There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224
Hello again Survivor fans and welcome again to another review of this season's Survivor South Pacific. I am going to change up and do something different this week and instead of a recap of my thoughts I am going to do a summary of what I am seeing to date from some of the season's key players.
I have given it the acronym of C.O.A.C.H and with each area I will touch on the key points of each. With that being said let's jump right in.
Strategical wise and Social wise Coach Ben Wade has played a thorough game winning over his tribe and keeping control throughout the process from start to post merge. It is Coach's game now to call as he sees fit and to have the final say in the end game part.
With the recent full Pagong of what is now the entire tribe of Savaii (with the recent ouster of John Cochran) it is safe to say that it will be someone from Coach Wade's tribe of Upolu who will be sitting at the end. (unless there is a miracle win from a former Savaii member that takes him to the Final 3 be it Cochran or Ozzy which I seriously doubt)
There are some high aces and low cards to having that type of control though. Whereas he has built such solid relationships with his alliance/sub alliances that there was never a consideration of taking him out or flushing the idol he still possesses; this type of control can be both a curse and a blessing.
On the high end he possesses the ability to dictate the ebbs and flows of the game into whatever direction that he would like to take it. With the way he setup his alliance/sub alliances he was the foundation or pinnacle to each one. With each one he was the key force in each decision made.
Throughout the season he was able to make decisions for each that could balance and keep each in harmony with the other which is not an easy task.
His decision to not divulge pecking order helped keep the balance. Now with the end game approaching it was Coach who had the ultimate decision at the past Tribal with selecting who will possibly end up with him in the Finals. Which now reveals the actual pecking order.
There were many possible routes Coach could have gone with to have made the end. Several separate factions of "goat" (Brandon-Edna; Rick/Edna; Rick-Brandon; Brandon-Cochran; Edna-Cochran perhaps even Albert-Cochran) and the Iron Sharpens Iron faction with Sophie and Albert.
It now appears Coach has decided on the aforementioned Iron Sharpens Iron faction. Which I will cover with "H". Having the ability to do this is obviously a plus within the game however too there could be a drawback from his decision made at the recent Tribal Council.
With the controversial flip of John Cochran from low totem pole (possibly) Savaii to a possible F4 combination with Albert as a sub alliance; Coach gained the momentum at merge but in doing so has angered or embittered an entire tribe of Savaii who have the final say as jurors. It is still debatable whether this may impact the final decision but it well could. With the ouster of Cochran; the buffer of anger more in the direction of Cochran at the end is no longer something that could be an asset for Coach. Which makes his end game and jury tougher. In reality even though a tribe may be angry at their defector in an end game F3; at the least they hold respect towards the opposing tribe who goes to the end with the person for their being there as in effect the player still "represents" the original tribe at the end.
When the person is shown to have been just a number or appendage however that taste can become bitter. Which is what Coach now faces I feel in his decision to oust Cochran. As a viewer-fan I applaud his ability to perform a virtual Pagong of an entire tribe which is an amazing feat, however as a tactician I do recognize the down side as well. Absolute power in the game can be a blessing but within this ability there is also the psychological impact on the sitting jury as well to be factored in and overcome. I will be watching how Coach handles this and hopefully this will work in his favor.
Should Coach Wade be able to win this season; in my opinion, this will rank him above the likes of Russell Hantz and Boston Rob Mariano. Both having absolute power facing bitter juries. However both selected the easier routes of lesser liked or "C" players as their routes at the end. Coach in my opinion chose a far different course which could make the end stronger but challenging jury wise at the end. I applaud that as it's risky and bold. But overall I applaud his ultimate loyalty to his original tribe and his core alliance as well. Which in a cut throat game like Survivor is not often seen.
Should it work for him it will usurp the games of these strong tacticians and place Coach Wade in a level above both. All in all Coach has had an amazing season and has completely taught us as fans and tacticians how the game of Survivor can be played on a more exciting level.
He has struggled in each important area of strategy and social. Whereas Coach had direction; Ozzy lacked direction and several decisions came back to haunt him as he sits now on Redemption Island. He paired up in an obvious strength pair with a female (a known m.o) and the female was ousted which led to a social faux pas of a melt down on his part. He played in such a way that the pecking order was painfully revealed and everyone knew where their rung was. Which led to separate and disparate factions within one tribe which made the tribe very incohesive and led to the eventual Pagong. Ozzy's only approach throughout his seasons has been to play the strong guy-provider role and in his first season this worked well for him because he was able to make it to the end by winning challenges and being a provider. However as a early leader of the Hispanic Tribe Aitutaki in Cook Islands.. it too showed early signs of what we have seen this season with Savaii on South Pacific.
In his second season he also had the same approach as this season which also detonated in his falling prey to the Black Widow alliance leaving with an idol in his pocket becoming juror number 2.
So in essence has Ozzy found redemption this season? By looking at his history and this season's decisions my feeling is he hasn't. The truth is Ozzy has no clear concept of the actual game itself and relies on his m.o. of provider-challenge prowess which can only take you so far.
The game itself continues to grow and develop per season and if you cannot grow and expand with it then it cannot be a success for you.
