Survivor: South Pacific - Drinking the Coach Kool-Aid (spoiler alert)
They say those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
Did any of the remaining Upolu members watch last season's Survivor? The one in which a returning player kept his tribe so tightly controlled that he walked off with the million dollars?
Perhaps hunger and sleep deprivation just mess up one's critical thinking.
As former Savaii member Whitney put it, after pointing out that six Upolu members plus Cochran couldn't all get to the end, "Cochran went to Harvard, Sophie's going to medical school. I don't understand how these smart people can be so stupid."
Human nature, I suppose, and the tendency of most to be followers rather than leaders. Cochran isn't the only one drinking the "Coach Kool-Aid."
Mind you, if a leader were to break out of Coach's Upolu cult, Albert would be a good candidate and we were briefly lulled on Wednesday into thinking he'd grown a pair.
Albert had a sound scheme: form an alliance to get rid of doormat Edna with doomed Savaii members Dawn and Whitney, plus turncoat Cochran; thus currying favour with Savaii members of the jury.
The key was to get Sophie on board. She was uncertain but saw the advantages, noting she and Albert were "strategic and we want to win the game."
Then Coach, who'd been keeping a close eye on Albert's toing and froing, made a speech of his own just before tribal council: "If anybody goes against this five, it's instant death, instant death."
An interesting statement from somebody who's trying to convince everyone he's not the boss; of course, he is and his words had the desired effect. The sheep fell into line at tribal and Dawn got voted out.
Then, thanks to a surprise twist (which Cochran guessed ahead of time), there was a second immunity challenge at tribal and a second vote. Whitney came within one answer of winning the series of multiple choice and true or false nature questions, but Sophie took her second immunity in a row (the first earned by carrying bowls of rice on her head over a teeter-totter) and Whitney quickly followed Dawn to Redemption Island.
The logical assumption would be that Cochran will be dispatched next week, but we can already see the gears turning in Coach's head. He was being very friendly to Cochran, teaching him tai chi on the beach, confiding his fears about being blindsided by Albert and Brandon. It reminds me a little of Boston Rob taking Phillip under his wing (although Cochran isn't a federal agent, doesn't talk to his dead great-great-grandfather or wear saggy pink briefs).
Cochran seems like the perfect choice to take to final tribal council, as does Edna, whose status as Coach's lapdog has earned the enmity of players like Albert and Sophie. But taking Albert and Sophie to final tribal? Not such a smart idea.
The old Coach wouldn't have considered throwing over alliance members for a turncoat from another tribe. The new Coach? I suspect that he would.
The promo for next week hints that Coach is souring on Brandon (whom we saw surprisingly little of on Wednesday), but we'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, there could be another fly in Coach's carefully cultivated ointment.
Ozzy won the three-way duel on Redemption Island (using the backs of the hands to balance two poles holding up a board), sending alliance mates Jim and Keith to the jury.
There don't seem to be any Matt-like dark nights of the soul for Ozzy. He seems as happy as a clam. The scene was almost idyllic: Ozzy gliding fish-like through the ocean as sunlight pierced the blue water; Ozzy surveying his kingdom from the top of a coconut tree.
"I've got all that I could ever want in food," he said. "I've got one of the most beautiful reefs, interesting reefs with caves" to explore. And he wasn't wasting mental energy on conniving tribe mates.
Ozzy was the only dueller who had no one rooting for him to win (Brandon, bizarrely, was supporting Jim and Whitney was cheering on Keith). I'm surprised Dawn, who seems to want to be everyone's friend, wouldn't have supported Ozzy, but I can understand why Upolu wouldn't: he's a threat to win challenges if he makes it back into the game.
Ozzy emphasized that threat in his post-victory remarks to the merged tribe: "I'm sitting there on Redemption eating my heart out," he said. And he warned future opponents, "I'll make you a fish, I'll make you fruit then ... I'll eat you."
He's a tenacious little sea monkey, so he may make good on his word.
We'll find out next week how he fares against Dawn and Whitney, and whether Coach is ready to make a big move of his own and sacrifice one of his people to keep Cochran around.
You can watch on Global at 8 p.m. and look for the recap here.
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