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‘Survivor’ Ghost Island crowns its newest winner

It’s the season finale. We have goose bumps. The 2-hour episode starts with recap of the final six players, three of whom will be joining the jury before the new champ is crowned.
We have Sebastian the fish boy, Laurel the quiet, Donathan the recently insane, Angela the “why is she still here?”, Wendell the plotter and Dom the brazen.
Back at camp after the last crazy Tribal Council that put Kellyn out, the talk is about how Donathan went bananas. Laurel, who has been Donathan’s strongest ally, tells him he almost got himself voted off. If they wanted you out, Laurel says, they would have voted you out. They didn’t. Snap out of it, Donathan.
Sebastian announces he’s a big boy, too, and wants to make some moves. Dom and Wendell talk about the next vote. Despite what Donathan did, they aren’t ready to get rid of him. Instead, they set their sites on the Big Boy.
Immunity Challenge
It’s the biggest maze ever on “Survivor.” Color us impressed. Hidden in the maze are three bags of puzzle pieces. You can figure out the rest.
In addition to immunity, there’s a reward of steak, baked potatoes, bread and desert.
The maze part of the challenge finds everyone well matched, except Donathan, who quickly falls behind. Big Boy is the first to get all of his puzzle pieces out of the maze, followed by Laurel, Wendell, Angela and Dom. Donathan is still wandering in the maze.
Wendell sails through the puzzle with Dom hot on his heels, but unlike the last time he was solving a puzzle , he yells out Jeff Probst’s name loud and clear and announces he has finished his puzzle. And he has.
He chooses Sebastian and Angela to join him on the reward, saying he was repaying Big Boy and spreading the wealth to Angela, who hadn’t been on a single reward. Laurel isn’t buying it and is upset that Wendell picked her two biggest enemies. She says the gloves are off and she’s done. Well, better late than never, we guess.
Wendell feels bad about his plan to send Big Boy home tonight, so he wants to give him a good meal before cutting his throat, and curry a little favor with him headed to the jury.
Laurel talks to Dom about how upset she is. She needs to beat Angela in the final five challenge, and here Wendell is beefing her up with a steak dinner. Dom’s worried because Laurel could shake things up if she wanted.
Sebastian, Donathan and Angela talk about voting Dom off. Big Boy tells them about his hidden advantage — a cursed extra vote. Angela is so happy to be included in on the plot that she of course tells Dom the whole plan.
Dom does the math and realizes it’s important that he secure Laurel’s vote, but before he can approach Laurel, Donathan tells her of the plan to get rid of Dom and she appears to be interested in making a big move. Yeah, yeah. We’ve heard it before.
Tribal Council
Laurel says you wrestle with the decisions you make; do you make a big move or play it smart? Donathan says he’s probably going home, and Sebastian thinks that’s going to happen. Dom lets them have it about their plot to vote him off and casually talks about Big Boy’s secret extra vote.
No matter what, Dom tells them, he’s not going home. Dom and Wendell can’t figure out why Donathan turned on them, and Donathan says he wants to play his own game. Both Dom and Wendell pull out two idols each — half of them are real. Wendell says he might have played his extra idol for Donathan, but maybe he’ll play it for someone else.
Dom says he’s ready to play his idol (the fake one) right now, before the vote. He gives it to Probst, who doesn’t comment on it’s fakeness.
The votes are cast and before they are read, Dom confesses that the idol he gave Probst is not a real one, and that he was taking a million dollar gamble. It pays off. Dom and Donathan get one vote each, but it’s Big Boy Sebastian that is headed to the jury, with the cursed extra vote still in his pocket.
Immunity Challenge II
Swim out, climb up, slide down, go through an obstacle course, collect puzzle pieces, solve puzzle, win immunity.
Wendell starts working on his puzzle first, followed closely by Laurel. Is this sounding familiar? Well, it should. Wendell wins immunity.
Dom is feeling confident. He’s got his idol. Angela is no threat. The only thing she’s been good at is eating weird food. That leaves Donathan. Dom asks Donathan who he would take to the finals and he immediately says “Dom.” This impresses Dom, but not in a good way, so he talks about what a threat Laurel is.
Laurel says her fate rests with Dom and Wendell. She can understand why they might want to vote her off, but she’s been loyal. Dom and Wendell talk about voting Laurel off, but nothing appears decided.
As Wendell has the immunity necklace, he can give his idol to one of the other three — Donathan, Angela or Laurel — and curry some favor with the jury.
Tribal Council II
Laurel says there was a lot of stress at camp. Wendell and Dom are safe with idols, so all three of them are on the line. There’s a lot of bluffing going on, Probst says. Wendell says it’s an individual game now and he’s not sharing with Dom what’s he going to do with his hidden immunity idol.
