Survivor Cook Islands ends with a diverse final four; jury gives Yul a 5 to 4 win over Ozzy

A few weeks ago, when Jonathan told Candice, “Maybe it’ll be us four Caucasians in the final four,” it seemed like the most diverse Survivor ever was heading toward an all-white final four.

Thanks to Jonathan’s betrayal of his alliance, however, and to incredibly smart strategy by Yul and incredible challenge play by Ozzy, that didn’t happen. Instead, the last white person standing, Adam, was the first sent home on the finale after Ozzy won yet another individual immunity challenge.

That left the underdog tribe as the final four, perhaps the most satisfying outcome in the history of the show. They were so committed to each other and to fairness that they refused to turn on one another, instead forcing a tiebreaker between the two non-immune members, Sundra and Becky. As usual, they had to make fire, but this was anything but typical. After an hour of both of them striking flint repeatedly but getting no results, an exasperated Jeff Probst gave them both matches. Incredibly, a half hour later, neither had a fire, and Sundra was out of matches. Becky finally managed to get a fire started, and Sundra went home.

That left a final three of Yul, Ozzy, and Becky, who had an impossibly difficult argument to make to the jury about why she deserved the prize more than the game’s two best competitors. The jury didn’t buy her argument about it being a “social game,” and she received zero votes.

Ozzy got four votes, but Yul received five, and won the $1 million. Ozzy, however, won the viewer poll and received the free car. Either way, it would have been a satisfying outcome, and for my money, it was the best season since the first.

It’s too bad that the AP’s David Bauder didn’t bother to pay attention this season, if he even watched. In his finale write-up, Bauder notes that the final “four people made up the game’s Aitu tribe, which at one point competed against the eight-member Raro tribe. Methodically, that core group of four voted all eight of the others out of the game.”

Of course, Aitu could not have voted out eight people, because there were only nine people when the two tribes merged. Aitu voted out Nate, Candice, Jonathan, Parvati, and Adam, a total of five “others.” Always helps to actually watch the show before its finale.

Yul is the Sole Survivor [CBS]
‘Survivor’ closes book on compelling season [MSNBC]
Sunday Finale: Yul Kwon Wins ‘Survivor’ [AP]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.