Blindsides, betrayals, and big moves. It was the week of the B’s as Australian Survivor saw players solidify alliances and relationships to move further in the game. But not everyone could come out alive.
It was another big week in Australian Survivor, with three pivotal players seeing their demise one after the other. While some certainly had their exit looming, old foes were back to ultimately rule all. This was Week 4 in Australian Survivor: All-Stars.
WEEK 4 RECAP
After John’s elimination and Mat’s idol flush, and Shonee expresses her delight in choosing to work with the majority alliance, citing fun and loyalty as a large factor into the decision. Mat on the other hand is disappointed he couldn’t get the numbers together against Locky, struggling to see any crack to bust through. On Mokuta, Lee’s picked up on a peculiar morning routine, Tarzan’s naked sunrise scrub. But while the mood is positive on the tribe, Phoebe is furiously playing her social game to bond with anyone and everyone to stay. Although she trusts David, he’s not so loyal to her, especially with the power of an idol hidden in his bag. He’s equally working the social game, with Zach his primary ally target and Phoebe as his blindside hopeful.
At the Reward Challenge, a simple yet difficult challenge forces the tribes to square off one on one, swimming against a tough current to grab a flag. First tribe to 3 points wins a trip to the cake shop as reward. While battling Lee, Locky makes contact to push him out of the way, disqualifying his match up and the point to Mokuta. It proves costly, as Mokuta wins reward 3-1, inclusive of Phoebe winning against Brooke and Mat beating David, hopefully another reason to keep them in the game.
When Mokuta arrives at their reward, they learn that only one person may visit the cake shop at a time, where everyone knows an idol clue is likely hidden. Deciding to draw straws to determine the order, Nick is disappointed to go last, with Phoebe third, and David fourth (the rest don’t matter, since they’re hardly edited into the episode anyway). Phoebe manages to find the idol clue, and attempts to hide the plank it’s one by covering it in dirt and keeping it hidden. David goes nuts, both to be a character and find the clue, although unsuccessful. Nick also realises last is best, because he doesn’t have to worry about anyone going after him, although he also fails to find the idol clue.
Both tribes arrive at the Immunity Challenge which sees the tribes work together through a very physical course, with a puzzle at the very end for two to solve. Mokuta gets a slight lead early, but Vakama aces the rest of the physical stage of the challenge and gives AK and Harry a large lead in the puzzle. Nick and Sharn manage to catch up significantly however, and even pull away to win the challenge, sending Vakama to another Tribal Council.
After losing, Harry is aware he needs to build some trust within his alliance because they are on the outside of the six. Wanting to make a big move later in the game, Harry pitches to split the vote between him and Mat, offering to be the sacrifice he needs to be, even with the risk involved. With one last effort to stay alive, Mat targets Shonee for being an excellent social player and weak physical player. He pitches to AK and Locky, but most surprising is when Flick approaches Mat in the water, after expressing a desire to stay on top of the game and avoid being blindsided (Yes! We had a Flick sighting!), Shonee, Brooke, and Locky consider whether Flick will leak the split vote plan with Harry to blindside him 4-3. With Harry trusting his alliance, everyone uneasy about Flick, and Mat going for broke, there’s certainly a lot at stake.
At their fourth consecutive Tribal Council, discussion over yet another visit takes up much of the airtime, and whether Vakama will only suffer more losses if more physical players are eliminated. Those in power disagree it’s an issue, as puzzles were the weakness in today’s effort, although they maintained a lead physically. Mat openly talks about adding physical value to the tribe, but his last attempt to sway anyone falls on deaf ears when he’s voted out 4-2-1.
On the morning after Mat’s snuffing, Mokuta livens the camp up with a talent show hosted by Lee and inspired by Nick. Later on, Sharn discusses feeling solid within her alliance and the separation of the original Vakama and Mokuta alliances. Phoebe, who is on the bottom, needs to find the idol after discovering the clue in the previous episode to work her way back in. She reveals the clue to David, hoping it represents some loyalty, but David’s out to get it first. Over on Vakama, Harry dubs AK the accountant, because he’s always considering the numbers and when to strike. While Harry can (kind of) trust AK, he realises he’s a dangerous player as well. Dirty Harry’s coming out to play.
At the Reward Challenge, Moana expresses distaste with Mat’s elimination, while Harry asserts that Vakama is now a unified bunch. For reward, one on one match ups of a classic tug of war sees the tribes compete for sandwiches and mementos from home. While Moana and Lee score points for Mokuta, Vakama pulls off a massive upset when Locky, Flick, and Shonee winning, 3-2.
