Shocking Tribal Councils, game changing advantages and a final four no one could have predicted at the start of the game. Let’s review the week that has been for this spectacular show.
SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers on this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor!
EPISODE 21 RECAP
With Simon now well and truly out of the game, the remaining six players of Season 4 celebrate Pia’s birthday, who is happy to be gifted with making it so far as a birthday present. She’s also confident she can win the game after playing a fairly great game. It’s going to be a tough road for her however, as she sits on the bottom of the six with Janine. She’s determined to stay in it though, and vows to take home the crown. Elsewhere, Luke gets a little choked up about making it so far and beating his placement from Season 2. Managing to play an even better social, strategic, and physical game this time, Luke also wants to take home the win as a “Champ-tender”. After sacrificing so much, he
wants needs to win this for his family, making every move incredibly critical for him. Harry then has his turn to express his 43-Day spiel, saying he’s survived some of the toughest conditions socially, and still managed to come out on top. And he’s not wrong, Harry is one of the most cunning Australian Survivor players there is, and he’s not stopping short now as he wants to target Luke by working with Janine and Pia at the next Tribal.
Janine discusses why she came on the show, after being told constantly she has lived such a luscious life, but she says “why not?”. Showing what she’s capable of and sitting on the bottom, Janine doesn’t wanna give up and wants to work her magic to ensure she survives another day in the game. Baden takes Janine aside (under Harry’s orders) and talks to her about cutting Luke loose because of the massive threat he is in the game. Janine is all ears on the plan, hoping it can be a true blindside and that loose lips won’t sink ships. With an opportunity to regain power, Janine is ready to take a shot against the king of the jungle.
At the Immunity Challenge, the six players are tethered to a rope they must follow through a large and long frame, maneuver through obstacles, until finally releasing themselves from it and completing a puzzle. Luke and Abbey have a slight lead against the others in the early physical portion of the challenge. The two of them manage to extend their lead even further, with Luke managing to gain a small lead over Abbey. As the two work on the puzzle, Abbey starts to close the gap on Luke, but both of them aren’t able to keep it as Harry arrives on the puzzle putting the three of them well and truly in it. Janine and Baden then join the other three at the puzzle, but after working hard to win a third individual Immunity Challenge, Luke is safe once again, foiling any plans to take him out, and ensuring he’s got a spot in the top five.
When returning from the Challenge and Luke winning Immunity, Abbey expresses her happiness for him, noting that three pairs have formed within the six, Harry and Baden, Janine and Pia, and Luke and Abbey. Harry is disappointed that he isn’t able to take a shot at Luke tonight, needing a Plan B to keep himself safe. Janine offers a proposal to Pia, Harry and Baden, saying Abbey is equally strong in challenges and a close ally to Luke, and therefore the next-case scenario for Tribal. Harry wants to one-up her though, wanting to target Janine herself, and finally slay the godmother. Harry and Baden tell Abbey about Janine wanting to target her as a secondary option to taking out Luke, but OOPS, they let slip the plan to originally blindside Luke. Abbey isn’t a fool, she realises what they’re up to and isn’t happy the boys agreed to blindsiding Luke to begin with, and after telling Luke, they need to figure out who to trust between the two duos.
When Abbey and Luke talk about reconnecting with the two girls, they agree (of course) to the final four deal and to send the two Contenders home once and for all. Luke wants to target Baden before Harry, and with everyone on board, it’s now up to Luke and Abbey if they’re willing to actually rejoin as a Champions four or send out Janine and stick with the Contenders in the final five.
At Tribal Council, Jonathan quizzes Harry on the chances a Champion can win the game, and he says that as long as he is there, it’s not going to happen. He offers up an interesting proposition, saying that the Champion who feels the heat next should jump over to save their own place in the game before they are indeed blindsided by their own Champions alliance. The Champions versus Contenders front is back, as Janine hammers home the theme that the Contenders are on the bottom and the Champions have reconnected. As the rain comes down, Baden tells the Champions there’s never a better time to strike than the present, and it’s a test that will for sure be taken as the tribe heads off to vote.
