Flipping, betrayals, big moves and even bigger blindsides was on the agenda for one particular player this week. A surprise twist saw a set back to another’s ultimate elimination. So who made it out of this week, and why?
SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers on this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor!
EPISODE 18 RECAP
The episode opens with Baden discussing how his game has flourished from Day 1 to Day 37. His social game has improved immensely, and he’s not wrong. He’s killer at forming meaningful bonds with people. He disastrously attempts to crack open a coconut, much to the tribe’s amusement. Elsewhere, Janine expresses happiness with ensuring John, an original Contender, was voted out of the game. Her plan is to keep it that way, and dwindle the remaining three Contenders down to two.
Daisy, fighting to stay in it, says she’ll do whatever she has to make sure she stays in the game. This includes going on an idol hunt (along with Harry) to possibly find a third. Simon and Luke come to play babysitter, and Daisy uses this to her advantage when she tells Luke that one of his alliance members informed her that he knew she had an idol (you follow?). Luke assumes this was Pia, and tells Simon and the viewers there’s a mole in the camp. Daisy admits no one told her, but Luke’s sudden paranoia may squash Pia’s game, hurt Luke’s game, and catapult Daisy ahead to the Final Tribal Council.
Rolling up to the Reward Challenge, one of my favourite Australian Survivor challenges makes a return from Season 2 where the players are pegged against a wall, removing a peg from the wall at regular intervals. On offer, a Survivor spa where the winners can enjoy a night away in luxury. They’re also competing in pairs, drawing rocks to see who gets with who. The duos are as follows: Harry and Abbey, Luke and Baden, Simon and Janine, Pia and Daisy. Everyone seemingly works well together, until Harry and Abbey fail to make it past the 2nd peg, and are out of the Reward Challenge. Luke seizes the opportunity to talk with Baden about the future of the game, although nothing too serious is discussed. After a few more rounds, Baden accidentally falls off, forcing him and Luke without a shot at going to the spa. Janine and Simon seem the most agile as they work together against the wall, although the small size of Pia and Daisy allow for them to work incredibly… As I type this, the unthinkable. Pia, hanging on to a peg, accidentally falls off as it is pulled out. Simon and Janine win a trip to the spa, and are allowed to invite one other pair to join them. They choose Pia and Daisy, and they are ecstatic with the decision, leaving Abbey, Luke, Harry and Baden at camp with nothing.
At the spa, it’s an opportunity for Pia, Janine and Simon to talk with Daisy and see where she might be able to fit into their future game plan. Daisy is excited with the opportunity, and is happy to throw anyone under the bus for whatever reason. Daisy and Simon recognise Luke as a dangerous player, with Simon confessing to Pia and Janine Luke’s suspicion of Pia as the mole. This might be just the sign to see where Simon’s loyalty lies, and if he sticks with the girls it might create a 4-4 split. Simon is ready to take a shot against Luke, and Daisy puts out the call to do so as well. Now with motive to take him out, this might be another big move for Janine and Pia, especially with Abbey on board to take a shot against one of the biggest players in Australian Survivor history.
Back at camp, Luke also tells Abbey of Daisy’s little white lie, and she’s just as shocked at the revelation. Luke point blank asks Harry and Baden who it was (still a lie of course), and Harry adds fuel to the fire, with nothing to lose, and tells him it was Pia. He senses Luke’s mistrust in Pia, and is pouncing on it like the incredible player he is. Harry isn’t after Pia though, and instead hopes to target Janine because she’s been at the top of the alliance since forever. Luke hopes the Champions can split the vote, so he can flip and he, Harry and Baden (and maybe even Daisy) hold the majority. The new trio of boys is solidified, and Luke may have officially just jumped ship to take down the Godmother.
