Episode 6 – ‘Exposing Cracks & Licking Rope’ OR ‘Pack Your Ba(g)z’

If you want to catch up on my analysis of last week’s episodes, you can do so here.

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The only non-white colour disappears from Craig’s “eclectic box of crayons”

After the twists and turns of the last three episodes, it was a welcome relief to have an episode free of surprises and audience blindsides. Not only did it make things easier for my fragile, sleep deprived sensitivities, but it also meant that we finally got to see some gameplay in the Vavau tribe, which has been sorely lacking in the series up until this episode.

Conner & Sam

With Conner and Sam deported to Vavau, I thought we’d see some more of the Conner hustle. Him understanding that he is on the wrong side of the numbers, trying desperately to shake things up to keep himself alive in the game. Whether by design or by default, we didn’t see that from him, and that really worked in his favour. As I was watching things play out on camp, and with it initially looking like Conner was going to go, I started thinking whether Conner had made the right move in bringing Sam over. sam-conner.gifI think I understand why he did it, because at the point that he had to make that decision Sam was arguably his closest ally in the game. It just made me think that it may have been prudent to bring over someone that was going to be less of an asset to Vavau than Sam is. Regardless of whether or not it was his best move, I can’t really judge his decision harshly. He was forced to make a snap decision without any forewarning, you’d have to go with your gut in that situation. As I was saying though, I thought it was smart of him not to try and hustle as I suspect that would surely have led to him being voted out tonight. Vavau just got rid of a big strategic player in Nick, they don’t want to replace him with another one in Conner. Had they seen any hint of this in Conner, there’s no doubt he would have been given the boot. Instead, Conner played the ‘please keep me around, I will be an asset and be in your debt’ card. A move which in the past I would have thought had no hope of having any influence whatsoever, but here seems to have actually kept him in the game. It certainly seemed like before he made this speech he would be going home tonight. He sincerely worked those naive little puppy dog eyes and it paid big dividends, with the tribe ultimately sending Baz packing. But was this a good move for the tribe? More on that below. Sam, does nothing, and that works out just fine for him. I’m disappointed in Sam. All we saw was him try and find out what was going on through Kate, arguably the least ‘in the know’ member of old Vavau. Sam, it’s about time we actually started seeing some gameplay from you…

The Great White Shark


As we’ve suspected all along, Andrew got game! Firstly, we see him casually talking with every member of his tribe today. It’s pretty clear to astute observers looking at these relationships that his social game is strong, something that I was worried about as we haven’t really seen evidence of this before. But we also get some meaningful face time, where we learn that he is a shark and Craig is his prey. While I’m watching this I’m thinking ‘YES!’ we are finally seeing the emergence of his strategy, but at the same time I’m yelling at the screen “NOT YET ANDREW!!!”. There was no way that a move against Craig was going to work this early. Especially when everybody is already feeling conflicted about Barry vs Conner. I think I can see what he was thinking, that there’s some new blood and some new numbers here, maybe he can use those to his advantage. Smartly, he assesses where this move would sit with his current alliance before talking to Conner and Sam. Double smartly and doubly smart, when Sue warns him against voting off Craig, he drops it.

cheeky craig
“You wanna start some shit boy? Didn’t think so…”

I am interested about Sue knowing that he was going to talk Craig, makes me think there have been some conversations there that we’ve not been privy to. There’s obviously a lot more going on in this four than we’ve been led to believe. Perhaps there was more discussion leading up to the Nick vote than we were shown. I guess when you haven’t gone to tribal for two weeks, you can’t help but start running multiple scenarios in your head and this may be evidence that Andrew has started to form an alliance within that core alliance of four. Clearly much smarter than Matt’s effort last week, who showed us he had not even thought of a plan B. Damn I hope Vavau go to tribal tomorrow night so that I can see more of this. I should point out though that I don’t really see why Andrew thinks Craig is a threat. I can see why Nick was, Craig not so much. I guess it will become apparent once we see some more of Craig in action.

The Baz Boot

I intimated above that I wasn’t convinced that getting rid of Barry was right for Vavau. Though I think it was right for Andrew’s purposes, as he now has the option of using the old Pu’s as his new crew for the Craig coup (and my son says I can’t rap, h’yeah right), I really don’t see the reason that you would get rid of Baz, unless you felt that his vote randomiser was trained on you. Even if it is, unless he has people with him, which he doesn’t, then, much like a weasel with a rolly-ball, there is no power behind his chaos. Much better to keep him around until merge, where his vote is actually useful as you know he won’t vote a Vavau. Give me your thoughts below?

