Season 26: Episode 14 - Last Push
Posted on May 13, 2013 12:00am

On night 36, the five remaining players leave Tribal Council, where Brenda was just voted out. Erik complains that his head hurts and feels like it’s spinning. Jeff Probst, the host, comes to check on Erik and calls in the doctors to take a look. Cochran admits, “When I looked at Erik, I saw somebody that was very dazed and looked disoriented and was kind of out of it.” The doctors examine Erik and determine that he has low blood pressure and is dehydrated and malnourished. Seeing his blood pressure continue to drop, Dr. Joe pulls Erik from the game and immediately starts an intravenous drip. Eddie, Sherri, Dawn, and Cochran say their emotional goodbyes. Jeff reminds the remaining four players that there are only three days left in the game and that it is not going to be easy with little food left. Eddie reveals, “Erik’s gone. There’s four of us now. This opens the door hugely for me to kind of sneak myself in there and make a major play.”

Cochran, Dawn, Sherri, and Eddie display sadness and shock about Erik leaving the game as they return to camp. Cochran is already making new plans, however. He reveals, “I have to be the first person to get to Eddie.” Cochran feels that Eddie has a good chance of winning the next immunity challenge, so he wants to make sure that Eddie is on his side. He meets with Eddie and agrees to be in the final three with him and Sherri. Eddie reveals, “We vote out Dawn next. Sherri comes in third. Cochran comes in second, and I come in first and I win the million dollar prize.”

The next morning Eddie reads tree mail. Everyone is thrilled to hear that the next challenge is a reward. Dawn is proud to be a part of the final four. She looks forward to getting to the end and no longer stressing about the game. Dawn tells herself, “You made all these decisions and you got yourself to final four. All you have to do now is play your guts out at the challenges.”

The final four castaways arrive on their mat. Jeff Probst explains the rules of this reward challenge. With one hand, they will each steady a balancing board, while simultaneously building a house of cards with the other hand. The first person to build their house of cards high enough to reach a finish mark wins reward. The winner of this challenge wins an advantage in the final immunity challenge tomorrow. As the game begins, Cochran and Sherri get off to the fastest start. Dawn and Eddie are stacking their cards a little more slowly. As Cochran finishes his tenth layer of cards that puts him about two-thirds of the way to the finish line, he makes a slight move of the balancing board, causing his house of cards to fall. He starts all over again. The same thing happens to Sherri. Now Dawn is in the lead, and Eddie is in second place. Cochran has rebuilt his stack to five layers, when it tumbles down again. Dawn is only one card away from the top when her stack tumbles. Eddie is now in the lead, but then he moves, and his stack of cards falls. Sherri now takes the lead. Cochran loses his house of cards for a third time. Sherri’s hand shakes as she places her next card, which causes half of her stack to fall. Dawn and Eddie lose their stacks next. Now, Cochran is in the lead, and Sherri is a close second. Sherri catches up to Cochran, and they both carefully place their final cards. Sherri loses her entire stack. Cochran places his final card to get him to the finish line, and he wins the reward. This marks Cochran’s third individual challenge win. Jeff hands him a rolled up paper, which contains the advantage, and he tells him to keep the scroll sealed until the final immunity challenge tomorrow.

Cochran feels optimistic as he returns to the Enil Edam camp with another challenge win. He comments, “My great challenge streak, which was temporarily on hold, has come roaring back.” He is glad that he won the coveted advantage in the final immunity challenge and kept it away from Eddie and Dawn. Sherri takes a walk with Eddie and assures him that she would rather go to the end with him and Cochran than Dawn. She explains, “Dawn has played the sympathy card in this game like no other.” Sherri says that she doesn’t think she can compete with Dawn because she is admired for being a mother of six adopted kids and because she is perceived as a sensitive person who frequently cries. Eddie agrees that Dawn will likely win the game if she makes it to the end. Meanwhile, Dawn and Cochran talk back at camp. Cochran assures her that he and Sherri are still locked to her. Dawn admits that she is nervous and wonders why Sherri went on a walk with Eddie. Cochran vents, “Every day I get to see a new freak out from Dawn.” Cochran assures Dawn that even if Sherri did break and vote with Eddie, they only have two votes. Dawn admits, “The longer that I’m out here, the harder it’s been for me just mentally to stay positive and to not be paranoid.” Cochran once again assures Dawn that he is committed to her to the end. He reveals, “On day 37, she should be paranoid, because I am considering ditching her.”

