Survivor Insights 117: South Pacific – Sophie is The Sole Survivor! (Episode 15)

THE GOOD: Sophie started this game as no one. I have not recognized her during the pilot. She was only given little airtime before the merge in which she created a moment of her own when she joined Albert and Coach in an alliance based on loyalty. Overall, she’s the season’s covert strategist and her under-the-radar strategic game help her move further without being recognized as a threat that even Coach failed to see it.

THE BAD: It was a bad moment for Albert to receive no votes. It made me ask myself why no one wanted him to win. Suddenly I got the answers. If I am to compare Albert’s game to playing tennis, he was playing clean the first few episodes until he started to commit a lot of errors and not recovered since. His strategic game was too aggressive and he failed to maneuver it in the right direction.

Albert was the season’s Mr. Lucky Man. His alliance still helped him get in the final three even if it looked like he’s checking out the episode before the finale. He was still given a chance to face a jury and all he needed to do was to try convincing them why he deserved to win. Unluckily, errors start to pile up all over again and he immediately found himself in a painful position by not answering a question that only required a yes or no.

WHO STAND OUT?: I like how Coach reacted after Cochran praised him. “I came into this game wanting to do all the right things – and when you try to please everybody, you end up doing all the wrong things. … Each day I just wanted to justify my actions…in the end it became one big convoluted mess.” It’s the only moment in which I felt the sincerity and the honesty in him.

Though, at the start of the Tribal Council, I just wondered why Coach did not drop the “integrity, loyalty and honesty” the moment he had his opening statements. Experience should have told him that the jury won’t take it as genuine response.

I also appreciated Edna for being an open-minded juror. She understood how this entire game was played even if it’s her first time. Instead of hating the three people sitting in front of her, she chose to shed some light and helped her other jurors accept the reality that the Final Three played a better game than them.

THE UNLUCKIEST: Ozzy was a step closer to winning a million should he win that last individual final immunity. History could have happened as he would have named as the first sole survivor who was voted out twice.

EPISODE RATING: This was a good finale and a season worth-watching (8 of 10 stars!). It’s not a forgettable season even if it featured two returners (which is unfair) and a “Redemption Island.” Every episode stood on its own, each challenge was fun and though there were times the series of events were clearly predictable, there’s still something explosive to watch out for.

Personally, SURVIVOR SOUTH PACIFIC is the best season to date after Heroes vs. Villains. It could have been more special if there were only two people sitting in front of the nine jurors or the final votes could have been 3 – 3 – 3 or 4 – 4 – 1.

Photos courtesy of: CBS, TV by the Numbers

Survivor Insights 116: South Pacific – Who Will Win? (Episode 14)

1) Will it be Albert? – Albert instantly turned himself as the most unwanted person in camp after all his “unpolished” strategies collapse in front of him. He could have win the immunity necklace to protect himself but he was not even close to winning it. It was Brandon who saved him for the very last minute.

Does this mean Albert can guarantee a spot in the finals because he couldn’t win? Or, will he have the power to change the minds of the jurors to vote for him?

Winning Chances: 40 – 60

2) Will it be Sophie? – Sophie played an excellent game by joining the right alliance and stayed loyal with them. Even if Albert wanted to blindside her, Sophie was not bothered because she knew how to convince Coach to protect her.

Will that be enough for her to win the title? Albert was right. Sophie is “covertly” a threat. She’s competitive in challenges too. I am not sure though if she can make a big impact once Jeff Probst declares her as the sole survivor. Her social game, to me, was quite safe.

Winning Chances: 55 – 45

3) Will it be Rick? – Rick has not made any risks since the first episode. He’s just there, surviving the hunger, existing and having the alliance but in terms of gameplay, he’s always outshine by other names. It’s probably either Rick has not given enough edit to reveal what’s beyond the cowboy personality or he only preferred to stay out of all the drama.

Let’s say Rick will win consecutive immunity challenges in a row, will it be enough to say he deserves to win?

Winning Chances: 50 – 50

4) Will it be Coach? – Of the four people left in the camp, Coach was certainly the most experienced, the most smartest, the most strategic and probably the biggest jurors’ favorite to win the season. I was just wondering why he made a promise that he’ll take Ozzy in the finals. Is it okay for him to be second as long as the “Warrior of the Redemption Island” takes the title?

Winning Chances: 70 – 30, If Ozzy is not sitting beside him.

5) The Last Duel – Who have thought the two of the most strategy-less castaways in Upolu and Savii are up against each other to re-enter the game? Ozzy is the luckiest survivor this season to volunteer to be voted out but not really heading out the competition. He’s unbeatable in any type of duels and there’s no one to blame but himself should he fail to win the last one.

Ozzy’s Winning Chances: 51 – 49, if he’s sitting beside Coach.

Brandon can totally ace a challenge whenever he wants to. Even Coach was completely stunned when Brandon won this episode’s Immunity Challenge. However, his winning chances will still be low should he come back.

Episode Rating: This was undeniably an explosive episode before a two-hour finale – 10 of 10 stars!

