'Survivor: Cagayan' finale recap, 'It's Do or Die'

For The Baltimore Sun

It’s the two-hour finale, and we start out with Jeff and the live studio audience in L.A. So I guess they have to sit and watch the show with the rest of us?

But before we get into that, we have to go over the entire season, where I’m reminded of players that I have completely forgotten. Sorry, girl with the dreads from Brawn. Oh, it was Lindsay, and she chose to go home. I had completely forgotten about that. And it’s amazing that both Kass and Spencer have made it this far, considering how badly the Brain tribe did at the beginning.

So Tony, Woo, Spencer and Kass are the Final Four. Tony has had almost every Idol in the game, it seems, and he’s trying to convince everyone that his ‘special’ Idol can be used this week (it can’t). Then we have Woo, who is my favorite, which means he’s totally not going to win, and will probably go home first.

I thought I liked Tony the least, but after watching Kass’ behavior at the last Tribal Council (she flipped Trish the bird as she was voted out -- very klassy, Kass) I think I would be the most upset if she won.

Finally, there is Spencer, who has hung onto this game by the skin of his teeth the entire time. If Woo can’t win, I would be happy with Spencer.

Back from Tribal Council, Tony admits that he voted for Trish. Well, that explains why he didn’t give her his Idol last week. And now Tony attempts to convince everyone that his Idol is still good without outright saying it (are there some sort of rules about that?). Kass has her doubts, as well she should.

Kass and Tony talk about Trish, and Kass realizes that Tony got rid of her because he thought everyone liked her too much. Kass, much like me, realizes that not many people liked Trish, that she wasn’t a threat after all. And forget about not being able to say that he can use the special Idol, because Tony totally tells Kass that.

A boat arrives on the beach. Everyone is hopeful for food, and they do get food, but they also get their loved ones. Kass gets her husband, Woo gets his cousin, Spencer gets his sister, but Tony’s wife isn’t there. They have a four-month-old baby, so she stayed home; his friend, Arnold, is there instead. Tony describes his disappointment at not seeing his wife, and it’s nice to see him acting like a real person for once.

Everyone chows down; Woo is especially grateful for the crunchy peanut butter. They get Treemail with hints that the upcoming Immunity Challenge will involve heights. Woo is excited, and goes on a lovely confessional/rant on what it would be like to win, including proposing to his girlfriend (after getting permission from her parents, of course.) Woo is lovely. If he doesn’t win this, he needs his own show. He needs his own show even if he does win.

Live Jeff (as opposed to Island Jeff) shows us where they’re hiding the contestants, and they’re down in the basement sequestered from everyone else.

Back on the island, it’s time for the Immunity Challenge. Jeff chats with the family members a bit, and they get to stay to watch the challenge. For this challenge, they have to stand on a pole high over the water and very gingerly raise water in a bucket. The bucket then gets poured into a bamboo pole, which raises a key. Once they get their key, you guessed it, they have to unlock puzzle pieces. First one done the puzzle is guaranteed a spot in the Final Three.

Kass is very uncomfortable up on the pole, and is not doing well. Tony is doing well, and Spencer and Woo are close behind. Spencer is cheering Woo on, so you know who they don’t want to win. Tony is the first to get his key, but has to climb down the pole instead of jumping in because he can’t swim. Who would come on "Survivor" if they can’t swim?

Spencer and Tony are the first to the puzzle, followed by Woo. Kass can’t get water into the chute, and is very far behind. She finally gets to the puzzle and starts to move quickly. Like, really, really quickly. As in she totally comes from behind and wins Immunity.

So will Spencer be going home because Kass can’t stand him? Or will she play more strategically (although, realistically, I don’t see her winning against any of them.)

The first thing she says back at the beach is that she can’t wait to send Spencer home. So there’s that. Spencer wants to talk to Tony, which has to be insulting to Woo, because who else would be going home? Spencer thinks that there will be a Final Two this year, instead of a Final Three. I don’t know if he believes it, but he’s trying to make a pitch to Tony to keep him around.

Woo doesn’t know what happens if there’s a tie in the Final Four. He suggests fighting for it, which would be awesome. I think they have to make fire, though.

