‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 4


EP04Some 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 hop out of the nest and get started…

Episode Thoughts:

Wow, I really don’t remember Ozzy being this crabby. There’s got to be something to seeing how you were portrayed in your season, then going back and doing a better job. We’ve seen Boston Rob, Ozzy, and Coach do it. James…not so much….


Probst in a yellow shirt! I can see why that didn’t catch on.

Look at that water…

Fun Fact: The press does an unofficial ranking of all of the past locations during the media junkets. Everyone who visited the Cook Islands agrees that it was the best.

Ozzy caught a billion fish. This might be the first season where people gained weight.

Getting back into the Parvati discussion from last week; I think it’s important to note that it might be more accurate to say she’s cool with everyone rather than she flirts with everyone. When someone like RC flirts with you there’s more of a sexual connotation. I don’t see that from Parv. However, I could see where someone could read it that way.

Aww…poor boobie. He’s lucky they’re full on fish or they would’ve devoured him.

How traumatizing must it have been for that bird? Some crazed dude knocks your only offspring out of a tree. Then they put it back and leave.

I miss the challenges that pretend to deal with survival or emergency techniques.

Rookie mistake by Stephannie outing herself as a liability.

Probst in a white shirt! Now there’s a look I can support.

C’mon, Parvati. You don’t trust everyone in the tribe and saying you do makes them not trust you.

I don’t have a problem getting rid of a challenge threat like JP this early in the game. Especially with a tribe that seems to be as stacked as Raro.

Discussion Questions:

Was it too soon for the Raro tribe to start targeting challenge assets?

Is Ozzy the greatest challenge competitor ever? If not, who? Boston Rob? Terry?

Should Yul not be allowed to come up with nicknames? (Poseidon?!)

Which flavor of Probst is your favorite?


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

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16 Responses to “‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 4”

  1. Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

    JP was a challenge asset for New Raro in exactly one of three challenges. Not sure why he swam in the IC, because Brad did a credible job in the RC at that part. All in all, unless they suspect there’s an upcoming volleyball challenge, he should not be missed.

    Ozzy is demonstrably the greatest challenge competitor, ever. He won 74% of the challenges he appeared in this season (including the one he threw in Ep2). When you ignore team/tribal challenges, he won 6/8 (for an even better 75%), and 5/6 immunities. Terry had one more individual challenge win (for a total of 7), but he had 11 total opportunities (64%), and went 5/7 on immunities. Both were in every challenge, Terry’s season just had more individual ones. Furthermore, in South Pacific, Ozzy turned in a 70% challenge win percent, although a lot of those were 2- to 3-person duels. This episode, with the way he effortlessly passed JP on the IC swim leg, just gave more evidence of Ozzy’s challenge dominance.

    Yul’s nicknames aren’t any worse than Coach’s (Hercules?). Just saying….

    Probsty Side Up has to be my favorite. That pic doesn’t quite do it justice, though, because it misses the blinding white pants. But the cowboy hat really brings the ensemble together.

    • Drew M Says:

      I think because we have three seasons worth of evidence you’d have to give Ozzy the best challenge competitor title, but Tom Westman put on one hell of a show in Palau. Koror decimated Ulong in the tribe challenges, and then what did he win, all but two of the possible immunities? Tom is one of my favorites, Ian too actually.

    • Drew M Says:

      Basically, if they have any 40 something males (or females) on in the future that have a high adrenaline, high focus job like firefighter, or fighter pilot (any job with fighter in the title I guess), there should be no surprise when they dominate challenges. These things are cakewalks compared to what they’ve dealt with in real life. Underrated aspect of both Tom and Terry’s dominance is the complete focus both probably had competing.

  2. Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

    So Coach was ripping off Yul with the nicknames! Or have people done it before? Poseidon wasn’t so bad… I mean, it’s better than Intelligentsia Attache….

    Ozzy I think has to rank damn high up there. It helps that he was so young in his first season, but between this one and South Pacific, it’s hard to say anybody else has put up a better showing. The thing about Ozzy is that he’s such an all-rounder, and he’s pretty good about staying in the zone, not freaking out, so he does well even in puzzle-based or more random challenges.

