Episode 6 – ‘Running The Show’ OR ‘Smarter Than The Average Yogi’

If you’re wondering why there’s a lamington on the BBQ you’re not alone, and the previous episode’s analysis won’t help you understand that, but it will help you understand what’s going on with our players.

Which Sam is the better detective?

Finally we see some Asaga. I was getting sick of seeing cookies whenever we checked in with them. But now there’s some action on our hands. Well at least as much action as you’re going to get when the votes are split 9-2. Anyway, let’s make like Tara’s mental fortitude and break (it) down.

Throwing Challengers

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Zenry’s had plenty of practice throwing things…

OK, in the past I’ve spoken at length about where I stand regarding throwing challenges, so I won’t dwell on it too much. Generally speaking, I think throwing challenges is a stupid move. It rarely works well. It’s especially unnecessary when there’s likely a merge/shuffle around the corner. What exactly were Zenry’s motivations for doing so? Was it because he felt Sam was on to him? We know from a few episodes ago that Sam certainly didn’t trust his alliance with Jacqui. Which is on his own head for making his alliance too obvious.

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“You heard me wrong guys. I never said ‘Yoga Teacher’, I said ‘Yoghurt Eater'”

So if he was worried about Sam outing him as a more strategic player than he’s purporting to be, is the answer to that to strategically mastermind her shafting? Sounds counterintuitive to me. To be fair though, we didn’t actually see him pulling the strings. How exactly did word get around, does he have his own troops to do that bidding? (Incidentally where is Jericho’s cookie army?) If he did manage to make this happen without putting this target on his back, then he’s a better player than I give him credit for. Also, why is it that we say people put a target on their back, when it’s their head that ends up on the chopping block? Methinks it’s about time we started using some less stale Survivor cliches.
Back to the gameplay. Not only did he throw the challenge but he did so by putting himself in the clutch position at the challenge. Now that’s really playing knifey/spoony with your balls (maybe that will catch on #testicularknifeyspoony).
However with such a landslide victory it’s possible that Zenry was pretty certain that he had the numbers, making throwing the challenge less of a risk for him. Still, I’m not convinced the reward justifies the risk. If it was so easy for Zenry to turn the tribe against Sam, I don’t suspect that Sam would have done been able to turn the tribe against Zenry had their tribal council appearance come three or six days later. So again, not worth the risk. Asaga is also left with a pissed bulldog in ComMarkdo (eh, not sure I’m feeling it).

The resemblance is uncanny 

But was it the best move to vote Sam off if they had gone to tribal without the challenge being thrown?

From the POV of Sarah, Kent, Odette, Ben, Luke and Michelle, I’m going to say yes. They get to be rid of a big strategic threat, and are left with any possible revenge dart being thrown squarely at Zenry and Jacqui or maybe Jericho. This is of course based on a BIG assumption that it was these three that did the leg work to send the vote Sam’s way. If Zenry was able to make that vote happen without it making him look like he was pulling the strings, then it was a good choice well-played (challenge throwing notwithstanding). It seems though, based on the preview for tomorrow, that ComMarkDo wants revenge on Zenry, so perhaps he was not so furtive at all.

Mark My Word

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Mark’s not picking up what Kent is lying down (see what I did there?)

Where does Mark go to from here? One thing that seemed clear throughout this episode and in previous episodes was that the reason why the tribe wanted Sam to go had little to do with Mark himself. As the tribe may have seen the Smark alliance as a threat, they now see that power structure dismantled. I don’t get the sense that Mark is now on the outs with the tribe, at least not yet, so I don’t feel like he’s in a fight for his life. He has his physicality going for him. He’s a boon in challenges. I do think he may have come off a little too sharp in his interrogations pre-tribal. He’ll want to downplay that going forward. There’s lots of other people, eg Michelle and Ben, that are likelier candidates to be sent home next tribal should there be one for this Asaga. All Mark needs to do is downplay his strategy, play up his assets (not a euphemism), and let one of those guys take the fall. Unfortunately for ComMarkDo, much as it was for his namesake Arnold Schwarzenegger, it appears that emotions and a quest for revenge will now fuel his motivations. That is not the way to play smart Survivor. That’s not to say it won’t work. It may. Personally I don’t see any motivation for the rest of the tribe right now to flip on Zenry and side with ComMarkDo. Is there a way Zenry can deflect this attention? Guess we’ll see Monday night.

