Survivor NZ Recap – Episodes 11 & 12

Apologies for the lateness of this recap, I am a little under the weather and wanted to be less fuzzy headed when I wrote this, but alas, let the fuzzy headed recap begin.

Episode 11

We begin this episode with the immunity challenge we were promised last week. It feels remarkably retro to see Survivors with a note pad at Tribal. The trivia competition is about the show and season so far. Jak wins. Mike makes his pitch that if Avi and Shannon go with him, Tom and Jak then they can be top 5 but without that they are 5 and 6 against Shay, Sala, Nate and Barb. I personally don’t see it that way at all. I think Avi and Sala are tight, so are Sala and Shay and Avi and Shannon. Sure Barb is an easy goat but her and Nate are not actually as important to the core as Mike thinks.

In the end the vote is obvious and easy and Mike is off to Redemption meaning one of the two physical threats will be out of the game straight after the merge. There is no pitch that should get Shannon and Avi to keep the biggest challenge threat over Shay.  On his way out Mike says they should vote Shannon out next, which is a great reason to keep Shannon, if there are bitter jurors then she’s a nice person for you to sit next to.

Nate and Barb are pretty smug after getting back to camp but Shannon is a bit worried about how it makes her seem despite it earning her Sala, Nate and Barb’s trust. Tom and Jak are blindsided but they really shouldn’t be, Avi’s acting was terrible and he barely seemed interested at going with the boys. Barb whispered to Tom that she wants to keep him as long as possible.

But now Nate and Barb are talking to Shay and Sala about Shannon. Sala doesn’t like it. He’s given his word and that is that; Nate walks it back. Shannon is getting tagged with the difficult label in these Antipodean Survivor seasons, she is “someone who knows the game”.
Barb is starting to play the game, she’s trying to pull in Jak and Tom because she wants to split up Avi, Sala and Shay. This is a much better plan than trying to get rid of Shannon.

The reward Challenge is here and it’s the Burn Book. Which is a classic that has been missing from modern Survivor seasons. And the prize is Pizza Hut pizza. Jak goes with the classic technique of guessing himself for negative questions. Barb wins reward and chooses Nate, Sala and Jak to eat with her (also I typed out her choices before she made them).

Let’s pause momentarily to discuss a sexist double standard that often exists in the game of Survivor but is extremely obvious here in NZ. That a woman who plays the game is somehow worse and more dangerous than a man who plays. The alliance’s reaction to Shannon “flipping” is remarkable as well, she has done nothing that Tom hasn’t. At the merge Shannon stuck with her swap alliance instead of returning to her old alliance; Tom did exactly the same except his made less sense because his new side didn’t have the numbers. Yes Shannon sold to Mike et al that she was going back with them; but that is the game. The reaction of Mike and Lee is remarkable because Avi has had none of the vitriol aimed at him; despite the fact they were aiming to pull over with Shannon. It’s just about Shannon. Anyway bac

It’s now full on game-mode for Barb, talking to Shannon about a plan to get rid of Sala, then Tom, then Avi. This all makes Shannon is really happy. I don’t think Shannon understands that this will have her perceived as a huge flipper. Burning Lee and Mike then Sala and Avi so closely together, could give her no shot at the jury vote.

So much has happened before we go to Redemption Island. A plan seems to have been put into plan by Barb that allows her to get rid of a jury threat in Sala. At Redemption only Jak and Nate get to go to the duel. The challenge is a balance beam to collect puzzle pieces followed by a puzzle. New Zealand Ozzy Lee is not as his balance is not the best. The winner is Mike.

Episode 12

As we go into the next episode we have one big question: Can Barb pull off the biggest move of the game so far? For the first time during Survivor NZ I am really excited to watch and find out.

We get back to the beach on the morning of day 23 and Avi is going stir crazy; it’s nice to see how being confined affects people. Even on Survivor NZ  where they have cards and journals and other things boredom is the killer. So because of this boredom we get a Survivor Yoga.

A big concern at camp is the lack of fish in the bay at their beach so Jak came up with a cunning plan.  Sala fashions him a loincloth and he does a dance to attract the fish. The jury is out about whether or not it worked.

