WE HAVE A WINNER.
Surviving Barstool Season 2 wrapped up last night, and for the first time in the history of Barstool individual reality shows, the winner was not me. It was .....
Extremely well deserved for Red Ed who played a great game. He barely squeaked by Jackie to win with a 3-2 vote while poor Rude Boy was shut out. I'm going to break down the full episode and give my thoughts on the gameplay.
Post Tribal Council
-After the Grace elimination, we were down to the core four alliance of Eddie, Cheah, Jackie, and Rudy. Their early alliance lasted all game and got them this far. But now it was time to turn on each other.
-Heading into the immunity challenge, it seemed Rudy needed the win most. KFC had painted him as a big threat at the previous tribal council, and Steven Cheah was running spreadhsheet simulations that showed Rudy was the biggest threat to win.
-I loved this for a final immunity challenge. In real Survivor, I love endurance or focus challenges to be the last ones.
-We knew this would probably go long so backup was on deck. Big Cat was there to fuck with Steven Cheah. Nick was there to call Jackie dumb. I was there to remind everyone I'm smarter than them and suggest maybe a deal where someone steps down in exchange for a vote. But there was no Richard Hatch here.
-Eddie was the first one down, as that -10000 ticket cashed.
-It went on for awhile but once it got down to the very last point, it didn't last too long. Cheah went down, followed by Jackie shortly after. Rudy won, securing his first immunity challenge win at the point he needed it most. Clutch.
-There was one big takeaway from this challenge for me. And that's when Cheah confessed in front of everyone that he made this deal with Jackie and Rudy where they wouldn't vote him out at Final Four. It was a smart deal at the time, but for some reason, Steven Cheah could just never keep his smart plans secret. Eddie heard this because he was at the challenge. And this planted the first seed of doubt in Eddie's mind against his #1 ally Steven Cheah. This would lead to....
The Downfall Of Steven Cheah
-Before we get more into how the robot was ultimately defeated, I want to give credit to Jackie for a smart under-the-radar move she made. She basically told Eddie "Hey let's get together as a team against Cheah. Otherwise I have to go to Rudy and try to target you instead." This aligned them as a team together instead of going for each other's throats.
-Cheah then started to overplay. He presented Rudy with his spreadsheets where the data was manipulated to make it seem like voting out Jackie was Rudy's best chance to win. He also threatened Rudy with a "nuclear warhead" that he would use against Rudy on the jury should Rudy vote him out. This was a wild move. Blackmailing the guy you need on your side is certainly a risk.
-Now I understand where Cheah is coming from. He's an analytical, strategic guy who operations through quantitative data. But not everyone thinks that way. Especially not a guy like Rudy. Cheah needed to know his audience better here and realize that more of just a human to human talk about why Jackie is a bigger threat to win would've worked better on Rudy. A jock like Rudy is not going to take kindly to being threatened by a nerd like Cheah.
-Eddie was also getting concerned that Cheah was just doing too much. Between his deal with Rudy and Jackie, the spreadsheets, and the blackmail, Eddie grew weary of his once #1 ally.
-When Steven Cheah casted his vote, he said "I think I just won the game." That turned out to not be the case, and he was eliminated in a 3-1 vote with his vote going to Jackie.
-And that marked the end of Steven Cheah's Reign Of Terror on Surviving Barstool Season 2. I saw a lot of potential in the kid. I know I was hard on him above, but that's just because I want to squeeze the best out of him. He thought in a very strategic manner and did have control of the game. His play to direct Tiko's vote at the last second was probably the best move of the season. He was villainous when he needed to be - that move, telling Caroline she barely won Barstool Idol, ripping up the last clue. But the problem is he was also too honest at times, owning up to his plans immediately. It's like he thought breaking promises was against the rules of the show. Telling Eddie about the deal he made with Rudy and Jackie partly did him in. Also, telling people they're going home before voting them out should usually backfire. It didn't with this cast, but it's something he shouldn't do on a future season. I'd also say that at the end of the day, these are social games more than they are strategic ones. Personal relationships matter more than anything. You have to build them and then strategically figure out how to use them to your advantage. People often play with emotions more than they play with logic. Once the robot can factor that into his programming, he may have a chance to pull the whole thing off.
Final Tribal Council
-So that left Eddie, Rudy, and Jackie as our Final 3. Going into it, I truly had no idea who would win. I thought each offered a very different but legitimate case.
-Eddie I think did play the best game. He made some pivotal moves, was in the majority alliance, and had control of the whole game without ever actually appearing in control. He let Cheah take the hits as the robot leader, while Eddie was able to use that Midwestern charm and build personal relationships with people on the low.
-Rudy came in with a big target on his back as the most physical threat and the most likely winner in many people's eyes. He was able to avoid ever really being on the chopping block though and won the challenge he needed to most. He's also just a likable guy who I thought could win over the girls on the jury with his charm.
-Jackie could win if all the girls decided "We're not letting ourselves get outsmarted by all these guys" and just voted for her to win. She also did play well. She jumped to the guys at the right time, while still maintaining good relationships with the girls throughout the game.
-But Eddie won it with his speech. He had by far the best speech of anyone. It laid out why he played the best game, and also tugged at the council's heartstrings by talking about his history at Barstool. That speech won him the game. Rudy spent too much time talking about Cheah's nuke and Jackie's was fine but was just overshadowed by Eddie's.
-Tiko and Kim stole the show with their speeches. Tiko dropped some bars and Kim just ruthlessly ripped everyone to shreds.
Overall, I enjoyed this season of Surviving Barstool a lot from the sidelines. It didn't feature the 8 most strategic minds of our generation, but I do think the strategy evolved a lot from Season 1 and there was way more chaos. It gave me some Survivor Gabon vibes. I'm very happy for Eddie and thought he was a very deserving winner. It's an honor to have some company in the winner's club. And I think Steven Cheah probably stole the show as the most interesting character. I'd expect to see both back on future All-Star seasons.
Maybe I'll hit their lines for some possible alliances in the future…. only if I unretire course.