Tribe swaps, lies, and blindsides, Australian Survivor had it all for another impressive week of television.
SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers on this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor!
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Harmony at the Contenders echoed through games of cricket and naked water walks. Popular tribe member, John, has enjoyed his experience thus far although is beginning to struggle with the conditions and the toll they’ve taken on his hair and body. Shaun is also feeling secure, now under the belief he has successfully exchanged an idol with David, unaware the one he has is totally fake.
The Champions have a similar morale after voting out Steven, especially Ross who seems to be right in his element. ET identifies David as the man in charge of the majority alliance that leaves him and Simon out, but hopes to find a way to keep himself safe now that he and Simon become a block of two. Pia is also finding her footing in the game, forming a smaller alliance within the majority with Janine and Abbey (the girls alliance). She is worried however that physical weakness might put her in hot water, once again.
At the Reward Challenge, the reoccurring theme of match-ups is in full swing as both tribes compete in a Survivor version of tug-of-war for burgers and beer. It’s first to 3, and the Champions manage to score in the first two rounds even with the ‘weaker’ Pia competing. However, the Contenders manage to crawl back in the following two rounds, putting it to an ultimate one man showdown as the decider. Shaun volunteers for the Contenders, and while the Champions have a harder time trying to decide who should compete against him, Ross is chosen to be the man to do it. They battle with all thee gas they have left in the tank, but an unfortunate slip from Shaun grants Ross and the Champions yet another reward. It doesn’t stop there, when the Champions are tasked to bring one Contender with them, choosing Baden. Baden is then given the choice to make it a party with choosing someone himself, and he chooses Shaun, much to the Champions dismay.
When the Champions, Shaun, and Baden, return to camp, David fears being approached by Shaun about the fake idol, and does his best to avoid him. Baden teaches Ross about physics, much to the delight of both men. Shaun, now with David, finally gets a chance to talk where David spills out a lie that the idol Shaun gave him was used for Pia at the previous Tribal Council to send Steven home. The girls quickly notice David and Shaun conversing, and begin to suspect whether he’s already planning ahead for when the Champions and Contenders join together.
The Immunity Challenge puts both tribes to a test of endurance and strength as they must pull on a rope to hold up heavy sandbags several metres above the water, with two tribe members suspended to drop if the sandbag falls out of the zone. The Contenders rely heavily on the strength of Matty and Shaun, while David, ET and Luke are key players for the Champions. While risen above the water, Contender Casey asks Champion Pia if David did indeed use an idol to save her. Pia denies this, with both girls now questioning David’s motives mid-challenge. Although Luke’s efforts are commendable, he is unable to beat Matty to win Immunity, sending the Champions to a fourth Tribal Council in a row.
After another loss, the majority alliance on the Champions agree to split the vote between ET and Simon, the two outsiders, in case either of them has an idol. David, cocky and confident, feels comfortable with the easy split vote. But Abbey and Pia sense the overconfidence and Abbey manages to get David to reveal that he is thinkign about targeting Pia soon for her weakness in challenges. The idea is tossed around for the girls to blindside David at Tribal Council, but no plan is shown to take place. Because of this, I think it’s safe to say ET goes home unless something happens at Tribal.
As Jonathan asks various questions to the group at Tribal Council, Abbey gets emotional at the thought of voting out ET, as he has become a father figure to her throughout the early stages of the game. The tribe reiterates that strength is still an important factor in the game, but loyalty to the alliance is seemingly most important. David continues to appear overconfident during Tribal, but the girls don’t formulate a plan to vote him out before voting.
Just as I suspected, Simon and ET vote for each other, and although Simon receives two votes, ET is the seventh person voted out of Australian Survivor coming in 19th place.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
After ET’s elimination, the Champions are enjoying a quiet and peaceful night until an INTRUDER enters camp to disrupt the tribe’s deep slumber! Right underneath Janine, a devilish creature poses a threat to everyone in his sight! But it’s not the typical creatures you’d expect, like a rat or spider. No, a CRAB was wondering through the camp for a neat little segment to begins the day’s episode.
