Survivor – Likability is a Liability


Wow! Another great episode down, and one more to go. I can’t wait for Sunday night! I have some pretty strong feelings about who from the final five I’d like to see win, and some complaints about tonight’s episode. So if you’ve seen it, click through.

OK, one complaint. Survivor needs to foreshadow a little less heavily, because over the years a pattern has emerged. I always say that the unpredictability of human nature is what keeps Survivor fresh after over 20 seasons, and I stand by that. But occasionally heavy-handed editors can get in the way. Tonight’s episode foreshadowed Brenda’s elimination a little too strong. At the start, Eddie told us that he was going home – and if not him, then Cochran. So there was a good chance they’d be safe.

Later, Brenda was targeted as being too likable. Ruh-roh! And then the nail in the coffin: After losing (throwing…) Immunity, Brenda said “It’s the perfect plan, if we can just stick to it everything will go amazing.” There was no need for Tribal Council at that point – Brenda had just eliminated herself.

Dads and Dilemmas

OK, let’s back it up. At the start of the episode, Eddie was certain that he’d be going home – unless he won Immunity, in which case he thought Cochran was a threat. He was right about that – Brenda and Erik were saying that they’d want Cochran gone after Eddie. Also, Erik was starving and miserable.


Visits from loved ones always cheer people up, though. And I’ll admit, these ones were more touching than usual. Brenda was adorable and made Probst tear up, Eddie wrapped his legs around his burly dad like a baby, and everyone ugly-cried.


The challenge involved unscrewing ladder rungs, then assembling them and tossing three bolos onto them. I thought Erik and his fit brother had this in the bag, but Brenda and her dad surprised everyone and won! I was rooting for them, because they were just too cute. Brenda was going to get to spend the afternoon with her dad, and she chose brenda and dadDawn and Dawn’s husband to join them… but there’s always a tough choice to make.

This time, everyone had TWO family members visiting. So Brenda could either spend the afternoon with her dad and sister, and Dawn and Dawn’s husband and son, or she could give the other four players time with their loved ones. Brenda quickly decided to give up reward for everyone else, but I think it was a mistake. Will keeping the reward lose you votes? I hope not, not if you played well. But appearing as a threat because of social bonds and likability is, I think, an even bigger risk. And it certainly came back to bite Brenda.

*Highlights from the reward include 1) Cochran casually chatting with his mom about her flight, because he knew there was no way in hell they’d win, and 2) Cochran mocking how “cool” his dad was trying to appear, what with the barbecuing and wearing sunglasses.

Dawn, of course, was in tears over not getting to spend time with her family, while Brenda comforted her. “I’m so mad I could SPIT!” Dawn fumed. Spit? Really? Wow, what a threat. When everyone yelled “Thank you, Brenda” from the floating BBQ and came back to shower her with hugs and gratitude, I knew poor Brenda was toast.

Lean In

immunityThe Immunity Challenge was a strength-based endurance challenge, but one that gave a bigger advantage to lighter players. Therefore, the boys were out first, followed by Sherri. It came down to Dawn and Brenda, and Brenda refused Dawn’s request to just let her have it. I hate when players pull the “I haven’t won an Immunity yet, you should drop out” card. If someone dropped out to let you win, you didn’t really win! That’s an Immunity with an asterisk next to it.

brenda02Brenda refused and fell in, but it was faked – she confirmed later that she’d have held on a lot longer if it had been Eddie up there with her. No! Bad, Brenda! That was a foolish mistake, and it might have cost her a million dollars. Had Brenda not done that, she just might have won her way straight to the finals.


Cochran was the one who really wanted to blindside Brenda, but he didn’t want to do it without Dawn’s approval. I knew they wouldn’t tell Erik, because it seems like he’s pretty tight with Brenda. But it’s interesting that Cochran and Dawn are so close that he wouldn’t make this move without her – because he, Sherri and Eddie could have done it. Dawn was on the fence, but she knew Brenda was a big threat.

I agree that Brenda was a threat, but to play devil’s advocate for a moment, isn’t Eddie as well? Eddie has not been as good in challenges as Brenda, but he’s certainly capable of winning one. And if he makes it to the end, he won’t have betrayed anyone. He’ll likely have votes from Reynold, Malcolm and Andrea. Plus anyone else who’s too pissed at whoever he’s sitting next to. Letting Eddie get to the end could be a big mistake, and without Brenda in the mix he might have an easier time winning challenges.

Dawn went with the blindside, and out went Brenda. Even though I have Dawn in the Survivor office pool, I was kind of rooting for Brenda to stay in the game. She’s just too likable. Of the remaining players, the only satisfying winners would be Cochran or Dawn. If Sherri, Eddie or Erik win it will sour an otherwise enjoyable season.

I can’t wait for Sunday night! Is someone going to get medically evacuated in the final days of the game? What a bummer that would be! “Cochran was on his way to Final Tribal Council, but dropped on a machete on his foot and had to be pulled from the game.”


