36 days ago on this remote Malaysian island sixteen Americans began the adventure of a lifetime. They became castaways leaving behind their jobs, their loved ones, and all contact with civilization. Their goal: work together to build a new world, but compete against each other to become the Sole Survivor and win $1 million. It was to become the ultimate human experiment. At first, the castaways competed as two separate tribes: Pagong and Tagi. Every third night the losing tribe would hike deep into the jungle to take part in Tribal Council where they had to vote one of their own off the island. Three castaways from Pagong and three from Tagi met their untimely fate in these first 18 Days. On Day 21, the tribes merged and the competitions became individual. As the numbers dwindled the stakes grew higher and alliances were promised. But as strategies deepened, bonds were broken. At last week's Tribal Council, Sean was voted off. Now, only four remain, but tonight one of these castaways will make it through the last three Tribal Councils and become the Sole Survivor.
Time is kind of out of my head. I don't have a clock or a calendar or a watch or anything, but for some reason, I feel really, really comfortable, really good now. I, um, I think it has to do with just how short... how-how little time is left.
I'm a wreck. My hair is way longer than I ever keep it. This feels like a mop. There's nothing left. I used to have a muscle here growing. I think I've lost a good 30 pounds since getting here, but everything's loose. There's nothing that's firm on this body anymore. Basically, I'm a physical wreck.
I'm completely covered in bug bites, uh, from head to toe. I've lost some weight. I've lost some muscle. I've lost quite a hunk of sanity. (chuckles) Gosh, I don't think I thought this was going to be as-as mental as it... as it ended up being.
What's it like living with somebody you don't care for at the time... sleeping next to your enemy? You just do it. You just hang out with them and eat next to them, and just treat them like a civil person. That's all you can do.
Of the four of us that are here right now we formed this alliance way in the beginning, and, uh... you know, we were in a position of power where we could get rid of anybody we wanted to-- we had 'em lined up-- but now we're finished with the alliance 'cause the four of us are left, so you're on your own.
I was really shocked in the beginning by how few people were planning. It seemed a vacation to-to sixteen people who were told what this was about, who-who saw the logo that said "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast," same as I did.
When we got to the point where the original four were still here as the Final Four, that alliance had gone through a number of machinations that changed it from being the original four to almost anybody's game.
I feel like I agreed to be in an alliance, and then I didn't want to be in it anymore, but I was too chicken to tell 'em that. And I tried to play both sides; I tried to vote how I wanted to vote do what I thought was right, but not let them in on it, because, hell, I want to stay in the game.
After Gretchen, she didn't vote in any of the way the alliance voted. She was setting herself up so that if she is the last two at the end she's going to make herself look really good, 'cause we knew there would be more Pagong on the jury than Tagi.
Yeah, what it is is greedy. She thinks she got... like, five or six people ago, it's like, you could see her turn a little bit. Then I was really irritated. This has not been easy, you know, come out here on the island and get bit up by bugs and stung by stingrays. So I told Kelly my family's my number-one goal. I think I got a better chance of winning the million dollars with arrogant Rich by my side than with her at my side.
Had Sue not informed me that she had broken the alliance and established one with Kelly, I never would have known it and the two of them would have easily undermined me, and I could have gone at any point if they'd maintained that alliance. So it's kind of neat, cute, nice, that the Final Four were the initial four, but it wasn't a continuous line of "Ooh, initial four make it all the way through." So there's a different feeling attached to it, not that, uh, sense of accomplishment I would've had had the trust been unbreached and we went through cleanly.
In Tree Mail, the group receives photos of the twelve fallen castaways. They speculate that the challenge will require them to answer questions about their "Fallen Comrades."
Somebody will go tonight and we're waiting till after we get back to eat so we got more food, 'cause one mouth will be gone. Could be mine; could be anybody's. I think maybe this challenge will be they'll ask questions about each person-- maybe how old they were, what they do for a living-- which I don't know and I don't care. (chuckles)
The one person I did, um, actually care about was Sue and she doesn't give two (expletive censor) about me, so I don't give a crap about anybody on this island anymore. Um, I'm here for me and everybody else can kiss my ass. (chuckles)
The group reports straight to Tribal Council, where they will have their challenge and then immediately vote someone off. Sure enough, the challenge is a quiz about the other castaways. Sue and Kelly each do well, but Kelly wins the tiebreaker when she remembers Sonja's last name. Kelly wins her third straight Immunity Challenge.
The vote commences, and ends up as a 2-2 tie: Kelly and Sue vote for Richard, while Rudy and Rich vote for Sue. Jeff announces that Tribal Council will go on as long as it takes until the tie is broken. Rich and Sue each make a statement of why they deserve to stay more, and Rudy and Kelly go to vote again. Rudy is stuck in voting for Sue, while Kelly blindsides Sue by voting her as well. With both Rudy and Kelly voting for Susan, the truck driver met her demise.
