Australian Survivor: All-Stars – “I Got Back-Up Plans”

We heard you liked twists, and so did Australian Survivor because that’s exactly what the theme of Week 6 was. Who ever said more was less?

Beginning with an emotional episode and raw moment, this week of Australian Survivor was, something. A rather messy twist ended up becoming full circle in the third episode of the week, but perhaps it’s the ‘big moves’ mantra that the players need to focus on heading into Week 7. Let’s recap the week that was in Australian Survivor.

WEEK 6 RECAP

EPISODE SIXTEEN:

On the morning of Day 33, Shonee is devastated Harry has gone and she is left in an alliance of three against seven. Forced to find any crack possible, Shonee’s confident her social skills will get her out of her hole. Lee sees the finishing line on the horizon, knowing the feeling all too well after making it to the Final Tribal Council last time, viewers and Lee reflect on that final vote reveal where Lee was surrounded by his Mum, sister and kids back in 2016.

At the Reward Challenge, in teams of five but one on one, players must slide down a slope into mud, and land a ball into a basket. The winning team will enjoy an Aussie barbecue with snags, chicken and more. AK, Tarzan, Jacqui, Lee, and Shonee form one team, with David, Sharn, Brooke, Moana, and Zach on the other. The latter team ends up winning with Brooke hoping it’s the opportunity she needs to get in the crack of the main alliance.

At the barbecue reward, all five bond over eating necessary protein and enjoying some ginger beer. Despite all the fanfare, they eventually notice the letters from home sitting on the table, bringing everyone to tears at the sight of their family and loved ones at home. Sharn, Moana, Zach, Brooke, and David all reflect on their partners, siblings, kids, and parents, and the fuel these letters give them to continue. It’s another heart wrenching moment, and proves there’s more to the players than we sometimes think.

Back at camp, something shocking happens seeing Lee pulled aside. We see Lee given some space and taking a phone call, and when Tarzan approaches, a crying Lee he tells him that his mother suffered a stroke and might not make it. Therefore coming to the decision to pull himself from the game. Everyone is subsequently informed, leading to an extremely emotional moment that hits home for everyone. Lee officially leaves the game, and the tribe becomes nine.

The tribe enters the water-based Immunity Challenge, where players must keep a ball placed on a platform above their head, where if they lower their hand holding the pole, it will drop. Moana drops first, then Zach, Jacqui, AK, and Tarzan. Shonee, Brooke, David, and Sharn remain, with Sharn dropping after half an hour, and Brooke and David out thereafter, meaning Shonee wins her second individual Immunity necklace this season. Not bad for the ‘weakest’ tribe member am I right?

After Shonee’s win, the remaining six-person majority agree to split the votes between Brooke and AK, in case of an idol, with David targeting Brooke as a massive threat in the game. Adding fuel to the fire, David tries to get Vakama to turn on each other. AK agrees to turn on Brooke, as she considers flipping also. Brooke then tries to get Shonee on board to vote AK, hoping their two votes will eliminate AK when the majority splits. Will old Vakama self destruct while they’re dead in the water?

The final nine sit at Tribal Council, blissfully unaware of the twist that will be bestowed onto them.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

At Tribal, it’s coherent that AK and Brooke are the primary targets at the vote, as they remain from the Vakama tribe. Even if Moana denies that’s why Harry and Locky were voted out. Brooke calls out Mokuta for not shaking the game up, but it’s Jonathan with the major trump card when he reveals a new twist. Tonight, three people will be voted out and sent to Exile Beach, at the next Tribal, another three. These six (out of nine) will compete in challenges to determine who goes home. It’s a bit messy, a bit bold, and a bit WTF. But it’s All-Stars and there’ll be a lot to talk about here. With a 3-3-3 split, Brooke, AK, and Moana are temporarily voted out of the game.

EPISODE SEVENTEEN:

Brooke, AK and Moana arrive at Exile Beach, and Mo is furious with her new living quarters, dubbing it her worst nightmare. Still in shock that she’s thrown into this situation, she sees it as a new opportunity, to climb from the bottom to the top. At the main camp, Shonee comments on the twist that sees her currently in a 5-1 minority. Despite hoping her social efforts will get her through, David’s vowing to send her to Exile if she loses Immunity, with Zach also one of his targets purely because of his sheer physical stature and challenge performance. But it won’t be a blindside, a strike of his ego might be the ticket to see Zach volunteer at the opportunity. Something Zach doesn’t hesitate to agree to.

