Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: "The Worst Double Agent Ever"

After last week’s bold (Translation: foolish) move by Ozzy, sending himself to Redemption Island, would the perfect storm of circumstances converge to get him back into the game? Could all three factors come in to place at once: 1) defeating Angry C in the Duel, 2) finding out that this is the week the Redemption (Non) Island winner gets back in the game, and 3) the merge taking place.

Could all three of these factors happen, as Ozzy predicted? Will God continue to play a bigger role this season than Rick? And why is everyone talking about Black Rocks?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor, a recap of Ozzy’s plan, and the plan for Cochran to be a “double agent.”

- For our weekly Night Vison Recap, Savaii is still hesitant after Tribal Council, and Cochran talks about this being one of the greatest moves in Survivor history. Keith, meanwhile, essentially called Cochran a pussy for not stepping up and saying “No Ozzy, please let me go to Redemption Island.” Cochran responds by telling us that if he can pretend to like the rest of Savaii, he can definitely pull off the double agent act…and then wraps it all up with what may have been the worst Al Pacino impression I’ve ever seen.
- At Redemption (Non) Island, Ozzy and Angry C got acquainted with a tall tale about Cochran being a weasel, and apparently, the Queen of the Duel believed it. Ozzy correctly surmised that his big move was “either the stupidest thing I could have done, or the craziest, ballsiest thing I probably could have ever thought of doing.” See that? It’s either “stupid” or “crazy”…not a good either/or in my books.

- At the Duel itself, all the members of both tribes were there, with no advance explanation of why, signaling that there was obviously going to be a merge. (Many of the commercials this week revealed that as well, but there still should be some explanation when the show breaks from form.)

Ozzy then ranted at Cochran in one of the most unrealistic fake diatribes I’ve ever seen. You would have to be a fool to believe that story. Cochran’s body language was actually the most believable thing, but I think it’s because he was so uncomfortable from the shenanigans that Ozzy was spewing.

The Duel itself was a repeat from the very first Redemption (Non) Island Duel from last season between Fran-Sasquatch and Bible Thumping Matt: make a pole, get the keys, unlock your door. Powder Blue Probst then gave us the first big reveal: The winner goes BACK in the game. (Well…there’s 1 out of 3 factors so far.)
This was a cakewalk for Ozzy. It wasn’t even close, despite the dramatic music. Angry C’s run is over, and I have to say, kudos to her. Winning 5 straight Duels was pretty damn impressive. (Ozzy wins…there’s 2 out of 3 factors in place)

Then Mr. Robin’s Egg announces that (shocker!) the tribes are merged. (That’s all 3!) Bring on the conspiracy theorists, I’m sure there will be hordes of people saying that this was all fixed to favour Ozzy. Let’s all keep something in mind though….just because it worked, doesn’t mean it was a good idea…it doesn’t mean it wasn’t stupid. If you’re playing blackjack and hit on 19, and catch a 2, that doesn’t mean it was a smart move…it just happened to work that one time.
- I know that I’ve given Jim a hard time this season over his self-congratulatory poker bravado, so I thought I’d give you a taste of some real poker. If you’re interested in poker, make sure to check out my previous posts on my experiences playing in the World Series of Poker. There’s a post from this past summer, as well as some posts from 2009 (here and here), when I actually cashed. Yes, if you go online and look up career earnings, Jim has indeed won more money than I have playing poker, but then again…I don’t brand myself as a “WPT Champion.”
- The Post Merge feast consisted of beer, cheese and crackers, yellow buffs and strategy. After the pleasantries had ended, Coach and Cochran had a private conversation, where Cochran complained about how he was treated at Savaii, including talking about how Keith talks to him, which had a pretty strong element of truth to it. Then Coach dropped this bomb:

“Our tribe isn’t budging, and I feel like you guys are trying to play us, ok? You guys came up with a story. You guys sent Ozzy to Redemption. You’ve got an Idol in your pocket, and…knowing that Ozzy would win Redemption, it was a risk, but you knew that Ozzy would win Redemption.”