Jeff wakes up the castaways early on Day 38 to lead them to their Final Immunity Challenge. During the walk, the final three pass the torches of all the players voted out of the game: Sonja, B.B., Stacey, Ramona, Dirk, Joel, Gretchen, Greg, Jenna, Gervase, Colleen, Sean, and Sue. The Immunity Challenge is simple: all the castaways need to do is keep their hands on the Immunity Idol for as long as they can. The last one person standing wins. After two and a half hours, nobody has budged. Suddenly, Rich makes a decision to voluntarily let go of the idol, leaving Rudy and Kelly to fight it out. At the four-hour point, Jeff asks Rudy and Kelly to switch positions. While doing so, Rudy absent-mindlessly takes one hand off the idol, disqualifying himself. Kelly wins Immunity for the fourth and final time. Back at camp, Kelly basks in her victory, while Rudy curses himself for making a dumb mistake that may have cost him a million dollars.
I knew a 100% the only way that I was going to get to Day 38 and now tomorrow, Day 39, was with this little thing around my neck.
The last Immunity Challenge was standing there attached to a... an Idol. I thought... "Ugh... no chance in hell of me doing that given who I was up against." I felt I was forcing the game to go on unnecessarily.
So Rich just gave a little speech and said "I hope you appreciate what I'm doing for the both of you," and let go, which I thought was kind of funny, like... he was tired, his arm hurt, he wanted to let go and he was trying to make some big noble sacrifice for me and Rudy-- yeah, whatever.
You know, it's out of my hands. So when I won today it was just like, "Okay, that's it, chill out, relax, breathe... sleep, whatever you got to do." Um... so it was just unbelievable. Overwhelming sense of relaxation and, uh, relief.
I'm nervous. I'm not nervous about the vote tonight. I'm-I'm extremely nervous about tomorrow. I'm nervous about if and what I'm going to say tomorrow and what impact and effect that's going to have on the jury.
I'm hoping that there is little likelihood of my being voted off, but I'm not all that confident. I'm not really sure. I think it's in Kelly's best interest to keep me here, but I don't know that she'll do that. I'm hoping she will.
Well, I think me and Kelly would fare better... I know some people that would vote for me. I don't know of hardly any that are going to vote for Rich. He stepped on some toes, and people ain't going to forgive him.
At Tribal Council, Jeff lays out the situation: Rudy and Rich's votes cancel each other out, so the only person voting will be Kelly. She writes down the name: it's Rudy. After 38 days, the popular, crusty Navy SEAL has finally been eliminated. The final showdown is set: Richard vs. Kelly. Jeff reminds them that the game is in the jury's hands now.
Woke up and it was very weird. Richard said to me, "Okay, you're not dreaming. It's the last day and it's really just us two."
This is just where I like to be. This is where I prefer to stretch and chill out and do my thing. My last little yoga session here on the beach. It's something that I've done pretty much every day since I've been here. It helps me to relax and to quiet my thoughts. I've had a lot of moral issues. I regret being part of the alliance. That didn't make me feel so good. I regret... trusting Sue, being vulnerable to her. That really hurt me in a lot of ways.
It's kind of nice to be one of the last two, and it's nice to have Kelly as the other member. I think I'm, uh, reflecting a little bit on-on what's happened for the 39 Days. I think I'm also thinking a little bit about questions that will be asked by the jury tonight, and how to approach some potential questions. It's an interesting morning, and I intend to stay completely out of the sun and try and do nothing.
There's been some... moral low points for me in playing this game. I've had some, kind of, not-so-proud moments, and, uh, that's things that I'm leaving here on this island, and with this game, and, uh, that don't belong in, uh... my life.
I'm really grateful I'm here. Um... I feel lucky to be in the... the Final Two. I'm nervous about the decision tonight because Rich never pretended that he wasn't in it to win, and, uh, he never pretended that he wasn't, um... scheming and conniving, and all of that, from the beginning. He's playing the game and he's never acted like he wasn't. So I-I do respect that.
If I get second place I will not be sad. I will be happy that I've earned a hundred grand, and had a great time here, and played a game that I'm proud of, the way I played it, but I want the million. (laughs) I really want the million. Oh, my God, it would change my life.
On Day 39, the Final Two burn most of their camp supplies, then head off to their last Tribal Council. As the Final Two trek to Tribal Council, the jury share their thoughts.
