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

6. Survivor: Palau (Winner: Tom Westman)
I loved watching one tribe decimate the other, culminating with Stephenie becoming a tribe of one. And the challenges may have been Survivor's best ever. What’s interesting about Palau is that we basically all knew Tom would win from episode 1, but it was still gripping nonetheless.

7. Survivor: Philippines (Winner: ???)
And here we are. This season is all about one thing: casting, casting, casting. When you look back on what happened, while there were a lot of shake-ups with the voting, there weren’t a whole lot of jaw-on-the-floor shocking moments. So why is it so high? Because the casting and storylines that developed gave us people to root for and against — something every great Survivor season needs. And how awesome is this final four? No matter who ends up winning, you have to feel pretty good about it. When’s the last time you could say that with four people left? Go Lisa! Go Skupin! Go Malcolm! Go Denise!

8. Survivor: Samoa (Winner: Natalie White)
Russell's controlling of the game (especially post-merge when his side was down 8-4) was truly a work of art. Evil genius art. He was robbed in the end, though, in the most controversial jury decision ever.

9. Survivor: Marquesas (Winner: Vecepia Towery)
An underrated season that saw the first totem pole shake-up: where people on the bottom got together to overthrow those on the top. Yes, it was a weak final two, but it also had a woman peeing on a guy's hand. Plus: Purple rock!!!

10. Survivor: Cook Islands (Winner: Yul Kwon)
What a difference a mutiny makes. It was listless until that fateful moment when Candice and Penner stepped off the mat. Then we finally had underdogs to root for. The Tribal Council fire-making tiebreaker between Sundra and Becky may be the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life.

11. Survivor: China (Winner: Todd Herzog)
Really good cast. Really bad location. Todd completely owned that final Tribal Council. That’s how you win a million dollars.

12. Survivor: Australian Outback (Winner: Tina Wesson)
An overrated season, and one that seems to keep moving down my list. Probst loves it. I didn't. Solid but unspectacular. Pretty predictable boot order as well. Dude did burn his hands off, though.

13. Survivor: South Pacific (Winner: Sophie Clarke)
Even I’m surprised by how high I’m putting this, especially considering how much it has in common with the season that aired directly before it, which I didn’t like: the same twist of two returning players, Redemption Island, the predictable vote-offs, no real water challenges, etc…. But there is one thing I really did dig about this season, and that is the cast. I was invested in the players and their fates — the ones I wanted to do well, and not so well. Plus, this season gave us three signature moments: Ozzy volunteering to go to Redemption, Cochran flipping, and Brandon giving away his immunity.

14. Survivor: Tocantins (Winner: J.T. Thomas)
Okay, you may roll your eyes at Coach 1.0. But imagine for a second this season without him. Bo-ring! His unintentional comedy single-handedly lifted this into the middle of the pack. Seriously, other than Tyson getting blindsided, were there any memorable moments that didn't involve the Steven Seagal wannabe?

15. Survivor: All-Stars (Winner: Amber Brkich)
Overall, a bit of a letdown, but man, were there some hate-fueled fireworks at those final few Tribal Councils. Plus: Best. Reunion Show. Ever. (Remember Jerri getting literally booed off the stage?)

NEXT: The 10 worst Survivor seasons

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