We’re at the halfway mark of the game! There’s now less players in the game than out, fan favourites are gone, and the merge is here. It all happened in Australian Survivor: All-Stars this week.
It’s one milestone every Survivor player wants to make, just get to the merge. Well, it was everyone’s second opportunity to achieve that feat and suddenly 12 All-Stars had made it halfway. But with three big names going out the door one after the other, it was another big week in Australian Survivor: All-Stars.
WEEK 5 RECAP
On Night 26, the married couple of Tarzan and Jacqui is starting to teeter as tension builds between them. Enough for them to breakup everyday, but get back together the next. It’s a cute little moment from some of our under edited players this season. In the morning, Nick is on the edge of elimination, and hopes he can get Sharn, Lee, Harry, and Shonee to align at the merge, if he can get there. David wants to avoid this possibility, still seeking to vote him out, and next. On Vakama, Brooke is ecstatic to get revenge on her former blindsider, this time the blindsidee. But Harry’s advantage is keeping Brooke nervous because he’s not telling anyone what it’s power is. Except for Shonee, who he wants to seek advice from because the advantage may only be used at the next Tribal Council. They consider giving it to Nick on Mokuta, if they win Immunity.
At the Reward Challenge, a water based physical challenge with a finishing puzzle sees the winning tribe enjoy a Bloody Mary and a BLT. Vakama gets the lead first, but Mokuta quickly pulls out in front so David and Nick can begin working on the puzzle. They get so far in front, Vakama can’t even begin their puzzle, with Mokuta earning yet another win to their name. With a little twist, Mokuta can choose two from Vakama to join, electing Brooke and Shonee to come over with the boys heading back to camp.
Enjoying the reward, Jacqui’s a little peeved the food has to be shared with the two Vakama women, while they are elated with just eating food. Everyone else is interested in Vakama politics, annoying Brooke, who doesn’t get any information from anyone on Mokuta. Moana, the new godmother, ushers Shonee over to discuss Vakama’s situation. But she’s only interested in talking with Nick, who is unable to when he’s being followed by everyone else. Meanwhile on the remnants of Vakama, the boys stole Jacqui’s clothing items left at the challenge, playing with it for their own amusement. As the girls return to camp, they reveal that Nick is in deep trouble, prompting Harry to seriously consider giving him the advantage if Vakama wins.
Entering the Immunity Challenge, Harry returns Jacqui’s clothes before the challenge begins. Another individual turned tribal Immunity Challenge sees the tribes attempt to stack blocks on a table, with every player having to maintain three stacked at once to win. Everyone attempts to work out the learning curve to the challenge, with Zach getting frustrated with Jacqui as she throws her rope when she drops her stack, as it interferes with the others. Zach truly gets pissed, and continues spitting distaste with her actions. It’s a big outburst, as the tribe asks them to refocus and work as one tribe. Vakama gets a serious lead when AK, Brooke, Harry and Locky finish, waiting for Shonee to win it. David, Lee and Moana get back for Mokuta, applying serious pressure on Shonee. But she succeeds, sending Mokuta to Tribal Council. After winning, Harry divulges the advantage to his tribe, and Locky convinces him to not pass it to Nick, letting it go and keeping Nick (and Mokuta) vulnerable.
After the loss, David acknowledges that Jacqui performed bad in the challenge, but still expresses he wants to blindside Nick. Except Nick knows he’s on the bottom, so it’s not a blindside. But whatever. With Moana in control of Jacqui and Tarzan, David confirms with her the plan to vote Nick. David tells Nick to vote Jacqui, but he isn’t convinced, and plans to flush David’s idol at Tribal. Trusting Sharn and Lee, he wants to link up with Jacqui and Tarzan to flush Dave’s idol and vote for Zach. Nick tells them Dave threw Jacqui’s name out, and after the challenge outburst from Zach, Jacqui’s okay with it. Although David trust his alliance, he can’t trust Sharn, so wants to prove her loyalty at Tribal. As Sharn is playing both sides, she’s torn about voting Nick, but recognises she might need to to strengthen the alliance.
At Tribal, Nick pleads his loyalty to the group that goes forward, even when Jonathan reminds everyone that someone must go home. Everyone has their sights set on the merge, and want to utilise the numbers strategically pushing forward as a tight seven. Forgiveness and forgetting the past is also considered by Moana, who has had her name written down at multiple Tribal previously. With tribe unity paramount, Jonathan returns with the votes that reveal that Nick’s efforts weren’t enough, as he’s voted out 7-1.
