Monday, December 23, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs Water Finale, Reunion & LA - In LEGO - 27.13.14

This season has been loads of fun for me.  After last season ended, someone commented to me that reality TV & social media really work together to shrink the distances between people.  I, for one, am grateful for that, as this community is a pretty great one to be a part of (even if it does have more than its fair share of weirdos to try to avoid.)  So while I never got around to making another full-length music video this time, I *did* make a podcast appearance on RHAP, & I got to hang out & talk Survivor & The Walking Dead with Dalton Ross.  All because I started writing about something I love, & playing with toys at the same time.  The people I've met - from the show itself, & bloggers, podcasters, & fans of the show - they've mostly been amazing, & it makes me happy to be involved with others who are so passionate about something.

I was in LA for the Survivor finale, & as a result, never recapped episode 13.  So once again, we have 4 hours of Survivor to recap (ep. 13 will be short, I promise), as well as my adventures in LA.  Grab a coffee, craft beer or whiskey, or perhaps make yourself a feast with all the fixin's, & let's get to it.

Having drawn the (white) rock at Tribal Council, Katie joins her Mom & Laura at Redemption Island. 
The duel:

My own daughter called me a freak.  It is both long AND strong enough, Jeff.

After Laura dominates & wins another duel, Tina reluctantly beats her daughter, sending Katie out of the game for really reallz.  Laura gives the idol clue to Ciera, which is useless.  

Back at camp, Gervase wants to keep Monica close, so he asks her to prepare a spreadsheet detailing the degree to which she trusts each Survivor.  Preferably with highlightable rows.  This is where having your very own #POCKETPITMAN would come in handy.

Gervase can organize trust exercises all he wants, but Monica says:

Immunity Challenge:

"Gervase is beating Ciera, & Gervase is no star in the water!"

Ciera catches up & wins Immunity after solving a puzzle featuring an oft-uttered Probstism:

Ciera & Hayden try to sway Monica by beating her down & telling her she's a goat.  At Tribal Council, Monica is basically in the same position Ciera was in last week:

But unlike Ciera, Monica doesn't budge, & Hayden is voted out.

By the time this episode had aired, I had already arrived in LA, & made it to the top of 2 mountains (Runyon Canyon, & the Griffith Observatory Hike).  If you're unaware of the fiasco that was my attempt at hiking to the Hollywood Sign during the May finale in LA, you can read the LEGO recap here.  Or, this Vine should explain it succinctly:

I received a lovely surprise which I'm choosing to believe was *just* for me, & that was the unexpected arrival of one of my favourite tweeters, Ari Ferarri (@AriFerarri) ...And if you're not already following him, you are missing out.  Truly.

The next afternoon, a bunch of us went on the Hollywood Sign Hike.  I was ready.  I had trained.  I had eaten a lot of kale.  That's why it was a shock when our hike leader suggested that we turn back with 20 minutes to go because We've already been hiking for 2.5 hours.  FUCK THAT.  My return to the Hollywood Sign Hike was like Gervase being forced to eat grubs again.  There was no way I wasn't getting that goddamned photo op on the top this time.

Yay!  Didn't die!  Handled my business!

Look - I know people love an Adorable, Out-of-Shape Girl who gets lost on a mountain.  But what they love even more is a Newly-Reformed Adorable, In-Slightly-Better-Shape Girl who not only completes the hike triumphantly, but who *could* steal money from it as it leaves an ATM (but chooses not to because she's better than that now).  That night, I enjoyed a lot of fine whiskey.

Also that night, I met 2 other Survivor bloggers, & it was a pleasure to hang with both Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) & Andy Baker (@GetOnSurvivor).  Andy helped Jeff & I recreate #POCKETPITMAN - originally an offhand comment in the RHAP podcast, it became a meme with real me & Jeff's minifig.  So Andy captured a pic with both of our real selves.  So now, obviously, I will bring this bit full circle (read: run this into the ground) with an all-LEGO version of the pic.

And we will never speak of it again.

The next morning, a few of us returned to the site of an infamous party from last season's finale weekend.  It was decidedly less awful in the light of day.  And from the outside.

Unlike last season, I wasn't offered tickets to the finale, so on Sunday afternoon, I watched the finale/reunion in a room filled with live-tweeters: Max Dawson (@fymaxwell), Haley Strong (@hstrong_), Clayton Spivey (@ClaytonSpivey), Jessica Frey (@JessicaNFrey), & Ari Ferarri (@AriFerarri).

