Shocking eliminations, idol giveaways, and the all mighty merge came ringing this week. So is Australian Survivor living up to the notion it’s the best season yet?
SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers on this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor!
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Beginning with the Champions for the week’s worth of Australian Survivor, John romanticises over his favourite dish, a Mexican Parmigiana. The tribe laugh at the succulent description John puts out, and even I’m starting to think I could go a Parmy for dinner. He sure makes it sound delicious!
Over on the Contenders, Harry is back to find a second idol to replace the one he played at the previous night’s Tribal Council to eliminate Casey. He’s struggling to find an opportunity to go looking, as Ross plays babysitter to ensure he doesn’t gain yet another form of safety. It’s a tough task, but when Ross takes a dip in the ocean, Harry seizes the opportunity and manages to find a clue to an idol hidden within the shelter at camp. He gives Matty a heads up, but now has a much harder task of actually grabbing it in front of everyone. Just before heading out to the Reward Challenge he sneakily claims it while no one is looking. I guess you can call David and Harry idol masters at this point, they’ve both found two consecutively.
Back at the Champions, David explains to the viewers that experiencing the low points in the game are just as much a part of the journey as being on top. Luke shares this quality, ecstatic that his alliance member now has safety for both of them potentially if the Champions manage to visit Tribal. David is still looking to play the social game however, as he attempts to link up with Shaun to hide the fact he is actually after him. It’s a great way to play Survivor, but Shaun doesn’t fall for it and informs Andy and John of the conversation he had with David just prior.
The Reward Challenge offers John’s perfect lunch date, a trip to the Survivor bar for a Mexican Parmy. But it won’t come easy, as each player, in match-ups, must untie a ring high above water, blindfolded, and then attempt to hook it onto a peg. Luke defeats Harry in the first round, and Baden defeats Janine in the second, giving the Champions a 2-0 lead. Ross manages to keep the Contenders tribe in it, by defeating Andy in the third round. Pia is unable to beat John however, and the Mullet Machine manages to score the third and final point for the Champions giving them another Reward Challenge win. The tribe is also able to select one Contender to join them at the bar, selecting Harry and leaving Matty as the sole Contender on the Contenders tribe for the afternoon.
Matty hopes Harry takes the opportunity to help the two stay in the game, but also vows to never give up on beating the original Champions tribe and ensuring an original Contender is the Sole Survivor.
Harry and the Champions run into the reward cheering about the much awaited food victory. Harry tells all about the events of the Contenders tribe since Shaun’s departure, but (of course) neglects to inform them he has an idol. The remaining Contenders on the Champions tribe recognise that Harry and Matty are in trouble on their tribe, and Andy soon realises the tribe must throw the challenge to ensure their Contenders are safe and either David or Luke can go home. The numbers are identical for both tribes, a 5-2 majority. It’s in both tribes best interests to throw the Immunity Challenge, and splitting the vote 3-2-2, in case of an idol (as David and Harry both hold). There’s no way anyone loses unless they win the challenge. It’s just simple math right now.
Now that Harry has returned to his tribe, it’s time for the Immunity Challenge and Andy is set to ensure his tribe loses to send either David or Luke or go home. The Contenders manage to take a slight lead in the challenge, but eventually both tribes are on the final phase, a Survivor puzzle. Andy’s attempts to throw it are becoming obvious, by both viewer and tribe members. David and Luke begin to feel worried, knowing what Andy’s up to. Baden single handedly manages to ace the puzzle and ultimately win Immunity for the Champions sparing David and Luke, and putting Matty and Harry in jeopardy.
Now knowing he must play his idol, Harry is hoping he can flip both Ross and Simon from the Champion women to keep Matty safe and break up the tight trio. Janine on the other hand tells the viewer that she doesn’t believe Harry has an idol and that the majority five are all voting for him. WHAT?! That’s incredibly stupid! Hello Tyson move from Heroes vs Villains! As Boston Rob would say, “you can’t lose”, if you split the vote. You just can’t lose. This way is too risky. Harry, suspicious Janine may have an idol, wants to vote Pia because she’s a threat who has been using Janine as a shield to her strategy. Not great news for Pia who’s beginning to become noticed around camp, but also a potential win for Harry if he manages to swing Ross, Simon, or both.
