Hello, good people, and welcome to Part Two of the Survivor: South Pacific finale recap. When last we spoke (about five minutes or so ago, right?), Moustache has been sent to the jury box, Ozzy was riding high on another challenge win, Coach made himself look like an ass...again, and Sophie had a total breakdown (at the most opportune time...just sayin'.)
Survivor: South Pacific
Finale: Loyalties Will Be Broken, Part 2
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
December 19, 2011
So let's get right back to the action. The next morning has Ozzy thinking about how important this last challenge is. He scales a tree and brings down some coconuts. He has no plans on sharing what he's eating as he has the entire game against him. The other three are talking about how Ozzy has to go. Coach pulls Ozzy aside and wants to talk. He says that they made the deal at Redemption and he specifically said not to tell people about it, and then he threw it out at Tribal in front of everyone. He feels that Ozzy broke this deal and that he is no longer bound to his word. Ozzy tells him that he's been burned before by trusting people (Hi Amanda!) and he wasn't going to let it happen again. Coach tells us that he didn't realize how bad the game had hurt Ozzy. Coach still seems on board with taking Ozzy to the end. He asks Ozzy who he wants gone. Ozzy says he wants Albert and Sophie to have to make a fire. Coach appreciates that idea and seems to be good with it. As they head to the challenge, Ozzy tells us that he's not taking anyone's word for anything. He knows it is winning or go home. This is his final challenge in the game of Survivor, ever and he's ready to go.
Probst sighting! Today's challenge is a big Survivor obstacle course. They'll go through five different obstacles and will grand a bag of puzzle pieces at the other side. Once they have all five bags, they'll be able to start the puzzle. First one to complete the puzzle wins immunity and a guaranteed spot at the final Tribal Council. As the challenge begins, Ozzy is a man possessed. He's rolling through this challenge with little issue. Albert and Sophie seem to keep trying to do the same obstacles at the same time, which is slowing them both down. For crying out loud, there are five obstacles and only four of you...how do you keep going to the same place?
As Ozzy comes back with his fourth bag, Sophie brings back her second bag. At the same time, Coach brings back his third bag as does Albert. When Ozzy gets back with his fifth bag, everyone else has three. Ozzy is working on the puzzle as everyone heads back with their fourth bag of pieces. Ozzy is STILL working on the puzzle as everyone heads back with their fifth bag. Coach and Sophie are now working on the puzzle as well. Albert finally gets there with his fifth bag and we're all at the end. Sophie fits the first piece and the second piece and the third piece. Ozzy now fits in the first to pieces of the puzzle. Coach and Albert are out of it. This comes down to Sophie vs. Ozzy. Ozzy puts in the third piece and they are now neck and neck. And just like that, Sophie flips a switch and quickly puts the rest of her pieces in and wins the final immunity. Ozzy is totally dejected and knows that his Survivor experience has likely come to an end.
When we get back to camp, it's time to play "It's anyone but Ozzy." Ozzy is thoroughly bummed that he lost that last challenge. He's not giving up, though. He knows his last hope is Coach. He's interrupted by hollers from the other three. Those hollers are because Coach has knelt down and relinquished his Dragon Slayer title to Sophie as Ozzy's the ultimate dragon. Coach breaks the celebration to go talk to Ozzy. As he does this, Sophie thinks there may be a tie vote tonight as Coach may side with Ozzy.
We join the Coach-Ozzy discussion with Ozzy making his appeal to build a fire against Albert. Coach tells Ozzy that he's battling with this decision because he's given them all his word. Ozzy makes a compelling argument for allowing him to have one final challenge against Albert to get into the finals. He hits all the trigger words, including "warrior," "Christian man," and "honor." Coach tells us that he was really hoping this final vote would be really easy. But he's left with another decision that's going to rip his heart out. Which means he's voting for Ozzy tonight. I mean, really, why would forcing Albert into a tie rip his heart out? Bottom line, the dumb move is to allow Ozzy to stay in the game. He. Will. Win. He has to go. Period.
This time at Tribal, as the jury walks in and sees Ozzy without the necklace, they all look like someone ran over their dog. Jeff starts with Sophie asking her how immunity feels. She says it's amazing and that she's very happy to be in this place for the final Tribal. Ozzy says they had a million dollar puzzle today and he just couldn't get it to work. Jeff asks Coach if it's hard to hear Ozzy say he came so close. Coach says that he definitely knows how that feels and it's heart breaking. Ozzy says that he and Coach had talked about forcing a showdown in the finals. Jeff clarifies this with Coach and he confirms the talks of forcing a tie and letting a fire building challenge decide who makes it.
