Survivor Finale

Survivor Finale Preview: Who Will Win Survivor: Game Changers?

That’s pretty much the question isn’t it? Tonight, the 34th (!!!) season of Survivor – the world’s greatest Reality Competition TV Show – will come to a close, where one of the six remaining “game changers” will be crowned the Sole Survivor and win a million dollars. Like we have grown accustomed to, tonight we will be treated with a two-hour finale episode, followed by the one-hour live reunion show, where hopefully Sia doesn’t show up this year.

And boy oh boy is there a lot of game still to be played. Not only are we down to six people, but there are still three Immunity Idols and the “Legacy Advantage” still in play heading into tonight. Get strapped in and ready, because we’re about to break down the chances of the remaining players left in the game and get you set for tonight’s big finish.


I URGE you, if you haven’t been listening to the FilmSurvivor Podcast, now is the time to get caught up. You can listen to my recaps of each episode this season, sure, but the main draw is that you can listen to my exclusive exit interviews with each and every person (except Zeke…insert frown face emoji) from this season’s cast. To get caught up before heading into tonight’s episode – you can access last week’s podcast here.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

So we’ve come down to our Final Six: Brad, Troyzan, Tai, Aubry, Cirie, and Sarah. One of these players will win the million and become the 33rd person in history to win Survivor. But who will win? Of course, predicting these sorts of things is nearly impossible, especially when you consider all of the Idols still remaining in the game, and that two of them are currently held by Tai, one of the greatest masters of indecision the game has ever seen. Last week’s finale preview would have you believe that he gives or shares one or both of his Idols with current alliance members Brad and Troyzan, but I’m not convinced that even Tai is that stupid. He’s not, right?

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

To figure out who might have the best chance of winning, I think first you have to break down the players who simply have NO chance of winning. I think only two players really fall into this category at the moment, and that’s Tai and Troyzan, ironically, the two that have the Idols in their possession.

Troyzan and Tai simply have not played strong games (although Tai could have made a case for his early game-play). Barring something miraculous during the finale, I don’t see how either of these guys could muster up the necessary votes needed to win the game. Now, both have strong chances of getting to the end, and in fact, it would take a minor miracle (or a humongous eff-up) for Tai to NOT be one of the Final Three. If the dude just played his two Idols on himself, he would just need to win one challenge over the course of the final three Immunity Challenges and his spot would be guaranteed…there has never been a more clear path to Final Three from Final Six. And even if Tai were to lose all of these challenges along the way, you would think that if he plays both of his Idols along the way, that he is still in great shape to make the Final Three, since most other players probably wouldn’t mind sitting next to Tai at the end. So you can put Tai in the finals, unless of course he does something stupid like share or give his Idols away. Ugh I can’t bear to think about such a blunder.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Not to go too far off on a tangent, there is also an interesting – theoretical – situation that could arise during tonight’s first Tribal Council that has never happened before. If Tai IS stupid enough to share his Idols, and let’s say he plays one and Brad plays the other, then Troyzan could also play his. All three in that alliance would be guaranteed safety to Final Five, and if they had complete trust in one another, there alliance of three would automatically have the majority at Five. Interesting and not stupid, right? Now, add to this that Sarah is 100% safe and guaranteed a spot in Final Five, because she is able to finally play the “Legacy Advantage” that she hustled away from Sierra. That would leave EVERYONE left in the game safe except for Aubry and Cirie. If one of these two were to happen to win Immunity, that means there is a potential for five of the six players left in the game to be immune during Tribal Council! There would be no vote and by default, one person would end up leaving the game without a single vote cast against them.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Cool! But highly unlikely me thinks. That being said, the alliance of Brad-Tai-Troyzan does seem to suddenly make the most sense, especially considering Cirie‘s gi-normous blunder last week, when she tried to play Sarah‘s hidden advantage. It ended up really screwing up not only Cirie’s game, but also Sarah’s…because Sarah had to end up using her extra vote advantage (when otherwise she would not have), Sarah could have been in a great position this week. Now it appears that Cirie has burnt her bridges, and that Sarah may be all alone in this game.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sarah of course, would be a strong winner…she has played a masterful, hard-fought, and well-thought-out game, and has really taken some big chances and some big swings. I don’t see a scenario where anybody else in the game would want to sit next to Sarah at the end, so unless Sarah can win her final two Immunity Challenges, I don’t see her winning. Now if she can make the Final Three, I actually think there is no other combination of Final Three in which Sarah would not win. But having to win your way to Final Three rarely happens, and so because of that, I think Sarah winning is a long-shot.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Also a long-shot is Brad Culpepper. He could definitely win if he’s sitting at the end, but because of his physicality I do not see the rest of the group, even his close allies, letting him get to the end. He, too, is in a situation like Sarah, where he may have to win his way to the end in order to make it. A Brad versus Sarah in the Finals would be a compelling match-up, but I still think these “Game Changers” would vote for Sarah over Brad. So Brad can definitely win, but he’d have to win challenges and get Sarah out along the way to make that happen.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

