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‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Finale Recap: Did Sash Get the Cash?

December 20, 2010

My Back-up Headline: Fabio or Fabi-no?

Last Episode: Chase again picked the wrong people to join him on a reward, Fabio’s immunity win provided him with a much-needed reprieve, and Jane was sent home but doused the campfire as a way to get revenge.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 ‘Survivor‘ Blog

Ladies and gentlemen…here are your final five…

The Libertad Tribe (wearing red with white highlights)
•    Chase – 24, Race Car Jackman/Country Singer
•    Dan – 63, Real Estate Executive
•    Fabio – 21, Student
•    Holly – 44, Swim Coach
•    Sash – 30, Real Estate Broker

We start off with Leslie Stahl telling us about biographical memory, a condition that allows people to remember every moment from their lives.


Oh, football ran long. This is “60 Minutes.” I’ll be back in a few.

And, I’m back. OK…let’s do this.

The show starts off with a recap of the trip to the final five. The highlight has to be Dan sitting in the giant Gulliver chair. They should make the quitters on the jury sit in ridiculously huge chairs.

We start off with Dan back at the Libertad camp. He’s carving a notch in a tree to mark how long they’ve been there. How he walked all the way from the shelter to a tree is a mystery. I’m going to assume Chase carried him.

Fabio shows how strategic he can be by saying that they need to break Sash, Chase and Holly up. You’re thinking of this now? You didn’t think of this when Jane was around to help you out?

Fabs and Dan follow this up with the worst alliance pitch ever. They basically say to Holly, “Hey, how about aligning with us?” For some reason, she doesn’t go for it.

Sash tells us that he’s prepared to make deals with everyone to get to the end. We then see him telling Fabio that he’d like to go to the end with him and Chase. I’m going to disagree here. I think his best bet is to tell Fabio that he doesn’t want to take him because he doesn’t think he can beat him. That way if Fabs does end up on the jury, at least he’ll respect his honesty.

Immunity Challenge:
The players will race out to a station and answer a question about Nicaragua. They’ll then grab a bag that corresponds to the answer they chose. If they chose right, the bag will have puzzle pieces. If not, they’ll have to go back. Once they have all three of the correct bags, they’ll put the pieces together to form a big “Survivor: Nicaragua” logo. First person to finish the puzzle wins immunity.

Everyone gets the first question correct.  Holly, Sash and Chase get the second question right, Fabio gets it wrong and has to head back. Uh oh…one of Chase’s pieces fell off of his board. Chase, Sash and Holly all get the third question right too. For some reason, they’ve stopped showing us what Dan’s up to. I’m going to assume he’s taking a nap.

Fabio eventually gets all of his pieces, but he has to make up a lot of time.

The rain pours down as the players go to work on their puzzles. Dan eventually wakes up and joins in the fun too.

It’s Fabio and Sash neck and neck toward the end with Fabio pulling out the win.

Chase complains that he was missing a piece, but Fabio points out that it fell under his board. Aww…helpful in victory. That Fabio’s a prince.

Once they get back to camp, Fabio goes to work on Chase trying to get him to vote out Holly. Chase doesn’t want to turn on Holly. For some reason, he’s decided that now is the time to stop stabbing people in the back.

Fabio and Dan then make a move for Sash. Dan shows that he is capable of a little strategy by saying that nobody will vote for him because the jury knows that he has money.

That night at Tribal Council, Jane proves that she’s forgotten how to properly use make-up during her time in the wilderness. It’s like she put on her eye shadow with a paint roller.

Dan again echoes his belief that people should take him to the end because the jury knows that he’s well off. That strategy didn’t work for Jimmy Johnson.

Holly is worried that Dan has been pushing for an all-male final four. Dan disagrees that he ever said he wanted it to be all males, but does admit that he thinks Holly is a threat.

Holly snaps back at him. Not sink-his-expensive-shoes snaps, but there was some anger there.

Dan tells her that as a woman from a small town she has a more touching story than he does.

Probsty tells us that Dan would be a good person to take to the end because he hasn’t done very much strategically. (He didn’t do much physically, either.)

Voting Time:
And…none of the votes are shown again! This is an ugly trend.

Jeff tallies, returns and here we go. Two votes for Dan, one vote for Chase and the sixteenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the eighth member of the jury is…Dan.

During the final confessional, Dan tells us he voted for Chase because he can’t stand him, that Holly should have her hands cut off for stealing his shoes and that Sash is a whiner.

WHAT?! Why didn’t Dan talk like this all season?! Put Dan back in the game!

Also, looks like Fabio has a vote if he can get to the final three.

