Just like winter turns to spring, another season of Survivor has officially come and gone. The winner of Survivor: Caramoan Islands was announced during the three hour long season finale and live reunion show on Sunday evening.
If you haven’t had the chance to watch the season finale of the show, you might not want to read any further because this blog post will contain spoilers about who won season 26 of Survivor. In addition to discussing Sunday night’s finale episode, I will include some insight into speculation about the 27th season of the hit reality television show.
Fan-favorite Brenda is voted out of the game as host Jeff Probst snuffs her torch.
Following the elimination of Brenda on last week’s episode, Erik was medically evacuated from the game presumably because of a severe case of dehydration and starvation. Either way, the medical team for Survivor deemed him to be incapable of continuing on and he was forced to leave the game. This leaves Eddie, Sherri, Dawn and Cochran as the final four contestants of Survivor: Caramoan Islands.
The next morning, on day 37 of the game, the final four contestants receive tree-mail letting them know that they will be competing in a reward challenge. While at camp, they speculate about what the reward will be. The general consensus among the remaining four players is that the winner of the challenge will receive some sort of much needed food and nourishment.
Upon arriving at the reward challenge, host Jeff Probst informs them that the winner of the reward challenge will not win any nourishment. Instead, the winner of the challenge will receive some sort of advantage that will help them during the final immunity challenge in order to ultimately help advance the winner of the challenge to the final three.
Cochran wins the reward challenge and the group heads back to camp to spend the rest of the day strategizing and preparing for the final immunity challenge that is set to take place the next day.
On day 38, the final four contestants begin their day by taking part in the Survivor tradition, “Rights of Passage,” where they pay tribute to the other 16 contestants who have already been eliminated from the game.
Once they have finished paying tribute to their fallen comrades, the final four castaways make their way to the final immunity challenge. Probst announces that the challenge will require the contestants to climb up a tall wooden structure, retrieve three bags filled with puzzle pieces, slide down the wooden structure and complete a three-dimensional puzzle.
The contestants are only allowed to retrieve one bag at a time and the first person to complete the puzzle wins immunity and guarantees themselves a spot at the final tribal council. Since Cochran won the advantage at the reward challenge, the viewers find out that his advantage is that all of his bags filled with puzzle pieces will not be tied up. The other three contestants will have to untie knots in order to retrieve their bags.
This gives Cochran a huge advantage from the beginning of the challenge, but it didn’t take long for Eddie, Dawn and Sherri to catch up to him. All four of the contestants struggled during the puzzle portion of the challenge. However, the advantage ultimately paid off as Cochran figured out the puzzle and won immunity.
Once they get back to camp, everybody is approaching Cochran in order to curry favor with him because his vote will likely determine who gets voted out. In true Survivor form, the producers lead the viewers to believe that anything could happen. Therefore, as the final four make their way to tribal council on night 38, the viewers have no idea who is going to be the next contestant eliminated.
Eddie decides that his best argument for convincing Cochran to keep him is to vote for Dawn because Dawn has played a very smart and strategic game. Dawn’s rebuttal to this idea is the fact that Eddie has played a strong social game and is universally liked by most of the jury members.
Even though Eddie presented a good argument and fought hard to stay in the game, Cochran, Sherri and Dawn ultimately decide to vote for him at tribal council. Eddie becomes the 8th and final member of the jury.
On day 39, the final day of the game, the final three castaways celebrate their victory with a treat from the Survivor gods. They get the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, champagne, orange juice and many other things. The three remaining players spend the rest of their day plotting how they intend to convince the jury that they deserve the million dollar prize, first place and the title of “Sole Survivor.”
We get to the final tribal council where Cochran, Dawn and Sherri are all given the opportunity to begin by giving a speech to the jury of eight for why they deserve to win the million.
This season’s final tribal council was full of some memorable moments.
- Sherri’s opening speech to the jury was perplexing, as she admitted that she owns multiple businesses and is already a millionaire. In my opinion, if you’re trying to convince a jury to vote for you to win Survivor and the million dollar grand prize, then you probably shouldn’t admit to them that you’re already a millionaire. That only shows them that you don’t really need the money.
- Dawn has six children, so she uses that to her advantage in reasons for why she should win. Sherri should have taken a page from Dawn’s playbook on appropriate things to say in order to convince a jury that you deserve to win. Sherri’s admission was just confusing.
- Cochran answered almost every single question that he was asked by the jurors during the final tribal council perfectly. He is a law student at Harvard, and I wouldn’t mind having him as my lawyer in the future because he did a stellar job of convincing the jury that he deserved to win.
