Survivor: South Pacific
Ticking Time Bomb
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
December 13, 2011

Unquestionably the most satisfying moment of the season.

Hello, good people, did you miss me? Probably not, but I certainly missed you. And, as always, I seem to take the day off when the best boot of the year goes down. Cochran paid the price last week for dumping his tribe and ended up one spot lower than if he'd stayed with Savaii all along. Poor little guy, things just never work out for him. And to make it worse, he has to take on challenge God Ozzy at Redemption Island. At least he'll be off our screen for a little while.

What else happened? Oh yeah, Albert tried to make a move...again. And it failed...again. I'm not exactly sure where people are getting the idea that Albert's such a good player. He's tried several times to change the game and failed every time. Part of being a good player is having your moves actually happen.

Tonight's episode promises to put yet another frickin' Hantz on our TVs as Brandon's father comes to visit. And by all accounts, he appears to be every bit as vile as his brother. Cochran will try to upset Ozzy and Brandon may have finally worn out his welcome. Before we get to that, though, let's check out the Power Rankings.

Coach - 8-1. I don't care what David and Kim say, Coach is running the show. I watch all the Ponderosa videos at and so far all four people out of the game are suggesting that if no one makes a move against him, Coach is a shoe-in to win the money. And they're four jury votes. A lot can change, but if he keeps going, Coach could pull off the impossible.

Sophie - 10-1. #1B to Coach's 1A is Sophie. Sophie is playing a very good game and she seems to be the most in tune with her standing in the game as well as where everything is headed. She is the one to keep thwarting Albert's takeover tries. And she's put herself in a very good position to make it to the end. My concern for her is that she may appear to the players to be playing a very passive game and she may not get the respect she deserves for how well she's doing. At this point, I can't see anyone but Coach or Sophie winning the game.

Moustache - 25-1. I put Rick up in third place mainly because I think he outlasts Edna and Brandon and I think Albert will try to move around too much and will get the boot first. That only leaves Rick to sit as the third member on the final three. The question is, will anyone remember who he is when it comes time to vote for a winner?

Ozzy - 30-1. That's right. I'm putting Ozzy up this high and here's why. He will likely only have to beat Cochran and Edna (maybe Brandon) to get back in this game. If he does and can manage to win immunity (not out of the question) he's in the final. And if Ozzy is in the final, he wins the game, regardless of whether it's deserved.

Albert - 40-1. While I could see Albert getting dumped before Brandon, I don't think it'll happen. I kinda think Albert will last to that final challenge and he'll be the last member of our jury. I suppose he could win another challenge or two, but I kinda doubt it.

Brandon - 50-1 I'm sure tonight's episode title "Ticking Time Bomb" is all about Brandon. But I don't think he'll go home this time. I think there's a piece of Coach that wants to make the original alliance of five the final five, which means Brandon gets to hang around for one more vote. One thing's for sure though...his final Tribal question/speech to the finalists should be epic!

Edna - 100-1. The only reason Edna's odds aren't higher is because she can't actually go home tonight. I think she's as sure a boot as they've had in a while. She's no threat to win a challenge and no one wants to keep her around any longer. And the next duel will be another "bye" for Ozzy.

Cochran - 1 million-1. Which brings us to Cochran. I don't think there's anyone who believes he can beat Ozzy in any challenge. He hasn't just been bad at challenges, he's been historically terrible at them. Not only does he not help his team win, he actually helps them lose. With that in mind, the only thing he can hope for is that Ozzy gets eaten by a shark fishing for his final meal.

We begin the show at Redemption Island ad Cochran arrives and announces himself to Ozzy. Ozzy shows no surprise to see him at all and asks him why he doesn't learn. Cochran tells us that in retrospect, his big move wasn't so smart and he really thought he would see some gratitude from the Upolus. Honestly, the big move wasn't a bad move. It was only a bad move because he did nothing to follow it up. He seemed to think he could just sit around and the Upolus would kiss his ring and keep him around because he "saved them." As soon as he made the big move, he should have been seeking out the bottom of the Upolu totem pole (Edna, Brandon, Moustache) and tried to make some moves to take out the Big Three. But he didn't do that, and now he's served up to Ozzy for immediate destruction.

We come back from the credits to Brandon getting ready to say morning prayer. Edna excuses herself from the group saying that since she's not part of the tribe, she's not participating. Uh oh...30 seconds in and it's already time to play "It's Anyone But Edna." She tells us all about how horrible the tribe is and they preach loyalty and integrity and then they treat her like a second class citizen. Um, Edna hun? They have been loyal. They've carried you to the final six despite you giving them absolutely nothing but another vote. They included you in their alliance as the sixth member. You've always been sixth and you knew that. Well, guess what? There are only six of you left...that means you have to go. Now, you can either sit round and whine and bitch about how unfair and mean they are, or you can go find #4 and #5 and try to make a deal. It's your choice. So she goes to Coach to complain about how unfair everything is. He tries to explain to her that they ARE at six, so someone has to go. So she whines and bitches. Edna, you've chosen poorly.

