Survivor: Fiji
You've Got A Puzzled Look, Part 2
By Jim Van Nest
May 17, 2007

I had an alliance with Dreamz and didn't get screwed!

Hello, good people, and welcome back to Part Two of the Finale of Survivor: Fiji. Yep, that's right. It's your last Survivor recap of the season. I know, I know. It breaks my heart too, but, I have to take a little break. Rather than recap last time, only one thing really matters. Yau Man and Dreamz made a deal the other night. If they're in the Final Four and Dreamz wins immunity, he will give it to Yau Man in exchange for a $60,000 truck. Well, we closed the last recap with Dreamz winning the Final Four immunity, but there's an issue. We learned before the challenge that the Final Three will all face the final jury and be eligible for the million dollar grand prize. Will that make a difference, or will Dreamz prove to be a man of his word and hand off immunity (and possibly $1 million) to Yau Man? We're less than 30 minutes away from the answer, so let's get right to it.

After yet another promo for Pirate Master, we're back in camp. Dreamz hangs up the immunity necklace as Cassandra and Yau Man discuss who is getting the vote tonight. Yau wastes not one second in saying Dreamz is the vote. We see Earl and Dreamz talking and Earl tells Dreamz he's happy that Dreamz won. Earl tells us that Dreamz now has an even more difficult decision now that the Final Three will vie for the million. Yau, Cassandra and Earl are talking about it and they assure Yau that Dreamz will honor his agreement, even though they're voting him off. Dreamz joins the conversation and reassures Yau that he won't change his mind. Yau tells us that he thinks Dreamz is a man of his word, but he is a wild card so he's not feeling very comfortable.

Dreamz is telling Cassandra that it'll be hard to give up the necklace. He says he played hard, took down an entire alliance and then fell over a car. As he talks with Cassandra and Earl, he says something very interesting. "Just in case, I'm just giving y'all a heads up...if I do the wrong thing, y'all better vote Yau together or one of y'all are going home." He goes on to tell them that he's fine with fourth place. He tells us that the benefit he'll get after the game is that they'll know he's a truth teller. He goes on to tell us it's a hard decision and he hasn't actually decided what he's going to do. Considering he knows that giving up immunity also means he'll be voted off, that's gotta make the decision that much harder.

Probst sighting! As the jury gets settled, Jeff lets the jury know that three people will be at the final Tribal Council. He gets right to Dreamz winning immunity. Jeff asks him about it and Dreamz says that this is a game about lying and cheating but when your humanity is up against it; you have to honor your friendships. Jeff asks him where humanity is on this one. Dreamz says that it's not easy. He loves the truck and Yau Man did that for him. He also says that if he gives Yau Man the idol, he'll be voted out. He asks Yau if he went and spoke to Dreamz about it and Yau says no, that he's not doing any campaigning. He says his gut tells him that Dreamz will live up to his word. That gets a nice eye roll from Edgardo. Earl and Cassandra both dance around questions regarding the idol...but in all honesty, you have to think Earl is hoping for a double cross. He finishes up by saying he wouldn't have to make this decision, because he wouldn't have ended up in the situation.

Jeff confirms with Dreamz that if he gives up the necklace he'll be going home. Dreamz says that the whole three people facing the jury thing changes everything. Jeff gives Yau a last chance to say something to Dreamz. He basically says that he hopes Dreamz lives up to his word. So, Dreamz, do you want to keep immunity or assign it to someone else? "I'm gonna keep it, he says" We naturally get reaction shots from all over. Yau just bows his head; Mookie is smiling and nodding as if to say that he never had a doubt that Dreamz would double cross Yau. Cassandra just looks sad, but the best reaction of all is Earl's. His eyes get the size of dinner plates as it hits him. He may have just won a million dollars. If Dreamz and Cassandra hold true and join him in voting off Yau...he's golden. And he knows it. Another interesting reaction was Jeff's non-reaction. He seemed to have no stake in it at all and went on business as usual. I can only assume that while he felt for Yau Man, he was imagining all the pre-air hype he could give this moment. And with that, it's time to vote.

