Episode 12 – ‘Hatchet Job’ OR ‘Can I Axe You For a Favour?’

If you are yet to read the analysis of the last episode, please head here to catch up.

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Our crayons get a little less eclectic 😪
I feel like discussion tonight is going to be rather brief. Why? Because tonight Phistie showed us how to perfectly play an idol. We also got a great lesson in what not to do from Vavau. Let’s get into it.

Phinders Keepers

There really is no better way to play an idol than what we witnessed from Phistie tonight. Firstly, the lead up play from Phoebe. Recognising just how important it was to find out who Vavau was voting against. Actually, let’s go back a step. Even before making the move to figure out who Vavau was voting against, there is the implicit decision to not try to figure out a way to flip the numbers. Arguably, if Phistie had decided to try and find another ally or two, maybe try to stick with Kate, to flip on the others, then things would have been a whole lot more complicated for everyone. Phistie would have too many other things to have to rely on and could end up playing the idol against the wrong person or even not playing it at all. So, it was the lack of a move, the deciding to just lie down and play dead that opened the trap, then Phoebe baited it. I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘ask-someone-to-tell-you-when-you-are-going-to-be-voted-out’ move. I can’t think of a good reason not to use it (comments anyone?). If I were on Survivor as soon as I got somewhat close with someone I would be using that move as a matter of course. Even though it did seem somewhat disingenuous coming from Phoebe at the time (to me) as we hadn’t seen her trying to bond with Conner before this, you can’t deny that it worked. Conner, Conner, Conner…

Then You Go & Spoil It All By Saying Something Stupid Like “We’re Voting You”

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A worthy opportunity to recycle this one…
Earlier in the episode I was so proud of Conner for taking the opportunity to get close to Kate and console her in her time of being overwhelmed by emotions. Not that I’m necessarily saying that it was a ‘move’, but it was exactly what he needed to be doing to solidify his place within the tribe. It’s clear that Kate follows her heart, and so being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to cry to is the way to earn Kate’s loyalty. Then to go and tell Phoebe that the votes are coming her way? Dude, c’mon! Unless you want her loyalty or are looking at having an alliance with her or using it to flip the numbers, keep it to yourself. Otherwise the only reason why you’re doing it is to keep your own conscience clear. Giving away information can always result in biting you in the arse. We’ve seen it many times this season (“Hey Roh, do you guys have an idol?” “Yeah”) and in many other seasons. Conner, you are clearly a nice guy but if what you want to do is get rid of Phoebe, that wasn’t the way you go about it. And as for the rest of you yellow yokels…

Burning Down The House

What did you guys have against splitting the votes? Was it just that you wanted Kristie on your side when you get to the merge? Well you’ve got to get to the merge first. Even that (very weak) justification aside, when you’ve made it so clear that you’re voting for one person then you give them an opportunity to do something with that information. I expected at least one of the four to say to someone, “this is too easy, what if they have an idol?”. If you’ve got Phistie thinking completely one way, then you have an obligation to use that to your advantage. Perhaps I’m just upset that C-bomb was voted out tonight. This is on every one of you old Vavau.

Hornswaggling Heroines

Of course, it’s not enough to just have one person tell you that the vote is coming your way, you need something to substantiate that info. Phistie played it perfectly. Firstly, realising exactly this, that they need a way to confirm Conner’s leak. Then, Phoebe
leaving the rest of the tribe alone so that they had a chance to talk to Kristie, it was just perfect. And the way that they played it when they reunited with the tribe, the acting was sublime, Gold Logie deserving (wait, since when have people received gold Logies because they could act?)! And to keep straight faces right to the end. It really was beautiful to behold. I don’t think I’ve seen acting this good on Survivor before, and I’ve watched more than my fair share of episodes.

