Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
Survivor: South Pacific – Why Sophie Won (and Coach, Albert, & Ozzy Lost)by David Bloomberg -- 02/14/2012
View Printable version of this article
Sophie was, by her own admission, not the best social player of Survivor. And yet she won the game with a solid margin over Coach and completely shut out one of her original allies, Albert. How did she pull it off? When did she pull it off? What could Coach have done to change everything? Why did Coach, Albert, and Ozzy lose and why did Sophie win?
OK, so I’m a bit late in getting this article posted, but now that we’re approaching a new season of Survivor, it’s time to wrap up the previous one! Throughout last season (and, indeed, the seasons before it), we looked at why individual players were voted out of Survivor: South Pacific. As I sat down to write about Sophie’s win, I realized that her win was so intricately linked with the losses of Coach and Albert that it would be somewhat silly and redundant to separate them into different articles. In a situation like this, the reasons that counted against one player counted for another. Ozzy was a bit of a different story, but we’ll also address that in a moment.
Even though we’re looking at four different people, we’ll mostly go about it the same way. That is, we’ll use the roadmap provided by What South Pacific Survivors Should Have Learned to see what each of the finalists did right and where they each went wrong.
However, we’ll begin by jumping ahead and getting one member of the final four out of the way. As I said, Ozzy’s situation was somewhat different from the final three. He didn’t quite make it that far, but there is still really no reason to do a separate article just for him. Why? Because we can sum it up in one rule – the sixth, which says not to be too much of a threat.
Ozzy was voted out for one reason and one reason only: He was a major threat. The other three knew that Ozzy was well-liked among his former tribemates, had earned respect for staying in the game via Redemption Island (not to mention volunteering to go to Redemption Island the first time), and had no ill will directed at him because he hadn’t done any real lying or backstabbing (mostly because he’d been on Redemption Island for so long!).
All three of the final Upolu members knew they were much better off going up against one another than against Ozzy. He had to go – there was really no choice in the matter. That is why Ozzy lost – and why a separate article on the subject would have been rather short.
Now we can move on to the actual final three, all of whom fully understood the necessity to scheme and plot in accordance with the first rule. Indeed, as Sophie noted in her interview with me, she specifically sought out somebody of like mind to discuss and plan strategy – and found Albert. The two of them and Coach aligned very early on as a sub-trio within the Upolu Five. As Albert noted in his interview, it was somewhat amazing that the three of them made it to the end together after having mostly worked as a unit throughout the game (other than near the end, when Albert correctly identified Sophie as a threat and tried to get her voted out, and when she was going to return the favor if it hadn’t turned out that Brandon stupidly handed over immunity). Normally, somebody within an alliance like this one either gets knocked out due to an untimely immunity challenge win by an opponent or is voted out because most people don’t want to face the jury with a strong opponent.
In this case, though, all three of them made it to the end. It wasn’t always smooth going, as Sophie had to fight against Albert’s ideas of upsetting the balance several times, but in the end she won out on that front – and obviously she was correct to do so! She used her strategy of creating – and sticking to – a solid core and stayed with that core until the very end.
Sophie was able to do that because she outschemed the others, in accordance with the first rule. Sure, we saw a lot of Coach making promises he would later have to break (despite his claims to playing an “honorable” game), but Sophie did much of the same – we just didn’t see it. As she told me, “I definitely felt like all the time I knew what was going on and nothing ever happened that I didn’t want to happen. I think I had a lot of influence over Coach that wasn’t shown on TV. I always felt in control of the game. From Day 1 or 2, I recognized who I was playing with and knew Brandon and Rick and others were immovable and would be the most loyal allies in the game. That’s huge, to have people who would never flip on you.”
Indeed, “huge” may even be an understatement! Sophie identified the most controllable players and then controlled them. She made multiple alliances and only turned on people when it was eventually necessary. She further described this by telling me, “I had a final three agreement with Rick. Edna had a promise from me that we were in the final three. There were a lot of inner alliances and keeping everybody calm was difficult. I wanted everybody to be happy and calm and comfortable. In a game where’s there’s already so much paranoia, that’s difficult to do.”
Indeed, paranoia is usually the rule on Survivor, so anybody who can seem to be a rock in the middle of the swirling winds of the game may come to be relied upon by the others. And from there, she put her plan into action:
I knew I had a very clear path to the end. I knew I could keep six people feeling comfortable. I knew of the six, five would vote out Edna. At the five, I knew Coach and Rick were in my back pocket and we’d voted out Brandon. I knew Coach and I or Albert and I could go from there.Of course, Sophie wasn’t alone in thinking she was in control of the game through scheming and plotting. I would say all of the final three believed it – and Coach agrees, as he said in his interview, “Did Albert think he was in control of the game? Yeah. Did I? Yeah. Did Sophie? Absolutely. We all carried each other. It was good times, bad times. it was a mutually benefiting alliance. We all helped each other. All three of us helped each other.”
There really is no doubt about that. The three of them worked together from the beginning – they schemed together, they plotted together. But only one person can win. If they did these things together, there must have been other factors that came into play.1 2 3 Next-->
View Printable version of this article