Wow. Did we all see that? Did we all see Ozzy Lusth make the dumber move in Survivor history? Erik Reichenbach must be a happy man today. Ok, to be honest we don’t know what will happen, but while it has the potential to be an impressive move, it has much more potential to be comically devastating to Ozzy.
In any case, this season definitely delivers, and this episode, once again, is the perfect example of why I love this show. The other day we talked about big blindsides, this week it was the drama (a little) and the big move that will come down in history no matter the outcome.
– Dawn Meehan: Did we see her at all this week?
– Jim Rice: Not much about him this episode, although while we didn’t hear him speak much, some of his looks and small comments were telling. No, Jim is not in a strong alliance with Cochran, he was ready to send him home if needed. Actually, Keith and he strongly disagreed with sending Ozzy to Redemption Island and I wonder what made them change their minds, except maybe the fact that they won’t mind that much if Ozzy is not around after the merge. Sure they will be down in numbers if Ozzy loses against Christine, but may be not. They’re smart (not like Ozzy) and they must realize that Christine won’t align with Upolu and that her best chance is now with Savaii. The real danger is if there is no merge on the following day. Then, they could be into big trouble, but then again, maybe not.
– John Cochran: Wow, have we ever seen a Survivor contestant dodge so many bullets this early in the game? Cochran was supposed to be voted out three times, and three times he managed to survive, getting into a better position every time. And what position he is in right now! He’s alive, he most likely will make the merge and he has the immunity idol, although it is definitely not hidden. However, he is in a delicate situation with this idol. It would be foolish of him to give it back, but very very dangerous not to give it back. So, in a way, Christine beating Ozzy in the duel seems like the best possible outcome for Cochran, who is still in a precarious position in Savaii. He still will be the 6th wheel even after the merge. In way, his best option now, is align himself with Christine if she comes back, and to flip, not to Upolu but to the bottom part of Upolu (Edna? Albert and Sophie? Whoever it is at that moment). A very dangerous move, one I doubt he will make, but Savaii will cut him sooner or later, he needs to stay aware of that. I hope he does, because even if it took a while he totally won me over and now I hope he wins it all.
– Keith Tollefson: It’s almost strange that Keith was the most vocal against sending Ozzy to Redemption Island. However, I don’t think that there was anything strategic there, just the fact that he thought that it was a dumb movie, one where the team had more to lose than to win. And of course, he is right. Actually Keith really seems the most composed and down-to-earth person at Savaii. If he makes it to the end, he could win easily, however, his behavior and personality makes me think that he won’t dare to make any big move and that will prevent him from going to the end.
– Ozzy Lusth sent voluntarily to Redemption Island: Was it a bold move? Of course it was. Was it a historical move? Of course it was. Was it a smart move? Of course not. Ozzy has proven many times that he is not the smartest guy around and he proved it once again. There is much more to lose than to gain with being sent out to Redemption Island, voluntarily or not, starting with the obvious: what if you lose the duel? You’re out of the game, end of the story. Here it goes beyond that. They all seemed to assume that Christine will go back to Upolu. I mean have they paid attention to Christine’s interactions with the other Upolu members in the arena? She hates their guts, and she stated several times that she will join Savaii and it would be stupid of her not to (unless something “big” happens, like a tribe that implodes at the merge for some reason. And while we’re on the Christine subject, it was also not that smart to imply that there are dissensions in the Savaii tribe, with Cochran orchestrating Ozzy’s ouster. Although I admit that I don’t know what is the best way to sell “Ozzy at Redemption” to Christine. Why don’t I know? Because it was a stupid idea anyway, and the more you dig through it, the more it’s obvious. And of course, there is the issue stated at tribal council; what is there is no merge the following day?
And while it seems that Ozzy did that for the tribe, I’m not sure how genuine that was, providing he had this idea before the game starts and not during the night as he stated. I think Ozzy is doing this, paertly for his tribe, sure, but partly for himself. Right now, Ozzy is seen as the amazing athlete who can’t play the social and strategical game and who got voted out with an idol in his pocket and he wants his 15th minute of fame to be the guy who made the boldest move in Survivor history. Except that, once again, he is cocky and, once again, he’s not thinking. He’s just convinced that he will beat Christine, and he’s just convinced that he’ll re-enter the game on the following day. And because of that I really hope it backfires and that Ozzy gets remembered as the guy whose cockiness got him burned spectacularly not once, but twice. Yes, I can be mean like that.
– Whitney Duncan: Keith is lucky to have such a pretty shadow.
Ok, Survivor casting directors, could you go light on the casting of Jesus freaks next time? It seems that they are on the show every season now. Also, editors, a few years ago, when you had a Jesus freak in the casting, they were rightfully portrayed as the freak that they were. Now, the scary borderline fundamentalist way that they express their religion is seen as totally normal and even mainstream. I know this is a reflection of what is happening in America right now, but still, can we have our Survivor to be as neutral about religion as possible? Is that too much to ask? I’m all for people having the religion they want, as long as they don’t wear it on their sleeve and don’t try to shove it in other people’s throats. This has been happening more and more on Survivor lately. I was actually almost shocked this episode with the constant praying and when I heard Coach ordering his tribe to get on their knees because he had made that promise to his god… How would he react if a Muslim, Jew, Hindu or else ordered him to get on his knees for their God? And apparently no one is an atheist in Upolu and if they are, they’d be smart to hide it before Brandon burns them at the stake.
– Albert Destrade : He doesn’t seem on the outs within the tribe after trying to vote Edna out. Apparently even Edna is OK with it (well, she’s not in a position where she can say otherwise). Also I understand Albert trying to help Mikayla in the arena. It makes sense that it would have been much better for him and for Upolu to have Mikayla beat Christine, she would have gone back to her original tribe, and she may even not be voted out again right away. Yet, wasn’t it giving to much information to the Savaii members that were present? Apparently it was not too much information for Ozzy, but I suspect that Cochran knows better and although he pretended to agree with Ozzy, what he really agrees on is that with Ozzy gone, he is in a much better position in his tribe and the game.