The next morning, on day 38, Cochran and Dawn bring tree mail to camp. It tells them that a boat is coming to pick them up and take them on a nostalgic tour and their final challenge. Sherri, Eddie, Dawn, and Cochran are excited by the news. Cochran looks forward to the SURVIVOR Rites of Passage walk. As the boat arrives, he admits, “It’s something I’ve been actually really looking forward to and hoping that I’d get to see this moment in the game.”

The boat takes the final four to a beach lined with poles. Each pole contains a nameplate of a former castaway who has left the game – from Francesca to Erik. The final four stop at each pole and pay their respects to all of these castaways. As they do, they collect their representative nameplates and burn them in a ceremonial fire. Sherri comments, “The Rites of Passage, God this is like a dream come true. You know you are at the end when you are saying goodbye to all the tribe members.” Cochran, Dawn, Eddie, and Sherri then head to the final immunity challenge. Eddie worries, since Cochran won an advantage to this immunity challenge.

The final four castaways arrive on their mat. Jeff Probst warns them that this is a physically and mentally exhausting challenge. He then explains the rules of this final immunity challenge. The castaways will race up a three story tower, untie a bag of puzzle pieces, launch themselves down a slide, drop their bag, and then head up to the next level of the tower to reach their next bag. Once they have each collected three bags of puzzle pieces, they will use them to build a fire puzzle. The first person to finish wins immunity and a spot at the final Tribal Council, where they can plead their case for a million dollars to the jury. One of the losers, however, will be voted out. Cochran then reads the advantage that he won at the last reward challenge. It tells him that he will not have to untie his bags of pieces, which will save him a significant amount of time. Everyone else will race up the tower and have to untie their bags before heading back down. Cochran’s advantage pays off quickly as he climbs up the tower, grabs his first bag, and slides back down, while Dawn, Eddie, and Sherri are still untying their first bags. Cochran brings down his third and final bag, while Dawn and Eddie are coming back with just their second, still leaving them with one more to retrieve and untie. Sherri is still untying her second bag, so Cochran begins working on his puzzle well before the others. However, by the time Eddie and Dawn get back with their third bag of pieces, Cochran still has not placed any of his. Sherri finally retrieves her third bag. Dawn quickly places three puzzle pieces before anyone else, including Cochran, places their first. Sherri is the next one to fit a puzzle piece. Dawn places her fourth piece, and Sherri places her second. Cochran finally fits his first puzzle piece. Eddie struggles with his puzzle. Dawn, Cochran, and Sherri keep up with each other continuing to complete their fire structure. Dawn still has the most puzzle pieces put together. Cochran starts to get the hang of it, and he quickly catches up to Dawn. Eddie finally places his first piece. Dawn and Sherri start falling behind, as Cochran quickly places his remaining pieces. In the end, Cochran wins his fourth individual challenge and his third immunity challenge. He is guaranteed a spot in the final Tribal Council. Cochran is thrilled. He admits, “It couldn’t have gone any better. Now I’m actually in a position of power.”