Tribal Council time! Jeff talks about Kass’ victory at Tribal Council, and the jury looks a little put out that they got to see their loved ones. Maybe the jury didn’t get to see anyone. Spencer lays out his plan for the Final Two, because, really, he’s got nothing left to lose. But then he says that he would tell the jury to vote for Tony instead of him, which...what?

Kass admits that she has a better chance against Woo than Tony, which totally freaks Tony out. Let’s get to the voting already!

Before Jeff reads the votes, Tony admits that his Idol is useless. The look on Spencer’s face when he realizes that he could have gotten rid of Tony is priceless. And the next look on his face isn’t so good either, because Spencer is going home.

So does that mean Woo made it to the final three? Yay! But not so much yay, because there is indeed another Immunity Challenge, so Spencer was right, and there will be a Final Two this year for the jury to vote on.

Live Jeff shows us a peek at what happens when someone is voted out. They immediately get assessed by a doctor, and we learn that Spencer now weighs only 136 pounds. Wow, that’s insane. What was Trish then, -32? We also learn that Spencer’s mom thought he would be one of the first to go.

Back at camp, things are a little subdued -- instead of celebrating being the Final Three, they have to face another Immunity Challenge. Kass and Woo agree to take each other as long as Tony doesn’t win Immunity, but we’ll see.

Final Immunity Challenge time! And it’s a massive challenge, a huge maze of turnstiles. Some turn, some won’t, and they have to collect four medallions that are part of a cog puzzle that will raise a flag.

They show an overhead shot of the maze, and it’s even bigger than I thought. They all get the first medallion fairly quickly, but then Kass pulls slightly ahead of Tony and Woo. Kass gets stuck on her last one. Woo is the first one back to the puzzle, followed by Tony. Kass is last, but again catches up quickly. It’s super-close, but Woo wins Immunity just a second in front of Kass.

Can I take a moment now? Yay Woo! This is the first time in a very long time that one of my favorites has made it to the end. Go Woo!

So who does Woo take to the end? Kass or Tony? Probably Kass, but we’ll see.

Woo is super happy that he won Immunity, but now he has to deal with Tony and Kass talking his ear off about who he should take to Tribal Council. Now he’s not so happy.

And neither am I, because I have to listen to Tony and Kass expound the reasons why Woo can win against them, or rather not win against the other. And Kass manages to alienate me a little more by insulting Woo’s gameplay. He might not have been Khaos Kass (puke), but he did make some moves. His best move was probably sticking with his alliance instead of making moves to just make moves.

Woo’s problem is that he wants to take Tony, because Tony was in his alliance, but he also knows that taking Kass is probably the smarter option, but he doesn’t know if he wants to be that person. Be that person, Woo! It’s just a game!

Tribal Council time! Jeff tries to stir up some trouble by bringing up the fact that Tony has been "loyal" to Woo (because he never got the opportunity to turn on him). Is that supposed to make Woo feel bad? Woo thinks that getting rid of Spencer was because of loyalty to Woo. Umm, not really. Tony sees the opportunity and lays the loyalty talk on a little thick as well. Kass brings up the fact that Woo might be so loyal to Tony that he will lose a million dollars.

Jeff tries to get Woo to talk about what arguments Kass and Tony used on him. He basically refuses to answer and wants to get straight to the voting. Because he’s awesome.

And who did Woo vote for? He went with his heart, and he possibly gave away a million dollars, because he voted for Kass. Somebody give that boy a show, already!

Their last night at camp, Tony can’t stop hugging Woo, mostly because Tony knows that he wouldn’t have done the same. Woo hopes that the jury respects him sticking with his alliance, and not taking someone he didn’t like to the end, just to give himself a better chance at winning. Woo brings up his martial arts experience, where it’s more honorable to win against a stronger opponent.

The next morning, Woo and Tony wake up to a feast of eggs, croissants, sausage and bacon, but unfortunately, neither of them can cook. Still, everything probably tastes great compared to what they’ve been eating. There’s a note in the basket, so Tony has, of course, to hide it and check it out for himself.

