After maybe the most darkly amusing opening ever, in which a chicken is sacrificed, eaten, and avenged, we move to our first immunity challenge, in which Rafe wins the usual F4 maze. He sticks to his guns about not booting Danni, and as a result, one of the most clearly questionable decisions of the game is made at F4 when Lydia -- who would absolutely not have won any endurance challenge that could ever have been invented -- is voted off. The F3 challenge is sort of awesome in that it starts out as one kind of challenge and evolves into another kind, and after Rafe loses because he breaks his concentration and Steph goes until she flat-out collapses, Danni finds herself on her way to F2 and has to choose between Rafe and Steph. Rafe tells Danni to go with what she thinks is right, but much like last week, it turns out that what Rafe thinks is "right" has a lot to do with what benefits Rafe personally. At the final tribal council, there is the usual combination of bitching and moaning and passive-aggressive crap, although honestly, it could have been worse, given some of the people involved. In fact, some of them actually seem to have pulled themselves together while they were sequestered. I KNOW! Rafe is kind of self-important, and Judd is a total asshole, but other than that, it could be worse. As likable as Danni is, it's not quite as perfect as one might wish when she ultimately wins, because although Steph was bitchy a lot of the time, she played a brilliant game, and the crap dished at tribal council is as sour-grapesian as ever. But Danni is cool, too, and her victory is a happy one. Overall, a surprisingly satisfying finale, and one with far less infuriating nonsense than usual.
Previously: the season. First there, were Yaxha and Nakum, and there were Stephenie and Bobby Jon, and there was much head-scratching and debate regarding the integrity of Survivor and other nullities. Then there was the mighty Nakum and the sad Yaxha, and then stuff got all mixed up. Sad things happened, like when Amy left, and awesome things happened, like when Blake left. By the time the merge happened, Stephenie was riding high atop an alliance including herself, Judd, Jamie, Lydia, Cindy, and Rafe, and poor Farmer Beavis was the first to go. Then Gary "Sonic" Hogeboom found himself an immunity idol, which bounced Bobby Jon before his time. Jamie was charged and convicted of first-degree twitchiness, and was sent home before he could do any more damage. Gary then ran out of miracles, and Judd ran out of languages in which he knew how to say "man," and Cindy underestimated how much gay Mormons dig cool cars, leaving the final four to be Steph, Rafe, Lydia, and Danni.
We find ourselves on Day 37 in Guatemala, where the water is placid, the birds are singing, and Lydia is smiling and working as usual, like the nose-to-the-grindstone Disney character she apparently is. If I ever need a gown to go to a ball, dance with a prince, and lose my shoe, I'm totally calling her, because she may not be brilliant, but I'm thinking she's better than mice. Lydia tells us in an interview that she was very happy about waking up and finding herself in the final four. She always "felt like the odd man out." She goes on: "Why am I here? Is it my destiny?" I'm with her on the part about wondering why she's here, certainly. She concludes that someone must be "watching over" her. I hope that's true, because if He's busy over here, maybe He won't look out for the Weavers. Lydia serves up breakfast to the tribe, the members of which actually thank her, the way they should. All of their grannies are proud.
Danni says that, for her part, while she was trying to act relaxed, she couldn't help thinking about the fact that her Kansas Jayhawk basketball team has been to the Final Four twice in the last four years without winning, so she feels a lot of pressure to produce a victory. She should try being from Durham in about 1990. Kansas, Schmansas. (I think, by the way, that Kansas would be the most charming town in the state of Schmansas.) Rafe wishes the final four "happy breakfast." They all drink a toast, and Rafe interviews that he's "proud of every decision [he's] made in the game so far." Blah blah blah, integrity, liking other people, lots of things that only matter to hippies and nuns.