Redemption Island saw a lot of action tonight on Survivor: South Pacific.
What seemed inevitable—awesome Ozzy demolishing timid, clumsy Cochran in the opening duel—turned out to be a thrilling nail-biter.
And instead of returning to Ozzy's former beachside retreat alone, the victor brought half a dozen guests along with him.
Who were these party crashers? And did superfan Cochran actually defeat one of his greatest heroes?
Although he came closer—by millimeters—to sending the challenge dominator home than any other Castaways, Cochran, alas, became another notch on Ozzy's redemption belt. But the anxious jester walked away with Ozzy's respect and a strange pep talk from Pastor Probst, who preached that Survivor gave him a second chance: "A part of you died, a new part is reborn." Go forth, young man!
Eat, Pray, Love: Back at Camp Te Tuna, Edna staged a religious protest during the morning prayer: "I'd like to excuse myself," she announced, "because I'm not really part of this tribe." Even as the "second-class citizen" was bemoaning her fate to Coach Jefe, her nemesis Brandon—the "19-year-old high school dropout who advertises that he's crazy"—barged in with another advertisement.
We Interrupt This Program: Brandon was jubilant about the day's tree mail: a Sprint EVO 3D—aka the perfunctory family visit. Veteran Coach knew how to play to the sponsors, guaranteeing himself more air time by extolling the phone's amazing features. Among the relatives visiting were Coach's surprisingly normal brother, Brandon's shockingly normal father (and Russell Hantz's brother) and Rick's wife, whom he greeted with a TMI butt pinch that unfortunately reminded us of Rupert's slobbering reunion with his own wife during Heroes vs. Villains. This is how Rick chose to remind us he's playing this game?
Unfortunately for Ozzy, who was really enjoying his solitude, winning the duel meant he must select three players to join him at Redemption Island—with their families. He goes with the menfolk: Albert, Coach and then Brandon, whose father spent most of the time realizing just how crazy his son really is.
Papa: "Don't Preach": Russell's brother and Flip This House costar expressed his disappointment in his son's C-grade game. "Are you kidding me?" Shawn exclaimed when Brandon revealed he's more interested in proselytizing than winning. He reminds his son, "It's your job to bring home the gold," adding that he can either "preach on a street corner or provide for [his] family." Meanwhile Coach bristled at Shawn's "bullying" tactics, saying the Hantzes are "all cut from same cloth." If Coach makes good on his threat—"Brandon's ticking time bomb is a clock—[he's] about to be expired from the island"—the littlest Hantz should be scouting out street corners with lots of foot traffic right about now.
Last Man Standing: Coach came one step closer to a spot in the finals—and his "irrevocable Christian man" promise to Ozzy that the "two noble warriors would fight it out" at the finish—by winning immunity in the puzzle board challenge. His "Dragon Slayer move" was eclipsed by Brandon's boasting about his strategy to squeeze Edna out of the game. His "bullying" (the Castaways this season sure are mean) rankled Rick and Sophie, who pointed out that on Survivor, "people aren't as forgiving as Jesus Christ is." Nor did Edna appreciate Brandon's "insincere" apology, saying, "It's like beating your wife and then buying her a diamond necklace." But based on how he's playing the game, Brandon won't be bringing home any bling—or "cleansing the family name" either.
Honor, Integrity, Loyalty: Although Edna "provocatively put something on the table" by trying to persuade Upolu to vote out "irrational" Brandon instead, Upolu predictably and unanimously sent her to Redemption Island. Just when Ozzy thought he could enjoy some peace and quiet, she woke him up with a perky conversation starter: "Well, what do you want to know?"
Next Time, on Survivor: Unless the duel is a competition to be the most annoying player, Ozzy will send Edna home for good and hopefully have a chance to meditate and go fishing before he rejoins the Castaways. At least one original tribemate isn't chanting the Upolu mantra: In the previews, Albert says, "I do not care a single thing about honor and integrity." Attaboy!