At the Contenders camp, where sea creatures hide away, the still strong 11-person tribe is starting to crack when some identify strategic and physical threats. Shaun namely, points out Andy as a threat, but rather than target him he aims to pull Andy onto his side by revealing the idol story that took place two episodes prior. Fuel to the fire for Andy, who wraps up the information in a cosy blanket, waiting to use it wisely down the road.
Jonathan calls in both tribes to what usually is the Reward Challenge, but today, there’s something different up your sleeves. “Drop your buffs”. Contenders and Champions are no more (although the names stay the same) as the first tribe swap of the season takes place with 18 players left. On the new Contenders tribe, four Contenders remain: Harry, Casey, Matty and Shaun. Five Champions switch over in: Janine, Abbey, Ross, Pia and Simon. On the new Champions tribe, the Contenders switching over are: Daisy, Andy, Baden, Sarah, Hannah, Sam and John. But the only Champions that remain are idol holders: Luke and David. This means that the Champions have only a minor numbers advantage to the Contenders on the Contenders tribe 5-4, while the Contenders have an overwhelming numbers advantage over the Champions on the Champions tribe, 7-2.
The new Contenders tribe returns to camp, where Simon is greeted with his first confessional of the season, detailing that the ‘Survivor Gods’ saved Simon from certain elimination with the tribe swap. Janine notices that the Contenders camp isn’t as polished as the Champions camp was, listing many faults in the shelter and camp itself. She also highlights the fact that her alliance with Abbey and Pia remains together after the swap. Contender Harry, who sits in the minority of the tribe, has a plan to join with the Champions on his side in the hopes of keeping himself safe if they lose an Immunity Challenge. To do this, Harry implements one of the biggest lies of the game, that he has a child! With the Champions being older, and thus having families and kids, Harry aims to use the lie of having a kid to drive a social relationship and connection that may pay off. It’s incredible, if you ask me.
The new Champions tribe has much to explore with seven new members to join in. Daisy and Andy both note that the large numbers advantage is great news for them, their games and keeping the Contenders together. For David, not so much, who has now watched his entire alliance get switched over. He and Luke talk about working out a plan to stay in the game, idol use or otherwise.
The first Immunity Challenge for the new tribes puts endurance to the test yet again as tribe mates compete together, squatting to keep up a stack of blocks balancing between the tribe mates. Hannah and Sarah are first to drop for the Champions, but Harry and Matty drop next, just before Simon and Shaun for the Contenders. It’s 3 versus 2 pairs left, until Andy and John drop for the Champions. David and Luke drop for the Champions, as do Pia and Ross for the Contenders, creating a showdown between Champions Daisy and Sam with Contenders Janine and Abbey. Luke begs the former Champions to throw the challenge to keep him and David safe, but Daisy and Sam drop, giving the new Contenders tribe their first win and sending the Champions to Tribal Council.
With the potential of an easy vote to take place at Tribal Council for the Champions, Luke announces that is scramble time and he and David go to work to flip some Contenders to join them. They both continuously pull aside various players, but the response remains the same for all, they want to keep the Contenders strong. Andy informs the majority that a split vote should be enacted, in case either have an idol (what about both Andy?). But he says the seventh vote, and his, will remain a secret until he tosses a coin at Tribal Council to determine who it goes onto, in order to have complete ‘randomness’.
Succumbing to the majority group, Luke and David agree that if nothing changes, both of them need to play their idols to ensure both remain in the game. So, a massive Tribal Council is planned and David and Luke will go down in the history book for impressive moves. Because nothing will ruin that. Right Andy? Unfortunately, Andy tells an inner core of the majority (Hannah, Sarah, Sam and Baden) that David does indeed have an idol and that the split vote must stick. Unbeknown to them, Daisy hears the conversation and is furious that Andy released information that Shaun told him in confidence, and aims to get back at him with a blindside of her own, pulling John in on the plan to side with Luke and David.
