‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 6


EP06Some 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 pay the idol spirits a visit and get started…

Episode Thoughts:

File this under “Things That Are Easier Said Than Done,” but I’ve got to think that every Tribal Council you survive while you’re on the chopping block is a gift. You’ve got to suck it up back at camp and try to find a way to get back in everyone’s good graces. Being defensive probably isn’t the best tactic.

Tree mail is a desk! That…is…unique…

If “Survivor” casting was looking for someone to put me on a tribe with to drive me nuts, it’d be anyone who talks about idol or island spirits. I’m sure they’re super cool people, but I’d have a tough time living with someone like Cao Boi or Courtney from “Exile Island.”

Nice, simple, brutal challenge. They should do at least one wrestling one a season.

Also, an actual heroic effort from Candice. (But that won’t stop me from doing this…)


So Cao Boi gets credit for creating the split-the-vote strategy? Or does it go to the credit card employee in his dream?

Plan Voodoo?! More voting strategies need code names.

Part shaman, part cheerleader…don’t hear that too often.

That’s got to be bad news for Candice that Adam was speaking well of her at Tribal.

Why would you kidnap Nate? He seems perfectly safe. Was there a reason they thought they could flip him?

OK, I hate double-boot episodes and here’s why…a person who is terrible at challenges can get to the end based on a solid social game. So why shouldn’t the opposite be true? By forcing a tribe to go to Tribal Council without losing a challenge, you rob that player of the chance of running the table.

Discussion Questions:

Which former Survivor would drive you nuts?

Who would you have kidnapped and why?

Knowing what he knows at this point, did Yul make the right choice?

Are these the best fed tribes in the history of the show?

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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10 Responses to “‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 6”

  1. Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

    The open Candice-Adam mutual flirting at Tribal Council was bizarre. Sure, they’re highlighting the most extreme examples for foreshadowing purposes, but the rest of Aitu should have noticed this, right? (I don’t remember and haven’t re-watched Ep7 yet.)

    Far and away, an excessively demonstratively religious person (Joanna Ward from Amazon, for example) would test my patience the most, especially if they had power over the tribe, such as South Pacific Coach. Although someone who talks constantly (like Cao Boi) would probably be a close second. Luckily, they never put those kind of people on Survivor, right?

    My first instinct in a kidnap situation would be to take the person they’re planning to boot, just to be annoying. The upside there is that person, since they’re already on the outs, would be grateful for the rescue, and should be easily swayed to become a post-merge asset. Not sure what advantage Nate really gives them, since it’s unlikely they’d have two brute-strength challenges in a row.

    Even with the Candice-Adam landmine festering within his chosen alliance, I still think Yul made the right choice. Keeping Penner around gives him someone more reliable than Cao Boi to work with. Ozzy was going to go with whichever side had the numbers, but Ozzy seems to have been closer to Cao Boi than to Penner, so Cao Boi is the better person to ditch. Having Ozzy immune post-merge with Penner still around lets Yul use Penner as a vote shield. I don’t think Cao Boi would necessarily serve the same role.

    In one of his exit interviews, Cao Boi mentioned that he was also pulling fish out of the ocean and climbing coconut trees constantly, so yes, these may be the best-fed (by their own effort) tribes, ever. Why do four seasons in Samoa, and only one here?

    • Drew M Says:

      So yes, I will admit now that my perception of Parvati forming an alliance with the Raro guys was off base. I think what I wrote was that she was getting in good with them to be a part of both factions within the tribe, but we haven’t seen her capitalize on that bond. Or any bond, really. Not impressed thus far.

  2. Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

    I remembered Ozzy feeding the tribes in Cook Islands, but it’s apparent that both tribes were having no trouble hauling in fish. Maybe that’s why they haven’t returned, because it was too easy? Though after last season’s starvation-induced apathy, Cook Islands seems ripe for a revisit!

    A lot of former Survivors would drive me nuts. Listing them would take too long.

    Kidnap: Cristina seems an obvious candidate, but then… who on Aitu cares about Cristina? Ozzy didn’t like her, and almost everybody else has a vested interest in protecting other members of Raro. She’s one of the stronger women on that tribe, so it weakens Raro further in challenges, it’s unlikely she’s going to make the merge anyway, and it keeps everybody else around for one more vote.

    I can’t recall what the reasoning was for kidnapping Nate, but my guess is that they wanted somebody who would spill the beans about Raro’s power-structure, and Nate was pretty vocal at the Tribal Council. He’s also a general challenge asset for Raro, and he’s a neutral for the dominant alliance, since he only has a connection with Sundra. We don’t know if Adam or Brad were raised as possibilities, but Candice/Jonathan and Yul/Becky should all have been wary of letting original tribe bonds strengthen for their new allies.

