An "Insider" Look at Survivor: Cook Islands, Episode 5 – Beautiful Inside and Outby Teeuwynn Woodruff -- 10/17/2006
This episode, Stephannie's mouth finally got the better of her as the Raro tribe sent her packing. Did her tribe really believe Stephannie had already “checked out” of the game, or did some members just see her talk of mashed potatoes and gravy as a good excuse to get rid of a weaker player? Let's see!
Stephannie's Final Words
Stephannie says it's okay she was voted out tonight. She's just grateful to have been part of Survivor. All of her tribemates were wonderful, sweet people. Stephannie says she made it for 14 days and wanted to go further, but she's okay with going home tonight. Stephannie says it’s a tough game physically, mentally, and emotionally. Responding to some question we aren't shown, Stephannie says she's pretty stable, but she's sure she's lost a few pounds and she's happy about that! She says that, for the most part, it's been a wonderful experience. She has no regrets, but it comes to the point that if you aren't in the game one hundred percent then you're not going to be good for your tribe. You don't want to be a weak link for the tribe.
Her tribemates didn't think her mind was in the game – but it was. Still, she has no regrets. Stephannie says she truly missed her husband and children during the game. She didn't expect that to strike her as hard as it did, but it's just one of those things. She was always thinking about her family. Stephannie thinks her tribemates thought she wasn't focused on the game enough, that she was “doubleminded.”
Stephannie goes on to say she learned that the little things in life are what's important and that she's tougher than she thought. Your body is more durable than you think. She also learned that she can get along with people from all over the world (interesting because everyone is American). She liked being able to share and be part of a family with her tribemates. Stephannie gives a few more clichés, but I'm getting tired of writing them down. Stephannie ends by rooting her original tribemates on and that Raro kicks butt and they should stay united and not return to Tribal Council!
It was obvious from Stephannie's interview that the producers had to prod her a lot for comments. She generally stuck with common post-Survivor clichés. Interestingly, although she denied that she had checked out of the game as her tribe suspected, she also said she was okay with leaving at this point and had trouble not thinking about her family. This interview certainly indicated that her tribe was right and that Stephannie was not all in the game.
Stephannie, the Day After
Stephannie says that it really surprised her how difficult Survivor was to do. She says that, at home, it seems easy and that anyone can do it, but when you have to actually stay out here and live by your own wits, it is tough. She wishes she had stayed longer, but she's still pleased to have gone two weeks. It was tough with so little food and water and sleep. But what took her out of the game was the emotional impact of missing her family. Stephannie reiterates that she has more of an appreciation for little things in her life. She's also more spiritual than she was (a couple of weeks ago). Stephannie wanted to take the classic “under the radar” strategy in the game. She thought she was doing a good job of that, but she should have kept her mouth shut more and her feelings to herself.
Stephannie respects that her tribe wanted someone whose heart was in the game. But her heart was in it, even though she was thinking of her family. Stephannie talks about how final it seems when Jeff snuffs your torch and you take the walk of shame. You realize it's over and you're not winning the million dollars. Stephannie thinks it was good she could live with complete strangers so well, even being dirty and nasty and all that. Stephannie's favorite time was sitting around the fire in the evening after eating octopus stew and just sharing and bonding by the fire.
Stephannie wanted to play the game with integrity. She doesn't know what would have happened later in the game, but she thinks you can play with integrity. Stephannie concludes by saying she thinks her tribemates will regret kicking her out so soon – she had at least another few days or a week left in her!
Today Stephannie seems firmer about being one hundred percent in the game, but she still belies that a bit by saying she thinks she could have made it only a week or so more... That's not very confident for a day-after assertion. Stephannie's play seemed consistent with her claims of an under the radar strategy and she's right that not learning from her first mistake of saying too much really cost her in the game.
Reward Challenge – Never Tear Us Apart
This is a straightforward recap of the pairs of players holding weights challenge. We see Aitu's shock over Raro's eviction of J.P. Then Adam and Nate holding strong to win the challenge for Raro. Raro wins spices and wine and sends Jonathan back to Exile Island. Is wine really a good reward? It's dehydrating and the enjoyment doesn't last long. Hmmm...
Immunity Challenge – United We Stand
This is also a standard repeat of the immunity challenge shown during the episode. Jonathan reveals that he believes the immunity idol has already been found and Raro blows their big lead in the challenge by rushing too much and falling off the final platform.
Interview with Jessica
Jessica has her dreadlocks in two big ponytails in this interview... They make her look somewhat like a cannibal cheerleader. Jessica talks about the reward challenge. She explains how the challenge worked and that it was a strength challenge. She says she threw them some attitude to give Raro something to think about, but it backfired because Aitu ended up losing.
Jessica says that roller derby involves a lot of attitude and trash talking and a little of her roller girl self came out yesterday. She was proud that she and Ozzy were the last pair holding out on her tribe. She was really bummed with herself when she stretched her arm out and couldn't pull it back again. Jessica says that in roller derby the trash talking is silly fun – it's not something you take seriously. But some people just don't get it. For Jessica, it's just a performance. Jessica says she trusts Cao Boi and Ozzy the most in her tribe. She thinks they’re good people and she can talk honestly with them and be herself. She found that lacking in her original tribe.
