Australian Survivor: All-Stars – “The Greatest Alliance That’s Ever Been Formed”

Five remained at the top of the week but three came out alive. With a dominating alliance guaranteed to crack, which two players snuffed their chances of victory right before the finale?

As Australian Survivor: All-Stars comes to a close, two beloved fan favourites were sent home while another three entered the remaining days of the world’s greatest game. Only two episodes in this penultimate week, but there was enough Survivor glory to go around.

WEEK 8 RECAP

EPISODE TWENTY-TWO:

With another final five spot over her Survivor career, Sharn celebrates making it to the concluding days but also considers who her best ally at the end will be. Up until now, she had planned to blindside David, but now sees taking him to the end as a big move that will convince the jury to vote her to win for bringing in such a big player to battle against. Meanwhile, Tarzan reflects on his ability to make it to the final stages playing a loyal game, particularly seeing himself as central to the alliance. But the alliance of four has a competitor to take on, challenge beast Brooke, and Tarzan fears what will happen if she wins Immunity again. Pledging his allegiance to David, the two agree to stay together until the end.

But on the other side, Brooke faces a tough ask without any allies, and needs to go on an Immunity run to guarantee herself a spot at the end. Pinning several allies and moves to her names, Brooke asserts her place as an All-Star, and vows to win the game for outlasting the odds. But that doesn’t stop Brooke from seeking allies, as she reaches out to Moana and Sharn to form a female alliance, and in particular seeks a final two with Moana. Moana sees the benefit in forming an alliance with Brooke, wanting to keep options open and making the right decisions to see her get further. With so many personal goals at arm’s reach, everyone has a lot to lose at the next Immunity Challenge.

The Immunity Challenge sees the final five collect blocks that they must place on a shelf, balanced on a trip obstacle. If the obstacle is knocked, the blocks will fall. The first to spell out the phrase wins Immunity and a spot in the top four. Brooke gains an early lead, with Sharna and Moana following, and David and Tarzan towards the back end. Brooke has a nice save when she touches her frame yet doesn’t knock the blocks over, while David notices a spelling mistake that sets him back even further than before. Moana knocks off her stack as she nears the end, which gives Brooke a huge opening over everyone else. With Sharn the only likely challenger, she picks up the pace to catch Brooke, but Brooke’s lead is too large to beat and she thus wins her fifth Individual Immunity Challenge of the season (seventh overall), setting a worldwide female record and earning a 25% chance at winning Australian Survivor: All-Stars.

With the alliance forced to turn on itself, Brooke is elated with a successful shot into the final four, but even moreso sending someone from the loyal alliance of four home at Tribal Council. Hoping to target David for being a large threat to her at the end and in challenges. David however is guaranteed safety as well, because he pledges to play his idol as it can only be played for this one Tribal remaining. He, Moana and Sharn agree to vote Tarzan out because strategically, Sharn and Moana have a better chance at beating Brooke in the next Immunity Challenge. But despite this, David personally sees Tarzan as a worthy ally and isn’t set on voting out someone loyal to him. Sharn worries David might double cross her and play an idol on Tarzan, so working with Brooke to vote out Dave might be advantageous. While the girls theorise targeting David, the boys agree that David will be in trouble if Tarzan goes home being up against three women. David’s concerned about Sharn’s rumblings of a blindside on him, and questions whether he should idol her out and keep Tarzan around. Dodging an idol play and playing an idol correctly are all key in tonight’s pivotal vote.

At Tribal Council, the breakup of the tight Mokuta alliance is openly discussed, but although Brooke is safe, she doesn’t hold significant power in the decision that is made. Sharn expresses concern about being an original Mokuta and missing out on the prior relationships built before the vote. But David reminds everyone of the factors into the vote, like loyalty, but also the future votes that are critical in deciding who will be the Sole Survivor. Brooke openly admits to wanting David out for being a power player, but David offers up his challenge skills as pivotal to beating Brooke at the final four. The tribe then votes, and as expected, David plays his idol on himself, negating only Brooke’s vote against him; but while Tarzan votes for Sharn, she, Moana and David decide to blindside the loyal ally and send him to the jury.

