Survivor: South Pacific
A castaway makes a big move
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 1, 2011

Does Keith know you're married?

Bam! Just when you think that you’ve settled into a nice routine and that Survivor Analyst Jim Van Nest is lining up just about perfectly with your opinions, along come David and Kim to ruin everything. That’s right. We’re here as your recappers for the latest episode of Survivor, which means that we’re totally rooting for Boston Rob this season. Yes, we know he’s not even playing.

As anyone who has read our recaps versus Jim’s will know, we don’t always agree on the players in the game. It takes all kinds to analyze a reality game show. So, without further ado, here is the way we see the power rankings for the remaining players in the game.

1) Sophie – Coach is not in control of this game, regardless of what he might want you to believe. Sophie has been quietly manipulating the votes throughout the game, letting other players sit in the limelight so that she is not viewed as a villain for pushing people out the door. Her only problem is going to be that others might view her as a hanger on, and if it came down to a vote, they might not choose her for that reason. So far, though, Sophie has played a masterful game. She’s also kept Albert (and others) in check when they were feeling like going off the reservation.

2) Albert – Effectively, Albert is 1A to Sophie’s #1. We’re in a situation where he doesn’t want to rock the boat too much, because he could be perceived as a threat. Additionally, he’s gotten twitchy at various points during the game when it hasn’t really been justified. He’s getting to the point where he can look to take some control and possibly make a move, but up to now, he’s let Sophie take the lead when he’s about to make a big decision.

3) Coach – Since Coach is recognizable, it’s been easy to play him up in the editing both as hero and villain, and thereby give the impression that he’s got some measure of control in the game. At the beginning of the season, he was radioactive. Edna was the only person who talked to him after the initial competition. He was called out as a temporary player (note: both players who were believed to be “temporary” are still in the game. The one who called them that is long gone). Then, Coach is on the overmatched team that struggles to compete in physical challenges. His tribe looks like it could be in trouble at the merge, but Cochran flips. And the instant he believes he has all the power, he becomes unbearable. He’s smug. He’s a faux man of God (it’s true, Brandon). He fancies himself a guru. He’s still the same old Coach. This is the lipstick on a pig scenario. Don’t let the editing fool you.

4) Rick – The Marlboro Man shows up occasionally in the game just to remind you that he’s there. We’re not sure his image hasn’t just been digitally inserted into the footage. He’s been extremely under the radar, which is a good approach to take in the game of Survivor; however, we have to think that the producers would have edited in more footage of him if he was going to be a Survivor winner. Right? RIGHT?!!

5) Edna – We don’t think she has great odds of winning, but since she’s so vanilla compared to the more offensive members of her tribe, she becomes a marginally acceptable compromise choice, especially when you consider that a large part of the jury is made up of Savaii tribe members.

6) Brandon – Remember when Evil Loser Russell didn’t win either of his seasons and you found out afterward how much everyone hated him? We believe the same is true of his nephew, who oscillates between crying jags, guilt-ridden confessions, and ominous behavior around women. By the way, Survivor, stop casting Hantzes.

7) Cochran – He’s in a weird situation because since anyone would love to play against him in the final, he’s likely going to get propped along whether he’s deserving or not. There’s a decent chance he becomes the compromise elimination vote for the Upolu tribe since everyone despises him. No matter what happens, he has absolutely no chance to win this game. You, the reader, have as good a chance of winning as Cochran does, and you will have alienated fewer players. Let’s face it. All Cochran has cared about this season is making moves to make people remember him and set himself up as a villain for future All-Star seasons. Nice job, big guy.

8) Ozzy – He’s basically made it his mission to destroy all comers at Redemption Island, and his performance last week made it clear that he’s taking the challenges very seriously. We already know that Ozzy is a challenge stud. He’s proven it on every season where he’s played. His problem has always been strategy, and fortunately for him, that’s not a factor anymore in his game.

