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Survivor: Cook Islands, Episode 4 & 5 MVPs – Girl Power Failureby Betsy Wasser -- 10/19/2006
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This season of Survivor started with the tribes divided by race. I was interested to see how that would go. Would a common ethnicity bond people together even more than producer-assigned tribes? Would the Asian-American tribe feel unified despite being from different countries? Would a common language create a stronger bond for the Hispanic tribe? Are there similar experiences that African-Americans have that would bind them? And do five white people have much in common? Well, now that the tribes are unified, it seems that they are no closer to one another than any other Survivor tribe has been. Perhaps that will change a few more votes in, but so far it seems to have made no real difference.
Interestingly, the strategies that the tribes used in Episode 4 changed in Episode 5. The women of Raro decided to bond together to vote out J.P. More importantly, they wanted to make sure that, on a tribe loaded with brawny men, they didn’t all become disposable. But in Episode 5, they didn’t even consider voting together again. Over at Aitu, Yul’s alliance quickly pulled in Cao Boi and Flica when Candice was sent to Exile Island, only to cut them loose in favor of Sundra in the next episode. Was that smart play? Who is playing well? Let’s give out some MVP awards, shall we?
Let’s start with Aitu. Ozzy returned from Episode 3’s Tribal Council knowing he was in trouble. He’s the only member of his original tribe left in Aitu, and it had him worried. Gee, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to throw a challenge, huh? He admitted to being resentful at having to catch food for everyone else, and like RNO editor David Bloomberg, I found myself thinking that if he didn’t want to fish, he really didn’t have to. But he kept at it, bringing home a feast. That’s smart play on his part. This early in the game, players are likely to pause before voting out their best source of food. Later, they might think, “Eh, I can go a week or so without fish,” but for now, people are eager for protein to fuel challenge wins.
Ozzy also performed incredibly well in both of Episode 4’s challenges. His strong swimming helped them pull off a lead in the reward challenge. He did even better in the immunity challenge. His tribe was behind at first, but when it came time for Ozzy to swim out to retrieve Candice, he surged ahead. It was very smart of him to run in the shallow water instead of swimming through it like J.P. did. Running, even with the resistance of water, is much faster. Ozzy made a huge difference in that challenge, and combined with the skills of “Zen fire master” Cao Boi, pulled out a win for the tribe. Well played, Ozzy. You are Episode 4’s MVP for your tribe.
Too bad you weren’t as impressive in Episode 5, Ozzy. Instead, Yul really stood out. Yul, Jonathan, Becky, and Candice are all tightly aligned. While Candice was away, Yul pulled in Cao Boi and Flica’s votes. He could have just assumed that they’d continue to vote with his group, but he didn’t. Instead, he observed that the two of them were unpredictable. Sure, they voted with him before, but because Cao Boi and Flica approach the game so differently from Yul and his group, they’d be hard to pin down. Sundra, on the other hand, seemed steadier. Yul also surely noticed that she declined Cao Boi’s offer to go exploring with him, Flica, and Ozzy. Sure enough, Sundra agreed to join Yul’s group, so now he has someone a little less flaky on his side. I like Yul a lot and think his powers of observation could get him far. Congratulations on your MVP award, Yul.
The dynamic at the Raro tribe is interesting. The tribe has divided along gender lines. At the beginning of Episode 4, we saw the women working hard around camp while the men rested. J.P. was unconcerned about their reaction to the laziness, saying that the women needed their strength. First of all, J.P. should have learned to count: five women and four guys means trouble. He also should have looked at the other men around him: not a scrawny one in the bunch. That means that while the women might appreciate challenge strength, they don’t need it from all four men. They could easily get rid of one without much worry.
Rebecca realized that pretty quickly. She and Jenny agreed that the women would have to stick together to stand against the guys. Stephannie may have been willing to fall on her sword, but Cristina convinced her not to. In what seemed like a matter of minutes, the women banded together… except for Parvati. Jenny quickly figured out that she might not be willing to go against the guys, seeing as how the women don’t seem that interested in her bikini. So the women regrouped fast, pulled in Brad, and convinced him to change his vote. Somewhere along the line, Adam joined him, too. J.P., who thought he was invincible, was booted out.
Rebecca, Jenny, Cristina, and Stephannie showed a great deal of teamwork this week. Rebecca came up with the idea for a women’s alliance. Cristina convinced Stephannie to stay and fight. Jenny decided that Parvati was not a sure thing. And Stephannie sweet-talked Brad and pulled him in. The four of them really pulled together when it counted, and each of them contributed to changing the game. That’s why I’m giving MVP awards to all four of them. Nice work, women.
Too bad the whole thing fell apart in the very next episode. Nate observed that the men really needed to prove their value. All of them worked hard, but Nate in particular did well this week. He and Adam won the reward challenge for the tribe, making clear the importance of their brawn. Then, between Cristina’s bossiness and Stephannie’s wistfulness for mashed potatoes, the women fell apart and were ready to pick off one of their own. It was Nate who guided the tribe to write down Stephannie’s name. He is leading the tribe and proving himself valuable, but not so overtly as J.P. did. It could serve him well. It did this week, at least, and earned Nate an MVP award.
With tribal dynamics changing rapidly, it’ll be interesting to see if this week’s MVPs play well again. We will soon find out.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any feedback or MVP nominations at betsywasser@Gmail.com.
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