As the final four return to camp from the challenge, everyone congratulates Cochran for his win. He boasts, “I, Cochran, have won four individual challenges. So right now I’m thinking I got the million. The big question now is who deserves $100,000 in second place.” Cochran feels it has to be Dawn or Eddie. Dawn is so proud of Cochran. She starts to cry as she thinks about how far they’ve come. Dawn confirms with Cochran that they are still locked. She admits, “I do fully trust Cochran, and I feel like I’m my own worst enemy.” Eddie meets with Cochran and pleads his case to stay in the game. He argues that Dawn is dangerous because she is viewed as a sympathetic mother. Eddie reveals, “I really do think I have the best chance of winning this if I can get myself into the final three.” He tells Cochran that the jury knows that Eddie has not been a strategic threat in the game. As they get ready to walk out to Tribal Council, Cochran struggles with his decision of whom to vote out tonight.

Eddie admits that Erik leaving gave him better odds at making it to the end, especially since he had heard that the final three would have been Erik, Sherri, and Dawn. Upon hearing this, Cochran agrees that his future in the game was probably helped by Erik’s departure as well. Cochran is not happy about how Erik left the game though. Jeff compliments Cochran for winning the most recent reward and immunity challenges. Cochran is both shocked and proud of his performance in these challenges. Dawn makes her case to stay, pointing out that she has been a part of getting everyone in the jury voted out, so she is not likely to get their votes. She reminds everyone that Eddie is well liked by the jury, which makes him dangerous. Eddie responds by complimenting Dawn for her big moves in the game, and reminds everyone that he was not a strategic threat. Cochran says, “My perception of what the jury wants in a winner, that’s what I’m probably basing my vote on.” Sherri points out that the alliances she made have kept her in the game longer than anyone in the jury. Sherri says, “I may not say a lot, but I take in a lot.” Eddie and Sherri make a last request for Cochran to take them to the end. The Enil Edam tribe then votes. Jeff reveals all four votes. Dawn gets one vote, and Eddie receives three. Eddie Fox, the 23 year-old fireman/EMT from East Brunswick, NJ, becomes the seventeenth person to leave SURVIVOR: CARAMOAN FANS VS FAVORITES 2 and the eighth and final member of the jury

On day 39, Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri head to retrieve tree mail. Sherri says that her husband is going to be so proud of her for making it to the end. She admits, “I had a goal coming into this that I wasn’t going to take nothing below final three.” They are all thrilled to find food and drinks waiting for them at tree mail. Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri carry juice, champagne, fruit, eggs, sausage, and more back to camp to enjoy. Sherri hopes to convince the jury that, as a fan, she worked hard and beat the odds in making it to the final three. Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri toast and celebrate making it this far without being voted out. Dawn comments, “My alliance was Cochran in the game, but my alliance was really my family at home. There was never a day I wasn’t loyal to my family.” The final three enjoy a good breakfast feast together of pancakes and sausages. Dawn is proud to have achieved her goal of making it to the end this time around. She reveals, “I learned that I can actually play this game well, and I’m proud of that.” Dawn and Cochran sit on a blanket eating their breakfast and reminisce about all of the decisions they made and how they controlled the game. They have played this game for a total of 67 days together between SURVIVOR: SOUTH PACIFIC and this season. Dawn loves that she made it to the end with Cochran, but she realizes that they are still playing the game. Later, Cochran gets away from camp and mentally prepares for the upcoming final Tribal Council. He feels more frazzled and insecure than he has all season. He admits, “I feel like I’ve played a great game. I’ve gotten to the end. This is my game to lose, but all of a sudden these doubts are plaguing my mind.” Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri pick up their torches and head out to the final Tribal Council.

