Yes, I’m a Survivor nerd.
I think far and away, Brian from Survivor Thailand.
He excelled in individual reward and immunity challenges and carried his tribe to several big team challenge wins. Remember when he held his breath underwater to win his tribe immunity? Even Helen, who was angry at him for betraying her, admitted that he singlehandidly won most of their team challenges before voting for him.
Most of all, Brian was a mastermind who understood the game inside and out. He always called the shots, but without letting anyone know. What always screws wannabe leaders like Hunter and self-appointed masterminds like Jerri is that grown people don’t want strangers telling them what to do, even if they’re right. Plus most of them, like John the nurse and Rob the construction worker in Survivor Marquesas, get too power hungry and flaunt their power, which puts everyone on the defensive. Brian had no such ego problem. He didn’t need to let everyone know he was in control. In fact, he didn’t want them to know.
He stabbed people in the back when necessary and for this, he nearly lost to the much-hated Clay, but in the end he still won the million dollars.
Best Tribe? Kucha, from Survivor The Australian Outback. If Michael Scupin hadn’t burned himself, they would’ve easily picked off the Ogakor members and a Kucha member, probably Michael, would’ve won. That’s why it burns me so much that Tina won, basically because the best player on either tribe got hurt and Colby was so spiteful he was willing to throw a million bucks away.
I find it interesting how different tribes have viewed lying and deception on Survivor. Vecepia won Survivor Marquesas because Neleah’s former tribemates were so bitter at her for turning against them and Brian would’ve lost had he not picked someone as hated as Clay to join him in the final two, yet in Survivor The Amazon, Jenna, who acted spoiled and bitchy, won (by 6-1!) over Matthew, a kind, decent, hard working guy who often seemed to lack the guile necessary to cut it.