The look in Coach’s eyes said “I know this is true”, and the look in Cochran’s eyes said “I’m sooooo busted.” Give the Dragon Slayer some credit, this floored me. Both the exact analysis of the situation, and his brazen attitude about shoving it right in Cochran’s face and telling him he knew. He invited Cochran to join Upolu and avoid potentially having to draw rocks at Tribal Council in the event of a tie.
- After being confronted with Coach’s suspicions, did Cochran the Double Agent try to deny any of it? No…instead he sang like a canary, telling Upolu everything. At the beginning of the episode, he’s telling us that he’s like the Godfather, but it turns out he’s more like Fredo instead.

- I can appreciate that working with Upolu seems like a decent idea for Cochran (especially against the potential of drawing rocks), but the fact of the matter is, that even on a flip, he’s still the 7th player on a team of 7. Ask Mikayla how that worked out.
- Dawn talked to Cochran about also being the bottom of the group at Savaii, and talked about flipping with him. She was on board, and broke down, upset that she didn’t stand up for Cochran sooner, because he reminds her of her son. It made sense…it would be the first time that the two of them can decide for themselves. But would she actually do it?

- At the Immunity Challenge (this week with no Reward, presumably due to the freebie Merge Feast) we learned that the new Yellow Tribe name was Te Tuna, which, as Keith told us, is “based on the story of how the coconut came to be." I told you in my very first recap that this season was going to be all about the coconuts! And in this challenge, we get the best of both worlds: TILES AND COCONUTS? Are you kidding me???

They each had to balance on a log while holding a coconut with some rope. If the coconut fell, it would break the tile, and if you stepped off the log or let the coconut touch your body, you were out. Also, there would be Double Immunity, with two people winning, one man and one woman. Look, I love the idea of giving out two idols, but segregating it along gender lines for this challenge is total bullshit. I can see it for the weight challenge, where the differences in strength between men and women can be significant when you’re carrying 200+ pounds on your back, but there was no need to make this a separate men's and women's challenge.

People were eliminated for a variety of reasons, but falling off, letting the coconut touch your body, and dropping your coconut on your foot or the sand had one major flaw…no broken tile. These tiles are made to be broken, people! Anyone eliminated should have been made to kick their tile and break it (bare feet or not, as a symbolic gesture similar to making them burn their own buff at RNI.

Dawn won for the women in an anti-climactic competition, and the men were eliminated in the following order: Cochran, Coach, Rick (despite what Probst called “that cowboy strength”), Jim, Keith (who punched his tile to break it! Yes, Keith!), Brandon, and Albert, leaving the newly-returned Ozzy as the winner.
- Back at camp, Savaii is trying to strategize, figuring out who to pick between Sophie and Rick, even though they’re convinced it’s going to be a tie vote. “Everyone is ok going to rocks”, they confirm with each other, and Cochran agrees, but we’re all not sure whether to believe him at this point. I agree with Coach and Cochran, tiebreaking random rocks is a BS way to decide the game. (just ask Paschal from Survivor Marquesas)
- Cochran went straight to Upolu, and told them the whole plan, that Rick was getting Savaii’s 6 votes, and that Ozzy would present the Idol to Whitney. He suggested that they give Rick the Idol, so that he wouldn’t have to flip. Sophie trusts Cochran, but still didn’t reveal Upolu’s target. Safe bet on her part. Cochran even went to Coach, but he still wouldn’t say. This was a good test from Upolu on whether they could trust Cochran or not.

- Wait a minute…now Dawn is trying to dissuade Cochran from joining Upolu? Huh? Now Dawn loves everyone on Savaii and wants to stay loyal? I’m so confused.

