‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Finale Recap – A New Slayer in Town?

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

Last Episode: Edna was the most recent person to be booted from Ozzy’s pleasure palace, Albert and Sophie turned against each other, and God helped Brandon win immunity, then told him to give it away, then told Coach to vote him out.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The Te Tuna Tribe (wearing yellow)
Albert – 26, Baseball/Dating Coach
Coach – 39, Slayer of Dragons
Rick – 51, Rancher
Sophie – 22, Medical Student

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing a chance to return to the game)
Brandon – 19, Oil Tanker Crewman
Ozzy – 30, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

Quick Aside: Before we get into this mess, I just want to point out a conversation Coach and I had before he headed back out into the Samoa wilderness…

Gordon Holmes: Will your experience as a “Survivor” Power Rankings player help you at all in the game?
Benjamin “Coach” Wade: Having been unable to slay the dragon that is Gordon Holmes in the past, I think it did give me an insight into the game itself. I really didn’t watch the game for the strategic value. But it allowed me to look at the game as a strategy and to figure out who’s going to be on the outs. So, I think that will definitely help me.
Holmes: So when you win, I get an assist, right?
Coach: I think you will be the power assist leader. I’ll have to give you at least half of the credit.

OK, now that that’s a part of the official record, let’s do this…

We start off at Te Tuna beach after Tribal Council. Albert claims that he didn’t know that Brandon was going home. This irks the Dragon Slayer as Albert is clearly lying. Coach doesn’t like it when people try to appear holier than thou.

Is there a joke necessary there, or can we move on?

Redemption Island Duel: Players will take a spot on a pole. The last person on the pole returns to the game. Nice and simple.

Both guys are trying different tactics. Brandon is clutching his entire body up against the pole while Ozzy is pushing off with his feet and pulling in with his arms.

Both guys wobble for a bit, but it’s clear that Brandon is having serious trouble.

Sure enough, Lil Hantz loses his grip and falls to the ground. Brandon’s out, Ozzy’s back in the game…again.

When it’s all said and done, Brandon lets us know that he’s going to hold his head up because he made peace with God.

Back at camp, Coach takes Ozzy aside for a little All-Star chit-chat. Coach tells Ozzy that he’ll give him an immunity idol if he wins the next challenge. Ozzy doesn’t buy this at all.

Another Quick Aside: I have to think that Coach is more interested in improving his name than actually winning. It’s not dishonorable to vote Ozzy out unless you’ve told him that you’re going to keep him around. “Take the best to the end” is a nice bumper sticker, but it’s not going to get you a million dollars.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will use one hand to balance a platform and the other to stack tiles. The first person to stack their tiles up to a certain level wins immunity.

During the stacking process, Sophie lets us know that she has a book on making card houses. Well, that’s random.

We’re midway through and Ozzy, Coach, and Sophie are doing the best. However, Sophie’s book didn’t take into account having a finite amount of tiles as she runs out. Ozzy faces a similar problem.

Coach’s stack just wipes out.

During the process, Sophie tells Albert to drop his stack and come pick up her tiles. He refuses. So, she yells at him. That was awesome and hilarious. I love Sophie so much.

Probst lets them know that helping is against the rules and if they want to beat Ozzy they’ll have to do it themselves.

Ozzy and Coach are the two frontrunners now…but Ozzy wins it. Great challenge.

Back at camp, Coach and Albert decide they want Rick to go home next.

Ozzy tells us that his goal now is to turn all of the Upolutians against each other. He kicks this off by needling Albert about the rude way Sophie talked to him during the challenge.

Ozzy then tells Albert that Coach told him that he was going to take him to the end.

Albert confronts Coach about this and Coach does not give him a straight answer.

That night at Tribal Council, Coach lets everybody know that he’ll be playing his idol.

Sophie thinks she’s a threat to beat Ozzy because she’s won the most immunity challenges.

