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 4 – ‘Somebody Loses Their Shit Tonight’ OR ‘Lucy Gets Lawless’

If you haven’t read my analysis of the previous episode I’m gonna get upset, so do what I say and check it out so here. Or you’ll be sorry.

Ken giving Lucy not quite enough rope

Episode four is in the bag and unfortunately for Takali, it was Gen-X’s turn to go to tribal once again. And what a tribal it was! David whips out a little something something to save someone who we’re not sure he is even aligned with. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more shocked player as the Jess I saw when she was saved by Dave. Hell, I too was bewildered, flabbergasted,overwhelmed, and utterly jubilant when David pulled that baby out. I have no idea if it was a good move for David but he’s certainly given us something to talk about. Let’s get into it.

Rules and Regulations

🎤They ain’t never gonna vote me off, never gonna get me out🎤

After Paul’s blindside last week I was really looking forward to seeing how the tribe reacted. The last thing I expected though was what we got from Lucy. Lucy completely tries to take control of the game, and for what reason? She doesn’t trust Jessica implanting ideas in her head? Does she not think for herself. It’s as though because the women copped shit from Bretstopher because of the blindside, she couldn’t handle the aggression and anger coming towards them and had to distance herself from that move. I thought it was pretty hypocritical of her to throw shade Jessica’s way after being so willing to make the move against Paul last week. Incidentally how funny was it when Lucy was talking to David and David was trying to find out where Lucy’s head was at, and she told him that she wasn’t ready to give him a name, that she’d give him a name later? Apparently later means two minutes later in the conversation. I guess the way she’s feeling makes sense, but the way that she actually behaved on those feelings, by being ultra-controlling was never going to work long term. She’s not Boston Rob, she just can’t get away with that so early in the game. The way she behaved notwithstanding, I’m not sure that the move itself is a good one. img_0932Jess was solid with her. Solid. Trading one solid alliance for two embittered players does not seem like a good trade to me. Let’s assume that David doesn’t play his idol and Jess goes home and Lucy stays. I would argue that Lucy is then the number one target. She has made a big move against an alliance, showing that she’s not, to quote Robert Pollard, a number I can trust. Either Bretstopher are going to want her gone, or, Ken and David are going to want her gone. The only numbers she has are maybe Sunday and CeCe. And they’re ‘maybes’. Speaking of ‘maybes’, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Ken would be next on the chopping block. Regardless, I don’t feel as though Lucy would be far behind. Anyhow, for better or worse, the idol was played, and Jessica got DaveSaved!

A Sucker’s Evening


David! What are you doing man?! The vote wasn’t coming your way, it wasn’t even coming at your alliance! I just have no idea what David was thinking when he did this. He seems like an impulsive guy. This was a move for the sake of making a move. Why do I think this was such a bad move for David? Well, actually I don’t think it was a ‘bad’ move per se, it just wasn’t the right move. In this move David lost an idol, potentially lost some respect or trust from his number one ally (Ken), telegraphed to everyone that he’s unpredictable and shifty, and all that is gained is some thanks from Jessica. It’s possible that Jessica may count David as an ally now, but in a tribe of seven where he may now have no other solid allies, that’s not much help. Okay, maybe it is a bad move. The other thing is we have a tribe switch coming up. Now sure he wasn’t to know that it would happen before next tribal, but he should have known that it was coming soon. In a twenty person game you generally are going to have a tribe switch up after losing between four and six players. So now he’s lost his idol, and has only one to two people in his corner, who he may not even end up on the same tribe as. It may have been an entertaining move, but it sure was reckless. Could be worse, he could have played emotionally.

Emotional Like a Girl

 

“Lucy, your words are like weapons, they wound sometimes”

Yes, Lucy equated showing emotions with ‘girliness’ and by extension ‘girliness’ as weak. I’m glad she’s gone, I don’t know how much longer I could have tolerated listening to her bollocks. We all know females are strong as hell, particularly ‘Amazon warriors’ like Michaela. Great effort in that challenge woman! Of course the person that Lucy directed that comment towards was our friend Ken. Gender stereotypes aside, Ken definitely let his emotions get in the way tonight. He gave us another example of poor gameplay. Again, the vote was not coming his way. He should have just been happy to go along with the flow this vote. Ken I understand that you were pissed at Lucy, but dude, it’s best just to let that shit go, you’re safe and it’s not affecting your position in the game. Even if you wanted to flip on her, you don’t have the numbers yet, it would mean that you have to get Jessica and one other. Of course Jess was going to go to Lucy and suss out where she was, that wasn’t being a snake, that was her getting the info to make a decision. I suspect that maybe there is more to the relationship between Jess and those on the bottom, Ken and David, than we’re seeing, and that is why he felt so betrayed when she did that. As far as then voting against Jess, I’m not sure whether this was the right move. I guess had Lucy stayed in the game and Ken had voted for her then he may be next on her shitlist. As it stands though, to the rest of the tribe, David included, Ken comes off as wishy washy and unpredictable. I don’t think his relationship with David is irredeemable however.

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“This is going to be more delicious than fresh goat”

I think David would understand it and still feel as though they are together. The fact that neither of them seemed to have any idea how the other was voting though is an indication that they aren’t quite on the same page. If they’re going to be an effective alliance going forward, they’re going to have to sort that out. Ken does have a right to be pissed that David played his idol though. I’m pretty sure when they formed the alliance David told Ken that the idol was ‘their idol’. If I’m wrong about that please let me know in the comments. Without the idol, there’s less reason for Ken to stay tight with David, other than maybe to keep him as a shield for later on, if either of them get there. The bad gameplay on show this episode doesn’t end at Lucy, David and Ken.

 

Zap Her Ass!!

“Y’all wanna vote lil ol’ me?”

