Thursday, December 15, 2011

Survivor South Pacific: 23.13 Hugs & Pleasure Domes

First things first, make sure you click here to see Jeff Probst sign a buff to send to me because he liked my LEGO version of him & the Final 7!  I had made them for my all-LEGO recap a few episodes back.  I think it was LEGO Brandon crying that got me the buff, so thank you, Brandon.

You get a buff!

Secondly, you can now place your votes for the Player of the Season/Fan Favourite at
I won't try to influence you on who should get your vote(s), but I ask you to consider this (& please imagine triumphant horns in the background):  Who is a player who actually played the game?  Who made a bold move because he wouldn't leave his Survivor fate up to chance?  Who stood up against his oppressors?  Who endured Tai-Chi on the Beach with another great player this season who will most likely win $1,000,000 so doesn't need your vote for a mere $100,000?  The answer is as clear as his translucent skin, so I will leave it at that.

Now to the actual episode....holy prayer circle, there was so much going on in this episode it's hard to know where to start.  It begins with the five.  The five that have been together since Day one.  Now, fight to the death!

There is a prayer circle right off the bat, as Brandon says, "The most important thing for us to do is give thanks to the person who did this for us."  God is a person?  And also, there is nothing wrong with believing in yourself & having pride in yourself for getting this far.  Just saying.

Albert wants Sophie out.  "The more & more I look at it, Sophie's getting increasingly dangerous.  She's a very well-spoken girl, very intelligent...she's started to build a little bit of a resume - she's got 2 immunity wins under her belt, & I, frankly, don't know if I want to sit next to her at the end."  Albert tells Rick they're still looking good to go to the end together, but all Rick wants to do is blow bubbles underwater for the next 6 days or something.

2 outta 3 ain't bad.

Off to Redemption Island Arena where Edna is facing off against Ozzy.  The challenge is a slide puzzle to release a hatchet which they must use to cut a rope, releasing a bag full of cubes that is part of another puzzle that is part Rubix Cube, part Sudoku.  There are lots of parts.  None of these challenges have seemed Ozzy-tailored, so that's something, I guess.  All of Te Tuna is helping Edna, no one is helping Ozzy, but it doesn't matter - Ozzy can focus his beady little otter eyes while his opposable thumbs & toes go to work.  Ozzy wins, & he is the only one happy about it.  So long, Edna.  May you always Outclean.  Check out this animated Edna doing what she loves most while Zooey Deschanel sings about cotton.  Awesome job, revengeofnajoge!

Back at camp, Albert says one of the smartest things I've heard all season.  "When we first got together, the 5 of us, way back on the Upolu beach, we talked about honour & integrity all the way.  The interesting thing about the honour & integrity card is, in the game of Survivor, I do not care a single thing about honour & integrity.  I really don't."  Smart, & it breaks Coach's record of how many times he can say "honour & integrity" in 1 minute.

Son of a samurai!

Brandon does not see it that way.  He tells Albert, "You realize that now that we have 5 people here & someone's going home tomorrow, that it's impossible for us to not make the final 3?"  Uh oh...Brandon's trying to talk strategy.  What's next - Probst wearing a green shirt?  Also, impossible?  God doesn't do impossible, Brandon.  There could always be a Survivor miracle...

Sophie is sharing her thoughts on Ozzy with Coach.  "Ozzy is the most dangerous player...every single player that goes through Redemption, he gets the last say with every single jury member.  Ozzy gets to feed them, he comforts them after they've been voted out.  Every single jury member has gone through, like, Ozzy's Pleasure Dome on the way out.  The way I see it, we have to send Brandon to Redemption - we have to put the 2 most dangerous players in the game together & get 1 of them out."

Coach agrees, so he's not very receptive when Albert takes his case against Sophie to him.  Albert is pushing the idea that they'd be better off with Brandon next to them at the end than Sophie.  Hold up - I thought the only reason Brandon was still around was because they all wanted to take Loco with them to the end?  Why is he still around throughout all of his outbursts & instability if this wasn't the plan all along?  Sophie incredulously thinks Brandon would be a threat in the final 3 because "superficially, at least, he's the most loyal, the most trustworthy, the most godly man out here, & that's not somebody I would want to go to the final 3 with."

