Episode 8 – ‘Twist and Shout’ OR ‘Getting Ziggy With It’

Ever feel like you’ve dacked an idol clue only to discover it was a manicure set? Don’t get your short and curlies caught in the razor, read how we got here, here.

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Stuck in the middle. With you (at least until next tribal)

Much like Luke’s pubes, tonight’s analysis is going to be short and, er, sweet.
All hail Queen Ziggy! Tonight Ziggy gave us a masterclass in Survivor. I must admit I was worried for a while there that this would turn out differently. But cooler heads prevailed. How did she do it? Let’s not beat around the shaved ballsack, let’s sink our teeth into it (the episode that is, not the scrotum).

Zig or Zag

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“(AK) will only lay down his life to save his own life” – Quote of the episode

Our first look at Samatau tonight once again presented us with a downtrodden Locky and T-Bone trying to piece together some way of forming a majority alliance. Clearly they don’t read my analysis because I’ve been saying for weeks that the only hope for them as individuals is to abandon each other. Of course, they’re too proud to flip to the majority alliance, that would mean admitting defeat. So they (let’s be honest here Locky was the only one doing anything) hatch a plan to influence Ziggy to flip. I was a little confused when they did this since that would leave the numbers at a 4-4 split, How stupid was I not to think that splitting the votes could be on the cards. It seems I wasn’t the only stupid one as neither T-Bone nor Locky made any play to influence the majority alliance to do that let alone think that it could happen (at least not that we were shown). Ziggy to her credit, at least entertains the possibility. We know now of course that she was lying to Anneliese, T-Bone and Locky, but I do believe that she did not dismiss their proposal initially. That she took the time to consider this option. I suspect it didn’t take much consideration before she made the decision that this was not her best move. And from there, well, the way she had the others, particularly Anneliese, thinking that she was with them was nothing less than inspired.

“MARCO?”…”ANNELIESE!” (you thought I was going to say polo, that’s why this particular joke works on multiple levels (oh yeah I am that clever))

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“So glad we’re together AnneLIES. Whoops, didn’t mean to drop the ‘e’. I’m sorry AnneLIES. Ooh I keep saying ‘lies'”

In a game of ‘big moves’, sometimes it’s the little things that make a good Survivor player. Like limiting your interactions with T-Bone on the pretext that it would make her real alliance suspicious. Like sitting directly between Locky and AK at tribal council (I choose to believe this was a deliberate and strategic move). And most impressive at all, announcing to the rest of her alliance that she was voting Anneliese in the surprise vote, so that they may follow her lead. Incidentally, do you think that they actually had a chance to talk before having to make that surprise vote? I’d be shocked if someone didn’t at least ask if they could. I know I’d certainly ask the question.

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Let’s hope there’s more than one razor

Back to our Stardust woman. Why was this the best move for Ziggy?
At present she has a good thing going with her fivesome. While it would be naïve not to acknowledge that somebody must be on the bottom, or at the very least that some people are in stronger position than others, there’s nothing that has me thinking that Zig is particularly weak within that fivesome. There’s no doubt in my mind that had she jumped ship, she would most definitely be on the bottom of her new foursome. Admittedly AK is a threat strategically, but he’s also a bloody good meat-shield (is there a better term for that than meat-shield, particularly when the threat is not so much physical but strategic? Threat-magnet? If you’ve got a good one let me know in the comments). I can’t see anyone (other than AK) gunning for Ziggy if AK’s still around posing a threat. Not to mention that Ziggy would put a big target on her balls making such a big move at this point. Locky told her to sit pretty, and that’s exactly what she’s doing.

T… Boned

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“Maybe they’ll have ice-cream on Exile Island…”

Just when we thought this particular cut of meat was going to get the chop, she’s thrown a lifeline. Dammit. Tara did absolutely nothing to save herself this episode, or the episodes previous. If she were on Asaga I’ve no doubt that she would have been counted in Zenry’s useless basket. If I cared for T-Bone I might give her some advice here. The reality is of course that she’s unlikely to listen to it, and she is never going to win anyway. She’s not playing the game, she doesn’t understand the game, and frankly she comes across as a sook. I don’t care for her. If I did, my advice would be you’ve been given a second shot here, make like AK and show some humility, maybe you’ll actually bond with someone, and then do your best to stay out of the crosshairs (and Lukehairs).

Bridge Over Muddied Waters

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Knot, a problem.

Usually I’d spend the rest of the analysis breaking down what I think each of the remaining players from tonight’s tribal council should do next. However, with a shake up looming I don’t see much point in tailoring advice to individuals, so I’ll just say, play it cool to everyone. The last thing you want to do is shake things up now. Let someone else stick their neck in the guillotine. If the shuffle opens options for you, absolutely do what you can to assess those options, but don’t act yet. Solidify your current bonds (if they remain), allow new relationships to develop (I believe this was Andy’s downfall last season. Prior to the shuffle you could see him socialising with everyone in his tribe, post-shuffle he did not talk to some new tribemates at all), and keep a low profile. For some of course, this will be easier than others. I’m looking at you Luke and Jerkicho.

Every day I’m Shuffling

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And WE are going to REVOLT!

Wow, I’ve made it this far and haven’t even criticised the twist. My thoughts on what I see as production ‘tricking’ players are by now well established. If somehow you don’t know where I stand check here. When J-LaP introduced the immunity challenge I noted that he did not say “I’ll see you at tribal council where someone will be going home”, instead he said “voted out”. I don’t know if this is the first time he’s said that this season. If there’s anyone out there who knows or is willing to make the effort to go back through the season and check, I’d be interested to hear from you in the comments. When he said that tonight I wondered if anyone would ever front him on that and directly ask him if people were being sent home at tribal. I don’t expect he’d give a direct answer, but you’d know something was up. Ultimately I don’t think this knowledge would have changed the strategy in terms of voting against T-Bone. But knowing that you were voting twice certainly would have made things more interesting.

