survivor finale final four 'Survivor: Nicaragua' finale: Jud 'Fabio' Birza, Chase Rice, Holly Hoffman or Sash Lenahan? Who won?Were you surprised by the finale of the 21st season of “Survivor”? We were surprised by a few things, particularly how close the final vote was.

Immunity Challenge
After a season-recapping video montage and some boring strategy talk, the survivors head to the next Immunity Challenge. They have to answer questions about Nicaragua in order to get puzzle pieces, then assemble a puzzle for the win.

Holly, Sash and Chase are in the lead when they get to the puzzle. Dan and Fabio are in it, but far behind. Sash is good at puzzles and looks to have this in the bag, until Fabio masterfully gets his puzzle together and takes it. Wow, good for Fabio.

Fabio is gunning for Holly and he starts working on Chase and Sash to vote her out. Chase seems to be pretty set on Dan because Dan hasn’t made any enemies and will easily win jury votes. I don’t necessarily agree — Dan hasn’t made enemies, but he also hasn’t done anything. Nobody would award him the money.

While Chase seems set, Sash seems more open to voting Holly out because he thinks the old people and the women will vote for her to win. I agree, I think she would get most of those votes.

Tribal Council
There’s some filler about Dan vs. Holly as who is a bigger threat to win, but they get right to the vote. We don’t see any votes, but we do see a snake stick out its tongue perfectly in time to the music. Must be animatronic. The votes go Dan, Dan, … Chase? and Dan. Huh. That was a weird edit for the stuff between Immunity and Tribal if Holly didn’t even get a vote. I get Sash and Chase sticking with their plan, but why didn’t Dan and Fabio vote Holly?

It turns out Fabio voted for Dan too and Dan changed to Chase in order to express his dislike for Chase. Um, OK. He also calls Holly a thief (fine) and says they “should cut her damn hands off” (not fine). Seriously, dude? What is that? He also calls Sash a whiny baby. Maybe Dan’s the whiny baby.

The Next Day
Chase, Holly and Sash know that they can’t take Fabio to the finals because he’ll definitely win. If Fabio wins, things will get interesting. Holly and Chase think Sash would get a lot of votes and she’s already shoring up his support in case Fabio wins.

The Stupid Fallen Idol Walk
I hate this, it’s dumb filler. I refuse to recap it. Amendment: NaOnka calls herself both “friendly” and “the smartest player in the game” and blood shoots out my nose.

Immunity Challenge
The final challenge involves balancing a sword on a shield and stacking coins on the handle of the sword. When your stack of coins falls, you’re out. Last one standing wins. Jeff starts calling for coins to be placed at a fairly quick clip and the stacks don’t get very high before they start to wobble.

Fabio is struggling, but he’s not the first out. Holly drops a coin and is out first, which stinks because it was just the top coin and not the whole stack. Chase then quickly loses his stack and it’s down to Fabio and Sash. After a few more coins, Fabio’s stack is tilting quite a bit, but Sash’s looks fairly stable. Spoke too soon — Sash dumps his and Fabio wins. Wow, that’s three in a row and he’s all but guaranteed to win the money now.

Fabio is practically giggling with excitement, as well he should be. He has to know he has a lot of jury votes. I mean, is there even any suspense at this point? Sash and Chase are both working Fabio pretty hard, while Holly’s hanging back more. I think Holly’s pretty safe — the sense I get is that Fabio’s gunning for the guys and particularly Sash for not being straight about taking Fabio if he didn’t win.

Tribal Council
Fabio is the cat who ate the canary and that’s adorable and hilarious. Fabio touches on Sash and Chase’s differing answers to the final three deal they had. Sash is scrambling and doing a lot of double-talking, it’s pretty funny to watch him squirm. 

What’s funny is they are acting like Fabio is the only vote. If Chase and Holly both vote Sash, at the minimum it would be a tie and that’s only if Fabio votes with Sash. Why are they acting like they don’t have votes to cast?

The Vote
We don’t see anyone’s, of course, and then the vote goes Sash, Holly, Holly and Holly. Wow. I am actually pretty shocked — both that Chase turned on Holly and that Fabio was swayed. I thought Sash was actually heading home.

The Final Three
The guys are pretty chummy about being finalists, but Chase talking-heads about coming out at the final tribal guns blazing and Sash says he doesn’t think Chase and Fabio deserve to be in the final three as much as he does.

Final Tribal
In their opening statements, Chase goes with “bring it on,” Fabio goes with “I was myself” and “winning Immunity” and Sash goes with “I outwitted and outplayed” the others and tries to apologize for back-stabbing all his alliances.

When the questions start, Brenda is up first. She doesn’t have a question and more just takes Sash and Chase to task for throwing her under the bus. Marty then asks Chase to pick the winner for “dumber than a bag of hammers” award and he can’t pick Marty. Chase says he won’t answer because he would pick Marty. Hee. Marty then kisses up to Sash and Fabio. Ugh. Marty’s kinda gross.

Holly goes next and she asks Chase what his best strategical (her word) move that he made on his own and he says it was when he voted Shannon out in the beginning. She asks Fabio if his winning was too little, too late and he says it was just right. She asks Sash if he ever lied to her and he is actually honest in saying yes he did.

Jane is still quite the bitter betty when she calls Sash a “New York City river rat” and that he can crawl back into the hole he’s from. Jane compliments Chase on having fun with him and he tells her he is donating $100 K to his father’s foundation and then he’s taking care of his mom. Fabio jumps in to say he wants to take care of his parents too, which was just a teensy bit desperate.

Benry shuts down Chase, congratulates Fabio and then he asks Sash what he did wrong to get voted out. Sash says it’s because Benry didn’t get Sash first. Dan calls Sash a liar, a phony and spineless. He calls Chase paranoid and then says people are “bleeding” because of Chase’s backstabbing. Oh, spare me Dan. Seriously, you are a whiny witch and a sore loser.

Kelly the Quitter gives Sash 60 seconds to explain why he outwits everybody. He says he should’ve been voted out at the merge, but since he wasn’t he formed all the alliances he could to advance himself in the game.

NaOnka the Quitter brings up Fabio’s mom and he starts crying. Man, what a softball. If he hadn’t sewn up the money already … sheesh. All the jury members are like wiping their eyes. Lordy.

Alina actually says something interesting in that she wants to give the money to a man, not a boy, so she asks Sash to plead his case. Not saying I agree with Alina, but it’s an interesting take. Sash calls out Chase’s wishy-washyness. She then asks Chase why him and he says he wasn’t wishy-washy, he was looking out for himself. He also calls out Fabio for not really knowing what was going on and not having to make any hard decisions. Then it kind of devolves into the three guys sniping at each other.

The Vote
We see Marty vote for Fabio, Alina vote for Chase, Dan vote for Fabio and Brenda vote for Chase. Hmm. Maybe this will be closer than I thought. After the vote, Jeff unfortunately does not hop a jet ski or hijack a helicopter or do a whale call and ride Shamu t
o the live reunion. I wish they still did that, it was hilarious.

At the reunion, Sash looks weird, Fabio looks hot and Chase looks a little scary with his head buzzed so short. The votes go Fabio, Chase, Fabio, Chase, Chase, Chase, Fabio, Fabio and  … FABIO. Wow, that was crazy. I did not expect the vote to be that close.

What do you think, “Survivor” fans? Satisfied with the winner?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."