It's that time again! Overall, I enjoyed this season although the voting blocks made it pretty tough to keep up with relationships throughout the game. Still, it was a good one, and the outcome was one that I was satisfied with. The finale episode had a lot of great characters in it. That's what I love to see, and the final 3 was just as strong.
As usual, spoilers are below. You all have had time to watch the finale.
20. Spencer - If there's one type of character I hate, it's one that receives an edit they don't deserve. I could barely hear anything he was saying over the sound of production fondling this guy's balls. None of his "human" scenes seemed genuine, even when he cried, it just seemed like production was forcing him to be likable when people actually thought he was pretty arrogant on the show according to everyone else that played with him. Furthermore, his entire strategy was about building strong, long-lasting relationships. The editing had him saying that so many times that it was obvious production was giving us the illusion that it was working, yet every single time Spencer made a relationship, he either went back on it or attempted to. His edit was one giant circle-jerk between him and production, and I couldn't stand him once again.
19. Vytas - Ew. The best thing about Vytas were the reactions he was getting from all the women as he was attempting to pose and stretch in their faces. I put myself in their shoes. When you're out there for even a couple days without a shower, do you really want someone else's butt in your face? I'm so glad he went out first, and I think it's funny that he got himself banned at the finale for leaving pre-merge Ponderosa too early. I wasn't all that excited to see him return in the first place, and other than his creepy yoga antics, he was pretty forgettable anyway.
18. Savage - I didn't mind him in the beginning. I think he had a pretty nice link to Jeremy with how he would talk about his family and get all emotional. It was a fun story to watch up until he left Angkor. Then it all came crashing down around him because of his cockiness, and I was so happy to see him leave when he did after an amazing save by Kelley. As far as the edit goes, he was sort of in the same group as Spencer, but I believe his edit was more genuine. I believed his raw moments, and he got what he deserved in the end. On the other hand, had he made it to the end, I'm not sure how it would've gone down. In the end, though, I didn't care for him.
17. Monica - I just don't remember her. I think she tried to pull the girls together? Right?
16. Peih-Gee - Eh. Her entire story was about how Abi hated her for practically no reason and how she tried to make up with Abi which I thought was pretty annoying. Why try so hard to be friendly with someone that clearly doesn't like you and won't change her opinion? Not fun to watch at all.
15. Kelly - Wow. I shouldn't be surprised since the "Kelly edit" is a common trend on Survivor where whoever is named "Kelly" receives a crappy edit, but she was from the first season and received next to nothing. Even her send-off episode was horrible. All we EVER got was from Jeff Probst reminding her of her loss 15 years ago. Poor thing.
14. Shirin - Before going into this, I NEVER imagined Shirin would be this low. It isn't that I didn't like her either. It's just that she didn't last long enough this time. I genuinely felt bad for her as her game came crashing down around her, and I pissed off that they let her go over Spencer. That's all I remember. At least I didn't hate her.
13. Terry - I don't hate him. Again, I just don't remember him well enough to form much of an opinion. I did enjoy the positivity he brought while he was there, and I also enjoyed his confidence. It was weird seeing actual confidence and not cockiness from someone, especially a guy like him. The way he left sucks, but it was great to hear that his son is doing well. Terry's a good guy for sure, but I couldn't place him higher.
12. Joe - "The Golden Boy". I feel like all the attention he receives makes him really uncomfortable, and I could also put him in the same group as Spencer and Savage. Of the three, however, Joe came across as more realistic. We saw everything we needed to see as far as how people felt about him and how he felt about himself. This was completely unlike Spencer who received the ACTUAL "golden boy" edit which left us in the dark to how he truly was until the finale. I liked that Joe was a little more strategic this time around and that we got to see some of his flaws. Of course, he wasn't a favorite of mine, but I didn't hate him.
11. Ciera - This is where it gets kind of tricky. From here to #08, I'm not sure how to order them, but Ciera lands at #11 because she wasn't as present pre-merge. She was a big player when the merge hit, just like last time, and it was cool to see how she manipulated the future of the game all because she went on rewards. I feel she had a great chance to go far, especially had Stephen been voted out the episode Ciera was supposed to be. It was crazy how she was the one promoting big plays the most, and she was taken out by one. As a viewer, however, I hated that she sat out of the challenge for a better shelter. We knew she was in danger, but she obviously did not. Great player though. I loved how she stirred the pot post-merge, even though her stay was short-lived after that.
10. Abi - After such a huge entrance, she seemed to fall off the face of the earth later. I felt for her the episode she was being picked on, and I loved when Tasha was drowning, and Abi was comforting Kimmi. I thought those moments were very sweet, but she was missing from the time Jeff left to the time "poopy pants" left. I loved her "villains have more fun" attitude because that also made her more fun to watch. Plus, the fact that she could flip on an alliance over the wrong look made her interesting to watch. She kept things suspenseful, and that is why I like Abi. You never want to poke the bull.
09. Tasha - Compared to her first season, she was pretty bland here. Some of her best moments were when she pulled Abi in on Angkor and eventually led the charge to eliminate Abi later on. I also liked that she made Spencer and Jeremy paranoid about an all-girl alliance. She came across as a risk-taker, but she wasn't shown enough to drive that point home. I was missing her on my screen, especially since she was the one I wanted to win before this season even began. I am happy she made the final 3 though, and her calmness was the perfect complement to Jeremy's paranoia. They balanced each other out very well.
