Some Final Thoughts on ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’by Belle Book -- 12/29/2006
Well, another season of Survivor is gone. And I think we had one of the best seasons ever – certainly one of the best in a long time.
We had a thrown challenge, a huge case of foot-in-mouth disease, an ill-advised mutiny, an outnumbered team becoming the comeback team of the year, a successful use of the hidden immunity idol to protect an entire alliance, an all-minority final four, and a true clash between brains and brawn with brains barely winning out! Is that great or what?
I’m going to make my final comments on the 20 players who were in the game and note what caused their ultimate fate in the game, beginning with the last-place finisher and ending with the winner:
Sekou: There were several things that Sekou should have done better. While he had a good idea in taking a leadership role, the way he went about doing so actually caused division, which was dumb.
Sekou also seemed to need way too many breaks, and worst of all, he failed to realize he and Nate needed a third vote until it was too late. This allowed Rebecca and Sundra to make the vote a battle of the sexes. If he and Nate had realized this sooner, they could’ve pulled in Stephannie and Sundra wouldn’t have made the final four! But he didn’t, and was voted out accordingly.
Billy: This guy did almost nothing right! First, he proved to be inept at being a leader for Aitu and thus decided on a dubious strategy of being completely lazy, hoping to wear out the rest of Aitu. Then, he tried to play J.P. and Ozzy against Cecelia and Cristina, but the other four compared notes and realized what he was up to! No wonder they threw the immunity challenge! Although it was still ill-advised for them to do so, I understand why they yielded to temptation there.
The crowning moment for Billy was when he claimed he’d made a love connection with Candice! Although he was going anyway, it made him look ridiculous. Still, the look on Jeff Probst’s face was priceless!
Cecelia: I’m afraid part of the blame for Cecelia’s loss should go to sickness. If she hadn’t gotten ill shortly after the four tribes were merged into two, she might have given the hard-sell to Jessica (Flica) more, instead of doing very little to make certain Flica remained on her side.
On the other hand, if that had happened, Yul might have given the hidden immunity idol to Becky and Cecelia might have gone anyway. So in the end, she may simply have been on the wrong side of the political divide that developed on Aitu. Thus, she was the first of Yul’s many direct victims.
J.P.: I think J.P. simply got too comfortable with his position on Raro. There were four big, strong guys and he wrongly assumed that the women would want to keep all of them around.
J.P. also wrongly assumed that Cristina would remain true to him. Instead, she joined forces with Rebecca and Jenny to save Stephannie and boot out J.P. once they got Brad and Parvati on their side. Then Stephannie pulled off quite an acting job in letting poor J.P. think she was going, only to blindside him with the vote!
Stephannie: Poor Stephannie was just a weak link. She blamed herself for the loss of one immunity challenge (although she had plenty of help there), then after another loss she openly wished for mashed potatoes and gravy! Nate (and the others) decided that it was better to keep a strong woman (even if she was annoying) over someone who was nice but weak. They were probably right, but it didn’t help them much anyway.
Cao Boi: The guy was entertaining. He was colorful. He was also strategically clueless. He looked at Survivor as an adventure, not as the game that it was.
Although Cao Boi did try to scheme with “Plan Voodoo,” he thought the wrong person had the hidden immunity idol; and in any case he failed to consider that he was targeting people who were in the majority alliance. And by originally suggesting that Aitu should get rid of Becky in the first vote of the new Aitu tribe, he made a fatal enemy in Yul.
Cristina: I don’t think Cristina’s biggest mistake was in being (inadvertently) annoying. Rather, her biggest mistake was in failing to realize that winning and playing with total honesty and integrity just don’t work. However, she didn’t help her cause any by failing to dial back her strong personality soon enough. And worst of all, she wasn’t chosen to be “kidnapped.” If she had been, Jenny might have gone home instead.
Jessica (Flica): Like Cao Boi, Flica was interested primarily in the adventure, not in plotting and scheming. She too was completely clueless. And when Cao Boi was sent packing, she was hung out to dry. Although she tried her hardest to stick around, it was too little, too late. Especially since Ozzy was a major provider of food and Flica really wasn’t, though she worked hard enough.
Brad: Like Cristina before him, Brad thought he could come into Survivor and play with complete honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, he couldn’t.
However, Brad’s decision to do the puzzle part of a reward challenge led to further trouble when Rebecca just got too exhausted while swimming. Worse, it became pretty clear to the other Raro members that he would return to his original alliance – Yul and Becky – at the merge. So off he went, even though Jonathan and Candice had just mutinied and rejoined Raro.
Rebecca: Like Cecelia before her, the physical part of the game got to Rebecca. She didn’t have enough energy to do much work around camp, as she was conserving it for challenges. And she thought she had a tight alliance, but never made a sub-alliance or checked to make certain that she was as safe as she thought. Perhaps her exhaustion also took away her energy to plot and scheme. If so, that was a pity.
