first’ time they have bent the rules though as so many of you have already mentioned. I guess they enforce the ones they want to and ignore the ones they want to.”

“I think they are risking damage by not showing it and trying to tuck it under the rug. But they can’t really show it unless they edit it to look like it was just BS and he was innocent. They can make it appear that way at first but when the jury votes on the final 3 people are gonna wonder, HUH, why didn’t he get any votes, he played a great game? Their problem is, they cannot show the truth because people will not like how it was handled. So they really have a problem on their hands now. Maybe they thought it would not get out. Maybe they thought their talk with everyone around that night would work. I don’t know. I just know it’s true. Oh it’s damn true. (Thanks Kurt)”

“The other person involved ratted on him.”

“They would only be ratting on Sash if they never did anything wrong. They would just be telling what Sash wanted to do if they didnt do anything to involved themself. So they didnt rat on themself. The only ? about them was if they were telling the truth about what Sash did.”

“If anyone tells you he tried to get Kelly S to work the jury for him, that is true too, but that is not it.”

“Stop ripping on Kelly S, nothing to with her except for the fact that Sash was using her and when she got to the jury house, she got a wake-up call as to what Sash was doing to her. Now could that have been the ‘prior history’ people used to help base their decision Sash was guilty as charged, I think so.”

“This has nothing to do with looking at ballots.”

the rev wrote: “missyae, why are you sitting on this one? Are you worried that letting it out might expose your source? Just for the fun of letting us twist in the wind? A little of each?”
missyae: “Not worried about it exposing anyone. Too many people talk for 1 person to get nailed.”

rnd4me wrote: “Sash probably got the two girls and perhaps others to demean the character of the other final 2 guys (Queer, Misogamist, Gangsters or whatever). It seams that they knew it would be a final three male group for some reason.  Depending on what was done and how harmful it was to the people involved it could have meant big “Law Suit, Law Suit, Law Suit” to all involved, including CBS. Therefore – shut down the cameras; lecture/threaten the cast and crew then try to edit it out of the show. And most of all make sure Sash doesn’t get any votes.
Is that close Missyae?”
missyae: “You got the shutting down the cameras part right, they did that. The lecture and threats are right. Editing it right or lack thereof. But the whole demeaning the other 2 guys is just not right.”


Some of the theories are too wild and disparaging to even mention. But there’s some speculation that maybe Sash conspired with a crew member or bribed jury members somehow.

But why would they shut off the cameras? That’s the part that confuses me. Only under extreme circumstances would Jeff Probst shut down Tribal Council and run for a producer. (Someone said he did that for Janu on “Palau.” I don’t remember the details of that, but supposedly they stopped production so Jeff could ask the producers if Janu could quit and still be on the jury.)

Why wouldn’t they just film whatever happens? There has to be a legal/rule-based reason. What would it be?

**NOV. 29 UPDATE** Mystery solved!

Catch up on my “Survivor” recaps and spoilers here in this archive.