‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 14

EP14Some quick reminders/orders of business, etc.

First, if you don’t want to know who wins “Survivor: Cook Islands,” this isn’t the place for you. There WILL be spoilers. Go watch “Survivor: The Amazon” instead.

Second, speaking of “Survivor: The Amazon,” Mr. Rob Cesternino is very generously offering his “Survivor: The Amazon – Unauthorized DVD Commentary” at an exclusive DISCOUNTED RATE for Summer Book Club members.

Third, our friends at True Dork Times are once again getting in on the fun with stats, awards, and more.

And finally, this whole Book Club thing is kind of a work in progress. If you have ideas on how to improve the proceedings, please let me know.

My Big Question: Parvati Shallow, “Boston” Rob Mariano, Russell Hantz, Richard Hatch, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Ozzy Lusth, Cirie Fields, Tom Westman, Amanda Kimmel, Rob Cesternino, and Ethan Zohn.

That’s the full roster of“Survivor” Hall of Famers. All eleven have appeared on the show more than once.

Whenever the topic of worthy one-timers comes up, Cook Islands champ (spoiler alert!) Yul Kwon is always a popular pick. However, many seem to think his (spoiler alert!) over-powered immunity idol should count against him. With this re-watch, I hope to get to the bottom of that mystery.

And with that, let’s get started…

Episode Thoughts:

Aww…the mud stacking challenge is a fun one we haven’t seen in a while.

“It’s like bad performance art.” – Jeff Probst

“There’s good performance art?” – Gordon Holmes

The idol has been out of circulation for so long, I almost wish there was some kind of secondary advantage to going to Exile Island.

Ozzy’s good at challenges?! Thanks for the heads up, Becky.

They’re in the plane, covered in mud!

Oh yeah…the hot tub incident. I remember this being controversial back in the day. Doesn’t seem like such a big deal now.

Who doesn’t love to win?

Parvati vs. Adam seems like six of one, one half dozen of the other. If you’re someone like Yul who has everything set up the way you want, it doesn’t matter. The only people worth making a move on in the dominant alliance are Yul and Ozzy and they both have immunity.

And, we’re firmly in the position where we can say that Yul’s idol is an obscene advantage. In any other season, Adam and Parvati’s play would be that Yul is Superman and he’s going to take the million bucks in a walk. With Ozzy having immunity, the doomed duo had next to nothing to work with.

Yeah, the hat thing isn’t subtle. But, I don’t think it would sway my vote if I was Jonathan.

Discussion Questions:

Parvati or Adam: What would’ve been your move?

If you’re Sundra or Becky…what can you do? Discredit Yul? Try to spark some kind of Yul/Ozzy feud?

Has anyone ever gotten a better edit that Yul? Boston Rob in “Redemption Island”?

Any questions about “Blood vs. Water”? I’m allowed to talk about it now…within reason.

Post your answers and questions below, and be sure to swing by True Dork Times for awards, stats, and more…

Even More Whatnot…

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22 Responses to “‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 14”

  1. Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

    Parvati and Adam should’ve moved last episode, by putting their hatred of Penner aside, pushed for an Ozzy boot while Adam was immune, and tried to pull in Sundra. At this point, they’re pretty much SOL. Parvati might be able to swing a female alliance, but against a hidden idol and a likely necklace, not much chance of success.

    Same for Sundra and Becky. Their last best chance was last episode. Becky in particular had a chance to be seen as more than “along for the ride,” but with no independent moves to point to, is stuck in Yul’s shadow.

    JT and Tom Westman both got heroic, everyone-loves-him edits, similar to Yul’s, in the seasons they won. To a lesser extent, Kim’s edit in One World also seemed to show her as calm and thoughtful. Yul has had a few paranoid moments, and has leaned on Becky’s support and advice more than once.

    Blood vs. Water question: Has Jeff Probst ever heard the English phrase “too much”?

    • @FiligirlFu Says:

      Total agreement with Parv/Adam. I don’t think Sundra could make any move that would get her farther in the game though. It doesn’t seem she can compete better than Yul/Ozzy or Adam/Parv, so she’s stuck in 3rd/4th place in any scenario.

      As for BvW, I am so disheartened to see the cast but I am really hoping it’s better than I expect it to be. There are so many twists it is too confusing. As someone who has watched all 406 contestants in 370 episodes in 26 seasons, it feels like a punch in the gut that people like Colton, Brandon, and Fillup play twice after being complete jackwagons. Yes, I am a little bitter – having submitted applications, driven to casting calls, and submitted videos. I just love(d) the premise of Survivor in it’s (original) beauty so much that the shenanigans and Springer-like antics are frustrating to watch – when Fillup gets 3x the footage as Brenda, and takes precious seconds away from actual gameplay and strategizing. It’s like tuning it and watching the life of Amanda Bynes for 43 minutes each week.

