Episode 20 – ‘Reunited and it Feels So Good’ OR ‘Let’s Stay Together’

Before I get into discussion about tonight’s episode, there’s something I need to discuss. Some of you may have read stories in the mainstream or social media about Brooke, Flick and El receiving threats and abuse. You may even have come across some of this abuse yourself. My first reaction upon reading that this has occurred was to defend the trio and their actions and the way they’ve played the game. But that bullshit is not really what the problem is here. The problem here is not what they’ve done, or how it may have been perceived by some, or if the editing is to blame. So my response is not to defend the women, but to condemn the dickheads out there that do this shit. This sort of abuse is NEVER appropriate. Now I know that across the fifty odd thousand words I’ve written about this season so far I’ve made my fair share of judgements about our contestants, but this shit is on another level. Anyone who hurls this type of abhorrent, disrespectful, despicable and downright vile trash at people, particularly women, is a fucking tool. Especially if done via the relative anonymity of the internet. Go fuck yourself wankers, #IStandWithFlickBrookeandEl.

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If you’re yet to read my analysis of the last episode, there’s no need to be disappointed in yourself like Lee, you can catch up here.

I’m sure you’re just as disappointed in how this episode played out as I am so I won’t spend any more time bitching about how boring it was, and how boring our top seven are. Instead let’s be positive and look to the future and where we think each of our seven need to position themselves to make it to the end.

Scary Thoughts

Tonight saw many of our players finally come to the realisation that winning the game will require you to eventually vote out a friend. We even saw a number of them start thinking about who they might take to the end with them. With that in mind, I thought I might break down who each of the remaining seven can beat in the final two. Let’s check it out.

El can beat – Matt, Kristie, Sam, possibly Lee and Flick
Lee – Everyone except maybe Brooke (depending on the mood of the jury)
Flick – Sam, Matt, Kristie
Kristie – probably only Sam
Sam – Possibly Kristie but I don’t like his chances
Matt – Sam, Kristie, possibly Flick and El
Brooke – everyone except JL and maybe Lee

That is an interesting exercise. If you disagree with my assessments, let me know what you think in the comments below. Now let’s see how each player can use this info.

El and back

There’s a few people that El can beat if she gets there. Given that she can beat most people except Brooke, and Lee and Flick could still maybe beat her, then now is the time to grab Lee, scoop up Kristie and then find one more to smash the Brick. Who will that one be though, Sam or Matt? It seems at this stage there is absolutely no convincing Matt to split with Brick so that leaves Sam. I feel from what we’ve seen of Sam it’s not outside the realms of possibility that he could flip if Lee can show him how manipulative Brick has been.

Taking the LEEd?

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“Hey Rohan, I’ll be the driver”
Depending on how he gets there, the only person that Lee could not beat in a final two is possibly Brooke, and Brooke might only beat him if the jury respects manipulative gameplay. If the jury votes on sportsmanship or dare I say ‘mateship’ then Lee wins. He has done nothing wrong (so far), he just also hasn’t done anything very right.

FLICK OFF!

Flick is a hard one to judge. She has played a better game than Lee and El, but just doesn’t seem as likeable as they are. She comes across to the audience as cold-blooded, but I’m not sure she comes across that way to those on island. She has been able to influence others so we know she has social skills. The times when she has come across as cutting or cold about anyone have only been pieces to camera or discussions with Brooke. Her move is the same move I discussed last week. Get rid of Lee and El with her current alliance, then use others to move against Brooke (easier said than done). Then all she needs to do is beat those other losers to final two.

Kristie

Oh Kristie, doesn’t look like you’re in a good position here. The only person I believe you can beat in a final two is Sam, and there is still a possibity he could beat you. How to get there though? Seeing as Lee and El need you to take out Brick, I guess you need to side with them first. You’ll need to bring scamming Sam with you to do that. Then once Brooke and maybe Flick are gone you can use Matt to take out Lee and El, leaving you with Matt and Sam in a final three. Then you just need to make sure the final immunity challenge goes your way. You’ll then need to put in a solid enough performance at the final tribal, the one where the jury questions you. If you can string a sentence together and use some big words, then Sam shouldn’t be able to beat you unless the jury either really just doesn’t like you or really does like Sam.