We meet up with Team Libertad back at camp. Fabio talks to Chase and Sash and asks if they’ll take him to the final three. They of course agree. I can’t tell if Fabio’s buying this or not. But Sash assures us that he’ll send Fabio home if he’s given the chance.

Tree mail arrives in form of a very cool antique sword. Uh-oh…fallen comrades time.

I’m putting the over/under for the term “competitor” at four this time.

First up is Wendy Jo. Holly doesn’t bring up the alliance they created 15 seconds into the game.

Shannon’s next. Chase is sure that he’s an awesome guy outside of the game. Yeah, we’ll see at the reunion. Maybe he’ll try to out the entire cast.

Holly remembers how Jimmy Johnson kept her in the game. Fortunately we’re shown highlights of Jimmy talking to the monkeys.

Fabio thinks Jimmy T. is one of the game’s goofier characters. Chase agrees, but also thinks Fabio is among those ranks as well.

Ha! They don’t say anything about Tyrone. Well, Holly points out that he was a fireman.

Kelly B. is remembered as an inspiration by Holly. If NaOnka was there she’d remember her as “remarkably easy to knock down.”

Yve is next up. She’s called a hard worker.

Fabio wonders if Dr. Jill just didn’t click well with the youngsters when she joined La Flor.

BOOM! Sash refers to Alina as a “competitor.” I was worried we’d get through this mess without hearing that word once.

Fabio remembers Marty for always having a master plan. Well what do you expect from a fake chess grandmaster?

Brenda is remembered as a great strategist. Is “Strategist” the new “Competitor.”

Note: All of the tags up until this point have been in the tribes’ colors. NaOnka’s tag is black with a big X on it. Well played, production.

The players are all still shocked that NaOnka quit while still having an idol. During NaOnka’s voiceover she reminds us of how friendly she was. Also, she claims to be the smartest player in the game. Makes you wonder what color the sky is in NaOnka’s world.

Next us is Purple Kelly. Her voiceover informs us that she is not a quitter. I bet her sky is pretty too.

Benry is remembered as a very strong competitor. Benry’s “Loser” backflip dismount is shown.

Jane is remembered for how much work she did around camp…and the lovely steam bath she gave Dan before she left.

Dan is given props for lasting as long as he did. I give Dan grief, but give the guy credit for gutting it out while the NaOnkas and Purple Kellys of the world tapped out.

The final four arrives at a little barbecue and sets the players’ tags into the fire. It’s the circle of life…or something like that.

Immunity Challenge: Each player will balance a sword on a shield with one hand. With the other hand they’ll balance coins on the handle of the sword. If the coins fall, that person is eliminated. Last person standing wins immunity and a trip to the final Tribal Council.

Jeff informs us that the higher the stack gets, the harder it’ll be to balance. Also, water is wet.

Not much to describe here except for some coin stacking.

Holly’s the first to drop a coin, followed shortly by Chase.

Sash and Fabs continue on for a few more stress-filled minutes…but Sash’s stack eventually falls. Fabio wins immunity…and a million bucks.

Oh wait…he didn’t win a million bucks yet. But I’d bet he will in about an hour.

Fabio is downright giddy back at camp as he gets to watch everyone scramble for his vote. I’m not going to lie, I’m enjoying it too.

Fabio tells Sash that he hasn’t figured out who he’s going to vote for yet. You could tell he was trying to hold back the laugher. Sash goes over the potential jury votes with Fabio, saying that most of those votes will go to Chase.

Fabio then asks if Sash would’ve voted him off if he’d lost immunity. Sash says that he wouldn’t have and that Fabio is his best friend in the game.

Yikes, Sash. An ugly truth has gotta be better than a transparent lie at this point.

Later Fabio, Chase and Holly sit down for a heart to heart. Chase is annoyed that Sash was gunning for him. And again, Fabio is giddy throughout this whole thing. This is actually way too much fun.

Fabs asks Chase and Holly if they would’ve taken him to the final three if he’d lost immunity. They both own up to it saying that they wouldn’t have taken him.

Fabio does the math and realizes that Sash and Chase have been lying to him about going to the final three. He also realizes that Holly has never lied to him. However, he’s worried that he can’t beat Holly in front of a jury.

That night at Tribal Council, Probst makes light of how happy Fabio is. Fabio talks about how fun it was to watch the three-person alliance turn on each other.

Speaking of, that alliance never had a cool nickname. I tried “Chasholly,” but it’s not catchy.

Sash thinks that he’s been more committed to Fabio than Chase has. He also says he believes he would’ve take Fabio to the finals. J-Pro jumps on that asking if he believes he would have or if he actually would have. Sash says he didn’t have the idol so he didn’t have to make that choice.

