Thursday, November 17, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: "Who's Running The Show?"

This week’s Survivor tease on the CBS website stated “castaways are shocked with the announcement of another double elimination”…which translated to “if Dawn or Whitney don’t win Immunity, we’re just going to let Upolu get rid of them both so we can get on with the game.” I anticipate this being another predictable episode, so let’s just get right to it…

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor. The merge meant nothing since it was still Savaii vs. Upolu within the Te Tuna Tribe. Whitney was disgusted by Cochran, and Ozzy and Jim were both sent to Redemption (Non) Island to keep Keith company, despite Albert’s attempts to “switch up the game” and vote out Dawn. Jeff asks us “will anyone seize the opportunity to team up with Dawn and Whitney and turn the game upside down?”

- Night Vision Recap at Redemption (Non) Island: Jim joins his old drinking buddies, and whines about the fact that Upolu all chose to sit out and eat at the last Immunity Challenge. Perhaps he should have been griping about his inability to last longer than 30 seconds in said challenge. He correctly pointed out, however, that “the longer that Coach has them believing that they’re all one tribe, the more likely it is that he wins the million dollars.”

- Night Vision Recap at Te Tuna camp (now with millipedes!): Coach says that he tries not to judge people, but then goes ahead and judges Jim, telling everyone that they’re a family now that he’s gone. He then goes on about how everything is equal and how he’s not running the show, but everyone knows that’s a crock, especially Whitney, who says that “Coach is running the show like he’s Jesus.” I’m not sure what that means, since I don’t recall Jesus ever dictating to people what they needed to do, or lying to them, or telling them about that time he paddled up the Amazon and was captured by pygmies who wanted to eat his ass (remember that nugget from Coach?)
- The next day starts with some Dragon Slayer Chi on the beach as Coach teaches Cochran his methods of meditation. Cochran talks about the fact that he is drinking the Coach Kool-Aid, “not in huge gulps, but taking little delicate ginger sips because if I’m not on the cult leader’s side, I’m gonna meet my untimely death.”

Coach then expresses that he’s worried, but says he’s not sure about what. He’s worried about being blindsided, is what he determines, which is another reminder to us, the viewers, that he’s NOT in control of the game. “Fishy things are abroad”, he tells us…and I don’t think he’s talking about Ozzy’s underwater hunting excursions.

- At the Redemption (Non) Island Arena, everybody is there to watch the three-person “Duel”, and Probst embraces his blue-itude by doing something crazy…double blue, people! Light blue hat, dark blue shirt.
I was dreading the Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel because I was afraid that it was going to be the same scenario as last year, where only the last place finisher was eliminated. Thankfully, this season, it’s only the winner who stays. I hate the overall concept of Redemption Island to begin with, but it was absolutely absurd last season that a person could be voted out, and then finish 3rd out of 4 at a “Duel” and still not be eliminated.

The Duel itself was a balancing competition with Brandon cheering for Jim, Whitney cheering for Keith, and no one cheering for Ozzy. Jim went out first, which any legit poker player will tell you is always humiliating (but Jim did that quite often this season), and even though it was edited like the end of the competition was close, we all knew that Ozzy would eventually win.
Why did we know Ozzy would win? Because of what may be the worst preview editing in Survivor history! Remember last week’s preview, where we saw Ozzy fishing, grilling, and standing atop a palm tree? Well, at this point in the episode, we haven’t seen ANY OF THAT YET…so he obviously wins. Very disappointing.

So the losers head to the Jury, meaning that the Jury will be 9 people this season, and that there will be a Final Three. I say that because I can’t ever remember a time where there was an even number of people on the Jury, so I doubt it would be 10 on the Jury and a Final Two.

- How does Ozzy celebrate at  Redemption (Non) Island? By catching more fish, of course! First he brags about it last week, then he brags about it again at this week’s (Non) Duel, then we see endless shots of him fishing. We get it…OZZY CAN FISH.

