Survivor recap: Pop Goes the Final Four

Skupin goes on a soda binge as we move one step closer to the finale. Plus: Where does this season rank when compared to all the others?
Ep. 13 | Aired Dec 12, 2012

A HAIRY SITUATION Skupin and Lisa had a big decision in terms of whom to vote out.

Image Credit: CBS

So Abi is indeed voted out, leading her to once again talk about her “big Brazilian ass” while Michael Skupin does his best (worst?) “Ding dong the witch is dead” dance out of Tribal Council. It’s probably the wrong strategic move, however, seeing as how he and Lisa would do much better in the end against Abi as opposed to Denise or Malcolm, but we’ll see how it plays out on Sunday’s finale. And what a finale it is shaping up to be. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but I am totally cool with any of these final four winning. All four were on the outside looking in early in the game and have overcome serious obstacles to make it this far. All four are likable and gamers and could make a legitimate argument as to what makes them the most deserving of the money.

Of course, I’m pulling for Lisa because we all know I am mildly obsessed with her  — and to see someone described as a “dog that needs to be put out of its misery” then go on such a run is super cool. But at this point I would not hate on Malcolm, Skupin, or Denise taking home the big prize either. It should also be noted that if Skupin does make it to the finals, that will keep alive the Survivor streak of at least one returning player making it all the way to the end every single time they have been brought back (Guatemala, Micronesia, Redemption Island, South Pacific, and now Philippines). Skupin was my episode 1 pick to win it all solely because I went all Nate Silver and decided to play the percentages. Jeff Probst can say that returning players have no advantage in the game, but the numbers don’t lie. It has happened. Every. Single. Time. (I am guessing, however, that Skupin is the least likely to win of those left due to the seeming insistence among jury members this time out like Jeff Kent and Artis that they are not ultimately bested by a returnee.)

But we can’t talk too much about the finale yet. Nor can we talk about my weekly Jeff Probst Q&A or exclusive deleted scene at the end of the recap, because it is finally time to reveal my updated Survivor season rankings. Now, for those of you new to this, these rankings always come with a disclaimer: It is possible for this season to move up or down a spot or two depending on what happens in the finale. Also, I sometimes move previous seasons up or down according to my bizarre whims, but they pretty much stay the same. Where will Survivor: Philippines fall? Let’s find out!

SURVIVOR SEASON RANKINGS

1. (Tie) Survivor: Borneo (Winner: Richard Hatch) and Survivor: Micronesia — Fans Vs. Favorites (Winner: Parvati Shallow)
I’ve gone back and forth with these two over the years. After Micronesia aired, I named it the best Survivor season ever. Upon reflection, while I still considered it the most enjoyable, I also worried I was understating the impact of the first season, which became a national phenomenon. (Yes, Borneo now seems dated and tame by comparison, but it’s the biggest game changer in the past 20 years of television.) So then I returned that to the #1 spot. If I wanted to watch one season again, it would be Micronesia. If you ask me which is the most important season, well, obviously it’s Borneo. So instead of constantly flipping them, they can simply share the top spot…until I change my mind again.

3. Survivor: Heroes vs Villains (Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)
The Russell vs. Boston Rob feud made for the best pre-merge run of episodes ever. And the greatness just kept on coming. Filled with huge memorable moments like Tyson voting himself off, J.T. giving Russell his immunity idol, and Parvati handing out two immunity idols at one Tribal Council. Loses a few points for having so many three-timers, though, including a few (Amanda, James) that we simply didn't need to see again. I know many people would consider this #1, but it’s all returnees. For me, the fresh blood of Micronesia keeps that season higher.

4. Survivor: Amazon (Winner: Jenna Morasca)
Probably the most unpredictable season ever from week to week. Some people hate on Morasca as a winner, but she won challenges and played a great social game.

5. Survivor: Pearl Islands (Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)
Rupert stealing shoes. Fairplay getting drunk at Tribal Council. Osten sucking at everything. It was all delicious. Loses points, though, for the awful Outcasts twist, which also led to a disappointing final two (Lil? Seriously?).

NEXT: Numbers 6-15 (where will Survivor: Philippines land?)

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