Ozzy makes one of the boldest and riskiest moves in 'Survivor' history. The question is: why?

By Dalton Ross
Updated February 28, 2015 at 12:25 AM EST
Credit: Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
S23 E7

When I was a young boy, I dreamed that I would grow up to quarterback my beloved Washington Redskins to a Super Bowl championship. Fans would chant my name, players would poor buckets of Gatorade over my head in jubilant celebration, and Bryant Gumbel and his big afro would be interviewing me in the locker room where I would hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy and talk about how I did it all for my poor brother Johnny who was stuck in a wheelchair and never got a chance to walk, much less play the game we both loved so much. “This is for you, Johnny! This is for you!!!”

It was an idiotic dream. For one thing, I was scrawny as I was weak. We’re talking Cochran levels of ineptitude here. No way was I ever making the NFL. For another thing, I could barely throw a regulation size football five yards, which from what I gather is a prerequisite for being a Super Bowl champion quarterback. And then there’s the fact that I grew up with a sister named Allison, not a brother Johnny, and she walked just fine. (I guess the nonsensical insertion of a fictional handicapped brother made me seem extra dramatic and would make Hollywood more likely to produce a movie about my life story or something.) The point is, kids — never follow your dreams. They are just there to mock and confuse you. Which brings us to Ozzy Lusth. Ozzy had a dream that he saved both his tribe and his reputation for being a bad strategic player by volunteering to be voted off and go to Redemption Island. So then he went and did it. Of course, the idea didn’t first come to him in a dream. Nor did it come to him after watching Christine defeat Mikayla in her fifth straight duel. No, it came to him while talking to me the day before the game began as we discussed whether going to Redemption Island on purpose would be a viable strategy for him.

I actually don’t think it’s the worst idea in the world if done at the right time under the right circumstances, but now was not that time and these were not those circumstances. Here’s why. 1) Yes, the merge is probably happening before the next challenge, but only probably. Risking going into another team challenge without Ozzy is a big risk indeed, which could put you at a two-person disadvantage. 2) You don’t know what kind of duel you are going to get. Sure, Ozzy is great at physical challenges, but puzzles are not exactly his forte. So what if the “one shot” is a puzzle? The preview for next week’s duel (which appears to be a repeat of the Francesca-Matt duel from last season) does not look like a puzzle, but you can never be sure what you are going to get. 3) You’re giving up your immunity idol! Who says you ever get that back? I know this much: I wouldn’t give it to you. And neither should John. 4) Here’s the thing that all of Savaii seems to be ignoring: If they have been observing closely at the duels, they will have noticed the animosity that exists between Christine and the rest of her tribe. (Remember when Sophie came back talking about how angry Christine seemed?) Not only did they vote her out first, but they have been actively rooting against her in duels ever since. Why is Savaii assuming that she will run back to the people who slit her throat? I know Matt did, but Christine is no Matt.

So what’s the upside if Christine is likely to join your side anyway? And if Ozzy ends up going home as a result, he’ll be no better than Lawon from this summer’s Big Brother — a guy who asked to be voted out in the mistaken belief that in doing so he would be acquiring some sort of “special powers.” You know, like the powers of being a dumbass. Okay, let’s take the episode from the very top.

NEXT: Christine gets her duel on…again

Things start off with the Upolu tribe returning from another bizarre Tribal Council. Rick tells Coach that if they make it to the merge and Brandon freaks out again that “we’re screwed.” And with that, having filled his talking quota, you can expect to not hear from Rick again until the month of December. You’ll hear plenty from Coach, however, because Coach always makes sure to memorize his handy dandy book of quotes, guaranteeing him plenty of screen time, although he will occasionally have to share that screen with a red-hot blazing sun. “There comes a time when you got to put a bullet in someone’s head. And in this game it is kill or be killed.” I could’ve sworn that came from the book of “Mackey, Vic” but apparently he’s channeling Lennie from Of Mice and Men.