At the Immunity Challenge, the six must attempt to balance three balls on thin grooves on a board, with the first to do so winning Immunity. Shonee struggles pretty early, with everyone taking their time to discover the learning curve involved to succeed. It comes down to Sharn and David, with Sharn being the first to place the third ball and subsequently win her first individual Immunity Challenge this season, bringing her Survivor career total to five.

David tries to convince Zach to volunteer to go to Exile beach, an offer quickly accepted.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

With Shonee an easy target for the majority alliance, there’s still an issue of eliminating two alliance members and sending them to Exile, and possibly out of the game. Wanting to send a strong group to Exile to defeat the Vakama three, Zach still volunteers, hoping the risk’s worth the reward. David decides Jacqui needs to be the other, as he conveniently uses his sick excuse as a reason to keep him in the game, ‘worried’ about its’ impact on his ability to win the challenge. With Jacqui not keen on going to Exile, Sharn considers flipping it to David and ensuring her safety. Hatching the plan with Tarzan and Jacqui, it all goes pear shaped when Tarz leaks the plan to Dave. He respects the move, but equally wants to stop it in its tracks.

At Tribal Council, the stakes of three going to Exile are discussed as well as the continued individualism that comes with a Tribal Council vote. Everyone has their own agenda, but working as a cohesive alliance is paramount, except for Shonee, lol. Jonathan throws another curveball as he explains Exile in more detail. He says there will be two different challenges, and then another Tribal Council will occur where those who didn’t win the challenges will be vulnerable. Would have been nice to know last light, but righto Johnno. The six then vote, and Shonee and Jacqui are guaranteed to go when they each get 2 votes. But David and Zach tie for the third with 1 vote each, forcing Sharn and Tarzan to revote for Zach, sending him to Exile as well.

EPISODE EIGHTEEN:

As Shonee, Jacqui, and Zach join Moana, Brooke, and AK on Exile Beach, the six get cosy as Zach laughs at his now improved resume of two trips to Exile. AK comments on the fact that Zach is delusional if he believes going to Exile is a big move worth the risk. Meanwhile at the main camp, Sharn comments on choosing not to blindside Dave during the Exile twist, instead wanting to take the credit for the move solely. David also applauds the Tribal going smoothly for him, although is still weary of Sharn’s blindside attempt, even if it fell through.

Back on Exile, Zach’s gloating about his stay on Exile and Jacqui isn’t happy because she realises he’s just a David puppet. Wanting to dethrone the David-Zach duo, Jacqui vows to make a big move if she returns to the game. Moana also makes a vow, to slay the challenges and earn her spot back into the game, hoping the thought of her family is enough fuel to push through.

At the first re-entry challenge, the six participating must build a pole using sticks to retrieve a flint where they will make fire high enough to raise a flag and earn safety. The first to do so will return to the game. Moana is the first to retrieve flint, getting started on her fire. She successfully builds a fire and is the first back into the game, bringing her to tears. Zach’s the next attempting to build a fire, but Brooke gives him a run for her money when she manages to catch a flame. Both fires raise a flag, but Brooke’s is a second before Zach’s, meaning she also returns to the game.

Brooke, Zach, and AK attempt to build their fire to re-enter the game.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Brooke and Moana rejoin the others at the main camp, with Moana still emotional about making fire and beating her inner anxiety, and Brooke still feeling isolated as the only current Vakama in the game. Over on Exile, Zach’s ready to do whatever it takes to get back in and not regret his volunteering decision. Shonee, still wanting to secure votes in case she’s vulnerable, lines up Jacqui to be an ally and flip to her Vakama alliance. Hitting her with hard truths, Shonee helps her realise that she’s on the bottom of her alliance and needs to make a big move.

At the next re-entry challenge, players must hold up sandbags within a zone, with only one person earning Immunity at the vote. AK and Shonee drop out early, meaning either Zach or Jacqui will win their way back into the game. There’s a bit of trash talk between them when she asks a simple question and Zach fires back. Eventually Zach drops, meaning either he, Shonee, or AK will be the next member of the jury.

Back at camp, David asserts that the alliance is intact to keep Zach safe, splitting between AK and Shonee. But Shonee’s got a plan in mind, hinging on Jacqui making a big move and flipping to Vakama. Jacqui is sick of being dictated where to vote, and has her sights set on Zach both strategically and personally. She wants to let Moana in on the vote though, and even Moana wants to break the David and Zach power couple. While consulting with Sharn, she reveals that the move needs to solely be Jacqui’s to prevent David getting suspicious about her and Moana too. David does consider idoling Zach, but with a plan so tight, it might not be enough for Dave to sniff out.

