Survivor: South Pacific 23.04 “Survivalism” Recap

If you missed last week’s recap (and my analysis in haiku!), catch up with my recap here.

This week’s episode begins at Savaii on then morning of Day Nine. Elyse lies in a hammock with Ozzy who says his family isn’t sporty, but he loved Robinson Crusoe as a kid. Jim notices the bond between the two, and is wary of Ozzy running the game like Rob, so he wants to get Elyse out. Jim runs to Cochran and says they should get rid of the “Variable,” Elyse. Cochran says Jim is a sleazy, untrustworthy guy, but Elyse going next is music to his ears.

Over at Upolu, Brandon says that his pride has ruined his game, so he’s decided to be a better player. He apologizes to Mikayla for his temper, and though Mikayla confesses that it’s nice he apologized, maybe he should think before he speaks. Brandon then goes to Edna and says that he cares about her because she’s been a good friend. He tells her about the Core Five, and Edna says she’s surprised to not be part of it. Edna confides to the camera that she now believes she will be the next to go as the others simply tolerate her.

Tree Mail arrives at the Savaii camp in the form of new swimsuits! Two must also go to the Redemption Island Arena. No one jumps to go, but Jim and Cochran reluctantly agree to go. Seeing Whitney and Elyse running around in their bathing suits, Dawn worries about her age — she needs to show the tribe what she can do immediately or she’ll be the next to go. Ozzy notices that Jim is trying to play the game too hard, too early by asking about what he should say to the other tribe at the…

…Duel. Edna and Brandon for Upolu, and Jim and Cochran for Savaii arrive in the Arena. Jeff asks Papa Bear how it feels to see Jim and Cochran there. It doesn’t bother him because he will immediately go to Upolu if, sorry, when, he makes it back into the game. Brandon says that sounds great, but he wants to apologize to Christine for the way he played the game for the first seven days. Christine thinks the apology is nice, but she doesn’t believe he is sincere. She’d rather concentrate on the Duel

For said Duel, each player will toss sand bags onto crates. The first person to get one bag on each of the ten crates remains in the game. The Duel begins with both players landing their first bags. Christine goes five for her first five throws, but Papa Bear eventually gets up to number four. Christine scores her next two, but Papa Bear answers with his next to, and is up to six. Christine eventually lands her ninth, but it falls off, allowing Papa Bear to tie it up at eight. Christine gets nine as does Papa Bear. Christine’s next throw is true, and she lands number ten. Christine survives! Papa Bear places his buff in the fire and departs. Jeff congratulates Christine and sends her back to RI. She confides that she wants the spectators to see she’s not out of this game.

Back at Upolu, over coffee, Edna says that she needs to be cordial and polite as this is a social game. Stacey can’t stand her because she doesn’t have an off switch. Likewise, Mikayla is annoyed by Edna because of all the questions she asks. Over at Savaii, Dawn tells Cochran that while he and Jim were gone, Ozzy shut down all strategizing, like he already has the game in the bag. Cochran steers the conversation to taking out Elyse because they can’t get Ozzy out yet. Cochran believes it is time for them to make a move, bearing the results of the…

…Immunity Challenge. For the Challenge, three members of each tribe (two men and one woman) will have poles across their shoulders where weight will be added by the other tribe in twenty pound increments. The last person standing wins Immunity for his or her tribe and a Reward of one rooster and two hens. Keith, Dawn and Jim are selected for Savaii. Brandon, Stacey and Albert will play for Upolu. Albert and Keith get the first set of twenty pounds. Jim and Brandon get the next set. Dawn and Stacey receive the third. After 26 minutes, the women are bearing 100 pounds each, Albert and Keith are at 180 pounds, and Jim and Brandon are at 200 pounds. Keith struggles and he goes out. Brandon and Jim get the next bags of weight and tie a Survivor record of 220 pounds. Albert stumbles and falls out. Jim and Brandon now set the record at 240 pounds each! Jim quickly drops out, as does Brandon, leaving Dawn and Stacey, moving up to 120 pounds. Dawn starts losing her pole, but recovers in time for both she and Stacey to receive twenty more pounds. Stacey’s legs begin to shake. “You cannot let go now!” cries Jeff. Stacey tries to adjust her pole, but drops in. “Savaii win Immunity and Reward!” Dawn is psyched as she receives the Immunity Idol from the Emmy-Winning Host..

