Survivor: South Pacific
Trojan Horse
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
October 27, 2011

This makes me hate that little Hantz punk all the more.

Hello, good people. Before we begin, I just want you to know that I am now what is known as a free agent. I can't be tied down to just one readership. I have to choose the readership that's best for me. Maybe it's you...maybe it's not. Of course, it doesn't matter, because I have an idol anyway. So how about that?!?!?! This sounds ridiculous, I know. Every bit as ridiculous as my latest whipping boy, Ozzy, sounded last week as he whined his way through another episode. But don't despair, he got a sandwich and took a swim, he feels all better now and Savaii is one big happy family.

Upolu, on the other hand, is a house divided. There's Coach's side and Not Coach's side. They went back and forth over whether to keep Coach's lackey, Edna or someone who can help the tribe win challenges (despite the fact that she really kinda hasn't), Mikayla. At Tribal, Coach got someone named Rick (he has a mustache) to vote with him and Mikayla was sent to Redemption Island to face off with Christine.

The questions of the day seem to be: will Christine finally get knocked off Redemption Island? Will Coach and Albert be able to hug it out and continue on as a unified tribe? Will Ozzy decide to go to Redemption Island because he just doesn't want to play with these kids anymore? And will Brandon EVER learn to just keep his mouth shut? If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on "Yes, No, Yes, Hell No."

Survivor: South Pacific Power Rankings

Coach - 6-1. Coach remains in the top slot, but it's shaky. He took his stand last week and won. So with Brandon and Edna very much in his pocket, he's voting for three. But will this cause a rift in the tribe that causes more challenge losses? Will he be able to reconcile with Albert and keep a strong alliance? We'll probably learn some of that tonight.

Jim - 10-1. I'm moving Jim up this week because every time he speaks to the camera, the dude just "gets it." He knows that keeping Ozzy in this game helps him. If his tribe keeps winning challenges, he'll have the numbers at the merge. Once the merge gets here, he knows Ozzy (and probably Keith) will be bigger physical threats than him. I really think Jim has a good shot and making the final Tribal at this point in the show.

Albert/Sophie - 15-1. Albert and Sophie took a shot last week. Not because they had any special ties to Mikayla, but because the rest of the tribe sided with Coach over them. I do, however, think this relationship can be repaired and this group can reclaim some dominance. The main point here is that there was no deception or lying before this vote. All the cards were on the table and Albert and Sophie knew they were in direct conflict with Coach and Brandon. If they can just shake hands and agree to move on, they could still be THE power alliance in the game.

Ozzy - 20-1. I still don't like Ozzy's outlook, but he does seem to be back with the tribe. They won immunity and everyone's a happy family again. He still has the idol and he still has a stellar individual challenge record to take with him, should he wind up at Redemption Island after tonight's vote.

Dawn/Johnny Cochs - 25-1. If Ozzy does end up taking the Redemption route, Dawn and Cochran move up a step as they'd be part of a three person alliance in a tribe of five. If they stick with Jim, they could well work their way into a fun Final Three.

Rick - 30-1. I'll put Rick in here because I really don't know where else to put him. He's part of the main alliance at Upolu, but how much a part? I don't know. I just wish he'd DO something to give me an opinion one way or another.

Keith/Whitney - 40-1. I think these two are still pretty much linked together. Ozzy may be the next vote at Savaii, but these two will be next in line. And since Ozzy has an idol, I wouldn't be shocked to see Jim target one of these two at the next Tribal to bust up the other potential power couple.

Edna - 50-1. She's still in Coach's pocket, but I don't know how much longer he can protect her. She's a wasted roster spot in challenges and I don't think Albert and Sophie will wait much longer to send her out of here. Her only hope is that Brandon has become so annoying and unpredictable that they decide to cut him loose and keep her.

