Australian Survivor, week 2. What are you doing, Australian Survivor?

Welcome to week 2 of Australian Survivor coverage.

Update: episode 5 is posted.

For those of you looking for a place to watch Australian Survivor, it’s still streaming at: http://www.dailymotion.com/drew-johnson

(Disclaimer: The Purple Rock Podcast is not associated with Dailymotion.)

"Yeah, there's, um a throne.... for a king."
This is not the face you make when you are trying to lie to someone.

“Episode 3”

Australian Survivor is still a little predictable, but that’s a small quibble as long as it keeps being fun. If this post-merge is gonna be series of minor villains taking their show and being shown the door, I’ll be satisfied.

We start the episode with the return of the “honesty” and “deceive” boxes last seen on World’s Apart. In theory this shouldn’t work, on a season full of huge Survivor fans you’d expect someone to remember how taking the small bag of beans went for So Kim, but no. Everyone chooses to lie to their tribes, setting off this episode’s central conflict.

At Aganao, Rohan and Phoebe decide to pretend they were given a choice between a big bag and a small bag with no indication as to what was in either. Evan is immediately suspicious and heads to the meeting point. It turns out that Rohan let the clue fall out of his swim trunks. We should just assume now that if Aganoa has to do anything at all, they will find a way to screw it up. When Rohan realizes what’s happened he runs off to do damage control, concocting a ridiculous story about how he was going to share the clue but wanted to slowly release the information. It shouldn’t work, but does, because that’s how little people trust Evan at this point. Evan remains blissfully unaware of this, and talks to the camera about how he’s securely in the center of things.

Vavau’s representatives, Nick and Tegan, choose to admit the clue was there but make up a fake version to share with the tribe. Unfortunately, their unenthusiastic performance makes the lie obvious to Craig and Andrew, whom Nick ends up having to confess to. It’s hard to tell what the actual dynamics are at Vavua since they continue to be so dominant in the challenges, but I’m impressed with how Craig and Andrew are handling things. They appear to be fully aware of how hard Nick is working things but are currently content to let him be in the spotlight, knowing that if something goes wrong he’ll take all the heat for it. If Vavau can stay intact until the merge I see them coming out as dominant forces in the second half of the game.

Aganoa, of course, continues to be a disaster in the challenges. At one point in the reward challenge they even manage to get the rope holding their buoys tangled around their boat. But what really sinks them is their total lack of puzzle solvers. When this episode’s immunity challenge ends with the standing visual puzzle (although, unlike the blank silhouettes used on American Survivor, this version has an elaborate pattern), they’re basically screwed. As hard as production tries to make it look like the red tribe are still in it, when Saanapu pulls off a second place finish, Aganoa is about half done.

Back at the beach, it looks like it should be an easy vote. Not only is Kat on the outs, she’s now failed twice on a puzzle. But Phoebe sees this as a good time to blindside Evan, who is, in her words, “no use to her going forward,” whereas keeping a foot in the door with Kristie and Kat will help her in the long run. She reconvenes the woman’s alliance and pulls in Rohan, who really has nowhere else to go at this point.

Evan for his part seems to have no idea this is coming. He’s confident both because he believes he’s in alliance of five and because he has the clue lie to hold over Rohan’s head. When Kat lists an inner four of Lee, Rohan, El, and Phoebe at tribal council the look of shock on his face at not being included is genuine. And in his parting words he’s still talking as if he thought the game was his to win.

At least the show can have some fun with him on his way out the door. He’s hilarious post-challenge, mimicking sucking up to Rohan in what feels like a bad Ricky Gervais impression and getting in another chance to call Phoebe dumb. Also, he had leaves in his hair for some reason. If it makes it a little more obvious when his number is called, it’s worth it for giving him one final clowning.

Discussion questions:

  • Lee is so adamant about voting off Kat he writes her name down even after it’s clear that’s not happening. He can probably get away with it because Aganoa needs him, but why stick your neck out like that?
  • I didn’t talk about Peter getting the idol clue or Kylie feeling on the outs but then being okay because why bother. Saanapu was in like five minutes of this episode. Not really a question, just, man, are they boring.
  • Why did Evan have leaves in his hair?

