Recap: ‘Survivor: South Pacific’ – ‘Free Agent’

10.19.11 6 years ago 26 Comments


No “X Factor” tonight, so “Survivor” recapping gets to be early again. Click through for my recap of the Wednesday (October 19) episode of “Survivor: South Pacific.”
Pre-credit sequence. Poor Ozzy. He’s so confused. “Blindsides are a funny thing,” Ozzy mutters to Cochran. “I’m pretty pissed off,” Ozzy says. “How can you trust somebody when they go behind your back,” Ozzy continues. Around the fire, Ozzy announces that he’s now a free agent and that he’s playing for himself. It seems to me that Ozzy is the A-Rod of “Survivor,” except that A-Rod eventually backed into a World Series, didn’t he? Lots of flashy, ego-driven statistics. Not-so-terrific with the team play. Kinda a baby. “That’s how you want it to be? Just you versus us?” Keith asks. Whitney tries reassuring Ozzy that the move wasn’t against him, but Ozzy insists that whenever something is withheld from you, it’s against you. When Whitney tells Ozzy he’s withholding something himself, Ozzy admits that he has the Idol. Ozzy vows that he’s going to let everything hang out there — not literally “everything” or “hang out there,” I assume — and that if his tribe decides to send him backing, “there’s always Redemption.”