      I have been on the fence whether or not I even want to watch anymore… however, I think players like Tina, Gervase, Monica, and Laura are encouraging me to give it one more season. Laura is from my neck of the woods, and I think she got a terrible edit because of mullet-machine Shambo. And poor Monica was a better version of Sherri, but was on a tribe of women who couldn’t get it together in team challenges. I just reeaaalllllyyyy hope I am not too disappointed.

      • Drew M Says:

        Here’s a key thing. Our expectations were pretty high for last season, and I think we were all pretty underwhelmed by the final product. We’ve got the reverse happening this season. They’re setting us up for a dud, maybe we’ll actually get something interesting instead. I dunno, trying to be positive.

      • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

        Drew’s hit the nail on the head. One of the things that has struck me about this cast is that a lot of them are unlikely to have returned if it wasn’t the loved ones theme–not because they’re bad players but because they’re not the big personalities.

        Considering what we’ve previously been dished up with as far as big personalities go, I’m very excited to see more ‘small’ characters with interesting gameplay (Aras, Laura, Candice, Monica), old school players (Gervase and Tina) and a minimum of alleged crowdpleasers (Rupert, Kat, Colton).

        I can’t say I’m happy about Colton though, because I think it continues the dangerous precedent that resulted in Colton in the first place: say controversial and vicious things to win the fame game.

      • gordonholmes Says:

        Colton was hit so hard last time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes out of his way to be super nice and win people back. And Caleb is a doll.

      • Drew M Says:

        One of my immediate reactions upon seeing the cast mix was, boy, no one will be taking any nonsense from Colton this season (on the returnees tribe). You think Rupert is standing for any of that? You think Tyson isn’t going to give him a healthy dose of snark? And the guy has 3 moms on his tribe that’ll also keep him in line. He probably felt last time that he was the king of the season because he was such a gigantic fan, and for all his less attractive traits, he did seem to have a grasp of gameplay. He’s playing with 9 other competent, wait, sorry, 8 other very competent players and Kat this season. There will be some intimidation. And Sarah, yes exactly on the subtler types of personalities we should be seeing. (And Tyson! Come on, who doesn’t love them some Tyson. Sarah I vaguely recall you voicing displeasure with Tyson, in which case we need to talk.)

      • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

        Gordon, having heard Colton on Rob Has a Podcast etc, I’m willing to give him a chance–however, it still stands that he was brought back because of his behaviour last time, which will encourage future contestants to behave similarly. I’m glad you think Caleb’s sweet–I’ve got a good vibe from him so far.

        Drew, Tyson can annoy me sometimes, but mostly I enjoy him. My husband is a huge fan! However, I don’t think Rachel is going to be a better loved one for him than Coach was in Heroes vs Villains.

  2. @FiligirlFu Says:

    Adam – That was kinda a weird scene with Yul, don’t ya think? “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry for trying to stay in the game Yul! Oh no, now I’m going to be voted out tonight instead of tomorrow night! The agony!” Weird.

    Ozzy – Double the mud than the rest of the tribe. Challenge beast!

    Parvati – “I just peed in my pants, and I wasn’t even wearing any” should have been the name of the episode.

    Sundra – She gets a vote against her. That’s pretty much all that happens for her this episode.

    Yul – “Becky took me out to the back beach and we had a conversation.” This remark made me really think that Becky wore the pants in the relationship, but Yul was the one wearing the belt to hold them up.

    Immunity Challenge – “Adam yet to get across with his first bundle”, can you imagine the words Penner would have for Probst if he were still in the game? Also, I was surprised Yul had a hard time getting his table puzzle together.

    Tribal Council – I still don’t understand how Probst thinks Yul bringing Penner’s hat is a bold move. He put it on the jury bench before the jury got there. If it wasn’t for Probst announcing who brought it, he would never know. This is the one time I think Yul slipped up in his speech – I think he *should* have pointed out that Penner would not have known who brought it.

    Parvati and Adam – well, for starters, their best bet would have been to not let their cockiness go to their heads after the mutiny. I truly believe if they had treated Penner even a little bit better and showed him an ounce of respect and work ethic, he might have stayed tight with Raro. Once Penner mutinied a second time, there was no going back. This is the one thing that could change their fate and they missed the boat.