9) Dawn – Dawn has an outside chance at beating Ozzy at Redemption Island, but let’s be honest here. It’s going to take a special challenge for someone to knock him out of the game. Dawn seems to be a very nice person and she has some abilities when it comes to endurance, so she’s not lowest woman on the totem pole. If she can beat Ozzy, she stands a chance at besting any Upolu (or Cochran) who is sent to Redemption Island.

10) Whitney – Of the three former Savaii tribe members hanging out at Redemption Island, Whitney is the least likely to come away with a victory that will allow her to return to the game. She’s never shown much with regard to challenge ability, and she’s going up against a determined Ozzy and a surprisingly solid Dawn. See ya on the jury, Whitney. At least you’ll be able to hang out at Ponderosa with Keith.

As Te Tuna returns from Tribal Council, they all emphasize how much of a family they are. Family, family, family is all you hear from their mouths. Coach wants to be Boston Rob so bad he can taste it. All he needs is to be stronger, smarter and to have a personality transplant.

Ivy League-educated Cochran has all of a sudden realized that he is odd man out from this group. Nine days after abandoning one tribe for the other one, he’s discovered that he’s aligned himself with a very tight-knit tribe that was bent on the destruction of Savaii. And hey, guess who the only member of Savaii still left on the island is? Are we SURE this guy went to Harvard?

Cochtard wants to figure out a way to improve his position in the game. We suggest that he acquire a time machine, travel back to Day 19 and talk earlier, less Cochtard out of the stupidest move of the season. We continue to be astonished by how little Cochran has added to the game of Survivor.

We come back from commercial to Cochran talking about his phone sex addition. We’re not kidding, people. He creeps everyone out by telling them how his fifth grade self would call up girls on the phone and suggest “swapping sperm” with them. Just, ew.

The rest of the the people in the camp have the same reaction and decide that this is a great time to perform their morning chores. He somehow makes it worse by stripping down to his boxer shorts and walking around. Cochran begins to evaluate the other players, noting that Brandon is almost obsessively devout – in a creepy, Charles Manson sort of way. Cochran says he hopes not to be the “Sharon Tate” of the tribe, which is a pretty macabre comparison in its own right. Although he does have the legs for it.

Cochran goes before the tribe to plead his case, and is desperate enough to mention that it is his birthday in three days. That’s a sparkling display of self-absorption and immaturity. No one can even look him in the eye. The only way this could be more fitting would be if this were the Thanksgiving episode and the oven were preheating. Cochran will taste delicious with stuffing and cranberry sauce. We are seven minutes into the episode, and we’re already playing “It’s anybody but…”

With that, we head off to Redemption Island, where we’ll see Ozzy defeat two women. It’s like a pagan ritual. Every three days, a couple of people are sent over to Ozzy to be devoured whole. As Whitney’s ex-husband will tell you, however, this is not a virgin sacrifice.

Today’s redemption challenge has the competitors balancing a stack of dishes on a metal arm. The person who is able to keep them all balanced without dropping will stay in the game. The other two, aka Dawn and Whitney, will go home. In fact, neither Dawn nor Whitney seems entirely with it or together for this challenge. Ordinarily, Dawn is pretty impressive, but she doesn’t have any energy left. And in fact, she is the first person out of the challenge. A minute later, Whitney is gone as well.

Jeff asks Dawn and Whitney about what they’ve gotten from the game, and they spout off the typical comments any contestant might give. But when Whitney talks about how proud her family back home will be, we can’t help but think, “Yeah, when they see those TMZ headlines, they’re just going to burst with pride!”

For his part, Ozzy gives the remaining contestants an ominous, “See you guys.” All he needs is a hockey mask and a machete to complete the effect. We hope Coach is wearing an adult diaper, because you can see the fear written all over his face.

Back at camp, Albert is being weird to Edna, who is trying to do some laundry. He lies in the hammock while she works. Meanwhile, Cochran goes out to “help” the other dudes fish. Rick actually takes Edna’s side and…oh my God. He speaks! Has he ever spoken before in the history of the show? We just figured that every time Rick talks, a baby panda dies or something, so he was being taciturn for a reason. Anyway, the tribe apparently has nicknamed Albert “Prince Albert” or something because of his seeming air of privilege. There is no sign of Sophie through this small piece of conflict.