Rick thinks it’s smart for Ozzy to keep him around because he can’t win immunity. Sophie thinks that proves her point and they need to keep people around who can defeat Ozzy.

Coach thinks they’re still a family, but Ozzy outs him by saying he wanted to take Ozzy to the end of the game.

Sophie doesn’t care about that kind of stuff because Ozzy has never shown her respect. Ozzy thinks she’s a spoiled brat.

Sophie breaks down a bit because she feels like Ozzy has been making personal attacks toward her. She also worries that other people feel the same way about her.

Voting Time: Rick votes for Sophie, Ozzy votes for Sophie, and none of the other votes are shown.

Coach does not play the idol…dun dun dun.

One vote for Rick, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Rick, one vote for Sophie, and the sixteenth person voted out of “Survivor: South Pacific” and the eighth member of the jury is…Rick.

Ooo…Coach tries to bid Rick well on his journey, but Rick isn’t having any of it.

The next morning, Ozzy unveils his very clever plan; to win. Super smart.

Later, the All-Stars share another pow wow. Coach lets Ozzy know that he’s annoyed that Ozzy blew up their alliance. Ozzy tells Coach that the reason he did it was because he’s been screwed before when he’s put all of his cards into one basket.

Mixed metaphor aside, that’s a good point. It’s Parvati’s fault.

Coach seems to buy it and they continue to talk strategy. When they try to choose between Albert and Sophie, they decide to try to force a tie between the two. They want them to build a fire. Here’s hoping Sophie has a book on that, too.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race through a giant flower-shaped obstacle course. They’ll try to retrieve five bags of puzzle pieces. First person to get all five bags and put the pieces in the proper order wins immunity and a guaranteed spot at the final Tribal Council.

Ozzy jumps out to an early lead, but the other three aren’t too far behind him. As the bag gathering portion continues, Ozzy manages to extend his lead a bit and is the first person back with all five bags.

Albert keeps getting in Sophie’s way in a comical manner. Between this and her yelling at him in the last challenge, it’s fun to think of them as an old married couple.

Coach is next with all five bags, Sophie is right behind him.

All three are hard at work by the time Albert shows up with his fifth bag.

All of a sudden, Sophie starts tearing through the puzzle and wins it. The Upolu guys are downright giddy. Ozzy? Not so much.

Back at Te Tuna, Ozzy is pretty sure he’s done. In a comical bit, Ozzy is giving a testimonial while the Upolu crew is cheering. Apparently Coach has crowned Sophie the new Dragon Slayer.

Ozzy pitches Coach the idea of going toe-to-toe with Albert in a fire-building challenge. Coach doesn’t want to go for it because he gave his word to Albert. Ozzy pushes the “take the warriors to the end” button. Coach is conflicted…and kind of a moron if he goes for this.

That night at Tribal Council, Sophie is super psyched to have immunity. As she should be.

Ozzy thinks it was a million-dollar puzzle and it’s going to nag at him for the rest of his life. Or the next time he gets to play.

Coach thinks it’s devastating to think it’s your last day in the game.

Ozzy says that if Coach is a man of his word that he’ll tie the vote and go to the fire-making challenge.

Coach backpeddles a bit, saying that Sophie and Albert are also warriors and deserve to go to the end.

Albert thinks he’s good at making fire, but that Ozzy is the challenge king.

Voting Time: Albert votes for Ozzy, Ozzy votes for Albert, Sophie votes for Ozzy, and Coach’s vote will remain a secret.

One vote for Ozzy, one vote for Albert, one vote for Ozzy, and the seventeenth person voted out of “Survivor: South Pacific” and the final member of the jury is…Ozzy.

Fun Fact: Ozzy is the first person to ever be voted out of a season three times. And the first person to ever be applauded by a jury.

Later we meet up with the final three as they enjoy their 39th-day feast. Afterwards, Coach and Sophie discuss the final Tribal Council. They both think that Albert has been squirrelly and should be called out on it.

Albert disagrees, as he thinks he’s played the best game out of the three.