    A better edit – Nope, the only one was Boston Rob. Maybe Cochran… Probst seems to really like him and, I admit, his self-deprecating humor is charming.

    Sundra and Becky – I don’t think there is anything they can do because neither were able or willing to play a cut throat game. They were unable to cut Ozzy’s throat (because he kept winning immunity), and they were unable to target Yul because of their loyalty (and the all-powerful HII). Becky is very VERY loyal to Yul, and Sundra is very adamant that she play a game that her son would be proud of her for.

    BvW – I had heard RC got cut after landing because her dad got sick (“blood” relationship). Since she was replaced with Candice (“water” relationship), did that mean they had to change up how the tribes would get split?

    • Drew M Says:

      Love the suggestion for the episode title, and love the comparison of Yul and Becky to pants. Lots of pants related things going on in this one.

    • gordonholmes Says:

      I never heard the idea of splitting the tribes based on blood relatives and dating/marriage relatives while I was out there.

      • @FiligirlFu Says:

        Colton is chatting on “Previously on Survivor” on Facebook and just confirmed the blood vs. water breakdown I was referring to above, said that when RC’s dad had blood pressure issues, RC/Dad were dropped and Candice/hubby were added. And then Day Zero and the RI family member twist was added. Who knows though… Maybe he’s just blowing smoke.

      • gordonholmes Says:

        I don’t think that’s accurate. I had heard of day zero and the tribe breakdowns before heading out.

      • @FiligirlFu Says:

        Good to know. That was my theory for the tribe division (blood relatives vs. dating/marrieds). Thanks for clarifying.

  3. Drew M Says:

    You’re right Gordon, that it doesn’t really matter to Yul who gets booted here. If I were Yul, I think I would have a slight lean toward Parvati, only for the reason that she’s exhibited at least some persuasive abilities, and that has a small (albeit very small) chance of working on Ozzy. Adam aint persuading anyone. Plus, whatever challenge threat Adam poses is nullified by Ozzy and Yul.

    Good time to bring up Yul podcast nugget #1: He was throwing all or most of these individual challenges. He never wanted to win anything, but he also wanted to make sure that none of the Raros won either. So as long as Ozzy was winning all these, Yul was happily going to finish 2nd through last place.

    Time for Yul podcast nugget #2: The hot tub fun times. Let’s start off by saying I think it was a really good thing that Yul came in 3rd on the mud challenge, because as much as Ozzy ultimately wasn’t going to stray from the Aitu alliance, a night of partying with both Parvati and Adam in his ear could have amounted to something. Anyway, on the actual reward, Yul was noticing the flirtation between Parvati and Ozzy and was quite afraid of leaving them alone together for the night (and didn’t want to stay up all night himself). What does he do? Gets Ozzy so wasted that he eventually (and quickly) passes out. Problem solved.

    Being well aware that possibly none of Parvati’s flirting is ever genuine at any time, she was getting to me with the covered in mud look. Moving on.

    Kind of odd behavior from Yul to confront Adam like that. The only possible motivation for it I can think of is that by going after Adam like that, he indirectly presented the threat that if you keep this up, we may as well just make it you who gets the boot tonight. If that was his aim, then fine, good work, it gets Adam to cease his behavior. But Yul has to know that Adam is going to try to pry the one nail that is sort of loose out of the dominant alliance. Yul is too game aware to just be offended that Adam would try something like that, so there had to be some motivation behind it. Still looked strange, though.

    My take on Hatgate is that I think it’s ultimately pretty moot. It did end up being quite an obvious, pandering move, as much as Yul wants to sidestep it. But I think Jonathan votes for Yul if he returns his hat or not. If Yul is in the finals, Jonathan respects the kind of person and player Yul is, and votes to give him the million. Now, if the usage of the hat was a defence move from Yul, in that he wanted to keep someone else from currying favour and returning it, that’s more interesting. I wouldn’t rule that out of crossing through Yul’s mind before tribal council.

    BvW? I’m going to go in to it with an open mind. Not going to immediately dismiss the twists to gameplay, odd as they may be. We’ve never seen RI used on a season with half returnees, let alone half loved ones, LET ALONE with these new RI twists. Maybe it makes it more interesting? And I do like the cast. I like that the returnees at least skew older, and I only count one intolerable knucklehead in the bunch that will hopefully be dealt with immediately. Very much looking forward.

  4. Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

    Parvati and Adam should probably have tried to persuade Ozzy to vote for Yul in order to flush his idol. One of them still goes home, but the survivor can then try to rally Aitu against Yul, pointing out that he’s a runaway winner.