Matty goes after convincing Simon, whereas Harry goes after convincing Ross. Both seem to put out quite a case, but neither Ross or Simon give a confessional stating they are even considering going after Pia and joining with the boys. Harry even tries to put on the tears to draw Ross in, but it’s anyone’s guess what the surfer will do. Janine senses Harry’s hard work, but continues to inform the viewers she isn’t worried and that the five are staying strong on voting Harry. We’re off to Tribal Council, and I’m dumbfounded as to what is actually going to go down.
At Tribal Council, Harry and Matty work hard to continue to try and flip Simon and Ross to the boys and oust one of the godmother’s family members. Ross seems to be appealed to the idea, but Simon gives very little reaction to what the men are selling. Matt talks about his frustration with his position on the tribe and losing multiple Reward and Immunity Challenges. Janine refers to Harry as a cockroach, albeit a roundabout compliment to Harry’s gameplay. We go to vote, and with no commercial break, I’m very suspicious of what’s going happen right now.
Harry pulls out his idol, as expected, to keep himself safe. Immediately after, Janine plays hers to ensure she isn’t double crossed at all. Now two idols exit the game, but the votes are yet to be revealed. After cutting to commercial, the votes are revealed and Harry’s three votes (only) are negated, but a revote between Pia and Matty begins, proving a split vote was planned and there was some master trickery in the editing room. The Champions stay strong, and Matty is the eleventh person voted out of this season of Australian Survivor.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
After Matty’s vote out, the Contenders, or in particular Ross, are enjoying the elements Survivor exposes the contestants to. Ross really enjoys the experience he’s been gifted with, and likens it to his surfing career. Harry, now the sole remaining Contender on the tribe, is considering taking a giant turn in a different direction to ensure he’s safe not just now but even further down the track. The Champions step up their search for an idol, but Harry takes the opportunity while everyone is away to discuss working with Janine. Joining forces with the godmother, he and Janine agree to work together knowing the partnership might work in both their favours with a merge imminent.
The love and appreciation for Fiji transcends to John, Andy and Baden on the Champions tribe, who discuss their appreciation for this part of the game, actually surviving the elements. It doesn’t last long on Andy though, who reflects on his inability to throw the Immunity Challenge, yet also sits comfortably knowing his tribe doesn’t suspect a thing about his antics. No sooner said, Luke is telling the viewers about his mistrust in Andy and how obvious it was that he was throwing the challenge. He even spies in his little spy shack on Andy and Baden conversing, sensing a possible fracture with Baden being unaware of having to throw the challenge. He works his charm on Baden, hoping maybe it’ll work in his favour down the track.
The tribes walk into the Immunity Challenge, where the very physical obstacle style layout proves to be challenging for all. The Champions gain a wide lead when they manage to race through the first, second, and third portions of the challenge. The Contenders begin to hang back when a few tribe members, predominantly Pia, struggle to get through the first portion, which involves stepping on very tall pillars. The second portion involves swinging on a rope from one platform to another, and while Harry, Simon and Abbey successfully make it through, the rope snaps on Ross’ swing and he takes a hard fall into the ground, complaining of an extremely painful leg injury. Jonathan calls for an immediate stop to the challenge, and the medical team rushes in to Ross’ aid.
The doctors assess Ross and his injury, and immediately decide to pull him out of the challenge, but not the game, while they run some tests and he is unable to walk properly. He’s taken away from the site, and Jonathan calls the Immunity Challenge to resume with the Contenders now a man down and the Champions still holding a large lead. Whether Ross’ injury impacted the Contenders or not, they are unable to catch up to the Champions who win Immunity and claim safety from Tribal Council, regardless of the results of Ross’ medical examinations.
The Contenders return from the challenge, without Ross. Strategy is still running on the tribe despite the lack of Ross, but with Janine and Harry’s new partnership, and Janine’s allegiance with Pia and Abbey, the girls begin to consider flipping with Harry to eliminate Simon. Abbey has her reservations, but aims to stay loyal to her alliance and stick with the vote for Simon if need be. Whether they were intent on making the move or sticking with the easy elimination of Harry, is unknown, as Ross returns to camp with Jonathan, leg wrapped in a bandage and hopping on crutches.
The tribe is ecstatic with Ross’ return, but their elation is short-lived when Jonathan and Ross reveal that he needs to be medically evacuated out of Australian Survivor, the first in four seasons. Ross tells the tribe they’re all off the hook, as his evacuation negates the need for a Tribal Council that night, sparing either Simon or Harry. Jonathan invites the Champions tribe to say goodbye to Ross with the Contenders, and it’s a teary moment for both player and viewer. I will thoroughly miss Ross. Not only was he pure entertainment on my screen for five weeks, but I do believe he was playing an excellent game and had the potential to be a powerful player at the merge and possibly even be a dark horse to win it all. I know he’s still in recovery from the injury, and I wish him all the best!
