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Survivor: South Pacific Recap — Translucent Nerd

September 14, 2011 07:52 PM by Ryan Haidet

Yes!  Survivor is back!  Tonight’s 90-minute premiere of Survivor: South Pacific delivered an entertaining return.  But the biggest character in tonight’s debut wasn’t Coach or Ozzy — each back for their third game.  The most notable castaway came in the form of a nerdy fan of the show with self-described translucent skin.  Read on for more about the excellent premiere!

Game On!

As the 16 newbies gathered in Redemption Island arena, host Jeff Probst told them all that two former contestants would be joining them.  As the chopper flew into the scene, Edna leaned over to Brandon (Russell Hantz’s nephew) and said she hoped it wouldn’t be Russell.  Wow.  That solidified Brandon’s decision to keep his relationship with evil Russell a secret.  He even said in confessional that it’s like being related to Hitler.  But Brandon has two problems with keeping his family secret.  He has a pair of tattoos on his body that say “Hantz” in big lettering.  D’oh!  Dude, it’s hot in Samoa.  I know you say you won’t take your shirt off, but you’re gonna get caught.

As everybody waited anxiously to see their new tribemates, Coach and Ozzy finally stepped out of the helicopter.  They walked in with a wave of applause from the newbies.  “It’s the best welcome ever,” Ozzy said.  A few of the new players were asked about Coach and Ozzy, but Christine’s comment was the most interesting.  She made it clear that she wasn’t thrilled with the concept and called each of the guys “temporary players.”

Then we met John, er, excuse me, Cochran.  The skinny, pale, nerdy kid immediately asked Probst to only call him by his last name.  Being a fan of Survivor, Cochran noticed that Probst called his favorite players by their last names: Penner, Mariano and Donaldson.

Although he talks nervously and at a rate of 1,000,000 miles per minute, there’s something charming about Cochran.  He is an admitted fan of the show — even saying he has a buff collection at home.  I like this guy.  Completely real.

The First Battle

After randomly selecting tribes by breaking eggs filled with color, Coach (Upolu tribe) and Ozzy (Savaii tribe) squared off in a head-to-head duel for the first Reward of the season.  After Probst explained the challenge, my immediate thought was that Coach was screwed.  The battle involved climbing a pole, maneuvering under a pole and solving a tough puzzle.  See why I thought Ozzy would blow him away?

But that wasn’t the case.  The puzzle was extremely tough for each of them and they had to listen to the advice from their tribemates who were sitting on the sidelines.  When the dust cleared, Coach couldn’t piece it together fast enough and Ozzy won the first challenge for Savaii (red).  Not only did he win tarot for the team, he also won fire in the form of flint.


When Savaii returned to camp with a high from their victory, they all quickly introduced themselves.  Then, clearly mesmerized by Ozzy, they all followed his suggestion and decided to take a swim together instead of building a shelter.  But it wasn’t an easy idea for John, er, Cochran, to accept.  He admitted that he is uncomfortable in his own skin — even calling his flesh translucent.  “You can see my organs beating underneath my skin,” he said in confessional.  After loads of apprehension, Cochran stripped down to his underwear and joined the rest of his tribe in the ocean.  It probably would have made more sense had he not done such a weird, wimpy dance as he got in the water.  Probably not the greatest idea if you are already nervous about the attention toward your shirtless body.  But again, charming and real.  Did I say that I like this guy?

Struggling Already

By the morning of the second day, Dawn was really struggling with life at camp (Savaii).  She was having a tough time with the limited water and sleep.  “I feel old for the first time,” she said in confessional.  She had tears in her eyes while talking about everything with Ozzy.  She even admitted that she was worried her emotions would make her a target.  But then it got weird.  Ozzy took the role of Dr. Phil and tried to calm her nerves down.  “Just feel it and let it go,” he told her.

Battle For Immunity

At the first Immunity challenge, the tribes faced off in an obstacle course with multiple elements.  There was a coconut net to climb through, a wall to climb over and a net to fill with coconuts by tossing them like basketballs.  It was a very close race up until the final moments, but Semhar’s struggles with tossing coconuts in the final step of the challenge basically lost the whole battle for Savaii.  With their victory, Upolu (blue) was given flint and information from Probst that a clue to the hidden Idol was tucked away somewhere at their camp.

After the challenge, Probst asked Semhar about her feelings with losing.  She said she felt “sorta bad.”  Jim, who was standing behind her at the time, was stunned by her comments and made faces to show his displeasure.  “Sorta bad?” he said when Probst asked him about his obvious disappointment.  “I feel worse than sorta bad.  I feel sorta bad when I’m out of milk.  I feel like crap now that we’re going home and we have to vote somebody out.  I don’t feel sorta bad.”

Two Clear Targets

Despite Dawn’s emotional breakdown earlier, the target on her back seemingly dissipated when Savaii returned to camp.  Semhar’s poor performance was instantly discussed as she tried to defend her actions.  She even called Jim out for his nasty comments after the challenge.  While many thought she was the obvious target, Ozzy was thinking something different.  He wanted to keep Semhar alive in the competition and cut Cochran out first.  He thought Semhar was stronger than Cochran and might be a better ally later on in the competition.

What?!?!  No!  I like the nerdy guy!  Anyway, when Ozzy made his pitch to several contestants, Jim was the most vocal about not going along with it.  As Semhar was politicking for support, Jim rushed over to Cochran to tell him he was now Ozzy’s target.  Cochran was shocked, hurt and disappointed.  He couldn’t believe his dream of playing Survivor was quickly turning into a nightmare.

Fighting To Stay Alive

At the first Tribal Council, the situation got heated quickly as Cochran and Semhar both fought to stay in the game.  It started when people began expressing their feelings about Semhar’s poor performance in the Immunity challenge.  Then the focus turned to Cochran for his physical weakness.  He said that it’s easy to judge him based on his exterior, but promised he has more to offer.

The best moment came when Cochran tried to tell everybody that Semhar is lazy around camp.  But he forgot her name.  “I’m so nervous right now,” he said as Semhar told him what her name is.  “It’s no indication what I think of you.”

It seemed obvious to me that Cochran would be the first person heading to Redemption Island, but I was pleasantly shocked to see Semhar get voted out first — with every vote against her except her own.  Wow.  Probst was right in predicting before the game that Semhar would be the first boot.

Awesome premiere!  I can’t wait until next week!

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Photos courtesy of CBS

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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