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Survivor: South Pacific – Why Sophie Won (and Coach, Albert, & Ozzy Lost)Page 2
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The second rule warns against scheming and plotting too much. The first inclination might be to disregard this rule as irrelevant here, since all three of the core allies made it to the finals together. But that would be a mistake. The jury made it quite clear that at least one of the finalists – Coach – was viewed as having been too much of a backstabber for their tastes.
But it wasn’t just his backstabbing. It was the way he went about it, both when it was happening and then in discussing it at final Tribal Council. It’s difficult to preach honor and loyalty while also playing Survivor the way it should be played. But Coach might have been able to overcome that if he had just been honest in the end. This isn’t just me saying that. Winner Sophie herself told me:
In final Tribal Council, they wanted the truth. Neither Albert nor Coach could give them that. Albert tries to weasel his way around everything and Coach had all his honor and loyalty. All you had to do was say, “Yes, I backstabbed you and I’d do it again.” I think final Tribal Council was really important to me.She added:
Had Coach said, “Listen, that was all bull$#!+. I manipulated you, I used religion to manipulate you, and I’m here and I was a mastermind.” If he had said that, he would’ve won. But because he tried to defend himself and insist he was still honest and this BS, that lost him the game.She wasn’t the only one with that opinion. As another example, Ozzy said:
I really wanted to give it to Coach because I knew how hard it was for us to make it. Coach let me down in that final Tribal Council. I tried to lob him softballs. I beat Albert up and beat Sophie up. I wanted Coach to be honest with himself and all of us in that he didn’t play an honest game. Even though he tried, he should have owned up to the fact that he played a great game and didn’t play honestly.Coach may have told the jury that he’s a horrible strategist, but that wasn’t the problem. Backstabbing wasn’t the issue – scheming and plotting too much while simultaneously claiming not to have done so – all the way until the final vote – was the problem for him.
Moving to the third rule, how did our trio fare? Interestingly, this rule says to be flexible and if there is one thing they weren’t, it’s described by that word. But they didn’t need to be! They controlled the game. Anything that changed it up would have been worse for at least one of them, if not all of them.
As we’ve already discussed, Sophie felt she had a complete handle on what was going on. So why would she want to change it up? Albert did want to make changes – and considering the jury votes, he was smart to attempt it. But Sophie and Coach squashed his attempts. Could Albert have forced the issue? Maybe, but he would have needed to completely cut ties with Sophie and Coach, and there is no way of knowing where that would have left him. Indeed, he said in his interview, “Our tribe was so tight, so close, that nobody wanted to make a move. I walked myself in a corner. All the players in my alliance, nobody wanted to move. I loved that they all were playing honorably, but it limited my moves.” So in this particular case, “flexibility” was overrated.
The fourth rule, however, was not overrated, as it deals with the avoidance of emotional decisions. Throughout the entire game, all three players had to make allies with some pretty decent people. Indeed, seeing them interact now that the game is over tells me several of them have become long-term friends (others, not so much, but we won’t worry about that now). I’m sure it was painful for them to vote off Dawn, for example. But it was also 100% necessary for their game.
All three of the finalists knew better than to allow emotion to come into their decision-making process. But that’s not to say emotions played no role. Quite the contrary, Coach’s whole premise of honor and loyalty is completely emotion-based. But rather than falling for it himself, he used it to manipulate others.
This was especially true when it came to Brandon and his religious beliefs. Coach disagrees with this and even after the game was over, claimed he only talked to Brandon about the things that connected them, but did not use it against him. Brandon has a much different opinion, saying, “he went a little too far with me as far as my relationship with Christ. He really took a hold of that, despite what Coach may say or not, he went too far, period.”
Ironically, Coach caused Brandon to play emotionally. That worked in the trio’s favor for a while, but in the end, that emotional play transferred to the final vote, which Brandon admitted he made because “I was pissed. I did not want Coach to win.”
On a similar note, all three finalists did a pretty good job of following the fifth rule, pretending to be nice. Albert was perhaps the smoothest of all of them in this regard, but that ended up being used against him! He was so willing to entertain possible changes in strategy that I’m sure he expected some of the jurors to vote for him based on his apparent attempts to save them. Instead, they viewed him as more of a snake who was actively trying to solicit their votes.
Sophie helped that along, as she told me, “They didn’t show a lot of it on TV, but I threw Albert under the bus a lot at Tribal Council, saying how sleazy he was he was because he was too smooth.” We saw from some of the comments made by jurors and by the lack of votes cast for him to win that Sophie succeeded in that regard.
As for Coach, we’ve already discussed some of his problems in this area. Did he play up being the nice, honorable, loyal guy? Yes. Did people like him for it? Yes. But when it came down to it, being nice didn’t line up with his actions in the game. He wouldn’t admit that he had played anything but honorably, so he came off as a liar and a hypocrite, which we already know cost him votes.
Sophie, as we mentioned near the top of this article, had the worst social game of the final three. Ironically, that ended up helping her at the end! She wasn’t as outgoing or friendly with some of her allies, so they didn’t take it as personally when she voted them out. Brandon said flat-out in his post-show interview that he couldn’t say Sophie had directly lied to him because they didn’t really talk!<--Previous 1 2 3 Next-->
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