Pre-credit sequence. Anybody remember who we voted out last? Oh right. Julia. Bikal returns to camp and they’ve probably forgotten who they lost as well. Everybody congratulates Michael as The Last Remaining Bikal Fan. “I made sure I got The Gay,” Corinne says, proud of her Tribal Council role. For some reason, Phillip decides to call Dawn and Corinne over to “confess” that he threw the challenge. Corinne is… Let’s say… “skeptical.” “You could have just told us,” Corinne tells Phillip, who insists it was an in-game decision. “That’s convenient. That’s around the same time you blew the challenge,” Corinne tells us. “He’s so cuckoo-for-Coco-Puffs. There’s no question that Phillip has to go,” she adds.
Dawn is ready to rise. TARSIER! “I don’t think that most of the Fans have a brain,” a relaxed Corinne tells her fellow Favorites. It’s odd, because she hasn’t met most of the Fans. Dawn is anticipating a Merge and she knows that last time she played, the entire game changed in a two-day period around the Merge. “It is kinda funny that I cry so much,” says the emotional Dawn, thinking about what a million bucks can do for her family and her kids. At least twice, she blames Cochran for ruining her game last time, saying that her intention is to be a proactive player and to make moves this time to keep herself safe. FORESHADOWING!
Something about Andrea’s toes. A boat arrives at Gota. “I don’t know what’s going on, but something awesome’s about to happen,” Erik figures. The boatmen come with a message. It’s a scroll and a key and the note says to pack up and prepare for a new home. “I’m ready to get back to the Old Favorites,” Adorable Andrea says, vowing to be on her toes, but professing excitement.
Madam, I’m Adam. Aboard the Vincent, Gota sets sail and arrives at Bikal. Corinne’s glad to have new people to talk at and Bikal welcomes Gota with open arms. Reynold hugs Phillip! Cochran makes sure he hugs Brenda! And a locked wicker basket includes new green buffs and a banquet. Everybody is giddy. “We’re all here together now,” Eddie says. It’s name time. Somebody suggests “Stanley.” Somebody suggests “Douglas.” Malcolm suggests “Enil Edam,” which is either “Made Line” backwards or “A new beginning,” as Adorable Andrea tells us. Oh. Wait. You fooled me slightly, Malcolm! It’s “Madeline” backwards and Madeline is Malcolm’s mother. All together now… “AWWW.” “This is the dumbest name ever and it has too many syllables,” Corinne says. And me? I’m just curious what Andrea thought she was translating. Phillip gets Andrea together and they agree that they’re going to the Final Four with Cochran and Dawn. Phillip emphasizes that targeting the Alpha Favorites — Eddie and Reynold — is important. “It’s a lot scarier now, because it’s individual now and people start getting hungrier,” Andrea says, warning that in scrambles, anything can happen. Corinne scrambles to Malcolm and rants about Phillip. Malcolm says that he has Eddie and Reynold and Erik in his pocket, while Corinne agrees she has Michael. Corinne suggests that Sherri can be taken out first without drama and then Phillip has to go next. Corinne is giddy at how quickly she and Malcolm were able to debrief and says that she’s never been part of a blindside, but now’s the time! FORESHADOWING!
But I already think Eddie’s a horse’s wang. I like the Enil Edam flag, which features a helicopter. Tree-mail suggests that an eating challenge is coming up. Brenda is psyched. Reynold, however, suggests this is his one weakness. Eddie worries that he might eat something inappropriate — They pixelated his lips, but I’m assuming he feared cow penis — and it might spoil his image. Cochran, however, looks at it a different way. “I need some sort of image rehabilitation. I think this would add a little bit of a wild streak to me and might make me seem a little bit more dangerous. I think this is exactly what my love life needs,” he says.
Cochran’s Rehabilitation. Individual Immunity is what they covet. It is, as predicted, a food-eating competition. Probst swears these are things that are eaten “out here” every day. That’s BS and you know it, Probst. Anyway, it’s a series of group challenges. Andrea, Sherri, Corinne, Eddie, Erik and Malcolm square off with squirming beetle larva. “It’s running off the plate,” Malcolm says. “Is it going to bite me?” Eddie wonders. Andrea, Malcolm and Edie advance. The other six face off on the same squirming beetle larva. Squirmy! Cochran is first, followed by Phillip and Michael. In the second round, they’re eating “ship worms,” which are actually like clams and apparently can eat through the hull of ships. They’re disgusting and stringy and gooy. Malcolm, Eddie and Cochran take the prize. “You’ve got ship-worm mustache,” Probst tells Adorable Andrea. And she does! Ew! The next round? Balut, naturally. “I can see the feathers,” Malcolm says. “You can see the feathers. You can see the little beak,” Probst adds. Cochran is a warrior and finishes first! Eddie has a reversal of fortune and has to re-feed as Malcolm chews and… finishes. It’s Malcolm versus Cochran. I like this. Probst is actually impressed with Cochran, perhaps for the first thing. “He’s Ginger Kobayashi,” Malcolm says of his competition. Pig brain is the last delicious dish. Cochran stuffs the brains down and wins Immunity, shadow-boxing in his moment of glory. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. You’re going to touch my shoulders. It’s going to be incredible,” he tells Probst, receiving the Immunity necklace.