After the opening credits we’re straight off to Redemption Island Arena to watch Christine try to take down her fifth straight contestant. Although this time she isn’t just taking on Mikayla, she taking on Albert as well, who barks out instructions to the lingerie football player as she attempts to take apart her crate, build a bridge, and then use the bridge planks to solve a puzzle. The frenzied nature of the challenge leaves Christine little time to scratch her nose in Albert’s direction, but the clear favoritism should make it obvious to the Savaii members in attendance (Ozzy and John) that Christine is still at odds with her former tribemates. Should being the operative word

Christine takes the lead, but Mikayla finishes the puzzle first. Not bad for a lingerie football player! Except, she’s wrong. (It took every bone in my body to resist saying she “fumbled the puzzle”…and I still couldn’t stop myself!) Christine then gets it right, leading to clapping from Ozzy and John, head nodding from Albert, and an angry shot of Sophie that was probably taken from some other point in time but added in here to convey her dismay as well. After Mikayla’s pseudo-touching farewell, Jeff tells Christine, “You’re becoming a legitimate force.” The punk rock teacher from Long Island responds, “I have always been a legitimate force.” I love Christine.

Watching the challenge gets Ozzy thinking…which is always a bit of a dangerous proposition. Ozzy tells John that he’s worried about Christine going back to Upolu should she make it to the merge. Ozzy tells John that maybe Ozzy should go to Redemption to knock her out and even the numbers. Ozzy tells John that “you have to make big moves in this game and that might be a big move worth making.” As for John, he needs to go get his ears checked out immediately because he cannot believe what he is hearing! The nerd in the sweater vest who never met a challenge he couldn’t turn into a Keystone Cops routine was this close to being voted out first, and now he could be sailing right into the merge, and with an immunity idol to boot. Kudos to John for keeping his head down and finding a way (with a big assist from Jim) to stick around. It’s not easy to dig yourself out of an early hole — especially when you don’t have particularly strong digging skills — but the Harvard law student is still standing.

NEXT: Give ‘Em Enough Rope (only Christine gets that Clash reference)

THIS JUST IN! Coach is not worthy. Coach is not worthy. Coach is not worthy, Father. Coach is not worthy. To that, I say: not true! Coach is worthy of many things, including aerial shots of him doing Tai Chi on a beach that somehow reaches all the way to the sun. Mr. Honor And Integrity decides that his tribe needs a pick-me-up after their challenge defeat and that the best way to do that is to inform those in the dark about the idol, which is to say, perform a phony baloney search for the idol so that they can pretend to have just found it. After lots of praying — because if there is one thing God cares about in this world it is who finds a hidden immunity idol on Survivor: South Pacific — the tribe fans out to search. But Coach and Sophie find something else — Tree Mail.

So now they return with the Tree Mail and the idol, which they say they found but don’t really explain how or where. Brandon doesn’t care. He just starts hugging everyone in sight. (There’s simply no telling what he would have done to Mikayla had that fiery temptress still be around.) So Upolu is feeling good when they arrive at the immunity/reward combo special challenge. They saunter in and…WHOA! Has Brandon grown boobs? Because homeboy is suddenly sporting a blue bikini top. Does this mean he is going to want to vote his upper torso off the tribe once he begins to become sexually attracted to himself? And did Sophie draw a beard on her face just so Brandon wouldn’t mistake her for a member of the always evil female sex? Well played, Sophie! Putting that college degree to work.

What’s with all the androgyny? What if I told you it was all part of a promotion for a hilarious new Adam Sandler movie? Well, I’d be lying, because it’s actually a promotion for a completely awful looking new Adam Sandler movie! It seems the winning tribe will not only win immunity but will also be awarded — if you want to call it that — with a trip to the Survivor Cinema where they will be treated — if you want to call it that — to a private screening of Sandler’s new cross-dressing comedy — if you want to call it that — Jack and Jill.

Once you get over the incredible awkwardness of an entire challenge being used to mirror the plot line from an upcoming crappy movie, it turns out to be an entertaining contest, because anytime contestants are blindfolded, good things are going to happen. And by “good things” I mean people running into poles and injuring themselves. The challenge involves a set of callers yelling instructions to two pair of contestants who must go out blindly through obstacles to retrieve bags with masks inside. Once all the bags are back, they must blindly match up all the masks to each other. It is a challenge that involves teamwork, trust, and tenacity, but will ultimately be lost on one person not knowing how to properly manage a rope. And that person is, of course, John. So no matter how many times Jim yells “LEFT, OZZY, LEFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!!!” Savaii is destined to lose because John can’t figure out how to properly hook Ozzy and Whitney in.

