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Survivor: South Pacific Episode 10: When smart people get stupid

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Written by : published Thursday 17th November 2011

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Whitney asked an age-old question at the beginning of this week’s episode:  “How can these smart people be so stupid?”

It’s a question that many of us have asked over the years of watching Survivor.  Now, we really don’t think that anybody is stupid, like, clinically speaking.  But time and time again, season after season, we seem to witness bone-headed or otherwise head-scratching moves by players that should know better.  How did nobody vote for Boston Rob or Amber during All-Stars?  How come nobody saw Boston Rob as a threat late last season?  And how, after just having witnessed Boston Rob’s improbable rise to the million dollars, how can these new players let another returning player waltz right back to the top?

I’ll share my thoughts, but in case you missed it, please catch up by watching Episode 9 of Survivor: South Pacific, and then take in my weekly Survivor Examiner recap before the following “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

Make no mistake, Coach is definitely running the show, and in a slightly different way, he is putting on a “perfect game” on par with Boston Rob’s domination of Season 22.  For some reason, nobody wants to target Coach and seize control from him.  Worse yet, it appears he has 3 players on his side and completely in his pocket, with Edna, Brandon, and Rick…all 3 of which Coach would win hands down against, if he went to the Final 3 in any combination with these players.  Now that we are down to 7 players left in the game (plus 3 on Redemption Island), his alliance of 4 may be all he needs to coast to the end.

Which makes it appear that Albert and Sophie may have passed up a golden opportunity in tonight’s episode.  Nobody wants to jump ship or be seen as a “back-stabber,” but they are all floating along acting as if they are not aware that there is only 1 Sole Survivor.  Sophie seems a bit more gun-shy than Albert, and had Albert turned I really think he would have furthered his own game.  The biggest flaw in his thinking though was this:  Why not target Coach and not Coach’s pawn, Edna?  Coach is so in control that the others apparently feel comfortable allowing him to be in the lead, as well as possess an Immunity Idol.  Do any of these people think that they can win in the end if Coach is sitting there?  If Albert was the one to pull the trigger, he would have the advantage over Sophie in gaining votes down the road, and he would have furthered his name with the Savaii members.   In a jury of 9, he would really only be losing a few votes, and who knows, Coach may have respected his move to the point where he would have voted for him to win as well.

The most dramatic way that this can play out?  How about Coach finishing his “perfect game” and making the finals, joined by Ozzy who somehow wins his way into the Final 3.  Forget that 3rd person, it would be Ozzy vs. Coach, Coach vs. Ozzy.  It would pit Survivor-fanatics against one another, and would answer another age-old Survivor question:  Is it more important to have outwitted than to have outplayed?  Ozzy would clearly have outplayed, Coach would clearly have outwitted.  Both would have overcome huge odds.

And in that scenario, maybe Edna would end up winning…begging us to ask the question:  How can these smart people be so stupid???

Agree or disagree with my assessments?  Post your comments below!

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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