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5 Responses to Survivor – Likability is a Liability

  1. Aaron Sirois says:

    I think it’s impossible to not feel sorry for Brenda here. It’s too bad it took so long for the producers to focus on her. I could have used a bit less crazy and a bit more Brenda.

    While they showed Dawn being torn about voting Brenda out, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of revenge thing going on in her head. Brenda gave up the loved one visit for Dawn as well, and Dawn needed it BAAAAAAD.

    I’m still rooting for Cochran. He’s likable, strategic, and damn stone cold killer out there. The speed with which he targeted Brenda was snake like. Dawn would also be a heck of a winner. She’s been an emotional wreck at times, but still very strategic. I’m still not sure which of the two of them has been running the show, or if they’re a real tag team.

    I wouldn’t mind Erik winning honestly. He’s done a great job of positioning himself to be the person that people come to when they want to vote someone out, apart from this last vote. I think he’s been a lot more strategic than it appears, though he’s never been in control. Kind of reminds me of Sandra’s play from Heroes vs Villains, minus the whole “we must get rid of Russel” aspect. Sherri has done well for herself too, better than it appears. She hasn’t been in control for a long time, but her name just hasn’t been on the chopping block because she’s gotten herself in with whoever happens to be in control. And she’s clearly able to make a big move. She was on the same page as Cochran about voting out Brenda, before he even said anything.

    Come to think of it, I would almost find it fitting if Eddie won. He’s someone that has been on the outside the entire time, is a threat in challenges, yet has somehow stayed in the game. Him making it to the end would be a clear warning to future players that no matter how paranoid you’re getting about the people you’re aligned with, you can’t forget about the enemy in the camp.

    Damn. I can’t wait for Sunday. This has been another great season. I like Cochran, but I think Dawn is going to pull out the win. After all, no one has been throwing her name around come tribal, whereas Cochran has been listed as a threat.

  2. Alex says:

    Damn, I’m so, so, so very gutted for Brenda. 😦

    At this point, I’m rooting for Dawn because she’s been lovely this entire season. Her ‘it makes me wanna spit’ comment was just.. the best. I wouldn’t mind it if Cochran won, but I don’t think anyone else has a shot if either him or Dawn make the Final Three.

  3. Scott says:

    I’m absolutely devastated! Poor Brenda, it was so sweet how proud she was when she told her Dad how she’d gotten further this time by being humble. Whilst I’m now rooting only for Dawn to win, I can’t believe she has the ignorance to talk about Brenda as a strategic threat when she has Cochran sitting right next to her, I definitely think she made the wrong move. Brenda was 100% loyal to Dawn, I mean she went teeth-diving for her, but still she chose to side with Cochran who will want anybody next to him apart from Dawn at the end.

    I totally agree about the editing though, at one point in the episode I was hoping that Eddie would actually be voted out and they were pushing the Brenda idea to make it more interesting.

    Lastly I don’t think Andrea would consider voting for Eddie if either Dawn or Cochran make it to the final three, she has too much respect for the game to do that. I’m really looking forward to the finale, but this season has had too many depressing eliminations for me to love it.

  4. Davide Maistrello says:

    Man, this was ugly. I really think this was a wrong decision by the alliance of three (Cochran, Dawn, Eddie) but one that will take them to the Final 3, unless Erik or Eddie weasel his way into the Final TC winning all the challenges. But that’s not happening: Eddie hasn’t performed well in challenges until now, both in the tribal phase and in the individual one, and Erik is just too weak at this stage. He’s so thin and skinny! I think he went into the game a little too slender, as it appears that the lack of food is taking the best of him.

    If Eddie doesn’t win the first IC, he’ll be the first to leave; if he does, I guess Erik goes first. I think the second immunity challenge is the most important for the purposes of the final result, as the only way the remaining contestant between Eddie and Erik can make his way to the final Tribal is if he wins. It surely will be gripping!

    Then…I guess Dawn and Sherri have completely ruined their chances with the jury, so unless Erik or Eddie makes it I think it will be a blowout for Cochran. I’m still rooting for Erik though, he’s a good underdog and the bit where he was miserable for lack of food and tried to scale that tree made my eyes water a bit (not unexpected, since tears were more or less the main theme of the episode). Plus I felt like Brenda’s screwing by the main alliance was ugly, after she’d been so kind with them giving up her reward, and now I feel I can’t really back Dawn or Sherri.

    I’m really excited for the final episode of what has been an AMAZING season so far! It started a bit slowly with all the Shamar/Brandon Hantz fuss, but after the merge it really picked up its pace and there were some GLORIOUS episodes.

  5. tim says:

    This was one of the best seasons ever. If featured some of the best blindsides. The one I liked best was the dumping of Corrine. So nice to see her very unlikeable self booted, before the jury qualification.
    The blindsides of both Andrea and Brenda were brilliantly excecuted as well. Andrea even brought it on herself by plotting to suprise Brenda. And Brenda got far too comfortable, leaving herself vulnerable. Make no mistake Cochran’s been running this show. His skill is in his timing. He knows when it’s the right time to make a move.

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