Australian Survivor, week 5. Tatiana Maslany got the Emmy, and Australian Survivor also happened.

I tried to buy gas at three different places today, but the pipeline burst is seriously screwing with me. Fortunately, Australian Survivor is not screwing with me.

This cat is sooooo deaf. Not def. He can't hear stuff.
This cat is sooooo deaf. Not def. Although he is that, too. But also, he can’t hear stuff.

“Episode 12”

I feel like this is gonna be a divisive episode, but I enjoyed it a lot. The conclusion is kind of foregone, but the journey is a ton of fun.

Let’s talk about Vavau first because I want to do a longer speculation on just what the hell is going on with the Saanapu story. Craig and Kate defecting seems not to bother anyone at all. Phoebe not telling Kristie about voting out Kat also seems to bother Kristie not at all. The plan is still to get rid of Phoebe next. Except Phoebe has the idol, which Craig is still looking for. Phoebe also works Conner. He won’t promise to side with her, but he does promise to tell her if she’s the target. Conner, you are supposed to be a superfan, so why don’t you remember how this worked for Joe in Cambodia.

Even weirder, holy shit there’s a lot to talk about with Saanapu, and boy is it weird. First there’s… something involving Kylie sleeping in the wrong place, and then being kind of a jerk about it the day afterward. I’m not going to pretend I understand this stuff, exactly. Then, the bit at Vavau, there’s another segment involving how much of a dick Matt is. Lee is fishing, and the girls are female-gazing, and Matt has a salty comment to Brooke about it, which sets her off. As she sees it, Matt’s jealous because the addition of Sam and Lee has hurt his spot at the top of the alpha male totem pole, and she starts putting the wheels in motion to vote him out with the help of Sam, Lee, and El.

That’s clearly not happening tonight, since Saanapu wins again, so why is this here. My theory: we’re seeing the ground being sewn for Vavau Matsing-ing and being the force that breaks up a fractious Saanapu in the post-merge. Especially given that, after tonight, it’s even less likely Vavau is winning a challenge.

So let’s talk about the actual challenge. It’s a fun mix of elements we’ve seen before – throw an object past a blocker, run across a beam while the other tribe throws sandbags at you – with a connect five at the end added on that I don’t think American Survivor has ever done. This interested me at first because you can’t put the not particularly nimble Nick or Matt on the beam, but it didn’t occur to me that you could just yell advice from the sidelines.

Saanapu is just dominant here, both physically and mentally. Kylie gets across the beam far more than Conner, and the latter ignores the advice his tribe is shouting in ways that are questionable. Another Saanapu victory.

Back at a camp, the consensus it to vote for Phoebe. No talk of a split comes up. This show supposedly has a lot of superfans, but vote splits are strangely absent from it. That may be because, with Phoebe having played Aganoa’s idol, nobody could believe she has Vavau’s idol. Still, it’s just being cautious. This isn’t the 12-person vote from Cambodia, it’s a 2-2-2. Surely, splitting the vote should be on the table.

Anyway, Conner dutifully informs Phoebe she’s going home, and he reports as much back to the tribe. They enlist Kristie to console her in hopes of making Kristie feel more a part of things. And this is where gets fun. Phoebe’s giant shit-eating grin, Kristie’s standard Angelina Jolie-level lack of affect, and the plan that’s going down is one of the most delightful scenes I’ve ever seen on Survivor.

As Phoebe explains it, they have three choices: Conner, who is the most tangential member of the majority; Sue, who is the best liked; and Craig, who is the biggest schemer. But, as Phoebe points out, they need Craig for challenges, so surely it’s not Craig.

Tribal council is pretty rote. LaPaglia grills them on losing, again, they talk about how hard losing is, again. Phoebe has pointed comments about being on the bottom. Let’s get to the vote. Things seem to be coming up Phoebe, but Phoebe also has an idol and several hours time to rehearse the line she uses when she plays it. Faces drop. Four votes for Phoebe/Pheobe come in, then… Craig? Nooo. 2 Craigs? Nooooooooooooo.

While I’m devastated to see Craig gone, overall this was an enjoyable episode. I’s not clear what the path forward for Phoebe is at this point, but fingers crossed there is one.

Discussion points:

  • It’s not clear to me whether Craig got that Phoebe probably had the idol, but, if he did, what’s his move here? I’m going with telling only Kate and having them put two votes on Kristie, then explaining afterwards.
  • Tatiana Maslany got the Emmy, y’all. Don’t care that it has nothing to do with Australian Survivor, it looked like her work was never going to be acknowledged and it’s awesome that it was.

“Episode 13”

So… that happened. I don’t completely know what to say about it, but I guess I have to talk about it.

Let’s get the Sanaapu stuff out of the way so we can get to the meat of the episode. Kylie is still on the outs. She gathers the women so she point out they’re likely to be the majority after the merge, and everyone involved here does a bad job. Kylie screws up by going with this sad, awkward sales pitch instead of the tried-and-true tactic of picking the most likely convert first and going to other people with someone else backing you. But Flick, El, and Brooke also screw up by not immediately saying yes in order to keep Kylie in line. It’s more “fractures in Saanapu” stuff that I’m assuming will pay off in the post-merge.

At Vavau, everyone is gunning for Phoebe, whose only ally at this point is Kristie, who reminds us she’s completely insane by skulking in a tree trying to catch fish. Also, she is catching fish with Rohan’s discarded underwear. (Australia is one of those countries wear ‘pants’ means ‘underwear,’ right?) While Kristie is working on her Gollum impression, suspicion is also mounting about how much Kristie knew about Phoebe’s idol, which Phoebe is happy to stoke.

We have a reward challenge, and it’s a replay of the memory challenge Mike struggled to throw in Worlds Apart. Saanapu wins because it’s a challenge. They get a feast, Vavua eats snails, then back to Saanapu for some body horror stuff. There’s not a lot going on in the middle of this episode.

Then it’s on to immunity. Four people from each tribe row out as far as they can while the other tribe’s remaining player has to untie a not, haul them back in, then run back to shore to solve a puzzle. At first I’m wondering why Vavau has Kate in the point position, but then I remember they don’t exactly have options since Phoebe decided getting rid of Craig was a good idea. It doesn’t matter because Nick blazes through the puzzle and Vavau is going to tribal council again.