Asaga Saga

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Once Samatau took the GAS out of ASAGA’s barbecue, all they were left with was AA… (I’ll get me coat)

There was some nice gameplay from a few others tonight too. I liked that Kent knew that Mark knew that he was lying. I think anyone would know he was lying, the amount of “honestly”s and “actually”s that were dribbling out of his mouth.
Similarly for Sarah. Though she was somewhat more believable, there was some long eye contact there when she was copping a Mark drilling (not a euphemism), and she suspects too that Mark knew she was lying. I do think that she seemed more genuine with Mark, and her relationship is still good enough that she can reassure him in the future if need be. I do suggest however that both Kent and Sarah approach ComMarkDo once they’re back at camp to stay in his good books and keep their options open. I don’t feel that doing so could weaken jeopardize their position in the tribe given that both Ben and Michelle are still around. Who knows what Ben and Michelle’s best play from here is. They must both be feeling the pressure, I just don’t quite understand how they have ended up on the bottom. If I knew a little bit more about their position in the tribe I might have advice for them. But as it is the only advice that I have is that they seem to be loose numbers (#loosenumbers), so they should leverage that in the apparently upcoming Faux-gi vs Special Ops (Zenry vs ComMarkDo) War.

Snags and T-Bones

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I’m not touching it….

I won’t spend much time with Samatau tonight, as there wasn’t much happening there. T-Bone (Tara) clicked it as we knew she would. Locky, Tara, and Anneliese talked among each other when they should have been finding a way in to the rest of the tribe. They whinged about being “pissed at Pete” (I thought they were saying ‘Pistol Pete’ at first), but didn’t do anything about it. I know I made light of T-Bone’s crying session before. I get it, I can imagine myself doing the same thing in that position. I hope she can lift herself from her funk and fight and give us something more meaty to talk about. I still want her gone, but I do feel sorry for her. Of these three, Anneliese is the only one I really want to see go further. I’d like to know more about what she has to offer. Strategically I have no advice for them different to what I gave them last post.

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Banger in the mouth?

I must make mention of the BBQ reward. While watching them partake in the reward I had no sooner written the note ‘BBClue’ than AK tells the tribe they should be looking for the clue. Facepalm. Even if you don’t want to be the person to find it, the last thing you want to do is remind everyone of how strategic you are by being the one to mention a clue. Either look for it yourself (surreptitiously), get one trusted ally to look for it, or don’t look for it at all. You just painted a big target on your back. Oh shit, forgot we weren’t using that anymore. I mean, you just stuck a big ‘kick me’ sign on your arse (give me a better suggestion in the comments).

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“I’ll take it”

What was Locky’s play when he outed Zenry as being the driving physical force for Asaga at the challenges? My guess is that he was subtly reminding his own tribe that they need his strength if they’re going to win further challenges. Perhaps he also sees him as a threat in the future. I already suspect that it’s hard for Locky not to be the alpha dog, so maybe he’s highlighting the tall poppies to the other tribe in the hope that he’ll be booted before a merge/shuffle. I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

Look at that. I made it through a whole post without making a power bottom joke. Hopefully I’ll get to use it next time. Until then, I’ve got nothing 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 those special people and have found anything above, please let me know here! (Neurotypicals not excluded)

 

Episode 23 – ‘Spilling the Beans’ OR ‘I Got a Big Mouth’

If you need to check out the previous episode's analysis, then you're at a disadvantage. Check it out here.

I'm afraid my worst fears have been realised, Lee and El are still in the final five. This was all thanks to Kristie deciding that Lee and El were better to move ahead with than Flick. Fuggin mateship and loyalty, bah humbug. Needless to say I don't like this move, and not only because I personally don't like Lee and El. I find them boring and without gameplay. The main reason I don't like this move is because I've long said I think it's very difficult to beat Lee or El in the final two. Is this still the case though?

