‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 8


ep08Some 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:

Yeah, I skipped the recap episode.

Aww… I always like the “Survivor” catalog. They should have useless things like corn hole sets and Mad Libs in there.


When Probst says they need swimmers and puzzle makers, does Ozzy just start walking toward the water?

Actually, smart call on kidnapping Nate and not letting him compete.

“I can do puzzles like the back of my hand.” Let’s hope Brad does puzzles better than he does similes.

Ozzy throwing the club…very smart.

I’ve seen quite a few challenges in person. I’ve never seen any accidental nudity.

Brad deserves a lot of heat over that loss. That was a challenge where whoever won the swimming part was going to win the whole thing and their lineup had no shot against Ozzy, Yul, and Candice.

Candice and Jessica kissing? What is it about peanut butter and women on this show?

Solid immunity challenge, love me some zip lines.

There’s got to be something to “Survivor” about always letting the other person talk first. Maybe that’s a good way to not come off a schemer.

In that same train of thought, I’d be interested to see if things like Yul’s glasses make him seem smarter, more trustworthy, etc. There has to be some kind of salesperson handbook that explains those kinds of things.

Discussion Questions:

I’m assuming we all know what happens at next week’s mutiny. Based on what we’ve seen so far, shouldn’t Candice feel safe?

Without knowing about the mutiny, did Aitu make the right call in getting rid of Jessica over Jonathan? Was their challenge ability that different?

Edit Readers: Who are our contenders at this point?

Chunky peanut butter? What a waste.

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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11 Responses to “‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 8”

  1. Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

    Candice feeling safe? I don’t think her mutiny was about protecting herself from the vote so much as it was improving her odds of winning. I mean from what we saw in her conversation with Yul and Becky, she was safe until final three. Only problem there is that everybody expected F2. Does anybody believe that either Yul or Becky would have voted out the other to take Candice to final two? Even if she had stuck by them and was in the F3, who would have voted for her? What possible case could she have made for the money? (Besides which, she said she was concerned that Brad would flip back to Yul and Becky and push her even further down.)

    Now whether mutiny was the best play to win is an entirely different question (and one probably best discussed next week). But I think it’s hard to argue that Candice’s game up until this point was going to score her anything but third.

    While we’re on mutiny-watch, Candice claimed that Nate had told her that he and Adam were running things on Raro, and that Adam had been saying he could bring Candice onto their side. Jessica said that Sundra never left Nate’s side while he was kidnapped, so it seems plausible that Sundra, Nate and Candice talked through the scenario of the girls flipping to Raro post-merge (Candice claimed that she expected Sundra, not Jonathan, to follow her in the mutiny).

    Are Adam and Nate running Raro? I find it hard to believe that those boys are really capable of seeing what’s going on around them… A few episodes back, it seemed like Jenny and Rebecca were playing a subtle game in steering Raro’s vote. But Jenny and Rebecca have been voting off the numbers they might have controlled. It looks like Rebecca has a strong bond with Nate still, but neither of those women seem to have a clear gameplan in mind. Perhaps Parvati is secretly pulling on the reins here, but we’re really not getting the confessionals to back that up. I’m leaning towards *nobody* on Raro knowing what they’re doing.

    What came out in the secret scenes but not the episode is that everybody’s narked about the stray vote for Jenny that Brad made at the previous Tribal Council. Brad’s been denying it, but they’ve figured out he must have made it. I suspect this might have prompted the vitriol he received for the challenge.

    Mind you, the challenge sums up a lot about Raro’s attitude. I think Brad’s point about choking on the puzzles was entirely valid (and it’s true that many challenges are won or lost on the puzzle, rather than the physical portion, though not this one), but Nate believed that Brad did the puzzle because he didn’t want to swim in the miserable conditions, calling him a ‘nancy-boy’. I don’t think that was an intentional reference to Brad’s sexuality, but I do think it’s illustrative of Nate’s values: physical contributions are more important than mental ones and a real man does not let a woman swim for him.

    Challenges were awesome. Ozzy breaking the rest of Candice’s tile with his fist and catching the key before it could hit bottom was fantastic–was anybody else surprised that Aitu shared the swimming equally on that challenge? Technically, Ozzy did go three times, I suppose, but I figured they’d rely on him more. Also, considering Jonathan’s fame as a puzzle competitor it’s surprising to see him sit one out, though it doesn’t seem like Becky’s any slouch at puzzles either (and nor is Jenny, if Brad had only trusted her!)

    Random note: Jessica thought the girls might have thrown the immunity puzzle, claiming that she was giving Becky and Sundra the right pieces and they were handing them back to her. As this was not backed up by anybody’s reactions, I would consider the alternative possibility that Jessica’s mistakes were slowing Becky and Sundra down.