The Wifi had no idea what it was in for.

The finale began with a recap of the whole season.  Moments such as:

Gervase's Cheer

Rupert as the first boot.

Fuck You, Brad Culpepper

The Babes

VytasYoga vs CoachChi

Kat's Hoodie Pull

and Katie's Caveman

The final Redemption Island duel of the season involves Hayden, Tina & Laura M balancing a vase on a plank using their foot.  The winner will return to the game, & the other 2 will leave for really reallz.  Hayden's vase drops first, & Laura has the audacity to ask Tina to let her have this one.

"No way, sister."

Despite several amazing saves by Laura, her vase drops & Tina returns to the game, keeping the (useless) Idol Clue for herself.  I have to say, it was hard seeing Laura leave this way after being such a force in the duels.

Back at camp, Tina & Ciera search for the Idol, & when they can't find it, they turn to Monica to make a MOM Alliance, which leaves Monica feeling pounced on.

The Immunity Challenge involves leveling out a table by holding a rope, & lining blocks up on the table.  First Survivor to have all 10 blocks standing wins Immunity.  It's harder than it sounds.

Tyson wins & accepts his Immunity necklace in a way that's uniquely Tyson.

At Tribal Council, the jury enters, & Hayden has taken a page from Reynold's book, "Grooming at Ponderosa for Shits & Giggles" & shows up with a pornstache.

Full beard or GTFO.

Monica is being courted from both sides, but not in a positive way.  They insult you.  They say you're easily manipulated.  They're using you. 

After the vote, Tyson gives Gervase the Hidden Immunity Idol to play.  Turns out it wasn't necessary, as Monica kept to her alliance with the Coconut Bandits, & Ciera is voted out, leaving a Final Four of returning players.

The Final Immunity Challenge involves collecting puzzle pieces from an obstacle course, & figuring out a combination that will raise a flag.  There were really only two parts of the obstacle course I wish they had focused on, & that was this part:

I could watch this forever.

And this could-this-be-any-more-adorable part:

Tyson wins Immunity, giving him a spot in the Final 3.  Back at camp, Monica considers siding with Tina & making it a 2-2 vote, forcing Gervase & Tina to make fire.  Ultimately, she sticks with the boys, & Tina bunny hops out of the game.  Not really, but that would have been totes adorbs.

The next morning, a Final 3 Breakfast is had, but it's not my favourite Day 39 breakfast.

Monica has a tearful (albeit third person) moment reflecting on how Monica the Wife, & Monica the Mother, found Monica.  Some of the people watching with me rolled their eyes, but I admit I was tearing up.  There is a reason this is a cliché.  It's because it happens.  All the time, all too easily, once your priorities are forced to change.  Trust me.  Even though my twitter handle is @MomofKai, being a Mom is not the only thing that defines me.  Kai just happens to be really cool & I want everyone to know that I MADE HIM.  And I like the way that MomofKai sounds.  #TEAMMOM

It's Final Tribal Council time, & the opening statements are pretty decent.  Gervase reminds everyone that there have been 13 years between Seasons 1 & 27, & that he's adapted to the new style of play & was instrumental in big moves behind the shield of Tyson.  Monica begins by asserting that she was not dragged to the Final 3 as a goat - she chose to go to the end with Tyson & Gervase so she would have less blood on her hands comparatively.  Tyson says he knew he was seen as a threat & just wanted to have fun while he lasted, but that changed when his being a threat got Rachel voted out, & he became determined to make it to the end.

Vytas is first up for the jury questions, & he basically states that he thinks Tyson deserves his vote, but because his last play was telling him If you vote me out, you're not getting my jury vote, he wont give it to him.  That's some grade school bullshit right there. He moves on to Gervase.

Katie brings up Tyson's opening statement, in which he said everything he did was strategic, none of it was out of malice.

Caleb & his luxurious beard (he knows what's up) asks Gervase what his biggest move was (voting out Aras), & wants Monica to be vulnerable.  Monica says her whole life has been about Brad, & it's never been about her until now.  She's proud of herself & wanted to be someone other than Brad's Wife, or Rex, Judge & Honor's Mom.  I feel you, girl.  I'm proud of you.

Ciera wants to know if Tyson sees himself as a villain or a hero.  Tyson says he's not a villain, so by default, he must be a hero.  Gervase tells Ciera he always planned to vote Tyson out at Final 4.

