Survivor retro rewatch: Cook Islands episode 6, “Plan Voodoo”

Still from Survivor: Cook Islands episode 6, "Plan Voodoo" (2006). Image is a screengrab via CBS.
Still from Survivor: Cook Islands episode 6, "Plan Voodoo" (2006). Image is a screengrab via CBS. /

A fundamental Survivor strategy got its start in Cook Islands. While it may have started life as “Plan Voodoo,” there are more familiar names.

A deep sense of irony pervades Survivor: Cook Islands‘ sixth episode, but it also continues the trend of dropping hints for things to come from episode 5. The points may have been subtle, but one thing from this episode also endures into modern Survivor. (And since the initial tribe divisions are already done, it’s not that.) Let’s recap.

Raro had a rather awkward situation to deal with after episode 5’s Tribal Council. Of course, it all could have been avoided when no one save Stephannie voted for Cristina anyway, despite people like Adam openly calling Cristina out. The conflict continued around the fire, and Survivor ended the scene with a lingering shot of Cristina sitting alone while ominous music played. Talk about some telegraphing there.

After the credits, Day 15 arrived for Aitu and Ozzy in particular, who was out fishing yet again with Jonathan’s help. All along, Cook Islands has told the story of Ozzy’s physical dominance, and in this episode, they got Jonathan to tell the good and the bad of it.

The clue for the next challenge came on a mini mast:

"“This head to head matchNeeds a well-balanced team.To win your first feast,You’ll kick and you’ll scream”"

Cao Boi wanted to bring the immunity idol, but it didn’t go over so well with Jonathan, so Jonathan got to comment on that, too (with some backup from Yul, who again approached things more diplomatically, implicitly contrasting his words with Jonathan’s more pointed confessional criticism).

Jeff Probst, again wearing that very apparent cowboy hat, welcomed everyone in to the “physical” challenge. Three players had to wrap themselves around a mast, with two players from the other team trying to drag those three in sequence over to a line. Probst dealt everyone a blow by noting that both Aitu and Raro had to go to Tribal Council that night; the winner of the dragging challenge just got to go first and then eat while watching the loser’s Tribal.

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This is another kind of challenge that doesn’t show up often anymore, presumably since it has high potential for injuries (and it also takes up a lot of time). Probst had to tell both Jessica and Cristina to go a little less roughly in particular. Aitu pulled out the win, but Ozzy showed off his injuries to the camera.

Sundra set something up about Aitu coming together to win a challenge they weren’t apparently suited for. Put a pin in that kind of confessional, because first, Cao Boi had something to tell Yul about targeting Jonathan and Candice.

Yes, vote splitting came to Cao Boi in a dream that involved, according to his own confessional, applying for credit cards and a “shaman lady.”

"“And I thought, ‘Three and three is how you can defeat the immunity idol.’ You can flush it out … and I go ‘Whoa, Plan Voodoo!'”"

Yul, of course, had the idol, but first he sat down to explain why “Plan Voodoo” actually had a lot of strategic merit.

Since the hidden immunity idol is now typically played before the votes, “Plan Voodoo” is no longer completely foolproof and effective. However, astute social players can still make the play happen.

Raro did not even have lamb shanks to look forward to, but they at least got an octopus and Cristina making her case to stay, even to Nate and Adam. Nate, however, started making her case for her.

Jonathan and Yul had a conversation about voting Cao Boi off, while Becky also appealed to Yul about voting Jonathan. Even Ozzy picked up on the confusion (though he didn’t quite seem totally on board with Plan Voodoo’s general wisdom).

Aitu’s Tribal Council featured Cao Boi bringing the immunity idol, which made him the first topic of conversation, and he also talked about a “queen,” which confused Probst until Cao Boi explained it was about the Hidden Immunity Idol.

Unfortunately, Cao Boi’s plan didn’t go into effect. Instead, with six votes, he went home. Jonathan and Candice got one vote each. Cao Boi left the immunity idol on his seat.

Then Raro filed in to the wrecked ship. Candice blew Adam a kiss while Probst served the food (and napkins). Just to add insult to injury, Probst had Raro talk about losing! Very pointed of him. Ditto with bringing Cristina into the conversation as well.

Aitu also won the right to “kidnap” someone ahead of the vote. Nate came over, so he didn’t vote but got to eat, and then the tribe left before Probst read some votes. Nate’s vote also wouldn’t have mattered. Even if he would have voted for Jenny, Cristina had 4 votes and Jenny only 2.

Next: Survivor retro rewatch: Gabon premiere

For the next retro rewatch of Cook Islands, we’ll look at the now-dead recap episode!