    However, the real answer to this and the Becky/Sundra move is that Aitu are an alliance bonded tightly with emotion. I vaguely recall Becky saying post-show that she would sometimes talk to Yul about something cut-throat but he would push for a more upfront and sensitive game, and she would then feel guilty for considering it. Sundra is always referring to them as family, and for all Ozzy’s talk about playing the best game for him, I’m pretty sure the underdog bond is part of the reason he’s stayed loyal.

    Yul’s idol was certainly powerful, but on the rewatch, I think Aitu’s bond was the real reason he stayed safe. I don’t think they would have turned on him if he could.

    Did anybody else notice the difference between the way he talked to Adam this episode and the way he would talk to Cao Boi back on Aitu? On Aitu, Yul was always saying: “The girls want this, I’m voting with the girls,” and making himself very passive. With Adam, he’s saying: “I think I can make it happen, I have the sway for that.”

    It’s such a simple technique, but very nicely done!

    Regarding his challenge sandbagging: Yul said that he probably couldn’t have beaten Ozzy on most of these challenges, but he kept himself in them, just in case Ozzy faltered, and then pulled back once he saw Ozzy had the win assured. This episode is virtually proof of that. Yul pushed hard on the balance beam but was extremely casual with that puzzle.

    I do wonder whether Yul’s wishes would have held sway in the event of Ozzy losing immunity. Obviously, we know now that Yul didn’t need to vote Ozzy off, but just supposing Ozzy had lost that challenge–do you vote him off while you can or do you keep him to beat Adam and Parvati?

    The thing I remember about the hot tub is Yul saying afterwards that he was immensely uncomfortable but he didn’t want to go to bed and leave Parvati and Ozzy to it. I say he deserved a million dollars for sticking it out with the skinny dippers!

    Blood vs Water: I am in with Filigirl – did the tribes change from families vs friends after RC and her father had to be pulled, or was it always going to be family vs favourites?

    Please tell me there is a kick-ass tribal challenge in the first episode.

    • gordonholmes Says:

      The first challenge was epic in design and jaw-dropping in execution.

    • Drew M Says:

      At the very very least, you can’t say for sure that Yul wouldn’t have voted out Ozzy if he doesn’t win immunity. He is trying to keep this loyalty thing intact as long as he can. But to pull it off he’d have to convince Becky and Sundra it was a good move, so it’s not like they’d feel betrayed or anything if it happened. Man, I really do not know. A great question for Yul, isn’t it! You know what, no, he doesn’t vote him off. And I don’t think it’s a concern about Adam’s physical prowess either, I think it’s more about Parvati’s balance and agility skills. The rest of the challenges will likely involve those elements, and Ozzy’s the only one out there who’s better than Parvati at that stuff. But boy, I wonder if he knew the final vote was going to be so close. As those Ozzy votes come up, he’s probably thinking back to right around now wondering, “if only he’d lost ONCE I could have dealt with him!!”

    • George W Says:

      “Yul’s idol was certainly powerful, but on the rewatch, I think Aitu’s bond was the real reason he stayed safe. I don’t think they would have turned on him if he could.”

      Yep, to the extent that they ended up not willing to vote any one other person in the alliance out. So for the same reason, I don’t think Yul would have turned on Ozzy even had Ozzy lost a challenge. In any case, Yul didn’t view Ozzy as a big enough a threat that he would go all out in challenges to try to prevent Ozzy from winning immunity. Also, Parvati and Adam had a more close friends on the jury than Ozzy.

  5. @FiligirlFu Says:

    One concern I have about twists is that someone can do everything right and have the twist determine their fate in the game. For example, in FvF last season when there was a tribe switch, both tribes had less Fans than Faves, making it nearly impossible for the Fans to succeed since they were down in numbers on both tribes with the veteran Faves.
    Or, the double-boot episodes, like Jenny getting voted out and not having an opportunity to work some magic before the vote. Or, Terry Dietz winning every challenge, and having a FIC where he has to balance on lily pads against a yoga instructor and gymnast that are less than half his size.
    I had always felt the final challenge should be about stamina to make it a leveler playing field, but it really sucks when a production decision determines the outcome nullifying gameplay and strategy.

    • George W Says:

      Agreed. For me the most unfair twist was when Michelle Yi in Fiji got randomly stuck on a losing challenge team as a minority alliance/tribe player and they weren’t even allowed to talk to one another to rally. Had she survived that vote, Yau-Man’s alliance may not have had to scramble so much later.

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