The summary told us that, from day 1, Eddie and Reynold have been fighting to stay in the game.
Their couples’ alliance was decimated and the only thing keeping them alive was Reynold’s luck at finding idols and their muscles.
Despite the Fans keeping them around for their strength in challenges, their losing streak continued.
At the Favorites’ camp, the Stealth-R-Us alliance had their sights set on one of their own until Brandon had a breakdown and destroyed their camp, throwing a wrench in their plan.
Dawn is seen asking if they should give up immunity.
At the immunity challenge, the Favorites’ desire to forfeit led to an impromptu Tribal Council.
Corinne is then shown telling Jeff that they are forfeiting the challenge.
Brandon is heard saying: “That’s BS, Corinne.”
Like any true Hantz, he wouldn’t go down without a fight.
In the end, Brandon was voted out unanimously.
This recap is terrible for Sherri and Michael because it was all about Reynold and Eddie, It was as if they were the only two Fans we were meant to remember, worth hoping they stay in the game. Can one of them be our winner despite previous indications that they were dumb players?
Bikal – Day 13
The tribe had a meeting where Phil and Corinne pointed out that Brandon had hurt their games.
For some reason, the camera gave us a few really close shots of Brenda.
Phil said that it was all in the kid’s head. (Phil’s confessional was inserted here)
Corinne called Brandon a quitter, hoping (like many of us) that he’d never get invited again.
Dawn said she wanted to say something to counter the damage caused by Brandon.
Phillip wondered why no one came to his defense.
We got another image of a quiet Brenda.
Corinne said it didn’t have to go down like that. (Her confessional was then heard)
Phillip said they were the better tribe and that one of them would win this.
We got an image of Malcolm and then again, a tight close-up of Brenda followed by Cochran in the background.
Erik said it felt good that Brandon was gone.
They all high-fived Phillip and then Cochran delivered a confessional.
Phillip told his tribe that the fans were worn, beaten. He added: “We’re healthy and we are going to stay healthy.”
The camera was very close to Brenda again.
Another segment of Phillip’s confessional was then shown as they joined hands in a circle.
Phillip’s confessional: “I feel sorry for Brandon and he needs a professional because even the Specialist couldn’t tell you what went on with him.”
Corinne’s confessional: “I didn’t really care for the fact that nobody jumped in to save Phillip or I. Dawn had several opportunities where she could have said “We like these people, we don’t like him.”
Cochran’s confessional: “When Brandon was here, it was actually a certified asylum.It’s comforting to know that Brandon was able to successfully fly over the cuckoo’s nest and now we’re just left with Phillip.”
Phillip’s second part: “Brandon’s gone. I am already done with him. I had an operation called operation Thunder Dome. All of us were on board with it to go after Corinne. She’s definitely ego driven and is going to do what’s best for her. The first opportunity I have to take a stiletto and get her out of the game: She’s gone!”
Gota – Day 14
We joined the Fans as they received tree mail so apparently their discussion about a second chance in the game wasn’t even worth showing.
After reading the message that, for some reason mentioned winning, Reynold was heard in confessional: “It’s over for Eddie and I as far as making social alliances with anybody here. So, I am just going to go out, win challenges, eat rice and hopefully survive long enough that something shifts in the game because nothing is shifting in this camp.”
Joining Jeff, the Fans were asked about their reaction to Brandon’s exit.
Michael said: “It was good yesterday for us to feel something good together.”
Matt said it was good to know that the Favorites were not one big happy family. He added: “I felt bad for Phillip. Phillip appears to be crazy…but I wouldn’t want anyone to spill the beans and the rice.”
Phillip talked about the harmony in camp and how he could finally sleep without keeping one eye open.
Jeff used the apparent unity within each tribe to announce the swap.
The New Salani…I mean Gota had Eddie, Reynold. Sherri, Malcolm, Erik, Brenda and Andrea.
The New Bikal had Phillip, Corinne, Cochran, Dawn, Julia, Matt and Michael.
Players’ reaction included:
Cochran: “The game starts anew.”
Matt: “I’m psyched to be on this tribe. I like all of these players.”
Corinne: “It’s definitely an injust…an adjustment.”
Jeff turned Corinne’s slip of the tongue into a joke.
Brenda said she was pretty happy with the make-up of her tribe.
Jeff gave them each a new bag of rice.
