42. South Pacific (Season 23)
Frankly, one of the worst twists that Survivor has repeated throughout 33 seasons is the notion of having a cast of all-new players, except for each tribe having a returnee as a pseudo-captain. For a show with the slogan of “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast,” the mere notion of having a captain or mentor doesn’t make sense. You’re either playing to win the game, or you aren’t; there is no in-between.
Having said that, there are some examples of such seasons that are better than others and some that are definitively worse. Survivor: South Pacific falls into the latter category. Ozzy Lusth and Benjamin “Coach” Wade returned as the captains for the season, both playing for their third time.
There were no doubt some memorable aspects of South Pacific, most notable among them being Ozzy choosing to go to Redemption Island (and winning his way back into the game twice) and the introduction of Li’l Hantz (Brandon, nephew of Russell) and John Cochran. What’s more, the gameplay of eventual winner Sophie Clarke was solid.
Looking back, however, there’s just nothing all that special about South Pacific. It was a repeat of a twist used in the season immediately prior to it, and it was largely predictable, right up to Sophie being voted as the Sole Survivor. It’s fine and has its moments as all seasons do, but it’s ultimately forgettable.