With Shaun “The Horse” Hampson again within the secure of his alliance, he brought with him much-needed stability to the imploding ex-Contenders on Champions seashore. Sam’s elimination had shattered the tribal strains, and Sarah’s had further divided these players, but Shaun’s presence, freshly kidnapped from the Contenders, was capable of function a rallying point. Largely, this was fuelled by Shaun’s discovery that the Idol David had traded him was a pretend, which obliterated the budding alliance Daisy and John had shaped with David and Luke. Lastly, it seemed just like the Contenders may be capable of collect their power and cease the hemorrhaging induced by turning on one another and blowing their 7-2 advantage on the swap.
So the plan was easy: they might cut up their votes Three-3 between the 2 ex-Champions, prioritising David and flushing his Idol out of the sport, whether he performed it or not. Meanwhile, the right decoy emerged when Hannah was feeling unwell after the Immunity Problem. Already an outcast having been the one participant to vote with Sarah at her elimination and ostensibly “weaker” in challenges, her health turned a simple nail within the coffin for the pretend plan to throw David & Luke off the scent. It might be clean and unanimous, and the two Champions appeared to purchase it utterly.
It was a superb plan, and between Daisy’s work to realize the trust of Luke & David, and Shaun enjoying dumb concerning the pretend Idol to maintain David off the scent and on his own energy journey, there was each cause for the ex-Champions to buy the story that the vote really was as straightforward as Hannah. It genuinely appeared just like the Contenders had them fooled heading into the final minutes before Tribal, and if they might have pulled it off, it might have been an epic blindside and a cathartic comeuppance to the David/Shaun storyline (which, to my viewer’s delight, still isn’t over after tonight’s consequence!).
However this is where it began to go off the rails. Despite the unifying energy Shaun held for Daisy and John, his presence wasn’t a blessing for everyone. Two of the ex-Contenders blindsided by the Sam vote remained, and what advantage was there for Andy or Hannah to funnel more energy to the alliance of the those that had betrayed them?
A LIAR AND A PLAYER
Hannah, to her credit, was merely on the lookout for a majority after having been left within the chilly at the two prior votes. The reinvigorated Contenders Robust mentality might give her a place to hide for the moment, and she or he needed cover. In fact, having her identify thrown out because the decoy–and to an opponent wielding an Idol, at that–wasn’t exactly comforting, however moderately than rebel towards it, she took it in her stride. And if it weren’t for the second Idol in Luke’s pocket or the chaos spurned by Andy, it might have labored out nicely for her. So while her transfer to fall again in with the majority didn’t consolidate power for herself, it was a transfer that would have saved herself for this vote. With the merge not too distant, she wouldn’t need to survive too many extra votes to succeed in the stage the place the large targets would activate one another, so I feel ducking for canopy was a strong play to make.
She additionally took on the position of the decoy boot with gusto and embraced the performative lie. All she had to do was make it possible for she was convincingly frightened and be sure that there was nothing suspicious concerning the purportedly straightforward unanimous vote stated to be coming her method. And yet, Hannah’s incapability to successfully sell this narrative at Tribal appeared to be a key catalyst for what finally went down and what would ultimately depart her puzzling over a whiteboard as she dissected how she was the one who went residence. She wasn’t the only one to offer a tepid and unconvincing performance at Tribal, however however, she appeared virtually too prepared to say she was in peril, ringing the alarm bells for David & Luke, already suspicious of the straightforward vote and additionally fuelled by Andy’s tip-off. Maybe the better tactic for Hannah would have been to behave more oblivious or even play up her sickness to be the glum sitting duck? It’s onerous to know, as a result of, again, we hardly knew the player who turned the victim of the large Tribal Council.
And it’s not like there wasn’t a narrative to be advised! Thankfully, the editors discovered a bit from their botching of Sam’s elimination and at the least let Hannah converse greater than 5 phrases in her boot episode, however it remains irritating that two of the most important votes up to now have been robbed of emotional weight as a result of the viewer had no cause to be invested within the sufferer. At the least Hannah was granted a broad narrative of failing to lie successfully and turning into a casualty of a chaotic Tribal and an Idol play in her ultimate episode, however wouldn’t this very story of lying have been extra satisfying if it had been constructed up by one or two more scenes earlier within the season?
Previous to tonight’s episode, all we actually knew about Hannah was that she was on the flawed aspect of the numbers after the swap and that, in line with Andy’s Episode 3 confessional stratifying the original Contenders tribe, she was a hairdresser. Only… she wasn’t a hairdresser. As revealed with zero fanfare within the chyron of her singular confessional, she is a police officer. In her pre-season interview, Hannah had said that she meant to lie about her career, and as evidenced by Andy’s confessional, she not only lied about that however did so successfully.
I can’t assist however want we’d gotten even one scene acknowledging her successful, however finally unimportant, lie about her occupation earlier within the season, and that might have made her elimination tonight, on the back of an unsuccessful but finally essential lie, much more narratively satisfying. All it might have taken was a minute or two of airtime, and with how lengthy we spend on challenges, long Tribals and redundant confessionals from the main characters in already lengthy episodes, we certainly might have found the time for that a minimum of!
