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Survivor: South Pacific Episode 7 - The biggest move in Survivor history?

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Written by : published Thursday 27th October 2011

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This episode was hyped as containing “the biggest move in Survivor history.”  Did it live up to it?

Before we jump head-first into this important episode, catch up by watching Episode 7 of Survivor: South Pacific, and then take in my weekly Survivor Examiner recap before the following “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

Summary.  Call it crazy, call it stupid, but don’t call it unimportant.  Ozzy’s decision to volunteer for Redemption Island will surely be a memorable move, and even perhaps this season’s signature moment.  Let’s break it down, and take a look at all the possible implications.

Is this the “biggest move” in Survivor history?  So what makes something “the biggest” ever?  Well, it has to be either incredibly genius, to the point where something is done that has never been done before, or at least required a tremendous deal of outside-the-box thinking in order to pull it off. Or, it has to be dumb.  I’m talkin’ Forrest Gump, Sarah Palin dumb…a boneheaded play that defies all logic, such as Erik giving away his Immunity Necklace (Fans vs. Favorites) or Ozzy getting blindsided with an Idol in his possession.  It would have to rank up there with these other moves to even be considered.  But a lot of the time, a move is only as good as the outcome…consider a sports example:  A football coach goes for a 2-point conversion to win the game.  If he makes it?  He’s a hero and a genius.  If he fails and loses the game?  What was he thinking?  It’s like playing armchair Survivor, where the results dictate the “smarts” of the decision.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and call it the biggest single move by a player in Survivor history.  And here’s why.

The Upside of Ozzy’s Move.  No matter the outcome, this move ranks up the charts because no matter how this ends up, it’s historic.  Let’s say the plan works…Ozzy goes to Redemption Island and is able to defeat Christine.  Even if he gets back in the game and is voted out immediately or eventually, his Duel win will be looked back on as one of the ballsiest moves ever…and Ozzy will be commended for his bravery.  On the flipside, if Ozzy goes and loses to Christine?  Clearly Ozzy will go down as an even bigger d-bag than he was previously known.  How could you be in power, with an Idol, and throw all that away?  Given Ozzy’s then-current status at Savaii, he may have been voted out under normal circumstances anyways.  If nothing else, if he were to win and return, this move should go a long way in solidifying a trust with Cochran, whom he gave the Idol to.  And with Cochran currently on thin ice, why wouldn’t he take league with a new-found friend and ally?

The Downside of Ozzy’s Move.  I personally think that the move was stupid and ill-advised, albeit a “big” move.  It boils down to Ozzy having over-analyzed the situation, and he makes way too many assumptions.  First assumption?  That a merge is forth-coming.  If not, Cochran is left at Savaii, where the tribe will face an uphill battle for Immunity.  Assumption #2:  That Christine is an Upolu “number” simply because she was on their tribe.  For anyone who has witnessed any of her Duels, they should have clearly found out that she has no intention of siding with Upolu if she returns to the game.  Then why does Savaii see her as such a big threat and as an Upolu “number” which needs to go?  Assumption #3:  That Cochran will give back the Immunity Idol if Ozzy returns to the game.  According to Probst via Tout.com, there is no rule stating that you can’t go to Redemption Island with an Idol.  So Ozzy did not have to play or give away his Idol…he could have held on to it.  If he is so confident that he’ll return after one Duel, then why not hang on to it?  As next week’s preview teases, Ozzy not only has to win to stay alive, but if that happens he will also have put his entire game in the hands of Cochran.  Speaking of Cochran, this whole thing ended up saving his butt, but being part of the made-up story about how he blindsided Ozzy by playing an Idol, only puts a bigger target on his back as a potential strategic threat.

The worst part of this for Ozzy?  If he wins and returns, and is even given the Idol, is he suddenly not a threat anymore?  With players like Jim and Keith still in the game, I’d imagine they’d cut his throat at first chance.  This whole move is really all for naught.

What the heck is everybody thinking over at Savaii?

Redemption Island.  As for the Duel itself, next week is surely the most anticipated Duel in the show’s history.  Who isn’t rooting for Christine at this point, and how tragic would it be to see her go out after winning 5 straight Duels?  And Ozzy, putting it all on the line.  Made fun of for his past endeavors on Survivor and for having a weak social game, everybody gives him all the credit in the world in challenges…he’s the best ever in challenges!  Nobody can beat Ozzy in challenges!  Talk about all or nothing…with Ozzy’s life in the game and lasting reputation at stake, how fitting that it all comes down to him having to win a challenge.  If he were to lose, he will be known as the worst, dumbest player in history.  If he were to win, he would go further in cementing his legacy as one of the greatest competitors in the shows history.  It’s really going to be epic, whatever happens next week.

Bonus Speculation.  And speaking of next week, Jeff Probst teases us again saying that we “ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” and that next week is even bigger than this week.  Great.  Another week of Survivor-hype.

Be sure to follow all of my Survivor coverage on Twitter, @tomsantilli, and at tomsantilli.com.

About the author SurvivorTom


Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Detroit Film Critics Society.  He writes several on-line columns, most notably as the Detroit Movie Examiner and the Survivor Examiner for Examiner.com.  He also is a contributor as a Survivor-Insider to TVGeekArmy.com and writes exclusive Survivor in-depth episode analysis for TheTVKing.com. He has been featured on Rob Cesternino's "Rob Has a Podcast" and most recently landed the only exclusive Richard Hatch interview given since his latest legal trouble has surfaced. All of Tom's Survivor coverage as well as movie reviews can be found on his blog the "FilmSurvivor", at FilmSurvivor.com

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