Australian Survivor: All-Stars – “I’m Happy To Roll The Dice”

Huge moves were talked about, planned, looking to go through, and then flailing. Although there were some impressive moments this week, the final eight proved that big promises have got nothing on big moves.

It was a whirlwind week of Australian Survivor: All-Stars, Monday night saw a jaw dropping Tribal decision occur, Tuesday a fan favourite was sent out the door, and Wednesday ANOTHER twist came to stir up the game, once more. There’s only a handful of episodes left, so who made it to the final five?

WEEK 7 RECAP

EPISODE NINETEEN:

With Zach’s blindside in the books and permanently on Jacqui’s resume, the Golden Goddess has jumped ship to round out her big moves mentality. The Vakama three are also ecstatic with Zach going home, because they’ve turned a new leaf heading into the final stages of the game. With David cast aside from the blindside and Jacqui jumping ship, he’s in a precarious position, but hopes to adapt to the circumstances with the remnants of his alliance. Moana considers herself quite the spearhead of the last Tribal, pulling the strings behind Jacqui and not gaining any blood on her hands. Having David vulnerable and scared, Moana’s looking at Jacqui and pointing her trigger.

At the Reward Challenge, a luxury night away sees the final eight pull bars holding a pole to maintain tension and keep it in place. Brooke drops first, followed by Tarzan, Jacqui, Moana, Sharn, and AK. Challenge beast Shonee and cunning big threat David are the last two standing, and Shonee begins to negotiate a deal with the devil to take each other if they win. When David outlasts Shonee to clinch victory, he instead selects his alliance (Moana, Tarzan, and Sharn) to join in on the reward, giving the other side a night to themselves at camp.

With Vakama alone with Jacqui, they only solidify their alliance with the celebrant as Shonee continues to work her social charm. They hatch a plan to put four votes on David, hoping Sharn will be the fifth vote they need to make a blindside happen. Meanwhile, the four luxury winners are in awe of the oasis that is a bath, food and warm bed. They unify their alliance even if Sharn comments on David’s strategic mistake to not bring Jacqui on the reward. She’s keeping an eye on him, and equally believes he trusts her, the perfect position to be in for an incoming blindside. But David isn’t so sold on her as she might think, as he intended to use the reward to keep HER close, not Jacqui. Wanting to eliminate unpredictability, the four agree to vote out Jacqui at the next Tribal Council.

At the Immunity Challenge, a non-endurance challenge sees mini obstacles eliminate a certain number of players over three stages. With the puzzle the last stage, the game’s greatest equaliser might save someone right when they need it. In the first stage, Shonee, Sharn and Moana are knocked out first, before AK and Jacqui are out in the second stage. David, Tarzan and Brooke attempt the final stage, as Brooke makes significant progress on the puzzle. There’s something wrong with her puzzle however, granting David an opportunity to catch up. He surpasses her and claims his first Individual Immunity Challenge win of the season.

With a David blindside foiled, Jacqui, Shonee, AK and Brooke look at Moana as the replacement sacrifice to dismantling the majority alliance. With revenge on the cards, David and his alliance are targeting Jacqui, as planned. To pull off the plan, they try to get Jacqui to come back over and trick her to vote for one of the Vakama three, so it’s 4-3-1. With Shonee’s name thrown out there, Jacqui secretly doesn’t intend to go back with her old crew. Now aware there’s a potential 4-4 split, the Vakama group are willing to take it to a rock draw deadlock tiebreaker, hoping they come out unscathed. Hoping to use it as a tool to flip Sharn, AK breaks the news that it could be a rock draw, scaring Sharn who would have to relinquish power in put in that position.

Sharn tries to convince the Vakama alliance to unanimously vote out Jacqui and avoid drawing rocks.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

At Tribal Council, Jacqui’s blindside of Zach is discussed when talking about the reward decision made by David. Jacqui’s middle position is discussed relatively openly, with Vakama claiming that flipping back would only be a terrible decision. A stressful 4-4 split is also brought up, and the Vakama three put up a good front claiming they intend to risk rocks wholeheartedly to create a power shift. It’s time to vote, and the votes are four on Jacqui and four on Moana. David plays his idol on Tarzan, despite this. At the revote, Sharn refrains from flipping although asks Tarzan to do so, strangely. At another split, 3-3, a unanimous decision is required to determine who will go home, otherwise Brooke, AK, Shonee and Sharn will draw rocks to determine who is eliminated. Sharn makes a deal with the three, promising to side with them after the Tribal if they agree to vote out Jacqui. She says it’s not worth risking their own position (a 75% chance of the alliance failing), and some pushing and budging sees rocks prevented and Jacqui unanimously decided to be sent home.

