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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Survivor: “Running The Show”

Illustration for article titled iSurvivor/i: “Running The Show”
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Sometimes, even when an episode of Survivor has all of the elements necessary to make it interesting, it just doesn’t work out. The producers worked hard to make it happen, almost taunting the players to shake things up in the tribe by having Jeff dangle a nebulous Tribal council “twist” in their faces before they went back to their camp to deliberate. In the end, however, the producers’ manipulations relied on someone having enough guts to make a big move. Alas, it was not to be, and instead of intrigue, we mostly got banality. Now that Savaii is officially out of the picture, at least next week promises to be exciting.

For a moment, it felt like we were going to get fireworks. Albert has been looking for a reason to branch out from Coach for a while now, and Dawn and Whitney gave him a fantastic opportunity to do so. He even worked some magic on Cochran, using his status as last in the Upolu alliance to woo him into a potentially better deal by joining up with him and the remaining Savaii women. The only catch was Albert needed to get one more person on board in order to make the switch work. His obvious choice was Sophie, and Sophie seemed to be on board with the plan. Somehow, though, between that conversation and Tribal Council, things changed, and the new alliance didn’t happen, with everyone voting out Dawn.

I’m sort of back and forth on whether or not the plan fell apart because Albert couldn’t get the support, or if he and Sophie ended up scrapping it because they reconsidered their position in the game and decided it would be a better move for them to continue on with their Upolu alliance until all of Savaii was eliminated. Although Upolu is a solid force, now the members are facing an imminent splinter point, and a wise person would attempt to get something working ahead of that point instead of being blindsided by all of the variables that will certainly arise once the tribe starts cannibalizing itself. Still, for Albert and Sophie to align with three people who were tribemates for the entire first half of the game seems to be kind of a foolish choice. Even though Cochran seems to have severed from Savaii, what would be stopping him at that point from making a final three deal with Dawn and Whitney rather than Albert and Sophie? It’s a complicated decision, and as much as I wanted them to split off for dramatic television purposes, Albert and Sophie probably made the right choice here.

Unfortunately for the show, the producers seemed to have put all of their eggs in the “someone will shake up the tribe” basket and put very little thought into the second half of this double immunity and elimination episode. The questions used for the second immunity challenge at Tribal were not only stupid but extremely boring as well. Unless you’ve always been dying to know how coconut crabs got their name (They like to eat coconut! Shocker! Can you imagine, crabs that eat COCONUT?!), the game was completely a bust. Even the results went the most boring way possible, with Sophie defeating Whitney and ensuring the final demise of the Savaii tribe.

Now here’s where things get interesting. Everyone at Te Tuna is in an alliance with each other, and something’s got to give next week. Coach has a suspicion Albert is looking to make a power move. This is smart, because Albert is looking to make a power move, with Sophie likely going whichever way he does. Cochran seems to want to align with whoever is making big moves and is willing to take him along for the ride. Edna, Brandon, and Rick appear to be fully in Coach’s pocket. This leaves Coach with what is likely a 4-3 vote advantage and an immunity idol at his disposal. It’s hard to see a way Coach doesn’t manage to come out of this situation on top. Hmm, maybe Albert and Sophie didn’t make the right choice after all?

Stray observations:

  • Survivor was probably going for irony by having starving players spill rice all over the ground during the immunity challenge. I’m going with “a disgusting waste.”
  • The fewer people left in the cast, the more Coach’s little quirks sneak back in to the show. If I never see him doing Tai Chi (or whatever he is doing) on the beach again, it will be too soon.
  • Ozzy’s self-righteousness after winning the duel was nauseating. He really does believe himself to have some sort of divine right to play this game and pass judgment on all others who dare play it differently from him. Gross.
  • “Coach is running the show like he’s Jesus.”

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