'Survivor: South Pacific' recap: Episode 11, 'A Closer Look'

Also known as a bunch of scenes cobbled together as an excuse for an episode.

November 23, 2011|By Beth Aaltonen

This week: the infamous filler episode most reality shows have that tries to sell itself as "unseen moments" but ends up being a bunch of crap we don’t really care about. We know what it really is, though, which is the producers not wasting a new episode the night before Thanksgiving when half the country is traveling, and the other half is baking pies.

So what did we learn that was new? Well, the main focus seemed to be exactly why Cochran was willing to throw the rest of Savaii under the bus. We see how he went from not only not fitting in but, closer to the merge, being outright ridiculed. There was chicken killing involved, but I closed my eyes for that part. I can see where he wasn’t feeling super-loyal to the rest of Savaii, even if I think his defection was a strategic mistake.

So Cochran was ripe for Coach, who made him feel good about himself, and made him feel as if he’s an important part of the game, even comparing him to Hercules. And some of it seems to come from a place outside the game, where Coach honestly feels bad for the smart, slightly awkward guy.

Here’s Coach’s breakdown of Greek god comparisons:

Ozzy::Narcissus: so self-involved that he doesn’t see anything else.

Whitney::Erato (muse of erotic poetry): She’s hot. ‘Nuff said.

Edna::Echo: She talks a lot.

Coach::Zeus: Of course.

Hercules::Cochran: A bit of a stretch, but Cochran looovved hearing it.

Cochran also states that if he makes it past the merge, he’s going to be wheelin’ and dealin’ and sliding in and out of alliances. You know, if he actually manages to do that and not just be Coach’s pawn, I will give him some respect then.

Wait, are they giving Cochran a sympathetic edit? And am I falling for it?

We also learn that Whitney and Keith were a heck of a lot closer than they let on. It makes so much more sense how pissed off she was when he was voted off. They are cute together, but we’ll have to see whether it’s something that will last off the island.

Although it was mentioned briefly in the first episode, we see more of Dawn’s extreme discomfort with everyone walking around in underwear, as she's Mormon and more conservative than most. But she’s actually cute and nonjudgmental about the whole thing (see, Brandon: That’s how to be true to your religion without coming off as a sanctimonious jerk.)

I could gladly go the rest of my lie without hearing the words “Russel Hantz’s nephew” ever again. Brandon’s alliance is not worried about that, but more about his unstable nature and tendency to go off on a rant. Coach thinks that he’s "honest," which means completely transparent and easy to manipulate. I was surprised to learn that he was actually pretty good at spear fishing and providing for his tribe. But his short-sightedness comes to a head when he loses one chicken and then kills the remaining one, making the tribe go from two chickens to none in about three minutes. Cochran may actually outlast him.

Best scene of the night: Rick, who never talks, explaining how easy it is to kill a chicken by wringing its neck. But if you want to be "cool looking," you can bite its head off. Still waters, man.

Next week: The desperate shenanigans begin as the last remaining players start jostling for position.

Credits: The editors have a little fun, and dub in Cochran imitating Keith over video of Keith talking.

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