Where was Jess tonight?! We saw very little of her around camp. Yeah, that could just be the editing, but given how things actually panned out I don’t think so. Perhaps she felt the need to go underground after blindsiding half of her six-person alliance. Still, what did that result in? Having zero idea what was actually going on. Even at tribal, Lucy made it pretty clear to anyone reading between the lines that she HAD actually approached Ken and that he wasn’t lying. Either she didn’t pick up on that or she didn’t feel she could confront Lucy about it at tribal. Either way it’s pretty poor gameplay, and for mine she deserved to go home. Where she is left now is hard to say. With a tribe switch happening before next tribal it would be futile to discuss future strategies for our remaining idiots at Takali. The vibe couldn’t have been more different over at Vanua though.

Get Yer Ta-Ta’s Out

Girl was in the Ama-zone!

Before I finish up on this episode I just wanted to briefly run down a few of the fun things we saw from the millenials. Michaela of course let the dogs out (and the puppies) to absolutely dominate amongst the women in the challenge. Adam found an idol, YAY!!! (Hannah may know about it, boo). Andy they went goat hunting, as far as I’m aware that’s a survivor first. We didn’t get a chance to see much in the way of strategy there today but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what happens post-tribe switch and how Adam uses his idol. Until then, I’ve got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

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 18 – ‘Get You Out of My Head’ OR ‘Gone a Night Like This’

If you want to read about how we got to our top ten before settling in for the ride, do so here.

Well that was a huge let down. After where we left our Survivors last week, with ten of them, tonight was the night to flip the numbers against Brick and El, obviously nobody has been reading my advice, idiots. And all the pre-show hype was about Sue’s big move. Which one was that again? We found out tonight that JL hasn’t lost her voice and does actually talk (yay). Hopefully this is the start of an upwards arc for her. Also tonight what could have been an interesting twist, seemed like it didn’t actually change a thing in the game. So grab your pole and smash your balls, let’s do this.

Exile Beach, Far Away in Time

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A split in the tribe? Nah not really
When it was revealed that the challenges bottom four would be sent to Exile Beach, I was not sure whether I liked that twist. I felt it would totally hamstring the players and not allow them to play the game the way that it is ‘meant’ to be played, taking away from those on the periphery any hope of forming a coup against those at the apex of the pyramid. Also with a number of the voting blocks unable to have the ability to come to agreement on their way to tribal, I assumed it would mean that we see tonight’s votes smattered across at least three people. How wrong I was. When we found out that there was an idol on the beach, I was a little more enthusiastic about the twist. Another idol in play is just what was needed to shake this game up, particularly in the hands of Matt or Sue. Flick went and dashed those hopes by insisting that no one look for the idol. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great play on her part. She’s said all along that she needs to be in control, and if there’s an idol out there she loses that control. An idol in the wrong hands would totally ruin her game, and its her game to lose given the tightness of Brick and El. It was disappointing to see Matt, Lee and Sue, just roll over on that and let Flick have her way. I understand that Lee doesn’t know any better, but Matt at least should be looking for that thing. If that puts a target on his back, it doesn’t matter for this vote as he has an idol. Moving to nine players after this episode you need to be on the side of five. The best shot you were going to have to break the BrickEl trio, was tonight, or next time if you’ve got an idol. Flick also has to get some credit for taking the time to talk to Lee and Matt while on Exile Beach, and try and at least calm them and reassure them that they were still in the top five alliance. She also did some spadework on Sue, though that was less successful (more on that later). Regardless, somehow everyone knew that the vote was heading for Kylie. I’m not sure whether this was the best move, or even how it shook down that way.

With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend

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The closest Kylie came to an all-female alliance…

Is it better to keep Kylie in the mix or to cut her off now? Let’s see this vote from Brick’s perspective as they seemed to call that shot, and weigh the pros against the cons. Pros of keeping; she’s not going to vote against you; will let you know if someone comes to her to looking to flip; she’s unlikely to receive Jury votes; gives you the opportunity to remove Matt, Kristie or Sue from the game. Cons, strong in challenges; maybe Lee will suspect he’s not with you guys; if JL and Kylie are a voting block that may flip on BrickEl, prevents that from happening (big ‘if’ that we’ve no evidence for). Is that all for cons? I can’t see any others. In that case, it wasn’t the smartest move to get her out. Again without the ability to consult with everyone in your alliance, maybe it was best just to go with the easy vote. Though I do suspect that Kylie was always going to be the vote regardless of Exile Beach twist as we saw during the challenge a number of ladies say to each other, and to Sam, that it was imperative not to let Kylie win. This move however isn’t that bad for Sue, Kristie or Matt. This at least gives them one less number to go up against if they decide to aim for Brick. So what can they do to make the most of Kylie going?

Up Against a Brick Wall

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The front of the line, the apex of the pyramid, the angels of the Charlie
I’m building the pyramid in my head as I type to try and figure out where everyone stands. If I presume that Sue, Matt and Kristie are the bottom three and the only way any of them can make it to top three is to break the Brick in two, how can they do it? El, is tight with Brick. Lee seems to be the same as he doesn’t know any better. That then leaves JL and Sam to play with. That’s a five if they can get it together. From what we’ve seen of the next episode it seems that JL is ready to make this happen. Who knows where Sam stands? Again he showed that he is really not connected to Brick as he voted Sue. He didn’t know that the real target was Kylie. Maybe this is the catalyst that is needed for him to realise that he’s not in their gang. It’s only going to take a whisper from Matt for Sam to see that Brick is a snake, and it’s head needs to be chopped off. The head of course being Brooke. Hopefully Sam could then shut his trap enough not to fill Lee in on this as it’s possible that Lee would talk to El or Flick and give them the heads up. If ever there was a last chance for the bottom three, and even the middle three (Sam, Lee and JL) to flip it, now is the chance. If you let Brick and El remain to the final eight, it is going to require a lot of luck and for immunity wins to go your way to have a shot at the top three. I have to acknowledge at this point that it’s possible that my vision could be clouded by my dislike for Brick, perhaps it’s actually better for one or more of the bottom three to keep Brick there. I really can’t see it though. If you do, please let me know in the comments below.