Corinne’s slip wasn’t a joke to many of us. Like many switches this one looked anything but random, protecting all the strong players by putting them together. We already know that the upcoming immunity challenge will require muscles and the promos showed the ocean pursuit for next week. That was Palau’s toughest challenge and one of the hardest ever played. Injustice? Who said Survivor was fair for those players that production doesn’t like. As for the extra rice, that was as close to an admission of guilt that we will ever get from Probst.
Reynold had the confessional as the tribes headed back to camp: “I cannot be happier about this new tribe. I was this close to breaking and now, it’s like a whole new chance, a whole new game. It’s day 1 for Eddie and me now.”
Gota – Day 14
As they arrived in camp, we heard Andrea saying: “I don’t want to jinx us but I don’t think we are going to lose.”
Brenda and Andrea shared a happy dance.
Eddie’s confessional was inserted here.
The group shared a hug.
Eddie: “I’m ecstatic! I think the Gota tribe is the best it can actually be right now. We are the young good-looking tribe. Theoretically, the Favorites can do whatever they want because there’s four of them and three of Fans but I don’t think we’ll go to Tribal Council in a little while. I think my chances of going further in the game have significantly increased.”
This type of confessional would have been the perfect occasion for Eddie to tell us is end game plans. If he did mention them then they weren’t deemed important enough to let us hear about it. As is, We see a player that got a lucky break and will use it to stay a while longer.
Eddie and Reynold were working with Erik and Malcolm. Reynold informed the Favorites that: “They have been trying to vote us out since day 2.” When asked who he meant, Reynold quickly answered: “Sherri! She’s the worst. If you guys want to vote her out, we’re with you.”
Eddie smiled along: “Yeah! We don’t care.”
Erik looked shocked as he starred at them. His confessional was inserted here.
Eddie added: “Sherri’s over there trying to make a new alliance already.
Erik’s confessional: “Right away, as soon as we hit the beach, Reynold and Eddie pitched me and Malcolm this idea that Sherri is on the outside and Sherri is the person that we need to get off the island. To me, that immediately raises red flags. I look at Reynold and I think used car salesman. He’s got these beautiful blue eyes and he’s talking the talk but it’s not all it seems.”
If last week’s theme of turning point had given Reynold hope, this confessional killed his chances. Erik is observant enough to see that Reynold isn’t trustworthy so how can he make it to the end?
Sherri was indeed talking to Andrea and Brenda.
We joined a conversation already in progress. It’s always interesting to note at what point the editors decide to let us in on a conversation. It makes us wonder what was left out. Here we started with Eddie.
Andrea asked: “What is Eddie like?”
Sherri answered: “Eddie is a wonderful guy when he is not with Reynold…he is the biggest salesman…Reynold.”
That seemed to spark Brenda’s interest.
Andrea pushed it: “So, if we lose, who do you want to go?”
Sherri simply answered: “Who do you think?”
The girls laughed then Andrea asked if Reynold would tell her if he had an idol.
Sherri told them that he played an idol at the last TC but he was out looking for one.
Andrea then had a confessional: “Sherri spilled the beans of the whole tribe to Brenda and I about Reynold and Eddie. She kinda spoiled everything about their tribe which is good news for us because we are still thinking along the lines of Favorites versus Fans.”
We immediately had a confessional from Corinne. She started out by naming the members of her new tribe, pointing out Michael: “Ho! Do I have a special place in my heart for a gay! If I wasn’t a moron who hadn’t played this game before, I would quickly turn on my alliance just to align with the gay. However, I can’t do that because I know none of my people are going to flip.”
Phillip was trying to use up all the flint at once while talking to Julia about his big moves. He said he could stay pat in this game because he had the numbers or he could make a big move. He asked her if she would make a big move with him. (Phillip’s confessional.)
Julia asked why he was saying this to her.
He said he liked people who did things that were extraordinary. (Julia’s confessional) He was going to give her time to think about that adding: “I prefer you keep it to yourself.”
She said she’d do her best.
Phillip said that people underestimate him because of his pink underwear but that she needed to be ready to make a move when it comes.
Phillip: “Julia is a 20 year old, very, very smart, not college educated like myself, but she’s young. I just wanted to plant a seed with her because it will probably be easier to get her trust than the two men. I told Julia that people can advance and move ahead in this game particularly when you are down in numbers. I’m the type of guy that, once I say something, I am going to do it. The flip side of that is that I am not going to ask twice.”