At the Immunity Challenge, discussion about the separation of the eight after the previous night’s reward getaway begins, before Immunity is back up for grabs where the players must pull up on a weighted frame clamping a ball. If the ball falls, they’re out. Very quickly, Baden loses focus and he’s the first to fall out of it. Harry just manages to save his ball from falling off, but Daisy is the second one to go out and loses the Immunity Challenge. Jonathan reminds everyone it’s just as much about concentration than it is strength, true to his words considering the first to go didn’t realise how much they had moved. Pia’s out next, followed by Harry. Janine, Abbey, Luke and Simon are the last four remaining. Abbey sees her exit eventually, leaving Janine holding the flag for the women and first-time Immunity winners. Luke is unable to claim his second Immunity, keeping it between Simon and Janine at the 80-minute mark. Harry tries to help Simon stay alive by telling him when his ball might drop. Simon then cracks a deal with Janine, asking her to take him on the reward if she wins one of the next two. She agrees, and Simon drops out granting Janine her first individual Immunity win.
When returning to camp, Harry expresses frustration to the viewers with Simon giving Immunity to Janine in exchange for a deal. Daisy meets up with her fellow Contenders, Baden and Harry, where she tells them the Champions are ready to take out Luke because he’s a threat. Harry is happy to lose Luke if it means he and his Contenders manage to stay safe. Janine however believes it’s the wrong call to take out Luke, and is still out to get Daisy right here, right now. The Champions alliance agrees to it, but Simon isn’t entirely happy with it because it’s a 180 to what was said at the day spa.
Simon and Janine discuss this, and Simon openly admits he’s not keen on going for Daisy. Speaking of the devil, Daisy joins Janine and Simon where Janine tells her that the Luke plan is foiled and it’s going to be Harry. She doesn’t fall for it, and is angry with the bold lie from Janine. Now on the warpath, Daisy tells Luke everything told at the spa and just before from Janine, now planning to target Pia. Luke weighs up his options, sticking with the Champions or going with the Contenders.
Pia confronts Luke about the lie Harry and Daisy told him that Pia was a mole. She tries to defuse it and tells Luke she didn’t do such a thing, and Luke tells her she’s got nothing to worry about and he’s still Champions strong. In another Champions meeting, tension and awkwardness are a new theme among the five, and Janine begins to feel Luke’s wavering loyalty. Luke then pulls Baden aside, worrying Pia, Janine and Simon that he might be changing the plan. Simon then tells the girls he might be able to swing Daisy back on the original plan to take out Luke. Janine is still against the decision is hardcore trying to send Daisy out instead of Luke (despite the mere obvious fact Luke is a more dangerous player, and that taking him out leaves the remaining four Champions as a tight alliance, rather than a four with one possibly flipper).
At Tribal Council, the spa plan is publicly exposed and there’s unease between almost everyone. Janine shuts it down, saying it was all an act of misdirection to convince Daisy it wasn’t her. Daisy doesn’t buy it and says the plan to take out Luke was well and truly on the cards. Pia attempts to reiterate what Janine said, saying agreeing to a plan doesn’t mean it’s finalised or in the works. Harry however says he believes some of the names being thrown around are very much real, and possibly locked and loaded as the target.
Before the tribe votes someone out, Jonathan reveals that no one is going to the jury at all. Instead, the person they vote for will be heading to Exile Beach. They will stay there until someone else is voted out, and the two will battle to decide who goes home and who comes back into the game (reminiscent of last season’s battle between Tegan and Anita). When Jonathan returns with the votes, and Daisy is voted out of the tribe and sent to Exile Island, where she will await her opponent.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
With last night’s shocker of a twist, Daisy finds herself on Exile Beach alone, scared, and left to fend for herself. She tearfully tells us that she’s extremely grateful she managed to avoid heading to the jury and claim a second chance in the game. But it’s certainly a struggle, she’s freezing in the rain, and wondering if it’s at all worth it. But she grabs a bull by the horns, and with fire in herself, she’s ready to fight to be the Sole Survivor and earn her way back into the game.
