This makes two good episodes to start the year, which bodes quite well for us. This week, something stunning seems to have emerged, something which I did not see coming before the season started. Coach seems to be, gulp, in control. Am I wrong? The Dragon Slayer has never actually been in control before, and yet here he is moving the plot along. The funny thing is – he is doing it in a real Coach kind of way.
The moment that stood out to me was at Tribal Council. Coach made a bold move by calling out Christine, Stacey and Brandon at the same time. By doing so, Coach not only got his way, but revealed Brandon’s duplicity. He said it’s Coach’s way to lay it out on the table at Tribal Council. At first, I said that Coach just blew it in the first moments of his first SP Tribal Council by mouthing off. But then, amazingly, it worked. He called out Christine and Stacey for targeting Mikayla with their vote. They were aghast. Understandably since they hadn’t done anything of the sort. Brandon had told them to target her, and then he told Coach that it was their idea.
So, I think unwittingly Coach made a mastermind move. I think he was trying to call out the women – especially Christine – but he managed to weed out Brandon at the same time.
To me, this Coach development was the most important revelation of the episode because I did not ever anticipate Coach being in a position of power by his own doing. However, the most prominent thing which occurred was the Brandon story. I have to say, Brandon is a strange, strange young man. So much was teased about him with just one small line – he’s made some mistakes in the past. And Coach summed him up very well, “he has demons we don’t know about.” I am a bit frightened to learn what those demons can possibly be.
I can only assume that Brandon has some issues with women in his past. For some reason, he seems to be unable to control himself, or fears he cannot, around attractive women. He is fixated on Mikayla. I mean, rather unhealthily fixated on her erogenous zones. Presumably all seven of them. Yes, there are seven. It is so bad that he lobbied to have her kicked out of the tribe, despite the fact that she is strong and helpful around camp. Also despite the fact that Christine is blatantly walking around camp looking for the idol, and is aligned with no one. He is that frightened of his own ability to control himself, or so it seems.
That’s like when my mom, a world renowned chocoholic, ordered me to hide all of the chocolate in the house once when I was 13 so she wouldn’t eat it. Of course, I did, and as I should have expected, was awoken at 3 am and ordered to get those chocolate bars. Removing the temptation does not quell the yearning in your heart. If Brandon has a think for Mikayla, removing her ain’t gonna change that. Interesting that she is the lone young hot woman on Upolu, doesn’t bode well for Whitney and Elyse at the merge.
The other strange thing about Brandon is his inability to hold a lie or deception. This is a Hantz after all. Brandon kept the secret about his bloodline for all of five days. I can see how Coach is going to be wary of him now. First he learns that his new ally is related to the guy who screwed him over in Heroes vs. Villains, and then he learns that the kid has already lied to him. I can easily see Brandon being turned on by the Coach-alliance, with Edna replacing him in the near future. Brandon should have just shut up at Tribal after his lie about Christine and Stacey going after Mikayla was exposed. He had no reason to admit to it. All that did was put him in the hot seat in the future. Coach is all about trust, and now he knows he can’t trust Brandon.
Another important moment in this episode was centered on our other returning Survivor. Ozzy has managed to find the Hidden Immunity Idol without the aid of any clues. Sigh. Yet again, the idol seems to be like the One Ring…it wants to be found. They might as well put a damn bow on the thing. At least this time it wasn’t on the ground, hidden in a long or tree stump. This time it required someone to climb a tree, but as Ozzy correctly stated, a rock in a tree just doesn’t belong.
I am getting tired of these idols being found so easily. This year they were supposed to make it harder by hiding the clues, but there you go, one week in and one is found without a clue. What I would suggest to the show:
1 – Hide the clues in the damn trees and stumps, but bury the idol. I know you want the idols found, but at least make them earn it.
2 – Hide the idol at Redemption Island. It used to be hidden on Exile Island, which worked rather well. However, with Exile Island, um, exiled, that option is no longer there. So, put it on Redemption. It adds a new dynamic – you can vote somebody out, but by doing so you potentially put them in a position of power if they should return. And it gives the returning RI castaway a real chance to survive the vote upon return, something Matt and Andrea failed to do last season.
3 – Hide the Idol at challenges. I know this may be difficult to pull off for production reasons, but it would make things crazy at the challenges. Or maybe hide it in the Redemption Island arena; again, would make the desire to watch RI duels become even greater.
4 – Hide it in plain sight, just like in China. James may disagree, but that worked really well.
5 – Get rid of the HII. Make an immunity idol a reward and make the tribe figure it out.