Laura says, Monica, I don't know who you are.  NEITHER DOES MONICA.  She's still figuring it out.  Geez, you guys.  Nobody is complaining to Tyson that he wasn't vulnerable enough - they only care about his strategy.  Nobody is questioning Gervase on how he could have thought of voting out Tyson if they were BFFs - they only care about his strategy.  I had an interesting conversation with Ari after the finale, about #MOMS in Survivor. He noted that Monica was faulted for not expressing herself enough, leading people to feel that they didn't know her, while last season, Dawn was faulted for the exact opposite.  Dawn was seen as a backstabber for being strategic against someone she had a genuine connection with.  So here's the thing that a lot of us keep saying & will probably continue to say forever: There is no MOM mold.  Just because a woman is a Mother doesn't mean she has to live by a higher moral code than anyone else.  This season we had a lot of Moms - Laura B, Laura M, Ciera, Tina, & Monica.  Can we not agree they're all unique & complex?  #TEAMMOM

(That's my last MOM rant until next season when inevitably we'll go through it with another MOM.)

Tina asks for one word to describe who they are at their core.  The words are generous, honourable, & fun-loving, & you can guess who they belong to pretty easily.

Hayden asks if Tyson had the Hidden Immunity Idol when they drew rocks, & if he did, where was it?  Tyson says he found it in a tree, but I wish he had taken the question differently.

Hayden continues the Monica-we-don't-know-you line of questioning which drives Monica to a level of frustration I'm familiar with.  The can't-hold-back-the-tears-what-the-fuck-do-you-want-from-me level of frustration.

Aras asks each player who should get a vote between the other 2 sitting next to them.  Both Gervase & Monica answer Tyson, & Tyson answers Monica.

Time to vote, & then we're at the live reunion show where it's announced that the winner of Survivor: Blood vs Water is Tyson, sporting flat-ironed hair & a tuxedo shirt.

The reunion continues as expected, with Probst uttering another Probstism:

There's a Cochran segment, where he talks about his new career as a writer for The Millers, & we see a ridiculously funny pre-taped segment with Will Arnett.  I attended a taping of The Millers while in LA, & it was truly funny.  I mean, JB Smoove.  After the taping, I went out with Cochran, which made up for not getting a pic when I met him last season.  I had never tried sushi before, so who better to convince me to try it than a gross food challenge beast?

Cochblocked from the last piece of sushi.

Back to the reunion & there's an extremely awkward bit with Kat where she tries to address her recent plastic surgery, but it's not really noticeable, so there was no need to comment on it, & you just kind of want to hug her & tell her everything's going to be okay & she doesn't need to explain herself to anybody.  Oh, Kat.

Candice & John get a great crowd response, which of course I love because #TEAMBABE.  Tina & Katie speak of their recent loss, & Tina urges everyone to buckle up, & overall, it is handled extremely well.

It is officially revealed what next season will be:

After the finale/reunion is over, we head to the after-party.  First Survivor we spot?  Penner.  Just as Monica is proud of herself for getting so far on her own, I am proud of myself for not fangirling like a moron.  I was quite composed.  You should all be proud of me.

About 10 minutes later, a lady took a picture with Max, because she thought he was Aras.  This also happened in May, but back then it seemed more believable, as Aras (#NOTMAX) had not just been on our televisions for 4 months, or, you know, for 3 hours that very evening, or, you know, standing 20 ft to the right of them at the time of the picture.  I mean, I know I used the same minifig head for both, but come on.

#NOTMAX                                                       #NOTARAS                          

After that, Vytas walked past me & my front-clasping bra popped open.  Not joking even a little bit.

He's dangerous, ladies.  Stay away.

Aside from Penner, the other Survivors who were there that I wanted to meet were, of course, The Babes.  Who were totally Babe-ly.  Overwhelmingly so.

Then Laura Holzwasser (@L_Ho_2012) showed up.  If any of you have ever been around an LHo, you know that they are magical, eternally intoxicated creatures who graciously bring along enough #UNCOMFY for everyone. Our LHo just manages to get away with it for some reason.

Thus ends Season 27 of Survivor, & my week in LA.  Thanks to everyone for the amazing time.  Below are the remaining Ponderosa videos, & in case anyone wants to see the photos these LEGO pics were recreated from, I've made them public on Facebook.  See you all in February for Survivor: Cagayan, & in the meantime, like this blog's Facebook page, & stay in touch on twitter - @MomofKai.  Thanks for reading!

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