‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur’ Finale Recap – Jac the Giant Slayer?


'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” finale coverage with “all the fixin’s.” Starting Thursday, you’ll be able to watch every episode and read interviews with the final five. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

MEGA IMPORTANT NOTE: Check out the three members of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

Previously on “Survivor”:  Nadiya got nada, Val’s imaginary idols earned her an early exit, Johnny was rocked, Drew threw a challenge, then his tribe threw him, Kelley paid for the sins of her father, Dale failed, Julie quit and blamed it on the rain, Josh was squashed, Jeremy didn’t Reed the situation correctly, Wes’s dad didn’t stick to the plan, Reed was freed, Alec collected a seat in the jury, and Natalie gave Jon a reason to wine.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The #Huyopa Tribe (wearing blue)

Baylor – 20, Student
Jaclyn – 25, Media Buyer
Keith – 53, Fire Captain
Missy – 47, Owner of Cheerleading Gym
Natalie – 28, Crossfit Coach

We start off and are greeted by 37-time Emmy winner Jeff Probst. He encourages us to send him tweets. May I recommend the hashtag #twinnieforthewinnie?

The actual episode starts off back at camp after Jon’s dismissal. Jaclyn’s trying to play if cool, but  then she compliments them all on being fake. So, not a compliment.

Things break down and Jaclyn flips right out at Natalie.

Then they play some kind of weird “Survivor” theme song over an opening video. Cool idea.

The next morning, Baylor is psyched that she can go to the end with her mom and Natalie. Missy thinks this means they’ll have two shots at a million bucks. I think if one of them steps down they’d have a vote and a jury advocate.

Ooo…they could make “Survivor” history by being the first mother/daughter duo to get zero votes at final Tribal.

Reward Challenge Time: Players will be attached to a rope. They’ll climb around an obstacle to unspool the rope and assemble a bridge.  Once the bridge is done, they’ll use sandbags to knock over blocks. First person to knock over all their blocks will win an advantage in the next immunity challenge.

Missy will sit out due to the whole busted foot deal.

Survivors are ready, and then they go. There isn’t much to describe early on except for unspoolin’ and bridge buildin’. It looks like Natalie and Keith are in the lead. Keith is the first one across the bridge, but Natalie isn’t too far behind him.

They both get to work on tossin’ sandbags, but Keith tears right through it and wins the immunity challenge advantage.

Keith decides to send Jaclyn to Exile (still not an) Island.

Jaclyn arrives and finds herself a clue.  She doesn’t seem to be looking for it, which might be a mistake because they might’ve put Jon’s idol back out there. Or they might’ve put a dozen other idols out there just for funsies.

Over at #Huyopa, Natalie and Maylor agree to send Keith packing if he loses immunity. Natalie, however, is also considering bouncing her buddies. That seems like a mistake.

Keith goes off and reads his clue, which allows him to practice on a weird game table that’ll be used in the challenge. Huh…it’s actually really neat.  You have to pass a ball along a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption. He smartly decides to practice until it gets dark.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will do that thing I just told you about. First person to get three balls to the end wins immunity.

The challenge starts and Keith is the first person to score. Heeeeee’s also the second person to score. And whataya know, he scores all three before anyone else gets one. Keith wins immunity.

When we head back to LA, Probst introduces us to Make-A-Wish youngster Austin. Austin got to visit San Juan del Sur and pitch a challenge that was used on the show. He tells Probst that he just wanted to help the show and that Probst is welcome. Hilarious and adorable.

Back at the beach, Keith admits that he’s good with balls. I’ll do the jokes here, Keith.

Politicking around camp seems to have Maylor and Keith targeting Jaclyn. Natalie, however, is negotiating with Jaclyn. Apparently Natalie doesn’t think her moves have been big enough. I think Jon might disagree.

Quick Aside: What’d I say about “Survivor” being a product of the last season they saw before they left? The last thing Natalie saw was Tony being rewarded for making mega moves in Cagayan.

Later, Baylor asks Natalie to play her idol for her mom. Wha-huh? If you’re a solid three, why would you care where she plays the idol? That’s just going to make Natalie not trust you.

That night at Tribal, Jaclyn is glad she doesn’t have to worry about Jon, but is bummed that she doesn’t have anyone she can trust.

Keith was happy with the blindside because people weren’t mad at him.

Missy knows who has the idol, so she isn’t worried.

Jaclyn puts two and two together and realizes that Natalie or Maylor must have the idol.

Natalie thinks everyone assumes that her and Maylor are a team, but the game is more complicated than that.

Voting Time: Baylor votes for Jaclyn, Jaclyn votes for whoever Natalie told her to, and the rest of the votes are secret.

Probsty tallies and returns. He asks for any idols and Natalie serves hers up and plays it for Jaclyn!

Wow, that feels like a mistake.

We’ve got three votes for Jaclyn, one vote for Baylor, and the fourteenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” and the seventh member of the jury is…Baylor.

Back at camp, Natalie says that she was worried about being the outsider with a family. Well, not an outsider if there’s a final three.

She also says that Missy’s case is stronger with Baylor by her side. Yeah, but with Baylor on the jury Missy has a definite vote.

Natalie approaches Missy, and Missy claims to be cool with the vote.

So, let’s think about this. Natalie has saved both Keith and Jaclyn’s bacon in this game. Does that count for something with jurors?

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will race down a giant tower, then maneuver through obstacles while gathering bags of puzzle pieces. They’ll then use the pieces to solve a jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle will have three holes that will match numbers on a combination lock. First person to open their lock and release their flag wins immunity.

Missy’ll sit this one out too.

The challenge starts and it’s a whole mess of fireman poles, slides, and other whatnot. Wait, how is it fair that there’s a fireman’s pole?!

