Some good genes in this family.

Are you up to date on the “Survivor: Nicaragua” spoilers boot list?

Are you suitably confused by the rash of bad decisions made by EVERYONE on “This is Going to Hurt”?

Have you checked out the controversy between Sash and Jane and the (alleged) bribery that leads to no one voting for Sash in the final 3?

Great.

I love the affection between Dan and his son. I just wish Dan showed half as much heart about anything else in the game.

Now it’s time to figure out how we ended up with 21-year-old surfer boy Judson “Jud/Fabio/Jud the Stud” Birza as the winner .

I like the kid. I do. He’s likable. Goofy-hot. And so under the radar it’s fitting that he’s (sort of) in an alliance with Dan. Two people who just kind of showed up every three days.

Fabio proves week after week that he’s no “Survivor” strategist, but that kind of big-game play rarely wins anyone the title of Sole Survivor. In fact, as people on the Survivor Sucks message boards have been pointing out, it’s now almost impossible to win “Survivor” as a big-game player.

As Coldnights wrote: This is the season where “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”

As such, Fabio’s strategy to “be cool” was perfect. It’s depressing for me as a fan of the “Survivor” players who dare to … uh … stick up their nails (hello!), but it fits this point of time, 21 seasons into the franchise.

I’m frustrated by the Fabio win, but I’m more frustrated with the season in general.

Staying under the radar long enough to go on a late-in-the-game immunity run is a fair win. Remember when Brett “the prayer warrior” almost won “Samoa” because of the same thing? I was actually happy for Natalie White to win “Samoa” because she went against “Hurricane Katrina survivor” Russell Hantz. In hindsight, I know Russell deserved to win. But in hindsight, will anyone have deserved to win “Nicaragua”?

To be fair, Fabio was a strong immunity threat (ala Benry) without being targeted as a strong immunity threat. He was a strong social threat (ala Jane) without being targeted as such. He wasn’t a terribly strong strategist, but he outplayed and outlasted the others.

Let’s hear some arguments for and against Fabio — and for #2 Chase and #3 Sash — from the Sucks board and Rob’s podcast:

*** FAN ARGUMENTS FOR WHO SHOULD AND SHOULDN’T WIN ***

I doubt my teeth would look this good after 30-some-odd days, but ... then again ... I wouldn't be drinking so much coffee, so maybe they would be better off on an island. But without caffeine, I would get The Headache and turn into a monster. I'd probably turn into NaOnka.

birdlady wrote:

… It is very interesting that that [Fabio] hasn’t been identified at all as an immunity threat, by the other players or even by alpha-loving Probst. Not just the individual immunities he wins, but all the team challenges and all the individual challenges where he was second. It should have been in everyone’s interest to expel him right away at the merge. He’s done a pretty nice job of beating people, but somehow leaving them so they barely notice. Until it comes up at jury, no doubt.

Buddha DeCat wrote:

That is exactly why I think he has a good strategy. He has everyone there thinking he is stupid and no threat despite his actual performances at challenges. The Benry vote was part luck for Fabio, but the decision to vote Benry instead of him was specifically because everyone else dismissed him as not a threat — Sash said as much in the last episode. I just rewatched Fabio’s pre-game interview and he lays out his strategy exactly as he’s played it. Additionally, in this season, which has been described perfectly by someone else here as “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down,” Fabio’s strategy was perfect.

Coldnights wrote:

Yeah I said that, to elaborate:

Shannon- conspired to get rid of Brenda, ends up getting himself ousted.
Jimmy J. -obvious nail by any stretch of the imagination, gets ousted by Marty
Jimmy T. -tries to take charge and puts a target right on his back, ousted.
Tyrone – throws his weight around camp at the new Le Fleur (or however it is spelled), tells the youngins the rules, ousted
Alina – tries to create a pre-merge Le Fleur alliance, gets ousted
Marty – makes himself a target by running his mouth too much, tries too hard to play strategically, ousted
Brenda – viewed as the ringleader of the Marty ousting, ousted
Benry – scrambles like mad while Fabio lies low, trying to organize a blindside of his ally, ousted

Granted that is not everyone, and not everyone was a “nail”, and two people quit, throwing a monkey-wrench right into the game’s mechanics.   Once you get to the final five the game dynamics change significantly, but this season was perhaps the most paranoid ever, and anyone that tried to make a strategic move of significance was hammered out of the game.  Fabio did well, keeping his head low in the foxhole, and keeping others from thinking he was an obvious target.  Others, not so much.

Yeaster wrote:

I think it’s kind of lol that people spent all year criticizing Natalie winning and all summer pretending as Sandra was an INV borewhore who did nothing to win, but will be happy with Jud victory did even less than they did.

