Australian Survivor All Stars: Week 1, Episodes 1-3

And we are back! Australian Survivor All Stars is here and we here at Purple Rock (well us international correspondents) are hyped. Get ready for a couple of months of coverage from Assistant Dragon Slayer, Blurry Denzel and Kemper Boyd.  We will be doing a single post a week and updating with each episode. ADS has kindly set up this playlist to help us all watch .So, let us get into it.

Episode 1 (Kemper Boyd)

According to the intro there are snakes, those who have something to prove, the honourable heroes, challenge beasts, two legendary winners and the biggest players the game has ever seen. We hear from Nick, Brooke, Tarzan, Lydia, Jericho and David. I honestly don’t know why it’s Tarzan not Sharn or Lee from the honourable heroes but hey ho. The intro is epic, and I am now hyped as fuck.

The All Stars and Zach meet on the mat and do big hugs and JLP asks questions. They all give the classic answers, revenge, excitement and being able to move on and play together.

The tribes give a few odd situations, Yellow has Phoebe, Flick and Brooke and Green has Lydia, Sharn and Shane. I get there are only 4 seasons to work with, but you feel like you could swap a couple over!

Reward challenge and the prize is ready made camp. Shelter, fire pit etc.  Green team win. The Green team really is stacked with physical beasts in Zach, Lee, Henry and Lydia. Henry is sent for fire and he finds an idol clue at the station, he reacts a bit too much, he then tells Mat that the clue is there. The yellow tribe light their fire first but the green bonfire was built higher and stronger.

The Green Tribe as happy as Larry at their fancy pants camp.  John takes his pants off and goes for a swim. Henry goes out to read his clue and possibly look for an idol. The idol is hidden tribal and is by the torches. Now he seems silly for letting Mat know about the clue.

At Vakama (yellow) the game appears to have started quickly. David is in the centre of everything, which is fine early on but how he ended up getting blindsided the first-time round.
Mat is super keen to use an idol in a blindside, very intense guy.

The difference between the two camps is telling and it’s a Survivor conceit I don’t enjoy. It’s a huge advantage to have rice, fire and a shelter before the immunity challenge. We saw in Survivor Fiji that it’s impossible to get out from under haves vs have nots. It will be interesting to see if Yellow can survive being the weaker team with a worse camp and worse morale.

At the immunity challenge Tarzan struggles over the A frames and the Green tribe takes a big lead until Locky uses his large frame to smash the stick tunnels and take yellow closer. All these broken sticks look like a way to get medevac’d! AK shoots for Yellow and is way better than you think he would be. Yellow win to prove my theory about the camps wrong. They had a way better strategy at the tunnel section and the steppingstones which put them way ahead.  Interestingly after the Challenge Mat hugs Shane and asks her if she is safe, she seems to think she is, but she isn’t the most useful player to keep at this point.

Henry is talking about using the idol early to set the tone. I’m very worried he hasn’t learnt his lesson of going to hard too early in his season and how that was his downfall.

Lydia wants to get her revenge on Shane Gould. But quite sensibly she wants to let Harry take the lead gathering the numbers. Harry goes to his Season 4 homies and everyone agrees to just lump the votes on Shane. Expect for the fact that Henry wants to go for Harry, Nick tells him it’s not the time, but Henry has decided to play the idol if he can.

The Tribal Henry can’t grab the idol when putting his torch down. The questioning starts and Lydia says it’s early in the game and they should keep things simple. Shane does her best and says that this is the most imaginative group of players and they should do imaginative things. Nick espouses keeping it simple too, he’s reminded everyone of how Kristie and Jericho won, they were not driving the bus. Henry then says everyone is forgetting about idols. Harry says Shane has been looking and she agrees that he has. Harry tells Lydia that she doesn’t have one and he is correct.

Henry does not grab and play the idol, but he looks pained not to have. The votes come in Shane, Shane, Shane, Harry, Harry, Harry, Shane, Shane, Shane, the first person voted out of Australian Survivor All Stars is Shane. Henry manages to grab the idol on his way out.

This was the right move for the tribe, honestly Henry has zero chill, he looks pained throughout the whole tribal. He is a big boom then bust player, not boom or bust. He will make some big moves and then become a huge target early because of it. It appears he hasn’t learnt from his last season. Harry got the vote together but what I liked was Lydia who wanted the vote to be Shane more than anyone else was willing to sit back and let someone else lead the vote. She knew that something like that will get eyes on you early and she isn’t someone who has a target as being a big threat player beyond her physicality.

Episode 2 (Blurry Denzel)

We start off this session with Henry celebrating his acquisition of an idol but also feeling the heat from the previous night’s tribal. He was one of the few votes for Harry and is now worried Harry will be plotting against him. He is probably right on that front. I’m astonished Henry had this bad of a read early on with thinking that he had the numbers to oust Harry and save Shane. Henry is already the type of player obsessed with being out in front, making big, spotlight moves. To pull those moves off, Harry needs to have his finger on the pulse of what is going on or else he’ll fall flat on his face. It’s still early so he has time to recover and the tools to help that.

