Survivor: Cook Islands

Last night was the final episode of Survivor: Cook Islands, the much talked about “race tribes” season. Predictably, they integrated the tribes early on, so race quickly became a non-issue in the show. We saw a few twists, a great comeback, and two opposing victory strategies. Who won and why did they win? Read on.

The biggest twist of all was probably revealed when Jeff mentioned Brad would be the first member of the jury. This occurred two votes earlier than usual, ensuring that something was going to be different about this season’s final tribal council. The leading theory, that there would be a final tribal council with three people and a jury of nine turned out to be true. Why did they decide to try it out?

One of the main criticisms of Survivor is that the best player usually finishes third. Typically the best strategist can make his way into the final three and has to face a challenge that is usually suited to one of the three more than the others. No one wants to take the best player with them to the finals, so the best player has to win or e voted out.

By eliminating the final three challenge, Survivor allowed the dominant strategic player (Yul) and the dominant physical player (Ozzy) to go against each other in the final council, whereas before it would just be Becky vs Ozzy. There were three players left, but let’s be honest, Becky had no shot against these guys at all.

In the end, Yul defeated Ozzy by a margin of 5-4. Why? I think despite Ozzy’s ridiculous challenge streak, he wouldn’t be where he was without Yul bringing him along at the final 9.

Overall I’d say this season was one of the better of the 13 seasons.