Ok, Fabio winning was NOT what I expected at all. He comes from behind on the first immunity challenge of the finale, and saves himself again. Dan gets voted off, no surprise. Final Four: Holly, Chase, Fabio, Sash. Didn't see that coming in the beginning of the season. I never would've guess any of those for the final four. They come back, and Fabio knows he is on the outs. He knows his only shot is winning immunity. Cut to day 38. The predictable "reflect on the people who got voted off before you." Man, this show is so predictable, following the same formula every year. Final three, visit from home challenge, reflect on the people that "got you here," merge, hidden immunity, etc. Back to the final immunity challenge. And, as always, final challenge is some kind of stamina/balance challenge. First Holly goes, then Chase, leaving Sash and Fabio to battle it out. Fabio wins, and the final three is now unsettled. Definitely didn't see Fabio making it there, battling through adversity to get there. Good for him. Now comes the scrambling. And Sash knows he's the odd man out. He knows Chase and Holly want him gone, so what does he do? He straight up lies to Fabio. There's no way he would've taken Fabio. Serious? Fortunately, Fabs sees through the BS and doesn't believe him. After this final episode, I realized I never gave Fabs credit for being as smart as he is. I don't think he played as good a strategy game as the others, but he played a smart people reading game.
Fast forward to Tribal. Fabio outs Sash as a liar, and I couldn't help laughing. The jury doesn't believe Sash, and Sash loses a million bucks. I think Fabio knew this would happen, and votes of Holly. Smart move. Holly pretty much had a million if she made it to the final, and give her credit for making a concerted effort to make it there. She tried hard, but ultimately Fabs and Chase vote her off, and now for the jury showdown. While the season was full of idiots and dumb moves, I was actually surprised at how decent the jury was. Highlights from the final jury showdown included: Jane calling Sash a sewer rat while looking like one herself (*shudder*), Chase flat out telling Marty he was (in Marty's own words) "dumber than a sack of hammers," and Dan saying Chase and Sash stabbed him in the back (really Dan? They didn't have any allegiance/alliance with you at all!).
Fast forward again to LA. The counting of the votes. Chase has put on weight, Sash looks more flaming than during the season, and Fabs has a haircut (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!). Chase takes a quick 4-1 lead, and I all of a sudden get sad. Chase? Really? Fabio pulls out 4 straight votes and takes the title of Sole Survivor! I jump up and run around the living room. Thank JESUS Chase or Sash didn't win! Phew...good ending to a rather crappy season.
Fabio winning introduces a TOTALLY new way to play the game and win...maybe? Maybe it's only for when you're playing with idiots, but it's still a viable option. It's a social game while playing dumb. Not so much dumb, just...well I don't know how to describe it. He just came alive at the end, when it mattered. Just hang out, don't disrupt anything until you have immunity, and then watch others unravel in front of the jury. I doubt this works with smart gameplayers like Russel, Boston Rob, Parvati or anyone else like that, but it worked this season. He layed around, waiting for his moment. That came at Tribal calling out Sash, and that won him a million. Not the most strategic, never was in power until the final 3 tribals when he had immunity, but had the power when it was needed most. Outwit, outlast, outplay. He outwitted Sash at the end, outplayed Chase at the end, and outlasted everyone by winning the 5 minimum necessary votes at the end. Congrats to Fabio, and a giant thank you for ending this season on a high note. I haven't seen the Reunion show yet, but will soon, and looking forward to seeing where the next season is going to be.