Episode 4”

So, after a decent string of episodes, Australian Survivor has its first dud. And hey, ever since Peter asked to be voted off, the possibility of him quitting was a thing, but the show handles it in the most awkward, tension killing manner possible.

Let’s start at the beginning. Aganoa comes back from tribal council with Evan gone and Phoebe feeling triumphant. She’s got the option of going with the women or of sticking with Lee, Rohan, and El. But tension starts to brew when Rohan finds the idol and backs out on his promise to give it to her. I’ve been really enjoying Phoebe (and thanks, Australian Survivor, for letting a young, blonde woman narrate her own game) but she’s coming close to overplaying things here. Being suspicious of Rohan at this point is sensible, but rein it in a bit; the time to act on those suspicions probably isn’t coming soon, and in the meantime all you can do is create distance between the two of you.

Already into damage control mode is Nick over at Vavau. He pulls Craig, Sue, and Jenna-Louise over to explain the real idol clue, but only manages to make things worse. His exaggerated act of only remembering fragments of the text is painfully transparent, and deepens Craig’s growing suspicions of him. Nick has been our surrogate at Vavau for pretty much all of the game, but he does seem to have a lot of irons in the fire, and this could easily be the start of his downfall.

Assistant Dragon Slayer speculated in the comments last night on how they’re going to fill 2 to 3 hours of show a week and the answer turns out to be not well. The first sign that maybe suprersizing Survivor wasn’t the best idea comes tonight, in the form of a human interest story about Kate, who we learn was involved in a serious accident that probably should have killed her. These pieces are good as short beats, and serve the important function of humanizing the players, but the longer this one plays out the more it just drags. And that’s with 3 tribes to check in on and a fairly compelling story. Filling air time is only going to get harder as the game progresses.

Also Saanapu is a tribe that is still there. Kylie still feels on the outs and looks for the idol. The camera makes it look like she’s in the right spot but just can’t find it, so we’ll see how that plays out. And Peter is still bummed about not getting voted out. Can I stop talking about Saanapu, now?

This episode’s immunity challenge starts with the tribe’s retrieving heavy crates from the water. Lee and Rohan, easily the two strongest people out there, manage to build a decent lead for Aganoa. Vavau, already the weakest tribe, have also managed to break their flint, and three days on starvation rations are taking their toll. As Vavau falls farther and farther behind it looks like Aganoa is going to get a reprieve this week. At this point I turned to my roommate and said, “don’t be fooled. They’ll still screw up the puzzle.”

Which they do. The new puzzle team of Phoebe and Rohan don’t fare better than previous iterations. Matt the magician easily catches up to them and secures the win for Saanapu, and they don’t seem to have made any progress when Vavau finally arrives. Nick passes them as well and Aganoa is going to tribal council again.

The obvious thing to do is vote off Kat, who’s still at the bottom of the pecking order and wasn’t even allowed to compete in this challenge. But Phoebe’s paranoia about Rohan is ramping up. She makes things worse by all but outright telling him she’s flirting with betraying him, then seems to get back on board with voting for Kat, but only after whispering doubts to El and Lee. It’s a muddled approach that only serves to build unnecessary tension in her alliance.

But, as Aganoa head off to tribal, we go back to Saanapu because Peter has finally decided to quit. LaPaglia hunkers down with him on the beach, then sends Peter off on the quit-boat so he can go bag on him to the rest of the tribe gathers everyone around for a teary goodbye, in what is possibly the starkest contrast between our two hosts we’ve seen yet.

There’s never a great way to handle a late-episode quit, but this method seems designed to maximize tension and then refuse to pay off. Everything episode seemed to be building towards the moment when we finally see which way Aganoa is gonna break, so ending with a tribal council where we know nobody is going home can’t hep but be anti-climactic. LaPaglia tries to throw fuel on the fire by all but forcing the tribe to admit they’re voting out Kat before telling them there’s no vote tonight, but it doesn’t help, and the episode ends with a wimper.

Discussion points:

  • LaPaglia hit a new mark for heavy-handed questioning this episode. How does everyone feel about the decision to blow up the Aganoa Four?