Jeff goes back to Coach's talk of playing a game with honor. Coach admits that he has always talked about taking the best to the end. He says that Sophie and Albert are pretty good players too, but what Ozzy did to get where he is is almost impossible. Jeff looks to Albert to see how he would do at a fire building challenge. Albert says he's ready for it, but says it's similar to saying that he drives all the time, but now he has to race Jeff Gordon. Just because he knows how to make a fire doesn't mean much when he has to do it better and faster than Ozzy. You can see the decision weighing on Coach as they head in to vote. Again, this can only mean he's dumping Ozzy.
We see Albert's vote for Ozzy saying that "pride comes before the fall." We see Ozzy's vote for Albert, with no comment. And we see Sophie's vote for Ozzy saying, "Because I am the new dragon slayer." As expected, we don't see Coach's vote. Jeff comes back to read the votes and when he gets to the fourth vote, he snuffs Ozzy's torch for the third time this season and he becomes the final member of the jury.
This leaves the original alliance of Coach, Sophie and Albert in the final three. Before last week, this final three ends with a check in Coach Wade's hand. But he's taken some serious hits in the last couple Tribals and I'm not sure he can come back from it. One thing I know for sure, Albert can't win this game.
We come back from break as the final three celebrate making it to the end. Coach tells us that getting rid of Ozzy was really a no brainer. He just couldn't leave him in the game. They wake up in the morning to the final three breakfast feast at Tree Mail. They cook, they eat, they drink and they just enjoy that final day moment. But that doesn't last too long as Sophie starts talking strategy for the final Tribal. She and Coach discuss how Albert was pandering to the jury way to quickly and that he should feel lucky to be there. They agree that they have nothing bad to say about each other.
Sophie tells us that her goal is to try to really keep her composure for this final Tribal. She plans to go in more logically than emotionally. Sophie and Albert talk as well. Sophie says she does not plan to throw anyone under the bus, but if it appears that Coach is coming off as the King of the show, she might have to. We interrupt this strategy session for Albert to tell us how he knows that he's played a better game than the other two and that he knows how to persuade well. He says he'll be stronger and sharper because he knows that he played the best game.
One last session of Coach-chi and Coach tells us that he left the first game and was looked at as a fool. So he came back for Heroes vs. Villains and was sent out way too soon. He felt more like the dragon than the dragon slayer. He feels that this final chapter has been a great game for him and he feels like this dragon will arise from the ashes as the ultimate phoenix victor...or something like that. Whoa!!! Just when I was planning my annual bathroom break while they do the "fallen comrades" walk to Tribal...they cut it out this season. FINALLY! Well done, everyone. Let's get right to the final Tribal then!
As always, the Tribal begins with opening statements. Albert is up first and he tells them he's very humbled to be there. He says that this game is above all else, a social experiment. He says that it's a game about people. He feels a higher power brought them all together and he's thankful to have played this game with them and he looks forward to answering all of their questions.
Sophie's up next and she takes a very Sophie-like approach to her opening. She basically opens with a closing. She lists out how she both outwitted and outplayed these guys. She discusses challenge wins as well as gives her take on where she was in the strategic portion of the game. She says as this game has gone on that she apparently hasn't played as good of a social game as she was thinking. But she did play an honest game and feels that she fulfilled all the requirements to be the winner.
Coach starts off by saying that he can't believe he's even up there. He says Redemption Island is tailor made for Ozzy. He says that he's more of a character. He says he came into this game the first time with arrogance and self righteousness. He said he tried to lead with compassion, love, appreciation and respect this time around. He says what he liked so much about this journey is that instead of fitting people to his plans, he fit in more to theirs. He says that when you open yourself to others, you get back what you give ten-fold and he's blessed to have gotten a little piece of each of them.
As the jury thinks about their questions, I'll say that Albert and Coach did very well here. Sophie, while speaking the truth, just came off as cold and calculating...which is exactly what Ozzy was saying about her. Coach came off as humble and legitimately in awe of his position. Albert was very eloquent and his speech was very warm-fuzzy for the jury. I just don't know that his previous actions will be able to be forgotten by a few frilly words.
