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!

Episode 14 -‘Kate & Conner Say their Vavows’ OR ‘Trust in One Hand, Shit in the Other…’

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The not-so power trio
This post definitely will be a short one. With so few people in Vavau, there were only a handful of ways the vote could go, and I covered them all in my previous post. Let’s take a little time anyhow to discuss what did go down and have a brief think about what could and should happen from here.

Phoe-bye

Tonight we said goodbye to arguably the strongest player thus far this season, the mighty Phoebs. In the end her undoing was the one person that she’s had to rely on since joining Vavau, Kristie. Was there more that Phoebe could have done to stay? I don’t think so? Though Kristie may have been the one to actually pull the trigger, I would argue that luck was the gun. Phoebe had possibly the unluckiest run one can have in Survivor (happy to be argued on this). Her run of bad luck started when Kat wasn’t sent home when Peter pulled himself off (insert masturbation joke here). After that happened Kat (and Kristie let’s not forget) unwisely took out Phoebe’s closest ally up until that point, Rohan. I don’t know what Phoebe did to get Rohan to give her that idol, but it was certainly magic. At that tribal council Rohan was begging Phoebe for assurance that the KK was voting with Phoebe and I reckon Phoebe knew, or at least suspected, they weren’t but still told Rohan they were anyway. It was all she could do to save herself and it was beautiful. A sign of things to come from Phoebe.

Bye bye Phoebe. Arguably you were the best player ever to not make it to merge

Unfortunately with Roh out of the picture old Aganoa just didn’t have the numbers. It would have been a completely different game for Phoebe if KK had voted with her and Andrew went home that night instead of Roh. Phoebe then plays masterfully to stick through to the final five in Vavau only to again have the wind taken out of her luck sails and not go through with a tribal council as expected yet again. It certainly seemed that if tribal council had happened, Kristie would have gone home that night. It could be speculated that had Kristie gone home in the previous episode Phoebe still would have gone home tonight, but knowing Phoebe you can be sure she wouldn’t have voted out Kristie without a plan in place to keep herself alive. But then shitwist happened and any such plans are dashed. Bye bye Phoebe. Arguably you were the best player ever to not make it to merge (present your alternatives in the comments). On the plus side, I don’t have to see your name being misspelt again. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Vavau? I guess it’s poor form on Survivor to ask someone how you spell their name…

Kristie

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The face you make when you’re sharpening the knife inside you.
Was this the best move for Kristie? Probably. The alternative was to stick with Phoebe and either rmake a play at Kate or Conner or risk having to draw rocks (I don’t like those odds). While I don’t think it’s outside the realms of Phistie’s capability to form a threesome with either Conner or Kate and make it to the merge, the reality is that Kristie knew that she was going to have to turn on Phoebe at some stage, and you can’t guarantee that such a clear opportunity is going to present itself again. I think I’d pull the trigger now too if I were her. What the hell she is going to do now though is anyone’s guess. Buddy up with Kylie? I don’t think she was ever that close to Lee and El, I could be wrong. We did see in I think episode three El give Kristie a shoulder to cry on. Perhaps that shoulder is still there.

Dearly Beloved…

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This was just… awkward…
I won’t go into whether or not this was the right move for Kate and Conner. You could say they just went with the lesser of two evils. It’s also likely that once merge happened Phoebe would have ran right back to Lee and El and felt as though she did not have much need for Kate and Conner anymore, Kristie is probably less likely to do that. Regardless Kate and Conner will likely now hook back up with Sue and JL. Conner even has the possibility of helping Matt or Sam if things get tight for either of them. It will be interesting to see just how this man in the middle navigates the merge. Will he be Lucky Pierre, or the devon in the sandwich (that’s right, you know this is Australian Survivor, I just said DEVON!)

Just quickly what was with putting Kate on the puzzle again?!?! So far I’ve seen her start at least three puzzles, but I don’t think I’ve seen her finish one! Why she keeps being given the puzzle is the real enigma.

I’m not sure what to think of the little trust ceremony that we saw from Kate tonight. It was all a bit weird. Like they were getting married. Conner for his part went along with it, though it certainly looked like he had alter jitters. The great Stephen Fischbach always says anything concrete that you can do to show someone you trust them and are loyal goes a long way. Well, you can’t get much more concrete than a rock (was it a rock or was it nothing?). I for one think it was a very sincere gesture from Kate, she needs a solid buddy and Conner really is the only belle at the ball. What else was she going to do, go into the merge without a date? Like, loser!

Mega-Merge

Thirteen people in a merge. In the words of Tony Vlachos, “This is huge”. It’s not just huge, it’s friggin mental. How do you find your way in such a huge tribe? With such a huge tribe with so many possibile alliances and voting block permutations, I won’t go through each individual’s best course of action here other than to make a blanket statement to say to everyone, lay low, there’s twelve other people there, let them create targets for their own back and go with the flow. I will predict though that Nick is about to go home. He is so bloodthirsty for Old Vavau blood that I think he will find it impossible to lay low. He’ll start trying to make moves against Sue or JL and once people see just how rabid he is, they’ll want to put him down. Not that I want that, he’s probably the most entertaining person there now. His pieces to camera are sublime, I’d love to see more of him, unfortunately I don’t have high hopes. Until next week I got nothing for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 15 analysis here!

Episode 13 – ‘Pigs Might Fly (out of Sam’s esophagus)’ OR ‘Badvantage’

If you’re yet to check out my analysis of the previous episode, please do so here.

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Yes, they’re all still here. Like Manus island, yet another night where no one gets to pack their bags…
Maybe I’ve just had a rough day, but that was fuggin shit. What the hell is going on there?! I think I understand why they do it, it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. This is just not Survivor. Survivor is not, and should not be about production tricking the contestants. Have they done it just to keep Phoebe in the game? Whatever, I’m not here to talk about the show, I’m here to talk about the game. Shitwist be damned, let’s get on with it.

Phlipbe

Last night we talked about whether or not it would be wise for Phoebe to split up Phistie and throw Kristie under the balls. Where I think I landed on that was that while I wasn’t necessarily opposed to the move, it would mean that she would need to find at least two people to have the numbers on her side in Vavau, rather than just one. What we see at the start of this episode though, and what it seems that Phoebs is starting to see, is that Kristie has been too smart for her own good. The way she tried to deflect the blame of the blindside was, well it was cringeworthy in its execution, but it also showed us and Phoebs that Kristie was trying to play both sides and keep her options open. If Phoebs can’t rely on Kristie, then it might be wise to sever those ties now while the two of them are on the bottom. Better her than you right? Regardless of whether you’re going to flip on Kristie or stick with her. You need at least another person. And if you are going to flip, you need to pick someone that you can be tight with from here on out.

…I’d argue that Conner is actually a better right hand man for Phoebs than Kristie is…

Phoebe had a good go at getting Conner, and I think that if I were her, and had to choose one of those three to buddy with, Conner would be who I’d go for. He’s already shown that if he thinks you’re tight with him he’ll do your bidding like a little puppy dog. As long as you can manage his wishy washyness you’d be ok. The way to do that would just be to say “Conner, I will do whatever you want, whatever your call is I’ve got your back” for a few tribals. He’s already shown that he can’t lie to people so if he is going to screw you on that you’ll know about it in advance. So with this in mind I’d argue that Conner is actually a better right hand man for Phoebs than Kristie is. Become Smudge or The Thermals (power trio), and then slice off Kristie the first time you get a sniff that she is trying to make a move against you. So if Phoebs was going to vote against Kristie tonight, that makes twice in a row she was thwarted by production. It’s like she has to work twice as hard as anyone else to get someone voted out. All the more impressive that she’s still here.

Kreepstie (she was giving off a weirder than normal vibe tonight, sorry Kristie, I’m sure it was just the editing)

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“Have I got anything in my teeth?” OR “a snail will clean that gunk right out”
Kristie, Though I’m not opposed to you trying to keep you options open, showing Phoebs your unreliability is not going to engender her trust in you. Phoebs herself has told us time and again, she can not have unknowns in her game. Has she told Kristie this as well? Regardless, the best move for you would have been to own your decision, but still show that Phoebs had masterminded it. Trying to make out that you were not on board with the move just shows Phoebs that you’re not on board with her. Incidentally, great job here from Sue to casually ask Kristie why she was so teary in the lead up top the last tribal. It really put Kristie on the spot but did not seem in any way malicious. She’s really good at asking those pointed questions and getting away with it. She did it to find out about Aganoa’s idol and she’s done it again here. I’m sure there’s more times she’s used that approach that we just haven’t seen too. It’s like when your Nan asks teenage you, “So, you been smoking that weed?”. So casual yet so pointed you just don’t know what to do. I think I’ve a lot to learn from Sue, things that we haven’t seen in the game before. In saying that she’s boring as termite shit at tribal council.

I imagine JL is still higher up Nick’s shitlist than Sue would be.

Anyway, I’ve gotten off track, we were talking about Kristie. I acknowledge that it’s easy for me, siting here on my couch eating a Whopper Jr, to tell Kristie that she should have done better when put on the spot after living without food and sleep for almost a month. So, what can she do from here? Hell, with that tribe at a foursome you don’t have many options, you either stick with Phoebe, even after the shit she has been talking, and try and find someone else, or you throw shit back at Phoebe. There’s really not that many options. I would argue that at this point sticking with Phoebe is the best bet, because at least you have a buffer or shield later. If you decide to attack Phoebe, you would want to hope that you don’t go to tribal at three as without that buffer it’s likely that you’re going home. Will there be a tribal at three though or will some sort of merge happen first. We’ll get to that after we discuss where Kate and Conner now sit.

Kate and Conner

This will be quick. Kate and Conner aren’t a threat to each other, I see no reason for one to try and vote out the other. Phistie is the threat long term, so all you need to do is choose who you want to side with medium to long term and vote out the other. As mentioned last night, best bet for them is to stick with Phoebe for now, she needs someone tight in her corner, keep a low profile and vote as a block through the merge and towards the top eight and take her out before she takes you out. The last part is easier said than done sure, but you’ve got time for opportunities to do that to come up, and to formulate a plan. Sue will likely be one of those options. There is no way she is being voted out in an early Pu vote, there’s too many other characters they want to get rid of first, unless of course Nick bitterly takes her out, though I imagine JL is still higher up his shitlist than Sue would be. I assume Nick would be gunning to at least split them up. What I suspect though, is that a new tribe-split may do that for him.

Long Division

Once we learned the details of shitwist, my thought was that once you have ten on The Pu, then The Pu will be split in two and we go back to a three tribe game for a couple of rounds before the merge. That is the only way to give Vavau a fighting chance at not having to go to the next tribal. However, if there is a tribe of ten, or even nine, and a tribe of four, then that most likely means more than half of your tribe is sitting out of a challenge (depending on the challenge). Which of course screws the whole rule about an individual not sitting out of back to back challenges. So they will either have to change the rule, change the challenges, or change the tribes. Something has to give. My money is on changing the tribes. I’m not going to talk about Brooke’s choice in enacting shitwist as that is a rabbit hole that’s chock full of conjecture, I will say however that not picking Phoebe was definitely the right move.

Strange Bedfellow

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The closest Kylie will ever get to forming and all woman alliance…
All week people have been asking me my opinion of Kylie. I couldn’t care either way. Do I think she is a powerful and empowered strong inspirational woman? Most definitely. Unfortunately I personally find her boring to watch. To me she is playing neither an entertaining nor an interesting game. She doesn’t really seem to be playing the game at all. Well, yes, we saw her try and form an all woman alliance today, that’s trying something, but she just does not seem to have her finger on the pulse of the game or even the tribe. The only way she will make it to the end is through her challenge strength and as a goat, and that is actually becoming a possibility. And if the jury absolutely detests who she is in the final two with, I hate to say this but, she could actually win. That would probably be the most underwhelming and least satisfactory end to this season that I could imagine. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. And on that note, that’s all from me, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

 

Episode 14 analysis here!

Episode 12 – ‘Hatchet Job’ OR ‘Can I Axe You For a Favour?’

If you are yet to read the analysis of the last episode, please head here to catch up.

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Our crayons get a little less eclectic 😪
I feel like discussion tonight is going to be rather brief. Why? Because tonight Phistie showed us how to perfectly play an idol. We also got a great lesson in what not to do from Vavau. Let’s get into it.

Phinders Keepers

There really is no better way to play an idol than what we witnessed from Phistie tonight. Firstly, the lead up play from Phoebe. Recognising just how important it was to find out who Vavau was voting against. Actually, let’s go back a step. Even before making the move to figure out who Vavau was voting against, there is the implicit decision to not try to figure out a way to flip the numbers. Arguably, if Phistie had decided to try and find another ally or two, maybe try to stick with Kate, to flip on the others, then things would have been a whole lot more complicated for everyone. Phistie would have too many other things to have to rely on and could end up playing the idol against the wrong person or even not playing it at all. So, it was the lack of a move, the deciding to just lie down and play dead that opened the trap, then Phoebe baited it. I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘ask-someone-to-tell-you-when-you-are-going-to-be-voted-out’ move. I can’t think of a good reason not to use it (comments anyone?). If I were on Survivor as soon as I got somewhat close with someone I would be using that move as a matter of course. Even though it did seem somewhat disingenuous coming from Phoebe at the time (to me) as we hadn’t seen her trying to bond with Conner before this, you can’t deny that it worked. Conner, Conner, Conner…

Then You Go & Spoil It All By Saying Something Stupid Like “We’re Voting You”

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A worthy opportunity to recycle this one…
Earlier in the episode I was so proud of Conner for taking the opportunity to get close to Kate and console her in her time of being overwhelmed by emotions. Not that I’m necessarily saying that it was a ‘move’, but it was exactly what he needed to be doing to solidify his place within the tribe. It’s clear that Kate follows her heart, and so being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to cry to is the way to earn Kate’s loyalty. Then to go and tell Phoebe that the votes are coming her way? Dude, c’mon! Unless you want her loyalty or are looking at having an alliance with her or using it to flip the numbers, keep it to yourself. Otherwise the only reason why you’re doing it is to keep your own conscience clear. Giving away information can always result in biting you in the arse. We’ve seen it many times this season (“Hey Roh, do you guys have an idol?” “Yeah”) and in many other seasons. Conner, you are clearly a nice guy but if what you want to do is get rid of Phoebe, that wasn’t the way you go about it. And as for the rest of you yellow yokels…

Burning Down The House

What did you guys have against splitting the votes? Was it just that you wanted Kristie on your side when you get to the merge? Well you’ve got to get to the merge first. Even that (very weak) justification aside, when you’ve made it so clear that you’re voting for one person then you give them an opportunity to do something with that information. I expected at least one of the four to say to someone, “this is too easy, what if they have an idol?”. If you’ve got Phistie thinking completely one way, then you have an obligation to use that to your advantage. Perhaps I’m just upset that C-bomb was voted out tonight. This is on every one of you old Vavau.

Hornswaggling Heroines

Of course, it’s not enough to just have one person tell you that the vote is coming your way, you need something to substantiate that info. Phistie played it perfectly. Firstly, realising exactly this, that they need a way to confirm Conner’s leak. Then, Phoebe
leaving the rest of the tribe alone so that they had a chance to talk to Kristie, it was just perfect. And the way that they played it when they reunited with the tribe, the acting was sublime, Gold Logie deserving (wait, since when have people received gold Logies because they could act?)! And to keep straight faces right to the end. It really was beautiful to behold. I don’t think I’ve seen acting this good on Survivor before, and I’ve watched more than my fair share of episodes.

🎤Vere Do Ve Go Va-vau? (how the stuttering German sings along to Guns ‘n’ Roses)

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A small crack in the facade from Kristie, smirk incoming.
Well Phistie are still there and they don’t have an idol. Assuming there isn’t a merge or tribe swap next episode, how can they stay alive? Well we saw in the previews for the next ep that Phoebe may try throwing Kristie under the bus, I’m not necessarily opposed to this, but let’s break it down. There’s only five in the tribe, that means you need two people with you to make it through. If you’re Phoebe, you’d like to think Kristie is one of those, that leaves you with only one more and you’ve got your Jimi Hendrix Experience (power trio). I’m not convinced though that Kristie is 100% with Phoebe, and it seems neither is Phoebe. Many episodes ago, pre tribe swap even, we had a confessional from Kristie saying that she didn’t trust Phoebe. Of course Phoebe doesn’t know about the confessional, but there certainly seems to be something in Phoebe that isn’t quite convinced of where Kristie head is at. When Phistie met on the beach in this episode there seemed to be both apprehension on the part of Kristie to tell Phoebe what the rest of Vavau had said, and also, once she did pass on that info, Phoebe had to ask Kristie to say explicitly that they would vote together. I would have thought if they really were tight, that would go unsaid. I should point out here that in the past I have warned Phoebe against coming across as the mastermind and suggesting that she needs to spend more time asking her tribemates and allies what they want to do rather than tell them. Well Phoebe must have been reading my shit because tonight she did just that, asking Kristie who to vote off rather than telling her. Well done Phoebs.

Now that Phistie has turned against Craig, the one person who I believe that Kate probably had the most trust in, I can’t see the return of soPhistieKate.

Anyway, if Phoebe has concerns about Kristie, then she may need to let her go eventually, I’m not sure now is the right time. I guess there is a possibility that she could convince the rest of the tribe that Kristie is the mastermind and that she must go, that is not outside the realms of Phoebe’s capability, but then she needs to get at least two people to believe that rather than one. And in this episode Kristie hasn’t exactly been loyal to Vavau, she gratefully accepted their trust in her and wish to keep her around and then threw it back in their faces. If Phistie split up they both have a hard road ahead. My suggestion would be, if either of them want to split, five is not the number to do it at, wait until there’s only four left (if that ever happens), it’s too hard to get another two to join you. So if Phistie do stay together what do they do? We saw in the last episode that they were tight with Kate, that seemed to be a one vote alliance though, just to get Andrew off. Now that Phistie has turned against Craig, the one person who I believe that Kate probably had the most trust in, I can’t see the return of soPhistieKate. I guess that leaves Sue and Conner.

Sue

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“Anyone got some coat-tails?” “Don’t ask me”
Arguably the biggest loser in tonight’s tribal (other than C-bomb) was Sue. Craig seemed to be her biggest ally in the game and now she’s left with Mr. Loose-Lips and Kate. Neither of whom have shown themselves to be reliable in terms of keeping their mouth shut, or keeping emotion out of their decisions. At least they could be a three to get through the next tribal with. And though Kate has been wishy washy, I don’t get the feeling she would flip on Sue, so Sue cold definitely work with that. I think we’ll really see Sue start to step up her game now. Could she be swayed by Phistie? That’s possible, if that’s going to get her through the next tribal, then take it. But as I said, if you can find a way to stick with Kate, I suspect that’s the better move long-term.

Conner

Conner on the other hand, well again, if he’s smart I think he’ll stick with Sue and Kate, I don’t see anything attractive for his game on team Phistie, unless he can find a way for them to become Dinosaur Jr and he, J. Mascis (the power trio that slays for a couple of records before J. Mascis unceremoniously fires the bassist (Phoebe?)). If Conner can find a way to do that, good on him, that’s a move that can get him further. Much like Lou Barlow though (the bassist that was fired, I may be getting a little too specific with my metaphors), Phoebe has the wherewithal to bounce back and create her own Sebadoh (Lou’s subsequent and arguably more powerful power trio than mid period Dinosaur Jr). Anyway, this particular freed pig aside, moving with Phistie is a do-able move for Conner. It’s impossible for me to say whether this particular move would get him further than aligning with Sue and Kate, your thoughts?

Bye Bye Pride

I can’t end this post without acknowledging the C-bomb, Craig. Though he may not have started as my favourite, he certainly showed in the last couple of episodes what a loveable character he was. He played incredibly hard physically, showing a tenacity we’d not witnessed on Survivor for some time, and also a very social game. He seemed to be down with everyone, a finger in every pie, and these were very sincere relationships. I got the impression he really connected with everyone he was involved with and showed them respect and care. Later C-bomb, hope we see you again.

Ok, that actually ended up being longer than expected from an episode that really didn’t have any twists or turns, and we didn’t even talk about The Pu. There was nothing there that I found interesting anyway, though I’m looking forward to them finally losing so we can see how all these subtle power shifts actually play out. Until tomorrow, I got nothing for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

 

Episode 13 analysis here!

Episode 11 – ‘Throwing Challenges’ OR ‘Throwing Challengers Under the Bus’

If you’re yet to read my analysis of the previous episode, head on over here.

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Now who’s swimming with the fishes?
Tribal number 10 is in the bag (dammit I could have used a Kat in the bag pun last night!) and we finally say goodbye, some would say sadly, others gleefully, to everybody’s favourite wolf in sheep’s clothing, Andy. So it seems only appropriate that we start discussions this evening by documenting his downfall.

Andrew, “not a flexible guy”

The fish has left the barrel. Though I for one have loved watching Andy since day one, thinking that he had the goods to make it all the way, but as many people much more knowledgable than little old me have said, “timing is everything in this game”, I think Andy even said it once this season. Appropriately, it was Andy’s number one target, Craig that hammered the last nail into his coffin. Did Andy have an opportunity to take Craig out first though? Before I continue I need to acknowledge that for the last 5 or 6 episodes I’ve been commenting that Andy should hold off on making his move. And it’s easy for me to say, after watching the episode, that he needed to make his move tonight. Unfortunately, he didn’t set himself up well to be able to make that move. Let’s start with what happened after the last council. Furious that his name had been written down, he decided to wage war on Kristie. Again, playing with his emotions and not with his head. There was a fantastic opportunity to talk to Kristie and Phoebe (Phistie) after the tribal when they went to the well. Notwithstanding what Old Vavau may have thought of this, ideally this could have been the start of finding a few new recruits to aid his cause. Instead, he chose to brag to camera.

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When he finally did approach Kristie it was too little too late. And what did he offer them as an alternative, Kate? Surely he could see that Kate was their number one ally in the tribe. There was no way Phistie would agree to get rid of Kate. Andy just hasn’t seemed to be playing the same game that he was playing before the tribe swap. Before the tribe swap we saw him talking to and being sociable with everyone on Vavau. Since the tribe swap, and even since Nick and Tegan left, we’ve seen a different Andy, one who only wants to associate with his alliance. Certainly he may have been sociable with the newcomers and we just didn’t see it. My point is that by not playing that social game with everyone that he used to play, he did not have the ability to sway the votes when he needed to. Of course the fact that he was not performing in challenges didn’t help. It almost looked like in that coconut throwing challenge, he was, er, throwing the challenge. So when you add this performance in the challenge to the fact that he doesn’t really have a lot of friends, loyalty is only valuable up to a point. This point. Which is exactly what Craig realised.

You Don’t Want to be on Craig’s List.

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Gesundheit
I am becoming more and more impressed with Craig. He’s fast becoming a favourite to make it close to the end. This was a great move for Craig for a number of reasons. Firstly, he got rid of his number one enemy, Andy, and he may not have even realised it. Even if he didn’t feel Andy was a threat to him yet, I’ve no doubt that he realised that he would be one to him later. Kate and Kristie however, probably don’t pose much of a threat at all (happy to be convinced otherwise in the comments below). By scooping up Kate, who has really been floating for a while, he may have found himself a little puppy to do his bidding later in the game. Again, I may be underestimating Kate. I must say that I was a little surprised that he didn’t let the others know about his decision to vote Andy. Not informing Conner I can understand, given Conner’s track record for starting crazy shit at tribal councils. I’d be interested to see what Sue thinks though. Sue has always said that she is loyal to her five, but Craig may have dented that by not trusting Sue with that information. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps he did tell Sue and she just couldn’t bring herself to writing Andy’s name down. Even if he did tell her I suspect it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I don’t think that she’s so loyal to Andy that she would have told Andy so that he could switch things, and even if she did, what could Andy actually have done? It seemed that Andy wouldn’t have had time to make a serious move against Craig, especially having not already done the leg work with Phistie or Kate. Craig on the other hand couldn’t have put in more legwork, both literally and figuratively. He has been an absolute mountain in those rope holding challenges, and over the last two episodes we have seen him have multiple, sincere conversations with everyone. Everyone. The work that he did last tribal with both Kate, and Phistie, while it hasn’t actually borne fruit for him, it is certainly blossoming. But where to for him for now?

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All of this time you could have been using it for toilet paper buddy…
It looks like he will be spending a lot of time looking for that idol in the nest episode and understandably so. Without an Andy shield there is potentially a target on his back now. I’m sure he is hoping that Phistie won’t flip on him now. If he is committed to working with them then I guess his only option is to move against Conner. I’m not so sure that he should commit himself to them though. I think that the longer they are around the more power they get, with only six people left in the tribe I would be trying to break up the soPhistieKate trio pronto. How he’s going to do this I’m not sure, and it’s not looking good with Phoebe having the idol.

Phighting Phit (no, this play on ‘f’ won’t end soon)

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“Laters…”
With Phoebe having the idol, and a seemingly solid alliance in Kate and Kristie, she’s gone from being on the bottom of Vavau to being in arguably the best position in Vavau and perhaps even the game right now. But who is her best path to the merge? The soPhistieKate three are a fantastic vehicle for Phoebe to make it to through the merge and all the way to the end. Kate for one seems like she has finally found her tribe in Phistie, and though she is a strong competitor in challenges and seems like a lovely person, she so far hasn’t shown us that she has the head for strategy or the stomach for big moves. I would argue that going against Kate in the final two would be perfect for Phoebe, who has a much better island story than Kate. Kristie seems to be riding this Phoebe thing for everything it’s worth, but given the confessional that we saw about three or four episodes ago, I’m not convinced that she wouldn’t flip on Phoebe if shown a better opportunity. It’s hard to tell. Phoebe may be able to strengthen this alliance with Kristie by giving her the idol, that would certainly show Kristie that Phoebe trusts her and is in her corner and may just win Kristie over 100%. Once soPhistieKate have made it through the merge, they can easily hook up with Lee and El and the game is theirs for the taking. Craig, Sue and Conner by contrast have little to look forward to at merge time.

Where to for Kate?

Lookout lady, if Craig, Sue and Conner see that you are in a trio with Phistie, then they may choose to disable that trio by taking you out. Keep getting close to Phistie, maybe they’ll share with you that they have an idol and this could keep you safe for another tribal. Stick with those two and hopefully you’ll make it through the merge.

Sue and Conner

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If I had a dollar for every time some chump said “dig deep” tonight…
The best that they can hope for now is to see that power now rests with soPhistieKate and make a move with them. For Sue, her best bet would be to make a move against Conner, and hope that Craig makes it through to the merge with her so she at least has a possible trio when added to JL (if she’s still there). For Conner, well I’m not so sure what he can cook up now, in terms of making it through one more tribal he can go with soPhistieKate and vote against whomever they want, beyond that, I can’t see him making it much further unless someone wants to take him under their wing as a goat, which means he might make it to the end but won’t win. I see little hope for him in this game. If you have any idea what possible path he could take to move further in this game please share it in the comments below. Good luck though little buddy.

Saanawho?

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🎤 “Saanapu, Saanapuuuuu, (now we are here) in Saanapuuuu” 🎤
I can’t finish up without at least mentioning that there is a whole other tribe that exists in this game. The Pu. As much as I’d love to see Vavau implode and be decimated before merge, I do miss my Pu. I’m very curious to see what sort of alliances and voting blocks are emerging over there and what other tricks Nick has up his sleeve (Matt isn’t the only magician over there). Until next time, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 12 analysis here!