An easy first vote. Monkey! Cochran is glowing. He’s agog that he beat “the Golden God of this tribe” in Malcolm, calling it “dream fulfillment.” He knows he’s being a bad sport, but he also knows everybody is happy for him. “I like Cochran, but since I don’t plan on keeping him around that long, I’m glad we got it out of the way early, so he can check that off the bucket list,” Malcolm says. Malcolm gets his troops in line, but he worries about independent free-thinkers. Phillip, thinking he’s got control, wants to do a split vote with Eddie and Reynold, but Corinne suggests that Eddie and Reynold would go along with voting Sherri out and they might as well have an easy first vote. “I want a big fish to go home,” Phillip insists and he tells Corinne that this is what Boston Rob would do. With Adorable Andrea and Cochran and Dawn, Corinne suggests strong-arming Phillip to vote Sherri out. Cochran is OK with one easy vote, but he also doesn’t want to show the world that there are cracks in the Favorites Alliance. TARSIER! Reynold is OK with being in a counter-alliance that might eventually overthrow “Lord Phillip of the High Shelter” and he exchanges exploding fist-bumps with Corinne. This could get Reynold back in business, or so he figures.
An easy first vote complicated. Snakes. Corinne levels with Dawn that she isn’t prepared to put up with being marginalized by Phillip forever and shows her cards that she may target Phillip after the Sherri vote. Dawn’s experiencing deja vu and she thinks her problem the first time was getting key information and not sharing it. Uh-oh. Dawn goes first to Cochran and suggests that Dawn has an alliance that’s prepared to break up the Favorites alliance and take control. Cochran is flabbergasted and agrees with Dawn’s counter-plan to put together numbers to take Corinne out instead. “It’s a sobering situation and if we don’t come up with a plan, it could be devastating to my game and the game of my allies,” Cochran says, before going to Andrea. Andrea makes Contemplative Dimples. I like Contemplative Dimples and Andrea is up for a blindside. Erik is viewed as the wishy-washy question mark who nobody can read. Andrea tells Phillip and Phillip is game for booting Corinne out. “I will not allow Corinne to take control of this game,” Phillip tells us, before telling Sherri that she needs to vote Corinne. “I’m willing to make a really big move. The problem is, I can’t stand Phillip,” Sherri says. “I have no idea what’s going on, but I feel like I’m becoming the swing vote,” says Erik, who sounds utterly clueless.
Tribal Council. Michael says it’s a fair assumption that a Fan will be going home tonight. Corinne agrees it’s bleak, but “a situation is never helpless,” admitting she’s open to pitches. “That’s one of the good things about Corinne is that she is so open and honest about it,” Cochran says. Reynold tries reminding the Favorites that he can be a chess piece for Favorites not feeling secure. “I am so much more paranoid this time around,” Adorable Andrea admits. Corinne then offers a Mike Tyson quote about how everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Sherri makes like she’s feeling defeated. Reynold teases that the bottle is about to pop, predicting future shockers, but not on this vote. Hmmm… Reynold would, indeed, think that. But is he right?
The Vote. “You are one of the most selfish people I’ve ever met in my life,” Phillip says, writing Corinne’s name down. Corinne writes Sherri’s name and says, “Unfortunately for you, I wasn’t looking for applications for new friends.” Andrea writes Corinne’s name, but admits to being nervous. Michael, trying to stay alive, votes for Sherri. Nobody plays an Immunity Idol. Probst tallies: Sherri. Sherri. Sherri. Sherri. Sherri. [Lots of smirking.] Corinne. Corinne. Corinne. [Some concern.] Corinne. [Shock.] Corinne. [Corinne says, “Oh my God.”] Corinne. CORINNE. Tee-hee. That was fun. Farewell, Corinne. In her interview, Corinne says that other than Michael and Malcolm, she didn’t really like anybody out there, which was why she was eager to switch things up. But at least she made some new memories.
Bottom Line. Gee. Isn’t it funny that when you have an episode that’s heavy on strategy and low on Phillip being a lunatic (to say nothing of Brandon being a lunatic [or Shamar being a lunatic]), you get an episode that’s satisfying on a purely “Survivor” level without gratuitous exploitation of the mentally unstable. Weird, right? This was basic and satisfying with certain limitations. Yes, the Disgusting Food Challenge is a variation on reality TV at its worst, but like old prostitutes, “Survivor” has the advantage of having become respectable with age. Yes, they were eating larva and balut and all of that, but what used to be shocking and disgusting has become amiable and institutionalized. Nothing under any of those covered dishes surprised any of the players and absolutely everybody made a game effort to eat what was offered and it happened that in a season of Fans & Favorites, the ultimate SuperFan/Favorite, Cochran, had the mind-over-matter resources to make it into an exercise. And good for Cochran. He deserved that one. And Cochran also benefited from a situation in which nothing physical or survival-y was required. Now that nobody’s dumping rice and the rain appears to have temporarily stopped, these folks look pretty comfortable. Comfortable players are better set up to make intellectual moves and this was a good, solid play put into place by, of all people, Dawn. And executed by, of all people, Erik.
Bottom Line, II. Dawn, of course, made the right move. She figures she has a Final Four with Phillip and Andrea and Cochran. And even if she decides not to stick with that, she’d have lost even the potential for that alliance if she let Corinne take over. She has the ability to flip-flop as requires if she needs to shake things up again, but if Corinne’s alliance had been in control, she just would have been a pawn going towards the middle, but not the end. Whether or not Erik made the right move remains to be seen. He shifted away from an alliance that had both strength and a pair of status quo-screwing Hidden Idols lurking. Now he’s with an alliance in which, at least from what we’ve seen, he has no evident strategic power, but a group in which he could potentially dominate as a physical threat if some of the Alphas are somehow jettisoned in the weeks to come. I think he probably has a better chance to force himself up the ranks of this alliance than he would have with Corinne, Michael and the Alphas. Right?
What do y’all think? Are you sad to see Corinne go?