With Janine being shown voting Baden, and Harry shown voting Janine, we’re truly looking at Luke and Abbey as the swings before Jonathan reads the votes. The first two votes land on Baden, and the next two on Janine. The fifth goes to Janine, with a fourth and final, Janine, the godmother, is sent to the jury with Pia left standing without a buddy, and the alliance formed to get out Simon still intact, for now.
EPISODE 22 RECAP
With Pia on her own and on the bottom, she tells us she always knew Janine was going home after Abbey and Luke’s ill attempts to deceive her. Abbey is pleased with coming out on top over her friend and former ally, and managing to sit in the top five. She says she orchestrated the whole blindside, along with Simon (and partly David’s), believing she has a great resume in front of the jury. She closes by telling us that next on the hit list is Pia, and then she can win the game. It seems a little too over confident from Abbey, but I don’t deny that two successful blindsides in a row from her propel her chances to win forward, given the jury appreciates endgame big moves and not all-game subtle moves (like that of Pia herself).
Now that the godmother has been blindsided, Harry relishes slaying the dragon himself, and is ready to finish the game strong. In his way, Lukey boy, who has “by far the best resume”, and must go home if Harry wants a chance to win (and he’s right, everyone loses against Luke). Believing that if Luke goes home at final five, he will sit at the top and in the perfect position at the perfect time. It’s time to take out the king of the jungle. While speaking with Abbey and Baden, the three agree that if Luke wins the next Immunity Challenge, they need to target Pia for playing an exceptional social game. Is Abbey down for this plan though? Hard to say.
Knowing a target is on her back, Pia is in need of a new close ally to ensure she survives the next Tribal Council. She talks to Luke, and he tells her that she’s got nothing to worry about in terms of heading home next. He also knows the tribe sees him as the biggest threat, and is on the hunt to find an idol to keep himself safe for only the next Tribal Council (as it can only be played up until and at the final five). Sure enough, right on cue, he finds a clue to a marked coconut with power inside, but he needs the machete to open it. Swiftly, he steals it from camp and runs to break it open before anyone finds him. It’s a new advantage, which allows him to select someone to leave Tribal Council and head back to camp. The good, they can’t cast a vote. The bad, they can’t get voted for and also see a spot in the final four. I like this twist, Australian Survivor delivers again, but is final five a little too late? Maybe. Either way, it’s awesome power, and if Luke is smart, he takes himself out of the situation and just goes to the final four himself and await the three that join him.
At the Immunity Challenge, another classic is on the cards, as the final five must place a row of blocks on a balance beam, attempting to create a domino effect that can break a tile at the end. Everyone is off to a fine start, but it’s never easy to tell until someone actually takes a shot at the domino effect. Re-spacing and re-stacking is a common theme. Baden almost takes a shot but loses his entire stack when he bumps the beam, reacting furiously. Abbey falls short on her turn, opening the door up for Luke, who successfully lands the final block in the bowl and a fourth individual Immunity Challenge win. This guarantees himself a spot in the four, and now someone else, depending on who he wants to send back to camp and who he wants to eliminate permanently.
Now that his big threat is immune, Harry needs a Plan B and it looks like Pia might just be the target after all. Pia and Luke watch Abbey, Baden and Harry converse in the water. Now almost certain she’s going to go, she needs to convince Luke to work with her and if he has a valid reason to do so, she might just make it to the final four. Luke openly tells us that whatever plan the three have to take out Pia, it’s not going to work because of his advantage in saving one completely. He controls who goes home, and he wants to keep Pia in the game because of her loyalty to him since Day 1. He tells her that he’s got a little something-something that’s gonna keep her in the game, but doesn’t reveal too much. He wants to send Abbey home because she’s the next best bet to beat Luke in the Immunity Challenges, and wants to send Baden back to camp to make it work.
