'Survivor' ousts Semhar Tadesse, votes off Mark "Papa Bear" Caruso
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/29/2011
Survivor: South Pacific eliminated castaway Semhar Tadesse from the game after she lost the season's first Redemption Island duel to Christine Shields Markoski during Wednesday night's broadcast of the third episode of the CBS reality series' 23rd edition.
"My tribe sending me to Redemption just brought back a lot of memories from my past. I moved so many times and I felt like I've been abandoned so many times in my life. I just don't understand how people can be so cruel and it made me feel like that about my tribe," Semhar, a 24-year-old spoken word artist from Los Angeles, CA, told Survivor host Jeff Probst when asked what emotions she was feeling following her ouster.
"And yet, you sought out this game," Jeff said.
"Exactly. I never give up on anything. It's sad to be the first to go, but I know that I played this faithfully and as a good person," Semhar responded.
Later in the episode, the Savaii tribe also voted Mark "Papa Bear" Caruso out of their tribe at the season's third Tribal Council session.
As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Papa Bear, a 48-year-old retired New York City police detective from Forest Hills, NY, will now take Semhar's place on Redemption Island, where he will battle Christine, a 39-year-old teacher from Merrick, NY, in the game's next duel and attempt to eventually earn a chance to rejoin the game's other remaining castaways and resume competing for Survivor: South Pacific's million dollar prize.
"No votes, when they're against you, are fair. I don't think I deserved to go home today. I think [John Cochran] deserved to be on Redemption Island. My strategy right now is to do every duel I can successfully, and if I get back into the game, I'm going to go to the Blue team. I'm not going to go back to the same team that just voted me out. I'm not stupid," Papa Bear said upon arriving at Redemption Island.
Survivor: South Pacific's third broadcast began with Christine arriving at Redemption Island on Night 5 following the game's second Tribal Council. She said she didn't understand why she was voted off Upolu by her tribemates -- whom she believed weren't ready yet to begin playing a strategic Survivor game.
"I don't think [Benjamin "Coach" Wade] liked me at all. He is a big fat pain in the ass. He thinks he's King Farouk. I think Coach just had it out for me from the beginning and he was going to do whatever it took to get me out and he succeeded. At least this Redemption Island gives me another chance to get back into it. It's not over yet. The fat lady has not sung," Christine explained.
Meanwhile, the eight remaining members of the Upolu tribe -- Sophie Clarke, a 22-year-old medical student from Willsboro, NY; Albert Destrade, a 26-year-old "baseball/dating coach" from Plantation, FL; Brandon Hantz, a 19-year-old oil tanker crewman from Katy, TX; Edna Ma, a 35-year-old anesthesiologist from Los Angeles, CA; Rick Nelson, a 51-year-old rancher from Aurora, UT; Stacey Powell, a 44-year-old mortician from Dallas, TX; Mikayla Wingle, a 22-year-old model and Lingerie Football League player from Tampa, FL; and Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway, Coach, a 39-year-old currently residing in Susanville, CA -- congratulated each other on surviving another day.
Brandon's plan to convince everyone to vote off Mikayla at the Tribal Council session not only failed but backfired because his tribemates discovered he had lied about Christine and Stacey supposedly wanting to vote her off when it was really only him with the plan to get rid of her.
"It was a blatant lie and I regret ever doing that. I came into this game not wanting to be like my uncle [former Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway Russell Hantz] and the reputation he has of being a villain. On Survivor, I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be someone that you could look up to. I'm guilty -- completely guilty of the way that I acted, and I reap what I sow, man," Brandon said.
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On Day 6, Upolu received Tree Mail inviting two castaways to attend and watch the game's first duel, and Coach and Stacey opted to be the spectators.
Later that day, Jeff met with Semhar, Christine and the onlookers who came to watch the duel. While Coach and Stacey attended the duel on behalf of the Upolu tribe, former Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites castaway Ozzy Lusth, a 30-year-old currently residing in Venice, CA, and Elyse Umemoto, a 27-year-old dance team manager and former Miss Washington from Las Vegas, NV, were the witnesses for the Savaii tribe.
