Australian Survivor: All-Stars – “I Hope I’m The Sole Survivor”

After 50 days, Australian Survivor: All-Stars came to a close with an epic Final Immunity Challenge and grilling from the jury. So which of the final three took home the grand prize?

Since 2016, 95 people took on the gruelling journey that is Australian Survivor. But this season, 24 of them returned for another shot at becoming the Sole Survivor and winning $500,000. With only two days left in the game, three remained:
Former finalist and criminal barrister, Sharn Coombes.
Early boot and AFLW player, Moana Hope.
Jury member and international model, David Genat.
All former members of a Champions tribe, all with a vastly different experience the first time around. But this time, one was guaranteed to win.
This is the finale Review for Australian Survivor: All-Stars.

FINALE RECAP

EPISODE TWENTY-FOUR:

The final three (David, Moana & Sharn) make their way from camp to the Final Immunity Challenge, where we revisit their journey’s across two seasons so far and see what it will mean for them if they can take home the big prize at the end. When they meet with Jonathan, there’s only one more thing to do: bring out some love! Sharn’s husband and four kids reunite for a second time on Australian Survivor, with her family expressing that they are not shocked she’s managed to make it to these final stages, again. Next, Moana’s wife and sister rejoice after so much time away, a truly heartfelt moment pulling on the heart strings. And then David’s wife and daughter greet the Golden God, as he gifts his girl the flower he’s worn in every challenge since the season began. But, there’s a job to do, and the final three prepare to begin their last chance to guarantee a spot at the Final Tribal Council.

Jonathan explains the final challenge to them, standing on narrow pegs with their hand on an idol, with the waves crashing into them as they also pull a chord behind them. If they let go or step off, they’re out, with no shot at earning their spot at the end. It’s a punishing challenge, especially as the tide grows in and the ocean reaches their feet, making the pegs slippery and the challenge more difficult than it was before. Suddenly, Moana slips off the peg and collapses into the water. Her wife joins her after her effort for over an hour, battling to win Immunity. But it becomes a showdown between David and Sharn, with Moana sitting on the bench. As the pain grows, David and Sharn discuss the final vote, and that they’re both taking each other no matter who wins. David says he wants to take the best player and battle them at the Final Tribal, with Sharn agreeing, and saying she learnt from her mistakes last time, seeing it as an honour to sit next to Dave at the end. No deal is struck however, and the challenge continues for nearly four hours with the rain pelting down on top of them. In another sudden drop, Sharn slips off the peg making David the Final Immunity winner, as he cries into his wife’s shoulder, claiming victory. Sharn equally breaks down with her husband and son, acknowledging that she was otherwise okay and only slipped off the peg. Nevertheless, David is the winner and will decide between Moana and Sharn for who goes to the jury and who he will take on to win the game.

Sharn and David compete in the Final Immunity Challenge.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

At Tribal Council, with one big decision remaining, Sharn pitches to David, talking about the promise they made during the Final Immunity Challenge and how he would be going against his word if he decides to send her out. But Moana’s pitch is much the opposite, saying their alliance and bond all season matters more. They had made a promise to go to the end together earlier in the season, but saying a promise is not necessary to seal their potential spot of sitting at the end together. Sharn’s former performance in front of a Survivor jury is also brought up, with Moana adding that it may be advantageous but Sharn conceding that the juries in law and the game are vastly different. Moana and Sharn exchange comments trying to win over David’s choice, but I believe David’s mind has been made up long before this moment, and he goes to make his final vote. Jonathan then reads it out, and the final member of the jury is revealed to be Moana. Her torch is snuffed, solidifying David and Sharn as the final two.

On the morning of Day 50, Sharn celebrates making it to 100 days (the first to ever do so in this series and across two seasons worldwide) in the game of Survivor, and being in the same position as before, with another chance to claim victory and become Sole Survivor. David on the other hand discusses spending a whole year playing the game twice, wanting to make his kids and family proud, and come back better than before in his second shot. They grab their torches and head off to the Tribal Council that matters most.

Sharn and David arrive at the Final Tribal Council, faced with a jury of nine people they each had a hand in sending there. Now, those nine people will decide who wins the season and $500,000. Sharn makes a clear and concise pitch, formal and detailed to her major strategy in playing under the radar and making covert moves to move forward in the game. She built multiple alliances and worked between them, forming genuine relationships and making pivotal decisions to ensure her place in the game was always secure. David makes his pitch, much more colloquial but also detailed to his moves right from the beginning. His ability to find both idols and never needing to play them is mentioned, as he wraps up by adding that while he played an aggressive game, he had fun along the way.