Well, that’s all I got on that. The other thing with Ozzy holding the idol that will be interesting to watch is that we have seen this before. He got blindsided in Micronesia with the idol in his possession. Can he avoid that same fate? It seems he will pull a Mariano and not tell anyone about finding it, but we’ll see if he sticks to it.
I wonder if you get to keep the idol if you get voted out to Redemption Island. That hasn’t really been addressed, has it?
Anyway, so that was the crux of the episode. Ozzy, Coach and Brandon. We also had some other moments. Jim has managed to claw his way into an alliance with Ozzy and Keith, and has suggested adding the pretty ladies, Elyse and Whitney (3+2 Plan – nice name!). Keith made it seem as if this was the plan already, and that Jim was entering as the fifth guy, not the leader. Regardless, it leaves us with what appears to be two five-person alliances – Jim/Ozzy/Keith/Elyse/Whitney against Coach/Rick/Sophie/Albert/Brandon. This would leave Cochran, Mark, Dawn, Mikayla, Edna and Stacy on the outside looking in, but this is Survivor, and nothing is ever as it seems.
Challenge – It was an interesting one, one which seems to have been two stories. The gist of it entailed having four tribe members run around a maypole untangling ribbons to free a key chain. They would then use it to unlock the other four tribe members who would then have to push giant puzzle pieces around a board to free the largest piece to fit through a slot. Then all eight would carry it to the finish.
Upolu dominated on the maypole, as the ladies came up with a system which was bordering on ballet. They gave the guys a giant lead, but they completely blew the whole thing. Eventually, Savaii caught up and passed them as they clearly had a better read on the puzzle than Upolu and solved it in a heartbeat. It was a fairly impressive showing by the Savaii tribe to solve it, and a poor showing by Cochran as the only man on the maypole, and the one who seemed to mess it up. Savaii won immunity, a bunch of blankets and pillows, and a clue hidden at their camp to the idol which was already in Ozzy’s pocket.
Treemail Top 10
• I feel badly for Semhar, even while questioning why she went on the show in the first place. She is clearly a very sensitive woman and her Redemption Island poem was a bit heartbreaking – “I miss feeling loved.” I mean, it is Survivor, as we know; people don’t come on these shows to make friends.
• Can we talk about Edna’s hat? If I am not mistaken, Edna seems to have crafted a hat out of treemail. Which would be a great Survivor/Project Runway crossover, I must say. It would be loads of fun to see Michael Kors have to deal with stinky Survivor garments.
• I loved Coach’s reaction to Brandon’s lineage reveal. Upon being shown the Hantz tattoo, he said “But that’s not your last name?” What, did he think Brandon was just a giant Russell fan?
• Hey production values!! How about that gigantic Deep Impact-type wave in the background as the Savaii guys were fishing!
• So will every attractive woman on the show be compared to Parvati now? Mikayla has the looks, but she hasn’t done a single Parvati-like thing. Brandon seems to have confused getting dressed with flirting. This probably makes the gym rather awkward for him.
• I don’t understand the Upolu uncertainty around Christine and the idol, if she had it, why was she continuing to look for it?
• I am beginning to like Sophie – she hasn’t gotten a lot of screen time, but she keeps making astute observations. With Brandon targeting Mikayla for no other reason, so it seems to the tribe, other than being a strong woman, she wondered about her place in her alliance. She’s a strong woman aligned with Brandon and three men. Hmmm…
• It may be the worst lie in the history of Survivor – Edna telling Christine that the group was talking about targeting Sophie. That doesn’t seem too bad – been lies like that in all 23 seasons – except for one thing, Sophie was part of the group in question! Christine instantly called Edna on that, as she should have. She had to know at this point that she was on the chopping block.
• Albert has not said much in two episodes, but he made up for it at Tribal. When Christine and Stacey demanded Coach put his loyalty money where his mouth was and reveal his source, Albert chimed in that Coach is showing loyalty by not ratting that person out. He called out Christine for her idol worship, calling it the “raindrop that started the monsoon.” And that the show makes it clear that “character and personality will always creep in.” I didn’t like Albert much on paper, but am beginning to like him a lot.
• So, Christine heads to Redemption Island and brings her “Long Island attitude” with her. I love how Survivors always assume when they are being voted out that the others were “threatened by them.” Don’t flatter yourself too much. She will probably win the first duel – if she can ever wake Semhar up – and will be back to duel another day.
Votes – – Christine 4 (Coach, Brandon, Mikayla, Albert), Stacey 3 (Edna, Rick, Sophie), Edna 1 (Christine), Sophie 1 (Stacey).
Next week – – Ozzy’s idol and Brandon’s duplicity seems to be front and center.
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