Jeff then explained the rules of the duel. Semhar and Christine were each required to place a wooden totem on top of a pole, and at regular intervals, add another section of pole -- making it more difficult to keep it stable. The person to keep their totem balanced the longest on the pole would remain on Redemption Island and stay alive in the game, while the person to lose the challenge would be immediately sent home.
Semhar and Christine then squared off in the duel. They both had their moments of struggle, but Christine ended up outlasting Semhar and won her first duel. Semhar then left the grounds.
Christine was thrilled she won and said she hoped to "pull a Matt" -- in which former Survivor: Redemption Island winner Matt Elrod survived on Redemption Island for most of the season, winning multiple duels in a row and defeating numerous fellow castaways, until he finally earned the chance to rejoin the game.
On Day 7, Upolu tribe member Brandon felt awful about how he had lied to his tribemates and said he doesn't want to let it happen again. He insisted he had no desire to "play games with these people." In attempt to clear his conscious and get back on everyone's good side, he announced to his tribe that he was Russell's nephew.
Brandon claimed that although they were family, he was not the same person as Russell. He told his tribe that he accepted the consequences for his actions and wanted to make friends, but Mikayla was not ready to give in that easily.
"Maybe he's trying to cover his tracks before he makes them, but I don't trust him. I think he's a sneak. I don't understand what his problem is with me," Mikayla said.
Coach then told Brandon he had "no beef" with him. Although Coach thought it might have been a mistake for Brandon to tell everyone about his bloodlines, he felt it was a good honest thing to do and showed his age because he let things bother him easily.
"Brandon is a valuable asset in my alliance. I still trust Brandon, absolutely, but it's just maybe not in with both feet now," Coach said.
Meanwhile, the Savaii tribe -- which consisted of Papa Bear; John Cochran, a 24-year-old Harvard Law School student from Washington, DC; Whitney Duncan, a 27-year-old country singer and former Nashville Star finalist from Nashville, TN; Dawn Meehan, a 41-year-old English professor from South Jordan, UT; Jim Rice, a 35-year-old medical marijuana dispenser from Denver, CO; Keith Tollefson, a 26-year-old water treatment tech from Edina, MN; Elyse; and Ozzy -- left Papa Bear, Cochran and Dawn feeling like outsiders. Papa Bear said he was convinced one of them would be the next to go.
Ozzy then determined he felt like Keith was a brother to him, so he wanted to share the news that he had found a hidden Immunity Idol.
"There's gotta be some point where I have to trust somebody with the knowledge that I have the Idol and who better than Keith? I just think that he's going to be a strong ally, and as far as I know, he's really trustworthy," Ozzy said.
Ozzy told Keith he had found the Idol, and Keith decided to tell Whitney because he wanted her to trust him. Keith explained he wanted to have numbers down the road to take Ozzy out or make a big strategic move if it came down to it.
"I'm mad that Ozzy has the Idol, because it gives him all the power or most of the power right now," Keith said.
Back at the Upolu camp, Mikayla asked Brandon what was going on and he admitted he didn't like her and previously wanted her out of the game right away because of her attitude. His opinions didn't sit well with Mikayla, who wasn't ready to let the situation rest and continued to ask him questions.
"Mikayla was coming at me like a bulldog, like she was going to attack me," Brandon said, who then let his temper flare.
He asked his tribe to keep him out of the drama and then announced that Mikayla didn't have much of an alliance, embarrassing her. Mikayla went off and cried and Brandon felt badly again for letting his rage show.
"Being a Christian, I shouldn't have lost my temper. This is like a constant battle for me -- good and evil, good and evil," Brandon said.
Coach began to worry that Brandon's outburst would cause uneasiness amongst the tribe, which could ultimately affect him poorly since Brandon served as one of his loyal allies. Coach said Brandon's aggression was different from his uncle's but it was still aggression none the less.