Back at camp, Stacey thinks she proved to the tribe that she is strong. Coach tries to rally the troops and tells them to pick themselves up. Edna doesn’t need the pep talk as she feels confident in her alliance, but still has a small voice insider her that says she is the weakest link. She voices that concern to Stacey who doesn’t disabuse her of that belief. Stacey confesses that she’s offended that Edna came to her after not speaking to her the whole game.

Coach approaches Stacey who asks him where she stands. He does his best George Washington impression (stating that he cannot tell a lie) and says it is either her or Edna. Stacey tells the camera that she’s not buying what Coach is selling. She then approaches Brandon and tells him to be aware of Mikayla, Sophie and Albert, who are aligning against him and Coach (a bald-faced lie if I ever heard one). Brandon, of course, immediately runs to Coach. “Stop it. Just stop it!” Coach admonishes Brandon. This game is going to get crazy; he shouldn’t listen to someone who’s on Death Row and will say anything to stay in the game. Sophie confesses that Brandon is just a small Russell Hantz who needs to be watched. Coach is worried that Brandon will ruin the game for all of them at the least opportune time, namely, right before…

…Tribal Council. Jeff asks Stacey what happened at the Challenge. She says she did a good job. Coach says that if they were voting just on warrior spirit, Stacey would be safe. Jeff says that the tribe has always said they would keep the tribe strong. Wouldn’t keeping Stacey make the tribe stronger? Sophie answers that it is a balance of numbers and strength. Jeff then asks Rick what is the most annoying thing about Albert. After a loooooong pause, Rick answers that Albert snores. Brandon, what is the most annoying thing about Edna? She has a lot to say about a lot of stuff. Edna doesn’t believe that rings true. Jeff then asks Edna what is the most annoying thing about Stacey. Edna replies that Stacey is difficult to engage. Stacey is it hard for you to open up, Jeff asks? No, she’s opened up to a few people. Mikayla, what is the most annoying thing about Brandon? Well, while Brandon is a “nice kid,” she knows who his uncle is. Brandon says he loves his uncle, but he’s playing his own game. He then gets upset because he wants to be someone of whom God is proud. He feels a responsibility to reclaim the family name.

It is time to vote. They castaways do, and Jeff gathers the ballots. The first vote is for Edna; the next for Stacey. Votes Three and Four are for Stacey. Vote Five is for Stacey. Jeff reads the sixth Vote, “The fourth person voted out of Survivor: South Pacific…Stacey!”. She won’t accept any of the hugs the tribe tries to give her. Jeff snuffs her torch and she marches off into the Blue Light of Death. Jeff tells Upolu that it is clear trust and unity are two qualities the tribe is trying to base the tribe on, but they are the two hardest to maintain.

Next time on…Survivor!

Everyone calls Coach “Benjamin,” and the Immunity Challenge involves the tribes ripping meat off a spit and passing it to each other with their mouths. That, I can honestly say, is a completely new Challenge!

What I have found very interesting about these first four episode of Survivor is that although there has been absolutely nothing surprising about anything that has occurred (even Ozzy finding the HII wasn’t surprising), I’m still thoroughly entertained by this season. It must be a function of the casting and the design of the Challenges (though I desperately miss separate Immunity and Reward Challenges!) because I am finding this to be one of the better Survivor seasons. Yes, I could completely do without the continued focus on Brandon, but as other people are mocking him, I’m actually OK with the spotlight that he has been given. He’s certainly less annoying that Phillip was.

If I have one complaint (I’m a critic, of course I have a complaint) it’s that there are still players that are getting little to no screen time for multiple weeks in a row. I said to my wife prior to Tribal Council, “Man, I don’t think Rick has said literally anything in two weeks.” To which she replied, “Who is Rick?” My point exactly. Rick, Whitney, Albert, Edna (until this week), and even Elyse to a certain extent have been given short shrift by the producers and editors. By Week 4, I really should know whom everyone is.

As far as next week, well, why should I expect anything different from we have already been getting? If Savaii loses, Elyse will be a target, but it will be more likely Cochran or maaaaaaybe Dawn will go. If it is Upolu back at Tribal Council, I fear Edna will go, unless Brandon finally pisses everyone off.