Knowing the Numbers Well

At the 'getting to know you' challenge last episode we learned that Lee was the most popular contestant and Kristie was the least. If popularity translates to jury votes, then that certainly puts Kristie at a disadvantage if she were to stick with Lee to the final two. It might be time to reexamine this presumption that Lee and El are unbeatable in the final two I've been holding on to for a few episodes now. So let's take a look at the jury numbers though. If we look at the final eleven and forecast and rank who they think is most deserving to win this we end up with the following:
Nick: Flick most deserving, followed closely by, Kristie, Matt, Lee, and El

Kylie: El, Lee, Flick, Kristie, Matt

Sue: Kristie, Lee, El, Flick, Matt (I really don't know what Sue is thinking, but I think she definitely would put Kristie at the top)

JL: Kristie, Flick, Lee, El, and Matt

Brooke: this could go either way, but I'd like to think that she would stick with Flick, followed by El, Lee, Matt, and Kristie

Sam: Matt, Flick, Kristie, El, Lee

Matt: Flick, Kristie, Lee, El

Kristie: Lee, El, Flick, Matt

Flick: El, Matt, Lee, Kristie

El: Lee, Kristie, Flick, Matt

Lee: El, Kristie, Flick, Matt

(Looking forward to the final episode to see how wrong I am. If you disagree please tell me your thoughts in the comments)

Game Changer

Ok, so based on the above presumptions if Kristie went against Lee or El then Kristie actually wins 5 to 4. If she goes against Flick then she loses 5 to 4, unless Brooke still resents Flicks move and votes against her, in which case Kristie wins 5 to 4. And against Matt she wins 6-3. With these numbers Kristie actually has the best chance of winning the game, if she can make it to the final two. Ideally for her though her best bet is to go to final two with Matt, which is going to be hard to pull off with Lee and El still in the game. I can't really see a scenario whereby this could happen. For Kristie to make it to the final two against either Lee or El then Lee and El need to be broken up before final three, because it's a pretty decent bet that Lee or El will win that final immunity if they're both in the final challenge and they will take each other. For Lee and El to be broken up however, Kristie would have to flip against them at some stage, weakening her position with the other, not so much though that the other would consider putting Flick or Matt before Kristie. So the overall impression that I'm getting about Kristie's road ahead is that she will continue to be a floater and there is every possibility that whichever way she floats she may just end up in the final three. Flick's road ahead is a different story altogether.

Bite Me Hard

Once Kristie indicated at tribal that there was a possibility she may not flip with Flick, it weakened Flick's move against Lee and El. Fortunately she had put the wheels in motion for a split vote (very smart Flick!), which would have still resulted in three votes against El. But with Sam's vote neutralized, if Flick had proceeded to vote against El, then it would have resulted in a 2-2 tie, with a possibility that Lee and El would both stay and know that Flick had voted against them. She really had no choice but to flip her vote back with Lee and El. Shame Flick, I would have liked to have seen you smash another alliance. Let's take a look at the jury numbers for Flick. As above, if Brooke votes with her, then she could beat Kristie 5-4. Against Lee and El she needs Brooke's vote to win 5-4. Against Matt she clearly wins with 6 or 7 votes going her way. Getting to the final two is going to be tough though. Firstly, she has to break up Lee and El. Very, very difficult with Kristie seemingly dropping anchor at the Isle of Lee and El. The best bet for Flick now is to win some friggin challenges, because I can't see anybody's wanting to take her to the final two. Good luck Flick. Much like Brooke, you played a very strong game, unfortunately Kristie decided to go another way.

In Need of Magical Scenarios

Similarly for Matt, it looks like the only way he is getting further is by winning some immunity challenges. We know he can do it, they just have to be the right challenges for him. According to the above numbers though, there isn't anyone he can beat at final two. If he does, he is going to have to spin one hell of a story to be able to swing some votes his way. Hopefully for Matt's sake I've got the numbers completely wrong.