Scamming Sam

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“It’s hard, hard, hard….pop me off” Actual quote from Sam
As above only try not to say anything stupid in your final tribal. Appeal to the loyalty of your mates in Lee, Brooke, and Matt, and also talk up the times you actually tried to make a move. If you do win it will be by a whisker as there is no way Nick, JL or Sue are giving you their vote.

Magic Matt

As above with Sam and Kristie, if you go against either of those then you should take the win. Just do what I say and you’ll get there. I mentioned that you could possibly beat Flick or El, so you’ve got options. It may be harder to get there with Flick or El too and a lot more work to beat them. You’re best move for now I’m afraid is to flip on Brick, because the longer they stay the less likely you’ll make it to a final two unless you are their goat. You wouldn’t be my first pick for goat though. That honour goes to Sam. So that is a risky play. You need to lay low and see what happens this coming tribal. If you don’t make any sudden movements your head should not be on the chopping block. Once either Brick or Lee and El are broken up the way ahead should be a little clearer.

Brookie has the odds

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At this stage it’s Brooke’s game to lose. The only person that can beat her is Lee and even that depends on a jury that favours mateship and loyalty over strategy. As the person who is most likely to win however, she now has a huge target on her back. If she can keep her core four together, and somehow make it look like Flick is the bigger threat that may keep some heat off her. Also time to start a sub-alliance with Matt and Sam, let them know you’ll take them both to the final three if they can vote out Flick. You just then need to hope that you win the final immunity challenge. If the others are smart, they won’t take you to final to with them. If they do then it is a testament to your incredible social skills.

You Say Goodbye. I JL, oh…

You may have noticed that I put JL into Brooke’s list of who she can beat. This is because I wanted to talk about tonight’s move. The popular opinion, at least in the pies my finger is in, is that JL should have been kept as a number for flippers. While I would have loved to have seen JL stay as she is much more entertaining and prone to big moves than our remaining Survivors, as she is one of the few that could have beaten Brooke (if the jury respects an underdog story and a maker of big moves) it made perfect sense for Brooke to get rid of her now. Flick as well. They can clearly see that if they had kept her around, she would have been a number that any of the others could use to break up Brick and the core four. Had she been given a sniff I suspect that she would have kept playing hard right to the end. Unfortunately, things did not work out for her tonight. You may remember that in my analysis of the previous episode I was sure that tonight was going to be the night that JL would finally be used to smash the alliance. All she needed to do was sit back and let the others come to her. Matt and Sam think they are tight with Brick and Lee and El have realised much too late that to have any shot of winning they too need to do something about Brick. It’s a real shame. All of this is again testament to the quality of Brick’s game. Everyone thinks they are safe with Brick. Idiots.

Bonus Round

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I also need to point out that I didn’t mention Lee’s advantage in the above. It hasn’t been spoken of on screen for a long time. I can’t remember the last time someone mentioned it. I assume that people still realise that he has it, but I have no idea if anybody other than Lee knows what the advantage actually is. Obviously, with it, Lee can really shift the game in his favour. If he’ smart, he’ll realise that next tribal is the time to use it, so that he can break up the core four. If he’s not smart, it may be too late and he could go home with an advantage in his pocket. My guess as to what will actually happen is he’ll win the next immunity, not think to use it, then use it later and it won’t actually change things for him at all. Time will tell. Until next episode, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 21 analysis here!

Episode 19 – ‘Blockheads’ OR ‘Literally(?) Shot Like Sitting Ducks’

If you’re yet to read my analysis of the previous episode, you can do so here.

Seriously?! This is how we are going to move into the top eight? We’re forty odd days into the game, our final nine, and people are still saying “I definitely feel like this person is someone I can work with”!? And again no one looking for a clue at the reward challenge?! This is a very different season of Survivor to the ones I am used to. As a fan, I have found the last two episodes particularly disappointing. If you’ve been reading along at home then you’ll know how much I was looking forward to these last two episodes assuming that we would start seeing some big moves. Instead we saw safe, boring and dare I say stupid gameplay result in the episode ending with a floater left in the bowl that is our top eight.

