Survivor: South Pacific 23.09 “Cut Throat” Recap

If you missed last week’s all important episode, make sure you catch up with my recap here.

This week’s installment of Survivor: South Pacific begins after Te Tuna’s first Tribal Council. Back at camp, Ozzy asks Cochran what’s up with his vote. Cochran says that he has wanted to play this game so bad that the didn’t want his fate decided by rocks. Brandon tries to butt in to make sure no one is being rough with Cochran, but Ozzy shoos him away. Ozzy says that Cochran stabbed him in the back “so hard.” Cochran says it was self-preservation. Jim calls him a coward and says he never wants to speak to him again. Whitney then reads Cochran the riot act because she and Keith had saved him three times. Now, they’ll be picked off one by one. “You disgust me,” she concludes. On the other hand, Upolu welcomes Cochran with open arms (literally! Rick hugged him! And thus ends the Rick portion of the episode.).

The next morning, Day 22, Coach confesses that his tribe pulled off an amazing feat, against all odds (though it was 6 vs 6). It’s time for some tai chi. He asks Cochran who should go home next, and Cochran replies he’d like Ozzy out on a strategy level, but Jim on a personal level. Ozzy confides that he needs to change his strategy now that Cochran turned on him. As he’s likely the next target, it is important that he win the next…

…Immunity Challenge (this early? Must be a double elimination episode). For the Challenge, the castaways must toss coconuts into a ring. The first four to score their coconuts move on to the second round where they must crack coconuts open, gulp the coconut water and hold it in their mouths, climb through an obstacle, and spit the water into a tube. The first to fill up his or her tube wins Immunity. Survivors ready…go!

Dawn lands a coconut in her ring, followed by Whitney. Jim and Sophie quickly follow up to advance to the next round. Everyone else is out and Ozzy is beside himself. Jeff starts up the next round and offers this commentary, “Whitney getting a good mouthful.” (No further comment necessary.) Sophie takes the lead, but Jim’s larger mouth allows him to catch up. Jim is just short of the finish line, allowing Sophie to have a chance to win, but she begins to choke and has to spit out her water. Jim makes his way through the obstacle, raises his arms in pre-celebration, and wins Immunity!

After a very cool in-ocean turtle shot, Brandon says they need to vote Ozzy out. For his part, Ozzy tells Coach that he doesn’t want to go. Coach says he doesn’t want Ozzy to go either because of his newfound humility (Ozzy’s, not Coach’s). Dawn confesses that she can either stick with Savaii until the end, or flip to side with Upolu. Jim tells Whitney that he is the most hated man in the game now because he speaks his mind. He comes up with a plan where he will give the Immunity necklace to Ozzy and ask Upolu to vote out Cochran as Upolu will still have the advantage and they can get rid of a liar. Ozzy tells the camera that this is totally surreal right now, that Jim will actually give him the necklace at …

…Tribal Council. Jeff asks Cochran what was the reaction to his move. Chilly, to put it mildly. Jim admits to acting a bit childish when they returned from the last Tribal Council. Cochran says his move was his chance to take control of his game, and play with people he wanted to play with…no offense intended. Jim says Cochran was saved three times by Whitney, Keith and him. Jim also has had a chance to know Upolu now, and thinks they would play with honor. Brandon says that Savaii’s attitude has changed, as they made fun of Upolu’s honor at the last Tribal Council. Jim says he’s thinking about giving Ozzy his Immunity because they, as a group, can show people at home that the game can be played honorably. Coach is listening, but standing by Cochran. Ozzy says that if he is voted out, he will be back, and since he will only be feeding himself on RI, he’ll be back stronger than he is now. Jeff asks if Jim is giving over his necklace? Nope, he’s keeping it, and Ozzy’s face drops.

It’s time to vote, they do, and Jeff collects the votes. The first four voted alternate between Ozzy and Cochran. Votes Five and Six are for Ozzy. Vote Seven is for Ozzy. Jeff reads the Eighth ballot, “The ninth person voted out of Survivor: South Pacific…Ozzy!” Once again, the tribe has spoken. Ozzy runs off into the Blue Light of Death. Jeff tells Te Tuna that the game has been unpredictable for 22 days. Dawn, Whitney and Jim have to hope it stays that way. On RI, Keith asks if it was Cochran that betrayed them. “Of course!” Ozzy replies.

The next day, Ozzy is excited to have a chance to explore the reef off RI where he catches a HUGE fish. He is happy to be at RI and wondering what the other players are eating. Cut to…

…Immunity Challenge #2. For the Challenge, the players must stand on a balance beam while balancing a ball on a wooden bow. After a period of time, the players will move down the beam to make it harder. The last one still balancing their ball will win Immunity. There is a twist, however; if you are confident you are safe, you can sit out and feast on pastries and iced coffee. Coach is unmoved. He wants to compete today. Jim says there are seven people who don’t need to compete today, which convinces Coach to sit out. Only Jim, Dawn and Whitney are going to play.

