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Stephen Fishbach is the massive strategic threat who competed twice on Survivor. Once as the runner-up from Survivor: Tocantins and again as the 9th place finished in Survivor: Second Chance. A superfan-turned-player, he’s someone who understands the game. And he been spending a significant chunk of his life since playing talking about the show on podcasts and with People Magazine.
Recently Fishbach and fellow Survivor alumni Rob Cesternino gave their thoughts on Season 41 and its winner Erika Casupanan.
Fishbach On Season 41
“She did a fantastic job, I thought, of articulating her journey,” Stephen said on the Survivor Know-It-Alls podcast.
Fans have hotly debated Erika’s victory. Some believe she didn’t deserve the winner and question why Xander didn’t receive a single vote. Others blame production for not showing nearly enough of her game for the viewers to understand her sweeping victory. Her tribemates saw her as a threat and clear winner, and there were multiple confessionals throughout the game (Especially from major strategic and social threat Shan) voicing concern over the threat Erika posed.
But Erika and her closest ally Heather were more or less invisible during the season’s pre-merge. Heather recently spoke about how little of the season she was featured in despite making it to the final 4. Stephen and Rob talk on the podcast about how little chance they thought Erika had at victory as a result of how little they were seen in each episode.
“I did not think that the show would make the first female winner in 7 seasons so invisible in the pre-merge,” Fishbach said.
Erika is the first Filipino Survivor winner. As well as the first Canadian winner and the first female winner in 7 seasons (The last female winner being Sarah Lacina on Survivor: Game Changers). As Stephen said, it came as a huge shock to many fans that a winner who takes home so many titles like that would be so hidden away in favor of showing off other players.
The only good case for not showing Erika more before merge would be the fact that she was on Luvu. The Luvu tribe made Survivor history as one of the only tribes to never see a tribal council. There was little reason to show any of Luvu’s members in the pre-merge without any players to vote off. The exception being challenges and the occasional twists players like Danny were involved in. Usually, once an immunity challenge passes, the remainder of the episode will solely focus on the tribe (Or tribes) who must go to tribal council that night.
Congratulations to Erika regardless. Survivor returns with Season 42 this spring.