LAST EDITED ON 11-06-11 AT 00:36 AM (EST)
With the merge equaling a 6 on 6 clash, we knew we'd have some fireworks. This episode did not disappoint and was the strongest of the season so far, and that was with some poor editing, which I felt concentrated too long on the forever vacillating Cochran and the manically bipolar Dawn.
Now, does Zapping on the level of last season begin? Or do we get chaos? I think in this case, one is as likely as the other.
1. the COACH - Was the victorious coach in every sense of the word this episode. His tribe not only stuck together, but they exuded shocking confidence throughout a TC that had their fate on the line. Savii has two members with immunity? Who cares? Savii has an HII? Who cares? We won't even play ours. Instead we'll just sit here and smile like a gambler with aces in the hole. Hard to believe they could all be so confident considering it did take a 2nd vote.
The bottom-line is that to the leader goes the credit, and Coach will get miles of it here from me. His group stuck together. He picked the right 6th, who wasn't looking to flip. AND he delivered the speech that turned Cochran from a double to a single agent in one sweet swoop.
"Here's the thing... You guys came up with a story. You sent Ozzy to Redemption. You got an idol in your pocket. And knowing Ozzy would win redemption. It was a risk, but you knew he'd win redemption. We will vote six strong... And if all 6 Savii vote together, there's a 1 in 5 chance that you'll be drawing a black rock, and so will I, and that is a bullsh@t way to play the game... I know what it feels like to be superior in one way to people, and they know it, so they find ways that your inferior to cut you down. I know what that feels like. You have the chance to change the game for yourself. (Draws a line in sand in front of him.) Here's a line in the sand. Come across that line."
This is sheer brilliance. A great coach knows what buttons to push. Coach showed empathy. He played the inferiority complex card that intellectuals all face to perfection. And he showed Cochran something he had not seen yet in this game, someone who absolutely would not budge. In a way, Cochran always belonged on this tribe of misfits anyway. But Coach couldn't have done a better job welcoming him into the fold. Coach saw instantly what we've all seen through 7 episodes. Cochran is a guy who LONGS to make a difference. Coach merely echoed what Cochran was already thinking, "Here's your chance."
2. Edna - If she has another episode this quiet, I'll drop her again, but the episode had other things to accomplish. She wasn't the only person to not get a word until TC. At least she spoke then, that was better than some. Coach offering Cochran a shelter spot next to Edna or Sophie was one of my favorite lines of the show. Way to leave no card unplayed! Besides the comedy of it, this line confirmed how close Edna has gotten to Coach.
3. Sophie - She was the only Upolu other than Coach to get a confessional. Her approach with Cochran might have also been key. I don't think it was just the fact that she was the only Upolu female left for Coach to mention. I think Cochran likely mentioned something about Sophie to Coach. I loved her comments at TC for their bluntness, but that isn't the way to win potential jurors.
4. Cochran - Whether I agree with his play or not, or I find him slightly annoying or not, I am only going to drop him so far because he is the star of the show. Abraham Lincoln once said the Union would win the war once he found a general who could "face the arithmetic." I have railed before how players are so philosophically opposed to drawing rocks that they ignore the mathematics of their decision. If it goes to rocks, Cochran has a 1 in 7 chance of being sent to RI. I think taking an essentially 14% risk of going home is the right call versus facing the odds of trying to win the game after pissing off your entire tribe. Still, I do love that he made the move though. He might be a target right after the big move, but I doubt he is going anywhere. He is the PERFECT person to take to the end now.
5. Albert - Had a couple onscreen conversations and got to speak at TC. He is in decent shape now and may be looking to deal. He has to know he is the #1 target on his own tribe, when it comes down to that.
6. Brandon - His edit has practically disappeared with Mikayla, but I put him above the Saviis. He did well to reassure Cochran that he would be welcomed into the tribe and protected, and his line to Jim at TC was one of the best moments of the show. Jim called Cochran a coward twice before Brandon said anything. Typical that the smallest guy is the first to defend the bullied.
7. Ozzy - An impressive IC win raises his ranking. He obviously isn't the strongest guy there, and yet, when it comes to clutch ICs, this guy just has the ability to concentrate that is higher than anyone else. His over-the-top RI performance played better for comedy than for drama. Dude, come on. It wasn't his decision to keep Cochran around in the first place. Someone on his tribe could have made some effort to break the tie. Are you that content with rocks? Poor play.
8. Jim - He will keep playing as long as he's around. That's a good thing, but he ultimately made a terrible decision to boot Elyse instead of Cochran. Unlike Coach, he did a poor job of making Cochran feel comfortable, and then he compounded his errors by deciding to give Whitney the HII instead of Cochran. Until Ozzy jumped on the grenade, your entire tribe was very vocal about sending Cochran to RI. He obviously was going to be the most likely person to flip. Give him the HII so there is no danger of picking rocks for him, and he would have stayed with you. No surprise that Jim wouldn't have the problem with going to rocks. As a poker player, he has to ride the mathematical odds all the time.
9. Dawn - Continues to get a big part of the edit and to dominate the other women in challenges, but I knock her greatly for the 180 she made once the immunity necklace got around her neck. Suddenly, all the mistreatment of Cochran, which had her crying in guilt before, didn't mean anything anymore.
10. Rick - Never spoke. Might have had the best reaction to having votes thrown his way of all time.
11. Whitney - Who? When you are an attractive woman and you are this overlooked, then your days must be numbered. Kelly Purple thinks Whitney needs to speak up.
Keith - Much too willing to go to rocks. The decision to boot Elyse over Cochran was nearly as much about him as about Jim. Did he ever explain why? Then, he apparently still trusts Cochran to draw rocks even after he had berated him over letting Ozzy "fight his battles for him." Foolishness.
The Moment We Have All Waited For-
Christine - All the jibber-jabber over Christine returning to the game ended up as nothing more than to take the thunder out of Ozzy's big move. I have to feel kind of bad for her though. It stinks to win that many duels only to lose when one win away from getting back into the game. Ouch.