Big moves, uncovered secrets, and a true battle between Contenders and Champions. Let’s examine how the game turned up the heat once the jury stage commenced.
SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers on this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor!
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Day 31 of Australian Survivor opens with the tribe describing David as a peacock, strutting around the camp wearing as many fashionable items as you can on Survivor. David says he’s playing up to the model stereotype, and that he also isn’t worried about Andy’s bombshell at Tribal Council because it was too obviously a shot in the dark. Elsewhere, Luke expresses elation in eliminating Andy, recognising the Champions are six strong and now have the majority in numbers to pick off the Contenders. He also talks about Janine and how she’s continuing to challenge herself despite having the ability to sit back and roll in her empire. He notices the similarities between her and himself, hinting towards going very far with her because of what they share personally. Janine responds to these qualities as well, recognising her relationship with Luke as an asset.
Baden’s strategy is opened up to the viewers, as he talks about playing in the middle and using his bond with Luke to stay close to the Champions and ensure he isn’t voted out early. He speaks with Luke about blindsiding the physical threats, when Shaun comes up behind them, halting their conversation. Baden tells the viewers he isn’t as much on board with taking out Shaun as he let on to Luke, in fact he wants a Champion to bite the dust next, namely David. Great news for Shaun who once again harps on about gunning for David because of the fake idol swap and wants to strike against him now. Mate, we’ve heard it for two weeks now, we get it. Shaun hopes that the five Contenders can swing one Champion over to their side, but it is anybody’s guess as to who will actually take the bate.
Arriving at the Reward Challenge, Jonathan quizzes David about Andy’s parting words but David quickly shuts it down saying it didn’t impact the tribe at all. The challenge is a classic in Survivor, standing on narrow foot holes until one person remains. The prize, a brand new car! But any Survivor fan knows this is the one reward you DON’T want to win, in fear of falling victim to the infamous Survivor car curse! Every player shows early signs of pain and struggle, and big boy Shaun is the first casualty in the challenge designed to favour small feet. Daisy and Baden fall next, followed by John and Luke after 45 minutes. Pia and Harry drop out, leaving Abbey, David, Janine and Simon left fighting for the car. An hour passes, and Janine steps down, unable to bear the pain. When 100 minutes goes by, Abbey manages to outlast David and win a brand new car, a trunk of food, and a ticket to being a victim of the car curse (potentially). Abbey can also select someone to join her, choosing David for his monster effort in the challenge. Jonathan tells her she can pick one more person, and very strategically chooses John.
Abbey, David and John enjoy a ride in her new car, which angers David internally who can’t handle watching what was almost his be gifted to Abbey. The three arrive at a waterfall to enjoy a picnic and share some quality time together. Abbey explains her choice for picking John was to spend some quality time with him, and getting to know who he is. This is excellent for her social game, possibly moving her up a spot or two then what she might originally have been if the Contenders gained control of the tribe. David pushes for the three to work together until the end, despite not actually wanting to fulfil it. John can’t stand David’s attempts however, knowing David has empty promises and mistrust circling him. Abbey asks both boys who they want out next, David openly admits Shaun because of how strong he is and their longtime divide. Abbey is uneasy about David and where his loyalty truly lies, and confesses to the viewers that it might be time to get rid of him.
Back at camp, Shaun is immensely worried about David targeting him, and attempts to bring the godmother Janine to his side and target David. Shaun and Janine both agree David is the sneakiest and slimiest player remaining, and even Janine is happy to blindside David and work with Shaun sooner rather than later.
At the Immunity Challenge, players must float under a grate in the ocean where, as the tide rises, the inability to keep one’s face up becomes minimal. The pure chill of the water seems to be the initial obstacle, as many players struggle to find any comfortability. Daisy is the first to go, with Abbey following soon after. Baden drops out next, just as the water gets really close to everyone’s airways. Harry, Pia and John pop out next. Leaving Simon, Shaun, Janine, Luke and David left in the Immunity Challenge. It’s getting darker, and the water is practically level with the bars keeping only what’s over them left unsubmerged. Janine is out next, and then Luke, and then Simon. This puts our biggest battle so far up again, with David taking on Shaun for that necklace. Shaun can’t handle it anymore, granting David individual Immunity and a night of safety, something he likely needed.