But the interesting part of this segment was Ozzy talking about how pleased he was that he doesn’t actually have to play the game, and instead he can just hang out at Redemption (Non) Island and take his chances one-on-one (or two) at the Duels. In essence, what he’s saying is “I would like to win without having to play the social game.” If it’s just about Survivor, he can survive and win. Unfortunately for Ozzy…it’s not just about that.

- At Te Tuna, Rick was checking the fishing nets…and finding nothing, but let’s give the big cowboy some credit, it’s the most he’s done in four episodes. Cochran said that he was looking to team up with Dawn and Whitney, but they would still need to find 2 more willing participants to take control of the game.

- Off to the Immunity challenge, where Probst blew my mind with his reverse double-blue ensemble, this time with a dark blue hat, and light blue shirt. Damn you’re crafty, Mr. Dimples! This challenge would see the castaways carrying rice on head over 2 teeter totters, then emptying it in a bowl without touching it along the way. First one to fill their basket wins immunity.
As I pointed out last week, this season’s challenges seem to be heavily based on balance. Both the Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel, and the Immunity Challenge this week were balance challenges…and the Immunity Challenge had two different elements: balancing the rice on your head, and balancing as you walked over the teeter-totter.

It seems like Survivor’s challenge-creating team goes through phases where they just go with a theme for most of the season. We’ve seen seasons where it’s based on physical strength, seasons where it’s mostly puzzles, seasons where every challenge ended with ‘cut a rope and raise a flag’, and the dreadful TILES from the past two seasons.

This week’s Unintentionally Dirty Probst-isms during the challenge: “making sure you get a good fit on your head is key”, “Use your body!”, and my personal favourite, “once you find that sweet spot, this gets easier.”
Sophie ending up winning Immunity by transferring a giant bowl of rice on her third trip, but all I could think about was all of the rice that was being wasted as they were dropping it throughout the challenge. After presenting Sophie with the Immunity necklace, Double Blue Probst warned of an impending twist at Tribal Council, which would only be revealed AT Tribal Council.

At one point in the challenge, Probst Blue Ribbon said “Dawn not messing around, she knows she needs Immunity tonight!” This reminded me of a few weeks back when he made comments during the challenge on how Cochran was screwing up. I’m all for Probst commenting during the challenge, and throwing his witticisms in when necessary, but I think he’s been crossing the line lately and interjecting too much of the players’ strategy into his comments.

- At camp, the plan was to vote Dawn because she is a legit threat to win the entire game. Cochran assumed that the twist was a potential double elimination, which could potentially endanger him. Now flipping (again) made more sense. Would he really do it?

Cut to a shot of a rat scurrying along. Hmmm.

- Dawn and Whitney know the only chance is to try and swing someone. According to Whitney, Brandon is a loose cannon, Rick isn’t even playing, and Edna is “so far up Coach’s butt, it’s ridiculous.” Allusions to what may or may not be in Coach's butt notwithstanding, that pretty much leaves Albert and Sophie…so they present pretty much the same argument that Jim made last week.

But now Albert is considering it, because he realizes that he needs Savaii votes on the Jury (Pesky social game. Good thing Fisherman Ozzy doesn’t have to worry about it!), and wants to reward Cochran for the move he made earlier to save Upolu. Everyone else, meanwhile, seems content to write Woody Aiken off as seventh place.
Albert then talked to Whitney about voting Edna. Did Coach hear as he was wandering nearby? Then he pitched the idea to Sophie, who saw the logic in it, especially after Albert comically pointed out that “this game’s not Outorganize. Outclean. Outgather.”

- Coach was paranoid about all of Albert’s scrambling, and said that Albert is either “trying to come up with a last second plan or he’s trying to curry jury votes, and neither one of ‘em is acceptable in my opinion.” That doesn’t sound like someone who is insisting that he’s NOT running the show, does it?