🎤Vere Do Ve Go Va-vau? (how the stuttering German sings along to Guns ‘n’ Roses)

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A small crack in the facade from Kristie, smirk incoming.
Well Phistie are still there and they don’t have an idol. Assuming there isn’t a merge or tribe swap next episode, how can they stay alive? Well we saw in the previews for the next ep that Phoebe may try throwing Kristie under the bus, I’m not necessarily opposed to this, but let’s break it down. There’s only five in the tribe, that means you need two people with you to make it through. If you’re Phoebe, you’d like to think Kristie is one of those, that leaves you with only one more and you’ve got your Jimi Hendrix Experience (power trio). I’m not convinced though that Kristie is 100% with Phoebe, and it seems neither is Phoebe. Many episodes ago, pre tribe swap even, we had a confessional from Kristie saying that she didn’t trust Phoebe. Of course Phoebe doesn’t know about the confessional, but there certainly seems to be something in Phoebe that isn’t quite convinced of where Kristie head is at. When Phistie met on the beach in this episode there seemed to be both apprehension on the part of Kristie to tell Phoebe what the rest of Vavau had said, and also, once she did pass on that info, Phoebe had to ask Kristie to say explicitly that they would vote together. I would have thought if they really were tight, that would go unsaid. I should point out here that in the past I have warned Phoebe against coming across as the mastermind and suggesting that she needs to spend more time asking her tribemates and allies what they want to do rather than tell them. Well Phoebe must have been reading my shit because tonight she did just that, asking Kristie who to vote off rather than telling her. Well done Phoebs.

Now that Phistie has turned against Craig, the one person who I believe that Kate probably had the most trust in, I can’t see the return of soPhistieKate.

Anyway, if Phoebe has concerns about Kristie, then she may need to let her go eventually, I’m not sure now is the right time. I guess there is a possibility that she could convince the rest of the tribe that Kristie is the mastermind and that she must go, that is not outside the realms of Phoebe’s capability, but then she needs to get at least two people to believe that rather than one. And in this episode Kristie hasn’t exactly been loyal to Vavau, she gratefully accepted their trust in her and wish to keep her around and then threw it back in their faces. If Phistie split up they both have a hard road ahead. My suggestion would be, if either of them want to split, five is not the number to do it at, wait until there’s only four left (if that ever happens), it’s too hard to get another two to join you. So if Phistie do stay together what do they do? We saw in the last episode that they were tight with Kate, that seemed to be a one vote alliance though, just to get Andrew off. Now that Phistie has turned against Craig, the one person who I believe that Kate probably had the most trust in, I can’t see the return of soPhistieKate. I guess that leaves Sue and Conner.

Sue

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“Anyone got some coat-tails?” “Don’t ask me”
Arguably the biggest loser in tonight’s tribal (other than C-bomb) was Sue. Craig seemed to be her biggest ally in the game and now she’s left with Mr. Loose-Lips and Kate. Neither of whom have shown themselves to be reliable in terms of keeping their mouth shut, or keeping emotion out of their decisions. At least they could be a three to get through the next tribal with. And though Kate has been wishy washy, I don’t get the feeling she would flip on Sue, so Sue cold definitely work with that. I think we’ll really see Sue start to step up her game now. Could she be swayed by Phistie? That’s possible, if that’s going to get her through the next tribal, then take it. But as I said, if you can find a way to stick with Kate, I suspect that’s the better move long-term.

Conner

Conner on the other hand, well again, if he’s smart I think he’ll stick with Sue and Kate, I don’t see anything attractive for his game on team Phistie, unless he can find a way for them to become Dinosaur Jr and he, J. Mascis (the power trio that slays for a couple of records before J. Mascis unceremoniously fires the bassist (Phoebe?)). If Conner can find a way to do that, good on him, that’s a move that can get him further. Much like Lou Barlow though (the bassist that was fired, I may be getting a little too specific with my metaphors), Phoebe has the wherewithal to bounce back and create her own Sebadoh (Lou’s subsequent and arguably more powerful power trio than mid period Dinosaur Jr). Anyway, this particular freed pig aside, moving with Phistie is a do-able move for Conner. It’s impossible for me to say whether this particular move would get him further than aligning with Sue and Kate, your thoughts?

Bye Bye Pride

I can’t end this post without acknowledging the C-bomb, Craig. Though he may not have started as my favourite, he certainly showed in the last couple of episodes what a loveable character he was. He played incredibly hard physically, showing a tenacity we’d not witnessed on Survivor for some time, and also a very social game. He seemed to be down with everyone, a finger in every pie, and these were very sincere relationships. I got the impression he really connected with everyone he was involved with and showed them respect and care. Later C-bomb, hope we see you again.

