Australian Survivor: Titans vs. Rebels

Episode 17 Recap – On the Flip Side

What went down in Episode 17?

This season of Australian Survivor continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. Just when you think you have sure-footing, the rug is pulled from beneath your feet. Alliances are ever-changing, and strategies are constantly shifting, leading to tribal after tribal where one can never be quite sure just who is going home.

After Aileen’s blindside in the previous episode, Kirby enacts the second part of her plan, cementing an alliance with Feras now that the “wedge” between them has been removed. I’ll be honest; I had doubts about Kirby’s move. We’ve seen that Feras can take betrayals to heart, so I wasn’t sure he’d be so willing to work with Kirby after she’d just taken out his number-one ally. But, as I said, this season is full of surprises.

Feras and Kirby are as thick as thieves in this episode, laughing and plotting and not caring who notices. Finally, after weeks of targeting one another, the two OG Rebels are aiming their daggers elsewhere. For Feras, he’s salivating at the chance to take out Valeria, a long-held grudge from the Garrick blindside back on the post-swap Titans tribe. His new alliance of Kirby, Rianna, Jaden, and Raymond seems more than happy to go along with this.

However, the blatant well chat puts the others at camp on edge. All of a sudden, allegiances have shifted, pushing Alex into working with OG Titans, Caroline, Kitty, Mark, and Valeria. So long as they vote together, they can at least ensure a five versus five at the next tribal. Yet, there’s one member of this group also thinking about making a jump.

By her own admission, Kitty hasn’t been the most strategic player this season. She often relies on her gut and her social game, being in a solid enough position to be in on the plans. This is all great for making it deep, but Kitty is starting to think about what she can do to win. How can she get through this prickly end-game and give herself a shot at the final tribal council?

For Kitty, she believes her best option is joining Kirby and Feras’ coalition. It might seem like odd timing, but I sort of understand the logic. Firstly, she needs a move of her own to separate herself from Caroline. Secondly, if she fears the non-Kirby alliance will be picked off, it behooves her to flip now and save herself. It could put her in a position to be one of the last OG Titans standing and give her a path to the end, knowing that Feras and Kirby will likely turn on each other again before then.

So Kitty offers her services to Kirby, promising she will vote with them against Valeria while simultaneously lying to the others. Even when Caroline approaches her about her concerns, Kitty remains steadfast, not giving anything away in regard to her flip. With Caroline and co completely oblivious to Kitty’s double-dealing, it appears a vicious Valeria blindside is on the menu.

However, things take a turn after another grueling rope-based immunity challenge (won by endurance queen Rianna). Alex and Feras have an awkward chat about Alex feeling left out, which Feras compares to high school drama. Feras is “fuming” so much about Alex’s complaints that he momentarily considers switching the vote onto him.

But as Feras leaves Alex alone with Raymond, something unexpected happens. Raymond offers to vote with Alex and co, so long as the vote isn’t against Feras. Much like Kitty, Raymond is looking to make a move of his own rather than continue doing what he has been doing, which is following orders from others.

Alex doesn’t give anything away to Raymond in regards to his alliance’s plans, which is to pile votes on Jaden. But he does bring up the conversation to Mark, who uses this crucial bit of info to perform a masterful coup in the middle of tribal council.

As JLP grills the castaways, Mark whispers in Raymond’s ear, asking if he’d be willing to vote with them against Jaden. Alex then goes a step further when he asks Raymond who he should play his idol on. Raymond tells Alex that the others are voting for Valeria, which is our first indication that Raymond has flipped.

Yet, as we’ve seen countless times this season, Kirby and Feras have immaculate reads on this game. They spot the hushed conversations happening and do some cross-tribal whispering of their own, where they agree to switch the vote to Alex. Kirby relays the message to Jaden, while Feras clues in Kitty. But Rianna, seated smack dab in the middle of the tribe, doesn’t appear to receive the new info.

Before JLP reads the votes, Alex plays his idol on Valeria, which, if you remember their back-and-forth at the last tribal, is pretty astounding. It just goes to show again how in flux this season is. However, Valeria only receives one vote from Rianna, whereas Alex cops four from Kirby, Feras, Jaden, and a flipping Kitty. But it’s Jaden who gets the majority after Raymond commits to the flip, voting with Mark, Caroline, Valeria, and Alex to send the strongman to the jury.

Having a member of each opposing alliance flip at the same time is the stuff Survivor dreams are made of. It’s pure chaos in the best possible way. Whether it’s smart gameplay on Raymond’s or Kitty’s part remains to be seen. Perhaps this was all a ploy from Raymond to get everyone to vote for him next time so he can play his Ultimate Power advantage. But I’m not so sure about that; I think it’s more that he caught a case of “bigmoveitis.”

As the season heads into the home stretch, I honestly have no idea what will happen next or who will end up taking the crown. Usually, by now, there is a pretty clear front-runner, but this is the most fluid season of Australian Survivor ever, and there’s no telling who will flip next.

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

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