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J – “I want to take myself to bed”   M – “I can feel myself again” – Runner up quotes of the episode.

I know it’s been a mostly Asaga-less analysis here, but there wasn’t much happening over there worth analysing to be honest, particularly with a shuffle on our hands. So until next episode, I got nothing for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs Channel Ten)

Russell Feathers needs your help, especially if you’re an aspie. Do you have a knack for finding typos, spelling, or other grammatical errors? Do you love pointing them out? If you’re one of these hotshit people and have found anything above, please let me know here! (Neurotypicals not excluded).

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Grand Finale – ‘Copping a Spray’ OR ‘Tsunamis and Landslides’  

If you’ve not read analysis of the previous episode, no need to scrap and fight, you can read all the buzz words here.


Congratulations Kristie. Winner of Australian Survivor 2016. Arguably the first time Australian Survivor was done right. Kristie said “if it feels right, it is right” and that’s kind of the way I feel about this season. This isn’t a place to analyse Survivor as a show though, it’s all about breaking down the game and the strategy. Given this is the end of the season and such an emotional episode, perhaps I’ll indulge myself and give over to a little bit of commentary on the production. And there’s not really all that much to actually break down this episode, so let’s just get started on the mini banquet.

A Swell Old Time


There was a lot of talk online and in the tv advertising over the last week describing this challenge as ‘epic’. Now that’s a word that gets abused and overused a lot in my opinion, and coming into the episode I was expecting such abuse would happen again. They really put the challenge up on a pedestal (see what I did there?), and deservedly so. For me this WAS an EPIC moment in Australian television. I can’t think of anything bigger. The Beaconsfield miners is the only thing that comes to mind, and being real reality, that doesn’t really count (reading this back through, it’s possible that I may have been overwhelmed with emotion when writing this). Though this is the same final immunity challenge as the first US season, it was a much grander production. Not only was the setting more spectacular, the production and editing was tight, if a little overblown. As the tide swelled, so did the music. And those magnificent wide sweeping shots of the ocean and the cliffs, and the three, then two survivors arms outstretched and joined symmetrically at what they were fighting for. It worked, it had me sucked right in. Especially when Kristie started operation Lee Daddy. This scene for me was incredibly reminiscent of the 3rd act of Empire Strikes Back. The music approaching crescendo, the weather picking up, both of them drenched and precariously teetering above the abyss that is failure. It was an incredible scene. And that shot of Kristie’s dad carrying her off in her arms, there was a tear rolling down my cheek.


Strategically, the plea to Lee was fantastic. I didn’t see it coming but boy was it delicious. Why wouldn’t you do it? What have you got to lose? It put him in a position where he has to make a decision, potentially breaking his concentration. And it is just the sort of thing that Lee would go for. What we don’t know, and what I think is going to be debated for decades, is whether Lee let Kristie win. In my mind this question will be up there with ‘Who shot first, Han or Greedo?’. I wonder if we’ll ever know.

I’ll Take You

“Lee. You are my father”… I’ll stop the Star Wars references there…

I don’t think I can ever hear those words again without thinking of this moment. “I’ll take you”…”I’ll take you!!”. This was our “You had me at hello”. Our “As you wish”. Our “Nobody puts baby in a corner”. Schmaltz aside, was taking Lee the best move for Kristie? I don’t think you can argue with the outcome, that’s for sure. I think she was beholden to the deal. Now I’ve always said you can lie, cheat and steal. But when you make a deal like that in the final immunity, it would take some real fuggin chutzpah to renege on that. Arguably, she had a better shot against El. If people thought Kristie had done nothing to make it this far, then El had somehow done less than nothing. El may however have more friends in the jury than Lee. Certainly, she would have had Lee’s vote. Possibly she would have also had Flick’s and Brooke’s vote. I suspect El would not be able to sell herself to the jury as well as Lee. Lee on the other hand probably has more enemies on the jury. So really, as I said three episodes ago, she really could take her pick and would have won regardless. Speaking of tribal.

Proving Them Wrong

We all know Frankie went to Hollywood, tonight he went to Samoa. Two tribes went to war. 


Kristie owned the final tribal. Though at the start it didn’t look like it was going to go that way at all. The first words that came out of Kristie’s mouth were, and I’m only slightly paraphrasing, “You all thought I was crazy, but I proved you wrong”. Arrrgggghh! I strapped in, I thought we were in for a bumpy ride. You can’t tell the jury they’re wrong and then expect their vote! Then she went on to tell them what they should have done once the merge happened. Holy shit! First you tell them they’re wrong, then you tell them what they should have done?!?!?! This was not a good start. Fortunately, she redeemed herself with some articulate answers where she owned her game. It was great for her to come in with some facts and figures too. That she had seen twenty tribals, and knew who was going home in each of them. I won’t fact check that myself, hopefully someone can confirm in the comments. Regardless, to me and it seemed to jury members also, evidence is always better than cliches and platitudes, which Lee predictably spouted. There were many fantastic moments in this tribal. Too many classic lines to mention. I have to mention a few that really stood out for me though. Lee’s “comfort spoons”; JL’s “Nice to meet you”; as anticipated Sam’s sentences didn’t make sense, he shouldn’t try and use words that are bigger than his name. As expected, this was the Nick show though. So many corkers, from “manly things” and “balls to the wall”, to the “magic land” and “lieutenant Lee of the morality police”. (To be fair to Lee, he responded pretty well to this. Wisely, neither Kristie nor Lee were ever drawn in to an argument. I can’t think of a time where a Survivor argued with a jury member and still got their vote). Even Lee’s son, Jake, got a nice line in about “Obi Wan KenobLee” (okay i just bastardised the words of an eight year old for my own amusement, don’t go all morality police on me). Speaking of kids, this is the moment I lost my shit. When those boys saw their dad for the first time in over 55 days, the floodgates opened. If anything were a tsunami this episode, it were my tears on the couch. I bawled like a fucking baby. Then Kristie won in a landslide, and I smiled through the tears.

