The Vakama 3 did the impossible and made it back from Edge of Extinction Exile Beach intact. Has the tide turned, or was it just a speed bump on the way to a Pagonging? Let’s find out!
Episode 19 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)
- Jacqui channels Janine Allis, reveling in her blindside of Zach and promising that there’s more where that came from.
- Nice serendipity with Jacqui calling herself “the Golden Goddess” and Shonee saying “one blindside and she thinks that she’s the Golden God”.
- GenX-er Jacqui makes a reference to a late-Boomer sitcom that would have been in syndication when she was a child (Get Smart), and Shonee and Brooke have no idea what she’s talking about, glancing at each other awkwardly. Oh, I’ve been there, Jacqui.
- Lol, David can’t comprehend why Jacqui would try to win Survivor.
- Moana is chuffed that she got the outcome she wanted without having to reveal her hand. Moana’s in a good position here because David (and the Vakamas) mistakenly think it’s a straightforward battle between two tribes who are suddenly even in numbers. On the other hand, Moana doesn’t know that she has to maneuver around two idols, not one.
- The reward challenge once again comes down to a showdown between Shonee and David. They last three times as long as everybody else (and eight times longer than Adam Klein did when he won this challenge in Survivor: Millennials vs. GenX).
- David wins and takes Sharn and Moana. Jonathan says he can take one more and he takes Tarzan. So he’s written off Jacqui, it looks like. Isn’t it Survivor 101 by this point that you leave your closest ally behind?
- Great editor’s joke when Sharn says in a voice-over that she’s been keeping an eye on David:
- David says it’s more important to strengthen ties with Sharn and Moana than to try to get Jacqui back in the fold. But he could have done both by taking Jacqui instead of Tarzan. He’s acting out of spite because Jacqui implicitly demanded to be taken.
- David wins the immunity challenge, beating Brooke by two puzzle pieces. So if David isn’t blindsided in the next round and he doesn’t misplay an idol along the way he’s got a pass to the Final 4. Plus he has a very convincing fake idol.
- The vote looks like it’s going to be deadlocked at 4-4. Vakama + Jacqui want to pull in Sharn. David wants to reel Jacqui back in and then blindside her. Cornered by David, Jacqui throws out Shonee’s name and says that she’ll pretend to be with Vakama. Cornered by Vakama, Jacqui promises she’s with them and agrees to vote out Moana. Hmm. I think you have to let Jacqui call her shot here. What do they care if she says Tarzan or Sharn?
- AK lays out the stakes: Even if Jacqui is with them (which is by no means certain), they’re likely to go to rocks. AK tries to spook Sharn into voting with them to avoid rocks.
- At tribal council, everything is laid bare. Jacqui flipped last time and is the swing vote this time. Shonee and Brooke attribute Jacqui’s flip to being on the bottom of Mokuta. Moana speaks unbidden for possibly the first time all season and says that Jacqui’s not on the bottom as far as she’s concerned, and she’s been loyal to her the whole game, and attributes Jacqui flipping last time to an emotion-driven vote.
- AK insists that it’s an individual game now. The Vakama 3 all express their willingness to go to rocks. They explicitly woo Sharn (and not Moana or Tarzan), and Sharn seems unwilling to leave her game to chance.
- After the vote, David plays an idol for Tarzan. This is not a bad guess, actually. If you can’t vote out David it makes sense to take away his human extra vote advantage. But the vote is in fact a 4-4 tie between Jacqui and Moana.
- On the revote, Sharn hesitates for a long while before deciding who to vote for. When she sits back down she urges Tarzan to vote for Mo. I’m pretty sure that in US Survivor you’re prohibited from talking from the time the vote starts until the votes are read.
- The votes remain deadlocked 3-3. David, Tarzan, Mo, and Jacqui are all immune, David and Tarzan have no reason to change their votes, so it’s either agree to unanimously vote out Jacqui or Shonee, AK, Brooke, and Sharn go to rocks.
- The Vakama 3 make a big show of being willing to go to a rock draw and pressure Sharn to agree. Sharn pledges her absolute loyalty to them if they get rid of Jacqui. I’m not clear what the point of this is. The Vakama 3 don’t need Sharn’s permission, and in any case going to rocks would be crazy. If they back down, they go back to camp intact and with an unreliable ally. If they go to rocks, they have only a 25% chance of going back to camp intact and with an unreliable ally, and that’s the best-case scenario.
- The Vakama’s capitulate and Jacqui’s stuffed. I’m a little surprised that she didn’t pipe up once it became clear it was either her going home or a rock draw.