At Tribal, the impacts of Exile Beach are mentioned with the three Vakama members putting on their best acting chops to convince the majority they feel vulnerable. In an open discussion, Zach is written off as a target with Shonee or AK going home. Zach trusts his alliance, but it’s All-Stars and Jacqui doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. At the vote, a successful blindside sees Zach sent to the jury 4-3-2.

REVIEW

This was a roller coaster week, there were elements I didn’t like, some I really liked, but overall I think this week was a package deal. You needed every episode to make sense and appreciate what went down.

Lee’s exit was heartbreaking. It’s clearly the one fear everyone who goes out to play has with them everyday of the game. No contact with family for 30-something days, and then to get this phone call, that eventually led to something worse, it’s a position no one wants to be in and I appreciate Lee for coming back and playing and for the love he’s shared since appearing on the show. His decision to leave was clearly the right one, and I wish nothing but the best for him moving forward. I encourage everyone to check out the Instagram profiles of this year’s All-Stars and other former contestants, who are joining in the towel challenge for stroke awareness and donations. It’s a great initiative continued by Lee and David. Thank you, boys! The other elimination from this week was Zach, and wow did his game spiral out of the good zone this week. Falling for Dave’s sweet nothings to volunteer was really a mistake. Even if Zach chooses to take control of his own destiny and own the move, it isn’t a great move in my eyes. In fact, I appreciate Sharn, David, and Tarzan more for not even having to go to Exile, and just managing to survive naturally. Zach flailed in the challenges, showboated his volunteering decision, and really just completely lost the game in a matter of days. I commend Jacqui for making her move, but Zach certainly has himself to blame for this exit. He added insult to injury, and put himself in a vulnerable position. He was asking for disaster.

Tarzan and Jacqui console Lee, who makes the decision to leave the game to be with his family after receiving emergency news from home.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

Now let’s talk about JACQUI. THE LEGEND! Thank you for making a bloody move against the Golden God! That’s so refreshing considering all season has been the Dave show, both edit wise and gameplay wise. I hope this continues and people can begin to unravel David’s game right from under him, but with two idols I don’t like their chances and this week’s MVP has to be Jacqui. She did what she had to. And I don’t believe her decision was a personal one even if she thinks it was. She weakened Dave, blindsided someone who wasn’t necessarily a loyal ally to her, and added a move to her resume giving her a fair shot at winning at the end (depending on who she’s next to). Whether it ends up working out for her or not, it doesn’t matter. She tried something. And you play to WIN! Not be sixth. Jacqui, you killed it! On the other side of the coin, Tarzan really disappointed me for leaking the plan to Dave about Sharn’s potential blindside. Has Tarzan lacked self awareness of who the big threats are? He’s a loyal guy, yes. But at this point you’ve got to play to win and how anyone doesn’t see Dave as a threat is beyond me. So I wish Tarzan would stay loyal to Jacqui than Dave, but I don’t think it’s happening. And that sucks. I wanna see Tarzan be just as much of a threat as anyone else, but right now, I don’t think he’s got the tools or awareness to do anything about it. Does it buy him points with Dave? Yes. But considering last week he mentioned Dave is getting too much power, he’s just given him more ammo at his disposal, and can even throw Tarz under the bus if he’s desperate.

Moana also is a little disappointing because she only sees the benefit in weakening Dave by removing Zach, than the wiser decision to target Dave himself. Yes, Dave is a shield. But a shield with double protection (one they ALL know about, don’t forget), and given how close we are, Moana needs to consider cutting him before she’s sitting next to him at the end. I also think Moana’s social game isn’t perfect, and the Vakama alliance will appreciate David (or others) than her at the end. Moana is very strategic, but considering she still wants Dave attached to her, it’s unlikely it’ll pay off. Big threats are only beneficial for a while, not the whole game. She needs to act against him now! And that’s why I appreciate Sharn for considering blindsiding him, although it was wise not to do so during the Exile twist. She would have been in trouble for sure. And she is now, make no mistake. But Sharn was very smart to make last night’s move Jacqui’s so she and Moana are still otherwise protected with David. It gives Dave some believable leverage. I hope she acts against him soon, but this twist neither helps nor do the idols. Speaking of Dave, he’s still a beast. He’s got a great handle on many players even if some start to slip. His control is incredible and his gameplay is certainly flashy. But he can not claim he knew every boot like Moana and Sharn can. They have that advantage of always being in the know, unlike David. So there’s a hiccup to his game. Albeit minor when you’re wearing two idols and therefore a likely spot in the final six. I can’t see Dave going soon. Simply because he’s got protection. But damn if Moana and Tarzan stay loyal to him, then it’s really wrapped up for him. Signed, sealed and delivered.