But, instead of shooting right for the man himself, Daisy aims at Sam, his right-hand woman. Why Sam is the target over Andy still is a head-scratcher for me. Perhaps Andy is physically stronger and Daisy wants to take a shot at his side while still hoping to win challenges. I’m unsure, but it’s a move against one of three invisible players this season. So surely we hear about Sam’s stance on the tribe now too, *crickets chirping*. Meanwhile, Daisy believes she needs one more vote to eliminate Sam and form a new majority of five, and sees Baden as the key player to do so. He is uneasy about the decision, but Luke and David are on board and pleased both can retain their idols for now.
Heading into Tribal Council, the split between Contenders and Champions are discussed heavily, with both sides putting up the front that they are sticking on either side, whether a facade or not. Tribal Council seating is a teller, as the four Contenders going against the Champions are seated on one side, while Luke, David, Daisy and John sit on the other, with Baden right down the middle (tip for future Survivor players, seating may just be the biggest tell). At the last minute, Andy pulls a stunt at Tribal and jumps over to John to whisper. This seemed a little unnecessary from Andy, and perhaps a bit too obvious that he wants to play a dominant game.
The tribe goes to vote and Andy also tosses a coin to ‘determine’ his vote, landing on Tails in a “heads I win, tails you lose” situatio against Luke. The vote doesn’t matter however as Sam is blindsided at the first post-swap Tribal Council, 5-2-2, without a single confessional all season and many viewers asking, “who?”. Quite possibly, an editing blunder.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
The episode opens on previous Immunity winners, the Contenders, where Abbey and Pia reiterate Janine’s thoughts in the previous episode of the camp being incredibly lacklustre compared to the Champions. Ross however, likes the change of pace. Ah Ross. You’re a legend. Despite having a large majority in the Champions tribe, Janine believes she is in a better position now that she has a one person swing at the Contenders. Perhaps it’s because she’s away from power players David and Luke, but a thin line of majority would certainly not make me feel more comfortable. Additionally, Janine often confuses Casey with ‘Cassy’, much like many viewers who are unaware of who Casey is too. In terms of who the main target is, it seems Harry’s fake lie of having a child is not paying off with the Champions looking to vote him out if they lose an Immunity Challenge.
At Champions camp, David’s ego is being fed even more than before the swap as he enjoys the new majority he has formed after voting out Sam. Andy is clawing his way back in too, talking with David about wanting to join up. Sarah on the other hand, is furious with the outcome of the previous Tribal Council, and she’s looking for retribution against Daisy for flipping. She’s set to put a plan in motion, and talks with Hannah about having one opportunity to turn their position in the game.
A wet and wild Reward Challenge brings surprise reactions to Sam’s elimination and coffee and treats as the prime reward. Contestants will battle one on one to swim against the current where the person who can stay past a line the longest scores a point for their tribe. Matty and Ross score 2 points for the Contenders against Luke and Baden, respectively. The Champions fight back though when Andy and Daisy score 2 points against Janine and Abbey, respectively. The deciding round is between zero confessional queens, Hannah and Casey, where the latter manages to score the final point giving the Contenders another Reward win!
At the site of the reward, the four Contenders who hadn’t experienced many rewards enjoy the victory and what came with it. Casey graced us with not one but three confessionals within this segment, possibly setting up a Benji turn of events from Season 3. Ross overdoes it, as many players have done so in the past, and some of the reward comes back up to everyone’s delight. Harry is still in game mode, and attempts to talk to a few Champions within the setting, particularly Janine. But no one gives him the time of day, forcing doubt in his mind about where he sits on the tribe.