In a shocking twist, Jonathan tells the tribe that they’re heading to Tribal Council almost immediately, sparing no time to converse about who should go home. On a lighter note, the person voted out will also become a member of the jury, setting up the likely nine-person jury and a final two, as in the previous three seasons. With little time, Shaun senses his elimination because of being a physical threat and the fact David is safe. He tells Daisy, John and Baden that he’s looking to target Luke because he’s the biggest social threat of the game. If he’s going down, he’s going down swinging. The Champions and Harry talk about splitting the vote between Daisy and Shaun to ensure one of them goes home and the power dup is broken up.
Shaun and Daisy approach Simon and Abbey about voting out Luke for being the most likeable person on the tribe, with a great story to tell at the Final Tribal Council. Luke the creeper comes up behind them and asks who they want out, but no one tells Luke his name’s being tossed around. In another separate conversation, Daisy, John and Harry try to get Janine, Pia and Simon to vote out Luke. Despite some reluctancy, everyone agrees on Luke. Once again however, Luke intrudes on the gathering, possibly even saving himself by ceasing the conversation immediately. The Soli Bula head off to Tribal Council, and it is CHAOS.
At Tribal Council, the minimal time to talk after the challenge leads to whispers from Luke who is trying to confirm that the vote is on Shaun. Shaun tries to deflect any attention on him, saying he would need to win ten straight challenges to get to the end, an unlikely situation compared to Luke who is a strategic and social threat that can coast to the end with enough numbers. David openly tells Jonathan that he’s gunning for Shaun, in a clear attempt to keep everyone on board with one plan. Janine lays out the options, saying it’s a choice between strategic and physical threats. She closes, however, by saying strength must be taken out while the opportunity is open. In another attempt, Shaun tells the tribe that everyone needs to start playing for the jury, and voting him out would be too easy and unworthy of winning the game. Harry interjects, arguing it is illogical to believe Shaun will win every future Immunity Challenge and thus unable to be voted out. With so many thoughts being shared, the tribe is ready to vote.
Abbey and David are shown voting for Shaun, while Harry is shown voting for Luke. Jonathan returns with the votes, and the first two votes are for Shaun. Luke receives the next two, and then Daisy takes two of her own. Shaun grabs another three, and is therefore voted out and the first member of the jury.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
After a long night of torrential rain, the tribe awakens after Shaun’s elimination cold and very much huddled together. With some sunshine, we hear from Pia, who says she is thankful for Janine being in the game to help her strategically and emotionally. But she also tells us she’s ready to take charge and make a move, seemingly against David, to ensure her resume is strong for the Final Tribal Council. Luke is also looking at the numbers and assessing who’s going to stay loyal and who it isn’t, knowing that at this point people start to think about who they want gone and who they want to sit next to at the end. Daisy talks about voting for Shaun to keep herself in the game, but also realises that the Contenders are practically doomed with the Champions staying loyal to each other for the past two votes.
On the other side of the coin, David is elated with being in charge and coming out victorious in his battle with Shaun. He thinks he has a loyal list of allies to aid him much further, as well as safety in his hidden immunity idol. He talks with Luke about the old Contenders who are on the outer, with Daisy being the first to be picked off at the next Tribal Council. He speaks with Abbey, Janine and Pia and (seemingly) dictates to them that Daisy will be the next to go in an easy attempt to weaken the Contenders even further. The girls aren’t too happy with just being told what to do, and once again complain about his ego and dominant tone. Together, they agree to blindside David, and it’s not a bad decision considering they’d create themselves as a swing between the Contenders and Champions, possibly still having a Champions majority 5-4. To orchestrate this, Pia and Janine agree they need to act like they love David, appealing to his ego. This is easy for Pia, considering she’s an actress, but the edit seems to be too easy for her, and I’m starting to get worried something might turn against her. The tribe heads out to the Immunity Challenge, which is still before the first ad break in the show, telling me that something is most certainly going to go down.
Arriving at the Immunity Challenge, the players are racing to dig up a bag of balls and roll them along a paddle, attempting to land them in small notches. It’s the first non-endurance individual challenge yet, and Baden is the first to find his bag. Luke finds his, but Baden quickly lands his first two of six balls. Luke catches up, and they’re both tied with 2, while everyone is still digging. Luke pulls ahead when he gets 3. Abbey then finds her bag, and gets into the race. Luke then lands number 4, and then number 5, going for the win. David grabs his bag, but it’s too late when Luke lands his 6th and wins his first individual Immunity in two seasons!
