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.
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.
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:
Favourite seasons: HvV, Pearl Islands, Cook Islands, Micronesia, SJDS
Favourite players: Sandra, Kim, Courtney, Parvati, Yul, Nat Anderson