6:15am PT by Josh Wigler
'Survivor David vs Goliath' Finale: Everything to Know
Thirty-seven seasons after millions of television viewers watched Richard Hatch win a million dollars, CBS' Survivor is not only still surviving, but thriving, on the edge of closing out one of its most exhilarating seasons ever: David vs. Goliath, a biblical showdown between underdogs and titans, with ferocious weather and gameplay at every twist and turn.
Twenty castaways arrived in Fiji with their collective and individual eyes on the Sole Survivor prize, including but not limited to the veritable David and Goliath poster boys of robot scientist Christian Hubicki and professional wrestler John Hennigan, respectively. Heading into the season finale, airing Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT, six players are still competing for the crown: Angelina Keeley, Alison Raybould, Davie Rickenbacker, Kara Kay, Mike White and Nick Wilson.
Who will walk away from David vs. Goliath as the winner? Frankly…does it matter? This roller coaster of a season has been filled with far more highs than Malolo lows, with highlights including...
• A season-opening challenge in which the David tribe's Christian schooled the Goliaths by solving a slide puzzle in less than five seconds;
• Hennigan, the so-called Mayor of Slamtown, introducing himself to Survivor nation with enough names and titles (top prize of course goes to "the George Bushy of Tushy") to make Daenerys Targaryen jealous;
• The season premiere's harrowing medical evacuation of Pat Cusack, a blue-collar guy who would have been right at home on Survivor: Worlds Apart, immediately setting the stakes for all the danger ahead — including an eventual full cast evacuation due to cyclone conditions, which saw all of the castaways removed from the game for two full days;
• The season's first Tribal Council, an absolute rollercoaster ride of action and adventure, preceded by one of the most endearing strategy sessions in recent Survivor history as Christian and Gabby Pascuzzi arrived at a misunderstanding over a simple question: "Do you want to play with me?" No, "in the sand" was not the correct answer;
• The Goliath tribe's first and only Tribal Council, in which attorney Jeremy Crawford made the fatal mistake of crossing paths with publishing giant Natalie Cole, who participated in his unanimous elimination from the game with truly delicious parting words: "That stinging sensation you feel in your eyes right now? That's some Natalie Napalm. Get off of my island. By the way? Your skin looks gorgeous, darling."
• A tribe swap that saw Christian, John and hot cop Dan Rengering forming "the Brochachos," which, sure, borrowed branding from former player Terry Deitz without proper attribution, but was a wonderfully whimsical sojourn all the same;
• A stunning betrayal in the form of Alec Merlino turning against Natalia Azoqa, leading to a tragically overlooked but nonetheless phenomenal series of parting words from the industrial engineer: "Don't be sorry! Shut up! Why are you smiling? Oh, my God, I can't handle you right now!";
• The legendary "Jacketgate," an unbelievable controversy in which Angelina Keeley tried her best to snatch the outgoing Napalm Natalie's jacket for warmth, only to be left in the cold with the haunting words: "Natalie? Natalie? Natalie?";
• Relatedly, the fall of Natalie as an antagonist paving the way for Angelina's own antagonistic rise, beginning with "Jacketgate," and continuing at the merge when she tried to manage eliminated Elizabeth Olson's jury vote on her way out the door;
• Nick Wilson and Carl Boudreaux's discovery of a hidden advantage, all while Davie Rickenbacker created a distraction for the operation by channeling his inner Star Wars kid;
• Nick, Davie and Christian coming together to combine the powers of a hidden immunity idol and a split minority vote to eliminate John Hennigan, the most "Goliathy Goliath," in what was described at the time as the season's signature slingshot moment;
• The very next Tribal Council in which the Davids once again circled up (literally!) and used a brand new advantage to nullify Dan's immunity idol, resulting in his historic blindside. "Bing," indeed;
• Carl Boudreaux's subsequent rise and fall as "the Godfather," a two-hour arc that saw the man drunk with power, eventually hitting the dusty trail thanks to the work of Gabby and Christian;
• Christian's outstanding battle against Alec, easily the best immunity challenge of the season and in the conversation of best immunity challenges in Survivor history;
• Gabby, tears and all, making the calculated call to knock out her closest ally, Christian, in order to put a game-winning move on her resumé — only for the move to fatally blow up in her face, thanks to Christian playing a hidden idol;
• On that note, Christian's means with which he found his hidden idol: "breadth-first search," which led to one of the many instances of insanely creative editing from the Survivor storytellers, in which the island was visually divided up into distinct highlighted segments;
• So many other beautiful storytelling decisions, including Natalie tossing to commercial by shouting the words, "Cut it short!," Angelina doing the same thing a few episodes later in telling herself, "You got this," Carl telepathically communicating his hunger pangs and countless other instances;
• Angelina's rice negotiation, which perhaps you have forgotten about because she never brings it up;
• Davie's veritable trial by fire, in which he faced Chris Noble's Ghost Island dilemma over whether or not to power up an immunity idol;
• and Davie's idol and Nick's idol (both his real and fake idols) coming out to play in a deadly game of chicken, damning poor Christian in the process.
Again, those are just some of the highlights from one of the most turbulent seasons in years, not even hitting on some of the other gems, like all of Nick's nicknames; Davie snatching John's Slamtown jacket; and Angelina winning rice for her whole tribe. (Oh, we did hit on that last one? Well, worth mentioning again for those who don't recall how Angelina won rice for the whole tribe.) What's more, there's still a ton of game left ahead, thanks to the three-hour finale and live show. Only one person will walk away from the road to victory with a million dollars to their name, but it's the millions of viewers who are all the richer thanks to this latest Survivor adventure.
Update: the winner has been revealed, and it's Nick Wilson, the public defender who spoke about David becoming a king all the way back in the season premiere.
For anyone looking to freshen up with even more details before the finale, look no further than our full suite of David vs. Goliath recaps:
• Episode 1: "Appearances Are Deceiving"
• Episode 2: "The Chicken Has Flown the Coop"
• Episode 3: "I Am Goliath Strong"
• Episode 4: "Time to Bring About the Charmpocalypse"
• Episode 5: "Jackets and Eggs"
• Episode 6: "Aren't Brochachos Just Adorable?"
• Episode 7: "There's Gonna be Tears Shed"
• Episode 8: "You Get What You Give"
• Episode 9: "Breadth-First Search"
• Episode 10: "Tribal Lines are Blurred"
• Episode 11: "So Smart They're Dumb"
• Episode 12: "Are You Feeling Lucky?"
• Episode 13: "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"
And for an even deeper dive, peruse our roster of interviews with the David vs. Goliath cast and crew:
• Christian Hubicki (covers through episode two)
• Elizabeth Olson (covers through episode four)
• Natalie Cole (covers through episode five)
• Lyrsa Torres (covers through episode five)
• Mike White (covers through episode six)
• Alec Merlino (covers through episode seven)
• Jeff Probst (covers through episode eight)
• Nick Wilson (covers through episode nine)
• Gabby Pascuzzi (covers through episode 10)
• Executive producer Matt Van Wagenen (covers through episode 11)
• Christian Hubicki again (covers his immunity battle against Alec)
• Christian Hubicki yet again (in which he previews the final six)
• Jeff Probst forecasts the season finale
• Nick Wilson again (covers his winning moves)
For those who wish to dig even deeper, here's our preseason coverage, including the extensive First One Out podcast series:
Follow THR.com/Survivor for full coverage of the winner reveal and beyond.