Aiming to take the heat off herself Shannon goes to Avi about the fact that Barb and Nate are throwing out other names and other threats. Overall Avi doesn’t seem to believe her, telling her that Nate and Barb are safe as houses. That Shannon is in his final 4. For a man who said he had every eventuality covered he is blind to some of the happenings.

Off we go to the Individual Immunity Challenge.  There are three stages to the challenge, the middle one of which involves spitting water into a bottle. The bottle is far too large and some contestants appear to give up. The ending is a puzzle that Tom manages to win.

The game is afoot. Sala and Avi are under the assumption that it’s time for Jak to leave but the real plan is that it will be Sala going to Redemption. Some of the players in this game have really good reads; Shannon knows Nate is going to flip on her eventually. Some of the players have bad reads, Sala doesn’t know of any alliances beyond Jak and Tom.

Despite knowing about the move and not being happy there is little Nate can do; he’s friends with Sala but with four on the other side  he doesn’t have much choice beyond forcing a tie. The previously power wielding Avi is convinced that Jak and Tom are trying to get Nate and Barb to vote for Shay. For the first time a hole has been exposed in Avi’s game.

When it’s time for Tribal the contestants see Lee as the first member of the jury, his hair is superb but his moustache is not. As the questions begin there are definitely two groups. There is the group who are trying not to give anything away; Shannon gives a good non-answer. Then there is the group who seem not to know something is coming up; Shay talks about trust and staying the course. The question of the reaction of the boys to Shannon’s betrayal comes up and she says she needs to assume that people have the same motives as her and that they will see her moves as part of the game. Overall it’s a good answer but juries cannot be trusted to forgive and forget.

The contestant voted out is Sala. The reaction from Avi and Shay is one of obvious surprise and confusion. I am pretty impressed with this move from Barb, she put a coalition together, she used the leftovers from the alliance she just destroyed and she got rid of a strong social threat.  This signals a shift in gameplay. Where will the rest of the season take us? Will Barb cement her place as a power player? Will Mike blast through Redemption Island? Let’s find out.

Survivor Episode 11 & 12 Edgic:

Kemper Boyd
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Kemper Boyd

Kemper Boyd became a fan of Survivor after watching Cook Islands because of all the press about the theme, she managed to watch every season by the start of Fiji and has been watching and rewatching ever since. Oh and she's super British so that explains the extra U's in words.

Favourite seasons: HvV, Pearl Islands, Cook Islands, Micronesia, SJDS

Favourite players: Sandra, Kim, Courtney, Parvati, Yul, Nat Anderson
Kemper Boyd
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39 thoughts on “Survivor NZ Recap – Episodes 11 & 12

  1. I’ve only watched episode 11 due to the NBA Finals and a re-re-watch of the Leftovers series finale. I couldn’t agree with you more about the latent sexism of who gets labeled a flipper. Ken and Hannah voted identically after the merge in MvGx, yet one was loyal to a fault and the other was an all-time flipper (although admittedly self-presentation had something to do with it).

    What ocean are on? WHAT OCEAN ARE WE ON????? Where is Lou when we need her? I mean, it’s almost forgivable if someone guessed 50:50 between Pacific and Atlantic, but Shannon’s “Indian Ocean” and Shay’s “?” killed me dead.

    That said, good on Jak of all people for figuring out the only logical answer to the green hat question.

    I’m guessing the Burn Book challenge is permanently broken after SJDS.

    1. On the oceans….I mean, come on. They didn’t even figure out where they were going before they left?
      I was also surprised that only one person came to the obvious conclusion on the green hat question

    2. To be fair, people like Michelle, Jay and Zeke had no ties to Ken and no real reason to feel betrayed by him (plus many players seemed to feel he was David/Jessica’s puppet), while Hannah actively worked with them and seemed to have an extreme desire for them to like her. I think Hannah was screwed no matter what she did in the game and was unlikely to be given credit to to perception and possibly unintentional sexism, but I can’t let her completely off the hook.

  2. So I’m fascinated with this season right now. The ones that are actually playing are playing well. Barb and Shannon absolutely pulled the trigger at the right time. They were 3 in an alliance of 6. Now they are 3 in an alliance of 5. Assuming the RI returnee comes back at 4, they are in really good shape.
    I would have thought Shannon was our frontrunner but man does that jury hate her. Her, Mike, and Avi are probably my tier 1 potential winners, with Shay, Salah and Tom running second tier. I don’t think Barb, Nate, or Jak could win in any F3 that’s not the 3 of them.