At Soli Bula, Pia is feeling great with yet another successful elimination by the Champions in Daisy, and even further a successful elimination for the trio of Champion girls who have stuck around into the Final 7. She is aware however that everyone is thinking about the end game and that soon somebody might flip and make a big move. Harry also sees the end game forming, but sees a much tougher road to get there with him and Baden being the only Contenders officially left in the game. He wants to make a big move, because once again, that’s all he’s got left to do. Hoping to sprinkle doubt on each Champion about another might be enough of a crack for Harry to slip through.
He wants to pull in Luke as an ally, knowing he’s on the verge of turning the game upside down. Trusting Harry more than anyone else, Luke declares war on the Champions and blindsiding Janine, once and for all. Harry and Luke need to pull in a fourth if it’s ever going to work, and Harry believes he can convince the completely loyal to the girls trio, Abbey, to switch sides. In a conversation with Harry and Baden, Abbey tells the boys that she’s comfortable with where she sits. But Harry warns her that being in the Final 3 would not be ideal for her, believing both Janine and Pia would trump her at the Final Tribal Council. It’s something to consider for Abbey, who knows her resume needs to improve if she’s got a chance against ANYONE at the end. Despite idolising Janine, Abbey is seriously thinking about making a big move and flipping against the girls.
The giant tower of
death (fear) returns for the next individual Immunity Challenge. The remaining players will lay on a steep ramp up high on the tower, hanging onto a bar, until one is left standing. Another endurance challenge, we’re still waiting on that puzzle please Jonathan. Baden can’t take the pain, and drops pretty soon into the Immunity Challenge. Janine falls down next after losing her grip. Half an hour elapses, and Harry drops out. Abbey, Luke, Pia and Simon remain, with Luke and Simon seeking their second Immunity win, and Abbey and Pia for their first. Jonathan forces the remaining four to hang with one arm, and Abbey is the first casualty of the new rule. Simon and Luke drop simulatneously, and it appears that a deal might have been made between the boys to give it to Pia, after Luke is seen pointing, left out of the final edit. Whether true or not, Pia is still granted with her first individual Immunity, proving to the Facebook haters that she actually can do something for herself, even if they still don’t believe her social game is excellent.
Returning to camp, Pia and Janine express elation with Pia claiming the necklace, with the latter saying Baden should be the next choice to go to Exile and take on Daisy to return to the game. With the five meeting for Janine to dictate what will happen, Abbey is now frustrated her voice isn’t heard (considering she flipped from the Sporting Alliance to Janine for the same reason). She wants to flip, she wants to make the move, and with Harry, Baden and Luke on board, they’ve got the numbers. The only problem, she doesn’t wanna send Janine to Exile, worried she’ll return with a vengeance, and instead wants to send Simon to Exile and keep Janine in the game (not considering that she’ll probably be angry anyway and target her regardless.
Harry tells Abbey he’d prefer to send Janine home, but for him it’s not really an issue as long as he and Baden stay and Abbey and Luke are turning on the Champions. Simon’s still a physical threat, so if he manages to lose to Daisy it’s not too much of a problem, and Daisy would have the numbers when she returns now with Pia and Janine sitting at the bottom. Pia and Janine trust the three are sticking together, and that the Champions are indeed sending Baden to Exile Beach. Something interesting to note, Simon and Baden being the three on the chopping block don’t receive a single confessional at all. And yes, giving out confessionals to everyone/the boot isn’t a consistent theme for the editors, but the fact all other five (presumably safe) claim them is interesting to me.
At Tribal Council, Baden and Harry express uncertainty at their future because of the Champions and Contenders divide we’ve seen since the beginning of the merge. Harry says they need to make a move sooner rather than later, but Janine isn’t afraid to say she’s ready to stick with the Champions as she has for 40 days. Opening up the alliance shack, Harry says someone just needs to bring their best friend for a majority of four. Janine reminds Harry that the Contenders created the minority for themselves by voting out Andy and giving the Champions the numbers. Taking on Daisy is considered heavily, knowing she’s going to be hungry for the win and return to the game hoping she can make something change up if she returns.
