Survivor Winner: Revealed!

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A common question at the end of reality television game shows is if the right or the best person won the game.

The interpretation of that question is highly personal and often has different definitions, There will certainly be plenty of debate over who won last night’s Survivor: South Pacific finale.

Survivor Finalists

Personally, I’ve always appreciated Jeff’s interpretation of who should win Survivor – the person who did win Survivor. Whether you agree with that or not (I’m guessing most of you don’t) it’s hard to argue that Sophie was an undeserving winner. What you could argue is that someone else was more deserving.

The obvious first candidate for this debate is Ozzy. Unquestionably a fan and game favorite, if he had made it to the finale, he would have won. Does that mean he deserves to win?

In my opinion, it doesn’t. Kind of.

Once Ozzy got to Redemption Island, he put all his eggs in one basket; winning challenges. He won every challenge ... but one. No one was going to give the New England Patriots the 2007 title for winning every game but one and no one should give Ozzy the title for winning every challenge but one.

Before anyone starts with “wait, but what if Cochran doesn’t betray Savaii?” just stop. That changes our entire perspective of Ozzy. He doesn’t go to Redemption Island; he doesn’t get the chance to always be the good guy by simply winning challenges. Instead he’s got to back stab people and play the game.  His image could be entirely different.

Could Ozzy still have won without going to Redemption Island? Absolutely? However, the entire scenario could be reversed. What if Brandon wins a string of challenges and has five automatic Upolu jury votes as Ozzy did with Savaii? Ozzy is not guaranteed anything of Cochran sticks with Savaii.

The other candidate who may have deserved to win over Sophie was Coach. Certainly this is a more complicated case. Love him or hate him, I’d hope that everyone agrees with Cochran’s assessment of Coach’s game. After all of the honor and religion are out of the way, Coach played a great game.

Cochran was correct. The proof for me is twofold. First was a scenario that occurred two episodes ago. When Albert was confronted about lying he commented to Brandon, Rick and Sophie that none of them had to go home. The only person left is Coach. Not a word was spoke of getting rid of him.

What we’ll never know about the first example is if Coach’s immunity idol impacted the decision never to target Coach. It doesn’t work for me because there was never discussion of flushing the idol. The Upolu alliance legitimately never considered voting Coach out. He didn’t need the idol.

The other example was Coach correctly pointing out after Ozzy returned to the game that he had an agreement with every remaining player to go to the final three. It was true! It almost backfired on him, but he was able to escape and make the final three.

My vote would be for Coach, but I struggle to argue against Sophie. One thing she did much better than Coach was play the same game, without needing the veil of honor and religion. This was vital because when it came time to cut people loose, her actions did not seem as hypocritical.

The other major difference between Sophie and Coach is that she not only won more challenges, but won the challenge that mattered the most. As much as Ozzy lost one million dollars when he lost the challenge, Sophie won that same prize for winning the challenge (ok, she needed Ozzy ousted first, but in his heart Coach knew he couldn’t win against Ozzy and was never seriously going to take him to the finals).

At the end Sophie became the most well balanced candidate among the final three.  She was as involved in the Upolu plan as Coach and as competitive in challenges as anyone not named Ozzy. That’s a recipe for winning Survivor.

Plenty more from this episode:

  • Brandon looked legitimately relieved to be on the jury and out of the game. However, I wish he had gone after Keith during the jury questioning so he could have asked Coach about the scheme to hide how the idol was really found.
  • Are people satisfied with Redemption Island? So far we’ve had two people basically dominate Redemption. Is that the best way it can be?
  • Wait, only Russell from Brandon’s family came to the reunion show and none of his immediate family? They suck (because I’m sure Russell was paid/coerced to be there).
  • The game got very tricky at the end. My favorite parts were before the second to last tribal council when Ozzy had immunity. He did a great job of stirring the pot and the remaining four were questioning everything. Usually I feel smarter than everyone on the show and have the answer for everything. I didn’t at that point.
  • Could Coach have won if he was not apologetic about betraying honor and integrity and simply said that was part of his plan to get to the end and win?
  • Did anyone else notice how thin Coach was at the end of the show?  He needed a makeshift rope belt to keep his pants up.
  • This might start an internet war, but I think Boston Rob is still the best challenge player in Survivor history. His ability to dominate puzzles puts him a notch ahead of Ozzy.
  • I'm glad they took out the Fallen Comrades part of the finale. Too long and not interesting enough.
  • I absolutely love the idea of Survivor: One World. First, hopefully it gets us away from returning survivors. Second, hopefully it gets us away from Redemption Island. Lastly, it’s drastically different and different is always awesome.

Survivor: South Pacific may be over, but don't forget to check back in with TV Fanatic and @LilLukeD starting in February for coverage of next season, Survivor: One World.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

sophie was the most deserving and ozzy was the least deserving.


Can't believe Ozzy came short...again!I'm shocked with the results of this season!Sophie...coming from behind and taking the million dollars??no way!I was rooting for Ozzy,but even Coach deserved it more!I don't think Redemption will be gone for good.According to the preview of Survivor 22(Redemption Island),Redemption Island is the biggest twist in Survivor History.Why would they retire it after just 2 seasons?Exile Island ran for 6 seasons.


Ozzy is hot. I would watch him read the newspaper


By having the jury, it has become a popularity contest.I hated when they started that. To be absolutely fair, it should be the last man standing.That would be the real person who played the game the best. Russell would have won and Coach would have won. The recent people who won did not deserve it, they were just hates less by the Jury. How is that being the best competitor, the best survivor?