Trying to keep Abbey comfortable, Luke and Pia tell her the plan is Harry, albeit Luke giving Abbey a sign to say it’s still actually Pia (you follow?). Even if Luke sends Baden back and keeps Pia with him to vote for Abbey, how does he bring Harry on board? What’s stopping Harry from voting with Abbey and forcing a fire-making challenge between the ladies, which Abbey is probably the favourite for? Not saying Harry’s not probably open to just doing whatever, but he’s not just gonna lay down and keep Pia if it doesn’t benefit him. After all, he stays safe anyway. The only way I see this working is if Luke tells Abbey and Harry that they don’t know who Pia and he are voting for, and are best to vote for each other in fear of going to a fire-making challenge (or perhaps even drawing a sole rock to go home because it’s not technically the final four). Either way, it’s sure to be an interesting Tribal.
At Tribal Council, all eyes are on Luke as we prepare to see what he has in store. Before we even dive too much into Tribal, Luke pulls out his advantage and is tasked to choose someone to go back to camp and is safe yet can’t vote (yada, yada, yada). He follows through with the original plan, and Baden heads out back to camp. Now Baden sees a place in the top four, and Pia, Harry and Abbey are left as the potential 5th placers. Pia, not safe, believes she might still go home, but Luke whispers in her ear something that must give her the sign that she’s not the intended target in his eyes. He gets up to whisper with Abbey, and they seem to agree on…something. Perhaps Luke and Pia are trying to trick Abbey into thinking the plan is indeed Harry, with Harry voting Pia, and Pia and Luke voting out Abbey. I am still struggling to wrap my head around what each individual is thinking, does Harry think the advantage was just played and that the plan is still Pia? Does Abbey align with this, or is she now on the Harry boat? Is Pia staying with the agreed target of Abbey? Right now, I see a potential (and likely) blindside on Abbey of 2-1-1, or maybe blindsides on Pia and Harry 3-1. But I’m not often stumped in this show, so tonight is doing my head in.
When Jonathan returns to the tribe and jury with the votes, Pia and Abbey stare at Harry to see if he has one. A fake out occurs, and then Jonathan reads the votes, with the first landing on Pia. The next goes to Harry, and the third on Abbey. IT’S MADNESS! With Luke’s sole deciding vote, Abbey is blindsided in an EPIC move and what is now my favourite Tribal all season. The three remaining players on the Soli Bula tribe at Tribal Council have incredible resumes (despite what the casuals might think), and it’s Russian Roulette to decide which of them take Baden to the end…(maybe).
We’re down to the final four! I can’t believe we’ve gotten so far already when it feels like the season only began a couple of weeks ago. I know I’ve loved it, fans here in Australia love it, international fans and Survivor players love it! It’s just been an incredible season to be honest.
With Janine going home, I have to ask if she really would have won if she made it to the end. How many jurors would have given her that money and title, and where does she rank on the list? Does she sit 3rd out of 6, or realistically was she as good as the tribe believed. Clearly, she was better than Pia in the eyes of Luke, Abbey, Baden and Harry, but was she really? Regardless, Janine played a super solid game and will rank high on my end-of-season rankings. Seeing her go, still in a blindside, was incredible.
But, NOTHING. NOTHING. Can top Abbey’s 2-1-1 blindside. LUKE IS AMAZING. Being able to play that advantage to take out Baden, and convince the other three it was here, there, and everywhere else, just phenomenal. It’s impressive gameplay and the fact he’s made so many amazing moves and outlasted so many threats in his second run, so great. But that means one thing. I don’t think he wins. So Pia has had the winner’s edit since Day 1 and I still think she takes the cake. I’m 95% certain it will be her, even if it became obvious. Luke, unfortunately, might be the final juror not being able to outlast Pia in the endurance Final Immunity Challenge. Baden as the goat to the final 2, and Harry to go on Monday. That’s what I’m thinking. But I’d be incredibly happy to be proven wrong. And while personally I’m rooting for Pia as I have pre-season, Luke or Harry winning this would be just as good of a finish in my eyes. Sorry Baden, it’s just your competition.
