warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

"Survivor South Pacific" Episode 11 Recap

Jeremy Fuster |
December 3, 2011 | 1:05 p.m. PST

Staff Writer


In this week's episode of "Survivor," the Cult of Coach begins to crumble as players try to negotiate their way off the chopping block.  


We start things off with the Upolu Six and Cochran returning to camp after voting out Dawn and Whitney in a double vote.  Coach goes into this big speech about how proud he is about his family and blah-de-blah-de-blah.  Doesn't matter.  What does matter is the power structure among this "family" and figuring out who is at risk and who is guaranteed to make it to the end.  Right now, Coach is in the latter category and Cochran and Edna are in the former.  Cochran is especially worried that his betrayal of Savaii will end up being in vain, and he is prepared to do and say anything to stay in the game.

The following morning, Cochran makes a speech to the Upolus and tries to convince them to let him stay in the game.  He tells them that they owe him a chance in the game since it was his move that gave Upolu the advantage they needed after the merge.  In addition, he tells them that it is his birthday in three days, and that he would like to spend it playing the game that he has grown to love.  Coach and Brandon think that he makes a good point, but Sophie won't even give it a moment of consideration.  She bluntly says in an interview that she thinks Cochran made a bad move and has no qualms about writing his name down.  Wow.  It doesn't look good for the fanboy.

Now we are off to the Redemption Duel between Ozzy, Dawn, and Whitney.  This Duel is a test of balance.  The players must balance ceramic dishes on the end of a balancing arm.  At regular intervals, a new dish will be added to the stack.  If any part of the player's stack falls, he/she is out.  Last one left stays in the game.  

The stacks start out with combinations of large plates and bowls, but then things get harder with the addition of smaller dishes.  After 11 dishes, Dawn loses her balance and her plates fall.  Then, after another two dishes, Whitney falls.  The two women join Keith and Jim on the jury, and Ozzy is one step closer to relighting his torch.  Ozzy says that he looks forward to facing his enemies in the next Duel, and then goes off to show more of his awesome snorkel fishing skills.  Oh, I hope he pulls a Richard Hatch and goes after a shark soon.

Back at camp, more fractures begin to form in the Upolu "family," and they revolve around Albert.  Albert feels no need to do camp work anymore because he feels that social, physical, and strategical skills will be what gets him to the end.  Uh, Albert?  Time for a reality check.  You definitely have the physical part down, but you have done absolutely nothing notable in the strategy department despite having several opportunities to do so, and pulling your weight around camp IS part of the social game.  When he finally gets his rear out of the hammock and tries pulling the laundry out of the water bucket, he spills the bucket and accidentally puts out the fire.  This screw-up, combined with his laziness, infuriates Edna and Rick, who both feel that Albert is taking his spot in the game for granted while others are doing everything they can to stay.

In the next challenge, the castaways take part in a two-part competition based on past challenges.  First, they must attempt to throw weight balls on top of three wooden boxes.  The first three to finish move on to the finals, where they use a slingshot to fire coconuts at three targets.  First person to hit all three targets wins immunity.  In addition, the winner will enjoy a jasmine water shower and a massage.

From the get go, Albert gets his weighted balls on all three boxes quickly and moves on.  Behind him, Rick, Sophie, Coach, and Cochran all get two boxes completed and race to land their ball on the last box.  In the end, Rick and Sophie are the ones that get it done and move on to the final round.  The three begin firing coconuts at the targets, and Rick pulls out to an early lead, but Albert has done this challenge before, and he comes back to win immunity.

After receiving his Immunity Necklace, Jeff Probst tells Albert that he needs to select one person to share his spa reward with.  He selects Coach, and then surprises everyone by declaring that he will give up his reward to Cochran as a gift for his birthday.  Cochran feels somewhat skeptical about this move, since it could be either an attempt to reach out and make a possible alliance or simply a farewell gift.  Either way, Cochran says that he is going to enjoy this, and I'm sure he will, since this would be the most physical contact he has ever had with a woman.  What a birthday present.

Oh, that's right.  Cochran had a little confession to make in an interview about his birthday plea.



Yeeeeaaah, it turns out he just told the Upolus it was his birthday so he could manipulate their emotions.  Man, Cochran is using his dream of being a Survivor castaway to do some very underhanded things, and right now I don't see him having many fans.  But you don't make these moves to win over viewers.  You do it to survive in the game, and it seems to be working.