Brandon's the most godly? I'm friggin Ozzy Christ Superstar!

Brandon walks over while Coach is telling Albert that Brandon is next because he's a huge threat & I am wondering how I missed this side of Brandon that Sophie & Coach are terrified of.  Brandon wants to know what they're talking about & Coach is either super-paranoid now, or trying to prove to Albert how threatening Brandon is, because he freaks on Brandon, even calling him a bully & suggesting he's acting like (gasp!) Russell!

Brandon holds back the tears & says "That definitely hurt my feelings, what you just said, bro."  Aw, he called Coach "Dad" in Brandonese!  Coach is immediately sorry.  "I apologize about saying the Russell thing, but he really did a number on me & so when I see you doing the same thing that he did, it kind of freaks me out."  Brandon then earnestly says "Please give me a hug, man."  How is Albert not laughing?  Dude is playing to win.  Coach slowly extracts himself from his comfy hammock & they hug it out.  "I love you, bro."

After this touching over-reaction/make-up non-event, Coach gets a one-on-one & says "The apple never falls far from the tree, & meeting his father was double confirmation of what I need to do for my next move."  Enter Brandon to offer Coach some coconut to the sweet sounds of the creepy strings from LOST.  I'm looking for Ben Linus to enter the frame.  "Cheer up, man, God's got everything under control."  The way he looks up at Coach is seriously creepy enough to not need the LOST strings.  He has serious Daddy issues.

No thanks, bro, I'm good.  No roofied coconut for me today.

At the Immunity challenge, Probst is in a green shirt & yells, "Come on in, guys!" & I think of Cochran & I miss him, & WTF, is Jeff wearing a green shirt?  Brandon talking strategy has actually changed the world as we know it!

Probst takes the Immunity Necklace back from Coach, who is now sporting Legolas braids behind both ears.  Coach opts for the Whitney way of giving up the necklace, which is to delicately pivot & stand there while Probst does all the work.  This is made all the more awkward by Coach leaning backwards so Probst can reach more easily.

The main set piece for the challenge is a huge wall they must climb using a rope, grabbing 5 bags which contain puzzle pieces.  They must match up the pieces, & the 3 pieces that have no match will give them a combination that will release a flag, which is back at the top of the wall.  Winner gets immunity & pizza. 

Rick & Brandon are the first ones moving on to the puzzle, but Rick falls behind.  Soon Brandon is up the wall with his combination, with Coach right behind him, but he's too late.  Brandon wins, & of course, immediately shouts his thanks.  "THANK YOU JESUS!" Thank you Father!"  He points to the heavens & a church bell rings.  On his way to receive his necklace, he points to the sky once more, & a church bell rings.

Brandon gets to choose 1 person to share his pizza, & obviously he picks Coach, but instead, he chooses Rick?!?  Rick responds by whipping off his hat & whistling for the cows to come on home, & we hear a snippet of a western-themed score.  Have I mentioned how much I love the editors & foley guys on Survivor? They rock.

Back at camp, Coach is pissed, but he's at peace with it.  Um, ok.  The pizza is delivered via jet ski & I am reminded of the amazing Jeff-brings-the-votes-to-the-finale-in-LA-by-every-mode-of-transportation-possible bits Survivor used to do.  I wish they'd do that again.  I also remember that Rosie O'Donnell used to host the live show, as did Bryant Gumbel.  I will participate in a prayer circle to praise whomever decided to let Jeff take over.

Sophie just wants to smell the pizza, even though she isn't allowed to have any, & Albert is suspicious.  For good reason, too, as Sophie tells Brandon & Rick that she's voting for Albert.  Rick relates how just the other day Albert told him they would go to the end, & how he lied to Albert's face, "Yeah, ok".  Brandon's ears perk up - he doesn't like that Albert promised the end to Rick, but he's ok with Rick being a liar?

"The Bible says that when you sin, your sins are gonna be shouted out from the rooftops."  Unable to find a rooftop, he just does his shouting from the same place he always does.  Everyone attacks Albert because they have uncovered that he lied to a competitor in a game for a million dollars.  Wait, is that right?  Everyone's so upset because Albert is playing the game?  Wow.

