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Australian Survivor Report Card - Brains vs Brawn - Week 8
Featuring Brains magic, helping people, Wai, making fire and Cara
Previously on Australian Survivor:
An urn-based twist didn’t save Andrew. An urn-based twist did save Flick. And an immunity challenge-based twist (ie ending one with a puzzle) doomed Dani.
Here’s my report card for the eighth week of Australian Survivor
Flick is now the last Brawn left in the game. She can’t believe it’s come to this. The Brawns were on top coming into the merge and yet somehow the others ‘worked their Brains magic’ and took control of the game.
I love this. From now on, ‘working my Brains magic’ is how I plan to refer to everything in my life that’s not purely physical.
Reading a book? Working my Brains magic.
Completing a cryptic crossword? Working my Brains magic.
Tweeting about Australian Survivor? Oh, you’d better believe that’s working my Brains magic.
The only thing that could possibly save Flick is an immunity win, so Hayley, Wai, George and Cara — working their Brains magic again — agree that they should try to prevent this from happening.
They’re in with a chance, too, because the challenge ends with one of those tricksy puzzles — which is where Wai’s particular brand of Brains magic shines best.
The problem is that the challenge begins with going upside-down across a pole and that’s not something that Wai can do at all.
Luckily, she has a friend in George, who momentarily abandons his spot in the challenge to rush back and help her. Wonderful to see such camaraderie amongst the Brains.
The problem for Wai is when to reciprocate? When George is struggling to throw down a pile of blocks, should she go over to help guide his throwing arm?
Or should she wait to help him when he’s struggling with the puzzle?
Or, indeed, when he’s struggling to open the puzzle bag?
There are far too many aspects of the challenge that George is hopeless at for Wai to properly help him with. So in the end she ends up not returning the favour at all.
Good thing then, that Hayley comes through to win the challenge and put these two out of their reciprocating misery.
But, hey, turns out Flick’s not doomed at all. Because she has a hidden immunity idol from last week. Impressively, nobody knows about this and so she’ll be able to blindside whoever she chooses when they pile all the votes onto her.
And who does she choose? That’s right, George.
But George notices that Flick is mysteriously not searching for an idol. She’s instead sitting on her butt. (And kudos to the Australian Survivor editors for featuring Flick’s butt so prominently all season to foreshadow this moment.) He therefore deduces that she already has an idol.
So George convinces Cara to help him with a split vote on Wai. Always a risky proposition to bring Cara into a split vote of any kind — especially when her scrambled empathy senses are detecting ‘no idol’ on Flick.
But it works, and Wai goes home.
Now it’s final four, and George is concerned that if Flick wins immunity that the vote will be a 2–2 tie and he’ll have to make fire against Hayley. This is a problem because despite spending six weeks in the game, he still doesn’t actually know how to start a fire.
Cara, however, does. Before the game, she went to one of those ‘You won’t believe this one simple trick to making fire in the Survivor Endgame’ clickbait sites and learnt the secret method that Survivor producers don’t want you to know.
Alas, this doesn’t really work either. So instead George decides that if he has to make fire, he’ll go with his backup plan. Namely, standing up and making the legal point that he named the tribe and therefore, technically, he ‘made Fire’ three weeks ago.
JLP couldn’t possibly deny such an argument.
Turns out that all this worry about fire is unnecessary, however. Flick wins immunity but instead of the 2–2 split, people are looking to the final challenge. If Flick wins that one as well, she’ll almost certainly win the game, given the number of Brawn players on the jury.
So it’s all perfectly set up for George to betray Cara in order to bring Hayley along to the final three to beat Flick. And, on the flip side, for Cara — despite seeing the strategic sense in this — to be unable to bring herself to vote for George. This would seem to be the perfect conclusion to one of the greatest partnerships in Survivor history.
Instead, Cara has one final twist up her sleeve. She overcomes her emotional ties to George and does, indeed, make the strategic vote to keep Hayley and vote out her long-time partner in the game.
Of course, this vote paradoxically ensures her own exit. If she’d just voted for Hayley, it would have been a 2–2 tie and she would have had a chance to save herself with fire. Instead it’s a 2–1–1 vote against her. Beautifully, Cara has discovered strategy just in time for that strategy to send her packing. An even more fitting end.
That old Brains magic, it cuts both ways, I guess.