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Season 14: Episode 14 - Ad Exec Earns Top Dollar: Earl Is Sole Survivor
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

After 19 Survivors spent 39 days battling the intense Fijian sun, suffering severe dehydration and starvation along with countless alliances made and broken, the winner of SURVIVOR: FIJI has been named. Earl Cole, the 35-year-old advertising executive from Santa Monica, California emerged virtually unscathed as the winner of the million dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor. Controlling the game as puppet master, Earl maneuvered both his alliance and his opponents like chess pieces. Forging a common bond with the clever Yau-Man, Earl played a stealthy game with an Immunity Idol in his pocket, making few enemies along the way. Earl won over the hearts of the jury in a unanimous vote.

Final Five Returning from Tribal Council, Yau-Man and Earl experience the bitterness of betrayal not knowing about the plan his fellow allies had to blindside Yau-Man. Luckily for Yau, he strategically played his hidden Immunity Idol, keeping himself in the game. "Obviously it's time for me to protect myself," explains Earl. "It's all about cannibalism now."

Cassandra Has Some Explaining to Do As the dust settles from the previous night's Tribal Council, Cassandra becomes uneasy as Earl questions her loyalty and the votes cast against Yau-Man.

"Unfortunately, it does become a time in the game where you do have to look at your own personal interests," she explains. "If Earl has the hidden Immunity Idol and Yau-Man wins the Immunity today, we're in trouble." Heading out to their next Immunity Challenge, Yau-Man realizes the deal made with Dreamz has made him the biggest threat in the game. He vows to win the challenge in order to save himself.

Immunity Challenge: Fiji Braille Maze The Final Five gather at the individual Immunity Challenge where Jeff Probst explains the rules. Survivors will make their way blindfolded through a massive five-section maze. Each will be assigned a uniquely shaped medallion, negotiating the maze till they find a key station. They will feel for the shape that matches their medallion to retrieve their specific key. After making their way to the correct drawbridge they will use their key to unlock it, lower it and cross over to the next section of the maze. The first person to get all five keys and cross all five drawbridges wins Immunity and will be in the Final Four.

On go, the five Survivors are off, making their way through the course blindly. Quickly Boo, Dreamz and Yau-Man separate themselves from Earl and Cassandra, both of whom get lost in the first of the five sections. Crashing into each other, Boo and Dreamz are hot on Yau-Man's heels as all three navigate their way to their key stations and draw bridges. As the three desperately feel their way through the last section neck and neck, Yau-Man pulls away, locating his last and final key and crossing his drawbridge. He wins the much needed individual Immunity and guarantees himself a spot in the Final Four.

Let's Make a Deal Getting their ducks in a row for Tribal Council, Yau-Man, Cassandra and Dreamz agree to target Boo. The uneasy Dreamz crosses his fingers in hopes that his alliances will stay true as he watches Boo pull Earl and Yau-Man aside one by one. "Tonight is going to be the first night that I take all my stuff to Tribal Council," announces an anxious Dreamz. Contemplating Boo's plea to oust Dreamz instead of Boo, Earl considers his next crucial move. "I'd rather go up against Boo or Cassandra than go against Dreamz or Yau-Man," explains Earl. "It's not about who I like and who I got alliances with; it's who can I beat in the final two." Giving Earl and Yau-Man the pitch of his life, Boo eagerly awaits Tribal Council. "Tonight is going to be pins and needles night," says Boo with a nervous smile. "It will be a little nerve-wracking until the votes are tallied up."

Tribal Council: Boo is Juror Number Eight At Tribal Council on day 37, Boo's attempt to stay in the game falls short as Yau-Man and Earl stay true to their alliance. Kenward ‘Boo' Bernis, the-34 year-old Construction Worker from Lafayette, Louisiana, is ousted from the game four votes to one. "Well, it's night 37 and I've been voted out. Yau is a strong competitor. He's going to be a hard person to beat and I respect him on many different levels. It'd be funny if Dreamz still wins Immunity and keeps it. I don't think he's going to break his word, but wow, there's going to be some fireworks tomorrow."

Rites of Passage On Day 38, Yau-Man, Earl, Dreamz and Cassandra enjoy the morning sunrise, reflecting on their journey to the Final Four. "It's a great accomplishment for me to make it to the final four," smiles Yau-Man with pride. "This is quite amazing for me when I think back all the things I went through on Ravu 38 days ago and the hard times there. Now I'm at Final Four, really."

Looking forward to the next Immunity Challenge and upholding his end of the bargain of the truck for Immunity deal, Dreamz feels the pressure to win like never before. "Today winning Immunity is very important to me," states Dreamz. "My game plan is to give Yau the necklace and whatever happens tonight I'm happy."