We come back for jury questions and Ozzy gets to start us off. He says that he has good news and bad news. The good news is that the game is not decided yet. The bad news is that no one wants to vote for ANY of them. HE starts with Sophie saying he still finds her to be a privileged, pretentious brat. He tells Albert that he just happened to be the person who was in the right place at the right time and he didn't do anything of note.
Ozzy tells Coach that he respects him for making it to the end as a returning player. He wants him to be honest, though. His philosophy of honor is a bunch of bull, because if he played honorably, Ozzy would be sitting up there next to him. Coach says that he tried to play the game with honor. But he came to crossroads in the game where he had to break his word. He says it hurt him every time, but as a three-time player, knowing he wasn't going to be out there again, he made some choices to get to the end. He says that he played mostly an honorable game, but definitely was dishonorable along the way.
Next up is Jim. He asks Albert why the other two people should not win the game. And he tells him that if he starts with a compliment to anyone, he'll lose his vote. Albert starts by saying that he loves this question and he loves Jim's approach to the game. REALLY? He just said to not start with a compliment. THIS is why everyone on the jury would feel gross about voting for you. He says that he doesn't think Coach should win because, even though Savaii may think Coach is the leader, that's not true. He says that he and Sophie carried Coach to the end. He goes on to say that Sophie did not play a good social game and that he made better connections than her with everyone on the jury.
Dawn is up next and begins with congratulations. She asks Sophie what her strategy was and why she made an alliance with Coach and Albert so early on. Sophie starts by saying that when she found out she was playing this game, she wished she was a man. As we've seen the last few seasons, men can just find two young girls to follow them to the end. She says that when she saw Coach, she saw him as a potential "young girl" who has always been loyal and she thought that would carry over. She picked Albert because he was very into strategy and she needed someone to talk strategy with. She says that her relationship with Albert deteriorated over time, but she kept him around because she felt she had a better chance to go farther with Albert than with Rick.
Speaking of, Rick is up next. He talks to Coach about his game of honor and loyalty. He asks Coach if he has anything to say to him and to make it short. Coach says simply, "I apologize." Rick moves to Albert and tells him that the night he took the necklace from Brandon and used the God thing on him...it was a bunch of bull. As he moves on to Sophie, Albert asks if he can comment on that and Rick quickly shuts him down, "No." He asks Sophie why she should win the money and what is her name worth after all her lies. She says that she tried to not lie through this game. She said she only lied when it was necessary to move forward in the game. She also says that his boot was the only thing she's ashamed of during this entire game.
Next up is Brandon. This should be fun. He starts with Coach. He asks him if he has anything to say after promising to never vote him out. Coach tells him that he appreciates Brandon trying to elevate the game. And that his faith was a rallying point for their entire tribe. He says that he really feels Brandon should be sitting up there right now and that he wants to make it up to him. He knows he hurt him. Brandon says that he's hurt, but he forgives him. He asks Albert how he feels about using God to make the final three.
Albert says he didn't do that. He says that he would never have used his God to further himself in this game. He patronizes Brandon a bit by saying that he thanks Brandon for helping him get closer to his God. Brandon interrupts to say that he doesn't feel that Albert is being genuine with him He has one quick question, "Did you know I was going home?" As Albert tries to explain, Brandon cuts him off and asks again. He wants a simple yes or no answer here. Albert tries to explain like six times and every time, Brandon cuts him off wanting a yes or a no. Finally Albert says he didn't know he was going home and Brandon says, "That's all I need to know...you lie." Albert tries to explain again, but Brandon goes to sit down. If anyone was thinking about voting for Albert, I can't imagine they would now. Brandon just shredded him and exposed him for everything he is in one 30 second window. Looks like this is a two-horse race now.
Whitney's up next. She congratulates them and starts with Albert. She tells him he's sleazy and that he buttered people up when he knew they were leaving. She tells Coach that she feels that he used Christianity to manipulate his tribe. She tells Sophie that she is the most condescending person she's ever met and that she didn't get to know anyone. Sophie says that she realizes that and that she thought being blunt and intimidating is just part of who she is. And she's realizing that this is not as good trait as she thought coming in. Edna steps up and makes the best speech so far. She says that they're all there to play Survivor and one of the biggest things in this game is manipulation. And religion is one of the oldest ways to manipulate people. She says they all signed up to be manipulated. They all signed up to be duped. There should be no hard feelings against these three because they did it better. Everyone was duped by them. They were just more successful than the rest.