Tarzan is voted out of the game the first night he receives votes, as his torch is snuffed at Tribal Council by Jonathan.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10

EPISODE TWENTY-THREE:

With Tarzan making room for the final four, only Brooke, Moana, Sharn and David remain to potentially become the Sole Survivor. Despite her efforts, Brooke is disappointed David wasn’t voted out, but knows Immunity is her only shot at surviving in the game against the tight trio remaining from the Mokuta alliance. David’s equally after Brooke, but cites his lack of challenge ability due to being physically exhausted and injured from the spider bite mentioned weeks earlier. Knowing that he’s going home if Brooke wins Immunity, he reflects on his journey and devoting a year of his life to the game and how winning would make it all worth it. Moana’s also seeking Brooke as a target, because Brooke is near unbeatable in challenges and winning the game entirely. For the three remaining, there’s one task at hand: beat Brooke.

At the Immunity Challenge, a wickedly hot day sees the final four throw a ball onto a track, leap through several obstacles, catch the ball and land it in a ring, throw coconuts at targets, solve a ladder puzzle, before finishing it all off with a snake maze, where the right balance and precision will grant the winner a spot in the final three. Brooke gets out to a lead, but David quickly catches and laps her as he moves on to the next stage. Moana and Sharn are completely out of it, failing to make it past the first obstacle. David and Brooke pass each other consistently, with David at the maze first and Brooke close behind. Brooke lands the first ball, and then David, but then David lands the second. Onto the final ball, a close finish sees David win Immunity, ending Brooke’s Immunity streak, bringing both of them to tears.

With David immune, the three Mokuta alliance members congratulate and celebrate defeating Brooke. But she’s not done yet, because Brooke attempts to convince Sharn that she not only can’t beat David at the end, but he’d take Moana instead of her at the end. But SIKE! Brooke has no interest in working with Sharn, and instead would rather work with Moana and sit next to her in the final two. While David and Moana speculate whether Sharn would flip, Brooke plans to convince Moana to flip and vote Sharn and send it to a fire tiebreaker. Moana hears out the pitch, weighing up what move will be best for her game, add it to her resume, believing she already has made the big moves in the game worthy of winning. With so much on the line, tonight’s decision might be make or break.

The final four at Tribal Council on Night 47, with the girls vulnerable from leaving the game days short of getting to the end.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

With Tribal Council full of emotional stories of how far everyone has come throughout the game and what they’ve faced, Brooke’s time in the game looks to be up, even with praise from David to how big of a competitor she is. Brooke’s last pitch is to the girls and that if she wins she will take them to the end. Very openly, Brooke says they can’t beat David at the end, which leaves Sharn to defend herself saying that isn’t what she believes. They argue over who approached who and what was said, Brooke’s pitch is doubted by Sharn because it’s only come on Day 47 and not any earlier. Moana, while also defending her position in the game, commends David on his brilliant game and being the best player that’s ever played. Eventually, it’s time to vote, and challenge beast Brooke is voted out, as expected, 3-1 against Sharn.

REVIEW

And now we have the final three! David, one of the biggest players the game has ever seen, Moana, a cunning strategist who has proven beyond her worth this season, and Sharn, a socially strategic swing player, pivotal in several eliminations. Let’s talk about this week, and our final three.