Sleeping on a Cloud

img_1228Lee and El are sitting rather pretty right now with the most solid alliance that we've seen all season. It's unlikely that anything can break this alliance now. For either of them to win, the best bet is for one of them to take Matt. They can do that as long as Flick doesn't win immunities. It would require that they flip on each other or Kristie though and that seems unlikely. Or Matt wins the last immunity and makes that decision for them. A quick comment about Lee's comments toward Kristie at camp, telling her that she didn't have to take the 'magical' options. Was this a dig at Matt? If so, that was sly brother. Nice one, and good on you for using a three syllable word.

Exile on Main Beach

img_1094A final note about Sam. Was there a possibility he could have avoided this? Well, the reason he is here is because he sided with Brooke against Lee and El a few episodes ago. This put him in their bad books. Unfortunately he didn't do anything to try and redeem himself get back in their good books. He had an opportunity once Brooke was voted out to go to Lee and El and apologise and lay the blame on Brooke. Unfortunately he did the opposite and told Lee to suck it up. He also had a chance at exile beach, far away in time, to approach the two of them to see if they wanted to work with him. He really did nothing to keep his options open. Kristie, and Flick to some degree, have always kept their options open, and this is reflected in how far they have continued in the game.

Again though, and I hate to keep harping on about this, did no-one look for an idol at exile beach, far away in time? Lee for one should know better! He's been there before and knows that idols are on exile beach, far away in time. J-LaP is still asking if people have them so I presume they're out there. I would have expected Matt or Flick to look for one at their reward as well. I'd love to know if there was one there. If anybody is reading this who knows, please fill me in in the comments. Maybe we'll see one come into play to make things interesting again for our final five.
Three episodes left now and my hopes are pinned on a Flick, Matt or Kristie win. With Lee and El still there this seems increasingly unlikely. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. I got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 24 analysis here!

Episode 22 – ‘Can’t Quite Get it Up’ OR ‘Can He Pull Off Something Special?’

If you haven’t read my analysis of the last episode, follow the co-ordinates here.

Keep tugging that sack Sammy
Raaargh! I got dressed up for the letdown. So much potential in this episode and that is where they end it?! I’m not saying it was a bad episode, but Channel Ten, if you’re going to wine me and dine me, then at least have the decency to seal the deal with a real tribal. Anything less is just plain rude. I was all lubed up with some tantalising twists ready for a wet and wild spa splashdown. Then you leave me hanging like that. Not cool Channel Ten. What am I saying, I can’t stay mad at you. I guess I should know better by now than to expect there would be a boot tonight. Now no result tonight means not much to talk about here, but we can keep chipping away and find something to get our teeth into.

You Can Call Flick the Pig-Catcher (‘cause she saved Lee’s bacon – I’m so sorry)

Flick starts the episode saying that she is loyal to Lee and El and wants to go to the end with them. Are you crazy woman?! Have you not listened to a thing I’ve been saying?! Last episode we finally had some people talking about who they might beat in the final two. This episode all of that seems to have gone out the window. At least she has the sense to have a good chat with Matt to suss out what he is feeling after being blindsided last week. Not only does this give him the opportunity to let off some steam at Flick and calm him down, but it just might keep the lines of communication open so that she is aware what Matt’s next play is. I’ll say it again, as much as Flick may come off cold and cutthroat to the camera, she really does play a good social game on island. She is very good at talking to people. Thankfully Matt is actually working on a plan.

