Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X Finale Recap, Edgic, Analysis & Adam’s Story

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Let’s not bury the lead. This wonderful man is the winner of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X. Congratulations Adam Klein! Adam played an amazing game and is an incredibly deserving winner.

But wow! What a finale this was and without exaggeration, this was seriously one of the best finales ever. There is so much to talk about so let’s not delay any longer and let’s get right to it, our final episode recap of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X.

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After Jeff’s worthwhile introduction to the finale and the characters still left in the game, the episode kicked off in fantastic fashion with Mr. David Wright making a fake hidden immunity idol in the hope that it would create some chaos. Thanks to David and Jay this was one of the best opening segments of a Survivor episode we have ever seen in thirty-three seasons of Survivor, bringing all kinds of optimism that this was going to be a truly spectacular finale. Jay felt bad about playing his idol at the previous vote, feeling “naked in the jungle to fight for himself” so the moment he was given the opportunity to, Jay went looking for the idol. Luckily for Jay, there was a real hidden immunity idol hidden somewhere on the island. Unluckily for Jay, he didn’t find it. Instead he found the fake hidden immunity idol that David had stayed up late to make. David’s fake immunity idol was incredible and is probably, sorry Bob Crowley, the best one that has ever been created. So lifelike and so well-hidden, David really hit all the right notes with this hidden immunity idol and Jay was unfortunate to take the bait.

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After the show returned from the commercial break we finally get a glimpse of what Ken’s Legacy advantage was all this time and it’s practically meaningless. Although this could have been something massive to a player in danger, with Ken in possession of it it was just never going to be that way, especially since he kept it a secret the entire time. Ken’s legacy advantage turned out to be that he gets immunity for the next vote at tribal council. But because Ken was never in any real danger and was practically destined to make the final three the legacy advantage unfortunately turned out to be a meaningless entity in this season. He could have made things entertaining for us by giving it to Jay and saving him but he was never going to do that.

Then at the challenge for immunity at the final six, Jay quickly took the lead on a number puzzle but didn’t cover it up, allowing all of his competitors to get back into the challenge. Jay the Sea Monster proved exactly why he is the Sea Monster and not the Puzzle Monster as his crucial mistake meant that David was able to complete the second puzzle before him, winning immunity for his second time in the game when he needed it most. By route of winning the immunity necklace David also won a steak dinner. Nice. However, when Jeff was explaining the reward, Jay decided to use his/Adam’s reward steal to take the reward away but still allowed David to come with him. He also took Adam along for the ride, proving again to be a very good strategic player in making one last attempt to keep himself in the game. These were definitely the right two people for him to take and it could have worked out for him had he been a different type of personality and not such a Joe Anglim type challenge beast. Jay unfortunately was always going to be seen as the biggest threat and despite desperate attempts to convince David and Adam to take him to the final three, they were never truly on board and Jay was eliminated.

Jay was magnificent at the reward in giving Adam and David a reason to keep him in the game. He said that he could be used as a shield and that if they took him forward that he’d take them to the final three. But Adam in particular wasn’t convinced that he could beat the Sea Monster and made the right move in eliminating him.

Oh and before he was eliminated Jay obviously did make one last attempt to save himself by playing what he thought was the real hidden immunity idol, only to have Jeff shatter his dreams and throw the fake idol into the fire. He also takes the cake for second best reaction (behind Michaela) after being voted out. “Oh my god you freaking got me you bastards he said as he grabbed his belongings. If he had just said “I hope you get bitten by a crocodile” he would have been close to Judd standard! Jay left with a really awesome spirit even despite how heartbroken he clearly was and was one of the most entertaining characters to watch this season.

Jay’s Final Sendoff

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Jay has been one of my favourite characters to watch this season. Had he been the winner and had the story of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X revolved more around him, he would have almost certainly been my absolute favourite. Jay was also an incredible player. Although I gave him heck for eliminating a close ally for him in Michaela, time after time in this game Jay did do an excellent job at winning allies to his side, remaining under the radar and getting people to trust him and want to keep him in the game. He made a lot of small subtle moves along the way, used his reward steal at exactly the right time and had such a fun-loving energy about him that you just could not help but root for the Florida native. Jay will likely be one of the most popular players that fans of the show will forever remember from Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X and will almost certainly be a returning player some day.

The Final Five 

As the next episode began, David was quickly shown in confessional talking about how much danger he could be in if he didn’t win immunity. David recognized that voting out his only possible shield in Jay might not have been the best move and especially with in being water challenge was concerned about having a very low chance at keeping himself in the game. Since Jay the Sea Monster had departed from the competition it was Ken who managed to come out on top in the water, winning individual immunity for the third time in the game.