    Speaking of the girls on Aitu, it’s kind of interesting that they are still the dominant/figurehead strategic bloc in that tribe. Yul is playing a very self-effacing game when it comes to outsiders Flica and Ozzy (and formerly Cao Boi). I’ve heard him say ‘the girls’ several time when talking about what the alliance is doing–yet when it’s just Becky and Candice, he’s actively discussing voting order. It’s hard to tell how successful he’s being, but it’s a great strategy–and one that his overpowered immunity idol has absolutely no bearing on!

    It’s also interesting that at this stage of the game, Becky was playing the more important role in keeping their alliance together, and she was the one that Flica and Ozzy first approached (if we trust the edit) about voting off Jonathan. I think that when it comes down to it, the dynamic between Becky and Yul was such that she was always going to defer to his decisions (that whole big brother thing), but she was certainly making some of her own.

    Yul’s glasses–mine probably isn’t the most objective opinion, but I certainly liked them!

    • Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

      I don’t see how Aitu could have lost that puzzle challenge, they had a pretty substantial lead. I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that Flica’s observations were accurate, and that Becky threw it, especially if they’d actually been planning to boot Penner (since he was sitting out). Maybe Flica really was as irritating in camp (after the IC loss) as the editing made her out to be, and made herself the target?

      • Sarah Freeman (@ChannonSarah) Says:

        Actually, that’s not a bad point. If they threw the challenge to boot Penner and then changed their minds, they might not have bothered to show it in the episode. I don’t see Yul going for that, but Becky, Sundra and Candice might have cooked it up between them.

        That said, it seems weird that they saved all of the throwing for the puzzle, instead of slowing down on the poles and swimming.

      • Drew M Says:

        That challenge Jamie and Pee-Geih threw in China comes to mind, where they also threw it on the puzzle part. People probably look at a challenge layout and determine the puzzle part will be the easiest place to slow down. But on something like this, the swimming would be a pretty easy place to make it look like you were struggling a lot.

  2. Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

    Right, what was Yul doing swimming while wearing glasses? There was nothing in his leg of the challenge that required visual acuity. It was just weird.

    With respect to Candice, it’s almost like they mixed up the order of the episodes. In the last one, with the feast at Tribal, the edit was all over Candice making lovey-dovey gestures at Adam (to be fair, this episode seems to suggest all that takes is food). Yet in this episode, she’s all about forging a final three alliance with Yul and Becky. All it does is make the mutiny more confounding.

    Still, Flica was the right call. Like Cao Boi, she was a loose cannon (airing her unhappiness in front of Nate). She’s probably physically equivalent to Penner in challenges, but Penner seems to be good at puzzles, which are in abundance this season. Yul seems to get along with him, and he at least seems persuadable. Post-merge, if nobody likes Penner, he should be easy to boot, especially if Ozzy is around to win immunity.

    The only consistently positive, winner-esque edits at this point are Ozzy and Yul, maybe Penner, but that’s a stretch. Ozzy gets all the challenge praise/ provider/ underdog scenes. Yul gets all the calm discussion about how the game is going, and strategic discussions always involve him. Penner’s scene with the women (after he fished) was just “Who are we voting out tonight?” In contrast, Yul got a “Who are we going to the finals with, and what is the order in which we’re ditching these people in our tribe?” Raro doesn’t even get those scenes, they just get “This person is really pissing me off.”

    • @FiligirlFu Says:

      I may have to go back and watch it, but it seems like Candice does a lot of “uh-huh, yeah, sure, uh-huh” but doesn’t actually engage in the strategizing when it comes to their alliance. When Becky, Yul, and Candice were standing around last episode talking about being the F3, it was Yul & Becky doing the talking. Add to it the fact that she came back from Exile a few episodes ago and was like: “Hmmm… I have no idea why they sent me? I didn’t even think about that!” it just seems like she either had already checked out of Aitu or never really checked in to begin with.

      • Drew M Says:

        I thought the same thing! She uses such indecisive language and it really seems to put people off, it would put me off at least. I get what she’s trying to do, trying to be careful not to say anything that will get her in trouble, but when you take that too far, no one can get any sort of read on you at all. Very fine line there, between saying too little and too much. I believe she did much the same thing in H v V.

  3. Drew M Says:

    I think Sarah got Candice’s mutiny motivation right, that it was less about not feeling safe at Aitu and more making a snap decision to return to her better friends at Raro.