When Jonathan returns with the votes, and surprising Pia, Janine and Simon, Abbey and Luke indeed flip and send Simon to Exile to take on Daisy for a spot to return to the game.
It’s a crazy move, and I’m going to break it down. First of all, this move would have been 1000x times better if no Exile Beach was in play, because Abbey would be firmly in a four with two Contenders against two Champions (all things considered and pending). Regardless of that, Abbey risks being the 5th on the Totem Poll if Daisy returns, with the Contenders holding a majority. Her and Luke would HAVE to flip back to ensure the Contenders numbers are gone, and it’s just given Pia and Janine ammo to not keep Abbey longer than they wanted. Additionally, with Luke holding no loyalty to Abbey and just wanting to extend his game further, he’d certainly flip to eliminate her. I don’t see a clear path to how Abbey makes it to the Final 2, not necessarily denying she didn’t have one to begin with. But I think Harry’s happy to go to the end with Baden, so unless she wins Immunity in the final 3, I think for sure someone’s gonna turn against her soon and she’ll realise maybe playing it safe could have guaranteed a higher spot. But I respect the move, it went down great. She’s playing to win, but I don’t think it’ll be enough nor that she’ll get there anyway.
EPISODE 20 RECAP
The episode begins with Simon joining Daisy at Exile Beach after he was just voted out. Daisy is completely floored that Simon has joined her, believing it would have been Harry or Luke for sure. The two are going to battle for a spot to rejoin the game, and both have proven they are capable of physically winning challenges. So it’s going to be an all out war. In the morning, the two grab their torches and head out to their Re-Entry Challenge.
Upon arriving there, the current six players still in the game await their entrance, as the two are about embark on a Survivor classic, stacking disks through a maze, where the structure sits on a spring, potentially knocking over the entire stack. The two manage to get through slowly but surely with the beginning of the stack, but they both begin to learn to one side, putting a dangerous angle to both of them. Daisy is the first to lose the tall stack, but Simon also loses his, restarting the challenge for both of them. The next time, both Simon and Daisy strategically aim to keep their stack straight. As Jonathan begins to count down for Daisy’s stack, it drops, opening up the door for Simon who’s placing his last disk. Simon successfully places it, and manages to earn his spot back into the game, sending Daisy to the jury, putting Abbey’s move into a “what the hell for?”.
The Soli Bula tribe returns to camp, and Simon is furious that he was sent home, and is out for blood. He wants to find a way to get back into the game, and that means finding an idol if he can to save himself. He’s furiously digging in the sand to find one, but doesn’t quite get anywhere with the search. Abbey, now with the move under her belt on flipping on the girls and Simon, but says it was an adrenaline rush, now ready to make big moves and ultimately win the game. Not happy with the blindside, Janine expresses anger with Abbey who blatantly lied to her, Simon and Pia about sticking with them. She’s feeling very unsafe, but now that she’s on the bottom she’s got to perform damage control and ensure she can turn it around soon. With Pia and herself on the bottom, they hope to win Immunity to guarantee that someone from the minority three becomes safe.
At the Immunity Challenge, a test of speed, balance and accuracy (yes, not endurance) is on as the tribe members must stack blocks on a balancing board as they rush back and forth placing one at a time, to spell out ‘IMMUNITY’. Everyone starts out at much the same pace as everyone else, keeping everyone pretty even. After a while, Luke, Abbey and Pia have a slight lead in front of everyone else. Pia’s the first to lose her large stack, no sooner said, Baden also loses his tall stack. Abbey and Luke are still neck and neck, until Abbey loses hers. Luke is now the front runner, and is the favourite to win Immunity. Luke manages to place the final block, and inches his way back to the platform. He gets there, and wins his the individual Immunity Challenge, guaranteeing he places higher than he did in his original season (7th), and a spot in the final 6.