The Victim, Playing

Finally we see Matt start playing, only a little bit, but playing nonetheless. I wouldn’t say he was going down swinging necessarily, more like blindfolded swatting at a piñata with a soggy tea towel, but it’s more than we’ve seen him do for some time. To be fair, big swings are probably not the best thing for his game now, this is the point where you don’t want to be seen as a threat. Big moves might sound good on a final two resume, but at the wrong time they will only hurt his chances of getting there. He has the nous to realise that El and Lee are unstoppable as a twosome and the only way that he can break those two up is to use Flick. When he questioned Flick on who the two biggest threats in the game are I thought this was a really nice way of getting her to reconsider her loyalty to Lee and El. Now I’m not naïve enough to believe that she possibly hadn’t already thought this, but at least he’s playing, and it lets Flick know that he is open to a move with her. If you can show someone that you are an option for them to go ahead with then you would think that the likelihood that they vote you out decreases. img_1054-1I had hoped that his great reward win would give him the ability to strategise some more, but alas. It didn’t work out that way. Incidentally, there were a few things about that challenge that had me thinking. Firstly, could you just choose not to count and remember the items in the box and just start digging? If this is allowable maybe that would have been a better strategy to employ. In fact I’d like to see them use that option in the future. There have been a few challenges in the last couple of years, and in the current US season where players could choose from different strategies. Usually choosing between a slow, but easier option and a fast but hard option. That could have worked well for this challenge. Hope you’re listening producers, I’ll expect a cheque in the mail. It did look like those puzzle pieces were pretty deep though and so if it was allowable, it may not have been wise in this instance. I also wondered whether players, after having grouped and counted the items, could then write the number of items in the sand next to them, so that if they had to come back to refresh their memories they didn’t have to tally again. Food for thought, I’ll have to remember that for if I ever get a shot on island (hint hint).

Hip to be Square

BINGO!
Once we heard what the reward would be my mind went straight into, who would you want to take with you, strategically? When it was announced there would be some sort of tribal tonight to determine, that changed everything completely. You can’t strategise when you have no idea what of the pieces that you’re playing with, let alone what board you’re playing on. It made me question if I would even want to win the challenge. Sometimes the last place you want to be is away from the tribe. It gives people the opportunity to strategise without you, potentially putting you at risk. You would actually want to keep an ally with the rest of the tribe so that they can fill you in on what went down in your absence. Of course there is also the possibility that an idol or clue will be at reward, that’s something you don’t want to miss out on, or worse, let somebody else have. The way it worked out though, Matt didn’t get any strategic advantage from winning reward at all. He didn’t get to pick who was coming with him, it looked like Flick made that decision. However, the two people that he will be at reward with are the two people he would most want to be there, Flick and Kristie. Meanwhile Sam, who we assume is Matt’s tightest alliance at this time, is sent to exile beach, far away in time, with El and Lee the enemy. I think it’s safe to assume that there is an idol or a clue at exile beach, far away in time, hopefully there’s also one at the spa. Speaking of bathrooms…

Floater in the Dunny

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Has our floater finally found a strategy to cling to? Well, she was as elusive and vague as ever in her pieces to camera. In true Kristie form however nothing is off the table for her. She really did some lovely play this episode. She was humble with Lee (good on him for taking the time to have a chat with her by the way) and let him vomit out where he stood. After he had coughed up that info she then pointedly, yet casually asked about Lee and El’s relationship with Flick. This is the information she really needs to be able to determine whether Lee and El are likely to stay Aganoa strong or give Kristie the flick, as it were. She also noticed that her alliance was chatting without her and again was able to ask them pointedly about what they were talking about, which of course, they totally bumbled. This gave Kristie all the motivation she needed to run to the toilet (what a terrible name for Matt) and look for other options in this game.

She also put herself in an important conversation with Flick and Lee, where they were discussing splitting the votes, if this was to go ahead and K didn’t like it she would potenitally have the power to flip a 2-2-2 vote into a 3-2-1, sending home the player of her choice. All in all this was a great episode for K, she again has put herself in a position where she has options and none of them are particularly hopeless.

Next time on, Survivor

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Who’s gonna come out of the next episode clean, and who’s gonna have to get dirty?
So although nobody went to Jury Villa tonight, it’s fair to say that the scene is set for an unpredictable episode tomorrow night. Not only do we not know which way Flick and Kristie are going to move, there could be up to two idols in play, plus let’s not forget that Lee still has an advantage that is only good for two more tribals. Tomorrow night should be a cracker, though I should probably lower my expectations lest I be disappointed, again.

Until then, I got nothing else for ya. Head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 23 analysis here!

Episode 21 – ‘I’m a Believe-her’ OR ‘Last Train to Brookesville’

If you were blindsided by what happened tonight, it’s because you haven’t been playing along. Check out my analysis of the previous episode here.

