'Survivor' votes off Keith Tollefson and eliminates Christine Markoski
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/03/2011
Survivor: South Pacific's newly-merged Te Tuna tribe voted Keith Tollefson out of their tribe during Wednesday night's broadcast of the eighth episode of the CBS reality series' 23rd edition.
"Somebody on my former tribe [Savaii], obviously flipped. It can't be [Whitney Duncan], it can't be [Dawn Meehan], it can't be [Jim Rice]. [Ozzy Lusth], there's no way that he could have flipped because I don't know why he would have wasted the [hidden Immunity Idol], so it really only leaves one little weasel left -- [John Cochran] backstabbed all of us," Keith, a 26-year-old water treatment tech from Edina, MN, said upon arriving at Redemption Island.
In addition, previously voted off contestant Christine Shields Markoski -- who had spend 19 days on Redemption Island and won five duels in a row -- lost the season's sixth Redemption Island duel to Ozzy, a former Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites castaway, and was permanently ousted from the game.
"It was a good 40th birthday present," Christine told Survivor host Jeff Probst before wishing Ozzy and the rest of the castaways "good luck."
As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Keith will now take Christine's place on Redemption Island, where he will battle the next contestant voted out of the Te Tuna tribe in the 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.
Survivor: South Pacific's eighth broadcast began on Night 18 with the Savaii tribe -- which consisted of Keith; Ozzy, a 30-year-old currently residing in Venice, CA; Cochran, a 24-year-old Harvard Law School student from Washington, DC; Dawn, a 41-year-old English professor from South Jordan, UT; Whitney, a 27-year-old country singer and former Nashville Star finalist from Nashville, TN; and Jim, a 35-year-old medical marijuana dispenser from Denver, CO -- returning from the season's seventh Tribal Council session.
During last week's episode, Ozzy came up with a plan to help his tribe become stronger going into the merge that they had suspected would be before the next Immunity Challenge.
"Christine has been on a hot streak. She has won five duels in a row. If we do merge. she could go to the other side or she could come with us. People are thinking that the merge is coming after the next challenge, so if we lose the next challenge, it might be worthwhile for us to send somebody to Redemption that can beat Christine, come back in the game and even out the numbers [with a six-six tie for both tribes at the merge]. You gotta make big moves in this game, and if we have to, that might be a big move worth making," Ozzy said at the time, telling Cochran his plan afterwards.
Ozzy told him his "worst case scenario" plan was to send a strong competitor from their tribe to beat Christine on Redemption Island if they were to lose the next Immunity Challenge. He then went on to say if they landed in a "do or die situation," he would offer himself up to get voted off and go to Redemption Island to compete against her in the next duel.
Ozzy said he'd give his hidden Immunity Idol that he had found to a loyal friend in the hopes he or she would give it back to him once he returned -- hopefully -- from Redemption Island. Cochran admired his overall goal, and after Savaii lost that Immunity Challenge and were forced to vote someone off during last week's Tribal Council session, Ozzy put the plan into action and the tribe followed his wishes, voting him off to Redemption Island. He gave his hidden Immunity Idol to Cochran to hold on to for him.
During last night's episode, after the Savaii tribe returned to camp after voting Ozzy off, Cochran reiterated Ozzy's strategy -- which also included making Cochran a "double agent" once the tribes merged, a role in which he would play both sides and find out information from the Upolu tribe to help Savaii's case.
Keith was upset Ozzy was sent to Redemption Island, expressing how Ozzy was fighting Cochran's battles for him. Keith indirectly insulted Cochran by saying he wouldn't have let that happen if he was in Cochran's shoes.
"[I, as a double agent] will be able to figure out who the Upolu tribe intends to vote out from our tribe in the event of a merge. I think if anybody in this game is capable of being a double agent, it's me. I've already been pretending that I like these people in my tribe for the last 18 days. I think I deserve an Academy award for that performance," Cochran said.
Cochran added that he felt he had a lot of power in the game because he got the "ego maniac" voted out, got his Idol and then was on the path to get a million dollars.
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That same night on Redemption Island, Ozzy met Christine and pitched her his false story about how Cochran had the hidden Immunity Idol, kept it a secret from the tribe and then pulled it out last minute at Tribal Council -- sealing Ozzy's fate. Ozzy called Cochran a little weasel and believed Christine had bought the story.
Ozzy said he accomplished his first two steps of his plan -- get voted off to Redemption Island and make Christine believe Cochran had betrayed him so she wouldn't expect Cochran to ever become a double agent -- but still needed to accomplish the third part of his plan, which was beating Christine in the next duel.
On Day 19, Jeff met with Ozzy, Christine and the two tribes who both gathered to witness the duel.
