Survivor: South Pacific - The plot thickens
I usually dislike the recap episodes on Survivor because I find them too much been there, done that, but Wednesday's had enough tidbits of information to keep me interested.
Here's a sampling of what we learned in what was billed as "a closer look at 19 new scenes from one of the most memorable seasons of Survivor."
Armed and Garrulous: How did Cochran manage to not lop off a digit in the scene where he was struggling to clean fish? And how exactly does one glean what a fish is feeling, particularly one that's dead? Cochran, a self-professed animal lover, proclaimed as he cleaned the creatures, "I do feel like the fish respect me, they understand me. I don't put fingers anywhere that I would not want fingers put on my body." Okay.
Cruising Survivor Style: What's more preposterous than the idea of Cochran hooking up with Elyse? The idea of Papa Bear, who's gay, giving Cochran advice on how to pick up girls. His tips included wearing a tight shirt, rubbing your hands together and using the opening line, "I really like those earrings." Cochran tested it out on Whitney with Papa Bear observing, but it wasn't an unqualified success. "If you told me you thought my earrings were good I would think you were gay," Whitney said. Exactly my point.
A Spoonful of Sugar: Wow Coach, control freak much? Mikayla committed what Jeff Probst sarcastically described as the "heinous sin" of putting two teaspoons of sugar in her coffee (first off, how weird does it seem that people are even drinking coffee with sugar on Survivor?). Coach not only got mad, he got even. Mikayla had been throwing up after ingesting greasy pork from that disgusting challenge where the castaways had to spit mouthfuls of roasted pig into containers. So Coach fried up some pork fat, ate it and then mimed gagging on it, which sent Mikayla off into the jungle, presumably to hurl some more. "Maybe that was insensitive of me, but I don't care," said Coach. "Mikayla's weak right now, she's sick, but I've decided she's going home next." Nope, that wasn't petty, no siree.
The Poop Hits the Beach: I suppose it's possible the castaways forget that cameras are recording them at all times. How else to explain Cochran sharing with Elyse the humiliating story of how he pooped his pants (at least, I presume it was poop) in kindergarten rather than go to the bathroom during naptime and let everyone hear what he was doing. "You can't help but love the guy. What a weird kid," said Elyse. I agree wholeheartedly on No. 2 (pun intended); I'm not so sure about the first statement.
Whitney and Keith Sitting in a Tree Shelter: I knew Keith and Whitney had become friends on Savaii, I didn't realize they were friends with benefits. Okay, hookups happen, even in the close confines of Survivor: just ask Rob and Amber. But getting cozy with Cochran sleeping right next to them? "I know exactly what was going on between Keith and Whitney in the bungalow. I just don't know if nine months from now we're gonna discover the product of this relationship," Cochran said. Ewww.
Give Them Shelter: Even among the discomforts of Survivor, people have standards. Coach was appalled to learn that not only was Ozzy sleeping on the beach, exposing himself to the insects, most of his tribe mates didn't have proper shelter. "Survivor is not sleeping on the floor, getting bit up by mosquitos and all other kinds of bugs. Just because you're a beach bum and you've been doing that your whole life doesn't mean you subject your tribe to the same kind of punishment," said Coach. "Ozzy, no wonder you've never won Survivor, no wonder you always get blindsided, because you're a friggin' idiot.... Ozzy you call yourself an all-star Survivor and you come here and you want to build a shelter like that? You should be ashamed of yourself." Tell us how you really feel, Coach.
Cochran Revisited: The episode gave us some new insight into Cochran's decision to flip on his old tribe. For one thing, there may have been more than self-interest behind Coach's decision to make an ally out of Cochran. Seeing Cochran sleeping cold and alone while the rest of his tribe doubled up under blankets seemed to rouse Coach's sense of social justice. "That boy doesn't know how to survive out here and Savaii treating Cochran like dirt? That's not gonna stand on Coach Wade's watch. That kind of stuff pisses me off, so you know what Cochran? Come over here, I got room under my wing for ya." Cochran's claims of being picked on at Savaii also got a bit of a boost when Ozzy was shown forcing Cochran to hold a rooster he was going to slaughter and then laughing uproariously at Cochran's obvious discomfort, loudly sharing the joke with Keith. And it seems Cochran's decision to jump ship wasn't a sudden whim. "Come merge time is when I'm gonna survive," he told the camera after the chicken incident. "I'm going to be able to slither in and out of every alliance."
The Survivor Pantheon: Coach put his pomposity to good use when he came up with identities for all the castaways based on Greek mythology. You have to admit Narcissus is a good one for Ozzy. Coach dubbed Cochran Hercules because "you are the most powerful man in the game," and himself Zeus: "if somebody wrongs one of his children he is ruthless in retribution." But as Cochran pointed out, "I seem to think Zeus ate his children. If he views me as one of his children ... I'm fearing that Coach may at one point devour me."
When the Chickens Come Home to Roost: As if we needed more evidence that Brandon's a loose canon, we saw him losing the tribe's rooster after he grabbed it by its feathers instead of its feet (as Rick helpfully suggested, he should have bit its head off) and then impulsively deciding to kill the remaining hen instead, thus depriving his tribe of a long-term source of eggs for a quick protein fix. "Killing a chicken at this point is not the smartest thing to do," understated Coach. "Maybe Brandon can pray for (the rooster) to come back and it will show back up," quipped Jim.
Albert Who: Albert isn't the former Upolu player whom Coach should be worried about. I'd be keeping a far closer eye on Sophie if I were him. Not only is she good at challenges; she seems to be smarter than everybody else. It turns out she was thinking a few steps ahead of Albert when she turned down his scheme to join with Whitney and Dawn to vote Edna out. "I think Albert thinks he has this great strategic mind," she said. "I don't think he's come up with one good plan yet." I bet she will, though, given the chance before the game is through.
So what's next when the game resumes next week? It looks like Coach and Cochran are growing closer, Albert is cozying up to Cochran and so is Edna. I'll be watching Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Global and recapping it here.
(The photo of Cochran is by Monty Brinton for CBS.)