Episode 16 – ‘Payback is a Bub’ OR ‘Summer(Tau) Lovin, Happened So Fast’

Don’t start the merge in a jam, get all the up to date pre-merge analysis here.

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You know that’s not how war works right Jerkicho?

This is why we love the merge. Going in to tribal I had no idea of the way this was going to go, just as coming in to this merge I did not know where the alliances stood. Now that we have our first post-merge tribal under our belt, we have a better idea what the moving parts are and which way they’re moving. Let’s see if we can actually articulate these below.

Underlining Strategy

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Irony is a dish best served delicious…

I must say I was surprised to see Jarrad move so forcefully so soon after the merge. Though we’ve not seen a hell of a lot of Jarrad over the last 15 episodes, I had the impression that his gameplay would be more subtle than what we saw tonight. Generally the way to play going in to the merge is to lay low and watch what happens. So to see Jarrad of all people try to make a move was surprising and clearly didn’t go so well for him. I can understand and appreciate the thinking behind it, to strike before he sees it coming. He’d obviously been thinking it for some time and was waiting for his opportunity to go for it. And I agree that it would be a great dot point on the resume. Unfortunately this is classic over-confidence bias at work. He wants something to happen, and instead of looking at all the things that could go wrong, if he knew them he ignored them because the temptation was so great. It was this overconfidence that had him thinking that Locky would be with him. While Jarrad did show some awareness of the flaws in his game in his post exit blurb over credits, it’s a shame for him that he didn’t have this awareness of what was going on around him as it was happening.

Flippin’ Plankers

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It is I, Captain Obvious!

Jarrad wasn’t the only one I thought was falling prey to overconfidence bias. When Zenry started talking about it being time to start ‘making decisions’ I was worried that he might be the one getting overexcited. Again, I didn’t necessarily diasagree with his decision that Ziggy was dangerous and needed to go. My current assessment as to why he was successful in influencing Locky, while Jarrad and Tessa weren’t, was in their approaches. Tessa particularly showed great awareness of her opponents’ characters in her understanding that Locky needed his ego stroked and to be made to feel important in order to keep him under control. However, in actually discussing the way forward with Locky and getting his opinion, she was forthright with him about what they needed to do (To Target Luke. We were given the impression that there had already been a discussion with Locky re targeting Zenry, unfortunately we don’t know the details). Zenry on the other hand made Locky feel important. While he was urgent in his plea to Locky to come with him, he did it in a way that made Locky feel important and that they were doing this together. Tessa and other Samatauans wanted Locky along for the ride, Zenry made Locky think he was in the driving seat.

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These captions write themselves.

Of course it is worth noting that Zenry had spent most of his time at Samatau forming a bond with Locky, whereas the rest of Samatau had not done so at all. I can’t recall ever seeing Jarrad have a conversation with Locky, and during the early days it was pretty clear that Locky and Tessa were amicably not aligned with one another. Locky was not the only one who needs their ego stroked.

MicHellion

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I wonder which side he would have supported in the last world war?

Damn that scene where Michelle confronted Tessa about not being kept in the loop was awkward. You could see Tessa trying to hold back the words that were coming out of her mouth and cringing at how they sounded. Effectively telling Michelle she was on the bottom of the alliance if she was in it at all. Was it the right move for Michelle to flip? I believe so. Both she and Locky knew that Tessa, Jarrad, Pete, and Ziggy were tight and unlikely to be persuaded to split and form sub-alliances with either of them. It looks like Locky could have an offsider in Michelle now. As much as I’m sick of seeing Locky take for granted his harem of fawning women, I hope for his sake he realises that Michelle has joined his stable. I’m more interested in seeing Michelle get as much out of this union as she can before ditching his arrogant arse.

Sucky Situation

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🎵Brother, brother, brother, there’s far too many of you dying…🎵

So what can old Samatau do now that it seems the numbers are against them? Shit, I really don’t know. Individually, it might be best for each of them to start looking at other options. I feel Ziggy has the charm to be able to get back in Locky’s good books, I could be very wrong about that though. She needs to start finding her new wing-person that’s for sure. Who that will be I don’t know. If you’ve got a suggestion, share below.
I have zero idea where Anneliese stands. The good news for her is that she has options. Up until this vote I thought she was with Zenry and Locky. If they really are together I suspect Locky did not have time to talk to her as he really did decide at tribal or just before, and that Zenry did not want to risk a leak. She is actually in a great position, an idol in her hand, only one person that knows (I think just Zenry right), no enemies, and potential allies all around her. I couldn’t tell you her best move now, she doesn’t need to make a positive decision yet. She can just hang and see how things shake out.
Tessa too has her work cut out for her. Having never been to Asaga and forming relationships with them, Tara harbouring old grudges, never fostering a relationship with Zenry, and showing slightly less than contempt for Michelle. Things don’t look good. She and Peter need to come up with something quick. If I were Tess, my play would be less about hitching my wagon to a strong ally, and more about finding a target to undermine. Perhaps Tara again, or even Ziggy. Whatever the case, I can see Tess and Pete scrambling next episode. Oh how the tables have turned.