Before Ozzy and Christine squared off in the duel, Ozzy put on an act and made it seem like he had resentment towards Cochran and wanted revenge for how he had been voted out. He pretended that Cochran probably didn't act alone, and Ozzy made it seem as if he was really upset he had been betrayed.
Jeff then explained the rules to the duel. Christine and Ozzy were required to use sticks and rope to make a long pole. They must then use that pole to retrieve three keys, which would open three locks. The first person to step through their door after opening all three locks would win the duel. The only difference between this duel and ones prior was that the winner would be able to come back into the game.
Ozzy conquered the duel quickly and efficiently although he dropped one key on the ground. He ended up retrieving all three of his keys before Christine could even grab one, and Christine's pole ended up breaking because it wasn't sturdy enough. Ozzy ended up winning the duel and got to re-enter the game.
Jeff then announced the merge had come and both tribes would become one. All the castaways met each other, shook hands and got ready to take on the rest of the game.
"I just made the craziest move you could possibly make and now, I can only hope that Cochran's going to be able to infiltrate Upolu and take the advantage, take the lead, and take the victory," Ozzy said after the duel.
After both tribes joined as one and traveled to their new camp, everyone enjoyed a feast filled with meats, cheese, crackers, and beer.
"Somehow, as luck would have it, our plan worked perfectly. Ozzy demolished Christine in the duel, there was a merge, we're back six-six, and now it's time for me to work my magic, like I knew I could all along and become the double agent I was born to be, infiltrate Upolu, and change the game," Cochran said.
Cochran then told Coach he was wondering strategically whether he was working with the right people and said his tribe treated him extremely poorly. However, Cochran's "magic" apparently ran out of fairy dust, because Coach saw right through Savaii's plan.
Coach told Cochran he figured his tribe was attempting to play them and they would not bend. He said they were going to vote six strong and not reveal who they were planning to vote for. However, Coach decided to tell him that if his tribe really was mean to him, he knew what it felt like and now Cochran would have a chance to play his own game.
Afterward, Cochran admitted Coach was a very smart man for figuring out Savaii's plans. Sophie told Cochran his tribe should have picked a better actor, as Ozzy was clearly easy to read at the duel and wasn't believable because his performance was a bit over the top. Cochran, feeling defeated as a double agent, then told the Upolu tribe the truth and explained exactly what had happened.
Cochran told Albert he was supposed to be gathering information, and told the Upolu tribe Jim had a temper while Keith was "consistently rude" to him.
"I could make us draw rocks at the next Tribal Council or, maybe what I'm most seriously considering, I could completely jump ship, betray my old tribe and join Upolu," Cochran said.
"There are a lot of downsides to jumping ship, but on the other hand, I do believe that the Upolu tribe members are super solid, completely honest and trustworthy. I consider myself a strategist and maybe even a mastermind, but not an evil mastermind."
Cochran added he didn't want to end up being a villain through the way he played the game. As a result, Cochran returned the hidden Immunity Idol Ozzy had given him back to Ozzy and was excited to have his fate in his own hands. He was looking forward to playing a more individual game, not having to rely on his Savaii tribe members' strategic moves anymore.
On Day 21, Dawn had a bit of a breakdown and was beginning to feel regret over how she had allowed the Savaii tribe to treat Cochran so badly. She said she wished she had stood up for him when she had the chance, but she was also protecting her own interests to stay in the game.
Dawn was worried Cochran was going to flip and discussed the possibilities with him, as she herself was even slightly considering it. Cochran told her he felt like he had to grovel the entire game to avoid getting voting out of the Savaii tribe. He was excited that he could finally decide what course he wanted to take on his own.
Dawn knew "casualties" came with the Survivor game, but she just didn't want Cochran to be the casualty. She admitted she didn't like the way the game was going even if she lost her own footing.
Later that day, the merged tribe met Jeff and Keith told him they had named their tribe Te Tuna, which was based on the story of how the coconut came to be.
Jeff then explained the rules to what would be Te Tuna's first Individual Immunity Challenge. Jeff told the castaways there would be two immunity necklaces up for grabs, one for a man and one for a woman and they would be required to balance on a small perch while holding a coconut between two ropes. At regular intervals, more length of rope would be added to make the challenge more difficult to hold the coconut in place.
At if any point a castaway's coconut dropped or he or she stepped off the perch, that person would be out of the challenge. The last man and woman standing would win Individual Immunity and be safe from elimination at the next Tribal Council, avoiding the possibility of being sent to Redemption Island.
Former Savaii tribe members Ozzy and Dawn ended up both winning Individual Immunity.
After the challenge, Te Tuna returned to camp and the Savaii tribe decided they should all vote for Sophie and then draw rocks once the vote ended in a six-six tie.