The Challenge begins and the seven not playing dig into their feast. Coach can only laugh when asked if he still wishes he was competing. Brandon practically has an orgasm. Jim drops his ball rather quickly, leaving Dawn and Whitney. Dawn says that she is going to stay in the Challenge so the Upolu folks can ea, earning huge cheers. She feels it is one tribe and she wants them to enjoy the muffins. The ladies move down the beam while the eating has slowed and Brandon rests his head on Cochran’s shoulder. Dawn recovers from a huge stumble, earning more cheers. Whitney notes that is easy to tell who Brandon likes more. The support doesn’t help as Dawn falls off the balance beam. Whitney wins Immunity! Albert tells the camera that he is upset without the way they treated Dawn at the Challenge: i.e. they were too inclusive. He needs to head that sentiment off before it gets too big.

The next day, Cochran sports Coach’s blazer. Jim confides that Cochran is playing the greatest third place game in the history of Survivor. Jim tries to lay out a plan to Albert and Sophie, and tries to get them to vote out Edna. Albert thinks he has a much better plan: vote out Dawn because she is slowly working her way into the Upolu alliance. Albert poses this to Sophie, noting that people won’t gravitate toward Jim. Sophie confesses that she’d rather get rid of Jim and just stick with the original plan. Albert asks Brandon and Coach their opinions. Coach offers to the camera an animal metaphor (Jim is a charging rhino, Dawn is a slithering snake), and a hope that they send home the right person tonight at…

…Tribal Council. Coach, is it fair to assume it is Dawn or Jim going home? Yes. Sophie, is Jim more of a threat in Challenge? Dawn is great in Challenges, she admits, but Jim is more dangerous. Albert, is Dawn the most likable? Yup, and strongest female player this season. Dawn says that if she was in the majority, she still would have competed in the Immunity Challenge, and, yes, Savaii would have picked off Upolu if they had the chance. Brandon thinks that she somehow lied and he goes on another rant, promising that they won’t stop until all of Savaii is gone. Whitney cries because she feels she is being vilified — Upolu doesn’t even view them as people. Brandon, is it hard to see Whitney cry? Yes, but Upolu was ostracized until they had power. (What the hell is he taking about?!?)

They vote, and Jeff collects the ballots. The first three votes are for Edna. The next five are for Jim. Jeff reads the ninth vote, “The tenth person voted out of Survivor: South Pacific…Jim!” He has his torch snuffed, and heads off to RI. Jeff tells the departing Te Tuna tribe that a lot was said tonight, but was anything revealed that might help Dawn or Whitney?

Next Time on…..Survivor!!

Albert makes a big move, but Coach is on to him. Ozzy lies in wait on Redemption Island.

This is the part of the game, when it actually occurs in a particular season, that I find to be the worst part of Survivor. Just watching one tribe get picked off post-Merge is rarely interesting. It’s not until we get one or two more eliminations down the road, where the majority alliance has to cannibalize itself that it will pick up again (missing Reward Challenges doesn’t help either). Yes, I suppose having the looming return of a strong player like Keith or Ozzy on the horizon provides some interest, but it’s not enough to overcome the malaise that often marks this part of the game.

That said, there really isn’t much to comment on from this episode. The Upolu alliance had to do exactly what they had to: eliminate the two biggest Individual Immunity threats. Brandon continues to be a loon, and it appears Albert may finally see his opportunity to make a move against Coach. The question is whether Sophie will follow him. If he can get Sophie, and gather up Dawn and Whitney, he will only need to flip Cochran to take out Coach or Brandon. Cochran seems to be in the thrall of the Dragon Slayer, but perhaps he can be convinced. It’s a bold move, but perhaps one that needs to be made at this point. One last thing about this episode, though, is that the two Challenges were pretty awesome. The production staff has been outdoing themselves this season with exciting, original and varied Challenges. Kudos to John Kirhoffer and staff.

Odds to Win

Neither elimination was rather surprising: Ozzy and Jim were (and should have been) the targets for the Upolu alliance. It will be interesting to see who emerges from a probable three-way Duel between Keith, Ozzy and Jim, but my money is on Ozzy. That said, as it is becoming clearer that an Upolu member is going to win the game, there is some decent movement in this week’s Odds to Win Board. Let’s take a look.