As she continues on, in the background, Brandon starts screaming about Tree Mail, because it's the "insert product placement" Phone Mail. They all gather around and watch videos of their loved ones who are on the island. We meet Rick's wife, Edna's sister, Sophie's dad, Albert's mom, Coach's brother and Brandon's dad...yes, Russell's brother. Good lord, are any of the Hantzes over five feet tall?

And with that, it's time for Cochran's Last Stand. Today's duel is a throw the hook and grab some bags challenge. Once they get all three of the bags, they'll pull a ball out of one of them and use it on a large octagonal table maze. First one to get their ball to the middle wins the duel, loser goes home. The Upolu tribe tries to help Cochran throw the rope. Ozzy's making quick work of the bags. He has all three while Cochran only has one. Ozzy's got a huge lead on this one, as expected.

Cochran eventually gets his second bag as Ozzy nears the end. Cochran finally gets his third bag as Ozzy nears the center. As Cochran finally gets his ball on the board, he totally goes for broke. On a maze where you need to be careful and slowly work your way through, he's tearing through it at a frenetic pace. Really, it's pretty indicative of how he's played the whole game. Very frenetic, very crazed and by the seat of his pants. It hasn't worked for him in the game, but will it work for him in this duel? Holy crap! As Ozzy gets to the very last turn, his ball falls through a hole and he has to start all over again.

Cochran is nearing the center now as Ozzy loses another ball. Ohhh...there it is, Cochran loses his ball and has to start over. They're neck and neck now both nearing the inner circle. Cochran actually gets to the center first, he just needs to put the ball on the divot to pull the ultimate upset. And with a quick jerk, the ball jumps the space and falls through a hole and with a nice easy touch, Ozzy lands his ball and wins another duel. Who would have imagined that it could have been that close? Before he heads out, Cochran actually has a very nice speech about his time in the game and he's actually very eloquent and likable. It makes me wonder where that personality was for the rest of the game. Had he shown THIS side of himself, maybe he would've had a better experience.

But before everyone leaves, Ozzy has a decision to make that will affect the rest of the players. Before he gets to that decision, Probst calls out the loved ones for everyone (except Ozzy). There are hugs and tears as they all reunite. There's also a very creepy butt grab from Rick to his wife. Um...really? Now that everyone has cried a little, it's time for Ozzy to make a decision. He has to pick someone to have more time with their loved one. He chooses Albert. He says sorry to the rest. "Don't be sorry yet." He has to choose another. He goes for Coach this time. And then he has to choose one more. Brandon. And that's it...everyone else has to head out. I can only assume that Ozzy sees Albert and then Coach as the leaders of this tribe and the most likely to pay him back for this visit. All three pairs and Ozzy will head back to Redemption Island for their visit. This leaves Edna, Moustache and Sophie to go back to camp. Hey's the time to do some working!

We come back from break to everyone at Redemption Island and they're all playing with their *insert product placement* phone, taking pictures and having a good time. Coach seeks out Ozzy and tells him that he gives him his word "as a Christian man" that he will take Ozzy and one other person to the final three. Yeah, right. But then he tells us in confessional that when he gives his word "as a Christian man", that's irrevocable. What??? Did he really just make a legit final three deal with Ozzy? I mean, I get it. You tell Ozzy what he wants to hear and then should he win out, maybe you have a deal in place with him. That's just good game play. As it is, Coach has a deal with everyone (kinda sounds like Mariano's game). But to actually mean it? Well, that's Colby-level dumb right there. Ozzy is the one person guaranteed to beat NOT take him to the final tribal. He's already got four votes sitting in Ponderosa just begging to get the chance to vote for him. Insanity, that's what it is.

Um, wait a second. I take that back. Insanity is what happens next. We join Brandon talking to his dad and telling him how inspirational he'll be and how he's spitting on the million dollars. His dad tries to talk him into NOT being loyal and that he needs to play to win this game...not to set an example. Brandon tries to tell his dad that he's changed while he's been there. So naturally, what would a Hantz do? If you said, "Go to Coach and essentially tell him to carry his kid to the final three" then you're the winner. Are you frickin' kidding me?

