Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “Cheer Up, Man. God’s Got Everything Under Control.”

This week’s episode of Survivor finds the Upolu 5 with no one else left to eliminate but each other. Will Brandon’s erratic behavior finally catch up with him? Will Coach be forced to use his Hidden Immunity Idol? And will the Duel between Ozzy and Edna actually be as dramatic as last week’s preview would lead us to believe?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor, Albert and Brandon were in the same alliance, but Albert was trying to mix things up in terms of the pecking order, which was starting to annoy his allies. Meanwhile “Brandon was also infuriating the Tribe”, and Papa Hantz tried to bully Coach. Edna did some scrambling, but still was sent to Redemption (Non) Island, where Jeff told us that “Ozzy lies in wait.”

- Night Vision Recap at Te Tuna camp: the Final Five celebrated because they did what they said they were going to do, stick together to the end. As we watched them hold hands and pray together, we heard Coach say that the real game begins tonight, and now it was “every cat for themselves."

- The next morning, Coach and Sophie were chatting over what appeared to be morning coffee, when we saw Albert get up and start working on the rest of the Tribe. But all I could notice was that Albert was sleeping in his blue sweater. There goes my theory that it stayed immaculately clean so that he could wear it to Tribal Council. Albert says that he likes Rick the least, but since he’s also the least dangerous, he wants him there at the end since he will be easy to beat. Ideally, he wants to be sitting beside Coach and Rick.
- Ozzy and Edna’s Redemption (Non) Island Duel was a multi-layered challenge that saw them first have to solve a slide puzzle which would release a hatchet, then use the hatchet to chop a rope that would release a bag containing coloured puzzle cubes. After that it was essentially just a version of Instant Insanity, where they would have to arrange the cubes so that all 4 colours were on all 4 sides, with no repeated colours.

Ozzy finished the slide puzzle first, and when Edna was having trouble, Albert started giving her directions on what to do. I’m not sure if it actually helped her, nor am I sure that she should have been listening to him, since he was referring to a hatchet as a machete. When she finally caught up to Ozzy on the final stage of the puzzle, all 5 Upolu members were trying to help her, as Jeff constantly reminded us that they were “the same people that voted Edna out.”

Johnny Blue Shirt then told us “this would be a major upset if Edna defeated Ozzy.” Why would it be an upset? At the point he said it, it was essentially 6 on 1, wasn’t it? Isn’t it more of an upset if Ozzy wins at this point?
Of course, Ozzy ended up winning once again, ensuring that CBS gets their show pony in the Finale once again. I have to point out what a terrible, terrible decision it was to show that footage last week in the preview where Edna appears to win, because anyone with half a brain realized at that point that there was NO WAY that she would win if they were showing that a week in advance.

Edna was a good sport on her way out, at least. Instead of getting weepy and trying to keep her buff, she was ready to throw it in the fire, saying ‘this smells so bad that I’m going to be happy to burn it.”

- At Camp, Albert talked about the concept of honour and integrity within the group, and then said “the interesting thing about the honour and integrity card is…in the game of Survivor, I don’t care a single thing about honour and integrity. I really don’t.” I think we all knew that, but it was a sign of things to come for Albert in this episode.

- Sophie pointed out to Coach that Ozzy has spent his days on Redemption (Non) Island making inroads with the Jury members. She astutely pointed out that he’s the last person that really gets to talk to them before they leave, he feeds them, and he comforts them after they get voted out. “Every single Jury Member has gone through “Ozzy’s Pleasure Dome” on the way out.” (On a side note, I think “Ozzy’s Pleasure Dome” was also the name of one of his pre-Survivor soft-core porn movies.)

Sophie then suggests that the smart move would be to send Brandon to Redemption (Non) Island, because it would pit “the two most dangerous players” against each other in a Duel, ensuring that at least one of them is out. Sophie believes that Brandon would definitely win the game, since he is the most trustworthy and godly. I’m not sure I agree with that. I definitely agree that Brandon is the most trustworthy and godly…but a favourite to win the game?

- Albert tells Coach that Sophie is dangerous. Coach disagrees, and thinks Albert is intimidated because Sophie is smarter than him. Brandon enters and in about 15 seconds, Coach is calling him a bully and comparing him to Russell. Coach talking about Russell reminded me of this classic picture from Heroes vs. Villains.
Long story short…Brandon’s feelings are hurt, Coach apologizes, Brandon apologizes, and then they hug it out. Coach seemed annoyed at having to get out of the hammock for the consoling hug. Also, did you notice that everyone was talking strategy while laying down in this episode? What is this, Big Brother??
But man-hug notwithstanding, Coach then told us that “the apple never falls far from the tree. And meeting his father was double confirmation of what I need to do for my next move.” Which was followed by a cheery Brandon offering Coach some coconut, and a message to “Cheer up, man. God’s got everything under control.” I actually felt bad for Brandon seeing this scene for the first time tonight as he watched this episode.