Sophie: 8-1. Well, I teased it for weeks, but here it is: Sophie is now the favorite. I don’t make such a declaration easily, as I had Sophie in the middle of the pack before the season started, so how did I get here? First, Upolu is clearly dominant at Te Tuna, so it is likely one of them will win. Second, I still don’t see how they let Coach get to the end of the game. Third, Albert will suffer any slings and arrows that might be cast due to his upcoming maneuvering. Last, I think Sophie is smart enough to read the tea leaves and backstab her alliance at the approrpriate time. I don’t believe, and I don’t think Sophie believes, that next week is the appropriate time, unlike…

Albert: 9-1. Could Albert be moving too soon? Quite possibly. As I stated above, if he can marshall Dawn, Whitney and Sophie (which is no guarantee), he would only need to persuade Cochran to flip on Coach and Brandon right now. If he can get Cochran (and I would promise Cochran that he’d now be in a guaranteed Final Three because they’d cut Dawn and Whitney before him, instead of the seventh in a seven-person alliance), then this would be an ideal time to move against Coach because it would completely blindside him, and would prevent Coach from playing the Hidden Immunity Idol. There are a whole lot of “ifs” here though, so I had to knock Albert out of the top spot.

Coach: 13-1. What can you say about Coach other than he is playing a perfect game. I sound like a broken record, but he has hsi alliance firmly in his control. There is no way in Hell Brandon, Rick or Edna will betray him (at least not until the very end of the game). I thnk he is wary enough of Albert, too, to be on the lookout for a possible backstab. If he can catch Albert in the act, Coach will end up in the Final Three and will win this game. Will his tribe actually allow him to get there? Sure seems like it!

Dawn: 17-1. Things are looking bleak for Dawn with most of her former tribe now over on RI. She surely will be one of the next two to go unless 1) she goes on an Individual Immunity winning streak, or 2) she can wedge between the members of Upolu and motivate someone to flip on their alliance. #2 is more likely, though Albert seems wary of Dawn’s popularity amongst his own tribe. I should probably have Dawn lower but can you really see any of these other people winning?

Whitney: 20-1. See “Dawn” above (except the part about everyone liking Whitney).

Edna: 23-1. Edna is still around. Enda will likely end up in the Final Three. Edna will not win the game unless she makes some move before the Final Tribal Council. Edna, you are going to make a move, right? Right?!?

Rick: 50-1. ……………………………………..Hug………………………………………………………. And so ends Rick’s contribution to the show this week.

John: 68-1. OK, Cochran, I can respect your desire to take the game into your own hands. I can also respect your decision to not want to take the chance at going to rocks. What I cna not respect is you rocking Coach’s jacket at Tribal Council. You are not the Daragon Slayer! You are not worthy! Seriously though, Cochran is going to have to hatch a plan with someone to overthrow the Coach/Brandon alliance or he has no shot at winning the game. Yes, he may make it to the Final Three (a la Edna), but he won’t stand a chance of winning. Actually, can you imagine what the Final Tribal Council would be like with a Coach/Edna/Cochran Final Three? It would be about thirty seconds as Coach stands up, looks at the Jury, points to Edna and Cochran, and sits back down. Jeff could just take a voice vote!

Ozzy: 84-1. Of the three guys now on RI, Ozzy obviously has the best chance of emerging thanks to his skill at Challenges, but can you see a situation where he’s not immediately thrown back out of the game? Granted, this will depend on when the returning RI player comes back into the game (i.e. if it is late enough, a well-timed Individual Immunity win could propel Ozzy back into the Finals), but it is likely Ozzy (or whomever wins RI) will have to face at least two Tribal Councils prior to the end of the game. Moreso than Coach, the other active players cannot let Ozzy into the Final Three.

Keith: 91-1. I don’t know, I just don’t feel Keith can beat Ozzy in the Duel. Even if he does, I’m not sure he can win enough Duels to make it back into the game, and then an Individual Immunity to stay safe at tribal Council. He does, however, have a better chance than…

Jim: 117-1. He of the loud mouth certainly has the ability to win Challenges, but even if Jim goes on a winning streak and makes it to the Final Three, I can’t see the Jury getting over his obnoxiousness, unless he is up against say Edna and…

Brandon: 396-1. Seriously, I have just stopped trying to understand this guy’s rantings. What was he going on about with Dawn at Tribal Council? I am scared to see what he will be like in another 16 days without real food. He will even more batty than he already is. I seriously hope he doesn’t make it that far as he might make love, American Pie-style, to the Final Three Feast. If Brandon somehow wins the game, it will be a greater travesty than Russell not winning the game (his first time playing, obviously).

That, my friends, is this week’s Survivor. What did you think of the episode? Were you at all surprised that Ozzy and Jim were eliminated? Would you have taken the feast if you were part of the Upolu alliance? Has Probst been particularly adept at saying double entendres during Challenges this season? Would you make a move against Coach now, or wait one more week? Please leave your questions and comments below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to lick a cupcake.

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