When the Contenders returns to camp, Casey expresses that her allegiance to Harry and the other Contenders is minimal, saying that she will buddy up with the Champion girls if it means she stays in the game. Smart Casey. Meanwhile, Harry’s searching high and low for a hidden immunity idol and (much to Facebook fans calling “rig”) he happens to find one, guaranteeing himself safety if the tribe heads to Tribal Council.
With no Champions segment to show, we head straight into the Immunity Challenge where balance, speed and endurance combine. Two members from each tribe will be stuck in a ‘coffin’ where the other tribe will attempt to fill it with water forcing them to stay in as long as possible. Pia and Casey are chosen for the Contenders while Sarah and Hannah are chosen for the Champions. Two different strategies are in play, as the Champions stick to targeting Pia and then Casey, while the Contenders continuously work on both women. Hannah and Pia drop first, forcing a showdown between Casey and Sarah where Casey prevails, sending the Champions back to Tribal Council, yet again.
After the third loss for the new Champions tribe, flipping the majority is on for Sarah. But not Andy, who chooses to join with David and explains that he is hoping to go far with him. David sees right through this, as it comes across as disingenuous, but doesn’t think it’s a reason to vote him out. David takes charge on the vote, and the majority, now with Andy as the sixth, target Sarah over Hannah. Sarah, who still believes Andy is with her, tells him about targeting Daisy, and he of course, agrees. But later, Sarah overhears a conversation between Andy and Daisy where Andy informs Daisy that the two outsiders are targeting her. This angers Sarah, who is disappointed with being thrown under the bus.
It’s operation get Andy out now for Sarah, who approaches Luke, Baden and David about voting out Andy for his lies and deceit. Now with a huge target on his back, David compares Andy to Steven Bradbury for painting an unnecessary large target on his back for talking to the wrong people at the wrong time. Daisy is also on board with the plan, potentially setting up an entire revolt against Andy in a unanimous blindside.
Too good to be true? At Tribal Council, the notion Champions versus Contenders is at least over as loyalty is blurred and Contenders are targeting Contenders. The blow up of Andy’s comment to Daisy also drives much talk of Tribal Council, but heading to vote it’s a toss up to decide what blindside is to take place.
Sarah and Hannah stick together, and put two votes on Andy, but the majority six decides to not fracture and send Sarah home on a pre-jury trip back to Australia, 6-2 and in 17th place.
Another jam packed trio of episodes in Australian Survivor this week and next week looks promising too! This cast has an excellent level of gameplay, everyone is trying to do whatever it takes to stay or take control, especially after the tribes swap and numbers are pivotal to staying in the game. Quote of the week goes to David at Tribal Council saying, “do as you’re told”.
ET’s elimination was expected, and he played quite a passive game, letting others go by without trying too hard to infiltrate the majority sooner. Sam’s elimination, not a shocker at Tribal Council, but leaving without a single confessional is brutal. I’m not going to go hard into it, and I recognise that production is making entertainment first and doesn’t care about giving substance to every single castaway. But as a fan, it is disappointing and viewers weren’t able to care when she was voted out because her back story wasn’t mentioned at all. Much love to you Sam, much love. Sarah going home wasn’t a surprise either, because at Tribal Council I believe the editing tried to make it too obvious of an Andy blindside which made be me think the script didn’t in fact flip. Sad for Sarah but at least she went down fighting.
The challenges are on fire this season, although one on one match-ups are beginning to tire. Nevertheless, each challenge brings something exciting to the table and maybe one day the Champions can win one. Speaking of which, my boys David and Luke are getting it done and it’s so impressive that they still retain their idols and a majority. But if anyone was gonna do it, I’d say David and Luke sure had the best chance.
Daisy and John as a unit fits well with the story, but trusting David at least seems to lead to an undoing of some kind for one of them. Andy is losing it! I love him and all but this week had a very negative edit for him. He’s the ultra mega fan, he wants to dominate, but it looks like he’s making some very faulty decisions about the game. He came across as fake with David in Episode 8, he is charging the vote in Episode 7 by making himself the man to flip the coin and cast that ‘randomised’ vote, he unnecessarily whispered to John at Tribal. It just appears too much, I love him still, but it wasn’t a great week for him.