Luke dedicates his win to his kids, a lovely sentimental moment from the king. David, still thinking about the game, expresses even more confidence (as if that’s possible) that the plan to take Daisy out is in full swing. Janine, Abbey and Pia sing the right tune to David about wanting to keep the Champions strong, but they’re on the war path to get him right under his nose. To avoid a possible idol play, they must be as quiet as possible. Pia seems to gather the votes easily, with John and Harry agreeing to the plan. Harry recognises it is a huge risk to trust the girls, and is slightly worried it’ll blow up in his face. Abbey tells Daisy the vote is David and that her name will be spoken about at Tribal as if she’s going. Daisy expresses mistrust in it, which she really shouldn’t, considering Abbey is selling the only option she really has left in the game.
Everyone seems to be on board with the blindside, except for Luke and obviously David. Janine is particularly concerned that Daisy’s high level of emotions may stop the plan from taking affect. Daisy takes Luke off on a walk, but viewers are not privvy to the conversation, making us guess that Daisy may have revealed the plan to Luke. Personally, I’m calling a red herring and Daisy trying to act as if she needs Luke’s help. They head to Tribal Council, and David once again tells us how amazing he is at the game and manipulating everyone to do what he wants.
At Tribal Council, Janine and David talk about continuing to work with the Champions alliance for the foreseeable future. Daisy is playing a dejected and disheartened persona quite well, although it might be slightly overkill. I’ve never seen Daisy so unconfident, so I can’t catch a good read if she’s trying too hard to act like she’s going or if she’s playing just the right amount. Harry throws his hand up as another potential target for the vote, saying either he or Daisy are likely to go tonight.
After everyone has cast their votes, Jonathan asks if anyone has an idol and to our surprise, (not) David doesn’t play his idol. While he and Luke vote for Harry, everyone else manages to pull off the blindside of the season and David is voted out of the game, with an idol in hand. It was a great run for the confident concocter, and his exit will be surely a hurtful one for gameplay.
EPISODE 17 RECAP
The tribe returns from David’s blindside and Pia comments on the move and how it is a huge play for all involved. Luke isn’t too worried about the move, knowing that he just needs to move on and take it one day at a time. He bonds with Harry and Baden by cooking a meal for themselves in a pot, possibly igniting a new mixed-blood alliance.
In the morning, Janine comments on everyone coming together to blindside David as a real win for the tribe and game. Her confidence has shot up and now she truly believes she can be the Sole Survivor. Her allegiance with Pia is still strong, even though she recognises she’s an incredibly strong strategic player. Pia is worried however Luke might flip on the Champions now that they blindsided both him and David. She is comfortable about her relationship with him though, believing they are tight enough to stay together, and draw him back to the Champions.
Elsewhere, Daisy is proud of her performance of acting like she knew she was going. Harry however doesn’t believe David’s blindside has impacted the Champions alliance, and hopes to rely on possibly finding an idol to ensure he stays safe. Daisy and Harry are both shown searching for one, but it’s Daisy who manages to find and claim it, her second of the game. Pia and Luke come up to Daisy almost immediately after she finds the idol, but she can’t hide the secret well, and Luke manages to suss out that she’s found it.
The Reward Challenge is played in pairs as together the must balance an idol on narrow poles, that will increase in increments. As the numbers are uneven, the person left out can choose a pair to bet on, and if that pair wins, the outsider joins in on the reward, a chinese banquet. Harry is left out, and chooses Janine and Abbey as the pair to back, with Luke and David, Pia and Daisy, and Simon and John as the other three duos. Daisy and Pia are the first to slip up, and are out of the Reward Challenge. Everyone else manages to go a lot longer, but Baden and Luke fail to make the final transition, putting a girls vs boys showdown in full force. Simon and John drop their idol, granting Janine, Abbey and Harry the reward winners. The three are then asked to select someone to join them, and they choose Simon. Leaving Pia, Daisy, Luke, Baden and John left without nothing.
The four reward winners enjoy their intake of food, and discussion doesn’t shy away from talking about the next vote. Janine wants the Champions to keep the majority in numbers, but wants Daisy to be the first target because she’s open to working with Harry very soon within the game. The four, who all happened to be swapped into the Contenders tribe, receive their plates that they missed out on from the Reward Challenge win multiple episodes prior. Back at camp, Daisy is celebrating her idol find but she wants to make moves with the newfound power and ensure a Champion is eliminated next, leveling up the playing field between the two original tribes.