Don't hate me because I'm handsome!

Everyone is hating on Albert, & there is literally no way for him to be safe at tribal.  Not a way that makes any kind of sense or is rooted in logic, that is.  Albert lies to Rick's face, screaming with his eyes "DUDE!  I'm trying to play this game & you're telling Brandon all my shit?!?  Not cool!"  He's screaming this with his eyes because he can't get a word in.  Sophie, with what must be a terminal case of sideboob, as her entire side is blurred out, gets in there, swearing at Albert to let her finish her sentence.  That's actually funny, because Albert's been sounding like Bella when Edward wants her to move to Jacksonville to be safe from him & his hair & his intense idea of love.

"You can't...I don't...Wait...If you...No, I...Just...But you..."

After the storm blows over, Albert says, "If I could just draw Brandon back over with me, man, I'm right back where I need to be."  Albert, you are crazy.  Everyone hates you so much now, there is literally no way Brandon could make any difference.  Again, at least not in a way that makes any kind of sense or is rooted in logic.  Albert tries to get back in Brandon's good graces by trying to explain why he would promise Rick the end when he didn't really mean it.  "I'm trying to win." is what it comes down to, but Brandon doesn't really hear him, as he is busy whittling his very own cross to bear while the heavens shine down on him.  Seriously.

And so the light shone down on the most loyal of men...
Albert tries speaking to Brandon in his own language.  "I feel like your heart is closed to me right now, man."  Suddenly Brandon is not so sure he should vote Albert out.  That's all it took?  Albert continues pleading his case & Sophie & Rick are watching from home, cursing themselves for not sequestering Brandon directly following the Albert attack.  Albert turns on the charm, telling Brandon all those other guys meant nothing to him, & they don't have the special bond we share, baby.  "You're making me look bad, & I'm not a bad dude."  I'm going to go ahead & guess that no one could make this man look bad.  But I digress.

To continue my literal streak, Brandon has been enlightened by the heavens & says, "I'm not voting you.  I just made up my mind."  Wow, that was easy!  To celebrate, they pray, but I'm fairly certain Albert is thanking God for Brandon's gullibility.  Brandon then says he'll give Albert his Immunity necklace.

That's right - this episode gets TWO Stacey Blams!  BLAM!

After all, Brandon doesn't need immunity because Coach & Albert would never vote for him because they told him so.  Albert looks like he's struggling to suppress a giant smile.  Don't smile yet, many times have we heard that same promise, & how many times has it actually been followed through?  Only Erik from Fans Vs Favourites springs to mind, & you can skip ahead to the 7:00 mark to see how that worked out for him:

Brandon sits Coach down to let him know what's happening in that Loco head of his.  "You know by now that God speaks to me."  Coach nods his head as if this is a normal & sane conversation to have.  While cameras are rolling.  Brandon tells Coach his plan, ending with, "I know you'll never vote against me.  And I know you'd never do anything or vote any way that you knew that I was going home.  This example would probably be the pinnacle of why we're out here - forgiving.  If we can't forgive our brother, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us."  Oh, right.  Brandon's there to be an example for Christ, who I'm positive is looking to Brandon for guidance.

Brandon continues, saying "I honestly believe this is what God wants us to do..."  Coach is quick to speak up & clarify this: "No, no...remember, this is what God wants you to do.  What I need to do right now is I need to pray, & I promise you this - I will do whatever God tells me to do."  Nicely done, Coach.  How can Brandon find fault with that?  He'll probably still give you the million dollars.

Coach bows down & prays in the sand.  "I begged God to speak to me like he's never spoken to me before.  I asked God to give me the Holy Spirit of divine interpretation & wisdom.  I prayed & there was a name in my head over & over & over soul has never grieved like it does in this moment."  Well, are you sure you're supposed to vote that person out?  God has been paying close attention to this season of Survivor, so maybe you overheard Him casting his vote for the Player of the Season?

