Australian Survivor All Stars: Week 3, Episodes 7-9

It’s week 3, time for some to be Exiled, some to be swap-screwed, and some to get dragged through the sand.

Note: Recapping the third episode of the week is really hard. Not only do you have to stay on top of all three of the week’s episodes, but now there’s only a small window of time (in the US) to watch and recap the third episode before the Winners at War episode airs. So the third-episode recaps going forward could be cursory, late, or even non-existent. As a general guideline, if you’ve seen the third episode but there’s no recap yet, please spoiler-tag your comments until a reasonable amount of time has passed (Friday morning in the US, maybe?).

Episode 7 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)

Shonee and Zach commiserate on Exile Beach. I find it very hard to believe that Zach is a changed man, but 14 days is a long time to put up a front, if it is a front. The 2018 Zach surely wouldn’t cosplay a spa day on Exile Beach doing facial scrubs with Shonee.

At Mokuta (Green), Nick is in an even tighter spot without Shonee (as we discussed in last week’s comments, he had much less control over the last vote than the show portrayed). Meanwhile, Abbey is gloating that every person she’s voted for has gone. I didn’t expect Abbey to drive the action in her return appearance, so kudos to her for that, but boy does it seem like she’s being set up for a fall.


Chef’s kiss

At the reward challenge mat, before Vakama (Yellow) can recover from learning that Shonee and Zach were sent to Exile Beach, Jonathan tells everybody to drop their buffs. New Green is Nick, Lee, and Sharn (staying) Tarzan, Jacqui, Moana, David, Phoebe (switching). New Yellow is Locky, Brooke, Flick, AK, and Mat (staying), Harry, Abbey, John, and Lydia (switching). Wow, is Mat screwed. His three allies and David are on the other tribe, he’s stuck with four of Cool Kids he’s been fighting, Harry’s a known snake, and he blindsided Lydia in their first season. Thankfully, there was no Redemption Island-style elimination at Exile Beach, and both Zach and Shonee return. Rather than letting them draw buffs at random, JLP puts Shonee on Yellow and Zach on Green (surely because of the uneven numbers).

The reward challenge is tug-of-war, best three out of five matches, and the reward is a “grazing plate” and a “Pandora’s Box” advantage, neither of which sound like things you should want. Green wins.

Shonee is stoked that the people who tried to vote her out twice are in the minority on her new tribe. She starts working her social game magic. Meanwhile, David is also feeling isolated, with only one ally (Phoebe) and a potential free agent in possibly-vengeful Zach.

The note accompanying the Pandora’s Box says that there’s an advantage locked inside, and two keys are hidden somewhere around camp. Everybody scatters, but I think the low-risk, medium-reward strategy would be to stand guard over the box and blackmail myself into an alliance with whoever comes back with a key first. Nick finds one of the keys. He uses it to pull in fellow 2016-season strategist Phoebe. Jacqui finds the other key, with Tarzan standing next to her. Nick gets to the box first and extracts the advantage before anyone sees him. The advantage is an extra vote at any pre-merge tribal council.

The immunity challenge is a heavy cart something something, but finally we have a puzzle at the end. Nick talks Green through the correct strategy for solving it before the challenge starts, while Yellow figures it out by trial and error. That’s the difference maker, and Green wins. This seemingly puts Shonee at risk, but she sees it as a chance to get rid of Abbey. For her part, Abbey, is still all about challenge strength, and continues to target Shonee. Surprise, surprise.

Abbey reckons that she lost last time because she didn’t have a sufficient number of meat shields. She says that a strong-people alliance is emerging, and they have enough members to split the vote: herself, Lydia, Locky, Flick, and Brooke for Shonee; John and AK for Mat. We haven’t heard a peep from anybody else in this alliance, and I think only Abbey, Lydia, and Locky truly care about challenge strength. I’ll bet right now that this backfires on Abbey.

Sure enough, Shonee easily rounds up votes, with not even Locky interested in a muscle alliance.

Tribal council is a bit lackluster, with everybody playing safe with their answers in a way that would get them yelled at by Jeff. It’s pretty clear Shonee has the votes, and in fact it’s five votes Abbey, two votes Lydia (i.e., a split of seven votes), two votes Shonee, one vote Mat (with Locky, Flick, Brooke, and AK switching from Abbey’s side to Shonee’s).

Slay Kweeeen

Sure, Abbey was getting tedious with her tunnel vision about challenge strength, but you can hardly blame her for emphasizing the aspect of the game she’s good at and makes her valuable to her alliance. It’s not that different, really, than Shonee emphasizing her social game. But with so many of the early challenges relying on brute force, and players like Henry and Michelle going home prematurely, we’re fortunate that so many of the tribe-strength types (like Mat and Locky) are playing a different game this time around.