"As of right now, my impression is that both tribes believe that it is going to be a deadlock at the vote. Nobody likes the idea of picking rocks for a million dollars, but two Savaii members have immunity. That's great for us, because if it does come down to a 'pick em' and there's 10 picks, there are only four of us on the chopping block -- six of them," Jim said.
Ozzy told his tribe he thought it would be necessary to play their hidden Immunity Idol at Tribal Council as a precaution. They decided it would be smart to play it on Whitney because the Upolu tribe most likely wouldn't think she had the Idol or that any of her alliance members would play it on her.
"I think they're going to vote for Whitney. Why? Because if it goes to rocks, Whitney becomes immune from the rocks and they want to have some of the stronger players in there -- me and Keith -- and in their minds, they can get rid of Whitney later," Jim explained.
Cochran, however, didn't want to let his game come down to chance and said that even if the odds were one in thirty, he still wouldn't want to randomly draw rocks. He then told Sophie his fellow five Savaii members were planning to vote for Rick and that Ozzy was going to play the Idol.
Sophie said she trusted Cochran but refused to tell him who they were voting for because it was still a game. Cochran understood but asked her to influence the Upolu tribe to protect him and take care of him. Sophie was convinced Cochran would end up flipping.
Coach said they had to trust in Cochran because the odds weren't in their favor since Dawn and Ozzy had both won Individual Immunity. Coach attempted to convince Cochran the former Upolu tribe would love him and take care of him, that he could be a strong and powerful asset to their tribe -- no longer the weakest man taken for granted.
Cochran then told Dawn he was planning on flipping at the second vote, but since Dawn decided she wasn't going to flip, she was not happy with Cochran's intentions.
"Dawn is now apparently completely unwilling to flip her vote alongside me and alongside Upolu. It gives me some pause in debating whether or not I want to make the jump, but it's a tough choice. Should I go with a bunch of people who have kind of been rude to me for the past 21 days, or do I ditch the entire scenario, jump tribal lines, and possibly cost myself a million dollars because I'm going to be causing so many people to be furious at me?" Cochran said.
Dawn then told him "what goes around comes around" and how people had treated him would come back to bite them later in the game. Dawn said he was playing too much off his emotions. She had no intention to flip because she loved things about each person in her tribe and wanted to stay loyal to her original tribe.
"I haven't talked to the rest of the tribe because I can understand why he's wavering, but I'm praying he doesn't and I've let him know I'm disappointed. I don't think it's right to flip. I don't, and I feel like he's watching out for himself tonight and no one else. But I don't want to tell everybody because I think there's hope he's going to not do it. I let him know, 'I don't want you to do it,'" Dawn explained.
That night, Survivor: South Pacific's Upolu and Savaii tribe castaways arrived for their first Tribal Council as a merged Te Tuna tribe.
Both tribes agreed it would be a six-six vote and end up going to rocks. Ozzy felt they had the odds on their side.
"The stakes are so high because if you guys go to a tie and we vote again and you're still tied, the two people who have votes are immune and everybody else is drawing rocks, which is a big risk," Jeff told everyone. "So the only way to break up a tie is that somebody has to defect to the other tribe."
Cochran said he never saw two tribes be so unified in entirely separate ways before during the Survivor game. Jim then told Jeff it was make absolutely no sense for someone to flip, and because Savaii had the numbers on their side, it would be ridiculous for someone to jump ship.
The Upolu tribe then called Ozzy out on his "Broadway performance" at the duel and knew Savaii had probably drawn out just a big charade. Albert made it known that if Savaii played their Idol during Tribal Council, it would be proof that Ozzy's story was a lie because he had told everyone Cochran played the hidden Immunity Idol -- leading to his exit.
Ozzy defended himself after Sophie said she was "offended" over how the Savaii tribe thought Upolu would fall for the act and admitted the whole tribe had an Idol. Ozzy said he wanted to simply give his tribe an advantage, and if that was foolish, then so be it.
Before Jeff revealed the votes, Ozzy decided to play their hidden Immunity Idol for Whitney to protect her.
Jeff then announced that Keith had six votes, while Rick also had six votes. As a result, the castaways had to re-vote, and everyone could only vote for Rick or Keith while Rick and Keith themselves could not vote. Jeff said if anyone wanted to change his or her vote, then would be the time to do so.
Jeff then revealed the second round of votes. Six people voted for Keith, while only four people voted for Rick. Cochran ended up deciding to swap tribes and vote alongside Upolu. Jim called him out for being a "coward," but Brandon stood up for Cochran and said it was that type of bullying behavior that was responsible for putting Savaii in that situation.
The Savaii tribe was shocked Cochran had turned his back on them, and Keith's torch was extinguished.