Votes are cast. Probst reminds us that it’s the last night that hidden idols can be played. Dom plays his, and Wendell makes a speech about how special Laurel is, and he gives her his hidden idol, which she plays.
Laurel gets one vote (from Donathan), but Donathan’s prediction of being voted off finally comes to pass as he draws the other four. Bye bye Donathan. We hope you find your mind again.
Immunity Challenge III
In this final challenge, survivors will stand on a wobbly platform and use a long handled, two-prong fork to stack balls (with small stands in between).
Wendell is Mr. Cool, quickly building his tower, needing only to place one, last ball to win, but his tower goes crashing to the ground. Angela takes over the lead, but her tower collapses and now Dom is in the lead, where he manages to stay, winning the last immunity necklace.
The Final Four go straight from the challenge to Ghost Island, where they’ll have a chance to make their case why they should go to the Final Three. Probst also gives Dom a note to read in private. We’re so hoping it says “Meet me behind the gym after math class,” but it doesn’t. It’s a rather lame choice to pick one of three urns from previous seasons to serve as the finals voting urn. He picks Season 28, which Bad Cop Tony won.
In all three seasons, the player chose another to go with them to the finals, and each one chose poorly as their hand-picked player ended up winning.
Dom will choose one player to go with him to the finals, and the other two will have to make fire. Dom doesn’t want to take Wendell, so he needs to decide whether Laurel or Angela can beat him making fire. Laurel says she can’t make fire and won’t be able to beat him.
Dom goes with Angela, who says it’s a mistake to take Laurel because she’s sweet and nice and will take votes from Dom. But she agrees to take instruction from Dom and practice.
Dom isn’t convinced that Angela can beat Wendell, and he considers giving Angela his immunity necklace and make fire himself. It would be a gusty move, impress the jury and potentially get rid of Wendell. But he doesn’t.
Tribal Council III
Dom says it was quite an afternoon. He doesn’t want to be part of the legacy of bad decisions. Laurel says it’s clear that Dom is trying to take out Wendell and she’s not the person to do it. Angela is the queen of fire. Angela says it would be a mistake to take Laurel because she has too many friends on the jury.
Wendell says he understands. If the positions had been reversed, he wouldn’t have taken Dom, either. They’re cool with it, bro.
Dom chooses Laurel to join him in the finals, and hopes Angela can take out Wendell. As they sit down to make fire, Wendell doesn’t want to sit in the orange station. Orange was the color of the tribe that couldn’t win a challenge if their lives depended upon it. Angela says she doesn’t care where she sits so they switch.
Whether orange is cursed or not, Angela loses. Wendell get his fire blazing while she’s still trying to get a sustainable fire.
Final Tribal Council
Kellyn starts out by asking what their plans were coming into the game. Laurel planned to play a physical game, but she ended up on Malolo, the tribe that couldn’t win for losing, and she had to play from behind.
Michael accuses her of riding Wendell and Dom to the finals, but she says she made her own moves, and that part of their moves included her moves.
Michael thinks Dom played the best social game. Wendell says Dom is a talker, but that the conversations he had were genuine.
Desiree wants more answers from Wendell. He says his early role was trying to protect Dom from Chris, who says that if they want the money, they need to come clean about who the mastermind was , and Wendell confesses it was him, but Dom says there was no mastermind. He made his own moves.
Wendell says he let Dom being the Dom Show, and he played from love.
Wendell says he tried to make things comfortable around camp. Michael says they were all grateful that he was there, but he wants to hear about moves. Wendell tries to talk about the loyalty he showed to Laurel, but Michael says he’s not buying that.
Discussion turns to Dom’s showing off two idols, making such a show and influencing Sebastian, who still is upset about that.
Laurel says she’s sure everyone would have liked to have seen her make a big move and take Dom or Wendell out, but while that would have benefited the jurors, it wouldn’t have benefited her.
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Dom asks the jury to vote from the heart and honor how hard he played the game. Wendell says he wanted to be the guy who was kind of smart, kind of athletic, kind of social and who could build some things. He has regrets, and he hopes they at least appreciated his game.
Time to vote. Probst surprises everyone by saying he’s going to read the votes. And there’s a reason for that. In a “Survivor” first, it’s a tie. Wendell and Dom get five votes each; Laurel gets none, but now it’s her vote that’s the most important. She will cast the deciding vote and she goes with the guy who was the most loyal to her — Wendell.
Thanks for joining us each week. We’ll be back in a few months with another season.

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