Survivor: South Pacific
Finale: Loyalties Will Be Broken, Part 1
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
December 19, 2011

We're still best friends, right? RIGHT???

Hello, good people, and welcome to the finale of Survivor: South Pacific here at Box Office Prophets. We're down to six people vying for the title of Sole Survivor and the $1 million prize that goes with it. Four people are still in the game: Sophie, Albert, Rick and Coach Wade, and two people are now living on Redemption Island: Ozzy and Brandon. Tonight we'll see the final RI Duel, where either Ozzy or Brandon will get back into this game. Then we'll see two Immunity Challenges, two votes and one Final Tribal Council.

While there's not a whole lot to say to build up to this, I do want to mention that I sure do hope Tim Tebow can beat the Patriots in enough time for God to make it from the Broncos game to the Survivor finale. Otherwise, it could ALL get screwed up! Here's the final Power Rankings of the season.

Sophie 8-1. That's right. I've moved Sophie up to #1 on the Power Rankings. While I still think that Albert did more damage to himself than Coach on Wednesday, I do think he did some damage to Coach. The jury was shocked at the Brandon vote and I think they'll hold Coach at least partially responsible (if not fully responsible.) That being said, the only person left that should garner support for victory is Sophie. All she needs to do is keep Ozzy out of the game and she stands an awesome chance at becoming a millionaire.

Coach - 10-1. Coach drops for the finale, just because I think he was painted into a corner on Wednesday and he didn't know exactly what to do to get out of it. He will still get Brandon's vote, I think, but he may have lost some other votes by cutting Brandon loose like that.

Ozzy - 15-1. I keep saying it...if Ozzy gets to the end, he wins. And right now, I think there's a good chance he does just that. I don't think Brandon poses much of a threat to him. Then it's a matter of a couple immunities. But let's not forget his deal with Coach. Who knows how that'll play out.

Albert - 50-1. I don't think he stands a chance of winning, just a better chance than Rick and Brandon. Albert MAY have exposed Coach at the last Tribal, but all that does is push more people toward Sophie, because Albert came off as badly as Coach did. The only way Albert wins now is if he gets there with Moustache and Coach and they decide they don't like Coach, so they give Albert the money.

Rick - 100-1. He seems like a helluva nice guy. He's probably the most likable person out of this alliance. He's just not much of a Survivor player. He's done nothing to stand out in ANY way and therefore will not get any votes if he even makes it to the end.

Brandon - 1 million-1. It's weird how my thoughts on him have changed. He's still creepy and his Mikayla stuff at the beginning of this season worries me. But, I really think if Brandon makes it to the final Tribal...he can win this thing. And while I love the thought of Brandon having the ultimate braggin' rights at the next family reunion, I don't think he has a chance in hell of getting to the end. Ozzy is a tough enough first task. If he manages to win the duel, then he has to figure out how to stay alive in a game that's already voted him off. Stranger things have happened, I just don't think they'll happen tonight.

We begin the episode with a lengthy recap of the happenings from Day One until tonight. We then check in at Redemption Island as Brandon arrives and disturbs Ozzy's slumber. He tells Ozzy about giving up immunity to save Albert. Ozzy tells us that Brandon wasn't blindsided, he gave away immunity. You NEVER give away immunity. If you do, you go home. He says Brandon isn't playing a loyalty game, he's playing a blind faith game. And that won't work in a game for a million dollars. Brandon tells us that it hurts to get stabbed in the back by your best friend, but he forgives Albert and hopes he learns from this experience. I think it's interesting that he seems to bear no ill will toward Coach.

We join the rest of the tribe as they return to camp. Sophie tells us that Tribal was crazy and that Brandon made the ultimate stupid move. She also tells us that Albert not giving the necklace back made him look bad in front of the jury. Which brings us to Coach, Albert and Sophie arguing by the fire. Albert claims to have not known that Brandon was going home. Coach tells us that Albert knew Brandon would go home and that he should just own his actions. There's no need to lie about it to them, because they know the truth. Coach is really pissed with Albert and the way he is (and has been) playing toward the jury. He tells Albert that he's sick of the politicking and he refuses to be made a fool of. He says that he's been made a fool of so many times in this game and he's not going to stand for it anymore. Albert tells us that he realizes he's in bad shape with his tribe right now and he needs to do some serious damage control if he's to stay alive.

Back at Redemption Island, Ozzy and Brandon get the note that this is the final dual. The clue suggests that they need to "hang on." Ozzy tells us that in his two weeks on Redemption, he's well fed, he's well rested and he's better prepared to get back in this game. He's in better shape now than he has been in any game of Survivor he's played. He's going to miss Redemption, but he's ready to get back in the game and see if he can finish it out.