Ok, that actually ended up being longer than expected from an episode that really didn’t have any twists or turns, and we didn’t even talk about The Pu. There was nothing there that I found interesting anyway, though I’m looking forward to them finally losing so we can see how all these subtle power shifts actually play out. Until tomorrow, I got nothing for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

 

Episode 13 analysis here!

Episode 11 – ‘Throwing Challenges’ OR ‘Throwing Challengers Under the Bus’

If you’re yet to read my analysis of the previous episode, head on over here.

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Now who’s swimming with the fishes?
Tribal number 10 is in the bag (dammit I could have used a Kat in the bag pun last night!) and we finally say goodbye, some would say sadly, others gleefully, to everybody’s favourite wolf in sheep’s clothing, Andy. So it seems only appropriate that we start discussions this evening by documenting his downfall.

Andrew, “not a flexible guy”

The fish has left the barrel. Though I for one have loved watching Andy since day one, thinking that he had the goods to make it all the way, but as many people much more knowledgable than little old me have said, “timing is everything in this game”, I think Andy even said it once this season. Appropriately, it was Andy’s number one target, Craig that hammered the last nail into his coffin. Did Andy have an opportunity to take Craig out first though? Before I continue I need to acknowledge that for the last 5 or 6 episodes I’ve been commenting that Andy should hold off on making his move. And it’s easy for me to say, after watching the episode, that he needed to make his move tonight. Unfortunately, he didn’t set himself up well to be able to make that move. Let’s start with what happened after the last council. Furious that his name had been written down, he decided to wage war on Kristie. Again, playing with his emotions and not with his head. There was a fantastic opportunity to talk to Kristie and Phoebe (Phistie) after the tribal when they went to the well. Notwithstanding what Old Vavau may have thought of this, ideally this could have been the start of finding a few new recruits to aid his cause. Instead, he chose to brag to camera.

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When he finally did approach Kristie it was too little too late. And what did he offer them as an alternative, Kate? Surely he could see that Kate was their number one ally in the tribe. There was no way Phistie would agree to get rid of Kate. Andy just hasn’t seemed to be playing the same game that he was playing before the tribe swap. Before the tribe swap we saw him talking to and being sociable with everyone on Vavau. Since the tribe swap, and even since Nick and Tegan left, we’ve seen a different Andy, one who only wants to associate with his alliance. Certainly he may have been sociable with the newcomers and we just didn’t see it. My point is that by not playing that social game with everyone that he used to play, he did not have the ability to sway the votes when he needed to. Of course the fact that he was not performing in challenges didn’t help. It almost looked like in that coconut throwing challenge, he was, er, throwing the challenge. So when you add this performance in the challenge to the fact that he doesn’t really have a lot of friends, loyalty is only valuable up to a point. This point. Which is exactly what Craig realised.

You Don’t Want to be on Craig’s List.

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Gesundheit
I am becoming more and more impressed with Craig. He’s fast becoming a favourite to make it close to the end. This was a great move for Craig for a number of reasons. Firstly, he got rid of his number one enemy, Andy, and he may not have even realised it. Even if he didn’t feel Andy was a threat to him yet, I’ve no doubt that he realised that he would be one to him later. Kate and Kristie however, probably don’t pose much of a threat at all (happy to be convinced otherwise in the comments below). By scooping up Kate, who has really been floating for a while, he may have found himself a little puppy to do his bidding later in the game. Again, I may be underestimating Kate. I must say that I was a little surprised that he didn’t let the others know about his decision to vote Andy. Not informing Conner I can understand, given Conner’s track record for starting crazy shit at tribal councils. I’d be interested to see what Sue thinks though. Sue has always said that she is loyal to her five, but Craig may have dented that by not trusting Sue with that information. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps he did tell Sue and she just couldn’t bring herself to writing Andy’s name down. Even if he did tell her I suspect it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I don’t think that she’s so loyal to Andy that she would have told Andy so that he could switch things, and even if she did, what could Andy actually have done? It seemed that Andy wouldn’t have had time to make a serious move against Craig, especially having not already done the leg work with Phistie or Kate. Craig on the other hand couldn’t have put in more legwork, both literally and figuratively. He has been an absolute mountain in those rope holding challenges, and over the last two episodes we have seen him have multiple, sincere conversations with everyone. Everyone. The work that he did last tribal with both Kate, and Phistie, while it hasn’t actually borne fruit for him, it is certainly blossoming. But where to for him for now?