- I’m not even going to bother with breaking down the Immunity Challenge: bright colours, climbing walls, raising flags, winning pizza. What else do you need to know? Brandon wins, gets all Tim Tebow in celebration, and chooses silent Rick as his pizza buddy. (By the way, screw the jet ski delivery, bring back the damn helicopter!)
The only relevant info that came out of the challenge was that Coach felt that divine intervention saved Brandon, and he told us “I’m pissed, but I’m fine with that.”

- During Pizza time, Sophie went to smell the pizza (which regrettably is not code for anything, I’m sorry) and talk strategy, and before we knew it, Brandon had called a family meeting where everyone seemed to be yelling. Albert lied about what he said to Rick, Rick got mad, Albert got defensive, Sophie swore, and Albert just tried to talk louder than everyone else as his defense. Sophie summed up Albert’s new situation by saying “instead of a nice little blindside, he gets to go out looking more pathetic than he’s looked this whole game.”
- Then, just as soon as it happened, everything changed again as Albert was talking to Brandon, who appeared to be hammering a chisel into a piece of wood for some reason. While Albert was trying to plead his case to L’il Hantz, all of a sudden, this look came over Brandon’s face, and he said “I’m not voting you. I just made up my mind.” Then, they held hands and prayed together, and Brandon went a step further and said “if I have to, I’ll give you my Immunity Necklace.”

Brandon then went to Coach and laid out his entire plan to save Albert, including the offer to give him the Immunity Necklace. He told Coach “I know you’ll never vote against me. And I know you’d never do anything or vote any way that you knew that I was going home.” Did anyone else think that Brandon was already halfway down the Erik Reichenbach Hall of Shame at this point?

Coach’s response was a bullshit vague answer of “I need to pray, and I promise you this. I will do whatever God tells me to do.” He then hit the beach and assumed the position. He prayed, and the name came to him. “My soul has never grieved like it does in this moment”, he told us.
- Tribal Council started with this exchange between Jeff Probst and Brandon:

Jeff: “So…the long awaited Tribal council where there are only 5 left, and look at you Brandon, sitting with Immunity. Very powerful spot for you.”
Brandon: “I want to give my Immunity necklace up.”

Nothing like getting the big elephant in the room out of the way as soon as possible, huh Brandon? Why not just give it up at the end of Tribal Council and see what happens? Handing it over right away and laying out the plan was absurd. But then again, Brandon has never really done anything that’s in the best interest of his overall game. The shocked looks all around were something to see, weren’t they?

Brandon then told a story about what his life was like when he was in a gang, and as much as I’ve given him a really hard time this season (and justifiably so), this story resonated with me because I could see how much he wanted and craved for someone he was loyal to, to actually give back to him in the way he gave to the ones he cared about. He talked about “people taking my loyalty for…what they wanted to use it for, and then leaving me hanging.” At that moment, I said, out loud: “If Coach votes for him after hearing that…he’s a scumbag.”

Sophie’s rolled her eyes, Rick said something inconsequential, Coach has the Idol, and Jeff suggested the option that Albert give the Immunity Necklace back to Brandon. Albert said he would “if I realistically believe that he’s in trouble”, which means “no friggin’ chance, Blue Shirt.” I can’t even argue this, because the only thing dumber than giving the Immunity Necklace away, is giving it back when you know you need it. (By the way, no blue sweater for Albert this time, must be because he slept in it.)

The votes were counted, and how alarming is it when the quietest guy on the show says the smartest words of the episode (“Dumb Move”)? Coach did end up voting for Brandon, and solidified his stance as a scumbag in my eyes. Not because he voted for Brandon, but because he voted for Brandon after all of his high and mighty “honour and integrity” talk. Just when I thought we were indeed seeing a new Coach, I was wrong. Same guy, same dirt, same lies.
And his words to Brandon were hollow: “It’s God’s will. Go win Redemption.” Here’s my question, if everything is in God’s hands, and He’s deciding everything…why do we even have a Jury? Why not just wait for a sign, like a piece of toast that looks like Sophie or something?

- I never thought I’d say this, but I really want Brandon to win the Final Duel on Sunday, and see what happens when he returns to the game. The Finale should be good, regardless of who wins the Duel.

This Sunday: The 3-Hour Season Finale and Live Reunion Show

One note about this Sunday’s Season Finale. What I’m planning to do is to watch the 2-hour Finale as it happens, and then once the winner is announced, work on my recap so that it is up within an hour of the show ending, as it usually is. So, if it all works out, it will be up right around the time the Reunion Show is ending.

