Jeff Pitman's Survivor: South Pacific recaps
Survivor: South Pacific recaps - Episode 6
"Free Agent"
By: Jeff Pitman | Published: October 21, 2011

trollyThe Russell Hantz Memorial Troll of the Week award (the "Trolly"): Russell Hantz
Honorable mention: Ozzy, Brandon, Coach

We have breaking news: Brandon Hantz is Russell Hantz's nephew! We know, we know, this probably comes as a huge shock to you, seeing as we're six episodes (6.5 hours) into this season, and this tasty tidbit of info has only been mentioned approximately 15 times. Per minute of airtime.


This is Brandon. He works as a Russell Hantz' nephew.


So we'll mention it again, since you can't possibly be tired of hearing it: Brandon Hantz is Russell Hantz's nephew! That means he's the son of one of Russell's siblings! Which one isn't really important, because as anyone with any even a passing familiarity with genetics will tell you, all siblings look and act exactly the same as each other. That's just common knowledge. After all, otherwise Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill movie would MAKE NO SENSE. And do you know what else? Every person's kids are exactly the same as their parents! Example: Ronald Reagan and Ron Reagan Jr. (They have the same, or very similar, names! And they both love dancing! See?) Or what about Miley Cyrus and her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus? They both have mullets, as far as we know. If that doesn't convince you, we don't know what will.


Here's Brandon again. No, wait! So confusing.


In case you weren't convinced, here's a random shot of Russell Hantz himself, walking on this exact same beach, two-plus seasons ago! See? Eggs.Act.Lee.The.Same. Brandon came into this game wanting to make a name for himself, and by golly, he has. Instead of Brandon Hantz, he's now "Russell Hantz's Nephew" Hantz. See? There are two Hantzes in his name now, so it's twice as good! CBS cares, Brandon. CBS cares. That you're Russell Hantz's nephew.


icuThe Purple Kelly Memorial Invisibility Cloakee Unmasked! award ("ICU!"): Whitney
Honorable mention: ?

This episode featured a brand-new contestant: some bearded guy with a cowboy hat. Based on Christine's blurred-out hand signal to him, it appears his name is something that's unprintable in a family recap, but which rhymes with "just a fucking stick." He even talked a few times, and seemed like a generally pleasant fellow, even if he did end up doing exactly as instructed by the guy he mocked in his Sears Online Audition contest video.




So it's a bit of a pity the cast also features an aspiring country singer who both has a song on the execrable new Footloose soundtrack, as well as a Friday night gig at the Grand Ole Opry this same week, but apparently Survivor: South Pacific only has room for one cowboy/country person per week. Any more than that, and the show exceeds its all-important Plaid Quota*, which is closely watched by potential advertisers. (*This is also why CBS has yet to do a grunge retrospective. Also because network TV is only allowed to air music if it's done by teenagers covering crappy pop songs from the '80s.) So tough luck, Whitney. We'd recommend getting another new swimsuit if you want more airtime.


beastyThe Colby Donaldson Memorial Challenge Beast award (The "Beasty"): Coach
Honorable mention: Nobody else can compare

If there's one thing we've learned from infrequently watching televised professional sports, it's that coaches are the most important people on the field. Using their magical telekinetic powers, they single-handedly control the outcomes of baseball games from the dugouts. Oh sure, you may think they're just sitting there, flashing signs to the catcher and occasionally scratching themselves, but no. Especially in baseball, as in other pastimes involving balls, managers are hired solely for their ability to use their psychic powers to control the trajectories of flung objects. This is not often mentioned during telecasts, because they usually are busy being jabbered over by the likes of Tim McCarver, and also because network executives don't want to frighten the public.


Coach guides from the sidelines


But it's true. You may think you see older gentlemen adjusting their ill-fitting stirrup pants, but in reality, you're actually watching a pitched, focused battle in which the managers are focused on battling for control over the direction of the pitches. It's pretty much like two Emperor Palpatines squaring off, minus the lightning effects. When Bob Costas refers to the beauty of the sport, that's what he's talking about, mostly. Although Costas is one of those rare people who can actually see the lightning effects, which are invisible to you and me, and that's why he keeps getting hired to be an announcer, and you don't.


And it's exactly the same on Survivor. Here, the leader of the Upolu tribe, who by sheer coincidence is also named Coach, is back on the show again because he too can bend these same mystical forces to his will. SEG and the network got a little nervous the past couple of times, when he cavalierly gave those how-to demonstrations on the beach, calling it "Coach Chi," but that's all safely locked away this time around. Still, being a coach is a lot of work. This is why Coach had to tell Mikayla to take a break during the IC, and why when she didn't listen, she had to go.


Up! Up! Down! Down! L! R! L! R! A! B! Start!


Seriously, Coach was so overtaxed with controlling all those projectiling coconuts that he was launching and missing, he didn't have time to observe and manipulate Mikayla's as well. Come on, everyone could see that, even those of us unable to visually detect the lightning thingies. He was using two hands, AND HIS WHOLE BRAIN, and he was still missing. (This is, coincidentally, why there aren't a lot of player-managersin baseball any more.) The honorable thing for Mikayla to do would have been to sit down, but she had to keep one-handedly letting her coconuts sail towards the targets and explode right on the target's base. This was obviously because Savaii's Cochran (Sshh! It's a secret!) was sending them off-course at the last second, meaning Coach had to watch the course AND some guy on the sidelines? Not easy. No big surprise his shots were generally in the dirt, after all that.


So it's a small wonder Upolu lost. Small, small wonder. Thanks a lot, selfish Mikayla. Hopefully, Coach will accept this week's Beasty Award as a consolation prize. We'd hand it to him, but we're pretty sure he can move it on his own.


slashyThe Cirie Fields Memorial Smiling Backstabber award ("Slitty"): Jim
Honorable mention: Keith, Dawn

Wait, we have another award to hand out still? And it's the semi-serious one about strategy? But we've already slapped down 1000 words for the first three alone! Who runs this joint? We'd better be getting overtime.


Fine. Sure, some people (who only bestow a paltry one weekly award) have claimed that Coach's performance this week was the height of strategic mastery: a brilliant divide-and-conquer campaign, carried out against his own tribe, where by refusing to listen to Albert and Sophie (the two people who know he's hoarding an idol), Coach trimmed his core five/six alliance down to an alliance of four, where he's joined by (1) the loose cannon who tells everyone every secret he knows, last seen being mocked for hunting an imaginary idol, the one secret he doesn't yet know, (2) the one who sits out challenges, but nobody trusts, and (3) the other one who sat out a challenge, who mocked Coach in his audition tape. There's no way this could possibly backfire, so since we've never been on Survivor before, our doubts are probably misplaced. Boston Rob won by serving goat cheese to the jury, why not Coach? The final jury vote is in the next episode, right?


Got 'em right where he wants 'em


We'd love to give the Slitty award to Albert or Sophie, who labored mightily to talk sense into their tribemates, but their efforts were to no avail, thanks largely to Brandon's immunity to sense. So instead we must turn to Savaii, where Jim seemed the most sensible, detailing what Ozzy should have been doing, but wasn't, then pointing out why Ozzy's lack of anything resembling a social game was useful to his (Jim's) gameplan. Others seemed good too, though: Keith seemed to bring Ozzy back into the fold (eventually), and Dawn triggered Ozzy's "I have the idol" admission. But since the theme of the episode seemed to be "breaking down and doing everything wrong week," fairly slim strategic pickings. Jim will do.


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Exit interviews - Elyse Umemoto