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Survivor: Caramoan – Ep 13 – The One Where Cochran May Have Won It All

I am trying to come up with a scenario where Cochran doesn’t win Survivor this season – and I am having a hard time doing it. Unless he is the one that is being medically evacuated as teased in the coming attractions. Other than that, I don’t see it. It is hard to speculate on scenarios because of the medical emergency about to happen, but think about it. If Eddie gets hurt, Erik is the target – and Sherri would go if Erik won immunity. Reverse it again for Erik getting hurt. If Sherri gets hurt, then they take out Erik or Eddie at the F4 and take their chances with the jury. If Dawn is hurt, Cochran and Sherri will have to take their chances with one of the guys. In all of these F3 scenarios – I think Cochran wins the vote. Dawn will take the heat directed at him – I see few scenarios where Dawn can win now – maybe against Sherri and Erik. Eddie will get Lord Snow and Reynold’s vote. Maybe Malcolm and Andrea too. His ceiling is likely 4, and I think Cochran’s presence in the finals could swing Andrea and/or Malcolm to his side.

Erik probably can only muster up a Brenda vote – he’s been likable but his only real chance is to go against Sherri and Dawn. Sherri, well, I don’t see where she has any votes on the jury. I think she can make the Final Three – but she could very well be a new member of the Zero Vote Club. Perhaps Dawn too. In fact, I think it is well within the realm of possibility that Cochran could beat Sherri and Dawn in Fiji Earl fashion – a wipe out.

So, in my humble opinion – and it is based solely on logic and reason, two things often at a premium in Survivor – is that for Cochran to lose he has to either be the F5 evacuated player or be the target at F4. He’s managed very well so far in keeping the target off his back – and with his alliance with Dawn and Sherri fairly tight – if the three of them exist at F4, he is in great shape. The amazing thing – in a Fans vs. Favorites season, it was a Favorite who is probably the biggest SuperFan ever to appear on the show, which seems to be firmly in the driver’s seat.

Of course, what the hell do I know. I spent this entire episode saying – there is no way they vote out Brenda. And yet, they did. To me, the easy and smart play was to take out Eddie right here, right now. Even though he has done nothing all season and has not actually won a challenge at all – Eddie is still a physical threat to Dawn, Sherri and Cochran. And with Erik withering away – perhaps to Erik as well. Brenda has done well in challenges – sure – but I still fear Eddie’s sudden ability to use brute strength to win a few of these. Even with Eddie gone – Brenda is next to go for them. If she was voted out F5 – I think she would have been ok with it. Instead, she gets blindsided, goes out before Eddie, and goes out IMMEDIATELY after doing a selfless thing for the tribe. In fact, what they have done is turn a loyal jury vote into a total wild card. If you watch the Ponderosa video, you see that Brenda was really devastated and the other jury members were pissed for her. Phillip even made a comment very derogatory to Dawn.

Dawn and Cochran are super tight. We all know that. No one in the game realized it. Brenda and Dawn were also very tight. Dawn needed to do a better job in managing her votes – getting rid of Brenda now may have had some logic (get out a Finals threat, get out a strong woman, get her now when she least expects it) but the logic was almost all Cochran logic. Where are Dawn’s votes going to come from now? She is personally responsible for Malcolm and Brenda getting voted out. Phillip seems against her now. Can you really see Reynold voting for her? All they had to do was be patient, get out the last AMC member and then have the Final 5 do its business. Dawn had a strong threesome – all they had to do was keep immunity away from Brenda and Erik.

And even if they failed to do so…Cochran and Dawn had a very strong jury case over the likable Brenda and Erik. Cochran and Dawn moved the pieces – Brenda and Erik were the pieces. This jury would have been cool with that argument – more so than other juries in the past. It was a poor move to blindside Brenda – and now instead of a pleasant jury, we have all bets off now.

The big item this week – family visit. I’ll get into the nuts and bolts in the Reward Challenge summary in a few, but the main crux is that once again the winner of the challenge got screwed. I know it has been said elsewhere, but I totally agree with it – there is no reason to win this challenge. None. Take the big hug you get when you see your mom, husband, kid, whatever and then enjoy the few moments you have during the challenge and let someone else get screwed with the decision making. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll get lucky and enjoy some time with your loved one. If you don’t, chances are you will see them after about another week.

The latest twist had Brenda select someone to join her – she chose Dawn. Logical. But then Probst revealed that another set of loved ones were there waiting for them. However, Brenda could either enjoy them with Dawn, or pass it up and give it to the other four. Diabolical. So, she pisses off the majority by being selfish, or makes herself a threat by being selfless. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Side effect – she further damages the already damaged Dawn. Double side effect – the reward was in sight of Dawn and Brenda – so they got to watch the others enjoy their family and grilled meats. Cruel.

Just lose the challenge people. Just. Lose. It. Do what Cochran did – hang out and ask your mom about her flight.

Reward Challenge – let’s talk about it. The Survivors get a product placement phone and know it means the loved ones challenge. Dawn is crying the moment they see the company’s name. Then again – all of them basically start crying. The family members are:

Brenda’s dad – Raymond – He told her to be humble this time around. She did it.

Dawn’s husband – David – Happy 21st Anniversary!

Sherri’s husband – Jared – Sherri is showing more humanity in her reaction to her husband as she has shown all season long. Remember when she mattered back in the Sgt. Hulka days? We’ve barely seen her for weeks.

Cochran’s mom – Arlene – Exactly as you would imagine her to be.

Eddie’s dad – Edward – also exactly as you expected him to be. I will say this – I loved how affectionate the Eds were with each other. Coincidentally, the first time I’ve had any affection for Eddie all season.

Erik’s brother – Richard – He’s like a preppy, hairless version of Erik.

They all arrive with huge smiles and the family comes filing in. Raymond has cool flowing grayish hair that bounces as he runs to Brenda. She cries in his arms, says “Look how far I got, daddy.” Aww. Even Probst cries. The old softy. Erik won’t shake his brother’s hand – they hug. Sherri whimpers that she just wants her husband to hold her. Double awww. Cochran’s mom is proud, and he apologizes for stinking. Eddie’s dad calls him the hairiest man alive. Clearly, he’s never heard of Robin Williams. Dawn is a mess. She manages to ask how the kids were doing. They kiss. That’s love right there – she must stink to high hell.

The challenge has then competing together – become a human tandem corkscrew as they spin around and remove rails. Then they build a rack with the rails and have to toss three bolos onto the bars. The first ones to land three of them wins. The prize is a floating BBQ right off of the camp shore with burgers, steak, apple pie and beer. Brenda gets really excited about the pie.

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