Addendum: Shannon Guss has a take on Twitter about Abbey that’s worth reproducing in full:

Episode 8 (Kemper Boyd)

I really enjoyed the last episode. The only negative of Abbey’s game was being the obvious leader of her side.

David talks about loving his new tribe and how annoyed he is he doesn’t know who has the advatage from pandora’s box. He asked Phoebe who knows it’s Nick, she says Sharn.

At Vakama Shonee is continuing her reign of social terror. She is on cloud 9, she blindsided her enemy. Shonee has abandoned her old tribe except Harry. She wants to make Mat her ally. Mat wants to work against Locky and his crew but can’t trust Lydia due to him blindsiding her last time. Lydia talks to John about wanting to throw Mat under the bus.

Zach is nude, Mo jokes about not wanting to look at it, Lee stares at his beautiful glutes. Nick is just sort of worried about the new tribe. He thinks there are voting blocks. His extra vote is useful. Mo does a big talk about her alliance and being ready to play. She wants to go for Dave. She goes to talk to Sharn. She talks to Nick.

It’s individual immunity time! Both tribes will go to Tribal. It’s the hold a disc with each hand until they drop, last one wins. This seems like a Lydia special to me. Although an under reported story is that Sharn has 4 individual immunity wins, tied for most with Luke and Brian and the most by a woman. After David drops he and Mo discuss a post-merge alliance, she offers to be his Luke. Sharn gets to the end vs Jacqui, she is an underrated challenge beast. AK after an hour uses a thumb at the bottom to move his discs up and is out. Leaving Brooke v Flick. Sharn has very obviously double jointed fingers and eventually drops leaving Jacqui to win. Both Brooke and Flick are solid as fuck. Flick eventually breaks down and Brooke wins.

Shonee is after Lydia, the plan is a split vote, boys on Lydia and girls on John. The #shonetent is magnificent. But Lydia wants to pitch a blindside of Mat with AK, Brooke and Locky, dunno why Flick isn’t included. She’s right, this is the perfect time. She calls it a lazy move to AK and Harry. She says it’s a time to start adding to your resume, except she say reg-u-may. AK thinks it’s great and wants to take to shot. Lydia tells Locky and Brooke that Harry and Shonee are just going with the numbers and would like to take an opportunity to break them up and that Mat is on board. But Mat is watching her have all the chats and knows he might need to play his idol.

At Makuta it’s a different story, the lines are not drawn. David has big plans, as always. He goes to Zach and throws out Nick’s name. Zach is surprised but doesn’t hate the idea. He floats it to Lee. And Sharn. He then goes to Mo who tells him she is on board to get her ragtag army together. Mo then goes to Sharn and offers a crazy plan to blindside Phoebe because she doesn’t trust David. STOP WEAKENING MEN BY REMOVING WOMEN. Her plan is to have Tarzan vote for Nick but have herself Sharn, Jacqui, Nick, Lee and Zach vote for Phoebe. I think.

Phoebe doesn’t want Nick to go home either, she tells Nick about it coming for him so he’ll play his extra vote. Nick wants to vote out Moana because she is smart and is too tight with her three. See this is a reason to target a woman. Nick speaks to Sharn, Lee and Phoebe to vote for Mo. Nick will bring his vote just in case.

It’s fun going into tribal not knowing who will be going on either side. It’s not two tribals it’s joint, which means the answers are cagey. Lydia says the Abbey vote wasn’t logical, but it obviously was. AK says the sand is always shifting. John is on the outer as is Lydia. Locky talks about removing big threats, but Mat says doing it too soon. There are a lot of car metaphors. Mat points out every tme he’s been to tribal someone has been blindsided. We move to Makuta, David says they haven’t had a chance to test alliances. Mo says no the Vakama fractures have comes over with them but Phoebe disagrees. Phoebe asks Sharn and Nick who they are voting for and is told by Sharn “who we said” and Nick says Mo. David is going to stick to the name they came up with. Sharn waffle son whether or not she knows what is going on, she thinks she does. Lee says the vote for him is about who he wants to work with long term. Mo thinks everyone will be surprised by the vote. Nick hopes he’s not the one being surprised. JLP then throws out a massive piece of news, the two voted off will face off in a firemaking challenge and the winner will return to their tribe. BRUTAL.

JLP counts the votes and Mat doesn’t play his idol, for Vakama it’s Lydia by a vote of 5 to 3 her pitch was honestly a good one but alas it did not work. for Makuta it’s Nick, Nick, Mo, Phoebe, Phoebe, Mo, Nick, Phoebe, Phoebe. It’s Phoebe going to fire, Mo’s plan worked. Wow. Phoebe wins firemaking before Lydia even gets a spark. Bye Lydia.

I am hyped to see the blowback from this tribal at Makuta because David went for Nick who went for Mo who went for Phoebe. Phoebe is close with Nick and David who are now ops and Mo seemingly has Sharn and Lee. But seriously why not just go for David. He is wildly untrustworthy, how does Mo think this will work now? He’ll be like “amazing move blindsiding my ally”? Nah he’s going to burn that place down.