What Would Sue Do?

A more colourful Vavau?

Now that we know that Andrew is starting to position himself to get rid of what he sees as a threat, I do wonder what the rest of the Vavau four is thinking? I come to the conclusion that we haven’t seen enough of them to know. They seem tight enough, and there’s enough of them that they could comfortably make it through to first merge without any of them going home, provided that if they do go to tribal they just boot Conner or Sam. As they are this tight, I suspect that may actually be the best move. Stick with the four until merge. As much as I’d love to see Andrew overthrow Craig, I’m just not sure where it would put him, and Sue if she chooses to go along with it. It makes them much weaker going into the merge. We also know that Sue is seen by Nick, and maybe Tegan, as not trustworthy given what has happened to them, if she meets up with them again and Craig is no longer around, she will be seen as a threat. Maybe that is what Andrew is counting on, that it will look like Sue is masterminding this. As far as Jennah Louise goes, I have no idea where in the four she stands, closer to Craig, or closer to Sue/Andrew. Again, I’m hanging out to see more of Vavau in the episodes to come. That’s enough Vavau for now, how about a quick discussion on the little we saw of Saanapu and Aganoa.

Nick is a Playa!

It was bloody delicious when we saw Tegan talking with Brooke about how Nick had chatted up the two of them (if you missed this tasty morsel, or want to savour it agin, do so here). I said it last post and I’m even more confident now, Nick will not win this game. Great pick up from Tegan to see that Brooke didn’t trust Nick, and she started making moves to distance herself from him. Though I don’t think she could crack the Brick (see previous post), she could certainly be the wasp nest sticking to it while the season is right.

Pulling Weeds and Planting Seeds


I’ll finish off with a quick acknowledgement of Kristie tonight. Kristie tonight reminded me very much of Aubry from the most recent season of the US version of Survivor. Started as a neurotic, paranoid and anxious ball of cry, and is now starting to show us that she has had some strategic thoughts. I get it. I think I would be the same in some ways. It could take me a while to get my bearings and get comfortable in a new environment with new people too. I’m so glad that she is still here. The way we saw her subtly start building the relationship with Phoebe was very encouraging. To me she came across as very human and genuine in her conversation with Phoebe, yet she knew that Phoebe was not to be trusted. While I don’t necessarily think that Kristie has moved into a threesome with Phoebe and her El-iance, she certainly showed that she has what it takes to form a strategic pairing with someone, she just needs to find fertile soil in which to plant that seed. I really hope that we see Kristie blossom into something Aubry-esque this season, that would be magnificent.

Until next episode, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

Episode 7 Analysis Here!

Episode 5, pt 2 – ‘Pick-n-Flick’ OR ‘Get Nicked’

Want to check out pt 1 of the discussion? Do so here.

This double tribal is gonna take a long time to eat and even longer to digest. Let’s tuck in now, one bite at a time.

The Pu Hits the Fan

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Kylie’s suspicious idol activity sends The Pu into strategy overdrive, and what a clusterfug that is to behold.

Firstly, Flick quite reasonably starts thinking about a backup plan if they can’t vote Kylie out, and not surprisingly her thoughts turn to Conner. She shares this with Matt, who up until this moment we all assumed was a ‘super-fan’. What sort of super-fan hasn’t thought about the pecking order of his alliance? Regardless, because he hasn’t thought about it, he tells Flick so, which I liked. Matt comes across very human in these moments and not strategic at all. Which to me shows that he’s trustworthy and honest. My perception must be off though as Flick doesn’t see it that way at all, and runs off to Brooke to tell her that she has changed her mind and wants Matt off as he can’t be trusted. That’s right, a Flick-flip. Meanwhile Matt tells Sam what Flick has told him, at which point I’m thinking, why is The Pu freaking out, they’re not even going to tribal yet? Anyway, Sam is somehow even more shocked than Matt that somebody is actually thinking of backup plans. In my mind these two have just slipped from being the Batman and Spider-Man of the game to being Bill & Ted.

‘Con-Air(head)?’ or ‘He ain’t no Con-ner’ (yeah, I might be running out of puns hey?)