And that’s as good a place as any to end the analysis of the season. Just as it started, bawling like a baby when I was informed my application to play wasn’t accepted. Speaking of looking back, what I’m going to do now is to relive the past three months, and go back and read the journey. You might like to join me here.

I got nothing else for you. You can head home.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 25 – ‘I Owe You a Big One’ OR ‘Pulling It Off and Winning a Necklace’

If you’re yet to read the analysis of the previous episode, I’ll throw you a lifeline, you can check it out here.

The threesome is finally here. Unfortunately for Kristie, she is no longer in the middle with room to move. She’s not the meat in that sandwich. Instead, she’s more like banana at a bread party. There’s a possibility she’ll be invited to play, but chances are slim to bubkas. Particularly now that she no longer has the peanut butter that is Flick. Time to turn this discussion into a chicken carcass and break it down.

How to Make a Jury Cringe 101

There’s a party in her mouth…
Move along, nothing to see here. Kristie made the move that we all suspected she would, now in order for her to make it to final two she has to win immunity. This was a stupid move. Not because I don’t think that she can beat Lee or El. I’ve said multiple times that if she makes the final two she will beat both Lee and El. But the way that it played out at tribal, it was clear that she wasn’t going home. It was also made very clear in the tribal that El and Lee would take each other to final two should either of them win immunity. So had she sent a vote towards Lee then she remains safe and in the top three, and potentially faces Flick in the final three. Arguably this would give her a much better shot of making it to the final two. I have to give her credit for the way that she backs herself though. It’s inspiring to see her grab the bull by the douchebags and commit herself to going toe to toe against Lee and El. She has to, the reality is I see no situation where she can make final two without winning immunity, and I won’t even take the time to entertain such possibilities, it would be an exercise in futility. What I can do though is consider how she might address the jury should she beat the odds and win immunity.

Digging that hole…DIG UP STUPID!
Much like the pole that one has to fashion at immunity challenge, even if one’s game is long enough, if it’s not strong enough at the end, or you don’t have a hook, you don’t get the key to the prize. So what is Kristie’s story and is it strong enough? How did she get here, does she have a hook? Kristie has told us many times in the past that she is a floater. The problem with that word is that it devalues the decisions that she has made. The word floater suggests that she let others make the decisions for her. This may be the case but you don’t want the jury to think this. She has said she has played an independent game. The word ‘independent’ can be taken a couple of ways. It could be said that she didn’t listen to peoples advice or that she hasn’t had the help of others. The reality is that she has had the help of others. A lot of help and a lot of luck. If I were her I would be playing up the fact that she made decisions, tough decisions, at every step of the game to get herself further. That these were smart decisions and the proof is in the pudding. She also needs to accept that there were people that helped her, and that she milked those opportunities for all that they were worth. If it were anyone else but Kristie in this situation, I would advise that she talk up her social game, and argue that this was the reason the opportunities came her way. Alas, for Kristie, social skills probably aren’t her strong suit, certainly not from what we’ve seen. This was evidenced by her being voted least popular at final six. So such a play I’m sure would be met by the jury with laughter. In terms of a hook, unfortunately for K, the move that she made against Phoebe was arguably her biggest, but the only person on the Jury who saw it and saw how big a move it was is Sue. There’s no harm in using it as an example anyway, if you’ve got it flaunt it. I can’t think of any other moves she has in her story that she can use. If there’s something you think I’m missing please let me know in the comments.

‘El Yeah

I’ll let you insert your own caption here…
Another person I have to give credit to tonight is (I can’t believe I’m writing this…) El. Only because she actually had a thought. It was a good thought. It was such a good thought that even I had not thought about it. The thought was that if she and Lee kept Flick in the game, then she would go to final two regardless of who wins immunity in the final episode. Obviously if she wins immunity she goes, if Lee wins he takes her, and if Flick wins she takes her. Once she had this thought however she didn’t act on it. I suspect because Lee could see that it was risky for him and he convinced El that they should target Flick. Unfortunately for El, Flick is also the only person that she could possibly beat (if Brooke votes against Flick, check out the numbers here). So tonight she missed her only opportunity at winning the game. Her other option tonight was to vote against Lee. I suspect if she had done this, she would not lose Lee’s jury vote. Furthermore had she done this, having made such a big move may have actually moved her up a few pegs in the minds of the jury. Unfortunately, for us the viewers and for her, she didn’t go there, and we’ll never know how that scenario could have played out. As much as I’d love to talk about how El can and should address the jury… I’m sorry I couldn’t type that with a straight face…

Closing Arguments

Evidence of ‘midnight whispers’
What will Lee have to say should he make it to the final two? I expect that he will probably get some questions from Nick, JL, Matt and Brooke about his strategy. He’s argued for some time that he is strategic. That his strategy was to find a strong alliance and try not to piss anyone off. Though that’s a fair answer, I doubt that will satisfy the jury. Sam could also have a go at him about turning on him. His initial reaction to that might be to argue that he was just getting Sam before Sam got him. And it’s a fair argument to make. I think the best way though to actually counter this question is with humility. Sam will want to hear how hard it was for Lee to do that to his mate, and how ultimately he saw Sam as a threat. I think Sam will respect that and it may earn Lee his vote. He needs to play up the moves that he made, and the things he achieved. He was a challenge beast. And when it came down to it, he was the one who was able to convince Kristie to vote his way. In this respect, his actions completely impacted the game. He would not have had the ability to do that had he not made such a strong connection with Kristie. These are all solid arguments for him, but to be honest, they’re all moot points. The reality is that Lee will stick to the standard post match cliches. Tell us how he gave 110%. I bet ten dollars he says “full credit to Kristie/El”. We’re going to get nothing of substance from him.