El’s Belles

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Sitting pretty 
I also have to acknowledge that I’ve made a presumption that El wants to go to final three with Brick. It’s possible that her plan is to flip on them as we get closer to the end. For her sake I hope so. If she were to make it to final three with them, even if she wins the last immunity, that puts her up against either Brooke or Flick in the final two. Having not actually made any moves so far, it is incredibly unlikely that she would be beat Brooke, who not only has called the shots but seems to have formed pretty good personal relationships with most people who would be on the jury. It’s possible, but I would still say unlikely that she would beat Flick. Flick may receive more animosity from the jury, but she has still played the game hard and the jury may respect that. Both of these scenarios likely result in an El loss, so her best bet is to flip on Brick at some stage. Final five is that time though, not now. If she were to flip now she loses the security of that alliance and could easily find herself without any other security to hang on or and therefore easy pickings. Yeah, she needs to flip at five to have a shot at winning the game. I can’t wait to see what happens when the top three start to realise that they’re going to need to turn on each other soon. Particularly Flick. Flick can’t win if Brooke’s there, I hope for her sake she realises this before Brooke does.

A Perfect Fit

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Sue pledges Kappa Kappa Brick
Although we didn’t see the big move from Sue we were promised tonight, before I wrap this up I do have to give her some credit. When approached by Flick (incidentally that scene was, to quote Flick herself I believe, “awkward as” for Flick, watch it again here), Sue realised Flick was blowing smoke up her arse. And whether it was by accident or design, her response to Flick was “my ambition is to make it to top six” was genius. That is, I would imagine, exactly what Flick wants to hear. Again, whether by accident or design, her vote for Kylie may have helped to solidify Flick’s impression of her loyalty. Sue needs to spend the next two days subtly reassuring Flick that she will vote with Flick to the top six, so it is less likely that Flick will see the vote coming against Brick.

If all goes as predicted, tomorrow night could be a great episode. Unfortunately it could also be another boring episode of The Brick Show. Guess we’ll find out soon enough. Until then, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 19 analysis here!

Episode 2 – ‘Where There’s a Will There’s a Way’ OR ‘Getting Figgy With It’

SPOILER ALERT: The following discussion contains spoilers for episode two

If you’re yet to read my analysis of episode 1, you can do so here. 

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Our slightly odd couple. Watching their relationship develop is beautiful and heartwarming. A true Survivor love story.

Episode two is in the bag and much like a specially marked coconut, it was chock full of gameplay. But the headline everyone’s talking about is Taylor and Figgy sitting in a tree.

Love Goggles

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Jeepers creepers, where’d you get those peepers?

 

It’s been a while since we’ve had a survivor ‘showmance’, (ugh, let’s make that the last time I use that portmanteau). Fig-Tay outing themselves as a thing brought total drama island to Vanua camp. Whether it was the “mackin’ in the shack” that for some reason turned Michaela against Figs or something else we don’t know. Their altercation seemed to come out of nowhere. Someone who certainly wasn’t happy that his boy was bailing on him on bowling night was Jay. Though again, I’m not sure how much of this was personal and how much was strategy, give me your thoughts in the comments. Regardless, it was clear there was a lot of uncertainty in the camp. The cool kids aware that they only had four, and it seemed that any animosity, disrespect or mistrust directed toward Figs was enough to put her head on the chopping block. A quick aside. I am a little confused that any fallout from the tainted kiss was not directed toward Tay. Millennials or not it seems to me that the patriarchy still has life left in it. Anyhow, for mine it appeared that Mackfest 2016 certainly precipitated the strategy that was to come.

Casual Hook-ups

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I’m like totally serious dude, like Mari’s totally gonna vote you out man. Bummer. If only there were a way we could stop her from doing that. 

So Adam and Zeke don’t realise that Jay is in on the cool kids? That doesn’t seem right. Or are they just so naïve that they don’t realise just how tight he is and that he will talk to his Triforce (which incidentally has now been renamed a ‘trifecta’ yet still seems to have four people in it. Let’s stick to the one moniker please Jay, you’re making me do extra work here). So Jay talks to Michelle, who points out to Jay that this will flip the numbers (d’doy) and seemingly gives him the job of getting *cough cough* Michaela and Figs to kiss and make up (Figs’ lips be working overtime this episode). img_0793And props to him for making that happen, coming up with a story that Mari was going to vote Michaela next after Figs. Michaela being Michaela she does zero fact checking on this (I’m already confident enough to make my first prediction of the season, Michaela won’t win). All of this results in Michaela voting with Figs, yet there’s clearly still animosity between them at tribal. Had Michaela done any fact-checking then I think things would have shaken down a little differently. Not that I’m saying Michaela’s vote would have necessarily changed, she could assume that Mari was lying to her if she checked with Mari. But had she checked with Mari, Zeke, Adam or Hannah, there’s no doubt that one of those guys would have talked to Mari, and Jay (and/or Michelle) would have been outed as a snake and the not-cool kids (everyone outside of the triforce and Will) would have galvanized. Meanwhile, Michelle is working on Will as he seems to be a floater, and of course we learn later that he votes against Mari. Whether it was by design or accident, Hannah is asked to flip while in Council. If this was by design then this was very clever. Had they approached Hannah earlier then there’s a big risk that she would have informed the rest of the not-cool kids. By doing it at tribal, Hannah doesn’t have that opportunity. It also means she doesn’t have time to think about it. It turned out that both Will and Michaela voted Mari and so the cool kids didn’t need Hannah’s vote. So Mari goes and Figgy stays (7 votes to 3).

Walking in with The Bunny

 

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I know this isn’t Figs. But if you’re anything like me you much prefer to be reminded of David’s antics than look at Figgy.

