This week Julian Groneberg is back with his thoughts on the penultimate episode, and the lovely Phoebe Timmins from Australian Survivor joins me for a Q&A and looks back at our initial cast assessment. But first, the recap!
Maku Maku. Wow, Andrea finally picks up that Sarah is WEEEERKING IT!! Sarah’s crazy looks after Sierra left were ominous to Andrea and Cirie, but who cares right now because she received Sierra’s Legacy Advantage. How long can Sarah stay the middle man? Her next target is strategy queen, Andrea!
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE 1
Steady a balance board while building a house of cards. Seen this one before a few times! Probst tells the tribe that the record for this challenge was set by Cochran, who Aubry claims as her boyfriend… Haha! So great.
And speaking of Aubry, she takes the lead! C’mon Aubs! And there the wind blows, Andrea’s tower falls, and Aubry WINS IMMUNITY!! Aubry’s first individual challenge, beating Cochran’s record by 11 minutes. Congrats, girl!!
Maku Maku. According to Aubry, Brad’s name is on the chopping block and Michaela takes it on herself to make sure Brad doesn’t find an idol by making him go fishing…
WWMD? Not punch Michaela in the face right now, Brad..
Andrea is still uneasy about Sarah and brings her name up with Aubry. Aubry tells her that it’s not the right time and Brad needs to go. Andrea approaches Cirie about Sarah and how she thinks she’s pandering to the jury already. Cirie also says it’s not time… Andrea just can’t get through to anyone right now. Then it flips on it’s head when Cirie and Sarah scheme to get Andrea out. AHH.
TRIBAL COUNCIL 1
Aubry is totally queen right now with her immunity idol on. The tribe talk quickly turns to whether the jury will vote for good game-play or friendships. Andrea says it’s about how you send people off; a total dig at Sarah. (P.S. Did anyone forget Troyzan was there?!). And just like that, Sarah and Cirie pull a flip and send Andrea to the jury. Girl didn’t see it coming. Poor Aubry is left wondering, WTF JUST HAPPENED?! Blindside number one of the night, and we thought this was bad…! Andrea-6, Brad-2.
Maku Maku. Aubry is in a state of depression after the last tribal. She has no other alliances left, but she has Tai consoling her and Cirie doesn’t like it one bit. The Kaoh Rong love has come out to play! Maybe Tai could work with Aubry next vote and use one of his idols for her if need be? Juicy!!
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE 2
There’s a hole in the bucket, Dear Liza. Retrieve a key from the water post and build a block puzzle. The challenge starts with Cirie already struggling on her post, and her bucket is stuck, I don’t think she’s even gotten any water in her chute!
Beastmode Michaela is in the lead, but is she any good at puzzles? Queen Cirie gets her key and Probst tests her again, making her jump in the water. Beastmode Michaela thinks she has it, so close! F U Brad Culpepper comes from behind and wins immunity. He’s acting like Troyzan on One World!!
Maku Maku. Troyzan gets his first confessional in like 6 episodes! Tai and Aubry start talking some big moves and Tai wants to make an uber ‘Big Boy’ move. Aubry is all over it, she wants Tai gone and tells Cirie that Tai wants Sarah out. Cirie then goes to Sarah with this news and Sarah is like, nah mate, Tai is OUR side. And to assure Cirie of how confident she is of Tai, she gives her the extra vote advantage for safe keeping.
Cirie doesn’t but it and wants to try and save Tai. She takes Tai aside and tells him about the advantage and that his name is on the chopping block. Tai, use your idol!! PLEASE.
TRIBAL COUNCIL 2
Honestly, I’m so confused at what’s going on and I need to rewatch the previous scenes. Who is voting for who again?! It’s either going to be Tai or Aubry, right? Damn, Michaela is looking so good right now (or so I thought!). It’s time to vote, and Cirie plays Sarah’s advantage, against Sarah! OMG this is so juicy!! Sarah is NOT happy and wants her advantage back as she claims she did NOT give it to Cirie to play, just to hold, SURE. ANd in an epic backfire move, Probst gets Cirie to read the advantage out. She did not read the fine print and it specifically says the advantage is non-transferable! WOW. The look on Cirie’s face!!
Cirie hands the advantage back to Sarah. [Note, in an exit interview with Michaela she mentions that Sarah only gave Cirie the advantage moments before Tribal Council, hence Cirie not knowing she wasn’t able to use it.]