Later that day, the castaways met Jeff again and he explained the rules to what would be their third Immunity Challenge and third Reward Challenge.
The tribe members learned that one person from each tribe must race across a floating bridge while carrying a body board attached to a long rope. Upon reaching the platform, the members would be required to grab a bag and hang on while the rest of the tribe cranked a giant winch pulling them back to shore. Once all five bags -- which had puzzle banners inside -- were collected, the remaining tribe members had to use grappling hooks to retrieve them and then roll the banners down the face of a wall and arrange them to form their tribe's flag.
The first tribe to form its flag would win immunity and be safe from elimination, while the losing team would have to vote someone out -- who would then be sent to Redemption Island.
In addition to winning immunity, the first tribe to complete all the tasks would receive coffee, tea, milk, and cookies, along with a clue to the location of a hidden Immunity Idol. Upolu ended up winning the challenge after a close race.
On Day 8, most of the Savaii tribe knew their decision to vote someone off at the subsequent Tribal Council was a toss up between Cochran and Papa Bear -- their two weakest players who also offered the least amount of help during physical challenges. Ozzy admitted Dawn did well in the challenge, so she wasn't up for debate.
It came as no surprise to Papa Bear and Cochran, who already suspected they would be the next two individuals to get voted off of Savaii one after the other no matter the order.
"We're up a creek, bro," Papa Bear told Cochran.
Ozzy's alliance of five, which included Keith, Elyse, Whitney, and Jim, all decided to vote for Papa Bear.
"Ozzy approached me and said, 'We're going to tell Papa Bear that it's you, but it's really going to be Papa Bear.' The fact that my name keeps coming up is very upsetting. I don't want to be sent to Redemption Island. I know a lot of people view it as a chance to get back into the game, but I view it as a chance for extended failure and just more depression," Cochran explained.
"So, I might do some last minute scrambling. The problem is I already have this reputation of nervous, neurotic scrambler. If I resurrect that again before Tribal Council, it's going to hurt me. I just don't want to go home."
Ozzy and Jim then told Papa Bear it was Cochran, but Papa Bear didn't believe them and claimed he "wasn't an ass." As a result, he starting looking for the hidden Immunity Idol blind to the fact Ozzy had already found it. Papa Bear failed at his attempt to find the Idol, so he decided to pretend he found one instead.
He created a fake Idol and shoved it into his shorts. He hoped everyone would vote for Cochran instead, assuming that Papa Bear would play the Idol if he actually had one. Cochran didn't believe Papa Bear for a minute and hoped his tribe "would see through his charade."
Ozzy found Papa Bear's lie funny, but he still felt he had no reason to tell anyone else about the Idol because he was nowhere near being on the chopping block.
That night, Survivor: South Pacific's eight castaways on the Savaii tribe arrived for their second Tribal Council.
Cochran told the group he had contributed a lot in the challenge, while Papa Bear counteracted his defense and said Cochran was physically a threat to himself. Ozzy was then declared the leader of the tribe, and Papa Bear said he would have loved to be the leader but couldn't because there was a strong alliance of five in control whom he had nothing in common with.
Jeff then asked Cochran why he didn't search harder to find the hidden Immunity Idol. Cochran said that searching for the Idol would make one look suspicious and untrustworthy, which may result in having a target on your back. He said aspiring to receive individual immunity would show a disconnect between that individual and the trust he or she has for the tribe in general.
Cochran's response ultimately took a shot against Papa Bear.
The voting then commenced and Jeff revealed the votes. Four castaways voted for Papa Bear, while one person voted for Jim and one tribe member voted for Cochran. Four votes were enough to constitute for Papa Bear's elimination, so Jeff did not show the rest.
After revealing the votes, Jeff extinguished Papa Bear's torch and he was exiled to Redemption Island, where he would attempt to survive with Christine while awaiting the season's second duel.
The episode's closing credits later showed that Jim voted for Cochran, Papa Bear voted for Jim, and the rest of the castaways all voted for Papa Bear.