Oh, oh, the cast for Survivor 22: Redemption Island has been revealed sooner than I expected. So let’s finish that “who should have won” (brief) series so that we can get into full Redemption Island mode after that.
Where were we?
- Guatemala: I must admit, I have very few memories of the Guatemala season. I guess it has to do with the fact that it was broadcast when I left the US, so I’m not even sure I saw all of it. I remember that my favorite was Rafe Judkins, but I can’t tell whether he or Stephenie Lagrossa or Danni Boatwright should have won. Sorry.
- Panama, Exile Island: Mmm… Well, I don’t think Aras Baskauskas deserved to win that one. When people talk about unmemorable winners, they often mention Vecepia. Do you know why they don’t mention Aras? Because they all have forgotten about him. And not only he was the most unmemorable winner of all, but there were much better players in his season. And no, I don’t mean Terry Deitz (to this day, I’m sure he’s convinced that being a good Survivor player means being the most athletic and the most self-righteous (and having an idol that doesn’t need to be hidden, seeing the rules that were in effect at the time)). What I mean, is that the best player that season was Cirie Fields and anybody who disagree with that is a fool. Also, I’m sad that Bobby “Bobdawg” Mason didn’t do better. While he was not impressive on the show (but the editing may have a role to play with that), I’m sure that he would have been terrific had he had a chance to really play the game from what I’ve seen from him ever since (he may be one of the smartest and funniest people that ever played Survivor). If there ever is a “second chance” edition, he’d better be cast.
- Cook Islands: That’s an easy one: Yul Kwon won and nobody else played better than him as he’s simply one of the best players ever (I really hope he comes back on a future All-Stars although I highly doubt it).
- Fiji: Ah! The infamous Fiji season… Infamous? Yes. Unmemorable? Sort of. Terrible Twist? Yeah. Earl Cole a forgettable winner? I don’t think so. Actually, he played a very solid game, and a very strategic one, especially for somebody that had never really watched the show before (it is my understanding that he had never watched Survivor before being cast, but maybe I’m wrong). Of course, the best player that season was Yau-Man Chan, except for that one stupid move he made. Why on Earth made him think that he could even remotely trust a single word Dreamz says? It’s still a mystery to me. Also, I want to mention Michelle Yi. While I don’t think she would have won, her social game was awesome, and I definitely think she got screwed over by a lame twist (and I hate when people are screwed, not because they messed up but because of a ill-timed and/or lame twist).
- China: I don’t think that Todd Herzog gets enough credit for his gameplay in China. It was tough season with lots of players that knew how to play and Todd dominated them from the beginning. In my mind he is one of the best players ever, up there with Richard Hatch, Yul Kwon, Parvati Shallow and a few more, but for some reason it seems that he never gets mentioned among those. I wonder why… Or maybe I am biased, because if I ever was going to play Survivor (which I won’t as I’m not an American citizen) I would have used Todd’s strategy from A to Z. I remember watching that season and being amazed to make the exact moves I thought I would make in his situation. It’s the first and last time it happened in 21 seasons.
- Micronesia: It would be hard to argue against Parvati Shallow as the best player that season, although, Cirie Fields and Natalie Bolton both deserve a nod. Cirie for making it this far and controlling a big part of the game despite being a known threat and Natalie for being so dominant among such seasoned players. The Fans Vs. Favorites concept, while a great concept, didn’t leave much chance to win for the Fans. Despite of that, Natalie played an as solid game as the best of the Favorites and she deserves to be on a future All-Stars.
- Gabon: Well, it’s an easy choice, there was only one person that knew how to play the game during that season, and this is Ken Hoang. Randy Bailey would come second, but let’s face it, as much as I love the guy, his social game was too poor to stand a chance to win.
- Tocantins: this is one of my favorite seasons! While I almost disliked everybody in Gabon, I just loved almost everybody in the Tocantins. That doesn’t mean that they all deserve to win though, and while the most awesome contestant ever was Tyson Apostol (because Tyson is awesome, period) his game play could have been a little better (I won’t even mention his Heroes Vs. Villains run). A lot of people think J.T. was the best and deserved to win, but I disagree. The real mastermind was Stephen Fishbach (but he kinda blew his final tribal council while J.T. was sneaky enough to put all the blame of his betrayals on Stephen) and I think he deserves a spot, right next to Rob Cesternino as “best player to never win the game”.
- Samoa: That’s a tough one. It’s not Natalie White for sure. Russell Hantz? Well, while I despise his approach of the game, I need to recognize that it works to go to the end. However, with such a strategy he will never ever win. I say it again: Russell Hantz will never ever win Survivor! Survivor is not about getting to the final tribal council. It’s about getting there and getting those jury votes! He seems oblivious of that fact. So who deserved to win? Jaison Robinson? Maybe, but no… No, I’m stuck here. I really don’t know…
- Heroes Vs. Villains: Well, it’s clear that both Parvati Shallow and Sandra Diaz-Twine played flawless games and both deserved to win. Who deserved it the most? Hard to tell, their gameplays are so different, they’re hard to compare. Although I kinda want to lean towards Parvati’s side, because it’s simply amazing she made it to the end with such a huge target on her back since before the season even started, but if there ever was going to be a tie on Survivor, it should be between the two of them.
- Nicaragua: It’s a tough one too. I’m not saying that Jud “Fabio” Birza didn’t deserve to win, but his game play was so unusual that it’s hard to gauge. Yes, he successfully managed to be underestimated for most of the game, but several times he was kept out of the loop, which will play against him in this ranking. Runner ups are obviously Marty Piombo who got screwed by the switch (I think that without a switch, he would have gone much further and possibly win) and Brenda Lowe, although the fact that didn’t do anything when she knew she was the next to go, just hoping that Sash gives her his idol will play against her. So, congrats to Fabio, he showed us that new efficient strategies can exist on this game that always renews itself.
Do you agree with this list? Do not hesitate to comment…