Don’t start the merge in a jam, get all the up to date pre-merge analysis here.
This is why we love the merge. Going in to tribal I had no idea of the way this was going to go, just as coming in to this merge I did not know where the alliances stood. Now that we have our first post-merge tribal under our belt, we have a better idea what the moving parts are and which way they’re moving. Let’s see if we can actually articulate these below.
I must say I was surprised to see Jarrad move so forcefully so soon after the merge. Though we’ve not seen a hell of a lot of Jarrad over the last 15 episodes, I had the impression that his gameplay would be more subtle than what we saw tonight. Generally the way to play going in to the merge is to lay low and watch what happens. So to see Jarrad of all people try to make a move was surprising and clearly didn’t go so well for him. I can understand and appreciate the thinking behind it, to strike before he sees it coming. He’d obviously been thinking it for some time and was waiting for his opportunity to go for it. And I agree that it would be a great dot point on the resume. Unfortunately this is classic over-confidence bias at work. He wants something to happen, and instead of looking at all the things that could go wrong, if he knew them he ignored them because the temptation was so great. It was this overconfidence that had him thinking that Locky would be with him. While Jarrad did show some awareness of the flaws in his game in his post exit blurb over credits, it’s a shame for him that he didn’t have this awareness of what was going on around him as it was happening.
Jarrad wasn’t the only one I thought was falling prey to overconfidence bias. When Zenry started talking about it being time to start ‘making decisions’ I was worried that he might be the one getting overexcited. Again, I didn’t necessarily diasagree with his decision that Ziggy was dangerous and needed to go. My current assessment as to why he was successful in influencing Locky, while Jarrad and Tessa weren’t, was in their approaches. Tessa particularly showed great awareness of her opponents’ characters in her understanding that Locky needed his ego stroked and to be made to feel important in order to keep him under control. However, in actually discussing the way forward with Locky and getting his opinion, she was forthright with him about what they needed to do (To Target Luke. We were given the impression that there had already been a discussion with Locky re targeting Zenry, unfortunately we don’t know the details). Zenry on the other hand made Locky feel important. While he was urgent in his plea to Locky to come with him, he did it in a way that made Locky feel important and that they were doing this together. Tessa and other Samatauans wanted Locky along for the ride, Zenry made Locky think he was in the driving seat.
Of course it is worth noting that Zenry had spent most of his time at Samatau forming a bond with Locky, whereas the rest of Samatau had not done so at all. I can’t recall ever seeing Jarrad have a conversation with Locky, and during the early days it was pretty clear that Locky and Tessa were amicably not aligned with one another. Locky was not the only one who needs their ego stroked.
Damn that scene where Michelle confronted Tessa about not being kept in the loop was awkward. You could see Tessa trying to hold back the words that were coming out of her mouth and cringing at how they sounded. Effectively telling Michelle she was on the bottom of the alliance if she was in it at all. Was it the right move for Michelle to flip? I believe so. Both she and Locky knew that Tessa, Jarrad, Pete, and Ziggy were tight and unlikely to be persuaded to split and form sub-alliances with either of them. It looks like Locky could have an offsider in Michelle now. As much as I’m sick of seeing Locky take for granted his harem of fawning women, I hope for his sake he realises that Michelle has joined his stable. I’m more interested in seeing Michelle get as much out of this union as she can before ditching his arrogant arse.
So what can old Samatau do now that it seems the numbers are against them? Shit, I really don’t know. Individually, it might be best for each of them to start looking at other options. I feel Ziggy has the charm to be able to get back in Locky’s good books, I could be very wrong about that though. She needs to start finding her new wing-person that’s for sure. Who that will be I don’t know. If you’ve got a suggestion, share below.
I have zero idea where Anneliese stands. The good news for her is that she has options. Up until this vote I thought she was with Zenry and Locky. If they really are together I suspect Locky did not have time to talk to her as he really did decide at tribal or just before, and that Zenry did not want to risk a leak. She is actually in a great position, an idol in her hand, only one person that knows (I think just Zenry right), no enemies, and potential allies all around her. I couldn’t tell you her best move now, she doesn’t need to make a positive decision yet. She can just hang and see how things shake out.
Tessa too has her work cut out for her. Having never been to Asaga and forming relationships with them, Tara harbouring old grudges, never fostering a relationship with Zenry, and showing slightly less than contempt for Michelle. Things don’t look good. She and Peter need to come up with something quick. If I were Tess, my play would be less about hitching my wagon to a strong ally, and more about finding a target to undermine. Perhaps Tara again, or even Ziggy. Whatever the case, I can see Tess and Pete scrambling next episode. Oh how the tables have turned.
The other thing I want to briefly discuss before I snuff the flame on the torch of this post, is the reward ‘twist’ and the dilemma it creates. My first question is have we ever seen somebody actually choose the selfish option? I don’t ever recall anybody ever taking the selfish option. So I have no idea how that works out historically (comment below if you have ever seen a season where somebody does take the selfish option). I’ve seen plenty of occasions where somebody takes the altruistic option and is voted out next. I think that if you’re already in players’ bad books, sharing reward won’t get you out of those books. I see the point about while you would have the advantages over your opponents of having eaten, feeling clean and refreshed, and the motivation that comes with having read letters from home, the guilt at having not shared the love with everyone you live with may completely disrupt one’s game and drain any energy gained from your reward. I’d love to know how much a decision like this would change the game. Incidentally I do wonder had she taken the selfish option, how many other players, if any she could have taken with her. Were I faced with this situation that knowledge would definitely influence my decision. Regardless, I suspect my humanity would get the better of me and I would take the altruistic option.
It goes without saying that this scene had me blubbering as it always does. One thing that did cross my mind as I was watching the challenge was how much more emotional and suspenseful it would be if those letters were knocked off the balance beam and directly into the fire. Harsh. Let’s leave this post with that thought. I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.
– Russell Feathers
(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs Channel Ten)
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