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'Survivor' Crowns a Season 46 Winner, and Previews Jon Lovett In Season 47

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 23, 2024 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 23, 2024 |


Spoilers for the season finale of Survivor 46.

As is so often the case, it’s all the episodes leading up to the Survivor finale that are the most fun to watch. The finale often feels like the inevitable outcome of the previous 12 episodes.

Survivor 46 was no exception. Going into the finale, with five players left, it is clear that Maria is the best left among them and that if she doesn’t win immunity, she’ll go home. She doesn’t win immunity, and she goes home. The only wrinkle is that Liz quit midway through her own immunity challenge to help Kenzie, and the combined efforts of Kenzie and Liz are still barely enough to beat Maria. I’ll be honest, too: I was rooting for Kenzie, but that didn’t seem fair. As upset as she was, however, Maria took it well and was rewarded with a well-deserved hero’s exit.

That left Ben, Liz, Kenzie, and Charlie, which is to say: A two-person race between Kenzie and Charlie. Liz firmly believed that she would have won Survivor had she advanced to the final three, but Liz may also be one of the most deluded players in Survivor history (she also lied about being a millionaire, which no shit. Only Liz would think that lying about being a millionaire would get her further in the game). I’m honestly not sure why Ben didn’t take her to the end and pit Kenzie and Charlie against each other in the fire-making challenge. Not that it would’ve mattered, except that instead of being a closer vote, the winner of the fire-making challenge between Kenzie and Charlie would have won every vote. Ben is a nice guy. He was never going to get a vote. He did not play Survivor so much as he survived Survivor. Barely.

Charlie would’ve beaten Kenzie in fire. Ben basically gave Kenzie the $1 million by choosing her to go up against Liz in the fire-making challenge. Kenzie was bad at making fire, but Liz was hopeless, and the win ultimately gave Kenzie the momentum she needed to win over the jury.

And win over the jury she did. She won five votes to three over Charlie, who was probably the more skillful player in the traditional sense. Kenzie is neither good at challenges nor good at strategy, but she’s one of the best social players the game has seen. She makes friends with everyone. She is a confidante and a shoulder to cry on for many. She must have given up so much sleep over 26 days to nurse Ben through his panic attacks. The woman has the patience of a saint. She’s kind and thoughtful, and her social game is so good that no one ever considered her much of a threat. She’s a unique kind of player. A Cirie who could go all the way.

Still, I think that Q’s question sealed the deal for her. I hate it when votes are based on what the player will do with the money or based on who needs the money the most, which is why Mike White lost to Nick in Survivor: David vs. Goliath. Now Nick is a transphobe in the Kentucky House of Reps. Thanks a lot, jury. It’s also why Mike Gabler won — because he promised to donate his $1 million to charity. What they do with the money should not factor into how they played the game.

Nevertheless, Kenzie is a hairdresser who began working at age 15. Charlie is a Harvard-trained lawyer. In terms of who needs the money the most, there was no contest. I would’ve voted for Kenzie, too (although I would’ve voted for her before that question, as well, because of her superlative social game).

And that was that: Maria turned on her closest ally, Charlie, to vote for Kenzie, which felt like a real stab in the back but also understandable. It felt like Charlie went into the final tribal council thinking he was a shoo-in while Kenzie actually fought for it. Plus, Kenzie flattered Maria the most on her way out.

The only other surprise of the night was in the preview for Survivor 47, when we discovered that Jon Lovett would be in the next season of the series. Lovett of Pod Saves America, Lovett or Leave It, and Ronan Farrow’s Ex-Fiance fame. Oh, and he was also a former Obama speechwriter. That, too. “I have no outdoor skills. What am I doing here?” Lovett said in the promo for next season. “I went camping as a Cub Scout; I threw up and went home.”

He’s going to be fun.