Soon afterward, Edna confirms with Coach that she’s on the outside looking in (other than Cochran, anyway). Coach comments that it would be an ideal situation to take Cochran and Edna to the end, because they’d never vote him out. He’s torn between keeping them around and staying true to his word with his alliance. Coach is exactly who we’ve always believed him to be, a sniveling poser hypocrite.

We’re going to ignore a little segment where Coach teaches Cochran some Tai Chi on the beach because it’s stupid. We’ll just move right on ahead to a Probst Sighting™ so that we can get the Immunity Challenge out of the way. Along with Immunity, the winner will get a shower and a massage.

The challenge involves throwing beanbags onto three target boxes. The first three players to get three bags on their boxes will move to the next round. Albert is the first person to move forward, followed shortly afterward by Rick. The final spot comes down to a battle between Cochran, Coach and Sophie, and the strongest remaining Survivor wins. Have a seat, Coach and Cochran. Sophie is moving on.

The final portion of the challenge has the three competitors using a slingshot to hurl coconuts at three targets. The first person to hit all three will get immunity and a massage. Rick jumps out to an early lead, but Albert leaps ahead and takes the prize. Jeff tells him that he can bring one person on the reward with him, and Albert chooses…Coach. WTF, Albert? Anyway, we’re moving past that because he’s asking if he can take someone else. When Probst tells him no, he asks if he can give his reward to someone else. When he is given the green light to do so, Albert says that he wants to let the birthday boy have the reward. Thus, Coach and Cochran are off for a shower and a massage, while everyone else heads back to camp.

Kim speculates that Albert is trying to get rid of both of them so the remaining players can talk about them while they’re gone. David thinks that Albert is trying to secure Cochran’s vote for the final tribal council. Cochran figures that Albert is either trying to curry favor with him or give him a nice farewell present.

And so it is that we have reached a new low in network television. Coach is taking a shower. Where is the FCC when we really need it? Cochran reveals that his birthday was actually six months ago, but at least the lie is working for him. You know a Survivor player is desperate when he steals the intellectual property of Jonny Fairplay.

After some cute machinations toward voting out Rick (they’re not going to vote out Rick), Coach says that “there is a tide coming.” Yes, and that tide is Coach getting more and more damn pretentious as the game goes on. He quotes Shakespeare (relatively accurately!), but really, he should just quote David and Kim. “Cochran is going to Redemption Island, where Ozzy will eat him alive.”

Tribal isn’t even worth recapping, frankly. There’s an air of desperation to the editing this week, as the producers try to infuse to proceedings with some mystery. But we all know what’s going to happen and we have ever since Cochran started telling his tribemates about his phone sex pranks.

Wait, wait, wait. We forgot about Brandon. Guess what? Brandon acts crazy! First, he tells everyone that his vote tonight is for Cochran and his next vote will be for Edna. By doing so, he eliminates the need for strategy. It hurts his brain. Then, he cries. Again. The look on Jim’s face as he watches from the jury box is priceless. How the hell did Savaii lose to these buffoons?

Next up is a roundtable discussion of how awful Brandon Hantz is as a strategist. Not one person defends him, and in fact Cochran, the person who Brandon has defended in the past, even piles on. Seriously, CBS, no more Hantzes. Don't make us lawyer up on a class action suit.

Before they take the vote, Cochran acknowledges that he may have made one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history. But all we keep thinking is that Ozzy is going to have the most massive erection of his life when Cochran reaches Redemption Island. And no, it’s not because of all that phone sex.

Cochran’s final words of the evening are, “The big move I made at the merge in jumping over to Upolu in retrospect may not have been the best move. I absolutely feel like Upolu used me. The fact that they did absolutely nothing to show any sort of gratitude other than lip service is insulting to me.”

Also, he is starting to suspect that the guy he talked to on the Internet and sent some money was not a Nigerian prince.

Goodbye and good riddance, Cochran. Truly you were a dumbass.