“Yeah, but”

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Little known fact: Rodin’s original concept for his sculpture ‘The Thinker’ was based on Sam.
Yes, I am aware I sound like I’m whingeing. It’s really infuriating to watch Matt and Sam be so oblivious to what is actually going on. In Matt’s defense, he’s sticking to what he believes is a solid alliance. It’s not his fault that we the audience see that he’s not in the alliance, and he’s not in on the trick. That’s what makes it frustrating for us fans. It’s possible that if we didn’t know that his alliance wasn’t strong, it wouldn’t be so frustrating for us. I actually feel sorry for Matt. Perhaps I shouldn’t, he is playing Survivor and I’m not. He may even win for all we know. But surely it can’t be easy for him to watch this now, after believing that Brick are his ‘devils’, now knowing that he’s being played. Anyway, you gotta play the hand you’re dealt, I just didn’t think that this is the way that Matt would play it. He’s not responsible for my expectations. I also have to give credit to Brick here. Given all that’s been said to Matt, they have still managed to convince him that he’s with them. Sam on the other hand has done nothing to endear himself to me, though I’m sure he is a viewer favourite. For me, I want to at least see some strategy and some understanding of how the game works. “Yeah, but…” is how he replied upon hearing Sue and JL tell him that he could only make it so far while he let Brick control the game. What sort of a response is that?! He did at least give us the second funniest moment of the episode, when during tribal he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “I’m still here because I’m more cleverer than you guys”. The funniest moment of course was when the top seven were having a swim and talking about how Sue was the vote and Matt asks if they need to split the votes, but nobody can respond because Kristie is there with them. Then people start pointing at Kristie behind her back, and Matt points in return, Kristie turns around and Matt has to do something with his hands so he runs his fingers through his hair. That was gold. It’s a sad reflection of the quality of gameplay on show this episode when that humorous moment is what I am spending my time reflecting on. The only gameplay I feel like we saw came from JL, and a little bit from Sue.

She’s Gone, She’s Gone, She’s Gone, She’s Gone…She’s Still Here

At least JL knew that tonight was the night to make a move. In the previous episode we saw her chatting with Matt after Nick had called out that he was oblivious to what was going on and at that point Matt agreed that there was “a lot of truth in that”. So it was not a surprise that she tried to get in his ear again today. Though her claim that she needed to talk to him ‘for his benefit’ was more than a little disingenuous, at least it got them talking. Matt however would not be swayed. We saw JL and Sue try and sway Sam, yeah, but, that didn’t work. She tries a word in Kristie’s ear. Kristie basically just smiled and nodded. JL even tried to get Flick to expose her crack. Not to mention the things that she had to say at tribal after getting her mongrel on to win immunity. As JL was spraying what she was saying I was actually thinking that she needed to go further in calling out the dynamics. She needed to push Brick to have them say exactly what the pecking order was, in much the same way that Kate spelled it out to Sam and Lee. No sooner had I thought that when Sue took my thought and JL’s lead and ran with it, calling out the bonds more explicitly and putting Brick on the back foot (who actually handled it pretty well I think). We also saw Sue come up with the idea to write Kristie’s name down. Even though had it worked it may have only got her through one more vote, I thought this was some nifty parallel thinking. It was unfortunate that it didn’t work for her. While we’re on Sue, I know I said she did some good things tonight, and I said similar things about her last night. Unfortunately tonight she also showed why it was she didn’t make it further in this game. She may not be naive, sweetheart, but she also didn’t play particularly strategically. Last night we saw Flick come to her to try and get her on side, I suggested Sue leverage this last night, but she didn’t listen (why don’t these people read my advice between tribals?! Honestly). So, there’s that, but also tonight we didn’t really see her talking to anyone other than JL. She just lay down and crossed her fingers. There was no attempt at scrambling (admittedly she hadn’t laid any groundwork that she could scramble with but at least try). So, naive she may not be, but her sharpness and observance was not enough to grant her the title of survivor when it has no action behind it. I’m sad to see you go Sue, but it takes more than that (says I, worried that friggin Lee will win).