Brandon - 75-1. That being said, I think that day is coming. The latest Tribal outburst by Brandon now has everyone on edge, I think. I would not be shocked to see him leave the game tonight, should Upolu lose again. There are no secrets with Brandon and he is playing one of the dumbest games of Survivor ever. Anyone who aligns with him is running the risk of having him take them down with him.

Mikayla - 100-1. We've spent an awful lot of time on Mikayla this season. She's been the focal point of a few episodes. I just can't see her going to Redemption Island and not winning. She is stronger than Christine, but strength is not usually one of the requirements for a Redemption Island duel. Either way, though, I think Mikayla has what it takes to win and I think at this point, her desire for vengeance will be greater than Christine's.

Christine - One million-1. I know I've said it before, but I really think this will be Christine's swan song tonight. She's starting to break down and, I think, against a strong competitor like Mikayla; that will be enough to swing the edge out of Christine's favor. She's had a great run on Redemption Island. Unfortunately, she won't have done quite enough to get herself out of the back row of the Reunion Show.

We join the show as the Upolu tribe comes back to camp. Edna is pretty bummed to be voted for every time they go to Tribal. But she feels that Brandon is becoming such a liability that she may last even longer. Coach and Mustache are talking it out as well. Coach seems to think they can keep Brandon under control. But he tells us, as he spoils Of Mice and Men, that he may just have to put a bullet in Brandon's head.

We come back from the credits straight to Redemption Island. Ozzy, Cochran, Albert and Sophie are there to witness the duel between Christine and Mikayla. This duel is a tough one, I think. Each player has a crate. They need to remove the planks that make the sides of the crate. Those planks will then need to be placed to create a bridge, which is a puzzle in and of itself. Once they cross the bridge, they need to use some of the planks to put together another puzzle.

As they start off, Christine jumps to an early lead by deconstructing the crate very fast. As they cross the bridge, Albert is in the stands helping out Mikayla. Christine crosses her bridge first and begins work on her puzzle. Mikayla quickly makes up time, though, and the duel becomes neck and neck. Real quick, Mikayla calls Jeff over and...she's wrong! This is all the time Christine needs to finish her fifth duel and dispatch yet another player.! I really thought this would be Mikayla's challenge. But once again, Christine has proven me wrong. As the other players leave Redemption Island, Ozzy tells us that Christine is on a hot streak and with the merge looming, where Christine would choose to go could be huge. He tells us that if his tribe were to lose the next challenge, it might be in their best interest to send someone like him to Redemption to knock Christine out, get back in the game and keep the tribes even when they merge. Hmmm...that's crazy! So crazy, it just might work.

We come back from break to Ozzy stopping Cochran for a little chat before they return to camp. He tells Cochran everything he's thinking about Christine and Redemption Island. He tells Cochran that he thinks he should go. He plans to give the idol to someone before he leaves and hope the person gives it back when he gets back in the game. Cochran is THRILLED with this idea. Whether it works or not, he won't have to go to Redemption. He's also feeling weird that Ozzy has gone from the "free agent" to someone ready to fall on the sword for his tribe.

Over at Upolu, it's time for some Coach-chi. We join Coach doing his thing and praying for something to pick his tribe back up. He feels like the only thing to boost their spirit right now is to "find" the idol and share it with the tribe. Um...okay. So he heads back to the rest of the tribe, he gives them a pick up speech and they all get together to pray to find the idol and win the challenge. Coach and Brandon lead the prayers and then they head out to find the idol. Sophie is a little weirded out by Coach asking God for the idol when he knows that he already has it. As everyone heads out to search, Coach and Sophie head out to get the real idol. And on their way, they happen by Tree Mail and there's a huge package and a couple notes for them. The notes suggest that they will all need to paint themselves in warrior paint as sets of twins.

They make a quick detour to grab the idol and come back to tribe with all of the good news. First off, they "found" the idol! Second, they have some really cool Tree Mail. Brandon is EXCITED about finding the idol. And since they found the idol 5 minutes after praying for it, he's is thrilled to have the "big guy" on his tribe. I just wonder how he's feeling about all that now that he's watching the episodes back. Hmmm...

