The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
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No. 17 – Ozzy Lusth (South Pacific)
Ozzy Lusth can be a bit of a polarizing figure in the Survivor world. A “casual” favorite for his superior ability in both challenges and island life, he often gets tagged with not being regarded as a great strategic player. Yet, Ozzy’s accomplishments over his four seasons are many.
He has over 100 days played, has reached the merge all four times, is tied for the single-season Immunity record (five wins), is second in career Immunity wins (seven wins, only behind Boston Rob Mariano), and came close to winning two different seasons. His resume speaks for itself.
The Ozzy that appears in Survivor: South Pacific may be the purest version of him, and definitely the most fun. From the moment he playfully slapped a paint-soaked hand on Jeff Probst’s shirt on Day 1, this was an Ozzy who felt comfortable being goofy and over-the-top, much more so than he’d been in the past.
Sure, he still had the arrogance from his previous two seasons, but for a guy who had been laid-back to an almost numbing degree in the past, a little more playfulness was welcome. Even in his more douchey moments, like declaring himself a lone wolf after his tribe betrayed him, were done in such an exaggerated way that it caused a smile along with the typical eye-roll.
The big factor for Ozzy this season, of course, was Redemption Island. It’s easy to hold a twist against him, especially one so perfectly suited to his strengths, but I see Ozzy’s journey this season as he got to play the perfect game for him on the grandest scale possible. He embraced the nature of the twist and used it to his advantage.
For example, when faced with the opportunity to go to Redemption to keep his tribe’s numbers up, it should have come as no surprise when Ozzy willingly volunteered to do this. Sure, it was an incredibly risky play, but it made perfect sense to him and created an incredible moment of TV, down to his over-the-top acting during the RI duel.
When he got voted out for the second time, he was able to eschew all of the strategy and social politics and just survive by winning challenge after challenge. While Ozzy winning this way would have been unsatisfying for most viewers, his situation created a pretty good underdog story.
Traveling this path in the game almost worked out for him, but instead, he became the first (and so far only), Survivor player, to be voted out three times in one season and another member of the Day 38 club.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.