The Survivor finale should be red hot; but after a series of emotionally gripping episodes last night's show was underwhelming. It was the calm before the storm or, if you prefer, the elipsiis before the exclamation mark.
Russell turned on Rupert so quickly I initially believed I had missed something. It was only after rewatching the episode that I realized Russell simply changes allies without much provocation. Presumably Rupert is another jury vote he won't be able to count on if he makes it to the end.
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I wonder if Russell could have voted Parvati out if she hadn't won immunity. I now assume Russell and Parvati will go to the end together after all. If their alliance can survive Danielle, it can survive anything. But if Russell had any sense at all he would get rid of Parvati at the first opportunity, and so would everyone else. Parvati grows closer to unstoppable by the day.
The Palm Pre product placement was classic Survivor camp comedy. Parvati was apparently angling for a role in Palm Pre commercials, or perhaps just a free Palm Pre. Given that spoilers about this season hit the Internet before it had finished filming I was left wondering: Did Parvati have a little too much fun with the web browser?
Colby's argument with his brother was the highlight of the episode. No one can get under your skin quite like family. He later dropped out of the immunity challenge after mere seconds. His decline continues to dumbfound me.
Russell's wife was endearing. She wanted to add weight to the bucket so she spit in it. What, did you picture Russell marying a wallflower? She wrung her hair and seemed very competitive. I was happy for Jerri, who has made foolish moves in the game but always shows such lovable vulnerability. But it was fun to imagine Melanie competing on a future season as a way of building the Hantz legacy.
I was glad that Sandra got to see her uncle. Family becomes pretty important when your loved ones are in Afghanistan. The Blow Hole location was a fun one, and I'm surprised Survivor took this long to use it.
Rupert's one-man demolition derby in the middle of the night was incomprehensible. Rupert has since explained that the wood had to be stacked and broken in order for breakfast to be served in the morning and fire to be kept going. But you do have to wonder, why wouldn't any of these people who have been portrayed as workhorses in their own seasons help him complete this task during the day? It doesn't make sense. Rupert made his own bed with that one, I'm afraid.
Who will win the game? Right now my money would be on Parvati. Every time she has made a good move this season the editors have made sure we saw it. She seems to have cordial relationships with everyone on the jury, even those she voted out. I expect a decisive victory. Who do you predict?
Check back next week for my interviews with the five finalists and all of our finale coverage.
(Image courtesy of CBS)
-Henry Jenkins, BuddyTV Columnist