At the Immunity Challenge, another endurance competition sees a next level version of planking above water putting everyone’s comfortability to the test. Harry is out first, Abbey next, and then Luke in quick succession. Pia and John fall out next, leaving Simon, Janine, Baden and Daisy left. Baden tries to distract himself, and everyone, from the challenge by talking about Eurovision (yeah, I know, genius). Daisy drops out soon before the 15-minute mark. Janine goes out next, forcing a showdown between Baden and Simon for a spot in the final eight. Baden can’t handle the pain, and Simon manages to pick up his first individual Immunity.
The four Contenders unite together when Daisy tells them she has an idol, and that she was caught by Pia and Luke. They agree on one name, Abbey, and hope to put all the eggs in Daisy’s idol basket and that she plays it correctly on one of the four and send Abbey home 4-
5. During the Champions meeting, Janine and Abbey bring up voting out Daisy as the primary target. But Luke and Pia let the other three know about Daisy having an idol, and they agree to switch to Harry just in case she plays it on herself.
The bond between Luke and Baden is tested when Baden tells Luke the Contenders are putting the votes on Abbey, and that Daisy is considering playing it on Harry too. Luke realises that if she plays it on anyone, it’s a quarter of a chance she gets it right and one of the Champions goes home. Pia, Janine and Luke consider making a last minute change to John, or Baden, or back to Daisy, or stay on Harry. It’s craziness right now. The tribe heads to Tribal Council, and we’re left wondering who are the Champions voting for, and who will Daisy play her idol on?
At Tribal Council, Daisy whips out her idol around her neck as it begins. I appreciate Daisy’s boldness this episode, it’s a shame we had to wait until she had power to see it. Daisy openly admits that she’s willing and able to play her idol on any of the Contenders. Janine talks about the game resetting every time someone is voted out, but Harry and John try to denounce her argument saying the reset for her is only to her advantage and doesn’t reset the pecking order within the alliance. Daisy’s idol is discussed universally, and the tribe goes to vote, still with questions in the air.
When Jonathan returns with the votes and asks for idols, Daisy stands and decides to play it on herself, just to be safe. The first four votes head Abbey’s way, but the next vote goes on Harry, then four on John. In a tie between John and Abbey, the remaining seven vote, and John is sent to the jury, 4-3.
It’s safe to say the crop of episodes we received this week were astonishing. We managed to hit the 800,000 viewership mark which is massive for Australian Survivor and 10 on the whole. With key players in Shaun, David and John exiting one after the other, we’re looking at a small group of people that can find a path to win, and a couple of people I personally think might have no chance. But big risks were a common theme all week, which is why this week’s quote goes to Daisy, “risk it to get the biscuit”.
The trio force of Abbey, Janine and Pia is super strong. And I find it very, VERY hard to believe all three will manage to make it to the final three. It’s still possible, but the other five need to act now if they wanna destroy it. My only theory in this not happening is if Simon stays loyal to the girls, it would take an idol play or rocks to send out one of the girls, with Luke joining forces with the remaining Contenders to make it happen. Considering that’s teased with a ‘Godmother versus Dirty Harry’ showdown, maybe we’ll see one of the ladies see their end. Abbey is great physically, and while I do not at all believe she’s bad at the social game, I think it’s clear Pia and Janine are much better, and therefore will probably be targeted. Abbey might see votes come her way if everyone else plays the “what if Janine or Pia have an idol, safe vote Abbey” plan.
For Janine and Pia, they’re hard to separate. Pia’s edit is still worrying me that she might in fact be targeted and go home. But for some reason I’m hell bent on the assumption Janine will actually take a visit to the Jury Villa before her. Both women are playing incredible games. But if my money is on anyone to go this week, it’s Janine over Pia and Abbey.
With Baden and Harry a firm duo on the Contenders, they’ve got the best chance to sway something. Harry’s cunning and ruthless, and he’s got the balls to do something crazy because, what else has he got left to do but swing hard and high? If not, I think Harry will probably be the first casualty to go to the jury, with Baden lasting probably until the next week of episodes. Baden is playing a great strategic game. His connection with Luke will also become valuable for when the Champions do decide to target him, as Luke may not find it super easy to let his ally go. I think it’s even plausible Baden and Luke manage to go to the end together.