In a weird twist, Saanapu gets to send someone to tribal council to observe. I’m generally pretty meh on this as a tactical advantage, since it only ever seems to amount to a preview of who’s not going to be at the merge feast.

At camp, Phoebe goes into overdrive. She comes up with a complicated scheme that involves throwing Kristie under the bus by claiming she had full knowledge of the idol, while also roping in Conner to lie to Kristie about voting off Sue. It seems waaay too complicated to work, but the episode doesn’t really present an alternate target.

So off to tribal council. Brooke is the chosen observer. There’s some peremptory stuff where Jonathan LaPaglia seems really eager to blow up Phoebe’s spot, like waaaay too eager. Then, Kristie, who looks like sometimes she still wakes up in the dark and hears the screaming of the lambs, gets laid into. Kristie gives a defense that while technically solid is too halting to really be convincing, and everyone says they know who they’re voting for.

But we haven’t had a twist in like 3 episodes, so time for a twist! Instead of voting someone out, Vavau is going to lose a member to Saanapu and Brooke is picking who. After initially considering Phoebe, she settles on Sue, and now the tribes are 10-4.

I’m really exhausted with Saanapu’s dominance, and I think it was the result of a poorly constructed swap. Letting the tribe that just won a challenge scoop up the other tribes’ best players was a bad idea, and it’s not surprising it led to this result. Now it’s even more imbalanced, and, since it’s mathematically impossible for Saanapu not to sit out the same people in back-to-back challenges now, she’s not even a challenge liability. At this point I’m praying for a merge.

Despite that, I do think this was a good episode. But what made it a good episode is that this is a good cast. This is further proof that, when you combine the Survivor formula with good casting, bells and whistles are unnecessary.

Discussion points:

  • Am I laying it on too think with the “Kristie is crazy” stuff, or not thick enough?
  • Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany still has her Emmy.

“Episode 14”

Thanks god it’s a merge next episode. I’m not down on this episode because of how it ends, although, it goes without saying, I’m not happy about that part, but I’m just exhausted with this phase of the game and ready for something new.

I think the show knows this, too. The pre-challenge stuff is perfunctory, to the point where I was stunned when that challenge was for immunity. We learn that Sue is basically fitting in with Saanapu with the exception of Nick, who goes through the same teeth-sucking “you voted me out routine” with Sue that he did with Jennah-Louise. Only in front of the entire tribe because…. that’s smart. Sue doesn’t seems to care, but Nick thinks it went really well. Guys, I don’t think Nick is going to win this game.

Anyway, this challenge ends in a puzzle, so… you know how that goes. Vavau gets off to a decent start in the “make yourself dizzy then do an obstacle course” section, but Saanapu catches up, and then it’s a replay of Kate vs. Matt on basically the same puzzle we saw Kate struggle with yesterday. Vavau is going to tribal council again, with 25 minutes left in the episode. Sure five of that will be spent on Saanapu stuffing their face with grody hamburgers, but that leaves the final 20 to cover this slow-motion dumpster fire.

Back at Vavau, the plan is still to vote out Kristie. But Phoebe feels it’s important to comfort her weird island little sister before she cuts her throat, so she spins an elaborate plan about how they need to vote out Kate. And this is where things get dumb. Kristie wants to talk to Kate, and Phoebe shuts the idea down with an aggressiveness that can only say, “I am hiding something from you.”

So Kristie talks to Kate, who spills the beans on all of Phoebe’s machinations over the past few days. Kristie ropes in Conner, and soon plans have changed. The episode makes it so obvious that Phoebe is about to go down that going to tribal becomes almost unnecessary.

It’s a fairly boring tribal council. LaPaglia is a willing to let Kristie stay nothing at all as he was to draw out Phoebe last time. The growing pains of his position as host are becoming clearer and clearer. So let’s get to the vote. We don’t see anyone’s vote, but it’s… 3-1 for Phoebe. And that’s it. America’s Australian sweetheart gets her torch snuffed.

The preview tells us next week is the for-real merge, and I couldn’t be more relieved. This slog can’t end soon enough; let’s hope what comes next is more fun.

Discussion points:

  • Is there anything Phoebe could have done differently here to make this work for her? Did she just work herself into too much of a hole?
  • Seriously, what the hell was with LaPaglia get away with Kristie saying nothing at all at tribal council?


Sharculese first saw Survivor when his roommate wanted to watch Cagayan. He has now seen every season because he has a skewed sense of priorities.

Latest posts by Sharculese (see all)

121 thoughts on “Australian Survivor, week 5. Tatiana Maslany got the Emmy, and Australian Survivor also happened.

  1. That’s my brother’s girlfriend’s cat Ace, aka Skelly, aka Skellybones, aka Big Rumble. I had to feed him while they were out of the country, recently, and we are now BFFs. In this picture, he is pretending to be a brontosaurus.

      1. Wait, why would you think I don’t like Matt? I like him just fine, it’s just that, like the rest of Saanapu, there’s nothing going on.

        1. Oh, glad to hear I got that wrong. After writing ^this I read the respective passage again (ep12) and realized, that it’s possible you were just saying that the show paints him as a dick, but on my first read I missed that distinction.

          Since it was already written and a good exuse to point to his twitter, I decided to wait and see if you would protest. Like I said, I’m glad you did.

  2. I agree on both of your main points. A) Voting Craig out pretty much confirms that Phoebe is going for the Intentional Matsing. It’s probably her best option now that she doesn’t have thei idol, particularly since they could easily go another 4 votes before the merge if the two tribes were trading victories. B) Tatiana Maslany is awesome and the Emmy is a welcome surprise. Is it weird that I crush specifically on Cosima?

          1. Donnie may be the character that had the greatest improvement since season one. Back then he was just some schlub that looked like he was a bad guy. Now he’s awesome. “Fist me.”

    1. Why would you assume that she’s now in control of Vavau? It’s possible, but after Conner got played like that, you think he’ll just jump back into the witches coven with open arms?

      1. I’m not saying that, I’m just saying she needs to get to the merge as soon as possible. I haven’t even considered what kind of coalition she can put together post-merge, but it has to be better than the situation she’s in now.

        1. My thinking was you can’t do an intentional Matsing if you’re not in firm control of your tribe, or else you won’t be around to enjoy the non-threatening position your tribe-members have after the merge.

          They could have voted out Sue and act really devastated about it. Maybe that would allow her more time to get close with Craig. Then everyone would probably be more upset over Conner telling her the plan, than about Phoebe being forced to act in self defence while still having the tribe’s best interest at heart. After Conner, she could have played hard ball together with Kristie, or tried to make Kate the target and if Craig budges, shift it to Kristie. After the merge Craig would have made for a magnificient meat shield.

          She needs the merge more than anything, but to get there she’d be better off, if her tribe didn’t see her as a snake that robbed them of their last shot at competitiveness.

          1. You could be right, but I think getting rid of Sue would have been a half-measure. Phoebe needed to make future challenges as much of a joke as possible and goad production into an early merge. Plus now that Andrew and Craig are gone and old Vavau is down to three maybe Sue won’t be so blindly loyal.

          2. Episode 13: Production intervenes and says “Oh no you don’t” to the Intentional Matsing”. Episode 14:I stand corrected.

          3. She did force production into some kind of reaction, it just didn’t help her in the end. (or didn’t have the intended effect?)

  3. Some thoughts:
    Craig’s reaction to being got on an idol play proves you can play hard, have fun and be magnanimous when you are defeated.
    Losing Craig is a bummer.
    Phoebe is fucking fun to watch.
    Kristie’s lack of effect and her tribal face are gold.
    I don’t care much about Saanapu right now, probably because we barely see anything about them. I’m on Kylie’s side on this one, she has to sleep out by the fire or on the edges but when she gets a good spot people expect her to move? Nah mate, you sleep on the outside.
    Current locks for Australian Survivor All Stars if it lasts a few more seasons: Phoebe and Craig.

    I’m hoping for some kind of switcheroo again, we’re at 14 people so I doubt they’d give us a crazy early actual merge but another switcheroo would completely shake the game up at this point and force some people who aren’t playing to play.
    I agree on the matsinging and your thought that those left from Vavau are going to split Saanapu apart. If Phoebe gets to the merge she is 100% going to El and Lee, that could bring Sam across because he’s a dumb puppy.

    1. I’m kind of on Kylies side here as well, but she should have just made some (possibly even snarky) comment about having space to her right but not intending to move herself. I imagine it was pretty much pitch black and they just couldn’t figure out why there was so little space.

      Nick the evil mastermind could have eased the situation, but I imagine he knew exactly what he was (not) doing there.

      All of this and the stuff between Brooke and Matt later was so full pettiness and derailed by bad communication, that it made me sad.

      I hope that I won’t see a switch-swap in the next one (that I’m about to start watching, wohoo! Still loving the schedule), just because I’m mad at Phoebe for voting out Craig and I want her to suffer the consequences.
      Maybe she gets something going now that the alliance’s achor is out and then, good for her, but she should have to work hard for staying in the game, after she basically gave up on ever winning challenges with Vavau, despite still being down 3-2 on paper. I don’t want production to just bail her out, even if it won’t make for the best TV.

      1. I think they should have taken out Sue or Conner not Craig because although Craig is sneakier he’d be more willing to open up to a new alliance. Phoebe and Craig would have been an OTP alliance.

        1. We were robbed. I saw that embrace before tribal and thought: “nah, it’s not Craig. They still have stuff to do together” , despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    2. I think the problem people had (besides being hungry and tired and with lack of sleep) was that instead of saying, “Hey, I’m sleeping too outside, can I swap with anyone or we move closer to each other,” she just moved somewhere and broke the organization. Now, to be honest, as we know, in Survivor people like to sleep close to who they like, and there is a clear pecking order in relation to who sleeps in the best places (as in normal life with other things, like school sits). And just like if a nerdy kid just randomly chooses to sit in the cool people’s tables on day, upsetting this social order makes people unhappy. (Especially those that benefit from it.)

    1. I was just surprised they got nominated. I think this is a situation like the Wire where the best Drama just gets ignored constantly. Maybe with Maslany’s brilliance getting rewarded, we are in a new era of Emmy voting (but probably not).

        1. I’m actually in the middle of watching Fringe for the first time. I’m on the second season and it’s really good so far.

          1. I just finished my second rewatch over the summer. Without spoiling anything, the second and third seasons are where the show really takes off. The four season is very polarizing – some viewers liked it for what it did, while others hated it for the same reasons. The fifth season is almost a completely different show. But it’s all awesome, and the fact that Torv and Noble never got any nominations is still infuriating.

      1. She doesn’t but she often plays a character playing a character which is equally interesting. Is she acting like 6x more than anyone else on her show? No but is she fucking superb in the role she has? Yes.
        There is no need to hate on one of these actresses, they are both really fucking good.

        1. Maslany often plays one clone impersonating another one and each time you can tell which clone it is. Plus she often acts deeply emotional scenes against herself. For that alone she’s head and shoulders above any other nominees, whoever they might be.

          I’ve never seen The Americans and have nothing against it or Russell, who I hear was wonderful in that show where she cut her hair and the internet lost its collective mind.

          1. Maslany is fucking amazing when she plays one clone playing another. I’m just saying Keri Russell on the Americans is SO SO GOOD.

  4. Episode 13: TOO MANY TWISTS
    I was relieved Phoebe survived but this is a shitty twist to play when one tribe is half the size of the other.

    1. About the twist, I think it is setting up for a swap next week. I was thinking, coming into this episode, that the problem production faced now, with one tribe with 5 members against another with 9, is that there is no way that they could do a swap that wouldn’t screw Vavau’s members even worse than they are now. (It would be a 4-3 and a 5-2 tribe.) Worse, if they had an elimination now, they would go to odd numbers, risking either an awkward swap or a 9-3 situation, which then you might as well go Palau route.

      So the best way to make it work, in my opinion, giving some chance to Vavau, would be to have a swap where you keep half of Saanapu, and the other half you send to Vavau. But this creates another problem, since then you have a 7 member Saanapu, and a 5-2 Vavau, which really is bad for the 2. To do the best possible swap, they would need to send 2 Saanapu to Vavau and 1 Vavau to Saanapu.

      I couldn’t think back then how to do this in a way that is not very very awkward, but now, I’m hoping that that is what they have in mind for next episode, with a new “twist” where they send 3 Saanapus to Vavau to make sizes equal (i.e., a swap).

      1. I was thinking there has to be a swap coming for a few episodes now (first longing for it, but for ep13 actually dreading it), but after this non-eleminaton mini-swap there has to be at least one regular episode coming, don’t you think? What good does it to do this hijacking, if they don’t explore what effect it has on the newly altered tribes. That’s what I hated most about the twist, imo it ties productions hands and ensures another episode with these uneven tribes.
        Imagine Vavau won the latest advantage (yeah, as if), they pick a challenge beast and/or true blue Saanapu, but won’t even get a chance to win with him or sacrifice the new addition to damage the blue tribe? That would make no sense.

        1. There are almost too many Saanapu’s to bother picking up Flick/Matt or whoever you think it the core of the alliance just to sacrifice them. You might as well pick Lee and hope you beat them. Obviously them losing makes it all moot.

          1. You’re right, picking a sacrificial lamb just for the purpose of weakening Saanapu or their core alliance doesn’t make too much sense. I was thinking maybe Matt could check all the boxes, but now I realized his case is actually more complicated than that, as he would be more useful to most of the tribe in the game, than to just be an easy vote. That lead me to ponder whom each Vavau should have picked, if they were chosen for that role:
            Conner: probably Matt again, which would be hilarious, for strength and as an numbers advantage/ post-merge-in with the rest of the blue tribe
            Sue: probably Matt as well for the same reasons, but if she wanted to finish the job and bring Nick over as a lamb, that would have been fun. Could have lead to mayhem though, as her ally…
            Kate: might want to bring Nick over for strength, smarts, and even as an ally, if she thinks she can mend the fences between Sue and him

            Aganoa-girls: probably Lee or El, but there’s no way one of them was going to be chosen

          2. They have lost on puzzles so maybe Matt would be a good call, he’d play hard so as not to go out and give you a puzzle threat. Or yeah if it’s Pheobe you go El and take a 3-2 majority.

          3. Would be 3-3, though.

            They certainly could make use of Matt’s skillset, but they also need strength, so I think Sam is the better bet for the reasons outlined above. Oh, now I see I was writing Matt in my previous post, when I meant Sam the whole time.
            Going to edit that now.

        2. Well, if they follow your route then I’ll probably join on the hate on this twist, because 10×4 is pretty broken. And then they would have the same problem as before, because they should want to swap at even numbers. (Although that is not a fixed rule, there has been IIRC odd numbered swaps in the past.)

          But what you are assuming that I’m not so sure is that the swap is unconditional on who won. Are you sure this has to be the case? I think it is very possible that they planned that if Vavau won, they would keep going for a few more weeks with these tribes, but if Saanapu won, they would immediately swap.

          1. No, of course they could have made it conditional on how to proceed, but I really wouldn’t have liked it for the smell of production saving their players, if that Craig vote were to be followed by a fake tribal mini swap and an immediate swap/merge on the next one.

  5. I liked Craig and was sad to see him go, but it was still an enjoyable episode. But that was terrible gameplay on the part of the Vavau majority. As far as I see it, if it’s 4-2 and you’re in the 4, there is reason not to vote split and force a 2-2-2 tie, even if you don’t suspect an idol. If nobody plays an idol, then on the revote it’s 3 of your side and zero of the other, so you can safely vote out whomever you want. And if an idol is played, then you’ve successfully flushed it and now you can vote out the other person on the minority side, keeping your majority safe. It’s a win-win scenario. The only possible downside I could see is that it comes off as playing the game hard if there isn’t an idol, but it’s all about balancing risks. The risk of not splitting is getting blindsided, which is nothing compared to the relatively minor risk of maybe somebody possibly thinks you’re playing the game.

    The show really didn’t do a very good job of showing what the Kylie thing was about. It seemed like she was frustrated with her usual sleeping spot and chose a different one, but the rest of the tribe honestly seemed like a bunch of dicks about it. There appeared to be ample space to redistribute, so just move over. But apparently the thing we’re supposed to take away is that Kylie is socially awkward and on the bottom of the pecking order, which was reinforced again in the next episode with the pitiful girls alliance proposal. If anything they’re building to a Kylie boot with Matt as the second option.

    And then another fucking twist. I’ve actually been on the show’s side so far, in that I kind of enjoyed the earlier twists. But this is too much. Getting people ready to vote and then aborting at the last second is no good for the players and no good for the viewers. And the last thing this show needs is more episodes where nobody goes home. The pacing is insane. We’re at the threshold of day 30 and we haven’t even gotten to a proper merge yet, and there are still 14 friggin players. I guess it makes a little more sense to go by weeks, and we’re still in week 5 so maybe we’re on pace to merge some time during week 7 like in the US version. But if that’s true then that means lots more non-elimination stalling during week 6 if the merge is going to have the traditional 12. Arg, I just don’t know.

    I do know that I love Phoebe, and I hope she does well. And I guess it was smart of Brooke to pick Sue, since she’s the only pure-Vavau left and will have no allies from previous tribe arrangements on Saanapu, except for possibly Jennah-Louise. So she would make an easy fodder boot if they were to lose.

    Also, did any of you guys read that gossip that Lee and El are a couple now in real life? I don’t know if it happened after the show ended (or at Ponderosa) or if we should be looking for signs of a showmance. That added an interesting twist to the girls-ogle-Lee scene, at least.

    1. Dude, maybe hide the episode 13 stuff under a spoiler as some people will be here before watching it (as it was only online 3 hours ago) that being said I fully agree with you on the twist, it’s too much, the gameplay is entertaining enough. I liked the pick of Sue for similar reasons but also as she is someone who Brooke could build something solid with if they keep winning. Sue will be looking for new genuine connections. I also really like Phoebe, I hope she survives this latest bullshit. Had this been a normal 20 player season I really think she would be the favourite to win but it’s still the middle of the game and she’s playing for survival like it’s the final 4.

      1. I must have misinterpreted because I thought last week somebody said spoiler tags were not needed. I’ll edit.

        1. no harm no foul. It’s just a tough situation because it’s 3 episodes in a row and a lot of us like to come here between watching each one!

        2. To clarify, I said don’t use spoiler tags once I’ve posted a recap for that episode. Episode recaps will generally go up in the evenings, because my roommate watches with me when she gets home from work.

      2. Phoebe made a HUGE mistake last night with not assuming that production would fuck her over again. Now Kristie doesn’t trust her! Terrible move by Phoebe, she should have seen this coming

        1. how many times can you assume the producers are going to have some kind of game ruining non-elimination process?

          1. It’s ridiculous. I actually worry that it will start to affect strategy too. Best be as loyal as possible in case something really stupid happens!

        2. She actually got bailed out by production this time, and while I was worried that would happen this episode (via a swap), the twist was an even more blatant interference than what I half-expeced. While it’s true that they knew they would have non-elimination episodes going in, the timing sure is uncanny with both Nick, Kat and Phoebe/Kristie benefitting from it, when they were on the chopping bloc.

          That being said, it’s a shame that all her smooth machinations of this episode have gone to waste and even worse, might come back to harm her, as the result doesn’t seem sustainable from the looks of it. Now that the take-over is nearly complete with two Aganoas, one Vavau- and one Saanapu-member on Vavau, it seems she is no longer in position to benefit from it. But it’s Phoebe and I won’t count her out. The people she’s left with seem to be just weak-minded enough for her to wrap two of them around her finger one more time.

      3. Good point on Sue, now I’m even more impressed with Brooke’s pick. I liked her as her tribes choice for the sit-in from a (tribe-)political perspective, but I was a little bit worried if she’s game-savvy enough to pick up on all the clues. It seems the worries were unfounded.

    2. Yeah, I heard about that rumor pretty early and I’m crossing my fingers ever since that the romance stems from a pre-jury trip, but time is running out quickly for that to come to fruition.

      I do like Phoebe, but I love what the edit does with her right now. It seems we are to deep in the game for the fun and comical villains, Phoebe is more like the killer in a thriller, the way they staged her interactions with and without Kristie.

        1. To be clear, I liked the concept of playing a challenge for numbers on the new tribe (the option of sticking together). They botched it by not making it a two-party draft, when blue tribe decided to stick together (remember: it would have been, if anyone jumped ship), but it would have still been worthwhile, if they shook things up again after about two votes (or if Rohan had not been voted out first).

          Production was also rather unlucky, that it was the 5 person tribe without significant weaknesses (exact majority in nine, noone defects) who won the advantage and got to cherry pick four more strong players.
          If Vavau had won for example, we’d either have a two-party draft, or they would have had only two picks to add to the likes of Andrew and Sue.

          1. I don’t think they got particularly unlucky. I think what we got was the most likely outcome. “What if a good tribe that’s fairly unified wins and gets to scoop up all the rest of the good athletes” is a scenario they should have gamed out more.

          2. Kat wouldn’t have stayed with Aganoa, Vavau would have only had two picks, and I for one was surprised that Saanapu managed to move the quickest, despite having only Matt, Flick, Brooke and Nick to hold the poles. It was an upset. (Go Kylie!)
            Nevertheless, as I wrote above, I agree they botched it by allowing for the cherry-picking if a tribe has no defectors. I wrote above what a contingency plan in that case could and should have looked like.

            And like I said, even when it comes to your worst case scenario (that became reality), they could have salvaged it by having another swap two tribals later and there is no reason to complain, as having an advantage in two ICs doesn’t seem too big of a reward.

  6. Given that the Vavau-alliance just splintered on the last vote and their newest members had separate discussions about the vote with Phoebe, I get that vote split seemed especially risky in this instance. In hindsight they should have done it, of course. I didn’t get the impression that Craig had any inkling that Phoebe already found it. I assume (because I think he’s awesome) that he wasn’t thrilled to find out Conner filled Phoebe in on their plan, but given their situation and assumptions, I liked that he recognized that the damage is already done and tried to spin it into a vote of confidence vor Kristie.
    Their best bet, after Conner admitted to blabbing his mouth, probably was to punt and just put three votes on Kristie, but even that seemed hard to actually agree upon, as either Kristie or Conner were always in the shelter with the rest in the scenes we saw. I think at this point they already warmed up to the idea of having Kristie as a post-merge/swap ally, though, so that woud have been a heavy trigger to pull.

    Overall I did like this episode on a gamesmanship level and as food for thoughts (and how could you not after all that has transpired after the challenge), but having all my favourites turn on each other and losing Craig didn’t feel too good.

    Seeds of doubt are mounting for my boy Matt after the last few episodes, so that sucks. I also had to watch the sleeping scene at Saanapu beach twice to get any idea what’s going on there, but this as well as the men-gazing scene’s aftermath felt incredibly petty and at this point I thought: wow, this actually shapes up to be the rare bad episode of AusS. Two side effects:
    – I’m not pulling for Brooke anymore (at least for the moment) and even less for Flick.
    – I actually wasn’t positive for once who would win the challenge, after we spent so much time with Saanapu ( It certainly helped, that, when it was time for the challenge, I wasn’t thinking about the promo anymore.)

    The editing post challenge was interesting, in that we knew exactly what would happen, just not who was the target of the Aganoa girls. I mentioned earlier that I couldn’t imagine that they would go for Craig, but having no Sue confessionals, a ton from Craig and that odd previously-on segment, that made it seem as if Craig never wavered and never voted against his alliance, had me prepared for the worst.
    I would have laughed my ass off if they had went for Conner, though.

    Phoebe’s line for the idol play was pretty disappointing, given all her prep time, no? I thought it was an unnecessary mistake to be so gleeful about it (although she was far from Wentworth-levels of glee). Kristie on the other hand really put on a show during tribal, and while her acting was very impressive, I thought that also could hurt her standing with her tribemates in the aftermath.

    1. I think the point is that Phoebe having the idol just was too unlikely to seriously consider it. They had just played Aganoa’s idol, so that was out of the picture. The only way she possibly could have an idol is if she got Vavau’s one. But three people in that alliance didn’t even know this idol was still in play. (As in someone in the tribe had a clue where it was.) The only one that could possibly have any suspicion she had an idol was Craig, but Craig is the one that looked for it for days *with a clue*, and didn’t find it. The possibility that Phoebe would have found it without any was really really low.

      And the downsides of changing plans are indirect but quite real. First, voting for Kristie pretty much ruins any chance of keeping her in your side if there is a merge next episode, which is not unlikely. Second, to explain that he feared that Phoebe had an idol, he would have to admit he had a clue, which might not sit well with his alliance and meant that after the vote he would have 5 people looking to grab the idol from him.