A player who stock is higher in the early game is Shonee. We get a nice character moment from her in camp where we learn that she works for some rich person because of her love of dalmatians.  She comes off incredibly delightful and a comforting presence for that tribe. We see her also get involved in a new naughty alliance with Harry and Nick. I love this for Shonee . Get these chaotic schemers as your shields. They will draw attention with their running around with shots that are not that likely to hit Shonee. Shonee can sit back for a bit and use her elite social game to move forward in the game.

Over on the Yellow tribe we start to see tribe divisions form. On one side we have Mat, Moana, Jacqui, Tarzan, and Jericho. They are the minority going up against Locky, AK, Brooke, Flick, Phoebe, Daisy and David. There is a lot of love for David in the early going. Locky, in particular, is a thirsty fellow. I guess David does pull off that scarf. David is just happy to be in the numbers instead of fighting from behind. he see this as an opportunity to take control of the game. I’m here for this. I want David to succeed in the early going. The power will go to his head and his game will go up in flames, like the one he started without flint, and it will be spectacular to watch. This is what I want from the Golden God.

The reward challenge is a battle of knocking people off a platform into the  water in 3 v 3 battles. This challenge like every one in this show’s history is so so long but there were some highlights:

  • Lydia emerging from the water like a goddamn super hero
  • Daisy pulling off the upset and defeating Lydia
  • Abbey
  • Nick Balboa battling Mat and David (who watched, love the lack of hustle)
  • Phoebe showing a lot of fight
What an awful position for Phoebe to be in! (kb)

The Yellow tribe wins reward but there is a twist. Only two members can go shopping for items that they will bring back to camp and Phoebe and Locky. Everyone wasn’t born last night and knows there must be something extra for the volunteers who go shopping. This all brings the return of the jar of cookies, a callback to Jericho’s most famous moment back in his winning season. Jericho won cookies and used them to help form key bonds that helped him throughout the game. Phoebe and Locky do the same to help tighten the majority alliance. But before that they have to lie to the whole tribe about what they received. Phoebe talks in a confessional that she plans on letting Locky do the talking, a position he is surely used to. she wants to do this because she feels that the more you talk while lying, the worst you come off. This is an idea I can get behind. Throwing too many details into a story does raise eyebrows. i do wonder if Phoebe over corrected though. Awkward silence doesn’t really scream forthcoming.

The immunity challenge has some barrel rolling (Sierra Dawn Thomas is such an inspiration) and bean bag tossing. Moana really struggled and had a key mistake when she fell while crossing on a barrel. i wonder if she got hurt on the slide down she took in the beginning of the challenge. Yellow tribe is not able to recover from their early deficit and are off to tribal.

Back at camp, the pretty cookie alliance gather to pick their target. David thinks breaking up the close pair of Mat and Moana too easy of a move and wants Jericho out instead. David sees Jericho as the bigger threat. I’m usually team break up any ride or dies, but I don’t hate this. I think Jericho is some one who gets stronger the more he is allowed to hang around. People get attached to him and it is tougher to write is name down. Also the beginning of an all star season is the easiest time to get momentum against a former winner. That is what is fresh on players’ minds and it is good to capitalize on that. 157

Jericho’s counter attack is to target Daisy and get Phoebe and AK to flip on Pretty Cookies. Phoebe and AK are now the swing votes and, as Phoebe notes in this thankfully Phoebe heavy episode, are now in a precarious position. There can be a lot of pressure being in the middle. you flip and make enemies that want revenge or you stick around and the underdogs feel betrayed and want revenge on you. It’s an art to pull off the swing position and be someone that others on either side can trust and go to in the future. Phoebe doesn’t see Daisy in her long term future and is open to cutting her, which I like. I think here is too early. The  first vote is so important in the tribal format. The words or cookies you share don’t mean shit until you put it on paper. I think the move is to stick with the majority but don’t burn bridges with the minority alliance with over promising, they can be useful in the future when it is time to bring the knives out.

At tribal, the dynamics of the tribe get put out in the open. No bother in pretending that the tribe is moving as one. Jericho plays up the emotions of having to vote out someone you grow close to. I appreciate the effort here but it does highlight why you need to cut Jericho now. Phoebe and AK do just that as they do not flip on Pretty Cookies and we see our second winner in as many episodes get clipped. No two time winners this season, Queen stays Queen. I’m looking forward to seeing how Mat’s group comes back from this and if Henry gets a chance to play his idol.