Speaking of Luke, the guy is still sitting in a great position despite watching his ally in David get blindsided. He came back to camp with the right attitude, and still didn’t piss off anyone by behaving like a lunatic about the blindside (like so many have in Survivor past). My only thing with Luke is that Shaun has exposed his likability and threatening resume at the Final Tribal. While everyone’s keeping it in their back pocket, who’s to say it won’t come back up again and then Luke is out (maybe in 7th again) for being the biggest threat at the end? The girls know it, but when will they strike?
Finally, Daisy and Simon are the biggest guesses to whether they’ll go far or go next. Daisy has had her name on the chopping block for the past few Tribal Councils. And despite playing her idol incorrectly, she’s still probably a threat to the jury if someone is sitting next to her. There’s no doubt her name will come up again soon, but if she manages to survive an elimination once again, she might be heading to the end game. For Simon, I don’t think he’s playing bad at all, but the lack of an edit tells me there’s a very small chance he could win. It would just be an injustice for the viewers. So I think he’s going to be voted out soon, but there’s only so many Tribals before the last one for it to come into fruition.
I am very excited for this week of Survivor content, there’s a lot to come and a lot more on the line. So who will find their way out and into the final 5 (or 6), and who will join the boys on the jury?
MATTHEW’S TOP FIVE
In no particular order, each review I have revealed my top five players of the week, considering all factors like physicality, strategy, social game, likeability and visibility. But now that we’re down to a small pool of players, I’ll be ranking them from first to fifth. With David out of the game, and John probably seeing himself as joining the top five, but now out too, we’ve got a new addition to the five that’s never been in before.
FIRST – PIA MIRANDA, surprise, surprise. I have loved Pia all season. Her social gameplay is incredible and I am truly impressed with how she has managed to fly under the radar (for the most part) from some really great opportunities to go home. With Janine still being a shield, she might stay uncovered, but there’s still half a chance she is targeted because of Janine being too obvious, and it’ll be interesting to see how the tribe recovers from the loss of a dominant social threat. I’m pulling for her to make it out of this week.
SECOND – JANINE ALLIS, the business executive and CEO powerhouse was almost sent home on Day 8. But here she is, like Pia, in a tight alliance, and working to make sure key threats are out of the game and on the jury. The only problem for Janine is that she’s next in line. I’m excited to see who slays the other in this Godmother versus Dirty Harry showdown. But if she somehow manages to stay on track with a few allies, I think it’s hard to deny Janine of the win if she’s sitting in the final two. She’s a great strategic player, and has a way with words. I bought my Boost this week, so let’s hope she is still in the game when I buy another.
THIRD – HARRY HILLS, on the opposite of the coin, we’ve got Dirty Harry. Only slightly under Janine, the reason behind Harry landing in the middle of the Top 5 is because he’s been unable to secure any solid allies since the tribe swap. He may have survived, and that’s great, but if he was able to bring someone on the Harry bandwagon then he’d be a great social threat. But right now his strategy is his asset, and if he can take down anyone in the Champions alliance he might see a bump up to second, or even first.
FOURTH – LUKE TOKI, I’ve already said it. The fact Luke came back to camp happy as Larry when David was blindsided shows he is socially aware of the game and how to play it. He’s a massive threat but if he somehow can stay in the middle of both alliances and then see himself in the Final 5, there might be a road for him to win after all. Congrats on picking up an Immunity win too brother, truly impressive how you’ve come back and managed to play an even better game than last time. I would NOT be disappointed with a Luke win this season.
FIFTH – BADEN GILBERT, finally Baden makes it to the top five. Admittedly, I was not a big fan of Baden early on but he’s still in the game and has played very well physically, socially and strategically. He’s got a great analysis of where everyone stands in the game and as long as he can make sure he’s not as big of a target over Daisy or Harry, he shouldn’t get trampled by the Champions. Or alternatively, his alliance with Luke may lead to something quite exciting, and he becomes the strategic threat we all know he can be.
Abbey, Daisy and Simon are great players, don’t get me wrong. But with so many limited options, they’re out of the top five this week. I certainly expect maybe two of them to find a spot next week, however.
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