If there’s one takeaway from Abbey’s blindside, it’s Luke needs to go no matter what. The other three would be fools for keeping him, and thankfully they are all true fans of the show. There may have been a slim chance Harry (or maybe even slimmer Pia)beats Luke at the end before the blindside, but being an impressive move, there’s no doubt any swing jurors would go to the Luke train, evident in Abbey’s Jury Villa.
Quote of the week goes to Janine for “loose lips sink ships”. Because it’s a statement so true in Survivor, never reveal anything! Just don’t.
MATTHEW’S TOP FOUR
Don’t mind me while I sob that the top five is now a top four. I will rank our future final jurors and finalists heading into finale week based on various aspects like physicality, strategy, social game, likeability and visibility.
FIRST – PIA MIRANDA. I picked it pre-season. PRE-SEASON. I was highly confident Pia had what it took to win the game given she reminded me so much of Sharn, who I’m never gonna deny should have won last season. I am such a fan of a social game. Many of my favourite Survivor players excelled at that. So while others may swoon over nifty strategy (which comes an extremely close 2nd to me) or Immunity runs, I believe the social game is by far the most important key to winning the game. I think that’s why I’ve been able to so closely see Pia’s social game from the start. Managing to take the target off her back and manipulate in a way that kept her seen yet not talked about, impressive. I really hope Pia wins even if she’s not considered the best strategist. But I’m so incredibly pleased with how she’s performed, not to mention becoming the last woman standing.
SECOND – LUKE TOKI. The boy knows how to strike, when to strike, why to strike, and who to strike, almost every god damn time. He’s by far in the top five players of Australian Survivor ever. He should be so proud of coming so far and playing such a great game. I really wish we had a fan-favourite prize because Luke truly deserves it. If somehow he can sit at that Final Tribal Council, I’d love to see a Lukey win because of how amazing his strategic and social game has been. Not to mention his incredible performance of tying the record for most amount of individual Immunity wins, with two still to go. What a great game from the king of the jungle. Who shall sit firmly with his crown once again.
THIRD – HARRY HILLS. Third? Harry’s third? This top three won’t change for my post season rankings either. But Harry, much like Luke, has played an extremely impressive ‘outlast’ game by always pushing a bigger target ahead of him. By not being as great in physical challenges, Abbey bumps up. By being a big enough threat, John is the safe vote. He’s just managed to always sneak past since he’s gotten to the merge. And then before the merge, he did everything possible to make sure he was there whether it was idol finding or wheeling and dealing. He’s performed so brilliantly as a fan and a Contender that it’s just amazing to see what he’s produced. I am so thankful for having Harry play this game. And what ride it has been for him. Love the guy.
FOURTH – BADEN GILBERT. Where’s Baden? Really? Four episodes straight and hardly a peep outta the guy. This is really poor for him because it doesn’t allow us to see what he has been able to do to a full extent, where he could have been just as great as Harry but we would never know. We saw Harry try and get him to pull Janine in on the Luke blindside (before he won Immunity), so is that Harry calling the shots or is Baden not getting credited for something? Like Pia, Baden managed to turn around going home at his first Tribal Council to a spot on the endgame. He is a great social player, and has proven himself physically in terms of overall challenge performance. But can he win the game? I think it’s very, very unlikely considering his competition. It’s a shame. I’ve grown to like him.
My predictions for the endgame: F4 Immunity – Luke, F4 Exit – Harry. F3 Immunity – Pia, F3 Exit – Luke. RU – Baden, W – Pia. As I say, I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’ll take my shot, put it out there, and then brag if I’m right. Right?
Australian Survivor concludes this week starting with Monday night’s episode at 7:30pm and then the grand finale on Tuesday, also at 7:30pm, only on Channel 10!
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