Today's duel is a simple one...climb to the top of a pole. Then...don't come down. Stay there as long as you can. Every couple feet, there's a quarter inch slot for them to put their feet. As the duel goes, the tribe is rooting against Ozzy (as they have for the last several duels.) After what seems like forever, Jeff breaks in to tell them they've been there for 20 minutes. Neither one of them looks like they'll ever come down. Forty minutes in, Ozzy is adjusting himself quite a bit. The rest of the tribe can see that Ozzy's losing it. Right about this time, Brandon starts to lose it as well. After several more minutes of shifting and raising and being uncomfortable...Brandon finally loses it and drops to the ground. Ozzy is back in this game! Before he goes, though, I'll say this about Brandon...the kid never gave up. He played hard and he played true to himself. Should he maybe get some counseling? Yeah, probably. Especially with the whole Mikayla thing. But overall, he played an honest game and he played as honorably as he knew how. He left the game with no hard feelings and, in my opinion, he did himself proud and just may have helped his family name. As everyone heads back to camp, Sophie tells us that even with Brandon giving his everything to that duel, Ozzy still won. She says that if Ozzy keeps winning, there's going to be very little that she can do.

We come back from break as the Upolus are "welcoming" Ozzy back to camp. No one's happy to see him there, but they sorta welcome him anyway. Bottom line, everyone out there, including Ozzy, knows that if he makes it to the end, he wins. So naturally, the rest of the game becomes "can ANYone beat Ozzy?" Shortly after his arrival, Coach and Ozzy get together for a talk. Let's not forget that Coach gave him his word as a Christian man. Coach tells Ozzy that if he were to win immunity, he would be likely to give Ozzy one of those to keep him in this game. Ozzy ain't buying it. He even says is, "Who in their right mind would want to take me?" Coach feels like he deserves to be in this game. He tells us that he wants to take Ozzy to the end. He says that he has solid deals with so many people, that this is his game to lose. I agree with that. He's in a position where there's no way he doesn't make the final Tribal. But how he plays the next two votes will go a long way to determining whether or not he wins. At this point, it's his game...but if he's foolish enough to take Ozzy to the final tribal, he'll essentially give away a million dollars. And with that, it's time for a...

Probst sighting!! Today's immunity challenge is a twist on the annual "House of Cards" challenge. Each person will grab a handle, which will balance out a scale. They'll have to build their house of cards on one side of the scale, while keeping the whole thing balanced. So they have one hand to build. The first one to build their house tall enough wins immunity and has a one in four chance of being the Sole Survivor. For the rest...there will be no more Redemption Island. You get voted out now, you go straight to the jury.

As they start off, Jeff asks if any of them do this for fun. Sophie says she has a book on how to make these. As they progress, that book has paid off as Sophie's tower looks indestructible. Just as Jeff comments on this, Sophie says that she doesn't have any pieces left. Bummer, she's going to have to take her tower apart and rebuild it using fewer tiles. Ozzy gets within a couple inches of the top, but he too runs out of pieces. Coach had a huge tower, but it drops to the ground and he has to start over. Sophie once again nears the top. As she gets there, she loses half her tower. In a weird exchange, Sophie demands that Albert drop his stack and help her by picking up her pieces. She says she'll beat him and she needs his help.

Probst jumps in to say that there will be no helping in this challenge. "You wanna take out Ozzy...beat him." As they continue on, this challenge breaks down to Coach and Ozzy. They're neck and neck with about eight inches to go. Right at the end, Ozzy pulls away and wins yet another challenge with Coach only about four inches away. Coach is upset at losing, but at the same time, for his end game, this may be the best outcome. Now he doesn't have to make the decision of whether or not to keep Ozzy.

When they get back to camp, Ozzy recounts how he built his tower to win the challenge. He loves the idea of watching these guys squirm. He said he plans on playing them all against each other now. Coach and Albert are discussing who to get rid of. Coach thinks Rick has a good shot to win, so he needs to go next. He tells us that he was thinking about Albert, but he's worried that Rick could be the "aw shucks I kept my word" player in the final three and that people who don't like the other finalists could settle on him. I think Coach has played a fantastic game, but this is where Rob shined and Coach has not. He doesn't read people well. No one that's a part of this game should think Moustache has a chance in hell of winning it. Ozzy steps up to Albert to suggest that Sophie is the one that needs to go. He feels she's a brat and cites her hollering at Albert during the challenge as his reasoning. He says he's voting for Sophie and pretty well swings Albert right into his corner. Albert says that he thinks Sophie will speak well and could easily influence a jury. His strategy may suck, but Albert does read people well. Anyone should be able to tell that Sophie is a bigger threat than Moustache.

Speaking of Moustache, he has approached Coach about who's getting the vote. Coach is very aloof and very vague with his answers. The whole deception and lying part of this game is not easy for him. You can read him like a frickin' book. Rick asks him what he plans to do and Coach says he'll throw a vote someone's way. He says that he thinks Sophie will be voting for Rick.