I will not say ‘given the flick’, I will not say ‘given the flick’, I will not say ‘given the flick’

Given the Flick (oh shit…)

“What’s that smell?…oh, desperation…”
So sad to see Flick go tonight, she was the last remaining tactician and has been for some time. She did everything she could this episode to stay. She tried every possible angle tonight. She pushed hard in the challenge. She puckered up and kissed some arse, (no wonder she smelt like “stinky colon”). She tried to convince Kristie on a rational level. Regrettably Kristie decided to go another way. The only thing that might have changed tonight’s outcome is if somehow she had established the type of bond with Kristie that Lee has. I guess since the merge happened, she did not suspect that she would end up in a situation where she needed Kristie’s trust, and didn’t foster a relationship with her, at least not one that we saw. Even if she didn’t think Kristie would make it this far, she should have (and to be fair I’m sure she did) at least fostered the relationship in the hope that she would earn Kristie’s vote. Live and learn I suppose. Take this as a cautionary tale. Foster those relationships, no matter how much you think you wont need them. And DON’T TELL SOMEBODY THAT THEY’RE LEAVING!
Until tomorrow night’s finale, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 26 Finale analysis here!

Episode 24 – ‘Jek-El & Hyde’ OR ‘Dracu-Lee’

Have your emotions confused your path forward? If so, get back on track by reading my previous post here.

EL is smiling because she finally learned what the word ‘alliance’ means

Once again Kristie has a predicament. The power to change the game in her holistic little hands, and then she goes and sides with Lee and El. Let’s go ahead and break down if this was a good move for her, and where our other Survivors now sit.

More torn than Daniel Johns’ old photos of Natalie Imbruglia

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As much as I don’t like the move, because I personally don’t like Lee or El on my television anymore (in fact I’m hoping that someone can tell me if there’s a google plugin that can delete the letters ‘L’ and ‘E’ from my internet browser so I never need to hear about them again), I argued last week that Kristie could beat El and Lee, and I stand by that. I won’t go through the numbers again (if you want to check them out do so here), but if anything Lee and El’s performance tonight has them potentially losing a vote or two should either of them make it there. Kristie has a better chance of making the final three by making the move she did. Idols aside, I can’t see Lee voting her out next round, I can’t see El not voting against Flick. That puts her in the top three. Getting to top two is much harder. I can’t see Lee and El not taking each other, regardless of Lee’s assertions that they haven’t discussed a top two. So for Kristie to make it to the top two now it almost seems like she has to win immunity to get there. Are there really no other options though?

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This scene brought back a lot of memories of my time in ‘ball waiter college’…
If Kristie doesn’t want to go to final three with Lee and El is there anything she can do before then? Other than having taken El out tonight, there’s not much. It would require Kristie work with Flick and then convince either El or Lee to vote the other. Now that’s a hard sell. I suspect that El would never work with Flick now. Lee on the other hand, again, I just can’t see anyone talking him out of voting with El. And to be fair, why would he? I think he would beat her in a final two, (five votes to four if you follow last week’s numbers). At this stage though if you want to break up Lee and El, that’s you’re only option, so what have you got to lose? You’d have to throw it out there, as Lee says, have a crack at it. Aside from that hail mary play, the only other way we are likely to end up with a three that doesn’t include both Lee and El is if Flick wins immunity. That seems to be Flick’s only shot, and that is something I’d love to see!

For the love of all that is holy, Flick please win immunity!

Flick winning immunity would make things very, very interesting indeed. That would leave Lee, Kristie and El having to vote turn on each other. I have absolutely no idea who which way they would choose to go. Given Kristie seems to have finally settled on the loyalty/mateship route, I suspect that she would not vote against Lee. She’s said a couple of times now that it’s not about the numbers. But we did see her momentarily be happy to vote with Flick and Matt and I feel that she was genuine about that move at that time, and would have gone that way until she was dissuaded by Lee and El. But given how wishy washy she is it’s not outside the realms of possibility that she would vote Lee out. That would be the smarter move for her, as I doubt that in a final three of El, Flick and Kristie, Flick or El would take each other to the final two. I could be wrong about that, Flick may feel that she has a better chance of beating El than she does Kristie. That is a real lineball call. Again, according to last week’s numbers, if Flick gets Brooke’s vote then she would beat both Kristie and El five to four. Incidentally when I suggested last week that Brooke may respect Flick’s game play and still vote for her even though Flick blind-sided her, I received more correspondence than ever, all of it telling me how wrong I was that Brooke might vote for Flick. This may be the case, I guess we’ll have to wait and see, though we may not get the chance. In any case, on my numbers, whether Flick takes Kristie, Lee, or El, the votes remain the same, she either wins by one or she loses by one. Of course, she’s got a much better chance of getting to the top two if she wins immunity and tries to get Lee voted off. I’d love to see this happen next episode.

El flips her shit

El is angling for a job as a gymnastics judge after Survivor…

Wow, it did not take El long to turn nasty there. This was a serious case of Jek-El & Hyde. The woman whose vocabulary thus far in the game consisted 25% ‘yeah’ and 25% ‘ok’ suddenly ain’t so agreeable anymore. Though to be honest this was a good move from her. She needed to turn on Flick and put her on the spot in order for Kristie to maybe have second thoughts. Flick for her part probably played it too diplomatically. Of course, Flick should never have told El what the plan was. Does nobody read this? You never, ever tell somebody that you are voting them out. It never works (please prove me wrong in the comments). My guess is that Flick was thinking two things when she did this. Firstly, I genuinely believe that Flick counted El as a friend and wanted to maintain that friendship out of the game. Secondly, I suspect that Flick was trying to mitigate any jury fallout, and ensure that she still had El’s vote. Noble intentions, but biggest backfire ever. This is Survivor lady. When you’ve played an underhanded game for fifty days, you can’t then try and play the friendship card, especially with the person you’ve been underhanded with. This is perhaps indicative of El’s social game. El’s relationship with Flick was strong enough that Flick felt it necessary to do that. Furthermore, when El confronted Flick about any final two deals, Flick then had the opportunity to throw El under the balls and tell Kristie that El had promised Flick a threesome with Lee (insert snigger here). Whether she was being too diplomatic, too polite, or was simply just lost for words, that didn’t come up. El had the good sense to end the conversation, grab Lee, and force Kristie into explaining herself, of which I thought she did a pretty good job. Unfortunately, Lee then opened his big fat boofhead mouth didn’t he.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