Julia: “I think Phillip is being a great strategic player. He is giving a little bit of information away that could either make me feel really comfortable and excited or skeptical and he knows that so I am hoping I can be on his good page. It’s always nerve-wracking when you are in the minority.”
Malcolm and Andrea went for a walk and compared notes.
Malcolm said “They kind of just slammed her.”
Andrea: “There’s complete divide between them.”
Malcolm: “She’s not tight with those two so they are not together.”
Andrea talked about using Sherri to split votes in case Reynold had an idol. She then asked Malcolm if he had an idol.
He told her he didn’t.
Andrea concluded by saying it was the perfect scenario for them.
I long for the days when we had smart players like the Ogakor women who fooled Kucha into thinking they were tight. If only the Fans had worked together, directing the votes to Reynold and his idol like the Ogakor women led Kucha to vote against Colby and his clean slate of votes which, at the time, was as good as an idol…
During his talk with Andrea, Malcolm gave us a confessional: “So far, we couldn’t ask for more from a dysfunctional group… Sherri is dead set against Eddie and Reynold. They are both gunning for each other within minutes of hitting the beach. Andrea, she had this dream that I had the idol last night… I love this game! She’s a smart girl but I am an accomplished liar when it comes to women so maybe I pulled it off.”
Phillip talked to Corinne about Julia, saying they could work with her.
Corinne replied: “I am not concerned about getting a flipper.” (Corinne’s confessional)
Corinne then told Dawn about Phil’s actions and she couldn’t believe it.
Dawn said: “I’m glad that he is with us. He can’t be left alone.”
Corinne: “He needs to shut the hell up.”
Corinne: “Within 30 minutes, he’s got Julia in a corner telling her she’s got to flip if she wants a chance in the alliance. She could be 7th place. Look Phillip, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, We don’t need somebody to flip we’re looking for an idol. He’s the worst federal agent I have ever met. What cases did he crack? Is that the reason why our country is in such a mess? Don’t think it hasn’t crossed my head to vote Phillip out and be like: The hell with him.”
Personally, I think it was a great idea for Phillip to talk to Julia, get inside information on the possibility of the two guys having an idol but the viewers are meant to think that “crazy Phillip” made a bad move. I think most viewers will have noted that this is the second confessional where Corinne flirts with the possibility of flipping.
Day 16 – The (non)Challenge.
When the challenge started, Jeff showed his “acting skills”, expressing surprise at seeing Erik and Eddie take a lead over Phillip and Julia. Probst sounded as if he thought there would be a competition.
Michael and Dawn gave it “what they got but it’s not a lot”
Reynold and Brenda were flying over the course.
Malcolm and Eddie pushed their 5th crate in front of Cochran and Phillip who were on Bikal’s 4th crate.
It got worse when an exhausted Phillip was forced to go immediately after crate #5.
Probst told us that Julia was calling shots for Bikal’s puzzle while Malcolm took the lead for Gota.
Julia failed, Cochran was heard saying that the piece she placed on top was supposed to go at the bottom.
Jeff said: “That was pathetic” and Phillip agreed when he should have said that Bikal didn’t even have a chance.
Phillip gave us his post-game interview: “Corinne is sucking except for taking care of her body but, as far as anything else going on, it’s just empty. The Favorites must dominate for now…Strong men advance boldly, weak men grow agitated but superior men? They stand their ground and wait for better chances…I just got to wait for the proper moment and get rid of her.”
Returning from the challenge, Phillip called a meeting, saying that they did their best.
While he spoke, Corinne had a confessional
Phillip ended is pep talk by saying the proverbial loser’s anthem: “We’ll get ‘em next time.”
Corinne: “Phillip is the most annoying player out here, hands down. The reason people keep thinking he’s the ring leader is because he does outrageous things and we just keep quiet about it. I don’t care, I know he’s not the leader and I am not going to listen to him but if he wants to have a speech when we get back here, alright, have your speech. On a scale of 1 to sitting on a plane next to a baby annoying, he’s on the airplane sitting next to the baby and the baby has diarrhea. It is the most annoying situation you could be in. It’s very frustrating but there’s nothing I can do about it because, as annoying as he is, he’s going to vote with me and he ain’t going to flip.”
Doesn’t that set up a nice blindside? The one dimensional character that Corinne has become is consumed with her opposition to Phillip but won’t act on it. Phillip’s character is also focused on Corinne but he tells us he is waiting for the right moment. That moment should come next week.
