Yep – this week actually produced an analogy from the mouth of Cochran where the Te Tuna tribe was the Manson clan and he was the doomed actress Sharon Tate. We have come to this folks – comparing Survivor game play to maniacal murderers. I am willing to forgive Cochran for this one, but barely. I also wonder why in his bag of analogies for “family” he didn’t go straight to the Corleones. Or to Henry Hill. Or to Tony Soprano.
Much of the talk from this episode is going to be Cochran related, and rightfully so. The season has really been broken down thematically into four players – Coach, Ozzy, Cochran and Brandon. They have moved the narrative along in varying ways. The second half of the season was basically created by Cochran’s decision to break with Savaii, so the episode where his decision either pays off or falters is a big one.
Spoiler alert – it faltered.
Cochran said that if he was voted out, then his move would be viewed as the dumbest move in the history of Survivor. I disagree. It just means that he was wrong. Plenty of Survivors have made choices – big choices – which they hoped would trigger their advancement in the game only to have it blow up in their face. Plenty of Survivors have chosen to break alliances with hopes that a better one would help, only to discover it didn’t. Cochran left a group where he perceived himself to be sixth out of six, and from whom he received a lot of derision and ridicule. He joined a group of seven – with what appeared to be a Final Four promise – but with the real possibility that he was seventh in the group. It was a risk to go to the new folks who whispered sweet nothings into his ear after two and a half weeks of Ozzy and Keith making fun of him. He took that risk and it didn’t work.
For it to work at all, Cochran needed to splinter Upolu in the way Danni broke the alliance she was facing in Guatemala, or Chris is Vanuatu. Either actively, or with a little luck passively. Danni planted some thoughts in Steph’s ear which resulted in Judd’s ouster and Danni’s entry into the endgame. Chris was the beneficiary of Scout and Twila’s choice to make a move, and he took advantage on it. Those moves in those seasons came in the F6 and F7 portions of the game. With the F7 upon us now, Cochran had to make a move.
And he tried. Got to give him credit. He knew he needed three votes and a target. The first task was easy – approach Edna. She had earlier learned from Coach – and if she didn’t already figure it out, she was nuts – that she was sixth out of the Upolu six. She was an easy get for Cochran to shake things up. The other two would be tough.
The first spot he found to expose came from Albert’s troubles around camp. It seems his lack of involvement has rubbed Edna, and especially Rick, the wrong way. Rick has taken to calling him “Prince Albert,” presumably unaware of what that really means. Cochran learned of this – possibly from Edna – and went to Albert with the news. He even changed the insult to “Princess Albert.” Nice. Albert made it clear to Cochran that he’s interested in taking out Rick. However, Cochran needed to get Coach.
In fact, that was his only chance. As we witnessed, Sophie was not an option. She was adamant about not breaking up their five-person alliance. When Cochran addressed the group and asked for another three days as thanks for his defection, Sophie wouldn’t even look at him. She was not going flip. Brandon is Brandon. That wasn’t going to happen. He has chosen to “play with integrity,” which is really rich when that is brought up. It is valid to keep your word to your original alliance, but it is ok to lie to Cochran and Edna. Where’s that logic?
So, Cochran had to put Coach on the spot. Mr. Wade has been taking Cochran under his wing – his own words. He said this week he would fight for Cochran to his last dying breath. Well, to quote Alanis, “You told me you’d love me till you die, well, you’re still alive.” Coach had to make a choice – alliance with Sophie/Albert/Rick/Brandon and a F5. Or an alliance with Cochran/Edna/Albert and a F4 berth. He chose the five over the four. So those killing Cochran for choosing the seven over the six are pounding Coach, right? What? Nothing?
I assume Coach must have thought that breaking with Brandon would have been worse than staying with him. I can only assume that if he ever does, Lil’ Hantz will go ballistic. There’s also the Ozzy factor. He may have chosen to keep the best challenge options together to perhaps gang up on Ozzy at F5 instead of sending them one by one to RI and then be stuck with just Coach and Albert as an Ozzy firewall at F5.
Cochran went down swinging. He did what he could, including putting Sophie on the spot at Tribal by asking her what will happen once he’s gone and if Edna wins immunity. After a very long pregnant pause, she said, “then it begins.” And so it will.