The reality hit Survivor is full of twists and turns, and the “final four” fire-making challenge twist (first introduced in season 35) has a fascinating history. The final four is a pivotal moment for new-era Survivor castaways. It is the penultimate tribal council, which determines which contestants get to make their cases to the jury, while they try to win the million-dollar prize, and Sole Survivor title.
Fire-making at final four tribal councils isn’t necessarily new. Before the fire-making challenge was implemented in Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, the castaways had a traditional vote at the final four. If the vote resulted in a tie, the two cast members receiving votes would go head-to-head in a fire-making challenge. There is no vote, and the castaway who wins the final immunity challenge decides who will join them at the final tribal council. They also decide which two will face off in the fire-making challenge because (as always) in Survivor, fire represents a person’s life in the game.
Survivor’s Jeff Probst Supports The Twist
Host Jeff Probst is a fan of this twist. In an Entertainment Weekly interview, he said that the fire-making challenge solves a final four, “problem that has bothered [him] for years.” The fire-making challenge gives the biggest perceived threat a chance to make it into the last tribal council without a unanimous vote-out at the final four, if they don’t win the immunity challenge.
In Survivor 34, Tai Trang was voted out unanimously in the final four, and the same thing happened to Kelley Wentworth in Survivor 31. The fire-making challenge gives the castaways a last chance to take their fates in the game into their own hands, and earn spots at the final tribal council.
Winning The Fire-Making Challenge Bodes Well For Survivor Contestants
Survivor star Ben Driebergen was the first champion of the fire-making challenge, and he went on to win the entire season. He would’ve been voted off unanimously if the fire-making challenge hadn’t been implemented. In the following season of Survivor: Ghost Island, the winner of the season, Wendell Holland, also won the fire-making challenge. In season 38, castaway Chris Underwood volunteered to go head-to-head in the fire-making challenge with the most significant threat of the season, Rick Devens. Chris ended up beating Rick and sending him to the jury, which undoubtedly secured Chris’ victory.
One of the most emotional forced-fire challenges was in Survivor: Winners At War, when the Cops-R-Us alliance of Tony Vlachos and Sarah Lacina had to make fire against each other. Tony ended up winning the challenge and, subsequently, the season. In Survivor 41, fans saw the closest fire-making challenge between Heather Aldret and Deshawn Radden. Deshawn was victorious, securing a spot in the final tribal council. Despite overall support, some contestants spoke out against Survivor’s fire-making twist.
The final episodes of Survivor 44 have yet to air, but it will be interesting to see how the fire-making challenge, if implemented, affects the final contestants. In the meantime, it seems like a good choice on the part of the franchise. There are two episodes left, and the Survivor 44 finale will probably be great.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 pm EST on CBS.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
This story originally appeared on Screenrant