Look, we really don't like repeating jokes in this space, but what can you do? Russell Hantz got almost as much screen time, or at least lip service, in this episode as Cochran. Cochran! What can we do? Our hands are tied. So let's run through this week's list of various atrocities, shall we?
As you can see, Survivor appears to love the Hantz family almost as much as it loves group prayer. But not quite as much as group prayer being led by the Hantz family, of course. Nothing tops that! So we would like to take this moment to extend our own bon voyage to the Hantz family. (Coach promised us this episode that Brandon was next out, and we'll hold him to that. Honor, loyalty, and integrity.) We wish them well on their successful journey away from Survivor to the land of riches known as A&E. There, they will truly embody the titular Arts and Entertainment the channel purports to broadcast. Please, make yourselves at home. Or a home. Or remake somebody else's home. Whatever it is you're doing over there. Just... please... keep doing it over there.
To their credit, Survivor's editors actually did a reasonably decent job of showing everyone this episode. It appears that having six people left on the island is just few enough to allow all of them to be seen at least once in an hour-long episode. True, frequent vanishing acts like Rick were restricted to a single confessional and a butt squeeze. But by and large, all the remaining Upolus got to have their say.
Note that we said Upolus, and not Te Tunas. Because we did notice one person was forced to draw the short straw this episode: Ozzy. Sure, through the magic of editing, he did get off a surprisingly good joke in the opening scene ("he really has no shot"). But after that it was all downhill for the Ozzman. After barely dispatching Cochran in the duel, Ozzy was forced to... watch everyone else hug their loved ones? What about his? Does nobody love poor Ozzy? We mean besides casting and Jeff Probst, of course.
But then it got worse: He had to spend the afternoon not just with Coach and Brandon (and Albert, who in an ICU! Honorable Mention, promptly vanished... with his mother), but also with the aforementioned Shawn Hantz. After a brief scene in which Coach made the stupidest final two/three pact of all time, Ozzy then earned this week's ICU! award by managing to disappear entirely from Redemption Island. We assume he excused himself to go fishing or something, but whatever the reason, we have to say: Good call, Ozzy.
The mystical powers of domination by Benjamin "Coach" Wade run deep in this episode. Yes, we're aware that Coach rarely is a challenge threat, and yet... he won one (technically with Brandon's assistance, but still). While striking a (Probst-approved) Dragonslayer pose, no less. But that's not all!
No, not only did Coach win a challenge, but his Coa-chi protege, one John Cochran, overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and (almost) beat Ozzy at Redemption Island. In a challenge that involved the two elements of the challenge that Coach himself previously won: grappling hooks and a tilting table maze. What are the odds? At least 10 million to one, if Coach's math is accurate. If only Cochran had yelled "You better believe it, baby! Dragon! Slayer!" at the end, he might have pulled out the win.
Moral: Always remember the magic words.
Honestly, nobody is doing anything strategy-wise here, apart perhaps from Coach doing his best to lose as many jury votes as possible. The remaining five Upolu members, as Probst reminded us in the opening recap, have been allied together since night one. After this episode, they're still a solid five... at least until someone comes back from Redemption Island (although that should be at the start of the finale, if they stick to last season's schedule). You know how when you take NyQuil the night before, and you wake up the next morning to go to work, you're essentially stumbling about, clawing your way through a somnambulant haze? That's pretty much what the post-merge of this season has been. You know where you're headed, you eventually get there, but you'd really rather have just stayed in bed.
For the past four episodes, following the Cochran flip, we've been treated to a neverending parade of departing contestants shuffling up to Prince Albert and Queen Sophersei, begging for clemency. Or at least an extra day. Albert invariably says they have good points, then votes against them, anyway. Sophie, when she can be bothered even to look up, silently nods and sticks with the plan. Then the supplicants try Coach (or at least Cochran and Edna, the people he was allegedly "protecting," did), who says he's wholeheartedly behind them, if they can just get Sophie and Albert on board. After which someone issues the summons for the headsman. Chop. Hey, anybody up for a scintillating game of checkers?
So this week, we're awarding the Slitty to nobody. We're representing nobody by the hidden immunity idol. Like any semblance of strategy, it was last seen several episodes before the merge.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - John Cochran