Keith steps up next to ask Coach a question about the immunity idol. He asks if Coach was planning to use that for himself or for the tribe. He says that he planned to play it at the 6-6 merge Tribal. He said that he was trying to get from Cochran who they were going to vote for, so they could play it wisely, but as it turned out, he didn't need to use it at all.
As Keith is getting ready to sit down, Sophie chimes in to "clear something up." She says that the discovery of the idol didn't go down the way the rest of the tribe thought. She explained the whole deal with them finding the idol early and then staging the discovery of the idol when Brandon wouldn't let it go. Brandon is in absolute shock at this revelation. And can I just say, this must be what she was talking about earlier when she said if it looked like Coach was King, she might have to go there. This was cheap and it was low. I don't know why it surprises me in Survivor...but it does. She was every bit a part of the decision making process on this and she just completely threw it all in Coach's and, to a lesser extent, Albert's lap. Chances are, she just won a million dollars by doing it...chances are when she looks back, she might not be too proud of herself for pulling that stunt.
The final question of the night, of course, is from Cochran. He says that he was a huge fan of Coach coming into this and that he really tricked him. He says that he loved the Coach-chi and the thought of being in the final three with Coach. He loved every part of it. But he gets tired of hearing about the "honor" in his game. He says that Coach says "honor" so much that the word really has no meaning anymore. He asks him if he could share his strategy without mentioning the word honor.
Coach says he came into the game wanting to do all the right things. But when you try to please everyone all the time, you end up doing all the wrong things. He says he stabbed a lot of them in the back. He says he's sorry for doing what he did to get there. He knew it was his third and final time playing the game and he wanted to get to the end and every day he would justify his actions. At the end, it just became a mess. He compares it to a deck of cards and how nice it looks, but as of now everyone hates him, his deck of cards is gone and his game is in shambles.
Coach says that he's proven again that he's a horrible strategist. He says that he's not this type of person. He's not devious and he's not a strategist. Sophie jumps in to take fault for this as she was his strategist. Then Albert jumps in to say he was the strategist. And no, I'm not frickin' kidding. It's like a big game of "To Tell the Truth"...they're all sorta standing, then going back down. "I'm the strategist, no I'm the strategist." Thankfully we're all put out of our misery as that's the last question of the Tribal.
We come back from break as it's time to vote. As I said in my Power Rankings, I think Coach has lost this game over the last couple days. He had a VERY good final Tribal and may have made up some ground. I think that Sophie's underhanded idol story may work in her favor, though. I'm still fully in the camp that believes that when this is all said and done we SHOULD be saluting Coach Ben Wade as the winner of Survivor: South Pacific. But that won't happen. I think we WILL be saluting Sophie Clarke as the winner.
The first vote we see is Cochran voting for Coach. He says that despite all the honor, integrity, love and compassion talk, he played the best game. He says that he shouldn't be apologizing for anything and that if the jury isn't bitter, they should all see who played the best game and it was Coach. Dawn votes for Sophie saying she's excited for her because she's probably going to have a million reasons to smile.
We see no further votes and Jeff will go collect the votes. Sadly, we still don't get the huge production number of Jeff getting those votes to New York. I really think they're missing the boat here. I mean, he could roll through New York, Miami, Vegas...anywhere CBS has a show set and it's free publicity for their other shows...not that they need it. Anyway, Jeff is now at the live reunion and it's time for the reading of the votes.
First vote is Cochran's vote for Coach. Second vote is Dawn's vote for Sophie. We alternate votes until it's three for Coach and three for Sophie. Oh yeah, Albert's there too, but he doesn't have any votes. When the seventh vote comes up Sophie, breaking the pattern, you know it's all over. Sophie is the winner of Survivor: South Pacific. Ultimately, Coach and Sophie played outstanding games. In my opinion, Coach played a better game...but I wasn't there. Sophie is a deserving winner. Not the most deserving, but deserving nonetheless.
Next time on Survivor: another new twist is coming to Survivor Season 24. There will be two tribes living on the same beach. They'll have to build a society together, while competing against each other. Do you share rewards? Do you share supplies? How about alliances when you can talk to everyone? The ultimate social experiment is about to get a facelift and it should be fantastic. Now if they'll just get rid of frickin' Redemption Island and everyone named Hantz...I'll be happy as I can be. I'm sure Box Office Prophets will be there with you every episode of the way...so until then, take care.