This was a good one, gang. The season, the finalists, the vote. DK and Pepper tangled in the finals once before, but I think Pepper would agree that she was slightly out of her depth there in comparison to now (and indeed, in comparison to her very next game, which she won). Seeing the two of them recreate the finals a couple years later, now on equal footing in many ways, was an absolute blast for me to watch.

It’s probably always a little bit obvious who I think should be the winner when I talk about games; this time I can gladly say I had two horses in the race, which is more fun than one and infinitely more fun than zero.

Let’s get to the votes, in order of the players’ elimination. Votes are, as always, to win.

Ken Krouner

I vote for Pepper to win.

Bret Highum

I’m voting for Pepper. I think Dan did a great job of building alliances, but so did Pepper. My deciding factor is that she won the immunities she needed in order to vote out people who weren’t with her.

Matt Novak

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to say with my vote. The other jurors know how I feel about what went down, and I could well vote out of emotion here. One of the finalists understands juror management, one of them clearly doesn’t (indeed, one of them hit exactly the right notes for me, and, even if those notes weren’t sincere, that just shows a different type of skill that should be rewarded).

But in reading the final pleas, I think a very clear case is made for one over the other.

Pepper’s answers show she played the game with an eye towards surviving.
But Dan’s answers show he played the game with an eye towards winning.

I thought I might be casting a vote against Pepper. But I’m not. I’m casting a vote For DK.

I don’t know if Dan will win, but he is clearly one of the best to ever play this game, and I sincerely hope he does.

Jared Cedar

I vote for Pepper to win

Jonathon Pope has done the impossible, and out-worded Novak by literally hundreds.

I expected this to be easier. There were a things in each person’s final statement that stuck out to me.

From Pepper:

It appeared that Pope was going to vote with the remaining members of Willy, which meant that my T3AM-mates and I were at a disadvantage.

It’s worth pointing out that this might not have been the case if anyone besides Matt had reached out to me at all.

…I also played a game in which I was vulnerable to being voted out, and each time, the majority of players decided they’d rather vote someone else out.

Right? RIGHT? This is easily the most baffling part of this game to me, and worth noting. I understand from Novak’s point of view, but why there was never any traction for a Pepper vote was hard to understand. And of course, my openness about trying to make one happen was at least part of my undoing.

From DK:

You’re a really good and slippery liar, and I mean that as praise, for sure.

Thanks! I try not to lie in game, but it’s unavoidable at times, to be sure.

That group formed the core of the group that first split up Bret and Pope, and then, when I decided the time was right, we moved against Matt and Annette.

Well. This just makes me wish I’d actually teamed up with Bret. Not sure that it would have changed anything, but still.

I did that by playing along with big threats like Matt and Annette when I needed to, taking the initiative to build new groups with people like Pepper and Zack when I needed to, and making the right calls at the right times about when to vote out former allies.

That seems like a good summation. Both games were played well, and this was a tougher decision than I expected. But I have to go with

Voting DK.

Annette Barron

I thought I knew how I was going to vote. Kudos to both of you for great answers and making me uncertain again. Pepper, I could read your stories all day long. But I think the winning move here was convincing Pope to throw the tie. Therefore, my vote is for Dan.


That’s 3-3. Gotta love this right here.


Zack Sauvageau

I vote for Dan as the winner. Hell of a game by both of you though.


Who needs a cigarette after that?

Dan “The Untouchable” Kautz

Not sure about the nickname, to be honest, so I’ll hear suggestions. It’s something to do with the fact that he never won immunity and still somehow only ate a single vote.

I heaped praise on both players at the outset, so I’ll reserve this space to thank you all for being a very engaged group, with a touch of bitterness and a dash of absurdity (Jared, never change). This was a great slate of people and I find myself reminded yet again why I should be more excited about running writing seasons.

Brendan and Gilman, thanks again for slaving away for nothing but the glory of contributing to this site.

Pepper, you were excellent as always and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you yet again fail to be voted out and have a chance at win #2.

DK, other names can be argued, but I think you’re the best Spookymilk Survivor player. You simply don’t make even the smallest of mistakes, and it’s almost infuriating to watch someone play such a perfect game.

Cheers, Survivor.

Voting History
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