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Survivor: Cook Islands Mutiny Manifest (11/9) – Mutiny For The Bounty?

Welcome to another edition of the Survivor Mutiny Manifest, where each week we will break down strategies and alliances and how this season’s castaways are playing their game to win one million dollars. Sometimes it’s an easy job, at other times, not so much, but it’s always fun to speculate and see how predictions turn out in the end. So let’s get on with who is wheeling, who is dealing, and of course, who is reeling!

What can I say about this week’s episode? I was utterly shocked at the big mutiny twist…not that it happened, but more at the fact that there were castaways that took advantage of it. I was also impressed with one tribes ability to use their animosity for two other players to their advantage, and easily win challenges and give them the opportunity to say “In your face!” Finally, I was also impressed with one castaway’s ability to save his hide by talking out of both sides of his mouth. It’s a talent, and he’s lucky he has it.

Whoa! In case, for some reason, you didn’t watch the show, the mutiny twist was offered by Jiffy immediately before the reward challenge. It’s not to difficult to understand in theory—basically each castaway was given the opportunity to switch tribes right away, and they had 10 seconds to decide. No one would do that, right? Right? That’s what I was saying to the TV…”This twist sucks, no one will do that!” And then it happened…Candice stepped off of Aitu’s mat, thus deciding to switch over to Raro and rejoin her boy toy Adam. Jeff counted down to one, and then it happened again. Jonathan decided to follow Candice like a puppy dog, and now he was again a member of Raro. Ok, Candice I can understand, but Jonathan? What the hell was he thinking? Candice already has allies on Raro, and she was the fourth member of a four person alliance at Aitu. She’s tight with Adam and Parvati, and they both welcomed her with open arms. She’ll easily integrate into her “new” tribe, and since she was already planning to join up with Adam and Parvati after the merge, she would have irons in the fires of two tribes. Jonathan is a completely different story. Not only was he not welcomed with open arms at Raro, his former tribemates at Aitu really feel betrayed by him. To them, he seemed to be running things, strategy-wise, so much so that Yul even considered booting Jonathan before a merge could occur because he couldn’t be trusted. It was Jon’s plan that they were discussing as the episode opened, and it was his scheming that was going to keep Ozzy around long enough to have 6 Aitu get to the merge, and boot him as soon as they had the chance. So what does Jonathan do? That’s right, he proved that he can’t be trusted by defecting over to Raro. He had already talked with Candice, and they both knew that at some point they were going to have to flop to another alliance to further themselves in the game. It was only a matter of time. This wasn’t it. Jonathan really should have thought a lot harder about going to Raro with Candice. The only good that can come out of this for Jonathan is the fact that he really cemented himself as this season’s villain. At this point, not a single castaway likes this guy, and they have to all be thinking “I wanna sit next to Jon at the final Tribal Council.” I know that’s what I’d be thinking, at least.

Talk about your huge betrayals! Aitu was rocked by Candice and Jonathan’s decision to mutiny, but they used their anger, and collectively kicked Raros’ butts. Did you all see Ozzy? He was one pissed off dude this episode. He was absolutely seething with hatred for his mutinous tribe mates. If you have ever wondered if the dark side of the force exists, we now have proof. This guy channeled his anger and hatred and likely saved his own butt from Survivor extinction because of it. The second Candice and Jonathan walked over to Raro’s mat, Ozzy’s eyes started burning and you could literally see the smoke venting out through his ears. His smoldering rage at being betrayed won the reward challenge for Aitu. It wasn’t even close. To me, this challenge showed why Ozzy is going to be a force to be reckoned with come the merge. Not only did he win the challenge with his athleticism, but he used his brain as well. Ozzy recognized the fact that there was a rope under the water that he could use to pull the barrel and his team through water, and he figured out a way for Yul to hold on to him while he pulled the team to victory. It was brilliant, and single handedly won the challenge for his tribe. After winning reward, the team got to bond—not only over the fact that they were betrayed, but also over letters and pictures from home. And bond they did.

The other member of Aitu who will be sticking around a long time is Yul. Ozzy isn’t the only castaway that uses his brains during the challenges, and Yul also has the brawn to win some individual immunities. Having the hidden immunity idol in his back pocket doesn’t hurt either. But I’m talking brain power here. Yul quickly figured out that his team didn’t need to line up the boat’s crosshairs, since he could easily see the target they were dropping cannonballs into through the drop chute. Brilliant! Once he figured that out, Aitu overcame a two target deficit and easily won the immunity challenge.

