Jeff Probst

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night’s Survivor was a combination of never-before-seen footage, insights into alliances and background on the different castaways. In other words, CBS wants to draw out the season with an additional episode during the Thanksgiving holiday. No matter, it was entertaining and certainly shed some light on the current players of Te Tuna.

The episode begins contrasting each original tribes’ dynamics. The Savaii, led primarily by Ozzy, is a laid back, go-with-the-flow group, with Dawn and Cochran not fitting in as well as their counterparts. A scene is shown where Cochran, the only male not out fishing for the tribe, must gut the day’s catches. As a self-proclaimed PETA adherent, he has a hard time with this gig. Across the island, Coach’s focus is on creating a family bond while working hard to build a solid camp.

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On last night’s Survivor, the cavemen Savaii trifecta find themselves on Redemption Island, Coach continues to preach (literally) about the importance of unity and loyalty (in a game that can have only one winner) and the former Upolu continues to drink the Kool-Aid while the Savaii are picked off one by one.

Marijuana Jim joins Keith and Ozzy on Redemption and Ozzy refrains from telling him “I told you so” after hearing about the Upolu’s latest bakery fix while the three remaining Savaii tried to save themselves. Back at camp, Coach reminds his congregation that they are a family who has just voted out the most dangerous outcast. Really? MJ is dangerous? Crass, sure. Immature, definitely. But dangerous? Please. In his interview Coach stresses how important it is to make everyone feel comfortable so they won’t be ready for an upset. I wonder if that’s what Jesus did…NOT.

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On last night’s episode of Survivor, the two tribes try to live as one, while Cochran faces backlash for turning on one of his own. The Upolu gets a sweet treat and the Savaii continues to be picked off one-by-one.

Back at camp, Ozzy approaches Cochran about his “strategy.” Ozzy wants to understand his decision, and of course, Brandon Hantz Crazy Pants, or should I say Cochran’s new body guard, comes by to make sure his new friend isn’t being intimidated by big, bad Ozzy. Cochran assures BHCP that all is fine and Marijuana Jim pops by to tell his former ally that he’s a poor excuse for a man and he doesn’t ever want to talk to Cochran again. Mature. Cochran stresses his decision to vote off Keith wasn’t personal — it’s just about self — preservation. Ozzy reminds him that he went to Redemption Island FOR Cochran. Whitney also asks Cochran to remember the three different times she and Keith saved him from being on the chopping block.

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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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Last night’s Survivor was full of twists. Brandon Hantz didn’t exude the crazy, and Ozzy is part of the most dramatic rose ceremony ever…oh, sorry…wrong show. Seriously, Savaii uses a risky strategy at the leadership of Ozzy, and Upolu is finding a togetherness and trust that has been lacking among the tribe.

After tribal council, all of Upolu is discussing what a loose cannon Brandon Hantz Crazy Pants has been since their raft hit the shore episode one is becoming. Edna is thinking that she shouldn’t worry about sitting out of all the challenges if BHCP keeps acting like he’s one sandwich short of a picnic.

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Last night’s Survivor had it all…lost love (what will Ozzy do without Elyse?), drama (Mikayla or Edna?), pious musings (Coach and Brandon…take your pick), backstabbing (um, Albert?), a touching after-school special moment (Dawn and Cochran are finally invited to the party!), and of course, a rousing final speech (courtesy of Crazy Pants). It was epic. Oh, and there was a shuffleboard challenge.

Back at the beach, Ozzy is flabbergasted by his fellow Team Pretty members for voting against the alliance. He declares himself a free agent, and both Keith and Whitney think he’s being just a tad dramatic for taking Elyse’s elimination so personally. Dawn calls him out for not playing as honestly as he wants his teammates to play, and Ozzy is prompted to admit that he has found the immunity idol. To each his own is Ozzy’s new way of life with Savaii. The following the say, his tribe mates think he’ll come around, but the following day he’s still pouting. The Savaii tribe is in agreement that he’s being an annoying cry baby, and Dawn and Cochran are finally part of the in-crowd.

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Think you could survive another season of competition and deprivation in the wild? CBS hopes so! Survivor: South Pacific is returning for its 23rd season!

The drama begins in Samoa, as the 18 castaways are divided into two teams, the Savaii Tribe and the Upolu Tribe, both named for Samoan islands. The cast will include 16 Survivor novices and two former castaways back for revenge, another chance at famewhoring, and a million dollars.

This isn’t the first time CBS has employed this trick, as Season 21, Redemption Island mixed in two experts with the pack of amateurs castaways. Even though several of the cast members are first timers on Survivor, many have “experience” with reality tv – and you know what that means: they know how to cause D-R-A-M-A!

CBS has released the names of the 16 newbies this week and plans to release the names of the final 2 contestants later in the week. No ideas yet of who it could be! I’m hoping for Richard Hatch, if he’s not back in prison! Also one of the new contestants, 19-year-old Brandon Hance, is actually the nephew of villain Russell Hantz!

Borrowing another twist from Redemption Island, the eliminated castaways aren’t immediately vanquished, but instead go to “Redemption Island” (the place, not the season) where he or she will face off against the next person eliminated by Tribal Council. The loser of the duel will then be sent home, while the winner remains in the game until the next person voted off arrives, where the cycle begins anew until ONE eliminatee, referred to as the Sole Survivor, is left standing. The Sole Survivor will then return to the game to compete for the million dollars. I guess, no one is truly safe in this edition!

The 90 minute season premiere airs Sept. 14 8/9c on CBS. The cast bios and photos for the 16 new contestants are below!

UPDATE Ben “Coach” Wade and Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth are rumored to be the two returning cast members.

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This week’s Survivor: Redemption Island was a slight roller coaster of emotions (don’t judge me), what with the Ometepe turning on one of their own, the castaways’ family members making an appearance, and Phillip revealing that he’s a genius. Ralph and Steve arrive on Redemption Island, and it’s becoming clear that the jury could be full of Zapatera. Ometepe Mayor Boston Rob reveals that he’s pretty confident that his followers friends are too slow and stupid kind to reach the conclusion that the smart thing to do would be to vote him off if given the opportunity.

Tree-mail arrives and the group revels in the chance to watch videos of their family members, and who can blame them after 30 days? In the first four person duel, Matt, Mike, Steve, and Ralph must battle it out using metal balls to break tiles. The loser will be sent to the jury–duh–but the winner? He’ll get to spend time with a family member in person. After four rounds of this primitive game of ski-ball, Mike wins, and Steve is sent packing. My eyes may have gotten a tad misty when Mike’s mom comes out of the jungle (fine, judge away). THEN, in a SO VERY WRONG scenario, Jeff Probst gives Mike three choices. Mike can a) spend some time with his mom; b) forgo his family time and allow his fellow Redemption Island roommates to hang out with their loved ones; or c) stiff it to his bunk mates, send his mom back into the jungle, and give the family time to the group who voted him off in the first place. In a shocking (sweet? strategic?) move, Mike chooses the third option, making the Ometepe happy (and hopefully grateful without short-term memories), Ralph angry, and his mother proud. Honestly, I don’t think his move was strategic…I just think he’s just genuinely that good of a guy.

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