EPISODE TWENTY:

With the Vakama three intact after another dicey Tribal situation, Sharn instead pledges his allegiance to her original alliance, assuring them her Tribal Council performance was to guarantee Jacqui went home. Tarzan is a little suspicious however, after she told him to vote Moana during the revote. In the morning, a cow visits the camp much to the entertainment of the tribe. David comments on Sharn’s ability to sway the Vakama three to not go to rocks, although is a little sketchy over her loyalty moving forward. With Tarzan and David firmly suspicious of Sharn, Moana doesn’t buy Tarzan’s theory, basing it on miscommunication and guaranteeing them she’s loyal to the four. Shonee sees it differently, assuming Sharn is undoubtedly loyal to them and will otherwise lose their jury votes if she doesn’t. If Sharn does flip, the plan is to blindside David, otherwise there might be hell to pay.

At the Immunity Challenge, a simple yet painful endurance challenge asks the players to keep themselves pressed up against two frames in the water. It’s an early struggle for many, with AK, Sharn, and Moana dropping early. Tarzan and Shonee manage to drop soon after, leaving challenge beasts David and Brooke to fight it out for as long as possible. Making it to the over an hour and 15 minutes, David drops out giving Brooke yet another Individual Immunity win to add to her resume and improve her placement from her original season.

Upon returning to camp, the Vakama three walk off to discuss plans with Sharn, with a perfect opportunity to take out David, Shonee’s confident the move will be done and the three will live to fight another day. They believe the move is the best option for Sharn, as she can still firmly sit in the middle of the alliances at the final six. Meanwhile, the Mokuta alliance is targeting Shonee, with Sharn having the difficult decision to commit to one side. Knowing Tarzan is concerned, she attempts to solidify her allegiance with him, but he isn’t sold on it and mistrust is beginning to surround Sharn from both sides. David consults with Moana and Tarzan about revealing his leftover idol to Sharn, and in an effort to make a big move, he shows Sharn the idol hoping to buy her loyalty completely. Sharn instead sees it as an opportunity to blindside him with an idol.

At Tribal Council, Sharn’s middle position and attempt to convince the Vakama alliance she will vote with them is openly discussed, with the Mokuta three claiming they hope she sticks with her original word, but the Vakama three using it as a tool to take out the big threat right in front of them while they can, if it benefits her game. Sharn is confident in the decision she’ll make at Tribal Council, and many talk up her gameplay thus far, with AK commenting that she’s one of the best to ever play. At the vote though, Sharn sticks with the Mokuta three and foils any blindside plans, sending Shonee home in a 4-3 vote against David, who refrains from playing his idol.

EPISODE TWENTY-ONE:

With Sharn’s allegiance firmly on the Mokuta side, and Moana confident she can be a worthy ally right until the final two, all looks to be over for Brooke and AK over the final few days. Moana asserts Sharn’s loyalty by spoiling David’s secret about the idol. She is aware of everything around her, and her next target is decimating the Vakama alliance. Sharn’s story involves showing her kids they can do anything and achieving the one final step in the game, and even though she didn’t blindside David, but knowing his idol ruse might make her question that decision. Brooke believes Sharn’s loyalty to her is minimal, and being a big physical threat, she’s aware that Immunity is the only tool to get her each step further into the game. AK’s a little more pissed with Sharn for lying to the Vakama alliance about flipping, now feeling completely vulnerable going forward. With Brooke target numero uno, the Immunity Challenge is the battle ground for the final six.

At the Immunity Challenge, the six must make their way over some obstacles, retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces, and then solve a word puzzle with said pieces. David gets out to an early lead, with Brooke, Sharn, Tarzan, Moana, and AK following, in that order. AK’s fear of heights see him struggle to tackle one obstacle, but he manages to get back into it as Brooke falls behind. But as David, AK, Moana and Tarzan struggle on the puzzle, Brooke manages to catch up and suddenly finds some phrase inspiration to see her take out another Individual Immunity, her sixth in Australian Survivor history.

Despite Brooke’s safety and guaranteed final five placement, AK is 100% the indisputable target and likely to go home. The majority alliance is fearful of Brooke’s ability, but they have to take out AK while they can so the alliance stays intact for the final few days of the game. Worried the minority two might find an idol, Moana employs the babysitting strategy to ensure they never get the opportunity to find it secretly. AK and Brooke agree to vote for Sharn for being a middle player throughout the game, but as expected, go on an idol hunt. AK knocks over the water barrel, prompting Moana to report back to her alliance. This means AK is alone to potentially grab an idol, so when David catches up with him, they formulate a plan to eliminate Sharn because she is a threat and yet another big move to Dave’s resume. Sharn is a little paranoid before Tribal seeing the opportunity to make a move present for someone in her alliance. Will David pull that trigger though?