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All of this time you could have been using it for toilet paper buddy…
It looks like he will be spending a lot of time looking for that idol in the nest episode and understandably so. Without an Andy shield there is potentially a target on his back now. I’m sure he is hoping that Phistie won’t flip on him now. If he is committed to working with them then I guess his only option is to move against Conner. I’m not so sure that he should commit himself to them though. I think that the longer they are around the more power they get, with only six people left in the tribe I would be trying to break up the soPhistieKate trio pronto. How he’s going to do this I’m not sure, and it’s not looking good with Phoebe having the idol.

Phighting Phit (no, this play on ‘f’ won’t end soon)

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“Laters…”
With Phoebe having the idol, and a seemingly solid alliance in Kate and Kristie, she’s gone from being on the bottom of Vavau to being in arguably the best position in Vavau and perhaps even the game right now. But who is her best path to the merge? The soPhistieKate three are a fantastic vehicle for Phoebe to make it to through the merge and all the way to the end. Kate for one seems like she has finally found her tribe in Phistie, and though she is a strong competitor in challenges and seems like a lovely person, she so far hasn’t shown us that she has the head for strategy or the stomach for big moves. I would argue that going against Kate in the final two would be perfect for Phoebe, who has a much better island story than Kate. Kristie seems to be riding this Phoebe thing for everything it’s worth, but given the confessional that we saw about three or four episodes ago, I’m not convinced that she wouldn’t flip on Phoebe if shown a better opportunity. It’s hard to tell. Phoebe may be able to strengthen this alliance with Kristie by giving her the idol, that would certainly show Kristie that Phoebe trusts her and is in her corner and may just win Kristie over 100%. Once soPhistieKate have made it through the merge, they can easily hook up with Lee and El and the game is theirs for the taking. Craig, Sue and Conner by contrast have little to look forward to at merge time.

Where to for Kate?

Lookout lady, if Craig, Sue and Conner see that you are in a trio with Phistie, then they may choose to disable that trio by taking you out. Keep getting close to Phistie, maybe they’ll share with you that they have an idol and this could keep you safe for another tribal. Stick with those two and hopefully you’ll make it through the merge.

Sue and Conner

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If I had a dollar for every time some chump said “dig deep” tonight…
The best that they can hope for now is to see that power now rests with soPhistieKate and make a move with them. For Sue, her best bet would be to make a move against Conner, and hope that Craig makes it through to the merge with her so she at least has a possible trio when added to JL (if she’s still there). For Conner, well I’m not so sure what he can cook up now, in terms of making it through one more tribal he can go with soPhistieKate and vote against whomever they want, beyond that, I can’t see him making it much further unless someone wants to take him under their wing as a goat, which means he might make it to the end but won’t win. I see little hope for him in this game. If you have any idea what possible path he could take to move further in this game please share it in the comments below. Good luck though little buddy.

Saanawho?

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🎤 “Saanapu, Saanapuuuuu, (now we are here) in Saanapuuuu” 🎤
I can’t finish up without at least mentioning that there is a whole other tribe that exists in this game. The Pu. As much as I’d love to see Vavau implode and be decimated before merge, I do miss my Pu. I’m very curious to see what sort of alliances and voting blocks are emerging over there and what other tricks Nick has up his sleeve (Matt isn’t the only magician over there). Until next time, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 12 analysis here!

Episode 8 – ‘Stray Kat Strut’ OR ‘Sitting Duck Flap’

If you’re yet to read the analysis of the previous episode, then much like Nick said to JL, “maybe you should look it up” here.

An episode without a tribal council would usually mean little to talk about, in this case it actually means we could potentially talk all night. Unfortunately I try to have some sort of life outside of Survivor (otherwise I’d find myself divorced, again), so rather than run through what this shake up means for each of our top eighteen players, I’ll just focus on a few of the major players.