Coach tells us about how Hantz the elder tried to bully him into taking Brandon to the finals. Before he leaves, he tells his son to do whatever Coach says to do. If he wins a challenge, he needs to ask Coach what to do. I honestly don't believe what I'm seeing...but I'll say this right now. If Probst gets the bright idea to put this douchebag on a future season of Survivor, I WILL stop watching. Four Hantz-filled seasons are enough. I can't do a fifth. As we head to break, Coach tells us that Brandon is too much of a ticking time bomb. But the ticking you hear isn't the bomb, it's Brandon's clock in this game ticking down. Oooh, Coach is gonna piss off the Hantzes!!

And it's a Probst Sighting!! Today's immunity challenge is one of those puzzle board, flip over the piece as you step onto it. You stay in as long as you have a place to step that hasn't been touched yet. We've seen these all the time and I have to go with the smartest person out there and suggest that Sophie will/should dominate this one. Albert is the first one to run out of spaces and he is out of this challenge. Next to fall is Brandon. He tells Albert about his strategy, which was to stop Edna from winning the challenge. Which gives her the chance to bitch and moan some more about her fate in this game. Good lord, can we just fast forward to her going home? As they give us an overhead shot, Coach has almost a full quarter of the board to work with, while everyone else is running out of room. Rick, Sophie and then Edna drop out and Coach wins immunity. In a nice touch of irony, Edna explains that it's been a team game so far and they should get ready for it to be individual. Really? Sounds like Edna's the one who needs to realize this. Please make it stop.

We come back from break and Sophie tells us that she is constantly surprised by how obnoxious Brandon is. She says it's a bullying thing to do. Rick tells us that HE didn't care for what Brandon did either. He says it's not right and unnecessary. Brandon tries to apologize to Edna, but he really should just leave well enough alone. This may be the most annoying conversation in the history of the show between two people that need to go as soon as possible. I stand corrected. Edna compares Brandon calling her out to a man eating his wife. THAT'S the most annoying conversation in the history of the show. At the 12th hour, Edna finally starts to scramble. She goes to Albert, Sophie and Coach and tries to get them to vote for Brandon. It's more of the same. Seriously, someone put her out of my misery. Coach tells us that she made a great argument for why to get rid of Brandon. He says that maybe Edna won't be going. She goes to him after and asks him what's up? Coach says they're worried about dumping Brandon and him coming back. She actually asks him to use his idol for her. He tells her not a chance. If he gives up the idol, he goes home next. He tells her to talk to Albert and Sophie and tell them that Coach is with her. So Edna goes to Albert and claims that Coach is 100% and she's so sure that she'd eat a piece of his *edited out*. I'm afraid to know what she said, but I think it rhymes with "pool". Albert tells us that Edna is making a very compelling argument for keeping her around and getting rid of Brandon. So as we head to Tribal, it appears to be between Brandon and Edna for who's going home tonight.

So Jeff starts out Tribal by asking Edna who she's targeted, since it's obvious that she's in the hot seat. She says she's been targeting Brandon as he hasn't been following the tribe mantra of "Honor, Loyalty and Integrity". She goes on about honor and integrity and it's more of the same. Brandon says that it would hurt his feelings if he gets voted out tonight. It also hurt his feelings that she has been running around talking about him all day too. Of course, what he says about her, in front of everyone...that's just being honest. Seriously, can we just get to the point where both of these bozos are gone? Sophie and Albert talk some more and then it's time to vote. Thank God. As expected, the votes come back 5-1 and Edna is sent to Redemption Island. And then there were five. (Or seven, if you count the Redemption Island people.) Before we get to scenes from next week, it probably should be mentioned that on Day One, Coach sat on the beach and told four strangers that a solid alliance of five could run the game all the way to the end. And against all odds, the five people that took part in that conversation are the ones heading back to camp. So for all the talk of loyalty and integrity, I think it should be noted that this alliance has shown just that. Sure, they picked up and dumped people along the way, but they’ve remained loyal to the group they pledged loyalty to from Day One. Even though Brandon has almost self destructed a half dozen times, they've kept the group together. Well done. Now dump his ass next week. Kthx!

Next time on Survivor: things appear to be breaking down between the final five. We see Rick and Albert going at it with Sophie trying to get a word in to calm it down. Albert tells us he doesn't care a thing about honor and integrity. And then the big tease...Edna may actually stand a chance against Ozzy. We see Sophie at RI saying, " way" as Edna seems to be WAY ahead of Ozzy in the duel. They didn't just show us Ozzy's demise on Redemption, did they? There's no way he can lose to her, is there? I guess we'll need to tune in next week to find out. Quick programming note: next week is Survivor Week. The normal show will air on Wednesday, with the finale and live reunion on Sunday. And I'll go ahead and suggest that if Whitney has managed to get divorced, Keith will propose at the live reunion. 'Til Wednesday, take care!