Swinger’s Party

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Not touching it.

The other thing I want to briefly discuss before I snuff the flame on the torch of this post, is the reward ‘twist’ and the dilemma it creates. My first question is have we ever seen somebody actually choose the selfish option? I don’t ever recall anybody ever taking the selfish option. So I have no idea how that works out historically (comment below if you have ever seen a season where somebody does take the selfish option). I’ve seen plenty of occasions where somebody takes the altruistic option and is voted out next. I think that if you’re already in players’ bad books, sharing reward won’t get you out of those books. I see the point about while you would have the advantages over your opponents of having eaten, feeling clean and refreshed, and the motivation that comes with having read letters from home, the guilt at having not shared the love with everyone you live with may completely disrupt one’s game and drain any energy gained from your reward. I’d love to know how much a decision like this would change the game. Incidentally I do wonder had she taken the selfish option, how many other players, if any she could have taken with her. Were I faced with this situation that knowledge would definitely influence my decision. Regardless, I suspect my humanity would get the better of me and I would take the altruistic option.
It goes without saying that this scene had me blubbering as it always does. One thing that did cross my mind as I was watching the challenge was how much more emotional and suspenseful it would be if those letters were knocked off the balance beam and directly into the fire. Harsh. Let’s leave this post with that thought. I got nothing else 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)

 

 

 

Episode 15 – ‘Get a Grip on that Pole’ OR ‘Show Us Your Pink Bits’

I’m not going to beg you, but if you want to check out my analysis of episode 14 before you dive into episode 15, you can do that here.

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It really was very nice of J-LaP to give me a shout-out tonight, thanks brother
Merge is here and in the words of Robert Pollard “now the fun begins”. Not that we haven’t been having fun for the past 33 days, but as we all know, the games shifts post-merge and tonight was as good an indication as any of how crazy things can get once it becomes even more of an individual game. And with a thirteen person tribe (the largest in Survivor history) things are even a little crazier than usual. What better place to start our discussion than with Sam’s ‘good kid’, Conner.

Fall-out Boy (think about it, that works on so many levels, I’m quite proud of myself)

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Barely hanging in there…
Conner was loved by many and in turns made us both smile and cringe. His mixture of youthful naivety, and puppy-dog playfulness, and earnestness in the face of unfamiliarity brought him many a fan. Unfortunately, while he was the New Kid On The Block, he did not have The Right Stuff….baby. His failure to pull together any sort of alliance in this episode saw him come undone. We all know however that this wasn’t the only failing that led to his downfall. Aside from turning on Bianca back in episode 2 (had he not done that Saanapu would have been very different) I would argue that his exploits in episode 5 when he tried to turn the tables on Flick and call some people out on their duplicities really sowed the seeds for his departure tonight. He never really recovered any ground in the eyes of the original Pu, and while I don’t think they necessarily were out for revenge, they knew he was volatile and his unpredictability could destroy their games. He struggled to find his feet after being exiled to Vavau in episode 5, finally finding what looked to be a solid two with Kate in episode 14 (who should forget that trust ceremony, nawww). Well that was over before the honeymoon had even begun! We didn’t see either of the newlyweds have a family meeting and try and balance the family budget. Conner’s crucifixion isn’t all his own baby-jesus faced fault.

What the Hell Vavau?

So let me get this straight, Sue, Conner, Kate and Kristie voted Matt, Nick, Kylie and Conner respectively? And Saanapu voted exactly to their suggested five-four split? So much for Kate’s “We need to get the good guys together, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” What were Vavau hoping to gain from voting individually? We saw a glimmer of game in Sue when she said something like ‘I’m not happy about it and I’m going to do something about it’, I was thinking ‘about time, what magic are we going to see from Nanna’, and she didn’t do shit. Very disappointing. How they voted aside, we didn’t really see them scramble at all. All we saw was Conner try and talk to Sam. He couldn’t do that the way he wanted to, then effectively just said ‘oh well’ and shrugged his shoulders. Maybe he was coming down after all that sugar. Given he didn’t get the pre-tribal conversations he was hoping for I thought that we’d at least see a last ditch effort from him to blow shit up at tribal and drop some truth bombs about Nick (which we expect would have backfired anyway given he has an idol), but he just lay down, even through a J-LaP grilling. J-LaP gave him every opportunity to stir shit up and out Nick (I would even argue J-LaP went too far with it), but he just seemed, much like the jesus he apparently resembles, like a dead man walking.

