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Survivor: South Pacific Episode 8 - Revenge of the Nerd

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Written by : published Thursday 3rd November 2011

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Why is Survivor still the best that reality-competition TV has to offer?  How about 23 seasons deep, seeing 2 straight episodes featuring so-called “biggest moves ever.”


Episode 8 may not go down in Survivor history, but it definitely will be the penultimate episode of this season.


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.  Ozzy’s plan was in motion, following his voluntary vote-out last week.  It was a risky plan with plenty of holes, but if he was able to pull it off, it would definitely be known as one of the best moves ever.  All’s he had to do was vote himself out, spread a few lies, and then win a Duel for his tribe to regain a numbers advantage in the game.  So what could go wrong?


Plain and simple, they underestimated and mistreated Cochran.  What I love and have always loved about Survivor is how it lives and breathes as a microcosm of human life.  Each season it seems that some different themes are explored, be it honor, integrity, trust, heroism, racism, short-sightedness, or cultural differences.  This year, the major theme is a very relatable one for many people:  Getting bullied.  Cochran represents the physically weak, the nerds of the world, and those who were picked last for team sports.  As many do, people of this nature tend to develop strengths in other areas, such as intelligence and education.  As a superior intellect surrounded by a bunch of able-bodied egomaniacs, Cochran was never given equal footing, and this will ultimately be Savaii’s Achilles heel.


Ozzy once again made a miscalculation in his social game, thinking that “numbers” represented those associated with a tribe.  He didn’t consider for a minute that Savaii wasn’t 6-strong, just as he didn’t consider that Christine may not have been Upolu simply because she had been on that tribe.  He made an incredible move, and it played out to near-perfection.


But Ozzy’s fatal flaw isn’t that Cochran flopped sides, it’s that Ozzy at some point stopped playing the game for himself.  You may as well put a fork in him after he told Probst that “we” have an Idol, and not “I.”  Do you remember when Ozzy first entered the game and found the Idol?  The clear-thinking Ozzy would have never thrown his Idol out so easily for the sake of the tribe.  Sure Cochran jumped ship, but Ozzy with an Idol is much stronger than Savaii without one.


And how about Coach?  He is putting on a clinic this season…a different style and approach than Boston Rob did last year, but a clinic nonetheless.  Think about it…if Coach were to go on to win this season, wouldn’t this year also go down as a “perfect game” much like Boston Rob’s last season?  His manipulation and approach to Cochran this episode was a master at the top of his game…but there is a long road still ahead, to be sure.


Ultimately, Cochran had no choice but to do what he did.  He was the outside layer of the Savaii onion, so to speak, and with an Upolu group of 6, he could very well become a key swing vote down the road.  I always said that he could be a very dangerous player if he made the merge, because his physical weakness will no longer be seen as a liability, but an asset to keep around to win challenges against.


The hardest hit by this move may not be Ozzy, since he still has a good chance at winning a few individual Immunity Challenges.  But Jim is now in big trouble…he’s the so-called brains of the operation over at Savaii, and is now in the minority.  If Ozzy were to win Immunity, Jim and Keith may be reunited all too soon at Redemption Island.


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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