Odds to Win

Another week, another of the longest of long shots is eliminated (my absolute longest, actually). Though while there isn’t a lot of positional movement, some people saw their numerical odds change a bit after some important Challenge performances, and intra-tribal machinations. Let’s check out the Odds to Win, back in regular analysis format (except a special treat for one Survivor!).

Albert: 7-2. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in my pre-season favorite. As the biggest guy out there, I figured Albert would rock the weight-bearing Challenge, but he was beat out by both Jim and Brandon not only in time spent in the Challenge, but also weight borne. I had to make his Odds a bit longer because of the Challenge performance. He didn’t take a bigger hit because it’s not actually a bad thing that he was eliminated relatively early: now he may seem less a physical threat for later in the game.

Whitney: 4-1. When was the last time we heard Whitney engage someone else in strategy talk? No, last week when Keith told her about Ozzy’s HII doesn’t count: she just took in the information and talked strategy with the camera. She didn’t take an important role in the Challenge, so there really isn’t much from this episode to consider in Whitney’s Odds. She does, however, seems to be in the catbird seat at her tribe. She’s in the majority alliance, and no one seems to want to try to eliminate her (as opposed to Elyse, who is targeted by Jim, and Jim who is targeted by Ozzy and Keith).

Keith: 7-1. Like Albert, I was disappointed in Keith’s Challenge performance. Now, I’m 5’9″ and 153 pounds. After a week of Survivor, I’d probably only be able to hold up about 60 pounds, so I shouldn’t criticize, but I was looking for a little hunger from Keith. Then again, like Albert, his “weakness” may be a benefit later in the game, and with no one else making a big move to better his or her position, Keith stays in the same slot.

Mikayla: 23-2. It appears Mikayla has been able to she a bit of the spotlight that Brandon thrust upon her. Even with Stacey gone, there are currently at least two people in front of her on the chopping block: Edna and Brandon, and possibly Sophie. I’m a bit surprised Mikayla didn’t participate in the Challenge. One would think her strength would have been a major asset, but as that Challenge is designed for goats/heroes, perhaps it is better for her that she didn’t participate. You can see how far it got Stacey.

Dawn: 13-1. That is two great Challenge performances in a row for the teacher from Utah. Seriously, Dawn was bad-ass, not letting go when the pole had slipped all the way down her back and tilted over. Dawn said it herself: she needed a huge Challenge performance to show her tribe that she is an asset to the tribe. As we know, Ozzy likes her, and after Cochran is summarily dismissed, he may be willing to fold Dawn into his alliance in favor of Jim, especially if Jim moves against the alliance to oust Elyse. By that point, the game will be moving into The Merge where physically weaker, but loyal players are key allies. If I was Ozzy, I’d much rather have Dawn at my side than Jim, no?

Rick: 16-1. Rick spoke!! Rick spoke!! Well, sorta. I believe he said, literally, two words: “He snores.” Rick just keeps rolling along, moving with his alliance. I’m waiting to hear something, anything from him about wanting to eliminate Coach, but I think as long as he is in no danger of being voted out (which he is not), Rick will be more than content with floating along.

Edna: 19-1. Edna had to take a hit with all of the negative press she received from her tribemates this episode. If that many people find you annoying, whether or not it is warranted, there is a good chance that they are going to find a reason to send you home. Upolu has a reason: Edna is the physically weakest player on the tribe and because we are still four eliminations away from The Merge, it is likely Edna will go home — unless, the focus can move squarely on Brandon.

Now, Edna has been kind enough to read these recaps and follow me on Twitter (Edna’s Twitter account is @BareEase). She liked the haiku last week, but challenged me to write limericks. So, in a tribute to Edna, here is one about her:

There once was an anesthesiologist
Whose ally was a veteran monologist
Not one of The Five
She stayed barely alive
It’s time to become a better anthropologist.

What do you think? I mean, come on, I rhymed anesthesiologist!

