11:50 PM EDT 12/17/2015

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Stephen Fishbach Blogs About the Survivor Winner Who 'Brought the House Down'

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach Blogs About the Survivor Winner Who 'Brought the House Down'

Originally posted 12/17/2015 03:30AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he blogged about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"Everybody's on my side, and I'm the popular guy. Everybody wants to date the prom king, so this is perfect. This will work out." –Jeremy Collins, Survivor: San Juan Del Sur

All you future contestants: get to humping. In the season finale of Survivor: Second Chance, Jeremy Collins debuted the greatest move the game has ever seen. His "I'm having a son" speech moved the jury to tears, and put a capstone on the craziest, fastest-moving season of Survivor ever.

Jeremy's win came off a dominant strategic game, in which the firefighter from Foxboro managed to position himself at the center of a Venn diagram of alliances – er, voting blocs. He was the season's central figure, to whom Abi referred as "the Big Apple," in her delightful cross-cultural mangle of "The Big Cheese." He was the hero who raced to Joe's side before even the CBS medics.

Somehow Jeremy made allies of people who were sworn enemies. While Savage and Joe and Spencer and Ciera and I targeted each other, Jeremy received no (valid) votes until the jury crowned a victor. Everybody knew Jeremy was the biggest threat to win. Somehow, nobody ever did anything about it.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS; Inset: Monty Brinton/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Dangers of Trust, Yes 'We' Can and How the Jury's Still Playing the Game

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Dangers of Trust, Yes 'We' Can and How the Jury's Still Playing the Game

Originally posted 12/10/2015 11:45AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"I came here not to be feeling bad for other people. I came here to win a million dollars." –Abi-Maria Gomes, Survivor: Philippines

One of the best parts of being on the jury is that you're watching Survivor happen from 10 ft. away.

We sit on the stone steps of Tribal Council and watch Jeff Probst grill the contestants. We analyze the way they evade his probing questions. We study their body language to determine who's on the top, who's the swing vote and who will soon be joining us for a late-night cheeseburger.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS(2)
Stephen Fishbach Blogs About Survivor's Most Moving Moment Ever and an 'Amazing' Ouster

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach Blogs About Survivor's Most Moving Moment Ever and an 'Amazing' Ouster

Originally posted 12/03/2015 02:05PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he has been blogging about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"Everyone has the knife and it's stab or get stabbed." –Joe Anglim, Survivor: Worlds Apart

Walking out of the game after the last Tribal Council, I had two major preoccupations.

First: I was coming to terms with the end of my own Survivor journey.

Second: I felt so guilty for Jeremy and my other allies that I had cost them their second chances.

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Survivor

Stephen Fishbach on His Survivor Elimination: 'I Was Too Sentimental'

Originally posted 12/02/2015 06:10PM

Disclaimer: Stephen Fishbach has been PEOPLE's resident Survivor blogger for years. He's quite popular around here.

We were excited when he was named as a possible contestant. We were thrilled when he made the final cast of the show. We were ecstatic – and a little bit surprised, if we're being perfectly honest – when he made it through the first tribal council without getting voted off.

As it turned out, Fishbach did better than anyone expected, forming solid alliances and lasting 29 days before being voted out.

Survivor is unpredictable, and Fishbach was eliminated after playing his "steal the vote" advantage? Why? Because the season's other superfan/strategizer, Spencer Bledsoe, backstabbed him.

Obviously, Fishbach has written his own blog about his elimination, but we thought it would be fun to ask him some of the questions that he didn't already address.

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Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Game of Mistakes

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Game of Mistakes

Originally posted 11/30/2015 11:00AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he has been blogging about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS(2)
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: An Impressive (and Sneaky!) Idol Score and a Potentially Game-Changing Advantage

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: An Impressive (and Sneaky!) Idol Score and a Potentially Game-Changing Advantage

Originally posted 11/19/2015 12:30AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"An alliance is easier said than done." –Kelly Wiglesworth, Survivor: Borneo

Before I start this blog, I need to take a moment to apologize to humanity. Yes, if you were watching that episode last night, I misquoted one of the most famous lines in literature on national television.

It's double, double toil and trouble.
Not boil, boil, toil and trouble.

It's shameful. As excuse I can only say that my brain was literally shutting down.

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Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Wentworth's Record-Breaking 'Big Move' and My Great White Whale

Originally posted 11/12/2015 01:10PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"It gets mentally overwhelming and draining to think about all the things we need to do just to survive out here, and it's exhausting." –Andrew Savage, Survivor: Pearl Islands

Sometimes the best part of being on Survivor is getting to watch Survivor from five feet away.

At our season's eighth tribal council, when Kelley Wentworth whipped out her idol and invalidated the nine votes cast against her, we all knew we were in the presence of a masterful Survivor move. Even as Jeff Probst read off the remaining ballots, even before we knew who had drawn the short stick and would be sent home for our epic blunder, we gazed around at each other with shocked and delighted smiles. Yes, we were all playing the game, but we're also fans – and that was freaking awesome.

Nine votes, for what it's worth, is the most votes ever invalidated by an immunity idol.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS; Inset: Monty Brinton/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Storm Unleashed

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Storm Unleashed

Originally posted 11/05/2015 04:40PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"Everybody's mad I messed up their game. Because I'm playing my game." –Kass McQuillen, Survivor: Cagayan

That was when everything went bananas.

The night before the merge was the first real rainstorm in Cambodia. We had been crowing for two weeks about how blessed we had been with the weather. We knew we were in monsoon season, but so far the worst we had seen were blistering days and humid nights.

On night 16, however, the skies opened up. Outside of a Jon Krakauer book, there's no great way to communicate the misery of enduring rough elements, but suffice to say we were freaking cold. We huddled around the fire for warmth, Keith and Joe struggling to keep the small blaze lit until the fire pit became too soaked. We would hang our clothes above the fire to dry them out, only to see them drenched again minutes later. The entire horizon was covered with a thick gray sheet.

It was a portent of things to come, as though the weather gods were predicting the madness that was about to be unleashed in the game.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: How Much Do You Trust the People You Don't Really Trust?

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: How Much Do You Trust the People You Don't Really Trust?

Originally posted 10/29/2015 02:10PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"This game all comes down to that critical moment in the game – and that is moments before tribal council, what are we going to do?" –Yung "Woo" Hwang, Survivor: Cagayan

"You must trust and believe in people, or Survivor becomes impossible," Anton Chekhov would have written if he had a Survivor blog.

You have to trust people to play the game. With your closest allies, you extend so much trust that they can destroy you.

But what about that next layer of the onion? The theme of last night's episode on both tribes was: How much do you trust the people you don't really trust?

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS (4)
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Danger of 'I'm Not Here to Make Friends'

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Danger of 'I'm Not Here to Make Friends'

Originally posted 10/22/2015 06:00PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"You've gotta take your enemy out the minute you can." –Monica Padilla, Survivor: Samoa

"I'm not here to make friends."

There's a reason people on reality TV insist that they're not looking for friendship. That's because so many friendships do blossom on reality shows.

RELATED VIDEO: Hollywood Moms Talk Pressure to Lose Baby Weight – and Why They Love Drew Barrymore



In any social situation, whether you're slaving away in your office cubicle or painstakingly sculpting clay ashtrays at summer camp, you inevitably bond with the people around you. When you're on a TV show, removed from your real-life friends and family, you can't help but define yourself by your relationships with your fellow cast members. You have to repeatedly remind yourself that these people aren't in your life forever, that they're just transient bit players in the heroic story of You.

Being forced to exclaim "I'm not here to make friends" is basically an acknowledgment that you are.

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