The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s season finale of Survivor 44.
It’s been four long years since Chris Underwood won the final immunity challenge on Survivor: Edge of Extinction and did the unthinkable: He threw himself into the Final 4 fire-making challenge despite already punching his ticket to the Final 3. Having sat on the Edge for most of the game, Underwood felt like he needed a resume booster, so he faced favorite Rick Devens head-to-head, came out on top and won the entire season.
So why bring him up? Because Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt just became the second person in Survivor history to give up her immunity necklace and do the dirty work herself. She took on her No. 1 competitor Carson in a total baller move. And if that wasn’t enough, she made a new record for the fastest fire ever made at 3 minutes and 2 seconds! No matter who you were rooting for in this finale, you gotta respect that hustle.
Though it’s tough to see the lovable young puzzle master exit the game, Heidi’s back-to-back victories certainly raises her stock in her potential bid to become Season 44’s Sole Survivor. But who did she sit next to and did she ultimately win the whole shebang? Let’s break this two-hour-plus behemoth down!
TIKA VS. TIKA | While Carolyn, Yam Yam and Carson have certainly made it far together, there comes a time when one must size-up his or her greatest competition. Yam Yam still has his eyes set on Carolyn, while others try to convince Carolyn that Carson is the problem they need to deal with. But heading into the night’s first immunity challenge, others are still laser-focused on Lauren. Two immunity wins, loads of friends on the jury — the woman’s got a serious case to make for that check.
But after Carson wins the night’s first immunity challenge (Puzzle Boy rides again!) and opts to take Yam Yam to the sanctuary for some grub, Lauren and Heidi try to convince Carolyn that it’s time to turn on a Tika. (“Why didn’t Carson pick you to go on the reward?” they ask her. Hmm… good question!) By the time the guys return to camp, Carolyn seems miffed. Is it time to make a big move?
TRIBAL NO. 1 | OK. Fess up. Who teared up when Lauren gave her speech? Although there was a big tease that she may or may not have found the game’s last hidden immunity idol, Lauren gives a stunning goodbye before her torch is even snuffed. She’s proud of what she did in the game and knows her kids will be proud too. She talks about loving the woman she’s become (which pleases Jeff to no end), but after the vote, it’s confirmed: She doesn’t have the idol and it is, in fact, the end of the road for her.
Survivor 44’s last immunity challenge is (of course) Simmotion, where players must catch balls flying out of a metal contraption with one hand tied behind their backs. Carolyn’s in tears before it even begins. She’s grateful to be where she is, playing the best game in the world (OK, those might partially be my own words) and she wants to take a second just to look at the view, which Jeff says is the best one in Fiji. It’s been an emotional ride for everyone left, including Heidi, who finally secures her first immunity win and her seat in the Final 3! But who’s she going to take to the end?
FIRE | I already spilled all this tea in the intro, didn’t I? Well, Heidi is a BOSS. Look, in the case of Edge of Extinction, Chris kinda had to take Devens out on his own. He wasn’t going to win if Rick survived that fire-making challenge. Did Heidi have to make this move? That’s up for debate. I’d argue that even with her immunity win, she probably didn’t do enough to snag the dub.
But my mouth dropped open regardless and I ate it up! Jeff was right — get me a big ol’ tub of popcorn and don’t you dare skimp on the butter! Though I loved watching Carson bloom this season, this was Heidi’s moment. Not only did she soar, but she broke the friggin’ record. Mad respect, Heidi! (Ladies and gentlemen, the exact opposite of the Becky and Sundra “showdown” from Cook Islands!)
FINAL TRIBAL | With Heidi, Yam Yam and Carolyn now the solidified Final 3, they finally face a jury of their peers to explain and defend their games. Carolyn once again argues that emotional players can be strategic — and she’s 100 percent right. She also has the opportunity to discuss why she used her idol on Carson and why she needed Danny out of the game, too. Yam Yam gets kudos from jurors for playing the middle and forming real bonds with people. Heidi explains why she went to fire and how she wants to represent people who sound and look like her. She also breaks down how she learned to control her emotions in her profession and how she applied that all to Survivor.
When Jeff reads the results, Yam Yam wins by a vote of 7-1-0. Heidi places second.
So what did you think of this rather emo (no shade!) finale? Grade it and the season below, then go full tilt boogie in the comments below!
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