Huzzah! We have some gameplay! The Brick has finally split in two, and it happened from within. Big ups to Flick for getting rid of the one person that nobody could beat in a final two (that breakdown is here). After the last episode I suggested that Lee and El be broken up first, so I’m a little disappointed that Flick didn’t listen. Regardless, let’s eat the dog and discuss whether this was the best move for the guys tonight.

Flick Flop

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Our puppet-master pulls all of the strings and doesn’t even need to be there…
Well done Flick. You recognised that Brooke was a threat to your game long term and you made moves to disable the threat. Textbook play too. I am a little worried that it may have been one move too early as Lee and El now still hold the power among the remaining players, and Lee holds an advantage. Though to be fair, had she waited one more tribal then it is likely that Brooke might have made the same play against Flick. Now that would have really been a world war three to behold. Let’s think it through. If El had gone, then that would leave Brooke, Kristie, Matt, Sam, Flick, and Lee. Lee would likely then approach Sam as his next closest alliance, and at this stage it does not look as though Sam is going to turn on Brooke. Giving Brooke the numbers to take out Flick. Ok, Flick IS smarter than I am. Now was the time to take out Brooke. Does this leave a target on her back? Potentially, but she’s done all that she can do to mitigate that in allowing El to come up with Brooke’s name (that was nice). She might now be able to sit back and make it look like this was El’s move and let her take the heat. That would be a fine line to walk there, to get the balance right between having El take the blame for the move in-game, but still be able to take the credit for it with the jury. The other thing to think about is Lee’s advantage. Does she know what Lee’s advantage is? If so I’m wondering if it would have been smart to try and influence him to use that tonight so that he could not use that against her next tribal. I’m not convinced that Lee and/or El would try to move against Flick now. If that’s the case then you want Lee to keep it this tribal so that you definitely have the numbers in a six person tribal. Turning six votes into five and avoiding a tie scenario. So who does Flick need to take out next?

To get through the next tribal I would say Sam. Play up that Sam was going to vote against Lee and keep Lee motivated to take him out. However, Sam is one of the few people that Flick can beat in a final two. Lee and El are the two people who likely could definitely beat her. I would even go as far as saying it’s becoming increasingly likely Kristie could beat her too. So you might want to keep Sam around. So the best move for Flick would be to try and break up Lee and El next. If Lee and El make it to final five and Lee still has his advantage (the last time it can be used is final five), then they pretty much have the game wrapped up. One of them would likely make it to final two and would be very hard to beat. Therefore what Flick needs to do, is appeal to Matt and Sam, tell her why she felt it had to be done, that Brooke was a threat who could not have been beaten, that the next threats are Lee and El and they have to stay together to take them out next, all the while pretending that she is still with Lee and El. Unfortunately this would mean that she would have to rely heavily on Kristie to flip on Lee and El.

Still Floating or Dropping Anchor?

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“Maybe if I keep my mouth shut they’ll forget I’m here and won’t vote for me…”
We saw some nice play from Kristie tonight. Firstly, we’ve been shown a few times over the last couple of episodes that she has actually made some social connections with people. She’s had lots of little interactions around camp that tells us she might not be as much on the periphery as we assume. Two big chats with Lee, high-fiving Matt, water walks with Brooke. She’s clearly still keeping her finger in some pies. She’s also showed us how her mind works when she was determining what Flick’s motivations would be in coming to El about flipping. That was really good to see. But where to from here for her. She’s said all along and she reiterated again tonight that she has played an individual game, and it’s worked well for her so far. It has her in a pretty good position now. She can choose whether to stick with El and Lee, or to move elsewhere. Given that El and Lee are the biggest threat in the game right now, my gut reaction is to break them up. Kristie’s other threat however is Flick. If you’re Kristie, ideally you want to go to the end with Sam or Matt. If you’re Lee and El, you’d probably also prefer to go to the end with Sam or Matt, and not Kristie. Alright, I’ve just convinced myself, the best move for Kristie now is to break up Lee and El, then work on convincing both Sam and Matt that they could never beat Flick in a final two and hope that the final immunity challenge falls your way. This path is a definite possibility, she has a reasonable shot of winning this game now, she just needs to listen to me. My commission is just a fraction of the prize money. That fraction is 499/500ths. With flexibility as Kristie’s arguably greatest asset, is she actually now a threat?