While the camera showed Julia going to the ocean alone, Matt asked Phillip about his plan.
Phillip said a girl had to go.
Matt was good with that, saying he wanted to make it to the merge.
Michael asked: “Is it plead-our-case-to-Phillip time?”
Matt said he was asking him about his thoughts.
Phil said his plan was to get the girl (Julia) because she got flustered. He added that the guys were better assets.
Phillip then told them that Stealth-R-Us was still running. He mentioned inducting them in the alliance but said they would have to be tested.
Unwisely, Phillip said that there were two of them that were controlling factors.
Matt then started his confessional.
Phillip said they wouldn’t mention this conversation again but he would watch to see if they accomplished their task. They would become members of the alliance “along with the other 6 members.”
Michael wanted a T-shirt.
Matt: “I was trying to keep a straight face but hearing Phillip talking about Stealth-R-Us, he made me want to bust out laughing. Phillip may be a ticket to get farther in this game so, if I have to kiss ass right now, then I will be like Yes Master I will do what you say. If that can get me to the merge and the next process in this game, then I am going to do it.”
For all his craziness, by saying “the other 6 members” Phillip included the whole Favorites tribe in his alliance. He’s telling Michael and Matt that there are no cracks. Sure enough, Matt’s confessional showed that he was content with riding along, not looking for cracks.
The 3 Fans gathered in the woods, the guys telling Julia they were trying to figure out what the Faves were thinking.
Michael said they could all vote for Cochran but realized Julia didn’t like that.
She proposed Dawn instead.
That was fine with the guys.
There weren’t any reasons given to explain why Michael suggested Cochran or why Julia didn’t like that idea and preferred Dawn instead. This tells us that we missed some interactions between Cochran, Dawn and the Fans. It tells us that none of the Fans picked up on the conflict between Phillip and Corinne and it tells us that the plans of these three players don’t need to be well developed, that they won’t matter in the end.
Matt had a confessional telling us that they had fooled Julia. “I am going to write Julia with a capital J.”
(A true fan would have said: “I will vote J because J is for Julia”)
Corinne then took a walk with Matt and Michael, saying that she liked them and asked who was going to get their vote.
Michael simply said that she should tell them how to vote.
Corinne then talked about the idol and how it could blow everything.
Suddenly we saw that Cochran had been with them when it first looked like only 3 people had gone for a walk. It’s almost as if Cochran had been holding the camera during the walk!
Matt said he didn’t have the idol.
Cochran, the observer, then had the key confessional regarding the vote.
Matt said that he and Michael would love to start fresh. He added that he didn’t know if Phillip was the king pin
Cochran: “It seems relatively clear to me that one of the Fans is gonna go home tonight. I like the idea of voting out Julia but one of the possible downside is that Matt and Michael are openly very close to each other so leaving an outspoken duo, a power couple, in this game doesn’t seem to make that much strategic sense. Matt, I am pretty sure doesn’t have the idol because he reeks of desperation. For now, it seems between Matt and Julia but who knows? If an idol is played maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Corinne, maybe it’s Phillip.”
Strange that Cochran mentioned that it could be any of the Favorites except the one that actually got a vote!
The Favorites gathered and Cochran told them: “Michael and Matt seem much closer than either of them are to Julia.”
Phillip and Corinne were still thinking of Julia because they could turn the two guys.
Corinne had a confessional: “Tonight is a toss up between Matt and Julia. I’m glad that my gay gets saved! I am undecided. I’d love to get rid of Julia because a: She is really boring and b: She is the one that cost us the challenge. I really, really like Matt. Matt has been honest with me…Why would I punish him when Julia hasn’t said two words to me? She doesn’t contribute anything except a nasally voice so I am all about getting rid of her. It’s really hard. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Matt puckered up by saying he was a big fan of Cochran, Phillip, Dawn and Corinne. He was happy with this group.
Julia admitted that the Fans were in trouble.
Jeff asked if it was between Michael, Matt or Julia tonight.
Michael said it was 100% sure that one of them was going home.
(I would have added: Look at the seating arrangements; Matt and Julia are on the hot seats!)
Asked about making bonds with the new people, Corinne made one of the dumbest comments ever: “God! There are at least three people that I would replace in my own alliance.”
Phillip heard that and quickly looked at her.
The violinist was startled also; he hit a “wrong” note!