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…and the award for most manipulative thing said all season goes to…
So the discussion moves to this bully. Thus far in the game we’ve seen Lee be rather protective of Kristie. Now it seems that he was less being protective of Kristie and more protective of his game (if you can call it that). It was utterly disgusting to see him bully and threaten her during the beach conversation. I’ve never been a fan of the threaten move. It’s an ugly, ugly move. So when he suggested to Kristie that if she voted out El he would push extra hard not to let anybody else win immunity (which is bullshit, he’s a ‘professional’ sportsman for fuck’s sake, we all know he gives 100% EVERY challenge) I was disgusted and enraged. Then to follow that up back at camp by not allowing Kristie to talk to Matt or Flick, and speaking on her behalf, that fucker took it to another level. Poor Kristie just had to sit there like the little kid stuck at the dinner table while their parents are fighting over who gets custody, while this Trumpian oaf completely disrespects her by not allowing her to make her own decisions and treating her like an object to be fought over. Very poor form. Last week we saw Lee play this very scenario much differently. Just listening to and commenting on Kristie’s predicament, but still allowing Kristie to make her own decision. I almost found him to be a good guy in that moment. How wrong I’d have been. It’s a shame that most of the jury didn’t see his vulgar display this episode. But guess what Lee? Australia did. Australia did.

Disappearing Act

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Don’t sell yourself short buddy, you smashed that puzzle challenge!
Unfortunately tonight sees the departure of our beloved Matt. Kudos to Matt on a strong episode. He gave his all in the challenge. He managed to convince Kristie to join he and Flick (momentarily). He stood up for himself while Lee was having a go at him. Plus he had a great line at tribal council for El “so, like, an alliance”. That was gold. Best moment of the past handful of episodes. Could he have done anything tonight to save himself? I guess once shit started going down he could have approached Lee and El and told them he would vote with them against Flick. With Lee and El uncertain of just where Kristie stood they may have gone for that. Unfortunately it would have burned his closest ally left in the game (though after Lee and El’s performance tonight Flick may not give them her jury vote if either of them are in the final two against Matt), and left him with a lot of work to do next episode. But one more tribal is one more tribal, and coming close at winning this challenge means maybe a win next challenge. It’s worth a shot when there’s nothing left to lose. Regardless, we’ll miss you buddy, such a shame you were “pinched at the post”. I hope it didn’t hurt too much mate. That’s Survivor, the turntables don’t always turn your way.
This conversation’s over. I got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 25 analysis here!

Episode 23 – ‘Spilling the Beans’ OR ‘I Got a Big Mouth’

If you need to check out the previous episode's analysis, then you're at a disadvantage. Check it out here.

I'm afraid my worst fears have been realised, Lee and El are still in the final five. This was all thanks to Kristie deciding that Lee and El were better to move ahead with than Flick. Fuggin mateship and loyalty, bah humbug. Needless to say I don't like this move, and not only because I personally don't like Lee and El. I find them boring and without gameplay. The main reason I don't like this move is because I've long said I think it's very difficult to beat Lee or El in the final two. Is this still the case though?

Knowing the Numbers Well

At the 'getting to know you' challenge last episode we learned that Lee was the most popular contestant and Kristie was the least. If popularity translates to jury votes, then that certainly puts Kristie at a disadvantage if she were to stick with Lee to the final two. It might be time to reexamine this presumption that Lee and El are unbeatable in the final two I've been holding on to for a few episodes now. So let's take a look at the jury numbers though. If we look at the final eleven and forecast and rank who they think is most deserving to win this we end up with the following:
Nick: Flick most deserving, followed closely by, Kristie, Matt, Lee, and El

Kylie: El, Lee, Flick, Kristie, Matt

Sue: Kristie, Lee, El, Flick, Matt (I really don't know what Sue is thinking, but I think she definitely would put Kristie at the top)

JL: Kristie, Flick, Lee, El, and Matt

Brooke: this could go either way, but I'd like to think that she would stick with Flick, followed by El, Lee, Matt, and Kristie

Sam: Matt, Flick, Kristie, El, Lee

Matt: Flick, Kristie, Lee, El

Kristie: Lee, El, Flick, Matt

Flick: El, Matt, Lee, Kristie

El: Lee, Kristie, Flick, Matt

Lee: El, Kristie, Flick, Matt

(Looking forward to the final episode to see how wrong I am. If you disagree please tell me your thoughts in the comments)

Game Changer

Ok, so based on the above presumptions if Kristie went against Lee or El then Kristie actually wins 5 to 4. If she goes against Flick then she loses 5 to 4, unless Brooke still resents Flicks move and votes against her, in which case Kristie wins 5 to 4. And against Matt she wins 6-3. With these numbers Kristie actually has the best chance of winning the game, if she can make it to the final two. Ideally for her though her best bet is to go to final two with Matt, which is going to be hard to pull off with Lee and El still in the game. I can't really see a scenario whereby this could happen. For Kristie to make it to the final two against either Lee or El then Lee and El need to be broken up before final three, because it's a pretty decent bet that Lee or El will win that final immunity if they're both in the final challenge and they will take each other. For Lee and El to be broken up however, Kristie would have to flip against them at some stage, weakening her position with the other, not so much though that the other would consider putting Flick or Matt before Kristie. So the overall impression that I'm getting about Kristie's road ahead is that she will continue to be a floater and there is every possibility that whichever way she floats she may just end up in the final three. Flick's road ahead is a different story altogether.