– Benjamin “Coach” Wade : I’m still bugged by Coach’s religious “rants” this episode. I know he is a religious man, but until now, he always managed to keep that to himself for the most part. Is it just because it used to be edited out, or is he going all out on the religious thing to keep Brandon in check? Not too sure. Talking about keeping Brandon in check, I think it was a terrible move to publicly “find” the idol. They could have done better and hide it from him (and Edna… and Rick?) and still prevent him from being too suspicious, couldn’t they? However, I must recognize that I like it better when the idol is used to blindside people after the merge (usually the other team or faction) than before the merge, just to oust one contestant, so maybe it’s all good.
– Brandon Hantz : No outburst or meltdown from him. I guess that’s because he didn’t go to tribal council.
– Edna Ma: She barely survived last week, now she looks like she’s part of the tribe, but she knows she’s not part of the five. Will she think that her secret alliance with Coach is stronger than the Upolu Five (I don’t), or will she be smart and realize that merge time is the time for her to make a big move if she doesn’t want to be the first voted out once Upolu gets rid of Savaii if they do? I don’t think that she will have the courage to flip on her tribe, and riding coattails has brought a lot of people to the end, so who knows?
– Rick Nelson: Once again, he spoke! And he said something smart: they can’t have Brandon completely meltdown like he already did three times when merge comes. On the other hand, if merge comes next week, it’s too late to prevent it, for our entertainment. As much as I find Brandon creepy and psychologically unstable, I must admit that I have come to love his tribal meltdowns and I can’t wait to see some post-merge ones.
– Sophie Clarke: Not much about her, but what we saw several times is that she is in every discussions, never on the outs. I also think that everyone trusts her on the tribe. In other terms, she’s still the one at Upolu that is in the best position to win this game. She’ll need to make some moves at some point though. I’m sure she will and I can’t wait to see them.
– Christine Shields Markoski: She survives again. Congrats Christine! I hope you return to the game and wreck some havoc. But now, she has to defeat Ozzy in order to do so. Seeing from the preview that their duel will be a remake of the Matt/Francesca duel from last season, I think she has every chance to win, but it’s a 50/50 really. The question is what is next for her if she manages to re-enter the game. Thing is, she’ll be an outsider no matter what. She can’t go back with Upolu or will be voted out again as soon as they can, and going to Savaii is risky, as she’ll be at the bottom too. If both tribes weren’t as tight she could gather the outsiders from both tribe to make a third group, but here it will prove extremely difficult. I wish her good luck, she will need a lot of it in the coming episodes.
Next time on Survivor:
Will Ozzy beat Christine?
I say it’s a 50/50 here.
Will the merge happen?
It’s likely, but we never know, we could have a final two this season and a merge at 10.
What will Cochran do?
If Ozzy returns, he doesn’t really have any other option but give him the idol back and hope that he survives long enough to somehow become part of a majority. If Ozzy is gone, this season is his to lose! He can keep the idol, align with whoever he wishes (Jim, Dawn, Christine and Edna make a great albeit unlikely fivesome)
Who will be sent to Redemption Island?
If there is no merge and Savaii loses, Cochran has no other option but play the idol, save himself, send Keith to Redemption Island and flip to Upolu when there is finally a merge.
If Upolu loses, I think it’s time to put a bullet in Brandon’s head (Coach’s words, not mine).
If there is a merge, the obvious targets will be Albert, Ozzy (or Keith if Ozzy loses to Christine) as it’s “customary” to vote the stronger player out at this stage of the game (which I think, 23 seasons in, is a bit stupid), Albert could be in trouble.
My pick for the winner at this point? I wish it was Jim or Sophie, but seeing Cochran’s storyline, it seems that he is the winner, don’t you think? I’d be happy too with Cochran as the winner.
And with that being said my dear readers I am sad to inform you that I will be absent for a few weeks. As you may already know if you are a regular reader, I’m moving to Japan next week (actually I’ll be on the plane during the broadcast of next week’s episode) and I will be without an internet connection at home (just the occasional trip to the cyber café) for a few few weeks (I assume all of November, could be longer, could be shorter).
I plan on being back before the end of the season (keeping fingers crossed) and worst case scenario, expect me to be back next season.
Meanwhile, I’m not leaving you alone, as I warmly advise you to read those great bloggers in my absence (and even when I’m here):
- Super Jude: awesome analysis from Jude every week, a must read Survivor blog.
- Jeff Pitman’s True Dork Times and his always funny and smart awards.
- Dalton Ross at EW, not only you get rich and funny recaps, but you also get a lot of inside info (no spoilers).
- Rob Cesternino‘s Website. The “Rob that sucks” has a great website. It’s mostly podcasting, but the best Survivor podcasting on the web.
- Stephen Fishbach also has always great analyses, he is after all one of the best players that game has ever seen. However he doesn’t have a blog (Stephen if you read this, get one!) he just writes for people.com. You can still follow him on Twitter (by the way, most of the people I’m mentioning here are also on Twitter, you can find links to their handles on their sites).
- The Midside: a great blog that I just recently discovered. Its author analyses the game in terms of storytelling, which always makes for very interesting posts.
- Gordon Holmes: I like his style a lot, but his recaps are a bit too descriptive and not enough analytic in my opinion. However, he has a very fun duel with a past contestant every week, this season it’s with Andrea Boehlke.
- I may forgetting someone, but those are the people I read/listen to religiously every week after each episode and so should you.