AK and Moana battle to make fire first and determine AK’s ultimate fate in the game.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 NETWORK

Tribal Council becomes critical with AK’s likely boot, “writing on the wall,” according to the man himself. The bond between AK and Brooke is clearly close, as AK gets emotional talking about her win and the position he is now in. The alliance of four intend to stay loyal as they answer questions from Jonathan, but do consider the reality that they will have to turn on each other soon, very soon. The tribe votes, but when Jonathan returns with the urn, there’s another twist in store. Instead of reading the votes, Jonathan offers a trial by fire, where if accepted by someone, they can fight for their spot in the game against a challenger, who only needs to make fire first to send the challenger home. AK doesn’t hesitate to accept, prompting the other five to unanimously agree on Moana (after some heavy push from Brooke) to take him on. Moana gets fire first, as AK struggles to catch any flame. With the jury visibly cheering for AK, Moana’s fire begins to burn higher and higher. The fire burns through the rope, meaning AK’s last chance at safety is over and he becomes a member of the jury.

REVIEW

Something’s been a little off all season for me, unfortunately. I think it’s because there was a lot of big talk about the game and moves that were made yet only a handful have been produced. Even then, the disproportionate editing, critical moments being cut out, and abundance of twists that make little logical sense in the world of Survivor also really throw the season off for me. Nevertheless, I’m still satisfied. I’m not hating it, I’m just not loving it. Australian Survivor is often consistently better than the American run of the show, a view shared by many worldwide. But this season brings it down for me, so I guess that’s where some of the disappointment comes from. We still have a final eight to talk about though, so let’s get to it.

Damn I really wish we had seen this Jacqui the whole damn time. I appreciate what she attempted to do and the hunger she had right at the end there to really make a name for herself. It was a glimpse of the old Jacqui from 2017. I don’t blame the Mokuta alliance for targeting her though, it was probably their best move to guarantee a 75% chance of the Vakama group needing to avoid rocks. Well thought out by all involved there. In the end, Jacqui made a big move against a powerful alliance. She had balls to do it, but there was little chance it was going to work out considering she was on the bottom of both groups anyway. I don’t know why her and Tarzan seemed to break up after talk of them being a duo all season. There’s a story there to uncover. But Jacqui made this season exciting last week and kept that in me going into this week. I applaud her for doing so. It’s a shame the rocks tiebreaker didn’t work out, her navigating that situation would have been fun, even if it meant her exit was only delayed a Tribal or two. Looking at Shonee, she really was a star player this time. More so than her last run. Her social game is truly impressive and her ability to stay entertaining while playing a cutthroat game really is enjoyable to watch at home. She had to fight a lot of odds just to even get to the final seven, so for her exit to come when it did, I’m impressed. Shonee played a stellar game from the bottom almost the whole time and while it was near impossible for her to really get into the top three and/or Final Tribal Council, she should also be commended on her efforts all season long. A huge thank you to Shonee for coming back, changing nothing, and being even better TV than before. Let the fans run wild, I don’t care, lol. She deserves it. AK was great to watch this season. He’s copped a lot of flak online for reasons I can’t understand. He was under the radar yet a consistent strategic mastermind. He played extremely well with the tool set he was given, and the fight until the end was a pleasure to see. It was a dream for him to play the first time, so making it so far the second time was important and memorable for him. I hope he was satisfied with his run this time, because he was a good player and didn’t make the early mistakes he did last time. I loved watching AK play, I think he’s a very good player and character to the Australian Survivor franchise. It sucks he went out in the Vakama decimation, but it happened and Brooke’s the last hero holding the torch to make it amazing. But even if he won the trial by fire, it only postpones his inevitable vote out. Survivor is a huge game of luck, and that wasn’t on his side this time. But three cheers for AK for doing well, I would not be opposed to a third outing if he was so inclined. But seriously, stop the social media hate. It’s stupid and spiteful when you’re sitting on your couch.