    The biggest con for Ozzy’s challenge prowess is the team portion. It doesn’t show this season when Yul and Penner presumably did a lot of the challenge strategising, but in Micronesia and especially South Pacific, Ozzy’s team often struggled when they shouldn’t have. He’s a great component of a team, but he doesn’t seem to lead well.

    I’m not sure what JP was bringing to the table that Nate, Adam and Brad weren’t, so unless he was a closet puzzle champ, it was reasonable enough to start targeting him–especially for Jenny and Rebecca, since they were the pair he *wanted* to target.

    RNO’s recap of the Survivor Live show provides some good insight into Raro, especially reading between the lines of JP’s thoughts: http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=1&article=article6529.art&page=1

    I remembered that JP was booted this episode, though I couldn’t remember the details behind it, so when the camera focused so much on Parvati’s dislike of him, I thought that this must be an insight into some early Parv gameplay that was forgotten. Instead, it was… I don’t know… setting up the Parvati and Nate relationship? (Probst later would say they were one of the season’s showmances, even though that didn’t really come across in the edit.) Setting up a Parvati / Nate division after they voted two different ways? Just an excuse to look at the only bikini-babe on the tribe?

    I will give Parvati credit for picking up her work ethic when harder workers came into the camp. Also, this episode reminded me of why I liked Nate originally (even though he wore off me pretty sharply). He had a decent grasp of Survivor theory, and it’s interesting that nobody told him about the vote: not ‘his Supremes’ and not Parvati. Yet Adam knew. Maybe the girls insisted that Parvati couldn’t tell her flirt-partner, Nate, but had no such restrictions on Adam. Maybe Brad felt closer to Adam than the other two guys. Maybe everybody was worried he’d found the idol and wanted to keep him happy?

    Whatever the reason, Adam seems to be the only Raro guy who’s retaining the trust of his previous tribe. Cristina obviously offered JP up for the vote, Rebecca and Stephannie left Nate out of it, and Jenny only called Brad in as a last resort.

    Kudos to Jenny and Rebecca for this episode anyway. Shame they got so shafted by the edit.

    Going back to Adam’s Exile Island pick, it’s easy to see why he was chosen: public reason of weakening one of Raro’s strong guys. For Jonathan and Candice, it’s sending their most malleable former ally to find the idol that they believe is still out there. For Yul and Becky who know there’s no idol to find, it’s placating their current allies without risk.

    My question is: did anybody else worry about their motivations? Like anybody on Raro, or more particularly, the Aitu outsiders: shouldn’t Ozzy and Sundra be concerned? Cao Boi doesn’t know Yul has the idol, so he should be paying attention to the Exile Island selection as well.

    Final note: during that one challenge, Candice and Parvati had the perfect opportunity to talk to each other–nobody was around, and they could have easily compared notes without raising suspicions. It might be that they weren’t allowed to talk, or that they talked while the set-up was being done and the cameras were off, but now that I’m anticipating the mutiny, I wonder if they did get a chance to reaffirm their allegiance to each other.

    • Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

      Oh, that’s an interesting idea about the challenge layout setting up the mutiny, Sarah. I agree production probably told them not to talk (as late as HvsV they still weren’t *supposed* to do that), but it seems like it would be really difficult for them to police it.

      With respect to Adam’s exile pick: there’s no real strategic outcome for sending vs. not sending someone, except for the idol. It’s weird that Aitu seemed interested only in why Candice was sent – nobody (that we were shown) asked her about looking for the idol. Did she give away that she thinks someone already found it? Did she pretend she found it, using her masterful tools of deception? Did she claim nobody could ever find it in a million years? Hard to know.

  3. s Says:

    Jeff, where does Tom Westman fall in the challenge rankings? Do you weight team challenges at all?

    • Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

      For % of challenges won, Tom is near the top for individual challenges, and top 20 if you include tribal/team challenges, assuming a reasonable minimum number of challenge appearances. (Koror lost several reward challenges, and had to sit a lot of people out towards the non-merge, both of which lower his score.) But Cooks Ozzy is #1 and SP Ozzy is #2 in those rankings. Tom is also near the top in total challenge wins.