    1. I do wonder if Shannon can turn it around as the jury goes out and discusses it at Ponderosa? Could they mellow on their first reactions and get votes for her good play?
      If Mike wins it could ruin Survivor NZ from the very start of the franchise. It was so important for Au Survivor not to have Lee win as it’s the equivalent of a Wiglesworth victory changing the face of the series as a whole. The ads for the new season of Au Survivor are playing so hard on how the winner won and it being a game of deception and skill not friendship and physicality.

      1. I really hope she can. Or that she can convince them at FTC. If she takes Barb and Nate with her, she may have a pretty good shot still I would think, even if they don’t mellow.
        On Mike, you’re probably right. I feel like its unfair to paint Mike with the friendship/physicality brush because he did seem to have an actual strategy which imploded. The problem is a win now would be solely based on physicality – again, likely taking goats with him to FTC – which would probably be a bad thing.

  3. This season is really starting to ramp up since the merge (aside from a few bright moments pre-merge)! I am very happy to see that the people at the bottom of an alliance recognize that, use the outcasts to recruit a formidable alliance, and take out the top. This savvy maneuvering is what is needed to make it to the end. Could this begin Barb’s rise of power and winner’s edit? She could become this season’s Kristi from Australia with a strong, yet subtle post-merge and killing it in FTC. Buckle up, I think we’re in for an exciting finish!

    Thanks to Kemper Boyd for recapping this season!

    *Edit – including spoiler tags in case folks have not watched the most recent Australian season.

    1. I’m super happy to see that Barb is finally starting to make some moves (Kemper’s edgic charts were right!! Barb is OBVIOUSLY winning!), taking out Sala was a smart thing to do and I’m loving how willing to be cutthroat she is. If she can keep this kind of play up I’ll actually start rooting for her to win. I really hope this ends with a winner who’s willing to play the game rather than just a ‘nice’ player, especially because it will set the course for future seasons in the same way that Hatch’s win did (assuming of course that NZ Survivor doesn’t turn out to just be a one-and-done type deal)
      Side note: there’s currently ads airing on TV here for next weeks episode which show (VERY MINOR SPOILERS FOR NEXT EPISODE) Avi having a meltdown because he feels betrayed and him plaintively asking Barb “so am I next then?” to which she stares him straight in the face and responds like a stone-cold killer “most likely” and it is absolutely hilarious.

        1. And during the episode he was campaigning for Shannon to be the next one out! Avi, you’re the worst!

    2. Thanks Dutch. I think Barb will be cut at some point. You could easily see a Avi, Jak, Tom, Shannon move to chop her legs out from under her now she’s got too much power. Shay is pretty dead in the water and Nate isn’t showing a will to play.

      1. Possible, but there could also be a Cirie dynamic where there’s always a higher priority (e.g., Shannon or Tom) and a sense that you can always vote her out next time. With this cast, Barb’s bigger problem is jury composition.

        1. I hope she escapes the Dawn issue. She isn’t really a neat lady so she should avoid Monica’s fate. Stone cold killer Barb is already a favourite of mine.

          1. Between Barb and Sue on Australian Survivor, maybe this a new paradigm for older women on Survivor: Be snarky and acerbic (to avoid the mum stereotype) but still likable and harmless, then when the numbers are in your favor, flip the switch and turn into Fargo Season 2 Jean Smart before anybody realizes what’s happening.

          2. There are so many players in New Zealand that I see comparable to Australia (Izzy & Phoebe, Barb & Sue, Jak & Matt, Georgia & Jenna Louise, etc.) – both in demographics and in game play. The difference here – lack of immunity idols and twists.

  4. Man, I miss the burn book challenge. I wonder if there’s a way to revive it. Maybe not having it for a while will stop alliances planning for it, and then they could do it again once or twice?

    1. It’s such a fun challenge, especially when there’s a strong alliance because it can really help to expose the cracks. I love the questions like “Who do you never want to see again after the game?” because they’re so brutal.