As you would expect, Cassandra gets one vote and Yau Man gets the remaining three votes and becomes the final member of the jury. As Yau Man takes his torch to Jeff, you can see the tears in Dreamz' eyes. And even Earl feels bad for dumping his boy. But in order to win, he had to make that vote. And that vote just won him a million dollars. And I'll say this right now, if either Cassandra or Dreamz wins this season, I'll never watch another episode of the show, for however long it continues to run.

While the commercials run, let's talk about Dreamz's decision. I have to be honest, and you'll probably be surprised by this, but I wouldn't have given up the necklace either. Granted, like Earl, I wouldn't have been in the predicament, but still... I'm sure people across the country are screaming at their TV and passing judgment on Dreamz with a lot of terrible names, but again, I have to say I'm with Dreamz on this one. Here's the deal: when Yau Man won that truck, there were five other people in the game. Earl was his buddy and biggest ally in the game. Cassandra was the third wheel who would do whatever they said. Boo and Stacy were not in their plans and were the next two bootees, with only immunity to save them. The only wild card out there was Dreamz and Yau knew it. Dreamz was the only threat to his game and as soon as he won the truck, he looked to remedy that. And considering how much Dreamz wanted a car, Yau found himself in possession of the nicest piece of vote bait he's ever seen.

The bottom line is this. Yau tried to take advantage of an underprivileged kid by dangling a truck in front of him in exchange for a shot at a million dollars. He knew Dreamz would take the bait and that would set him up for an unimpeded run to the final three. With the other four people involved "in line", Yau completed the deal with Dreamz to have his entire chess board laid out for a no-brainer jaunt to the finals. What he didn't count on was Dreamz actually having a brain in his head and deciding to take his chances with the jury. Now, as has been the case throughout the show, Dreamz comes up with good ideas and then butchers them in the execution. This was no different. He could have played the necklace thing out a totally different way by trying to broker another deal to stay in the game. Instead, he botched the whole thing and cost himself every single vote on the jury. I can't imagine a scenario in which any of those folks would vote for him. But, for a kid who grew up homeless, if he can convince a person or two to vote for him, he comes in second and has a $100,000 payday. Not too shabby when you're used to eating out of a dumpster. People will say all kinds of stuff about his integrity and everything else, but what they won't be able to take away from him is the fact that he saw through what Yau Man was doing and ambushed him with a surprising checkmate of his own.

We come back from break right after Tribal and Dreamz is apologizing to Earl and Cassandra by saying that it was just a game. Earl says he's worried that the jury will look bad on him for turning on Yau. Dreamz says that the jury will rip him up. Cassandra jumps in, saying that she'll also get ripped up. Earl tells us that he was pissed to have to write down Yau's name, but he had to do it and he hopes that Yau will understand. In confessional, Dreamz tells us that he has no regrets about his decision and everything went the way he planned. He says everyone else lied and cheated, so he's just right in the pack.

The next morning, Cassandra crosses off the last day on their calendar. Everyone is excited to make it to the final day and they take a quick hike up to Tree Mail and find a picnic basket waiting for them with a note telling them to look for a gift falling from the sky. About that time a plane flies over and drops a package into the water. And oh, by the way, they might want to check their parachutes, because the one on this box did nothing but fall right with that box. Cue the fiddles as they cook their food and enjoy their final hours on the island. Cassandra is just happy to have made it this far. She tells us that not being able to swim and being older makes it even more special for her.

After the feast, it's a fire sale. They light a fire and burn everything - from the palm fronds they slept on to the case their still digesting meal came in. Dreamz is reveling about making it this far. He says the game is over and he feels like he's "standing next to Oprah." Earl is also reflecting and feels this is a high point in his life. He feels like he played a good game while testing himself to prove that he is a man. As we head to Tribal, I feel it necessary to mention that it's been since Survivor 4 in Marquesas since we've had an African American in the finals of Survivor. And here tonight, we have a final three of African Americans. Even though Dreamz proved to be a liar and snake and everything else, seeing these three in the finals is so nice, considering in the past, the show has been accused (and I'm one of the accusers) of stereotyping the African American players. It's just quite refreshing to see.

As Jeff brings in the jury, I can't help but think there will be a lot of fireworks tonight as Dreamz gets ripped for lying to everyone and Cassandra gets ripped for riding coat tails. Who knows, there may even be a shot at Earl, though I have no idea what it would be for. Jeff does the traditional explaining of the rules. They are voting FOR someone tonight and the finalists WANT to see their names on the parchment. Power has shifted from the players to the jury and all that. Each person will make an opening statement and then each jury member will get a chance to address the finalists.