First, Coach tells Cochran during the massage that he thinks the nerd is a warrior and he will do anything to keep him in the game.  Later, Albert comes up to him with something even better: a real plan.  Albert tells Cochran that he wants to vote out Rick.  He has heard Rick insult him with names like "Princess Albert," and he wants revenge.  Cochran needs two more votes to pull off the plan, and he decides to go after Edna and Coach.  Despite her feelings about Albert, Edna knows that beggars can't be choosers and she immediately agrees to Cochran's proposal.  Interestingly, when Cochran comes to Coach with the plan, Coach doesn't react with the godlike wrath that he used before the last Tribal Council.  He does want to keep Cochran in the game, but at the same time, he feels like he needs to keep his promise to his alliance.  

Now we head to Tribal Council, and there's a lot that is discussed.  Edna voices her disappointment with her alliance.  She feels like she was on the outside of the group since day one, and that all the speeches Coach made about equality in Upolu were all just empty words.  Cochran says that he feels the same way, and he reiterates his belief that the Upolus owe him three more days in the game.

BUT WAIT!  We can't have a Tribal Council on 'Survivor: South Pacific' without Brandon saying something he shouldn't!  And sure enough, Little Hantz blurts out a declaration that he is voting for Cochran tonight and plans to vote for Edna at the next Tribal Council.  Conversation then begins to swing over to Brandon, since his declaration proves that he is very inflexible in his gameplay.  Probst points out the possibility that, while Brandon is loyal to the people in his alliance, he is not open to alternate plans and could upset other players' strategy with his stubbornness.  Sophie replies by saying that at this point in the game, she doesn't feel like that is a problem, implicitly saying that she is also targeting Cochran and Edna.  But then Cochran replies with a possible situation: "If Edna wins immunity, what happens?"  Sophie simply replies by saying, "Then it begins." 

By the way, there is a gripe I have to get off my chest here.  During this whole Tribal Council, the camera keeps cutting over to Jim, who keeps on rolling his eyes.  Ugh.  I hate this guy.  Go ahead, feel vindicated by this Tribal Council, it doesn't change the fact that you LOST. What's more, you lost to the nerd.  And no matter how hard you try to make some grandiose jury speech, the nerd did more memorable things in this season than you did.  You are forgettable.  Could somebody beat his face in with a torch and send him back to his 420 store?


Ok.  Rant over.  It's time to vote.  In the voting booth, we see that Edna and Cochran both vote for Rick, while Rick votes for Cochran.  It's pretty telling that Edna ended up staying on board with Cochran's plan, and it will be interesting to see what kind of moves she tries to make in the next episode, especially with Coach and Albert showing they are open to dangerous moves.

Wait, did I just write that?  Coach and Albert open to dangerous moves?  Oh, ho ho!  How silly of me!  You producers sure tricked me again, what with your ability to make things seem less inevitable than they really are!  You slippery little devils!  Oh, ho ho!

Yeah, as you could probably surmise from that sarcastic little paragraph, Coach and Albert were blowing a bunch of smoke up Cochran's rear and ended up voting for him.  Cochran was voted out by a 5-2 vote.  At least it gave us a great last line from Cochran: "I just got my torched snuffed by Jeff Probst!  This is unreal!  Dream come true!"

At this point, I'm very disappointed with the direction this season has taken.  What started out with a battle between two evenly matched tribes has turned into a merged tribe that is unwilling to make big moves.  We are constantly teased with the possibility of a big vote, but nothing ever comes of it.  Right now, Coach has guaranteed his spot in the final Tribal Council, and there are only two people that can stop him from winning the million dollars: Ozzy and himself.   If Ozzy gets redeemed and makes it to the end, he will have all the Savaii votes from the jury and will get the victory.  If Coach is the only veteran in the finals, then he will need to make some serious apologies, especially to Cochran, whose throat he just slit after praising him as a "warrior."  If the jury chooses not to give Coach the money, it will be because his big mouth did him in.

Next week, we are teased with more frustration towards Brandon, and people begin to see him as a danger to their plans.  However, I'm not buying it, not after the predictability that has happened so far in Te Tuna.  Edna's my pick to go home next, and it's going to take something absolutely unforgivable from Brandon for the power structure to change.  Brandon has been saying dumb things for 30 days and no one has done anything about it, so why would they now?

Oh, and Cochran and Ozzy face off in a Redemption Duel that involves navigating a ball in a maze.  Could Cochran pull off the upset?  It's unlikely, but if he does, oh, how amazing would that be?

Reach writer Jeremy Fuster here

RELATED CONTENT from Jeremy: "Survivor" Where Do The Final Players Stand?

Episode 10 Recap

Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?

Or join our email list below to enjoy the weekly Neon Tommy News Highlights.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.