Monday, May 13, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Finale Burning Questions and thoughts

A new format for the finale, as I steal from Bill Simmons and use his "Questions about" format for this finale!

Did Erik's removal really affect the game?

No. I actually had to wait to make sure that Cochran won before answering this, because if Dawn won I could see there being an argument that it did affect things (since she wouldn't have had to get her hands even more bloody.)

How often did you rewind your PVR to listen to Eddie's explanation as to why he wanted to win a million dollars?

About a thousand times. I mean, read this:
"if I do win the million dollars, I want to open like a, like a, dog shelter kennel playpen area, like attached to a bar. Like those are my two favorite things - I like dogs and I like bars. So if I can open like a bar and you can bring your dog there, that'd be unbelievable."

And then read it again:
"if I do win the million dollars, I want to open like a, like a, dog shelter kennel playpen area, like attached to a bar. Like those are my two favorite things - I like dogs and I like bars. So if I can open like a bar and you can bring your dog there, that'd be unbelievable."

One more time:
"if I do win the million dollars, I want to open like a, like a, dog shelter kennel playpen area, like attached to a bar. Like those are my two favorite things - I like dogs and I like bars. So if I can open like a bar and you can bring your dog there, that'd be unbelievable."

And that isn't even the most Eddie-est thing that Eddie ever said! How can somebody who jumped in when Erik went down and acted like a seasoned EMT then come along and say something like that?
In all seriousness, the editors did mess up on that though. You can tell that the first part of that lead-in (about wanting to convince Cochran to take him instead of Dawn to the final three) wasn't said at the same time as Eddie's desire to create a bar with a dog playpen attached.

(Oh, and don't think I'm not looking into a bar with a dog playpen idea.)

Did Cochran get an unfair advantage in the final immunity?

I have to say no. Just going by results, he had more time to figure it out, but hadn't even begun to until everybody else was working on theirs. So let's consider the more abstract question:

Should there be advantages in final immunity challenges?

I'm opposed to specific advantages in immunity challenges. That is completely unfair for such an important event. Let's set aside that it didn't work for Malcolm, and didn't seem to have a huge benefit for Cochran. Just having that advantage is a bit unfair in the first place.

I'm not opposed to the advantage that Terri from Cook Islands had going into the final challenge - it was abstract enough that it wouldn't have a direct impact on the final challenge, but I could understand where it would help. That might be the better answer.

Did you have a problem with Eddie and Erik's questions to Sherri?

Not that much. I get that the sources of the question were kinda ironic (to put it mildly). But at the same time, the jury either had no clue as to what Sherri did or knew what she did and was biased against it because it hurt their game. At the very least somebody had to ask it to give Sherri a chance to make her argument.

Does Sherri understand what was happening at Final Tribal?

Now, yes. But when it was happening? Not a chance. I don't know if she was destroyed by the jury before Erik's vote, or if she really didn't want to deal with the perception that she was a floater, but she shut down anything that Erik might have said which might have helped her. And to do it to Erik? That was terrible.

Honestly, I think she overestimated her game play, and underestimated how much the jury did not respect her game play. Her story was basically "I lead an alliance which got me to the merge, and then got in with the favourites." The problem (which I don't think that she grasped) was that her arguments were easily countered by the jury. She lead an alliance on a tribe that was dominated by the favourites, and then she joined with the favourites and seemingly did nothing to contribute to that alliance. She didn't seem to grasp that this was the perception that she had to get over. Her opening statement was a bit tone deaf, thinking that her revelation that she's a successful business woman will have an impact on the jury is so out of touch with what they were looking for.

Does Eddie understand that he would have been in the same position as Sherri at Final Tribal?

No, because he probably assumed the Amigos would just bro-up and vote for him, Michael would vote for him because they were on the same tribe for a while and kinda aligned at one point, Andrea would vote for him because he's awesome and that Corrine would vote for him because, well, isn't Eddie dreamy?

The reality is that Reynold probably would have voted for him, but the others? Not a chance in hell. I would have laughed a lot when it happened, BTW. Especially if Reynold voted for Cochran as well. Heck, I wish it would have happened. But this is the guy that there was a Dawn/Erik/Sherri final 5, and thought that voting for the person who wasn't voted out every time post merge except once was a sign that he wasn't strategic enough (which betrays the lack of understanding he has for the game.)