While Sharn expresses sadness with Nick’s elimination, David takes control of Mokuta before the incoming merge, dictating what each role every person will play once they rejoin with Vakama. Entering the Reward Challenge, Jonathan announces the tribes have merged and their first test is endurance to win an advantage in the Immunity Challenge. AK, David, Harry, and Shonee are among the first to drop out, giving David a chance to wheel and deal with the old Vakama, pledging allegiance and ‘exposing’ Mokuta’s alliance makeup. After two hours, a showdown between Jacqui, Lee, and Moana is on, eventually with Lee taking home the win.
As AK commends Mokuta’s camp life, everyone else enjoys a massive feast, and they go in, hard. Moana rules as dictator in confessionals about her alliance, and hopes to make David appear as an outsider so he can feed information to the seven. In particular, Moana wants Locky out of the game first, and lines up the troops to do so. Shonee plans to flip Zach over to the Vakama side, and birds are the key, because Zach is obsessed. Meanwhile, David pulls Locky aside convincing him that he and Zach will flip to Vakama. At night, this seven forms a plan to vote for Sharn, attributed to Zach for spearheading the faux plan.
At the Individual Immunity Challenge, building and balancing a nine block stack while standing on a seesaw will earn victory for one, with only eight blocks required for Lee. Everyone drops consistently, adapting and learning to the conditions of the difficult challenge. In a quick defeat, Shonee snags the first Immunity necklace of the season, securing her spot in the final eleven.
With David and Zach seemingly on board to vote out Sharn, Locky’s feeling comfortable with where the numbers are. But with Moana wanting to pull a trump card on Locky, the original Mokuta seven looks tight. To go with the plan, Sharn tells AK Mokuta is voting for him, convincing him he’s in trouble. With David and Zach in the middle of two five-person alliances, Tarzan takes notice and worries Dave might be playing too cunning. But everyone’s got their eggs in David’s (and Zach’s, yet no one seems to care) basket. As we head to Tribal, I’m not convinced it can be anyone but Locky.
At the first merged Tribal, the intertwining of relationships and where the ball will roll to dictate what happens going forward is paramount out of the first merged vote. Locky discusses bringing in some Mokuta members to join the Vakama five, but loyalty to the Mokuta seven is the conventional norm in the future. Harry mentions that this group will either decide who wins or is sitting at the end, with impressing people pivotal in every vote, from now on. The tribe then votes, and in an unsurprising yet blindsiding 7-5 vote against Sharn, Locky is voted out and becomes the first member of the jury.
On Day 31, David’s become ill after a spider bite on his butt leaves him pretty debilitated and under the weather. Moana takes pride in blindsiding Locky and keeping the Mokuta tight-lipped, and with her and Dave leading that charge, she’s feeling extremely comfortable with her alliance. Meanwhile, Brooke is suffering from the setback of losing her ally, and with her and her alliance in trouble, a new plan must be hatched to change the fortune of the Vakama four. Harry and David are after each other, and with revenge on the mind for Dave, he wants Harry gone to avenge his blindside in 2019. Wanting to destroy Dave’s army, Harry acknowledges his alliance needs to take a shot against a smaller threat, like Jacqui, hoping Lee and Zach might make the big move with the opportunity in sight.
Arriving at the Individual Immunity Challenge, flashbacks are heavy for Harry who notices it’s the final Immunity Challenge that he lost last season, a gruelling endurance challenge seeing the players stand on narrow pegs holding up heavy sandbags. AK is the first to drop, with Moana and Shonee following early. Zach slips off, with Sharn, Tarzan, and Jacqui dropping next. Lee, Brooke, David, and Harry are the final four, going well into sunset at the one hour mark. David drops out, and then Harry after a shocking effort. As night has well and truly begun, Brooke claims Individual Immunity after outlasting Lee, securing a spot in the top ten.
With very little time to scramble and decide who is going before Tribal, the heat is on to come to one name. With Brooke now secure, she’s looking to the future and infiltrating the alliance that is currently on top. The seven Mokuta decide to split the vote 5-2 on Harry and AK, in case of an idol play. The four Vakama decide to go headstrong on Jacqui, working to flip Lee and Zach over to solidify the vote. Lee’s afraid of not making moves when he can, and wants to credit a blindside like this on his resume. Zach’s also seeing Jacqui as a worthy target, but has reservations about taking out a number from the main alliance. With Harry’s life on the line, it’s up to the boys to decide if his fate is sealed.