08. Jeff - He's this high because I was NOT expecting him to leave as early as he did. Jeff was a complete mess, and I loved it. I don't mind that he left early in the sense that he received more screentime than Kelly Wiglesworth, and she lasted over half the season, but I was still completely blindsided by his sudden elimination. He was a great pre-merge focus, and some of his one-liners were hilarious. He left before he became too annoying, but he was certainly memorable.
07. Jeremy - Now we're getting into the players that I loved, and our winner is starting everything off. Some people would probably disagree with this placement because Jeremy was a bit of a stratbot, and he treated Kimmi pretty poorly. However, I think he explained his behavior very well at final tribal council, and I can't fault him for playing one of the best games in recent history. He made it to the end with two other power players (three if you include Kelley), and he beat them unanimously. Spencer fans are claiming it was all because of his wife and baby spiel, but sympathy doesn't win a unanimous vote. They're just butthurt. It was obvious Spencer couldn't beat him anyway. This guy was strong and in control, and thank goodness he aligned with Tasha to keep him pretty balanced. All of his confessionals about his family were touching, and when Val showed up to tell him he was having a boy, I admit to being a little misty.
06. Woo - The amount of fire Woo had this season was incredible. He was way more willing to fight for his place than he was in his first season, but it could be due to the fact that he had to fight much earlier on than he did in Cagayan. He is the only pre-merge player to make it into my "love list" and with good reason. I was BEYOND disappointed to see him leave over Spencer, and it was his elimination that actually made me hate Abi a bit because I was enjoying what I was seeing from Woo so much on top of the fact that Spencer's face on my tv is vomit-inducing. There was nothing about Woo that was insincere. He was still fun, but he was there to play, and I missed his energy for the remainder of the season.
05. Stephen - Launching the top 5 is "poopy pants" himself! Stephen has always been known as this Survivor fanatic who understands everything, but he was blindsided more than anyone. Even sitting on the jury, he was shocked by most of what was happening. He coined the "voting block" phrase, and that took over almost the entirety of the season. He was a great ally to Jeremy, but like Jeff, he was a total mess. He was completely unaware of what was going on around him. He chose the wrong people to go on rewards. He won an advantage and completely wasted it, and WORST of all, he lost to his "golden boy" rival. He was the guy who wanted to do everything he couldn't the last time he played, but he just couldn't. He gave it his all though, and I was rooting for him to at least beat Joe.
04. Kass - This season showed a completely different side of Kass without losing the "chaos" later on. I loved her in Cagayan, but this season was all about being viewed in a different light. This Kass was an extension of the older one, and since I was expecting something a little different from everyone, it was great to see her break down a few times and actually be human and real. Her birthday gift to Kelley was sweet, and it was interesting to see how everyone expected Kass was up to no good when she was, in reality, doing something kind for someone else. Furthermore, her commentary on Savage's story and also to the news of Terry's son being hospitalized was touching. It was great to see Kass in that light, but it was also fine to see her revert back to the chaos that made her so popular before. Haters gonna hate, Kass, but you were amazing.
03. Keith - Keith is just an unintentionally hilarious guy. "Survivor ain't fun!" He's not afraid to tell it like it is, but no one is ever insulted by the things he does or says (except Missy, but she had a stick up her butt anyway). That country twang and his constant spitting is what makes Keith, Keith. "I mean heck", if he was ever strategic, that would completely go against who he truly is. Had he won, I would be curious to see what his edit would look like because I'm sure the producers know that strategic Keith is not what we want to see. I pretty much enjoyed every scene he was in from the tuk tuk, to him winning challenges, to him scolding the others for not participating to take down Joe, to the fake idol, to him almost stepping down to save Kimmi, the list just goes on and on. There isn't anyone more genuine.
02. Kimmi - SHAME on you, Kimmi Kappenberg! She was both missing and completely present at the exact same time all season. She barely got any screentime during many of the episodes, but there was always an air of importance about her. I could never place my finger on WHY she felt that way until her final episode came up and the shit hit the fan. Her elimination was one of the craziest I have ever seen, and it's all thanks to her betraying her allies. Sure, Kelley and Jeremy may have used their idols, but had the other group split their votes, Keith would've gone home and it wouldn't have been NEARLY as interesting as it was. Kimmi was a firecracker, as evident by her going toe-to-toe with Monica early on, so it was only a matter of time before she showed that side of her again. She did so in grand fashion, and I loved it.
01. Kelley - Easily my favorite of the season. I had her pegged as #1 before the merge even set in. What a COMPLETE turnaround from her first season where she barely got to do anything at all. She had a few smug expressions upon playing her idols, but unlike Spencer, Kelley makes smug look cute. In my opinion, she had the right to be a little cocky about it, and I know that had she made it to the end with Jeremy, she would have given him a run for his money...again, unlike Spencer who apparently had "a great chance at winning." I loved her snarky commentary after that as well. She was an idol finding machine and managed to land in the final four IN SPITE of being one of "The Witches" post-merge. She played an incredible game and was the most fun to watch because you could tell she was having fun with it. I remember her saying on Survivor Live that she would love to play again without her dad, but who knew that she would be so amazing?!