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Survivor: Cook Islands Mutiny Manifest – Do The Mashed Potato

Welcome to another edition of the Survivor Mutiny Manifest, your guide to strategy in the wacky social game of Survivor. Each week I will review the past episode like the Zapruder film and suss out all of the interesting happenings, strategy-wise. That way we can see who’s wheeling, who’s dealing, and of course who is reeling.

This past episode was interesting in that it started out with a pretty strategic challenge, where players from the other team had to decide the best way to allocate sandbag weight onto their opponents. Next, a faction from one tribe ended up “invading” on the other tribe’s island, with some humorous results. Did I say humorous? I meant boring. Finally, a previously strong alliance turned on itself, as if this group needs to confuse me even more. Did I say confuse? I meant delight. Shall we get to the mundanity? Let’s.

Strategy For Reward
As I mentioned earlier, the reward challenge was actually quite interesting, and involved a lot of strategy. The game was basically an endurance competition where tribemates paired off randomly and three of the pairs would stand together and with each member of the pair trying to keep a hook on a rope and pulley off of the ground. The fourth pair on each team got to allocate 5 lb sandbags to people on the other team every few minutes. When 1 member of a pair dropped their weight, it eliminated both players, and the last pair left standing won reward for their tribe. The reward? Blankets, pillows, and wine to help everyone get more cozy. The pairs for Aitu were Jonathan and Yul, Sundra and Candice, and Ozzy and Jessica. Cao Boi and Becky escaped the endurance by being the loaders for their team. For Raro the pairs were Nate and Adam, Rebecca and Stephannie, and Cristina and Brad, with the Jenny and Parvati as their loaders.

Now, I’m not sure if the loaders had to hang their bags on both members of a pair, or if they could place their bags on individuals (whoever they wanted), but it seems like they had to place their bags on one pair at a time. The Aitu loaders started off with what seemed like a great strategy…load all of the weight on Adam and Nate. The Raro loaders, on the other hand, started distributing the weight evenly amongst the other three pairs. Time would tell which strategy was the best, and as time passed, it seemed like the even distribution strategy was the winning one, since Yul was the first to drop his weight, eliminating him and Jonathan from the competition. Nate and Adam turned out to be a couple of oxen, bearing the brunt of the weight distribution without ever letting go. Soon after Yul dropped his hook, Sundra dropped her weight, and the contest was down to 2 teams for Raro, and 1 for Aitu, leaving the Raro loaders only one pair to load their weight on. Since Nate and Adam weren’t about to give up, and Raro had Rebecca and Stephannie still holding strong with less weight, it was only a matter of time before Raro walked away with reward. They also got to send a member of Aitu to Exile Island…not that that really matters at this point in the game. Raro put their heads together and decided it would be best to send someone who has already been in exile to the island, and sent Jonathan. The only upshot of this for Jonathan is that he was able to figure out more info about the hidden immunity idol. More on that in a bit.

Is it just me, or are these guys kinda boring? Sure, they try to work out strategies, but it all seems so, well, scripted for lack of a better word. Not that I think there is producer scripting going on at Aitu island, but more like I’ve seen it all before. To me, the only really interesting event was Jonathan’s return from his second archeological dig on Exile Island where he revealed that he thinks someone has found the idol already. The look on Yul’s face screamed “Shut the hell up already!” and I really thought he would crack and confess to having the idol like the main character in “The Telltale Heart”.

Ok, so that wasn’t the only funny moment…there was also the “field trip” that Ozzy, Cao Boi, and Flica went on. First, from a strategic point of view, the preparation for the trip was telling. The three trippers know they are in a minority alliance, and everyone else knows they need numbers. Well, when Ozzy was asking some of his other tribemates to come along with them, they all made up excuses as if he was asking them to help him move. Then they left, and Yul took the opportunity to try and bring Sundra into the fold with him, Jonathan, Becky, and Candice. It was a very smart move, since Sundra really has nowhere else to go. Meanwhile, on their field trip, Ozzy, Flica, and Cao Boi explored some of the other islands near their own, since they are quickly running out of resources around the Aitu camp. Lo and behold, they stumbled onto Raro’s island and beach, and proceeded to make an afternoon of intruding like ants at a picnic. Cao Boi made the biggest worst impression by boring the entire Raro tribe with his turtle tales all afternoon. Seriously, the guy would not shut up. He was like the teenage girl on her cell phone in those Tmobile commercials. You know the ones…where the one Dad has fewer minutes than the other, and the girl just keeps chatting about absolutely nothing? Yeah, just picture Cao Boi in the holding cell next time, blabbing on until he goes over his minutes limit. As if he hadn’t made enough of a bad impression already, Cao Boi also had the nerve to ask for some spices that Raro had won in an earlier reward challenge. If he was trying to get in with the other tribe so he was safer come single tribe merge time, he’s out of luck.

This tribe needs an enema! And if it’s going to get one, it’ll be the men that administer it. After the last tribal council, the three remaining guys fully realize where the power lies…and it surely isn’t with them. The morning after Tribal Council, all three boys worked their fannies off to take care of their harem of slumbering queens. Nate stacked more wood than Paul Bunyan on a good day, Brad went fishing and caught a bunch of fish, and Adam caught crabs and retrieved water. The boys are proving how valuable they are, and I doubt any of them will be the next to leave since they are all pleasant providers who can also carry the team on their backs through the physical challenges. Nate and Adam sure proved as much by holding so much weight for so long during the reward challenge.

Then there is Cristina. Bossy doesn’t begin to describe her. She seems to have advice on exactly how to do every little thing around camp, and I’m certain she is the main strategizer when it comes to the challenges. After Adam came back to camp with an octopus clutching his leg, not only did Cristina instruct the tribe on how to remove the clinger-on, but then she rattled off little jobs for everyone to get the octopus coconut stew prepared for dinner. When Jenny left Cristina to rinse the octopus off by herself down at the shore, Cristina spilled the octopus chunks back in the ocean, and tried to blame the loss of a few octo-chunks on Jenny for not being by her side. Of course, Jenny was offended by Cristina’s laying of the blame, and pointed out that she is Raro’s next J.P. Only if she gets voted off next, Jenny.

One thing working in Raro’s favor is the ability to work as a team during the challenges. They really worked well together during the immunity challenge, and got their 2 players across the water on the platform poles quickly. When they were behind at first they all kept their cool and simply worked harder. Why did they lose, then? It seemed to me like getting everyone on or above that tiny platform was a ridiculously hard task. They tried their best, and it looked like they had it in the bag until everyone fell off the tower. Perhaps they didn’t work smart enough at that point, either. Either way, I can see them all coming together to win the next immunity.

Well, That Didn’t Work
Where did Stephannie go wrong? Really, I think it was admitting she was the weakest link before the previous tribal council. Now she fesses up to how good some mashed potatoes would taste and how much she could use the sustenance right now. Either Nate completely blew her statement out of proportion, or he hit the nail right on the head by figuring out that Stephannie had already checked out and just wasn’t strong enough to stay in the game. But really, she said it best when she said she just needs to keep her mouth shut. Ya think? Seriously, she had an out, and she failed to use it. Cristina was on everyone’s hit list after her bossy behavior, and if Steph really didn’t want to go to loser lodge, she could have worked just a tad harder to prolong her stay. I wonder how those mashed potatoes taste now?

I’ll take my mashers with garlic and sour cream. Yum! mrdobolina@fansofrealitytv.com