Wait… wasn’t there ALREADY an Australian Survivor post this week? What is it with other countries and their deserve for constant airings of this show?
In the pre-credits sequence, Luke makes me think I was right, and that his rogue vote was a strategically placed grenade designed to prevent a coalition that he’s not part of from forming. He could have and maybe should have just gone with the flow at such an early stage of the game, but he’s not wrong when he says “Anybody who comes up to you and says ‘this is the plan’, it means you’re not in their group”. He then starts running his mouth and makes me think “oh wait, maybe he’s just an ADHD man-child throwing bombs willy-nilly merely to fuck with people.”
We open the episode proper with Locky talking about how happy and unified Samatau is, which must mean the tribe will be a three-alarm fire by the end of the episode (spoiler: YUUUP). AK is pouting because he knows his strategy of playing too hard too fast and transparently making alliances with everybody has backfired and nobody likes or trusts him. Adam extends an olive branch then gives a confessional saying that he’s just manipulating AK to get him out of the game.
The morning of Day 4, it turns out that the Joan boot wasn’t a simple vote split; there was actually a faction that wanted Joan gone (Sam, Henry, Sarah, Jacqui, and Mark W) and a faction that wanted Kent gone (Ben, Odette, Michelle, and Jericho, plus the turncoat Luke). These have solidified into two rival alliances, with Kent the swing vote I guess. Luke and Jericho plot how to pull Kent in.
Meanwhile on Samatau, an anti-AK alliance has formed between Adam, Tara (promising that she can get Peter), Kate, Tess, and Ziggy. On the surface, professional poker player Adam isn’t as wildly overconfident as Jean-Robert, Garrett, or Anna, but he’s very clearly appointed himself leader and refers to the others as his alliance of pawns. This may not end well for him. AK knows he’s in big trouble, so he going to start mending fences. Oh wait, my bad; he’s going to make a fake idol. He tells Jarrad that he found an idol on the ship that he can either exchange for chickens or play as an immunity idol, but only at the first tribal council. Somehow Jarrad and the others semi-believe this malarkey.
There’s a reward challenge that’s half the Slip-N-Slide challenge from One World and Cambodia, and half rugby. Locky scores the winning point and the fishing gear for Samatau, completely losing his shorts in the process. Everybody has a big laugh, but how Jonathan and the other survivors missed the opportunity to joke about Locky’s pole, or Locky’s tackle, is beyond me.
AK spots an idol clue hidden on the boat that was part of the reward, but Adam and Locky are standing around, preventing him from grabbing it. AK stares at it so long that Adam realizes what’s happening, and he alerts his pawns. Ziggy distracts AK, and Adam grabs the clue.
Back at Asaga, Luke is running around building spy shacks. Good artists copy; great artists steal. Jacqui and Henry find an idol clue at the well and have no trouble finding the idol because Henry’s been searching for it for four days and has a mental map of the entire camp.
At Samatau, everybody is hard at work building their shelter (still?) and Adam’s alliance mates are bristling about Adam going off to search for the idol. The idol is hidden on an island that’s separate from, but well within sight of, the camp. Despite having the clue, Adam can’t find the idol, even though it’s on the ground in plain sight (he even kneels on it at one point). AK catches on and goes over to hunt for it too.
Adam goes to his pawns and tells them they need to help look for the idol or else AK will get it. They push back, insisting that they need to finish the shelter. This is some admixture of crazy and stupid, but also they’re fed up with being bossed around by Adam. Adam then turns to people outside his core alliance for help, showing them the idol clue. Adam, Ziggy, and Locky go to look for the idol. We see AK digging, and then taking off. Adam tells the others he just couldn’t find the idol, but Locky immediately spots where someone’s been digging, and also finds the string that wrapped the now missing idol.
What happens next is one of the stranger turns of events I think I’ve ever seen on Survivor. Locky and Ziggy side-eye Adam because the idol was in such an obvious place that Adam couldn’t have missed it, and anyway AK wouldn’t be stupid enough to leave the string behind (but Adam did, and AK was). The implication hanging in the air is that they suspect Adam has the idol and is playing them to put the target on AK. Adam panics and says they should just vote him (Adam) out. That just ratchets up the suspicion, because why would Adam say that unless he has the idol and is trying to misdirect votes? Ziggy spells it all out, then she and Locky bail.
We have an immunity challenge and it’s a riff on the obstacle course from Nicaragua with the bamboo barrier and the brick wall. Unfortunately, Chase Rice is not around to bet on the women in a brute-strength challenge. Samatau jumps out to a big lead, but Asaga comes all the way back and wins immunity. This is mostly because Ziggy is completely inept at the final stage of the course, which is really weird given that she’s an Olympic medalist (granted, her bronze is in water polo, and not throwing things at things, but still…).
As weird as the whole business with the idol was, at this point the rest of Samatau says “hold my beer”. It should be an easy vote split to flush the idol and get rid of either Adam or AK. But Anneliese suddenly thinks she’s a target for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, AK brandishes his fake idol, but it’s just a fucking rock and everybody knows it. To his credit, AK picks up on Anneliese’s paranoia and tells her Adam is rounding up votes against her. Anneliese gathers five votes, but they’re going to split the vote between Adam and the until-now invisible Kate. This is insanity. Even if AK’s fake idol is so fakey-fake that you’re lulled into thinking he must not have a real idol, you still need to split the vote between him and Adam. Anneliese has a five-person group (Anneliese, Locky, Aimee, Jarrad, and Pete), while Adam has a highly unstable six-person group (Adam, Kate, Tara, Ziggy, Mark H, and Tessa), and AK is shut out of both groups.
After a not-terribly-insightful TC, Anneliese’s group votes for Adam except Annaliese herself votes for Kate (?). Adam’s group votes for Anneliese (??), except Kate defects and votes for AK (???) and Tara defects and votes for Kate (????). AK does the sensible thing and votes for Adam (“you think you’re pretty smooth but you probably still own a velcro wallet.” BURRRRRN), but he then plays his real idol on Jarrad (?????).
When the dust settles, it’s one vote AK, two votes Kate, four votes Anneliese, and five votes Adam. Professional poker players, amirite?
Favorite seasons: Pearl Islands, China, Tocantins, Heroes vs. Villains, Philippines, Cagayan, Cambodia
Favorite players: Yul Kwon, Denise Stapley, Cirie Fields, Tony Vlachos, Judd Sergeant, Benjamin Wade (Tocantins and HvV only), Brenda Lowe (fight me!)