Clearly, the producers of Survivor are done with those final-four immunity challenges that last 20 hours. On tonight's episode, the survivors had to pile dishes onto a platform and hold it steady with a handle.

It came down to Denise and Amanda, but Amanda took it. Denise desperately wrangled with her to get rid of someone else (and the editing sure made it seem like Amanda promised not to write down Denise's name), but in the end, Denise was out, leaving Amanda, Todd and Courtney as the final three.

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At that tribal council, Denise said Amanda had said she had Denise's back, and Amanda tried to clarify that she had said it earlier, not that day (so not sure what gives with the whole "won't write your name down" thing). Todd pulled a face, Jeff asked him about it, and he said he was just reacting to the harshness. Back at camp, Amanda worked what became her favorite face of the evening -- pouty -- and yelled at Todd for selling her out. He said he didn't mean to, and while he and Courtney tried to celebrate, Amanda went to sleep.

The next day, there was the ritual "say something about the ousted players, even if you didn't know them" thing, this time with firecrackers instead of straight-up fire.

Then ... final tribal council.

There were some funny moments (James asking for a positive memory and reiterating that he is not "a bitter Betty"; Todd playing Jean-Robert's ego by saying that the reason he broke his word with him was because J-R was the better player; Peih-Gee saying she was tired of Amanda's doe-eyed apology face) and some strange ones (Jaime being the harshest in her questioning). No "rat and snake" speeches a la Sue Hawk in the original Survivor, though.

When the votes were cast, they showed one each for Todd, Amanda and Courtney. After a quick flip to live, host Jeff Probst read the votes, and Todd was named the winner.

In the reunion show, it was the usual focus on a few and then give two seconds of screen time to the people who hadn't been talked to yet. But of note:

  • Todd says he had a plan from the beginning to align with someone on day 1 and to make friends with the strongest player as soon as possible. Quickly, he said he realized he needed to pull in someone smaller than him so that if a group challenge was lost, he wasn't blamed as the weakest link. Good thinking, actually.
  • Denise returned to work to find that she was no longer allowed to return to her job because her boss thought her celebrity would be too much of a distraction, so now she is a janitor on night shift. (Shortly thereafter, producer Mark Burnett had Jeff announce that he was giving her $50,000 to get things together.)
  • James is popular with everyone -- even at funerals when he is doing his job as grave-digger. Also, he won the people's choice $100,000 prize.
  • Jeff asked Courtney about a comment she had made about Denise during the last episode ("It's not welfare," she said to Todd. "It's not our fault she sucks at life." She then immediately called herself "the world's biggest b---h.") Courtney first appeared to flip Jeff off and then said yes, she regrets it, that sometimes she talks without thinking, and that she had already apologized to Denise.
  • He also asked Courtney about her weight -- she went from 93 pounds to 86 over the course of the show. He asked her if she had an eating disorder, and she said no, and this doesn't even faze her anymore because she's been asked about it her whole life. She said her whole family is thin and lanky.
  • Oh, and Jaime and Erik are dating now, and Erik is still a virgin.
  • But my favorite part was Todd detailing exactly how he played to Jean-Robert's ego with his answer at tribal council, and J-R admitting that is why he voted for him. Hee!
  • And next season? Favorites from past seasons vs. Superfans ... in Micronesia. Well, now. That could be interesting.

What did you think about the finale and the reunion? High points? Low points?

I think Todd played the hardest from the first day, so his win is a satisfying end to the season. At least for me.

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