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Season 11: Episode 14 - NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE!: Danni is Sole Survivor
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

After 39 days, eighteen Survivors, two returning players, an 11 mile hike, relentless howler monkeys, ferocious crocodiles, ruthless mosquitoes and grueling heat, Danni Boatwright, the 30-year-old, sports radio host from Tonganoxie, Kansas, is Sole Survivor. As the last remaining member of her original tribe, following the merge Danni defied the odds by planting seeds of deceit, making promises, winning the Immunity advantage and the Immunity Challenge at a critical point, thus changing what looked like her inevitable fate. Danni suddenly emerged as a power player and cleverly outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the others to claim the title of Sole Survivor on SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA. THE FINAL FOUR On the morning of day 37, the Final Four awakened to have breakfast and take stock of their situation. Rafe put it best: "I feel really good to be sitting here, proud of every decision I made in the game so far." Moments later, Lydia retrieved the Tree Mail and ran screaming and yelling back to camp. Interpreting the note to mean some sort of celebration, Lydia was confident they would get a visit from Mayans. TRADITIONAL CEREMONY A group of Mayans visited the camp and prepared to perform a traditional blessing. During the preparation, Stephenie noticed that the sacrificial chicken was alive and hoped she could eat it. Citing her Latin heritage, Lydia was moved by the traditional ritual because she felt a kinship with the Mayan people. Stephenie could not stop thinking about the chicken as it lay burning in the ceremonial fire. She eventually talked Lydia into asking the Mayans if they could eat the dead chicken. The leader of the group told them they could not, because it was an offering to the Mayan gods. Rafe enjoyed the ceremony and had been waiting for some sort of cultural experience. He noted, "You don't understand where you are until you meet and experience the people." IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: MAYA MAZE When the Final Four arrived for the Immunity Challenge, host Jeff Probst told them the giant maze was the most complex SURVIVOR maze ever constructed. The huge maze was built in the image of an ancient Maya bird. The rules: race through the maze to collect colored puzzle pieces from six stations, then return through the elaborate maze to the puzzle board. When all eight pieces are collected, assemble the puzzle to form one of three images. It was a very close race as the four players scrambled to find the puzzle pieces. Although she fell behind, Lydia would not give up. Rafe and Stephenie arrived at the puzzle first and started assembling. Danni and Lydia were right behind them, but Rafe assembled his puzzle first, narrowly beating out Stephenie for the victory. BACK ON YOUR WORD Moments after returning to camp, Stephenie approached Rafe about voting off Danni. Stephenie's plan was to go to the Final Two with Rafe, feeling that Rafe was the only person she could win against "because (they) double-crossed the same people and have played a very similar game." Knowing their best strategic move would be to take Lydia, because in the final Immunity Challenge she would be less likely to win, Rafe and Steph plotted their next move. Rafe was having second thoughts and confessed, "I promised Danni I was going to go to the Final Three with her." FINGER-LICKING GOOD While preparing yet another meal of ground corn, Stephenie suggested they eat the chicken from the Maya ritual. While Lydia was removing the charred carcass from the ceremonial fire, she asked Stephenie if she and Rafe would take her to the Final Three. Stephenie replied that Rafe had not given her an answer, but added, "I'd rather go with you, me and Rafe." While Danni, Lydia and Stephenie "chowed down" on the sacred "yard bird," Rafe was reluctant to participate and finally refused to join them. He confessed, "I would lose everything I learned from the ritual, because the ritual was about not eating the chicken." Stephenie, on the other hand, had no problem justifying her decision: "They did their sacrifice; we prayed with them, but it's hours later, the chicken is still there. I'm eatin' it." THE GODS MUST BE ANGRY Not long after Stephenie, Lydia and Danni devoured the sacrificial chicken, a violent tropical storm bombarded the camp. The torrential downpour had the tribe hunkered down in their shelter, questioning whether it had something to do with eating the chicken. Stephenie wanted to know if they could say a prayer of forgiveness. As the storm pounded their shelter and flooded the camp, Lydia put it best, "The gods are mad at us 'cause we ate the sacrificial chicken." TRIBAL COUNCIL When the Final Four convened at Tribal Council, Jeff Probst asked them about the Mayan ritual at their camp. Rafe explained the ceremony, its meaning and significance. When talking about the violent storm that hit their camp, Lydia confessed they had eaten the sacrificial chicken and had come to believe the storm was a result of their lack of respect for the ceremony. When it was time to vote, Lydia tried in vain to saver herself. However, it was not enough, and she became the fifteenth