Bite Me Hard

Once Kristie indicated at tribal that there was a possibility she may not flip with Flick, it weakened Flick's move against Lee and El. Fortunately she had put the wheels in motion for a split vote (very smart Flick!), which would have still resulted in three votes against El. But with Sam's vote neutralized, if Flick had proceeded to vote against El, then it would have resulted in a 2-2 tie, with a possibility that Lee and El would both stay and know that Flick had voted against them. She really had no choice but to flip her vote back with Lee and El. Shame Flick, I would have liked to have seen you smash another alliance. Let's take a look at the jury numbers for Flick. As above, if Brooke votes with her, then she could beat Kristie 5-4. Against Lee and El she needs Brooke's vote to win 5-4. Against Matt she clearly wins with 6 or 7 votes going her way. Getting to the final two is going to be tough though. Firstly, she has to break up Lee and El. Very, very difficult with Kristie seemingly dropping anchor at the Isle of Lee and El. The best bet for Flick now is to win some friggin challenges, because I can't see anybody's wanting to take her to the final two. Good luck Flick. Much like Brooke, you played a very strong game, unfortunately Kristie decided to go another way.

In Need of Magical Scenarios

Similarly for Matt, it looks like the only way he is getting further is by winning some immunity challenges. We know he can do it, they just have to be the right challenges for him. According to the above numbers though, there isn't anyone he can beat at final two. If he does, he is going to have to spin one hell of a story to be able to swing some votes his way. Hopefully for Matt's sake I've got the numbers completely wrong.

Sleeping on a Cloud

img_1228Lee and El are sitting rather pretty right now with the most solid alliance that we've seen all season. It's unlikely that anything can break this alliance now. For either of them to win, the best bet is for one of them to take Matt. They can do that as long as Flick doesn't win immunities. It would require that they flip on each other or Kristie though and that seems unlikely. Or Matt wins the last immunity and makes that decision for them. A quick comment about Lee's comments toward Kristie at camp, telling her that she didn't have to take the 'magical' options. Was this a dig at Matt? If so, that was sly brother. Nice one, and good on you for using a three syllable word.

Exile on Main Beach

img_1094A final note about Sam. Was there a possibility he could have avoided this? Well, the reason he is here is because he sided with Brooke against Lee and El a few episodes ago. This put him in their bad books. Unfortunately he didn't do anything to try and redeem himself get back in their good books. He had an opportunity once Brooke was voted out to go to Lee and El and apologise and lay the blame on Brooke. Unfortunately he did the opposite and told Lee to suck it up. He also had a chance at exile beach, far away in time, to approach the two of them to see if they wanted to work with him. He really did nothing to keep his options open. Kristie, and Flick to some degree, have always kept their options open, and this is reflected in how far they have continued in the game.

Again though, and I hate to keep harping on about this, did no-one look for an idol at exile beach, far away in time? Lee for one should know better! He's been there before and knows that idols are on exile beach, far away in time. J-LaP is still asking if people have them so I presume they're out there. I would have expected Matt or Flick to look for one at their reward as well. I'd love to know if there was one there. If anybody is reading this who knows, please fill me in in the comments. Maybe we'll see one come into play to make things interesting again for our final five.
Three episodes left now and my hopes are pinned on a Flick, Matt or Kristie win. With Lee and El still there this seems increasingly unlikely. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. I got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 24 analysis here!

Episode 22 – ‘Can’t Quite Get it Up’ OR ‘Can He Pull Off Something Special?’

If you haven’t read my analysis of the last episode, follow the co-ordinates here.

Keep tugging that sack Sammy
Raaargh! I got dressed up for the letdown. So much potential in this episode and that is where they end it?! I’m not saying it was a bad episode, but Channel Ten, if you’re going to wine me and dine me, then at least have the decency to seal the deal with a real tribal. Anything less is just plain rude. I was all lubed up with some tantalising twists ready for a wet and wild spa splashdown. Then you leave me hanging like that. Not cool Channel Ten. What am I saying, I can’t stay mad at you. I guess I should know better by now than to expect there would be a boot tonight. Now no result tonight means not much to talk about here, but we can keep chipping away and find something to get our teeth into.

You Can Call Flick the Pig-Catcher (‘cause she saved Lee’s bacon – I’m so sorry)

Flick starts the episode saying that she is loyal to Lee and El and wants to go to the end with them. Are you crazy woman?! Have you not listened to a thing I’ve been saying?! Last episode we finally had some people talking about who they might beat in the final two. This episode all of that seems to have gone out the window. At least she has the sense to have a good chat with Matt to suss out what he is feeling after being blindsided last week. Not only does this give him the opportunity to let off some steam at Flick and calm him down, but it just might keep the lines of communication open so that she is aware what Matt’s next play is. I’ll say it again, as much as Flick may come off cold and cutthroat to the camera, she really does play a good social game on island. She is very good at talking to people. Thankfully Matt is actually working on a plan.

The Victim, Playing

Finally we see Matt start playing, only a little bit, but playing nonetheless. I wouldn’t say he was going down swinging necessarily, more like blindfolded swatting at a piñata with a soggy tea towel, but it’s more than we’ve seen him do for some time. To be fair, big swings are probably not the best thing for his game now, this is the point where you don’t want to be seen as a threat. Big moves might sound good on a final two resume, but at the wrong time they will only hurt his chances of getting there. He has the nous to realise that El and Lee are unstoppable as a twosome and the only way that he can break those two up is to use Flick. When he questioned Flick on who the two biggest threats in the game are I thought this was a really nice way of getting her to reconsider her loyalty to Lee and El. Now I’m not naïve enough to believe that she possibly hadn’t already thought this, but at least he’s playing, and it lets Flick know that he is open to a move with her. If you can show someone that you are an option for them to go ahead with then you would think that the likelihood that they vote you out decreases. img_1054-1I had hoped that his great reward win would give him the ability to strategise some more, but alas. It didn’t work out that way. Incidentally, there were a few things about that challenge that had me thinking. Firstly, could you just choose not to count and remember the items in the box and just start digging? If this is allowable maybe that would have been a better strategy to employ. In fact I’d like to see them use that option in the future. There have been a few challenges in the last couple of years, and in the current US season where players could choose from different strategies. Usually choosing between a slow, but easier option and a fast but hard option. That could have worked well for this challenge. Hope you’re listening producers, I’ll expect a cheque in the mail. It did look like those puzzle pieces were pretty deep though and so if it was allowable, it may not have been wise in this instance. I also wondered whether players, after having grouped and counted the items, could then write the number of items in the sand next to them, so that if they had to come back to refresh their memories they didn’t have to tally again. Food for thought, I’ll have to remember that for if I ever get a shot on island (hint hint).

