Survivor update, week five: Dispensary owner Jim Rice starts a tribal takeover

Jim Rice.
Last week on Survivor, we were given a glimpse at a potential power struggle in the Savaii Tribe orchestrated by dispensary owner Jim Rice.

This week, his plan was put to the test and our local guy came out on top -- for now.

Things really started in motion on the actual Redemption Island, where Upolu Tribe's castaway from last week, Stacey, showed up ranting and raving to fellow former-Upolo member Christine. Stacey's anger kept up through to the competition the next day between her and Christine to determine who would stay in the game. In front of the two opposing Savaii team members sent to watch, Christine went off ├╝ber-diva style about how back-stabbing and dishonest her former team members were. She also let them on to the fact that Survivor veteran Coach is running the show over there.

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Stacey Powell
Though Stacey eventually loses the competition, her plan works and both the Upolu and Savaii tribe representatives run back to report what had happened. In the Upolu camp, this stirs up Coach who realizes the other team will put a big target on his back when the two tribes are forced to come together eventually.

His paranoia sends him on a mission later to search for the hidden immunity idol, based on a clue that fellow teammate (and arguably second strongest member of the Upolu tribe) Albert had found. Unfortunately for those of us tired of arrogant weirdo Coach, he finds the idol that flips his paranoia to a boastful arrogance, and it lasts the rest of the episode.

On another side of the island, Dawn brings the news of the Redemption Island match and Stacey's rant to a lazy Savaii tribe. Lounging in the makeshift bed with his clear crush, Elyse, veteran player Ozzy says that if he were Coach, he'd be gunning for the next strongest player. And on the Savaii Tribe, that is either Rice or washed-up Abercrombie & Fitch model-looking Keith, depending on who you are pulling for from your point of view on the couch. On the surface, Ozzy seems pretty confident that he would be able to orchestrate that because he clearly feels like he's in charge of the entire tribe. In his mind, Cochran should be voted off next and the rest of the team agrees.

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Elyse Umemoto
Rice's plan, though, would take that power away from him instantly by getting rid of Ozzy's girlfriend and more importantly his puppet vote. Last episode, Rice got suburban mom Dawn and wimpy Cochran on his side, getting him three of four votes needed for a strong majority to get Elyse off. This week, he had to work on getting Keith and country music wannabe Whitney on his side.

Challenge time came, and it was the grossest ten minutes of network television I've watched in some time. Two huge cooked pigs impaled on spits sat in the middle of the arena and both teams had ten minutes to pull as much meat off as they could using only their mouths. The teams didn't eat the meat (yet), but instead carried it over to a basket, spit it out (I'm gagging now) into a basket that was later weighed.

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