- On a side note, I have to say, it’s nice to see Albert starting to develop a personality on the show, but I’m wondering a couple of things about him. First of all, how the hell is he keeping that blue sweater that he wears to Tribal Council so clean? Does he store it away at camp, and only take it out for Tribal Council? And if so, doesn’t that seem odd when it could help with both warmth, and protection from bugs?

Second, what is the deal with him being referred to as “Baseball/Dating Coach”? What do those things have to do with each other? I understand that perhaps he and Coach have bonded over the fact that they both lead others in a sport, but “dating coach?” Are you telling me that his ability to know when it’s a good spot to hit-and-run gives him the skills to help you try to find a partner? Or that understanding the infield fly rule helps him to understand what women are looking for?

These things have absolutely nothing to do with each other, save for the concept of him telling someone what to do. Grouping them together makes about as much sense as labeling someone “Auto Racer/Chauffer” or “Chef/Taxidermist.”

- At Tribal Council, Coach and Ozzy put all the cards on the table, coming right out and saying that it’s going to be a 6-6 tie. Jeff asked the odds of someone defecting, and Cochran said he doesn’t work in odds, whereas Jim said the percentage is “Zero” (someone teach this “poker player” about odds, will you?)

Albert then called out Ozzy’s “broadway production” at the Duel, and Sophie said that she was offended and “found the charade to be over the top, and somewhat pathetic.” Now it’s Ozzy’s turn to get his back up and reveal all. When will people learn to just shut their mouth and smile? Just before voting, Ozzy looks confident, Cochran looks scared, and Coach winks.

I have to give credit to the editors on this episode, for the first time in a long time, and definitely for the first time this season, I had absolutely NO IDEA what was about to happen, either heading in to Tribal Council, or right before the voting. Well done. Let’s hope for this more often.

Ozzy played the Idol for Whitney, reducing the number of Savaii that would have to draw rocks, but when did we see Cochran give it back? Did I miss that? In an awkwardly ordered reveal of votes, we saw the predictable 6-6 tie between Keith and Rick. Of note, there was only one spelling mistake (Keth), but to be fair, with names like Keith and Rick, there should have been zero.
So now it was time for the Rare Re-Vote, my favourite part of which is the fact that the first person voting has to take the urn back with them. I absolutely love that they don’t get a production assistant to do it, and instead say “here, do it yourself.”

On the re-vote, Keith was voted out as Cochran joined with Upolu. Immediately after the vote, he turned to Ozzy and Jim like a kid trying to talk the schoolyard bully out of punching him and said “I swapped. I’ll explain it.” Non-WPT Champion Jim responded with the verbal abuse right away, calling him a coward not once, but twice.

Then Brandon stepped in and said “Don’t talk to him like that. That’s what you get for talking to people like that in the first place.” Good point.

So off Keith went to Redemption (Non) Island, which I once again hate is not over yet, and Probst referred to this vote as “the biggest move in the game”, which must have infuriated Ozzy, who was probably saying to himself “Didn’t you see what I did last week???”

All for naught Ozzy, all for naught. Upolu 7, Savaii 5. And you wasted your Idol.


Next week: Savaii Hates Cochran and Ozzy Loves Rainbows.

Two quick notes:

1) This blog will get it's 200,000th hit on Thursday at some point, so a big hearty Thank You to everyone who has been reading. It absolutely blows my mind that we're at 200K!

2) I'm joing with my fellow RogersTV broadcasters to grow a moustache for Movember and help to raise funds for prostate cancer awareness. Rest assured, I will 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. Also, remember that you can also add me on Facebook (999 friends right now, who will be #1000?) or Twitter, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. 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.


Etcgirl said...

Coch rocks! I love me a good nebbish. :) And for the first time Brandon got almost no airtime, wasn't painted as a misogynist redneck, and actually contributed something positive and righteous. Could this be the Redemption of Brandon?

I vote no. I actually winced while watching Cochran spill the beans to Brandon and thought "DANGER! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!".

pamlette said...

I thought of you right away when I saw the challenge with coconuts AND tiles!!! LOL!!!

