Survivor: One World Recap

One Beach, Two Tribes

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

February 21, 2012

My lawyer's gonna get so much money from Survivor.

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Previously on Survivor, an unconscionably terrible season ended with the best player of the season, Sophie, winning and one of the worst players in the history of the game, Coach, finishing in second place. The fact that people gave Coach any votes still blows us away several months after the fact, a point we debated with BOP’s Survivor Analyst, Jim Van Nest (who is taking a break this season), on innumerable occasions.

Jim likes Coach on a personal level and that caused him to believe that the veteran Survivor was running his tribe. In reality, as the days wound down, comments from the remaining members clarified our belief that the members of the former Upolu tribe made decisions as a group with Sophie and Albert positioned as the thinkers of the group. Over time, the distrust toward Albert demonstrated by others led the dysfunctional unit to gravitate toward Sophie’s decision making.

This was the correct call in that Sophie was the smartest and toughest member of her tribe and a fitting victor in a forgettable season, the worst since Survivor: Samoa. As was the case then, the editing manipulated the viewer into thinking one player was in control while the actions of others eventually proved that the woman (Natalie then and Sophie now) was the best of a lousy bunch. We always liked Sophie but the fact that Lil Hanz and Coach could position themselves in the final six speaks volumes about how epic a failure last season was. After all, someone named Rick was also one of the final four. Do you remember a Rick?


After a terrible season that would cause some people to believe that Coach is anything other than incompetent, changes were clearly needed. The alteration that gives the season its title, One World, is that both tribes will exist in the same space. This should allow the players to have a working knowledge of one another long before the “merge,” which will be less important this time due to the starting circumstances. Of course, the most noteworthy change with One World is that there will be no Redemption Island. If a player is voted out of the game, there is no means through which they can gain readmission. Dead is dead.

The participants will also be divided up in a battle of the sexes, which was attempted in season 9, Vanuatu, a largely forgettable season featuring one of the weakest winners ever, Chris. An incidental variation also played out in season 16, Micronesia, when the final five players included four women and one man. The dude, Erik, was manipulated into giving up immunity in order to aid a friend and prove his loyalty. He was immediately betrayed by being voted out for his trouble, a cautionary tale for the men this season. As is always the case with Survivor, the rules matter less than the cast. Still, we are cautiously optimistic based upon past history that Survivor: One World should prove to be good television. At least there is no Hantz and no Coach this season. We would be thrilled if none of those three goofs ever appeared on our television again.

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