Get out of real estate, Sash. You’re a born lawyer, buddy.

Probst gives everyone one more chance to pitch their case to Fabio. Both Sash and Chase claim to have been honest with Fabio. Fabio agrees, but they were only honest at the last minute when they had to be.

Holly admits that she would’ve booted Fabio, but says that she is glad that Fabio respects her.

It’s like it’s the final Tribal already and Fabio is the jury. Make ‘em squirm, Jud the Stud! (I also like “Judweiser” as a nickname.)

Voting Time: For the fourth straight time, zero votes are shown. Lame.

Mr. Probst does his thing and returns…one vote for Sash, two votes for Holly…and the seventeenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Nicaragua” and the final member of the jury is…Holly.

Note: Yikes, Holly looked livid as she was holding up her Sash vote.

Back at camp, Fabio tells us that he pitted Sash against Chase so the jury knows that he knew what was going on. Whoa…go Fabs.

Note: This has totally been the Fabio show.

Sash tells Chase and Fabio that he’s honored to have the two of them as his wingmen. Well, the biggest bachelor in New York would need two wingmen.

Sash and Chase realize they looked bad at Tribal, but they both promise to bring the big guns at the final Tribal.

The customary final three breakfast greets them the next morning. The three enjoy pancakes, sausage and more as they discuss strategy. Chase says that he thinks Fabio is going to win. Apparently this is part of Chase’s plan to make Fabio overconfident.

After that, the guys set fire to the camp…intentionally this time.

That night at Tribal Council, Chase is the first to give an opening statement. Chase fesses up to being wishy-washy and welcomes everyone’s questions.

Fabio is up next, claiming that his strategy was to be himself then to turn up the intensity when he needed to. He punctuated his statement saying he could have a lot of fun with a million dollars. Well, you can’t argue with that.

Sash goes last, saying that he played a different game than Chase and Fabio. They all outlasted the jury, but he did a better job outwitting and outplaying. He also says that he takes friendships more seriously than alliances and that he hopes the friendships last after the game.

OK, here’s my issue with Sash. I think he says the right things, but I don’t think he’s a very convincing liar. He could learn a lot from Todd Herzog.

Brenda takes the stand first. She says that she’s really proud of all of them. However, she gives grief to Sash for breaking all of his alliances. Sash defends himself saying it was part of his strategy and he still wants to be friends with everyone.

She goes after Chase next, saying it was shocking how easily he got over having to vote for her. He disagrees, saying he went right to her when he found out she was in trouble. Sash disagrees with that statement, saying Chase didn’t do enough to save her. Brenda then gives it to Sash, saying Sash could’ve given her his idol.

Meanwhile, Fabio giggles.

Marty’s up next, he asks Chase who should win the “Dumber Than a Bag of Hammers” award. Marty also states that as the creator of the award, that he is ineligible. This caveat frustrates Chase as he’d like to give the award to Marty. Chase eventually decides not to answer.

Marty then gives Sash credit for being a good strategic player. He then congratulates Fabio on his evolution as well as his immunity wins.

Holly takes the stand, she asks Chase what his best strategic move has been. He says taking out Shannon was his best move because it allowed him to play with people he likes.

She then asks Fabio if his immunity wins were too little too late.

Um, Holly? Gordon Holmes, XFINITY TV…I’d like to field this one if you don’t mind. It seems like those wins were just what he needed exactly when he needed them. Thank you.

Fabio agrees with me, saying it was the best timing possible.

Holly then asks Sash if he’d ever lied to her. He owns up to it, saying he voted for her when he said he wouldn’t.

Uh oh…Jane (and her eye make-up) are up next. She starts off by calling Sash a New York City gutter rat. Well…it’s possible she could’ve meant that in the nicest possible way.

She then tells Chase that she’s still mad at him, but being on “Survivor” with him was the most fun she’s ever had. She asks him what he’d do with the money if he wins. Chase says he’d donate $100,000 to cancer research. He then says he’d take care of his mom.

Fabio then steps in, saying he wants to take care of his parents too.

Benry gets to go next. He has nothing to say to Chase, he then congratulates Fabio on his immunity wins.

Benry then tells Sash that he was able to see through him the entire game.  Sash says that if Benry could see through him, then he should’ve tried to take him out.

Dan goes next. He calls Sash a liar, a phony and spineless. He also hates his smile and that he should go to a doctor and have him remove the trademark Sash wink.

He then tells Chase that he was the most paranoid player in the game. He also points out that Sash backstabbed everyone in the jury. He puts the cherry on the top by saying, “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.”

WHAT?! Did they recast Dan Lembo with Sue Hawk? Where was Dan all season? Can I get a DVD of his confessionals?