At camp, the new four consisting of Harry, Luke, Baden and Abbey agree to just perform a redo at Tribal Council and vote Simon out because of the physical threat he is. Luke and Abbey want to bring Janine and Pia in on the plan, with Luke saying that once Simon is gone, they can reconnect as a Champions four. Janine, knowing there’s a snake in the grass, doesn’t trust either of them, and wants to send Abbey home instead. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Janine realises she made the same play against David. A blindside is a blindside, and Janine should accept that it happened and is a part of the game. Don’t trust Abbey sure, but don’t let the blindside cloud your judgement.
With Simon on board to get rid of Abbey, Janine just needs one more person to join them and blindside Abbey. She and Pia approach Harry, saying no one can beat Luke in the end, and no one can beat Abbey in a challenge (except, they have). Either way, they wanna take out Abbey, and Harry is seriously considering it, now sitting in the middle of the tribe despite previously being lucky to survive the Champions steam roll.
At Tribal Council, the talk no longer hides the four player majority, with Simon firmly sitting on the bottom of the bottom, sensing an exact copy of the previous Tribal Council. Abbey says her move wasn’t going to affect Pia and Janine, and that’s why they weren’t informed. Being comfortable can no longer be relied on, as everyone knows they could go at any minute.
Jonathan comes back with the votes, and as no one plays an idol, it’s Simon who is once again voted out of the game, this time in a unanimous 6-1 vote.
Another fantastic week for Australian Survivor viewership, and the gameplay certainly didn’t disappoint. Say what you want about Abbey (and Luke’s) move in Monday’s episode, it was great to watch and added an exciting new level to the show that differed from the Champions versus Contenders theme we’ve seen for roughly 20 episodes. Now no longer target number one, or even two for that matter, Harry takes out quote of the week when his subtle strategy to “sprinkle heaps of doubt”, played out correctly.
Obviously the highlight is Abbey deciding to flip from the girls and take out Simon. It was pretty clear Pia and Janine were the tighter two of the three, so eventually she had to consider making the move but could it really not have waited until after Exile Beach? Granted, it didn’t affect the outcome of her or anyone else’s game too much, but it just come across as amateur, and while it’s a great move in hindsight, I find it very, very difficult to believe she can win the game. Her only shot, I think, is against Janine. But Janine has played 1000x times better than her but unfortunately being a millionaire is going to be big obstacle for Janine, so Abbey might be able to scrape in 5 votes against Janine, not necessarily for Abbey.
I think Pia will be able to articulate herself better than Abbey, therefore beating her at the Final Tribal Council. And Luke hands down wins against her, or anyone, as well as Harry and Baden who have not only played better than Abbey, but have a guaranteed 4 votes from the original Contenders because “a Contender should win”. This means only 1 Champion needs to flip and vote Harry or Baden to make Abbey the Runner-Up. Don’t get me wrong, Abbey is a fine player and rounds out the final 6 as one of the best in Survivor history. But I believe she’s the weakest of them all.
As stated, I think Janine has a difficult time winning against anyone, and likely her only shot is against Abbey (even though I would say she played better than Baden, but for the same reason Abbey would lose, Janine only needs 1 Champion to flip and vote Baden to call game over). Regardless of the difficulty, I don’t think Janine will get to the end anyway. She is perceived as a huge threat, perhaps mistakenly, and I think it’s incredibly likely she’s taken out this week and then finds her spot on the jury. I have thoroughly enjoyed Janine this season, but I do not believe it’s gonna quite come full circle.
Baden and Harry are a tight enough duo to probably survive the next couple of votes, and Harry as the bigger target of the two. With all the attention on the four Champions, I don’t see them linking back up together which puts both Baden and Harry in a clear power position. Which one makes it further is hard to take a good guess on, but Harry is the stronger player strategically and physically, so I’d say he bites the dust before Baden.
