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Survivor - the final countdown by Ajay Rochester

Posted on 05/14/2014 by Ajay in Survivor and General News

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This is it….one week until the finale of another successful season of Survivor on CBS, which we will be covering from the red carpet for Reality Wanted. And as far as I can see the only people still standing, who have actually played “the game” are Spencer and Tony, which if the game was won on strategy alone, Tony would be the outright winner. 

Survivor “Villain” Russell Hantz has oft spoken out about the supposed “flaw” in this TV competition whereby someone can play their “best game”; eliminating almost all of the other top “players” , pitting people against one another without them finding out until their torch is snuffed out, winning multiple challenges to garner food or favor for fellow team mates, finding enough immunity idols to survive alliances, Tribal Councils and inevitable Blindsides, and making it to the final three, dragging some who seem to have just spent all their time sitting around in the waves of a tropical beach making “no waves” at all (coasting to the end, flying under the radar), and despite being one of the greatest “players” ever seen, that person can still wind up not winning the million dollar grand prize, because at the end of the day, the jury, made up from the players you eliminated to get there, have the power to decide whether you should win the money, therefore being named the “winner” of the game. 

I understand Russell’s point…winning the game - outlasting, outwitting and outplaying all others, (i.e being the last player standing) would in almost any other circumstance mean you are the winner, but Jeff Probst, host and now executive producer of the show, has explained over and over again, that it’s not just about making it to the end……..that’s the whole point of THIS game - winning the million, by winning the votes of the jury members IS the point of the game, not just doing whatever it takes to get to the end but doing it in a way that means you take no prisoners……if that is even possible…..or maybe just take enough to get there and keep enough friends to want to give you the money. When pushed by Russell, after he became the third runner up in Heroes vs Villains, Jeff even went so far as saying “It’s not called American Survivor”, a reference alluding to the judging process of shows like American Idol, whereby public opinion and voting are how the winner is decided. But it’s a fine line when human emotions come into deciding who gets the million and maybe Russell is right, maybe winning the game and winning the million are two different things. 

I guess it all comes down to who did what to win that money and for this upcoming finale I can’t see too many people giving Tony the vote despite him playing an awesome game. Obviously and ironically, Tony is a bloody good cop, because I’ve never seen anyone read people like him. HIs interrogation skills must be killer because he can sniff out lies like a drug dog in a cartel hot house. His game has been a pleasure to watch because he hasn’t had to be mean or nasty, he has certainly been sneaky and strategized well, and best of all he has been thoroughly entertaining with his hidden spy shack, his “bag of tricks” he keeps “playing” and his innate sense of knowing what people are going to do….oh and let’s not forget his ability to keep blindsiding members of his alliance and yet keeping the remaining members loyal. He’s a genius. 

Sure, he’s no Boston Rob or Russell Hantz, and he’s not the lovable ruffian Rupert, but there’s no denying Tony Vlachos knows and plays this game well and with one week to go and two immunity idols in his bag, it would take a tsunami to get this man off the island before the finale. The real question is how much dead wood will he take with him? Players like Trisha and Woo have done so little to affect the game, I barely notice their presence…..Kass, who would like to think she has played an awesome game played a few bold moves in the beginning then made the dumbest move of the series  last week- in thinking she was manipulating the game her way, she took Tony out of the vote at Tribal Council, therefore NOT flushing one of his idols and leaving him with more than enough immunity to be in the final three. 


So that really just leaves Spencer who has played well but just not to the normal standard of other “Survivor Survivors” and I'm almost certain Tony will make every attempt to get rid of him in tonight's episode because he would definitely take the money home if it came down to him, Tony and anyone else (again begging the question that the best player may not always win).


If Tony holds to his alliance with Woo and Trisha and takes them to the end, it’s probably Woo who will take the money because he’s a nice guy and he’s done nothing to gain the ire/vengeance of any jury members. Trisha has done little but bob around in the ocean and wait to be taken in to the shore by Tidal Wave Tony so it’s unlikely the jury will wet her appetite for the cool mill.The tightest race to pick would be if to came down to Tony and Kass because neither have made many friends along the way and this may just be Tony's only chance of winning


Regardless of what happens, I have no doubts we will see him again in future Survivor shows, and it would be good to see how he plays against the really big “guys” of the game (Richard, Russell, Rob) but for now I have no doubt, in my own inexpert opinion, he has played the best “game” from an outsider's point of view, but as Probst reminds us, it’s not “American Survivor”..... so we can only wait and see, next week, May 21st, at the Survivor Live Finale, if he can garner enough jury votes to pay the very well earned price of playing an awesome and very entertaining game.


Long Live Tony! 


Survivor can be seen on CBS Wednesday nights. Finale is May 21st.


Photo courtesy of CBS


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