At Tribal Council, fresh with a current jury of Locky, AK and Zach comment on the hectic socialising and name throwing that occurred in the small time to discuss the vote. Moana and Dave openly admit to not being nervous about the night’s proceedings, as pre-plans are discussed from mornings and days earlier, despite the ‘chaotic’ setting before Tribal. Pitches and individual plans are also mentioned, with many choosing where they want to sit in the coming days amongst the tribe. After everyone has voted, Dirty Harry’s attempts fall short as he’s sent to the jury in a 5-4-2 vote.
As Australian Survivor winds down to the pointy end of the game, everyone’s beginning to really consider the best move for them and only them, even if it doesn’t make for flashy television. We saw three huge names go home, but whether they were good Survivor players remains unclear.
So our boots. I think the most hurtful one was Nick this week. He’s an insane strategist who really saw some redemption after a fair share of mistakes in his first season. I really enjoyed watching not only a good player have a great season, but a true superfan fight to win the game they love most. It sucks Nick’s early success just catapulted to a loss right before the merge and jury stage. Nick’s a great player, and if he does ever come back for a third turn some years down the track, I’d be a hard fan for it. There wasn’t much he could do this time, and I appreciate the effort to try and make something work right until the end. Locky was not, um, the best player. I think he got too confident in a simple plan and that’s his undoing. He didn’t see the revenge arc forming and even still considered his Vakama allies as possible blindsiders. It was obvious as a viewer, and I’ll blame the editing on that. But surely Locky saw the Moana faction coming for him eventually. It just made the most sense. Good luck to Locky on The Bachelor, and while I appreciate the Locky archetype appearing on the All-Stars edition, I hope Locky’s Survivor story is closed, he can’t win, and he never will win. Harry was a disappointing boot, especially since it’s right after the exact same challenge as last season. Talk about bad fortune. He wasn’t as entertaining this time, but it’s clear Harry tried to rework a different method of playing to ensure he could make it to the end. He played as hard as he could, and the blunder with the advantage comes down to whether it postponed the merge or made the merge at 13. For Harry’s sake, I hope it only delayed Nick or Harry’s inevitable final pre-merge boot.
There’s ten left on the tribe, a clear seven leading the charge with three Vakama really looking for any in-roads possible to grasp at. Shonee and Brooke had extremely impressive showings with them snatching Immunity wins, keeping them safe from going home in a very likely situation that would see them heading out the door. They’re on the bottom, but they’re both very social players (especially Shonee), so if anyone’s gonna wanna work with people on the bottom, it’ll be these two who can get one or two votes further. AK’s also a solid social player, although I feel like we haven’t really seen much of his connections and therefore I can’t quite comment on the level of his gameplay. He’s copped quite a bit of hate on social media, which is pretty unwarranted if you ask me. He hasn’t done anything drastic to ask for hate, and if some of it is fuelled at the lack of making a move, I feel like a lot of that should be directed at most of the cast because that’s all that happens every week. People don’t realise that not making a move is sometimes the best play. Just because your favourites don’t stay or it’s not incredible TV doesn’t mean it isn’t good gameplay. So leave AK, and quite frankly, everyone, alone.
Moana’s a very strong social and strategic player. She’s extremely confident, which isn’t necessarily the best thing for her because confidence can see you go home. But no one is targeting Moana anymore so than before. She survived the possible blindside at the Nick vote because she’s surrounded by loyal allies. And while I’m not Moana’s biggest fan just personally. I think she’s a great player who can make things happen when needed. She’s also abrasive, which while it may sometimes be asking for trouble, it’s only working for her even more because she asserts the dominant role in her alliance. If she’s not found out for it, she’ll probably be a lock for a long stay in the game. Tarzan and Jacqui are otherwise considered as the loyal puppets to her game. We haven’t seen any strategic talk from them, and I don’t deny that it might not be the case, because it is possible they’re just as much of a presence as any other player, they’re not getting any credit for it so I have to naturally assume they’re sticking with what they know. There’s clearly a tight three of them and Moana, and I’m sure Moana’s aware she can beat them at the end. I’d love to see these two make a move, and soon. Sharn’s pretty much in the same boat, I’d love to see her take credit for a big move soon. The difference between Sharn and Jacqui/Tarzan is that we are opened up to Sharn’s strategic gameplay a lot more. She’s having words with others where needed (like telling AK he’s a target), and she’s clearly a part of the other trio of her/Moana/David. I think Sharn’s playing well, but not nearly as bold as last time, at least in the edit’s sense. Given David is her biggest threat, she’s gonna have to see to remove him and his idols soon.