Methinks the Lady doth not Protest Enough

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The calm before the JL…
So what does this actually leave JL with? Well, viewers less well-versed in Survivor might say that JL has completely burned her bridges. If she doesn’t win immunity next episode she will be given her marching orders. I tend to disagree, I don’t think its a foregone conclusion at all. We did see Phoebs coast through a couple of tribals when it looked like all was lost for her, simply because people were scared of bigger threats. And though I do wish JL had called out even more at tribal, what she did say may just be enough to put some fright into people. Sammy we know can be flighty, it’s possible that he has taken some of what was said tonight seriously, and realises that if he allows BrickEl to continue he’s out. El herself may actually feel somewhat insecure that she is tied to what is now clearly a target and choose to distance herself from them and start to play her own game. Lee may think… that would be a good start for him. What Kristie plans to do though is anyone’s guess. You can only float for so long before you need to start making moves to climb out of the bowl or you’re going to be flushed. I’m having a good think about the best move for her and she’s got lots of options. If the status quo remains with the top five staying tight then her only move is to wait for the flush. Given all of the explicit attempts that we’ve seen to break that top five, I’m actually beginning to think it may not be possible to create your own crack. If this is the case the best bet for her, and JL and Matt for that matter, is actually to wait and hope that some of what JL has said has stuck, and that one of those top five feels as though it’s time for them to make a move against their alliance before the move is made against them first. I feel that JL, Matt and Kristie are not going to get anywhere by explicitly pushing a move between now and next tribal. They need to sit back, maybe, ever so subtly drop a few hints about the five needing to turn on each other soon, and then sit back and wait for someone to come to them. In fact I would argue that if you were one of the top five and you did want to make a move, next vote is the time to do it. You’ve got three numbers on the periphery that you could use. Wait any longer and you either won’t have those numbers there, or someone else will strike first.

Devils Between My Toes

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It’s so important to practice
I assume that Brooke feels that taking Flick to final two is her best move. I would agree with my assumption of what she feels. I do imagine though that it is possible that she may be having doubts in her alliance given all the shade that has been thrown their way lately. Is it possible that Flick could be hoping to throw Brooke under the balls before she gets to the final two and take Sammy or Lee, or even JL or Kristie with her? If I were Flick I certainly wouldn’t be taking Brooke to the final two with me. There’s no winning against Brooke. Maybe, just maybe JL has a shot of winning against Brooke if she continues to dominate challenges and make some moves on her way there. I can’t see anyone else beating Brooke in the final two. So Flick needs to find a way to remove Brooke from the final two. The bind for her is that the best way for her to get there is for Brooke to take her. It’s a catch 22. Brooke wants Flick in final two with her, Flick doesn’t want Brooke there. If Flick votes Brooke out too early she’ll never make it there. The ideal scenario for Flick is that she and Brooke make it to final three, and Brooke doesn’t win immunity, with the winner voting Brooke out. And I feel like there’s plenty of people that Flick could beat in a final two. The ideal scenario for Brooke is that she and Flick make it to final three and Brooke wins immunity and has her choice of who she takes to the final two with her, likely beating whomever that might be (except maybe JL). Regardless, the best move for Brick is to stay together. As I mentioned above though, El may have other plans.

Flippin’ ‘El

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El takes a good hard look at the pecking order…
So does that mean that the best move for El now is to flip on Brick? Yes, I think it is. There are enough people that want Brick smashed, and El seems to have good relationships with Lee and Kristie. So most definitely, now is the time to strike. El has a much better shot of beating Kristie, Sam or Lee in the final two than she does either of Brick. If she doesn’t strike now then she may miss her shot and then have to hope that some immunity wins go her way.

So, there’s potentially some pretty decent gameplay ahead of us. That’s not even mentioning that Lee still has an advantage in the game, that could totally change everything I’ve just suggested to our top eight. Just please please please do what I say Survivors! Until Sunday, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 20 analysis here!