SurvivorSurvivor Caramoan

WIGGLE ROOM: Can Survivor Caramoan’s Gamebot Be Stopped?

e13-cochranlogo
And then there were five.
But really, it’s probably just one.[/caption]

And then there were five.

But really, it’s probably just one.

Ask just about any Survivor fan who they think will be crowned the King or Queen of Caramoan on Sunday night, and you’ll very likely get the same answer: John Cochran, who has emerged from his translucent-skinned South Pacific cocoon to become one of the deadliest players left in the second edition of Fans vs. Favorites. With two immunity wins under his belt and two very big moves to his name — the ousting of Andrea and Brenda over the last two weeks — few players remain with nearly as impressive a scorecard.

But let’s not forget that despite its rough, rough start — and man oh man did I mention yet that it was rough? — the back half of Caramoan has been eventful. It’s been unpredictable. It’s been flat-out insane.

e13-sherricochranhusband

Sherri and her husband posing with the eventual winner?

The moment we start thinking the outcome of Caramoan is fully decided? That could be the moment where we get blindsided.

So, let’s look past the Gamebot. Surely someone else stands a chance at taking home the Caramoan crown, right? Let’s take a look.

Not Sherri: I agree with Probst. No chance for the franchise owner. She played a strong game at the beginning but there is no one on the jury who (a) saw any of it or (b) respected it, save for maybe Michael, and one vote does not a winner make. I don’t see any combination where Sherri can win this game, let alone beat Cochran.

e13-eddie

Could Eddie pull off the upset?

Eddie: I agree with Rob. I think if Eddie is at the end, he has Reynold’s vote locked. I’m not as convinced that Malcolm would vote for the last remaining amigo purely out of loyalty — I think he has more respect for the game than that — but he might, if Eddie’s at the end with the right combination of people. (Erik and Sherri being the right combination.) Given what happened to her at the last tribal council, I could certainly see Brenda casting a vote for Eddie over Dawn or Cochran or Sherri. That’s three; just a couple more votes, or if the votes are split the right way, and Eddie’s pretty close to there. Of course, that all assumes Eddie can immunity-run his way to the finish — there’s no other way he gets there, I don’t think — and judging by his past performances, I don’t think he can.

e13-erik

Erik, unlike Eddie, could actually go on a game-winning immunity run

Erik: I agree with Rob? Ah, I hate to be wrong, but it looks like I was wrong about Erik. His head is not in the game nearly as much as I gave him credit for. He’s starving and sick and exhausted and not thinking with the kind of clarity I really thought and hoped he was. Still, that doesn’t mean he’s doing everything wrong, and it certainly doesn’t mean he can’t win the game. Erik is likable as hell. Erik has betrayed no one. Erik is a proven challenge threat. Erik, unlike Eddie, could actually go on a game-winning immunity run. If he’s there at the very end against pretty much anyone, I think he can take it. My pick to win the whole shebang is still very much in play.

(But I don’t think it’s going to happen.)

e13-dawnjeff

Dawn has played this game hard.

Dawn: Does she have a snowball’s chance in Hell at winning after the boo-hoo-hooey Brenda blindside? Probably not, and that’s a shame. Dawn has played this game hard. She’s played aggressively. Every successful big move in the post-merge game (minus the fall of Phillip) owes much of its success to Dawn and her ability to play with advancing herself in mind. She won an immunity. And believe it or not, Dawn stayed loyal, at least to the one person she actually hitched her wagon to: Cochran. Then again, if she continues to stay tied to Cochran, I don’t think she has a chance at taking him down. Then again, if she pulls a Denise and cuts Cochran down before the finals, who does she go to the end with? She can beat Sherri, sure. But can she beat Erik? Can she beat Eddie? I think Bitter Jury Syndrome is going to say no, sadly. It’s a real bummer. Dawn played an awesome game this time around. Win or lose, no one can take that away from her.

e13-cochran2

There’s no one left with a stronger edit.

No One: I agree with common sense. Let’s be serious. This is the real answer. No one and nothing can stand in the way of the Gamebot. There’s no one left with a stronger edit, no one with nearly as much face-time, than Cochran. I don’t love looking at that technical side of things, but I think it’s worth putting into consideration: the edit is invested in a Cochran win, or at least, a Cochran finals. And if Cochran’s in the finals against anyone, he wins. Against all odds, Cochran is this season’s Kim Spradlin. He played hard, he played smart, but he didn’t play completely ruthlessly. His choices were not rooted in emotion. This was a “business trip,” and every vote was a business transaction. And yet, the dude is likable. He has shown emotion, if not in the vote, then in the moment: crying while reading letters from home, crying at the sight of his mom, unabashed glee after winning challenges, even geeking out as a Survivor nerd when the Amigos made their epic last stand — a move that could have ended disastrously for Cochran. On top of that, just consider the arc of improvement between where he was when he started South Pacific and where he is right now. It’s a stunning story.

So many types of people have won Survivor. Young people and old people. Heroes and villains. Go-getters and do-nothings. Gays and straights. Blacks and whites. Christians and Jews. After 25 seasons, people from all walks of life have won this game.

And yet.

On Sunday night, as the 26th Sole Survivor is named, I am quite confident we’re going to get a first. A genuine nerd is going to win Survivor. And as a genuine nerd, I am very, very excited about this.

That’s it for The Wiggle Room this season. Thanks for tuning in and putting up with my rambling and raving, for the weeks I missed and for the weeks that maybe I should have missed. It was fun talking Survivor with you guys all season long, and I hope we do it again real soon. In the meantime, let me know what you think: who is going to win Caramoan? Can anyone stop Cochran or is the case closed? Hit me up in the usual places: on Twitter @roundhoward (like Ron Howard, ‘cept rounder), or in the comments below.

Become a patron of RHAP