Survivor Recap: Happy Birthday Cochran!

After some time off from Survivor, given last week’s “highlight reel,” we resumed last night with just as much drama and backstabbing as you’d find at a middle school girl’s cafeteria table.

The Te Tuna (mainly Coach) returns to camp ecstatic that the Savaii has been picked off one by one. Cochran is thankful for being adopted into the former Upolu tribe. He’s aware he is the seventh in a seemingly six strong alliance, but I’m certainly not counting him out seeing as he’s gotten this far.

Cochran is trying to solidify his place in the group by telling stories of his youth when he would prank call girls discussing sperm. Sophie is starting to think that maybe he’s not such a victim because he is proud of making such a bold move in the game. While Brandon Hantz Crazy Pants prays over the group, Cochran compares his new “family” to the Mansons. He calls them together to remind them of his sacrifice and he hopes that, with his birthday nearing, they will spare him now that it’s all about voting off their own. Coach wants to keep Cochran, but Sophie is keeping her loyalty to Edna.


It’s dual time and once again a Savaii Redemption team is competing for safety. Ozzy, Whitney and Dawn must balance dishes on a contraption becoming more unstable as plates are added. I hope Ozzy’s exercise and diet on Redemption Island have prepared him for this carnival feat. Of course, secretly I’m pulling for Dawn, who I believe has truly played the game with a genuine heart.

The competitors look like Mad Hatters as they pile ceramic bowls and plates upon each other. Dawn yawns and almost loses her tower. Whitney looks like she’s just washing dishes while Ozzy’s face appears to be that of a surgeon performing heart surgery. I blink and Dawn’s pile goes crashing to the ground. She’s the newest member of the jury. Whitney wobbles her dishes a tad too much, and Ozzy remains the guy who isn’t going anywhere. Dawn is so proud of how far she’s come, and I honestly get teary at how exciting her journey has been. Damn you, Jeff Probst! I will say the Upolu seems pretty rattled by another Ozzy victory.

Sidebar, I love that the footage of Ozzy on Redemption Island makes it seem like he’s fishing along side sharks and barely maneuvering through sharp coral reefs. Ahh, the wonder of television. Back at Te Tuna, the bottom feeders Cochran and Edna are trying their darndest to remain relevant. Cochran volunteers for a fishing expedition while Edna opens a jungle dry cleaning establishment. Albert wonders what happened to “outwit, outplay, outlast.” He feels its become “out-clean, out-gather, out-organize.” The man makes a good point!

Cochran isn’t proving to be a stellar fish holder. He hopes the tribe won’t notice that the others actually caught said fish while he just held them. Edna is upset because she thinks Albert’s job in the tribe is to swing in the hammock and watch her work. She plants her worries in the ears of her former Upolu. Albert better be careful or the only thing he’ll be outwitting is the vending machine at the resort where CBS houses the jury. Even Rancher Rick is vocal about Albert’s laziness, and I’d forgotten he’s still on the show since he never opens his mouth.

Edna is worried that once the tribe votes off Cochran, she’ll be next in line. Coach doesn’t mince words when he agrees with her. While Coach wants to be “a man of integrity and a man of his word” he secretly wants to keep Edna and Cochran as they kiss his butt will never vote against him. Coach plays Mr. Miyagi to Cochran’s Daniel-San and takes him out for a special early morning tai chi lesson. The session is supposed to instill in Cochran the need, desire and will to win immunity.

CBS producers have clearly run out of ways to turn cruise ship games and kiddie obstacle courses into valid challenges, so we’re once again watching the contestants throw bean bags onto crates. The first ones to get three bean bags on their respective crates will proceed to catapult coconuts at scary looking masks. The winner wins a spa day, jungle style. Sophie cracks what perhaps may be the first sincere smile I’ve seen all season.

Everyone is pretty much on an even playing field. Sophie, Coach and Rancher Rick are really good with the bean bag toss. Albert is the first to make it to the catapult with Rick close behind. Only one other player can make it to the mask bashing portion of this challenge, and Sophie nails it. Fighting for immunity—and a massage—the trio launches coconuts left and right. Rancher Rick is a quiet force to be reckoned with. Albert and him are neck and neck.

Immunity goes to (Prince) Albert! Albert gets to choose a teammate to join him in the massage session, and not shockingly he chooses Coach. Truly shockingly, he gives up his own massage to Cochran, totally sacrificing his winnings. Cochran recently discussed his upcoming birthday and Albert wants to at least give him a birthday present. Smooth move if I do say so myself!

Cochran can’t decide if Albert’s kindness was because he wants a strategic partner or if he’s trying to prematurely squash some guilt before voting off Cochran. Dude, you’re getting a massage after thirty days in the wild… stop asking questions! WHAT? So, Cochran’s a giant birthday liar, as his occurred months earlier, but hey, it scored the little guy his first ever massage. That’s not right. Cochran approaches Albert to thank him for the massage and to plant a “vote out Rancher Rick” bug in his ear. He does the same with Edna, and both Cochran and Edna hope that Coach will join in their plight to rid the camp of RR. Where is BHCP? He totally needs to weigh in on this decision with an amount of crazy only he can bring.

When approached by Cochran about this plan, Coach pretends to be dismayed by the new turn of events. He is confused (sure) as to whether to remain loyal to his original alliance or to turn on Rancher Rick, which clearly makes Cochran the guy left holding the puppet strings. At tribal council, Cochran shows his true colors saying that he deserves to stay since he betrayed his original tribe. The jury has a collective eye-rolling/smile session. Edna all but breaks down, thinking that she’s next if Cochran leaves during this vote.

Welcome all of your craziness to the episode, BHCP! He declares his intent and his unwaivering loyalty to the original alliance. He tells Jeff that, just like they had decided in the beginning, his vote is for Cochran this week and Edna next week. Note to self, figure out how to get into a high stakes poker match with Brandon Hantz. BHCP is becoming unhinged as he tries to do all things admirably and not underhandedly.

Cochran feels that BHCP is a decent guy but a horrible strategist. He’s got most of the Upolu agreeing with him… except Sophie. She’s not buying what Cochran is selling, and is no fan of BHCP. Coach is the deciding vote as to whether Cochran (per the original Upolu alliance) or Rancher Rick (per Cochran’s scheming) is the next to bunk with Ozzy on Redemption Island. During the voting, Cochran looks very nervous, and rightfully so. His tai chi master clearly just sold him up the river. The poor kid is truly shocked.

Next week, ,Edna comes out of the shadows as one to watch and the former Upolu is looking at BHCP as, once again, the unstable guy. Cochran hopes he can win the Redemption duel against Ozzy. Mark my words, he will… just because that is what would be the most dramatic for the remainder of the season.