I am a huge survivor fan,however the christian theme got to me as well,fancy thanking god for winning a challenge,I would have thought he would be to busy bringing rain to the drought affected areas to save some of the millions from starvation,maybe survivor is more important.


I too have watched all episodes of Survivor from Season 1, and I'm kind of on the same page as Jeff that the winner deserves to win (in the strict context of the game). With that said, Coach lost not because he betrayed a lot of people, but because he did not defend himself well during FTC. I think Sophie got the credit for being a "smart and strategic game player" while in reality, Coach was calling the shots and letting everyone feel like it's their idea. In the end, Coach took all the blame for all the backstabbing when in fact, they were "doing everything together". Sophie may have assessed the jury better (she probabaly thought they would hold grudges and so she instincttively went away from the spotlight). But Coach could have won it if he defended his case well. Rob did more manipulating last season, but he got the million. Sophie defended herself well, and convinced the jury that night to vote for her. Now one interesting question I always want Jeff to ask the jury in the reunion (but of course he never does).. is "having watched the episodes air... who would you vote for?" I have a stinking feeling many opinions would change....


I am an avid viewer of Survivor, I haven't seen all of them and at times I get bored with them and stop watching. But I thought this was one of the best ones yet. As far as the Christian theme. Yea it showed them all out to be a bunch of hypocrites. Coach praying to God about something he knew was false. Wow, what a bunch of bull. That guy was a total sham. Then telling Brandon he voted him out because God told him to, lol. That god Brandon's vote, because he was too blinded to see the truth, as most are in Christendom. They don't use logic or reason. Too bad for Coach that most everyone else saw through his hypocritical manipulation on Brandon with religion. I am glad that Sophie won. I thought she was deserving of it. She seemed like an honest and a likeable player for me throughout the season. She did win several immunity challenges, and you could tell she was a very bright and intelligent person, and also humble about it. That is what got her to win the million dollars. Ozzy? Sure he was a good physical player. But the way he treated Cochran turned me off to him. His lying to others and manipulation, I did not like him as a person. As a player he was awesome, going out and fishing and winning those immunity. I don't know why so many people liked him as a person in that game. Of course he is a reflection of society and I'm sure the majority are probably like him in thought and action. Cochran was a coward. But a likeable one. His backstabbing of his tribe was unworthy of a good player but understandable when you realize how bad they treated him (starting with Ozzy). I personally would not treat a person the way most the members in his tribe (starting with Ozzy) treated him and that is why I'm glad they all got voted off. Even Jeff told Cochran when he lost on Redemption Island that he should be proud of himself, especially for living through the mistreatment his teammates gave him. I remember them showing Cochran sleeping on the ground by himself in the rain while the rest were under the shelter and/or had blankets and were sleeping together to keep warm. The way they treated him was pitiable. If Jeff spoke up to give Cochran that nice little comment before he left you know he was really getting mistreated and could tell Jeff did not like that. He most likely saw a lot more of the harassment those fools dished out that didn't make it to TV. I really don't know why so many still like Ozzy after seeing his personality. So what if Sophie didn't stand out in every episode? I've noticed long ago that they usually focus on the person that is about to be voted out. So usually the person they spend the most time with developing that game is most likely the one to go home. Sophie was never in any danger of going home. And she didn't stick out like soar thumb and/or stir up a lot of contention like a lot of the others were doing. She was very strategic and won the million dollars. Good for her. As for the comments in the article about Redemption Island. Yea, I guess it didn't work out to well. Hope this new series coming out with liven things up. I still love me my Survivor!


I have watched Suvivor since the first season. We had to tape the final episode last night (almost killed me not to watch it live) but we were celebrating our son's birthday. At the restaurant we were talking about who we thought should go to the final 3. None of us could even remember Sophie's name. Closest one of us got to it was Stephanie but we knew that wasn't right. Because she was so rarely featured this season we couldn't even remember her name. So how the hell did she end up winning? It's pathetic. This was one of the worst endings I can remember in the history of the game. (Sandra of course was another twice over, as it was when Russell the ultimate player did not win). I agree that the jury seems to be forgetting the true meaning behind the game and I would love to see the final vote come down to the tv viewers who invest so much time into these shows.


Sophie deserved to win. She beat Ozzy in the final challenge. If she didn't, Ozzy would have won a million. It was Coach's fault he didn't win. He could have taken Edna and Brandon in the end, but didn't. So stop whining about Survivor winners. Everyone deserves to win. Others are just more deserving.


You know something is off when a man like Ozzy can't win Survivor and people like Sandra and Sophie win. Something is wrong with the structure of the game itself, not with the players. I was actually hoping that at some point Jeff and the people who run this show would realise "woah, nobody wants to see this," and step in and change things up. Put a swimming challenge at the end to make sure Ozzy wins it or something. I mean, you bring back a guy like Ozzy who can swim, climb, run, hop, jump, surf and skip, and have him doing some of the crappiest, cheapest challenges the game has ever seen. Basket balancing? How many puzzles were in this? 20? 30? Are they going bankrupt?
This was by far the worst Survivor ever! Ever, and this is season 23! After how many hours of these cultists spewing bullshit, you're going to let one of the kool-aid drinkers win it? Sophie is actually below Cochrane in terms of gameplaying. She did nothing! NOTHING, except feed on the gospel according to Coach!
Shame on Jeff, Shame on CBS, and Shame on me.
Most of the times I argue about who deserved to win, but this time around I thought the million dollars should have gone to charity.

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Survivor Season 23 Episode 14 Quotes

Whenever you give up the immunity necklace, your ass is going home.


[Brandon] wasn't blindsided, he gave up the frickin' immunity necklace.