Keith and Natalie are neck and neck…once again. Natalie gets to the puzzle first, but Keith isn’t too far behind her.

All three of them are battling through the puzzle, but it’s hard to tell who’s digging deep.

Jaclyn actually manages to complete the puzzle first, but she wipes out on her way down the tower and has to stop. Probst checks on her, but she keeps going.

Natalie completes her puzzle and goes for her numbers, but it’s too late as Jaclyn returns with her combination, releases the flag, and wins immunity.

Back at camp, Keith wants to get rid of Missy because she has Baylor’s vote and a sympathy vote due to her foot.  Yeah, but you have Wes’s vote. Probably smarter to target Natalie.

Natalie wants Keith gone because he’s “scarier.” Yes, his banged up knee is very scary in HD.

Jaclyn says she’ll target Keith unless some crazy things happen in her head in the next four hours. This coming from the girl who gave her boyfriend the silent treatment during a game for a million bucks.

Later, Jaclyn asks Missy how she feels about getting rid of Natalie. Uh oh… Saving Jaclyn could be Natalie’s Erik/Woo moment.

That night at Tribal, Jaclyn knows she’s in the middle. Well, she’s been in the middle all game.

Natalie doesn’t think Jaclyn owes her for saving her, but it’d be a nice gesture.

Jaclyn doesn’t think she owes Natalie because she blindsided Jon.

Missy isn’t sure that Natalie is going to the end and that nobody should be comfortable.

Natalie thinks everyone loves Keith and that’s a reason to get rid of him. Keith agrees.

Keith says they should get rid of Natalie because she probably has a lot of jury votes.

Natalie thinks she could win the game. Oh…shhhhhh…don’t say that. Quiet. Stop…

Voting Time: No votes are shown.

JPro tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Keith, one vote for Missy, one vote for Keith and the fifteenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” and the final member of the jury is…Keith.

Alright, I still don’t love Nat’s move to get rid of Baylor. Seems like facing Maylor would be a slam dunk. And, I’m worried the jury might like Jon enough to reward Jaclyn.

The next morning, Missy isn’t worried about a jury of seven guys cause she’s been divorced three times. Why is this the first I’m hearing of these divorces?!

The Day 39 breakfast shows up, and Jaclyn can’t wait to rub it in Jon’s face that she got there. See, that’s why I could never do Blood vs. Water. My girlfriend beat me in Mario Party once and I never heard the end of it.

That night at Tribal Council, Missy starts off saying that the roles could be reversed and she could be in the jury. Yup, that’s how it works. She then compared them to a murder trial jury because their decision will affect the rest of her life. Yes, Survivor is as important as murder.

Jaclyn thinks she deserves to be sole Survivor because she was on the chopping block from day one. But, she fought to the merge and made alliances. And, she’s stepped it up once Jon was blindsided. She then brings up the fact that she was born without all of her reproductive organs.

Quick Aside: Am I awful that I hate that she brought that up?

Natalie thinks she outwit people by making risky moves. She outplayed them by volunteering to go to Exile. And outlasted them by adjusting once Nadiya was voted out. She ends it by saying that they made a mistake by not voting her out at the last Tribal. Nice. Well played at the end there, Nat.

I’m giving this round to Natalie, but Jaclyn is a close second.

The jury steps up to the plate. Jon starts by giving Jaclyn the opportunity to talk about a big move that she was responsible for making. She takes credit for getting rid of Josh because Wes and Alec were being rude to her.

Keith asks Nat how it feels that the last words she said to him were a lie. She feels bad about lying, but the only way she could get there was if she sold him as a threat.

Alec wants to know Natalie’s biggest move. Natalie says it was getting rid of him because nobody knew she was working with Keith.

He then asks Missy how she played in a motherly style. She says she was the mom who directed people how to vote. She also admits to getting rid of Drew because she didn’t trust him.

Baylor bats clean-up and is happy that it’s a girl power final three. She addresses her mother and talks about their hardships. Ow…I hurt my eyes by rolling them so hard.

Josh wants to know if Jaclyn really made the moves or if Jon was the one pulling the strings. Jaclyn claims to have taken the lead in many of the decisions. She again takes credit for voting out Josh.

Wes asks what it was like getting to play with their loved one. Missy loved it because it was crazy, and she also loves Wes’s dad. Subtle.

Jaclyn thinks it was different as a dating couple, but it’s been a great experience.

And, Nat says she’s never been away from Nadiya for so long. But, she’s proud that she did it alone.

Jeremy applauds them for getting rid of him. He then goes into business for Natalie, saying she was the best player and deserves to win.

Finally, Reed tells Natalie that he loved her gameplay. He then lets Jaclyn know that he liked Jaclyn even though they couldn’t work together. Then, he tells Missy that she was less of a mother and more of a wicked stepmother. He blasts her for giving Baylor more rice, the best place to sleep, and abusing the “help.” He finishes by saying that he loves fairy tales because they have a happy ending.

Heh, Reed the riot act!

Oooo…Baylor bursts into tears.

Voting Time: Jon votes for Jaclyn, Jeremy votes for Natalie, Reed votes for Jaclyn, Baylor votes for Missy, and the rest of the votes will have to wait until we get back to Los Angeles…

…and we’re already there! Probst cracks open the urn and starts a’countin’. We’ve got one vote for Jaclyn, one vote for Natalie, one vote for Jaclyn, one vote for Missy, two votes for Natalie, and the winner of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” is…Natalie!


Verdict: Well, at least the right person won.

I’ve gotta say, this season never really clicked for me, but it had some big moments, some likable players, and an epic final challenge. Ultimately, it’s not the best and it’s not the worst.

That being said, I can’t WAIT for “Survivor: Worlds Apart.”

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

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