EPISODE 14 RECAP
The episode begins with neither a look inside the Champions or Contenders, instead, both tribes head into an imminent Reward Challenge, where Jonathan reveals that everyone has made the merge. Cheers cry out, and the players receive their new buffs and join together as one tribe. Janine tells Jonathan the next few days will be critical to decide where people’s loyalty truly lies. Andy, in a confessional, refers to the remaining players as 12 sharks circling each other hunting for their next pray, he couldn’t be more right.
The first individual Reward Challenge offers a giant crate of mystery prizes that Jonathan says, “the tools to set you up for the rest of the game”. The actual challenge, a variation of a Survivor classic where each player must hold up a sandbag above their head to keep up a bucket of water, if they drop, the bucket tips, they’re out. Temptations are offered throughout the challenge, the first item of which is a box of chocolate biscuits. Luke drops for this item, leaving 11 people fighting for either the crate or a future temptation. Jonathan then offers a phone call home, which Harry and Pia both take and call home to see how their family is doing. Abbey and Janine step down to share beef tacos and a margarita, and Shaun, Baden and John step down for spaghetti bolognese and a bottle of wine to share. Andy, Daisy, David and Simon remain. Andy steps down for a Mexican parmy, much to John’s disappointment. The last three refuse several temptation items, like a chocolate cake, beauty products, an advantage in the next Immunity Challenge, and a whole pizza. No one takes any of those items, and the three are gonna battle it out until there is one left standing. Daisy manages to outlast both David and Simon, and wins whatever is inside the mystery crate.
The newly merged tribe return to the old Champions back where they will see out the rest of their days until the Final Tribal Council. Very quickly, the six versus six original Champions versus Contenders division is evident. Andy offers up a name for the merged tribe, “soli bula”. He tells everyone it means to “welcome together”, but really he reveals to us that it means “sacrifice”. For Andy’s mistakes in the game, he certainly knows how to bring up the goods at least once every week. Meanwhile, David gathers all the original Champions (minus Luke, intentionally) to discuss the events of both tribes since the tribe swap, as well as assess the Contenders and how to eliminate them over the next few days.
David’s first target is Shaun, of course, with Daisy as a secondary option. Pia isn’t fully committed to the Champions strong alliance, and is fully aiming her gun at David for being a big threat in the game. Janine notices Pia’s gameplay, and while she doesn’t talk about blindsiding her, she recognises that Pia is a massive strategic and social threat who is ready to play the game efficiently and successfully.
Daisy heads away from camp to enjoy her reward, the mystery crate. Inside is everything offered as temptation items during the challenge. The parmy, the pizza, the advantage, the phone call home, Daisy gets all of it. I don’t mind this reward. I think it’s incredibly irony for the other nine who dropped out for only one item, and while I’m not Daisy’s biggest cheerleader, it’s a nice touch to the game. Daisy calls home and speaks with her parents, enjoys a bath, and takes at least one bite of every food displayed before her. But it doesn’t stop there! Underneath a box within the crate, is a wrapped up hidden immunity idol just for Daisy. No clue, the actual idol, virtually given right to her. This, I’m unhappy about. It should have been a clue at most. Handing someone an idol, after they win a challenge, is just too easy. They’re still playing Survivor, they can’t have everything thrown at them!
She returns to camp and informs everyone of the contents in the massive crate. David already senses something suspicious about Daisy’s explanation, the lack of anything to do with an idol. Remember Jonathan’s words, “the tools to set you up for the rest of the game”? Well David does and he believes there’s nothing that better sets you up than an idol or an idol clue. This potentially throws a wrench in his plan to break up the Shaun and Daisy power duo. Daisy tells Shaun that she found an idol in her crate, and the two realise this is extremely powerful for them and their Contenders alliance. In the night, David lets Pia and Abbey know that he believes Daisy has an idol, and they should plan on convincing her they know she has it, to potentially flush it out of the game.
