Monday, December 19, 2011

Survivor South Pacific (ep. 15 - Finale)

Here we are, the finale episode of Survivor South Pacific. This one is called "Loyalties Will Be Broken" and boy is that an understatement. We go into this episode with Ozzy and Brandon on Redemption Island, the winner of the duel getting back in the game to play against Rick, Albert, Coach and Sophie. From there, two more Immunity Challenges and one winner. Let the fun begin!

Let's look at the details...

No sooner is the last tribal over that we see the cracks getting wider in the Upolu alliance. Coach wastes no time ripping into Albert for what Coach sees as his efforts to pander to the jury at the Tribal Council. Coach says he won't stand for that kind of BS. Uh huh.

At Redemption Island, the four get to witness the final duel between Ozzy and Brandon. The challenge is a simple one - hang on! They are up on poles with very narrow toe-holds. Last one up gets back in the game. Now, Brandon seems to be holding on like a trooper. The boy has got some serious will power. But he is going against Ozzy, the challenge master. Ozzy moves, shifts, repositions many times during the 40 minute ordeal. In the end, Brandon just can't handle it, sweat forming and body shaking and he falls. Still, Ozzy gives him a hug as a well-played warrior before sending him off. But Brandon seems at peace with everything. Yeah, that's going to change quick when he gets to jury house I am sure.

So, Ozzy returns to the Te Tuna camp with the others. The four seem strong against him, but Coach goes to talk to Ozzy where he is reminded of their deal talk to go to the final two. Coach of course says it is still good, but his next testimonial shows the word of this Christian man isn't as good as it appears.

At the first Immunity Challenge, the five have a tough one. Balance the arm of your building platform with one hand while you create a house-of-cards with tiles with your other hand. Man, talk about tough. Sophie seems to have an edge, having once studied a book on card house building. But she fails to take into account a fixed number of tiles. She's not the only one. Ozzy has to start again too. Things get a bit tense. Sophie orders Albert to drop his arm and come help pick up her tiles. Jeff tells her that there is no helping here - it is every person for themself. In the end, Ozzy pulls off a strategy that wins him safety.

Back at camp, he's like the cat that swallowed the canary. He is all ready to stir up trouble among the four. He talks to Coach who feels Rick is too well like and could be a jury threat. Ozzy meanwhile suggests to Sophie to vote out Albert. He then goes to Albert and suggests Ozzy. Rick meanwhile tells Coach he is thinking Sophie, but Coach won't commit his thoughts to Rick on where he is leaning. Rick starts to see Coach's deception.

At Tribal Council, Coach is openly wearing the Hidden Immunity idol about his neck. It is the last time he can play it and he wants all to know he will. Ozzy meanwhile takes this as a chance to out Coach's promise to him to take him to the Final Three in front of all and the jury, basically exposing Coach's over-extension of promises to everyone. Ozzy then argued with Sophie, calling her again a brat. That lead the only woman standing to have a bit of an emotional meltdown, the toll of the game pressure getting to her. Sophie composes herself though and they go to the vote. Jeff asks if anyone wants to play a Hidden Immunity idol - Coach confidently stays quiet (how cool would have that blindside been? Ah well - he gets a souvenier.). The votes are read with 2 for Sophie (done by Ozzy and Rick) and 3 for Rick. Coach stands to attempt to hug Rick; the cowboy firmly tells him to sit down. Rick clearly has had enough of the lies and deception and plans to vote for Ozzy in the finals if given the chance.

Back at camp, Coach is mad at Ozzy for spilling something he told them should be between the two of them as a secret. Coach takes that as disrespect. Ozzy defends his action as he had been burned earlier in the game by people he trusted and was not sure he could trust Coach. By putting it out there, everyone knows what is going on.

Time for the last Immunity Challenge of the game. The four will race through five parts of an obstacle course to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces. First one to solve the puzzle wins. Ozzy is like a wild monkey working the course with ease. Albert follows Sophie a number of times on the course, nearly messing up her progress. Ozzy gets back with his pieces first but struggles. The others all get back and start working their puzzles, but it is Sophie that gets on a roll. Two, three, four...pieces fall into place with ease. She wins the Immunity and a guaranteed spot in the final three.

Ozzy knows that his loss means he is likely to be going home. He makes one more pitch to Coach - tie up the vote and let Ozzy and Albert duke it out in a fire starting challenge. Coach seems to like the idea of that - warriors until the end. At Tribal, Ozzy again makes sure the jury knows the score of things. Ozzy votes for Albert as planned, but Coach sticks to his original three and sends Ozzy packing. You can tell Ozzy is disappointed but his work is not done yet.

After a celebratory breakfast and a destruction of the camp, the trio face the jury. Albert tries to play the "I made the best social connections with you all" card. Coach sticks with honor, loyalty, integrity. Sophie pleads that she was a strong competitor, siting her individual immunity wins.

The jury rips into them though. Ozzy is up first, with his corny looking pig-tails and ultra-loud beach shirt. He digs mostly into Coach for his promises to all while digging into Sophie and Albert too. He then unleashes the hounds.

Jim wants Albert to tell him why he should get his vote but says he can't start the answer with a compliment to any of the other two (instead Albert compliments Jim and, I think, loses that vote). Rick considers all three liars and wonders how he can vote for any of them. Dawn stays the diplomatic Mom, giving Sophie an easy question to ask (and as we soon see her vote). Brandon is still hurting from the betrayal, but mostly he is mad at Albert for not giving the necklace back when he said he would (and for Albert using religion against Brandon who it clearly means so much). Cochran is stinging too from Coach's betrayal but, as his vote shows, he wants to believe some of what Coach said to him during the game. Whitney is clearly bitter too, especially towards Albert and then Coach for trumping the Christianity card. Edna points out that part of Survivor is duping others and that they all were duped, but is anyone to blame that the three were the best at it? Finally, a voice of reason. Keith asks Coach if he ever planned to use the Hidden Immunity idol - Coach says at the 6-6 merge it was possible but Cocharn's flip prevented the need to do that.

Sophie takes this opening to tell the truth about finding the Idol. She tells how Albert had the clue and found it with the help of her and Coach. Then she tells how Coach concocted the story of the group search, and how Brandon was searching frantically for an idol already found. Man, you can see Brandon's head about to explode! Any chance he was considering a vote to Coach was just rocked. Well played, Sophie.

The votes are cast, the numbers tallied. Jeff takes them to the Reunion Show where we get the results. In the end, Albert gets no votes, Coach gets three votes and Sophie gets six, making her the winner.

I am not at all surprised by the vote results. I knew it was going to be a run between Sophie and Coach. Albert clearly didn't do enough to sway the jury and he never pulled off any big moves (he talked a game but actions speak louder than words). Coach burned too many bridges and his final crossing of Ozzy was enough to allow Ozzy to finish poisoning the jury house that was already likely leading anti-Coach to begin with (Rick certainly didn't hurt to that effort either). Had Ozzy been in the final three, no question in my mind that he would have won. He easily played the best game of the final four with the best position (he only beat people in a final one-on-one situation, you can't blame him for that).

My thoughts on the Reunion Show will come later when I get a chance to watch it (can't stay up that late on a work night, especially given the late start thanks to football running late).

Stay tuned.

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