Elated with the losing streak over, Brooke is excited to enjoy the reward that brought all to tears upon receiving their gifts from home. Everyone enjoys their little mementos, with Harry remembering his fiance at home, and Brooke’s parents being vital heroes in her life. Shonee even gets emotional, not over her gift, but her sandwich. Hilarious. Meanwhile on Mokuta, Phoebe and David slip away from camp to look for the idol, and when David manages to find another one, he celebrates with excitement and golden power.
At the Immunity Challenge, another endurance test sees teamwork and strength determine which tribe wins, with both tribes competing in pairs. Mokuta and Vakama quickly lose a pair each, and soon Flick and Harry are left to win for Vakama. Despite a massive effort from Tarzan and David, Vakama wins a second challenge in a row, sending Mokuta to Tribal Council.
With Phoebe still enemy numero uno on the tribe, Jacqui asserts that Phoebe’s exit will be final this time. Moana sets up her minions, seeing Jacqui, Tarzan and Zach as her conversation artists and information gatherers. Phoebe attempts to target Moana, pleading trust and loyalty to the votes that matter. When considering the numbers with Nick, that count David, Sharn and Lee as part of the majority, especially with Nick’s extra vote. But David is out to blindside Phoebe, and Sharn then becomes the swing vote to make it a tie of solidify the vote 6-3. Sharn is weary about burning bridges with Lee and Nick, and wants to work as a double agent to get further in the game.
With Mokuta guaranteed to send someone home at Tribal Council, Phoebe is prepared to get votes again, but is hopeful she still remains in the game. The rift between Moana and Phoebe’s alliances (and personalities) is also discussed, with Nick noting that Mokuta may never be a cohesive unit. David makes a massive move by revealing his idol and declaring to play it for himself. After voting, David doesn’t flush his idol as stated, but Nick does play his extra vote, forcing a 5-5 split, much to everyone’s mathematical surprise. On the revote, Sharn flips from Moana to Phoebe, officially sending Phoebe home in 15th place.
Upset with Sharn for not voting with him and Moana originally, David confronts Sharn for acting disloyal initially. Sharn attempts to rectify the situation, wanting to prove she did it for the benefit of their future, while also playing individually to keep a connection to the other side. Moana trusts Sharn completely, but David’s not so convinced. Nick, who has lost his closest ally in Phoebe, is in trouble and is looking for any crack that’ll see him make it through, and it just might be David’s mistrust with Sharn. On Vakama, the tribe is enjoying making it to the halfway day in the game. Despite seeming like a tight six, there’s a lingering problem, Flick’s former betrayal of Brooke in 2016. And Brooke’s after some vengeance. Brooke’s also weary of Dirty Harry, who happens to find a hidden advantage that allows him to stop a Tribal Council before the votes are read, preventing an elimination. And in case you forgot what he was capable of, he’s gonna remind you of what you’ve been missing.
At the Immunity Challenge, digging through sand to get under a log, running across a course, and a slingshot to hit five targets at the end. Mokuta’s early strategy catapults them into a lead, as Vakama struggles to get past the first roadblock. As Mokuta begins shooting their slingshots, Vakama only just finishes the dig. Vakama manages to catch up, but with so much ground and practice time to make up for, it’s not enough as Mokuta wins Immunity, sending Vakama to Tribal Council after a momentary absence.
With only six left on the tribe, Vakama is defeated after facing the music that is to vote one of their own. Flick discusses these circumstances, and talks with Brooke about sticking to original tribe lines, with the two of them working with AK and Locky to vote either Harry or Shonee. Brooke isn’t so solid on the plan, and has a personal vendetta to ensure Flick goes first; and with an opportunity presented, she doesn’t wanna miss. Needing the numbers, she talks to everyone else about the blindside, and everyone agrees to all vote for Flick. AK is concerned that Harry hurt in the long run, and wants to break up the power couple before it’s too late. He proposes splitting the vote between Harry and Shonee, but tells Shonee that Harry is the target, wanting to secure her loyalty after Tribal. Shonee isn’t pleased with the news, and immediately spills the beans to Harry, prompting him to feel paranoid, and seriously consider playing his advantage.
At Tribal Council, the group openly discuss having to turn on the alliance after voting out Mat, and it has become an individual game to see who advances another day in the game. Harry openly talks about having an opportunity to go against the alliance, and expresses doubt in the decision given he and Shonee feel on the outer of the tribe. Brooke doesn’t agree, but Shonee and Harry aren’t buying it. After a long Tribal, and I mean, this was a long edit for what seemed to just go around in circles, we get to the vote. And when Harry proceeds to play his advantage, AK steps in to convince him they all voted Flick and that his advantage isn’t necessary at the current Tribal Council. Harry concedes, deciding to trust the alliance, and it’s warranted when Flick is indeed blindsided, 5-1.