He then called the gang together and said “If anybody wants to go against the five, it’s instant death.” As he told us, his method was to approach it like an old Mob Boss. Hey, Dragon Slayer, Boston Rob is the Island Godfather, not you. And at least he used the Buddy System, so his dictatorial ways didn’t come across that way.

- At Tribal Council, Keith showed up with a horrible moustache (and I can relate, more below), Dawn talked basic math, Cochran said that it was the perfect time to make a big move, Coach insisted that he isn’t running the show while asking himself questions and answering them, Albert referred to Coach as “a figurehead”, and Rick once again said nothing.

- All the talk of a big move was hot air, as Dawn was sent to Redemption (Non) Island, despite Brandon seemingly voting for some unknown guy named Don. Then Probst dropped the most predictable bomb in Survivor history: there would be an immediate Immunity challenge and another vote.

- The Immunity challenge was a simple Survivor quiz, Big Brother-style, meaning that a wrong answer would eliminate you instead of a total score being tallied. It came down to Whitney and Sophie, and Sophie ended up winning, setting up the predictable vote to eliminate Whitney and leave the Upolu 6 (with a side of Cochran) remaining.

2 Tribal Councils = 0 Drama.


Next week: Brandon is on The Hot Seat, And Coach Becomes Zeus.

Just a reminder that I’m growing a moustache for Movember to help raise funds for prostate cancer awareness. Rest assured, I DO look ridiculous, but it's for a good cause. If you're interested in donating to help, please visit
Survivor Fans, please feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook or Twitter, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. I’m learning the power of Twitter, as some of the Survivor cast has been retweeting my recaps, so please feel free to share a link to this page if you feel like recommending it to others.

Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.


Choirchick22 said...

Hm. I'm sort of torn. On one hand, I was hoping they would make the move and vote Edna out. I like Sophie and I like Cochran. That would have helped them both. On the other hand however, I really appreciate when a tribe is loyal to the end like that. It's admirable in a sort of bad way to play the game way. And I'm interested in the Coach+Cochran friendship.
I think it's really unfair for the three at redemption island to blame Cochran for ruining things. They would have done the same if they were smart and in his position. And on Ponderosa, Jim said he would beat Cochran up if he saw him in an ally. Really? Poor sportsmanship all around.
I'm hoping the next episode will be a little more exciting, but it probably won't be.

Kiwi Al said...

Well we know Rick isn't going to win the whole thing since we have seen anything of him this entire season.

Russell must be fuming that Coach
s "Boston Rob" plan is working. Using the same strategy didn't work well for him.

R.P. McMurphy said...

Glad they went ahead and knocked both Whitney and Dawn out so we can some friction going with the remaining Survivors.

Good catch on the Ozzy editing. I always notice the foreshadowing but overlooked last week's preview affecting this week. My opinion of Ozzy is about to hit bottom. No need to whine or attempt to rub his situation in the others faces. Just zip it and let your actions (staying alive on the ishmus) speak for themselves.

I think it's time we create the Church of Survivor. It was quite ceremonial to see Keith cross himself after putting his buff in the fire. I'm a believer.

I totally agree with Jeff flirting with the line of the players strategies. I feel some of his tribal council questions can also cross that line.

Speaking of Jeff, no mention of his tribal council shirt? I called it the nipple ring shirt. I'm serious, go look at it again.

Absolutely laughed at seeing "Don" show up on the voting sheet. On second thought, maybe it was really another Godfather reference and was a vote for Don Coach Corleone.

iAmMe said...

I am hoping that Dawn, aka Don, wins at RI next week and that Whitney, aka Whiney, goes to the jury with Ozzy, aka Egomaniac Deep Sea Diver Fisherman.

Eudaemon said...

No one mentioned anything about Coach picking 'Coconut-puffs' for his answer? Coach, seriously?! I thought Albert choosing '1 quart' for his first answer was bad.

