Welcome to Episode 15 of Australian Survivor. A game where the viewers get blindsided just as much as the contestants do. Last night we saw a non-elimination twist that effectively ruined Sarah’s game – or at least made it a hell of a lot more difficult. Not only did it cause her to expose her hand by revealing her intention to blindside Luke, but it also happened while the Samatau tribe watched. To top it all off, Sarah now must deal with the ramifications all on her own due to Peter committing mutiny and going back to the Samatau tribe. It’s a battle between Sarah and Luke and tonight we will see who comes out on top.
The cookie alliance has crumbled. Jericho is feeling alone after his “army of soldiers” in Sarah and Luke committed treason by trying to vote one another out of the game. Sarah, on the other hand, is insistent that she continues to play the middle of multiple alliances and carrying on spinning her “web of lies.”
The next day, Sarah begins with an apology tour that sees her doing damage control by trying to convince her tribe that she had no intention voting out Luke. She attempts to pander to Jericho’s emotions by letting him know that she has his best interests in mind when it comes to the merge. Sarah says that she wants to keep him safe and that she intends to form an alliance with Jericho, Luke and Michelle when the merge arrives. Meanwhile, Luke begins to look for a hidden immunity idol (to no avail) after the close call he faced at tribal council the night before.
Afterwards, we get Odette’s thoughts on her game and the way she hopes to move forward to an impending merge. Odette has been like a very old fashioned steam engine train that has slowly been gaining momentum as the season goes on. She came into the game mainly finding value in the challenges but has slowly learned how the strategic facet of it works. Odette, being the physical specimen that she is, says that she is excited for the merge to come as she sees herself as a competition threat. In terms of her social game, she refers to herself as a “free agent” who has no loyalties to anybody which has certainly been established ever since the last person of her alliance (Kent) was eliminated. Odette acknowledges that she is in the middle of two pairs – Jericho and Luke and Tara and Sarah – which makes her the swing vote in this situation. She ends the scene by admitting that she feels confident in her strategy of just floating in the middle and going wherever the power goes as it places her in a position where she is underestimated and forgotten.
We return to see Sarah doing damage control with Tara where she unveils her desire to vote out Odette for being someone who nobody can work with due to her lack of game knowledge. Tara and Sarah both recognize that Odette has no true alliance with anybody left in the tribe and believe she will continue to flop between alliance when the merge comes around. Sarah approaches Luke to try and mend fences with him by telling him that voting out Odette is in the best interest of his game. Luke says in a confessional that he is still wary of Sarah, but he is willing to work with her for however long he has to.
After getting a front row seat at one of the messier tribal councils of the season, Peter is “very happy to be back” and gets a seemingly warm reception from the tribe. Henry says in a confessional that “Peter coming back to Samatau is great for everyone but me” and is worried that his arrival will strengthen the alliance between Jarrad, Tessa, and Ziggy while pushing Henry (who currently has an immunity idol) and Locky further down the bottom of the totem pole.
The next day, Peter justifies his decision to jump ship by saying that he has the most connections on the Samatau tribe and he is confident that it will provide him with the most options moving forward in the game. Soon after he solidifies the alliance with Tessa, Ziggy and Jarrad and they set their target on Henry due to the likelihood of him flipping back to his Asaga tribe members when the merge comes. They also voice their concerns over Locky flipping along with Henry because of the bromance they have formed during their time together at Samatau. However, Peter and Jarrad agree that “an unhappy Locky is better than keeping Henry.”
For this immunity challenge, each tribe has six contestants holding onto a rope connected to a steep wall frame placed in the middle of the ocean. The last tribe standing wins immunity. This challenge traditionally favours men and women of a smaller and leaner build, so naturally, the big guys like Locky and Henry fall relatively quickly. After over two hours holding onto the rope, it ends up between Jericho and Ziggy to win it for their respective tribes. Ultimately Jericho drops meaning Asaga will yet again go to tribal council.
Asaga Tribal Council
The writing is on the wall at the Asaga camp regarding Odette with the entire tribe recognizing that Odette is “the middle man” (as Tara puts it) in between the two pairs of Jericho and Luke, and Tara and Sarah. At this point, Sarah’s pitch to Jericho and Luke doesn’t even appear to be one of an alliance. She tells the pair that she “knows you guys [Luke and Jericho] are going to stick together at the merge” and likewise herself and Tara are going to stick together, implying that her pitch to her tribe isn’t one of loyalty but is rather against Odette. It is almost as if she is begging Luke to put aside any harsh feelings he may have towards her and vote out Odette because she doesn’t deserve to continue on for her lack of Survivor knowledge. Despite the fact that Sarah is flipping between alliances just as much as Odette is, because Sarah portrays herself as a strategist almost works to her favour because she can be seen as more stable than Odette.
However, Jericho and Luke are still holding feelings of distrust about Sarah after her plan to vote out Luke almost came to fruition. As such, Jericho decides to have a conversation with Odette to confirm a plan to vote out Sarah. Next, it’s Sarah’s turn to pander to Odette by acting as if she still wants Luke gone. In actuality, Sarah has no intention to vote for Luke but still wants Odette to believe that so she can have one less vote against her if the votes do go her way. Needless to say, Odette is smitten by her position as the apparent “swing vote” and is struggling with the tough decision to choose which alliance she wants to vote with, not realizing that her name is firmly on the chopping block. The decision proves to be so difficult in fact that she contemplates just “flipping a coin” to decide whether to vote out Luke or Sarah. In reality, the vote is only between Sarah and Odette.
Heading into tribal council, the conversation revolves around who people should trust the most. On the one hand, Sarah has proven to be a serious strategic game player who is willing to do what it takes to win. On the contrary, Odette’s lack of game knowledge means she is playing the game like a chicken with her head chopped off making it difficult for strategists such as Luke, Jericho, and Sarah to reason with her.
At tribal council, the conversation surrounds the idea of keeping someone in the game who might be a larger target than yourself. What do you do with a threat in the game? Do you keep them safe knowing that they will be a larger target than yourself or do you eliminate them quickly before they get the chance to potentially ruin your game? Tonight, the tribe decides to stick with the devil they know in Sarah and vote out the wild card in Odette.
Before the season began, I predicted that Odette would be the woman who refused to play the game and would place her loyalty above everything else and for the most part that was true. However, Odette was forced to play a game that, in her mind, she didn’t sign up to play. She came into the season saying that she wanted to vote people out based on their athletic ability and contributions around camp. Instead, she was placed in a game full of cutthroat strategists that were hungry to win. Odette was forced to adapt to her circumstances and quickly learn how to play the game on the spot and to her credit did very well considering.
For the past few episodes, Sarah and Odette had been in similar positions by holding power to swing the votes whichever way they wanted. Although Odette was able to recognize that she was a free agent who had no allegiance to anyone left in the game, her lack of strategic knowledge meant that she was unable to effectively convince those in the minority that she was dedicated to moving forward with them. Instead of trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes she floated in plain sight by making it known that she was in the middle and sometimes that’s enough reason for a tribe to come together and vote out that person. Odette was an inspirational woman who came for the experience and instead left the game with a lesson in strategy. Unfortunately for Odette, she wasn’t able to learn the game fast enough.
OTHER #SURVIVORAU COVERAGE ON INSIDE SURVIVOR
Australian Survivor will be back next Sunday at 7.30pm AEST – and Alice Barelli will be on hand to recap everything that goes down, down under.