The Whiner of Oz. We’re still over with Team Ozzy. It’s Day 15 and Ozzy is still complaining about the blindside. Hilariously, he’s doing his complaining with a snorkeling mask that makes it sound like he has the world’s worst cold. I’m not taking him all that seriously. Jim is pissed off at Ozzy and his “hissy fit.” Whitney thinks Ozzy needs to man up. Ozzy’s sitting all by himself, while the rest of the tribe talks trash about him around the fire. “The less pleasant he is, the better it is for me, so I hope he continues to be a cry baby,” surmises Cochran, who also calls Ozzy “a stupid bitch.” Ouch.
If it walks like a Hantz and quacks like a Hantz. Over at Team Coach, they’re eating well. They still have veggies and other munchies and they may also have some partially masticated pork leftovers. Mmmm… Recooked, pre-chewed pork. Brandon’s feeling antsy, so he goes out into the wilderness and in no time, he finds the clue for the Hidden Immunity Idol, which he attributes to his Hantz DNA (and not just to the sheer, unapologetic laziness of the “Survivor” clue-hiders). Brandon shows his clue to Coach and Albert, who both know that Coach has the Idol. Coach is uncertain if by not telling Brandon he has the Idol, he’s lying. He considers this to be a gray area. As Brandon crawls through the trees and digs around frantically for nothing, Coach goads him with talk about Hantz genes and Albert scratches himself nervously. Albert correctly knows that Brandon wouldn’t respond well to being lied to. “I want to play this game completely honorably,” Coach says, but he’s watching Brandon’s waddle and it reminds him of Russell’s waddle. The editors are even helpful enough to cut in two seconds of Russell footage, pretty much violating the established aesthetic template of “Survivor,” albeit only for two seconds, so it totally doesn’t count.
What the puck? It’s Duel Time. Ozzy and Keith and Rick and Sophie are all in attendance. Elyse finds this experience to be bittersweet. Christine says that Redemption Island has become her home and then she breaks down in tears. “Redemption Island can break you. It sucks,” Christine cries. The Duel is “Survivor” Shuffleboard. Yet another lame Duel. Gotta do better, “Survivor” producers. Rick tries encouraging Christine and gets her middle finger as reward. This is sooooooo dull. Christine seems to have the Duel in hand, but Christine briefly chokes with victory at hand. On their last pucks, Elyse and Christine are tied. Christine wins. I don’t know or care why. Elyse says that she feels a sense of accomplishment, because she gave it all and she’s stronger than she thought she was. Christine has won four straight Duels, but unlike with Matt last season, does anybody feel like Christine has been even vaguely dominant out there? It’s not even luck. It’s just happenstance. Rick worries that if Christine comes back, she’ll flip immediately and try to kill them. 
The MisEdnacation of Benjamin Wade. Rick and Sophie return to Team Coach worrying about Christine and her rage issues. “She was just so negative,” Sophie laments, calling Christine the worst person to potentially come back from Redemption Island. Edna’s scrambling, cozying up to Coach and providing him with coconuts. He calls her “adorable” and “my little friend” and says he loves her. As far as Coach is concerned, Edna would lay down her life for him, while Mikayla would not, so they target Mikayla as the next out. Edna vows that she’s willing to follow Coach into battle, “even if it gets ugly.”
I’ve made a huge mistake. Ozzy’s recovered from his temper tantrum and, like Simon on last night’s “X Factor,” he knows that he made a mistake. “What can we do from here?” Ozzy asks Keith, who suggests that if they bond together, they could be Individual Immunity juggernauts. “I probably shouldn’t have told everybody about the Idol,” Ozzy realizes. Keith agrees. Around the fire, Ozzy apologizes for being a jerk. “I like having Ozzy on my side,” Jim says, pointing out that Ozzy will help the tribe win Immunity and would then be a bigger target post-Merge.
There’s no “M-I-K-A-Y-L-A” in “Team.” Let’s get our Challenge on. As you well might imagine, Immunity is up for grabs. The challenge involves wheelbarrow assembly, an obstacle course, coconut transportation and then slingshotting said coconuts at several targets. They’re also playing for Reward, in this case a lunchtime trip to a natural waterslide. Team Coach has a huge lead in reaching the slingshot. It certainly appears that Cochran’s lack of strength is causing trouble for Team Ozzy. But Team Coach is having slingshot problems, specifically generated by Mikayla’s one-armed shooting style. In no time, we’re tied. Momentum has swung toward Team Ozzy. They’re slingshotting fools! Team Ozzy wins and Team Coach is utterly shell-shocked. This doesn’t look particularly good for Mikayla, now does it? “It’s Mikayla’s fault we lost,” Coach says simply. 
We are a Famozzy. Let’s go watersiding! Suddenly, Team Ozzy is a unified team again. “Winning was the best feeling,” Dawn says, recalling where the tribe started. Ozzy has now decided that he loves his tribe and that he wants one of them to win. While Ozzy is diving and everybody else is sliding, it takes a long while to convince Cochran to set aside his sweater vest and own nature, or something like that.. Yes. Lots of footage of people sliding. Let’s leave this and go back where the intrigue is.
Free Radicals. “We win together, we lose together,” Rick says. “We lost as a team,” Brandon agrees. But then it’s time for scapegoating. Coach wants Mikayla gone because she isn’t coachable. But Albert, previously depicted as fairly spineless, is ready to go to war for Mikayla and he says he thinks he can get Coach to listen. Mikayala doesn’t understand why she’s never in the loop when it’s elimination time, but she’s sure that Edna is a bigger weakness. Albert admires Mikayla’s strength and, perhaps more importantly, he fears Edna’s brains. The “strength” argument doesn’t find traction, but the “smarts” argument finds a home with Rick and Sophie. Now it’s time to lobby Brandon, who admits that he, like Cher, has had deliberations on what he would do if he could turn back time. In Brandon’s case, if he could turn back time, he wouldn’t have picked on Mikayla. But Brandon wants to be a Radical for God and being a Radical for God means voting Mikayla out even though he doesn’t want to and he’s changed his opinion. “He’s nuts, absolutely nuts,” Sophie says. So Albert and Sophie approach Coach. One coach to another (Albert coaches dating and basketball), Coach takes the blame for losing the challenge by failing to coach Mikayla out of the game. Albert is unconvinced and we’re in total chaos. So Coach goes to Rick and argues in favor of Edna’s loyalty and subservience. “I don’t know what’s going on,” Rick says. And suddenly the vote is entirely in Rick’s hands. “If I send Edna home, I’m gonna piss off Coach. If I send Mikayla home, I’m gonna piss off Albert,” Rick realizes.
Tribal council. Asked about what went wrong at the challenge, Coach says they had trouble with teamwork and then he blames Mikayla, who isn’t hearing it. Edna admits that she’s “the scrawniest.” “This next challenge is absolutely detrimental to the way the game turns out,” Brandon says, presumably misusing the word “detrimental.” I think he means “essential.” It’s all coming down to loyalty versus getting to the Merge with numbers. “Loyalty can be faked. You can’t fake strength,” Albert says wisely. Brandon’s having none of it. Brandon instructs everybody that they made a pact to stay together as six. “We cannot be divided and have loyalty. Vote me out today if we’re gonna play this loyal,” Brandon rants. Please! Do! Then Brandon goes on about how he wants to keep Mikayla, but he wants to be true to his word. Oy. This couldn’t be more typical. Then Brandon starts ranting about the evils of lasciviousness. Holy cow.
The vote. Mikayla writes Edna’s name. Brandon writes Mikayla’s name down. “I really hope it’s you tonight, or else we’re in a world of pain,” Albert says, writing Edna’s name. Edna wishes Mikayla well in her future modeling career, but writes her name down. So it’s all up to Rick? The votes: Mikayla. Edna. Mikayla. Edna. Mikayla. Edna. And… Mikayla. Oh, BOO RICK. Brandon and Coach agree that they love each other. Albert is feeling no love. “Loyalty, no matter how admirable it may be, is not always the answer,” Jeff Probst tells them. When Mikayla shows up on Redemption Island, Christine asks what happened. “You know Crazy Brandon,” Mikayla says. But this wasn’t Brandon’s fault.
Bottom Line. Nope. Brandon wasn’t even vaguely at fault for what went down at Tribal Council. He’s a scary, scary, unstable man, but he’s been that for the entire season. Expecting him to be otherwise is silly. I don’t even have a preference between Edna or Mikayla, I can see the viable arguments for keeping each. But if Edna’s supported by the Crazy Alliance and Mikayla’s supported by the Sane Alliance, I know which way I’d want the vote to go. You’ve got the weird religious hypocrites on one side and the rational intellects on the other side… Is it any wonder that Rick caved and went with Coach and Brandon? Weak, Rick. Weak. I liked that this week at least let Sophie and Albert show their personalities and they both came across as exactly the sort of folks I would want to team with in a game of “Survivor.” Oh well. Ultimately, I don’t believe for a second that either Mikayla or Edna is the difference between winning or losing ANY challenge, so I don’t think Rick’s choice was “wrong,” per se. Realistically, I think perpetual outsider Mikayla was a better bet to get flipped by the pretty Barbies and Kens over at the other tribe, so maybe Coach knew what he was doing. 

Bottom Line, II. Not sure what to say about Team Ozzy, but it certainly was hilarious watching Ozzy go all petulant and then realize he may have signed his own death warrant and then backtracking like a sheepish puppy. It seems to me that at a merge, Cochran and Dawn could be poached so easily if Albert and Sophe went to them with a good pitch. But I could be wrong.
What’d you think of Wednesday’s episode?

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