      1. Oh, I’m not disagreeing too much and I’m not blaming Vavau for their strategy at all (apart from Conner needlessly assuring Phoebe that she’s the target). I was just laying out what I think would have been the only safe course to proceed for them after they found out he did that.
        Can’t attempt 2:2 split, because what if Conner jumped ship, then they lose the vote w/o an idol being played (I think they saw that as a bigger possibility than another idol in one of the A-girls hands and were reasonable to do so).
        Can’t vote Phoebe because both she and Kristie think it’s her, so if either one has an idol they could play it on her.
        That leaves three votes for Kristie as the only safe option. She wouldn’t play an idol on herself on this vote, even if she had one (as long as Conner won’t leak the change in plan, that’s why he can’t know).

        I get that they preferred to keep Kristie and keep her in good spirits, but that was the safest route to choose for the Old-Vavaus. From a risk-reward standpoint, I agree it might not have been the best option, as I can see that they felt the reward of securing Conner and Kristie in the alliance was bigger than the risk of another idol at Phoebes disposal.

        1. Conner is terrible at Survivor for a “superfan”. His inability to lie or even deceptive at all is so frustrating.

          1. So frustrating. It seems he has a good head on his shoulders (I mostly like his answers when he’s called on by JLP) and may know a lot about Survivor in theory, but he’s just not cut out for it.

            Maybe you can still play this honest and trustworthy and be succesful, but he’s so easily swayed and gives away so much sensitive information, that at times it is painful to watch.

          2. I thought I would stop seeing Conner fans after the Craig blindside, but I still see people saying that he is playing well. It’s nuts. He’s probably the worst player left, give or take a Nick.

          3. So bad. Nick is lucky he got a reprieve from being punished for trying to play too soon. Now in the real merge we’ll see what he’s made of (I don’t think it’s much).

          4. All of the remaining men are either bad at Survivor or in a very precarious position. Conner and Nick are both, Matt is in an alliance that’s eager to get rid of him, and Lee and Sam are typical post-merge boots.

          5. Matt is playing well in my book, but he really is the only one. He said he apologized to Brooke later that day about what was a joke gone wong, but it was not in the edit, so I’m worried.

      2. Should Craig not be smart enough to say “I’ve looked for this idol for days with a clue and found nothing, it’s likely it’s been found and is in play”?

        1. I mean, he had at least a few days head start on the look for the idol, unless he were to think that production gave him an idol clue with the idol already taken. So, while of course the reason he didn’t find the idol later on was because Phoebe had it, in the beginning he legitimately couldn’t find it, even with the clue. Besides, the fact that the idol is only catchable a few hours per day makes it even more unlikely that someone without the clue could get to it.

          My personal opinion is not even that Craig made a mistake, but a defensible one. I think he made no mistake. The probability that Phoebe had the idol was too small to warrant the costs of alienating Kristie and revealing the clue. Of course, he *did* err in not finding the idol before Phoebe did, and not noticing that she saw him looking for it at that tree. Phoebe was just too awesome.

          1. He got the clue at the “fake merge feast” that is only a week with the clue.
            I can’t agree with you that he didn’t make a mistake, I think that it was a mistake that is defensible but still a mistake.
            It is a mistake to think that if you can’t find an idol it must be very hard to find, so no one else would be able to, that’s arrogance really.

          2. Even if you think you’re the only one with the clue and never saw anyone stealing off to search in that eastern area? I like to think that Craig had an eye on who left the camp for how long and to go where (and apparently missed Phoebe doing that on that morning – it seemed it was still early morning when she found it), so he ended up playing the odds when they decided to go forward with their play of voting Phoebe. I don’t think that’s necessarily a mistake or arrogance.
            Of course, Sue made it sound as if they were all looking for the idol. Hard to tell to what extent, but I doubt that the Aganoas were spending much time in that area.

  7. Welp, called a bunch of gas stations today and I’m officially stranded, so guess I’ll have more time to watch Australian Survivor. I might even just go ahead and do this episode today, then watch it again tonight.

  8. I came up with some cool new twist ideas for Australian Survivor:

    -Everyone goes to cast their votes, and then Jonathan reads all the votes but tells all the contestants who cast each vote. No one goes home, and they all return to camp.

    -The most recently “eliminated” contestant is not actually eliminated but gets to eliminate 3 contestants of their choice from the game and replace them with their loved ones.

    -Both tribes vote on who they think is playing the worst game. Whoever gets the most votes gets to watch the other contestants confessionals in their own private theater and returns to the game with some new insight!

    -On the final day, Jonathan tells the contestants that it’s opposite day and that the placement order for the season is reversed. Des and Bianca are the new final 2, but the jury HAS to vote for Des.

    Let me know what you think!

    1. Oh, I like this. Here’s mine:

      – As each contestant stands at the voting booth holding their ballot for the camera, a small pneumatic piston hidden under the table swings a cricket bat which breaks their tibia. The player who can hobble back to their seat the fastest wins a reward. The votes are shredded and the players made to drink the pulp.

      – The players arrive to what they think is a reward challenge. Instead, they find to their amusement that they’re standing on a trap door which opens without warning. They fall into a pit of spikes. Nearby is a set of napkins which can be used to staunch the bleeding of multiple organ lacerations, but hidden inside one napkin is a handgun with one bullet. The lucky player that picks that napkin can of course choose the sweet release of death for themselves, or they can shoot another player. The last player with a heartbeat receives a brief visit from their loved one before the inescapable agony of infection claims their life.

      – Teams compete for a food reward. What they don’t know is that all the food has been laced with a powerful sedative. When the players regain consciousness, they are each chained to a tree. A dull saw is nearby. A tiger that has been deprived of food for several days is released. The players can choose to fight the tiger in single combat or use the saw on their leg and attempt an escape. The winner receives an advantage at the next immunity challenge. (That advantage is being alive. For a few extra days.)

      1. How about a sign that when the person goes to vote the name of the person they are voting for comes up in lights for all to see? Then a twist that that person gets to immune to final 3 instead of voted off.

  9. Guys can I also say that I had my reservations going in but Australian Survivor season 3 has been really entertaining. But I can’t believe it’s got so long to go still!

    1. She is pretty crazy, but the show did a good job making us feel bad for her walking like a lamb into slaughter. She even almost said it at one point, “This looks really fishy, but I’ve followed Phoebe so far, so I have to take it to the end.”