But whereas Hannah was prepared to go together with the plan out of self-preservation, Andy was unwilling to play a recreation governed by Daisy, Shaun or John’s agenda. As an alternative, he concocted a reasonably stellar strategic plan. With the vote meant to be cut up Three David / 3 Luke / 2 Hannah, he might flip every thing on its head and so approached David & Luke to reveal that they have been being duped. He proposed a counter-plan: if David played his Idol, cancelling the three votes towards him, and he switched his vote from Luke, then the three of them might pile their votes on Daisy to send her house: 0 David / 3 Daisy / 2 Luke.
It’s the sort of Survivor math a superfan goals about. It’s elegant and excellent on the web page–a simple numerical alternative and one which considerably advanced Andy’s place within the recreation from his perspective. It will break up the Daisy/Shaun energy couple, fracture their powerful alliance with John and Baden and actual revenge for the Sam blindside, but it might additionally curry favour with Luke and David by saving them from going house while nonetheless flushing David’s Idol out of play.
If it had worked, it might have been a incredible play, however the one thing that Andy did not account for was his tribe’s notion of him. It’s turn out to be clear because the swap that none of his tribe belief him. If Baden’s comment was something to go by, “Andy” is virtually a new adjective for describing somebody who can’t maintain a secret. It’s arduous to make this type of meticulous play when there’s so little belief, notably when Andy only dropped the plan on David & Luke five minutes earlier than Tribal. That they had every right to doubt whether or not they might belief Andy based mostly on his status. Might they actually rely on this loopy scheme, or was he making an attempt to addle them before Tribal and throw them off the scent of something else? And if they selected improper, they might waste an Idol or find yourself on the improper aspect of the vote and destroy different relationships that they’d labored so arduous to cultivate after the swap.
It’s additionally value noting that Andy additionally miscalculated his relationship with David. Whereas Andy had grown to view David as his closest ally, it was a one-sided relationship. On a number of occasions over the previous few episodes, David practically laughed at the lack of reciprocity within the partnership and explicitly seen Andy as a software within the toolkit, but nothing extra. From Andy’s perspective, David would haven’t any purpose to doubt this last-minute plan. But the same was not true for David, and positively not Luke, who did not seem to have any robust social relationship with Andy, much much less in-game belief.
Because it turned out, if David and Luke had gone with Andy’s plan, the first vote would have been 0 David (because of the Idol), Three Daisy, and a couple of Hannah. It might have worked (almost) flawlessly: Daisy would have been blindsided, Luke would still have his Idol, and Hannah might probably be picked up as a fourth number to type another new majority in the tribe. However as a result of Andy had not earned enough trust with David & Luke to tug off such a delicate transfer, they struck out on their very own, and each parties suffered for it. It’s a harsh reminder that strategy on paper is nothing with out social connections and earned belief, and it’s a lesson that each one superfans should take to heart should they ever step foot on a Survivor seashore.
And so it involves Tribal, and there were three potential plans in place: the unique 7-1 decoy Hannah boot, the Contenders’ plan of a Three-3-2 David/Luke cut up and Andy’s suggestion of a Zero-Three-2 Daisy blindside. Armed with Andy’s info, David & Luke have been stuck in a precarious place, and as questioning at Tribal started, they learn doubt into each answer that Hannah or the opposite Contenders gave. David leaned over to whisper to Luke that he didn’t consider from their performance that Hannah was helpless and in peril, suggesting that they need to go together with Andy’s plan. However Luke remained cautious, uncertain that he might belief Andy sufficient to make the risky play.
So David concocted a brand new various. If the Contenders have been splitting their votes, then each of them might play their Idols and determine the result. Whether or not it was a Three-Three cut up, or whether or not Andy truthfully voted Daisy to make the Contender votes Three-2-1, the Idols would negate it to Zero-Zero or Zero-Zero-1, respectively, leaving the two votes of Luke and David in complete control, and allowing them to go huge recreation searching and blindside Shaun. Once more, this is lovely Survivor math, and it’s even more spectacular that David and Luke not solely concocted the plan on the fly however agreed to it and adopted by way of.
There’s absolutely no purpose why these two should have survived this many Tribal Councils, however they continue to show themselves as resourceful, social, intelligent, and opportunistic in just the fitting dose. In fact, with David’s propensity to over-play and with their Idol buffer now spent, they might be in peril come tomorrow night time, however I wouldn’t put it past them to stoke the flames of the chaotic Tribal and scapegoat Andy for his stray vote towards Daisy and proceed to gasoline the Contenders towards each other. So while I’m not optimistic about this dynamic duo’s possibilities, there’s little question that they continue to be a main cause why this pre-merge has been so distinctive.
However, as is turning into a redundant statement, this makeshift plan would have been a mind-blowing move for the ages if it had labored. It’s ingenious and instinctual and eliminating a big menace, and the guts of the alliance in command of the tribe, would have reshuffled the deck. It does alienate Andy by ignoring his recommendation, nevertheless it still focused the alliance of his most popular target, so I can’t think about there’d be a lot to clean over in the event that they wanted the quantity. Of all the varied plans at play at tonight’s Tribal, I feel David & Luke’s might have been the perfect, but maybe that’s just because that they had probably the most info at their disposal with which to work.
