Survivor Review: An Explosion of Moves

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Ozzy and Cochran and Dawn, oh my! What an action packed episode we were treated to this week on Survivor. How do you choose where to begin when discussing it? So much happened after Ozzy’s plan worked, it seems like an after thought.

Survivors in the Water

For starters, I believe that Cochran made the right move. Or, as he said, a move that puts him in some control of his fate. Even if the former Savaii had survived the rock selection that occurs after a tie, where would that have left Cochrane? He’s still on the bottom of a six-person alliance.

By going with the former, Upolu Cochrane assures himself at least the top seven. Yes, seventh is not the goal of Survivor. What is important about the top seven is that he gets four more weeks to not worry about going home. Four more weeks to figure out how to crack the Upolu six. 

That may seem difficult now, but history shows that the game of Survivor rarely falls in to place the neat “top six” or “top three” places that the contestants promise to each other. Rather, as one tribe whittles down the other, they start to think about life when it’s just them and scheme how to get ahead.

This is exactly where Cochrane will be most in control of his future. If the next four weeks fall down tribal lines and we’re left with Cochrane and six Upolu members, it is not unreasonable to assume Cochrane will be the swing vote in a three-three scenario. Suddenly Cochrane’s at the top four, again, at worst.

What if, as I said before, things do no fall down tribal lines? This is where Dawn comes in. 

For starters, she should recognize the power that a duo can be in the game of Survivor. If she had flipped with Cochrane, they become a force to be reckoned with going forward. As the nine contestants around them start to question each other, the certainty of Dawn and Cochrane voting together will become an attractive pair to have on their side.

With Dawn on his side the pair could really start to dictate the game. If the other survivors don’t come to them for their vote, it’ll quickly become obvious who to target.  Say Ozzy and Jim are the next two sent to Redemption Island. While Upolu thinks they’re targeting Whitney, Cochrane and Dawn can grab Whitney and, say, Edna and Rick and flip the script on the remaining Upolus.

Before Cochrane even got the opportunity to flip sides, Ozzy inadvertently set him up for it with his well-intentioned and almost perfectly executed plan. A crazy plan that seemed to be completed when Ozzy won at Redemption Island. One thing they never considered was that Cochrane was given carte blanche to talk with Upolu as much as he wanted without suspicion.

Would things have been different if Ozzy hadn’t oversold the plan at Redemption Island? Maybe. Would Coach’s speech have been any different? No. Would its effect have been any different? No.

The end result is that Savaii’s poor treatment of Cochrane set up his switching a long time ago. Even Ozzy’s bold plan probably could not have saved them from Cochrane feeling too low on the Savaii totem pole. 

Of course, if Savaii simply sent Cochrane to Redemption Island, they would have had a more loyal player in Christina on their side. Oh, the irony.

More from this episode:

  • We know Ozzy does not have a future in Hollywood. That was awful.
  • Getting back to last week’s topic of leadership, you have to appreciate Coach’s plea to Cochrane. I’d call it a sales pitch, but that would imply some sort of deception to the process. He really meant what he said.
  • I can’t decide if I like the effect of the hidden immunity idol on the post-merge tribe. On one hand it makes for great theater. On the other, unsuspecting soles like Rick get targeted simply because of the randomness of it.
  • Finally, Brandon does something positive! I loved seeing him stand up for Cochrane.

Double Agent Review

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Survivor Season 23 Episode 8 Quotes

You just witnessed Survivor history. Ozzy descended from the heavens and came up with this miraculous plan to sacrifice himself.


I consider myself a mastermind, but not an evil mastermind.