    2. The other possibility is to figure out a way to do the burn book without the chopping, since wasn’t it the chopping part they broke in SJDS? Like, correct answers get you balls to throw at something for instance

      1. Oh yeah, that seems like a possible way to shake that part up. If I recall correctly, it had lost a lot of its lustre earlier because people weren’t answering honestly and getting into fights anymore. It’s certainly easy enough to agree on a strategy for the questions if you know it’s coming.

        1. Yeah, and I don’t really know how you fix that. Especially in SJDS where there was one dominant alliance. It might work better in a Cambodia or MvGX where alliances are a bit more fluid and its less likely they would be able to get everyone in line to give the same answers

          1. I think in Cambodia the big nominal alliance agrees on a scheme early on, then largely sticks to it to avoid making waves, at least if it’s a reward challenge. Maybe not though. I love and miss this challenge, but it’s a trap for the unwary, and I also like my Survivor casts pretty wary.

          2. Yeah me too. It still amazes me that it took to SJDS to break the challenge when it was shown in Marquesas the damage it could cause to an alliance

          3. The genius of the Burn Book is that it’s a Keynesian beauty contest, so you have plausible deniability (the question isn’t really “who doesn’t deserve to be here?”, but “who doesn’t deserve to be here, in the opinion of a plurality of the players?”), so feelings shouldn’t get hurt, although of course they do.

            As someone else noted, it’s really only the chop part that’s broken.


  5. I’m mostly trying to think of NZ Survivor as it’s own thing and not compare it too much to ‘real’ Survivor because it suffers pretty badly by comparison, but I think this was probably the best set of episodes so far (low bar to clear, I know, but still…). Sadly though, as much as I loved Barb going all Lady Macbeth, the majority of the casual-viewing public here in NZ are NOT loving that she voted out Sala and the comments are things like “can’t stand Barb” “what a horrible witch” and “Barb is a snake, only Sala has played this game with integrity” Uggggghhhhh! (To be fair though there’s also quite a few people who are congratulating her for “finally making this game more exciting”)
    As I said below (above?) I really hope a ‘player’ like Barb wins because it will hopefully encourage better gameplay in future seasons, whereas if a Sala-type or a Mike-type win it’s going to probably heavily influence things in a less interesting (in my opinion) mateship and challenge strength direction.

    1. I love the move by Barb but still am not a big fan of her, what with her and Nate having been so bitter the first half of the season. However, I can come around on mastermind Barb for sure.
      I’m not sure a win for Mike would be a win for mateship. He seems to be there to play the game, the bro-down mateship thing just seemed to be the strategy that ended up being what he used. I think he’s a gamer. Though an RI run + immunity run to the end which causes him to win is a big point for challenge strength, but only works if he can drag goats.

      1. Yeah, I was meaning mostly Sala by the mateship thing. If Mike can get back into the game and then make it to the final tribal (big ‘ifs’) I could see the jury potentially giving him the win based purely on challenge strength. I agree that he actually is a decent player but being on Redemption he won’t really get any chance to show it.

        1. Which is kind of unfortunate, but the way it is. I like him and I want to see some more strategy from him

    2. Barb will fall into the biggest issue that women face on Survivor and that is trying to play while people consider you the nice mum type. The move was great, Sala is inflexible and well liked, getting rid of him is a benefit to her.

      1. I’m not so sure that Barb will suffer from the ‘nice mum’ problem quite as much, because I don’t think it’s as big of an issue here as it is in America due to minor cultural differences. Most of the vitriol directed at her (by the public, not in-game) seems to be due to blindsiding the most beloved player and not (I think) because she was previously seen as ‘nice’.
        Agree that is was a great move for her though.

    1. I just posted a really negative comment below, but it was negative because I think the show has some really great elements that are being let down by the stretched out format. One episode Tribal, one episode redemption seems like a smart way to solve the problem of having a climax in each of your episodes, but Redemption is so separate from the rest of the game that it can really get in the way of a good story thread, which then has to be repeated in the next episode. And the show still has a habit of showing 3 confessionals saying exactly the same thing instead of just going with the best and shortening the episode.

      Ugh, I was negative again when I actually just wanted to say “Yes, the show got fun.”

