Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn Week 8: Episodes 22-23

Last week the Brains stuck together, Wai won immunity, and Flick “got lucky” with an idol (that she still has after Dani was voted out).

Episode 22 (Something Quirky)

  • At camp they talk about the cold, before Hayley explains in a confessional that she had to get rid of Dani because Dani has a lot of friends on the jury, and was a physical and strategic threat.
    Flick and Dani had also said that they wouldn’t vote for George, Cara, or Wai at Final Tribal, which obviously incentivised Hayley to want to keep those three around.
    Hayley remains confident in her game of gathering all the information and sitting in the middle, and wants to own all of her moves in front of the jury.
    George and Hayley are worried about potentially sitting next to Flick at Final Tribal due to her having friends on the jury, and her not having had to backstab anyone.
  • Flick is sad about being in a minority of one and being the only Brawn left.
  • George says that if Flick wins immunity they’ll have to have a discussion within the majority of four, but they’ll cross that bridge if they come to it.
  • Flick is saying that she worked to be the last Brawn standing, because she looked for the idol and picked the right urn.
    She also talks about being mentally tough and wanting it more than anyone else out there.
  • Flick talks to Wai and pitches herself as a number to vote George off, saying that otherwise she’ll be voted off, then Hayley, and then Wai.
    Wai says that herself, Flick, and Hayley would be a good final three. She says they would need to work on Hayley, because Hayley knows that George is a huge threat, but thinks that the jury likes her more than George.
  • Cara’s arm bandage is back.
  • Wai and Cara talk about Wai’s growth in the game and doing things that are way out of her element.
    Cara has also grown to kind of like the outdoorsy stuff.
  • Wai and George have a slight difference of opinion as to whether George has been mean or not.
    Wai very tactfully says she wishes George could be a bit more objective about everything that’s happened.
    Wai is still thankful he saved her, but knows he’s a strategic threat and that the jury could respect that, so it might be better to vote him out.
  • George is impressed with his Survivor resume.
    After the hyperbole, he recognises that he still needs to make it to Final Tribal. (Though he does reference who he would take.)
  • George and Hayley discuss Final Tribal and George says his only hope of winning is against Hayley.
    George thinks himself and Hayley are the two least likely winners, because the others aren’t disliked like they are.
    Hayley (in a confessional) finds that somewhat amusing. She thinks she has a good chance against anyone. Now her main concern is Flick beating her at immunity challenges.
  • Immunity Challenge time:
    Testing out some new musical scores.
    They discuss that there’s four original Brains left, and only one original Brawn. (Hayley: “I don’t know that I would have picked that.”)
    The challenge is to crawl upside down along a pole to retrieve some sandbags, that they will then throw at blocks stacked on top of a frame. They will push the blocks along a beam, to release a key that will unlock a grappling hook, that will be used to snag bags of puzzle pieces that they will use to solve a jigsaw-style puzzle of the Survivor logo (but every piece is a rectangle or square).
    It’s still odd hearing reference to “the twentieth person to be voted out of this game”.
    JLP tries “Let’s get this thing on the road *clap*”, but it doesn’t seem to do as well as his other sayings.
    Wai struggles with the pole crawling and falls off a couple of times.
    Everyone else gets past halfway with their blocks.
    George runs back from the blocks to help Wai across. Wai seems to have mixed emotions about this (I would say because she would want to accomplish it herself, and also she wouldn’t want to be used for strategy or have to feel indebted to George again, and have him hang that over her), though seems thankful at the end.
    Cara knocks her key off first, and gets both bags of puzzle pieces before anyone else gets their key.
    Cara’s puzzle isn’t quite working, and Hayley’s catching up. (Also George starts on his puzzle.)
    Hayley finishes her puzzle and wins Immunity.
  • It’s only 27 degrees after the Immunity Challenge.
  • Flick isn’t too bothered that Hayley won because she’ll be using her idol.
    George is happy that Hayley won so that they can send Flick home.
    George has a nice patronising talk with Flick about how she should look for an idol, and that he’s not the kind of person to lie to the person being voted for.
  • Flick says she wants to be up against the best if she makes it to Final Tribal, but doesn’t specify names.
    She cites her social game as being her biggest strength.
  • George sees Flick sitting around and gets nervous because she’s not idol hunting.
    He goes to Cara and suggests the two of them vote for Wai in case Flick does have an idol.
    Cara doesn’t think Flick will have an idol.
    Cara trusts George, but is worried about destroying their relationships with Hayley and Wai. She wants to tell Hayley.
  • Flick talks to Hayley and suggests teaming up to vote for George, because Hayley is a physical threat so will be next to go.
    Flicks asks what the plan is at four, because Hayley and Wai don’t want to break up, and Cara and George don’t want to break up.
  • Hayley and Wai discuss Flick’s idea to vote out George.
    Wai does feel like she owes George after his help at the challenge, but is still open to voting him out.
  • Cara: “I really don’t think Flick has an idol.”
  • Flick: “I really don’t think they suspect I have an idol.”
  • Tribal Council time:
    Hayley says Tribal is getting scarier because they all have a little hope now.
    Wai says it was nice to see the side of George she saw at the challenge, and they they don’t see that side of him as much as they might in the real world.
    Cara wants to keep it simple as Flick discusses how she’s vulnerable.
    George wants to keep it safe.
    JLP brings up that if Flick goes home then the four have to turn on each other.
    Hayley says that’s correct, unless someone finds the right cracks.
    Flick theorises that there could be a girls alliance that turns on George, or that Hayley wants to sit next to George at Final Tribal.
    Flick plays up going home, and Hayley says she might have an idol.
    Wai says it’s a good time to make a move, but you need to time it correctly or else you’re in danger.
    Flick says it won’t be pretty when someone in the majority of four turns on the person they’re closest to.
    George says tonight is the night to be risk averse and that you can’t be scared to make a decision.
    Flick plays her idol.
    Flick, Flick (at this point the result is obvious, but there’s still a little suspense), George, Wai…
    Wai thanks and hugs everyone before getting her torch snuffed.(On a personal note, this is probably my last recap for the season, so I’d like to thank Assistant Dragon Slayer for inviting me into the team, the AU Team for welcoming me, and you all for reading the things I thought were notable. It’s been fun!)