Survivor Insights 115: South Pacific – Time Bomb (Episode 13)

1) Edna fights and she fought extremely hard. She tried to stir things around the camp by convincing Coach, Albert and Sophie as to why she needed to stay. Personally, I liked how Edna fought for herself. She was smart, she’s articulate and her social game reminded me of Sandra a bit. The “Tell- Me-Who-You-Want-Out” part was missing though. Edna knew, from that moment Coach saved her instead of Mikayla, that she did not deserve to be voted out without making a stand. If only she came into this Core Alliance and created an inner alliance around her ot took a detour instead of always targeting Brandon, she could have been in the Final 3.

2) Ozzy vs. Cochran – Expect the expected. This was probably what the Ozzy vs. Cochran duel was all about. The table maze was meant for Cochran. It looked like it’s his duel destined to win and not Ozzy. The duel required no strength but when it’s all came down to precision and control, Ozzy still “perfectly” mastered it after few attempts and Cochran’s winning chances, which was close to 100%, disappeared like a pop of a bubble.

It’s a disappointing loss for Cochran but he openly accepted like a real man. As the fan of the show from the very beginning, Cochran managed to put every little thing in perspective. With all the experiences and the struggles he experienced, Cochran realized that he was stronger than what he expected of himself. He came into this show as the weak underdog. He survived all the negative perceptions towards him and he also learned how to fight his own insecurities.

Labeled as the “nerd” of the season, Cochran played a strategic game that would be remembered. Cochran chose to remove his mask and showed the people around him how a SURVIVOR FAN should play.  He courageously stood on his own even if he completely knew five people would hate him.

3) Family Get Together in Redemption Island – Three remaining survivors (Abert, Coach & Brandon) reunited with their loved ones + Ozzy in Redemption Island. Nothing really unexpected happened until Brandon began talking with his dad about his game. I could not believe my eyes while watching that scene. Brandon’s dad was playing the game and his son was certainly not. In fact, Brandon’s dad was playing a cerebral game and should have recruited for the show instead. If he got the swag to approach Coach in that limited time he had, he could have outperform his brother as the great “villain” if he got more than twenty-four hours.

It also made me wonder why Coach was promising a deal with Ozzy when he got an unbreakable alliance back in camp. Is there any cracks in his core alliance? Is he ready to break his word? Who’s that other person he and Ozzy are going with? Is he referring to Albert or Sophie? It may be Rick but I doubt it.

4) Give Me the Next Chapter – I assumed this will be the last episode before the finale and if I am correct with this assumption, things just began to erupt in the Redemption Arena. If the scenes are edited right and I’m sure it’s not, Ozzy is completely struggling and his reign might end. What worries me is the camp drama. The five are arguing with each other and it really alarms me to see a shouting Sophie at Albert. What Albert did again? Is he making another big error on his way out? I hope not or else, I have no personal bets on the Final 3.

Episode Rating: 9 of 10 stars!

Photo courtesy of: CBS

Survivor Insights 114: South Pacific – Prince Albert (Episode 12)

1) All Comes Well for the Prince – This was not referring to genital piercing but it’s about the renaissance episode of Albert Destrade. All his past mistakes and his “camp laziness” won’t matter the moment he won an individual immunity necklace for the first time, gave up his reward for Coach & Cochran and topping it all, he decided to stick with the alliance. Have a closer look to the situation and you realize that by voting out Cochran instead of Rick, Albert covertly sent a message to Coach that he’s worth keeping than Edna. That’s why; if anyone goes to Redemption Island next week, it should be Edna if she won’t win immunity.

Albert won an immunity just at the right time but I am still wondering why he and Sophie could not have the power to dethrone Coach. Why they can’t blindside him or make him think his days are numbered? The finish line is almost there and time is running out so fast. I know that any of them can’t beat the Dragon Slayer once the jury buys his philosophical arguments.

2) John “Fairplay” Cochran – Was he related to Johnny Fairplay? Was he playing this game really hard and all his hardwork simply collapse at him? Probably yes. Cochran made up a story that he’s celebrating his birthday in two days (not that worse compared with Jon Fairplay’s lie in seventh season) and lucky for him, Albert gave up his reward for him. This strategy spoke volumes. Albert gave in to his lie and that might instantly mean Albert would be loyal to him.

This was not the case though. It showed that Albert gave his reward to Cochran to let him know he’s going home. On a nicer note, it’s either he wanted a vote from Cochran if he makes the final three or Albert just wanted Cochran to feel well, be confident and take Ozzy down in the next duel.

Cochran’s exit also meant that we’ll have a duel next week. I’ll say it again: D-U-E-L. It’s finally a duel and not a three-way or four-way duel. If in any case Cochran will overpower a high-spirited Ozzy, even it’s too impossible (if it’s a strength game) or too possible (if it’s a mind game), this will be the most unforgettable upset since Matt beat Russel Hantz, right?

3) Episode Rating: This is an entertaining episode after a recap so I’m giving it 9 of 10 stars! The episode’s duel, which Parvati won against Colby in HvV, was given. Ozzy wins. The editing simply tried to make us feel inspired before Dawn and Whitney burn their buffs. It was the most revealing Tribal Council of the season. It was even a tricky edit and I was also convinced Rick would go home.

Photo courtesy of: CBS