Episode 3 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)

With Jericho gone, the Pretty Cookies are in an even stronger majority. Much like Brenda Lowe, Vakama ladies Daisy, Brooke, and Phoebe are single, single, single, and they’re swooning over Locky. It’s my thirst ranking come to life. Interestingly, Flick seems to want no part of the Survivor/Bachelor crossover event.

If only roses were native to Fiji

And now, it’s Australian English vocabulary time:

  • Bogan (ˈboʊɡən; noun): An unsophisticated person from a working class background. Synonyms: chav, redneck. Usage: “Daisy’s bogan as hell, but she’s so fun to be around.”

Thanks, Wiktionary! Checking in quickly with Mokuta, Lee and Sharn bond over having been runner-up in their first seasons. Back at Vakama, David notes that he’s not used to being in the majority. Maybe that’s why he’s so eager to blow up his alliance by getting revenge on Daisy, who he blames for blindsiding him, which is not how I remember it. He pitches a non-aggression pact to Mat, based on the idea that as the leaders of their respective factions, they’ll both be targets eventually if they don’t have each other’s back, and also nobody will suspect them of working together.

Skincare secrets of the All-Stars

At the reward challenge, Mokuta is shocked, shocked to learn that Vakama would vote out a season winner. Reward is for coffee, which kind of screws Vakama. This early in the game the rewards should still be for essentials like fishing gear, but Mokuta already have everything they need. The challenge is three separate hero challenges, best two out of three. Yada yada yada, Mokuta wins 2-0, with Locky swinging his sack around and taking nut after nut. Mat asks Henry for his idol if Vakama loses the immunity challenge. Normally I’m against trading something for nothing except a promise of future cooperation, but I think (but am not positive) that in a scenario where Mat needs the idol, it’s useless to Henry (I believe the three-tribal-council shot clock started with the first one, even though Henry didn’t grab the idol until after it was over).

At the reward, there’s a mock-up of magazine covers for each of the castaways. It gives them and us a chance to go down memory lane, but it spoils Season 4 for the seasons 1-3 players (who only saw up to the merge episode before All-Stars began filming). In particular, Harry is unhappy to be outed as the snake who engineered the blindside of godmother Janine.

Mat tells David that he’s going to have Henry’s idol if they go to tribal council, and essentially demands that David give up one of his own. David agrees as long as it’s Daisy, and Mat reluctantly agrees.

The immunity challenge is a shallow-water version of the giant ball challenge from Survivor: Philippines that ended in a muddy stalemate. Australian Survivor avoids a similar outcome by putting two giant balls in play, forcing decisions about when to go onto offense or defense. Annoyingly, Zach wins it for Makuta. Henry passes the idol to Mat, but not before AK notices.

Note: Nick died on the way back to his home planet

The Old Ducks correctly deduce that the Pretty Cookies will target Jacqui. The Pretty Cookies underestimate Mat’s willingness to play the idol for someone else, given how he went out last time. They decide to put five votes on Jacqui and two on Moana, and to telegraph to the Old Ducks that they’re voting Moana. But this sets off Mat’s BS detector, either because they sold too hard or because Mat’s found another gear as a Survivor player. In any case, David mouths “Jacqui” to Mat, so it’s only a matter of whether Mat trusts him. David pretty easily pulls the wool over Daisy’s eyes. Tarzan sets off a chain of idol-hunting. Brooke finds it as Locky and Flick watch. Probably they should keep the information to themselves, but Brooke tells the rest of the Pretty Cookies she has it. David can’t help but be galaxy-brained about this and strong-arms Mat into putting his (David’s) name out there, so Brooke will play the idol on him, putting the idol back in play. This seems like a very bad idea.

At tribal council, Moana does what you do when you’re in the minority and plants a bulls-eye on the leader of the majority. Brooke couldn’t be more eager to play her idol for David now. Mat leans over to Locky and advises him to jump ship, in what is clearly the continuation of a previous conversation. This is good to know as a viewer, since we hadn’t seen Mat try to peel off any of the Pretty Cookies before, but what’s his play here? Based on what Mat knows (he knows the votes against Jacqui won’t count, and he doesn’t know about Brooke’s idol), he doesn’t need Locky’s vote. Mat plays his idol for himself, gauges the reaction, then switches immunity to Jacqui. Brooke plays her idol on David. The Pretty Cookies split the vote exactly as planned, five for Jacqui (which don’t count) and two for Moana, and the Old Ducks’ four votes for Daisy prevail. David gets exactly what he wants: Daisy out, a side alliance with Mat, and both idols flushed. And give him credit for not twisting the knife by voting for Daisy (five votes would have sent off alarm bells) and for his epic “Whaaaaa?” face after the vote. And this was also a coming out party for Mat the Strategist. It’s a real shame to lose Daisy this early, but as Blurry Denzel noted yesterday, the higher the Golden God ascends, the more spectacular his eventual downfall will be.