While there weren’t so many twists that changed the game, for better or fore worse, we definitely saw some improvements in the editing bay with a range of opinions given, particularly in the final episode of the week. Let’s dissect the week, and see who made it to the top five.
Three big boots, Mat, Phoebe, and Flick. I think Mat did what he could, but I don’t blame the six for sticking with their alliance, it makes sense. What we do know was that Mat leaked the plan to blindside Locky to others when Harry and Flick (and/or Shonee) were planning to work with him back on the John elimination. This, clearly, shows that nobody can trust Mat. Make a big move, sure, but sometimes making the big moves aren’t necessary and the safe votes are important going forward. Clearly Harry could trust the trio of AK/Brooke/Locky, and Flick got the bad hand dealt, but she got blindsided just as much and I don’t think can look back and regret voting Mat out. We know they had an alliance, but Mat screwed his own game, I think. You can’t blow up plans. In it’s essence, I don’t think Mat understands how the game of Survivor is played and gets hurt when he’s on the receiving end of an elimination. This is two for two now, and for him to continue his disappointment even all these months later, it’s sounding like sour grapes. You didn’t have the numbers, you got voted out, it sucks, a lot, I get it. But that’s the game, pick yourself up and move on. I’m glad we had a loyal alliance for once, and the new five remaining on Vakama might be in trouble, but at least they’re surrounded in trust rather than the constantly wavering godfather. I’m gonna miss Flick, and yes, she deserved more screen time. But she was also in a position she couldn’t really control. If she wanted to avoid that blindside, she needed to not blindside Brooke back four years ago. It was coming, Flick tried turning the tables but it failed. It’s unfortunate. And then there’s Phoebe who I wish could have stuck it out just a little longer. The common theme for these three boots were being dealt a bad hand. David’s revenge against her didn’t help, and she made some mistakes like voting with Nick and telling Dave the idol clue. Does that suck? Of course! And now there’s suggestions of bullying tactics and it’s all in bad taste. And I truly hope Phoebe is okay, closing the door on another short Survivor chapter, but content with what she did do in that time. I loved watching her. And she was a big loss to me as a fan this week.
Let’s talk about Vakama, AK clearly has a connection to Locky and Brooke, but he’s crafty. He knows that it’s not going to last, but for now, he’s better off with them on this short tribe. 100% those two will be more loyal to him than the faction of Harry and Shonee, former Mokuta members. Sure, it looks like he should make a move against them, but not when the alternative is people who play strong social games to advance further, that also played with many on the other side. AK is smart where he is, and pulled off a couple of incredible moves as the AKountant. Brooke also earns a big hooray after settling the score against Flick, and taking charge in a blindside that will probably benefit her game. Flick was likewise gunning for her (edited out), and Brooke has a great tendency to dip her toes in the water without getting drenched. Other than being called out as sitting on the top, she hasn’t made many big moves to warrant an elimination. What she has done, is pull one off and stay safe. That’s impressive, and big props to Locky for joining in that, although he loses points for being the object of Mat’s target. Locky is certainly not as threatening as Brooke, yet was hit number one if things went a different way. I’ll give him the benefit of a doubt though. Harry and Shonee are great to watch as always, especially Harry for finding the advantage and trusting his alliance enough to not play it. If he did, he’d still be targeted and maybe Flick can turn the others against him. He played risky, and has now shown loyalty to that three. if they make the merge, Harry might sit well with them. That’s great!
Things are a bit more crazy on Mokuta. Jacqui and Tarzan are otherwise the new ignored campers, not really getting any strategic screen time, which makes it hard to comment on. Moana is certainly taking all the love, and is still showing she’s got a strategic capability this season. Whether there were some personal issues with Phoebe remains unclear, but she won the battle. She will eventually be a threat. And if she knew what was really good, she’d take a shot against David because he’s insanely good at the game. I actually now look for reasons why David should fall out of the top five, and while he has a share of negatives, I can’t escape the positives that came out of the week. Completely twisting Phoebe’s idol clue for his own advantage, brilliant. He sold that well and just managed to pull off something incredible. But what the hell is the deal with showing the idol to everyone? Now everyone is aware he’s got it, and it might make him stay for a couple of rounds, pull off some good moves, but the longevity of the move I don’t think will go very far. He will be an even bigger threat than before, and at the merge, he’s going to have to work to get further. Thankfully for him, his alliance doesn’t seem to notice how big of a player he is. Even Moana won’t target him for it. He’s controlling and overbearing, but he pulls off some impressive plays. Sharn may seem in trouble but I don’t think people are giving her credit for what she was able to pull off. She still has a connection to the other side by voting Moana initially, and also has just as many reasons to not trust Dave because he never told her about the idol. I think she can sell the story that she was worried by David’s idol move, and didn’t know what was going on. It’s believable. But what we’ve seen thus far is that David has become so big of a player, he can make some big moves. What’s great for Sharn? Her relationship with Moana is strong, so if David wanted to make a move, he hasn’t got enough numbers to do anything too crazy without alienating that alliance. She’s got to watch her back, but thankfully has some lifelines, constructed well over the course of the game by forming connections with everyone as much as possible.
