If you are yet to read the analysis of the last episode, please head here to catch up.
I feel like discussion tonight is going to be rather brief. Why? Because tonight Phistie showed us how to perfectly play an idol. We also got a great lesson in what not to do from Vavau. Let’s get into it.
There really is no better way to play an idol than what we witnessed from Phistie tonight. Firstly, the lead up play from Phoebe. Recognising just how important it was to find out who Vavau was voting against. Actually, let’s go back a step. Even before making the move to figure out who Vavau was voting against, there is the implicit decision to not try to figure out a way to flip the numbers. Arguably, if Phistie had decided to try and find another ally or two, maybe try to stick with Kate, to flip on the others, then things would have been a whole lot more complicated for everyone. Phistie would have too many other things to have to rely on and could end up playing the idol against the wrong person or even not playing it at all. So, it was the lack of a move, the deciding to just lie down and play dead that opened the trap, then Phoebe baited it. I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘ask-someone-to-tell-you-when-you-are-going-to-be-voted-out’ move. I can’t think of a good reason not to use it (comments anyone?). If I were on Survivor as soon as I got somewhat close with someone I would be using that move as a matter of course. Even though it did seem somewhat disingenuous coming from Phoebe at the time (to me) as we hadn’t seen her trying to bond with Conner before this, you can’t deny that it worked. Conner, Conner, Conner…
Then You Go & Spoil It All By Saying Something Stupid Like “We’re Voting You”
Earlier in the episode I was so proud of Conner for taking the opportunity to get close to Kate and console her in her time of being overwhelmed by emotions. Not that I’m necessarily saying that it was a ‘move’, but it was exactly what he needed to be doing to solidify his place within the tribe. It’s clear that Kate follows her heart, and so being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to cry to is the way to earn Kate’s loyalty. Then to go and tell Phoebe that the votes are coming her way? Dude, c’mon! Unless you want her loyalty or are looking at having an alliance with her or using it to flip the numbers, keep it to yourself. Otherwise the only reason why you’re doing it is to keep your own conscience clear. Giving away information can always result in biting you in the arse. We’ve seen it many times this season (“Hey Roh, do you guys have an idol?” “Yeah”) and in many other seasons. Conner, you are clearly a nice guy but if what you want to do is get rid of Phoebe, that wasn’t the way you go about it. And as for the rest of you yellow yokels…
Burning Down The House
What did you guys have against splitting the votes? Was it just that you wanted Kristie on your side when you get to the merge? Well you’ve got to get to the merge first. Even that (very weak) justification aside, when you’ve made it so clear that you’re voting for one person then you give them an opportunity to do something with that information. I expected at least one of the four to say to someone, “this is too easy, what if they have an idol?”. If you’ve got Phistie thinking completely one way, then you have an obligation to use that to your advantage. Perhaps I’m just upset that C-bomb was voted out tonight. This is on every one of you old Vavau.
Of course, it’s not enough to just have one person tell you that the vote is coming your way, you need something to substantiate that info. Phistie played it perfectly. Firstly, realising exactly this, that they need a way to confirm Conner’s leak. Then, Phoebe
leaving the rest of the tribe alone so that they had a chance to talk to Kristie, it was just perfect. And the way that they played it when they reunited with the tribe, the acting was sublime, Gold Logie deserving (wait, since when have people received gold Logies because they could act?)! And to keep straight faces right to the end. It really was beautiful to behold. I don’t think I’ve seen acting this good on Survivor before, and I’ve watched more than my fair share of episodes.