So all we’ve got left is Brooke to make something exciting happen for the Vakama alliance. Brooke’s social and strategic game is certainly capable of pulling over someone to make something happen. I don’t deny she’ll fight and have solid reason to target whoever she can for whatever reason. But what works against Brooke is her physical prowess. She can’t pull it back now, it’s established she can win challenges. But she better hope the next three all favour her because I seriously doubt the other four will let her slip through. Even if they took the chance to keep Brooke one round to vote out David or such, it’s extremely risky. I don’t know if they’ll bite and considering how Tarzan and Moana are insanely loyal, it’s unlikely they’ll wait one round to do so. So Brooke, my faith is in you and these challenges. I really hope you pull it off but the realist in me tells me the goose is cooked and the elimination is only imminent. I’d love Brooke to be the Sole Survivor, she’d represent the sheer comeback of an underdog well. But it’s unlikely, so I’ll predict a Brooke fifth place occuring. But big props to her for managing to outlast her previous position. She’s such a good player, it’s amazing she was one of the big threats that didn’t get swiped in the pre-merge this season. So many of those players went deep last time. Brooke survived that, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Tarzan’s game, I don’t think, is worthy of a win up against any of the other four. While I think he CAN win, he simply doesn’t have a big move to really shine on that the jury should commend. The other four have some claim to fame, even Sharn, Tarzan’s loyalty stick just doesn’t sit right with me. Going 50 days without wavering, taking risks, being bold, or winning challenges, that’s not a great game in my eyes, it’s a safe game. Survivor is a chance to really go for broke and test yourself and earn $500,000. If Tarzan makes a move against his owners Moana and David, I’ll change my mind. But I think he’s a good guy who could earn just some moral respect from the jury. So maybe he’s a threat. If someone makes a move to take him out, it could do a lot for their game considering it’d be a good thing to list on the Final Tribal resume. I’m torn. I don’t think Tarzan should win, but I wouldn’t put it past the jury/cast to consider him a great person that might win the game as a reward. But it’s All-Stars, surely the games of the other four will outweigh that. Sorry to say it, I love Tarzan, but there’s no game. He leaked plans, he stayed loyal. That’s it. I don’t think it represents the season well. But thanks for coming back. At least I somewhat appreciate and like Moana’s game. She has been very observant and pivotal in several votes and decisions that have occurred all season. That’s a great claim to fame, but there’s two issues for me. Firstly, I’m not confident her social game has been the best. Strategically, she’s great. But she’s pissed a lot of people off because she’s not the most likeable person at camp. That might cost her at the end, although this element is hard to prove, so I’m not too focused on it. I am worried she’s left David as a shield for too long. He might stretch his way to the end and I struggle to understand why she’s happy to cut it so close. If David was the reason Moana went home, I wouldn’t be surprised. Despite not trusting him, I think she’s underestimated how big and good of a player David really is. So I can see a downfall for Moana, all solely attributed to Dave. She’s been to lenient with keeping that threat shield in front of her, so it might come to cost her when there’s literally five days left, and she’s had 45 other days to take him out. Be careful Moana, you might just be too good strategically to oversee yourself as the best player. You kept David for a reason, but that reason has certainly expired way past it’s due date. And you better take him out next. Otherwise, no one else will win.

David plays his idol for Tarzan at the final eight Tribal Council.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

In saying all that, David is a wickedly good player who has excelled in all facets of the game. It’s actually surprising in an All-Stars season, because you would think these players would know better than to steamroll David’s game right until the end. It’s Boston Rob in Redemption Island style. A great forceful player, who’s just amazing to watch, but they’re playing with people who really don’t even wanna take shots against the big dog. His alliance is too loyal. That’s gonna cost them. But to masterfully save Tarzan and Moana at the final eight, his tightest alliance, brilliant. Not wasting his idol by getting too fearful. What hasn’t David achieved? He undoubtedly deserves to be the best player this season and it’d be awesome to see him win, truly. Because he’s just that good. I think it’d represent the season well. And even though I don’t like the abundance of David screen time all season and the fact it has just been the David show strategically with no one even attempting to really take him out, I can appreciate good gameplay. Heck, great gameplay. There’s no denying David has succeeded in his goals all season and I’d only be disappointed in the cast for letting him slip through than I would David for being just a monumental player. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win. The edit favours him. The jury favours him. His alliance favours him. What could really go wrong? And then there’s Sharn and boy was this a spiral of a week for her. Make no mistake, I love Sharn. I love what she has tried to achieve and that she’s made it so far, again. That clearly is attributed to a great game. But Sharn had one goal in sight to play this time around, and that was to constantly be in the middle and the swing. That’s a great game, yes. But I’m afraid she’s played it too much. By really riding that middle swing, she’s on the bottom of both alliances and people are disappointed in her no matter what she decides. I think Sharn’s ability to prevent the rock draw was great! It was messy though, full of desperate promises that she didn’t keep. It was a great masterclass in strategic ability, but also really pissed off three (if not more) jury members. Especially Shonee after their last run together. If Sharn had flipped, it would have been a mistake. But I think she played too hard in the middle that no matter what she does, it’ll be a bad move in hindsight. Flip to take out Dave? Yes. He’s gone. But now you’re in the final six with a pissed Moana and Tarzan and the tight three of Shonee, AK and Brooke. But since she didn’t, yeah she can get to the final two but she’s gonna struggle with earning the jury’s respect. Unlike last time, Sharn hasn’t been dominant in strategy. She didn’t pick a side when she had to and instead the middle run just doesn’t cut it. I hope she turns it around. I truly do. And if she gets to the end I’ll cheer for her but I understand why a lot of people are frustrated with her. It’s messy. Sharn made the right calls but in the wrong ways (sometimes, I can’t stress that enough). I’m super worried it’ll cost her. So while I love Sharn and do think she played a good game, I think compared to what others can claim, she’ll get undone again. I hope not, but I’m fearful. Good luck to her. I’m crossing my fingers.

