Six are left, but only one will be named the winner of season 36 of ‘Survivor’ by the end of the May 23 episode. Here’s what went down!
Angela Perkins, Sebastian Noel, Donathan Hurley, Laurel Johnson, Wendell Holland Jr. and Domenick Abbate are the remaining six contestants competing to win $1 million on Survivor: Ghost Island — and there are plenty of advantages still in play. Sebastian has an extra vote, while Wendell and Domenick both have hidden immunity idols in their back pockets, and Dom also has a fake idol he can use to trick someone out.
After last week’s tribal, Dom and Wendell are leery that Donathan is no longer loyal to their alliance with Laurel, but they still may not be ready to take him out. They discuss going for Sebastian at the next vote instead (as a viewer, this is pretty flabbergasting: Sebastian hasn’t done much of anything this entire game, and should be a shoe-in to take to the end and easily beat). Obviously, winning immunity is huge at this point. At the immunity challenge, the players have to navigate a massive maze, then solve a difficult puzzle at the end.
It’s a close finish, but Wendell wins immunity. He has a tough decision to make, though: Pick just two people to join him for a steak dinner reward. Wendell decides to go with Sebastian (to repay him for the loved ones reward) and Angela (because she hasn’t eaten lately). Well, that’s what he says, at least. Laurel sees right through Wendell, though, and questions her ally’s decision to give fuel to Angela. She worries that Wendell is ready to turn on her, and claims she’s ready to go after the big dogs once and for all.
At the reward, Wendell, Sebastian and Angela agree to vote for Donathan, but Sebastian has that extra vote in his back pocket and is ready to make a move and vote out Domenick. He fills Angela and Donathan in on the plan to use the extra vote, and it should all go seamlessly — until Angela spills the big secret to Domenick. Domenick urges Angela to vote with him and Wendell for Sebastian, but Laurel is still the wild card. If she goes with Sebastian and co., Dom is gone.
At tribal council, Dom exposes the fact that he knows all about the plan to use the extra vote. He pulls out two immunity idols, but of course, us viewers know that only one of them is real. Before the vote is cast, Dom gives Jeff his fake immunity idol, and it’s up to the tribe to decide whether or not they believe it actually has any power. Once everyone’s voted, Dom shares the truth about the idol, but reveals he’s going to make a $1 million gamble by NOT playing his real one. Was he convincing enough? It turns out his acting did the trick, and Sebastian is voted out. He didn’t use the extra vote, either, and so that advantage remains cursed!
At the next immunity challenge, the players have to navigate water and land obstacles, then, of course, complete a puzzle. Wendell wins the challenge, guaranteeing himself a spot in the final four. This vote is also the last chance for him to use his hidden immunity idol, so he’ll have the opportunity to potentially play it for someone else. Dom also has an immunity idol, guaranteeing himself a spot in the final four.
It’s time to think ahead: At the final four, whoever wins immunity gets to decide one person to bring to the final three, leaving the other two to fight for the last spot in a fire-making competition. Laurel is Dom and Wendell’s biggest threat in immunity challenges, so Dom wants her out since he doesn’t want to risk putting that decision in her hands. However, Wendell and Laurel are tight, so he has to decide if he’s really willing to turn on her — and he has a lot of power with that extra idol.
Obviously, Dom plays his idol for himself, but then, Wendell drops a bombshell: He’s playing his for Laurel. He admits to the tribe that it might not be the most strategic decision, but says he connects to Laurel because she reminds him of his sister, and he doesn’t want to break the promises he made to her. In the end, it didn’t matter…because the votes all go to Donathan anyway, and he’s sent home.
It was a smart strategic move on Wendell’s part. Now, the jury knows how loyal he stayed to Laurel the whole time. Plus, if Laurel wins that final four immunity, he’ll have leverage for why she should take him to the end. At the final immunity challenge, the players have to stack six balls while balancing on a wobbly platform. Dom wins the challenge, and is guaranteed a spot in the final tribal.
Wendell knows there’s no chance Dom will just bring him to the final three, no matter how close they are, so he’s prepared to make fire. Dom has a decision to make: Will Laurel or Angela have a better shot at beating Wendell in the fire-making, so they can get Wendell, the threat, out before final three? Laurel is admittedly not good at making fire, and urges him to have Angela do it.
However, Dom proposes another plan: What if he gives one of the girls immunity, and goes up against Wendell himself?! He admits it would be a huge gamble, but he’s confident in his fire-making, and says the victory would likely solidify him as the winner in the jury’s eyes. It’s all just a ruse, though — Dom picks Laurel to go to the final three, putting Ang and Dom against each other in the fire-making competition.
Wendell wins the fire-making competition, and we’re officially set up for what could be the most epic final tribal and vote of all time. It seems that Dom and Wendell are truly neck and neck. Here’s how the players tried to persuade themselves to the jury at final tribal:
Laurel: Laurel argues she was at the bottom from the beginning after being put on Malolo, and she played a strong social game by aligning herself with Dom and Wendell. Although the jury isn’t happy that she didn’t make a big move and take the guys out when she could, she points out that that move would’ve been beneficial for the people on the jury…not her. If she voted Wendell and Dom out earlier, she would’ve gone next. Keeping them was her only shot at final three. Plus, she makes sure the jury knows she was the catalyst behind a lot of Dom and Wendell’s decisions in the game, not the other way around.
Wendell: Wendell defends his relationships with those on the jury, insisting that he connected with them as well as Dom did, just in a less flashy way. He credits himself with pulling Laurel into his alliance with Dom, although Donathan points out that that was actually Dom’s move. Various people on the jury agree that Dom was the mastermind who pulled them into the group, except Sebastian, who says it was Wendell. He explains that he proved loyalty by giving Laurel his idol, and thinks he played a strategic, clean game.
Dom: Dom apologizes for the flashy way he went about the Sebastian vote and use of his fake idol, and explains that he never meant to come off as cocky and arrogant in the game. He also points out how big of a move it was for him to use that fake idol, and urges the jury to vote for who played the best game, which he thinks is him.
The votes go back and forth between Dom and Wendell, until they’re tied at 5. Just like that. Now, it’s up to Laurel to cast the deciding vote for who wins $1 million. And she picks….WENDELL! Congrats!