Cook Islands Reunion

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Remember When Everyone Wasn't Dumb That One Time?

You will recall that when last we saw each other, Yul had just won the thirteenth season of Survivor, and your humble recapper was -- I wish I were making this up -- lying on the living-room floor face-down, banging on the floor with her fists, releasing a season's worth of tension.

In a particularly nice bit of irony, the reunion begins with Parvati, who has apparently been appointed Our National Spokesboxer, gassing on about how smart Yul is, because he's "Harvard-Yale-Stanford guy." And if anyone would know a smart guy, it would be Parvati. We then see Yul asking Jonathan to be his ally again. For both their sakes! For the sake of good! Over evil! Not that he is ungracious enough to say that! Which is a shame! Because spite is fun! Yul dances! He catches chickens! He slides on a zip line! All right, we're going to have to stop making with the exclamation points, I realize. But still. Such an awesome, awesome outcome to a season that seemed ill-conceived at the intensity of, like, Little Man.

We return to Reunion Set Yul, still looking a bit embarrassed and surprised. Not to mention kind of dirty-thought-provoking in an unassuming black button-down. I get the sense that his reaction is more at the entire thing than it is at winning. He has to have known he had a good shot at the money, but it would still be hard not to wonder whose life you're in all of a sudden. The captions remind us that we are in the 100% artificial environment of "CBS Television City." Where the streets are lined with people who are better connected than I am. I have been telling people for the last year that I'm going to get into one of these dumb things someday if I have to impersonate a contestant's grandma to get in. I'm sure it's really not that much fun, but now it's my Everest. Anyway, a beguilingly besweatered Jeff Probst welcomes us back to the reunion show. Unsurprisingly, while Jeff talks about how he wants to praise both Yul and Ozzy (no offense, Becky!), what he really wants to do first is talk about how sad he is that Ozzy didn't win. Of course, he insists that it's not that he's not happy Yul won, even though, in a way, it totally is. Because Jeff Probst has clearly decided that Ozzy is a sort of proto-contestant, the contestant all other contestants should emulate and envy, and at the same time, Jeff Probst can still feel superior to him. Besides, Ozzy never executes those tricky hat-returning maneuvers designed to sway the jury. You know, the ones that force Jeff to go all Hammer of Justice and call your anonymously executed act what it is: a cheap plea for votes. With that out of the way, Jeff goes on to acknowledge that Yul did a lot of things right, and "absolutely deserved it." I'm glad he at least coughed that up, as much as I'm sure it hurt.

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