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Survivor: South Pacific Recap — The Merge Brings Betrayal

November 02, 2011 07:10 PM by Ryan Haidet

Finally!  As Jeff Probst said it on Tout, we have a season!  Tonight’s episode of Survivor: South Pacific was outstanding.  It was exactly what this lackluster season needed!  The storytelling was excellent and the tension was thick.  This proves why Survivor is still so damn good.  With one of the best, most intense Tribal Councils in a long time, I truly can’t wait for next week.  But why was the episode so amazing?  What happened that has me so excited I feel like I’ve just gobbled down 50 Pixy Stix?  Read on to find out!

Awful Acting

At Redemption Island, the act was on.  Although he asked his own tribe to vote him out and send him to Redemption Island, Ozzy told Christine, the resident rejectee, that he was betrayed.  He claimed that Cochran shocked everybody by playing the hidden Idol at Tribal Council.

But the act didn’t stop there.  When he and Christine arrived at the duel arena, everybody from both tribes had been brought in to witness the battle.  Why?  Because the winner of the duel would be back in the game as both tribes finally merge into one.  Anyway, Ozzy vocalized in front of everybody his disgust for Cochran’s disloyalty for the phony scenario in which he betrayed the entire Savaii tribe.  But Ozzy’s acting was so bad that it made Ben Affleck’s performance in “Gigli” worthy of an Oscar.  OK, well, maybe it wasn’t that bad.  Albert saw right through Ozzy’s story and whispered to Coach that he didn’t buy it.  Coach nodded.

The Duel

The challenge was one we have seen many many times throughout the last 23 seasons: Ozzy and Christine had to build a pole by tying sticks together.  They then had to take their makeshift pole, stick it through wooden prison bars and use it collect three keys.  The first person to collect the trio of keys and use them to unlock themselves from behind the bars would win the duel and return to the game.  Despite my hope that Ozzy would fail miserably just to watch his epic plan sink, he won the duel.  He didn’t just win the duel, Ozzy beat Christine by a mile.

“It was a good 40th birthday present,” Christine said as she walked out of the game for good.  “This might explode,” she joked before tossing her blue Upolu buff into the fire.  Although she was bummed out, Ozzy was thrilled that his plan to get back in the game actually worked.  Moments later, Probst announced the two tribes had now become one as he tossed them their new yellow buffs.

Sniffing Out The Lies

When the two tribes joined together for the traditional merge feast, Cochran’s turn to act was on.  The Savaii tribe wanted him to work as a double agent.  But in his chatter with Coach, his act was caught.  Coach looked right in Cochran’s eyes and said that none of them believed any of the garbage about Ozzy getting blindsided by the Idol.  Coach proceeded to tell Cochran they all believed that Ozzy volunteered to be voted off so he could get Christine out of the game.  Coach said that despite their stories that Upolu would hold strong as six and would not budge for anything.  Next, Coach drew a line in the sand (literally) and talked to Cochran about his position in the game.

On a personal note, I am so impressed with Coach.  I love how he called Cochran out right there and put him in his place.  I love that Coach is finally playing such a solid game.  Go Coach!

Clearly not a good liar, Cochran owned up to the truth by telling Upolu all about Ozzy’s grand plan to be voted out at the last Tribal Council.  Yes, he was not sticking with Savaii’s plan to keep up the act, but Cochran did hold true to his word and returned the hidden Immunity Idol to Ozzy (who gave it to him before he was sent to Redemption Island last week).

New Allies?

As Dawn and Cochran spent time together on a walk to treemail, they were talking about possibly swapping sides and joining Upolu.  The concept of switching allegiance was a difficult thing for Dawn as she broke down and cried while talking about it.  She didn’t like the way she and Cochran had been treated by many people at Savaii thus far and thought now might be the time to make her own moves.  As she wiped her tears away, Cochran stood firm in his belief that putting Savaii behind them was the best decision because it would be the first time in the game they actually have some control in what happens.  Plus, Cochran was extremely nervous about putting his fate in the tiebreaker, which involved drawing rocks.

Double Immunity

Before the first individual Immunity challenge began, Probst asked what the new tribe name was.  Keith told him they picked “Te Tuna,” which is apparently from a story about a coconut.  I think it’s a really lame name.  Don’t you?  Where is Boston Rob and Amber’s stuffed animals (Murlonio) when you need them?

The challenge was a pretty cool concept that tested everybody’s endurance and balance.  Each castaway stood on a small perch while holding a coconut between two ropes.  The last man and the last woman standing would each win Immunity for the upcoming Tribal Council.  As the challenge started, it really did appear that it wouldn’t be too difficult.  But looks were definitely deceiving here.  Almost everybody was shaky throughout the challenge and many were eliminated very fast.  When it all came to an end, Dawn and Ozzy each won Immunity.

Torn Between Tribes

Te Tuna returned to camp after the challenge, but they certainly weren’t one tribe.  They were clearly divided along tribal lines and each group seemed willing to draw rocks in the event of a 6-6 tie vote.

Well, almost everybody…

Cochran was still against leaving his fate to a colored rock like Paschal English experienced on Survivor: Marquesas.  To try and figure out what to do, Cochran went to Sophie and told him the basic plan Savaii was going to unleash at Tribal Council.  He told her they would all be voting against Rick and Ozzy would be giving his hidden Idol to Whitney.  Sophie soaked it all in, but didn’t tell Cochran anything about Upolu’s strategy.  She was still having trust issues with him.

When Cochran took his chat to Dawn, she had a sudden change of heart.  In confessional, Dawn said that she didn’t think it would be right to flip on her original tribe.  She also said that she didn’t want Cochran to do it either because it would show he’s only in the game for himself.

Tense Tribal Council

At the start of Tribal Council, Probst first asked about the possibility of a tie vote.  Multiple people spoke up and said that a break on tribal lines would be nearly impossible.  Coach even said he expected to see a tie vote.  Albert then said it would be interesting to see if Savaii would play their hidden Idol because it would prove Ozzy’s story about Cochran using it to blindside him was all a lie.  Sophie chimed in and said that she was actually insulted by Ozzy’s comments at Redemption Island before the duel because it was so phony.  Instead of defending his story, Ozzy owned up and told everybody that it was all an act.  He then admitted that Savaii still had possession of the Idol.

After everybody voted, Ozzy rose to his feet and played the hidden Idol for Whitney’s safety.  This was exactly what Cochran told Sophie they would do.  As Probst revealed the ballots, it was a 6-6 tie between Keith and Rick.

Probst then instructed everybody — except Keith and Rick — to vote again.  Their votes could only fall against one of the two men.  If they tied for a second time, Keith and Rick would both become immune from elimination and everybody else without some form of Immunity would be forced to draw rocks.

When everybody voted for the second time, the drama was thick.  Probst turned the ballots with the first five falling against Keith.  The next four ballots went against Rick.  When it came to the last vote, I was certain it would be another tie vote.  But I was wrong.  The next ballot had Keith’s name on it.  With that, Keith became the first person voted off Te Tuna and sent packing to Redemption Island.

Jaws were dropping all over the place as Keith’s torch was snuffed out.  Instead of keeping his decision a secret, Cochran turned around and instantly admitted that he was the person who switched sides.  He also promised to explain his reasoning for turning against them.  As Jim called Cochran a coward twice, Brandon came to his defense.  “Don’t talk to him like that,” Brandon said.  “That’s what you get for talking to people like that in the first place.”

Awesome!  Amazing!  The best episode of the season so far!

What do you think of the episode?  Do you think Cochran made the right move?  What would you have done if you were in his position?  Who is your favorite player in the game now?

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Photos courtesy: CBS

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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