Rick1987 said...

Actually, they did show Cochrain giving the idol to Ozzy.

Sean said...

When was that? I totally missed it!

Anonymous said...

I personally think what Cochran did was extremely stupid. Sure he might make it a little farther, but now almost the entire Savaii tribe will NEVER vote for him if he makes it to the final 3. That hurts him in the long run.

Choirchick22 said...

Yeah they showed it when Cochran said he gave it back to Ozzy.
I was so happy with Brandon's small snippet of a line at the end of tribal. I've been in Cochran's shoes for most of my life, being tormented and picked on, so I was glad to see him do something big and get stood up for.
I think Cochran was smart to switch. He really connected with Coach and Brandon. Honestly once they get rid of Ozzy's tribe, they can start worrying about who is at the bottom of the food chain. I have a good feeling however that Cochran will be going to the final vote. Be that as a competitor or an easy one to beat has yet to be determined.

shipaddict said...

I totally disagree with Jim that Cochran was a coward. How was that cowardly? That was actually a very brave thing to do to flip sides like that where it was completely obvious and right in front of everyone.

I am sad that Dawn didn't flip too. She really should have. I'm not really liking Ozzy too much this season and while Keith is nice to look at, that's about all he's good for. I just can't tolerate his rudeness to Cochran. It would have been nice if the Cochran and Dawn had flipped and then simultaneously flipped off the rest of their tribe at the vote.

Kurt Sahr said...

I think Jim was assuming that Cochran swapped sides because he was afraid to draw rocks, which is why he called Cochran a coward. He didn't know Cochran's emotional ulterior motive. I don't agree with Jim's assessment that what Cochran did was cowardly.

I do think it was stupid, however. Cochran knew full well that he was the 6th of 6 in Savii, so admittedly his chances of getting to the end with purely Savii were slim; however, his tribe still needed him for the forseeable future, and could vote him out at any time beacause he's not an immunity threat.

Now, however, he is 7th in an alliance of 7, and his vote doesn't matter in the least; that tribe doesn't need him any more. Had he stuck with Savii, they would still need him for at least a little while longer.

Furthermore, nobody from either tribe is going to trust him now, and on the outside chance he does make the final three, he's seriously damaged any hopes of getting Savii's jury votes.

He should have held off and made the switch later, probably when there were 7-9 people left, and he and Dawn could get the last 2-3 Upolu to switch to their side, and go into endgame with a mix of Upolu and Savii. As it is, he went from being 6th of 6 to 7th of 7, with no control over making the dominant alliance non-dominant. If he was the 6th of 6 in a dominant Savii alliance, he would have had more control later in the game. As it is, he has NONE.

The only people drawing rocks would have been Jim, Cochran, Edna, Coach, Albert, Sophie and Brandon. Cochran's chances of drawing a black rock were 1 in 7, and the chances of an Upolu drawing the black rock were 5 in 7. There's an 5 in 7 chance he would have been in the majority alliance for a while longer. There's only a 1 in 7 chance his game would be over (because he has virtually no chance on RI). His chances at winning the game took a significantly larger hit than 1 in 7 tonight. They basically went from slim to none.

Beth said...

Even last week, I thought Savaii would be better off sending Cochran to RNI, where he of course would've lost to Christine, who probably would've joined them. (Didn't any of them pay attention in previous RNI challenges when Christine flipped off and otherwise showed her disdain for the Upolu observers?)

And Sean, you're right about none of these players being able to keep their mouths shut. Haven't they ever watched the darned show?!?

Vyrastas said...

Cochran was pretty much screwed no matter what he did... be 6th in an alliance of 6 or 7th in an alliance of 7. I understand why he did it, but it does suck. At least he has another few days in the game and hopefully sticking with Upolu short term gives him a chance to try and break things up within both tribes.

This season is turning out to be pretty good. And I think the producers moved the merge up so Ozzy's plan would work and make a better story. Too convenient for me.

