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