Sarah goes to Tai, and then everyone starts moving around. Why are they allowed to do this?! They shouldn’t be able to converse so freely at Tribal Council. Amongst all the cluster fuck I find it absolutely hilarious how Troyzan is shut out of the conversation. Thanks Michaela! “Back off!!” Hahahaha.
After all the debates, Sarah decides to use her advantage and steals Tai’s vote. Tai better use his bloody idol! BUT HE DOES NOT. So many things left out of this episode. No explanation why Tai didn’t play an idol. No explanation to why Michaela was voted out, except for that one scene with Brad Culpepper of her being annoying… which actually aired BEFORE Andrea’s vote out. Even Cirie not being able to play the advantage was a little odd, as Probst looked like he was going to allow her to play it! Michaela and Aubry end up voting Tai, and Cirie votes for Aubry. It all just didn’t make sense. Michaela-4, Tai-2, Aubry-1.
FINALE WATCH: Things don’t look good for Cirie losing her wing woman and looking dodgy with the failed advantage play. I also think Sarah may be in trouble after the whole ‘non-transferable’ debacle, and the fact she’s been revealed as a power player. Brad has a really good edit and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made Final 3 and took the title. He has friends on the jury too. Troyzan has hardly any airtime and will probably leave very soon, after he plays his idol of course. Tai is a shoe-in for Final 3! But can he win? Maybe a ‘Big Boy’ move will seal the deal for him! And lastly, Aubry. This woman is just quality and is one of my favourite players to date! It’s between Aubry and Cirie who I’d love to win this season most 🙂
ALSO, I posted this Final 6 Tribal hypothetical on Facebook and Twitter after the episode and received many responses all pretty much coming back to Cirie going home by default. What do you guys think? Would be another pretty epic Tribal!
SURVIVOR JULIANS THOUGHTS
I don’t even know how to begin processing this episode. So many questions I still don’t know the answer to and the reasons behind many moves still don’t seem clear-cut which leaves us to try and fill in the dots ourselves. But the reasons behind the moves are no more than theories, and I just think that sometimes in Survivor there’s not always solid logic behind why someone goes home when they do. Of course someone always has to go, so why was it Andrea over anyone else? Apart from challenge prowess, it just seemed to be another case of anyone but me, but it baffles me why Sarah and Cirie aren’t being targeted yet.
Also why did Michaela become the target after Cirie’s attempt to use the advantage failed? She wasn’t a threat to win by any means. Another question: How was attempting to take away Sarah’s vote by using her advantage on her supposed to be ‘looking out for her?’ – wouldn’t it have been more effective to steal someone else’s vote. So much of the episode just makes no sense, and two boots in one episode meant there was less time to tell the story clearly.
I haven’t loved this season as much as I thought I would have. There just seems a lack of a consistent story running through the episodes from week to week and no common thread. Sarah’s story has been the most compelling and I’d say she’s got the best chance to win could she make the final 3.
It’s not good enough that we really have had no storyline from Troyzan and Aubry and they are both in the final 6. Going into next week it’s not clear who is going to win but I think we are guaranteed a crazy tribal with all the advantages still in play. I hope Tai can make the most of his idols – he’s one player that I’d have to say is completely underrated. Sure, he’s not the best liar or strategist, but he’s really skilled at floating between alliances and not becoming a target. Not to mention he’s great at challenges, building relationships, and finding idols. There really is a lot to applaud about Tai’s game. Ultimately. I’d love to see Cirie win, like everyone else it seems. Lets pray for a Survivor miracle!
S34 Episode 13 Q&A w/Phoebe Timmins
Phoebe Timmin is inarguably a fan favourite of the returning season of Australian Survivor and played a cunning game to boot! Starting off on the ill-fated Aganoa tribe, things went from bad to worse after the first tribe swap where Phoebe joined Vavau. A couple of sneaky hidden idol plays kept Phoebe in the game and things started to look up. Alas, luck was just not on her side when a the unexpected twists occurred, causing her to go home in 15th place and just missing out on the merge.
LyndzO: Hey Phoebe, welcome back to Reality Ramblings for an official recap Q&A! Thanks for joining me this week 🙂
OK Phoebs, we did half a cast assessment together and we are both 6/10 on where we thought the original Mana tribe would end up! (Obviously we don’t know where Aubry and Troyzan will stand, but we both predicted Post merge/jury). What do you think of the assessment now we are heading into the finale? Note, we were very wrong about Hali making the Final 3, haha.
