A few weeks ago, Cochran made an epic move on Survivor: South Pacific — a move that greatly imperiled his former tribe. Sure enough, we had to watch them all go home one by one, which constituted a rather boring patch in an otherwise great season. It’s a shame, really. Cochran’s big move didn’t have to be the end for those people, but no one seemed intent on using scare tactics. Maybe Jim a little, but overall, Cochran’s tribe focused more on striking deals, arguing that they could be used as numbers should anyone on Coach’s team want to change things up. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen.
As a result, the likes of Dawn and Jim and Whitney and even Cochran failed to see the potential in such outliers as Edna, the plucky but unwelcomed member of Coach’s tribe (I’m too lazy to look up the official tribe name). Clearly she could have been brought over. Additionally, there wasn’t nearly enough preying on the quiet power struggle between Albert and Coach. A simple appeal to Albert’s ego and insecurities should have been enough to cause some damage (to be fair, Dawn did trie).
At the end of the day though, the biggest fault lies with Cochran and Edna. They were guiltiest of being the laziest strategically.
Let’s look at Cochran first. He made an epic move, but he followed it up by just hanging around with Coach’s team. He didn’t build upon his move. He didn’t seek to advance himself up the totem pole. He merely took Coach’s good will and empty words as a sign that he’d make it at least to the final four. As a Survivor fan though, he should have remembered that words and gestures mean nothing. The only true motivators are fear and insecurity. From the moment Cochran jumped ship, he should have been doing whatever he could to turn his new tribe members against each other. Divide-and-conquer.
Unfortunately, Cochran just hung out until it was too late, and he realized that he had no numbers to save himself. He tried guilting everyone into keeping him, but that tack was too heavy handed and almost insulting. As a result, he was sent packing last week.
Cochran almost lived to see another day after an intensely exciting duel on Redemption Island — he was mere inches away from beating Ozzy — but alas, that effort collapsed at the last second, and Cochran’s tenure came to an end.
That left us with Edna, who had become embittered after Brandon had announced that she’d be going home next. She did all the wrong things: she threw hissy fits, she isolated herself, and she proved to be emotionally unstable. Any chance that she’d be saved went out the window when she lost her cool. It all seemed rather perplexing to me though. Hadn’t Brandon full-on told her she was on the outs of a five person alliance weeks ago? Why didn’t she use that information to gain power with the other tribe? Why did she wait until she was #6 in an immutable alliance of five? Sure enough, it was the end of the road for Edna. Not even appeals to the tribe’s conscience or logic could help (neither could volunteering to eat Coach’s feces either). Edna went home.
Then again, why have all of them waited so long? What these people fail to realize is that the potential to flip the game upside down is now dwindling. It’s going to become a game of Albert and Sophie vs. Coach and Brandon, which means each side’s fate lies in Rick’s hands. If I were Albert, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that. Never let your Survivor fate fall in a swing vote’s hands. Clearly Albert should have taken out his opponent earlier, but no one in this crew seemed willing to stray from the party line. In many ways, it’s a repeat of Boston Rob’s victory lap last season, except I’m not totally convinced that Coach will make it to the winner’s circle (he has a few more obstacles than Rob did).
Nevertheless, this is the second season in a row when players have fallen under the spell of an All-Star, even despite themselves. Truth be told, anytime a former Survivor has entered the mix, they’ve gone to the top (Stephenie, the Favorites vs. the Fans, Boston Rob). Maybe the producers should ease up on the returning cast members so we can at least keep things interesting.
“I can’t believe these people pretended like I was part of this tribe for so long. Granted, Brandon DID tell me that I was on the outside of their alliance weeks ago, and granted, I could have used that knowledge to gain favor with the other tribe, but quite frankly, that would have been too logical of me.”
“Hey guys — can y’all gather around? I just want to pray for all the Jews and homosexuals whose souls need saving. kthanx!”
“Someone took my homemade visor, and I’m rather devastated by that.”
“Guys, we all have too much body odor to be standing this close together.”
“Lord, please give me the power to resist stealing this phone and looking at pornography on it in the woods.”
Cochran: “Jeff, I feel good about my gameplay. I made a huge move and then followed it up with total strategic laziness. It’s a dream come true.”
“Cochran, you stood up to bullies, you battled your fears, and you did things you never thought you could do. In many ways, the old Cochran died, and a new one was born in his place.”
“No… I’m still a nerd.”
“My wife’s ass is so round. I wish I could just cup my hands around it right now. Just like this.”
“Son! I love you! I couldn’t waddle fast enough to get to you!”
“Daddy. Come join me, and let’s slaughter these godless heathens. I… I’m sorry. I apologize to anyone I might have offended. I didn’t mean any harm by that.”
“Dad, I just want to be an example for Christ.”
“Mmmmyeaaah but… you need to win that money.”
“I’d be happier to just be a role model.”
“Mmmmmmyeah but wouldn’t you be happier if you were a RICH role model?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
“How about this? You win the money, give it to daddy, apologize to God for doing wrong things, and then you’ll be scot free!”
“Gosh darnit you’re an idiot.”
“I have a question, Coach. I just took a dump in that bush over there. Am I supposed to use a palm frond for toilet paper, or do I just use my hand?”
Edna: “Jeff, I really don’t appreciate having my Survivor life hinge on a game of Q-Bert.”
“Look at stupid Edna. Aw, I apologize Edna. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. There, we’re all good now. Yay!”
“Hey Edna, when I said I wanted Jesus to save you from your sins, I didn’t mean anything personal about it. I only meant that as a woman, your soul would be banished to hell. That’s all. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
Edna: “Okay, who wants to play sand Monopoly?”
“Oh snap! This water is FUH-REEZING!”
“Anyway, off to pilates.”
“If you guys save me, I will eat Coach’s shit. Literally. I will eat it. And then I’ll make you a visor. Win win, right?”
“Edna raises some good points as to why we should save her, and my mind isn’t totally made up. Of course, in Survivor-code, that means ‘Edna has not swayed me, and my decision is already chosen.'”
“I just want to set a good example for Christ. And so far I think I’m doing a great job at reaffirming the notion that religious zealots are crazy and scary!”
Brandon: “Jeff, I think even I’m a little disturbed by how people like me have such a strong political influence on this country. Hahah, oh well! I apologize!”
“Well, time to cry for three hours before suppressing it into a ball of rage!”
What did you think about this episode? What have you thought about the season post-merge?