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'IT IS TIME TO VOTE' And the most important one went Cochran's way.
So Probst walks the votes in and we get to see the final three almost a full year later all cleaned up. They look pretty good! Dawn has her full complement of teeth, Cochran is rocking some sort of hipster ensemble that his mom picked out for him, and Sherri looks fantastic (but since the camera will barely show her at all for the next hour it's all kinda for naught). Probst reads the votes and it's unanimous for Cochran, who saunters out to the audience to celebrate with his family as we prepare for the reunion show — a reunion show that will see all the momentum of the past six weeks come to a screeching halt. There is often no correlation between the quality of a season and the reunion show that follows it, but this reunion show in particular was plagued by many poor decisions. Among them:
* For the first time ever, players who did not make the jury were not even allowed on the freakin' stage! This is a pretty big slap in the face. It used to be every single person that played at least got one question thrown their way at the reunion. That stopped a while back, but to now not allow them even to sit on the stage for their own season is just plain rude. Could this have been because producers did not allow Brandon Hantz to attend and hoped to conceal that fact by not having any of those pre-jury people on he stage? Look, I didn't want to hear from Shamar and Julia anymore than you did, but at least let them sit up there where they belong.
* Probst brought on a pregnant Brenda via satellite and awkwardly tried to get Dawn to apologize to her for voting her out, yet never once asked Brenda about maliciously humiliating Dawn at the final Tribal Council by pressuring her to remove her teeth. This was a glaring omission. What gives? Where's the Piercing Eagle when you need him? Was there not enough time to put Brenda on the spot to answer for it because we had to hear from some scared little girl with braces who thinks Malcolm is dreamy?
* Sherri, who tied Dawn for second place, was not asked a single question after the votes were read. Not one. Instead we got to watch Boston Rob shamelessly promote his new book.
* Speaking of shamelessly promoting, Cochran no doubt loved the chance to pimp out his Twitter handle, but the questions from social media fell really flat.
* Wow, Malcolm is just a terrible actor. I mean, that clip of him on The Bold & The Beautiful may have been the funniest part of of the whole reunion. I would have rather watched that on a continuous loop than listen to Rudy Boesch use the word "queer" over and over. And did we seriously need to hear Rudy's thoughts on being a Navy SEAL rather than a single word out of the medically evacuated Erik? The Silent One indeed.
* I'm going to go ahead and do us all a favor and pretend that naked sunbathing clip of Richard Hatch never happened.
* I was surprised Cochran was not in the mix at all for Fan Favorite. Instead it came down to Malcolm and Brenda. Brenda was a shocker for me because we did not see or hear from her for two-thirds of the season, but obviously she got a lot of sympathy votes after being backstabbed by Dawn. She still fell one percentage point short, however, as Malcolm won it.
* No oversized novelty check for Cochran? BOO!
* Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Ewwwww, I'll take water, please. What can I tell you about it? Well, I can tell you that I'll be a plane soon to head on location to watch it happen. (If I ever finish this marathon recap, that is.)
Okay, the hour is late and this is already way too long, so it's time for me to sign off. Congratulations to John Cochran for a game well played and THANK YOU to everyone for playing along this season by reading these demented musings of a madman. Your kind words are always appreciated. Check out exclusive deleted scene from the finale below, and keep your eyes peeled on Monday for my finale/reunion Q&A with Jeff Probst as well as exit interviews with Cochran, Dawn, and Erik. Now it's finally your turn to take over. Did the right person win? Did Brenda go too far? And was the reunion a letdown? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and for more Survivor scoop all year long, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Thanks again and have a great summer!