Hip to be Square

BINGO!
Once we heard what the reward would be my mind went straight into, who would you want to take with you, strategically? When it was announced there would be some sort of tribal tonight to determine, that changed everything completely. You can’t strategise when you have no idea what of the pieces that you’re playing with, let alone what board you’re playing on. It made me question if I would even want to win the challenge. Sometimes the last place you want to be is away from the tribe. It gives people the opportunity to strategise without you, potentially putting you at risk. You would actually want to keep an ally with the rest of the tribe so that they can fill you in on what went down in your absence. Of course there is also the possibility that an idol or clue will be at reward, that’s something you don’t want to miss out on, or worse, let somebody else have. The way it worked out though, Matt didn’t get any strategic advantage from winning reward at all. He didn’t get to pick who was coming with him, it looked like Flick made that decision. However, the two people that he will be at reward with are the two people he would most want to be there, Flick and Kristie. Meanwhile Sam, who we assume is Matt’s tightest alliance at this time, is sent to exile beach, far away in time, with El and Lee the enemy. I think it’s safe to assume that there is an idol or a clue at exile beach, far away in time, hopefully there’s also one at the spa. Speaking of bathrooms…

Floater in the Dunny

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Has our floater finally found a strategy to cling to? Well, she was as elusive and vague as ever in her pieces to camera. In true Kristie form however nothing is off the table for her. She really did some lovely play this episode. She was humble with Lee (good on him for taking the time to have a chat with her by the way) and let him vomit out where he stood. After he had coughed up that info she then pointedly, yet casually asked about Lee and El’s relationship with Flick. This is the information she really needs to be able to determine whether Lee and El are likely to stay Aganoa strong or give Kristie the flick, as it were. She also noticed that her alliance was chatting without her and again was able to ask them pointedly about what they were talking about, which of course, they totally bumbled. This gave Kristie all the motivation she needed to run to the toilet (what a terrible name for Matt) and look for other options in this game.

She also put herself in an important conversation with Flick and Lee, where they were discussing splitting the votes, if this was to go ahead and K didn’t like it she would potenitally have the power to flip a 2-2-2 vote into a 3-2-1, sending home the player of her choice. All in all this was a great episode for K, she again has put herself in a position where she has options and none of them are particularly hopeless.

Next time on, Survivor

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Who’s gonna come out of the next episode clean, and who’s gonna have to get dirty?
So although nobody went to Jury Villa tonight, it’s fair to say that the scene is set for an unpredictable episode tomorrow night. Not only do we not know which way Flick and Kristie are going to move, there could be up to two idols in play, plus let’s not forget that Lee still has an advantage that is only good for two more tribals. Tomorrow night should be a cracker, though I should probably lower my expectations lest I be disappointed, again.

Until then, I got nothing else for ya. Head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 23 analysis here!

Episode 21 – ‘I’m a Believe-her’ OR ‘Last Train to Brookesville’

If you were blindsided by what happened tonight, it’s because you haven’t been playing along. Check out my analysis of the previous episode here.

Huzzah! We have some gameplay! The Brick has finally split in two, and it happened from within. Big ups to Flick for getting rid of the one person that nobody could beat in a final two (that breakdown is here). After the last episode I suggested that Lee and El be broken up first, so I’m a little disappointed that Flick didn’t listen. Regardless, let’s eat the dog and discuss whether this was the best move for the guys tonight.

Flick Flop

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Our puppet-master pulls all of the strings and doesn’t even need to be there…
Well done Flick. You recognised that Brooke was a threat to your game long term and you made moves to disable the threat. Textbook play too. I am a little worried that it may have been one move too early as Lee and El now still hold the power among the remaining players, and Lee holds an advantage. Though to be fair, had she waited one more tribal then it is likely that Brooke might have made the same play against Flick. Now that would have really been a world war three to behold. Let’s think it through. If El had gone, then that would leave Brooke, Kristie, Matt, Sam, Flick, and Lee. Lee would likely then approach Sam as his next closest alliance, and at this stage it does not look as though Sam is going to turn on Brooke. Giving Brooke the numbers to take out Flick. Ok, Flick IS smarter than I am. Now was the time to take out Brooke. Does this leave a target on her back? Potentially, but she’s done all that she can do to mitigate that in allowing El to come up with Brooke’s name (that was nice). She might now be able to sit back and make it look like this was El’s move and let her take the heat. That would be a fine line to walk there, to get the balance right between having El take the blame for the move in-game, but still be able to take the credit for it with the jury. The other thing to think about is Lee’s advantage. Does she know what Lee’s advantage is? If so I’m wondering if it would have been smart to try and influence him to use that tonight so that he could not use that against her next tribal. I’m not convinced that Lee and/or El would try to move against Flick now. If that’s the case then you want Lee to keep it this tribal so that you definitely have the numbers in a six person tribal. Turning six votes into five and avoiding a tie scenario. So who does Flick need to take out next?

