Survivor Winner John Cochran on the Two "Big Moves" That Led to His Victory
John Cochran | Photo Credits: Trae Patton/CBS
John Cochran went from, as he tells it, an "annoying freak" on his first season of Survivor (South Pacific) to the Sole Survivor in his second outing, Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites, with not a single vote cast against him throughout the entire run of the latter. How'd he do it?
TVGuide.com spoke to the newly-minted winner Monday, and got his thoughts on Phillip Sheppard's "Stealth R Us" alliance, the two "big moves" that played a role in his eventual victory, and Brenda forcing Dawn to take her false teeth out at the final Tribal Council.
What was the biggest difference between the way you played this time and the way you played last time?
John Cochran: The biggest difference was probably something internal. I just was a lot calmer and bordering on confident, I guess. I was so nervous the first time. Part of it was that the tribe I was on the first time was not the sort of tribe that was going to ever be that receptive to somebody like me. This time, the tribe was really the perfect blend of people for me, and that put me at ease immediately. And since I wasn't worried about being perceived as some sort of liability or nerd or annoying freak or whatever, I was able to play the game that I've known for half my life. It's not as though I suddenly became an expert in the year off. I knew the game all along. I just wasn't able to, for internal reasons and circumstantial reasons, really act on it the first time.
What do you see as the big turning point in the game for you?
Cochran: The two big moves that come to mind immediately are the Corinne vote at the merge, because that really solidified power in my majority alliance and it created this group of outcasts that were the Three Amigos [Reynold, Eddie and Malcolm] or whatever, and Michael. It's always good to have clear outsiders because then you can target them and get rid of them. So that was the first one.
The second one — and this is more an individual benefit — was Brenda's vote. Because, before that point, Dawn really had a million paths to the end. She had an alliance with Brenda and Erik that would go to the end with her. She had an alliance with me and Sherri that would go to the end with her. And then she had Eddie in the middle. And it's easy to vote off Eddie and just preserve both your paths to the end. But I wanted to cut off one of her options, so that's why I was really pushing for Brenda to go, so that she was stuck with me. And then, it also had the unintentional consequence of I guess upsetting a lot of people on the jury that thought Dawn betrayed Brenda. And as unfortunate as the fallout from that was, I think it probably did benefit me in some way.
What did you think of Brenda's request that Dawn take out her teeth at Tribal?
Cochran: Yeah, I didn't like that. I didn't think that that was good. What Dawn did to Brenda, I can understand why that would really, really hurt somebody. But the mechanism through which Dawn acted to exact this sort of betrayal was something that's built into the game. It was voting somebody out. And that happens to everybody except three people. What Brenda requested of Dawn didn't seem to have anything to do with the game. It seemed just more like a personal request that involved kind of humiliating somebody. I didn't care for it. I can understand that Brenda was in a lot of pain, and I don't know how she was feeling. And maybe if I were in her position I would have this similar sort of desire. But I wasn't a big fan of that. Obviously at the time I'm thinking, OK, I'm probably going to get Brenda's vote now because I don't think she's going to vote for Dawn now, but I probably could have done without that.