Sharn and David face the jury and pitch to them why they should be the Sole Survivor for Australian Survivor: All-Stars.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

The jury then address the finalists, each earning their congratulations for making it to the end. David is scrutinised for losing the Golden God once the merge hit, but his defence is that he attempted to protect information and still make big moves without getting sent to the jury. Shonee asks Sharn why she should vote for her a second time after not doing so the first, as Sharn explains she learnt from her mistakes and tried to play smarter and more subtle. AK makes a flashy move to make Sharn decide between drawing a rock or backing her game to win AK’s vote. She (rightfully, yet hesitantly) decides to back her own game, which was a manipulated move by AK anyway. David’s manipulation of idols is brought up, although he acknowledges that his social relationships were most pivotal in getting to the end. Sharn’s constant options all season long are commended, but by doing so, she also lied to many jurors, damaging their perception of her. Tarzan then questions Sharn on why she told him to vote Moana, but she struggles to coherently give an answer as to why the move was a good choice and fails to own her move until Moana tells her to, eventually conceding that it had a dual purpose. Moana then asks David if he was she played better, labelling it weak but understandable. David wraps up by saying he learnt a lot from everyone but also had a hand in each juror’s elimination. The jury then votes, and Jonathan takes them away to read at the Reunion.

Back in Australia, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption to many within the Australian Survivor: All-Stars crew, with several cast members missing from attending, no live audience, Sharn (and later Moana) broadcast from Melbourne on a TV screen, and Jonathan stuck in the United States, leaving Osher to fill in as host. Jonathan does join via satellite, as he reveals the votes.
First vote: David.
Second vote: David.
Third vote: Sharn.
That’s two votes David, one vote Sharn.
Fourth vote: David.
Fifth vote: David.
It only takes five to win, and David’s up 4-1.
Sixth vote: David, meaning…
David is the Sole Survivor of Australian Survivor: All-Stars, victorious in an 8-1 vote.

REVIEW

A massive congratulations to David for winning this season with a massive game, truly deserving of taking it all out. But he had it lapped up the moment Sharn slipped off the pegs. He’s one of the biggest players we’ve ever seen and his performance this season was both unstoppable and a masterclass in Survivor strategy and social manipulation. He aligned himself with the best people to help his cause in the game and made moves when he had to, but also stayed subtly controlling of votes where he could take a back seat. He also won three crucial Immunity Challenges and found two idols, that can’t go unnoticed. David really hit each spot of the game and perfected a lot of the errors many players make. He wasn’t a perfect prototype of a Survivor winner, but no doubt earned his place up there into the legendary status and deserved all the glory he can get for winning a monster season. It is Australia’s first dominant Sole Survivor, so I’m sure many fans are elated with that. He has cemented himself in the history books and his win truly makes him a pivotal character for what we might see in Australian Survivor‘s future. Once again, congratulations to David for pulling off what others couldn’t, and really being a front runner from the get go.

David with the Individual Immunity necklace around his neck after winning the final Immunity Challenge, guaranteeing himself a spot in the final two.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

Also a massive congratulations to my personal favourite player in Australian Survivor, Sharn for making it to the end again and playing 100 days of this game. It is no easy feat to get to this stage of the game again, and Sharn played extremely different to last time, understandable given how short she fell last time. I personally am much more of a fan of her game in her first season, but am equally impressed with what she was able to do this season with a target on her back and difficult positions to overcome. She stopped an alliance from drawing rocks, kept her options open, often these qualities are fit to winning the game. There were just some inconsistencies along the way and up against David, weren’t going to hold up to possibly garner five jury votes. I’m glad she got Moana’s vote, it’s a better loss than 0-9. Sharn was severely under edited however for exactly what she was able to do. Her ability to make covert moves were on a much higher calibre than the show gave her credit for, so I’m confident Sharn’s game really was pretty damn good but overshadowed over David’s truly incredibly strategy and execution. Great job to Sharn and well done for making it all the way here again. I’m thoroughly impressed of the very first contributor to Reality Review (way back before All-Stars was filmed last year). Thank you for being an amazing friend and for coming back out onto the show for a second time.

Our final juror Moana didn’t get to the end this time, although I don’t imagine the result would have changed too much. Moana did bring back her well developed strategy from her first season, although I still feel there were some key elements missed from her that could have seen her get to the end and win the game. Knowing David is a big player but keeping him in as a shield for so long, it didn’t work out. You don’t want your shield to decide if you go with them to the end, so Moana should have acted to get him out well before we even got to this stage. Moana was pivotal in David’s success (as was Sharn), but while I think Moana was an otherwise good player, she made big errors that really dampen her game for me. She could have been a great player this season, instead it’s just good for me. I hate to be harsh, because I do respect Moana for coming back out, proving a lot of people wrong, and being a major character to the season’s storyline. She was never going to win up against Dave though, and I think it’s tough to call between her and Sharn. Maybe she can scrape in a vote, but it’s hearsay. Congratulations to Moana for making it to Day 49, it isn’t an easy feat either and she rightfully should be proud of her game. I just don’t think it’s as great as it has been made out to be. David wipes the floor with both Moana and Sharn. That’s just how good HE was, thanks to Moana’s strategy to keep him in the game for so damn long.