Merge & Purge

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I am very disappointed they didn’t let the tribes come up with their own new names…what the shit?!
So it came as no surprise that the big twist that was coming tonight was the merge from three tribes to two. Once J-LaP announced that the tribes weren’t playing for immunity it was pretty clear that the advantage was the ability to choose your tribe. I don’t want to analyse The Pu’s choices too much as my gut feeling is that no matter how you use that advantage there will be pros and cons. Especially when you are put on the spot, you’re never going to be able to compare and contrast every possible tribe permutation. I guess it seemed smart enough for The Pu to go with a mix of ex-Pu, strength for challenges and someone who would be easy to shaft.

Nick’s shit list

Nick really is feeling bitter about the way he was booted from Vavau. While I’m a big believer in doing whatever you can to get rid of the people that want you gone, I do also believe that if you let your emotions blinker your vision in the game, you can be more easily blindsided. I’m not sure exactly what he was trying to do by pulling JL aside for a chat, but with Nick being Nick, it was never going to end happily. Did make for some fun television though. So what does Nick need to do from here to extend his life in the tribe? Well, as long as he sticks with the pre-merge Pu he should be safe for at least one tribal, if they choose to get rid of JL. I don’t see him having much life past that though. The way things are I suspect that move would see him on the bottom of the remaining eight. If he is to stick around any longer than this he needs to start looking for cracks in the original Pu. Though JL could be a number that he could use to help him switch up the numbers in Pu, I think it is just too dangerous to keep her around, she hates him too much. Given that (we know) Brick doesn’t want Matt long term, and Matt has already shown that he is wary of Flick (though it seems currently that he believes is comfortable with his Angels, more on that later) perhaps he can wriggle into that crack. Regardless which road he takes I am interested to see just what he is going to do to stick around. He will need to shake things up at some stage, and being Nick, I’m sure he will.

Jennah-Louise

Where to for JL though? Wow, I don’t know. Unfortunately she has already burned the Nick bridge. While we don’t know much about their dynamic when they where in Vavau together, I think JL actually had an opportunity here to buddy up to Nick, shift the blame for the Nick vote onto one of the other Vavauans. Of course emotions and pride got in the way of smart play and it didn’t pan out that way. Now she’s between a rock and Rohan’s abs. Maybe she could hook up with Brick? Brooke sounds a little hurt that Matt got his way and they kept Nick instead of Teags, so maybe if JL went to Brick they might let JL take the place that Teags was to have. Though we know that that particular place was only ever going to be temporary, I guess it’s a start for her. I just can’t see what JL’s move is. Have you any ideas?

Matt

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There’s reason we barely saw Charlie in Charlie’s Angels, he was a douche…
Matt, Matt, Matt… We had such high hopes for you. I’m hoping you can still turn it around but every episode it seems you just show us less and less.

“Roll up, roll up and watch the strategy disappear right before your very eyes!”

Dude, please get back with Sammy, actually work him properly rather than just buddy him. Get Lee and Maybe El on your side and break up Brick. For someone who makes a living with misdirection, it seems that you’re not realising that you yourself are being misdirected, by bosom. My Dad used to say “if you’re going to go out you might as well go out smiling” (that’s a lie, my Dad never actually said that, mostly he just said “give that Survivor shit a rest and get into a real sport, like drinking”). That was a cheap shot, both at my Dad and at Matt. We don’t even know, or care, if Matt is a fan of the bosom. What we do know is that it looks like he thinks he has his shit on lock with those women and if that IS what he is thinking, not only is he mistaken, but he doesn’t deserve the title of Survivor. Brick has already fought against him and he knows it, he just seems to have a short memory.

El to the Lee

Of all of the players in The New Pu I would argue that Lee and El are in the best position. All they need to do is sit back and let people come to them and assess what their best move is from there. I hope for their sake that they realise this. If you think I’m wrong about this, please let me know what I’m not seeing in the comments.

Have a Break, have a KateKat.

Kat got game bitches! Finally she has an opportunity to get her claws out and start playing this game. And don’t she just look like the Kat that got the cream? I would argue that Kate is in a very similar situation to Kat, kind of on the outside of the core alliance, with little she could do in her old tribe. Merge holds a lot of potential for KateKat, as long as they can identify those in the new Vavau who also need some direction, they can scoop them up and get some numbers. It would only take for KateKat to scoop Conner, Roh, and maybe Andrew and the game would really be shaken up. Phoebe’s and Craig’s pre-merge position of power would be made more impotent than a quadriplegic eunuch. I think Kat has it in her to do this, I’m less convinced that Kate does though. Kat would need to take the lead in that duo, which looks like it is the case from what we’ve seen so far. Whatever the case, Vavau is primed for a big shake-up.