Tarzan has left the building, and yeah it’s a pretty odd choice since I’d consider everyone else just simply strategically better than him, and thus a bigger threat at the end to selling a case to the jury. But Tarzan was a staunch loyal player and maybe that holds up against some people. Even with playing with Moana since the beginning, her outside bond with Sharn was always going to trump that, so really it’s only David I’d be concerned with making that decision. Tarzan is easy to beat in almost every factor, for Dave, so it does seem to easy for him. But if he blindsides Sharn, maybe Moana’s pissed enough to work with Brooke at the final four and force a fire tiebreaker, one Brooke would win against Tarzan, and then Brooke and Moana would probably be the final two. That’s risky for Dave, and while that might still be troublesome with Sharn and Moana, at least David has the sheer better chance to win the final Immunity Challenge. That’s what I chalk it down to. The other reason is because at least Sharn is stronger than Tarzan in challenges, so she has a likely better chance of beating Brooke in the challenges, when they were unaware what the final two challenges would be. But what did Tarzan do wrong? He stayed loyal. That’s a fine way to play but I don’t think it’s ever going to solely grant someone the win. He didn’t make any moves or win any challenges to go with it. That is strong for former winners that have stuck with the loyalty run, but Tarzan having only one plus to his name would never hold up at the end. His main mistake was perhaps being too loyal to David, Moana wasn’t convinced he was indebted to her, so she wasn’t going to be the one to keep him around. Tarzan practically left out of circumstance. He was a number that was taken out. It wasn’t a big move, Dave had the idol after all. Tarzan becomes collateral to Brooke winning Immunity. Speaking of Brooke, damn, it sucks she couldn’t challenge Dave in this final. That would have been an epic final Immunity Challenge with the two of them going at it. But Brooke was doomed, and her pitch really wasn’t ideal at all. In the same token Brooke was telling Moana and Sharn they couldn’t beat Dave, the girls equally couldn’t beat Brooke. What good is sitting in the final two if you’re doomed to lose? Sharn and Moana would be crazy to take Brooke to the end with Dave, because they’re guaranteed to be a losing finalist. At least in the method to take out Brooke, Moana and Sharn have a chance to win Immunity for itself. Sure, Brooke is saying David will beat them. But it’s the chance they might beat him, rather than just succumbing to the title of Runner-Up. Much like Pia voting out Luke instead of Baden. What good does saving Luke mean? She’d be guaranteed a spot in the final two, but she’d lose hands down to Luke and have a good run for her money against Harry. Play to win! Not come second. Moana and Sharn knew that, that’s why they voted Brooke out. Now, Sharn’s idea to take Dave all the way to the end might throw a spanner in this theory anyway. But most certainly, Brooke needed Immunity to stay, any pitch she made was fatal to her game. Moana and Sharn would have equally known Brooke would be any harder to take on at the end. Even if Dave is a better player, Brooke isn’t an easier opponent. In the end, Brooke failed to win the challenge that decided her future. She knew that. And I wish she could have gone all the way but unfortunately any effort was not going to work. Had Brooke have been successful in flipping Moana or Sharn, then it’d be a terrible decision on their part and only add to Brooke’s glowing resume. Brooke goes home 4th. It’s a good placement considering who’s placed 4th before her. But even though I appreciate her efforts to stay, I’m glad they didn’t work, purely out of strategic sense with Moana and Sharn.

In saying that, David should have been blindsided well before we got to this point. It’s funny how useful David has become at the final five and four, yet how much he should have gone prior to this! I blame the cast for not pulling the trigger way earlier. Moana is blinded by seeing Dave as a shield, and Sharn is blinded by repeating the same mistake of last season.

SHARN COOMBES
Season 3 (2018)
Previous Placement: Runner-Up
Predicted Placement: Runner-Up

IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Sharn cops a lot of flak for how she plays, but I think we need to consider that Sharn played a near perfect game last time, that she has had to adapt her game this time to ensure she wins. This FORCES her to think differently, and unfortunately, incorrectly, and see David as an ally to take the final two. If we recall, Sharn lost the game because Brian was able to convince the jury Sharn didn’t play loyally (yet, she did) while she was singing the tune of loyalty to her Champions alliance. This time, she’s stuck to that loyal approach to her alliance, given it’s what undid her last time, and it’s coming back to bite her, again! Because David is TOO good and she’s played the middle position too much. Has Sharn made some game mistakes? Yes. But did she have good intentions and was aiming to play differently from last time a right call? Yes, as well! Sharn needed to change it up this time, but she missed what was truly necessary. At the end of the day, they’re mistakes, a miss in judgement. Let’s not call her dumb or weak for it. That’s unfair. There is immense pressure and I think Sharn may have gotten confident and overthought what she needed to do to sit well at the end. Then again, she’s not out yet. There’s still time for her to turn it around if she plays it completely perfectly.