      1. I was actually talking about Kylie from the blue tribe.
        Kristie seemed batshit crazy at first, but around episode 6 or 7, when she tried to get closer to Phoebe, she started to look like a decent player and seemed to only get better, culminating in her ep12 crying scene when she learned Phoebe is the target. But it’s all going downhill since she went to see Phoebe on the beach, where she decided it would be a good idea to vote with her. Then she held up her act for way too long during tribal and didn’t have a good comeback for it in the aftermath (neither did she for the question “Why should your tribe keep you?” on the next TC). Another minor annoyance was, how easily she got sent away from the group at critical times, leaving her vulnerable to Phoebe’s attacks.
        So I can see how you got confused, as there is more than one trainwreck with a K.

        And to answere Sharculese’s question, I vote for “just right”.

        1. Yeah, my bad, I read it wrong. Kylie is pretty awful/awesome too, the way she gather the women for the girls alliance and the look on their faces as she spoke was priceless. Even Jenna, which should be more concerned, looked like she didn’t consider it for a second. (Although after now 5 tribal councils without eliminations, I guess she had ample time to build connections in the tribe. And she also benefits from her original Vavau alliance being decimated in the new Vavau.)

    1. OK, I watched episode 13, and I have to say that I disagree with basically everyone here, in that I don’t mind the twists. They make the show feel different to me, and not just Survivor Season 23b. And I think that a reason why I am not so bothered with the lack of eliminations is that in every single episode, except for Peter’s evacuation, something changed.

      I think most of the bad view of non-elimination episodes comes from them in Survivor being superfluous. Like in SJDS, when Julie left, it felt like the game was just put on hold for a week. Here, at least to me, they don’t feel so. No one was voted out, but the tribes are completely different now, and this looks very much like a swap is happening next week. (Which possibly means another non-elimination episode, which I guess will make people here even angrier.)

      But maybe because I’m from Brazil, I’m just more used to reality shows lasting hundreds of hours of TV time, instead of just 14×40 minutes.

      1. Okay, I get what you’re coming from, but I don’t watch Survivor to see “something happen,” unless that thing is people playing Survivor. It’s a relatively simple format, and I’m fine with them trying new things, seeing if they work, discarding them if they don’t but the core game is what I care about.

        It’s reached the point where it feels like production is meddling too much, and that heavy hand detracts from what’s going on. These people are capable; just let them play the game.

        1. I was really excited by the idea of a tribe swap that involves more strategy than a schoolyard pick or a random draw, but I’m not sure there’s a way to do it that doesn’t create a haves/have-nots situation.

          I also like the episode 13 twist in principlel (just not amid a flurry of other twists). It’s an effective way to counter an Intentional Matsing (“you weakened your tribe but you’re no closer to the merge”).

  10. Pretty awesome episode 12, one of Survivor’s greats in recent times. I am really loving this Australian Survivor. Now let’s rush to watch episode 13 before I get spoiled.

      1. Someone has played Survivor with my name but not the best representative so I like to pretend it never happened. If only my parents would’ve named me Robert.

        1. Four people with my name or a variant have played Survivor. Three are among the least-loved/most-hated contestants in the show’s history, one is TBD, but it’s not looking good.

  11. Episode 14 stuff below:

    BOOOOOOOO! Phoebe voted out. She was majorly screwed by that twist. She had Kristy on the ropes, but the extra time really did not do her any favors. And Kate, why in the world would she blow up Phoebe’s game like that? She would have been voting with her had the voting occurred, right? I guess the only thing we can conclude is that by that point she decided that Phoebe was too good of a player to keep around and that it was better to turn on her.

    And so it looks like we finally get a merge next episode with 13 players. What a crazy pace. Everything is up in the air now.

    1. Look at what we posted so close together!
      I feel like Phoebe is the obvious boot here as she’s a scary player but then part of me is like Conner, Kate you two kind of suck at alliances, keep Phoebe and she’ll likely need you at the merge and you can ride with her until it becomes obvious she’s too big a threat and has to go

      1. I thought they finally made the right move and was amazed how close Phoebe came to surviving the vote. Kate didn’t trust her at all, Conner had no reason to trust her anymore (although Kristie seemed to give him little reason to trust her more, I don’t think we saw them connecting at all), while Phoebe told us she had no intention to continue working with any of them post-merge.
        She probably would have offered them up immediately to prove her loyalty to her old alliance and who became close with them.

        1. Exactly. I think Phoebe would dump them as soon as merge happened, and try to find better positioned allies. (Or at least use them as meat shield the way she used Kristie.) Kristie, although not very reliable and certainly not 100% honest, just isn’t sociable enough to be able to quickly find new friends and allies, and she will probably be totally dependent on the two of them for the rest of the game. (Which is a very bad place to be in, as neither of them has very good Survivor qualities.)

          In the end, although it sucks in a sense, I feel they made the best choice. And it really speaks so well of Phoebe’s game that they took so long to do this.

    2. In the end, she was kind of screwed by the twist, although she surely would have been the target tonight, if there wasn’t any twist at all.
      As for Kate, why wouldn’t she blow up Phoebe’s game? Always good to get more information and options, and she told Craig a couple of episodes ago that she doesn’t trust Phoebe at all, which certainly fits what we saw of Kate as a player. I was amazed that Phoebe managed to throw Kristie succesfully under the bus in the first place, as Kristie seemed far less threatening and potentially a useful ally, while I couldn’t see them ever really trusting Phoebe.
      Despite all that, I was really surprised that Phoebe didn’t miraculously turn it around one more time. She was such a presence in the show that I couldn’t see her being a pre-merge boot. I’m really glad that they didn’t try to make her moves about someone else, though, and instead used her to the fullest extent. It’s hard to say if there is anyone on Saanapu capable of playing a game like she did, as they didn’t have to, but I doubt it.

    3. I talked about this above, and I agree with prettyboyprobst. Although it sucks for her that she plotted against her best friend unnecessarily, and that Kristie stayed in the game to get revenge, it is hard to see how the twist harmed her game. Of course you can never know what would have happened otherwise, but if they didn’t win this challenge with Kristie, they sure as hell wouldn’t have won with Sue, and against the 3 member alliance Phoebe wouldn’t have any chance whatsoever of surviving the vote. (Much less than she had this way.)

