If you are yet to read about phase 1 of Sam’s diabolical plan, you can do so here.
We have our first Jury member, and my first and only prediction thus far (that Nick would not win) has been realised. Another long, long, episode, what the hell Channel Ten? Anyhow, as much as I love ‘letters from home’, I’d prefer to discuss the strategy and gamesmanship on show tonight. So let’s get into it.
Snakes and Leaders
Goodbye Nick. For mine you were the most entertaining player this season. But boy did you have a bad shake. While I’ve thought for some time that Nick really hasn’t been very deceitful (idol clue aside), unfortunately the guy is so enthusiastic and plays the game at full tilt 100% of the time, he just comes across as devious. Clearly a very intelligent guy, I got the feeling he just wanted to share his great ideas with his tribemates. I get it Nick. I’ve been there. Everybody calls me arrogant but the truth is I just come off that way because I’m a fucking genius. You just couldn’t help yourself. I didn’t mention it in my previous post but there was a perfect example of this in last night’s episode. Nick did a piece to camera where he says, and I quote “I’m just going to blend into the background, just be a number” and literally the very next scene he tells his alliance his idea of how best to split the vote. Your enthusiasm is a curse my friend. Wannabe Survivors take this as a cautionary tale. If you’re as enthusiastic and strategic as Nick, you’re going to want to keep that in check and try, as hard as it may be, to not stand out in the crowd.
With the way Nick started the season we knew that he would not be long for this game, and I’m not sure whether there was anything he could have done to make it much further. After last night’s tribal council he did a piece to camera telling us that he had fifteen ideas of how he could get revenge for the votes that were sent his way. Revenge is something that is certainly not new to Nick, and I for one have been surprised, given the bitter things he has had to say about JL and Sue, that he actually hasn’t seemed to be gunning for them now that he’s actually had to attend tribal councils. We also saw him do a piece to camera tonight where he told us he was tossing up whether or not to just try and sure up his relationships by being nice, or whether he was going to enact his “scorched earth policy”. When it seemed that he had slept on it and chosen the former, I thought, ‘great job buddy’. He then followed that up with some really frank and genuine conversations with Sam & Lee, which I thought was brilliant. These conversations were very different to the conversations that he had with JL and Sue when they joined Saanapu. He did a great job of showing himself as a human, human guy. The fact that he shared an emotional and touching reward with them probably helped. Obviously as much as I loved to see it, it didn’t seem to sway Sam in his conviction that Nick is a snake and has to go. So I’m not sure he could have done much more.
If Nick could see Matt was on the outer before going to tribal, why didn’t he approach Matt and see if they could flip it?
I was surprised at tribal when he outed Matt as not having his finger in the Brick pie as much as he thinks he does, and my partner said to me, “well why didn’t he talk to Matt about this before tribal?” Good point, why didn’t he? I guess he thought that he had come up with his plan, and he didn’t need to. By his own admission however, he realised that the plan he had come up with was digested too easily by his tribemates. Very astute Nick. Why he didn’t act on this feeling I don’t know, but in hindsight maybe a word with Matt would have been a good idea. I guess it couldn’t have hurt. Either that or go to Brick, who he tells us he feels closest with, and try and flip the vote off him. It was clear to us that Flick didn’t want him to go, and Brooke thought it wasn’t ideal. Perhaps an impassioned plea to keep him, but also showing those guys why it would be beneficial to get someone out other than he may have actually persuaded Flick to do more than just think about it. Not sure anybody was ready to flip on Sam yet.
I thought Sam was supposed to be one of the good guys?! Damn did we see a lot of spite from him tonight. Behaving very emotionally. It almost looked like he had convinced himself that Nick was a bad guy more than anyone else. Like he got this little idea in his head (thanks Kate) of Nick’s character and then talked himself into Nick being this season’s ‘big bad’ and that he was doing everyone a favour, and his tribe’s will by evicting him. In my eyes Sam really didn’t come off as the good guy that he thinks he is with his performance this episode. And what was with him asking J-LaP if the losers of reward could get their letters as well? Was that supposed to be him being the good guy as well, because that’s not the way it came off at all. Kristie is the one who won friends out of that little scenario (more on that later). Anyhow, given his performance in the last two episodes I can make prediction number two. Sam will not win this game. Not only has he shown that he is spiteful the last couple of episodes, but he’s confirmed what we already thought, and that is that he just does not have a head for Survivor in this season. That’s not to say he’s not smart enough to play the game, I’m not saying that at all, hell he got in and I didn’t. What it is saying though is that going into this game he was not aware of some of the basic strategy that we usually expect from our Survivors. Whether he wins or not, having now been there I’m sure he knows more about that strategy now. Where to now for our other big players?
