Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
The Finale Rules: The two combatants will rank the players based on how they think they will finish the game. Each correct placement is worth five points.
Note: There is no weighting for the two finalists who don’t win. They are considered tied no matter how many jury votes they receive.
Last Time: Michael Skupin had Brenda in spot five while Gordon’s clean-up hitter Michael Skupin Jr. had her in spot three. So, the current score is Team Skupin 141, Team Lightning Punch 153.
Before we kick off our final rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…
Gordon Holmes: That was some rough business last episode. Any words for poor Brenda?
Michael Skupin: The world’s heart went out to you. The ultimate sacrifice of love went not only unrewarded but penalized to a depth that you may not recover emotionally for years. You put the pedal to the medal when you needed to and we began seeing the gamer that we knew you always were. Your dad said, be humble and you played with humbled magnificence. Remember, this is not a life-lesson, this is “Survivor,” a game you played very well.
Holmes: Family visits always get to me. As we saw last season, yours certainly got to you.
Skupin: The family visit, Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted that this was the best TV out there. There is no love from contestants, production, or Probst for over a month and we’re served up love and it is more emotional than anytime we can remember.
Holmes: Well, that’s the first half. The other half is maybe one of the cruelest twists I’ve ever seen.
Skupin: The twist tortured Brenda and Dawn to a depth never seen before and allowed them to watch all the love and a full belly that Brenda had just passed up. Winning the family visit challenge may be the kiss of death, but I’d never recommend that one for your game. In any event, the goose bumps that may have lasted til the finale were immediately gone when the bone-chilling votes were read. Likeability vs. liability as the once challenge beast quipped, turns out Brenda was both. An odd ironic thought: both Dawn and Brenda long outlasted all the other contestants in the last immunity challenge yet were the only ones that were robbed of the love-fest and love-feast. Only on “Survivor.”
Holmes: As we head into the finale, how has this season held up for you?
Skupin: A season that started out so slow, finished suspensefully as it most often does. One regret is Allie going home so soon. Arguably one of the fans strongest assets was removed way too early. That and Shamar and that grain of sand. Maybe we’d have been treated to a fan tribe that wasn’t at the mercy of the favorites the entire season.
Michael’s Current Score: 141
Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin
Gordon’s Current Score: 153
Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
| Winner – Dawn: In order for you to win, I believe you need to get rid of Cochran and Brenda. You’d have had to betray every alliance you created from day one to do that. You called many of the shots out there. You took chances. You’ll be remembered as one of the best to play this game.
|| Winner – Cochran: “I absolutely want to play again. My only fear is the reputation I have. I’ve proven myself to be weak, worthless in challenges, apparently I’m annoying, and I’m a traitor. I don’t think all of those are true, but I’m afraid I’d go into the game and there’d be no reason why people would want to keep me. People would be calling me Sugar 2.0. So, I want to do it, I just need major image rehabilitation.” John Cochran – December 8, 2011
The image rehabilitation worked. And if Brenda is to be believed, you’re the last threat in the game. This jury will respect that and reward you accordingly.
| Finalist – Cochran: Turns out your mother may have been your best alliance when she told you that Brenda was going to win this game. You learned so much from the first time you played and were able to stay just far enough below the radar while playing the game hard. You deserve it as much as Dawn does.
|| Finalist – Erik: I think the voting block from last episode (Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri) is the game’s last alliance. So, if Erik is going to get to the end he’s going to need to win that final-four immunity. If it’s a big maze challenge or something physical, it’s all his. If it’s balancing on a floating dog house while reciting bread recipes, I think he’s done for. And even if he can get to the end, I think a jury that features Brenda, Malcolm, Andrea, Phillip, and Sherri is going to reward strategy over niceness. It also isn’t helping him that I gave him my pre-game curse.
|Finalist – Sherri: You played it safe, but I believe you will make it to final three and that is a big deal.|| Finalist – Dawn: This Dawn thing has really stuck with me. Why does everyone hate on her for getting rid of Brenda, while other people are celebrated for their cutthroat moves? Is it that different from when Andrea was voted out? Andrea targeted Dawn, she went home. Brenda targeted Cochran, she went home. Would Dawn get a pass if Brenda hadn’t cried when she was eliminated? Is it because of the retainer? The bonding? The crying? I don’t have any answers. But, I’d imagine Dawn is in for a rough final Tribal Council.
| 4. Erik: I’ll never forget one of your last quotes… “There’s nothing left to be said, there’s nothing left to be done.” Although at final six, there’s an entire endgame to play. Emotionally, that’s either your demise or your wake-up call.
|| 4. Sherri: Sherri is someone who played this game. She probably said some things, but very little of that footage was aired on CBS television. If Erik wins final-four immunity, she’ll finish in fourth place. If he doesn’t she’ll finish in third place. Either way, she’s getting scary skinny. I hope she spends some serious time at her Jimmy John’s and Wetzel Pretzels franchises when this whole thing is over.
| 5. Eddie: Well done! You outlasted some of the best players in this game. Call it dumb luck, beginner’s luck, under-the-radar, or whatever you’d like. You survived your Bromigos getting voted out, your showmance getting blindsided and even quit immunity challenges and your torch hardly ever wavered. No one will ever likely write a book about your gameplay but you accomplished what few people ever do. One of your final comments sums up your game, “I’m forever grateful to everyone for continuing to keep me.”
||5. Eddie: Apparently nice guys finish fifth.|