Monty Brinton/Landov
Stephen Fishbach
December 08, 2011 11:00 AM

“Strategy is different from other things in that if you mistake the Way even a little, you will become bewildered and fall into bad ways.” – Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

This week’s Fishy goes to the Upolu Five. They made a pact on day one of Survivor and through challenge tenacity, strategic alliances and tribe loyalty, they’ve managed to stick it through to the end. Every single one of them deserves credit.

Of course someone – the eventual winner – deserves more credit than the others. Newlywed Probst’s speech at the immunity challenge was the theme for this episode: “The moves you make early will dictate your success later.”

One member of the Upolu Five has built an alliance structure that is going to give him or her a million bucks.* The other four have already made a game-losing decision. They just don’t know it yet.

(*Depending on Ozzy.)

Cochran Crushed
Who would have imagined Cochran would get so close to beating Ozzy in the duel. Of course, that’s the entire problem with the Redemption Island challenges – Cochran can come close to beating Ozzy in a duel.

Cochran’s farewell speech may have been his shining moment, a pure display of his love for the show. “To be here, to hear you say ‘Come on in guys’ before a challenge and think, I’m one of the guys! He’s talking about me!” he exclaims, as French horns swell in the background.

Probst can hardly contain himself. “You didn’t back down. You made one of the biggest moves in this game,” he sighs. Get a room!

Daddy Dearest
Was anybody else disappointed in Brandon’s family visit?

I was fully expecting the GOAT (both meanings) to come scampering out and declare, “I’m the greatest family visitor of all time!” But instead it’s just Brandon’s dad. “Russell Hantz’s brother!” Jeff exclaims. It’s not the same.

Shawn tries to slap some Hantz into his son, but it doesn’t take. So he goes to Coach for help. “I’m telling him, whatever you tell him to do, to do,” Shawn says.

A word of advice to Shawn. Russell would never trust a guy who was staring at the ground and shuffling his feet while he lied to your face.

Edna’s Effort
Kudos to Edna for a solid scramble. Anybody who offers to eat Coach droppings deserves … something. Edna uses Coach’s ethos of “honor and integrity” like a weapon, needling him with his own mantra.

Unfortunately Edna’s move comes way too late. Maybe she could have cobbled an alliance together while Savaii was still around. But Edna never realized that there never was an Upolu Six. For that, the Upolu Five deserves credit.

“I just can’t believe I volunteered to come out here to be deceived by everybody!” Edna complains. What show did she think she was auditioning for?

Fishy Fail
Coach walked into the final six with three goats – Cochran, Edna and Brandon. Last week, he voted out Cochran. This week, he votes out Edna. “You’re about ready to be expired on this island,” he says of Brandon.

Is Coach subconsciously sabotaging himself? He seems committed to going to the finals only with someone who can beat him.

During the reward, he promises Ozzy the final three. “When I say as a Christian man, that’s an irrevocable promise,” he intones. Now either he brings someone guaranteed to beat him or he breaks his word and loses Ozzy’s vote. Well played.

Why doesn’t Coach send someone to Redemption who has a shot in hell of beating Ozzy? That’s basically anybody but Edna. Brandon, Albert, Rick and Sophie are all able challenge competitors.

Edna’s only shot next week is if the competition is hair removal.

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