Earl starts off. He says he played an honest and clean game. He tried to make the right moves and didn't have to sacrifice his integrity. He mentions that he never got a vote against him and he never won a challenge. He doesn't want the sympathy or underdog vote, he wants the respect vote.

Cassandra's up next. She says that she started the game off slow, but that she wanted to make everyone feel like they had someone they could talk to. She was lucky to get with an alliance that stayed true and never wavered. And she hopes that after everything they can all still be friends.

Dreamz is up. He's just gonna get to the point. He says that they all know his life story because he told everyone. He says they all know what he would do with the money and he hopes they give him the money to help his life and to help him help other people. And now it's time for the jury.

Michelle is up first. She wants to know what was the biggest hardship they all were faced with. Dreamz says he had no problem with the elements, but thirst he couldn't handle. Even when you're homeless, you can find some water somewhere. Cassandra says her biggest obstacle was overcoming her inability to swim. Earl says the suffering on Ravu was rough and all the time he spent on Exile Island was tough as well. Before we move on, I just want to say that I don't believe it's possible for Michelle to be any cuter. That's all.

Edgardo is up next and has only one question for Earl. He wanted to know how he found out who had the immunity idol from the other alliance. Earl answers simply, "Dreamz." And that was it.

Mookie steps up and congratulates everyone. He then addresses Dreamz with a really stupid question. He asks Dreamz if he told anyone about the hidden idol. (Which, by the way, we just established when Edgardo asked the same frickin question. Pay attention man!) He then asks Dreamz if he felt it was a betrayal. Dreamz says no. He says if Mookie feels it was betrayal, that's fine. He sees it as a lie, a con a scam. Mookie then gives them all a word of advice and tells them that tonight is not the time to get caught up in a lie. Yeah, whatever Mook...sit down you sore losing chucklenut. If YOU hadn't told Dreamz about the idol in the first place, the whole game could be different.

Alex is up next and he looks pissed. He goes after Cassandra, asking her for a moment when she grappled with her integrity. She went back to the beginning when she overheard a conversation between Alex and Boo talking about her. He then takes her to task for pulling Stacy in and then dumping her when she wasn't useful anymore. As she tries to correct him, he just slams her down as if she were a hostile witness. For those of you who don't remember, Cassandra voted for Yau Man the night of the Stacy vote...but I won't let the facts get in the way of Alex's rant. Every time she tries to respond he basically tells her to shut up. When she finally does, he moves on to Dreamz. But before I move onto Dreamz, I wish, just one time one of the Survivor finalists would see that they're not gonna get the vote and tell someone like Alex to shove his vote up his ass, they're not gonna take this shit from him. He's not worth it and they don't have to explain a damn thing to him. But alas, she doesn't.

On to Dreamz. He wants him to explain how he can possibly think about helping kids when he lied and cheated and everything else. Alex basically says that Dreamz doesn't deserve to be a role model for kids. "Cause it's part of the game, this ain't part of the real world," Dreamz replies. I love this answer. The game is based on cons, lies and deceit. He then tells Dreamz that he won't wish him luck, to which Dreamz thanks him and sits down. Before I move on to Lisi I just want to say something and I can only hope Alex or one of the other Survivors reads this column. Dude, how did it feel? How did it feel watching the finale back with all the Survivors there? How did it feel watching yourself rail on Cassandra? And then I did it feel to know you railed on her like that and you were 100% wrong about the Stacy vote? I hope it made you feel like a complete tool, because that's what you proved to be. A complete tool.

And now the most vile Survivor to ever play the game, Lisi. This should be stunning. She starts off by doing the old Eeny-Meenie-Miney-Mo. OH. MY. GOD. Do my ears deceive me or did she just go back to one of the oldest racist children's rhymes of all time when addressing the African-American Final Three? I mean, are you frickin kidding me? I knew she was a disgusting human being from the get-go, but this is a step even worse than I thought she was capable of. That being said, this column is done devoting any space to her.

