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Survivor: South Pacific – Finale – Bitter Jury Syndrome Strikes Again

…Sophie was not that kind of winner, but she will be compared to them. Personally, I think Coach played the best game in South Pacific, but he fell victim to something I suspected may have happened. He cut too many deals and had to betray too many people. In the end, they chose to punish him rather than reward his gameplay. Sophie also played a great game, however, and was strategically as savvy as Coach was. She may not have been as good socially, but she was much better physically.

Coach made a big error in choosing Sophie to be the one he stuck with, because she was much more dangerous than the others. Albert and Ozzy each warned him, but he didn’t listen. However, before we start killing Coach for that mistake, we must remember that he wound up being painted into a corner. If he had taken out Sophie instead of Cochran, Edna, Brandon or Rick, then he would have still lost the game because Sophie was the one who beat Ozzy. Sure, she may have been able to ace the puzzle on RI that Cochran and Edna failed to do, but chances are Ozzy would have been in that Final Four against people he would have beaten. And he would have won the whole game. And who knows if Sophie on the jury would go for Coach anyway.

No, he lost and she won fair and square. Sophie was no Amber – she was closer to a Steph or a Sandra – but Coach was All-Stars Boston Rob. He got burned by cutting too many deals. Brandon, Cochran, Edna, Rick and Ozzy all had deals with him and the vast majority of them expressed great bitterness. Rick was ridiculous – his railing against liars gets the BS award from me because Rick, like every Survivor in the history of Survivor, lied through his teeth from time to time. It is the nature of the game – he was just the latest in a long line of jury members mad about lying because they were lied to and lost. Maybe if he spoke two words all season that were worth anything I’d feel badly for him.

I was happy to see Sophie win the thing – and her Final Five breakdown at Tribal Council actually helped her somewhat. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that her Final Four immunity win and her breakdown combined to put her over the top. Coach called her the new Dragon Slayer for being the one to take down Ozzy. That goes a long way for some – and I would be sure that some of those Savaii votes went her way because she beat the Wizard of Oz. And like Hillary Clinton crying in New Hampshire in 2008 before winning that primary against Barack Obama, it softened Sophie to break her cool exterior.

So in retrospect, he really didn’t stand a chance. The only time the “mastermind,” or the one who seemingly pulls the triggers on vote-outs, can win is if the jury is amenable to rewarding the person they see as the villain. The one who was the root cause for their loss. This group – not full of good losers. I don’t fault them for choosing Sophie over Coach – Sophie deserved the accolades – I fault them for their reasons for doing so. Coach lied – he even admitted that he had to lie, even if he didn’t intend to. He HAS to lie – this is Survivor. Dawn, Cochran and Rick – the so-called super Survivor fans should know that most of all.

Sophie earned it – she should be proud. It is possible she may be the smartest winner in show history. Amazing thing about Survivor – in the last few seasons we have had brilliance (Sophie), Survivor brilliance (Rob, Sandra) and, let’s say, some blonde moments (Fabio, Natalie). Anyone can win if things break right. Coach should be proud because he leaves the show on a high note. To be compared with Boston Rob’s All-Star season is high praise indeed. He also exited his third time around with his best game. Who else put out their best game the third time? Parvati’s third game was just as good as her second. Rob’s fourth was brilliant. Jerri’s third was her best. But Coach’s third was his best by far.

As was Ozzy’s. And I’d say that this fourth place for Ozzy was actually better than his second place in Cook Islands. His physical game was stellar in Cook, and that plus Yul’s strategy was one of the best one-two punches in show history. His second time in Micronesia he went in much more engaged, but did so with little skill. This time he showed both a willingness to lead, and a joy of playing the game. Of course, this being Ozzy, he led some and alienated the one he shouldn’t have alienated. Savaii loved him, and in fact, Cochran and he seemed to move past their problems pretty quickly. So he did something right. He had perhaps the boldest plan in show history – the voluntary vote out. He did this because he was so confident in his challenge abilities that RI was a better place for him. His social game was actually never better than it was on RI on the one-to-one basis.

And how can you not respect him physically. Ozzy won seven duels. And then a do or die elimination challenge. And barely lost the next one which would have likely given him an Earl-like 9-0-0 victory. I think it is official – Ozzy is best physical player in Survivor history. Hands down.

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