After Ken apologized to the group for not being gracious enough with his win, Bret was quickly shown talking about how David was clearly the person who should go home but that because he was dealing with “a bunch of crazies” that it was unlikely to happen. Adam was on the same page as Bret, saying that Dave not winning the challenge meant that he should be the one to go. But because of David’s history with immunity idols, Adam wanted to make sure that the writer didn’t have it and so he went out looking for it himself. Although I initially wanted to knock him for leaving the group and giving his alliance the chance to strategize about voting him out behind his back, because he found the idol it was looking like it was all going to work out for him again. After finding the idol, Adam tried to sway Hannah to vote out the man he felt most threatened by but it was to no avail as Hannah once again stayed loyal to Ken and David and took out a member of the opposing alliance for the last time in the game. Bret was the recipient and was sent home by a vote of 3-2. As Bret grabbed his belongings to leave the area he too had some famous last words saying “the flipper flips again” (directed at Hannah) and then saying “David congratulations, the rest of you just lost a million dollars” and to be honest had David won that final immunity challenge it probably would have been true. Bret was another really fun character on this season and I think made it a lot further than anyone expected him to.

Bret’s Final Sendoff 

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Bret was incredibly fun to watch on TV this fall. I don’t think anyone really gave him a chance to go far pre-season but he ended up making it further than any other member of his alliance. From his drunken moments at reward challenges to his hilarious confessionals tonight in the finale, Bret has been a really fun character to watch. In terms of a game player, Bret probably didn’t have the strategic chops to win this game but had he somehow made it to the end, David and Adam were both concerned about his chances to win, proving that he did manage to keep in good faith with every single other player or ass Hannah put it “Bret hasn’t killed anyone”. And that was very true. Bret remained a likable figure and definitely did have a lot of friends on the jury. Would he have won had he gone up against David or Adam in the final tribal council? No probably not. But he might have won had he gone up against Ken and Hannah. In the end, Bret just got taken out by David’s strategic and social prowess as well as his strong-hold on his alliance and was definitely a fun character to watch this season.

The Final Four

When the contestants got back from tribal council, Adam immediately disclosed that he “didn’t realize that loyalty ran so deep in this game”, again separating himself from his close allies. David felt amazing that Hannah and Ken made the decision to keep him in the game but was still aware that he could be in a little bit of trouble if Hannah was to change her mind. Without any strategizing at all, it was straight to the final four immunity challenge ~ a Survivor classic bowl challenge. After a tie between Ken and Hannah of ten bowls stacked at full-time, the two then competed between each other in a showdown where Ken came out on top, winning his fourth and the final immunity challenge of the season. In true Jeremy Collins style the 33-year old was so overjoyed to have won the necklace that he was reduced to tears. Unlike Jeremy though, this was Ken’s fourth immunity win of the season and had David not played such a stellar game it could have been something for Ken to pinpoint as a key factor in why he should win a million dollars. Unlike Jeremy again though, Ken truly never had any shot at beating Adam or Hannah in the final three.

Despite realizing that Hannah may be wavering to Adam’s side, David was still feeling fairly confident speaking of how the worst thing that could possibly happen was a fire-making challenge between himself and Adam. Hannah, the proclaimed flip-flopper tried to convince Ken to vote David out instead of Adam but the model was just not budging. Ken preached one last time in confessional that his game was based on loyalty and friendship and he refused to vote out David. While this was going on, Adam was telling his new arch-foe that he simply could not win if he didn’t vote for the writer. This set up the last and final showdown of the season coming between David and Adam. Shockingly, beyond all belief, David was the one who was sent home. I was barely even paying attention to tribal council just knowing that David had already had this game all wrapped up but that proved to be far from the truth as he was eliminated. Turns out Ken, Mr. Loyalty and Integrity, isn’t so loyal after all as he decided to betray his main ally in the game. This was the right move for Ken to make but when you preach honesty, loyalty and integrity the entire game and then don’t live up to those words, the jury will never respect you and that is exactly what happened. But before we talk about all that happened at the final tribal council of the season, we have to talk about Mr. David Wright one last time.

