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Last night’s Survivor was a show of solidarity…for a hot minute. The merge occurs between the two tribes just as predicted. Savaii’s plan works in that Ozzy beats off the unbeatable Christine, but that is about as far as it goes…his overacting doesn’t fool the Upolu for a split second, and Savaii’s double agent may be way too good at his job.

After the dumbest riskiest move in the history of the show, the folks at Savaii aren’t too keen on their recent decision. Cochran tries to say that he would have been willing to go to Redemption Island had Ozzy not stepped in with his grand plan. Keith pointedly says that he himself could never let someone else fight his battles. Someone asks Cochran if he’s comfortable being a double agent. He reveals in his interview that he can certainly pretend to like the Upolu as he’s been pretending to like his tribe since they arrived. Is someone a sore sport because his fellow castaways are missing Ozzy?

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On Redemption Island, Ozzy wakes up Christine to tell her the great Savaii fable. I have to hand it to him…he’s a pretty good actor. Ozzy wants to accomplish a few goals: a) feed Christine his story (check!); b) make her believe it (check!); c) beat her in the duel (um, you lost me there…). He thinks sacrificing himself to go to Redemption Island is either the stupidest or the ballsiest thing he’s ever done. Who’s voting for the former?

In a new twist, all members of both tribes arrive to witness the duel. Ozzy may be overacting just a tad in his rant against Cochran and the evil Savaii. Both Benjamin Coach and Albert aren’t buying it. At. All. In the duel, both participants are locked behind a gate. They must build a long pole to try to get some keys off a faraway stump. Once the keys are retrieved, the castaway must get three different keys to unlock their gate. The first one to free him or herself wins.

The winner isn’t just safe–whoever finishes first returns to the game. Right off the bat, the duelers’ strategies are very different. Ozzy has his three keys before Christine can even get her first. I hate to see Christine lose after such a run at the duels, but I am glad Savaii didn’t totally hang themselves. Jeff has one more announcement after saying farewell to Christine: it is time to merge.

Right off the bat, over a shared meal, Cochran aligns with Coach and whines about how he has been ostracized by his tribe mates. Coach is quick to tell him that Upolu is voting six strong, and they think Savaii is trying to play them by making up a story, taking a risk by sending Ozzy to Redemption Island, and then setting Cochran up as the snitch. Ding, ding, ding! But then Coach starts empathizing about what it’s like to be an outcast, trying to sway Cochran legitimately to Upolu. It’s like a Jedi mind trick!

I’m hoping Cochran won’t bite, but he totally jumps ship. Sophie jokes that Ozzy was a horrible actor, and Brandon Hantz Crazy Pants is able to get Cochran to tell him he’s actually acting as a double agent. Oh, Cochran. I will say he keeps his word and returns the immunity idol to Ozzy, but I am still disappointed in the little guy. However, admittedly, I am a horrible strategist.

Cochran and Dawn go to retrieve the tree-mail, and she admits that she doesn’t have much loyalty to Savaii. She thinks the Upolu are much kinder. Dawn gets emotional because she feels she should have stood up for Cochran sooner and had his back when other Savaii members were treating him poorly. Dawn would rather play with heart than step on people for the ultimate prize.

For the immunity challenge, each person must balance on a perch while holding a coconut on a double rope contraption. As time goes on, more rope will be added, making it harder to hold the coconut. If a coconut drops or a player loses their balance, they are out of the game. The last man and woman standing win immunity. Edna is quickly out, followed by Cochran. The ladies drop like flies, with Dawn gaining immunity. Coach is next, followed by Marijuana Jim and sore loser Keith. It’s a battle of wits between BHCP, Ozzy, and Albert. Brandon drops his coconut, and ultimately Ozzy beats out Albert for immunity.

The former Savaii members are trying to decide whether to vote for Rancher Rick or Sophie. Keith questions if Cochran is on board with “going to rocks.” If the votes are deadlocked, at the agreement of the castaways (i.e., if no one is willing to change their vote), the game basically becomes one of chance, with Jeff pulling rocks with the tribe members name on them out of a bag to see who is going home. Cochran gets a little snippy that Keith keeps questioning his loyalty….

…And he quickly runs to Sophie to tell her that after much discussion, his “friends” have chosen to vote for Rancher Rick instead of her. He also relays that the plan is to play the immunity idol for Whitney, as Savaii assumes she will garner Upolu’s vote. Cochran claims he has too much respect for the game to have a rock determine his fate. He’s playing both sides now. Surprisingly, he’s playing it the same way he did with his old tribe, begging the former Upolu not to vote him off at tribal council.

Cochran admits to Dawn that he will flip his second vote, and Dawn questions his quick decision to waffle on his tribe mates. She has decided to remain loyal to Savaii, but regardless, she will not rat him out to the others. She asks Cochran to think about whether Upolu would be so quick to befriend him had their members gained immunity.

At tribal council, Jeff discusses how cohesive both tribes seem. He has never seen two such unified groups come together in the merge–usually someone is ready to flip. Marijuana Jim can’t fathom one of the Savaii being a traitor, and the camera cuts to an extremely smug looking Coach, followed by a very nervous looking Cochran.

Upolu members reveal that both Savaii’s “charade” and Ozzy’s over-acting during the Redemption duel were pathetic and transparent. Ozzy counters that, yes, Savaii did try to make up a story, they do have the idol, and they plan to use it as a team. He’s tired of the back and forth, and wants to start the voting.

Before Jeff tallies the votes, Ozzy plays the idol on behalf of Whitney. And what do you know? Jeff starts reading out votes for Keith, one after another. Curses, Cochran. Six votes for Keith, six votes for Rancher Rick. Keith and Rick are out of the second vote, and if anyone was going to swing their vote, now is the time. And someone does.

Keith is voted off with six votes to Rancher Rick’s four. Marijuana Jim appears baffled, Coach beams with pride at his little puppet protégé, and Ozzy has only a look of utter disappointment for a certain Harvard law student. MJ calls Cochran a coward, and BHCP tells him not to talk to people like that–perhaps that is why this whole situation happened. I agree with the fact that Cochran hasn’t been treated all that great by his tribe, and I realize his insecurity is probably heightened by that…mine surely would be. However, I am not sure it’s about finding a group to treat him well, as much as it is about saving himself.

Next week, if Cochran thought he was ostracized by Savaii before, he hasn’t seen anything yet. But that’s okay, as he has his Upolu pals…until Albert and Sophie contemplate getting rid of him.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE EPISODE? SHOULD COCHRAN HAVE FLIPPED ON THE SAVAII? WHO DID YOU WANT TO SEE VOTED OFF LAST NIGHT?

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