But, in fact, there was one final issue at play…
And thus we come again round to the alliance on the centre of all of it: Shaun, Daisy, John, and Baden. These have been the parents championing the three David, 3 Luke, 2 Hannah cut up to flush David’s Idol and ensure a Champion went residence. Yet one way or the other, the vote at Tribal turned 0 David (Three votes cancelled by his Idol, 1 of which got here from Hannah), 2 Shaun (from David & Luke), 1 Daisy (from Andy), and a couple of Hannah. So why did Luke not receive any votes, and the place did these Hannah votes come from? They had to come from this alliance–and it was a fortunate break for them, permitting a re-vote and an elimination of Hannah to narrowly save Shaun from being Idolled out. But when and why did this plan come into impact?
Unfortunately, that is the place the shock of the TV second must sacrifice the storytelling. Somewhere along the best way, a back-up plan emerged for 2 of this core 4 to still throw votes onto Hannah. It doesn’t really matter who wrote down her identify, nevertheless it comes down to two options of when: was this all the time the contingency plan, or was it a casual name at Tribal as soon as David & Luke have been whispering or notably as soon as David adorned himself together with his Idol and brazenly threatened to play it?
With the chaos of Tribal, it feels pure that the second choice ought to be accurate–Luke & David referred to as an audible on their plan, so why couldn’t the Contenders? It’s solely potential that they received spooked into throwing back-up votes onto Hannah, however truthfully? That looks like a bizarre option to make within the moment. Historic precedent, like the Three Amigos Tribal in Caramoan teaches that you need to stick with your guns and name the Idol bluff. Might it’s an try to save lots of face with Luke & David by “demonstrating” that they’d stuck to the unique plan that was brazenly unsure at Tribal? Appears ineffective when half of their alliance have been still going to flush David’s Idol. So it might be a frantic half-measure, at greatest.
But if this was what went down, then it was a terrible transfer that only labored out because Luke happened to waste his Idol–an Idol the Contenders didn’t find out about. Survivor not often, if ever, has multiple Idol per camp in the pre-merge, and with the self-esteem of the Idol trade, there was little cause to suspect that David & Luke might have a second Idol. What profit is there in splitting the vote between David and Hannah as an alternative of making certain that a Champion would go residence, Idol or no Idol? The Contenders have been exceptionally near flushing out David’s Idol while not taking a positive shot at his partner-in-crime and as an alternative assassinating one among their own and had Luke’s Idol not made this entire state of affairs redundant, this determination would have gone down as a self-destructive rookie error.
And I nonetheless really feel prefer it’s not the perfect plan, even if it was organised prematurely. Perhaps the core four have been apprehensive about Andy’s tendency to leak info and needed to have a secret plan in their again pocket, however I’m just befuddled by the numbers. If only two of them have been throwing votes onto Hannah, then the one state of affairs that that is useful is within the unlikely (if resultant) case, the place David & Luke both have Idols and will then have the facility to unilaterally determine who went residence. Another state of affairs leads to voting out Hannah once they might have taken the shot at Luke.
Yet I may be being too hars–if the core 4 planned to have this contingency in place so that the vote might play out precisely because it went down, then I have to doff my cap to a comprehensive plan well-made and executed in the face of chaos.
With Hannah sent house on the re-vote, the new Champions tribe is left in even more of a multitude than before. David and Luke are properly and really on the surface, having not solely survived successful and flashily expended their Idols, but additionally they focused the Contenders’ patron saint in The Horse himself. That may certainly draw ire from the core alliance, however I can’t imagine Daisy will sit straightforward on the one vote thrown her method from considered one of her personal. Perhaps Andy can spin it as Hannah’s stray vote (in any case, she needed to focus on Daisy at the Sarah vote), but with no purpose for Luke & David to hold onto his secret, I anticipate he’ll be outed. So the core four maintain a strong majority, but should the new Champions return to Tribal, I nonetheless wouldn’t say for positive that they’ll maintain tight when surrounded by such chaos.
And to conclude, we’ve to also tackle the brewing tensions on the brand new Contenders as the dichotomy between the unique tribes grew, with Harry and Janine emerging as the unambiguous figureheads of the respective conflict. With each armed with an Idol and a keen mind for the game, I anticipate the showdown between Dirty Harry and The Godmother to be something to behold.
This season has been on hearth from the beginning, and it just keeps burning brighter. I hope it may stick with it, and I hope we continue to see bigger roles for the minor characters like Simon, who had his first breakout episode hyping up his tribe earlier than the challenge and then crushing the closer leg throwing the balls from atop the Tower of Terror into the chute held open by Ross underwater (which is a very unbelievable and, I consider, unique challenge design!). So with the technique getting increasingly exciting, and the social politics get increasingly complicated, I’m feeling very optimistic the deeper down we go. Cue the Hans Zimmer score–this feels prefer it’s going to be epic.