  • So Aganoa should just go ahead and throw a challenge to get rid of Kat, right? She’s not useful to them and she could do serious damage in the event of a swap.

Episode 5”

Dammit Australian Survivor, this isn’t Big Brother. You need to calm down a little. Gimmicks can be fun, but all things in moderation. Not only is piling three twists into one too much at once, it also means it’s been two episodes since someone’s been voted off. I’m honestly kind of at a loss as to what to say about this one, but here we go.

We start at Aganoa, where Kat is understandably upset that she came this close to being voted off. I know Rob and Stephen thought it was actually gonna be Rohan, but if even Kristie thinks the target was Kat, it was probably Kat. We don’t hear from Aganoa again for the rest of the episodes, which tells us the immunity challenge does not involve a puzzle.

At Vavau, the tide is turning against Nick. While he’s off hunting for the idol, Craig is stoking suspicion towards him back at camp. It’s starting to look like Nick’s days are numbered unless he finds the idol, which he does not. At Saanapu suspicions are mounting that Kylie has the idol, which she does. Flick starts floating a backup plan to target Conner. Despite being 75 minutes, this episode feels weirdly compressed, because this is all of it I can remember before the challenges.

The reward challenge is a replay of the barricade challenge from Micronesia. This isn’t technically the challenge that brought down Penner, but it’s the one that made it obvious something was wrong, so fuck this challenge (actually, now that I think about it, this challenge potentially saved his leg and possibly his life, so challenge, we’re cool.) Except this time, rather than just getting enough material out that everyone can crawl through the tunnel, you have have to pull all the lumber out so you can navigate a chicken coop to the end. First two tribes through get to keep the chickens. But there’s a twist! First tribe through also gets all the stuff Vavau are giving up to get a new flint. This is the kind of twist I’m fine with: a creative patch for an unexpected problem. More of this; less of what’s coming.

The building phase of the challenge pretty much gives away how this is going to go. Saanapu builds an impenetrable wall through Vavau’s tunnel, while Aganoa struggles even to get all their planks into Saanapu’s. The result is that Saanapu tears through their barricade with ease, while Vavau can barely make a dent. Saanapu comes in first and gets Vavau’s stuff, Aganoa comes in second and gets chickens.

Back at camp the tribes learn that two of them are going to tribal council this episode. Not knowing what’s coming, this feels like pouring salt in the wounds of last episode. I get that they had to preserve the secrecy of their SHOCKING TWIST but in the moment my reaction was, “really, if you were planning a double elimination, couldn’t you have just made Aganoa vote last week and not do this?”

So, as already seemed obvious, this challenge doesn’t end with a puzzle. Instead, there’s a slingshot, and chief master of throwing things Lee is able to secure victory. Aganoa is safe, Vavau and Saanapu are going to tribal council.

At Vavau, it’s fairly cut and dry. Either Craig’s whisper campaign against Nick will succeed, or Nick’s intended target of Barry will go home. At Saanapu, on the other hand, things get weird. Conner finds out Flick is plotting against him and heads off to confront her. He rattles off a string of inconsistent deals she’s supposedly made and demands she admit they’ve been aligned since day one. It is not a good sign for things to come.

When the tribes walk in to council it’s immediately apparent why this was a bad idea. Having two tribes do council at once means neither gets full attention. That’s exacerbated by the fact that Vavau basically stonewalls, while Saanapu, who have done this before and should be better at it, turn into a dumpster fire of accusations and counter accusations between Conner, who seems to be actively torpedoing his own game, and Flick. The only saving grace is the constant cuts to Craig’s shocked face as Conner gets progressively crazier.

Before the votes are read, LaPaglia announces part one of the twist. Nobody is going home tonight, both tribes were voting someone onto the other tribe. Vavau sends off Nick. Saanapu is tie a between Conner and Flick. On the revote, it’s still a tie. But, before they have to go to rocks, Conner volunteers to go to Vavau, so it’s on to the second part of the twist: both players choose someone to take with them. Nick chooses Tegan, Conner chooses Sam, and episode 5 quietly shuffles off.