So I’ve heard it said and read it written over the past week that Figgy is the second coming of Parvati. I for one was all set to give her the nickname ‘Parvatwo’, unfortunately, we didn’t actually see any gameplay from her tonight, so I have to reserve that handle until I see that she has really earned it. Or is it that she’s got things locked in so tight that she doesn’t even need to play hard, she can have her minion do it for her? I suspect it’s somewhere in between, that she actually did have some strategic conversations of her own to try and save herself, we just didn’t see them, as it was more fun to watch Michelle and Jay (JayChelle?) do it instead. Where to for Figs from here? Well, it’s pretty clear that she has a really strong four, and with the other five seemingly fractured things are looking pretty tidy for her. I imagine that there will be some fallout directed toward Hannah from the not-cools, and we don’t know exactly where Will fits into all this, but as long as she can keep her four tight and bring in just one other, she should survive at least a couple more tribals.

Will has Grace 

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There’s something fishy about your proposition. Nope, you just need a shower woman.

The young Will it seemed had plans other than voting out Mari until he was approached by Michelle. Whether these plans were because of an alliance with Mari and/or the other not-cools or just borne of voting Figs as it seemed where the numbers were going is unknown to us. Either way I thought he showed great openness and honesty and dependability in saying to Michelle that he had to think about it as flipping his vote so close to tribal could mess the flow of his game. It seems he is in a pretty good position now then. Voting with the cools but having not necessarily given his alliance to them, he could easily flip back to the not-cools if it suits him. He’ll have to play this position smartly though lest he come off as wishy-washy and bad for both groups’ games. His deliberateness and patience will only get him so far before it is seen as volatile. He might soon have to choose an alliance and tell them he’s with them, or more entertainingly, tell both the cools and the not-cools he is with them and choose one at tribal. Which would be the best for him. Hard to say without knowing the fallout from Hannah’s and Michaela’s decisions to vote Mari. He’ll need to keep a close eye on where those numbers go, and follow them. Perhaps forming a duo with Hannah is a good move, a solid two is a more attractive recruitment proposition than an indecisive one. Also gives the two of you more power within that alliance of four or five.

Best Version of Myself

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I just met you, and this seems wiggy, but here’s some sugar cane, please vote out Figgy.

Based on the “next time on…Survivor” scene, it looks like Zeke and Adam are pissed that Hannah flipped her vote and left them in the lurch. Zeke this is not the “best version of yourself” anymore! Damn I hope they don’t go too far with this. That could be just enough to nudge Hannah into the cools, and if the cools are smart they’ll scoop that up that number pronto. Zeke and Adam really are in a tight spot now, I can see that they’ll have to scramble if they wanna stay alive in Vanua. That means, first of all, staying tight with Hannah. I don’t think this is outside the realms of their capability, but they’ll have to play softer than telling her how pissed they are at her. And unless they can get Hannah, Will, AND Michaela voting with them, they are in a lot of trouble. This is a pretty tall order. The only other option I see for them is to get Jay on board and I see that as a much longer shot. I guess it’s possible that they could convince Jay that Figgy is a threat to TayJay and that Jay could use them to break up Fig-Tay. I can’t see it happening though. Good luck not-cools. Speaking of not-cools…

Put de Idol in de Coconut, Seal it on up.

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Our hero keeps his head above water for another episode.

Tonight was another great episode for David. From finding the hidden immunity idol (nice one production, that was kinda cool), to his unlikely alliance with Ken, to starting fire, everyone’s favourite skinny white bald man got plenty of airtime. We saw him come up with a great cover story for his idol expedition, ok maybe it wasn’t that great, but he’s trying, and it worked and that’s what counts. A really genuine piece to camera about how Paul’s health issues are good for his game. Other than David there really wasn’t anything happening over on Takali, and I’m just fine with that I’m really growing to love The David Show.

Until next week, I got nothing else for you. Head back to camp.

Episode 1 – ‘Gen X-Wings vs Millennial Falcons’ OR ‘It’s a TARP!’

SPOILER ALERT! The discussion below contains spoilers of season 33 episode 1.

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Welcome to the 33rd seasons of Survivor US, also known simply as Survivor. We have two tribes Vanua (Millennials) and Takuli (Gen – X). Though I think production may be playing a little fast and loose with their tribe definitions (I’d love to know the age gap between the oldest millennial and the youngest gen -x’er (someone can google that for me)) they are certainly playing any perceived differences between these arbitrary definitions for all they can. Regardless of real, imagined, or manufactured differences between these tribes, so far it looks like we’ve got some cool characters this season and at least one interesting twist ahead.

THE LEGACY ADVANTAGE DA DA DUUUMMM!!

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“Um excuse me Jeff, can we get our personal items before we evacuate, I’d hate to leave a legacy behind”

So the legacy advantage is an unknown advantage for the holder on day 31? Did I get that right? The finder of the legacy advantage must ‘will’ it to another player should they leave the game. I couldn’t begin to speculate on what that advantage may be, the possibilities are endless. And I would argue that the fun of this particular twist is not in the revealing of the advantage, but in following its travels from person to person and seeing how they use it. It looks like we may have already seen it trying to be leveraged by Jessica (good work spotting and hiding that by the way Jessica!). Did anyone else think that when David approached her and told her that he didn’t have a hidden immunity idol that she was going to suggest pooling of advantages? Is that where we were supposed to think she was going with that? Can’t wait to see how this advantage is going to be leveraged throughout the game and if people are going to try and find sneaky ways of getting their hands on it once they know about it. The other question we have is how does the ‘willing’ work? Is that done openly so everyone now knows about the advantage and who has it? Or is it done behind the scenes? The answer to that my friends, is blowing in the wind…

Biggest Twist(er) in Survivor History

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So, unless there’s something I’ve completely missed this is the first time we’ve had the game put on hold and all participants evacuated due to safety concerns. I guess it was pretty serious. I personally would have loved to have seen just where they spent the night and how that could affect the game. I’m imagining there was much debate among production about whether or not they would show that as showing it could pull the viewer out of that Survivor experience. It’s just something that happens so rarely that I’d imagine all Survivor nerds would love to see that. I do wonder if it means that the game will be a day or so longer.