      1. Yeah I think the twist actually helped Phoebe. It was her one chance to actually make the merge. But she just didn’t see that over-strategizing and being cutthroat to Kristie was a real turn-off to old school-style players like Kate. Her blatant manipulation setting off Kristie’s alarms also didn’t help.

        That said, I’m sad to lose two favorites in a row. She played an awesome game. And Craig was very entertaining.

  12. EPisode 14:
    Well great we watch Vavau lose AGAIN, more shots of Sanaapu on reward BORING
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Phoebe was easily the most enjoyable player of this season. She got burned by the length of it I think, as well as the twist merge. She massively overplayed this one, she should have gone with Kristie and just said “fuck it, 2-2 let’s see what fire says” and maybe she’d get lucky the others would vote for her and she’d be safe. I’m really disappointed though, I hope someone steps up to fill the void.

    1. Gracious vote-out interviews, handshakes and encouraging words between tribes after challenges, an inability to lie that has been rampant… that’s why it’s Survivor: Mateship Edition

      That brazen honesty of the Vavaus really worked to Phoebe’s disadvantage in the end. How could Kristie not believe everything Kate and Conner tell her, considering who it is she’s speaking to, compared to who told her not to let them get into her head.
      I think she did the best she could to keep the plan from last tribal in place, it was just a tough position to be in. If she had tried to secure Kristie foremost and hoped that someone would jump on board, it would have been easy for Conner/Kate to fill Kristie in on who threw her under the bus just one or two days ago, so there’s a good chance she would have been a goner regardless. I am of the opinion that she screwed up in ep12, but I don’t think she made any big mistakes since.

    2. Yeah, Phoebe getting voted out is a bummer, but it is part of the game. In a sense, she was screwed by the twist, but if you think about it, actually if they voted Kristie out last week they still would surely vote for Phoebe today (even more certainly, actually). So, I gather that she was more screwed by the late merge (or the absence of swap) than anything else. In the end, her plan was always a “survive just one more vote” kind of plan.

      I don’t know about taking her place, but Kristie really grew on me this episode. (She has been getting better lately.) Her evil laughs and voice were very entertaining, and if she continue like this I might start rooting for her.

      On the second topic, I agree that she was very gracious. She is just awesome (as is Craig). Nick I think is more pretending to be salty to be camera worthy and funny than actually salt.

    1. Well, to be fair to Phoebe, the Australian version has a lot more people, so more difficult to make it to merge. (Although the merged tribe is bigger than usual as well). Anyway, she played a hell of a game, and even more importantly, she is an awesome character.

    2. To be fair, she lasted 29 days and was a pre-merge boot. So she had the most material of any premerge boot. I genuinely think she would have won a 39 day season.

  13. Heads up guys, I can fill up my car again so I’m rushing to put as many makeup sessions on my schedule as I can. Recap is probably coming in late.

    1. It was a disaster. What’s funny is that Sue is just completely indifferent to Nick and he somehow still thinks he came off looking good.

      1. I thought “how is this a good plan?”, it just gives an opportunity for Sue to say things about Nick being a liar etc instead of him controlling the narrative of being blindsided by evil Vavau.

  14. Could Phoebe have done anything different? She maybe overplayed at the end. If she had been more subtle in throwing Kristie under the bus maybe Kate and Conner would have taken the easy road and voted Kristie out; if she hadn’t shut down Kristie so hard maybe Kristie would have remained her pawn. But who knows? Phoebe had to play so hard to escape the terrible position she was in that it may simply have caught up with her no matter what. Rather than be disappointed that she fell just short of the merge (and she would have been in a terrible position again post-merge, most likely), I think we should appreciate what a miracle it was that she lasted so long in the first place.

    As for LaPaglia at tribal council. I’ll bet people in Kristie’s situation stiff-arm Probst all the time, it just doesn’t make it on the air.

    1. After watching it again, I thought she shouldn’t have done anything different, but needed to be more subtle, smoother when selling the plan to vote Kate. Something felt really off about the way she spoke, Kristie picked up on it and Kate did the rest. I get why she wanted no part of the drama that surely would have unfolded if she just shunned Kristie, not speaking to her at all could have backfired, too.

      Tribal council felt really odd, but watching it again reminded me that it really wasn’t Kristie’s fault that it got so awkward, JLP really overstepped by grilling her like that. It was like he wasn’t accepting an answer short of making clear to everyone, who she’s voting for. Conner answered the same question with “challenge strength and trust” and that was fine, no further inquieries.
      Phoebe also put a foot in her mouth, when asked how to deal with people, that have broken your trust (“maybe you don’t.”), but I’m pretty sure she was toast at this point anyway.

      An alarming thing I noticed when I wanted to start the rewatch is, that it seems like my favorite DM-channel has removed all it’s Australian Survivor content. So no more 720p streams for me, unless someone has a good alternative. Anyone?

        1. Thanks, but I know about that one (found the other channel on the sidebar once when watching R’n’G iirc). It’s just not the same…*cries*

  15. Guys, I have a new student, and she’s Australian, and every time she talks I’m like “omigod, it’s just like the tv.”

  16. Phillip was hero in coconut challenge on Caramoan. He threw challenge “with spy’s greatest tool the grappling hook”.
    I think this format is good. Very much enjoying season.

  17. Well, the last two boots really took the wind out of the sails for the last installment (at least until the finale) of my lists, but here it goes.
    The players, that I want to make it deep into the merge, to make for an exciting second half of the season:



    As I pronounced last week, this list is all about making for good TV. Accordingly, points were awarded (in a very vague and shadowy way) for character, potential for dynamic and/or erratic gameplay and quality of confessionals. I didn’t take looks or the respective positions in the game (story arc potential) into account, because I realized too late I should have.

    Happy Merge(-episode), everyone!

  18. Still no discussion about episode 15? As it seems not many are up-to-date yet, just one non-spoilery note from the latest episode: Even though I would make some minor adjustments to the ranking below after watching, I’m very happy with putting Nick at #1, as there was one little moment where I literally laughed out loud because of him (and he was great TV throughout the episode).
    If you have already seen it, you should know what I’m talking about, if not, you’ll know it when you see it!

    One more thought, this time a tiny bit more spoilery: The strategy of the large alliance, the attempts at scrambling from the other side and the way the vote shook out were a little bit frustrating (I really wanted to believe, that the show was trying to blindside the viewers this time), but overall the episode could be a great set-up for future happenings, and I’m excited for the things to come.

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