I get how this seemed like a clever way to trick the players into making the tribe swap happen, but for so many reasons there are better ways to do it, and, however you do it, it should not be the climax of the episode. I’m fine with Australian Survivor trying new things, but, on a baseline level, they were given a tried and true formula and need to stick to it.

Discussion points:

  • I don’t have a lot to say beyond, “this was a bad idea,” so let’s critique Nick and Conner’s choices.
  • Conner: Saanapu now has both of the two best puzzle makers in the game. You really should have taken Matt with you.
  • Nick: I get that Tegan is your closest ally, but taking her with you means nobody can find Vavau’s idol. I’m not sure who the best person to take would have been, so let’s say Craig for comedy value.
Sharculese

Sharculese

Sharculese first saw Survivor when his roommate wanted to watch Cagayan. He has now seen every season because he has a skewed sense of priorities.
Sharculese

Latest posts by Sharculese (see all)

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Bravo Evan. It’s quite a feat to be far and away the worst at Survivor on your tribe when you’re on the disaster tribe.

    Kat gave the kind of tribal council speech you give when you want to throw a hand grenade at the tribe on your way out the door. Should be an interesting three days for her.

    So the Sunday night episodes are 75 minutes and the Monday night episodes are 55 minutes (without commercials). That’s fine for now when there are so many players to follow (and I like that they have room to stretch out for things that they elide on US Survivor like pre-challenge strategizing), but how are they going to fill all that time when they’re down to, say, single-digit players?

    So many strange little mistakes for a cast of superfans. Not sending one of the majority alliance on the So Kim memorial treemail run. Not making a sub-assembly of 3-4 blocks at the end of the reward challenge. Even El, who seems quite smart, didn’t see LaPaglia’s trap and all but had to say the words “stick to the plan”.

    • sharculese

      Episode 4 is already suggesting we’re close to the tipping point where this length is unsustainable. You get a shoutout in my writeup for it for pointing that out.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        As I noted upthread I think the episodes will get shorter. Also heads up, episode 5 airs tonight and it’s one of the extra-long ones.

        • sharculese

          I knew from Wikipedia there was an episode tonight but didn’t know it was extra long. Might have to watch it in my room as I suspect there’s a limit on how much Survivor I can subject my roommate to.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            As I said before, I mostly don’t mind the extended running time so far (it’s my wish for CBS to post “director’s cuts” online come to life), but coupled with running 2-3 episodes per week this is turning into a Big Brother-style time commitment.

    • Max_Jets

      Speaking of LaPaglia’s trap, how do we think he is at this? He’s been good as a host, but I’m not so sure about the tribal councils. I feel like he is much more direct about calling out the cast than Probst is, which makes him a bit harder to answer to. I don’t blame him, since Probst has had a lot of practice, but sometimes I do wish Probst could step him.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        They’ve done such a good job at emulating the look and feel of US Survivor that LaPaglia really stands out as the element that’s different. It’s jarrIng to have anybody but Probst hosting, but that’s not on LaPaglia. Yes he’s not as smooth as Probst in his questioning, but don’t forget that Probst isn’t shy about turning off the cameras and browbeating people if they’re being too cagey in their answers.

      • Other Scott

        I think the tribal council scenes are just too long. Like it would probably be fine if it was only 5 minutes instead of the 10 we’ve been getting.

        I also think LaPaglia has been too Probst-y. He’s coming off more like a Probst imitation than a real host, even down to admiring the work of the alpha males. “Look at Lee exhausting himself going back to back! That’s real commitment to his tribe!”

    • Kemper Boyd

      Evan is one of my last favourite contestants to watch in all survivor. His constant misreading of the emotions of his tribe and his “acting” made him unbearable for me.

  • imredjimmy

    While I like the look of the series and the contestants (those I can name at least) are interesting, the episodes are way too long. 22 minutes before a challenge in episode 4 (and only an immunity challenge) was really testing my patience. I’m worried about how they will try to pad this once the three tribes will be no more and the cast will get smaller. I’ll keep watching it for now.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I poked around the Australian TV listings and the networks appear to be extremely flexible about Survivor’s running time, and about program lengths in prime time in general (possibly because there’s no 11:00 local news). I’d assume the running time will get shorter as the cast diminishes.