Make sure you bookmark and come back then, because I’m hoping it will be up…and if it’s not, it will be posted shortly after. Then, after it’s posted, I’m going to go back and watch the Reunion Show, and write an addendum on the end of the recap afterwards.

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.


Robz888 said...

Nothing Coach did tonight would bother me if he could just verify, privately, to the camera, that he doesn't actually think God decides who goes and who stays on Survivor. But then he goes and prays in the sand. Ugh.

Brandon is gratingly crazy, and I don't want to see someone who confuses Survivor with Sunday school win a million dollars.

All that said, this is a pretty strong final group. Go Sophie!

Lou Pickney said...

Great recap as usual. I will be happy whenever they finally do away with Redemption Island, which makes this feel like a double-elimination sports tournament.

Choirchick22 said...

I laughed so hard when Brandon told that story and still got voted out. I feel for that kid, but I didn't want Sophie to go. It's always hilarious to see people make dumb moves. I loved it when Russel got the idol from JT a few seasons back, and I loved Brandon giving immunity away tonight. I also really like the look on Albert's face when he realized he was screwed. I hope Sophie takes this game from Coach and Ozzy. She better make sure that Ozzy doesn't win immunity once he is back in the game.

Rick1987 said...

I am with Sophie. She is the only like able person left on the show. From last two seasons I have seen a great surge in God's involvement with survivor. As far as I know, God has no legitimate interest in survivors. In fact, this is the perfect example of how God could be used to reason anything whether it make sense or not. This episode not only proves that Coach is corrupt but a very good reminder that he is still the same bigot we knew he is.

Etcgirl said...

Dude - there was a GREEN shirt tonight and I expected you would call it out. :)

I have to say, having an invisible friend make decisions for you is simultaneously genius strategy and a douche move.

And last, that beatific look on Brandon's face just solidifies for me that the cray-cray be big with this one, yo. I find it hard to believe he passed the psych eval.

Sean said...

It was teal.

Teal counts as blue.

But part of me thinks he's doing it just to f**k with me...

Vyrastas said...

I knew Brandon's naivety would catch up to him sooner or later. You can't make it to the end of this game acting like that. Albert totally played him. Would be interesting if Brandon could beat Ozzy on Redemption.

Sophie has a good chance to win it if she gets to the end. Rick has no chance, so if anyone is smart they'll bring him to the end.

Kurt Sahr said...

I wonder if there's a single prayer that happens between the moment Brandon is voted out and the time the game is over.

Alisha said...

I actually think Rick could win. He's kinda playing the Natalie White game. Who has he pissed off? I mean, really? Albert?

I was talking with my husband tonight (whose name is Sean, FWIW), and we were saying that we wonder how religious Coach actually is IRL. I've sais it before, and I'll say it again, Coach had himself set up in a great BRob position, then he voted off all his goats! Cochran, Edna, Brandon- what an IDIOT.

Jim Rice makes the best facial expressions, I swear. Love it.

I think if Ozzy gets to the end, he might win it- I think it might be down to Ozzy and Sophie, though my original guess for F3 were Sophie, Albert and Coach.

Anonymous said...

How about the next Survivor is called "Believers vs. Non-Believers." This could accomplish 2 things, if not more.

1st: The issue of whether God truly does take an interest in Survivor can be settled; and

2nd: It would only be during 1/2 of the episode that we are bombarded with prayer

Krista said...

As a Christian, I am offended at how often the contestants call on God call to "help" them. I don't think God really cares about Survivor and it comes off as so fake and annoying. It's wonderful that Brandon has such strong faith, however he is a little too zealous. I don't really buy the whole "God told me to do it" line from Coach, which conveniently fit into his plans. It had to be as obvious to everyone at Tribal that Albert was faking his "spiritual connection" with Brandon.
I'm actually pulling for Coach this season (my husband says I've drank the Kool-Aid) but he has played a solid social game and made some choices. I was ready to write him from the beginning, based on the reaction from his Tribe on day one. He has made it this far and is definitely not as annoying as seasons past. I'm actually tired of watching Ozzie this season.
thanks for the great recaps- you start my Thursdays out right :)

R.P. McMurphy said...

Quick! Someone get a psychiatrist to the island, stat. These people are hearing voices in their heads. Get them some real food right away, they're delusional and need nourishment. Get the straight-jacket...for me! I can't take the God commentary anymore! I've gone Religulous!

Loved the Edna photo caption, had me laughing out loud. As I pointed out in my comment last week, no way Edna was winning based on the preview editing.

My mostly positive view of Coach took a turn for the worse with this episode. I didn't find Brandon to be bullying in the least when he joined Coach and Albert. If anything, Coach's response was bullying. I thought he was going to go bury his head in the sand when he got down to pray. It's so easy to reason away any action with, "God told me to do it." How does another person of faith respond to that? They can't. Certainly not with any actual reason, anyway. "Oh, your voices told you something different than my voices?" Imagine that.