The question: "Does the end justify the means?" Apparently, these two contestants did whatever it took to get to the end, but, you know, it's not the end of the contest yet, in my opinion, because they haven't suffered all the ramifications of getting there yet.
Kelly's an all-around nice person. I think she just did what she had to do to get to the spot of the Final Two. She stayed low under the radar. You never really heard too much about Kelly, but when it came down to it, ended up winning five challenges at the end. I'm really quite impressed with the way she played the game.
I liked Rich all the way through this thing. He's a good leader. He's smart, and he's the guy that got this alliance going, which brought the four of us right to the final stage, and that's what we were really after.
It was interesting to watch Kelly, 'cause I felt like Kelly went through, like, uh, identity crisises on TV, but not really crisises, but like various identities on TV. "I'm a hippie, but I'm not a hippie. I'm a double agent, but I'm not lying. I'm here for the money, but I'm not." You know, it was interesting to watch her, uh... watch the various identities unfold.
This is a really difficult vote because, I mean, does anybody really think, you know, "Go, Kelly. She's number one. I am so happy she made it to the Final Two," or, "God, I'm glad Rich made it there. Big winner"? No. But I think we just want to end it, you know? Let's go home.
I'm actually very happy I got out when I did, thank God, because I couldn't have been ruthless. People would see right through me. I can't even lie. I can live with myself, and that's the important thing.
Tonight, actually, I'm looking forward to being able to come in, because I'm a hunter. I got both guns loaded all the way and I'm going to fire 'em full-blast, and I will walk away on top, holding my values, true to myself. Oh, yeah. I can't wait to get up there tonight.
Jeff explains that Kelly and Rich will each make an opening statement, then face a question from each jury member. Kelly tells the jury that she cared about everyone in the game. Richard, meanwhile, argues that he played the game the best. Gervase is the first jury member to speak, and asks Rich and Kelly what they wish they could change. Richard says he put too much trust in others, while Kelly says she wishes she'd never joined an alliance. Next up is Jenna, who asks Rich and Kelly to pick two castaways they'd like to see in the final two. Rich names Greg and Rudy; Kelly picks Sonja and Gretchen. Sean doesn't ask a question, but comments that he had a great time and loved everyone. Colleen asks what character traits got Rich and Kelly to the final two. Kelly credits her faith; Richard praises his observation. Colleen is confused by the "observation" remark, since Richard didn't seem to know anyone very well, but Richard says he's referring to game observation. Rudy gets up to say that he feels dumb for taking his hand off the idol in the last challenge. Greg asks Rich and Kelly to pick a number between 1 and 10. Rich: "7." Kelly: "3." Sue is the last to speak, and she delivers an astounding rant against both of the finalists, particularly Kelly. First, she calls Richard "a bit of a loser in life." Then, she tears into Kelly. She points out that Kelly, a rafting guide, "got stomped" in an early rafting challenge by Gervase, who had never rowed in his life. She says she once considered Kelly a friend but now sees her as "two-faced and manipulative" and a total failure. She then adds, "If you were laying there, dying of thirst, I would not give you a drink of water. I would let the vultures take you." Sue concludes her speech by calling Richard a "snake" and Kelly a "rat," and says that it's only fitting "for the snake to eat the rat." After the jury recovers from her tirade, it's time to vote. Gervase votes for Kelly, then lands a dig at Sue: "That's what we call a sore loser." Jenna and Colleen also vote for Kelly. Meanwhile, Richard snags votes from Sean, Sue, and Rudy. Greg sniffs his marker before casting the deciding vote. Jeff reveals the votes one by one, and finally reaches the seventh and decisive vote. "The winner of the first Survivor competition"—Jeff flips over the vote--"is Rich."
Rich celebrates and hugs everyone. One million dollars and a new car go to Richard Hatch, the first Sole Survivor.
Immunity (Day 37)
The final four castaways will be quizzed about their fallen cast members. Most correct answers would win Immunity. Winner:Kelly Wiglesworth
Oh, I appreciate being able to talk to everybody for the last time. I said, "Oh, it'd be great if I could finish in the Top Four or Five." I finished Top Four. Hey, that's good enough for me. You know, outside of the weather and being cold and rainy when it rained at night, and the sand fleas, this was a lot easier for me than driving a truck through Chicago every day of the week. Th-that's a lot worse than being out here in the bush.
