Dalton Ross
February 27, 2015 AT 11:07 PM EST

He did it. The bastard went and did it! I have to admit, before this season began I would have told you there was 0.0% chance of John Cochran going and winning Survivor. Not only would I have told you that, I did tell John Cochran that. “Is there any sliver of a chance in hell you win this season?” I asked him before he shipped out for the Philippines. “Oh, God! You’re like my mom!” he responded in horror. (Hey, watch what you say about Cochran’s mom, Cochran!)

But I had my legitimate reasons for being so skeptical. It wasn’t because he’s a “nerd” or any of that business. It was because of how he played and what he did his last time. I’ve talked about being on location for South Pacific’s first Tribal Council and witnessing one of the worst T.C. performances in history. I was amazed that someone who was such a fan of the show could perform so horribly right out of the gate.

But that wasn’t why I thought Cochran couldn’t win. It really had nothing to do with what he was capable of, but rather the reaction of other people to what he did. I’m referring, of course, to his decision in South Pacific to not pick colored rocks and instead doom both himself and his entire tribe by switching sides. It was the type of move I was sure would make him completely untrustworthy in the eyes of the other returning players. It would make him an immediate target. I was sure of it.

I could not have been more wrong. Instead, Cochran blended right in and no one at any point in the season seemed to even worry about him at all (with the exception of a brief targeting by Malcolm that was too little and way too late). Was Cochran that good or were other players just that bad to let the guy waltz all the way to the end without a single vote cast against him? Probably a little from column A and a little from column B.

But even I still don’t understand why he was never more of a target. And even though his bragging about winning four individual challenges is a bit much because he had huge advantages in two of them, there is no doubt that John Cochran definitely deserved to win Survivor: Caramoan. And it is cool to see how far he came from that first South Pacific disaster to now putting forth such a solid outing in all three phases of the game: social, strategic, and yes, even physical. It’s no secret I like it when real fans win and get to see their dreams come true, so I am truly happy for the guy. So Cochran, you can drink with me at a bar anytime, my man! And you can even bring your dog too! Because we’re drinking at Eddie’s place! And Eddie’s place has a place for dogs! It’s incredible!

Okay, we have a lot to get to — including Brenda deciding to humiliate Dawn by having her remove her teeth, which I thought was beyond petty and absurd — so let’s get right to it. After a montage recap of the entire season which only serves to remind us how awful some of the pre-merge episodes and people were, we’re back to night 36 as the final five leave Tribal Council after Brenda’s ouster. But before they can get back to their camp (which is on a completely different island from Tribal Council) Erik says that, “everything is spinning.”

NEXT: Down goes Erik! Down goes Erik!

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