    Boot choice? Flicka over Penner made sense. Penner, despite all this public voicing of mistrust of the guy, is never seen doing anything mistrustful. I almost feel like it’s purely the way he talks that evokes these sorts of feelings in other people. He’s an excellent speaker and he conveys that he knows what’s going on around him, and that he’s thinking about a lot of things. Contrast that with Yul who speaks so matter of factly that it is probably easier to convince yourself he’s being honest. But yes, Yul and company seem to like having Penner around. Ozzy though? That one’s tougher. They do correctly read that there’s still at least two rounds of voting to go before a merge, and having Ozzy certainly gives that tribe a leg up in immunity. But enough to justify keeping him through the merge where he can win out? And he hasn’t thus far shown to be that reliable to your alliance? I guess they did make the right call, especially considering Flicka is a wild card, but it’s close.

    Jeff already hit the main points on the edit thus far. I did watch the recap episode and didn’t glean a whole lot useful in the way of the edit from it. The recap episodes are inconsistent, sometimes blatantly highlighting who the end game players will be and often even the final tribal council participants, and other times completely disguising these facts. This was one where Yul, Ozzy, Penner and Parvati get shown a lot, but Yul and Ozzy more within the context of their group. It does seem pretty easy to tell from the recap who the dominant alliance will be the rest of the game, but it’s tough to tell between Yul and Ozzy who ultimately wins. The surprise here is Parvati. You’d think from the recap that she was in total command on Raro and was primed for a big end game run. But considering where she finishes? I’m guessing whoever put together the recap episode just got smitten by her wiggle and threw in some Parvati scenes for fun. From the actual episode, I did notice that Ozzy’s golden boy edit started back up again. Big indicator he’s either the next to go or makes a big run.

    Other notes:

    -We’re all fascinated by Yul’s glasses! How were they not flying off his face during that challenge?

    -Found it interesting that Jonathan nailed exactly what people thought of him. Blind to the situation he is not. Funny how he can display self awareness here and then be totally clueless at other times.

    -Did we ever actually hear why Jonathan was spared this episode? I think we’ve reasoned it out pretty accurately, but we never actually heard Aitu give an ultimate reason to keep Jonathan.

    I may have brought this up before but it bears repeating again. Two of the targets this episode? Ozzy for his challenge prowess, Jonathan for his strategic acumen. Yul excels at both of these too! And has his name even come up once as a target yet? No! I don’t think anyone even suspects he has the idol. Even Tom Westman by this point had someone say he was a big threat. I know Yul gets targeted later, but to go this long and not be a vote target is pretty darn impressive. If there were rumblings of it, they’d have shown it because editors love to plant those seeds of doubt wherever they can. JT is the only other guy I can think of that was that obvious a threat and was never targeted. And JT I wouldn’t say was an obvious strategic threat.

    Finally, did anyone catch the rat image during tribal council voting, right after Penner and right before Candice? Pretty sneaky and cool, editors.

    • Jeff Pitman (@truedorktimes) Says:

      With respect to Yul’s UTR status, I think it’s because he’s fallen into a great spot on Aitu, with Penner as the more obvious strategist, and Ozzy as the more obvious challenge beast. (Although I guess he selected Ozzy, so it’s not entirely luck.) Maybe that was part of the reason why he trained his alliance’s actual votes on Flica, instead of Ozzy or Penner?

      • Drew M Says:

        That’s a really good thought. If so I wish we’d seen him say that! Kind of impressive that at this point, Yul has set himself to be the last man standing, maybe second last if he assumes they’re merging with Brad still around. But Adam, Nate, Ozzy and Penner will almost certainly be voted out before him. And then he has the idol too! Love me some Yul.

  4. @FiligirlFu Says:

    A few quick observations I haven’t read so far…
    1. Ozzy is an obvious challenge beast, but he hasn’t been given the opportunity to show his prowess at puzzles. Maybe Yul is not so concerned about having Ozzy around at the merge because it’s almost guaranteed that every challenge isn’t simply going to rely on swimming.
    2. It was interesting that Penner sat out, but who were the ones that sat out the previous challenge (and could not sit out back-to-back)? Wasn’t it Flicka, Becky, and Sundra? So, they really didn’t have a choice to sit out someone besides Penner, when clearly, Becky can hold her own when it comes to puzzles, Candice (while shivering) can still swim, and Yul & Ozzy both have the ability to swim and perform.
    3. Flicka seemed to be an obvious mark. She was left out of the previous vote, and seemed to not get along well with anyone except Cao Boi. While Penner does strategize a lot, one thing that can be said is that you can see it coming. His strategizing is predictable, overt, and he seems to be gung-ho with his alliance. And, once again (similar to Ozzy/swimming), Yul/Becky have to know that not every challenge is going to be a puzzle challenge, so there will an opportunity to vote Penner out after the merge.

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