To get through the next tribal I would say Sam. Play up that Sam was going to vote against Lee and keep Lee motivated to take him out. However, Sam is one of the few people that Flick can beat in a final two. Lee and El are the two people who likely could definitely beat her. I would even go as far as saying it’s becoming increasingly likely Kristie could beat her too. So you might want to keep Sam around. So the best move for Flick would be to try and break up Lee and El next. If Lee and El make it to final five and Lee still has his advantage (the last time it can be used is final five), then they pretty much have the game wrapped up. One of them would likely make it to final two and would be very hard to beat. Therefore what Flick needs to do, is appeal to Matt and Sam, tell her why she felt it had to be done, that Brooke was a threat who could not have been beaten, that the next threats are Lee and El and they have to stay together to take them out next, all the while pretending that she is still with Lee and El. Unfortunately this would mean that she would have to rely heavily on Kristie to flip on Lee and El.

Still Floating or Dropping Anchor?

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“Maybe if I keep my mouth shut they’ll forget I’m here and won’t vote for me…”
We saw some nice play from Kristie tonight. Firstly, we’ve been shown a few times over the last couple of episodes that she has actually made some social connections with people. She’s had lots of little interactions around camp that tells us she might not be as much on the periphery as we assume. Two big chats with Lee, high-fiving Matt, water walks with Brooke. She’s clearly still keeping her finger in some pies. She’s also showed us how her mind works when she was determining what Flick’s motivations would be in coming to El about flipping. That was really good to see. But where to from here for her. She’s said all along and she reiterated again tonight that she has played an individual game, and it’s worked well for her so far. It has her in a pretty good position now. She can choose whether to stick with El and Lee, or to move elsewhere. Given that El and Lee are the biggest threat in the game right now, my gut reaction is to break them up. Kristie’s other threat however is Flick. If you’re Kristie, ideally you want to go to the end with Sam or Matt. If you’re Lee and El, you’d probably also prefer to go to the end with Sam or Matt, and not Kristie. Alright, I’ve just convinced myself, the best move for Kristie now is to break up Lee and El, then work on convincing both Sam and Matt that they could never beat Flick in a final two and hope that the final immunity challenge falls your way. This path is a definite possibility, she has a reasonable shot of winning this game now, she just needs to listen to me. My commission is just a fraction of the prize money. That fraction is 499/500ths. With flexibility as Kristie’s arguably greatest asset, is she actually now a threat?

Aganoa, noa, noa. Push pineapple. Shake the tree.

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“Lee, there are no ‘big’ blindsides and ‘small’ blindsides there are just blindsides”
I’ve spoken a lot about how others need to take out Lee and El for the best shot at winning, so what can Lee and El do to make it through this barrage of attacks. Let’s talk advantage first. Obviously, the advantage is more powerful the longer you hold on to it. If they can use it at final five rather than final six then they have a better shot of making it to final two. So they need to find a way to get through the next tribal without using it. To have a majority they need two more. Though I have absolutely no idea where Sam’s head is at after that “big” blindside, I’m going to presume that Lee could spoon him back into an alliance. If they still have Kristie with them then they have the four needed to vote out Flick (provided Flick doesn’t win immunity). The other option, and the one that is perhaps a little more dangerous, is to turn on Kristie. If they can recognise that a) Kristie is someone that the three others could want to take to the end, and b) her flexibility makes her both unpredictable and a threat, then they could possibly form a bipartisan alliance to vote out Kristie. Then once she’s gone Lee still has the advantage to move against Flick.

img_0336If he has Sam at that point he may not even need it. If he doesn’t have Sam then the least that the advantage can do is cause a tie scenario, which is better than going home outright. Is there any value in Lee or El voting out the other now? Firstly, I don’t think they will just because they have been very tight all the way through. Secondly, as each of them are such big threats to everyone else, they need to keep each other around to a) have stronger numbers and b) have a meat shield, someone else who could be perceived as a bigger threat. If we end up with Lee and El in the final two I would be very disappointed, but it is a distinct possibility. That leaves Matt and Sam for us to ponder on.

TimTam Sam and Milk ArrowMatt (if you’ve got a better biscuit reference to apply to Matt I’m all ears)

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“How did the rabbit get into the hat?…”
Sam, Sam, Sam…. Brooke handed you a big move on a silver platter. As she was telling you that it was time to make a big move and break up Lee and El all I heard her say was “Sam, here’s my trust, you need to get out a big player, I’m never going to see it coming, here’s your chance, talk to your buddy Lee and you can have me out of the game. Or Flick if you prefer, it’s totally your choice”. Oh well. I guess what I heard was not what Sam heard. Regardless, result is the same, other than Sam had nothing to do with it and missed a chance at a move and feels on the outs. I have no idea how Sam and Matt are going to react to this blindside. As much as Matt thought that Flick and Brooke were the angels to his Charlie, we all knew the opposite was true. Sam and Matt were the Rocksteady and Bebop to Brick’s Krang. Brick was the brains and they were the meat that did the brain’s bidding. I mentioned above that I think that it is still possible for Flick to salvage an alliance with Sam and Matt, and to be honest, that is probably the best thing for those guys to do. Given the best shot that Sam, Matt and Kristie have in a final two is against each other, the move for Sam and Matt now is to stick with Flick and break up Lee and El, then take out Flick and fight it out amongst themselves for a final two. Hope you’re listening boys. I don’t want to see Lee or El in the final two.

Bye Bye Brooke

Sorry to see you go Brooke. You played an incredible game. Unfortunately when you play so well it makes you a huge threat and it was only a matter of time before somebody tried to neutralise you. I don’t think there was much you could do about it short of winning immunity. It seemed that you had some misgivings or uncertainty about Flick in this episode, as though you felt that she may have been doing something shady. It did seem in Flick’s conversations with both Brooke one on one and when she was talking to the original Pu-ans that she was hiding something, but I may just have been thinking that because I knew that she was. I would have thought that Matt would pick up on that. Perhaps if you guys had these misgivings about Flick then you could have had a chat to Kristie to see if she would give anything away. I think that you thought you had it wrapped up and didn’t need to. Anyway, we’ll miss you. Your probably played the smartest game out there, shame that it had to come to an end. I also never get to use ‘Brick’ again. I got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

Brick.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 22 analysis here!