Today is one of the two best days of the year. There's Survivor finale day and then there's other Survivor finale day. But since this is the only Survivor season we've had in 2021, today truly feels like Christmas. The air seems a little crisper, the birds sing a little louder, and the glass looks a little greener on Finale Day. It doesn't matter how good the season has been up to this point, the finale is always a special day. I miss the Sunday night finales because then they really felt special, but I've gotten used to the Wednesday ones.
Survivor 41 certainly hasn't been the best season ever, but I do have hope for tonight. The season has progressively gotten better as its gone on, and I do think we're set up for an exciting finish. There's 5 people left, and I think truly all but one (sorry Heather) has at least a slight chance to win. I think some are more likely than others for sure, but you can at least make a case for four people (which I will do below). Before we get to that though, here are some things to look for in tonight's finale.
New Island: The final five was told after the last tribal council that they'll be heading to a new island to start from scratch again. Just one last kick in the dick to these poor saps who have been tortured all game. It's probably a little unnecessary, but it's all part of the plan to make 26 days feel like 39. And I think they've certainly done that with the lack of food, rewards, etc. I don't expect this to have too big of an impact since there's only a few days left, but the main question for me is if there will be an idol/advantage hidden here. We saw Danny walk by one at the old camp last episode. I assume that part of the reason for the new island is to throw a new advantage/twist into the game, so we'll probably see a scramble for an idol once they get to the new camp (as was teased in the previews).
Structure: Everything we know suggests that tonight should follow a pretty standard Survivor finale structure. We'll have a Final 5 immunity challenge. Then a tribal council. Then the final immunity challenge. The winner selects one person to be safe and join them in the Final 3, while the other two compete in the fire-making challenge to see who joins them. Then we'll have the Final 3 plead their cases to the jury at the Final Tribal Council. But then there will be some differences......
Vote Reveal: There have been reports of this for awhile, but it's officially confirmed by Jeff in this interview. For the first time since Season 1, the winner will be revealed on the island. This was filmed in May so the winner has been known for awhile. It probably made sense to do it there with the uncertainty of what the COVID situation would look like 7 months later. And since everyone in the world seems to have COVID right now, this was probably the right call. I'm excited to see the shocked looks on everyone's faces when they realize it's getting read right there. Maybe they'll be expecting it's a tie since that's what happened in Season 36. Jeff said the reveal is very dramatic which makes sense since there's no crowd, and it'll just be people sitting silently as they wait for each vote to come out and decide if they're a millionaire or not.
Survivor After Show: Another something different, they apparently held the after show right there at Final Tribal Council after the winner was revealed.
And then, immediately following the reading of the votes, we blew their minds again by announcing we were going to do something brand new called the Survivor After Show. And for the next hour, we ate pizza, drank champagne and had a fun, candid conversation with the final three and the jury about the entire season. They were still in game-mode so the conversation was raw and pure. I really enjoyed it and I think fans will too.
That sounds pretty cool. It won't be the same seeing everyone dressed to the nines and having the knowledge of how the public perceived them and the seasoan, but as Jeff said, the game will be a lot more fresh and raw in their minds. Probably does suck if you're a castaway though. The idea of going to the live finale and getting to celebrate by running to your family in the crowd is the stuff Survivor dreams are made of. I've thought of it countless times throughout my life personally. But alas, I'm sure they'll still survive with the million dollar check.
Final Winner Rankings
5. Heather - 0.000000% chance
Me and anyone reading this have the same chances to win as Heather tonight. It's just not happening. It's become a running joke all season how invisible Heather has been. She's had maybe 4 confessionals the entire season? She is not some strategic mastermind. She is not a social butterfly. She is not a challenge beast. She's been edited like she's just getting dragged along for the ride and had little to no impact on the game. Outside of that one time she randomly got up and started a live tribal for no reason. She seems like a very nice lady, and I hope she's enjoyed her Survivor experience, but it would be the most shocking moment in show history if she wins. I actually kind of hope she does because it would be pretty funny. But I'd expect her to get to the Final 3 and get no votes. It would be crazy if she's not dragged to the end as a goat at this point. But it's been a crazy season so who knows.