I think the edit and gameplay doesn’t favour Sharn this time. That sucks. I’m an avid supporter of Sharn, as you guys would know, and I still think she’s played a very good game. It just doesn’t hold a candle to David’s. And if she goes up against Moana, maybe there’s a chance, but I think Moana has a lot more for the jury to appreciate whereas Sharn has people on the jury that receive her gameplay negatively. She NEEDS to bring it home at the Final Tribal Council, if she’s there, because that’s the only way she’ll scrape five votes. And past performance shows this might be a hurdle. It’s clear Brooke and Shonee are pretty much not voting Sharn no matter what. But maybe she can swing a few others with a compelling story. This task will be much easier against Moana, but I don’t like her chances at all against Dave. Both he and Moana just have a better story than Sharn’s in terms of background and journey to get here. I am predicting Sharn to get Runner-Up again. I think if she happens to win final Immunity and take Dave, it’ll be even more locked in. I really wish I wasn’t writing these words. But we’ve got to look at the game realistically. Including how the edit favours players. David just simply has such a strong resume, unfortunately for Sharn, she isn’t aware of it (so we think). For Sharn to have any luck in pulling over a jury, she’ll have to sit at the end with a compelling story and vote out David by winning the Final Immunity Challenge. That’s the pathway for her, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll play out just like that. Please, Sharn, pull through!

DAVID GENAT
Season 4 (2019)
Previous Placement: 10th
Predicted Placement: Sole Survivor

IMAGE: NETWORK 10

Quite possibly one of the biggest players the game has ever seen, David has certainly faced many challenges on his road to success in Australian Survivor: All-Stars, but there’s two things going for him. A sheer dominant game and outlasting so many opportunities that others should have taken to topple him, and an overwhelming favourable edit. Sure, David’s missed out on some votes and hasn’t been amongst every strategic decision that’s been made in the game. But when he has been (which is more often than not), he’s made power moves. Who can forget the epic Daisy blindside early on? From there, David has made move after move, seeing a target and shooting the shot. He led the Mokuta alliance and their succession of eliminating Vakama at the merge, and although Moana has been in his ear through much of the way, David has charmed everyone to ensure he’s never considered a threat. His ability to hold his tongue and not observably dominate his alliance has stopped anyone from seeing him as a dictator, allowing for his allies to trust him and be inclined to stay loyal throughout the season. With two idols played relatively successfully to save him or his alliance, David is also a competitor in challenges, notably taking down Brooke when she needed it most. He has surrounded himself with an alliance of people who preach loyalty, which removed anyone from even trying to overthrow him. David’s gameplay has improved week on week. Even when he looks to be in trouble, or others make a move, David trumps it with his own and appeals to the right people, pushing the right buttons where possible. Even Moana trusted him enough to stick with him all season long, despite voicing concerns about him on the first few days of the game. David came in as a monster threat, and yet manages to sit in the final three. There’s no way this game isn’t his to lose.