David’s Final Sendoff 

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There is a strong argument that you could make that David was the best player this season. I have maintained that Adam was slightly superior in his gameplay but David was still absolutely exceptional and may earn an honourable mention soon in the Top 50 Survivor Players of All Time List. David managed to be the figurehead of a strong alliance for a lengthy spell in the game and did manage to instill a certain degree of fear in his allies from going against him. Although he incorrectly played both of his idols, the simple fact that he had such a massive history with idols in the game made way for more fear about going against him. The scene with the fake immunity idol will always be a highlight for me when thinking about David’s incredible gameplay this season and had he made it to the end, even going up against the fantastic winner that was Adam Klein, he might have won.

The Jury Questioning 

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Taylor – Taylor kicks us off for the night and asks the very complex question: “Why should you win?” GOOD QUESTION TAYLOR! Hannah talks about the growth she made in the game, Ken talks about his loyalty and social skills and Adam says that he put himself in the best position to always keep himself safe. Adam wins this round.

Sunday – Sunday says she was adaptable and flexible and asks a double-barrelled question by asking were you adaptable and did you play like more of a Millennial or a Gen X’er. Ken says that other people are more adaptable because they are flippers. Adam immediately rebuttles by saying that Ken could have done very well in the game had he played in the first season but that since the game has evolved and is now about making big moves, that “flipping” was a more respectable way of playing. Hannah tells Sunday why the move to eliminate her was her decision and the correct move to make but Adam having the last word abouit how it was a bad decision for her because it gave David too much power won him this round as well.

Jessica – Jessica says she is shocked that Ken voted out David, his only ally in the game. Ken says that his only true ally was his daughter and this appears to be enough to get Jessica’s vote. However, words that would be later spoken by Adam probably won Jessica back on to his side. Ken would take this round however by proxy of no one else even being asked a question by the Gen X’er.

Will – Bringing in the contrasting view of Ken’s last-minute decision to vote out David, Will says he respects Ken’s move to vote out his best friend more than the preaching about loyalty and integrity he did for the first 38 days. Hannah again takes the opportunity to tell Will why voting him out was the correct move for her. Hannah wins this round but doesn’t do enough to win Will’s vote.

Zeke – Zeke says that he thinks the winner should represent the strategic evolution of the world’s greatest game. He immediately discounted Ken and went straight to Adam and Hannah in asking how they fit that billing. Adam answered by saying that he represented the strategic evolution because of his willingness to take out his close allies even when they were still loyal to him. Hannah preaches her favourite term “trust clusters” and instantly loses any possible vote that she may have gotten. She does however claim she feels responsible for the elimination of most of the jury and unfortunately the jury was never going to believe that. David was the one in control and although Hannah did make a lot of the strategic decisions and played a really strong game she was evidently only really responsible for Sunday being on the jury. Adam wins this round.

Michelle – Michelle instantly credits Hannah’s ability to be on the right side of every single vote except for the Michaela vote. In Hannah’s little speech, Adam interjects to claim that voting out Bret was the wrong move because it put David in the perfect position to win the game but Hannah defends herself again excellently well as Ken remains silent. Hannah wins this round but again it is not enough to win Michelle’s vote.

Bret – Bret asks Ken a question and then cuts him off pratically the moment he begins to answer it. I always feel bad for finalists in that sort of situation. You’ve just played an strong game to make it to the end and the jury won’t even give you the time of day to hear your thoughts. That must have been so frustrating for Ken to sit through as at least Hannah was getting questions. Bret only really cared about what Adam had to say and so as a result it was clear that Adam had won Bret’s vote.

Jay – “You said we were brothers and I said that I wasn’t going to take you out”. Clearly still a little disheartened by his elimination from the game, Jay is looking for an explanataion as to why he had to go and Adam answers brilliantly as through tears he tells Jay that he knows why but bides his time to wait for the right moment to disclose the rest. Adam wins this round.

Chris – “I’m a lawyer. I’ve never sat in a jury but I’m going to advocate for one of you. But I believe first we have to talk about David the man who was planning the demise of all of us”. Chris kind of hints at the fact that David might have been a superior winner to all three finalists before advocating for Adam as the rightful winner of the game. Chris gives credit to Adam for David’s elimination, not Ken, and says that everyone was trying to get him out but Adam was the only one who managed to do it. As Ken is amazed that he’s not getting the credit for his move, it becomes clear that Adam has officially won.

David – Last up is David and David asks “How did this experience change your life for the better”. Hannah says “I was not built for this game and this game helped me grow”. Ken talks about how he was socially awkward and how he had to overcome that on the island where he was surrounded by other people all the time. Then it’s Adam’s turn and he does a Jeremy Collins mic drop, one that we were all waiting for as he begins to talk about his mom and discloses more information that even we the audience were aware of, speaking of how he applied for Blood vs. Water with his mom. As Adam struggles to get his words out and talk about his mom, the cameras zoom in on Hannah who has clearly become aware that she has just lost the game. As David smiles and is nearly reduced to tears himself, it becomes clear that Adam is going to sweep all ten votes.

