Survivor recap: A Specialist at Losing

Phillip Sheppard says he only loses challenges when he tries to lose. But why would he want to do that?
Ep. 07 | Aired Mar 27, 2013

WALK THIS WAY Hey, check out John Cochran going shirtless!

Monty Brinton/CBS

Tree Mail! A message comes about a challenge talking about how “the strong must bear the weak if you hope to compete.” This is perfect because it allows both Cochran and Phillip to do what they do best: Cochran talk about how weak he is (“It mentioned the weak so there is a place for me in this challenge.”), and Phillip talk about how strong he is (“Anything to do with the upper body, upper back, shoulders — without being arrogant, I’m almost certain I can win it.”).

To demonstrate his unbelievable strength, Phillip has Cochran aid him in acting out an entire scene from the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling epic Over the Top, with Phillip playing the part of backwards baseball cap wearing Lincoln Hawk and Cochran seemingly in the role of precocious son Michael. (By the way, if you have not seen Over the Top, stop reading this column immediately and go do so. Easily the best movie about arm wrestling ever made, and I don’t say that lightly.) As for what the rest of the tribe is up to while Cochran lays his entire body on Phillip’s arm, I can only assume Michael is busy acting as gay as possible to curry Corinne’s favor (that’s what I would do), Corinne is monitoring whether Michael is acting gay enough, and tribe mom Dawn is off cleaning up Julia’s pee.

The reward challenge is a redo of a Survivor classic first seen in Palau, as the contestants are belted together with 20-pound sand bags on opposite ends of an oval course and must race to catch the other tribe. If someone wants to opt out, they must give their weight to someone else to carry. I love this challenge. Always have. And the contestants do as well. Why, self-proclaimed weakling Cochran is so fired up he even took his shirt off! (Take a number, ladies.)

Gota has an extra member and decides to sit Brenda out. Then, during the pre-game strategy sessions, Reynold mentions that, “If someone dies, we all have to stop.” The fact that Reynold is actually worried about how to proceed in challenge should one of his teammates die would be funnier if someone hadn’t actually just died last week on the French version of Survivor, so let’s just let that comment go and move on, shall we?

We all know how this one is going to end. What we did not now is how animated former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Brenda would be on the sideline, hopping backwards on the bench, imitating Jeff Probst, and finally, eating her own hair. Oh, and This Just In: Arm wrestling has no correlation whatsoever towards being able to run in water with a 20-pound sack of sand. This becomes readily apparent once Phillip declares himself unable to run and is even passed by his own teammates. The falling down in the water part is a bit of a tip-off as well.

So Gota wins again and as a reward gets to go to a coffee bar and eat cookies, croissants, and brownies. Hmmm, reward…or punishment? “They’re gonna get sick,” says totally not sore loser Dawn. “It’s not a big deal. That’s a diarrhea fest.” Diarrhea fest?!? First off, I like where you’re going here, Dawn. The clear lack of interest in the reward is straight out of the book of I-lost-on-purpose Phillip Sheppard. Well played. But as for the actual diarrhea fest, worry about your own tribe, woman. JULIA IS PEEING ON HERSELF FOR CRISSAKES!!! Get your own house in order!

NEXT: Cochran strikes gold — vanilla gold

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