I will say it right now. I love vanilla ice cream. I love vanilla ice cream so much, it would make my list of five foods I cannot do without. I will also say this – blasphemy to some – vanilla ice cream is infinitely better than chocolate ice cream. Not even close. As much of a mismatch as the Reward Challenge was this week. So, how did it get to be that vanilla has become synonymous with bland? Was it this guy? Actually, here’s a real theory.
That said, Cochran’s full quote about vanilla and how it relates to Julia was spot on hysterical. After the show finally unleashed Corinne last week, it seems it finally has done the same with Cochran this week. The removal of the big distracting personalities has helped a great deal. Message to Show – don’t hesitate to rest the entertaining confessional burden upon these two. They can handle it. The full quote: “I’m tempted to say she has a vanilla personality, but I feel like that would be doing a great disservice to the flavor vanilla. I mean, people actively seek out vanilla-flavored products. Children clamor to get a vanilla ice cream cone. Nobody is clamoring for anything Julia-flavored.”
One correction – I am sure there are many clamoring for Julia-flavoring. She seems nice and is pretty cute. However, for a reality show, she was snooze city. She’s not the first to fall victim to this – ask Brett, Purple Kelly, Carter, etc. Being nice may help you advance in the game, but it surely doesn’t help you get any amount of screen time.
Great line from Cochran though. Also, the Cochran/Phillip scenes were great. This is the draw of bringing back a large group of past players – seeing them interact with one another. In their seasons, both men were interesting, but neither were front and center in moving the action along – at least until Cochran flipped, but even that just shifted the control from one side to another. Cochran was always on his own. Now, both seemingly have some power – Cochran understands what to do with it, while Phillip seems to not have any idea how to advance his power in the game.
Phillip is made at Corinne after Tribal, so he tells Cochran he wants her gone next. Sweater Vest wisely advises Phillip that to do so would hurt their end game – the other four Faves on Gota would see Corinne’s ouster as a betrayal should they attempt to reform the alliance at the merge. Later, The Specialist claims to have lost the challenge on purpose to oust Julia. Cochran sees through this delusion and tells us that he is sure that Phillip created that story in his head to account for the crazy reality that he lost. Earlier, he played to Phillip’s ego by letting him get all Alpha Dog and beat Cochran at arm wrestling.
All I can think about with arm wrestling is that there was actually a movie based around arm wrestling starring Sly Stallone. This was greenlit by movie executives who spent money to make a movie about arm wrestling. That still amazes me almost as much as the one based on Battleship.
Phillip has been having an overall good season. No one expected him to be more than the buffoon he was on Redemption Island. And while he has been ridiculous – I mean, come on, he’s still our lovable Specialist – he has been a huge part of the action and helped form the Stealth alliance which could go far if it reforms. However, we are seeing a couple of things shifting here which could seriously come back to bite him, and some other Favorites, if they are not careful.
As we hit the merge next week – and thanks to the previews for not trying to hint otherwise – we have seven Gota and five Bikal merging. More importantly, we have eight Faves and just four Fans making the merge. All things being equal, either the shuffled Gota or the reformed Faves could Pagong the other side and then turn on itself at the F7 or F8. However, I think we are going to see something completely different, and two subplots could indicate how it goes.
This week, Malcolm stepped up as a potential force. He just finished his Philippines season only a couple of weeks before this one started to film, and his near miss still haunts him. He went to the end with people who were not as fit as he was, and he still lost the minute he failed to win immunity. The fit guy who has a clue about strategy is always a potential target post-merge. Think about the last several winners of Survivor – the last three were all women. Boston Rob who was a rock star. Fabio who went underestimated as an airhead. Two more women. And then JT. That was the last young fit guy to win, despite the fact that all of his strategy was done by Stephen, who took the brunt of the jury ire. Go back some more – Bob, Parvati, Todd, Earl. Older man, woman, small strategic man, and while Earl was no slouch physically or strategically, he was no star either. Yul was the full package. Aras was close, but Cirie ran the strategy there. And going all the way back to Hatch, from Season 11 to Season 1, there was no young, fit, strategically-minded man to win any season. Ethan came closest, but he was far from the strategic mind in Africa.
Malcolm may have a point here. So, why not try something new. He gathered up Reynold and suggested linking up the Alpha Male Coalition. The AMC. The two of them, with Eddie and Erik. This way, Malcolm has some cannon fodder on votes later in the game. To top it all off, Reynold lets him know about the idol burning a hole in his pocket. Now Malcolm is the only one who knows where both idols are – in Reynold’s pocket and in his own. Malcolm has had his idol since Day 4 and only Corinne knows about it. Because he’s not crazy or stupid. Malcolm is getting ready to make a move. Except there is a pretty big problem – four people does not win a vote among 12 people. And he’s already in another alliance.
Cue Corinne. The Gabon villainess is going head to head against Phillip all the time now. She’s had enough – Phillip may be reaching Sugar levels for Corinne. However, she has Charlie 2.0 in Lord Snow and this mini alliance could be ready to join the AMC. That would split the merged tribe at 6-6, should Sherri join the other five Faves. Brenda is sitting there ripe for the persuading to join the AMC, Corinne and Lord Snow. So could the Cochran/Dawn mini alliance. Malcolm and Andrea had a good rapport as well, maybe they could add her. The only one without any other options than the old Stealth arrangement is Phillip. And I don’t think there is a Boston Rob in this bunch willing to carry Phillip to the Finish Line as an attention deflector and vote black hole.
This was mainly a filler episode – the tribe expected to win won both challenges. No alliance was blown up. The expected elimination happened. Probst had said before the season how awesome this one was going to be – and if he’s telling the truth the post-merge episodes are going to have to rock. I don’t count antics (Hulka, Brandon, etc.) as being awesome. I’d rather have interesting gameplay rather than train wreck drama.