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Season Finale time – part 1 (Survivor Palau)

Filed under: TV, Movies, and Music - Reviews — feyMorgaina @ 14:00


Okay, I admit it, I watch Survivor. Not necessarily a fan, so to speak, as I have missed certain seasons and lots of episodes of Survivor, even the much-talked about All-Stars season. But I managed to watch nearly all of Survivor Palau.

What impressed me the most on this season of Survivor was Stephenie LaGrossa. Now, the only other person who impressed me more than Stephenie was Ethan Zohn, who (if Survivor fans will recall) won Survivor Africa.

In my eyes, Stephenie should have won Survivor Palau as she was the true winner and star of this season. Not only was she physically strong, but she had the indomitable spirit of a true winner (by the way, “indomitable spirit” is a phrase we use in taekwondo in reference to a true champion). She did not give up. Of course, she got the short end of the stick by getting picked for the wrong tribe. No doubt if she was on the same tribe with Tom to begin with, she would have had a chance to make it to the end. But then again, would we have gotten to know Stephenie if she hadn’t outlasted the other members of her dwindling tribe? No, probably not. We would not have seen how in the face of extinction of her tribe, she kept her hopes up and managed to get to the merge. Of course, this is probably what did her in at Koror as she was seen as being so strong – stronger than some men (as Bobby Jon put it, “she can do anything a man can do” and even better at times, as she beat him in the individual challenge to build fire to become the last member of her tribe). By the time she got to merge with Koror, the time she could have spent bonding with Tom was passed and Tom ended up taking Katie to the final two instead (now, Katie didn’t deserve that spot, but hey then again, I think we’ve seen worse people sitting in final two).

Getting back to Stephenie, she spent one full night alone on this season of Survivor, something that has never been done before. That alone should give her special honours as Survivor champion. She was alone on a remote island and she dug in her heels and managed to take care of herself. Let’s recall some of the things Stephenie did after Bobby Jon had to leave the tribe. First, she had to come back and tend the fire, make sure it lasted all night. The next morning, she had to go get water and food. Food was a little tough getting as she tried fishing and going after clams and came back with nothing. Lastly, she tried gathering some coconuts by tossing a stick at the tree trying to knock them down. When that didn’t work, the girl looked up at the coconut and started climbing up the tree. Stephenie has indomitable spirit – she didn’t give up. Then she went out to get treemail not quite sure what to expect – for all she knew Jeff could have had her spending one more night alone, but lucky Stephenie she was told to go to Koror.

Watching Survivor, I’ve always considered what I would be doing there. Watching Stephenie, I could not escape being empathic with her. When she was tired of losing, I was tired of losing. I could put myself in her shoes. She worked hard, so would I. She went fishing and clamming, so would I. She went to gather coconuts, so would I. Finally, she climbed that tree. So would I. Now, some people may think, who wouldn’t climb the tree? I’ll just have to point to Katie. No, I can’t see Katie climbing that tree. And that brings me to my last point about Stephenie’s indomitable spirit. Knowing that it should have been her sitting in final two position, Stephenie did not hold any anger or grudge. She just wanted answers and the answers she got was satisfying enough. She knew she was voted off because she was a true champion (in her words, she had “too much heart”) and that was enough. She accepted not getting to final two gracefully.

Now, about the winner of Survivor Palau – Tom Westman. My respect for Stephenie aside, I do think Tom did deserve to win. He played the game well. Granted some people may have been a bit irked with him, but he did help out the tribe overall. I attribute Koror’s winning streak to Tom. Did anyone not see him picking up the pace in that water challenge to catch up and tag out Ulong and win immunity? Tom is the kind of person who sees people losing strength and energy and gives it to them because he knows it’s the team that wins – not just him. Granted winning tribal immunities helped him stay around longer, but that does not negate the fact that everyone on Koror got to stay a little longer in the game because of him. Tom overall is strong as was evident by him winning 7 individual immunity challenges. If anyone else, besides Stephenie, deserved to get to final two, it was Tom.

Okay, so there you have it – my comments on the final episode of Survivor Palau.

One last comment about the Survivor series overall – to be a contestant on Survivor, you have to be a U.S. citizen and currently live in the U.S. I’m Canadian and therefore cannot apply to be on Survivor, so I have to play the game vicariously through people like Stephenie. Is it not time they opened the game up to their friendly neighbours up north?

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