Sophie: 22-1. Sophie, still wary of Brandon; still not doing anything about it. I know, at this point in the game, those that make waves find their torches snuffed, but Sophie proclaimed herself the smartest player in the game. To prove such, she needs to start maneuvering to oust the players she sees as roadblocks to her path to the Final Three. If she hates Brandon so much, she should be doing something to eliminate him. I fear her hesitance (and her ego) may be her undoing.

Ozzy: 28-1. Yes, Ozzy already has a number of people on his tribe looking to eliminate him. Yes, once he makes it to The Merge he will be Public Enemy Number One. Yes, I should probably have him farther down the Odds Board. Despite all of this, however, he still has an HII, and he is still a threat to win a number of Individual Immunity Challenges and/or Redemption Island Duels. Moreover, everyone else is in a whole lot worse shape to win the game than Ozzy is.

Coach: 33-1. Well, except maybe Coach. I don’t know what is going to happen next week with the “Benjamin” situation, but Coach is clearly in control of Upolu, with a number of targets ahead of him on the block. Moreover, once he makes it to The Merge, people will likely focus on Ozzy and not Coach, allowing him to solidify mutating alliances, and make promises he has no intention of keeping. Still, without an HII nor a proven history of Individual Challenge wins, Coach has to stay behind Ozzy.

Jim: 41-1. I know, above, I took Sophie to task for not putting her money where her mouth is and making a move. That’s Sophie. Jim, on the other hand, should be highly wary of his own gameplay at the moment. Yes, he may consider himself at the bottom of the five-person Ozzy alliance, but if he does the quick math, eliminating Cochran and Dawn before Elyse (and staying true to his alliance) will get him to The Merge where there will be ample opportunity to turn his back on Ozzy and Savaii. He’s trying to make a move of three against four, and hoping to flip Keith or Whitney. Obviously, Jim isn’t privy to what we know about what Keith and Whitney know regarding Ozzy’s HII, but I just don’t think Jim’s strategy is likely to pay off at this point.

Elyse: 57-1. She has Ozzy’s protection, and she still sits in the majority alliance, even against Jim’s maneuvering. Jim, however, can’t be the only one to notice Elyse’s relationship with Ozzy. While they are still in the tribal portion of the game, that means the target will be on her, rather than Ozzy, who is needed for Challenges. She should be able to make it to The Merge, but there is certainly the possibility that she could be sacrificed before then.

John: 69-1. Cochran is playing on borrowed time. Honestly, what does he bring to the game and his tribe? Yes, he’s seemed to tone down his “I love Survivor!” personality, but how is he not the next eliminated if Savaii loses a Challenge? I don’t think Jim can garner enough votes to get rid of Elyse, and Dawn has proven herself an asset to the tribe. Sorry Cochran, but you better hope Savaii has excellent meat ripping skills next week.

Brandon: 77-1. Flabbergasted. That is what I am. Sure, the apologies are well-attempted, and necessary from a game standpoint, but no one on the tribe is buying them. Moreover, I have never seen a smackdown on a player like Coach gave Brandon this week. Brandon has completely lost it. He has no idea how to play this game socially. Yes, he was massively impressive in the Challenge (and I’m sure when he watched it last night he was struck by his own “Jesus on the cross”-like pose he struck), and Edna could go before him, but there is no way in bloody Hell that boy has the mental toughness to make it through this game.

Christine: 165-1. I will admit it, I’m really starting to like Christine. She is displaying a steel cold attitude in dispatching players at the Arena, and with Stacey her next foe, and then likely Cochran, Edna or Dawn in some succession, Christine may actually have a Matt-type run. The lady has got some skills, and she is putting them to good use in the Duels. Still, she has a looooong way to go before reentering the game, so the Odds are still stacked against her.

Stacey: 9,999,999-1. Perhaps her ouster was unfair insofar as she was not the weakest player on her tribe, but alliances are formed quickly in this game, and Stacey found herself on the outside from the get-go. It was only a matter of time before she was cast aside as dead weight. Stacey does have a good shot at beating Christine in next week’s Duel, but I can’t see her going much farther than that.

Well, that was this week’s episode of Survivor. What did you think of the episode? How much longer do you think Brandon can survive? Would Upolu really get rid of Brandon before Edna? Is there a real underground threat to Ozzy over at Savaii? Please leave your questions and comments below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to haunt you with my little laugh.

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  1. MikeNJD October 7, 2011

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