Where to start on tonight’s episode? When the highlight of the episode is charades you know there’s not too much strategy to talk about. A snack pack of popcorn chicken is meatier than this episode. Let’s not get in a flap about it though, I fuggin LOVED the charades. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed so hard at reality television before. Has T-Bone ever seen an octopus or a moth? Well done Channel Ten/Endemol Shine. You’ve really brought your A game to the challenges this season. Although I do question the immunity challenge in this episode. Can anyone tell me if we’ve ever seen this type of head to head tournament for individual immunity before? I don’t like it. It’s much more suited to reward or tribal immunity. Anyway, that’s enough talk about Survivor the show, let’s talk about Survivor the game.
Sarah. Sarah. No Time is a Good Time for Goodbyes
This result is completely down to Sarah’s social game. Sarah told everyone this episode not to be emotional, but emotional intelligence is exactly what she needed tonight. I’m not suggesting that Sarah is a cold person in general. I don’t know if the stress and the game is getting to her. But a bucket of nuggets could see that Michelle needed more engagement than what Sarah gave her. I don’t want to get into the previous episode too much or I’ll be writing until dawn, but had I posted analysis last night, I would have agreed with Luke’s assessment not to tell Michelle what was happening regarding the Tessa vote. That agreement though would have come with caveats. That either she is told directly before, or at, tribal council, or failing that, that she is bought back into the fold ASAP post tribal council. Now Sarah told us during tribal that she did try talking to Michelle after the decision. The conversation that we did see (THE NEXT DAY!) between Michelle and Sarah was as awkward as the joke T-Bone tried to tell before the reward challenge.
The conversation basically went the way of Michelle telling her alliance that she felt hurt and betrayed and couldn’t trust them further. To which Sarah responded by coldly trying to tell Michelle why she was wrong, and why this is better for her. You can’t logic someone’s emotions away, it doesn’t work. The only way to change emotion is to connect emotionally. Then once Michelle feels heard to understood, then she can listen to the logic of your plan. Hell, you don’t even need to try and convince her of the logic or the game plan. You need her as a number, let her feel that you’ll do whatever she wants on the next vote. Once it was clear to everyone that Michelle was unhappy and likely to flip, it was game over for Sarah, there was little she could do, the numbers became unassailable. If there was any sentiment in Samatau that they may be willing to vote Michelle, Sarah did not do her best to bolster it. She actually never made a case that it should be Michelle. I guess during tribal she was still trying to hide from Michelle that her name was on the chopping block, but what she should have been doing is undermining Michelle and detailing how unpredictable and emotional she is, and therefore a liability in this game. To be honest though, I don’t think it would have helped. At this stage of the game people will always take out a threat before they take out an easy vote. Particulalry if they can have that easy vote vote with them in future tribals. Tessa made a well-articulated point in the previous tribal. That is that it’s important to understand what is good for your opponents game and what is in their best interests. It seems Sarah completely missed that. Luke and Jerkicho knew it, making it a seven vote landslide against Sarah. The other option she has once she knows her name is on the chopping block (and it seemed pretty clear to her it was) is to present an even juicier target than Michelle or herself, Ziggy. You don’t even need Michelle for that, all you need is Luke, Jerkicho, Tara, and Peter. That could have been worth a shot. Perhaps knowing that Michelle was gunning for her actually did affect her emotionally, and did not allow her to see that there were other moves ahead than retaliating against Michelle.
Big Bash Luke
Luke did somewhat better than Sarah in placating Michelle. Firstly he approached her directly after tribal. During this interaction, unlike Sarah, he engaged with her emotionally, looked her in the eye. It looked like he apologised. And for his part during the above in tent conversation with his alliance, he literally lay down, and let Sarah take the heat. He and Jerkicho were also smart enough to realise that there was no changing her mind, and that voting against her would only damage the relationship they need with her, particularly now that Sarah is gone. So what can they do now? I don’t know that I’ve discussed this before but often thought it; Luke’s strategy seems to be take down whoever he sees as the biggest threat whenever he can. I can’t really argue with that strategy, he’s made it this far, and could actually win the game with it. And I hate to say it, but of the seven players we now have remaining, he’s probably most deserving. Just a smidge above Ziggy. Oh gee that’s a sad thought, considering the caliber of some of the players we started with. Anyway, my point is that I don’t think he considers the ramifications of his actions beyond the immediate. This was clear for the Tessa vote. While I’m sure he sees Sarah as an eventual threat, he needed her for at least one more vote. So I am surprised he didn’t try harder to get the vote off her and try and shift it toward Ziggy as suggested above. I guess it was too late to put in all the work required to pull that off. Anyway, Luke’s and Jerkicho’s best bet now is with both Michelle and Peter in the game, move on Locky and Ziggy. They need to be split, now. Admittedly, if Locky and Ziggy are still around two more votes then they’ll likely turn on each other (again in Ziggy’s case). They can’t wait for this to happen, because I’ve no doubt that Luke and Jerkicho are in Locky’s and Ziggy’s sights. Speaking of Ziggy, how ‘bout that idol play?
Gettin’ Ziggy With(out) It
I don’t blame her at all for playing her immunity idol. I think it’s more indicative of her paranoia than it is of any poor game-awareness. Things are at fever pitch, there’s blindside’s coming left, right and centre. While you wouldn’t say that the previous tribal went against her, she was just as blind-sided by it as Tessa was. I’d be jumpy too. Of course she’d be better off keeping it, but I’d much rather look like a fool playing it when I didn’t need to and staying in the game, than not playing it when I had it and being booted out. She’s a target with or without it. Without the safety buffer it affords her though, she really needs a friend. Hello Peter! We really are in a situation where we have power players, and their goats. Locky has Tara (for now). Locky and Jerkicho have Michelle. Peter is a goat without a home. Ziggy can be that home. From there it’s a matter of splitting Luke and Jerkicho, then taking out Locky. Easier said than done, but certainly easier if you have Peter in your pocket. This may not suit Peter though.
Playing it for Himself
I loved Peter telling Ziggy to play the idol for Michelle. If he was sincere, it does suggest that his maths is not great. Either he suspects that Locky or Tara were voting against Michelle (unlikely), or he played it for the reason I hope he played it for, to make Michelle believe that he is with her. There are very few people he can beat in a tribal council, so he needs to work with Tara and Michelle. As I did last year at around this point, I’ll run through these numbers in more detail in the next post. Before I go though…
“I’m not being emotional, I’m just hurt and pissed off and disappointed”
Oh Michelle. This is terrible play. She really is blinded by her emotions. Yes, she was left out of a big decision, but now she has one less ally. It’s not all bad though. She hasn’t completely burned her bridges with Luke and Jerkicho. And while Locky and Ziggy will drop her without a second thought once they feel she’s no longer useful, Peter is still an option for her. I can’t even begin to think where T-Bone sits in all this though. I have no idea what her game plan is other than to do whatever Locky says, and if we are to believe the preview for the next episode, then it seems she won’t be doing that much longer anyway. If we believe the preview.
I think that’s going to have to do for this post. I know I haven’t talked much about Locky, but that’s mostly just because I couldn’t think of a Locky/Loggy pun funny enough to be worthy of inclusion. Perhaps I need to ask T-Bone for some tips. Hopefully Locky is still about after the next episode so that I can spend some time contemplating the future of his game. Until then, 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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