NEXT: Ozzy gets his kicks

But what happens during the challenge is not nearly as bizarre as what goes down after. While Coach runs around like a lunatic yelling “On your knees! On your knees!” to all the women and men on his tribe (how uncomfortable does that make you, by the way?) an irate Ozzy begins slamming everything in sight, culminating in him performing kung fu on the wall. Probst hands Brandon the tickets to the movie — if you want to call it that — and then asks Ozzy what he is feeling. Ozzy, who has finally stopped talking to himself by this point, says he’s feeling “frustration and anger,” and then John tells us his worry that Ozzy’s sacrificial plan seems out the window as we are treated to a slow motion replay montage of the braided one’s greatest hits…and kicks.

We’ll see about that, but first we need to take a trip to the Survivor Cinema. Now, I want to make sure I am absolutely 100 percent clear on this. This movie looks absolutely atrocious. Jack and Jill makes Juwanna Mann look like the freakin’ Citizen Kane of cross-dressing comedies. I actually feel sorry for the Survivor contestants that win these challenges. Last year in Nicaragua, the winning tribe had to go sit through Gulliver’s Travels, and now this? I’m just gonna call it out: The Survivor Cinema is the worst movie theater in the entire world. Does it only specialize in showing the lamest films imaginable? What do next season’s contestants have to look forward to: a triple feature of Gigli, Glitter, and Cool as Ice? (Only if someone in Hollywood is looking to promote some upcoming Blu-ray releases!)

What does Coach think of Jack and Jill, you ask? “Jack and Jill. Loved it. Adam Sandler — personally, I’m a fan. It was funny, but at the same time, there was a message and that message was hey, family comes first.” Now, see, that’s a savvy veteran move by Coach right there. He knows the show is contractually obligated to have a contestant talk about how amazing the movie they just saw was as part of the blatant product placement deal, so the more effusive you are in your praise, the more you can guarantee yourself some extra screen time. (Take notes, Rick.)

Over on Savaii, the tribe all agrees to send Cochran packing, and even give him a fait accompli pep talk about how he can totally defeat Christine. Of course, such talk about Cochran dominating in a duel is more laughable than anything to be found in Jack and Jill, but something is amiss. The vote is too telegraphed, and there is too much time left in the episode. Something is up. And that something is Ozzy after having his big dream. The next morning, Ozzy is back to wanting to send himself to Redemption Island. But will the tribe let him?

NEXT: Even Jeff Probst is shocked

Off to Tribal Council we go to find out. Ozzy explains his plan to Probst, who can’t believe what he is hearing. “What if we don’t merge tomorrow,” Probst asks. It seems Savaii is willing to take that risk. “Let me offer another argument,” says the host. “If you don’t win the duel, you go out a bigger fool than last time.” He’s right. But here’s what I will say for Ozzy. Although I believe the move to be risky and pretty unnecessary due to Christine’s hatred of her former tribe, and I hate him giving up his immunity idol to John, props to him for having the guts to do it. Who else would have the cojones to do that? Although I usually root for pain and suffering on this show because I am inherently evil, this kinda makes me want to see Ozzy rewarded for his (albeit inessential) move. At the same time, I love me some Christine, and am not really ready for either of them to be asked by Probst all about their “adventure” yet, so I may have to abstain from rooting in next week’s duel.

But whatever you do, do not abstain from reading my weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst, where he weighs in on whether Ozzy’s move was a good one or not. Apparently, Sophie wasn’t quite effusive enough about Jack and Jill to make the episode, but she talks all about the Survivor Cinema in our exclusive deleted scene in the video player below. Also in said video player: Ozzy talking to me before the game began about going to Redemption Island on purpose, and my pre-game interview with freshly-ousted Mikayla. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss. Now it’s your turn? What do you think of Ozzy’s move? Whom will you be rooting for at Redemption Island? And do you still have the image of Brandon’s painted bikini top burned into your mind? Hit the message boards and let us know. I’ll be back next week another scoop of the crispy!


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