    Watching this week, it’s clear that Nate is convinced he’s running the show at Raro. Not so clear who else thinks they’re in charge, but I don’t get the impression many other people are listening to Nate!

    I’d forgotten about Candice’s open flirting. She was sitting at one end of the back row, so it’s reasonably probable that Aitu missed it (though Adam’s reactions should have tipped them off). It seems that at this point in the game, Candice had already made her mind up to flip post-merge and was doing her best to make sure Adam and Parvati anticipated it. Actually, never mind Aitu… how were the rest of Raro not noticing this and raising the red flag?

    This does not seem to be a season where people are alarmed by couples.

    Interesting set-up on Aitu, with the three girls forming some kind of strategic-bloc. They’re clearly talking about the game, but all we see is Becky reporting back to Yul. Ozzy has a secret scene (recapped here: http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=1&article=article6578.art&page=2) where he says that Yul told him the girls were all voting for Cao Boi…

    Right now, it seems Yul’s biggest asset is not his idol, but Becky’s loyalty, since it would have been so easy for her to join with Sundra and Candice as the core three of the dominant alliance. Instead, she’s continuing to keep Yul informed and to consult with him. We could call that luck, but Yul is maximising it by forging his own alliances with Jonathan and Ozzy, neither of whom have an in with the girls (though Jonathan *thinks* he does).

    Other notes: apparently at this point of the season Parvati was at the top of the popularity polls, with a small lead over Yul. I can’t figure out what she’s doing that so inspires these votes, but I might have to forgive CBS for their reasoning in bringing her back.

    This is one of my all-time favourite challenges. Seriously… Are there any dud challenges in this season?

    Jenny’s drawing of a gun on Cristina’s vote was hugely controversial at the time. She later explained she didn’t know that Cristina had been shot, and it was simply a nod to her policework. But I remember she fell out of favour with a lot of fans at the time–a shame, IMO, since I always quite liked Jenny.

    • Drew M Says:

      I think you’re right on target with why they wanted to kidnap Nate. My thinking was that they didn’t see him as a threat at all to be voted out, and wanted the natural discourse from voting someone out to proceed. But certainly a benefit would be getting him to reveal the Raro politics. And on the challenges, it’s such a strong challenge season isn’t it? From what I recall, the majority of the challenges post mutiny and post merge are really strong.

  3. @FiligirlFu Says:

    I was actually pretty impressed by the women in this reward challenge. Cristina, Candice, and Sundra all put up a great fight. I’m beginning to think they should have put a fish limit on Ozzy, because seriously, Survivor can no longer play in Cook Islands because Ozzy took all the villager’s fish. They probably banned Survivor from coming back for the simple fact that there may be only two fish and three octopi left.

    There are two castaways that would irritate the hell out of me: Colton and Russell Swan. They both talk too much and have whiny voices. I really could handle any Hantz family member and Katie over these two whiners.

    Why save Nate? Well, I hate to say it but Cristina actually performed well in the challenge and Nate… Not so much. Maybe it was worth it to Aitu to get rid of one of Raro’s strongest competitors by not giving her immunity and food? It could also be to try to curry favor with Nate when the merge comes, since he was the one drooling the most over lamb shanks. Or, Sundra could have requested it, and the 5 went with it to satisfy her? Or… Nate just seems like a cool guy to hang with that can relieve tension at camp, and also help out? Many reasons for this, but I think the big reason is that Cristina had a target, performed well at challenges, and the Asians/Caucs would rather let her go than have one of “theirs” risk being voted out.

    I wonder what editing took place in the Candice/Adam flirting. It showed them a lot, but we really don’t know if Brad was making comments to Candice and she was really making faces back at him. It does set us up to really understand the mutiny, but why let everyone ON BOTH TRIBES see that alliance? They have already sent Penner and Candice to Exile, then flirting at TC? Not smart, in my opinion, but we shall see…again.

    Cao Boi is an interesting cat, but it was high time for him to go. Flicka can be annoying too, but Cao Boi made himself out to be a threat by strategizing the votes. He was oblivious. I wonder if he knows he was voted out? And why didn’t he take his idol with him? Maybe… Maybe it was another vision, and he’ll wake up tomorrow back at the camp… Hmmm… 😉

    • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

      It’s interesting that the way the boots have gone, the women really did have to carry that reward challenge, with the teams of Parvati/Rebecca and Becky/Jessica going twice–it looks like the best strategy was to have your stamina on the dragging team and long limbs on the clinging one. As good a fight as Cristina put up, perhaps Raro would have been better served by swapping her with Parvati? (Or keeping Stephannie around….)

