You don’t need to be in the dark when you start reading this analysis. Check out the previous episode’s analysis here.
Congratulations Jericho. Winner of Australian Survivor 2017. I can’t argue he didn’t play a strong game. I can and have argued that he didn’t play the strongest game. That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve his win. I’ve long held the belief that the beauty of Survivor is that the winner always deserves the win. That’s the way that the game is structured. It’s the genius of the jury system. I will say however, had Tara won, then I would have to reassess that position. This would be based solely on the fact that she had already been voted out. All of the players believed they were voting her out. Nobody else, other than Anneliese, had been given such a second chance, and the events surrounding Anneliese’s initial vote out were less than fair, to her, or to the rest of the players. As far as I’m concerned T-Bone simply had no claim to be there. At least no greater claim than any other person who was voted out of the game after she was given a second chance. It might be time for me to stop bitching about a scenario that didn’t occur, but we came too close for comfort.
Lean In To It
Knowing going into this finale that there were three contestants whose games I was less than fond of, and the thought of having to write an analysis of a finale consisting of these three filled me with dread. I decided to look back on my analysis of last years finale. I remember I had similar thoughts preceding that finale, but I decided to lean in to it. To let myself get lost in the moment. Allow the grand spectacle of that final immunity challenge to wash away my negativity. Reading back on it, not only was I proud of what I had written, but I was filled with affection for that episode. What a dizzying wave of delight we rode watching the scale of that epic challenge and the way the characters fought and hustled through it. The emotion I felt at the sight of Kristie’s dad carrying a battle weary Kristie in his arms, his face filled with immense pride, yet at the same time being the fatherly protector, taking his precious daughter in his arms and letting her know that everything would be alright. The joy Lee and his family felt at being reunited after more than 55 days apart. These things filled me with tears then. They do now just writing about them. Watching the end of the immunity challenge 2017 literally brought me to tears once again. Unfortunately, these were tears of anger. That this is what my favourite game had come to. These three characters, that I had no feeling for, in a challenge devoid of the height of spectacle and depth of emotion we were treated to last year. Sure, now it was dark and looked pretty all lit up by torches, but without the family there, and without anything like Kristie’s impassioned promise to Lee that “I’ll take you, just let me have this!”, what we were left with was underwhelming. And I haven’t even started on the gameplay.
There was little gameplay here for me to discuss. Jericho chose to take Tara. He would have beaten either. I would have liked J-LaP to have asked the jury if they had to choose between Jericho and Peter who they would have voted for. We didn’t get that, maybe he’ll remember next year. If there is a next year. Incidentally I am almost certain that they were advertising applications for this season before last season had finished. Am I right about that? If so it worries me that they didn’t do that this year. I didn’t find either Jericho’s or T-Bone’s pitch to the jury particularly clever. If anything, I was worried that Jericho shot himself in the foot early on with his apparent disrespect of the games of many of the jury members. To me that’s a no-no. But at least he owned his game. I, like Sarah, was completely confused at his explanation of who he was. Was he trying to say he was really the bad guy playing the good guy? At one point he sounded like he was saying that he was a good guy, playing a bad guy game, by being a good guy. I don’t think he knows. And as for the whole ‘to be the best you have to beat the best in the final tribal council’ argument…well I know I’ve gone on and on about this in the past, but can anyone actually name a single time a jury member has voted against someone because they took a goat to the finale? I just don’t think this has ever happened (feel free to correct me in the comments). Doesn’t this tell you that such an argument/tactic is ridiculous?! There were just so many facepalm moments. I can’t decide which was more cringeworthy, T-Bone telling us that she didn’t start playing the game until Locky was voted out (even though this was also supposedly her biggest move. How does that work?), or, her line “in my defence…bring it on!” How the shit is “bring it on” anyone’s ‘defence’?!?! So as you can see, there really wasn’t any gameplay to critique.
Respecting This Thing We Call Survivor
I’m glad we finally got our reunion. It was nice to hear from some of those players again, but for mine it was way too long. I didn’t need to hear what Aimee felt like when she fell on her head. And I swear if I have to hear about cookies one more time….! There was too much filler like that. I guess I’d prefer to have a too long reunion than no reunion at all though. And I had hoped though that J-LaP would at least ask Tessa how she would have voted had she been given the opportunity. It would have been interesting to see if that would have made a difference. Anyway, hopefully the reunion will return should we get another season.
Devaluing The Achievement
Speaking of another season, I’ll briefly touch again on how there needs to be a format change if they do go ahead. If you’ve read this far you know that my feelings regarding the finalists. If you’ve been reading all season then you know my feelings regarding the final six. I know I’m not the only person that feels this way, and I understand this feeling is also reflected in the ratings. This is the same situation as last year. A drab final six devoid of real game players (with the exception of Flick). Surely now the production team must be considering that 24 players is too many. I read an interview this week with J-LaP. He was unashamedly spruiking that Australian Survivor does Survivor better than US Survivor at 1/4 of the cost. I won’t argue that from a production standpoint. The product looks beautiful and this season the challenge design is the best I have ever seen in a single Survivor season. But being left with these uninspiring, bland, milquetoast-filled final sixes? Well let’s just say that US Survivor has never, in my opinion, had a season with such an underwhelming final four, let alone final six. Why that might be bears significant consideration if they want to ensure the future of the game we love. I’m sure by now there’s no need for me to further point out that many of the twists characterised by an Australian Season contribute to the further devaluing of this game.
“this season saw some very high highs”
I love this game. I have for many, many years. If you’re reading this you’re likely one the thousands who loves it just as much. When people ask me who my footy team is, I tell them I watch Survivor. In case the fact that I’ve written around 100,000 words about Survivor in the last 15 months and around 40K this season didn’t tip you off, I’m passionate about it, and I want to share that passion. So when I meet someone who hasn’t watched Survivor before and wants to know about it, it’s easy for me to wax poetic about all the things I love about it and all the reasons why I believe everyone should at least try watching it. Having now watched two seasons of Australian Survivor (those first two abominations from the early noughties don’t count), I have to say that I would not encourage a prospective new viewer to start their experience with Australian Survivor. Certainly, this season saw some very high highs. Some of the best Survivor episodes EVER. But these highs have been completely undermined by the lacklustre endings. Please Channel Ten… Please Endemol Shine… Please Castaway Entertainment… Survivor Gods I implore thee!! Heed my words. Reassess your approach for the sake of the fans, and for the sake of this thing we call Survivor that we treasure so dearly, promote so enthusiastically, and respect so zealously.
Until next year, I got nothing else for you. You can head home.
– My heartfelt thanks to all those who have read, commented on, or in other way engaged with my shit this season. See you next year – Russell Feathers
(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs Channel Ten)
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