Australian Survivor, Season 2: Weeks 2 & 3

Hi guys, sorry for the delay, but here’s a supersized cross-talk covering weeks 2 and 3 of, except not really episode 4 because I AM STILL UPSET AND DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. Read on to find out what we think of the shakeups on both tribes, how everyone is playing, and just how much I hate Luke!

Sharculese: ASD I am in mourning. Can we just yadda yadda the sad demise of Mark H, AKA Australian Paul? He died doing what he loved, being a good dude to his friends.

ASD: He sacrificed himself to save a pretty girl. And he lasted longer than the real Paul, by one day.

Sharc: RIP. I’ll see you at the crossroads, Australian Paul.

The more important story of last week has to be the collapse the Samatau 8. Obviously, an 8-person alliance was never going to hold, but good job on the insurgent force for spotting the cracks and exploiting them. How do you want to parcel out credit here?

ASD: I have to give both AK and Jarrad a lot of credit. As ham-handed as AK was in the early going, he really took the right approach with Tessa. He basically said, “we’re not BFFs, we’re not allies, but we can save each other this vote,” and Tessa basically said, “thanks for not insulting my intelligence.” Meanwhile, Jarrad took exactly the right tack with Peter, pointing out how close Tara and Locky were getting and letting Peter do the math.

Sharc: That sounds about right to me. AK’s shown a lot more skill than I would have given him credit for a couple weeks ago. Although being in charge looks like it be making the old AK ooze back up. I think he might be one of those people who plays better from the bottom or the middle than they do from the top.

ASD: We’ll have to wait a while to find out because Asaga somewhat unexpectedly burst into flame.

Sharc: To be fair, Henry was standing over a pile of oily rags holding a lit match and going “come ooon, why won’t you ignite?!”

ASD: Oh wait, I want to go back to ep 5 for a second: Aimee was less visible in her own boot episode than Purple Kelly was. Strange, particularly since she was apparently highlighted in the pre-season press

Sharc: Yeah… they seemed to be really big on Aimee and then just nothing. Like I guess the idea that a skinny blonde girl was a plumber was so inherently compelling that they had to highlight it?

ASD: Even so. I get that AK and Locky are Survivor gold, but it’s not like they have a shortage of running time to parcel out. Do you think Team AK should have taken a shot at Locky? It was Day 13 and the idol went back into circulation on Day 12.

Sharc: I think taking a shot at Locky makes sense in the abstract, but in the moment Aimee was too easy of a target. When you have a new alliance sometimes it’s better to make the hit everyone can agree on than go for the big game.

ASD: OK, back to Asaga. I guess we’re on episode 6 now. Henry’s another one, like AK, who is doing way better than I expected in week 1. It’s kind of mystifying why the target hasn’t shifted to him, given that his yoga instructor lie fell apart immediately and he’s apparently a graduate of the Peih-Gee & Jaime School of Throwing Challenges.

Sharc: I know everyone’s talking about how obvious his challenge throw was, but I didn’t think it came off that bad. First we know he wanted to throw a challenge, but they didn’t. Second, if you’ve just sprinted through an obstacle course and don’t have those kinds of spatial skills, it just looks like a really hard puzzle. And he was doing a good job of pretending to be frustrated.
Plus and this is critical, Henry’s strength is legwork. He’s really good at checking in with everyone all the time, building bonds, seeing where the sands are shifting. It helps build trust to the point where nobody is that made you told a weird lie about what you do.

And I think maybe lying about your job has become normalized to the point where it’s hard for people to get too upset about it.

ASD: I’m not so sure about the last point. This is still only week 4 of the new, non-mateship AU Survivor. But you’re right about the legwork. And by the same token I think we have to dock Locky some credit for getting complacent.

Sharc: And for lashing out at Peter. Hoo boy that was dumb.

ASD: Oh yeah, we forgot to talk about Peter. Good move to flip? I lean toward no, mainly because he’s now pissed people off and he’ll have plenty of time to build a resume.

Sharc: I’m inclined to agree. Being a number for Locky vs. being a number for AK makes no difference right now, and the other side would have been easier to mend fences with. I think he just really needed to make a BM and couldn’t hold it in any more.

But on to the big event of the episode: who’s more responsible for Sam going home? Henry and Jacqui for putting the plan in motion, or Sam and Mark for making it so easy?

ASD: It can be two things. Back when Sam first started getting paranoid, her double-secret alliance consisted of herself, Mark, Henry, and Jacqui. She got bounced 9-2. What were Sam and Mark going all day?

Sharc: I honestly don’t know. Wandering around the woods holding hands? They didn’t seem to key in that something was up until right before the vote.

What I found most fascinating though was that you had Mark stalking through camp like a crazy person playing at being a cop, and everyone’s just kind of like “yup, Mark knows we’re hiding something, whatever.” It shows how long this had been in motion.

ASD. Yeah, one of the only things Aimee said in her boot episode is that an 8-person alliance can’t possibly hold together, yet here you have a 9-person alliance holding together to get rid of both members of a power couple.

Sharc: They really could not have worked any harder to makes themselves targets.