That leaves us really with Aubry or Cirie. Cirie could absolutely still win the game, despite her actions last week, although that was definitely a strike against her. I have said it every week, but allowing Cirie to last in this game is a move I think everyone will eventually regret. Because Sarah will be seeking revenge, and because the opposing alliance has three Idols, and because Cirie sucks at challenges, I think Cirie’s toughest challenge will be getting through tonight’s very first vote. If she can somehow manage that, she has a great chance to not only get to the end, but to win it all.

Now Aubry? Her edit this season would lead you to believe she has no chance, and surely her story is being set-up as history repeating itself…she made it to the end of her first season as well, but was not given any respect from her peers. And while I definitely believe Aubry too, is a long-shot to win the game, I can see her in the end. If she’s sitting next to say, Troyzan and Tai, she can win the game. Her biggest challenge is that I don’t see her winning over Brad, Cirie, and/or Sarah, so unless all three of these players get voted out in a row, I think Aubry will have once again lasted 39 days without anything to show for it.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

If I had to go out on a limb, I’d predict that Cirie will end up winning the game. She has been too big a threat for too long, and the simple fact that she’s even in the game still is a testament to her social and strategic prowess. I think I’m rooting for Sarah however, who has played the game I think deserves to be rewarded the most. For the first time in several seasons, I think I’d be happy with any of these players…yes, even you, Troyzan. What can I say, I like the dude, although he has not done much at all this season (that we’ve been shown at least). So good luck to you Final Six, and thanks for an enjoyable season.

Before I go let me share with you what CBS has to say about tonight’s Finale Episode:

“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” – A historic tribal council takes a shocking turn on one unsuspecting castaway. Then, after a game changing season, one castaway will be crowned sole Survivor and awarded the $1 million dollar prize, on the two-hour season finale, followed by the one-hour live reunion show hosted by Emmy Award winner Jeff Probst, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 24 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A “historical tribal council”? Sweet! Also, Jeff Probst teased that the biggest game-changing move of the season happens tonight, which is saying a lot. I can’t wait! See you on the other side!

Speaking of “on the other side,” please take note as to what we have planned after tonight! You will not want to miss Thursday, as I will be speaking with all six of the remaining contestants on the FilmSurvivor Podcast, including the winner and Sole Survivor of Survivor: Game Changers.

Following this Finale Podcast, I’ll also be posting my updated “season-end” lists, of the “Most Memorable Survivor Seasons” and my list of all-time “Survivor Winners.” And while these will mark the end of my Survivor coverage for the season, the FilmSurvivor Podcast will be going strong with new weekly episodes all Summer long, leading into next Fall’s new season of Survivor. If you love movies like I do, the Podcast is something I urge you to listen to, share, and follow. I’ll be joined all Summer long with celebrity interviews, filmmakers, inside movie people and movie critics, and will also break any new Survivor news that comes along. Thanks for your support and please remember to follow on iTunes and/or on Podbean so you don’t miss a thing!

The best way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.


Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira