‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 5

EP05Some 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 swing by the neighbors’ place and get started…

Episode Thoughts:

This weird armpit checking ritual does remind me of the one question I’m always asked that I have no answer for; do they do some kind of major waxing before they go out? Anyone care to field this one?

candice5

Looks like the great Probst shirt experiment is over.

I hate smack talk during challenges. Serves no strategic purpose.

It’s pretty weird/awesome to see a non-returnee tribe with names like Yul, Ozzy, and Penner.

Smart of Sundra to bail on the expedition. No reason to lump yourself in with the side that is down numbers and annoying people.

It blows my mind that they could be close enough to visit the other tribe. Every location I’ve ever been to has had camps that could only be reached by speedboat or car. That being said, I love that they were able to do it. I always liked the One World concept and Tocantins’ two-people-at-Exile concept. I think it adds an extra dimension to the proceedings when the tribes can intermingle.

Speaking of love; I love when the whole tribe has to get on a teeny tiny platform.

Oh hey, it’s the challenge James broke.

A classless person would make fun of Probst saying “Parvati now on the pole.”

A classless person would also make fun of Jessica and Becky bashing heads after the pole walk.

Whatcha saying there, Stephannie? Never give someone a reason to send you packing.

Brad: “I get along with everyone pretty much evenly.” Zzz…

Hmm…weird vote, did I miss Cristina scrambling to save herself?

Discussion Questions:

Did Nate read too much into Stephannie’s “mashed potatoes and gravy” comment?

Should the tribe camps be close enough for impromptu visits?

Who’s your Player of the Episode? I’m leaning toward Sundra.

Double boot episode coming next week. Are you a fan of this method of whittling the numbers down?

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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7 Responses to “‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 5”

  1. Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

    Didn’t Russell Hantz have some sort of weird skin reaction to pre-game laser hair removal in Redemption Island? Probably not the example you were looking for, but that’s the one I remember.

    I think Nate was just looking for an excuse to boot Stephannie, probably in retribution for her failing to join up with him and Sekou back in Ep1. Although from her exit interviews, it sounds like she was already in an alliance with Rebecca and Sundra before the first IC, had offered to go with Sekou/Nate before then, and Sekou had turned her down. Sekou then panicked after the IC and tried to woo her back. She declined. Which doesn’t really explain why Nate voted against her at two straight Raro tribals.

    I see no harm in letting the tribes visit the opposing camp. If, as in this case, they’re far enough apart that people elect not to go, that’s probably disincentive enough. Nakum visit Yaxha in Guatemala, too, although in that case they were invited.

    Sundra? Her? Didn’t Yul organize that? I would say Penner, for pointing out the pointlessness of sending people to Exile Island in front of everyone. Although not a single person in Raro took the bait and tried to flush Adam’s potential idol. Mainly because they’re idiots.

    Double boots: I initially thought it seemed unfair for a solid, IC-winning tribe (Koror, especially) to have to attend Tribal. But forcing a Tandang or a Galu to shed some dead weight before the merge might have given them stronger post-merge tribal unity.

    • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

      I forgot about the waxing question… Waxing doesn’t last all that long before you start getting some stubble again, and presumably they would have had it done before flying out, so they’ve been at least a couple of weeks by this point? There’d be something to look at. Laser hair removal takes multiple treatments which should be a month apart, and the course you pay for initially might not get rid of all of it, leaving you with the choice of whether or not to cough up for extra sessions to finish the job. I recall Parvati said she’d been lasered before HvsV, but I imagine she could have afforded it after Micronesia!

      Why does Yul get the credit for bringing Sundra in? It was Becky and Candice who did the wooing and Sundra who did the flirting! Yul only made it official! Seriously, I do think we need to credit the women here. It’s not clear who should take responsibility, but Yul hasn’t even got her name right yet.

      Tandang is an *excellent* argument for double boots!

  2. Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

    I remembered why Stephannie had left from watching this the first time around. Rewatching it now, with the benefit of a lot more Survivor viewing experience (this was only the second season I watched) my reaction is: That’s *it*? It was such a throwaway comment–she wasn’t even whining! If every Survivor got voted off for that kind of talk… well, I’m sure history would be much different.

    The really weird thing about that vote though was that it was such a great move for the men. They were worried about the women’s alliance, but the women were already wanting to get rid of Cristina and by playing up Stephannie’s comment, they put two women on the chopping block ahead of themselves. I was waiting for Brad, Nate or Adam to point this out, yet nobody did.

    It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but I’m kind of reluctant to give them the credit for it. Still, considering how quickly the women abandoned the gender divide, we have to give them some credit for getting into their good graces.

    We still don’t have any clear reason for why everybody unanimously voted her off–from her Tribal Council comments, she hadn’t bonded with anybody, so I’m guessing the mental check-out thing extended further than the mashed potatoes comment, at least in the eyes of her tribe. It makes you wonder who is in charge though, who laid down the unanimous vote? Jenny and Rebecca seem to be making the calls at the moment, but they’ve ceded an ally this week.

    I would give Sundra player of the episode, yes. She’s played the necessarily quiet game (think Philippines’ Denise on Kalabaw), bonded with the power alliance, avoided her fellow outsiders, and she’s been rewarded by being placed above Cao Boi and Flica on the totem pole–this despite being their apparent weak member in challenges!

    On this week’s Mutiny-watch, it was interesting to see the seating arrangement when Sundra was offered her place in the alliance. She was brought in between Yul and Becky, with those two doing the talking and Sundra facing Yul (who missed out on the armpit bonding). Candice was present, but she was sat on the end and stared off into the distance, not saying anything. Conversely, for the armpit-hair-competition, she was right in the middle and an actively chatty participant.

    One of the reasons Candice would later give for her mutiny is that she felt on the outside of her alliance, knowing that Yul and Becky were a tight unit. This scene backs that up (though it’s not clear whether Candice was excluded or simply lacked the confidence to participate more actively).

    Candice also said that she and Sundra had a secret alliance going though, so this episode is a plus for her (and this is another reason to give Sundra player of the week).

    Also in Mutiny-Watch: With all the clues available so far, Jonathan comes to the conclusion that the idol has been found. Last player to look? Adam!

    As far as the double boot episode goes, they never bother me. I like the winning tribe seeing the losing tribe’s Council, just so there’s some in-game advantage, and I really liked the HvsV take where each tribe could compete for individual immunity, but I don’t have a deep-rooted objection to both tribes losing a member.

  3. Drew M Says:

    How’s everyone’s armpits?

    One of my favourite classic Survivor challenges is the hold bags of weight on a stick on your shoulders. I know it involves nothing more than standing there and being strong, but I always find it pretty compelling. This was a cool take on that. I was trying to think what the best strategy for this would be. Do you create a super pair that can take a lot of weight and leave everyone else more vulnerable, or do you make sure there’s a strong person in every pair? I’m willing to say the pair would only be as good as your weakest member, because if one drops in this challenge the pair is eliminated, so maybe in that regard rather than having one weaker person in every pair, pair up two strong so they can hopefully last longest? And if you’re the loader, I think you give all pairs some weight initially and then start piling on the strongest pairs on down. That way when pairs are waiting around to get weight, it’s at least with something.

    Is the best way to fish for octopus with your foot?

    Did not find Christina’s behavior to be all that egregious. Is it just me or is this season so far pretty heavy on magnifying a very little thing in to a major reason to vote someone out? As we will see come vote time. And is that a sign of good game play? Pushing the target on to someone else each round is in essence exactly how to best play Survivor.

    Nice touch by the Aitu alliance to let Sundra know they approached her before ever approaching Ozzy about an alliance. Conveys a sense that she’s important to their well being.

    So not only has Cao-Boi annoyed his original Puka tribe and the Aitu tribe, but now Raro too. It’s a real shame he didn’t make the merge so he could annoy that tribe for the Cook Islands bingo.

    I loved when Jonathan says he thinks the idol has been found, and they cut to Yul for some sort of worried face, and it’s exactly the same as his normal look haha. I’m telling you, someone check him for batteries, he’s a robot built to play Survivor.

    Another of my favourite classic challenges! I’m guessing since James hadn’t broken this yet, they would have been allowed to carry one pole across, it just didn’t occur to anyone (maybe because no one was strong enough to do so). And the clear strategy here is to put the biggest guy in the middle on the platform and just fill in around him, rather than bunch everyone on haphazardly.

    So fun fact: I made notes on this last part thinking that Christina was about to go. Nope! For some reason I thought that that was the ending to this episode, and I was wrong. So the stupid game of telephone ended up actually costing Stephannie, a little weird. I like Jeff’s reasoning that this was Nate looking for a reason to get Stephannie out, I think that’s a sound argument. And yes, kudos to the guys for shifting the target off them for now. I’ll be honest, not that thrilling an episode for me, but I think beginning next episode things get ramped up again, if memory serves me correctly.

  4. glennyfromtheblock Says:

    About to rewatch the episode now, but on the subject of Double Boots strengthening a winning tribe – totally agree. Which is why I hate it as both a viewer and as a game fan.

    As a viewer, the total disfunction of a Tandang or a Galu is glorious to watch – for the in-fighting pre-merge and the clusterf*ck disintergration that inevitably follows post-merge when everyone nonsensically turns on each other too early.

    More importantly, as a total game purist, I don’t like a tribe getting that advantage of solidifying numbers without having to work for it. I you want to strengthen your tribe by jettisoning a tribe member, you should have to plan for it slash throw a challenge, not just get production serve it to you on a platter (even though I know it’s not the reason production does double boots).

    Having the reward be seeing the opposing tribes Tribal is something I think is brilliant though and should be used more often, double boot episode or not.

    The biggest part is just the semantics of it. The ‘win or lose, both tribes go to Tribal’ is kind of a bummer and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Production-wise, they should just have two challenges and two tribals in the one episode. Make the second one something quick, cheap and easy like the Amazon Memory Game or something. Or have the first challenge be both Immunity and Reward (of going to see the opposing tribes TC) and then hold a second immunity challenge AT Tribal Council. Clearly that idea needs some fine-tuning, but the basic idea is more solid and satisfying than anything Survivor has managed the past few seasons.. Plus, it requires ZERO Glass Bottles to implement, so that’s a win.

    *sits back and waits patiently for SEG to offer him a Executive Producer position*

  5. Katie Bieber (@Dithyrambic) Says:

    I think Stephannie’s downfall was partially due to Nate wanting to be rid of her, and partially because she just said one too many things that were “wrong.” Her heart just didn’t seem in it, whether it was or not. Maybe it was the edit, but she did just seem exhausted and over it.

    I found Flica’s taunting at the challenge really distasteful and although I always root for Aitu, it made me glad that they lost this one. It’s one thing to talk a big game, but if you can’t back it up you just look like a fool. I would have been mortified to be on her tribe.

    Although One World is by far my least favorite season, the idea of two tribes on one island is an interesting one. I wouldn’t mind seeing it tried again, and Aitu creeping up on Raro may have been the inspiration? I just found One World to be practically unwatchable and it is the only season during which I did not look forward to new episodes. It was very obvious Kim was going to win by the merge so after that, it was just a slow march to the end and the people were so unlikable.

    Sundra is definitely player of the episode. She played it cool enough to stay well below the radar and yet still managed to get into the right alliance ahead of the other outsiders. However, if you look at it from Becky and Yul’s point of view, what other choice did they have? None of the others were a viable option. Obviously Ozzy manages to make his own way despite them, but at this point is too much of a threat to make any sort of long-term pact with when there are other more reliable, safer options.

    I also would like to know about the shaving thing. Also, I am sure someone here will know this and it is something I have been wondering about since Borneo:
    Do they get contact solution??? I know I saw a behind-the-scenes type thing once that said there is a kit with certain hygiene products in it, but it seems like such unsanitary conditions to be sticking your fingers in your eyes. In some scenes, you see tribe members with their glasses on so I assume the rest of the time they are wearing contacts, but how can you possibly keep them clean or put them in and take them out? I wear glasses/contacts and always told myself if I was going to buck up and try to get on the show, I would need to have Lasik eye surgery first.

    Can someone please enlighten me with some behind-the-scenes show knowledge??

  6. @FiligirlFu Says:

    Armpit check – I pretty much shave religiously every single day because I hate stubble, so I am curious about the waxing thing too! On every Survivor application I have submitted, a razor has been one of my luxury items. Just sayin’.

    Reward Challenge – I was actually a little surprised by the match up. I expected Ozzy/Candice and Sundra/Flicka to get paired up. Who knows, that may have made a difference in the end. Cristina looks like a competitor though – why would you talk smack to her and fuel her desire to hold out?

    Tribe Camp Proximity – The other season I remember a tribe invading the other’s camp was in Guatemala (S11) when Danni’s team paddled over to celebrate her birthday and paranoid-Jamie was ticked that they were there. It is pretty awkward… not sure why Cao Boi thought they would just welcome him and split the coconut supply… I thought it was funny that Raro said these were the three players they couldn’t stand. I can understand Cao Boi and Flicka, but what reason to hate Ozzy? Because he can swim laps around you? Ok, yeah, that’s a good reason.

    Immunity Challenge – “Parvati is on the pole!”… Shame on you, Gordon! NOBODY else even thought of it that way! …Actually, it does seem she has a penchant for platforms and poles, or at least her tribe puts her in those positions. I mean, you wouldn’t put a bad swimmer on a swimming leg right? Why not put Parvati on a pole? Whatever seems most natural I guess.  Flicka’s method of having a tall body mass to walk across the pads seemed to be a very risky, but it worked out and Becky was able to make up some time. Darn, Flicka is very VERY awkward. It’s no wonder she and Cao Boi are two peas in a pod.

    Nate’s Take on Food Talk – Since we really are all tricked by editing, I just wonder if he didn’t realize there was another target on the women’s minds besides another man. I think Nate was simply clinging to one comment and riding it to save himself for another three days.

    Final Vote – I thought it was kinda interesting that Cristina did not get voted out, but I also wonder if Rebecca made her comment about wishing Cristina was next, with Stephannie being a given for this vote. But really, how hard is it to figure out meals with three ingredients. I get that she’s trying to fit into the group and find a niche (which she never really seems to), but you really have to watch yourself. Did anyone else think it was a bad idea to lounge in that one spot on the beach that JP enjoyed? Cristina had several shots there too… it looks entirely too comfortable for others not to notice.

    Player of the Episode – NATE! Did you see that honkin’ huge pile of wood he collected?! It rivaled Ozzy’s hourly fishing catch! No, actually, it probably was Sundra. If she’s looking at the alliance clearly, she’s not going to be F5, she’ll be the swing vote of F3 and have her choice between Penner/Candice and Yul/Becky.

    Double Boots – Gosh, I think I would really hate these episodes if I were a castaway. Your tribe could be undefeated and do everything right, and still lose a member. I mean, if you reeaaaaally want to lose someone you could just throw the challenge (a la Ozzy & Aitu) OR you could just give Team Immunity away like Colton did in One World. The only benefit is that it can get rid of someone dragging the tribe down, but that’s not always the one who gets booted, so I don’t see a whole lot of benefit from it.

    Looking forward to Episode Six. Thanks Gordon for organizing the book club!

    For the geeks among us, do you think it would be any benefit during the Reward Challenge to hang the sandbags on the outer hooks (furthest away from the person)?

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