🎤Vere Do Ve Go Va-vau? (how the stuttering German sings along to Guns ‘n’ Roses)
Well Phistie are still there and they don’t have an idol. Assuming there isn’t a merge or tribe swap next episode, how can they stay alive? Well we saw in the previews for the next ep that Phoebe may try throwing Kristie under the bus, I’m not necessarily opposed to this, but let’s break it down. There’s only five in the tribe, that means you need two people with you to make it through. If you’re Phoebe, you’d like to think Kristie is one of those, that leaves you with only one more and you’ve got your Jimi Hendrix Experience (power trio). I’m not convinced though that Kristie is 100% with Phoebe, and it seems neither is Phoebe. Many episodes ago, pre tribe swap even, we had a confessional from Kristie saying that she didn’t trust Phoebe. Of course Phoebe doesn’t know about the confessional, but there certainly seems to be something in Phoebe that isn’t quite convinced of where Kristie head is at. When Phistie met on the beach in this episode there seemed to be both apprehension on the part of Kristie to tell Phoebe what the rest of Vavau had said, and also, once she did pass on that info, Phoebe had to ask Kristie to say explicitly that they would vote together. I would have thought if they really were tight, that would go unsaid. I should point out here that in the past I have warned Phoebe against coming across as the mastermind and suggesting that she needs to spend more time asking her tribemates and allies what they want to do rather than tell them. Well Phoebe must have been reading my shit because tonight she did just that, asking Kristie who to vote off rather than telling her. Well done Phoebs.
Now that Phistie has turned against Craig, the one person who I believe that Kate probably had the most trust in, I can’t see the return of soPhistieKate.
Anyway, if Phoebe has concerns about Kristie, then she may need to let her go eventually, I’m not sure now is the right time. I guess there is a possibility that she could convince the rest of the tribe that Kristie is the mastermind and that she must go, that is not outside the realms of Phoebe’s capability, but then she needs to get at least two people to believe that rather than one. And in this episode Kristie hasn’t exactly been loyal to Vavau, she gratefully accepted their trust in her and wish to keep her around and then threw it back in their faces. If Phistie split up they both have a hard road ahead. My suggestion would be, if either of them want to split, five is not the number to do it at, wait until there’s only four left (if that ever happens), it’s too hard to get another two to join you. So if Phistie do stay together what do they do? We saw in the last episode that they were tight with Kate, that seemed to be a one vote alliance though, just to get Andrew off. Now that Phistie has turned against Craig, the one person who I believe that Kate probably had the most trust in, I can’t see the return of soPhistieKate. I guess that leaves Sue and Conner.
Arguably the biggest loser in tonight’s tribal (other than C-bomb) was Sue. Craig seemed to be her biggest ally in the game and now she’s left with Mr. Loose-Lips and Kate. Neither of whom have shown themselves to be reliable in terms of keeping their mouth shut, or keeping emotion out of their decisions. At least they could be a three to get through the next tribal with. And though Kate has been wishy washy, I don’t get the feeling she would flip on Sue, so Sue cold definitely work with that. I think we’ll really see Sue start to step up her game now. Could she be swayed by Phistie? That’s possible, if that’s going to get her through the next tribal, then take it. But as I said, if you can find a way to stick with Kate, I suspect that’s the better move long-term.
Conner on the other hand, well again, if he’s smart I think he’ll stick with Sue and Kate, I don’t see anything attractive for his game on team Phistie, unless he can find a way for them to become Dinosaur Jr and he, J. Mascis (the power trio that slays for a couple of records before J. Mascis unceremoniously fires the bassist (Phoebe?)). If Conner can find a way to do that, good on him, that’s a move that can get him further. Much like Lou Barlow though (the bassist that was fired, I may be getting a little too specific with my metaphors), Phoebe has the wherewithal to bounce back and create her own Sebadoh (Lou’s subsequent and arguably more powerful power trio than mid period Dinosaur Jr). Anyway, this particular freed pig aside, moving with Phistie is a do-able move for Conner. It’s impossible for me to say whether this particular move would get him further than aligning with Sue and Kate, your thoughts?
Bye Bye Pride
I can’t end this post without acknowledging the C-bomb, Craig. Though he may not have started as my favourite, he certainly showed in the last couple of episodes what a loveable character he was. He played incredibly hard physically, showing a tenacity we’d not witnessed on Survivor for some time, and also a very social game. He seemed to be down with everyone, a finger in every pie, and these were very sincere relationships. I got the impression he really connected with everyone he was involved with and showed them respect and care. Later C-bomb, hope we see you again.
Ok, that actually ended up being longer than expected from an episode that really didn’t have any twists or turns, and we didn’t even talk about The Pu. There was nothing there that I found interesting anyway, though I’m looking forward to them finally losing so we can see how all these subtle power shifts actually play out. Until tomorrow, I got nothing for you, head back to camp.
– Russell Feathers