Survivor 46 Finale Recap: A New Sole Survivor Has Been Crowned!

Charlie, Ben, Maria, Kenzie, Liz. One of these Survivor castaways just won a million bucks!

It’s been a long season full of blindsides, backstabs and, well, zero correct idol plays, but that didn’t stop Season 46 from going full tilt boogie right on through to the very end! While that idol tally still remains one giant goose egg by finale’s end, there were still some big surprises in store for viewers Wednesday, and yes, my friends, some big heartbreak as well.

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When the episode begins, Maria’s got some serious damage control to do. Her apology to her No. 1 is pretty half-assed, though, right? Charlie knows it. We know it. Jeff Probst’s Monster knows it. The towering statues of Rob and Sandra know it. She took a shot and it backfired, and now she’s on the bottom. Plain and simple. And this next immunity challenge will undoubtedly be do-or-die for her. About that…

IMMUNITY IS BACK UP FOR GRABS | The challenge is a massive obstacle course filled with mud, ropes, bridges, puzzle pieces and more. But after the puzzle is completed, the players must use the hints it provides to solve a combination in order to win. (They’re also competing for a pasta dinner with all of the fixings, but this late in the game, does that even matter!?)

It’s neck and neck between Maria and Charlie until Kenzie swoops in and beasts the puzzle portion. But she can’t figure out the clues! She’s flustered and seems to forget what she even needs to do next. Liz abandons her puzzle and runs back to grab Kenzie’s plank, a key element to figuring out the combination. With their powers combined, Kenzie wins the challenge and Maria looks absolutely devastated. (Which is exactly how I feel watching this all go down.)

Back at camp, Maria goes on the hunt for an idol and makes a Hail Mary pitch to Kenzie about Ben not being trustworthy. Kenzie isn’t having it. Maria continues to try to turn the tides on Ben in a conversation with Charlie and Liz. Will it work or is it all falling on deaf ears? And is it possible that Maria did find an idol and they just aren’t showing us yet?

TRIBAL COUNCIL NO. 1 | How do you solve a problem like Maria? Well, you vote her out, I guess. Everyone gives the mom of three her dues. They shower her with love and respect, as Ben and Kenzie confess out loud why they have to write her name down. Jeff tells her she’s been “gracious” throughout the game and in defeat. Maria states that she wants to set a good example for her kids. As for me? I’m wishin’ and prayin’ that she’s about to pull an idol out and that it’s all a bit of editing trickery. But it’s all a bunch of wishful thinking. Instead, everyone votes for her and Jeff snuffs her torch.

FINAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE | The main goal: Complete a Survivor logo puzzle. The catch? They can’t let a ball drop from a Plinko-like ramp. If their ball hits the trap on the bottom, they must wait for it to sloooowly make its way to the bottom, and they cannot work on the puzzle during the penalty.

Charlie and Liz are both subject to the time penalty, while Kenzie launches her ball behind the contraption! Charlie takes a second penalty, but at that point, Ben’s already running away with it. He snags the necklace and earns a spot in the Final 3, fair and square. (I’ve got to admit: I didn’t see that coming.)

STRATEGY | While Ben celebrates his win, Liz tells him… she’s a millionaire and doesn’t need the money. (Should I just end this strategy section there? WHY is she telling everyone that?!) He tells her she’s more or less going into the fire-making challenge, so really, the only thing left for him to decide is who’s going to face her. Then Liz cries. She says she can barely hold a knife. She hasn’t practiced fire-making. Well. Yeeeeeah. It’s another pity party for ol’ grandma Liz. (Also, Ben thinking that Liz is the biggest threat is CRAZY. Is he that blind to Charlie’s gameplay?)

Then, Ben starts the waterworks. It seems that having to make his first real decision in 20-something days is just too much for the softy to take (a very rockin’ softy, that is). Tell me, Survivor fans: Isn’t it absurd that Ben isn’t throwing Kenzie and Charlie against each other. Am I wrong? Am I taking crazy pills? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Survivor 46 Finale Recap
Survivor 46 Finale Recap

FIRE | Did you see Venus’ reaction when Liz tells Jeff that she was the biggest threat left in the game? Girl, same!

All of Ben’s responses to Jeff feel very emotional rather than strategic, which is kind of frustrating to see this late in the game. Alas, Ben chooses to give Charlie a fast-pass to the Final 3, while Kenzie goes in to face Liz in the fire-making challenge.

I know you’re sick of me saying this, but I need to once again go on the record: I hate the fire-making challenge!!! I hate how Final 4 is played. I hate it allllll. JUSTICE FOR CHRISSY.

Phew! Thanks for stickin’ with me season after season, you guys. Even through all my griping.

When the challenge begins, I was getting some serious Becky/Sundra vibes there for a second! Kenzie winds up pulling it together and sends Liz and her bad attitude to the jury. (Her eyeroll when Kenzie hugged her? Her quip to Charlie mid-challenge? GOODBYE LIZ.)

THE JURY HAS SPOKEN | The first question is a hard one for Ben: Can you name one specific move that you made to change the course of the game? Well… he kind of can’t? He also gets dinged for that wonky Kenzie vote. But Kenzie and Charlie are very well spoken, and throughout the entire questioning process, it feels like a true toss-up between them.

Hunter calls out Charlie for not throwing himself into fire to save Liz, someone Charlie says he could’ve beaten in the end. And that’s another big problem I have with the fire-making challenge! Why are people often questioned or looked down on for not putting themselves at risk? It doesn’t make sense. Future jurors: Quit it! If someone wants to go all Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt (or Chris Underwood) because you think your resumé needs the boost, more power to ya! But it shouldn’t be a make-or-break element of the endgame. Then again, I’m not a juror so I have absolutely zero say in anything!

So which of the three finalists takes home the bag? The jury votes and when Jeff tallies ’em all up, Kenzie wins the game by a 5-3 vote. Charlie places second… and his ally Maria didn’t even vote for him. (Read our Q&As with Kenzie, Charlie and Maria.)

Were you happy with the result? Grade the finale and season in our polls below, then for the last time this season, go full tilt boogie in that comments section!

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