Andrew left the game in the previous episode, but with his exit came a new twist. The urns twist appeared without warning and is no doubt designed to shake up the game (and delay proceedings) in the final stretch. I applaud production for wanting to continue growing and improving Australian Survivor. Still, the reality is that putting so many twists into the game simply stifles strategy and discourages the big moves that production so desperately wants.
The final six consists of three castaways who have had more attention and character development throughout the season (George, Hayley and Dani) along with three who have been more supporting/background characters (Cara, Flick, and Wai). The group seems to have broken down into three duos, two in direct competition (George & Cara versus Dani % Flick), with the third playing the middle (Hayley and Wai). Based on the previous night, Dani and Flick are the minority looking for any way to survive, and Dani has her sights set on Hayley and Wai to bring over to her side.
George (who won’t stop telling his tribemates that he’s the alpha male) is as confident as ever. Despite being saved multiple times by idols, he always knew he’d get as far as he has. In contrast, Wai has outperformed her expectations and is playing the best way she knows how: by considering each situation as it arises and following her gut. The jury could take this two ways—they could say she’s wishy-washy and never made big moves, or they could say she’s flexible and able to roll with the punches (and many twists) that the season has brought.
Wai is a castaway who takes in as much information about the current situation as she can (having all the conversations) then makes decisions. While Wai has had some missteps, not least of which is believing George’s lie that Andrew was targeting her, she recovers because she has kept her options open and has good relationships with everyone. It might not be the most entertaining gameplay, but it’s certainly consistent. I just wish we could have heard more from Wai throughout the season.
The immunity challenge is a swimming obstacle course high dive throwing race. As soon as I saw there was a throwing component, I immediately thought that Dani would win—she’s the only one who has shown much talent at target throwing. After trailing in the earlier section of the competition, she brings home the win and is emboldened to pull out the stops to keep herself and Flick safe at Tribal. Their target is George, and they plan to pull in Hayley and Wai to vote him off. Meanwhile, George and Cara plan to take out Flick—the only vulnerable member of the minority.
I want to take a quick moment to say that even though Hayley re-entered the game as a big target and has won the past three immunity challenges (two individual and one in the top five), nobody is throwing out her name to go home. Hayley has manoeuvred herself into a position of power and has held considerable sway over the outcome of the previous two Tribals. Hayley’s vote took out Brawn Top Dog Emmett and has hardly felt the backlash; instead, it is falling firmly on George’s shoulders.
George is regarded as having played the best game, but from my viewpoint, he has benefited greatly from Cara’s allegiance and would not have made it as far as he has without her. Apart from literally saving him in the pre-merge by playing her idol for him, we now see that Cara is providing the social game that George seems to lack. Yesterday Cara advised him how to handle conversations with Wai. Without Cara at his side, I think he has little to no chance of keeping Hayley and Wai on side.
He is very single-minded when it comes to the game. He’s all about what is good for him, and so far, that includes Cara since she’s his best asset. George’s nature even seemed to rescue him from the vote as the idea of him being voted out then returning via the save scroll urn is more of a risk than Flick. Hayley’s perception is that if George was voted out then returns, he would be hellbent on revenge in contrast to Flick, who they expect to be reasonable to work with.
Apart from Flick being part of the minority, she’s a threat to win because she seems well-liked by all. In his Jury Villa video, jury member Gerald supports her above all others and would certainly champion her if she makes it to the end. Throughout the game, she’s worked at various times with Dani, Hayley, Wai, and Cara, which means she’s had relationships with them. She’s also a threat to win immunity—she was leading this episode’s challenge until Dani overtook her at the end. While George might outwardly have the best resume should he make it to the end of the game, I think Flick is a dark horse.
The urns from the last episode are influencing the plans—a one in three chance to pick the correct urn is pretty good and is a real factor that needs to be planned for. Hayley and Wai touch on George returning being a major problem, and it seems like it’s the final straw when choosing who to vote for.
George might believe he has a firm grip on the game, but he’s only just hanging on. He continually pushes for “unity” in his best politician speech. Cara must have missed that point because she gets spooked by the atmosphere and conversation at Tribal and plays her idol. When the votes are read, Flick has the most against her but before the idea of her leaving can sink in, she chooses the correct urn and gets to go back to camp with the tribe.
So the final six are still the final six, Cara’s idol was wasted, and we get to see the same but different episode tomorrow.
Of the castaways left, there’s some I like more than others, but I think everybody left still has a chance to win. Where castaway’s lack big moves on the resume, they excel in their social games. Half have been voted off and saved by a twist that kept them in the game. Hopefully, this is the end of the twists—with only eight days left, there surely can’t be room for many more.