Last night's Survivor
saw what is perhaps the show's biggest, most daring move: getting yourself eliminated to kick out a possible threat on Redemption Island, and return just in time for the merge. And Ozzy, he who was put in a precarious position last week, has done just that.
At first glance the whole thing makes sense. Christine has been doing so well in Redemption Island that she can be quite a threat when (and if) she returns to the game after the merge -- and since the game shifts to individual mode by then, you have to eliminate anyone who gets between you and a million dollars. Also, with both tribes pretty even at this point, Christine's return will give Upolu a one-member advantage. Oh, and it makes Ozzy a hero to the rest of the Savaii tribe, and considering what happened before, he definitely needs it.
The catch? One, his plan works on the assumption that the merge is happening next week. While the merge has happened at around the same point on every Survivor
season, it's definitely not fixed, so anything can still happen.
Two, his plan works on the assumption that Christine is a threat to him -- but we know she's itching to swing to Savaii's side after being treated so badly (supposedly) by her former tribemates at Upolu.
Three, his plan works on the assumption that he can beat Christine -- but he's a physical player, and we haven't seen any "physical" challenges on Redemption Island this season.
Finally, his plan to "lend" Cochran his immunity idol while he is "away" works on the assumption that Cochran will give it back when he returns. Trust me, he won't -- and not because he's a shifty player (although he is). For one, Cochran's been working against Ozzy all this time, and this is an opportunity for him to get a leg up in the game. Also, think about it: who's stupid enough to let go of his immunity idol blindly? Oh, right...
Still, I'm excited to see what happens on Survivor next week. What Ozzy did, after all, is the kind of move that can either bring sunshine and butterflies, or hell. And that means I get to bring out some scenarios! Exciting, if not a bit scattered. So, what could happen next?
Ozzy beats Christine, then the merge happens
Ozzy may think this is the best scenario, but I think otherwise -- because apart from Christine losing any chance of returning, nothing much has changed. Both tribes are still tied at six each, and the divisions within their tribe is still there. And if Cochran decides not to give up the immunity idol, Ozzy's definitely screwed.
Ozzy beats Christine, but no merge happens
At least Ozzy can be certain that he doesn't have to wait that long for the merge. The only thing he has to do is to pull off a Coach: kneel, pray to the heavens, and hope that someone from Upolu heads to Redemption Island next. And, also, hope that he beats whoever is voted off. The worst that could happen is either Savaii loses another challenge, or Ozzy is beaten in the next duel.
But what about the rest of Savaii, who'll have to go through another challenge without Ozzy? That'd definitely shrink their chances of winning, but with both tribes still neck and neck, there's no telling whether one tribe will win or another. We've seen challenges where the others (Dawn and Jim, especially) stepped up to the plate, and if they get their heads together it shouldn't be that hard to send an Upolu member to battle Ozzy.
Ozzy loses to Christine, then the merge happens
Savaii may lose their strongest team member, but they'll definitely get Christine, whose only problem is that she's been alone for so long. She may be a threat in the challenges, but she'll provide valuable "information" about Upolu to Savaii. (I put that word in quotes because she's just enraged she got booted first, and Stacey's sassy words definitely exaggerated things.)
The problem here is Upolu -- they'll definitely move to vote Christine out right after the merge, and since they're a fairly unified tribe, they're a force to be reckoned with. (Unless Brandon has a meltdown, that is. That should be a unanimous choice for the merged tribe.)
Ozzy loses to Christine, and no merge happens
The ultimate backfire -- but is this bad for Savaii? They're better off having Ozzy out now than after the merge, where he can work some extra magic on the other side. I guess they're just scared with the idea of Cochran being the "alpha male" of the tribe. Of course, there's Keith and Jim, who aren't shabby players. And, as I said earlier, no tribe has the upper hand at the moment, so anything can happen in the next immunity challenge.
Then again, will Savaii think their plan to send someone to Redemption Island to beat Christine is worth another shot? And will they throw a challenge (something they thankfully didn't resort to last night) to do it?
There are too many factors in play, and I can't list every one of them down here (you don't want a long article) so I'll end it here and give the floor to you. What's the most likely scenario after Ozzy's big, risky, possibly dumb, possibly brilliant move last night?
I'm definitely certain of this: I still don't know when the merge will be. Damn you, Ozzy.
(Image courtesy of CBS)