    2. How much longer will this go on and how many hours would it take to catch up? Anyone making summaries from the episodes, by any chance? I heard the season is picking up steam… Is that true, or is that overstating it?

      Also, how would you say does NZ compare with AU in terms of production value?
      I think Survivor AU at least pretty much looked like regular Survivor, even if it not always felt that way. I kind of expected NZ to be the worst of both worlds.

      I would love to dig into your edgic charts more (Is it desirable to be ridiculously tall? Can you get that valuation even if you’re carrying your head closer to the ground than an average person? If not, could an alliance of two small persons get a shared CTH score for working well together?) and recaps, but I don’t want to spoil myself yet in case I get bored later and decide I want to see for myself what all the NZ fuss is about.

      BTW, I wanted you to know that I recently (or rather several weeks ago, by now) stumbled upon a German adaptation of Naked Attraction. I never watched the original with you guys and only saw the last 10-15 minutes of one episode, but I thought you’d like to know.
      In fact, I tried to remember which day of the week it was when writing this comment, figured it was monday, checked the schedule an didn’t find it. This lead to more research and it was indeed monday. Now I don’t know, was it cancelled and taken off air for low ratings, or is season1 just over? Also, I found that there are 3 episodes available online (prolly only with a German proxy): episodes 1, 3 and 4. Now I don’t know, like I said, if they ever showed more than the first four (update: wikipedia says season 1 consists of only 4 episodes), but I have to assume there was a second episode, and it’s not available online with the rest of them. Naturally, I now really want to see episode 2 of our version!

      In case you want to check it out for yourself: (that’s the station’s site) (this is where one can find full episodes that are available for free)

      1. In week 2 two people did score a CTH 2+2 for having her sit on his shoulders.
        I’d suggest waiting for Australian Survivor. Yes you are committing to way more Survivor but not knowing the outcome of this I’d say that has a better chance of being exciting.

        1. Thanks for that honest (and bleak) assessment.

          Is it known that AU Survivor will be ridiculously long again, or did they cut down on days and players?

          (In case you thought I was joking about the summaries – I was asking if somebody goes to the length of condensing the episodes to some form of video-summaries – but I figured there’s very little chance for that. Obviously I know that you are writing recaps right here.)

  6. These past four episodes would have made a great hour and a half merge episode. Unfortunately they were something like 4 hours long. And the emotional beats were in all the wrong places. In the first episode this week we were building towards a very exciting Sala boot, but the episode ends with a meaningless reward challenge and a redemption duel unrelated to the major story threads of the episode. Actually, we didn’t even end on the duel, we ended on people explaining the result of the duel.

    And you know, I think Burn Book was great, but it needed to be positioned (along with the reveal of Barb’s plan to target Sala) in the first third of an episode. That would have given us some real impetus leading up to Immunity and Tribal. Instead we end with no resolution and the next episode basically re-litigating everything that was revealed in the previous episode before finally getting to the expected Sala boot. Really disappointing.

    1. This problem could even partially be solved by flipping the lengths of the episodes. That’s what I really don’t understand – make the 90 min episode the one with the tribal

      1. It makes more sense structurally if you consider each week a single jumbo episode split over two nights.

  7. I wanted to talk a little bit about Shannon and her ‘betrayal’ as compared to Avi. I think Shannon dug herself into a bit of a hole with her acting. She was aggressively playing up her loyalty to the youngs and her dislike of the olds. That sort of extended deception can feel really hurtful and as Kemper says, Avi was never very convincing in his assertions of loyalty, so i can see him eliciting fewer hurt feelings. Shannon made them feel like she was a lock and that’s why she bears the brunt of their antipathy.

    Do I think it makes a difference that she is a woman? Yes, I do. I really do. I think she was expected to follow because she is not a traditional alpha and when she turned out to be a player others were upset that she had pretended to be a follow, by you know, not being an alpha male. The same thing happens to non-traditionally masculine men. They are labeled as sneaky and backstabby because there aura did not announce them as a worthy competitor.

    1. Her acting was a big part but as I said in the recap I really do think that her being a woman is a huge part of it. Mike is a leader so for someone to go behind his back even if it’s a better play for them is bad for it to be a woman is double bad.

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