  4. Drew M Says:

    For an episode where a large alpha male ends up going home, I found this one to be a little less dramatic than some of the previous ones. Probably because all my people of personal interest are on Aitu right now. Also probably because I knew the outcome haha, in fact back when I saw this episode for the first time it was a much bigger deal to me JP was ousted.

    I found it pretty funny that the four guys thought they had Raro on lock, and that they were indispensable because of all the work they could do around camp. First of all, you’re not really ever indispensable for that reason, everyone will always think they can pick up your slack if they want you out bad enough. Second of all, we only saw them moving heavy things, not providing significant value like Ozzy and his fishing skills were. And thirdly, there’s only four guys! It would be so easy (especially knowing what we now know about Parvati) for a 5 of women to form and remove the men, which is pretty much what ends up happening (this episode, at least). Why would anyone ever think they’re completely safe?

    We have our first look at Dolphin Boy. It’s such an impressive thing to watch this guy swim and generally do athletic things. And all I could think about when Aitu won this reward is how much that stuff will come in handy later when they get abandoned and down to 4.

    Loved seeing Jonathan’s emotional side, what a complex, interesting guy. And surprised that mother boobie didn’t rip Cao-Boi’s head off.

    Couldn’t believe Cao-Boi’s fire making method worked. For as foolhardy as the guy can be, he proved he knows a thing or two about outdoor skills, I’ll hand that to him.

    Finally, the getting rid of JP process. I didn’t think he came across as terribly overbearing. Was it a little spin by Parvati to make it seem worse than it was? Was she ready to try to gain some social standing? Possibly. And she found herself right in the middle of two groups of 4, which is a dangerous spot for anyone, especially her, to be. The longer you can maintain a position like that, the better your prospects will be. Here’s what I think happened. Parvati must have thought siding with the other four women was best for her, and I’d agree it was. But I bet she pulled some mind tricks on Adam and Brad and had them consider the benefit of voting for JP as a block of 3, ultimately deciding it was advantageous. This leaves her after the vote looking good to the four women, but also to the two guys who accompanied her in the flip. Furthermore, I bet she assumed her great relationship with Nate meant she didn’t have to bother letting him in on the plan and could smooth things over with him later. I forget if this happens in the next episode but I suspect it does. Pretty good play here by the black widow.

    • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

      I think the guys were confident that they had Parvati with them, since she didn’t really fit in with the women. You’re also giving her way more credit than I do. To me, the far simpler explanation is that Jenny and Rebecca did most of the pushing, Parvati and Brad were either persuaded or sufficiently ambivalent to go along with the women rather than trust each other.

      I suspect Parvati filled Adam in, but I think at this stage of the game, she was going with the flow and getting a feel for how Survivor worked.

      I think this episode’s place in history is that it’s the first showcase of Ozzy’s skills. I’ve never cared for Ozzy as a player, but I give the guy full credit for his challenge prowess.

  5. Katie Bieber (@Dithyrambic) Says:

    I guess I was most surprised by how coy Parvati acted when she was approached by Jenny. I suppose it is the smarter move, but the other women we so unconvinced that they felt the need to bring Brad. This is why I only play armchair Survivor, apparently. I feel like I would have jumped all over it if I were her, not shrugged and acted indecisive. I would probably be more like Stephannie, bringing the blame on myself, haha. But it would be more deserved. Even after the rewatch, I can’t figure out what she thought she did so wrong when it was clearly just a failure on everyone’s part.

    I don’t think the choice to oust JP had anything to do with him being a challenge threat. He was annoying, possibly bossy, and just generally not useful. He was crushed by Ozzy in the swimming leg, which was of course no surprise. Ozzy is, in my opinion, the challenge master. He was so confident in his abilities by South Pacific that it bordered on irritating, but you still had to hand it to him.

    As sad as I felt for the boobie, it was so nice to see the softer side of Jonathan. It probably gained him some points with the women, too (the points Cao-Boi obviously lost). Although I did feel for Cao-Boi after his moment of humility.