Rick tells us that Coach is good at skirting questions without ever actually giving a commitment. As an example of this, Rick suggests they vote out Sophie. Coach's response, "I'd vote for Sophie." Not "I will vote for Sophie...but I would". That's the way he's been working these last several answers that he can justify in his own mind as not lies...but they really are. No one is going to go back to the transcripts and see that he said "would" instead of "will" and be like..."Oh, you got me there big guy." They're going to think he's a liar.

Albert tries to talk Ozzy about dumping Rick. Ozzy tells him that it's a mistake and then tells Albert that Coach promised him "as a Christian man" that he would take him to the finals. Albert is totally thrown off by this. He says it makes sense as Coach always chimes about taking the strongest players to the end. So Albert goes to Coach to question him about this. Albert straight up asks Coach if he gave his word to Ozzy. Coach's response, "I can't wait to vote his ass outta here." And there you have it. He didn't deny promising Ozzy, but Albert seems to accept that as an answer. As they head to Tribal, Albert seems to be leaning toward joining Ozzy and voting for Sophie.

As the jury comes into Tribal Council, they may as well have done cartwheels at seeing Ozzy with the immunity necklace around his neck. They start with the challenge. Ozzy says he knows that he's gone if he loses a challenge. Tonight is the last night to play the hidden idol, Coach says that he'll play it tonight, which narrows the voting pool to three. Albert suggests that he should be kept as someone who can compete with Ozzy in a challenge. This gets a huge eye roll from Ozzy and several chuckles from the jury. And they're right. Albert's probably the LEAST likely to beat Ozzy in a challenge.

Jeff asks Sophie why she should be kept around. She says she thinks that she can beat Ozzy as she's won more challenges than the rest of them. Rick tells us that Ozzy is probably gonna win immunity again, so he needs to think about people who can't beat him and that he probably can't beat him, so he should be kept. Sophie reiterates that the most important thing is to beat Ozzy and if Rick isn't the guy to do it, he needs to go. Jeff asks Coach why it's so important to get rid of Ozzy. He gives a weird roundabout answer that basically boils down to "we're a family, so I'm trying to stick with the family."

Ozzy chimes in, "But we talked..." Uh oh...and here's where the last little shreds of Coach's game can come completely unraveled. Ozzy tells everyone that Coach wanted to take him to the end. Sophie interrupts to say that at this point, it's not just about loyalties for her right now. She personally wants Ozzy out because she feels that he has been disrespectful to her since day one. He tells her that he thinks she acts like a spoiled brat out there. He says that everyone that's come through Redemption has given him pieces that make him feel that way about her. And then we see something that I NEVER would have expected to happen. Sophie completely breaks down. She feels Ozzy made a very personal attack against her and that she is not used to people commenting on her character. Even Dawn mentions it on the jury as she says, "She's breaking down."

Sophie goes on to say that she's done a lot to try to be friends with people out there and that what has her so upset is that all of these people are supposedly saying this stuff about her. She feels that this game is not helping her build a thicker skin, she's losing skin and finding out that what she thought was a strength of hers is actually a weakness. She says that feeling like everyone thinks she's a selfish spoiled bitch makes her regret even coming out there. Probst tries to get her composed a little, but she tells him it's time to vote. If Coach doesn't dump Sophie now, she may have just won the game. The jury is really feeling for her. Dawn, Whitney and Brandon are practically in tears watching her.

We see Moustache's vote for Sophie saying that this is the only shot he has. Ozzy votes Sophie saying that he's sorry he made her cry, but he still thinks it. We don't see any other votes, but we have to assume Sophie voted Rick. As Jeff asks if someone would like to play the hidden idol, Coach arrogantly stands pat and does not play the idol. And this is why he fails. It's a very small thing, but the jury sees all. They see him being an arrogant ass, over and over. They're not going to vote for that. What would have been so hard about standing up and saying, "Jeff, I think I'm safe, but I want to be 100%. Here's my idol."? And the jury thinks nothing of it. Instead, you keep it and look like an ass. Oh yeah...and when the votes come up, Albert and Coach stick with Sophie and send Rick to the jury. As Coach tries to give Rick a hug on the way out (as he has with everyone), Rick tells him to "Go on, have a seat." One thing's for sure, the trend of bitter juries from the last several seasons seems to be in full force on this one as well.

Before they head out, Jeff tells them they will participate in their final challenge tomorrow and a winner will be decided. With his final speech, Rick says that he was a fool to think Coach was playing this game straight and that his vote is for Ozzy.

While they go to commercial, I'm going to grab another soda and some chips. I'll be back for Part 2 of the Finale Recap momentarily. See ya!