Yeah, we didn’t see an abundance of the Vakama three this week. Good job to Brooke for narrowly beating Zach to get back in. But her opportunities are limited unless the Mokuta alliance self implodes. Also, I love the, “lift your game, what?”, comment. Brooke, I aspire to be you sometimes oh my god. I am rooting for Brooke, even if she had a relatively quiet week. Her physical strength is her asset, so good job to her for being that fit to really take charge of her own destiny and safety where possible. Her and Shonee are a perfect duo. Especially when Shonee just works that social game to get Jacqui to blindside Zach. Even when Shonee’s in trouble, she pulls through. She gets so close to going home yet finds a way to survive. And you know you’re good when your haters start claiming the show is rigged for you. Yeah Shonee’s a good player. Just deal with it. Lol. Major props to her performance this week and I’d love another social warrior to take this thing home. AK, we didn’t get much this week. That sucks. Maybe next time?

This whole Exile twist was a mess and a half. Six people heading to Exile? I don’t know if this was planned or if Lee’s exit disrupted some or all aspects of it. It did seem extremely messy and off the cuff. And going from nine, to six, to three, to five, to six, to eight. Even I’m confused. I also think this twist should have been fully revealed when it was, in that the challenges and subsequent Tribal should have been discussed the first night of the Exile twist (that saw Mo, AK, and Brooke off to Exile). Yes, it gave the Vakama three another chance by default, and it worked. But it was a little bit convoluted in design. Thankfully, the execution worked out well. So there’s that. I’m not disappointed with it. I appreciate what it did and how it worked out. And I do like that the game is refreshing into something really extreme, lol. But never again. Please. I think it went a little too far outside the box quite honestly. I know, I’m going back and forth. But I’m indifferent about it. The editing is still not amazing but I’ll take it. The Dave show isn’t fun to watch, and I know the gameplay isn’t helping that either. Hopefully the home stretch of Australian Survivor: All-Stars is enough of a lift for the season to be good overall. Right now, I’m still trying to see where it ranks, and while I like it, it’s near the bottom for me. Unfortunately.

What do you think about this season so far? Did Jacqui make a big move that kept your glued and excited about the season? Or is the Dave show just put on hold for one episode while guest star Jacqui comes in for her starring episode role? Let me know in the comments or on the various links on social media! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

THE TOP FIVE

The All-Stars in the Top Five this week include:
Brooke Jowett, David Genat, Shonee Fairfax, Jacqui Patterson, and Sharn Coombes.
IMAGES: NETWORK 10

BROOKE JOWETT: A physical beast who slayed Zach to get back into the game. i hope Brooke has the tool kit to stay out of trouble for this week. Break that alliance up! You go girl! I’m rooting for you!

DAVID GENAT: I mean, he’s a legend. He’s played so well up until this point but damn the Zach vote is certainly a hiccup and wake up call. I’m prepared to see the Golden God’s wrath unleash. I expect it at this point.

SHONEE FAIRFAX: She’s got the haters mad! That’s when you know your game is working, lol. Shonee has been a saving grace this season and here’s hoping she can work her magic, again, and again.

JACQUI PATTERSON: YES JACQUI! I love you for making this move! I appreciate her hard work in challenges and awareness to play the game for herself. She’s a lot smarter than I have given her credit for, so I’m officially bowing down to Jacqui’s mercy. You got me, I’m on board.

SHARN COOMBES: Huge points for organising how the latest vote needed to go to keep the blood off her hands. She’s in trouble next week, but my faith in Sharn’s strategic gameplay is assurance for me. But I will be making a prayer circle, just in case.

Eight remain, we’re heading to the pointy end now! I’m so excited for this endgame. Here’s hoping EVERYONE is on board and playing with the fire needed to keep this season alive.

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Week 7 of Australian Survivor: All-Stars continues Monday through to Wednesday on Channel 10 at 7:30pm!


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