Don’t wait for mum to bring you dinner in your bedroom, make sure you know how we got here by reading the previous analysis.
Two big things to talk about this analysis. Henry’s swap. And Jacqui’s departure. And it’s fair to say you can’t talk about one without talking about the other. So let’s make like Luke and get comfortable.
Playing Like the Devil Right Now
Hmmm. Where to start. At the beginning I guess, pre-swap. Sometimes we can forget that the strategy and gameplay doesn’t just happen once you’ve lost the immunity challenge. When we came across Asaga this episode they were eating their breakfast I guess, and clearly the lines were drawn. Zenry and Jacqui, Kent and Odette, sitting by the fire eating. Luke and Jerkicho, sitting under the cover with the useless bucket (Ben and Michelle). This spelt trouble for Zenry and Jacqui. Again, they’re clearly not reading my analysis. I guess they don’t have wi-fi on island. I’ve been saying since episode two that they need to be more subtle about the time that they spend together. This scene crystallised the brewing rift. For me the worst thing about this was that surely Zenry and Jacqui knew that this rift was brewing. The way it looked to me (admittedly this could be the editing) was that Ben openly asked Jacqui to bring him his breakfast, and did this in a way that would make anyone hearing it think that he was fucking with her. If that’s the case, and Jacqui (and Henry) ignored this, well then Jacqui’s departure is on their heads.
Hit the Road Jacqui.
I’d not go as far as saying that Jacqui was riding Zenry’s coat tails, but once he was out of the picture she was always going to have a hard time. They say pride cometh before a fall, and we’ve not seen hubris as blatant as Zenry and Jacqui have displayed over the last two or three episodes before. I’m not sure how many times we’ve heard the two of them mention their power, and it certainly wasn’t always tongue in cheek. Of course this is nothing compared to the overconfidence that Zenry showed when he voluntarily switched tribes. I’ll talk more on that shortly, but for now I’ll just say that this move was another display of the overconfidence that led to Jacqui’s departure. For neither Jacqui nor Zenry to see that they did not have quite the control they imagined, is blinkered gameplay. As much as Jacqui (and Zenry) need to take responsibility for this outcome, the role that Luke played needs to be acknowledged.
Full Pockets, Empty Heads
In contrast to Jacqui (and Henry) underselling what was going on in Asaga to their new tribemates, Luke was quick to throw T a bone, informing her that J was carrying on like a pork chop. Seizing the opportunity to establish a bond with T&A. This was a good example of how you gain more trust with candour than with evasiveness. Luke had nothing to lose by spilling the real Asaga dynamics, and though it could be argued that Jacqui may have, I would argue that by saying nothing she damaged the possibility of gaining trust with two new tribemates. Back to Luke, now that Jacqui is gone, where to next. Personally I think the best move is to knock off Anneliese (or Tara if necessary). Disable any power that these two have and break them up now before they get a foothold.
The other thing that he did tonight that impressed me was the way he had his core alliance do the work for him. Yes he let T-Bone know what was going down in camp, but then he just spoke with Michelle and Jerkicho, and had them work on T&A (and Sarah, more on her below). From what we saw, it would not have seemed to Jacqui and Kent that Luke was masterminding a coup. What did “scream ‘ALARM BELLS'”, to quote AK, was Sarah’s shiftiness.
Model in the (almost) Middle
As I was watching Jerkicho try and sway Sarah I thought this was risky, Luke and his crew ultimately did not need Sarah to oust J if they had T&A on side, and at this stage I didn’t know where Sarah stood and so I was concerned that this might tip their hand to Jacqui and Kent. That Sarah may play double agent and go back and form a counter-play with Kent and Jacqui. Was this the right move for Sarah? Certainly it was risky. Made more risky by her dismissal of Kent when he realised he needed to act (and good on him). Ultimately if she knew that the numbers had already flipped, and seemingly without a strong connection either way, this makes sense. Sticking with Kent and Odette would be of no advantage to her. What this transaction did highlight is that she lacks a plus one. I don’t really know what her options are here. I get the feeling she has left her run too late. Jerkicho has Luke. T-Bone has A-Frame. Michelle? I guess Michelle is her option. Other than finding someone to closely align with, I’m really not sure what her best play is from here out. I don’t see her path to the end. Give me your thoughts in the comments below.
Dreadlocks on Holiday
Odette and Kent now on the outs. Though we’ve not heard much from Odette I’m not inclined to think yet that she hasn’t been playing. My suspicion is that she has strategically hitched her wagon to Kent, Jacqui and Henry, but wasn’t sharp enough to realise that the tide was turning. Now she’s stuck with Kent, and things are looking grim for the both of them. Surely though other people, like Michelle and Sarah can see that Jerkicho is, well, a smug sneaky jerk who can’t be trusted. So perhaps their best move is to recruit S&M, and hopefully T&A, to move against Jerkface McJerkington. Do it quickly though before T&A fall under the comfortable charms of Luke.
Swap and Meet
Can’t go without talking about what I see as really the biggest move this episode. Zenry’s move to open a new interstate franchise. Once I got over my initial shock at this apparent death wish, I started to wonder if this actually could work. I don’t know if we’ve ever seen this move before. I understand his logic. He feels comfortable (of course we know that this comfort is baseless) that things are under control at Asaga, and he wants to increase his sphere of influence. But damn it’s risky. It’s the opposite of what we expect from good smart players. We expect them not to take such big risks if they’re on to a good thing. At least not until the merge. I don’t expect that he would have done this without his hidden immunity idol, I’d love to have this confirmed once he leaves the game. If he makes it to the final tribal council it’s a hell of a move to have on your resume. I really see this as a test case for this move. If this works out, it could truly be considered a gamechanger.
Hopefully next episode we’ll get the chance to see how the swap has changed things at Samatau. I’m also really interested to know whether we will actually see the tribes be shuffled in to three tribes, if they were going to do that I’d imagine they wouldn’t do it with less than 15 players remaining. I wonder if that also figured into Zenry’s decision to scope out the other camp. It was also nice to hear J-LaP give me a shout out and speak those magic words, “drop your buffs”. On that note, I’ve got nothing else for you, head back to camp.
– Russell Feathers
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