At the last Tribal, Dawn, Sherri, and Cochran give their opening statements. Dawn admits that she was very emotional in the game because it was hard for her to be so deceptive. She is proud to have made a strong and loyal partnership with Cochran and to have played an active part in their decisions. Dawn achieved her goal of controlling her own game. She says, “The hardest part is I had to give myself permission to actually play the game.” In her normal life, she does not backstab her friends and those who trust her, but she admits doing that to the jury. Sherri speaks next. She reveals that she is not only a wife and mother, but also a successful businesswoman. Sherri explains that she wanted to play SURVIVOR like she ran her businesses. She made decisions and stayed flexible, so she could get into the alliances that would keep her in the game. Sherri says, “I’m a Fan and you guys are Favorites, and I had to get in and integrate with each one of you and I think I did that very successfully.” Cochran starts his closing statement saying, “This is the culmination of 13 years of passion for SURVIVOR.” Cochran says, “I know I can’t out muscle. I know I can’t out charm. I don’t even think I can really out strategize anybody, but I can beat people in timing.” He explains that he was able to get rid of anybody that threatened him, before they got rid of him. The jury addresses Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri, asking them vital questions to help make their decisions of who is the most worthy of the million-dollar prize. Malcolm warns Dawn to be honest tonight and own the fact that she played a cold-blooded game. He then asks Cochran what quality he has that helped him get to the end of the game. Cochran says, “Probably a heightened level of insecurity.” When he felt threatened by someone else, Cochran took them out of the game. Cochran felt this was an advantage that he had that Malcolm did not, since he doesn’t see Malcolm as an insecure person. Eddie asks Sherri to admit that she was carried to the final three. Sherri disagrees with him and will not admit it. Eddie points out that Dawn was paranoid and emotional for the majority of the game and not as strong as she claims to have been. Dawn admits that the game took a toll on her, but she still made hard decisions. Eddie is impressed with Cochran’s game and wonders how it will affect his life afterwards. Cochran agrees that he has grown and now has more confidence to interact with others socially in situations that he would have shied away from in the past. Phillip congratulates them all for making it to the final three. He points out that Sherri made a key strategic move when she worked her way into the Favorites’ alliance, but he then revokes her Stealth R Us membership. Phillip tells Dawn that he did not enjoy or respect her paranoia and emotional outbursts. He then compliments Cochran for the game he played. Phillip says, “I just really enjoyed playing the game with you. You’re a real class act.” Erik tells Dawn that he was crushed when she voted out Brenda. Dawn tries to explain saying, “I came into the game this time saying I would use the relationships that I made to advance myself.” She assures Erik that she made genuine connections with people. Erik tries to help Sherri understand why the jury feels she rode coattails to the end. Sherri is immediately offended and says, “I don’t need your vote. Obviously I’m not going to get it. You can sit down.” Michael feels that both Dawn and Cochran were running the game and gives Dawn a chance to explain why she is being perceived as a more of a villain. Dawn feels that she had a bigger role than Cochran in developing relationships with others and gathering the information they needed to make their decisions. She is not sure that Cochran would be sitting here at the end if it weren’t for her work. Cochran responds, “If I hadn’t become your therapist, I don’t think you would be still in this game.” Reynold calls Dawn a fraud. He challenges her to be honest about what she did in the game instead of trying to be nice about it. Dawn appreciates the feedback and with some prodding from Reynold she does admit that she enjoyed deceiving others to get the end – just a little bit. Andrea asks Cochran to pick an animal that best describes how he played the game. Cochran chooses a chameleon since he was willing and able to change his game as quickly as he needed. Andrea compliments Dawn’s strategic game and admits that she played one similar. She says, “I really definitely tried to connect with people and then was ready to cut them.” Brenda admits to Cochran that she was hurt when he voted her out just after she gave him the visit with his family. Cochran explains that he is able to separate game and emotion. He says, “You were a threat to my game, and I took out a threat to my game.” Brenda tells Dawn how painful it was to be voted out by her. She reminds Dawn of how she helped keep her in the game by finding her missing teeth. Dawn assures Brenda that she would not have quit if Brenda had not found her teeth. Brenda then challenges Dawn to remove her retainer and prove to her that her teeth are not that important. Dawn is shocked by this request, and reluctantly obliges. Brenda says, “I wanted you to feel that because it’s kind of what I felt… a little bit of heartbreak.” The jury members then cast their votes for the winner. Host Jeff Probst reads the votes live from Los Angeles, and Cochran wins the title of Sole Survivor and the million dollar prize for SURVIVOR: CARAMOAN FANS VS FAVORITES 2.