Episode 11 – ‘Throwing Challenges’ OR ‘Throwing Challengers Under the Bus’

If you’re yet to read my analysis of the previous episode, head on over here.

Now who’s swimming with the fishes?
Tribal number 10 is in the bag (dammit I could have used a Kat in the bag pun last night!) and we finally say goodbye, some would say sadly, others gleefully, to everybody’s favourite wolf in sheep’s clothing, Andy. So it seems only appropriate that we start discussions this evening by documenting his downfall.

Andrew, “not a flexible guy”

The fish has left the barrel. Though I for one have loved watching Andy since day one, thinking that he had the goods to make it all the way, but as many people much more knowledgable than little old me have said, “timing is everything in this game”, I think Andy even said it once this season. Appropriately, it was Andy’s number one target, Craig that hammered the last nail into his coffin. Did Andy have an opportunity to take Craig out first though? Before I continue I need to acknowledge that for the last 5 or 6 episodes I’ve been commenting that Andy should hold off on making his move. And it’s easy for me to say, after watching the episode, that he needed to make his move tonight. Unfortunately, he didn’t set himself up well to be able to make that move. Let’s start with what happened after the last council. Furious that his name had been written down, he decided to wage war on Kristie. Again, playing with his emotions and not with his head. There was a fantastic opportunity to talk to Kristie and Phoebe (Phistie) after the tribal when they went to the well. Notwithstanding what Old Vavau may have thought of this, ideally this could have been the start of finding a few new recruits to aid his cause. Instead, he chose to brag to camera.


When he finally did approach Kristie it was too little too late. And what did he offer them as an alternative, Kate? Surely he could see that Kate was their number one ally in the tribe. There was no way Phistie would agree to get rid of Kate. Andy just hasn’t seemed to be playing the same game that he was playing before the tribe swap. Before the tribe swap we saw him talking to and being sociable with everyone on Vavau. Since the tribe swap, and even since Nick and Tegan left, we’ve seen a different Andy, one who only wants to associate with his alliance. Certainly he may have been sociable with the newcomers and we just didn’t see it. My point is that by not playing that social game with everyone that he used to play, he did not have the ability to sway the votes when he needed to. Of course the fact that he was not performing in challenges didn’t help. It almost looked like in that coconut throwing challenge, he was, er, throwing the challenge. So when you add this performance in the challenge to the fact that he doesn’t really have a lot of friends, loyalty is only valuable up to a point. This point. Which is exactly what Craig realised.

You Don’t Want to be on Craig’s List.

I am becoming more and more impressed with Craig. He’s fast becoming a favourite to make it close to the end. This was a great move for Craig for a number of reasons. Firstly, he got rid of his number one enemy, Andy, and he may not have even realised it. Even if he didn’t feel Andy was a threat to him yet, I’ve no doubt that he realised that he would be one to him later. Kate and Kristie however, probably don’t pose much of a threat at all (happy to be convinced otherwise in the comments below). By scooping up Kate, who has really been floating for a while, he may have found himself a little puppy to do his bidding later in the game. Again, I may be underestimating Kate. I must say that I was a little surprised that he didn’t let the others know about his decision to vote Andy. Not informing Conner I can understand, given Conner’s track record for starting crazy shit at tribal councils. I’d be interested to see what Sue thinks though. Sue has always said that she is loyal to her five, but Craig may have dented that by not trusting Sue with that information. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps he did tell Sue and she just couldn’t bring herself to writing Andy’s name down. Even if he did tell her I suspect it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I don’t think that she’s so loyal to Andy that she would have told Andy so that he could switch things, and even if she did, what could Andy actually have done? It seemed that Andy wouldn’t have had time to make a serious move against Craig, especially having not already done the leg work with Phistie or Kate. Craig on the other hand couldn’t have put in more legwork, both literally and figuratively. He has been an absolute mountain in those rope holding challenges, and over the last two episodes we have seen him have multiple, sincere conversations with everyone. Everyone. The work that he did last tribal with both Kate, and Phistie, while it hasn’t actually borne fruit for him, it is certainly blossoming. But where to for him for now?

