Survivor: South Pacific
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
November 8, 2011
We come back from the credits as Ozzy arrives at Redemption Island. He plants his story with Christine about Cochran playing the idol on him. He actually plays it very well and Christine buys it 100%. As the sun comes up, it's time for the Redemption Island duel. Let's see if Ozzy's big move pays off. As Christine and Ozzy come in, the first thing I notice is that the entire tribes are there. That can mean one of three things. Either someone is coming back into the game, the tribes are merging, or both. Right off the bat, Probst asks Ozzy if he's surprised to be on Redemption Island. Whoa, whoa, whoa...wait just a minute. Probst KNOWS he's not surprised to be there. He was at Tribal when Ozzy voted himself out. I'm trying to figure out what the play here is. It's like he's setting Ozzy up to plant his deception in the other tribe. Is it me, or does Jeff get closer and closer to entering the action every year? To me, this is damn near choosing the Savaii tribe and setting up their lie. Seriously??
Anyway, so Jeff asks Ozzy if he's surprised and what we get is a 100% complete backfire. Ozzy just goes off. As he's yelling at pointing at Cochran, Albert looks over at Coach and says, "I don't buy it." Coach shakes his head, he doesn't either. Hell, even Christine, who totally believed Ozzy at RI...you can tell she doesn't believe him anymore. I mean seriously, the worst acting job ever. But anyway, let's get to the duel. Today's duel is the "build a pole to retrieve some keys" challenge. Elrod excelled at this one last season. The big announcement is that the winner of this challenge will go back into the game. Survivors ready... Looks like two different strategies are in play. Christine goes for speed, Ozzy goes for strength. So naturally, Christine starts to get her keys first, but her pole falls apart. Ozzy's pole is very sturdy, but it's just a tad short and the key falls to the ground. He reaches out to get the dropped key and brings it in. As Christine works on her pole, Ozzy manages to retrieve both keys and unlocks all of his locks and wins his way back into the game.
People will talk about this move for a while. Ozzy takes one for the team and then goes into Redemption Island and wins. This is the kind of thing Survivor legends are made of - except for the whole "Ozzy didn't HAVE to go to Redemption Island" thing. Christine has made it crystal clear that she had no intention of joining back with Upolu. So, yeah, it's cool that his gamble paid off. But you have to wonder if the gamble to keep Cochran in the game (and give him an immunity idol) wasn't really the biggest gamble of them all.
Christine finally tosses her buff in the fire, but we're not done. Drop your buffs, everyone. It's merge time. In probably the biggest upset of the RI duel, Cochran actually catches the bag of buffs that Jeff throws to him. As the new merged tribe heads to camp, Ozzy is patting himself on the back for the amazing move he just pulled off and he just hopes that Cochran will be able to handle his portion of the plan to infiltrate Upolu.