Short Cut Short Cut Short Cut

Tonight we heard the phrase ‘short cut’ used more times in the space of 5 minutes than it is used in a year at the military barber. Not that I’m saying I didn’t like this facet of the challenge. In fact I really dug it. Any time that they can give the players more choices in a challenge, it instantly makes it more interesting, unless everyone makes the same choices. Thankfully in this case the tribes chose slightly different strategies, and it just gave us one more thing to talk about around the water-cooler. I’m very happy with the first immunity challenge. Takali is sent to tribal and thus continues The David Show.

Power, Wisdom, Courage, and….. OK Scrap the Wisdom

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“Kill the dorks. Bash their butts. Kick their shins

Before we return to The David Show, here’s a message from Nintendo. Since when can you add a fourth to your Triforce and still have a Triforce? And just how useful is a Triforce of four in a tribe of 10? Especially when you have a couple of people as sharp as Hannah (this season’s Aubry?) and Mari who can instantly recognise when they’re being left out, and who also know that this is a numbers game. And though Figgy is in with the cool kids, from what we’ve seen so far, she seems to have the nous to know when to flip out. I can’t wait to see how this particular battle plays out. Regardless, unlike the current series of Australian Survivor that I feel like has been going on for a year, our US participants hit the ground running and start trying to form alliances and voting blocks early. Millennial particularly, who have grown up with the show.

Oh Crap!

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David. Never lied about being The Outdoor Type

Regular readers of my Australian Survivor analysis will know that this is where I like to talk through the moves that a number of players have made and what they can and should do to move ahead in the game and get to the end. As we’re only in episode one and haven’t really seen much of the tribe dynamics it’s too early to enter that discussion with any confidence. I can say, and I’m sure many of you will agree with me, that David is and will be (if he sticks around) fun to watch. I wasn’t sure what to make of his comments at tribal when he realised that people didn’t trust him and speculated on whether he had an idol, he said something like ‘this is a test’. I’m wondering if he was referring to anything specific that perhaps Bret, Jessica and Chris had said to him. I do wonder if one or more of them set some sort of trustworthiness test, and had him vote a particular way. As skittish as the guy is, he still seemed to me to be a likeable guy, and one that could be fun to have around camp, certainly more so than Rachel (crazy eyes personified). We did get a snippet of a discussion from, I think it was Bret, Chris and Ken(?), saying that they would not tell David, CeCe, or Rachel which way they were voting. Given how paranoid he is, and without any sort of security in knowledge of where the votes might land, I’ve no doubt that if David had an idol he would have played it. Perhaps this was the aforementioned test to which David referred. By not playing an idol, those guys know that he was telling the truth when he said he didn’t have an idol, and perhaps now feel that they can trust him. That logic is a little screwy, but maybe he will pay back their trust with some loyalty and they all can live happily ever after in their rebel alliance (I know that doesn’t really work but I was already committed to the Star Wars puns so it stays). As much as I and clearly the tribe found Rachel annoying, I’m not convinced that I would have voted her over David. If David is that skittish and flighty and volatile days 1-4, are you sure you’re going to be able to reign him in over the coming 35 days so that you can solidly depend on him? He also does not seem like he’s going to be an asset in the physical challenges that is for sure. I guess it’s a credit to his self-awareness to recognise that he was coming off as paranoid and unreliable, and then have the social chops to still be able to connect with those guys enough that they at least have some degree of faith in him.

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“D’ya see that Wilson, I made fire”

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Zeke. What a rad dude! It was such a great moment for him when he created fire. We don’t yet know what he is going to be like gameplay wise, but certainly as far as watchability, he’s going to be very entertaining. Until next week, I got nothing else fo you, head back to camp.

Episode 17 – ‘Tea & Sympathy’ OR ‘Jury Duty’

If you are yet to read about phase 1 of Sam’s diabolical plan, you can do so here.

We have our first Jury member, and my first and only prediction thus far (that Nick would not win) has been realised. Another long, long, episode, what the hell Channel Ten? Anyhow, as much as I love ‘letters from home’, I’d prefer to discuss the strategy and gamesmanship on show tonight. So let’s get into it.

Snakes and Leaders

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“If only I hadn’t made up that fugging clue poem….”
Goodbye Nick. For mine you were the most entertaining player this season. But boy did you have a bad shake. While I’ve thought for some time that Nick really hasn’t been very deceitful (idol clue aside), unfortunately the guy is so enthusiastic and plays the game at full tilt 100% of the time, he just comes across as devious. Clearly a very intelligent guy, I got the feeling he just wanted to share his great ideas with his tribemates. I get it Nick. I’ve been there. Everybody calls me arrogant but the truth is I just come off that way because I’m a fucking genius. You just couldn’t help yourself. I didn’t mention it in my previous post but there was a perfect example of this in last night’s episode. Nick did a piece to camera where he says, and I quote “I’m just going to blend into the background, just be a number” and literally the very next scene he tells his alliance his idea of how best to split the vote. Your enthusiasm is a curse my friend. Wannabe Survivors take this as a cautionary tale. If you’re as enthusiastic and strategic as Nick, you’re going to want to keep that in check and try, as hard as it may be, to not stand out in the crowd.

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Nick holds court in his last ever tribal, as a competitor.
With the way Nick started the season we knew that he would not be long for this game, and I’m not sure whether there was anything he could have done to make it much further. After last night’s tribal council he did a piece to camera telling us that he had fifteen ideas of how he could get revenge for the votes that were sent his way. Revenge is something that is certainly not new to Nick, and I for one have been surprised, given the bitter things he has had to say about JL and Sue, that he actually hasn’t seemed to be gunning for them now that he’s actually had to attend tribal councils. We also saw him do a piece to camera tonight where he told us he was tossing up whether or not to just try and sure up his relationships by being nice, or whether he was going to enact his “scorched earth policy”. When it seemed that he had slept on it and chosen the former, I thought, ‘great job buddy’. He then followed that up with some really frank and genuine conversations with Sam & Lee, which I thought was brilliant. These conversations were very different to the conversations that he had with JL and Sue when they joined Saanapu. He did a great job of showing himself as a human, human guy. The fact that he shared an emotional and touching reward with them probably helped. Obviously as much as I loved to see it, it didn’t seem to sway Sam in his conviction that Nick is a snake and has to go. So I’m not sure he could have done much more.

If Nick could see Matt was on the outer before going to tribal, why didn’t he approach Matt and see if they could flip it?

I was surprised at tribal when he outed Matt as not having his finger in the Brick pie as much as he thinks he does, and my partner said to me, “well why didn’t he talk to Matt about this before tribal?” Good point, why didn’t he? I guess he thought that he had come up with his plan, and he didn’t need to. By his own admission however, he realised that the plan he had come up with was digested too easily by his tribemates. Very astute Nick. Why he didn’t act on this feeling I don’t know, but in hindsight maybe a word with Matt would have been a good idea. I guess it couldn’t have hurt. Either that or go to Brick, who he tells us he feels closest with, and try and flip the vote off him. It was clear to us that Flick didn’t want him to go, and Brooke thought it wasn’t ideal. Perhaps an impassioned plea to keep him, but also showing those guys why it would be beneficial to get someone out other than he may have actually persuaded Flick to do more than just think about it. Not sure anybody was ready to flip on Sam yet.

Tearjerk

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I thought Sam was supposed to be one of the good guys?! Damn did we see a lot of spite from him tonight. Behaving very emotionally. It almost looked like he had convinced himself that Nick was a bad guy more than anyone else. Like he got this little idea in his head (thanks Kate) of Nick’s character and then talked himself into Nick being this season’s ‘big bad’ and that he was doing everyone a favour, and his tribe’s will by evicting him. In my eyes Sam really didn’t come off as the good guy that he thinks he is with his performance this episode. And what was with him asking J-LaP if the losers of reward could get their letters as well? Was that supposed to be him being the good guy as well, because that’s not the way it came off at all. Kristie is the one who won friends out of that little scenario (more on that later). Anyhow, given his performance in the last two episodes I can make prediction number two. Sam will not win this game. Not only has he shown that he is spiteful the last couple of episodes, but he’s confirmed what we already thought, and that is that he just does not have a head for Survivor in this season. That’s not to say he’s not smart enough to play the game, I’m not saying that at all, hell he got in and I didn’t. What it is saying though is that going into this game he was not aware of some of the basic strategy that we usually expect from our Survivors. Whether he wins or not, having now been there I’m sure he knows more about that strategy now. Where to now for our other big players?

Flick

Flick told us she wanted to keep Nick around, and that made sense for her while he was one of her numbers. I must say though I really liked her way of trying to make that happen without drawing attention to herself. To just try and quietly shift the votes to Sue was really, really smart. She has clearly been reading my analysis and knows that for her it’s not quite time to rock the boat yet, that there’s a few other people that can quietly be shown the exit door before she needs to start making any big moves. Good job Flick. We still don’t know exactly where JL is, and with Kylie as a floater, it will be time very soon to start making some more strategic decisions about how to make it further, who to cut before they cut her, and how the pecking order in her tight three is going to resolve itself and who she would want to go to the final two with. Perhaps her and Brooke already have this plan, my suggestion is to start making those moves if not at next tribal then the tribal after, before Sam, Lee and especially Matt do something about the power that your trio has in the game.

Kristie

We’ve seen Survivors sacrifice their reward in order to perhaps strengthen bonds within the tribe in the past. And more often than not it is seen as less of a heartfelt gift and more of a ploy to curry favour. While I am sure that in the case of Kristie giving her reward to Matt, she did not do it in order to be in his or anyone else’s good books, what a result it had. Usually the ploy is incredibly transparent and does not work at all, with the person going home very soon after. Matt however told us he would be forever in Kristie’s debt and Kristie gained a game-long ally. Nice work Kristie. As far as what you need to do with that, your timing perhaps couldn’t be better. Now that Matt’s eyes have been opened to his place in the tribe, it’s time to use that alliance to do some good. If you can hook up with Matt, Sue and JL(?) then that’s a solid voting block to dismantle either SamLee or BrickEl. Again, we don’t know where JL is at, but as you and Sue are such easy pickings at the moment you really need to move soon. Like, next episode, heed my warning lady.

Matt

Matt, if you didn’t know it before you certainly should now, you are no longer Charlie’s Angels’ Charlie. You’re more like, well, if Brick are Velma and Daphne, you’re Shaggy. They don’t need you buddy, in their eyes you will just get in their way. So what do you do about it? Harness those people on the periphery and move against Brick pronto. When Kate spelled out to SamLee where they are, and that Nick was higher up the totem pole than them, I’ve no doubt that they saw that Brick were at the top and Brick will have to slice them at some stage. Hopefully SamLee will move with you against Brick, and I’m sure that at least Sue and Kristie will too. Unfortunately it seems Lee has completely lost El to Brick, but perhaps Sue could convince JL to join them. That would give you the six you need to make it happen. Kylie? I wouldn’t tell her shit. In making this move though it is important that Brick feel safe. The first thing you need to do is go to them and talk to them bout what Nick had said, and not confront them per se, but just have a nice chat with them, tell them you’re still tight with them. You really need them feeling comfortable now and strike now, because within a couple of episodes they will shift out of coast mode where they just pick off the low hanging fruit, and into big move mode to get rid of big threats. Now really is the time for everyone on the periphery to start thinking about what they can do, and how they can be used by bigger players, to start making some game-changing moves. If you can form a six against four, and a solid three within that six, that could be the path to the final three, and if you’re lucky, final two. I wold love to hear other people’s thoughts about this in the comments below.

Tonight will also see the start of Channel Ten publishing their ‘Ponderosa’ videos. We’ll get a glimpse into the lives and the thinking of the jury as they live on island while the rest of the game plays out. Good on you Channel Ten for going here, that’s something a lot of fans love and crave. I’ll probably check them out and consider whether they may be worthy of discussing in this analysis ongoing. If you want to check them out you can check out the first episode featuring Nick here:

I couldn’t end this post without acknowledging a couple of delicious things Nick did in tribal tonight. Firstly, his comment directly at Sue as he wrote her name down. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone do that so explicitly before, and it was absolutely delicious. Secondly, he pulled the old ‘idol fake out’. Every time I’ve ever seen this it comes off as cheap and naff. Nick made it hilarious. He knew he was going and really wanted to leave with a laugh. It was classic Nick and he left us all with a smile on our face. I hope we see you again Nick, I really do. Preferably in person on island. I would LOVE to play with and against you. Keep being you brother. In my heart, you’ll always be one of the good guys. As for the rest of you, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 18 analysis here!

Episode 16 – ‘Goodies vs Baddies’ OR ‘Fair Game’

If you’re yet to check out my analysis of the previous episode, make like Kristie and float on over here.

A fantastic episode tonight and we finally see the best that Kate has to offer. Unfortunately this was derailed by arguable this season’s two biggest knuckleheads, Sam and Kylie, with more than a little help from Lee. Kate certainly went out with a bang. Let’s get straight into it.

Pyramid Scheme

As I mentioned above, tonight really was a cracking episode of The Kate Show. Throughout the season Kate has shown us just how strong a competitor she is physically and emotionally in challenges (puzzles aside). Over the last few episodes though we have seen glimpses of great strategic and social game play from Kate and she was certainly starting to pop up on a few fans’ radars as one to watch moving forward. Tonight, when she needed it most, she really shone. So what did she do tonight that was so great I hear you ask? And to that I say, seriously? Why are you asking that, wasn’t it obvious? Firstly, she recognised that she was on the chopping block (there’s gotta be a better metaphor we can use in these situations, please comment below if you have one you’d like me to use in the next post). She also recognised that it was going to be difficult to really form any relationships that would save her. But she knew that she had to find a crack somewhere. In the previous episodes we caught a glimpse of her trying to assemble the avengers and create a team of goodies. It didn’t play out her way last night (she voted against one of her own good guys in Kylie, what was that about?). So she has a more concerted crack at it here tonight. Firstly she chats with Kylie, to at least get some idea of who the good guys are. Kylie of course gives her that info but is as non-committal as ever about flipping, and wisely Kate doesn’t push it as I’m guessing she suspects that because Kylie herself is such a good guy, she’d run and tell her ‘alliance’ (OMJ I can’t not laugh as I type that Kylie has an alliance). Given what happened later we know that she’d be absolutely right about that.

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“Sammy no likey this story”
Kate then takes her opportunity to talk Sam and Lee, as she sees it, the two other good guys in The Pu. How serendipitous that they should be the two that were left at camp with Kate. The way she plays them though was a joy to behold. Knowing that she couldn’t just say ‘let’s form an alliance’, she spells it out to them another way. In fact, you might say she paints for them a pretty clear picture. “This is how I see it as an outsider” she says or something to that effect, drawing Sam and Lee a map of the structure of their so-called alliance and their place in it. So she didn’t say, you should do this or that, she draws them a picture. To make it as easy as possible for these Neanderthals to understand she makes it a simplistic little cave drawing (I shouldn’t be too hard on these guys, they seem like beautiful, wonderful, inspirational people, but when it comes to Survivor they aren’t the most strategic thinkers in tribe). So Kate let’s them see their place in their own alliance, and also see how devious and manipulative their so-called allies are. It worked an absolute treat on those two and thus begins a chain of events that almost sees the departure of our good friend Nick.

Unfortunately, all the great individual work aside, it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by Sam and Kylie.

The other simply ingeniously delicious thing that Kate does, is at close to tribal time, she pulls Nick aside and begs for help. Firstly her performance was flawless, she really came off to Nick as someone who is almost resigned to their fate and hoping for a miracle. It lulls Nick into a false sense of security so that he may be less likely to play his idol. It also pulls Nick away from his allies and the rest of the tribe so that there is less opportunity for him to see that maybe there are some shady things going on around camp. Some classic keep your eye on my left hand while I sharpen the knife with my right. Matt couldn’t perform better misdirection than this (at least we haven’t seen him do so). Unfortunately, all the great individual work aside, it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by Sam and Kylie.

The Goon Show

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“We’re here to fight crime and chew snails and we’re all out of snails”
Again, I don’t want to be too hard on Sammy, at least he gave it a crack tonight, but it’s clear he doesn’t know how this game works. Even Barry would have figured it out by now. Damn I hope he doesn’t win. Ok, so, when Sammy sees the cave painting, you could almost see the light bulb light up in his head. He finally (kind of) understood that it wasn’t all about just being a nice bloke, as some of those others he consorts with are less than savoury types. This dude does not abide such duplicity and dishonesty. He picks up his adamantium shield and decides he needs to do something about this, the good people of Australia deserve better! And he goes about trying to consolidate the team. His conversation with Kristie was awkies. Kristie seemed to just be sitting there listening to them and waiting for them to get to their point and thinking ‘you don’t have to pussyfoot around guys, just tell me what you’re thinking’. But Sam skirting around the issue isn’t direct enough for Lee, who has to interject with some locker room words of wisdom. I can’t remember exactly what it was he said but it felt cheesy and overly earnest to me. Kristie is obviously moved by their appeal, as she responds, ‘whatever’ (I’m paraphrasing here).

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See what I did there?
Next on their recruitment drive is Kylie, and when I saw Sam take her off into the bushes I was thinking “good work Sam, leaving Kylie until last and doing it just before tribal”. But that wasn’t the case was it? No no no no no no no. Time for our next spaced cadet to shine. Perhaps I missed a scene or perhaps it was left on the cutting room floor. The part where Sam said to Kylie, “Hey K, would you mind running off to Brick and telling them all about our plans because then they’ll really like you and you can be with the cool kids and they will probably now put you at the top of their alliance as reward for your honesty and loyalty”. Kylie, you should be so lucky (see what I did there?) Dear reader, I hope you pick up on the sarcasm here, I know I can be a little too subtle sometimes. Incidentally, how delicious was it to watch Nick stride by in the background while Sam is trying to get Kylie to vote for him. Love your work Nick.

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“You didn’t see me. Roight?”
Needless to say, I don’t think this was a wise move for Kylie. Well, it’s not the right side to align with. Brick will cast you aside like I did my cassingle of Locomotion in 1989 (see what I did there?). Here’s an example that illustrates the extent of Kylie’s awareness in this game. Kylie tells us at one point, “they (Brick) just want to pick off other players one by one just so they can keep the numbers in this game” So, you mean, like, play Survivor? That’s literally the object of the game. At least we did see Sam say to Kylie that he would take all the heat for the flip, I thought that was clever. Clever way of helping Kylie to make her decision and not feel as though there will be personal consequences for her, but also a good approach for him to manage the fallout with his alliance once the deed was done. Then he goes and spoils it all by piping up at tribal council, seemingly unsolicited, telling everyone that Nick is a ‘snake’, throwing Nick more shade than a tree full of blue whales on a cloudy day. Not that Nick needed that much shade. All Sam did was a little bit of spadework and then Nick snatched that shovel from him, and in true Nick form announced “that’s not how you dig my grave, this is how you do it!! Dig dig dig dig… Well if Nick wasn’t going to play his idol before this, he sure is now. Perhaps, Sam actually knew that Nick wasn’t going to get enough votes anyway and so was actually trying to make him flush the idol. In that case, mission accomplished. Had Nick not played his idol however all they needed though was Lee’s vote and a tie would have been forced, and who knows how tribal would have ended then.

Ball Spinner

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“To be honest J-LaP, I’m OVER it” (see what I did there?)
Damn there were some hypnotic balls on the episode tonight, and few more more hypnotic or rhythmic than Lee’s. I would expect nothing less from a man whose profession is to literally stand out in the sun and concentrate on balls. ‘Twas such a shame that Lee couldn’t stick with the plan and roll with team good guy tonight. Though I do think, once Kylie had outed Sam’s plan, it was a good move for Lee to make like Shane Warne and throw a flipper, flipping straight back to Brick and The Pu. Had he gone with team good guy he stood to lose a whole lot more than Sam. He seemingly had pretty good relationships with El and JL, who may have chosen to stick with Brick had the plan gone through. Also, all the heat for the move seemed to be directed at Sam (fair enough, he always said he would take all the blame), and Lee seems to have come out unscathed. I would imagine that had Lee flipped and joined the good guys proper, if Nick were to play his idol and still be in the game, with Kate gone the numbers are actually still against the good guys. I suspect from here he’ll just keep playing the way he has been. Playing it safe and sticking close to his pals. This should at least see him through a few more tribals until he becomes too much of a threat in challenges and get’s headhunted the first time he loses immunity, or makes it to the end. He’s actually a solid chance of winning when I look at it like that. Shame, I personally don’t find him particularly interesting though I’m sure there are thousands of you out there that do (good one DYB, like there’s thousands of people out there reading this).

Hail Hydra

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Ummm, I’m not sure that is how it works…
If Sam is leading a charge for the good guys, then I guess that makes Brick and Nick the snake, the baddies. Again Brooke needs to get some credit here. She’s clearly created enough of a perception of an alliance in Kylie’s mind that Kylie feels the right thing to do is confide in her (see what I did there? – well that’s it, unless we see Kylie come out in some gold hot pants, I’m afraid I’ve used up all the Kylie references I have for the season). So good job Brooke. I know they said it themselves (Brooke says “we just won Survivor”, not sure if you’ve seen Survivor before B-roller, but I don’t think there’s ever been a season where more than one person has won), and I hate them for it, but at this point it really does seem like it’s Brick’s game to lose. They are a super tight two and seem a super tight three with El, plus they have JL and Kylie working for them. If they can keep their shit together and have luck on their side we should see at least one of them in the top two.

Regardless of what Nick does, he certainly has some work to do to make it to the end, even the other baddies think he’s a baddy.

Though Nick feels like his head is on the chopping block, it seems that he is safe for at least one more tribal as Sue and Kristie are still there, and perhaps people may feel less comfortable around Sam now. That may be Nick’s best play from here, stick with his current alliance to get rid of Sue and Kristie, then before the finger is pointed his way, he could either make a move against Sam, hoping that Brick and the others now have a sour Sam taste in their mouth after tonight. Or, perhaps he could actually join with Sam, draw him a picture showing him that the women are currently the ones with the power and start trying to brea the brick wall. Regardless of what he does, he certainly has some work to do to make it to the end, even the other baddies think he’s a baddy. That’s bad. Where to now then for some of our other people in a tight spot?

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bumblehead

While Kristie’s floating is a good plan, it will only work for so long, and historically even if you do get to the end that way, without making any big moves you will struggle to get jury votes. We’ve already seen from both Lee and El that they have a soft spot for Kristie, and she’s well-liked enough to be one of the pink ladies. I can see her forming an alliance with Lee and El, and possibly Sam to turn on Brick and Matt when they’re ready. In fact, if she sticks with Sue, then they are a solid two numbers that are up for grabs, and we all know that two is better than one, THAT’S NUMBERWANG!

Matt

Magic Matt seems to be off the radar at the minute. I suspect he is biding his time to strike against his angels. Not sure who he’s going to use for that particular mission though. Perhaps he’s actually planning to stick with Brick for as long as he can. Unfortunately for him it seems El has taken his spot in that particular threesome. Could he possibly take Kylie under his wing, stick with the angels but form a sub alliance with K, and somehow stick it to the angels before they stick it to him? I’m having trouble seeing a path for him at the moment, I guess we need to see some more from him to know where his head is at. Similarly for JL, I feel like we haven’t really heard from her since Nick gave her fashion advice on the beach. One to look out for.

Well, I think that is probably the longest post so far from me this season, I guess it was a worthy episode. Until next time, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers 

Episode 17 analysis here!

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!