      I also have to wonder if this is another challenge where Jessica, for all her strength, actually made herself a liability, since there were times where it looked like Becky was having to drag her weight as well as Jenny’s/Cristina’s. I don’t think Becky was physically capable of doing that, so Jessica must have contributed some, but she often seemed more focused on pinning than dragging.

      Yeah, the flirting seems like a really risky move, but I’m equally surprised that nobody acted on the obvious signals (that I recall). Maybe this explains why Candice felt so comfortable flipping again in Heroes vs Villains–except on this season, she was one of the only paranoid people; H vs V was full of them.

  4. Drew M Says:

    Let’s see, who would drive me nuts. Very few kinds of people in real life actually drive me nuts, but one that gets to me is the type that has a very set way about how life should be and go and will never listen to anyone else’s opinion that’s contrary. So maybe someone like Roger from Amazon? Also maybe a guy like Fairplay? Love him as a player, not sure how well we’d mesh out there. I may find a way to get along with him, I would hope I could, but not sure.

    I think the choice of Nate to kidnap is sound. As Sarah said, he’s probably the most likely candidate to talk about Raro’s hierarchy, can probably help around camp a little, and I don’t think leaving him over there while kidnapping someone else would have suddenly caused Raro to target him. Just a kidnapping choice made quickly where no one wanted to rock the boat.

    Did Yul make the right choice? I believe so. I think he really likes talking things out with Penner and can predict somewhat Penner’s behavior. A guy like Cao-Boi is such a wild card, and rational players like to remove people like him from the game, as Jonathan says exactly. I don’t think Yul really ever felt totally solid that he could count on Cao-Boi right down to the end. Can he of Penner? I’m not sure he feels totally safe with Penner, but I think he thinks he has a good shot of further solidifying that bond. Plus the rest of that block of 6 were probably happy to see Cao-Boi voted out, so Yul maintains good standing with the other 4 too. Side note: Why wasn’t Flicka included in the block vote? Too close to Cao-Boi?

    I’ll tie Cook Islands and Pearl Islands for best fed tribes seasons. It helps to have a guy like Ozzy or Rupert around to extract all that protein from the ocean.

    Yul must have suddenly become very wary of Cao-Boi, if he’s the one coming up with a split vote strategy to flush the idol. Possibly played heavily in to Yul’s ultimate decision to eliminate Cao-Boi. If he’s getting sound strategy ideas from dreams, that’s something Yul can’t predict of control. Also, we did hear Jonathan identify Cao-Boi as a threat, right? Did we hear his reasoning? If we did I missed it.

    Always amazed at how inoffensive, in a good way, Yul can make his assessments of other people. He’s always so diplomatic when identifying Cao-Boi’s strengths, or Penner’s leadership abilities, or Ozzy’s athletic prowess. The person always feels good after Yul speaks about them. Great, valuable skill to have.

    Finally, all this talk of mistrust of Jonathan really foreshadows the events of episode 8 nicely, doesn’t it?

    • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

      Great call on the way Yul makes people feel. That’s a big part of why he won and why I’d love to see him play again.

      What kept coming up with Cao Boi is that he was a wild card. He was intelligent enough, but he wasn’t playing from logical motivations–if a guy makes his game moves according to his most recent dream, you’re never going to be able to depend on him!

      Flica was close to Cao Boi, but I don’t think they excluded her so much as included Ozzy. Ozzy had apparently approached Jonathan and Yul after the Cecilia boot. They didn’t need his vote, as their alliance had the numbers with Sundra, but considering how tight the three girls seem to be, it makes sense for the men to add an extra string to their respective bows.

  5. Katie Bieber (@Dithyrambic) Says:

    When thinking about which Survivor would drive me nuts, the first name that comes to mind is Shane Powers from Panama. Honestly, being on the Casaya tribe in Panama probably would’ve had me begging to get voted out. Also, with no explanation needed, Coach.

    I love that Cao Boi invented the split vote.

    I think I would have kidnapped Nate simply because he had the fewest ties to his original tribe. Adam and Parvati would have been way too dangerous.

    I don’t think there is any way Yul could play again, especially if there were other returning players as well. He would be immediately seen as the biggest threat and wouldn’t make it past the first vote. His tribe would have to go on an immunity run to keep him in the game. He is just too good to be allowed to play again!

    I found Jenny’s gun drawing pretty shocking but I guess those were different times. I suppose if she truly didn’t know Cristina had been shot, it wouldn’t be in as poor taste, but still.

  6. gordonholmes Says:

    I hadn’t even thought of the gun on the vote that way. Yikes.

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