Thursday, February 2, 2012

Survivor: South Pacific - [Delayed] Final Post: Four [So-]Fierce Fighters For The Win

Albert, Coach and Sophie... still in the dark.
Ok, I know that as a blogger for a TV show, there’s a certain time frame within which you need to have your post up in order to be considered legit’, and well, in order to keep readers engaged too.

Needless to say, I am far far far beyond that time frame. 

By now, I assume most Survivor fans have already read whatever it is they were going to read after the season finale, and are counting the days until the next season of Survivor begins.

To be honest, I think I delayed writing this post because I didn’t want to admit the season was over. I started writing notes for this post right after the finale; picked up again during my winter holidays; and here I am, just two weeks before the next season starts, still writing it. 

Of course I knew there was another season around the corner... but this last season will always remain near and dear to my heart, and here's why: While it wasn’t the best, it was definitely good; it had one of my all-time favorite returning players: Ozzy; it was the first season I decided to blog (and the first blog I’ve ever kept, period); and I happened to have met a whole bunch of Survivors, past and present, who made this immersive Survivor experience very special to me.

But hey, let’s get down to what actually happened in the last couple of episodes, shall we?

1. Ozzy.

He played an incredible game, took risks, competed boldly and embraced his environment to the fullest. He dominated in challenges, took advantage of Redemption Island, and though still clearly wounded by his last experience in the game (as we saw in the Finale), he played a strong social game and made lasting connections that would have won him the million and the title had he just won that last Immunity Challenge. That loss is entirely on him, and it makes sense that it would be… The game he played was very much a solitary one after his tribe got decimated, and in all likelihood it would have unfolded quite similarly had his own tribe been the one to eventually vote him out, as they undoubtedly would have tried to do. I can't imagine how devastating it must be for Ozzy to have come so close and choke at the very end, and though I think he would have deserved the win, I also think had he pulled it off, he would have "broken" all the "rules" of the game. (N.B. words in quotation marks to be taken lightly.) 

2. Albert.

Albert dug his own grave. For someone who I thought was so smart, he acted really short-sightedly and made some very bad moves. His intentions with the Jury were completely transparent, and he succeeded in fooling absolutely nobody. His move with Brandon was pure stupidity - even more stupid than Brandon actually giving Albert the Immunity Necklace. By claiming to be completely ignorant of the tribe's (and his!) hopes to vote out Brandon, he ensured that he would not win - and not get any votes - if he made it to the Final Three. The brighter thing to do would have been to use the second chance that Redemption Island offered him, let himself get voted off, take a stand against Ozzy, and, if he made it back, earn votes to win that way. Then, maybe, he would have at least had a shot. The worst part is that the guy still thinks he should have won. 

3. Coach.

Coach was brilliant this season. He beat so many odds, and worked his tribe so deftly that I would have given him my vote had I had one. Yes, he played up the religion side, and yes, it was exceedingly annoying at times. But it was also brilliant. He had Brandon, a religious "nut" (at least on the show); Albert, a Mommy's boy who believes; and Rick, a traditional conservative. Sophie wasn't going to say anything and had the brains to just go with the flow. Edna wasn't going to say anything either, and had the coattail rider's instinct to just go with the flow. It was a perfect plan. But the true brilliance in Coach's strategy is his ability to charm in a way that despite being obvious, is impossible to resist [see: Cochran.] Coach's only mistake, and what lost him the game, is that he didn't stand up for himself and his actions at Tribal. The Jury should still have seen his brilliance and let it go, but unfortunately, they did not, and unfortunately, Coach had some stiff competition with Sophie. 

4. Sophie.

Sophie, Sophie, Sophie! So-phierce. Or So-fierce. Yes, I would have voted for Coach if I could, but I would have had a hard time choosing, no doubt. I was a fan from the start, and was time and time again impressed by Sophie's willpower, her poise, her powers of observation and reaction, and her overall mad "Survivor" [not necessarily "survivor"] skills. That said, I wasn't the biggest fan of her plea at the Final Tribal Council. I think she went a bit too far in the logical breakdown of her strategy and could have afforded to show some more of her emotional and social game too - though I know her vulnerability in the previous episode was still fresh and she wanted to counter it. But even with the lack of "warmth" in the Final, Sophie can't help but exude her clever snarkiness - that might be and has been confused for coldness and superficiality - and proved that she deserved to be there, and that she deserved to win. If Coach and Ozzy had to lose, Sophie was by far my favorite pick for winner. And well, I also had a parallel desire for a non-returning player to win. So, YAY SOPHIE! 

5. Next season.

Am I the only who’s getting a bit tired of Survivor always being filmed in Samoa?!? I love the show, I don’t think that’s in question here; but one of the things I love the most is all the exotic places the seasons take us to… Australia, Africa, the Amazon, Tocantins, China, Central America… each landscape brings new challenges and new reliefs, and the diversity really adds something to the show each season. Or it used to… The South Pacific is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong! and if I were to compete on the show, I think I’d prefer to be on a sandy beach, where it doesn’t rain all too much and there are plenty of coconuts in the trees and fish in the sea. Seasons like Africa and China seemed particularly difficult what with muddy water sources, nowhere/very few places to bathe and few sources of food other than the rice or grits that were provided for them. So yeah, maybe Samoa is a good Survivor location for the actual players, but I wish the producers would keep exploring the world.

Eh,  regardless, next season looks awesome! Looking forward to it!

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