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)

I didn't watch the finale. I stopped watching about two weeks ago because the show took on such a Christian theme. I am not anti-Christian, but if a program is going to have a religious theme, I'd like to know about it in advance. Interesting to me that as more and more Christian prayers and discussions became evident, people became more and more devious, lying and dishonest. I am not interested in a game with a religious theme. It belongs on the Christian channels.


I have been an Ozzy fan from his very first go. Our hearts broke when he did not win the last puzzle. Our recording ended prior to finding out who Sprint awarded the money to, Ozzy by far is the most deserving. We also liked Coach a little better this season, HOWEVER, he wasen't going to win anyway, so why not keep your word and man up? and let the best player win. CBS or any other station. You don't have to be an expert to know millions of people would follow/watch Ozzy in his own show. The sky is the limit for him. I for one hope we see more of him.


survivor stinks. it should be based on the strongest and the wiser person.
survivor bores me now.i used to love it but the best always lose and the losers end up winninf. thia ahow should be called "pathethic losers ".


Please - next season, can we skip the old players coming back? We disliked Coach so much we did not even watch this season.


Sophie is one of the most undeserving survivors ever - and I feel the same way about Sandra who won Survivor Pearl Islands and Heroes vs Villains. I can't stand a coat-tail rider - The whole object of the game is to "outwit", "outlast" & "outplay" - and Sophie didn't do that. No doubt if Ozzy won the last immunity challenge, he would have been the winner, and out of the final three, I would have given my vote to Coach, as he managed to get there with a huge target on his back from day one, and he tried his best to keep his integrity in tact despite the nature of the game. I'd love to see what whould have happened if the votes were split in a 3 way tie, as there were 9 on the jury. That would have been interesting! I can't believe that Russel Hantz, one of the best manipulators to play the game and basically control the entire game couldn't win, yet someone like Sophie wins! There's something definitely wrong here folks. As Edna said, you knew you were going to be lied to and manipulated when you signed up, so why does that become such an issue for the finalists to have to constantly side step? When people learn there's a reason for the jury sitting there, which is basically b/c the finalists had a hand in sending you there, and the jury learns to respect the fact that they were "outwitted", as many jurors in the past have realized and casted a vote for the rightful and deserving winner, maybe Survivor will get back on track with the most deserving to be the winner. This self-righteousness makes me sick!


what a crock of shit why did Sophie win she did nothing in the game rode the coattails of other players i am a long time fan of survivor never missed an episode but after this bullshit i believe i can put my efforts into tuning in to something else what a fucking joke hope the bitch chokes on a hard penis and falls dead in her tracks :)


I am so over Survivor, done.....Sophie did not deserve to win, she did nothing the whole season, she was a snobby brat, hated Ozzy for no reason except that he played a good game and was strong....none of them deserved to win, the jury should have refused to vote for any on them, the jury didn't want to vote for them in the first place....wasted another season watching, but no more...if they didn't want Ozzy to win which was the choice of most watchers, then Sophie should not have won....good bye Survivor.


Ozzy is the epitome of what the word survivor means. You could leave him on that island....come back in 5 yrs & he'd look better than when he first got there! I personally wanted it to come down to Coach and Ozzy. They were the true survivors. I'd have rather seen Rick in the final 3. Who is Sophie again? She was so far up Coach's butt...we never saw more than a wisp of her-always whining. After what Albert did to Brandon, he slit his own throat. I'd like to see just one season where the viewing audience decided who was being voted out-then you'd see them more on their toes...actually surviving, no?

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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.