As tribal council begins, right after Probst comments on what a powerful position Brandon is in with that Immunity Necklace, Brandon declares he is giving it up.  The reaction shots of everyone are priceless.  Jeff's neck seemingly gives out & his head drops an entire foot.  Dawn's eyebrows shoot up to hide under her bangs.  Rick executes an eye-roll that would have Christine wiping proud tears away from her perfectly rolled eyes.  Coach goes into a why-have-you-abandoned-me pose, looking upwards & shakily clawing at his face.  Jim freezes in a jaw drop, following with the ingenue darting eye move perfected by Manic Pixie Dream Girls everywhere.

Brandon walks over to Albert & ceremoniously places it around his neck, & then of course, they hug.  Jim looks confused & disgusted that the necklace is going to Albert.  Dawn whispers, "What is going on?"  Cochran looks like he is loving the fact that this is happening right in front of his face.

Probst asks WTF & Brandon says, "I made a statement here every tribal council that I would stay true to the commitments that I make & that I would give my own place in the game up for them."  Coach explains that Brandon was going to vote for Albert, then prayed about it & changed his mind.  Whitney, a girl with both a cross tattoo & necklace, raises her eyebrows at this.  But adultery is still totes cool.

"I've had a lot of time to pray with Albert & I knew that if I didn't give him the immunity tonight then he was going to Redemption.  It's really hard to explain because my loyalty's...a little bit different."  He goes on to tell a heartbreaking story of being caught up in a bad crowd & his friends would say they had his back when they really didn't.  "I was really willing to give my life for these was people taking my loyalty for whatever they wanted to use it for, & then leaving me hanging."  Quite sad, & it is genuinely fantastic that he has left that life behind him, but I think he missed a life lesson there.  Maybe cool it with the unconditional devotion. 

About Coach & Albert, Brandon says, "I consider these 2 guys my best friends.  We have a very solid connection with each other because of Christ inside of them."  Whitney laughs.  "I was drawn to them, man.  It wasn't by coincidence."

What's Albert's take on all this?  In other words, how is he going to play this now that Brandon has given up his immunity for him?  "It blows my mind because when I got to this game, something told me that there was a bigger reason why I was here."  Sophie rolls her eyes, & somewhere, Christine is weeping with pride.  She taught the OompaLoompas well in her short time with them!

Now, here is why Jeff Probst is so awesome: he listens to Albert spew his spiritual awakening propaganda to Brandon & the jury, & then says, "So, is there a part of you, as a Christian man, who now wants to take the necklace off & do the same thing that Brandon just did for you?"

Oh yes, I did.  You've been triple blammed.  BLAM!

 Brandon looks up expectantly.  Don't leave me alone with the rival gang, bro.  Albert says he absolutely would...if he really thought Brandon was in danger, but he's not, so let's just drop that line of thinking, k, Jeff?

Rick speaks for more than 3 seconds at tribal & ends up outing Coach's hidden Immunity Idol that he's been hiding from nobody except the jury.  Oh, Rick.  We can always count on you to bring the LOLZ.  Brandon admits he's feeling less secure, but doesn't ask for the necklace back.  "It's up to him" he says, but whether he means him or Him, I have no idea.  Albert is not stupid, & says, "I hope Brandon feels comfortable with me, him & Coach, knowing that he can make a move like this & go untouched."  That's a no.

Everyone votes, & Brandon & Albert vote for Sophie.  Sophie is behind the obligatory misspelled vote, Branden, & Rick votes Brandon.  Coach is the tie-breaker, & he votes...Brandon.  Hey, God told him to!  Not his fault!  Brandon stands up to leave, & for the first time, I dislike Coach as he says "It's God's will.  Go win Redemption."  If that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, it must leave one in yours.

Albert's necklace unclasps itself out of disgust & falls into his lap, much like the angel Lucifer fell from Heaven.  How dare you try to win this game, Albert?  I bet that was your plan from the very beginning.  Disgraceful.

This Sunday night is the 2 hour finale, followed by the live reunion show.  How will Brandon fare in Ozzy's Pleasure Dome?  Sounds sinful!  Will the tribe-mate Memorial once again go on forever?  What will the jury say?  Will Probst have a Survivor paraphernalia gift basket waiting for Cochran to go along with his $100,000 when he rightfully wins Player of the Season/Fan Favourite?  And will Coach actually pull off this win that seems inevitable? 

Let's all pray on it.

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