  • Max_Jets

    Episode 4 pissed me off. I’m fine with them not voting but don’t tease them with it! Phoebe was fucking crushing the whole game before that tribal council and now we have a loose Kat running around. I like Kat, but I really hope it doesn’t hurt Phoebe in the long run.

    • sharculese

      The next part is being edited and will go up soon, but spoiler alert: Agree on the episode, disagree on Phoebe, who has been impressive but needs to dial it back.

    • Other Scott

      I had a feeling Kat was going home, because I *think* Rohan would have played his idol, but looking back at it I’m probably wrong.

      Pheobe has been really annoying me. “You didn’t give me your idol so I don’t trust you and I’m going to try to get you out!” is kind of terrible.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Just finished episode 4. Yes, it was a very strange decision to go through the tribal council procedure and only then cancel the vote. On the other hand, what could they possibly have filled that 10 minutes with?

    Phoebe really blew it by not enforcing the terms of the agreement on the spot. I think there’s potential off-season content in a history of “shared” idols and how often the person who doesn’t physically have it gets screwed (eg, Scot in Kaoh Rong and Ace in Gabon). I’m watching Cook Islands for the first time right now and I wonder if not physically having the idol is Becky’s undoing (don’t spoil it for me). Incidentally, the speed with which they abandoned the whole premise of the season (episode 3!) gives me hope that they’ll do the same in Millennials vs. GenX.

    • Black Dynamite

      I’m going to start watching Thailand for the first time in a couple of days. I have a feeling your watching experience will be much better.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        We’ll see. Opinions are very split about Cook Islands. Purple Rock is very positive, TEOS neutral to somewhat positive, and Historians fairly negative. But yeah, opinions aren’t split about Thailand lol.

        • sharculese

          Mario Lanza’s “Cook Islands doesn’t have enough big, wacky characters and is therefore terrible” rant in 115 v2 is ur-dumb and was the first warning sign for me that his opinions shouldn’t be taken seriously.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            There’s plenty I don’t agree with him about, but he does admit early on in the podcast that he went overboard in 115 slamming Becky.

          • Other Scott

            Mario Lanza absolutely destroyed those Survivor Historians Cook Islands podcasts. They are very easily the worst ones of the bunch.

            Also, Jay wasn’t that into it, and I do like to hear Jay’s opinions on things.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’m through the double-boot episode. They’re not wrong about the pre-merge episodes having more than a little filler, or about the early boots being either annoying or invisible, but Jesus give it a rest already.

        • Max_Jets

          I’m curious to see where you land! Sometimes I feel like the lone Cook Islands dissenter here, whereas on Reddit I feel like hating it is just piling on.

      • imredjimmy

        I just finished Thailand a couple days ago. I found it to be hard to watch at times mostly because the cast is mainly composed of vilains. There’s a definite lack of joy the entire time.

        • Black Dynamite

          That’s mainly the criticism I’ve heard with regards to Thailand. Watching awful people is my least favorite kind of Survivor experience, so I don’t have high hopes.

          • imredjimmy

            I mostly skipped the reward parts from the latter episodes cause I just didn’t care for the cast at this point. But I’ve started The Amazon for the first time (I watched until thailand when i was kid so I’m revisiting all the seasons from the start) and I’m already at the finale. Huge improvement there.

          • Black Dynamite

            Amazon is great. Love that season. Thailand is one of only two seasons I’ve never watched. Been procrastinating long enough. Decided it was time to get around to it, as I want to eventually watch every season.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I get what she said about “what was she supposed to say” but she’s currently in the drivers seat on her tribe (I’ve not seen ep 5 yet)