As we’ve seen before with the Bianca vote, Conner tries to start some shit. It seems that he and Matt are actually quite tight and he does not want to lose the magic. I’m not sure if this is the right move for Conner, I’ll need to think about it some more. On the one hand, if he has Sam and Matt, and it seems like Kylie, then that’s a four that could easily take out Brooke or Flick (hereafter referred to as ‘Brick’). That’s a big IF he has Sam and Matt, and it seems like he does at this stage. On the other hand, if Sam really is slick to stick with Brick and pick Mick, I mean Matt (sorry my fingers were on auto then (insert masturbation joke here)), then  I think it would be best for Conner to just ride that one out. So, for Conner it really comes down to what Sam wants to do, which the audience doesn’t see until the votes are read. By which time Conner has really screwed the pooch and it seems like his ridiculous tribal display has forced Matt to reconsider his vote, which ultimately leads to his Saanaboot-off.

Where’s Your Head Matt?

Did Matt go into tribal thinking he would vote for Flick? If so, arguably that would have been a better move than switching to Conner, given that Sam votes for Flick. I went into this episode thinking that Sam and Matt were as tight as Bill and Ted, but if Matt doesn’t know what Sam’s doing then that’s clearly not the case.

…if I’m not mistaken this is the first time in Survivor history where a tribal re-vote has resulted again in a tie even though two voters changed their vote…

This has really left me confused about where Matt is at. I can see why he voted for Conner initially, the dude was just too unstable and volatile, revealing strategies and alliances left and right, I understand why anyone would want to get rid of him. But, unless you’re sure you have the numbers to do so, now is not the time to try and do that. If Matt had decided on the spot to vote for Conner, but wasn’t sure what Sam was thinking, then he did have the opportunity after he cast his vote and while Conner was voting to tell Sam that Conner was a go. Who knows whether or not this would have worked though. And given that he flipped to Flick on the re-vote, he can’t be sure that he is in with Brick any longer. Next episode will be a really interesting one for Matt, I can’t wait to see how he recovers. Incidentally, if I’m not mistaken this is the first time in Survivor history where a tribal re-vote has resulted again in a tie even though two voters changed their vote. Happy to be corrected on that.

Kylie’s Got to be Certain (see what I did there?)

Once it was announced no-one was going home tonight there was no way Kylie was going to play her idol. Which made the showing it in tribal all the more misguided. Am I right in thinking that voting Kylie out was no longer Plan A since Brickgate went down? If that’s the case, then Kylie just does not have her finger on the pulse at all, so, unless you’re Jim Morrison or Lenny Kravitz, don’t come to tribal with your idol hangin’ out. Instead come to tribal, assess the situation and then make a decision whether you need to a) reveal the idol and/or b) play the idol. Not smart play from her. Where to from here for Kylie? Well now two tribes know she has an idol. I honestly don’t know what her play here is. She’s got Nick and Tegan to deal with now as well. A lot to manage. Unless she can find a smart way to use the idol that I don’t see, she’s going to have to use it when she next goes to tribal to secure another 3 days and hope that an opportunity at alliance presents itself in the future. Do you have any thoughts on what her play could be because I’m stumped?

Thick as a Brick

“OH. MY. GAWD! Like I totally can’t believe he just did that y’know”
Brick now have a struggle on their hands. Not only does Sam no longer trust them, and Kylie has an idol, but they’ve got to deal with Nick and Tegan. The Pu really is a shitfight at the moment and I think it’s going to be incredibly interesting to see what gameplay develops from everyone. For Brick, they need to scramble fast. I don’t think it is outside the realms of their capability to win Matt back given how appallingly Conner behaved and without Sam around. It’s tough but do-able. They need to do something about Kylie and her idol but I’m fugged if I know what that is going to be. Nick and Tegan are the unknowns and it certainly seemed like from Flick’s reaction when Tegan joined that Flick has her eyes set on pulling her into the fold. I don’t know much about Tegan’s game at the moment other than that she is aligned with Nick. If Brick can get Nick and Teegs then that’s a win right there, they still have the numbers even if Kylie does use her idol to get one of those four out. I just don’t know if they can, and in fact I’m wondering if it’s about time Brooke stepped out of Flick’s shadow and started playing her own game. If Brooke can align with, well anyone else, Flick is an easy vote off and I don’t get the feeling that Brooke’s reputation is damaged as much as Flick’s is by what went down tonight. Food for thought.

Not So Mellow Yellow

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OK we’ve discussed the original Pu, but what happened and how do things now fare in camp Vavau I hear you ask?