His choice of Redemption Island and his own vote off was a selfish decision and only beneficial to Ozzy. It was at the root showing his inability to thrive within the boundaries of the actual game itself. Ozzy maybe able to make his way back in through this process but by being on RI whatever info he receives will not benefit him as by the time he does return Coach Wade's main alliance I doubt will switch things up. Plus he would have to win each Immunity to stay in to make the Finals. Should that happen that would make for an interesting conclusion. We'll see what happens but unlike Coach; I don't see Ozzy as having found redemption. He has not played well and has given us the same patterns used in his similar seasons.
He has made several attempts to take the game over. The first being the attempt to oust Edna during the tribal stage (most likely another reason was Edna was a threat to him personally as to her closeness with Coach and Albert wanted to remove this threat)
I feel aligning with Cochran was the genesis of a seed to take over as well. However in the end Cochran did not sit well with Sophie which is part and partial of why Cochran went. Plus I sense Coach knew it also and wanted to defuse anything that could happen now that the numbers are getting lower. So either way Albert could not emerge victorious on this attempt either way.
In the end the game is and has been determined by Coach Wade. The alliance that Albert-Sophie made with Coach for F3 with the idol during the Upolu stage has guaranteed both Final 3 status as long as the alliance stays on the same page.
In Cochran's exit it now seals the Final Pecking order of the Iron Sharpens Iron alliance.
Which is why I think that Albert cannot fully pull the plug. He knows he has a decent shot with going with Sophie and Coach to the Finals. Coach because he has played twice before and the argument can be made for that. Sophie because she has played a more under the radar low key game. Not doing a lot of testing of the waters. Which is why Albert has ultimately stayed with this alliance. There are good arguments he can make within his case to the jury.
The other drawback to Albert is he has made obvious wooing gestures towards what will be jurors. He wooed Dawn-Whitney with a possible change-up but stopped shy of it. Planting the seed that he at least was approachable. However he did not change the game up so the attempt in hindsight can be viewed as a ploy by the jury. His giving his Reward away tho commendable is also a blatant ploy as well which Cochran did see through.
Albert has played a steady game within the confines of Upolu and for the most part it will guarantee him a slot in the Finals with Coach and Sophie unless something drastically changes.
At Savaii he was on the clear outs from the onset as he did not fit in with the majority of the tribe. His being kept was more of a strategical decision on part by Jim than anything. Cochran at merge decided to take his game into his own hands (more accurately into the hands of Coach-Albert-Sophie)and flipped to Upolu believing he had a new home there and a sub alliance with Albert. That he would be able to rise up through the ranks.
But in reality the move was only more in favor to Upolu than to Cochran, who was wooed for a time and allowed the first bites at retribution towards Savaii. But Cochran's main focus and desire was to keep looking for big splashy moves to make but in reality Cochran was more a slave to insecurities than a clear sound level player. I feel that is why Coach took him under his wing and was doing the Tai Chi with Cochran. I think Coach saw the roots of a smart player who was held back by fears and insecurities.
I think Coach did try to help Cochran but was unable to fully do so. In the end I think Cochran wore on Sophie's nerves and Coach did not want any possible switch up and this is why he ended up going.
Cochran has not been as effective as we all kind of hoped he would and it is disappointing. In a way I would love to see Cochran beat Ozzy at the duel next episode as it would be so good for him morale wise. Maybe to channel some of the Tai Chi he has been doing with Coach. But I fear he will fall prey to the insecurities that has held him back in the game and Ozzy will again be the victor. But were he to pull it off it would be awesome!
Now what exactly is H?
H stands for the slogan Coach Wade set out for in Survivor Tocantins and I feel will come to fruition this season.
Honor and integrity at the end.
I feel this will be the culmination of an exciting and close to call season. With the information shown last Tribal Council we see the pecking order goes like this:
With a Final 3 of Coach Wade, Albert Destrade and Sophie Clarke.
To me it is so apparent that this is the end now more so than ever mainly again the hints lie with Sophie. At the beginning of the episode she is shown saying that she is not happy about the fact that Cochran just assumes people will take him to the Finals and openly spoke of being annoyed by Cochran and looked annoyed even.
She also during the time Cochran was making his plea to the tribe body language wise was turned away from Cochran and appeared distant. Showing she was not a full participant.
Sophie in her quiet manner has been the person Albert and Coach have looked to throughout the game for decisions. She has been the glue to them both and far as Coach making his decision I refer back to something he said a long time ago during a Tribal Council in Tocantins. He stated he trusted female intuitions. Which is a portion of why I feel Cochran went was due to Sophie. But with his exit we now clearly see the true pecking order and who Coach is more aligned with.
All 3 have played awesome and would make a strong finish for this season.
Now to make an final note I am saddened to see that one of my favorites..Dawn Meehan lost on Redemption Island. Dawn and Jim were my favorite two Savaii players. Dawn played a very competitive game with heart and I will miss her. Her final words in the game at RI were some of the best ever said on exit. I love Dawn and hope she will have future success in all her endeavors in life. You did great Dawn!!!
We also say goodbye to Whitney as well. Who is also now a part of the jury.
With this being said I will close out my thoughts for now but will be back soon with more reflections. I continue to enjoy this season and am looking forward to a strong solid finish. Hope u all have enjoyed my musings and until next week remember keep your torch lights lit and keep enjoying Survivor South Pacific!