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I don’t know about the UK, but in the US there’s been a lot of discussion (the “Lean In” thing) about how women are hindered in the workplace not only because of the well-known external factors (little things like rampant sexism and damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t expectations), but also because stereotypically feminine attitudes can be self-defeating in the corporate context. The whole time Phoebe was fretting about ruining her bond with Rohan if she called him on keeping the idol I was thinking “It’s already ruined!!! Rohan ruined it!!! By keeping the idol!!!”.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I agree. The bigger worry would be losing Lee if she burned Rohan. We see sexist expectations in Survivor all the time. For Kim to play the greatest game she needed to start in gender divided tribes. Dawn played an identical game to Cochran some would argue she did more than him and she got 0 votes. Aubry was seen as emotional and leaning on Joe too much. It’s tough.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Agree to disagree on Dawn but I absolutely agree on your larger point (Caramoan was my first season; at some point I should rewatch it knowing what I know now). Kim also needed an absolute tire fire of a male tribe, not to take anything away from her game. And while Kim certainly played the more dominant game, I’d rank Denise nearly as high as Kim, if not higher, in part because the “mom” position is nearly impossible to win from.

          • Kemper Boyd

            To me Kim played the perfect game. You are correct that the male tribe needed to be a tire fire but I think that one big plus for her was the lack of fear of the dreaded “all girl alliance” and that is down to starting men v women. Denise’s game is so impressive for so many different reasons, her being the old broad should have been a disadvantage but Lisa Welchel filed the mom role, the soft emotional one and Denise became sort of the cool aunt by comparison, also obviously she went to every tribal and survived thend won! And let’s not get into how impressive Sophie’s game was, the first young woman to be in a real power position (Jenn won but very differently), Sophie played the only way I think it was possible for her to win that season and it was a small redemption of a shitty season.

    • Other Scott

      Remember how Baylor thought that Natalie’s idol was “their” idol and then proceeded to get eliminated with it?

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Not until you mentioned it. That’s why somebody else needs to write the off-season post.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Since we somehow drifted into a Cook Islands discussion, I suppose someone should note with displeasure how monochrome the Australian Survivor cast is. Seriously, what is up with that? There’s Barry obv. (and four episodes in we’ve barely heard a peep from him) and possibly Brooke (I’m guessing she’s Dutch-Indonesian), and that’s it, right?

    • Max_Jets

      I’m struggling to find clear racial demographics, but I think the population of Australia is significantly whiter than the US. I don’t really know though.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Australia is heavily white a lot of the minority population is Asian (obvs) but Barry is Aborigoni and I’d guess Brooke is mixed parentage, possibly half white white polynesian but that’s a wild guess. Tegan could possibly be non white too.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Yeah, after posting yesterday I realized my rationale for being so specific about identifying Brooke as Dutch-Indonesian (a. she’s definitely Eurasian of some type; b. Australia is close to Indonesia; c. I’ve known about a half-dozen Dutch-Indonesian women in my lifetime and they are without exception spectacularly beautiful) might lack scientific rigor.

  • sharculese

    Preview: Sentence one of my episode five review.

    “Dammit, Australian Survivor, this is not Big Brother. Calm it down with the twists.”

    • Max_Jets

      Haha, yeah, I thought it was a very entertaining episode but I worry they’re fucking up people’s games more than they should. I’ve actually wanted Survivor to do a twist like this, but where the tribes knew beforehand so they could factor it into their strategy and maybe even vote someone out who was still working with the tribe.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        A tribal where they are consciously choosing a mole to send to the other tribe would be a completely different twist, and also worth trying IMO (although a have a feeling they’ve already done it, like in China maybe?).

        • Max_Jets

          Yeah, they’ve done that for when they “kidnap” another tribe member for a day, but combining it with this twist would give a much bigger opportunity for it.

    • turgid_legume

      I’m starting to think that this version of Survivor was produced by people with a massive inferiority complex towards the Survivor US mothership. “Oh you’re doing 20 contestants, well we’re doing 24. And 54 days, not 39. And we’re going to be on two — no make that three, yeah three times a week, and the episodes will be like 50% longer too. And twists, we’re going to have so many twists that they’re never going to know what’s happening.”

      “Oh and find me someone to host that is so ripped they have veins the size of pool noodles.”

      • sharculese

        I don’t know if ‘inferiority complex’ explains it, but something is going wrong in how big they feel they have to go.