- In the slowest, most roundabout manner possible, blocks are getting knocked out of the Jenga tower David is standing on: the Mokutas have lost three members in a row (Lee, Zach, and Jacqui), the Vakamas now have a majority if they can keep Sharn on side (a tall order), he’s wasted an idol, and he doesn’t yet realize that Moana is against him.
- Is Australian Survivor’s elimination rock purple? We may never know.
- Jonathan promised us a wild finish, and the contours of how that could yet happen are starting to come into view, when a David coronation seemed inevitable a week ago.
- As you probably know, Jacqui received a second cancer diagnosis after returning home (having been diagnosed with and treated for melanoma after her first season). We all wish her the best.
Episode 20 (Kemperboyd)
- After yesterday’s bumper episode this episode really was only about one thing would Sharn flip against David. Everything else was filler.
- There was a cow on the beach.
- Tarzan wasn’t sure if she could trust Sharn.
- David showed his alliance his idol.
- JLP said they would draw for spots but it looked to me like the challenge structure was built by contestant height otherwise it’s not really fair.
- Brooke won immunity.
- Let’s talk about the big decision, whether or not to blindside David. In the end Sharn played it safe and it seems like a terrible move, a game losing move. She had the completely right read on him that he would not play his idol but didn’t move against him.
- In her voting confessional she spoke about David being her shield and wanting to sit next to him at the end and it’s complete insanity by her and Moana to think they can sit next to someone how has been labelled a big threat at the end and convince the jury to vote for them.
- My personal view is that this is that Sharn lost the game here, I don’t think she was in a great spot to win but now she will be seen by the jury as too cowardly to move against a power player. She will not be given any credit for deciding to save David.
- How does this reflect on the decision not to go to rocks last week? the Vakama 3 should have gone to rocks, had they lost then one of them goes home here no matter what but had they won the 3 plus Jacqui vote for David. He then plays his idol, if he plays it on himself then it’s 3 v 3 at 6 and if he plays it on Tarzan or Mo then they have a 4 to 2 majority and have swung the game completely.
Episode 21 (Blurry Denzel)
- Sharn explains why she made the move she did, sticking with the majority and turning her back on Shonee’s crew. She is looking to make it to end with whoever she can and just get in front of a jury to explain her game. She will be in for a rude awakening.
- Brooke knows she could’ve been out last episode if she didn’t win immunity and knows she is the biggest physical threat and needs to continue to win. Immunity remains the equalizer for underdogs to throw a monkey wrench into any laid out plan.
- Moana tries to separate David from Sharn by revealing to Sharn that David used his idol just as a bargaining tool and really isn’t as close to her as he wants it to appear. Mo pitches herself as the person Sharn can depend on. Sharn seems sort of receptive but who knows if she will ever pull the trigger on David, if it’s even possible
- In a dramatic immunity challenge, Brooke wins again. AK, who is on the chopping block now, overcame his fear of heights and dove in to the water. I can relate to how he felt and I’m glad he pushed through. Unfortunately, the pause in jumping may cost him the game.
- AK goes idol hunting with Mo as his babysitter. I kinda wanted him to find it right in front of her because it doesn’t matter if she sees him get the idol. They have no one else on the other side to vote for. Look for the idol yourself or at least get close enough to fight for the idol. She leaves anyway to tell her tribe that AK flipped over a barrel of water or something. So good babysitting.
- David or the show pretends that he is entertaining flipping and voting out Sharn. It barely passes for a red herring. David is in such a great spot right now that cruise control is where he reasonably should be. His alliance needs to cut the underdogs before the end and he has an idol to protect him as well.
- Tribal is pretty straight forward so of course JLP throws another twist at us. We can forgo the reading of votes if anyone is willing to do a trial by fire, a fire making challenge against someone in the game, who has no chance of going home if they lose. As for twists, this got an eye roll from me, so not that bad for AS.
- AK of course volunteers to do this task. His opponent has to be selected unanimously by the tribe or randomly draw rocks to decide who goes against AK. Brooke needed to force a rock draw. Her best move is to go against AK herself and just throw it. She needs AK in this game. Time is a valuable thing in the game. A lot can change before the next tribal. Maybe an idol is found or something that can help. Brooke allowing any of the others, no matter how bad they are at making fire, is not optimal.
- Mo goes up against AK and wins, deflating the comeback story. She gets to show off in front of a jury that will inevitably vote for David.
- Next time Brooke tries to find holes in the majority alliance and also maybe win immunity. We’ll see if she can pull it off.
The AU Team is Kemper Boyd, Assistant Dragon Slayer, Blurry Denzel, and Barbara Anderson, who are joined by special guest and genuine Australian Something Quirky. Everything about Australian Survivor is big, including the team needed to cover it.