[/quote]Missyae has spoiled that Chase and Sash get a rough ride at FTC and Jane has poisoned the jury against Sash and that the jurors were happy with underdog good guy Fabio winning his way to the F3. So Fabio will win easily. The edit has certainly confirmed this as well.[/quote]

What the edit “confirmed” is Chase is for sure going to lose, and that Jud is a clueless player (like he’s been all season along). There has been no concrete proof that Sash bribed Kelly or Jane. Not to offend anyone, but I feel that people are almost grasping at straws and pulling any thin justifications they can find when it comes to Sash’s “slimy” and “sleazy” game, because the show itself has shown no evidence of these claims (or any other “slimy” behavior from Sash). Sash has, at worst, been portrayed as cold and socially awkward (and arrogant in his confessionals). Other than that, he seemed pretty mature, level-headed and well liked. I suppose the finale will explain why he is so despised by the jury, but at this point, it doesn’t make a lot of sense :\

This cast has been so focused on strategy up until now, so to reward the least-strategic winner is….well, strange. If the show was trying to setup a Jud victory all along, then they dropped the ball BIG time.

From Rob Cesternino’s podcast comments:

Leslie:

Chase either has a crappy game or a great … I am going to argue great game … as the strongest physical player he is being ignored as a threat because he is so wishy-washy … they call it “playing from his heart” and they forgive him because he is so real about that. Jane actually hates Chase the least …. Everyone has been touched by Chase … Hey even Nasty NaOnka gave Chase her idol1 I am betting that if he makes to the end, he could win it all … because he is so real … Fabio has consistently been stupid … playing dumb and making bad decisions … is dumb.

*** MY CHOICE(S) TO WIN ***

Aww! I love Holly and Charlie. I don't care that she backstabbed Wendy, attacked Dan's expensive shoes and wanted to quit.

As an armchair quarterback watching a heavily edited TV show, I am rooting for … well, Holly.

She’s had the most amazing “journey” on the show and I love a good “journey.” (It’s the “Bachelor” fan in me.) She started out as a backstabbing shoe thief who wanted to quit. Now she’s counseling young women “as a mom” when it comes to stealing and quitting. She masterminded the Brenda elimination. And she gave up her reward for the tribe. I’m impressed with her transformation and, more importantly, just about everyone seems to be buying it. Except, maybe, after this last episode. Jane went off on Holly and maybe the jury is impressionable. They seem to be, based on the Sash controversy…

Has anyone else transformed? I know Fabio cries in the final tribal council about how much he’s grown up out there, but when did that happen? He just sobbed in front of his (gorgeous and way young) mother and she had to convince him to keep his head in the game.

1. Since Holly doesn’t make the final 3, I think I would vote for Sash to win.

I don’t even care if he did bribe Jane. Go for it. (I don’t care that it’s against the rules. Quitters getting votes on the jury should be against the rules too. Change the rules.) And what’s this nonsense about “brainwashing” Purple Kelly to do what he wants? Convincing people to do what you want is the sign of a good player. Is this season really so sad that even that is considered off limits? Sash started out in control of the game and got through the tribal swap and the merge without really losing control. He managed to outlast the swing vote position, unlike Brenda. The idol that Marty gave him certainly helped. He played a good, strong, manipulative game. He can come off as smarmy and insincere — and I know at this point the social game is key — but he wasn’t nasty to anyone like Russell Hantz. The decision this week to vote out Jane instead of Dan is probably the biggest thing that will cost him the game, because it turned Jane into an even more bitter person. He could’ve saved himself that trouble by just writing “Dan.” And he can’t blame the move on Chase because Chase wanted to vote out Dan. It was Sash and Holly’s (bad) call to go with Jane.

2. Chase would be my second choice to win, after Sash.

Chase has been a huge physical threat from day 1 — remember his alpha male alliance with Shannon? — without ever being targeted. He was well liked and trusted through most of the game, but not so stupid that he didn’t know when to jump ship on people like Brenda and Benry. Yes, he’s wishy-washy and a flip-flopper, but he must’ve done something right to get an idol from the nastiest person on the island (NaOnka!) because he was her boy. He was also the one who led the Benry vote, convincing Sash to join his alliance over Benry’s even though Chase didn’t bring Sash onto reward, as he promised. Chase’s reward blunders are probably what loses him the game. People have short memories. Then again, was it such a blunder to not take Fabio on reward? Chase never should’ve told Fabio he’d take him, but not taking Fabio is smart. Fabio is the youngest and pretty strong. Keeping him away from food is a good idea. Chase wanted to vote out Dan — which would’ve been the smart move — but went with his alliance to vote out Jane. Sometimes you have to make those kinds of compromises when you’re in an alliance. (Which is why Fabio is actually lucky/smart to be alliance-free at the end.) Jane can get as mad as she needs to, but Chase had to go with his numbers. That’s the argument he should make at final tribal. No apologies, just the truth.

*** WHO SHOULD BE PLAYER OF THE SEASON? ***

This is tough, since the season was such a miss. Potential big-game players were targeted before they could get too far.

I think I like Holly for this, because of the journey I mentioned. I’m proud of her and completely disgusted with her bitter reception at Ponderosa. Jane needs to grow up — stat. I could also go for Marty or Brenda. Looking back on this season, Brenda’s beauty and intelligence will probably be remembered more than, say, Chase’s wishy-washy behavior or Sash’s dirt rat behavior. As much as I like Fabio, I don’t want him to win fan favorite. If this were “The Bachelorette,” I might pick him in the end. But this is “Survivor.” He didn’t play a particularly memorable game. Holly did. There. She’s my vote.

Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this nifty archive.

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