How fitting that the best season in Survivor history ends with a blindside. If you didn't see it, or haven't already heard, underdog Natalie won the million dollars, literally and figuratively upsetting Russell, one of the strongest competitors in the history of the game. And if you ask me, she has Erik's impassioned speech at that final tribal council to thank for it.
John mentioned that the jury was interested in hearing more about Natalie's strategy. I think a lot of them had already decided they weren't voting for Russell -- they were choosing between her and Mick. The big strike against Natalie was her perceived weakness as a player. Erik clarified that her passive approach to the game was just as valid as Russell's more aggressive strategy. It's a risky to do what Natalie did precisely because of the inevitable backlash against you. It also takes strength to shut up and keep smiling when so many people around you are acting like jerks.
I would have voted for Russell, but have to admit that Erik's speech gave me pause. It was a reminder that Russell's game, for all its strengths, was fatally unbalanced. He systematically alienated every member of the jury, banking they would nevertheless applaud his strategy. But it's human nature to resent your betrayer, and Russell played the game so aggressively that jurors were looking for a reason -- any reason -- to vote against him.
So what do you all everybody think? Did Natalie deserve the million? Was this the best season of Survivor ever? As always, you're welcome to post anonymously, but please identify yourself somehow, so I can distinguish between anonymous posters. Thanks!