Craig

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Much like vegetable crudités, this scene was delicious.
Without JL, Craig has a lot of work to do to secure his life in the tribe. I suspect what he’ll try and do is boost his alliance of three (He, Andy and Sue) to one of five by drawing in perhaps Conner and Kate. We know however that that is not going to work as Andy is gunning for him. Does he suspect that? I don’t know. I get the feeling that Andy has done a pretty good job of maintaining Craig’s sense of security. For some reason in my mind’s eye I see him teaming up with Phoebs, they just seem like a good couplet. For now I might just stop speculating on Craig’s move as a lot could depend on what he does with that idol clue. I would suggest that he find that idol ASAP without letting anyone know about the clue, then he can start plotting what will work for him. Like I said, interesting times ahead at Vavau. I need to point out here how happy I was to see a clue in that buffet. As I said in the previous post, that has been sorely lacking in Survivor up until now, and though we didn’t see any players proactively looking for a clue in the banquet (I’m looking at you Andy!), it was still good to see that promise of the Vavau idol reappear in a classic Survivor way.

RohBe

This switch-up is something of a stitch-up for Phoebs. Having lost her core alliance in El, I’m not quite sure what she is left with. At least she knows that Roh has the idol and she can use this information as leverage in a few ways. Firstly, she could bury the hatchet with Roh and she can use the idol vicariously through him to keep herself safe. I’m not sure that Roh is going to go for that, but at the moment it doesn’t seem like he has much else. Or she can try and form an alliance outside of Aganoa, bringing Kristie with her, and throw some shade at Roh from that side, convincing them that they need to flush his idol. There’s a lot of options here for her. None of them seem particularly strong to me. If ever there was a time to work your magic Phoebe and start bringing the social game that we suspect you have in line with your strategic game, and weasel yourself into something with old Vavau now is the time.

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At a loss for words, and allies.
Rohan, you’re in even more dire straits, though at least you have an idol. My thinking is that the best thing for you to do is start looking for where the cracks are in old Vavau and choosing someone to align with, and showing them your idol to solidify trust. Can’t wait to see how this shakes down. Having two hidden immunity idols in one tribe is going to be epic!

Andy

Keep on rocking brother, you’re in a good spot at the moment. Pick your alliance wisely and you’ll take down Craig. Just don’t tip your hand man, or he’ll whip out his idol. Best thing you can do now is show Craig you’re still strong with him so that he’ll either warn you about his idol, or he’ll never see you coming. Like when JL is “wearing it”, sharkskin looks good on you.

Yep, that was a long one. After that, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Check out Episode 9 discussion here!

 

Episode 7 – ‘Telling Whoppers’ OR ‘Would You Like Lies With That?’

If you missed my analysis of the previous episode, you can get into it here.

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The Last Saanapu. We expect a merge tomorrow!

How Now less-Brown Vavau?

Before we get into The Pu, last post I said I was interested to see what was going to go down in Vavau now that Andy has shown the audience his hand in terms of flipping on his alliance and eliminating Craig. We got to see a little more of this at the start of the episode. He finally actually starts putting his plan into action with step one, talking to Conner and Sam, who quite wisely, seem to be just hanging back and waiting for the tribe to come to them. We also see Kate doing the same thing, though for mine this was done a little more subtly, but actually less convincingly. If I were Sam and Conner I’m not sure which of the two I might align with. Given the way that Andy approached them I would imagine that their impression of Andy could be that he is a strategic mind. Though Kate was a lot more subtle, she for mine gave off a very ‘maybe’ vibe when she spoke to them, I would have less confidence that she is willing to go with me and also less confidence that she has any power to do anything. So in one way they are in a good position, if they can work it to have both Kate and Andy vote their way then suddenly they have the numbers to flip it and vote Craig, Sue, or Jennah-Louise. Do Craig, Sue and Jennah-Lousie have any clue what is happening in the background? I guess time will tell. I’m glad they didn’t go to tribal yet, I’m happy to watch this particular boil fester more so that when it finally pops, everybody ends up with mess on their face. Speaking of…

Armpit of Despair

This post wouldn’t be complete without some mention of Vavau’s honorary eighth member, Violent Femme. The blister in the sun. To be honest this whole section took up way too much airtime for my taste. This would have been ok had Kate gone home, but instead things happened differently.