I felt Albert was clearly pandering to Brandon's faith and it worked for him. Of course he wasn't going to give the necklace back. Did you notice the bell sound effects in the episode? Once early and again when the necklace fell off Albert. Must have been God giving him a little smackdown.

Sophie's gameplan was the most coherent piece of strategy I've heard in a long time. She's become my favorite. She's dead-on about "Ozzy's Pleasuredome." He's going to be a real contender and possibly even the favorite if he makes it to the finale. Even if Sophie didn't seem to be so smart and strong, I like her now mostly for her eye-rolling at the God commentary. I feel like she's doing it just for me!

Be sure to tune in next season when Survivor moves to the Christian Broadcast Network with new host, Tim Tebow.

Looking forward to the finale...

Anonymous said...

Will CBS please put closed captioning on whenever Rick speaks?

Anonymous said...

Hey Sean,

Love both this and the AR blog. Quick question: how many views do you get each week?

Anonymous said...

Not sure why you are all hateful about Coach voting against Brandon. He was playing the game. In case you or anyone else has forgotten during the last 10 -14 days it's every player for him/herself. You lie, cheat, steal, backstab, pretend to like someone you can't stand, pretend to talk with God when you aren't a believer, you do anything to get rid of everyone else so you can go home with a million $$ all for yourself. You are not there to make a life long friend and exchange Xmas cards forever. Coach was playing the game, Brandon was not.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why you are all hateful about Coach voting against Brandon. He was playing the game. In case you or anyone else has forgotten during the last 10 -14 days it's every player for him/herself. You lie, cheat, steal, backstab, pretend to like someone you can't stand, pretend to talk with God when you aren't a believer, you do anything to get rid of everyone else so you can go home with a million $$ all for yourself. You are not there to make a life long friend and exchange Xmas cards forever. Coach was playing the game, Brandon was not.

Alisha said...

I am not hateful for Coach playing the game whatsoever. I think he is playing a horrible game by voting out his goats, but what I don't like is that he won't come out and say something like, "man, do I have all these fool DUPED or WHAT!" or whatever. Something like that. Something that actually shows that he doesn't ACTUALLY friggin think he is playing with "honor and integrity", because he's not. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY FINE, but again, at least be up front with it. The only way he will earn my respect back is if he admits at the reunion or in some confessionals in the finale that he knows he is full of shit...ake mushrooms and playing the game to win. That is how these people should be playing, though I really don't think he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning now that he has voted his goats (Cochran, Edna, Brandon) off.

Maybe if the F3 is something like Coach/Ozzy/Albert or Coach/Brandon/Albert he might have a chance, but I doubt it. I think his best bet would have been something like Coach/Cochran/Brandon or Coach/Cochran/Edna and he would have won the million.

Sean said...

Anonymous @ 12:48.

I don't discuss my site stats in the comment section, but feel free to email me if you'd like to chat. My contact info is on my blogger profile.

Suffice to say, I'm quite happy with the weekly traffic.

Alisha, you said almost exactly what I wanted to say as a response. I have no problem with Coach lying and backstabbing, but just admit it, a la Boston Rob or Todd from Survivor China...or even Russell.

Win or lose, if you have a plan, then just follow it, but don't play the viewing audience for fools believing your sanctimonious faux religious BS.

Roxanne Tellier said...

Hey Sean,
good recap - and I am pretty much in agreement with your take.
If you'd like to read my take, check out

always great to meet another blogger ...


HoH8 said...

WOW, i cant believe my cutie pie Ozzy still has a chance of winning, he is my baby and been rooting for him even before survivor began this season...☺...

How funny was it when they were all arguing in the circle and nobody told Sophie that her boob was hanging out, lol....

the only sure thing is if Ozzy makes the F3, he will win it for sure....if not then Sophie will win it over Coach...but i know Ozzy will win Fan Fav 100K...☺...

BTW, to all the BB fans...Janelle had a baby girl yesterday named Violet...she tweeted it...☺...

Anthony said...
sac a main louis vuitton
sac a main chanel
tee shirts

Alisha said...

@HOH8: My husband and I were saying the same thing about Sophie's tata! LOL!

Eudaemon said...

Final 5, Day 36, Coach still has not thought about which other 2 he wants to bring along to final 3, that's how bad a player he is. I won't be surprised if he follows through with his 'promise' to take Ozzy along. Albert seems to be the only player who is strategizing, his big mistake was trying too hard, and sharing his plans with others who don't strategize.

Ozzy is my vote to come back from RI and win it all. *fingers crossed*

KombatKarl said...

No one should be surprised by Coach's actions. We knew he was a scumbag when he started a prayer session to find the hidden idol when he already had it.