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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!