For the first time in Australian Survivor history, we might have a dominant player end up winning the game. And given David has been the central player throughout the season, I think it’s hard for anyone to even seriously consider that the edit gears up for a Sharn or Moana win. David has had a winner’s edit, galore. If he somehow goes at the final three, I feel bad for both Moana and Sharn who have been so severely under edited that their stories have been neglected from the beginning of the season. David has been given every positive tick in the book, and if he were to make it to the Final Tribal Council, it would be a total shock to see him lose the game. David truly has run the game, even being called out as a big threat for a while yet outlasting until the end. He has cards up his sleeve, ready to play at the end. As much as I don’t like a dominating player that wins the game, especially when they’re so heavily edited as a main character, I commend David on what he has been able to achieve. The man is one of the best in this franchise, and it’ll be no surprise to me if he takes home the grand prize. Good luck Dave, but lord knows you don’t even need it.

MOANA HOPE
Season 3 (2018)
Previous Placement: 19th
Predicted Placement: 3rd (Final Juror)

IMAGE: NETWORK 10

I think there is a case for Moana to win the game, but it’s only just come around for me in the last week. I think Moana has done very well strategically, she’s integrated herself in a lot of decisions and has become central to the storyline of what happened in the game. I think she might be hit and miss with some members of the jury, Brooke and Tarzan will favour her, but others may not. I originally thought her social game was relatively fair, but Brooke’s last episode seemed to allude to a much better social game than otherwise seen. That’s great news for Moana, because if she’s at the end, she’s got a lot to go on. I do think she will be scrutinised if she’s sitting next to Dave, but I also think she’ll hold her own. Moana kept Dave for so long as a shield, I think she left him too late and he’ll cut her or beat her because that’s how good David is. When it’s crunch time, take out the shield when they become just too big of a threat to handle. Moana failed to realise that David was such a key player, and if she manages to get to the end without him, then I’ll take it all back. But I think it’s unlikely. Other than this inconsistency, Moana has done very well to put herself in a good position amongst her allies and even adversaries. But at times, I think Sharn’s strategic thinking took more work and solidified plans, and Moana is over confident in what she has been able to achieve.

Moana doesn’t have a flashy game, it’s a very strategic game. Next to Dave, I think she can work to get votes, and her emotional family story will be strong against him too. But in the end, I think she can miss it, and will miss it. She’s already talked up David significantly just at the last Tribal Council. She knows he’s a big player, but maybe like Sharn, believes she can beat that. It just doesn’t align for me with Moana being seen as the big strategic player, when really, she makes these glaring mistakes. Next to Sharn, it’s a much easier case to make but I also think their games compare similarly, although Moana was firmly on one side throughout. It’s for this reason that I see Moana going to the jury. She’s not strong in challenges, so unless she pulls a Kristie, her fate will be left to Sharn and David. If David wins, I’m sure he’ll cite Moana as a big threat to him (compared to Sharn), and cut her rightfully so he can produce a better win. And while I think Sharn’s best move is to take Moana to the end and use it as a big move on her resume, the recent talk about taking the best to the end and believing she can beat Dave tells me Moana’s still in trouble if Sharn happens to win. Ultimately, I’m confident Dave’s edit spells a winning season, and that Sharn’s edit lines up with becoming a two-time Runner-Up. Even though Moana’s edit really can fall into either line, it’s not as strong, so I rank her in as the final juror. I have enjoyed watching Moana, and her family story is amazingly beautiful. But that’ll play out when the loved ones visit the final three, and be heavily discussed as the Immunity winner decides who they want to sit next to. So, while it’s been a great run for Moana, especially after being so underestimated and bouncing back from her previous placement in 2018, I don’t think Moana will jump over the last hurdle. If I’m wrong and Moana manages to win this game, props to her. She’s done very, very well given the circumstances. And while there are some key flaws to her strategy, overall, it’s impressive, and certainly deserves some credit.

We have our final three! Personally, of course, I’ll be rooting for Sharn. But damn David played a fantastic game that I’d love the win, and Moana equally has been a great force this season that would be an amazing victory for her too. There’s no top five, because we don’t have any, so that’s the Review done for this week! Only one episode remains, are you excited?

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The Australian Survivor: All-Stars grand finale airs Monday at 7:30pm, with a Reunion at 10:00pm on Channel 10!


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