Speaking of which, David is a great player and television personality. He belongs in the game and it’s almost baffling how he remains untargeted thus far. I understand keeping him as a shield, and weaking the Vakama alliance first and foremost, but this week we better see some people taking shots against him otherwise it’s pointless. The guy’s got an idol everyone KNOWS about, an idol that’s secret, and a wicked talent manipulate and charm people. He has errors too. The consecutive days comment about making it to 84 is inaccurate. David was voted out, therefore, did not play consecutive days. Sharn and Lee, on the other hand, have, since there were no days in between their runs and their time this season. Also, Nick’s vote was not a blindside. David is great TV first before he’s an impressive God at Survivor in my opinion. I think the edit favours him heavily so we’re not opened up to anyone else’s opinion and what he may lack in playing he makes up for in great soundbites. Good for him for making it so long, and if he survives this week without a whisper about being blindsided, then I’ll give him much more credit for his game. At this point, it’s been heavily edited in his favour and with Tarzan making a slight comment about his gameplay, maybe it’s not as ‘sheep followers’ as it appears to be. Zach had some opportunities to make some moves, which is good, it’s great he’s been in that position but because he’s failed to capitalise twice, maybe he won’t get another chance. Soon, people will realise he’s just loyal, so they won’t try and use them as a tool to help but instead a target for being loyal to the main alliance. I think Zach has only one more chance to do something huge, if not, he’ll be firmly on one side and someone else will have the chance to take him out, blindsiding him in the process. And Lee also had an opportunity this week but didn’t take it up. I think it’s wiser for Lee because he would most certainly sit on the bottom. And I think Lee would need to wait a few turns before ruffling any feathers. He’s gotta be secure when he does something, given he’s a physical threat, taking a shot now might only alienate him as a threat.
The editing is still a bit choppy, although improves from a couple of weeks ago. I think all three boots were obvious and imminent, the content given to each of the screamed, “I’m going home”. Dave and Zach never looked set on voting Sharn, so Locky was done. Harry got a lot of content after an otherwise quiet episode before, he was done. And Nick not only had a slim chance to take out Mo, but was blindly being led by David, he was done. There’s a clear editing problem for Australian Survivor, and I think the abundance of David has clouded much of the cast. Even Shonee is no longer as big of a presence as she used to be, and yes I get the show compiles their episodes from episode to episode and week to week, it’s just odd when the one constant in each episode is David. Everyone else gets a night off starring duties. David’s always the lead character, which pushes his narrative above all else and gives fans little room to see the other perspectives of anyone else on the show. It’s unfortunate others aren’t having their stories highlighted throughout, and even though David is great TV, having a night where he’s not as in my face would be settling, and I wouldn’t be asking for Dave back. He’s such a big character, he doesn’t need to be overused. This was done well in 2019, but All-Stars has a different swan song. And I’m enjoying the show purely by what the players are doing, rather than how it’s being marketed to me. I’m filtering it. And it’s disappointing. That said, great props to the production team and players. There’s some strong potential next week for some big moves and great shocks, hopefully they’re portrayed the best way possible. Thanks Aussie Survivor.
THE TOP FIVE
LEE CARSELDINE: Not Lee’s strongest showing ever, but definitely the strongest of the week. Lee’s thinking forward, wanting to cement a solid resume if he makes it to the end again. I admire the hunger.
MOANA HOPE: She’s got huge control over her alliance, yet she’s not being seen as a social and strategic threat. I can see Moana staying secure for a long time, and her Locky blindside was a huge plus on her resume.
ZACH KOZYRSKI: I think Zach sitting in a swing position twice was really effective for his game. He wasn’t fooled into flipping to the bottom of an alliance, yet was relied upon to ensure a move was made. Impressive.
BROOKE JOWETT: A big Immunity win for someone on the bottom and otherwise a major threat in the game. She’s got a great grasp on the game, and if she can just sink her teeth into one move, she might be okay.
SHARN COOMBES: Almost a setback if she went home at the merge but having loyal allies that trust her was huge for Sharn to survive that vote. She’s still present in a lot of conversations, she just needs to be credited for playing in a strong position.
A huge moment in Monday’s episode and another trio of episodes this week for Australian Survivor: All-Stars, stay tuned!
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Australian Survivor: All-Stars continues Monday-Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10!
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