    Yul’s suggestion of Poseidon was no worse than whoever yelled King Neptune right after! I would rather have Yul doling out nicknames than have people who nickname themselves (Flica). Maybe people call her that at home, but I just always find it awkward when people declare their own nickname. (see: John Cochran. He didn’t grow into himself until long after declaring his).

    I thought it was interesting that despite Adam being sent to Exile, he was hardly in the episode at all. The edit makes it pretty obvious he is not a major player after how little screen time he got, and how bewildered he looked whenever he was on screen. The fact that they didn’t show Candice on Exile made sense because it was kind of “in between” episodes, whereas Adam’s whole stay occurred during the episode. We don’t know what he did there and no one seemed to care!

    • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

      My interpretation of Parvati’s behaviour is that she didn’t feel secure with the women. It might have been different if it had been Candice, Sundra, Cecilia and Becky on her tribe, but it was Jenny, Rebecca, Stephannie and Cristina, who skew older (I think, as I can’t recall anybody’s ages) and were generally in a more established and practical stage of their lives.

      I think if we threw HvsV Parvati in that mix, she’d probably feel confident to sit around the fire and laugh and play up to those women. But this is Cook Islands Parvati, I’m pretty sure she’s the youngest woman on the tribe, and the guys are closer to her demographic and more familiar territory. She probably *is* better off sticking with them.

      The RNO secret scene recaps give an insight to Adam on Exile Island: http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=1&article=article9895.art&page=1 He doesn’t really have anything significant to say!

      • Katie Bieber (@Dithyrambic) Says:

        I keep forgetting that this Parvati is not necessarily the one in HvsV so thank you for your interpretation. Jenny, Rebecca, Stephannie and Cristina are not the typical “cool” kids and Parvati definitely is. Not to stereotype anyone too terribly, but she is kind of the cheerleader/Prom queen type and none of those other women are. Candice is probably the most similar to her “type” so it makes total sense that she would choose men (the “jocks”) over the girls who were probably not very popular in high school. I could be misjudging the other women of course, but that is the feeling I get. They don’t seem like the conventional “in-crowd.”

  6. FiligirlFu Says:

    This episode reminded me of how awesome Ozzy was in challenges… not only as a swimmer, but Dude can walk on water! When it showed the overhead shot of him running, it seriously looked like JP was casually swimming along and Ozzy ran right past him! Crazy!

    Cao Boi clearly seems to have no clue what is kosher. The fact that he felt the need to climb up a tree – after eating TEN fish of Ozzy’s hourly catch – shows he isn’t thinking or speaking fluently or coherently. Not to mention that he had no problem abusing Becky & Candace in the IC. Thankfully, Penner stepped up and let everyone know they needed to be a little gentler on the ladies (as he proceeds to throw Candace over a barrier…). What a sweetheart!

    Candace. Bad actress. “Oh! What?! I have no idea why they would send little ol’ me!” I’m actually pretty shocked she didn’t get a bit part on the soap opera Passions before it was canceled in 2008.

    JP was simple eye candy. Sure, Stephannie is probably not a physical threat in the game, but she is still competing just fine. The challenges haven’t yet been completely about strength, and have a good mix of swimming, running, puzzle-making, and building.

    Have I said how much I loved this season? Us Asians really aren’t as boring as everyone thinks we are. And Nate sure knows how to work the ladies. I bet the ladies at the shoe store love that guy! Always positive… “No, ma’am your feet look slim and sexy in that pump.”

    • Katie Bieber (@Dithyrambic) Says:

      I was surprised that no one called Candice out on her wide-eyed “I didn’t even have time to think about it” comment. She was alone on an island overnight. She had nothing but time to think! Even if she was trying to meet basic survival needs for the night, you can still think while you are doing those things. The average person would be thinking of nothing but “Why me?”

  7. conundrumbombs Says:

    Greatest challenge competitor? I am going with Boston Rob, not because he is the best physical competitor, nor the best mental competitor. But if you average the two, BR comes out on top. I feel that he’s probably in a top five for both categories, and probably the only one who would make a showing in both of them, as well. You can put him on the strength element of the challenge, or the puzzle element, and he will deliver.

    I prefer a Classic-Executive Probst: blue shirt, lose the hat.

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