Although the thirst rankings have taken a real hit this last 2 weeks.

Episode 9 (Kemper Boyd)

We get a pre-credit scene of John talking about Mat, which can only mean Mat is going home. I don’t know how or why but that is what it tells me.

After the credits Mat talks about hating being Locky’s lapdog. We get a funny scene of Mat talking about what it was like to be called up to play for Australia and Locky has to pipe up and say he played under-19s soccer for Australia. I hate to say it but I think the competition might be a bit less than Mat who played two codes of Rugby which is realistically the national sport of Australia. Only the very best can play both codes and for their country too. Mat is dying to vote out Locky. Mat wants to play his idol for himself of John and get him out, but surely the other side have enough people to split.

At Makuta Nick is doing his tv personality schtick again, interviewing Jacqui about her kitchen. P
Phoebe is the new Shonee, she’s feeling isolated and annoyed, but she played from the bottom last time out and she knows how to do it again. David is pissed at her for revealing his plan to blindside Nick, despite it not working and not being able to work even if Phoebe went with it. David says she dragged her through, I forgot the level of douche he is. He is sad that no one wants to play with him, but he brings it on himself. A bit like Henry he has a need for a big move that takes over and stops him being able to play the middle.

Mo wants to use Dave but also doesn’t want Phoebe in the picture when she does. David asks her if it was just about splitting them and Mo says yep and then tells him a lot of bullshit about Phoebe wanting him out before merge. David doesn’t trust her but he respects her big move energy. He sums up the problem with his gameplay, like Henry’s before him, “I just don’t want to be a number”.

Reward Challenge time and it’s the auction! With the twist that the tribe has a pot and you are bidding with your tribe’s money! Phoebe playing the retribution game spaffs $500 on the first scroll. But it’s not an advantage or a clue, it’s the seat that gives you every item. She can choose someone from the opposing tribe and she picks AK.

The Survivor Auction Returns With An All Stars Twist Inspiring Phoebe's Revenge

Harry the millennial buys avocado on toast for $180, this is how much people think it costs and that’s why people can’t afford houses. Mat spend $340 on a huge steak. Nick bids on a message from home, Locky tells Flick to let him have it but she bids him up to $340. Nick has a small baby at home, I can see why people were willing to let him have it. Paloma is a cute kid! Nick, AK and Phoebe are all in flood of tears (this is where I remember that AK and Nick are close friends in real life). A covered item goes for $300 to John, it’s a pizza. Brooke says it’s ok, she doesn’t like pizza, who doesn’t like pizza? Next up is a Mexican Parma, which is John’s thing and he bids against Locky for it. Lee buys it for $340. Locky then buys a burrito, chips, salsa and margarita. Phoebe uses her time to taalk to AK about Mo running the tribe and to rub in that they voted her out.

The Survivor Auction Returns With An All Stars Twist Inspiring Phoebe's Revenge

AK goes to his alliance and tells them about Phoebe’s news.  As they are talking about it Mat walks up.

Mo then has a little rant about Phoebe and about how she wants to be with David and his big moves. David goes off looking for an idol and Sharn is doing some covert reconnaissance. David find an idol but Sharn isn’t watching him. Bloody lovely editing, as Mo talks about him being dangerous and needing to be onside he is shown finding an idol.
David now sees Mo as a a power players although it isn’t clear if he wants to get rid of her and work with her.

Immunity Challenge time, pairs hold a disc between them with their feet, last pair wins. Makuta win! We won’t see what David or Mo were going to do. Just a note, Abbey was so keen to get rid of Shonee but she hung on a long long time in this challenge when Mat, Locky, Flick and Harry couldn’t.

There isn’t really much to say post-immunity challenge, Mat wants to get with Shonee, Harry and John to get rid of Locky, he wants to get Flick onside to do a 5-3 vote for Locky. It doesn’t work. The vote at tribal is 3 Mat, 3 John and 2 Locky. Mat plays his idol and John goes home.

John Eastoe Voted Out Of Australian Survivor All Stars

There was zero reason for Flick to move across, if she is 4th out of the 4 original Vakama it’s still better than being below Mat, Mo, Tarzan, Jacqui and Sharn and I truly believe Sharn is with them.

Maybe it is a move that Shonee and Harry should have considered, but Harry is the only player apart from Nick really articulating that timing is everything in these big moves. If Locky, David, Mat and Mo are all there post merge you have an easy way first few votes. The only other question is should Mat have just voted for John and saved his idol?

Until next week…

… please note that the 3rd episode of the week won’t always be on time, it’s less likely to be on time than to be late. But we will try our best to get recaps done for you. If the 3rd episode isn’t up please use spoiler tags in the comments. < spoiler > without the spaces.