Nathangonzalez_cookislands_240 Too. Much. Pumpkin. Pie. To. Process. Survivor.

Here’s hoping that most faithful fans of Survivor: Cook Islands have better or more familial things to do than watch this Thursday’s (Nov. 23) episode, an unfortunately pivotal episode given the evening’s Thanksgiving trappings.

Pre-credit sequence. Jonathan is still playing the Provider Card, waking up early the day after Raro’s double-elimination to go fishing and coconut gathering. Jenny, Rebecca and Brad have all somehow been voted out before Jonathan, who’s feeling unreasonably cocky about his position. He asserts himself by ordering his lazier tribemates around, hoping that more structured activities will help them regain their pre-mutiny momentum. Nate and Parvati, more interested in rudimentary yoga than camp-maintenance, draw his particular ire.

I’ve got the urge, I’ve got the urge to merge. Yul is experiencing aches and pains over at Aitu. The tribe has been unbeatable since the mutiny, but they’re beginning to show a little wear and tear. They get a boost of confidence seeing the five-person Aitu tribe at what they assume is a reward challenge until host Jeff Probst unveils paint, brushes, a blank flag and new buffs. It’s merge time. But where will they live? Jonathan and Candice, veterans of both camps, swear that the Raro space is full of coconuts and devoid of rats. That’s also the pitch that I use to lure people to my apartment, at least when I remember to buy coconuts.

I’ve got the urge, I’ve got the urge to purge. The united tribe celebrates on a boat piloted by natives (or extras) and loaded with food and booze. Yul is trying to see if any of the Raros are weak, if any of them might join an Aitu alliance to reverse the flow of the game. The Aitus are much more interested in getting drunk and, in classy Adam’s case, puking overboard. Jonathan is disgusted and explains the logistics of the million-dollar prize to the camera. It turns out that a million is a one plus six zeros.

Welcome to Aitutonga. Nate, still drunk, thinks that Raro’s group will be tough to break up, but he also takes time to bond a bit with Ozzie. A bro-mance blooms, leading Nate to declare, "One love, brother."  Meanwhile, not interested in just one love, Adam, still hammered and previously enamored of Candice, finds himself cuddling with the equally soused Parvati.

Yul’s Idol plan. Yul, applauding Jonathan’s rational side, wonders what might happen to the Aitu numbers deficit if he brings his hidden Immunity Idol into the mix. He approaches Jonathan, who admits that it would be hard for them to reunite. But Jonathan also confesses that the only way he could flip would be to swap to the side with the guy with the Idol. Yul and Jonathan play a game of hypothetically whipping out their hypothetical Idols. I have no idea what conclusion they come to, but all signs point to the formerly hidden Immunity Idol playing a far larger role in this season’s action than it has in the past. Yul lets Sundra and Ozzie know that he has the Idol, prompting enthusiastic dancing.

More Idol complications. Candice is growing concerned by Yul’s conversations with Jonathan and she tells Parvati that she wants Yul gone. Candice then approaches Jonathan and makes the mistake of saying that their inclination is to vote Yul out first. Jonathan recognizes that if Yul were voted off and he pulled the Idol, the second highest vote-getter would head home and Jonathan suspects that would be him. He’s got a tough choice.

Immunity challenge. The first individual immunity task requires endurance. The players simply have to clutch a tall pole and not fall off. Yule notes that contestants with bigger feet are at a disadvantage, comparing it to the reason elephants can’t run up trees. He goes into more depth than that, but after a full day of over-eating, I can’t process basic biophysics. Perhaps Yul’s theorem explains why Adam goes out first, followed by Jonathan and then Nate. The losers have to sit in the pouring rain for more than two hours until Ozzie outlasts Candice, much to Nate’s excitement.

No Yul-time spirit. The surviving Raros are convinced that Yul is too smart stay around ("He’s like Mr. Harvard-Yale-Stanford Guy," Parvati says). Yul seals the deal with Jonathan, showing him the hidden Idol and offering the ultimatum that if he doesn’t join their alliance, he’s probably going home. Jonathan, nervous about triple-crossing just about everybody in the game, suggests to Adam, Candice and Parvati that Yul might have the Idol, but they scoff. Nate, plagued by pride, doesn’t want Jonathan impacting their choices and remains stuck on Yul. Adam, noting the flirtations between Ozzie and Nate, is a bit wary. Somehow Adam and Candice end up making out.

Tribal council. This is certainly the most strategically complicated vote of the season. There’s a lengthy discussion of Adam and Candice’s co-mingling, but no mention of the flames between Nate and Ozzie. The first eight votes are split between Nate and Yul. The final vote goes to Nate, meaning that Jonathan jumped ship. Nate is shocked and offers a few choice words to Jonathan in his closing remarks.

Happy Thanksgiving. Any thoughts on Jonathan’s decision to switch again?

Posted by:Daniel Fienberg