Nicky is in trouble! Ahhhh! I really don’t want to see Nick go home but without anything to help him, he’s got to infiltrate the alliance that is super strong. Tarzan/Jacqui/Moana won’t break, and since David’s loyal to what, he’s also down in numbers. Zach’s attached to Dave, now he’s got Lee and Sharn. Since Sharn has moved her loyalty to the group, ah, throw Lee under the bus? What else can he do? He’s in the worst position possible, and he knows it. Even trying to go against David would be difficult because the guy’s holding an idol everyone is aware of. I think he’s gotta hope he gets that advantage from Harry, or wins Immunity until the merge. Likely? I don’t think so. So we make a prayer circle for Nick, that’s all we can do to hope something changes. Zach and Lee are great to watch when they’re on screen. Especially Zach who we’ve seen really just be a better person after his last appearance on the show. He’s working with Dave, and I hope he’s clued in enough to know he’s gotta blindside him eventually. But I’ve talked about David’s charm, he’s won a lot of these guys over. I don’t know if Zach’s looking at him as a threat more than he sees him as an ally. Lee hasn’t been much of a figure, so maybe Week 5 can really open him up and we see some great gameplay from him like we did back in 2016.
Editing wasn’t a huge issue, but with every episode having players come out and explain the real story, it’s disappointing a lot has been left out, probably on purpose. We don’t get to see Mat weakening the plan, so we’re left thinking, “Harry should have made a move”, rather than, “Mat made a big mistake”. These are important to the narrative, and it’s very odd to be left out of it. The editing of screen time has gotten better, but is nowhere near as clean or tidy as the American counterpart. I am tired of seeing the same faces, especially when the same thing is repeated in every episode. Also, much like last week the boots were quite obvious. Flick got mountains of screen time in her boot episode, and while Mat always did, his boot edit was pretty obvious. So even when these important moments are left out of the show, they’re not making the elimination seem anymore suspenseful. If it paid off, I wouldn’t be so critical. But it’s not, and I think we need to call it out when we see it. Even with All-Star players, it’s a main cast with some supporting characters, not just an ensemble piece as it should be.
I’m looking forward to next week, thank you to the Australian Survivor social media team for running a competition to win a buff, because yours truly nailed it and will be wearing an extra piece of clothing as he watches. This week was an enjoyable watch, whereas last week I was wavering. With merge coming, continued improvements and excellent gameplay will see many fall in love with the show we’re religiously watching.
THE TOP FIVE
Each week, I will pick a top five for the week, based on what we’ve seen currently and previously.
BROOKE JOWETT: Blindsided her best friend, kept her allies in check despite being a threatening player, Brooke’s back to play. She’s doing exactly what she needs to before it’s really time to strike.
DAVID GENAT: Bold moves might have their risks but it’s clear David is reaping the rewards. He’s going to be safe for a while with allies and idols galore. But it’s how he controls these next few votes that’ll be telling.
SHARN COOMBES: Relying on her social game, Sharn is playing both sides. It might be risky, but she’s got many loyal allies that’ll protect her even when others are gunning for her blindside. I send good luck.
HARRY HILLS: His first appearance here, Harry has worked hard to get to where he is, and ensure he squeezed into the alliance that could otherwise have him chopped. He’s Dirty Harry, and it’s a damn good show.
AARON ‘AK’ KNIGHT: DJ AK certainly knows how to position himself favourably when necessary. A different song than his previous season. With improved gameplay and strategic awareness, AK will be here to stay. I’m rooting for him.
What will we have in store as we move into the merge? Let’s gather our torches, light em up, and watch the game burn like fire! I can’t wait.
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Week 5 of Australian Survivor: All-Stars begins on Monday at 7:30pm on Channel 10!
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