Survivor Pearl Islands: In Retrospect

I decided to rewatch every season of Survivor, starting from the very first one.  Here I share my thoughts on the season, the winner’s strategy, who they should bring back, and the most iconic moments of the show.

  1. Borneo
  2. The Australian Outback
  3. Africa
  4. Marquesas
  5. Thailand
  6. The Amazon
  7. Pearl Islands

In this post, I share my thoughts on the seventh season, Survivor Pearl Islands.


Walk the Plank

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Without a doubt, Pearl Islands is one of the best seasons of Survivor. The great theme (pirates) and great characters (Rupert, Jon, Sandra) made up for a lack of strategic play.

Rupert, Sandra and Jon ended up as the biggest stars of the season. Rupert cemented himself as the pirate hero, eventually appearing three more times over the next seasons of the show, but never really living up to his first outing in the Pearl Islands. Sandra played a second time and cemented herself in the hall of fame as the only two-time winner of the show. Jon played again in Micronesia but quit early on.


The Winning Game

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Sandra Diaz-Twine

Sandra’s anyone-but-me strategy makes its first appearance in Pearl Islands. Throughout the season, Sandra didn’t display the persona of a power player. In terms of gameplay, she was more of a background character, as opposed to Jonny Fairplay and Rupert who stole most of the airtime.

What makes Sandra a unique player is her personality. She is definitely not afraid to make a ruckus if needed. She has no loyalty besides herself and isn’t afraid to throw even her closest ally under the bus if it means getting through the next tribal council.

How did Sandra manage to win?

For more than half of the game, Sandra was in a very safe spot in the majority alliance. Once Rupert was blindsided, tides shifted and Sandra went straight down to the bottom of the totem pole with ally Christa. Because of her weak physique, Sandra was spared over Christa. Her game-winning move would probably be swaying Lil to vote out Burton at Final 5. With that move, power shifted to her side once again, leading to an imminent win against Lil, whom the jury did not respect.


Please Bring Back

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Burton Roberts

Burton was a physical beast in the Pearl Islands. As the other half of the villainous duo of the Pearl Islands (the other half being Jon), he orchestrated the blindside of the most famous contestant of the show by far, Rupert Boneham. Physically and strategically strong, it would be great to see how Burton fares in a modern season of Survivor.


Moment of the Season

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The Outcasts Twist

Runner-up: Jon’s dead grandma lie


Most Hilarious Moment

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Lil denies Andrew’s request

Runner-up: Rupert’s skirt


Season and Winner Rankings

*To be updated as I rewatch the other seasons.

Season Ranking

  1. Pearl Islands
  2. The Amazon
  3. The Australian Outback
  4. Marquesas
  5. Borneo
  6. Africa
  7. Thailand

Winner Ranking

  1. Brian Heidik
  2. Tina Wesson
  3. Richard Hatch
  4. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands)
  5. Vecepia Towery
  6. Jenna Morasca
  7. Ethan Zohn

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