We’ve got some standout players from this season, I mean Brooke was a beast this time both physically but also strategically within the Vakama alliance. She failed by being in the minority, that sucks, but I loved watching her and she’s among one of the best we saw this season. Shonee really brought her sass and gameplay again from last time and we love to see it. She’s an even better character than she was before and I enjoyed her much more this time than last time. A fighter as well. I don’t think many can expect such a high level of social game than what we got from Shonee, but she brought it! Harry was another really good player this season, it’s a shame he got taken out so early but I was really impressed with him managing to make the merge again. Sure, maybe the others not seeing his final stretch helped but I think Harry is a major player in this show. Just really calculating, I respect that. They’re my stand out jurors.

The jury of nine that decided if Sharn or David would become the Sole Survivor and win $500,000.
IMAGE: NETWORK 10/10 DAILY

Jacqui pulled off a big move, one of the biggest. And that kept the show exciting right when it seemed to be just a dull rollover of Vakama decimation. Huge props to Jacqui for doing that, I’m thoroughly impressed by her wavering from the pack to make that move. Did it pay off well? Not really. But it was so good to watch! AK was good all season, but that Final Tribal move is sour for me. We have since learned the bag only had one white rock, guaranteeing Sharn would get his vote if she chose the bag. His move to make her choose a rock was pretty fun to watch, but very manipulative because if anyone would choose the bag, they risk making a major Final Tribal blunder. If Sharn chooses to go to rocks, sure, she gets AK’s vote. But she also tells the jury that she backs her own game for eight jurors, but for one (AK), she’ll chance it. If anyone said go to rocks, it would be a terrible, terrible move. You can’t argue you deserve to win and really trust your game if you go to a chance move. Sharn had no way of winning that. So I am soured on AK for pulling such a stunt. It has bad taste. I’m not a fan.

Some pre-jury standouts: Nick!!!!!! The puzzle king! Damn, I wish he made jury. I think he’s an incredible thinker and strategist who just got screwed. He played so much better this time and of course he flails to the Golden God. Well done Nick, he’s a star in this game and one of my biggest disappointments this season is seeing his elimination. It just sucked. Phoebe deserved better too! Watching her just slowly unravel and get eliminated was uncomfortable to watch. She was voted out, won a challenge to come back, and then just got beaten up until she went home, to be honest. The whole Phoebe-Nick vibe was so fun, why we were robbed of it from an alliance that was only half good? It sucks. Also big props to Flick (even though we barely saw her), Abbey, Henry and Michelle. I enjoyed them a lot as well.

Otherwise, where does this season rank? Well the editing I believe was the worst in five seasons. David, as much of a character as he is, was way over used this season. His confessional count is massively high, and it overshadowed so many other players that could have said much the same as him albeit without any showboating or repetitiveness. It just seemed that every time something happened, David needed to comment. And that’s an editing choice. not David’s. Equally, so many people were ignored and even Sharn got no confessionals in the penultimate episode! WTF? Flick was ignored until the week of her elimination, and many key moments were purposely removed from the episode like Moana’s $500 bid at the auction and Vakama finding out David was the mole. So the editing went downhill this time, it ranks 5th. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone considering production decided to leave half the cast off being revealed until the premiere episode. Such a strange choice for a group of ‘All-Stars’ when you’re only including roughly 12 of them to hype up the show. That’s disappointing and I think a major mistake by Channel 10.

Then looking at gameplay, there were some really odd twists that made little sense this season. It didn’t fit the formula of Survivor, and just made me question some choices made by those involved. A wasted double exile twist? A tribe swap at 19? Six people going to exile and a vote to decide who goes? Two random fire challenges? It was messy and not really exciting as a viewer and fan of the game. I never said, “cool”. It just had bad taste. Couple that with subpar gameplay from the cast. A major decimation of a minority tribal alliance at the merge just wasn’t fun. Jacqui saved that for us but seeing the same tribe just go to the very end together wasn’t really amazing to watch. I get why it happened, but it lost excitement. There were many opportunities for big moves but I think the cast just played it safe and those who would make massive game decisions unfortunately went home before the merge. This wasn’t my favourite season, and I think it does rank in as 5th overall for me. There were some great moments, especially in gameplay, but the editing inconsistencies and questionable twist choices were a big dampener on the season for me. Which sucks, because it’s All-Stars! As good as David is, a steamroll until the end is similar to that of Rob and Kim’s wins in the American Survivor. Their gameplay is recorded as some of the best ever in the history of the show, but both of their winning seasons come in quite low because it seemed like the win was handed to them on a silver platter. Is that the price we have to pay for a great winner? A dull season?

All in all, this season had a great result. We had great episodes, good blindsides. I am still satisfied with the package of All-Stars itself, and maybe it’ll hold up better on a rewatch. We’ll have to wait and see. The future of the show is disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so let’s hope and pray we can get another Australian Survivor season soon, I’d love to see 24 newbies make it better than what the All-Stars can do. We’ll have to wait and see!

What did you think of Australian Survivor: All-Stars? Is David’s win one of the best we’ve ever seen in Survivor history? And what theme would you like next season to be? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments here or on social media!

As we wrap up this season, I will be Reviewing another Australian show coming soon to our TV screens! We’re in the next wave of Reality TV, so which one will I take on? Find out in due time! In the mean time, stay safe, stay indoors, and see you soon.

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