Luke’s incredible strategic and social gameplay is worthy of the win against anyone. Add his family story and it’s almost unanimous. And for this exact reason, I can not confidently say Luke will make it there. The other five would be FOOLS to let him go one more step further. He’s going to have to rely on those Immunity wins (which he’s quite capable of) and/or idols to survive. But the remaining players aren’t idiots, they know they have to take out Luke ASAP! Pia, who has consistently had a sufficient edit all season, is still my pick to win as she was before the season began. She has played exceptionally well as a social player and although the last few weeks may have tipped into the ‘obvious’ category for her to emerge as the Sole Survivor, it still seems entirely plausible to me and I’m going to be incredibly proud of her no matter what.
This is going to be an exciting finish, and this penultimate week of Australian Survivor will truly put everything in the balance for the four that survive into finale week.
MATTHEW’S TOP FIVE
As with last week, I will rank my top five players heading into this week in order of, I guess, favourite to least favourite. Surprisingly, no one from last week saw an exit, and with Abbey not doing enough to push her into the top, we have the same five. But, even to my surprise, the rankings have changed. These rankings are based on all factors like physicality, strategy, social game, likeability and visibility.
FIRST – PIA MIRANDA. It is very rare I have been able to predict the winner from the pre-season press, from memory, I’ve only done it twice. But I have been a Pia fan since Day 0, and the fact she has remained until today, a great social and strategic threat that has managed to lay under the rug (for the most part) is incredible. Picking up her first Immunity win is equally impressive, and I think she’s capable of pulling out a few more, even the last one and guarantee herself a spot in the Final 2. No matter how her game finishes, I’m glad to be a supporter, and I’m glad she got to live out a dream.
SECOND – LUKE TOKI, the guy has just played this game so incredibly well for two seasons. Not only has he managed to better his performance from Season 2, but he’s still been able to pull strings, lie, manipulate, and create chaos to get here at the end. While it’ll be immensely hard to get to the end, he’s still performed well all season and the last week has shown me he’s a great strategist that deserves to win for playing the game the way it should be played. We’re talking Parvati and Boston Rob style. Just constantly a threat that has survived. He’s also extremely likeable, and it’s a true gift to us fans that he’s returned with such excellence.
THIRD – HARRY HILLS, after being on the bottom weeks, back on the swapped Contenders and the merged Soli Bula tribe, Harry has found himself in a power and swing position in this final 6. Managing to stay so long can be attributed to luck, but he’s incredibly skilled at playing the game and his ‘balls to the wall’ strategy, having nothing to lose, and grabbing the numbers to take out Simon, or more importantly, against Janine. If he takes out Janine and Luke, he’s the next target in line, but somehow I can see Harry sitting at the end and taking home that title and prize money. If it’s not Pia, it’s Harry. It’s just logical.
FOURTH – JANINE ALLIS, dropping two places after last week, it’s only because Luke and Harry played so well, and Janine kinda rubbed me the wrong way with her reaction to Abbey’s flip. She knows that blindsides are a part of the game, and it’s not smart to come back to camp on the war path of the person who betrayed you. That’s not how you claim the numbers back. You need to return grateful that it wasn’t you, and respectful of the move. While I’m still incredibly impressed with how she’s played all season, bouncing back after almost going home (thanks to none other than Abbey), and I’d be greatly satisfied if she won, even if it’s unlikely.
FIFTH – BADEN GILBERT, poor Baden flew under the radar this week. We barely saw anything of him but I think he’s laying low enough to coast through to next week. If he does go, it’s a shock and a bad move. He’s not the greatest player or threat, but he’s certainly got a resume to win against a couple of other players. He’s not too bad at talking in front of people, so he just might be able to articulate a win if he sits at the Final Tribal Council. If he’s not there though, I think his exit can only be blamed on starting as an original Contender. Time will tell.
Abbey misses out on the Top 5, but hey, if she survives to next week she’ll be in the Top 4!
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