Purple Kelly gets to go next. She starts off by asking Sash to explain how he outwitted everyone. Sash thinks he should have been voted out at the merge. He says that it’s unfortunate that he hurt so many people.

And…that’s all she has. One question for one guy. And he didn’t even really answer it. What, they couldn’t have recast her with Corrine Kaplan?

Oh boy…time to hear from NaOnka. She tells Fabio it’s been a pleasure cursing him out. She asks Fabio if seeing his mom was what he needed to get him to the end. He starts off laughing at first, but breaks down a little bit when he talks about his mom.

Jeez…just hand over the check, Jeff.

Alina gets to go last. She tells Fabio that she doesn’t want to give a million dollars to a boy, that she wants to give it to a man.

That’s totally age discrimination.

Sash says that he deserves credit for outwitting people and that Fabio wasn’t involved in most of the votes.

Chase then claims that he wasn’t wishy-washy and that he was getting out of crumbling alliances before they took him down. He also says that usually after Tribal Council Fabio was trying to figure out what had happened.

Fabs parries that by saying he managed to get to the end of “Survivor” without lying to anyone.

Chase thinks that’s because he didn’t know what was going on and that the only reason he’s there is because he won immunity three straight times.

Voting Time: Marty votes for Fabio, saying he loved Fabio’s game. Alina votes for Chase because he had his game face on during the final Tribal Council. Dan voted for Fabio, saying he wants Fabio to win for his mom. Brenda votes for Chase…and the rest of the votes will have to wait until we hit Los Angeles.

And we’re instantly taken there. I miss the days when Jeff Probst would jet-ski to New York.

Whoa…Fabio has Justin Bieber hair.  I change my mind, give the money to Sash.

Alright…let’s finish this up. One vote for Fabio, one vote for Chase, one vote for Fabio, three votes for Chase, two votes for Fabio…and the winner of “Survivor: Nicaragua” is…Fabio.

St. Louis represent!

Wow…I can’t believe it was that close.

Fun Moments from the Reunion:

•    Fabio claims that he has been crazy for a while and that his family is responsible for the invention of the folding card table.
•    Chase and Brenda deny being romantically involved.
•    Terry Bradshaw was in the house to lend support to his buddy Jimmy Johnson.
•    “Survivor” Hall of Famer Russell Hantz, Cirie Fields, Rupert Boneham and Power Rankings star Benjamin “Coach” Wade were in the audience.
•    Dan wore a tuxedo. Seriously.
•    Holly bought Dan a pair of ostrich cowboy boots to make up for that little shoe-sinking snafu.
•    Marty still denies ever “fluffing off” Jane.
•    The whole NaOnka/Kelly B. feud started when NaOnka offered to carry Kelly B. on her back and Kelly turned it down.
•    There is a new rule that states that the producers can make the call as to whether or not to let quitters on the jury.
•    Jane won the Sprint fan favorite vote by the widest margin ever.
•    “Survivor” Hall of Famer “Boston” Rob Mariano is also in attendance and is a father for the second time.
•    The next season of “Survivor” (which will also take place in Nicaragua) will involve a twist where voted out players will go to a magical land known as Redemption Island. The first person who is voted out will live there alone. When the next person is voted out, they’ll visit the island and square off in a one-on-one challenge. The winner stays, the loser goes home. Eventually the last person standing will get to reenter the game.

Was this the worst season of “Survivor” ever? No. Was it the end of the strong run “Survivor” has been having since “Survivor: Tocantins”? Definitely.

I think “Survivor: Nicaragua’s” legacy will ultimately be that everything that was put into place to help it compete with “Heroes vs. Villains” fell short. The Medallion of Power was a dud, Jimmy Johnson was the third person out and the underdog older tribe wasn’t terribly likable.

I think Fabio’s come-from-behind win will leave people with a good taste in their mouths, but “Survivor: Nicaragua” will probably go down as one of the more forgettable seasons.

Power Rankings Results: Team Dragon Slayer had Fabio in the correct slot for two points. Team Truth Seeker had Chase, Sash and Dan in the correct slots for six points. The final score is Team Dragon Slayer 140, Team Truth Seeker 145. This bumps my record up to a barely respectable two and two.

Much love and thanks to Benjamin “Coach” Wade for being such a great competitor this season.

Follow me on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news: @gordonholmes

Personal Note: I have a blast watching “Survivor” with you guys. I hope you enjoy it too and look forward to seeing you next season for “Survivor: Redemption Island.”

What Do You Think? Were you happy with Fabio’s win? Why didn’t Sash get any votes? Where does this season rank?

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