Stacy, you're up. She congratulates them all. She addresses Earl and says that the only difference between Earl and Dreamz is that he's more sophisticated and will land on his feet when this is all done and she can't say the same for Dreamz with certainty. She wants to know why she shouldn't vote based on need. Earl says that a million dollars is a life-changing sum of money no matter who you are. He was raised by a single mom with drugs all around him. He pulled himself up out of that. If you're basing it on need, each one of them could need the money.

Rocky is up now. He asks everyone the same question. How did they manipulate the best? He wants them to use the word "kicker." They have to say, "I'm the biggest kicker because of..." He goes with Cassandra first. She says she felt that she listened to a person when they needed it. Rocky cuts her off saying he doesn't want to hear about her nurturing and positives. She then says she doesn't feel like she manipulated anyone and he cuts her off to move to Dreamz. Dreamz says that he's the biggest kicker for always manipulating someone else onto the chopping block when it should have been him. He also admits to manipulating Yau Man. Earl - he says he has to be one of the biggest kickers because he manipulated everyone up there as none of them thought he was even playing the game.

Boo follows Rocky. He starts by tipping his cap to Yau Man and says he was the one who deserved to win this game. He then tells Dreamz that you can't make a promise in your heart and then change your mind. Dreamz interrupts to say it wasn't in his heart. Boo then asks Dreamz if he played Yau Man from the beginning or if he changed his mind after accepting the truck. And he wants his Christian answer...whatever the hell that means. Dreamz says he was playing the game. Boo then tells him that he sees through him and that he's an immature Christian and that he needs to be able to pass on what the devil dangles in front of him. Um, yeah, whatever.

Yau Man finishes up and says that as a 50-something year old man, he has the advantage of not having all the testosterone running through and clouding his brain. He says he can admit his mistakes and that what happened with the truck was all his fault and that Dreamz should enjoy the truck and not feel guilty about having it. He says he's giving Dreamz the chance to stand up and say why he changed his mind. Dreamz says that he did not change his mind, that this was his plan all along. He says the name of the game is outwit, outplay and outlast and he did that. He says he came into the game knowing what he had to do and he did it. Yau then moves on to Earl with one question. Why would he not take Yau to the next level? Earl says he wouldn't take Yau because he would not win. He tells Yau he played the best game by far.

And now it's time to vote. And unlike each and every one of the first 13 seasons, they show none of the votes. One can only assume that an unprecedented move like that would suggest an unprecedented result. As usual, Jeff comes in, tallies the votes and then runs off with the voting urn. The next time we'll see him will be at the live reunion where someone will be named the Sole Survivor.

And here we are in the Ed Sullivan Theater (Letterman must love this) for the live vote counting and reunion show. Jeff pulls out the first vote and it's for Earl. Second vote, Earl. Third vote Earl. And, well, all the votes are for Earl. In a season with a ton of firsts, we finish off with a unanimous vote at the final Tribal Council for the first time in 14 seasons of the show. And I, for one, am not surprised at all. Cassandra didn't deserve any votes and Dreamz pissed off everyone on the jury. So, congratulations are in order for Earl Cole, winner of Survivor: Fiji.

While I don't cover the reunion, because I simply don't want to, I do have to mention something from this year's event. At one point, Jeff mentions that they contacted Earl two days before leaving for Fiji. Apparently, he was plucked from a restaurant and taken on the adventure of a lifetime. Now, I've been watching this show since the second episode of Season 1. This is now my eighth season recapping Survivor. I've applied for the show myself and feel like I've studied the show enough to be able to play it with the best of them. So here it is. Mark Burnett, Jeff Probst, anyone over at want to pluck some random person off the street to play some Survivor. I volunteer that you pick me. You'll get a guy who's guaranteed not to quit and is guaranteed not to act like he wants to quit. Not only that, but you'll get a guy that knows how to play the game, and will come into it with his game face on. I may not be a Jonny Fairplay, but I can say that "playing an honest game filled with integrity" won't be on my to-do list. Also, you're gonna get a guy who will say what he feels. Example...there's not a chance in hell I would have put up with what Alex and "She Who Will Not Be Named" said without telling one or both of them where to go. And as an added bonus, anytime I'm in a confessional, you can plaster Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst under my picture! I mean, come on...what more could you ask for? I'm ready to go and I have my passport. Just contact me through BOP and I'll be ready to go.

Since I'm not likely to be ON Survivor: China, chances are I'll be back here writing about it. Until then, dear readers, take care!