1138 said...

Then Brandon stepped in and said “Don’t talk to him like that. That’s what you get for talking to people like that in the first place.” Good point.

Wow. So he stands up for poor little John, while Mikayla was clearly a whore who deserved to be voted out simply because he "loves his wife".

I hate Brandon now more than ever.

mookster said...

Best part of today's episode....Brandon turning to Jim and saying "Don't talk to him like that. That's what you get for talking to people like that in the first place" PURE GOLD!

Kelli said...

Love love loved this episode. Loved Cochran's move, loved seeing Ozzie's overacting failure, loved Brandon's comeback to Jim and LOVED Brandon playing the protector role!!!

I am NOT looking forward to seeing Whitney drop the f bomb in Cochran's face. But, I do hope that Jim and Brandon have more heated exchanges in the next episode. Call me evil for wanting to see a fist fight. :) Ok maybe not fists but a good shouting match might suffice.

Love your recaps Sean! Thank you for taking the time to do them!

R.P. McMurphy said...

Wow, a lot of comments right off the bat. You're doing something right, Sean, as evidenced by your 200,000th hit. Keep it up! However, I'm worried that I'm thinking waaaay to much like you now.

My thought on Ozzy's comment on being either craziest/ballsiest or stupidest was that it's not that those are not mutually exclusive. It was ballsy AND stupid. Terrible, terrible acting at the isthmus as well.

Turns out with them going 3 for 3 on their predictions, they were ultimately still burned. I have no doubt that Christine would have beat Cochran and promptly joined Ozzy's group bringing the vote back to picking stones and keeping the odds in their favor. Yes, obviously with everyone there for the isthmus challenge the merge was on.

When Cochran gave the idol back to Ozzy, he made a brief statement that it was the honorable thing to do. Where you temporarily redirected for hockey or poker or were you out hitting the ATM for being low on money?

Way to go Coach with the precognition! His status is going way up with me. Imagine his power when he welcomes Dawn and her prayer ability to the God Squad.

How dare they use tiles and not have them all smashed to bits! Instead of rock, paper, scissors, we need something like coconut, tiles, slingshots.

Love the Luka Brasi and Fredo references. Perhaps someday we will have Senator Cochran. I'd like to give some of them the Fredo treatment when they break into prayer.

I wish Redemption Isthmus was over also. I'm okay with it now pre-merge but think enough's enough now.

Happy 200,000th!

R.P. McMurphy said...

P.S. the way Jim was talking about "going to the rocks," I think we can exchange that with "going to the mattresses."

Anonymous said...

Hi Sean,
I always look forward to your blog postings following the show. As you said, great episode. I'm surprised you made no reference to Probst's observations during the challenge -- "Ozzy's now got his pole ... !!"

Alisha said...

Cochran gave the idol back to Ozzy when he said something about being a villain but not an evil villain or something like that.

I like Cochran, but I think he's screwed :[ He was in a "damned if you do; damned if you don't" scenario. I liked Jim until this episode; he really pissed me off. And as much as I don't like Brandon, he was spot on when he said, "that's what you get for treating him like that in the first place".

Jaycee said...

If you really want to point a finger for Savaii's current situation, you can point it to Jim! Ozzy has made a few mis-steps now, but if the tribe would have just followed his lead from the start, things might be much different now. Elyse would still be with the tribe, and Cochran would have been long gone instead. With Cochran and his challenge ineptitude out of the picture, it is much more likely that Savaii wins that final challenge. That means Upolu must vote someone out instead. Likely Edna, who would most likely then be beat by Christine in the Redemption challenge. Christine would then side with the Savaii people and they would be sitting pretty with a 7-5 advantage. Even if Upolu's castoff would have beaten Christine, the worst case would still have been 6-6, but without a duplicitous Cochran.