Pu in a Pickle

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All eyes on Nick. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Pu’s physical weakness since losing Sam and Conner was evidenced by them losing the immunity challenge despite Nick’s best efforts, and being sent to tribal. Unsurprisingly, this led to us seeing Nick scramble to keep his head above water. He comes up with a two pronged plan. Prong A, leverage the fact that he has been valuable around camp and in challenges. Prong B, convince the rest of the tribe to split the vote to flush the idol, and send the other vote Tegan’s way. To me this was unexpected as we’d heard in the lead up to this that Nick thought Teags was his strongest ally. Good play though. He clearly saw that the threesome of Brick and Matt were not going to be split up (though I’m surprised that Flick still trusts Matt given he voted against her two tribals ago), and with Kylie having an idol, it came down to he and Tegan. So he had little choice but to throw her under the pus, er bus. Kylie once again showed that she really isn’t or can’t play a strategic game. Perhaps her strategy was just use her idol to get through to merge and start from scratch. If so, it worked. Hopefully for her she can actually form an alliance tomorrow when we see the three tribes merge into two (unless we see another crazy twist).

TeGone

Unlike Nick, Tegan ingratiates herself into her tribe by playing a social game. Since episode one I and many others both in game and out have said that Nick was overplaying it. Tonight we saw how just how striking the contrast between Nick’s overplaying and Tegan’s underplaying (?) is. I was watching thinking that this would work in Tegan’s favour. How wrong I was. But just because I was wrong doesn’t mean that Pu was right. Was this the right move or the wrong move for The Pu? Let’s compare the pros and cons of keeping Nick against the pros and cons of keeping Tegan. If you keep Nick, it’s possible that post-merge he is a bigger target, which takes a vote off you for at least one tribal. However, strategically it could be argued that Nick actually is a bigger threat. You know he’s going to stop at nothing to get as far as he can. And while I’ve said before that there is no way that he will win the game, he only needs to make it through one tribal more than Matt or Brick for it to be proven a bad move for them.

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Footage of Nick explaining why he would want to keep Tegan around.
If you keep Tegan, then arguably you could be more comfortable that she is not going to do something unpredictable and maybe you can actually have an alliance with her. Other than Nick she has no-one else in the game, so once Nick goes she is easy for Matt and Brick to bring into the fold as a tight number. Perhaps they thought though that if this were the case she would recognise that she was on the bottom of that particular four and try and find a way to flip it. What’s more likely, and more stupid, is that they kept Nick because he is better at challenges and they can’t afford to lose another challenge. Well, that backfired now that the three tribes are about to merge into two. Sure, they didn’t know that a merge was coming, but they fuggin should have! History tells us that in seasons with three tribes, they will generally merge into two once the number of players remaining is two more than would be in two tribes. In this case, 8 per tribe plus two, which is where we’re at. The fact that nobody is (seemingly) talking or thinking about when the merge will come is disappointing to me.

Whopper Clue-nior?

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BEEF! TOMATO! LETTUCE! MAYO! BUN! By your powers combined I AM CAPTAIN WHOPPER JUNIOR!
Disappointing too is that no-one in Vavau looks for an idol clue in their reward. Vavau is the only  tribe who haven’t found their camp’s hidden immunity idol. As this is the last reward before merge this would be the perfect opportunity to hide the clue somewhere in the reward. It’s great for hungry Jack’s too, as it would result in lot’s of close-ups of their product and packaging. Anyway I’m not going to tell you how to do your job channel ten, and I understand that if you’re hungry and malnourished and seeing a burger for the first time in weeks, then looking for clues might not be top of mind. It’s easy for me to sit on my comfy couch with a bellyful of bratwurst and sauerkraut and judge Vavau for not thinking game instead of food. Still…FUCKING HELL HAVE ANY OF THESE MORONS ACTUALLY WATCHED SURVIVOR? That’s enough ranting from me, I’ve got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Get your analysis of Episode 8 here! 

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

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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?

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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!