Episode 23 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)

  • George is relaxing in the hammock when Cara sneaks up and startles him. This must be her love language. She reiterates that George is her ride or die.
  • In the span of about 30 seconds, Cara says both “day dot” and “pointy end of the game”.
  • Flick knows her only path to the end is to win the immunity challenges. She says she’s playing for her mum, in case anybody forgot about that.
  • Flick believes that she and Hayley are now forced to work together to counter George/Cara. Flick says that George beats anybody at Final Tribal Council, both to Hayley and to us. This seems like a misread to me. They should be targeting each other.
  • And right on cue, Hayley says that she’s actually targeting Flick, and that working with her is just a back-up plan in case Flick wins the immunity challenge. But even if they work together, and assuming one of them wins immunity, they would still need to flip Cara to vote out George cleanly.
  • Flick gets in Cara’s ear first, telling her that George is the biggest threat and that Cara is the key to getting rid of him. The problem, as I see it, is that Cara either sincerely believes she can somehow beat George at Final Tribal Council or is happy to come in second (or to be more charitable, just wants to get as far in the game as possible). Either way, I don’t think she has reason to flip (at this point, why betray George only to lose the game to someone else?).
  • And right on cue, Cara says that she’s actually targeting Flick too. I should just watch the episode instead of pausing every time I want to comment on something.
  • George doesn’t get a confessional until over eight minutes into the episode. This must be a record. After our requisite dose of King George bragging, he says that the top priority is not letting Flick win immunity, or else it’s a 2-2 tie and he and Hayley go to fire-making. This implies that 1) he’s not worried about Hayley winning immunity because he’s confident she’ll vote for Flick, and 2) joining forces with Flick to vote out Hayley isn’t on the table at all.
  • Cara gives George advice on making fire, and although it’s edited to make her look as foolish as possible, she actually has a very good ProTip: scrape the magnesium off by dragging the flint across the machete rather than bashing the flint with the machete, so that the magnesium shavings are concentrated in a small area and not scattered all over the place.
  • Immunity challenge: Up and over a net to collect balls, knock out targets with the balls, use the targets to build a staircase, climb up to retrieve a bucket, carry water in the bucket over hurdles and deposit it into a barrel to release more balls, roll the balls up a ramp and into pockets. There’s no puzzle element other than assembling the staircase, which should favor Flick.
  • Hayley gets out to a huge lead while Flick struggles with the staircase puzzle, even getting passed by Cara. It looks like a runaway for Hayley, but she has trouble sinking the last couple of balls and both Flick and Cara catch up to her. George is completely out of it. Flick wins. As George puts it, it’s the end of the reign of either King George, Queen Hayley, or the Duchess of Double Bay Cara.
  • Now that she has the immunity necklace, it’s definitely in Flick’s best interest to get rid of Hayley as the only genuine challenge threat left. But as I noted before, that doesn’t seem to be on the table for some reason (maybe she’s too hell-bent on getting rid of George). Not to mention that the episode isn’t even half over. Either a seemingly simple vote is about to get very complicated or Hayley and George are worse at fire-making that Sundra and Becky.
  • Flick does in fact decide to target Hayley instead of George, and tells Cara that she’s changed her mind. After checking in with Flick, Hayley thinks she’s still voting for George, so it’s a matter of flipping Cara. As Hayley works Cara, Cara tells her that Flick is actually voting Hayley.
  • This means that Hayley’s only hope now is to somehow split up George and Cara, in hopes of a 2-2 tie. She first approaches Cara. Cara knows that Hayley would take her to the end, and that she needs to have some sort of move to point to at Final Tribal Council, but says she may not be “emotionally ready” to turn on George.
  • With Cara wobbling but not flipping, Hayley then works on George. She says that it would be crazy for George to get rid of her, since Flick would then definitely win the final immunity challenge and take Cara to the end. So her pitch is for her and George to vote Cara. Kudos to PeiMeiLikesFishHeads for noting this very scenario for George in the comments (and bad on me for completely ruling out the possibility of Cara being targeted by anybody). The only hole in the logic that I can see is that Hayley seems just as likely as Flick to win the final immunity challenge and not take him to the end. George doesn’t commit but he can certainly understand the argument, so Hayley tells George she’s voting for Cara and the rest is up to him.
  • George says it’s a choice between going with his heart (voting for Hayley and keeping Cara) or his head (voting for Cara and keeping Hayley). Cara also says that she’s faced with a difficult decision. Oh man, what if they BOTH turn on each other?
  • Tribal Council: Whoa, Wai got an even bigger Jury Villa glow-up than Laura and Dani! Flick and George reiterate what we already heard in confessionals. JLP asks Hayley about jury pitches and she pivots to telling George and Cara they can’t possibly beat Flick at the final immunity challenge without actually telling them that. George says that that’s a better pitch than the last time Hayley was on the chopping block (reminding everyone that Hayley was actually voted out of the game). He notes what I did earlier, that his chances aren’t much better against Hayley than against Flick. Cara also says it’s a good pitch but doesn’t say anything substantive. JLP prods, and she goes into word salad mode. A visibly unimpressed jury takes that to mean that she won’t vote George out.
  • JLP asks George who of the three Brains has the best chance of making the final 3 and he says Hayley. Smartly, Hayley doesn’t deny this but says they should all be worried about being in a final 2 with Flick. JLP asks Flick whether she’s voting to eliminate someone she can’t beat in the immunity challenge, which is tantamount to asking her if she’s voting Hayley, which seems over the line to me. Flick says her vote is about making a strategic move, which worries George and probably locks in his vote for Cara if it wasn’t already. JLP gives Hayley the final word and she says to remember her pitch and to think past final 3.
  • Flick votes for Hayley, calling it her strategic move (???). Hayley votes Cara. The votes come in Hayley, Cara, George, CARA. They did turn on each other! What a huge (if understandable) missed opportunity for Hayley to get rid of George! She was too persuasive!
  • I was certain it was the end of the line for either Hayley or George in episode 22, and when that didn’t happen, I was even more certain it would be one of them in this episode. They both pulled off stunning, incredibly counter-intuitive moves to stave off elimination (George having to do it twice). The result is that—in a game that so often rewards hiding behind meat shields and goat-dragging—we have perhaps the strongest possible final 3 that could be assembled from the post-merge players (maybe swap Dani for Flick).
  • Nobody expects Flick to be on the same level strategically as George and Hayley, but since I criticized Hayley a bit in the last episode for taking her foot off the pedal after winning immunity, I’ll say that once Flick decided to target Hayley instead of George, she absolutely had to tell George herself and pull him into the plan, and not rely on Cara to tell him, regardless of the fact that she’s been targeting him for a number of episodes in a row.
  • Whether intentional or not, George has just put two badly-needed friends on the jury.