Okay let's all be clear Ozzy is just being sour at being voted out and stuck at Redemption Island, and trying to convince himself this is actually his best strategy, and that he is having the time of his life there. For someone bad at the social game and strong at challenges like himself, he might actually be right! And seeing how much airtime this was given, could it be foreshadow that Ozzy would really end up coming back, winning the remaining IIs and sneaking into final three (and of course winning the million with the 4 Savaii jury votes)!? I can only hope.

Disappointed Albert and Sophie didn't make their move. They have failed before to oust Edna, so they know Coach has another final four already. I don't see any way they could escape their 5th and 6th fate now that they don't have any numbers. This season is sadly predictable, not due to anyone's great control of the game, but due to poor play from almost all players. As pointed out by HollyBees last week, RI also eliminated reward partner selection, which could have helped reveal sub-alliances early in the merge and help stir things up.

Sean said...

Eudaemon, I see your point about Ozzy at RI, but 4 votes may not be enought win, which is why I mentioned the fact that the Jury will be 9 this time. Yes, there will be a final 3, but more often than not, all the votes are spread between two players, with the 3rd getting a goose-egg.

I think it's going to take 5 votes to win this season.

Anonymous said...

youdamon is right. Based on editing..I would not be shocked if Ozzie does pull the wins and ends up back in the game. He is getting the Fabio editing treatment. If he gets back, he gets 4 guarenteed votes..and if coach in on the would make 5. If ozzy looses..his chair up on the coconut tree..then I am done this season..cause The rest of the cast is not that interesting. My opinion...Jeff

Anonymous said...

It seems like we never actually see Jeff making those comments, so I wonder how many of them are added in during the editing process?

Alex said...

To start with, I hate how Jeff comments so much. I feel like he's trying to tell people how to vote or who to me mad at. Also, I think the producers were just trying to get Savaii all out so that the game would get interesting again, why else have such a random double elimination?

Editing wise, I'm thinking Coach or Ozzy will win...however, I'd pulling for Sophie, actually. The more I see her, the more I like her. She's playing a good game, not being stupid and loud, but not riding coattails either (EDNA!). She seems to be a people watcher and always has good observations. I like Albert too, but if he doesn't make a move soon, Coach is gonna get all scrambly and vote him out.

As far as Cochran... I adore him... but let's be honest, he's going to get NO votes if he makes it to the final.

Alex said...

Also, I just want to add... does anyone else think that this is the weirdest game of Survivor?! It's this strange, community centered commune style of game play. Where does the individual game come in? When will they all realize that only one person actually wins the million?

Eudaemon said...

@Sean - First, thanks again for your weekly post. I agree with your view that 5 votes are needed, as it going to be rare for 3-4 deserving players (and therefore threats) to make it to final four usually. I actually meant Ozzy is probably going to also get Albert and Sophie's votes in addition to the 4 guaranteed Savaii votes in that 'miracle' scenario for Ozzy. Anyone who comes back from RI is likely to gain votes from the other jury members who bonded with them at RI right after they were voted out (Ponderosa effect). The likely elimination order now is Albert, Sophie, Brandon. Say those three (plus Dawn and Whitney) can't knock out Ozzy in the RI duels, which is far easier and likelier for Ozzy in a 1-1 situation as I mentioned before the immunity hog just needs the right match-up in the challenge element (balance, strength, endurance, puzzle) against each opponent. Then Ozzy would come right back into final five, win the last three IIs, vote out Cochran and Rick, leaving a final three of Coach, Edna, Ozzy. The best move for Upolu/Coach now to guard against Ozzy is actually to bring Albert and Sophie to final four, but that would mean screwing up Coach's plans/win. Hobson's choice.

Btw, I said miracle scenario also because this would be the perfect outcome the producers want from RI. Which is not a good thing at all. The perfect story will just give them further reason to keep RI, despite all its obvious drawbacks. Is the winner a true Sole Survivor if he only Outlasts his way to the end through mostly 1-1 challenges? Sounds more just like a winner of a knock-out sports competition to me.