That said, did it make sense to immediately go after Mark, or could they have left him neutralized but useful? I’m going with they couldn’t. As much of an asset as he is in challenges, once he started stomping up and down the beach, talking about revenge, he had to go. But I’d love to hear what you think.

ASD: Why do you say they couldn’t keep him around? Because I think Luke was absolutely right, they needed to do the conventional thing and break up Henry and Jacqui.

Sharc: Sorry, by ‘they’ I meant Henry and Jacqui.

ASD: Maybe so, but the five non-Henry/Jacqui who voted for Mark should have listened to Luke. Although, I guess that’s the flip side of what we just criticized Peter for. That group (Ben, Kent, Michelle, Odette, and Sarah) is particularly risk-averse, and why shouldn’t you be at this point in the game?

Sharc: I will believe those people can make decisions for themselves when one of them does so.

Wait, that’s not fair to Sarah. I think Sarah’s sharper than the other four, but I also think Sarah’s in good with team HJ (which is what I am calling them now), and doesn’t feel the need to rock boat quite yet.

But, as for the others: every time Kent isn’t the target is a good day for Kent, Ben and Michelle don’t seem particularly fond of making waves, and as for Odette… I cannot get a read on Odette; sometimes she’s present and sometimes she’s purple.

ASD: I agree that Sarah seems to be more on the ball than the others, although I was pleasantly surprised when Ben and Odette got confessionals in ep7 (their first that I can remember) and they had insightful things to say.

Sharc: Oh! Can this be our segue into how Luke is the bad version of Tony? Because those confessionals are a key part of my argument.

ASD: Please proceed, governor.

Sharc: So I’m starting to suspect that someone gave Luke a copy of Cagayan before he headed out and he watched it and learned all the wrong lessons about Tony. He picked up all of the flashy stuff and missed all of the behind the scenes action.

Like, we saw him build a spy shack in episode 1, but more than that, it’s his obsession with shaking things up with chaotic votes that will upend the power dynamic in the tribe. That’s the flash of the Tony game.

What he doesn’t seem to realize is that flash is dressing on top of a game that makes a ton of work. Tony and Sarah made something look easy that isn’t. Playing like they did requires a lot of day to day work, checking in with people, feeling things out, floating ideas, knowing what the fallout of your next move is going to be. You have to be doing things all the time. And Luke isn’t.

The second Tony finds out Mark is gunning for Team HJ he’s checking to see if that helps him and who might be up for it. We didn’t see Luke do that. He talked about it, but he only ever did anything once Asaga went to tribal council and it was sad.

This is where those confessionals come in. Luke’s pitch has shades of Tony, but where Tony is selling you on how this is right for you, Luke is basically saying, “c’mon, everyone’s doing it.” Not a single word about what they get out of it. He’s like the used car salesman telling you you’d better buy today because it won’t be on the lot tomorrow, and even Ben can see through it, and Luke has no idea.

ASD: Co-sign on all of this. If I was an edgic guy I’d say that Luke stumbling into the wasps’ nest was OTTN3.

It probably doesn’t help that Luke’s sidekick is Jericho and not Trish.

Sharc: I just can’t even with Jericho, but that’s the thing about Luke. He gets two votes. He’s not going to win, but he’s a serious danger to the game of everyone around him that needs to be dealt with. He’s a stick of dynamite, and, if nobody put the fuse out, someone is losing a hand. My only hope is that, after his last minute hustle this week, people start to compare notes.

But if also they could have a few more scenes of him wandering into wasps’ nests I wouldn’t complain.

ASD: Now that Mark isn’t around to do his bad-cop/bad-cop act, maybe that’s what will happen. Or maybe they’ll break up HJ instead.

Sharc: It could either way. The promo said nothing about Samatau, so I assume it’s more Asaga drama.

Do we need to say anything about Mark W, or has it all been said?

ASD: Not a lot to say about Mark W. I’m surprised at how terribly he played from the bottom.

Sharc: I can’t say I am. I think ‘soldier’ is one of the most overrated career backgrounds on Survivor. Like sure, you’re probably used to roughing it and you’re in better shape but doing those things in a rigid hierarchical system is very different from doing them in game where the difference between chief and peon can happen over a single afternoon.

ASD: Sure. With that covered, should wrap up. Has your opinion of anybody changed dramatically since week 1?

Sharc: I mean, the obvious ones. I didn’t expect much out of AK or Henry. Jacqui was lighting it up at tribal council this week, that was fun and… I somehow think less of Jericho and his stupid magic cookies.

How about you?

ASD: It’s little more than a hunch, but I’m keeping an eye on Sarah. I was impressed by the way she quietly kept fanning the flames of Sam’s paranoia, she’s consistently got a good read, and I don’t think she was brought into the stupid cookie alliance for no reason.

Oh, I just realized that Sarah was my female winner pick. That I forgot says something about either her or me.

Sharc: Lol until next time. Which will probably be… the finale.

Thanks for your patience everyone. Regular coverage will resume this Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how many episodes there are. In conclusion: Luke is garbage. I do not like him. He saved a woman from drowning and managed to make it sound douchey. When he stumbled into that wasp’s nest I literally applauded. He is not a person, he is a person-shaped bag of steroid. Fuck Luke.