Probst sighting! As the tribes come in all painted up, Jeff lets them know immunity is up for grabs as well as a sneak peak of a new film arriving in theaters shortly. They'll have their fill of all kinds of theater type snacks and a night out of the game. Because product placement pisses me off, I refuse to say what movie they'll be seeing. I understand why they have it on the show, but since BOP ain't getting paid, I ain't pimping nobody's movie. Anyway, tonight's challenge is an interesting one. Two sets of twins will be blindfolded and will take turns being tethered to a rope and guided through an obstacle course by the other set of twins. They'll pick up a bag on the way and then come back. Once the team has all four bags, the returning set of twins will need to pair up 4 sets of tiki masks, by feel only. For Upolu, Coach and Rick will be the guides while Jim and Cochran will be the guides for Savaii. Let's get it on.

Upolu jumps out to a fast lead, as Keith has trouble maneuvering the course. Savaii does catch up and eventually takes the lead, somewhere around the third bag. But when the team gets back, Cochran has trouble unhooking one set from the ropes and getting the other team hooked up. As Jim comes down to help untangle them, Upolu takes a huge lead. As they go, Probst is all over Cochran for messing this challenge up. Meanwhile, Albert is having trouble untying the fourth bag and Ozzy catches up. Unfortunately, on the way back, the ropes are still tangled and Ozzy and Whitney lose a ton of time to Albert and Sophie. Albert and Sophie get back to work on the puzzle, while Ozzy has to unhook and rehook his ropes.

Reverend Coach feels the need to say a little prayer as the challenge finishes up and promises they'll all get on their knees if they win. And what do you know? Upolu wins and Coach forces everyone to get on their knees to give thanks. As Upolu prays (really? REALLY???), Ozzy is having a huge tantrum on the other side. Slamming things, punching things, kicking the wall and screaming. Safe to say he is PISSED! Jeff asks him about this and he says he is thoroughly frustrated and the person hooking the ropes completely messed it up. Cochran looks like he wants to go hide somewhere. As the tribes leave, he tells us that he's worried that Ozzy's deal to go to Redemption is out the window.

We come back from break as the victors head off to the theater. They chow down and enjoy their movie. We see some clips and the name of the film is all over the place. I wonder how much something like this costs? But I digress. The tribe is thrilled to be sharing this reward and they feel like a family and they feel that they will be able to stick together and play the second half of this game as a unified tribe.

Back at Savaii, Ozzy's temper tantrum isn't done. He continues on about how Cochran cost them the challenge. Cochran admits that he's been crying like a baby all the way back, so if they want to vent at him, go ahead. Then comes the discussion about who goes to Redemption. Ozzy basically says that since Cochran lost the challenge, he should pay the price. He actually agrees. He says he cost them the challenge and he should be held responsible. Ozzy tells us that he's worried about Cochran going to Redemption and his chances to beat Christine.

The tribe then sits around and tries to pump Cochran up to be ready to go into Redemption and win this duel. He's not buying it, but they're really laying it on thick, telling him how he could beat Christine in any of the duels they've seen. He's absolutely terrified of going to Redemption, but he's pretty well resigned to the fact that he's made his bed and now he has to lie in it. On a side note here...I'm curious, has there ever been a more inept player in the history of Survivor than Cochran? I mean, he's kinda funny and I appreciate his fandom...but I can't recall seeing a player play a worse game in all facets. How he's still there is starting to blow my mind.

We rejoin Savaii in the late night hours. Ozzy is having trouble sleeping. He's all over the place and come morning time, he seems to have a new look in his eyes. We join him heading out in the woods to go get his hidden idol. He tells us that he had some crazy dreams about doing what he said he was going to do originally. He just wonders now if the tribe will go along with the idea to vote him off. As he comes into camp with his idol, everyone checks it out and he tells Cochran that he can have it and breaks the news that he thinks he should go to Redemption. Cochran tells them that he feels he should be voted out because of the challenge, but he doesn't think he can beat Christine. The tribe is not really thrilled about Ozzy's plan.