Jenny: If Brad’s eviction before Jonathan wasn’t necessarily a mistake, or even that of Rebecca, the elimination of Jenny definitely was a huge one, as most of the Raro jurors have since admitted! Jenny realized that Adam was too close to Candice and would never betray her. Unfortunately, Jenny revealed her suspicions to Adam instead of plotting and scheming against him! This set up the plan to oust her, which took place when the second double-elimination was revealed. She was taken aback enough to not plead her case before the vote, and that was that.
Nate: Nate was the first of many Raro members to allow personal feelings to interfere with playing the game. He failed to make any back-up alliances to help him out in the game because he was so attached to Parvati and Adam. However, we can’t totally lay his failure at his door. He might have formed a back-up alliance with Ozzy, if only Yul hadn’t found out about it first. Once he did, Nate was the first on Aitu’s hit parade, especially when Yul got Jonathan to flip.
Candice: Candice should never have mutinied. She should have stuck where she was and waited until the merge. If she had, she could’ve jumped back to Raro and she’d have been in a much better position. As it was, she allowed her friendship with Adam and Parvati (and her romantic feelings towards Adam) to cause her to mutiny, thus earning her the wrath of the Aitu-4 (and three trips to Exile Island). It also made her the next one from Raro to go home. I guess mutineers are the first ones to die after all.
Jonathan: Jonathan too should never have mutinied. But where Candice’s decision to mutiny was dictated by personal feelings, Jonathan’s was dictated by strategic concerns and by the conviction that Adam held the hidden immunity idol, not Yul. After learning that he had been mistaken, Jonathan jumped back and earned the wrath of Raro.
If Jonathan hadn’t been sent to Exile Island when Parvati and her dad won a reward challenge, he might have stuck around one more day. Or maybe the Aitu-4 would’ve all agreed to get rid of him anyway. In any case, he was too much of a threat to Yul’s own plans, so out the door he went.
Parvati: Like Nate before her, Parvati didn’t initially try to make any back-up alliances once the merge hit. Nor did she allow Jonathan to feel totally comfortable. Both were mistakes. Parvati did try to save herself after Jonathan flipped, but it was too little, too late; and her efforts only made Yul realize that she was a bigger threat than Adam. So once Ozzy won immunity, Parvati too had to go.
Adam: I don’t know if it says anything good about Adam that despite his being a big, strong guy, he was the last to go from Raro. I’d say not. In any case, he was the least threatening person to the Aitu-4’s chances, so he was allowed to stay longer than any of the others did. But in the end, the only chance he had was to win immunity. But once again, Ozzy won it, so out the door Adam went. To his credit, he tried to get the hidden immunity idol out of the game before he left, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Sundra: I’ve never seen a more pathetic fire-making challenge! Was it just nerves? Were Sundra and Becky using a different form of flint than what they were used to? Or was it a combination of those things? I don’t know.
What I do know is that Sundra was too emotionally attached to her allies (mainly Becky and Yul) and unable to separate integrity from game play. So her only chance was to win immunity, but even though she came close, Ozzy won again. At least she went out with class and there were no hard feelings amongst any of the Aitu-4.
Becky: Becky had very long odds once she reached the final three and had to face the jury. She had kept her scheming and plotting very secret – too secret, in fact. And she just couldn’t turn on Yul. She might have won some votes if she had been able to make fire more effectively, but she was almost as pathetic as Sundra was. So she was stuck between two giants – a challenge giant and a strategic one. She had no chance.
Ozzy: Ozzy’s fate proves that being a challenge demon and having unmatched survival skills is all well and good, but it’s not enough without any decent amount of strategy. Ozzy just spent too much time hunting and fishing and not enough time strategizing. He did manage to get into an alliance despite not doing enough strategizing, and he did get four votes by doing so well in challenges, but he was up against Yul and it was just too much. At least he got a car and $100,000.
Yul: My favorite in the game, and a truly deserving winner. He did so many things right, and very few things wrong. And the things he did do wrong didn’t matter in the end.
Yul plotted and schemed without making himself the villain and he knew when it was time to backstab and when it was time to lay off. He worked at making sure his alliance survived, he was very nice and didn’t show any hint of what his politics or beliefs might be, and he made sure there were bigger threats around.
Best of all, Yul knew how to get votes before and during the final jury session. He maximized the good luck he had and minimized the bad luck of the mutiny. I don’t know if he’s a better player than Richard Hatch, but I’d say he’s just about as good. And I say congratulations Yul!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Belle Book is a library clerk for a community college in Pennsylvania. She is delighted that Yul is the Sole Survivor of Cook Islands! If you wish to contact Belle, she can be reached at BelleBook@aol.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recaps and other info on this show at the Survivor: Cook Islands page, and take a look at our The Amazing Race 8 page and our Apprentice: Martha Stewart page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!