person voted out of SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA. GOOD MORNING, GUATEMALA! On the morning of day 38, the Final Three were jarred out of their slumber by an unusually enthusiastic howler monkey. However, the screaming monkey was not the worst of their troubles. Having been hit by another downpour during the night, the camp was a mess and their corn supply moldy. Despite the gloomy conditions, Stephenie remained upbeat, noting, "It's day 38. You got to be happy about that." TO THE FALLEN After receiving an early morning Tree Mail, the three remaining Xhakum members were instructed to pay tribute to their fallen tribemates. Danni, Rafe and Stephenie took an emotional journey through Mayan pyramids, where they found the torches and images of their former tribemates. While burning the image of each player, they had a chance to reflect on the 38 days they had spent in Guatemala. After completing the ceremonial walk, it was time to head to the final Immunity Challenge. IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: WOBBLY BOOTS When the Final Three arrived at the base of another set of Maya pyramids, Jeff Probst explained the rules of the game: holding on to two ropes, balance on a wobbly platform for one hour. After the first hour, release one rope. After thirty more minutes, release the other rope. The last person standing would win a spot in the Final Two. Under the grueling Guatemala sun, the Final Three found the center points of their wobbly platforms. At the end of the first hour, all three were standing strong and had to release one rope. Suddenly, the platforms teetered, and all three struggled to put their feet back on the platforms while dangling by the rope. With fierce determination, Rafe, Danni and Stephenie managed to place their feet back on the platform and find a leaning position on the support pole. At one hour and thirty minutes, they were instructed to release the remaining rope. Mere moments later, Rafe lost his concentration, touched the pole with his hand and was eliminated. In excruciating pain, Stephenie and Danni battled it out until Stephenie's legs gave way and she dropped to the ground in tears. Rafe and Danni immediately rushed to her side. Rafe suddenly turned to Danni and released her from any obligation she had made to him about going to the Final Two together. He then added, "Take whoever you want tonight." TAKE IT BACK When Rafe, Danni and Stephenie got back to the Xhakum camp, Danni faced a major dilemma. Wearing the Immunity necklace meant she would pick the person to go with her to the Final Two. Although she had a prior promise to take Rafe to the Final Two, Rafe confirmed he was letting Danni out of her obligation. Rafe noted, "I feel good about letting Danni out of her promise because to me, tonight, I want Steph and I to still be fighting together." He then added, "I feel like Steph deserves a chance." Under the grueling Guatemala sun, the Final Three found the center points of their wobbly platforms. At the end of the first hour, all three were standing strong and had to release one rope. Suddenly, the platforms teetered, and all three struggled to put their feet back on the platforms while dangling by the rope. With fierce determination, Rafe, Danni and Stephenie managed to place their feet back on the platform and find a leaning position on the support pole. At one hour and thirty minutes, they were instructed to release the remaining rope. Mere moments later, Rafe lost his concentration, touched the pole with his hand and was eliminated. In excruciating pain, Stephenie and Danni battled it out until Stephenie's legs gave way and she dropped to the ground in tears. Rafe and Danni immediately rushed to her side. Rafe suddenly turned to Danni and released her from any obligation she had made to him about going to the Final Two together. He then added, "Take whoever you want tonight." TAKE IT BACK When Rafe, Danni and Stephenie got back to the Xhakum camp, Danni faced a major dilemma. Wearing the Immunity necklace meant she would pick the person to go with her to the Final Two. Although she had a prior promise to take Rafe to the Final Two, Rafe confirmed he was letting Danni out of her obligation. Rafe noted, "I feel good about letting Danni out of her promise because to me, tonight, I want Steph and I to still be fighting together." He then added, "I feel like Steph deserves a chance." As the Final Two took a seat at Tribal Council, the Jury assembled to ask the questions that would help them decide who would win the million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor. After the opening statements, each Jury member had the chance to address Stephenie and Danni. The questions touched on honor, pride, regret and game-play. Stephenie said she had no regrets and played the best game she could. Danni was also proud of the way she played. Both Danni and Stephenie answered the questions honestly and openly. The most dramatic moment came when Judd accused Stephenie of lying to his wife. "You crossed the line," Judd accused, adding, "You not only lied to me, you lied to my wife. That's pretty brutal." Following a final statement by both Stephenie and Danni, the Jury cast their final vote, and in a 6 to 1 decision awarded Danni the $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor of SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA.