Australian Survivor, Season 2: Week 6

Welcome back to coverage of the world’s greatest game, Southern Hemisphere edition. After five weeks, Australian Survivor’s total running time has now exceeded that of an entire season of Merica Survivor. That can only mean one thing—it’s time for the first tribe swap.

Episode 12

Ziggy returns to Samatau beach with leftover food and a cockamamie lie. She says her advantage is the power to confer an advantage to someone else in the game, but she can’t specify what that advantage is or it gets nullified. But she is allowed to say that she can’t use it on herself, that she can give it to anybody (or nobody), that the person she gives it to can play it for anybody (including themselves and Ziggy) and that it expires at Final 5.

Now maybe this another case of “Survivor’s a lot easier from your couch”, but what Ziggy is describing in no way constitutes an “ultimate reward,” and as soon as she said “OK, this is where you guys have to trust me” and stops making eye contact with anybody, my bullshit detector would have red-lined. It’s unsurprising that Jarrad bought it completely, but disappointing that Tessa did as well.

Are you gonna believe me or my lying eyes?

Tessa says to the group “I can’t wait to find out what it is,” and Locky says “IF you find out what it is.” Tessa, not picking up what Locky’s putting down, says “Well, somebody’s going to use it probably,” and Locky mutters “If you’re still here.” You guys, I think Locky’s social game needs work. AK clarifies a couple of the fake rules (the person who receives the advantage can’t reveal that they have it) and in confessional (again unsurprisingly) says he doesn’t believe Ziggy at all.

At Asaga, Tara finally feels safe in her position in the tribe, and Luke boasts about his control over the game and says he’s ready to take out AK after the merge. And right on cue, it’s time for a tribe swap. While the swap isn’t Michelle Yi unfair, it doesn’t mix up the tribes as much as production was probably hoping for. The only people who end up swapping are AK and Peter (to Asaga) and Michelle and Annaliese (to Samatau). In Annaliese’s case, it puts her back on the tribe she got voted out of (“How could this get any worse?” indeed). AK is pissed about going to Asaga, and Tara is also pissed about AK going to Asaga. As everybody pretends to be excited about their new tribemates, Luke goes up to AK and gleefully yells “Whassup, baby, you could be doomed now!”, which is either me mishearing, the accent tricking me, or the most Luke-ish thing Luke has said so far this season.

The reward challenge is the “knock your opponent’s idol to the ground” challenge that Malcolm broke by throwing his own idol high in the air and tackling his opponent. Interestingly, nobody tries that maneuver this time, but some of the players with reach disadvantages come up with some interesting non-obvious strategies that I don’t think I’ve seen on US Survivor. One is, with opposite hands forward (i.e., left vs. right, right vs. left), to pivot on the front foot so that you’re back-to-back, then back into your opponent. Another is, with same hands forward, to wait for your opponent to lunge, grab their wrist, and pull them forward. Still another is to grab your opponent’s boob (at least, that’s what Tara says Ziggy did). Asaga wins, and it’s doubly painful for original Samatau since part of the reward is all the stuff they gave up for a flint.

Things they don’t teach you in self-defense class

AK knows he needs to scramble hard to win people over, both because the swap has put him at a severe numbers disadvantage and because Tara has been trashing him non-stop since she got swapped onto Asaga a week earlier.

At Samatau, Ziggy identifies Michelle as the easy boot because she’s the only true newcomer, while Annaliese thinks she’ll be the target because everybody already voted her out once. Chatty Michelle seems to be building connections with the women but turning off the men.

At Asaga, AK quickly realizes that Luke, Jericho, and of course Tara are ungettable, but he can still form a majority if he can swing Sarah and Odette. He sucks up to both of them, but it’s too transparent and it doesn’t help that Tara is always off to the side glaring at AK and sighing in disgust. Luke dangles the possibility of an all-boys alliance but it’s just Luke stirring the pot.

The immunity challenge is a variation of the coconut free-throw challenge, but with buckets of water instead of coconuts. On the strength portion it’s Locky and Ziggy for Samatau and AK and Tara for Asaga, and it’s as big a blowout as you’d expect. In fact, I’m surprised Tara even bothered to continue holding on to her bucket once AK dropped out.

AK confers with Luke again about the all-boys alliance, but he really just grasping at straws and he knows it. He checks in with Sarah, who is wavering as she considers all her options (this has to catch up with her eventually, right?). The “rational player” alliance (AK, Sarah, Peter, Odette) actually makes some amount of sense for both Sarah and Odette, but ultimately, AK just can’t build trust with anybody on Asaga, thanks in no small part to Tara. After as much of a pro forma tribal as I think I’ve ever seen aside from Alecia’s boot in Kaoh Rong, AK goes home.

I loved AK as a Survivor character, and you could say that he was screwed by the swap in the same way that Phoebe was last season. But unlike Phoebe, I honestly think we got all that we were going to get out of AK, and unlike last season, there are still plenty of strong players left to pick up the slack. Once again, the 55-day version of Survivor  is proving to be a marathon and not a sprint, and AK simply came out of the blocks way too fast and hit the wall. I’ll miss AK, but I’ll almost miss Tara’s stinkeye more.

Episode 13

Here’s the central dilemma you face playing Survivor: You can’t trust anybody, but you have to trust somebody. Having bonds with people you trust goes a long way toward assuring your safety over the longer term, but to form such bonds you ironically have to take a short-term risk and extend trust even though it might not be reciprocated, and indeed might be turned against you. This episode was all about how to form bonds well, how to form them poorly, the role of serendipity in choosing who to trust, and what can happen when you neglect to form bonds at all.  

AK was the glue holding alliances together at both Asaga and Samatau, and with him off the board, the alliances on both tribes are more fluid than ever before. Looming over all this as well are the relatively recent swap as well as the fiction and non-fiction versions of Ziggy’s “ultimate reward.”

With AK gone, Peter is now the only ex-Samatau on Asaga. True to all their natures, Luke and Tara gloat that he’s the easy next boot, Peter frets, and Sarah pulls him aside for a chat. 

Back at Samatau, AK’s former ally Ziggy needs a new bestie (as does Jarrad, presumably). She notes that there’s a budding alliance between herself, Locky, and Henry, with Tessa, Jarrad, and Annaliese on the periphery, Sideshow Ben on the outs, and Michelle most definitely on the bottom. Out on a swim together and away from the others, Ziggy, Locky, and Henry continue talking alliance. This makes a ton of sense, as each of the three is going to be a huge target after the merge.

Henry muses that having an idol (and making sure everyone knows they have it) would provide extra protection (conveniently neglecting to disclose that he himself has an idol). This prompts Ziggy to tell them that she has an idol. I get it—she wants to gain their trust and lock down the meat shield alliance. But there are at least three problems here. First, as Ziggy immediately notes in confessional, she blurted out on the spur of the moment something that really required more careful consideration. Second, just a few days ago Henry was on Asaga and Ziggy and Locky were in opposing alliances. She did the equivalent of talk baby names while on a coffee date. Third, and worst of all, by telling them she has an idol she implicitly admitted that she’s been deceiving them about the “ultimate reward” for several days. This completely negates the trust telling them about the idol was meant to gain. 

Indeed the subsequent confessionals with Locky and Henry show that Ziggy’s oversharing has backfired, then we see them both in the shelter conspiring to get rid of her. They discuss replacing Ziggy in the alliance with Annaliese, who they presumably trust more than Ziggy and who has the upside of having connections on Asaga. 

We check in with Asaga and it’s the status quo: Tara is basking in the absence of AK and taking credit for blindsiding him (which, what?), Luke’s ego remains out of control and he’s calling Peter the easy boot, while Sarah is scheming to keep Peter around. Sarah is once again shown as playing a quietly savvy game; she notes in confessional that Peter has nowhere else to turn, but also that he has connections on Samatau and that her own connections (presumably meaning Michelle) are on the other side too. 

At Samatau, we catch up with Annaleise after Locky and Henry have made their pitch. She’s rightly skeptical of Henry, not least because she saw him passing an idol clue to Jerricho. Huddled up with Locky and Henry, she tests Henry, states her suspicions in the form of a rumor she supposedly heard. Later, Henry invites Annaliese down to the beach to “meditate” (a move I pulled in college once–doesn’t work) and comes clean. Annaliese responds by revealing that she has an idol as well. Both Henry and Annaliese talk in confessionals about how this exchange of information wins their trust, and meat shield alliance 2.0 is born. Take notes Ziggy, this is how it’s done. This could have disastrous consequences for Ziggy down the line if, you know, she didn’t have a super-idol in her pocket that nobody knows about.

Note: Not foreshadowing

The next morning, Michelle suddenly takes center stage. The upshot is that she knows that as the newcomer she’s easy pickings, and that she’s going to have to scramble to get people to write anybody’s name but hers, and by “anybody’s” she means Ben’s. But before she throws him under the bus, she pumps him for the details of the “ultimate reward”. He spills the entire story as he knows it, and says in confessional that this was an attempt to win Michelle’s trust (that word again). She also asks him who he wants out and he says Locky, adding that Ziggy was throwing Locky’s name around when AK was still around. Michelle can’t believe Ben gave away crucial information to the person who is clearly on the bottom. Neither can I.

Immunity challenge time and it’s a nifty variation on the Shii-Ann/Parvati memorial water bucket challenge, only for tribes instead of individuals. With the addition of Henry to Samatau and the removal of AK from Asaga, Samatau should crush Asaga in every challenge that doesn’t involve a puzzle. But something interesting happens here. It turns out that Asaga has less variance in the strength of its members, and that enables them to outlast Samatau.

I won’t give a blow-by-blow of the rest of the episode, suffice it to say that motormouth Michelle throws everything against the wall and enough of it sticks to put five votes on Ben (herself, Annaliese, Henry, Jarrad, and Ziggy) against three votes for Michelle (Ben, Locky, and Tessa).

This is insane in at least four ways. First, I don’t think there has ever been a more goaty goat than Ben. He doesn’t have any allies on either tribe and he doesn’t seem capable of making any moves. There’s an absolutely hilarious scene, reminiscent of the Drewschebag episode in SJDS, where people are sitting on the beach talking about switching their votes from Michelle  to Ben, and Ben sits down right next to them, and after a beat they continue to talk about voting him out. That’s how little agency Ben has. prettyboyprobst has posted in the comments some of Network Ten’s charts showing how alliances have shifted over the course of the season. In almost all of them, Ben has been all alone in a sad little gray bubble. Why in the world would you want to get rid of someone like that? Unless you’re worried about another Kristie (hmm, that’s actually kind of a valid concern). Meanwhile, Michelle has friends on Asaga and the very fact that she’s starting to convince people to do something very stupid should alert them to the danger she poses. Second, Henry, Jarrad, and Ziggy were all shown in confessionals insisting that they wanted to keep Ben, and in the shelter Jarrad was absolutely adamant about keeping Ben. Third, in a very good move, Michelle stoked Locky’s paranoia to the point where he was leading the charge to get rid of Ben, and yet for some reason he voted Michelle. Fourth, Michelle’s finishing move was probably revealing at Tribal that Ben spilled the beans about Ziggy’s advantage, proving that he wasn’t trustworthy. But isn’t the fact that Michelle is now armed with this knowledge even more reason to get rid of her?

Discussion questions:

1. What was optimal cover story Ziggy could have told about the “ultimate reward”?

2. What does it say about AK, Michelle, or the game of Survivor itself, that when put firmly on the bottom of the totem pole by the swap, Michelle could wriggle free and AK (by far the superior player on paper) couldn’t?

3. How crazy is it that Henry’s yoga teacher lie actually, if indirectly, worked out for him?

4. It’s Day 30 on the island, it’s well past time to start the island hot discussion.

Assistant Dragon Slayer

Assistant Dragon Slayer

Assistant Dragon Slayer fell in love with Survivor from the very first episode he watched: the Caramoan premiere. He considers any Survivor better than the Caramoan pre-merge to be great Survivor.

Favorite seasons: Pearl Islands, China, Tocantins, Heroes vs. Villains, Philippines, Cagayan, Cambodia

Favorite players: Yul Kwon, Denise Stapley, Cirie Fields, Tony Vlachos, Judd Sergeant, Benjamin Wade (Tocantins and HvV only), Brenda Lowe (fight me!)
Assistant Dragon Slayer

81 thoughts on “Australian Survivor, Season 2: Week 6

  1. Couple quick thoughts on episode 12, I’ll save 13 for when its up:

    Here’s what should have been Ziggy’s play: Tell the entire tribe whatever cockamamie story she wants, like the one she did. But then she needs to go to her alliance, or at least its core, and tell them the partial truth: that she got the idol cancelling idol and they can use it to their benefit either against Henry or at the merge. Don’t bother telling them about the normal idol (which I’m still not clear on whether it has to be used at the same time as the idol-cancelling idol or can be used independently)

    I am so glad the Tara v AK storyline is over. I was done with it. Sure, AK got swap-screwed but I don’t think he was long for this game anyways, way to big a threat

    1. I did find the AK vs Tara storyline quite appealing, although it’s true that it was front and center for too long. But if the editors could be trusted to contain themselves, which of course they cannot, I wouldn’t have minded to have it simmer in the background for a little longer. And while I tend to agree that AK was too big of a target to make it much longer, I still would have much preferred to keep twist-and-swap-fucked AK over Tara in the game (not that I see any fault with Sarah’s reluctance to vote with him – Odette, that’s a different story, even though I didn’t like what we saw of his pitch to her), as Tara to me became obsolete without an AK to hate on (although I very much enjoyed her in that role).

      I also pretty much agree on what would have been best-practice for Ziggy. It’s hard to gauge the intended and unintended consequences of telling this or that to different groups of people, but I don’t see much of a downside to telling her inner circle about the idol-negating power, if she feels good about them and there are indeed two pieces to the idol that can be played separately (which I’m also still not sure about).

      1. Yeah, I could have handled the storyline if they weren’t both getting multiple confessionals every episode about how much they hated each other. I preferred AK going because I kind of wanted his screen time to be redistributed. He was dominating a bit too much for me. Not that I’m hoping Tara sticks around too much longer either. I think Odette was open to voting with AK but knew that the numbers weren’t there, so don’t rock the boat.

        At the moment, Sarah is playing the, well Sarah (Lacina) strategy pretty well (also the Jonclyn strategy), flipping back and forth and knocking off big guns. I just wonder if she can keep it up for another half the game without becoming the big gun

        1. Hmm, I don’t think Sarah actually flipped on anyone yet (she kind of did on Jacqui, but it’s unclear to me if she was more Team Henry, Team L&J or even Team Michelle early), she’s just always seeking out and considering arguments from both sides. Ant to me it looked like the opposite, Sarah willing to vote with AK, but unsure about Odette coming over as well, who was hesitant and even said something at tribal about having just heard something that may have changed her mind (possibly play-acting, like the rest of the Luke-side? I read it as “There are so much stories coming up about AK’s untrustworthy nature, that I may not vote with him now, even though I was considering it before”), hence Sarah’s vote for Peter, that would have allowed her to choose sides in case of a tie.

          On the AK-Tara situation, that’s definitely a fair take. Mine just differs slightly.

          Btw, I heard an interesting take on Ziggy’s early game from AK in an exit interview: Apparently she was firmly on Jarrad’s side, but was playing as a double agent, voting and strategizing with Adam’s side to mislead and gain intel. Pretty cool and this explains the lack of holding her accountable after the two shifts in power (although I’m not sure about the second, she may have been already voting with AK at that point).

          1. I guess she hasn’t so much flipped as has been kind of floating in the middle, not having nailed down a side. Which I think is what I was trying to say (quite poorly) before. But she is using it to weaken all sides. ep 13 I believe the NToS that she would flip again to target Luke next, which is consistent with knocking down the big guns. She didn’t need AK for that, so why not take him out first I just assumed Odette would be willing because, as you said, it would have made sense.

            That’s interesting about Ziggy and also indicates how she always manages to end up in the majority, as she basically always knows where it’s going to end up

          2. Yeah, the ep12 vote was weird like that and Channel Ten didn’t release the voting confessionals so we could learn more about Sarah’s reasoning. The way the vote turned out, it looked like she was planning for a re-vote, but maybe she knew where Odette’s vote was going and had other reasons write down “Peter” (which, to her advantage, wasn’t revealed at tribal, as shown on TV). In any case, I like what she’s doing and agree, taking AK out seems consistent with her teaming up with Anneliese and ger goal of taking out the big guns. Maybe she was worried about Luke getting too big of a numbers-advantage by getting his way there?

          3. It’s so weird that vote wasn’t shown. Such a break with custom that one almost wants to put their tinfoil hat on. Especially with not releasing the confessionals. I think that was her concern about Luke, can’t let him get a majority of solid numbers, so she wanted to see how solid some were (like Odette)

          4. True, although I’m not certain that they really didn’t reveal her vote at tribal. Maybe they did and changed it in the edit. But if you’ve reached the point to put tinfoil hats on, let’s talk Henry! He has cooled down a little bit in the last few episodes, but around the time of his volunteering for the tribe swap, I was seriously considering to put together the case on Henry being a production plant. He was stirring the pot from a seemingly good position, comes with this poorly prepared Yoga teacher lie and appeared to be more interested in delivering good Tv than good gameplay. And he doesn’t even look remotely excited about what he does, as you would expect from a Tony/Zane/Luke-type, he just does it.
            But he’s acting rationally lately, so I’m back to wait-and-see mode.

          5. If they did and failed to show it in the edit, that’s also dumb, but I can see it *cough* winners edit *cough*. I’m with you on the confusion on Henry. I agree he was cast to be the AK of Asaga, in the play to hard to early and get booted sense, but I do wonder if losing Jacqui and Kent brought him back down to earth.

          6. She may have a good edit, but Sarah is in a really hairy position now. Asaga now is the clear underdog in every challenge that doesn’t require a balanced team strength wise and it’s unclear where she stands in her tribe. Could be anywhere really, but I think it’s most likely that Luke, Jericho and Tara stick together (although that depends on Tara not alienating people and doing what’s best for her) with Odette as a tag on, and then it comes down to who they decide to target. Do they go with Luke’s plan (or is that also subject to his fondness for sabotage, even though it’s his own?) or has Tara gained enough influence to tilt the scale to keeping Peter.
            I would be surprised to see Sarah go pre-merge for edit reasons, but she’s not in a good position right now and it may be the best move for the rest of the tribe to get rid of her. The question is if her tribemates know that, or if they’re really looking at all her talking to bottom feeders without suspicion.

            Henry firmly aligning himself with the two oldest cast members = another piece to the Henry-is-a-production-plant tinfoil theory.

          7. I’ve watched the next episode now, so I’ll refrain from any more comment on Sarah until next weeks post.

            Henry aligning with the two oldest players is certainly a weird play. Production might want their plant to try and save them

          8. I’m trying to get everything about ep12-13 out of my system so I can finally start watching the next one 😉 Almost there…

          9. Yeah, I was trying to figure out Ziggy’s Peter vote too. Maybe she cast a stray vote in case of an idol-palooza? She’s lucky it wasn’t included in the vote read.

            Speaking of idols, one dangling thread is whether AK or Peter told Asaga about Ziggy’s advantage. Aren’t they curious about the whole “winning tribe goes to tribal” thing?

          10. That second part is exactly what Ziggy should bring up if she needs to repair trust after revealing or playing the idol-canceller: “I only lied to you to protect the knowledge about this advantage on our side until after the merge”.
            If that was her thinking, good job. I would have rather seen them create a believable cover story together and for her to trust her alliance to lie about it, but this wouldn’t be so bad.

          11. I like what Sarah is doing so far. This is how to play the pre-merge on Au Survivor. The pre-merge is too long to try and make yourself a big player. It will be forgotten by the jury anyway. No one cares how you got out anyone not on the jury, they want to know how you beat them and why it’s because they are great people.
            Sarah is playing a straight down the middle game, she lets other people decide who it is and then she makes sure she’s friends with whoever is in power. This is very Sandra Diaz-Twine, but she’s also making a lot of social connections with a lot of players.

  2. I was actually impressed that Ziggy came up with a decent enough coverstory for the whole tribe. I thought her description (presentation may have been lacking, but I didn’t find it all out terrible) fits pretty well with a secret Yul-Superidol that cannot be played on yourself, which would be believable as “Ultimate Reward”, especially after the speculation at that tribal. (The benefit of including that “cannot be played for holder”-part is questionable, though, and the “cannot be talked about”-part, while potentially helpful to her, is a little far out there for my liking.)
    That of course could also motivate people from outside her alliance to organize against her, but I think it would be more likely to scare those people from voting against her to sucking up to her.
    Nonetheless, the way to follow it up would be doing what Maritimer laid out below.

    I’m not sure why you have to tear into my man Jarrad like that. I never got the impression that he is more gullible or less Survivor-savvy than Tessa ( part of me taking offense with that may be due to a hightened opinion of Jarrad after ep13, though – it’s crazy how much it changes from episode to episode who I like best and whom I’m pulling for and against! Not that Anneliese has anything to worry about, she’s still the best and I’ll be always on her side. But it’s a good thing, I guess, that pretty much the whole cast offers something, which allows these kind of frequent changes of favorites).
    Good job on identifying even more evidence that Locky suffers from foot-in-mouth-disease, though.

    It’s also remarkable how different the alliances post-swap seem to have taken shape, from what one would expect from where they were pre-swap. The article already touched on this by mentioning ALi rightfully expecting to be in deep trouble and finding herself in quite a favorable position instead. I’m going to post the weekly overviews of shifts in alliances that tenplay offers in gif-form, but since it inludes ep13 (although sans outright revealing the ep13-boot) I’ll put it behind spoiler tags for now. As you can imagine, this week pretty much broke this feature and the graphic went bonkers.
    And it’s not even so much that I think it happens like that because we were missing out on important storylines, which got edited out, as I would probably expect in a US version. It’s more like some people are just very flexible, and some, apparently, not flexible enough (in keeping “the devils they know”).

    I was a little sad that Tara (finally and with everything working in her favor) got the better of AK and I have to admit that I lost a bit of my taste for Luke for gloating so much about such an easy kill. I liked him better when he gloated about doing stuff without accomplishing anything, but chances are I’ll get over it.

    AK was one of my favs for being a likable villain who gives good confessionals and brings the blood
    of his detractors to the boiling point. His strategic acumen was probably overstated on the show by having him portrayed by said detractors, who happened to be the players with the least knowledge about the game coming in, but I think he still has much more of a Survivor-mind than Phoebe, whose gameplay is also massively overrated by players and fandom alike.
    Where Phoebe had an edge on AK is her coming off as unassuming and non-threatening at first glance, but of course that jig is up after season 1 (and was at some point early at Vavau, to be more concrete).
    So yeah, without season-context I’d have much rather seen more of AK than Phoebe. Given the level of replacement-player-to-claim-airtime in season one, it becomes a much closer call, but I think at the time I was ready to lose Phoebe (obviously not yet knowing what shitfest season one would turn into, but it’s also very questionable if she would have made a big difference).

      1. Oh thanks! I was debating whether to include these in my Episode 13 post. On the one hand, the Episode 10-13 ones are indeed impossible to follow. On the other hand, when you look at the entire series it really underscores Ben’s complete failure to form bonds with the other players.

        1. LOL, it really does, and it’s not like he proclaimed himself a free agent from day one. Poor Ben.
          They really should have reserved the purple coloring in the alliance charts for him.

    1. Fair enough about Jarrad. I guess the difference in my estimation of him and Tessa is that a) Tessa had to climb out of a deep hole in a way Jarrad hasn’t had to yet, and b) I don’t have a budding crush on Jarrad.

      1. Isn’t a) more of an effort-thing, though?
        Anyway, b) is good enough for me. But that was a low-blow for someone who just recently thought “Hey, everytime we hear from that Jarrad guy, he proves to have a good head under all that glorious hair”, and also uncalled for, as far as I can tell.
        He screams “Recruit” though, and barely got to explain himself on camera (seriously, have you seen the confessional count chart?), so I can’t blame you too much if you never saw cause to change your opinion.

      2. In this week’s KIO interviews Tessa was also named as one of this season’s superfans, so your initial assessment was actually fact-based in that way.

        I’m not too impressed by a), because she didn’t look that skillfull doing the climbing. But I guess sometimes there isn’t much you can do but hope for the best, and in the end, she got the job done.

      1. Dammit, I knew it was a bad idea to put that part right next to the upvote-button. Should have buried it somewhere in the middle…

        I’m not sure if this is news to you, but Pheobe is the guest on this week’s Know-It-Oz (week 7, link at the bottom)! She’s all right, but halfway through I have no reason to change my opinion (her biggest feat so far is that this is the first KIO-pod this season which for me Nick as host doesn’t make worse… and it’s not that Pheobe is so awful that I forgot about Nick, but she makes it a really pleasant conversation from both sides to listen to. And of course these podcasts should not be too heavy on the season 1 discussion and focus on the season at hand, so I’m thankful that she seems to do that). There’s no doubt she is a good player, but imo not the infallible mastermind she’s made out to be.
        Of course she couldn’t have hurt last season’s post-merge in retrospect.

        Somewhat related, today I also finished (finally) Craig’s 160 minute Season 1 retrospective podcast. He knows how to spell Pheobe’s name and also makes sure to always pronounce it like that when speaking of her, most of the time calling her a bitch in the same breath (he LOVES her! It goes like “…and than that bitch PhE-OBE had a chat with Connor…” or “In comes PhE-OBÉ, THAT BITCH,…”). He’s positively in awe of her and her game and left me with a slightly higher opinion of it than I think I had after listening to her own retrospective back then.
        But most importantly, he’s every bit as lovable and hilarious in a 3-hour-podcast as he was on TV and just an all-around awesome guy, who has been through some serious personal tragedy (similiar to Kate from his season), which makes it even more amazing that they even were out there, and beasting at that.
        I hope AU-production knows they have to bring him back if they ever do something even close to an All-Star season! Pheobe is their first call, at least top5, no question about that and I don’t have a problem with that. I like her and she was ((made??)) the break-out star of their first season.

        1. I more have an aversion to the word overrated, which seems designed to grate. When you call her overrated, it still gives me little idea of your opinion of her. Do you give her any credit? Apparently, yes! She also had a few terrible twists thrown her way which appeared to be the main cause of her demise, so I also feel like anything attacking Phoebe is in some strange way approval for said twists or suggests a belief that these twists in no way would have impacted her game. Also, I love Phoebe.

          And that’s awesome! Craig is great and arguably the best personality of season 1, so I’ll have to check that out.

          1. I know what you mean when you say that word seems designed to grate. I spent a lot of time lurking around NBA message boards and similiar discussion places (which may be why it’s always right at my fingertips, although I usually refrain from actually using it), and nba fans tend to use that word a lot to describe individual players and rarely is it conducive to a levelheaded discussion.* But it’s still a word that gets to the point in describing how other people’s perceptions of the subject of discussion are perceived, which is why I chose to use it here.
            I wasn’t trying to give a complete rundown of what I like and don’t like about Pheobe’s game (although I still gave way more context than the typical “LEBRON IS SO OVERRATED1!!!11!”-tweet), but rather responding to ADS’s take that unlike AK, Pheobe has more game left in her, that we didn’t get to see.

            I don’t agree, so of course I’m going to focus on positive stuff about AK and negatives in her game, when arguing that. And it’s not even that my opinion on the topic is that strong that I just had to go to “Overrated”, but what ADS wrote is such a typical expression of what I perceive the mindset of the whole Survivor community (the part that cares about SurvAU – but I certainly don’t mean just here on PRP) to be: Pheobe seems to be universally beloved, so she can do no wrong, was way ahead of her whole cast and was not just the best thing, but the only good thing to come out of Season 1.

            She could be the second coming of Kim Spradlin and it would still be apt to call her game overrated (albeit unneccesary), but she’s not, which is why I think callling her overrated actually adds to the discussion. Someone has to.

            If you feel saying that is an inherent approval of all the season 1 twists she went through, you feel wrong, but it seems like you know that. However, I do think it’s possible that, unlike with AK, some of these ended up impacting her game in a way that wasn’t immediately obvious, e.g. keeping Kat and having her around as someone to work with, or vote out before her, could have helped her more than hurt her. AK was just straight up twist- and then swap-fucked, nothing he could do about it (except not being overtly in control early, but the same can be said for Pheobs).

            As for the Craig-pod, I honestly can’t say how the first hour or so
            went an what was said, as I listened to that part many months ago.
            MP3-device remembered where I left off, so that’s where I picked it up.

            *An example from the basktball world could be how I look at Kobe’s career and how it is talked about. Underrated by stat-heads who fail to see that he was able to impact any given game in a way that other players with better efficiencies were not capable of, but often overrated by Laker fans an casual NBA-fans (and voters for the All-Defensive Teams). Overrated despite being one of the best players of his generation (public perception shifted a little late in his career and after retirement, but he was for a long time), so there’s that.

          2. I do think Phoebe wasn’t necessarily a better player than say, Brooke (or El, whatever), but through circumstances came out looking much more interesting. I think the Kat thing is a good example of something that hurt her though and should have hurt her, because she was just about to be betrayed by Phoebe and knew it and because of the fake out tribal was onto her game when she swapped. Phoebe didn’t actually vote her out like AK did Tara, but now has an obstacle making it much harder for her to integrate. It’s almost like Phoebe and AK both wandered onto tribes as returning players with targets on their backs and had to try to overcome their reputations.

            Yeah, overrated is probably a useful word in terms of skill based things, while I am used to hearing in regards to art so fair enough.

            Anyways, the new season is wonderful and I have new Phoebes to gush over.

          3. I am pretty high on Brook’s game (and low on El’s) and the fact that she didn’t seem to have much of an idea about Survivor going in and then turned into that season-dominating, ruthless gamebot made it even more impressive to me. But even I would admit that Pheobe was the bigger character and was involved in more made-for-TV moments, while they didn’t find a way to portray Brook’s successes in a memorable way. And she’s another one that gets the unpopular hated “underrated”-label from me (sorry for the text wall in the previous comment, btw), because despite her being in control all this time before being undone by a hairbrained move from her longtime ally, I noticed she’s often left out when people who should know better rattle off good players/strategists from season 1 (they never forget Pheobe or the slow burning tire fire that was Nick), and casuals positively hate her.

            Having said that, I also don’t mean to say that Pheobe has to hide when it comes to comparing her game with Brook (or El. F***ing El!), just that it irks me when she gets all the credit (which is very deserved credit as big character, even though I may have not fallen as quickly and as hard for her charm as most of the people whose comments I saw) and players like Brook and Craig are forgotten about.

            The thing about Kat may well be a reach, it’s just a somewhat results based, devil’s advocat-y thought I recently had: Can we really say she got screwed by Kat staying on, if having Kat on her swap-tribe allowed Pheobs to point in her direction at a crucial point (when it came to voting off another newcomer). Whose to say she would have had more success integrating if she swapped into a tribe where Old Vavau had an even bigger numbers advantage. She didn’t even get the previous newcomers from Sanaapu to work with her, nor did she control the vote of her closest ally on Vavau in Rohan, who wasn’t swayed by Kat in any way (he hated her and vice versa, right?).
            And the Kat vote-out could have been the one vote she needed to survive to make the merge, if only they had won one more IC (maybe she shouldn’t have idoled out Craig, who also seemed to be her best opportunity for an In to Vavau – that’s two ways in which keeping Craig could have helped her survive that one, last pre-merge TC).

          4. Brooke and Phoebe are the star players for me from that season, but it wasn’t as clear how well Brooke was playing until the post merge. Craig is wonderful, but I don’t feel he had as much of an opportunity to shine as a game player as he did as a character.

            It’s true, we don’t really know how she would have done without Kat. Maybe I’m comparing it too much to modern US Survivor where getting legitimately swap screwed has been extremely rare in recent seasons not called Game Changers, so the extra layer of Kat being onto Phoebe’s game stuck out more to me.

          5. Right on. For some reason I was sure Brooke’s name is spelled in that weird way without an -e, so after you repeatedly writing it correctly I had to google-check and found her instagram – there went ten minutes…

            ‘member her no-crying-over-trivial-things confessional? That made me feel more than the typical tear-jerker scenes that we are used to.

            Kat badmouthing her was certainly detrimental to any efforts to integrate into Vavau and with that twist being so new it probably stuck out to most of us (although it isn’t that different than a former majority alliance member getting thrown under the bus by a former minority when coming to and meeting their new tribe), it’s just a thought I recently had:
            If Vavau really was so tight-knit, could she have found a way in without Kat, or was having Kat actually helpful because there was no way in anyways and Kat was a more urgent target than herself? (You don’t have to answer again, but it is a question, so it ends with a questionmark)

  3. I do not think getting out AK was a big move. It was the obvious post-swap move. It was entirely done by luck not skill. If you can’t get AK out after he swaps to you with only one ally you might as well all go home.

  4. Updated with Ep 13 commentary.

    @disqus_R9cNRvxsfG:disqus, @prettyboyprobst:disqus, @disqus_sjBnbSyo83:disqus

  5. What was Ziggy doing? WHAT WAS ZIGGY DOING?
    I think she should have told people she could cancel an idol. Leave her own idol out of it. The cancel idol isn’t a huge reason to get rid of her, it’s a negator of an advantage not something that is that threatening.

    This was a bad decision to keep Michelle, she 100% will jump to Luke and Sarah might stick long enough to get rid of Locky and Henry. But Michelle will also wreak havoc on your island.
    Island hot:
    Tessa: was hot to begin with but Michelle is the woman who is dressed up and thinks she’s hot but Tessa is the interesting down to earth and actually attractive.
    Locky: hot to begin with but look at that body.
    Sarah: has hit the Wentworth too skinny level.
    Overall this is a very disappointing island hot crew.

    1. Definitely a disappointing island hot crew. Like you said, for the most part, the ones who were hot are still hot, not much change (i.e. Locky and Tessa) but the two that jumped out at me this week were Michelle, but its possibly that I just noticed her this week because I’m not sure I knew she was a person before and, surprisingly, Ben. On the other hand, I thought Jericho was kind of cute at the start of the season but he’s actually going the other way

    2. They definitely made a really silly decision to keep Michelle, but I am so impressed with how she played. She’s an interesting player because she seems to have a really good understanding of the game (she was one of the first to point out that Henry swapping was entirely for reasons of self-interest for example) but never seems to bother making moves unless she absolutely has to.
      I’m interested to see what else she has up her sleeve!

    3. Agreed it’s a bad decision to keep Michelle. I think that she will find the split on the tribe and use it. She’s an intriguing player who will fly under the radar for a while if she makes merge I think because of her challenge weakness

  6. That recap was well worth the wait. I don’t have much to add, other than Sarah had probably also Anneliese in mind (connections on other side), and some of my thoughts on the part you glossed over. That tribal council was pretty interesting, in how the votes turned out. My guess is that the newly formed alliance didn’t want to step on each others toes (we heard Tessa say something to that effect) and split the votes. I do believe, though, that they were probably going to vote Michelle out, before she obliterated Ben. Then I think Henry and Jarrad would still have preferred to vote her out, but also understood that the majority of their alliance wanted them to change their votes, so they did. Locky and Tessa were probably Michelle-votes from the start, so they stayed that way, but only after a lot of communicating with the far left side of tribal from Locky and Anneliese. Not sure if Ziggy’s and Anneliese’s votes changed at all, but my guess is, they were the pre-planned Ben-votes in a Michelle vote-out split.

    Nick is a horrible suck-up, but I can very much recommend his hour-long exit interview with AK. I wrote this only a couple of days ago: His strategic acumen was probably overstated on the show (…) Hereby I’d like to formally take that back. Thank you for your attention.

    I’m interested in more opinions on 1), but I feel like I’ve written enough about this. I think I’ll be back with more on 2-4, but here’s a quick synopsis on 4): I agree with Kemper that the island-hotness is disappointing. Best case so far with the girls of this cast is to keep their level of pre-island hotness, which I think among the remaining cast only Ziggy (first and foremost), Anneliese, Sarah (must keep her Wentworthness in check) and Odette have achieved. The island is doing more for the boys, but results are far from spectacular. I thought that AK looked really good and healthy in his last episode. Luke looks good, but Jericho and Jarrad seriously need a razor and the latter also should eat everything he can get his hands on.

    1. I agree I think they were definitely going to vote Michelle out before tribal, no doubt. As Assistant Dragon Slayer wrote, Michelle was so smart to appeal to Locky’s ego as he’s seen as the de facto leader and in this scenario it felt like it was almost solely (Anneleise also seemed pretty on board) his choice to vote out Ben. Like you said, most of the others were content to just go with the flow and clearly didn’t want to aggravate Locky.

      I agree with what you wrote about Ziggy’s cover story, I think it was quite solid. It’s a shame she blurted out the fact she has an idol to Henry/Locky but she at least seemed pretty self aware when she confessed later that it probably a pretty poor spur of the moment idea, so I still think she’s quite a good player.

      I’ll answer point no. 2 from the recap – I don’t really think it’s completely fair to compare Michelle’s situation with AK’s because he’s had a negative reputation following him throughout the entire game, every single person on both tribes knew about it from someone. In particular, when AK joined Asaga the rest of the tribe had already been enduring Tara’s “AK IS THE WORST” for quite a few days by that stage. Like, constantly. Michelle didn’t face that challenge and definitely had a lot more wiggle room in my opinion, and Ben was a much more viable alternative vote out than anyone AK had to choose from on Asaga.

      That being said, kudos to Michelle for targeting her old alliance member (sort of?) and throwing him under the bus as he was the only other alternative. AK didn’t even attempt to switch the vote to Peter, the other outsider, HOWEVER, I think it was pretty clear when both Peter and AK joined Asaga that they all (or Tara, at least) preferred Peter, so that probably never would have happened anyway.

      Jarrad has looked dangerously thin since ep. 1, he’ll be fine!

      1. I second what you wrote about 2). I don’t have much to add other than Michelle also had three more days (or one fewer tribal until the merge) and got into a tribe with different dynamics, so it’s hard to compare to begin with (to be clear, that’s in now way to diminish the great job she did here). I think your last sentence on that is key. I liked that AK kept it together with Peter and tried to go from there (not just because they wouldn’t have switched to Peter anyway, but also to lay the groundwork to survive more than one vote on the much weaker tribe) but I also liked that Michelle recognized that she was past the point where she could exploit cracks in the big group and worked to bury Ben instead. I guess the big group paid lip service after the swap about how cool they all are with each other, but then they looked around at two easy targets sitting right there with the merge around the corner, and with AK (and possibly Peter soon) gone there may be some general uncertainty about what the best gameplan post merge even is, so why not take it easy for a while and just get there.
        For the game of Survivor it probably means a) that it’s not fair, but also what Kemper doesn’t grow tired to repeat on the subject: It’s Australian Survivor and you’re much better off with safe and boring gameplay (and arguably even no gaming at all until the merge) than to stick out for whatever reason and thereby making a target of yourself. Thank god casting found enough people who wouldn’t accept that as truth or weren’t content with shaping their game after that reality, even if it lessens their chances.

    2. It’s amazing how little Ziggy and Odette have changed since Day 1. Sarah, unsurprisingly, really needs a food reward now. I know what you’re saying about how Tessa can look 10 years older. I think it’s that she has a very expressive face: she has this one expression that makes her look like a determined 14-year-old. I’ve also thought all along that Michelle is quite attractive, although her basicness is quite annoying. All her girly-girl talk makes me think she’ll go overboard trying to glam it up at the reunion.

      1. I think you nailed it on Michelle. I found her to be very attractive in her cast photo, so I couldn’t include her on as someone who either got ‘island hot’ or didn’t regress, but I fully expect her to be more island hot than reunion hot.

          1. Noo…we don’t…and certainly not to poor little foreigners who don’t know any better.

            (why would you nail something ON somebody? I don’t think that’s even legal)

          2. Aww, thanks! Maybe not actually having to speak helps hiding it better than I thought (online dictionaries also do their part), but I’m sure I screw up enough of the little words and grammar to remind you frequently enough.

            So, to be honest: I am decidedly on the pro phrasing call-outs side of things, if there are really sides. I may not always get it immediately, but I’m always intrigued and try.
            Never give up. Never surrender.

          3. You know that joke that ends with the punchline “I don’t need to run faster than the bear, I just need to run faster than you”? Well, your English doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be better than an American’s!

            If you don’t know, the “phrasing” joke is specifically a reference to the TV show Archer, so not even most native speakers would get the joke. For some reason, a very high percentage of PRPers also watch Archer.

          4. Yes, I actually do know that joke. I’m not sure it qualifies yet and it’s hard to imagine it would, but then again, I also was legitimately unsure if all the people using “should of” instead of “should have” (not here, of course) really don’t know any better, or if that was some kind of youth culture in-joke I don’t get (like writing ‘U’ instead of ‘You’. Eh?). By now I’m pretty sure it’s the former, sadly.

            And of course I’ve watched all of Archer (although only the first and the last two seasons in english, so far), but thanks for catching me up in case I didn’t). What I meant was that I don’t always immediately get why “PHRASING” is called for and at times have to take a longer look at the original comment to find the culprit, than a native speaker would need to.
            But should there really be voices that would answer the Archer question of “Are we not doing ‘phrasing’ anymore?” with “Yes, please, can we give at least it a try? No more ‘phrasing’, pleeaase?”, than I don’t want to be confused with (or as?) one of them.

            Back to topic, I think I answered 4) mostly from memory and without taking another look at ep13. After watching ep14 I’d like to reserve the right to change some of my island-hot-or-not judgements. Feast or not, people are getting thin! (I didn’t notice it so much with Ziggy and Michelle before)
            I can’t help but always look for Tessa’s determined 14-year-old expression now and I think I’ve caught it a few times. Considering I was conservative when I said she can add ten years to her face in an instant, I have to say that woman has some serious range. If she wasn’t a doctor I’d say she’s in the wrong field.

    3. You say sometimes Tessa looks ten years older but she is only 3 years younger than Tara who always looks that much older than Tessa (this is what kids do to you everyone).
      The funny thing is Michelle is now the oldest player left in the game. This is a group now who are all between 22-33.

      1. I heard that on a podcast when Kent was voted out and it blew my mind.
        Can’t be the barrel racing, as I don’t think that FFSDT looks older than she is, which leaves us with “having three kids” as the only viable explanation. Who knew?

        1. I once commented how young one of my mother’s cousins looked for his age and she responded “yeah he didn’t have kids”. Blew my mind but it makes sense. But until I looked at the list to see who was left I thought she was 40+.

        2. As one of the older PRPers, I can assure you that after age 35 or so, genetics and lifestyle start making a huge difference. Andrew Savage was the same age in Cambodia that Australian Tarzan is now. Cirie in Game Changers was the same age as Dan Foley was in Worlds Apart.

          Exercise and moisturizer twice a day and don’t eat garbage. Just trust me.

  7. Hey guys, I’m scheduled to cover next week, so I just wanted to give you heads up – Irma may or may not hit Atlanta and I may or may not have power. I’ll make sure to at least get the recap for the first episode in so there’s something to post, but the second one may have to wait.

      1. Thanks, but it really shouldn’t be a big deal. Trees might knock down some power lines, but I can’t imagine it lasting more than a day or two. I’ll probably have time to watch the second episode before the storm hits, just don’t know if I’ll get the post done.

        Really, this is just a kick in the ass for me to try to get this done.

  8. My big thought on this episode was the mess of alliances over at Samatau. I think Michelle and Ben got too caught up on the idea that they had to appeal to the majority instead of identifying the cracks in old Samatau which existed. There were two alliances there, they should have been able to make themselves the swing votes rather than the targets. I don’t really understand how they didn’t. I also didn’t think Ben telling Michelle that Ziggy was targeting Locky was a mistake. It should have been exactly the right thing to say, identifying the crack and figuring out how to save both of them, rather than used to target him. Michelle saved herself for this round, but didn’t set herself up for the future the way she should have

    1. Yeah, they didn’t make much effort, I agree. I think a lot of it comes down to the rest of Samatau sort of just naturally coming together against the other two because Ben is useless and has nothing to offer, and because Michelle is useless and incredibly annoying. So even if they found some cracks I wonder if a majority work with Michelle and/or Ben anyway. But yes, Ben in particular should have tried harder, he had been there a bit longer and seemed quite close with Jarrad and he didn’t try to get anything going. Michelle could have tried as well but in the end I think she made the best choice by targeting Ben.

      Sort of spoiler-y it’s about a promo for next episode:
      A promo I saw for this week stated some sort of “crazy” joint tribal council this week so I think Michelle will at least be able to avoid getting the kick for a few episodes and some bigger threats might fall.

      1. That’s true. Getting rid of Ben now opens her up to play the next boot. She definitely had to resort to the Sandra strategy but I just feel she could have just pushed a bit more to look for cracks, especially since Ben literally told her what they were

    2. Good point. It is strange that they seemingly never even considered offering themselves up as swing votes, but again, with AK gone the divisions on Samatau were not as solid as before. A couple of episodes ago, Locky and Henry would have been more than happy to have them as numbers, but understandably they were more interest in pulling in Ziggy or Annaliese.

      1. The divisions healed remarkably quickly. I feel like some credit to Ziggy there, as she seemed to be the one bridging the gap and holding it together. And with AK totally gone, Locky may think he can take that alliance over

  9. Sort of had a bit of a hiatus commenting on these recaps for the last 4-5 weeks. I saw the recaps were a bit behind at one stage and I watch the episodes live so I didn’t bother joining in. Now that we’re back on track I’ll try and add a bit to the conversation again each week.

    Hope everyone is loving the season as much as me. If anyone here likes Tara we can’t be friends. I’m glad everyone here loves Tessa – she seems so likeable without even trying.

    Also so glad I haven’t seen any edgic because I got swept up in that a bit with Game Changers even though I usually don’t and I think it ruined the season a bit for me. I have no idea who is going to win this season and it’s great.

    1. Make sure to stay clear of betting-odds/sportsbet-spoilers. I’ve seen people mention that there are such spoilers out there again (although they don’t seem to have the same degree of certainty as last season, when I also got spoiled) and I’m afraid I got spoiled on a video podcast on the winner, before I could turn away (actually I did turn away immediately when they gave the spoiler warning, but it was a video pod and a related graphic, I fear, appeared before the verbal warning).

      1. Thanks for the heads up! I have only been visiting discussion threads here and on reddit and have avoided all odds so far, fingers crossed I continue to! Such a shame though, it’s been a problem two seasons in a row now. I hate how prominent betting has become in everything. Literally everything.

        Ahh man! That’s rough. Well fingers crossed for you it was wrong or you didn’t actually see a graphic of the real winner.

        1. Stay away from the #SurvivorAU hashtag on Twitter as well. I didn’t see an out-and-out spoiler, but there’s a lot of chatter about one particular player.

  10. I finally watched these new episodes. My thoughts:

    -I was SOOOO impressed by what Michelle has pulled off last episode. Thas episode is a perfect example to show players how to escape the bottom, even if it’s just for a just one vote. She knew what person she should put the target on, managed to get enough good information to incrinimate him, WAIT ON THAT INFORMATION AND NOT GIVE AWAY THEM ALL AT ONCE, release them in the right moments, and finally try to give your final stand in the FTC. Of course it may not ALWAYS work out, like most things in Survivor, because there isn’t a RIGHT way to play. But everything that Michelle did put her odds at highest as they could be. But, if they again lose immunity it’s very possible she will in the end get voted out next. But I hope she somehow survives, because she has a lot of potential to be a very major force later, which I wouldn’t probably say a week ago.

    -Regarding what Maritimer said below that Ben and Michelle should have worked together-I can understand the argument, but I don’t think there was a Anneliese/Tara swap situation, where there were two distinctive alliances. Yes, some people plan to target each other in the future, but they all are seemingly in an alliance, and they wouldn’t replace one of the people who they have more of a chance to work with, rather than two wild cards. Plus, last season in the next episode there would be a merge, because there were 13 people there, hell, there might actually be one for real, I don’t know. But it’s not at all crazy to think that there would be one, especially in Michelle’s head, and even if there isn’t one, her tribe still could win immunity. The only thing she has to do is maintaining or making the relationships on Samatau, so that she has options down the road, and isn’t targeted when they do eventually merge.

    -It’s just a little rant, but is someone else also annoyed that Henry think of the FTC this early in the game? Like, when he was targeting Mark W., Luke, and Ziggy, his reasoning was always because they “would’ve beaten him at the end”. Even his reasoning for keeping Ben was because he would be a goat! Yeah, they should’ve have at least have a general outline of how they want their endgame to look like, but you shouldn’t target people PRE-MERGE because of that, and it’s not like Henry doesn’t have a chance of winning at the end- he is liked, and does have enough of a good argument to convince the jury to vote for him! End of the rant.

    To be continued…

    1. -Regarding the questions on the post:

      I don’t think there actually is much of a problem in Ziggy’s story. And
      I think you missed that Locky and Henry think that “the ultimate
      reward” and her idol are two seperate identities (which they kind of
      are, but not in the “super idol” way), which was shown in one of their
      confessionals (I think Locky’s?). And to be fair, they are now under the
      assumption that she has two seperate powers, so it could’ve actually
      more of a target, but they don’t know that Ziggy actually lied to them
      yet. While Ziggy’s story isn’t bulletproof, I think she has still enough
      of a good social game to survive the next few votes.
      2) I’m not a
      fan of an argument that because someone “looks better on paper”, and
      that he didn’t survive the swap, while the “weaker” player survived, it
      means that there is a “FLAAAAW IN THE GAME”. And I don’t want to put
      shade on either AK or Michelle, because frankly, I don’t think they
      deserve it. I think AK did the best what he could have done, but even
      the best fall the victim of an unfortunate swap, which was the case in
      Sandra during the second swap. I think that he had some flaws, for
      example that he really gave off a “I’m not to be trusted” vibe, he
      didn’t help at the camp, and makes enemies with his style of game, and
      while Luke and Henry also don’t play a perfect game, they were both more
      liked and had much more loyal allies than AK ever did. But I do think
      that, in the end, AK played a great game, and he should be proud of how much he accomplished in the game. Regarding Michelle, it’s not like what she accomplished last episode was from nowhere- she was a major reason why Anneliese and Tara sided with her side, plus she exactly pointed out the reason why Henry went to the other tribe. Plus, there are VERY few players who overcame the bad swap in the history of Survivor, sp we shouldn’t treat it as just “luck”. I do think that it’s very possible she wouldn’t survive if she painted herself as a major force, plus like AK her personality may very well also turn some people off, but the Australian Survivor is more like a Big Brother in the way that it is a marathon, not a sprint, and she didn’t shake up a game when she didn’t need to. For now, I do think that Michelle plays a good game, with some very visible problems. In the end, I don’t think there is any problem with the swap, and there isn’t any FLAAW int game.

      3) I actually didn’t have as much problem with this move as people did, so I don’t have much to say about that.

      4) I don’t know much about “Island Hot”, but I do think Locky, Luke, Tessa and Ziggy look especially good.

      I’m still incredibly LOVING this season so far. I really like everyone left, and I wouldn’t mind anyone winning, and I don’t think it’s given on who wins either. For example, I think I heard that in either australian Hell’s Kitchen, or Top Chef, there was a recent winner who only began to have airtime after the halfway mark, so who knows, maybe Odette or Peter somehow win. Here’s my updated Power Rankings:

      1. Sarah (0)
      2. Anneliese (+2)

      3. Luke (-1)
      4. Michelle (+3)
      5. Ziggy (-2)
      6. Henry (-1)
      7. Locky (+1)
      8. Tara (+2)
      9. Jericho (+2)
      10. Tessa (-4)
      11. Jarrad (0)
      12. Odette(0)
      13. Peter (0)

      1. I definitely gained some respect for Michelle and enjoyed her more than ever as a character this week. She has her head in the game and knows no quitting, which is great, and remarkably even got the majority of the tribe to want to keep her over what would seemingly be the better option for everyone but her.
        Better than expected, underrated by her peers, good, but not great would also be my assessment at this point.
        Minor quibble: With all his talk of the tight-knit Summertau Five, which also makes sense with everything we saw on TV, I don’t think it’s fair to say that AK lacked loyal allies or was less liked compared with Luke and Henry. Quite the opposite, actually, unless you mean Luke and Henry combined. 😉
        He was a big target, got a really bad swap (to think that Tara was the one we heard complaining afterwards…) and that’s the end of it. That sucks, but of course it happens all the time on Survivor so we’re used to it, and AK understands that so he probably feels pretty good about the way they got him (plus he has the whole screwed-by-production-twist angle to work and is not afraid to use it, so yeah, he’s fine).

        I’m also still bullish on the season. Better than last season for sure, but I’m a little worried about all that airtime later after the merge. I just wrote below why I think that Sarah could be in grave danger, so ballsy move to have her at #1. But these are winner probability and not reverse-vote-out probability, right? If the former, I understand.

        1. Yeah, I probably miswritten about AK. If he really annoyed others that much, he would’ve gone home a long time ago, and had allies in Ziggy, Jarrad, and Tessa. His bigger problem was probably that he could overplay at times, and sometimes it led others to not trusting him (Adam, Tara, Locky, Jarrad at the beginning, Ziggy before the Anneliese/Tara swap). But he is a great player, but like most great Survivor contestants he had some flaws, some smaller, some bigger.

          And yeah, my Power Rankings are based on who I think will win the season. It’s mostly based on my gut, some of it is edit based, some of it is gameplay based. For example, I always put AK in the top 5, even though I knew he could very well get picked off soon (which he was), and I put Michelle in the top 5, even though she could be voted off in the next two episodes, if her tribe doesn’t win immunity, or there isn’t a merge, like I said, it’s mostly how I feel about their chances. I definetely could see Sarah getting picked off soon, but I always put her in no.1 spot, so it’s hard for me to suddenly NOT put her, when there isn’t many major red alerts, plus she has a good edit, and plays really well as of right now.

          1. Yeah, that all makes sense and now that you confirm that the rankings are overall-win-probability-based, I think I remember you even clarified that ahead of the rankings a few weeks ago. It’s just that I’m so used to these fantasy-game reverse-vote-out-probability rankings by now that I can’t help but read all Survivor Power rankings like that, until I catch myself.

    2. On Ben/Michelle, I just wished they had looked for cracks rather than just targeting each other straight off. Though I agree it’ll pay off for Michelle. I’m also just surprised that the two groups melded together to target them.

      On Henry, I have no problem with him thinking goat for Ben this early. He seems to be a manageable goat, not an Abi, and somewhat loyal to Henry so I get the instinct to keep him. On the other hand, exactly right to cut him when everyone else wants him out. Way to early in the game to stick your neck out for a potential goat. Definitely too early to target people as FTC threats though

      1. I agree that him looking at Ben as a potential goat isn’t that bad, and it wasn’t like he REALLY tried to keep him alienating others. But it’s still so early in the game that even though it isn’t that big of a deal, you should focus for now at the next 1 or 2 votes, plus it isn’t that hard to believe that Ben could’ve turn his perception around somehow, and that people who he claimed to be jury threats could crash and burn their reputations, which is even MORE likely (for example, Tai was at first seen as a hard person to beat in Kaoh Rong, but in he endep with 0 votes at the end). And it’s not like I dislike Henry, but that’s just a thing which annoys me about him.

        1. Yeah, that’s all true. But still, if you think a) Ben is loyal to you and b) he’s possibly a goat, you would prefer to keep him over someone not loyal to you like Michelle

          1. Right. But I’m not necessarily sure that Ben was really loyal to Henry. I think his allegiance was more towards Jarrad than him. But I do think it’s more likely Ben would work with Henry down the road than Michelle ever would.

      2. I liked that both Henry and Jarrad were thinking Ben was their goat. That might have become more interesting down the line.

  11. I think I agree that Ziggy should have shared the ability to cancel an idol, but then again any truth she shared would make her a target. And seeming to lie about it also makes her a target.

  12. Heads-up for the writers: Back to three episodes a week next week, for
    whatever reason (I assume Sunday to Tuesday like last season, but I’m
    not sure).

    I really don’t want to talk about week 7 until we have a safe space below a proper week 7 recap, and I understand there were some eminently tricky circumstances this week weather-wise, but I have kept this in for way to long, so here it goes – me when watching these epsidoes:

    1. I’m so happy Sarah survived that! I was okay with losing Luke, but having both of them make the merge can’t hurt things.

      Merge predictions: I’m thinking Luke, Jericho and Michelle might end up being like Kass and her witches or the Michelle group from MvGX where Luke will be first picked off and then the remaining players will join the majority and take a shot at the Jarrad/Tessa/Peter/Ziggy group.

      1. Week 7, Ep.14-15 Both of them surviving the week was what made this pair of episodes really work for me. The first episode was really exciting but left us worried about Sarah. Both sides coming back together to take out the swing vote seemed so unlikely and was such a thing of beauty when it happened. So satisfying, I can’t imagine a better end for this great and very twisty pre-merge.

        If I would have to give a prediction for the early post-merge it would probably look very similiar to the scenario you laid out there. I think this or something close to that is the most likely, but fortunately there are so many moving parts that it’s impossible to say for sure where this thing is going. Even if battle-lines are drawn quickly, I trust this cast to not keep things static. We should have more than enough movers and shakers left.

        Week 7 and the entire pre-merge has left me pumped enough that I’m almost willing to guarantee an exciting second half to the season! Everybody should watch it!

  13. I know I’m 2 months late to this party, but Locky is definitely Island Hot, and will probably be Reunion Hot, too. That is a FOINE looking man. Henry, minus That Hair, is also really Island Hot, but, again That Hair, might keep him rising or dropping in Reunion Hot.

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