I was annoyed by Jim's way-too-soon power play when he pulled it, and now it has come back to bite him and the rest of those who went along with him. Here's hoping Ozzy sweeps the challenges and keeps himself in the game despite them.

Aitutonga said...

Where do they keep finding Survivor superfans that are so bad at Survivor?

Cochran was really not in a bad position at all. He had a good relationship with Dawn. Jim has been willing to work with him. Ozzy, Whitney and Keith are all much bigger targets than him. Jim was obviously not gonna let Ozzy sail to the end.

Now he has moved backwards down the totem pole, because those Upolu six are really tight.

I'm also not sure I buy that Savaii were big meanie bullies to Cochran. Keith is too boring to be a jerk. I think Cochran felt on the outs because he's insecure and probably thought he deserved to be on the outs. He's also been shown to be very sensitive to criticism, so I think there's a bit of self-victimization going on there.

Beth said...

I thought Cochran's move was pretty ballsy -- he obviously knew there would be an aftermath when he flipped and he still went with it. It's hard to know, watching from a comfy(ish) couch at home, but I think I'd rather be 7th in an alliance of 7 and damage the chances of winning for those that didn't treat me well, than basically hand them the cheque. Plus, he's shown Upolu that he's as good as his word so far and that can only help his standing.
I might be wrong (wouldn't be the first time!) but I liked Cochran's move and anything that makes it harder for Ozzy to win in a-ok in my book! :)
Sean - I enjoy your recaps, thanks for taking the time!

Eudaemon said...

Last week when I commented that Ozzy made a 'bold move' with no upside, I was exactly referring to how they would have instead strengthen their alliance by replacing Cochran with Christine, if Ozzy hadn't done anything! Beside Christine's determination, they would have a more loyal alliance-mate than someone they had been ostracising thus far. And to ask such a person to be the 'spy'??? That was the worst part of Ozzy's plan! Why not ask the sly Jim to play that role instead? Nvm cos Cochran would have squealed anyway...

I personally thought Jim was spot-on to call out Cochran for being a coward. Not just for avoiding drawing rocks, but more for choosing to screw over people he dislikes (including Dawn who he likes) because he can't stand up against his bullies. Cochran has proven himself not just to be a weak physical and social player, but a terrible strategist as well. Ashamed that he dares to call himself a Survivor student.

But blame goes to Savaii for not trying to do anything after the merge as well. Any real Survivor student should know the standard drill in such a scenario - find the lowest ranking opposing alliance member on the outs, and try to sway them over with a promise of a (fake) sub-alliance/final 4. Or just hope to find someone spiteful and who can't strategise like Cochran on the opposing alliance :)

RonS said...

I loved Cochrans move too. I think it was a bigtime move motivated by the belief that sometimes you just survive one day at a time. I also think that being a fan of the show is what makes him able to make a move like this (instead of being a model-hopeful who was only cast for their looks).
I agree he is in a bad position right now, but unlike last season, I think there will be more big moves maybe his demise is not written in stone just yet.
Great blog Sean..I love reading it and the comments every week.

Anonymous said...

Nice post Sean!

Nice reference to Phil Hellmuth, btw.

Kiwi Al said...

Love your blog Sean! Let's hope this season isn't just one tribe picking off the other. Hopefully some cracks appear in the god squad, maybe when they start having to choose other survivors to go on rewards with them.

Can't wait for the family challenge, who will be Brandons family member, his wife or Russell?

Pete said...

Finally an episode without mentioning Russell haha
Great episode! Really liked the editing and it made it seem really epic with the music and all; loved the emotional side of Survivor, pretty engaging. Dawn rocks! Cochran's still the underdog, I respect his move.

Anonymous said...

Coach is playing a great game. I think Cock..rans move will get him to the end. Once coach gets ozzy out he looks for who he wants to go to the finals with. Brandon and Cock...ran why??? A hanntz will never get the money although russel is the greatest player ever and the no vote gathering Cock...ran. Pure genius Coach wins the money. Edna finishes fourth.