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up

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“socially, strategically, economically, spiritually”…there’s no denying the man can rap.
What were these guys doing for 3 days after the merge that they didn’t get a sense of where the tensions lay in Saanapu? They could have and should have been spending time figuring out where they could drive a wedge or split a seam or plant a seed or frack the Murray-Darling basin that is Saanapu. I was pretty confident that once we hit the merge we would see a coup against Nick. We’ve seen plenty of times in Survivor when a tribe hasn’t been to tribal for a while, they almost relish being able to finally do so, just so that they can get the person out who has been shitting them for so long. Nick is that person. Earlier in the episode when he kind of started calling the shots (more on this in a bit) I thought to myself ‘wow, what has he done to be able to turn things around for and really ingratiate himself into this tribe’. Shortly after that we got about three or four snippets of conversation or pieces to camera with Saanapuans revealing they think he is a snake and want him gone. Why then did they go for Conner? I guess Conner has proven himself to be flaky, whereas Nick on the other hand, actually hasn’t shown anything concrete to them in terms of flakiness. Yeah he comes off as shady, but unlike C-dog he hasn’t actually done anything shady. I mentioned above that he was calling the shots so to speak, but that was only after asking The Pu what they wanted to do. He then just told them how to do it.

Good Game

So far I’ve talked a lot about the shite gameplay this episode, but did we see anything good? Hmmm, the strongest player that comes to mind is Brooke. Brooke is someone that has slowly but surely worked her way into a solid position in this game over the last couple of weeks. Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to be invited to contribute to my favourite Australian Survivor podcast to discuss the season thus far (you can listen on Soundcloud and iTunes) and Brooke was certainly someone who was brought up as a possible end game player in that discussion. This was confirmed this episode when not only did she win immunity, we saw her involved in all of the major conversations, either there organically because she had grown alliances with the right people, or inserting herself into conversations that weren’t hers to be in to make sure shit didn’t go awry (possibly the most awkward conversation we’ve seen so far). Gold star for robot girl (to bastardise Robert Pollard).

Where to from here?

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The happy family?
With twelve people left in the game I am not going to run through possible moves for every player. As I mentioned in my analysis of the previous episode the best thing for anyone to do so early in the post-merge and with so many players in the game, is to lay low and let the tall poppies stick their necks out (#analogymashup #beenlisteningtoandrewtoomuch). Admittedly, there has been a show of solidarity from Saanapu in the first vote, but surely, the cracks have to appear eventually. As viewers we can see those Saanapu crack, I’d imagine that Vavau will see those Saanapu cracks before too long. If they don’t become visible by themselves, a pointed question or two from Sue will elucidate them.

Other Points of Interest

Nick has an idol. Lee has an advantage. How these came about was interesting. We had the classic Survivor auction. A Survivor staple. Though I’ve never seen it with 13 players before. Usually in these cases we see players fall over themselves to try and get the advantage/s from the auction. Tonight was the opposite. Lee’s advantage was probably the cheapest auction advantage in Survivor history at $80. Nick really protested upon discovering what he had bought was an advantage. I guess it comes down to where in the season the auction is. At this stage, people don’t wan’t to be seen to have an advantage because they don’t want to have targets on their backs. In the past when we’ve seen auctions and they have been later in the game, advantages are more advantageous, you need something to get you through just one more tribal. Regardless, Nick’s advantage is an idol clue and he really wastes no time in finding that idol. Lee catches him looking and Nick is left with no choice but to involve Lee in the looking. At this point I wondered if maybe Nick thought both their advantages were clues to the same idol and they had to race to get it. After finding it he shares it with Lee. I’m not convinced that this was a good move. To me it looked like he had an opportunity to pocket it without Lee knowing. He could then have kept looking and Lee could back up his story that he hadn’t found it. He could have continued to share the clue with his alliance (gaining their trust) and kept looking. I’m not sure how long one could keep this up for though. Either way, he’s got an idol, I can’t wait to see how he uses (or misuses) it. I’m sure he said he was going to share it with his alliance but I don’t think I actually saw him tell anyone but Lee he had it. Maybe I missed a scene, you can correct me in the comments below.

Lee’s advantage is a little more interesting in that it is not so common. Though we’ve seen this advantage in previous seasons, I think we’re yet to see it used effectively. Unfortunately with it being in Lee’s hands, it looks like we may not see that this season either. I’d be happy to be proven wrong and to watch Lee use it to bowl a maiden over. I’m hoping that maiden is Flick.

Pink bracelets. Actually I think the less said about that the better.

Now that Saanapu has Conner out of their system I’m really interested to see how the individual game shakes down and maybe see what some of these sleeper players in Lee, El, and JL, and even Matt can do. Sammy’s a fuggin’ write off. I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 16 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!