Coach thinks that he has now become the dragon. Wait, what? That must be conflicting…

That night at the Final Tribal Council, Ozzy shows up with Pippi Longstocking braids. Yes, seriously. Well, that or he’s trying to get a Wendy’s sponsorship.

Opening statements start off with Albert letting everyone know that “Survivor” is a social experiment and that he’s looking forward to answering all of the questions.

Sophie thinks she managed to outwit, outplay, and outlast her competition. She also spoke super quickly. She seems nervous.

Coach thinks he had an uphill battle because people viewed him as a joke of a character. But he learned from people and grew as a leader.

Ozzy bats lead off for the jury. He claims that the game isn’t decided yet, but nobody wants to vote for any of them. He lets Sophie know that she’s still a brat and that Albert didn’t do anything to be there. However, he gives Coach credit for coming in at a disadvantage as a returning player.

Coach says the he tried to play with honor, but there were crossroads where he had to go against his word. Brandon does not seem amused.

Jim goes next, he asks Albert why the other two people don’t deserve the money. He also says if Albert starts with a compliment that it will cost him his vote. Albert proves he wasn’t listening by telling Jim that he loves how he’s playing the game. Albert follows that up by saying he was the real leader of Upolu.

Dawn then asks Sophie why she made an alliance with Coach. Sophie says that she wishes she were a man, because men on “Survivor” can get two young girls to follow them anywhere. Sophie then says that Coach is the equivalent of a young girl.

BAHA! Sophie FTW!

Rick bats clean up. He calls out Coach for not playing with honor and dignity.

Coach doesn’t have a defense, he just apologizes.

Then Rick calls out Albert for using Brandon. Rick doesn’t even let Albert respond.

He finishes up by asking Sophie about her lies. She says that the lie she feels the worst about was the one that sent Rick home.

Brandon takes the mic (not literally), he calls Coach out on voting for him. Coach thanks Brandon for raising the bar as far as believing in God. Brandon says he is hurt, but he does forgive him.

Brandon then asks Albert how he feels about using God to get to the end. Albert says he’d never use God to get to the end and he thanks Brandon for bringing him closer to God.

Brandon asks Albert if he knew he was going home. Albert tries to dance around it, but Brandon won’t let him. Albert finally says he didn’t know.

Whitney brings the hurt by saying that Albert is sleazy. She thinks Coach used Christianity to manipulate his tribe. And, she thinks Sophie is the most condescending person she has ever met.

Sophie agrees with Whitney, and thinks that’s something she’ll need to work on.

Edna thinks manipulation is the key to “Survivor.” She thinks religion has always been used to manipulate people. She doesn’t think they should hold the manipulation against them because that’s what the game is all about.

Keith congratulates the players, then asks Coach why he didn’t use the idol. Coach says the one time he would have used it was during the merge.

Sophie then calls out the fact that the idol was found earlier in the game and that they staged the finding of the idol. Brandon is once again unamused. Ooo…

Cochran gets to go last; he admits that he has become a fan of Coach. He thinks it’s impressive the way everyone thought they were going to the end with Coach. But he doesn’t like the way Coach threw around the word “honor.” Coach apologizes for misleading people and that he wanted to play in an honorable manner but it became a big convoluted mess.

Good move, Coach.

Voting Time: Cochran votes for Coach, Dawn votes for Sophie, and the rest of the votes will have to wait till Probsty can get to Hollywood.

One vote for Coach, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Coach, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Coach, two votes for Sophie, and the winner of “Survivor: South Pacific” is…Sophie!

Verdict: A few episodes ago I wondered if a season that’s short on smart strategy and bold moves could still be good if it had enough strong characters. I’m now prepared to say that I think it can.

Cochran, Brandon, James, and Sophie were great new characters. Coach and Ozzy delivered as always. And I bet there was good stuff waiting from people we didn’t see much from like Dawn, Stacey, and Christine.

So in the end, I’m prepared to say it was a really good, but not great season.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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