        • Other Scott

          They have to put such a large monetary investment in to start to film out in Samoa, the production is basically equivalent to US Survivor, etc, that they have to produce more and longer episodes to get the ad revenue to make up for it.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That and there is proportionally less ad time on Aussie TV. IIRC the 55 minute episodes run for 1:15, and so have 20 minutes of ads. That’s about the same amount as hour-long Episodes of US Survivor (18 minutes).

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    I would be thrilled if Australian Survivor turns into the de facto R&D lab for US Survivor. CBS is obviously not going to sign off on either extended running times or enough weeks to accommodate 24 contestants, but they are noble experiments. This twist is definitely one that is transferable to the US game IMO. But while LaPaglia was revealing it I was thinking “this isn’t going to work; the new arrivals will just be the next boots”, so the second twist of having them choose a second person to switch tribes is necessary.

    On paper I think the two twists are fine. However, in practice, several things happened (that production couldn’t have foreseen) that made them seem excessively twisty-turny. 1) The Peter quit means that we’ve now gone two full episodes (and what feels like 8 hours of show) with nobody getting voted out of the game; 2) as you noted, the improvised twist at the reward challenge; 3) the tie and potential rock draw; 4) Kylie’s idol bluff (which BTW, good on the tribe for immediately realizing that brandishing an idol before the vote means that it’s a bluff; I don’t think any US Survivor tribe has kept its shit together that well in that situation).

    There is one way to improve this twist, which solves the problem you noted of LaPaglia trying to conduct tribal with 14 people and which I thought of because we just rewatched Heroes vs. Villains. Keep running the immunity challenge until there’s a second and third placing tribe, then do the tribals back to back, second place tribe going first. That way we get both the shock of the twist during the first tribal and the satisfaction of knowing what’s about to hit the contestants during the second tribal.

    • Kemper Boyd

      The thing is Kylie would be in a great spot in the other tribe. It seems to be an older tribe and she could find a better spot with the mature crowd there.

    • Other Scott

      I actually disagree. Sending one person leaves them in this perfect non-threatening swing vote spot on a divided tribe, kind of like Malcolm and Denise. I think sending two guarantees one of the two go home.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    The Wikipedia article on Episode 4 noted something that completely flew over my head (and sharculese’s too, apparently). Can anybody corroborate? Apparently, El, Lee, and Phoebe decided to vote out Rohan, and what Kat overheard was them lying to Rohan about voting out Kat to set up a blindside of Rohan.

    If true, this is a near-Shakespearean level of ironic misunderstanding. Even better, because of the Peter quit and winning immunity in Episode 5, they’ll presumably have to keep the ruse going for at least six days and hope that Kat doesn’t burn down the camp in the meantime.

    Also–night-vision Kat sent chills down my spine.

    • Max_Jets

      That’s what I thought at the end of the episode but I don’t believe this is accurate, because in episode 5 Kristie is talking about how they were all planning to vote Kat out, right?

    • sharculese

      When Kat caught them talking about her their explanation was that they were lying to him to keep him comfortable. It’s not clear whether that was true, but the totality of the circumstances suggests no.

  • Come On In Here

    Wow. I didn’t think I could be twisted out, but there you go. There are too many twists. I am twisted out. Enough with the twists. I’m done with twists. I am fully twisted.

  • Kemper Boyd

    My first thought about Nick’s choice was ” so no one knows where that idol is”, I thought Conner showed himself to be exactly what you expect of a 19 (?) Year old, he crumbled at tribal, but I still see his underdog story being there to final 6/7.
    My main take away is season 3 of Australian Survivor is about people going way too hard to early. Bianca, Nick and Flick all played too hard and Conner flailed the moment there was pressure.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Yeah, lost in all the other twists and turns is that Conner did what Keith Nale tried to do in the Cambodia finale: volunteer to go home rather than force a rock draw.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I liked Kylie offering rocks because going would be good for her and keeping Conner had he been safe and one of the 4 went. Conner was really offering to take a fresh start and save his tribe mates a decision.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I misremembered. I thought LaPaglia revealed the tribe-switch twist after the vote-reads, but actually he did so after the votes were cast but before they were revealed. In that light, it makes perfect sense for Conner to volunteer.

          • Kemper Boyd

            His utter meltdown in front of the other tribe in questioning though did not make sense.