4. Xander - 5% chance to win
For awhile I thought that Xander had the underdog, fan-favorite edit who would go out in 4th or 5th place (like a Malcolm or Spencer), but I'm not so sure that's the case anymore. Based on what's been said in recent episodes, Ponderosa videos, and postgame press from the players, I think Xander maybe just wasn't viewed like that big of a threat. We keep saying, "Why are they letting Xander stick around with his idol???" Well, maybe it's just because they thought there were bigger threats to target. And if he wasn't viewed as a threat, then he probably won't be viewed as a winner by the jury either. I think there's a chance he gets to FTC but doesn't win. If he's at Final 3 with Deshawn and Erika like they agreed to last week, I think he'd definitely lose. He'd need to get there with Heather and Erika/Deshawn and hope to win a close vote. I also don't think he has much of a winner's edit. We know he's a pretty good player, but we don't much else about Xander. We haven't heard a personal story about him like we have with seemingly everyone else on the cast. No big emotional package. There's a chance that finally comes tonight, but I'd say that's unlikely.
3. Erika - 15% chance to win
Erika is really interesting. She's gaining some steam around the Survivor community as a popular winner pick. She'd played a pretty solid game, been on the right side of a ton of votes, has had a personal side shown to her edit, and other players have consistently referred to her as a threat. There's also been a couple times this season, including last week, when there was a conversation about how Survivor is overdue for a female winner. Guys have won 6 straight and 12 of 15. And we know Heather's not winning, so that only leaves Erika. BUT.... if Survivor was finally going to have its first female winner in so long, who is also a minority, you'd think she wouldn't have such an under the radar edit. I'd think they would want to champion her with a louder, more Shan-like edit. And that definitely hasn't been the case. She's been fairly UTR, and that was especially true pre-merge. I do think she has a good chance to get to the end and a decent story to tell if she gets there, but I'm not as high on her chances as other seem to be.
2. Ricard - 30% chance to win
If Ricard gets to the end, he'll win. It's that simple. But can he get there is the question? If he loses the Final 5 challenge, he goes home. Barring some idol or advantage he gains. If he doesn't win the Final 4 challenge, he at least has a chance to earn his way to FTC through the fire making challenge. It's agreed by everyone out there that Ricard has played the best game, so I have no doubts he'd win in the end. The question is: Does Ricard just have an over-the-top winner's edit and we'll see him steamroll his way through the end? Or is a he decoy edit that the real winner will take down? My bet is it's the latter. Ricard has had some semblance of a winner's edit at times. The package about him being deaf sticks out the most. But he has still somewhat felt like a gamebot and not somebody viewers have gotten to know that personally.
1. Deshawn - 50% chance to win
He was my winner pick in my preseason blog and I'm sticking with him. Would be quite a testament to my Survivor knowledge if he pulls it out. (I actually listed him 1st, Ricard 3rd, Erika 6th and said I was confident the winner would be one of those top 6. I truly amaze myself sometimes). Deshawn has not had a perfect edit by any means. But he's had a very well-rounded, complex, and full story. He's had his ups. He's had his downs. It's been shown he's a good player who knows the game. It's been shown he can make some dumb mistakes (like the truth bomb). He's also had a good amount of his personal life shown ("Remember the 3 Ds Deshawn!"). And we saw him battle with wanting to win the game vs. wanting to stick with the all-black alliance. He's had a full ass Survivor journey. That all adds up to a nice winner's edit. He's been enough of a social, strategic, and physical threat where he can build a strong case to the jury. He's wronged some people but I think he's charismatic enough to overcome that. I think we see him at the end with Erika and Xander and Deshawn pulls it out in a close vote.
And that's a wrap for the preview. I'll be back tomorrow to blog the recap. And we'll also have a brand new Snuffing Torches out tonight to recap the full finale. We'll have the full crew recording at 11 and we'll release it ASAP.