One thing that was also very evident in this final tribal council was that Ken eliminating David proves once more exactly what Lee Carseldine of Australian Survivor and Benjamin “Coach” Wade of Survivor South Pacific have also proved recently: If you preach about loyalty and integrity the entire game and then don’t live up to that, the jury will never respect you.

Adam’s Winner’s Story

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All along I really thought David had it won and was so happy that Adam Klein came out on top instead. Although I loved David, I was rooting for Adam to win all along and I never thought he could actually pull it off. Adam officially joined the club of Jeremy, JT, Earl and Cochran when he became the fifth winner to sweep all the votes. He also tied Jeremy’s record for most votes ever, as he scored all ten just like the Survivor Cambodia winner did.

Thank you Survivor producers for making this one not as obvious as it could have been at all. I never thought Adam Klein was going to be the winner of this season and always discounted his chances in favour of others. There was a time in this game shortly after the merge where I really thought that Adam had lost the game but he bounced back strong and came to life again in the loved one’s visit episode, putting himself back on the right track to win the game. Adam started out as the clear narrator of the season. It was clear from the very first episode that the mant hat I had predicted for no good reason at all to go out third in pre-season was going to have an instrumental impact on the season and was going to be someone that was to stick around for a very long time. He found himself on the wrong side of the vote in his first ever tribal council but used that as motivation to go on and look for the hidden immunity idol, which he kept a secret until he played it correclty on Hannah at the final eight. After Mari’s elimination in Episode 2, Adam made the right strategic move at nearly every turn in the game. Eliminating Figgy to solidfy an alliane with Jessica and Ken was certainly the right move and trying to get back into Taylor’s good graces after the merge was also the right thing to do despite it being poorly executed. Getting rid of his reward stealing advantage was also smart and using David and Jay as shields in the game proved to be an effective way for him to fly under the radar. Adam also gets the credit for eliminating Zeke even though he would have gone home regardless that night and of course for eliminating who Bret called “The Head of the Snake” David Wright. Throughout all of this, Adam maintained an amazing social game and had a fantastic relationship with everyone on the island even his arch-nemesis Jay. The fact that Adam swept all ten votes tells you a lot about how good of a game Adam played and I am extraodinarily pleased that the Survivor producers/editors did not make Adam’s win too obvious as I did not see it coming until the events at the final tribal transpired.

Adam will go down in Survivor folklore as a heroic figure, a lovable character and a great winner who played an amazing game.

Confessional Count – Finale 

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CASTAWAY

CONFESSIONALS TONE RUNNING TOTAL

David Wright

6 49

Adam Klein

6 43

Jay Starett

6 39
Ken McNickle 6

25

Hannah Schapiro 5

23

Bret LaBelle 4

19

David deservedly ends this season as the confessional leader with a relatively mediocre final tally of 49. Bret was the lowest of the finalists in both the episode and the season total, receiving four on finale night and just 19 in total.

Confessional Count – Season 

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CASTAWAY RUNNING TOTAL
David Wright 49
Adam Klein 43
Jay Starett 39
Zeke Smith 34
Ken McNickle 25
Hannah Schapiro 23
Taylor Lee Stocker 21
Chris Hammons 20
Bret LaBelle 19
Will Wahl 16
Michaela Bradshaw 14
Jessica Lewis 13
Jessica Figgy Figueroa 11
Sunday Burquest 10
Michelle Schubert 9
Mari Takahashi 6
Paul Wachter 6
Cece Taylor 5
Rachel Ako 2
Lucy Huang 2

Reunion 

Survivor Reunion

After the trainwreck that was the Survivor Kaoh Rong reunion show see -> Survivor 32: Incredible Season but Worst Reunion Show Ever <-, this reunion show was one of the best in years as Jeff Probst handled everything so amazingly well and finally, every important character was given a chance to speak and answer actual meaningful questions.