Soli Bula head into the first individual Immunity Challenge, where endurance is once again put to the test as the players must pull on a rope to keep up a giant barrel holding 60% of their body weight. If they drop, they’re out. Daisy’s advantage is to start 10 minutes after everyone else, possibly giving her an edge on when the pain starts to really kick in. John and Luke struggle early and drop first, followed by Harry and Baden. Pia, David, Andy and Simon are next, leaving Abbey, Shaun, Janine and Daisy are left. Janine’s certainly the surprise, being an older woman and outlasting the bigger muscly men, of whom are probably expected to win the challenge. I was cheering for her, until she dropped at around the 45-minute mark. Despite the advantage, Daisy falls short of winning Immunity, and Abbey and Shaun are left to battle it out for safety at the first merge Tribal Council. They both fight hard, but Abbey drops first, granting Shaun Immunity, and putting David’s battle with him on a delay.
With Shaun immune, the original Champions return to camp and decide to target Andy as the first victim at the merge. It’s a quick decision, led by David, and the alliance aims to swing all the Contenders to be on board and unanimously take him out. Shaun is very unhappy with the Champions arrogant gameplay. For them to toss out Andy’s name, when they lack a majority in numbers, is despicable to him, and he wants to turn things on its head and possibly even draw a 6-6 tie. He asks Daisy if all the old Contenders are gonna grow some balls, and it’s angering Shaun that everyone is just going with what David is saying. Daisy realises that an idol would need to be played for Andy, and is reluctant to just save him instead of keeping it for another day.
Pia is weary about staying Champions strong, and tells the viewers she’s waiting for the right time to strike against David. She also talks about Janine being a shield for her, hoping people won’t see how dangerous she is. Pia’s previous under-the-radar edit is starting to become undone and I’m getting very worried she’s going to be targeted sooner rather than later. It’s even starting to resemble the early stages of David’s transformation of being a big threat, and it’s not looking so positively for Pia’s future game. I sense a blindside, not now, but very, very soon. Janine also discusses her game, and disagrees with the notion she’s a godmother, saying she’s actually a scorpion who knows the right time to strike. She also discusses taking out David for being a threat, but none of either Pia or Janine’s thoughts leave the confessional to the Contenders to formulate the blindside.
Andy has a last attempt to pull David to his side, by saying he was asked by Daisy and Shaun to throw the puzzle from two episodes ago. David has had a gutful of it, and wants to serve a dish called revenge to him on a silver platter at tonight’s Tribal Council. He wants Andy to receive his ‘just desserts’, and is confident the plan will go through.
At Tribal Council, the tribe is very quick to point out the old Champions are taking on the old Contenders, but Jonathan fishes out the real truth in that everyone is playing their own game and loyalty can change up with whoever, whenever, and for whatever reason. Luke exposes Andy’s move against Daisy back on the night Hannah was voted out and Luke and David played their idols. Andy denies it all, and I’m unsure if this is something that hurts Andy and he goes home NOW, or if it’s adding fuel to the fire and Andy was always going home.
The tribe goes to vote, and I’m unsure where the votes are going to land. Just in case, Daisy stands and plays her idol for herself, which negates only one vote against her. The next six votes that follow are for Andy, and he’s unanimously eliminated from the game 11-
1. But he has some parting words for everyone, he takes a stab in the dark and tells everyone David has an idol (ironically, David actually DOES have one). He leaves Tribal Council, satisfied with his final yet devious move.
I was blindsided a lot during this week of Australian Survivor. The facetious editing for Matty’s blindside certainly got me in a whirlwind. I was flipping out, really unsure of what was going on and if Pia was going, Ross or Simon was flipping, or even if Janine was playing her idol. Just confused the hell out of me. Harry’s belief he held the majority heading to Tribal Council earned him the quote for the week, “we have the numbers”. Because who ever actually has the numbers in Survivor?
While I suspected Ross’ evacuation immediately when we got a look into Ross’ incredible journey at the beginning of the episode, I was still disheartened he was out of the game because I truly enjoyed watching him play this season. He was just a pleasure to have. The merge was probably the most interesting episode we had this week, with a great set of challenges and a fairly good reward on offer. I always love the temptation challenges as well, seeing what people drop for is purely entertaining. Andy’s elimination seemed too easy but with no conversations showing a blindside for David, it was hard to pinpoint exactly if he was going to go. It was a shocker the entire tribe voted for him, and that Daisy’s idol is flushed completely out of the game as soon as she received it.