In a second interview (her hair is down now), Jessica tells about stumbling upon the Raro tribe while out exploring with her buds Cao Boi and Ozzy. She says the whole thing was really awkward, it was almost like they were ghosts in the Raro tribe's eyes. Jessica says Cao Boi was a great icebreaker. Without him, it would have been silent. He asked when people were born, signs, etc. But then he went on for a long time and people got fed up. She says Parvati and Adam seem like they're really well connected. Adam didn't want to share anything. He didn't even want to let them sharpen their machete on their whetstone. Cao Boi tried, in a friendly way, to get the Raro tribe to give them something, but it didn't work. But you've got to try. She still thinks Cao Boi was a great icebreaker.
From what we saw on the episode, Cao Boi's icebreaking attempts didn't work as well as Jessica seems to think. The most salient thing about this interview, though, is that Jessica currently considers Cao Boi and Ozzy the two people she can trust on her tribe.
Interview with Candice
Candice grouches about Cao Boi and Jessica talking loudly inside the tent that morning while other people on the tribe were trying to sleep. She wanted them to get up and go if they were going to talk. It was rude. Candice just has to take a deep breath and remember she doesn't have to live with these people in her life forever.
In the clip of that morning, Cao Boi is rambling on about a dream he had involving super powers, black and red butterflies and other things. It's rather funny, but probably less so after you've been sleeping on branches, getting munched by bugs, and barely eating or drinking for two weeks. So I see Candice's point here.
Interview with Cristina
Cristina tells the tale of Aitus’ visit to Raro from the Raro point of view. She says the visit was interesting... The Aitus were asking for everything from their camp! They wanted noni and biscuits and spices and coconuts and everything they could think of to ask for. Her tribe was, like, “No! We worked too hard for that!” Cao Boi did most of the asking, then he sat down and told them stories. It was kind of weird. But it made Raro realize how much they all like each other on Raro. It was shocking to see the other tribe there. It was also shocking when they asked for so much stuff. Cristina was particularly shocked about Jessica, especially after she was acting so immature in the challenge with her comments. Then she was so happy and cheerful at their camp. Cristina doesn't trust her at all. As far as Cao Boi goes, she thinks he's just a character. He likes attention and that's just him. She doesn't think he's a leader of their group, though.
Cristina now talks about the reward challenge. She was working on mind over matter to hold the weight. She didn't want to let her tribe down. Adam and Nate were doing such a great job and she knew she and Brad couldn't let them down. It was a great experience, especially with the other tribe (read: Jessica) making nasty comments. They love their new spices, knives, and fishing gear – and the wine. The other tribe's taunting actually brought their tribe together. Cristina then goes on about how many octopi they've caught and eaten recently.
Cristina finishes by claiming that people on their tribe aren't forming sub-alliances. They're just working together as a team and trying to make it as a team. Hmmm... Well, that may say more about Cristina not being on the ball in terms of game play than what's really going on at Raro.
It's interesting to note that Jessica's rollergirl taunts did not go over well at all with Raro. I could tell from the show that she wasn't being mean-spirited about it, but that sort of thing rarely wins you friends on the other tribe. Jessica's not setting herself up well for a win right now, but she might be a good candidate to bring along for the final two.
Now it's time to hear what Raro had to say while voting Stephannie out.
Brad votes for Stephannie. “You will be missed, Stephannie.”
Cristina votes for Stephannie. “Stephannie, I'm sorry. I think you're a great person. God bless.”
Adam votes for Stephannie. He clears his throat and then says, “You're a great person and you've been great to be around, but I don't think your heart's in this game.”
Jenny (not Sundra as I accidentally wrote last week) votes for Stephannie. “Stephannie, you're a beautiful woman inside and out. Thank you for your spiritual guidance that you've bestowed upon our tribe.”
Stephannie votes for Cristina. “Just because, sweetie, just because. Nothing personal.”
Nate votes for Stephannie. “I hate to do this, but your heart's not in the game anymore.”
Rebecca votes for Stephannie. “You are a beautiful, beautiful person inside and out and I thank you for all that you've done and all that you (muffled). God bless.”
Parvati votes for Stephannie. “I think you have a big, beautiful heart. It just wasn't one hundred percent in this game. I'm going to miss you and your beautiful soul.”
From the comments, it seems clear that everyone liked Stephannie, but given her words and her overall lack of strength she was an easy vote. It seems like Rebecca and Jenny chatted in advance about what to say, citing Stephannie's beauty and what's she's done for them and the tribe, while most of the others went with the “heart not in the game” logic in their messages.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recaps and other info on this show at the Survivor: Cook Islands page, and take a look at our The Amazing Race 8 page and our Apprentice: Martha Stewart page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!