Before heading to the Immunity Challenge, the Final Four paddle out through the riverbed to the surrounding mangroves encompassing the islands. Earl, Dreamz, Cassandra and Yau-Man reflect upon the people who experienced the game with them, and pay tribute to those fallen comrades, igniting their torches upon the waiting canoe.

Immunity Challenge: Hanging by a Thread Arriving at their final Immunity Challenge, Jeff reveals the great stakes this challenge holds because this time, one person will become the ninth and final member of the jury. Three of the Final Four will go on to face the jury. Survivors will lie on their backs on an elevated plank at an angle holding onto a wooden handle. Making things more difficult, water will stream out of a barrel, making the plank slippery. Every five minutes, Jeff will increase the angle of the plank, making it steeper and harder to hang onto. When they can't hang on any longer, they'll let go and slide down the plank, landing in a pool of water. The last person hanging on wins Individual Immunity and has a shot at the million dollars.

Amplified by the pending deal between Dreamz and Yau-Man, the challenge begins. After fifteen long, dreadful minutes, Jeff increases the angle of the plank for the third time to fifty degrees. With her strength depleted, the angle is too much for Cassandra as she slips from her plank into the water. At a fifty-five degree angle and twenty minutes in, Earl falls from his plank, leaving Yau-Man and Dreamz to fight to the death. Eventually, Immunity slips through Yau-Man's hands as he falls from his plank into the pool of water. Dreamz completes the first part of his bargain with Yau-Man by winning Individual Immunity.

Just in Case After learning three people, not two, will go on to face the jury, Earl, Cassandra and Yau-Man discuss Dreamz while he is off in the distance. "From the very beginning when we brought [Dreamz] into our alliance I think he was one of the biggest wild cards," says Yau-Man. "Now he is in control and he made a promise and it worries me very much." Informing Earl and Cassandra he intends to do the right thing, Dreamz warns them to vote out Yau-Man should he accidentally make the wrong decision. Weighing his word of honor versus a million dollars, Dreamz is tormented by the deal he made. If he keeps the Immunity necklace for himself, he could solidify his spot in the Final Three. "This is going to be one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make over one million dollars or keeping my word."

Tribal Council: Yau-Man Pays the Price At Tribal Council, Earl, Cassandra, Yau-Man and the jury wait with baited breath as the weight of the world is draped around Dreamz's neck. With tears falling, Dreamz whispers his intention to keep Immunity for himself, going back on his promise to Yau-Man. When the votes are cast, Yau-Man Chan, the 54-year-old computer engineer from Martinez, California, is voted out of the game, becoming the ninth and final member of the jury. "Well, sorry Dreamz, you did not see it fit to live up to your end of the bargain. Enjoy the truck. I am very surprised that Earl voted me out today; he must have his reasons for it. But I'm glad I could hold my own and to make it this far is quite an accomplishment. I'm very proud of it."

And Then There Were Three Back at camp, Dreamz justifies his decision to Earl and Cassandra. "The decision I made tonight with Yau is not going to be weighing on my mind. I have no regrets. I'm just going sleep comfortable tonight knowing that I got a shot at a million dollars tomorrow."

Still in shock over Dreamz's betrayal, Earl takes a moment to mourn his dear friend. "In the back of my mind I said, man I can't believe I'm actually writing down Yau-Man's name. Yau-Man, he and I have been through a lot. I would hope that in the jury I would still have his vote that he won't hold it against me and he knows I was just playing the game."

The Final Hours In the morning, Cassandra, Earl and Dreamz find a gift dropped from the sky: a feast for the Final Three, celebrating their last day in Fiji. 39 days after beginning their journey, the three take time to enjoy the precious last moments on the beach they called home, ceremoniously burning the cave and the tools that helped them survive on the island. Then they begin to mentally prepare for the night ahead. Earl reflects on the experience of the game and the sacrifices he made to get to the end, feeling a sense of pride in his accomplishments. Cassandra, amazed to have made it to the bitter end, laughs at all she overcame. Between her inability to swim and being an older woman, she felt as though the odds were stacked against her. As for Dreamz, he puts the deal with Yau-Man behind him, enjoying his last moments in the game. "Actually having a shot at a million dollars… this is more than words can explain. So right now I feel that I am on top of the world. I feel like I'm standing next to Oprah."

Final Tribal Arriving at Tribal Council, the final three nervously await the jury's flurry of questions about how they played the game. After Earl, Cassandra and Dreamz negotiate their way past the resentful and angry barrage of questioning, the jury casts their votes. When Jeff Probst reads the final verdict live from New York City, the long journey comes to an end as an elated Earl is awarded the million-dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor.