And this is it, a wrap an another season of Survivor, a pretty great one despite a couple of dull episodes and for the first time in many seasons (probably since Todd Herzog winning Survivor China) I’m genuinely happy with the winner who won’t be named for a few more lines in case you haven’t watched the season finale yet (but after the picture, many spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned).
So let’s see what happened to our last remaining contestants during this last episode.
- Albert Destrade: I kinda feel bad for Albert. I mean, the guy doesn’t seem like a bad dude, but he really fooled himself big time. He was convinced that he was going to make a big move that was going to make him win the game, but didn’t manage to make a single one, and I’m convinced that if he had made one, he wouldn’t have make it to the end. He was convinced that he was playing the jury, but he was so transparent in his schmoozing that he didn’t get a single vote at the final tribal council. Yet, I need to give him some credit, he managed to go to the end thanks to some savvy moves at the beginning of the game, but from then it went downhill and he failed pretty much everything he attempted and he became the unlikely goat of this Final Three when he could have won had he been a bit more sincere and straightforward. Oh well…
- Benjamin “Coach” Wade: Coach failed where many great strategists failed (I’m looking at you Stephen Fishbach), he got so entangled in his double and triple promises and deals that it had to blow up in his face sooner or later. Seeing Coach’s face at the end of tribal I have the feeling that the jury really tore him down, even more so than we got to see. And yet he got three jury votes (not sure whom yet except for Cochran, I haven’t watched the Reunion as I’m typing these lines). And Cochran said it right: Coach played a great game, a much better game than anyone knowing Survivor could have predicted he would play (I even almost called him a great strategist at the beginning of this paragraph). And Coach said it right at the beginning of the episode: This game was his to lose. Don’t get me wrong he didn’t lose it during this final episode, but way earlier than that, basically when he started talking about honor and integrity with an alliance of five. He miscalculated a big thing, when you have an alliance of 5 or 6 and a final three, you will have to backstab people and you will make people angry. With a smaller alliance, you obviously make less people angry, and with a final two, you do too in the sense that people kinda expect to be backstabbed. But when you have an alliance of five and a final three, everyone in that alliance expects to be in the final three and that they’re not one of the two persons who will get screwed. So if you position yourself as the leader of that alliance, and start talking about honor and integrity you’re losing two jury votes right there and potentially more so because those two people will be among the last two being voted out and you can be sure they will strongly campaign against you at Ponderosa. Coach knows Ponderosa, he voted against Stephen in the Tocantins for that very reason, he felt betrayed by him more than by J.T. and yet, he didn’t take that into account in his own game plan. For that Coach didn’t deserve to win and can’t be considered a great strategist despite what I implied at first.
- Sophie Clarke: Congratulations Sophie, you did play a great game. Sure your social game could apparently have been a little better, but from a strategy point of view you were perfect even though your strategy was not as TV friendly as many “great strategists”. People will say that she didn’t make any big move, but she didn’t have to, she positioned herself where she had to, not as a ringleader (she had Coach and Albert as a shield for that) and not as a coattail rider either (she did have an active hand in voting most people out). Actually when she started preventing Albert from doing those big moves that would have been great TV for sure but would have screwed her end game, this is when I felt that she was going to be the winner despite her being so underedited (Probst, get over it, some women can be great player too), she was turning Albert into a goat and Coach was screwing himself over, she had the perfect two people to go to the final tribal just there, all she had to do was win those challenges at the right time and she did it.
Yes, despite what a lot of people will say for sure Sophie Clarke is a great winner. Congratulations again Sophie. Not only she now belong to the very private club of Survivor Winners, she also belongs to the even more private club of Survivor winners I think deserved to win and for whom I was rooting for (yes I am aware that I am the only person on Earth caring about that club).
I hope we see her again…
A few words about some jury members:
- Ozzy Lusth: His diatribe didn’t sound right at all, especially minutes (TV minutes, in real life it was obviously a day after) he was smiling while being voted out. I assume that he wanted to create some drama for TV sake, but Ozzy, you suck as an actor even more than you suck as a strategist. I’m surprised he voted for Sophie after being such a jerk to her (maybe he felt bad?)
- Rick Nelson: Seriously? You’re angry you’ve been lied to0.. at Survivor??? I guess you really sucked and deserved to be so underedited despite the fact that I spent my season trying to find an angle that could prove you could be interesting. Maybe you could learn a lesson or two from:
- Edna Ma: Wow, Edna. I’m proud of her on this one. For once we have somebody who’s really been taken for a fool during the game and who doesn’t play the bitter jury member card. In past seasons, we’ve seen juries being more and more bitter as if they had never watched the show before (ok, to be fair many members hadn’t), but Edna really took the high road here and for that she’s won many points in my books.
- John Cochran: I have the feeling that he was almost happier to be in the jury than on the grill at this point of the game, as he was taking part anyway and not being shred into pieces. I still think that his vote for Coach was a fanboy vote though, but hey, I’d rather have such a vote than a bitter vote any day of the week.
- Brandon Hantz: For the first time of the season I felt bad for him when I saw him literally melting upon hearing that he’s been lied to even more that he thought he had, but then upon learning that he still voted for Coach despite that… Well, he’s a fool and an idiot, what else can I say?
Next time on Survivor:
Well, I don’t know anything about Survivor 24 yet, not even the nickname… well I could look that up on Wikipedia… Let’s see… Survivor: One World… And there’s an extra info on Wikipedia that may or may not be a spoiler… Interesting… Well, I’ll be back soon to preview all of that (and I may post a few ranking/opinion things before introducing the new contestants sometime next month).
Meanwhile, do not hesitate to share your two cents in the comment and go read those fine people’s blogs and sites:
- Super Jude: awesome blog from somebody who’s even more an hardcore fan than I am and whose analyses are always spot on.
- Jeff Pitman’s True Dork Times has always hilarious and interesting awards every week for the contestants.
- Dalton Ross at EW, funniest recaps online and as he knows everyone at Survivor, lots of inside info too (no spoilers).
- Rob Cesternino‘s Website. I’m waiting to see him play this game again, meanwhile he keeps us entertained with his great podcasts. Rob had a big loss in his family this week, so he won’t make a podcast, but my thoughts are with him and his loved ones
- Stephen Fishbach get your own blog! I can’t even link you properly. Well, we can still follow him on Twitter (just like most of the people I’m mentioning here).
- The Midside: a great blog that analyses the game in terms of storytelling, always fascinating.
- I may forgetting someone, but those are the people I read/listen to religiously every week after each episode and so should you.