- Brenda had some negative feelings towards Dawn for voting her out because Dawn had made a promise to Brenda early in the game that the two of them would never betray each other. Dawn’s broken promise to Brenda resulted in one of the strangest final tribal council moments in 26 seasons of Survivor. Earlier in the season, there was a point in time when Dawn lost her retainer (fake teeth) in the ocean. Dawn subsequently had a monumental meltdown because she was missing almost all of her bottom teeth. She was crying and going hysterical when Brenda approached her to comfort her. Dawn said that she was going to quit the game if she didn’t find her teeth. Brenda responded by spending a long time searching for Dawn’s lost retainer in the ocean, and ultimately found it. Dawn was so elated that Brenda had shown her so much kindness in a cutthroat game that she promised Brenda she would never betray her. Well, that didn’t last. During final tribal council, Brenda asked Dawn if she would have actually quit the game if she couldn’t find her retainer. Dawn responded and told Brenda that no, she wouldn’t have actually quit the game. Brenda needed more proof from Dawn, so she asked Dawn to take her teeth out during the final tribal council. At first, Dawn refused because she thought that Brenda was just trying to embarrass her. But, Brenda explained that she wanted to see proof that Dawn honestly didn’t need to have her teeth in if it truly wasn’t that important that Brenda spent time searching the ocean for the retainer. This led to one of the most awkward and frightening moments at tribal council when Dawn finally agreed to take her fake teeth out to prove to the world that even a missing set of bottom teeth couldn’t make her quit Survivor.
- Several of the jury members pointed out the fact that there is a double standard that exists for women in the game of Survivor. For some reason, most juries in the history of Survivor vilify the women who backstab fellow contestants, but reward the men who are deceptive and devious in the game. Many fans of the show have also expressed similar sentiments regarding this particular facet of the game.
Those were just a few of the most memorable moments of the final tribal council. After the jury was done questioning the final three, they casted their final votes for who they wanted to win season 26 of Survivor.
At this point, the viewers were two hours into the three hour season finale. The final hour of the show was devoted to the live reunion show that took place in LA.
It was announced during the live reunion show that Cochran (John Cochran) was the winner of Survivor: Caramoan Islands. Cochran made Survivor history by becoming the third person in the history of the show to win by a unanimous vote. Dawn and Sherri received no votes from the jury, which further proves the theory that women who “play dirty” in the game of Survivor are often not rewarded for their strategic game-play.
John Cochran, the winner of Survivor: Caramoan Islands
Jeff Probst teased during the reunion several different rumors about the upcoming season of Survivor. During the show, he presented a clue to the viewers showing a drop of red dye being dropped into a pool of water.
Many fans took to Twitter and guessed that the clue given by Probst symbolized that “blood is thicker than water.” By this logic, there is a theory that exists that season 27 of Survivor will feature a cast of returning players and their family members, spouses and/or significant others.
It’s no surprise that Survivor has been renewed for a 27th and 28th season considering the fact that the show is a ratings magnet for CBS (even after 26 seasons). In fact, TV Line reported that last Wednesday’s show tied American Idol in ratings for the first time in the 13 years that Survivor has been on the air.
The news that the cast for season 27 of Survivor will be comprised of past contestants and their family members is not new information for several bloggers who have inside sources. Andy Denhart, writer for Reality Blurred, was the first TV reporter to announce the information in early April. Of course, at that point, the information was just speculation. But, it certainly appears that Denhart’s sources were accurate.
Back in April, Denhart said, “A season with returning Survivor cast members playing with—and against—their family members appears to be a strong possibility for season 27, which will film this summer and air next fall.”
In an entirely different article that Denhart wrote last week, he reported that both season 27 and season 28 of Survivor will film in the northern part of the Philippines.
“The CBS reality competition will move to the northern part of the country, to the province of Cagayan, where Paulaui Island is located; Cagayan is part of Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippines,” said Denhart.
Fans are already getting anxious in anticipation of season 27 of Survivor. There was a great deal of controversy involving some of the eliminations during this season of Survivor.
The exit of fan-favorites Malcolm and Brenda garnered some extremely volatile responses from Survivor fans on social networking outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Dawn Meehan, runner up of Survivor: Caramoan, even said during the live reunion show that she had to delete her Twitter account after the episode aired in which she voted out Brenda because of hateful tweets and even death threats.
I will admit that I was a huge fan of Brenda and wasn’t happy with Dawn’s decision to vote her out. However, I don’t think that I would ever send death threats towards somebody because they voted out my favorite player on a reality TV show.
Just imagine how crazy the next season of Survivor could be with the contestants being forced to vote out their loved ones! I definitely anticipate some more controversy in the show’s future.
All photos courtesy of CBS