The Champion girls switched to the Contenders are in a prime position to easily coast through to the merge. The only problem, is Harry the idol and kid king who just might be setting up a blindside on one of the most powerful alliances. The great news, they keep winning challenges. But even better is Casey finally getting some recognition for her game (RIP Sam). She’s smart and now that we’ve seen something, and a substantial piece at that, she’s one of my favourites and I’m hoping she does pull of a Benji move to make this season interesting. I don’t think she can win, after being neglected for seven episodes, but I’m here for a strong player!
Ross still cracks me up, and he’s in with the girls too. His under the radar game is amazing so far! With the teaser for tonight’s episode to be Shaun realising his idol is fake, I hope he uses this information wisely and doesn’t just blow it up publicly. Maybe this is the wake up call Shaun needs that you really can’t trust anyone in the game and he’ll come out guns a bit more pointed strategically and form a major alliance to shake up the game.
An excellent season, excellent cast. If you’re not watching this show, you need to get on it now. Captivating television.
MATTHEW’S TOP FIVE
In no particular order, each review I will reveal my top five players of the week, considering all factors like physicality, strategy, social game, likeability and visibility. A couple changes this week, and one might come as a surprise to everyone.
PIA MIRANDA remains on the list this week because she’s a fantastic social player. Yes, her edit isn’t overwhelming, but that’s great, because you don’t want an over edit like we’ve seen a little from others this season. She’s still getting occasional screen time and I hope the Contenders go to Tribal just to see where exactly she fits. I have enjoyed Pia all season long and she does not disappoint in the strategic and social portion of the game. A nice refresher to some of the overly large personalities.
ROSS CLARKE-JONES still a legend in my books. He’s just loving this game and lapping it up and I’m always entertained by the moments he appears on screen. Like Pia, he’s a refreshing change of pace and character to this season. He’s not on too often but is still a prominent player as he holds a lot of value as a number to the Champions side, likewise, I don’t think he’s valuable enough to be idoled out of blindsided, which is quite possibly the best position for Ross to get to the merge and then shine a little more to ensure his game is worthy of a win.
HARRY HILLS is wheeling and dealing to make sure he’s staying in this game and man, I’m enjoying it. He found an idol right when he needed one, and either can use it as leverage power to gain control and sit tight knowing he’s gonna be okay if the tribe does indeed target him. He’s set to knock out someone great, I can feel it. But his child lie is gold for the game too. It’s subtle enough to not be an overbearing strategy but maybe prominent enough to make some impact right until the Final Tribal Council.
JANINE ALLIS is proving she’s worthy of playing this game and even more worthy because she plays it well. She’s got a satisfying degree of confidence, not too much and not too little. Translating her real life to Survivor life, she’s using every asset that helps her in her world to ensure she’s keeping in touch in this world. That’s one facet that makes an excellent Australian Survivor player, and I would not be surprised if Janine found a way to win the game, or if not go home in a stunning blindside.
CASEY HAWKINS might be an unbelievable choice. And maybe I’m being a bit presumptuous. But although we didn’t see much of her until the latest episode, her edit in Episode 8 was extremely positive for her game as she expresses a willingness to do anything to stay in it. It’s showing fight and strength and I’m enjoying what she’s managed to show so far. Out of the three ‘invisible Contenders’ Casey had the most screen time and gaining pivotal information for the Contenders tribe/herself in Episode 6 during the challenge shows she’s not be slept on at all.
Honourable mentions this week go to Andy, Luke, Daisy and David. They’re great players, but I’m finding flaws in their games a little that just ranks them outside, namely David and Andy. Hopefully this week brings a Hannah confessional so everyone remaining has at least something. Other than that, I’m ready for a great week of excellent content.
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Australian Survivor continues tonight through to Tuesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10!
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