Survivor Review: The Power of Abstaining

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On this week’s episode of Survivor, "Taste the Victory," Whitney and Keith used a very interesting strategy to get the result they wanted without making the move obvious. How the rest of the Savaii tribe interprets the move will determine its true effectiveness.

Gross Survivor Challenge

Knowing that Jim, Dawn and Cochran were voting for Elyse and that Elyse and Ozzy were voting for Cochran, Keith and Whitney had a choice to make between which group to go with. The challenge they faced was getting the result they wanted – Elyse going home – without alienating Ozzy.

Their solution was to take their two votes and throw them at someone random, in this case Dawn. That made the vote three for Elyse, two for Cochran and two for Dawn.  Elyse was sent home – as Whitney and Keith wanted – but they can tell Ozzy they didn’t vote for his former main squeeze.

How will Ozzy react to the move? Will he buy the logic that Whitney and Keith felt bad about essentially voting against Ozzy by writing Elyse’s name down? Or will he ask why the pair didn’t vote with him or at least tell him?

Similarly, what will Jim, Cochran and Dawn make of the non-vote? They’ll certainly realize that by not voting with Ozzy and Elyse, they helped send Elyse home. However, not voting with them can not inspire much confidence in their allegiance to the new alliance.

One negative side effect of the way Whitney and Keith voted is that it exposes the duo as the same type of pair that Jim, Dawn and Cochran were working so hard to eliminate. A reasonable move that the new trio could make would be to get Ozzy on their side now and sell him on voting Whitney out, breaking up the duo just like they did to him.

The challenge with this plan is how emotional people get on Survivor. If Ozzy harbors more resentment for Jim, Dawn and Cochran than Whitney and Keith, he may not see that the trio is a better solution for him than trying to stay with Whitney and Keith. 

Ozzy needs to recognize that the move was fear of the power of a pair, not necessarily Ozzy himself. After all, that’s why Ozzy is still around and Elyse is heading to Redemption Island.

Over at the Upolu tribe, things are far rosier. Or, at least Coach thinks so, believing that their tribe retook the upper hand by winning the challenge. I suppose he’s technically correct – they are up a member. And, from his perspective, he’s now got the immunity idol.

Albert toed a very thin line trying to find the idol himself. He’ll take some heat for not keeping the knowledge he obtained by finding the clue to himself, but having the idol can be as much of a target as a safety valve. 

After not finding the idol quickly Albert risked alienating the rest of his tribe if they realized that he was looking for the idol. Even if no one actually saw him looking, they would become suspicious if he disappeared for an extended period of time.

As for giving the search and hour or two a day, he risked the idol falling in to Rick or Edna’s hands (those not officially in his alliance, for the uninformed). Granted, neither seemed to be really looking, but you never know. 

Fortunately for Albert, having Coach find it was the best person possible. Captain Loyalty is unlikely to screw Albert with the idol himself. It’s even feasible that Coach would foolishly give up the idol in order to save Albert over himself.

However the idol shakes out, I hope we get to see dueling idols when the two tribes merge. 

More from this episode:

  • Stacey went from funny to absurd to unintelligible with her Redemption Island rant. 
  • Speaking of Stacey, how did she lose that challenge? She looked so in control and coordinated, Christine seemed doomed. Too confident, perhaps?
  • Albert is a baseball coach and a dating coach? What’s a dating coach? Didn’t Will Smith play that in a movie once?
  • Dramatic ending to this week’s immunity challenge, but do we really need to see that? Pretty gross.

Taste the Victory Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (9 Votes)
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Survivor Season 23 Episode 5 Quotes

If anyone calls me Benjamin to my face, I'm going to go nutz.


Lies straight from Hell. All of y'all are going to go to Hell with gasoline drawers on.