The core alliance had held a majority for the better part of the post-merge game and, had it not been for the Purgatory ‘Misfits’ alliance coming back into the game, would have sailed into a final six all-out brawl for the title of sole survivor.
Following the Survivor Auction, KJ found herself with an almighty advantage that gave her the power to flip the game on its head. With the misfits managing to flip Dave, Jordan found himself in a vulnerable position for the first time in weeks.
After Jordan was voted out, the next Tribal was tense, the assumption being that Mark, Sam, Josh and Chrissy would stand their ground and potentially even force the Misfits to go to rocks. But all that changed when Josh flipped and voted for Sam.
Just before JLP read the votes, Josh urged Mark to play his Idol on Sam’s behalf. But when they pressed him for a reason why, he simply reiterated that they should play the Idol to protect her.
But in that one moment, Josh may have exposed himself and found himself at the bottom of the pecking order.
On this week’s Australian Survivor Talking Tribal, Hayley, George and Shannon discussed Josh’s move at the last Tribal Council, and where they see it affecting his power in the game.
With Josh certain that Mark and Sam have at least one Idol — still unconvinced they have the second — Hayley admitted she understood why he voted for Sam, needing to weaken the final couple left in the game.
“I think that Josh really needs to try and weaken them in some way, I think everybody needs to try and weaken them in some way,” she added. “So he can take a shot at trying to vote her out, and then tell her to use her Idol.
By voting with the Misfits, but alerting Sam and Mark to the vote, either Sam would be voted out or they’d use the Idol to save her. “Either outcome for those two things weakens the Mark and Sam combo which probably is good for Josh and good for everybody in the game,” Hayley added.
But Shannon and George had other ideas. Initially intrigued by Josh’s move, Shannon admitted that the more she thought about it the less she liked it.
“If you’re working with everybody, you’re working with nobody,” Shannon said, adding, “he basically betrayed everyone in the game just in those two counter interactions.
“I feel like, for me, it was a bit much in what’s becoming a decreasing numbers game and puts a big, big target on him and doesn’t insulate him with the social relationships that have kept him really strong so far.”
Agreeing with Shannon, George slammed the move, noting that Josh had now fallen from the top to the bottom of the power ranking in the tribe.
“The magic number is four out of seven, Josh is not in the four, Josh is in the minority of three with his close ally Chrissy and Mark who’s clearly not going to be happy that Sam’s been blindsided,” he said.
“To turn around to Mark and say ‘Play your Idol for Sam’, that doesn’t cut it for me. If he really wanted to burn the Idol, Josh should have turned around to Mark and said, ‘I just voted for Sam. If you don’t play the Idol for her she goes home, are you OK with that?’ Really put the onus on him.”
Instead, Josh revealed to Mark and Sam that he flipped, and chipped away at his already weakening alliance, putting him in a very vulnerable position.
While the Australian Survivor Talking Tribal gang debated Josh’s move, after being voted out Sam told 10 play that she and Mark had no intentions of playing an Idol to save her, regardless of Josh’s warning.
Knowing that she needed to wash her hands of the Idol she had ‘stolen’ from Jesse, and giving Mark the most solid pathway to Sole Survivor with two idols in his possession, the pair knew they’d have to sacrifice Sam’s position in the game.
While Mark and Sam were attempting to solidify Mark’s place in the game, has Josh put himself in the firing line?
See the gang’s thoughts on this week’s episode, plus an in-depth chat with Sam following her vote out in Australian Survivor Talking Tribal above.
Australian Survivor: Blood V Water continues Sunday - Monday at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 play on demand