In terms of individual gameplays, John, Simon and Baden are the quieter three of the bunch, and while I think it’s possible at least one goes home next week, the lack of a solid edit tells me right now they’re doing okay. Shaun and Daisy are still the obvious power duo. They’re foolish if they think they can survive and should really try and separate themselves from each other. They’re not bad at Survivor, but they’re not entirely great at it either. Shaun is alright, he has good intentions but his execution comes across abrasive sometimes. He appears to have his heart set on David, but really should keep the wide lenses on and take a look at the other threats around him like Janine, Luke, Harry and Pia. Daisy just goes along with it, and I’m not sure if she has her own game lined up and her own identifiable threats or if she’s just happy targeting whoever Shaun is going after, being David. On the other side of the coin, David and Luke are still managing to play dominantly and effectively. David’s undoing is almost here. I highly doubt he’ll actually manage to get out of it and soon he will be the main target until he can go home. Luke at least flies a little more under the radar, and therefore is a more effective player than David. I see him going just as far as he did last time, but maybe not too much further, as he’ll eventually become a threat. I do think it’s possible he pulls out the win though, he’s got the story for it.
Pia’s game has started to unravel, unfortunately, and if she’s getting screen time for being such a threat then maybe we should expect her to go home soon. Up until this week, she probably had the strongest winner’s edit we could assume, and I’m not totally denying she makes it that far but it seems a little more unrealistic. Janine even seems to be less of a threat than what Pia will be, and I can see her going only late in the game. Abbey definitely isn’t as much of a threat as the other two ladies, but I for sure see her being a pivotal swing vote soon, or maybe a sacrifice in an attempt to weaken the Champion girls alliance. Finally, Harry is another big contender for the win in my opinion. He was a big threat at the pre-merge portion, but was barely spoken about in the latest episode. His new alliance with Janine might come out again soon, and either he’s the one to betray her or save her. He’s still an extremely pivotal player, and I’m excited to see what’s to come from him.
A David vs Shaun battle is teased for Sunday’s episode, so maybe the showdown will finally come to an end. But once that heat is off one or both of those guys, who’s going to find themselves standing in the spotlight?
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. No one new stood out to me this week, so we have the same top five, minus Ross, and the return of someone very familiar.
HARRY HILLS remains in the top five for managing to form an alliance with his adversary and successfully playing an idol to keep himself in the game. I was right about him worming his way out and into the merge, and I’m very impressed with his ability to do that. I stick with the notion he lays low for a while and lets the bigger hot shots throw punches and only come out when he’s really needed. He’s going to make a big move soon, I can feel it. And I’m here for it.
DAVID GENAT may be everyone’s biggest target whether he knows it or not, but that doesn’t refute that he’s still good at the game. He’s on the top! He’s got numbers and yes, they will probably turn on him, he’s still got an idol. He knows how to play the game and sometimes his arrogance clouds his judgement. That’s okay though. He’s pulling out impressive moves and even managed to get out the weasel Andy who he knows would have only cost his game. How David makes it out of the week unscathed, I don’t know. But I’m excited to see if he can do it.
PIA MIRANDA sees her fifth mention in the top five this week and rightfully so, she really is a fantastic social and strategic player. This was still her worst week however. Harry saw her as a threat, and voted for her instead of Abbey fearing Janine would play an idol. And Janine has discussed her ability to stab people in the back and play the game strategically. She’s just standing a little more out there than she should and I do see someone going after her soon. I really want her to stay in the game and hopefully she finds a way to do that. But I’m extremely worried at this point, so let’s hope it’s all a red herring and she survives until the end.
LUKE TOKI is back here and I’ve always liked him, don’t get me wrong, but other personalities were impressing me moreso. That’s what happens with returnees. As I’ve said, he’s a threat that no one is really talking about because all eyes are on David. He’s even behind Pia if the edit is concerned, and I think he’s playing the best out of everyone. He’s great socially and strategically, and doesn’t have to rely on his physical strength to keep him in the game. This is the same case as Season 2, but maybe this time it’ll pay off for this king of the jungle.
JANINE ALLIS the godmother scorpion is still managing to play a very good game despite being called out as a threat by Harry. Now with her multiple alliances, she just might see herself comfortable for a few weeks. She wasn’t mentioned at the merge for being a threat, and that’s great news because she definitely could have been the merge boot given how she’s played so far. It’s great to see herself so immersed within the game and playing so strategically. Can the Boost Juice queen find a route to another half a million dollars?
Baden, John and Simon are all likeable players this season, but I’m not getting enough of their strategic game so really warrant a position in the top five. Abbey’s a big wildcard for me, I’m not entirely sure what direction she’s gonna go in and I’m worried she’s gonna play with her heart, not her head. Shaun and Daisy, likeable people but as the Australian Survivor social media team has been asking me all week, you’re either Team David or Team Shaun, and I chose Team David.
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Australian Survivor continues tonight, Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10!
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