What he finds is a scale and a mirror. Both of them have lost around 20 pounds.

Okay, Woo needs to win. He played by the martial arts rules that he lives by and was determined to play with integrity, which he did. He also wants to open his own studio, propose to his girlfriend and take care of his disabled mother. Just give him the money already!

Final Tribal council! Tony goes first. He says that he will answer all their questions honestly, and everything he did was a purely strategic decision. He also thanks Woo for bringing him to the end.

Woo goes into the five codes of Tae Kwon Do: respect, loyalty, integrity, discipline and harmony between mind and body, and how he tried to play the game by those tenets.  He also brings up his mom and her heart transplant, which can’t hurt.

Sarah gets to ask the first question. She doesn’t really ask a question, but pretty much tells Tony that she’s not voting for him.

Jefra wants Tony to own up to his game. He does; what was she expecting? Tony does point out that she was the first one to think about flipping. He apparently doesn’t own it the way she wants him too; that’s a vote for Woo.

Morgan starts out talking about how fitting it was that she was on the Beauty tribe, and how she likes to keep men in her back pocket. Really, Morgan? Do you not realize what you sound like? She asks Tony how he did it without any breasts. Tony answers with good strategy and hard work. She also tells Woo that she respects him taking Tony, even though it might cost him. Morgan’s vote is too close to call.

Jeremiah is not happy about Tony swearing on his wife and kids. He asks Tony if the wife and kid actually exist. He calls him pathetic, and doesn’t let Tony explain. Jeremiah tells Woo that it’s his time to prove himself. He’s totally voting for Woo.

Tasha tells Tony that he managed to keep his alliance going even though he was picking them off. He says that he didn’t turn on anyone who didn’t turn on him first, with the exception of Trish. He owns up to getting rid of Trish for his own reason. Tasha asks Woo why he aligned himself with Tony; he answers that they were not close at the beginning, but they were closer at the merge. He says he kept going by adapting to the needs of the group, but in Woo speak. Tasha doesn’t look pleased with his answer. I think she’s going to vote for Tony.

LJ wants to know how much of what Tony talked about was real, and how much was lies. Tony admits that he played LJ to get Woo out, and then used it against him as an excuse to vote him out. LJ understands, but looks resigned. I think that might be another vote for Woo.

Kass is next, and probably the most bitter, because she just can’t understand why Woo would keep Tony when he had the power to get rid of him -- that’s what she would have done. Woo thinks that he had a responsibility to bring someone who deserved it to the end. He flat out has to tell her that, out of the two, Tony deserved it more.

Trish asks Woo whose idea is was to blindside her. Woo admits that it was his, that he did it because she was too well-liked. She appreciates that he saw her as a threat.

Addressing Tony, however, is a little different. She totally goes off on him, because she did a lot of the work getting him to the end, and she’s totally right. She brings up the fact that he swore on his father’s grave that he wouldn’t vote for her. Tony is screwed. She asks him if it was worth it to sacrifice his father to win a million dollars. He tries to explain, but she wants a yes or no answer. It is awesome. He answers yes, because what else can he do?

Spencer is last. He is bitter. He compares Woo to a dog, and Tony was his master. That’s a little uncalled-for. Woo explains that he couldn’t take someone who didn’t deserve it. Spencer does not understand. He doesn’t have a question for Tony, but instead makes a speech to the jury on why they should vote for Tony. Umm, I think Spencer is voting for Tony. Just a hunch.

Voting time! We see Spencer vote for Tony, and Tasha vote for Woo, but that’s it. The way I called it, Woo wins (but I’ve been wrong pretty much every time, so that doesn’t mean anything.) I also may be influenced because I really, really want Woo to win.

Now we’re live in L.A., and it’s time to read the votes. We’re already into the reunion special time slot, so let’s get this show on the road. The first vote we see is Spencer’s vote for Tony. It’s four votes Tony, and one for Woo, and...Tony wins "Survivor Cagayan."

Poor Woo. While Tony deserved to win, I think I would have felt a little better about the world if Woo had won. That said, it’s only a game, and I think Woo will be the winner at life (cheesy, I know, but that’s how much I liked him).

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