Flick told us she wanted to keep Nick around, and that made sense for her while he was one of her numbers. I must say though I really liked her way of trying to make that happen without drawing attention to herself. To just try and quietly shift the votes to Sue was really, really smart. She has clearly been reading my analysis and knows that for her it’s not quite time to rock the boat yet, that there’s a few other people that can quietly be shown the exit door before she needs to start making any big moves. Good job Flick. We still don’t know exactly where JL is, and with Kylie as a floater, it will be time very soon to start making some more strategic decisions about how to make it further, who to cut before they cut her, and how the pecking order in her tight three is going to resolve itself and who she would want to go to the final two with. Perhaps her and Brooke already have this plan, my suggestion is to start making those moves if not at next tribal then the tribal after, before Sam, Lee and especially Matt do something about the power that your trio has in the game.
We’ve seen Survivors sacrifice their reward in order to perhaps strengthen bonds within the tribe in the past. And more often than not it is seen as less of a heartfelt gift and more of a ploy to curry favour. While I am sure that in the case of Kristie giving her reward to Matt, she did not do it in order to be in his or anyone else’s good books, what a result it had. Usually the ploy is incredibly transparent and does not work at all, with the person going home very soon after. Matt however told us he would be forever in Kristie’s debt and Kristie gained a game-long ally. Nice work Kristie. As far as what you need to do with that, your timing perhaps couldn’t be better. Now that Matt’s eyes have been opened to his place in the tribe, it’s time to use that alliance to do some good. If you can hook up with Matt, Sue and JL(?) then that’s a solid voting block to dismantle either SamLee or BrickEl. Again, we don’t know where JL is at, but as you and Sue are such easy pickings at the moment you really need to move soon. Like, next episode, heed my warning lady.
Matt, if you didn’t know it before you certainly should now, you are no longer Charlie’s Angels’ Charlie. You’re more like, well, if Brick are Velma and Daphne, you’re Shaggy. They don’t need you buddy, in their eyes you will just get in their way. So what do you do about it? Harness those people on the periphery and move against Brick pronto. When Kate spelled out to SamLee where they are, and that Nick was higher up the totem pole than them, I’ve no doubt that they saw that Brick were at the top and Brick will have to slice them at some stage. Hopefully SamLee will move with you against Brick, and I’m sure that at least Sue and Kristie will too. Unfortunately it seems Lee has completely lost El to Brick, but perhaps Sue could convince JL to join them. That would give you the six you need to make it happen. Kylie? I wouldn’t tell her shit. In making this move though it is important that Brick feel safe. The first thing you need to do is go to them and talk to them bout what Nick had said, and not confront them per se, but just have a nice chat with them, tell them you’re still tight with them. You really need them feeling comfortable now and strike now, because within a couple of episodes they will shift out of coast mode where they just pick off the low hanging fruit, and into big move mode to get rid of big threats. Now really is the time for everyone on the periphery to start thinking about what they can do, and how they can be used by bigger players, to start making some game-changing moves. If you can form a six against four, and a solid three within that six, that could be the path to the final three, and if you’re lucky, final two. I wold love to hear other people’s thoughts about this in the comments below.
Tonight will also see the start of Channel Ten publishing their ‘Ponderosa’ videos. We’ll get a glimpse into the lives and the thinking of the jury as they live on island while the rest of the game plays out. Good on you Channel Ten for going here, that’s something a lot of fans love and crave. I’ll probably check them out and consider whether they may be worthy of discussing in this analysis ongoing. If you want to check them out you can check out the first episode featuring Nick here:
I couldn’t end this post without acknowledging a couple of delicious things Nick did in tribal tonight. Firstly, his comment directly at Sue as he wrote her name down. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone do that so explicitly before, and it was absolutely delicious. Secondly, he pulled the old ‘idol fake out’. Every time I’ve ever seen this it comes off as cheap and naff. Nick made it hilarious. He knew he was going and really wanted to leave with a laugh. It was classic Nick and he left us all with a smile on our face. I hope we see you again Nick, I really do. Preferably in person on island. I would LOVE to play with and against you. Keep being you brother. In my heart, you’ll always be one of the good guys. As for the rest of you, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.
– Russell Feathers