Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode Seven: Brilliance At Its Least Brilliant

Wipe that grin off your face, silly boy!
Like I mentioned in my last post, episode seven didn't really engage me all that much. Even as I read through the recaps, nothing stands out to me, aside from the big move at the end.

Nevertheless, here are my thoughts of the week, broken down into fewer points, but in more detail!

1. Ozzy's plan: Bafflingly brilliant or dangerously short-sighted?

When Ozzy and Cochran came back from the Redemption Island duel (where Christine won again!), Ozzy came up with this plan that had clearly begun forming in his head long before: intentionally sending himself to Redemption Island. Whether the seed was first planted in his head as a defense to a potentially hostile tribe or as a strategic move to gain numbers and respect later in the game is unclear. In any case, bringing it up out loud was risky, and would be difficult to back out of if he later changed his mind. Everything seemed to point to the idea that Ozzy was bailing on this potentially "heroic" move when Cochran messed up (yet again) in the challenge. Yet against all odds - and I might argue wits - Ozzy stood up and took the hit for the tribe, under the guise of securing a majority for his tribe come the merge and finally earning redemption for himself.

There are a few ways to look at this...

The first is: what the hell was he thinking?!? Sending himself to Redemption Island is putting himself one step closer to being out of the game for good. Is he right to be as confident as he is of beating Christine? Perhaps. Chances are good for him given Christine's fatigue (but not lack of determination!) and Ozzy's past record and present physical shape.

The second question is: why assume that Christine would stick to Upolu? It's obvious she has neither allies there nor any remnants of loyalty towards them. Sending Ozzy to Redemption Island just risks his early departure under the illusion that Christine would return to her original tribemates. Had he and Savaii thought this out more, they would have/should have seen that.

Next: what if the merge doesn't happen? Obviously, they were aware of this risk. Part of me wonders if the producers would change the time of the merge just to see them roll around and squeal... but I doubt they could given the time it takes to build (individual and/or group) challenges and so on. Either way, I think it's very risky to make such a big move when the merge isn't a sure thing. They only have the last Redemption Island season on which to base their prediction, and though they did merge rather early that season, it was still only after seven contestants had been eliminated, and after this next episode, only six contestants will have left. I'm very doubtful the merge will be next, and if Savaii loses because they don't have Ozzy for the next immunity challenge, all of this will have been for nought.

Or would it? The only saving grace of this plan is that if Ozzy does manage to get back in the game, be it in the next episode or the following one, and if he gets himself into the final three, this move will win him some favor in the game and some respect from both sides. It's a big move, and Survivor rewards such moves. That said, that's a lot of supposition without much security, and though risks can be worth their while, there's something to be said about securing a safety net. Ozzy has jumped untied and with no backup. It could work... but I think ultimately, this "biggest move in Survivor history" (until the next episode apparently...) is impulsive and rash, despite being of a respectable nature.

2. Everyone is entitled to their faith, but please don't impose it on others. 

I mentioned this in my last blog post as well because it really bothered me after having watched the episode. Faith has held a prominent place in Survivor for the past two seasons now, what with Matt being an agent of the Lord and all. And I'm fine with that. Matt was inspiring, and even though I couldn't relate to his religious gusto, I respected it and thought he expressed it in a reasonable and respectful way.

Upolu however seems to be stepping over certain boundaries. It's not religion necessarily, but faith in general. Brandon is a man of G-d, and Coach is a spiritual being who believes in many things. Both men pray. This is two people, not six. Getting the gang in a circle, praying about finding an idol that has already been found, then misleading said prayer group in having miraculously "just" found it is not only preposterous and hypocritical, but also deeply disrespectful.  (I have been speaking about respect a decent bit, haven't I?) Then repeatedly thanking G-d and faithfully rejoicing after having won the challenge was completely overdone. Furthermore, what is to say the remaining four people wish to join this prayer group? I'm highly skeptical about the whole Upolu tribe being a fundamentally zealous bunch, and it makes it very hard for me to root for a tribe that oversteps the boundaries of individual thought and choice.

And that is all for that episode, folks! I'm excited to see what the next episode brings... So many ups and downs this season! It's still not up there in my favorites, but it's certainly enjoyable to watch.

What do you think about Ozzy's big move? Will the merge happen next episode? Will Cochran return Ozzy's Idol to him? Share the thoughts and the love!

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