After Adam won the game in amazing circumstances, he was given the time to talk about not only his win but his mother who sadly passed away an hour after he got back. I honestly think, thank god Adam was on this season and didn’t wait. It was probably horrible for him to spend so much time away from his mother in such a dire situation for his family but the silver lining is that it all worked out for him in the end and the experience was a worthwile one even if it meant having to be away from his mom at such a crucial time in her life. Adam was also given the time to talk about a charity he designed to raise research for lung cancer. Oh Adam, you’re awesome. Jeff was almost reduced to tears as he was talking about and relays that CBS and Survivor will be donating 100,000$ to the cause to which Adam follows up by saying that he will also be donating the same amount of his earnings from the game to the cause. If I’m not wrong, this was the closest Jeff Probst has ever come to crying on Survivor and so this was really special to watch. It just reminded us that Jeff is human and that no one can do what he does. Survivor would not be the same without you Jeff Probst.

After all of this, David was given time to talk about his transformation, Zeke was given time to talk about how proud he was at getting four people that he blindsided the night before to go to rocks for him and Bret was given the chance to talk about his amazing moment in which he told Zeke that he was gay. Then things get awkward and Hannah is forced to answer her only question of the night about how she had a crush on Ken and how that exemplified her character on the season. Thank god the question wasn’t something like “So are you and Ken dating now?”. Jeff again asked the right question on the night and instead of focusing on Hannah’s relationship status, focused on her gameplay. Then it briefly went to Michaela who talked about how she didn’t realize how bad that seashell scene was until she saw it on TV, then Jessica who talks about how it was the right decision to go to rocks and then to Will who has a nice haircut and a beard now. Jeff mentions how he’s the first high schooler to play Survivor and Will talks about how hard it was to convince his parents to allow him to go on the show. Jeff then goes to Sunday and asks something about moms in general to which Sunday gives an incredible answer to, Figgy casually mentions that her and Taylor have split up and Taylor nods along when Jeff says that the Millennial is now a dad. Chris and Michelle were also given time to speak making this an amazing reunion show in which every major character of the season got to speak.

Then it’s Game Changers preview time! Let’s get to it!

Survivor 34 Game Changers Preview 

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Survivor 34 Game Changers has been a well-known entity for quite some time but if this is the first time that you are hearing about it well don’t be ashamed one bit and just be excited for how amazing this season looks set to be. The preview showed many of the characters that are going to be coming back including: Aubry, Caleb, Michaela, Sandra, Cirie, Tony, Malcolm, Debbie, Ciera and JT. It was pretty clear however that the characters really being emphasized upon were Malcolm, Cirie, Tony and Ciera. These four were either strategically chosen for the impat they have on the upcoming season or help to emphasize what it means to be a Game Changer. The preview also featured two pretty great quotes:

  1. “It’s going to take big moves for me to win this game and I’m not afraid to do it again” – Malcolm
  2. “I’m the queen for a reason you don’t get my crown just cuz” – Sandra.

I cannot wait to see Tony, Sandra and Cirie back in particular this is just going to be so much fun. In addition, Jeff also brought a select group of the returning contestants on stage. These were: Tony, Tai, Caleb, Ciera “She voted out her mom!”, Cirie, Sandra and Ozzy. An interesting mix of castaways but clearly just people that they think the fans will be most excited to see back, particularly Tony, Sandra and Tai.

To hear more of my thoughts on the full cast that was selected for the upcoming season go here -> SPOILER ALERT: Survivor Season 34 Cast. I am really excited for this season especially after how amazing Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X turned out to be. Survivor is clearly on the upswing again and there is loads of optimism over the way the world-renowned series is going at the moment.

Conclusion & Season Wrap-Up

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Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X was an amazing season. It really was spectcaular. Although the pre-merge was a bit slow at times, Millennials vs. Gen X took off to extreme heights in the post-merge in what was one of the most exciting runs of episodes in the history of Survivor. The cast of this season was so rootable and likable with no major villains or people you just couldn’t stand to see on your television screen. Every single player came to play and with complex strategy, and with highlights like Michaela’s incredible blindside pictured above, a rock draw, and eccentric characters like Zeke, Adam, David and Jay there was never a dull moment. Obviously the biggest knock of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X was the incredibly slow and dull pre-merge as other than Episode 2: Love Goggles, there probably isn’t a single episode I’d watch again, including the Premiere. The post-merge was exceptional though and because of how great the characters were, particularly those that made it far, this season will forever go down with a very good reputation in the Survivor community. Make sure to check back to see where Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X ranks on our updated Season Rankings coming out tomorrow, and to see where Adam Klein ranks on our updated Winner Rankings coming out tomorrow night. This was possibly one of the best seasons ever even despite the slow pre-merge and what a winner Adam Klein is. Amazing the way this season has turned out. What an incredible season it was and I can’t wait for next season. The Mastermind will be back to cover it all from start to finish so make sure to be back very soon when Game Changers premieres in late February/early March. See you then and thanks for reading!

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