Phillip said he would be looking for loyalty.
Corinne said she was paranoid about the idol.
Matt said he didn’t have the idol and that he would have told Corinne if he knew any of the other fans had it.
Corinne said it wasn’t that simple.
Phillip was also concerned about the idol.
Cochran said that they didn’t want to keep losing because: “the more we keep losing, the closer they get together on the other tribe…They are kind of like the Bold and the Beautiful group. I don’t see me penetrating that group.”
That made Phillip, Dawn and Jeff smile.
Sent to vote we saw that Julia remained loyal to the Fans, voting for Dawn while the two guys tried to save themselves by voting as Phillip asked.
No one played the idol, bringing a smile to Corinne’s face.
When the votes turned against Matt, we saw the relief on Julia’s face.
Jeff sent them back to camp saying that Julia and Michael were in trouble so they had to win immunity.
In an episode where loyalty and flipping became the main topics of conversation, the players that shined were the loyal ones, the ones that didn’t think of turning against their previous alliance. In that regards, it was interesting to see that some of these players were given roles as observers, relaying to the viewers their reactions to the potential flippers. Besides Julia, all the Fans were ready to throw each other under the bus. If the loyalty theme continues to be the point of focus then we can say, like Phillip, that one of the Favorites will win this. The story seemed set up for a Fan, as the underdog, to overcome their disadvantage and find a way to win but that was false hope. The editors aren’t misguiding us: The Favorites have the advantage and won’t lose.
The Flippers – This group contains all the big characters and none had a good episode. It should make our job of determining the winner that much easier.
Corinne: The swap could have given her time to counter Phil’s plan. Unfortunately, while we heard that Corinne wanted to eliminate Phillip, she was too worried about the fall-out to move against him. Worst, by saying that she likes the Fans so much that they should replace three members of her alliance, she alerted her three alliance mates. That had to be the biggest foot in mouth moment since Alex told Rob he was eliminating him at Four. When I heard Corinne blaming Julia for not talking to her, I considered the opposite: Corinne was dumb not to talk to Julia. Now that the race car driver knows that the other Fans voted against her, where can she go? Not with the one that ignored her but with the guy in the pink underwear who talked to her within 30 minutes of reaching camp. Corinne gushed so much over Michael that I wonder if it wasn’t stressed just because he’ll betray her. If she tells him about her plan to eliminate Phil, he could gain points with the Federal agent by acting as his new spy! Corinne may live to regret saving Michael.
Phillip: He launched Operation Thunder Dome, the move to eliminate Corinne, a bit too early. However, he was smart to get close to Julia right away, He can count on her now. It’s not even sure that Corinne’s new favorite gay guy wouldn’t vote with Phillip since the two guys got along. The only problem we have with Phillip eliminating Corinne is that it would prove his point about being the “Superior Man”! We have to consider the possibility that things will turn against the ex-agent and that Corinne will get the votes because editors love (or used to love) irony. However, even if Phillip wins this battle, there are plenty of other occasions for the “Superior man” to fall flat on his face.
Michael: If Michael thought “it was good to feel something good” when Brandon left then it must have been bad to feel something bad when Matt was voted out. What will Michael do now? He did vote against Julia as Phillip wanted so he could get a temporary membership in Stealth-R-Us but that’s only good for 7th place. Will he go with Corinne and eliminate Phillip? That could be more promising but will Michael see it that way? Michael’s future depends on flipping to one faction of the Favorites or the other. Either way, the theme of Loyalty tells us that such a future cannot earn him the win. Without Matt, Michael’s story is reduced to being someone’s pawn.
Reynold: He was the first to mention that he needed a shift in the game. It was ironic that he said nothing was shifting “in this camp” and he wound up right back in the same camp with just as big a target on his back as before. Granted, with Gota’s new line-up, he should get his way and win all the team challenges but what comes next? After the recap, I wondered if things could really be turning around for Reynold but then we heard him selling Sherri out as soon as they hit the beach. It may feel like day 1 for him but he is in a bigger predicament than ever. The Favorites view him as a used car salesman and they have no need to buy what he is selling, no need to keep him for his challenge abilities.
Eddie: As soon as things turned around, the superficial Eddie returned, telling us he liked to be on the young good-looking tribe. There’s no substance to his edit, nothing that can make the viewers agree with Sherri that he is wonderful besides his looks. His narrative tells us that he will be happy with making the merge.