The rock draw would have been exciting, and damn if my two favourite players of Survivor ever both went home via rocks I’d be livid. But it didn’t make sense for the Vakama three to have a 75% risk in one of them going home. And Sharn was smart to prevent it from even being a 25% chance she went home. Should they have trusted Sharn? No. And you can always ask what if. But given the odds, it’s likely the same scenario goes down and we get the same final five. They didn’t risk it, but it was worth sticking with a social game than a game of chance. And who says Jacqui doesn’t flip back? It would have been fun to watch, but ultimately, I know I’d rather take my chance on someone’s word than a damn rock. Even if it meant I was gone the next night. I know what I would decide, even if I’d toss and turn over it. So while it sucks for the minority alliance, it was way too risky. And just what David and co wanted. Either way, they were solid. What would have been cool is if David and Tarzan agreed to split either way between Moana and Jacqui, forcing rocks. Sure, Sharn might go home. But it would have been an epic power move. Oh well. Missed opportunity. But, the whole episode was fun to watch. The saga of Sharn fighting was great and it really set up how these later days unfolded. For what this season has given, it is moments like these that I enjoyed at the very least.

Well this season has been a bloody roller coaster. Some good moments, some poor moments. Timing of twists and uneven editing was a dark cloud on my own enjoyment this season. And while the gameplay was something I could commend before, I struggle to make that commitment this time. I’m hoping for a good final two weeks. This is a great format, a great franchise, and an otherwise good season overall. If the endgame is superb, maybe there’ll be a saving grace.

How do you think Australian Survivor: All-Stars has gone so far? Has it lived up to the hype? And do you think Brooke will be able to outlast the others and defy the odds? Let me know your thoughts about anything and everything in the comments either on this post or on social media! Interact with me, let’s chat. Perhaps you caught something I didn’t. Let me know!

THE TOP FIVE

Not a top five, but the final five! Here’s the final five as they stand before the next week’s batch of episodes.

The All-Stars in the Top Five this week include:
Brooke Jowett, David Genat, Sharn Coombes, Moana Hope, and Mark ‘Tarzan’ Herlaar.
IMAGES: NETWORK 10

BROOKE JOWETT: Pull through this week Brooke! You’re a phenomenal all-around player and the last hope we have. I’m thoroughly impressed with what Brooke’s done this season. She’s amazing!

DAVID GENAT: The Golden God really is living up to his name. He’s played everyone like a fiddle and he’s my pick to take it all out. He’s clearly got the game for it. Will we finally get a dominant winner?

SHARN COOMBES: I love Sharn, that’ll never change. But I’m extremely worried about her chances to win this time. But I’ll keep hope alive and I’m pulling for an unlikely and surprising victory. Come on Sharn!

MOANA HOPE: A massive gameplayer who really blew others out of the park this season. A delightful surprise to many fans for her style and if Moana walked away with a win I would not be disappointed.

MARK ‘TARZAN’ HERLAAR: A really great guy but decent player at best. His social game is his asset, so if Tarzan can really put up a good fight in these final few days, perhaps he’ll be the one to watch and never underestimate.

Only a couple of weeks left, and only two episodes incoming. Australian Survivor is drawing to a close. I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. I’m done for this Review, but stay tuned for the American Survivor and next week’s batch of weekly Reviews.

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Australian Survivor: All-Stars continues Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10!


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