'Survivor: South Pacific' Suddenly Got Really Awesome

This season of Survivor: South Pacific has felt sort of uninspired to me. I was sick of the whole Redemption Island business, Russell Hantz's nephew Brandon gave me the MAJOR heebs, every time I looked at Ozzy, I was reminded of the fact that he did porn (more heebs), and I generally felt that I'd already seen this exact show many, many times before. Maybe because this is, holy crap, the twenty-third season of Survivor.

Then—as if the producers were fully aware of increasing viewer fatigue—everything suddenly got way, WAY more interesting in the last couple weeks. It's like these boring, slightly creepy contestants all woke up and finally decided to get serious about playing the game


So last week we had the always-amusing blindfolded navigation challenge, which sent tribe members painfully slamming face-first into various wooden obstacles, and I'm sorry, THIS WILL NEVER STOP BEING FUNNY. Ha ha ha, you broke your nose! Also funny: Probst attempting to describe how the challenge is related to the movie they get as a "reward," which is Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill. "Thanks to the lucrative sponsorship we received for plugging this comedic shitfest, I'm contractually obligated to embark on a tortuous explanation about how this challenge involves twins, which is just like Jack and Jill in that ... oh screw it, just go out there and hurt yourselves."

Ozzy's tribe loses, thanks to poor bumbling Cochran, and then there's a super disturbing scene of Cochran's whole tribe assuring Cochran that they believe in him and that's why they're banishing him to Redemption Island. "This is your chance to redeem yourself," they all tell him, cruelly, and the whole thing is like one step from the tampon-pelting scene in Carrrie.

It turns out Ozzie has some sort of dream where he's visited by a spirit animal or whatever, so he decides it's his destiny to go to Redemption in order to defeat Christine, who's been there in her mystifying knee socks for about a thousand months. As Ozzy repeatedly tells the camera, this is either a tremendously stupid move, or he's going to end up in the record books for having the biggest, hairiest balls in Survivor history.

Last night's episode opens right away with the Redemption showdown, and Ozzy easily beats Christine. (My husband, "Ozzy's pole looks pretty good." Me: "That's how he ended up in porn. HEY-OH!") Ozzy also gives a horrible performance where he pretends that it was diabolical Cochran who voted him out, and Probst—who has long given up the pretense of being an impartial host—visibly struggles not to laugh.

The tribes merge and everything's going to plan except HOLY CRAP HERE COMES THE REVENGE OF THE NERD. The vote is deadlocked on the first go-around, and instead of tying again during the second vote, which would have forced castmates to draw stones (whatever happened to the tied-vote challenge, by the way? Remember when they had to do something like build a fire?), Keith gets sent home. Because Cochran, the perennial underdog, has flipped tribe alliances. Nice. The old Savii tribe is predictably disgusted with him, but who cares? It's not like they were ever nice to him to begin with. Fuck 'em, Cochran!

I'm officially back on board with this show and I'm totally interested to see what'll go down next week. Will Cochran continue to cling tenaciously to survival, or will his new tribemates kick him to the curb now that they've gotten what they needed? Will Ozzy come up with a new master plan? Will Coach do more tai chi and refer to himself as "The Dragonslayer"? (That last one's virtually guaranteed.)

Who do you think has a good chance at winning this season of Survivor? Are you glad Cochran's still in it?

Image via CBS

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