Sherri: There had been troubling moments in Sherri’s edit but none as obvious as this episode’s recap. It was as if she didn’t matter. Her conversation with Brenda and Andrea started off much more nicely than Eddie and Reynold’s. She was complimenting Eddie before throwing the salesman under the bus. She was being more diplomatic and that could help her standing with the Favorites. Of the fans that were ready to flip, Sherri still has the best potential to stay longer in the game because the story puts her in danger but the game tells us that she should be safe. Matt and Michael were a power couple that had to be separated and the same will soon apply to the pretty boys. Cochran told us he doesn’t expect to penetrate the Bold and the Beautiful group so Reynold and Eddie will be on top of his target list after the merge and that could mean using Sherri.
Malcolm: Why put him with the Flippers? He lied to Andrea about his idol so that tells us he’s already playing an individual game, probably willing to do whatever he thinks will help him down the road. Not a bad way to play for sure, but this episode told us that it was best to stick with your allies. His line about being good at lying to women probably cost him half his fan base! The next episode appears to be Malcolm-centric so we should have a clearer idea about his chances then but the first 6 episodes were too bland to suggest that Malcolm wins.
The Loyal players – Most of these players have been relegated to the background even if the story tells us that they are the ones playing it right.
Julia: Now we know that she hasn’t been featured because she is boring, that she doesn’t contribute anything besides a nasally voice. She observed Phillip in action and thought he was a good strategic player. That alone tells us that the fans are in over their head!
Erik: He gave us his first significant confessional since the premiere and that was to relay his astute observation that Reynold was like a used car salesman. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Erik being instrumental in eliminating Reynold and his idol. Maybe he’s the one that convinces the pretty boy not to play the idol because they are all voting against Sherri when they actually vote against Reynold. It would be sweet justice for the guy that made one of the games’ dumbest move so maybe his confessional was used to set that up. Erik’s loyalty to the favorites means he should outlast many players but his lack of story tells us he will fall short once more.
Dawn: This was a key episode but Dawn wasn’t really shown. I even wondered if she should be placed in the group with the Loyal Players because she agreed with Corinne that Phillip was trouble. We even got some negative comments about Dawn when we heard that she didn’t show empathy towards Brandon’s targets. We didn’t see Dawn making any connections with the Fans. That’s something we would need to see if she were to get their votes in the end. Now, for some unexplained reason, she was Julia’s target. Dawn wasn’t heard talking during Tribal Council and that sums up her story: There’s something missing to consider Dawn as a possible winner.
Brenda: She wasn’t heard but the strange camera work during the opening scene made us consider that her point of view was important. It was almost as if the editors were about to show her confessional but it never came. Maybe that missing confessional was the last scene cut from the episode. What we did hear from Brenda was that she was happy with her tribe and she didn’t give Sherri any ammunition against the Favorites. Brenda must have felt bad for Kelly while watching Nicaragua so I wonder how she feels now that she is turned into Purple Brenda?
Andrea: She was mostly left out of the discussion following Brandon’s exit, the recap only briefly showing her in tears, and she had a pretty good episode, getting information from Sherri and getting a compliment from Malcolm. The problem was that Malcolm, despite calling her smart, also completely fooled her. Andrea was shown being outwitted. That’s a big hurdle for a winner’s story to overcome.
Cochran: Being the observer, Cochran must have noted that Matt was fraternizing with Phillip even before the swap. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that part of the reason he went after Matt was because the fan admitted feeling sorry for Phillip, saying he liked him. Cochran’s showing in this episode could force us to talk about the “new” Cochran. His tone of voice during the key strategic confessional made us realize that he is a clinical strategist, nothing left of the whiny, unsure kid from South Pacific. He also showed that he was loyal to the alliance even if he subtly undercut Phillip’s numbers. Michael and Matt were heard suggesting eliminating Cochran and while we don’t know if it came back to him, Cochran acted as if he knew about the threat.
Since loyalty was the question that Cochran had to answer before this game started, it was important that we saw him being loyal to the Favorites. Being presented as the Observer, Cochran isn’t as insecure as before. Being a returning player, he certainly could feel much more sure of himself than the first time but the editors could always stress his moments of paranoia if they wanted. Instead, we see a calm student of the game which tells us that Cochran will win Survivor Caramoan. We went down this road before and were completely wrong but it seems that none of the others have the quality of edit to rival him.