PhoebeT: I was very wrong about many of my predictions! It really reinforces how unpredictable every season of Survivor is. Well it either reinforces that, or that I am clueless. Or both! I guess there are so many variables and complexities that we can’t account for. Still, it’s fun to speculate!
LO: Have you been surprised by any of the early boots, or anyone that has made the final 6?
PT: I was definitely surprised when Malcolm went home. I’m really disappointed we didn’t get to see more of him (and mind out of the gutter Lynda, I’m talking about strategy). He was playing well and it was such bad luck to go out on that twist.
I was also surprised by JT’s departure. I thought he’d go quite deep into the game, but he got unlucky in the tribe swap. They did so well to placate him and prevent his idol play. I get it though. It’s really difficult to know that you’re sitting on the bottom and not play your idol. It’s risky, and I commend JT for that even if the risk didn’t pay off. I think that’s what is so impressive about Tai, it takes strong intuition and a correct reading of the game to not play it. Harder than it looks I assure you!
Final six wise, I’m pleased with our remaining gamers! Truthfully I’d be pleased to see anyone there.
LO: Which players have impressed you the most over the past 10 weeks?
PT: So many! Namely, Sandra. She played so well and we were deprived of more. I’ve also been impressed by Andrea, Sarah, Cirie, Tai. Actually I don’t like this question, I think we’ve seen really good stuff from everyone! Zeke, Ozzy, Brad. Eek! I’ve been impressed by everyone.
LO: To the episode, just WOW. Overall, because we’ll delve deeper into what actually happened, how did you feel about the two Tribals and bootings in one episode? Should they have split this in two?
PT: I don’t really have any strong feelings about it. I don’t think it’s an injustice to Andrea. She has been an absolute star throughout the season and that isn’t negated by having her torch snuffed earlier in an episode. Michaela going home was very interesting, what a way to go! The audience was blindsided on that one.
LO: Aubry wins the first immunity challenge and beats Cochran’s time of building a block tower in just 6 minutes! How much did you feel Aubry’s enjoyment in winning? Because I certainly did! She also mentions Cochran being her boyfriend, how devastated would she be not even knowing Cochran was on the same island not long ago? Dammit, Debbie!
PT: Hahaha, who knows maybe Cochran is hanging about helping to film Ponderosa videos. I’m sure he’d be a fine shoulder to lean on at the jury villa should she not get to the end. I mean did you see the way he consoled/hugged Debbie? Aubry may be onto something. In all seriousness, it was a beautiful moment with her immunity win. What a champ! Nailed it.
LO: Andrea is gunning for Sarah as she caught on Sarah’s reactions to Sierra going home. What did you think of Sarah’s bestie moves last week ensuring she received Sierra’s Legacy Advantage?
PT: Andrea called it and it speaks volumes about her Survivor skills. She read Sarah well and she picked up on things seemingly not right before her exit. I don’t think she could have done anything about it even if she did reconcile those thoughts into the knowledge that her time was up.
Sarah played it perfectly. Sierra did not create a value in herself in keeping her around, rather she created a strong value in getting rid of her. Sarah recognised that capitalised on it, as she should have.
LO: It’s all a bit of a blur and Andrea is blindsided with Cirie flipping on her. Considered the strategic queen of the final 8, was Andrea the right person to get rid of? Do you think she could have made it to the final 3?
PT: Well Andrea is a blazing threat across every dimension of the game. But this question always depends on who we’re talking about. For certain players, yes she’s the right person to get rid of, for others probably not. There are many important things to consider and one is ‘does this person think they can beat me?’ Because if they don’t, you’ll be targeted. Another, related to that is, ‘if they don’t think they can beat me, is now the right time to get them first?’ Strategic timing and forethought are crucial. But then, even with that, there are things you cannot account for and sometimes you’ll get unlucky anyway. For example, three idols are yet to be played.
This response maybe even oversimplifies it a little, but I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Timing is also harder than it looks.
LO: Back at camp, Aubry is in a state of depression and Tai consoles her. Do you think Aubry could rope Tai back into an alliance, even after voting for him?
PT: I don’t think it’s like that this season. They’re probably just genuine friends. Tai has already exemplified this season that he is focused on strategic decisions (e.g. when he voted Caleb). It’s hard out there, sometimes you need some lovin’! To survive!
Consider this scenario, if Rohan gave Kat some encouragement or a hug (LOL, imagine!), people wouldn’t have assumed they’re aligned all of a sudden.