Keith is the most concerned. He feels Cochran should deal with his own actions. At the same time, Keith is worried that all of this is based on the assumption that the tribes will merge soon. If they don't merge, then they're down their strongest player in the next challenge. Jim tells us that going into a challenge with Dawn and Cochran as the third and fourth guy scares the crap out of him.

As they arrive at Tribal, Jeff starts with Ozzy, asking him about the emotion after the loss and whether or not fingers were pointed back at camp. He says there was a lot of finger pointing at Cochran. Cochran says that the rope was tangled up and he had no idea how to untangle it quickly. He says this was a heartbreaking thing for him because he feels very sure that the merge will be happening tomorrow. He says that he hopes Redemption Island will be able to help keep the tribes even. Dawn and Ozzy echo that sentiment. Jeff asks what sense it makes for everyone to sit there pointing their fingers at Cochran as the weak link and then expect him to come back from Redemption and rejoin their tribe. What makes them think he would lay his life on the line for the tribe? Ozzy's reply, "Thing about it is, Jeff, I'm putting MY life on the line." It was a split second, but I swear to you that Jeff actually got excited at this news. He asks for clarification.

Ozzy tells him that he feels that he has a chance for his own redemption from the last time he played. He didn't listen to his heart and his gut last time, but this time, he will. He feels this is the ballsiest move he can make and play the craziest game possible. He also tells Jeff that he has the immunity idol. He plans to give the idol up and he plans to tell Christine that Cochran found the idol, played it and dumped Ozzy. Which is really pretty smart. If he does it in the arena, then word can get back to Upolu that not only did Ozzy get voted out, but Cochran is a double agent AND they no longer have an idol, because it was played. This could be a brilliant plan for the entire Savaii tribe. Jeff has to break up those thoughts with one simple question, "What if we don't merge tomorrow?" Ozzy says that is a possibility, but at least he'll have gone out on his terms. This is something he wasn't able to do last time.

Jeff also suggests, "What if you don't win the duel? Then you go out a bigger fool than last time." All Ozzy can say to that is, "Yeah." Jeff then asks Keith about any opposition to this idea. He says that he was the most against it. He feels it's time for Cochran to redeem himself. Whitney is scared of facing another challenge without Ozzy. Jim says the worst case scenario is that Ozzy loses the duel and they have to go five against Upolu's six. And with that, it's time to vote.

As the tribe votes, the only vote we see is Cochran's vote for Ozzy. He says that in 22 seasons of Survivor, he's never seen ANYthing like this and he's thrilled to be a part of it. I'll go tally the votes. Jeff asks about the hidden immunity idol. Ozzy speaks up, "Um...I think I changed my mind. I think I'm gonna let Cochran go to Redemption. *long pause* Just kidding." And then he hands over the idol to Cochran and tells him that he expects it back when he gets back in the game. There isn't much suspense anymore and Jeff reads off four votes for Ozzy and it's official. Ozzy just pulled off one of the gutsiest, potentially stupidest things ever on Survivor. I've been real hard on Ozzy this season as I really feel like he's a little too full of himself. However, I LOVE this plan. As a viewer and a fan of the show, I think this is the best thing ever and I can't wait for next week to see how it plays out. As a strategist, I think there are too many "what ifs" for me, but since I'm not a Savaii tribe member, I couldn't be happier with this turn of events and I hope it works out for Ozzy.

Next time on Survivor: Looks like Ozzy and Christine will duel in one of those "assemble a long stick and retrieve a set of keys" challenges. This should be a good one for Ozzy as he's very fast and very smart with this kind of thing. If he pulls off the win, the preview suggests that his next concern will be in Cochran stays loyal. I actually think he will, but they have to have a little drama, right? Thanks for hanging out with me tonight and I look forward to doing it again next week. Take care!