All of this time you could have been using it for toilet paper buddy…
It looks like he will be spending a lot of time looking for that idol in the nest episode and understandably so. Without an Andy shield there is potentially a target on his back now. I’m sure he is hoping that Phistie won’t flip on him now. If he is committed to working with them then I guess his only option is to move against Conner. I’m not so sure that he should commit himself to them though. I think that the longer they are around the more power they get, with only six people left in the tribe I would be trying to break up the soPhistieKate trio pronto. How he’s going to do this I’m not sure, and it’s not looking good with Phoebe having the idol.

Phighting Phit (no, this play on ‘f’ won’t end soon)

With Phoebe having the idol, and a seemingly solid alliance in Kate and Kristie, she’s gone from being on the bottom of Vavau to being in arguably the best position in Vavau and perhaps even the game right now. But who is her best path to the merge? The soPhistieKate three are a fantastic vehicle for Phoebe to make it to through the merge and all the way to the end. Kate for one seems like she has finally found her tribe in Phistie, and though she is a strong competitor in challenges and seems like a lovely person, she so far hasn’t shown us that she has the head for strategy or the stomach for big moves. I would argue that going against Kate in the final two would be perfect for Phoebe, who has a much better island story than Kate. Kristie seems to be riding this Phoebe thing for everything it’s worth, but given the confessional that we saw about three or four episodes ago, I’m not convinced that she wouldn’t flip on Phoebe if shown a better opportunity. It’s hard to tell. Phoebe may be able to strengthen this alliance with Kristie by giving her the idol, that would certainly show Kristie that Phoebe trusts her and is in her corner and may just win Kristie over 100%. Once soPhistieKate have made it through the merge, they can easily hook up with Lee and El and the game is theirs for the taking. Craig, Sue and Conner by contrast have little to look forward to at merge time.

Where to for Kate?

Lookout lady, if Craig, Sue and Conner see that you are in a trio with Phistie, then they may choose to disable that trio by taking you out. Keep getting close to Phistie, maybe they’ll share with you that they have an idol and this could keep you safe for another tribal. Stick with those two and hopefully you’ll make it through the merge.

Sue and Conner

If I had a dollar for every time some chump said “dig deep” tonight…
The best that they can hope for now is to see that power now rests with soPhistieKate and make a move with them. For Sue, her best bet would be to make a move against Conner, and hope that Craig makes it through to the merge with her so she at least has a possible trio when added to JL (if she’s still there). For Conner, well I’m not so sure what he can cook up now, in terms of making it through one more tribal he can go with soPhistieKate and vote against whomever they want, beyond that, I can’t see him making it much further unless someone wants to take him under their wing as a goat, which means he might make it to the end but won’t win. I see little hope for him in this game. If you have any idea what possible path he could take to move further in this game please share it in the comments below. Good luck though little buddy.


🎤 “Saanapu, Saanapuuuuu, (now we are here) in Saanapuuuu” 🎤
I can’t finish up without at least mentioning that there is a whole other tribe that exists in this game. The Pu. As much as I’d love to see Vavau implode and be decimated before merge, I do miss my Pu. I’m very curious to see what sort of alliances and voting blocks are emerging over there and what other tricks Nick has up his sleeve (Matt isn’t the only magician over there). Until next time, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 12 analysis here!

13 thoughts on “Episode 11 – ‘Throwing Challenges’ OR ‘Throwing Challengers Under the Bus’

  1. Yeah, great few episodes this week!

    I must be honest here, we where shouting in joy at Andrew being sent home, but there’s only so much promo and marketing with Andrew bragging about his intelligence and the stupidity of everyone around him that I can tolerate especially over the next week. Perhaps if Ch.10 had toned down the Andy confessionals somewhat, I could have happily let it slide another week without feeling a wee miserable about that alternative result.

    I was all for Craig’s decision – thinking up beforehand how this will open his path up down the line. He was very torn in his decision making, that was evident, and I think thanks to Kate’s argument at Tribal, using mind heart and intuition or something, this might have flipped Craig’s decision over in that direction. Well played by Kate there, we have to be honest here, she was the one that pulled the rug out without anyone noticing.