Is this the biggest collection of challenge threats ever?
That was an interesting point that Cochran brought up during the final tribal council, and initially I dismissed it as some smoke blowing by Cochran. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Cochran. I mean you'd have to look at All-Stars and Heroes vs. villains as the most likely to have those challenge threats, but they tended to get voted out pre-merge in those seasons. So in this case I'm willing to agree if we look at it post-merge.

Did Dawn's not removing her teeth cost her the game?

Ooops. I wrote this before Dawn removed her teeth. Quick change to:

Did Dawn's delay in removing her teeth cost her the game?

No, but it probably did cost her a vote. It was great that she was willing to remove her teeth to prove that she wasn't going to leave the game, but at the same time it came across as though Brenda had bullied her into doing it instead of Dawn owning it and doing it on her own volition. Malcolm's whole point in the beginning was that Dawn needed to own everything and stand up to the jury. If she had just done it immediately, she might have gotten Malcolm's vote. Between that and a bit too much deferral to the Cochran/Dawn team probably cost her votes.

Instead, she was whitewashed, and unfairly to an extent; this was more of a Stephen Fishbach shutout than a Dreamz/Cassandra shutout. Dawn played a good game; she made bonds, got information and then used that information to further her game instead of letting somebody else further their game. But in the end she faced off against somebody who played her game, but did so without the same sort of impact on personal relationships in part because Dawn made those relationships for Cochran.

Is there a Godfather analogy to be made for the Dawn/Cochran relationship?
No, unless you want to consider Dawn to be the "Don", and Cochran to be the consigliere.

(Actually, that might not be bad. And it has that homophone effect as well. Let's try to run with it.)

The biggest weakness to this comparison is that Dawn wasn't the leader of much of anything. But if you look at is as Dawn being the "face" of the group, and Cochran as the person behnd the scenes making the things happen, it does kinda fit if you squint. Cochran ran the show, in a sense at the direction of Dawn (or at least the information that Dawn gave him.)

Hmmm...maybe that's not the best idea. Maybe the better analogy would be Cochran as Don and Dawn as one of his Lieutenants, who is there to help run the show on the ground but at the same time is there to take the blows for the Don. Ultimately that's what happened.

What was the underrated event that caused Cochran to win the game?

When Malcolm made the Three Amigos immune and caused Phillip to get voted out. The biggest hurdle that Cochran had was to somehow vote Phillip while keeping him from getting bitter about Cochran's betrayal. Malcolm made it easy by having the two idols, and Erik pushed it over the top by bringing up that Malcolm didn't necessarily have to play both idols. The best path for the favourites at that point was to continue with their voting plan, and for the Three Amigos the best plan to play the idols. Which meant that Cochran had his problem solved: Phillip got voted out and Cochran had absolutely no blood on his hand for it.

Will Cochran's win stop Jeff Probst's mocking?

Yes, because now Probst can use him as part of his inspirational speaking style. (Of course, continually bringing up Cochran's nerdiness is a bit of mocking, but small steps.)
(Oh, and Stephen Fishbach, look out! Cochran wants to be a writer. Wouldn't People want a former winner as their Survivor blogger?)

Can Phillip play the game ever again now that he's inducted impartial Jeff Probst into Stealth R Us?

Of course. In final tribal we saw that Stealth R Us membership is revocable. So Phillip would just revoke it in the interest of fairness (like all good members of Stealth R Us.)

How many people tweeted the twist for next season before the tease was shown?

Probably a million billion.

How awkward was that little girl interview?

More awkward than having the non-jury cast members sitting in the crowd and not on stage.

Did you like the new format of the finale?

Yup. Honestly, there wasn't anything that I really wanted to hear from the pre-jury members, save maybe the odd insult from Corrine. It sucks for them and a bit unfair to them, but at the same time what where they going to add?

Would they have had that format if Phillip didn't make the jury?

Had the person who suggested that they were finally going to bring a third tribe to the beach ever watch a season of Survivor before this one?


Is Survivor: Blood vs. Water a tortured way to get a cool name for the Family twist?


So, where does Cochran rank in the pantheon of winners?

You'll have to wait until later in the week to find that out.

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