Having a Barry

“…isn’t there something I’m supposed to do today…”
First I need to get this off my chest, Barry. So, so disappointing. Another one to take one of the precious few Survivor spots and not actually play the game. It’s not out-wit if you choose not to use your wits at all. I almost think he doesn’t even know what the game is. When he saw his name appearing on parchment it looked like he was thinking “that’s my name, what does that mean?”. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

Nefarious Nick the Puckish Poet

In fact I’ll make my first ever prediction and say with 95% confidence that Nick will not win this game.

Nick suffered a classic case of over-playing from day one. From taking the lead while telling everyone that he didn’t want to be the leader, to the way he scrambled when his poem backfired. He just came off as a crafty fox to watch out for. There’s no denying that he’s an intelligent guy, but his strategies did not take into account what the other members of his tribe actually wanted. How he’s going to recover from this I don’t know, with at least five people back in old Vavau (six if you count Kate) who want him out, it’s going to be an incredible uphill climb. In fact I’ll make my first ever prediction and say with 95% confidence that Nick will not win this game. For him to go further the best he can hope for is that he bonds with Kylie, Sam, and Teegs, plays a more social game and they get him through a couple more tribals and hope that he can find something else to cling on to before they ditch him. As mentioned above we’re yet to see any gameplay emerge from Tegan. Watch this space(-cadet) I suppose.

The Four – Andrew, Craig, Sue, Jennah-Louise

I’m really interested to see what will happen with these guys now. The smart thing to do would be to stay a strong four, and pull in Kate and methodically take out Barry, Sam, and Conner (if they get that many chances). I suspect that is not the way that things will play out though. Having Conner there is like having a little Jack Russell Terrier at camp always wanting to start some shit, and given his track record and the fact that he will feel as though he really needs to scramble to save himself, I don’t think it will be long before his constant yapping starts forming cracks in the eardrums of The Four. Where could these cracks occur? Well it’s possible that Craig has taken Nick’s spot on the tribe as the mover and shaker? Craig will really need to go easy to ensure he doesn’t come across this way. One would assume Andrew is going to continue to play it cool and let others make stupid moves until it’s time for him to start being proactive, and that’s exactly the way for him to play his game. I’m sure that’s precisely what he’ll do. Time will tell just what game Sue and Jennah-Lousie are playing. I think that we’re really going to start seeing strategies emerge in Vavau now. I can’t wait.

I couldn’t finish the post without acknowledging just how beautiful this friendship is. Tai would be proud.

That’s the end for another week, unless of course Channel Ten have decided that I don’t need sleep and go ahead and air a few more episodes just for the hell of it. It has been a week full of surprises that have left me feeling very uncertain about where many of these guys and gals are going to go from here. Would love to know your thoughts, give me a shout out in the comments below. Until Sunday night, I got nothing for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 6 analysis here!

Episode 5, pt 1 – ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ OR ‘You Took the Snail Right Out of My Mouth’

Want to read my analysis of the previous episode before this one? You can do so here.

Apologies – I had some trouble with my recording tonight (damn you toddler playing with the remote control, do it again and you’re going in the cage with Chester) and so I missed the whole portion of the episode between Aganoa winning immunity and tribal council. As such I have not seen any of the big discussions and plays leading up to tribal. As a result this is only a third of a post. I’ll have the rest of the post up by Wednesday evening so be sure to come back then, or better yet subscribe, to read what I have to say after watching the entirety of the episode.

When you double the tribal you triple the trouble…

The Ol’ Flippity-Dippity

Well, I don’t know what to say. From the point of view of the average tv audience person, wow, what a twist. From the point of view of the player, and dare I say, the fans, what the fuck is this game? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of Survivor where the contestants don’t actually know what they’re writing down names on a parchment for. I don’t want to dwell on this too much because the idea of my Drop Your Buffs! analysis is more that I analyse the gameplay than I critique the show, but I will say that I’m not sure that I’m happy about this. I know the game is supposed to have an element of surprise, that you don’t know what could happen at any given time, but in this instance the contestants have been tricked, and that doesn’t sit comfortably with me. Let me know your thoughts below.

So where does this leave our main players?

At this point I usually discuss where each of the remaining players of the ‘losing’ tribe are at and consider what their best moves are. With tonight’s double tribal that would mean fourteen contestants to discuss so instead I will just discuss what I consider to be the main players of interest. So come back in the next couple of hours once I’ve managed to watch the episode in its entirety and I’ll have my thoughts on where to from here for Kylie, Nick, Sam, Conner, Flick, Andrew, Barry, Matt and maybe a few others.

Until then, I got nothing for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Pt 2 of Episode 5 Discussion Here!