    For me, I don’t see his position weakened considerably; Conner is without his boss now, Sue will need to scramble to something else to save her own self, and pretty much Craig is her man. Craig has professed his love for her and I believe that she feels secure under his watch.. Conner is now free to find another leader to fall under the protection of, and I would argue that Craig has his back if he so chooses. Socially, I think that Craig is in a very good position right now, probably the biggest danger will come with the merge, but he will have a lot of cracks to exploit if he can keep his team on his side..

    Interestingly Cesternino and Fishback both think he made a terrible move voting Andy out at this point in the game, and while I agree he could be putting a target on his back, I would argue with them that those people that may put the target on his back will probably sooner work with him considering there now very fragile numbers. The latest podcast is up here if you wanna muse yourself in the wait for Sunday’s episode : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhVbtVjcO2o

    I’m also not too sure what Phoebe’s moves will be next, but in the promo I noticed Craig searching hard for his idol, Phoebe lying on the beach nearby, and then Craig and Phoebe having a good bonding session – looks to me like some kinda alliance springing up there. Thoughts on my thoughts always appreciated 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, yeah I just finished listening to the know it alls when I got your message. They keep changing the time every week and I really want to listen live!
    As I was listening I was thinking that if Vavau knew that she was looking for the idol in the past, but she now has stopped looking, doesn’t that tell you she has the idol? Maybe they never knew she was looking. I’ve always been a fan of once you’ve found the idol, keep looking. Hell, go out looking with Craig.
    It’s hard to say whether this move by Craig was right or not. I actually think he could have convinced Kate that next tribal is a safer time to do it, because to be honest, now he is not safe.


    1. The know it alls have a regular schedule now it seems like they’re going to stick to Wednesday mornings, which I would say would be around 8AM AEST. This would give them time to watch Tuesdays’ episode and collect their thoughts, I suppose. Am kinda hoping that they pick up some exit interviews from the current list of survivors. Would dig to hear the thoughts of someone like Rohan, for example..
      The lady on today was pretty good but her bandwidth was a bit too Australian 😉

      I’m in the “Craig is most likely safe” camp for now, will have to see how that pans out! But yes, keeping the devil you know in for a bit longer is never a bad thing. Kristy could also have been sent home for flip flopping at a rate faster than my new iphone CPU.


      1. I thought it was entertaining , great for listening on the road, but I felt that a lot of the ‘what can JL do to stay in the game” was missing, which your blog thankfully brings to it.. I really appreciate the chin stroking that your blog brings to the arm chair folk with the show.

        Noticed that you’re interested in applying for survivor and did for this years. Did you read Stephen Fishbach’s advice on it, it’s a good read:


      2. Thanks Daniel. Yeah the whole point of my analysis is the discussion of the strategy, not so much recapping or critiquing Survivor as a show. Part of the reason I do this is to hopefully make me a better survivor should I actually ever get selected to play. Tony Vlachos said once that while he was on island he rarely slept. He spent most of the night thinking about what everyone else’s best moves would be and adjusting his strategy to take that into account. My writing this analysis is practice for that. I try as much as time and energy will allow to make myself inject that thought into every post I do. Which is why often you might find at the start of the post I say one thing for player x, but then after making myself think about everyone else’s game I change my mind on why player x should do. Thanks for the heads up on the Stephen Fischbach stuff. During the whole application and selection process I purposely tried not to read any of that stuff or take any of this sort of stuff into account because I didn’t want it to change me. At the end of the day, if and when I get in the game, I want it to be because of who I am not because I’m of who I pretended to be because I thought that was what the producers wanted.



  3. I’m a late reader (only saw your blog mentioned on the FB Survivor page last week) and it’s fascinating reading this late in the game. Would have loved for more of these survivors to still be in the game.


    1. Thanks so much for reading and going back and reading old ones. I really appreciate it. I agree, some of the best players have already left the game sadly. Can I ask what it is about the posts you enjoy the most?


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