I never thought I'd come this far and, uh, I got three votes, then I got two votes, then I got one vote and then they forgot about me, and I figured, "I'm right in the middle where I want to be now." And, uh, I didn't get a... today's the first time I got a vote since... a month ago. And it was the fatal vote. (chuckles)
(voting for Kelly) My vote is for Kelly because I feel Kelly played this game better than anybody else. She came into this thing, she formed her alliance, played both sides of the fence, did her lying thing, but you know what? When it comes down to it, that's all good. That's what this game is about and she did it better than anyone else. She stayed low under the radar, and just did her thing, and I think she really deserves it more than anyone else here. And just one of Sue's comments that's what, in my town, we call a "sore loser," because when Sue was doing the backstabbing, the lying, the throwing the knives everywhere, she was happy. If she was sitting in Kelly's spot right now, she wouldn't be thinking about nothing but the million dollars and that's it. So that just goes to show you how trite she is. I mean, it disgusts me what she just did. It was so foul. You know, Sue put knives in my back. Sue, she talks about a rat and a snake? Well, Sue, uh, formed an alliance, so that's her little snake part, and then she did the rat part where she lied to Colleen in her face when she asked if she voted for her. So, I mean, that just goes to show you how people play this game when it comes down to it. If it's saving their butt they'll do anything to save their butt. When they're out of the game, they cry about it. They bellyache about it the whole stinking time and it makes me sick. So, Kelly, I hope you win it, and after you win it, you can stuff it in Sue's face.
(voting for Kelly) I am choosing Kelly. I think Kelly displayed a lot of the aspects that I think are a Survivor. She befriended me, and whether that was part of a friendship or strategy, it was all a part of the game. Uh, she played it well. She proves that by sitting up there. She endured not only the physical but the emotional, especially after the last speech. I felt for her. I think she is a good person. I think if she lied, and she manipulated it-it was in the spirit of the game. But, as far as Kelly, I still get the vibe that she's a great person. And she certainly did survive along with the rest of us, and she made it, uh, very clear in the last five challenges that she could do this. Uh, and she endured the rain and the hunger, as well, if not better, than the rest of us. So, uh, I think she is a Survivor, and I think she deserves the title and the million dollars.
(voting for Richard) Okay, guys, it's been a long time coming. It's been a long contest. The general sentiment in the jury box is that this contest has degenerated from a contest of who's the most deserving into a contest of who's least objectionable. I feel that way very strongly. You both conducted yourselves in different manners than me-- the way I would have wanted to-- um, and you put the whole Jury in a real difficult position. Um, I don't think either of you truly deserve it, but I'm voting for Rich because Kelly was clearly more deceptive, more manipulative, um, more double-faced than Richard who's just an out-and-out scoundrel. But I like him, uh, in some bizarre manner, and I think that his "fat naked fag" idea is fantastic and a fat, naked fag with a million dollars is just hilarious.
(voting for Kelly) This is awful, really. This whole... you know what? I mean, take it, and do what you want with it. I don't care. What got me tonight-- I'm changing my vote. I came here voting for the other person-- What got me tonight was that you said "will" is required in this game, and that's something you had. And, uh, even though you were kind of wishy-washy and stuff, you know, you wanted it really, really bad and Rich doesn't need it. So, buy a raft and start an adventure tour company and do something good with it and maybe this will make you be nice or something. Okay, that's all.
Wow, I've won. It's an amazing place to be, a heck of an opportunity. I'm not exactly certain what I'm going to be doing with the million dollars. I hope to make the lives of my family and friends and those I care about happier. I love to remain who I am. I'm pretty certain I'll be able to do that. It's-it's a wonderful feeling, and I'm really looking forward to getting home. When I get home, then I can really think about what I'm going to use the money for and plan and act on that. I've won a car. That's just super-- uh, just a... just a nice, nice thing to have had happened. The million dollars is a heck of an opportunity that I hope, I, uh, don't waste.
Dirk would be wearing a different t-shirt after each commercial break.
Behind the scenes
This episode was voted the 6th best Survivor episode of all time in the 'Top 25 Greatest Episodes of all time' poll by Survivor Oz in 2015
This episode marks the first tie-vote and re-vote in Survivor history.
This finale is the only one to end on set rather than on a live sound stage.
The Jury members who voted for Kelly were all from the former Pagong tribe, minus Greg, who voted for Rich alongside the Tagi jurors. This would happen again in Survivor: Thailand, where Clay Jordan won all but one Sook Jai jurors' votes while eventual winner Brian Heidik received the winning vote from his original tribe, Chuay Gahn.
6 of the 7 (83%) jury members had their confessionals revealed onscreen, three jurors voted for Richard and the other three for Kelly. Greg's vote was not shown, likely to extract suspense.
At the Final Tribal Council, the ex-Pagong members asked questions while the ex-Tagi members made comments.
This episode is the most viewed in Survivor history with 52 million people tuning in.
After Richard was revealed the winner, there was a scene with Richard walking through an airport and getting into his brand new car. This scene was also filmed with the other finalfourfinalists in order to keep the secret of who really won.