Well, the 2nd version and season of Brain vs. Brawn vs. Beauty has come to an end and Michele Fitzgerald was declared the sole survivor last night. She received 5 votes to win while Aubry Bracco received 2 and Tai Trang received none. Let’s recap the 2 hour finale.
First off, I didn’t post a review from last week’s episode where Joe was medically evacuated. Joe became the 3rd castaway to be medically evacuated this season, the most in a single season of Survivor. I was impressed with Joe at the reward challenge. While everyone was racing to collect the bags, he proved that slow and steady wins the race and it paid off. Even though he enjoyed a fabulous food reward challenge, all that meat he consumed cost his body and was pulled from the game. While I was sad for Joe to go, I was content with the final 4 that was left. Each castaway had strong cases for themselves to win and it was surely anyone’s game.
Ok, now let’s get to last night’s finale.
Now that we’re at the final 4, Tai’s idol was no longer effective and left vulnerable. His only ally left was Aubry, who betrayed him a few tribal councils ago when they voted out Scot (weird how that works). Michele was definitely the target because she had solid gameplay, didn’t hurt anyone in the process and won a few challenges. Aubry won the reward challenge, which was created to re-fuel their body in the form of a steak dinner and protein drinks. She was allowed to bring one member, which was Cydney, hoping that the 2 along with Tai can vote out Michele in the next tribal council. The food and protein didn’t help and Michele came back from behind and won the immunity challenge. Since Michele was safe, Tai and Aubry’s target was Cydney and Michele and Cydney’s target was Aubry. Michele tried to sway Tai over to vote out Aubry because she was the next major threat and could ultimately hurt Tai’s end game. It didn’t work as all 4 members were dead locked on their vote and came down to a fire making challenge between Cydney and Aubry. Cydney had no luck to even spark a flame and it was Aubry who dominated and came out victorious sending Cydney to the Jury.
With Tai, Aubry and Michele at the final 3, there was some speculation whether if they had one more challenge. I was curious too because Jeff usually announces the final immunity challenge and guarantee spot at the last tribal council. However, he didn’t do that. Arriving at the final 3 challenge, Jeff confirmed that Tai, Michelle and Aubry were the final 3 and had a spot in the final tribal. This challenge, though, was different. The last twist of the season was that the winner of the challenge was allowed to vote out one jury member. Michele came out as the winner and her thought process to figure which jury member to vote out began. This new twist brought another layer of the end game. For Michele’s game play, it would be to vote out the member that wouldn’t side with her in the end. I immediately thought of Joe, Debbie and Neal, the 3 I think would absolutely vote Aubry to win. Those 4 were in the brain tribe and was in the minority group when the Beauty and Brawn tribe teamed up in the merge. Aubry tried to sway Michele’s vote to a different direction towards Scot. Thinking Scot and Jason were huge factors and could potentially vote Tai to win because of their alliance back in the day. In the end, Michele voted Neal and it turned out to be a wise choice because Neal had some words for her before exiting. Neal stated that Michele wasn’t the bad ass b*** she tried to be but portrayed a cute little puppy going along for the ride and had no chance in winning. Wow, was he wrong.
At the final tribal, I really thought all 3 had a good chance to win but it was a matter of communicating that to the jury. Tai had a good case to present to the jury but it was his lack of communication and getting his point across failed. If he would’ve stated “I came into this game to build relationships and use those relationships to further myself and lie, cheat and steal in the process”, he would’ve had a shot. Big factors for Tai was that he had an idol and an extra vote. Even though he didn’t use them wisely, he was still in the game. He had to betray Scot and Jason to further himself. The whole time he thought of himself as an individual and it worked. In the end, the jury didn’t see that and received no votes. While I’m happy for Michele for winning, Aubry should’ve had more votes. Yes, she was annoying at times but she played this game like a true underdog. Two of her allies were medically evacuated. She aligned herself with the right people and constructed a handful of blindsides. The force of the brawn and beauty members was coming down on her but she never gave up. She was very competitive as well. Even though she only won 1 individual challenge, she stands pretty close against a NBA player, bounty hunter and a body builder. Of course, she received the 2 votes from her former tribe members Joe and Debbie, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, though, it was Michele that came away with the million dollar check. In a way, she was a tag along with Aubry and Cydney but she remained loyal and trustworthy throughout the entire game. That’s hard to do in Survivor. The last person to do that I can think of was J.T. back in Tocantins. She was extremely lucky in this game. She didn’t go to her first tribal council until halfway in the game and was pretty much under the radar the entire time. Also, Michele was willing to work with anyone, she was great pitching that to the jury explaining she was willing to work with anyone and show her loyalty to her alliance. She was even willing to work with Tai after he tried to get her out using his advantage. I think she answered the jury’s questions better than Tai and Aubry. She was able to get her point across and magnify her strengths. If Neal was there, he would’ve definitely put Michele under the bus and probably switched some of the jury’s votes. Getting rid of Neal was a smart move for her.
I’m happy for Michele. Like I said, any of the 3 deserved the title for their own different reasons. Michele was lucky the first half of the game. After the merge and Julia vote, she started to play her own way and position herself with the right people. If given the chance, I would love to see Aubry play again. Her work ethic and drive was so compelling to watch this season. I’m sure she definitely learned her mistakes this season and would correct the 2nd time around.
Next season, though, will feature 20 new castaways divided on their age titling it Millennials vs. Gen X. It’s an interesting concept to bring to the show. It’s somewhat on the same side when Survivor did White collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar. No doubt that the millennials and generation x will have different mind sets on how to play the game and it will collide with each other. Should be a different but still an exciting season to watch.
Til next time!