Here’s how I see Aitu’s future: First off, I don’t think they’ll lose another immunity challenge. The fact is, this foursome has come together and will work better together to ensure more Rarotongans go to loser lodge. Secondly, if they do lose an immunity challenge and have to vote someone out, don’t expect it to be Ozzy. Instead I would expect Sundra to have her torch snuffed in that situation. I know Yul was already talking about getting the Oz-man out before he became an even bigger threat in individual challenges, but that was before they were all stabbed in the back by a mutiny. The fact is, nobody knows when the merge is going to happen. Yes, it usually happens when there are 10 castaways left, but the producers are obviously trying to shake things up this year, proven by the fact that the jury started to form with this episode’s torch snuffing. If Aitu loses, Yul and his ally Becky will definitely opt to keep the stronger Ozzy over the under-the-radar Sundra. Finally, if this foursome does make it to the merge intact, look for them to enlist the help of Nate and Rebecca. It seems like a natural conclusion to believe that the typically under-represented ethnicities on Survivor will band together to eliminate the ethnicity that is always over-represented in the winner’s circle.

Raro’s future fortunes are a lot harder to read. There seems to be 3 tribes occupying Raro Beach…Jonathan is his own tribe, Brad is his own tribe, and then there is the rest of them who all remain mostly loyal to each other, but also seem like they would flop to a different alliance the second they recognized they were in trouble. Parvati? Her only assets are her feminine wiles. Candice? Well, at least she’s thinking and cultivating alliances with Parvati and Adam. Rebecca? Jenny? I haven’t seen either of them in about 3 weeks. Are they still playing the game? Adam? He’s a caveman with a crush. All I can see out of him is to club Candice over the head and drag her back to the shelter by her hair. Nate…oh, Nate. Nate is the only one besides Jonathan that is actually playing the game! Did you see his talk with Brad? Nate assured Brad that he was sticking around, and even I believed Nate…and he had just told us he was going to go all Denzel Washington on him and act like he was keeping Brad in the game! It was beautiful. Nate has the physicality and the social skills to carry himself far.

On the challenge side, Raro is just failing to work well together as a team. Perhaps it’s because of the “three tribes” concept that I illustrated above, or perhaps it is because they have 2 new members that aren’t used to the already worn in tribe dynamics. Either way, I don’t expect them to win many challenges before the merge, and they will likely be snuffing some more torches because of that. Who is likely to go? Perhaps Jenny or Rebecca, simply because they don’t really seem to contribute much to the group dynamic. Or, I might be wrong in my analysis of Jonathan, and he could be the next member to populate the jury. I think there is a core group that consists of Adam, Nate, Parvati, and Candice. They bring in others when they need their vote, but it is this core group that will joust with Aitu in the upcoming merge. Who will come out victorious? Only time will tell.

I Guess That Didn’t Work
Even though there was only 1 torch snuffed this week, I’m going to talk about 2 castaways whose plan didn’t work out. First, there’s Jonathan. No one is buying his schmoozing at Raro, and defecting could very well have been the worst decision any Survivor castaway has ever made. As I said before, though, it could end up being a brilliant move, even if it was accidental. If he does end up being perceived as the villain who everyone wants to sit next to in the final 2, well, his work is done, and he’ll see some prize money. If not, he’s the next to go.

Next there’s Brad. Brad headed to Loser Lodge with his tail between his legs. Luckily(or unluckily) for him this season of Survivor is shaking things up, and he was the surprise first member of the jury. Why did Brad’s torch get snuffed, when everyone had such a bad taste of Jonathan in their mouths’? Well, for one thing, he was constantly grating on the majority of his tribemates. He was bickering with the others about potatoes versus bread, whining about challenges, and generally not fitting in with anyone around camp. He had to go, lest he join another alliance after the merge. Actually, I’m surprised Brad didn’t jump ship at the mutiny. He would have been fully appreciated by Aitu, and he wouldn’t be headed to the lodge so soon. Alas, he is, and he can spread peanut butter on all the potatoes he wants.

You got your peanut butter in my potatoes! No, you got your potatoes in my peanut butter! mrdobolina@fansofrealitytv.com