Aganoa, noa, noa. Push pineapple. Shake the tree.

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“Lee, there are no ‘big’ blindsides and ‘small’ blindsides there are just blindsides”
I’ve spoken a lot about how others need to take out Lee and El for the best shot at winning, so what can Lee and El do to make it through this barrage of attacks. Let’s talk advantage first. Obviously, the advantage is more powerful the longer you hold on to it. If they can use it at final five rather than final six then they have a better shot of making it to final two. So they need to find a way to get through the next tribal without using it. To have a majority they need two more. Though I have absolutely no idea where Sam’s head is at after that “big” blindside, I’m going to presume that Lee could spoon him back into an alliance. If they still have Kristie with them then they have the four needed to vote out Flick (provided Flick doesn’t win immunity). The other option, and the one that is perhaps a little more dangerous, is to turn on Kristie. If they can recognise that a) Kristie is someone that the three others could want to take to the end, and b) her flexibility makes her both unpredictable and a threat, then they could possibly form a bipartisan alliance to vote out Kristie. Then once she’s gone Lee still has the advantage to move against Flick.

img_0336If he has Sam at that point he may not even need it. If he doesn’t have Sam then the least that the advantage can do is cause a tie scenario, which is better than going home outright. Is there any value in Lee or El voting out the other now? Firstly, I don’t think they will just because they have been very tight all the way through. Secondly, as each of them are such big threats to everyone else, they need to keep each other around to a) have stronger numbers and b) have a meat shield, someone else who could be perceived as a bigger threat. If we end up with Lee and El in the final two I would be very disappointed, but it is a distinct possibility. That leaves Matt and Sam for us to ponder on.

TimTam Sam and Milk ArrowMatt (if you’ve got a better biscuit reference to apply to Matt I’m all ears)

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“How did the rabbit get into the hat?…”
Sam, Sam, Sam…. Brooke handed you a big move on a silver platter. As she was telling you that it was time to make a big move and break up Lee and El all I heard her say was “Sam, here’s my trust, you need to get out a big player, I’m never going to see it coming, here’s your chance, talk to your buddy Lee and you can have me out of the game. Or Flick if you prefer, it’s totally your choice”. Oh well. I guess what I heard was not what Sam heard. Regardless, result is the same, other than Sam had nothing to do with it and missed a chance at a move and feels on the outs. I have no idea how Sam and Matt are going to react to this blindside. As much as Matt thought that Flick and Brooke were the angels to his Charlie, we all knew the opposite was true. Sam and Matt were the Rocksteady and Bebop to Brick’s Krang. Brick was the brains and they were the meat that did the brain’s bidding. I mentioned above that I think that it is still possible for Flick to salvage an alliance with Sam and Matt, and to be honest, that is probably the best thing for those guys to do. Given the best shot that Sam, Matt and Kristie have in a final two is against each other, the move for Sam and Matt now is to stick with Flick and break up Lee and El, then take out Flick and fight it out amongst themselves for a final two. Hope you’re listening boys. I don’t want to see Lee or El in the final two.

Bye Bye Brooke

Sorry to see you go Brooke. You played an incredible game. Unfortunately when you play so well it makes you a huge threat and it was only a matter of time before somebody tried to neutralise you. I don’t think there was much you could do about it short of winning immunity. It seemed that you had some misgivings or uncertainty about Flick in this episode, as though you felt that she may have been doing something shady. It did seem in Flick’s conversations with both Brooke one on one and when she was talking to the original Pu-ans that she was hiding something, but I may just have been thinking that because I knew that she was. I would have thought that Matt would pick up on that. Perhaps if you guys had these misgivings about Flick then you could have had a chat to Kristie to see if she would give anything away. I think that you thought you had it wrapped up and didn’t need to. Anyway, we’ll miss you. Your probably played the smartest game out there, shame that it had to come to an end. I also never get to use ‘Brick’ again. I got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

Brick.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 22 analysis here!

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!