That said, and I hate analysing the edit, but sometimes interactions are showcased to us for a purpose. So it is possible.
LO: And to the actual tribal council that went down. Sarah giving Cirie her Steal-a-Vote Advantage to keep her loyal and quiet because she thought she had Tai on side… Good or bad idea? And on the flip side, what do you think about Cirie trying to use the Advantage AGAINST Sarah? How do you think this would have played out if the Advantage WAS transferable? It almost seemed like Jeff was going to allow Cirie to play it. And finally, does this move seal Cirie’s fate in the game?
PT: Sarah giving her advantage to Cirie was a great manoeuvre to harness and unintentionally test trust. Apparently she gave it to her at the last minute, which is also clever.
I’m not sure about Cirie’s move. I wonder a little why production never mentioned to her she couldn’t play it. I feel like it’s okay for production to reiterate rules? Anyone else have any thoughts on that?
I love Cirie and I hope she wins! But I can’t help but consider Tai in this scenario. If I’m sitting on two idols and someone tells me I’m in trouble, but not to worry because I can put my entire game in their hands since they’re playing an advantage for me – well, I’d be pretty tempted to play one of those idols.
But she did put on a great performance to Tai. And the idea was good. The execution looked almost good. She’s Cirie. Gurl got skillz!
I have no idea what the backlash will look like, but so far it has certainly been damaging to Cirie. It cost her Michaela, someone she could count on and no doubt beat at the end. It looks like an uphill battle from here. But if anyone can do it, she can!
LO: The vote results are Michaela-4 (Brad, Troyzan, Tai, Sarah), Tai-2 (Michaela, Aubry), Aubry-1 (Cirie). Ok so firstly, there was no clear inclination of Michaela going home in this episode, except for the fact they showed her driving Brad up the wall making him go fish, giving him a reason to vote her out. And note, this scene was shown BEFORE Andrea’s boot! What do you think about this edit? With all the scrambling at tribal, did Sarah flip on Cirie at last minute? Did Cirie realised she was f*$ked and vote for Aubry as a throwaway? Do you have any other unanswered questions?
PT: Firstly I don’t think you vote anyone out for being annoying at this point in the game! I also doubt very much that Cirie did a throwaway vote toward Aubry without good reason. I wish we could have heard the whispers! I want to do some reading around this and find out more about what happened. My guess is that Sarah was unhinged when Cirie tried to use her advantage and it made sense to take out Michaela first? She’s the bigger challenge threat and is an ideal person to take to the end? I’d be interested to hear more about what went down on this vote soon. I don’t know any more than you do!
LO: Honestly, is Troyzan getting the worst edit of the season? Or do you think we have missed out on some golden Troyzan moments?
PT: Hey, I’ve always been a Troyzan advocate! Give us more Troyzan! Like I said, I don’t like to assess editing, I just watch and enjoy. But yes it’s interesting we don’t see many confessionals from him.
LO: Going by the previews for next week, who do you think Tai gives his spare idol to?
PT: Not sure, but I am excited! Tai has been playing a really good game. One of the best out there.
LO: There’s been a lot of talk about how many advantages and idols are going around this seasons. Do you think there are too many? In your opinion do the amount of idols and advantages played take away from or enhance the game?
PT: I don’t have a strong opinion on this. I think generally speaking idols enhance the game. I think the number of idols makes sense, but perhaps it’s just that the players have been able to sit on them for so long. JT didn’t play his idol, have any others even been played yet?
Advantages I don’t love because history shows us they seem to be disadvantages. But I guess that’s on the players themselves. I’m only not in favour of other random production twists that the players can’t strategically account for, such as the one that saw Malcolm go home. [LO: Or the ones Phoebe got screwed over by]
LO: Final 6: Aubry, Brad, Cirie, Sarah, Tai, Troyzan. Who makes the final 3?
PT: No idea! Hopefully Cirie! From what we have seen, if I were Sarah, Brad or Tai I would want to sit next to Aubry and Troyzan. Aubry has been on the wrong side of numerous votes and we haven’t seen much strategy from Troy. But we have all seen how woeful I am at predicting these sorts of things
LO: And lastly, who will win the mil and title of SOLE SURVIVOR, and why?
PT: Tony because he has been hiding in his spy bunker all season!
LO: Thanks for your time, Phoebs! Any final words?
PT: Thanks Lynda! If anyone is in Melbourne this week come and watch the finale with a few Australian Survivor contestants and a bunch of the superfan crew! 🙂 Event Page
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