Australian Survivor: Blood V Water: Week 1, Episodes 1, 2 & 3

47 days, 24 people, four recappers, two Twines, ONE SURVIVOR!!!

Welcome to the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast’s coverage of Australian Survivor: Blood V Water. The show is coming off a 2021 season that was very good overall and had probably the most exciting finish in franchise history, so hopefully they maintain the momentum.  I assume that there will be some Aussie Survivor newbies following our coverage for the first time this season because of the presence of Queen Sandra, so first a couple of housekeeping notes. Ongoing Australian Survivor fans can skip to the Episode 1 recap.

Australian Survivor is both a marathon (24 episodes) and a sprint (at least two and usually three episodes a week, on consecutive nights). It’s a lot to keep up with, and even more so for us recappers. We don’t want to litter the PRP front page with recaps, so there will be one recap post per week, which will be updated as the week goes along. The post title will always reflect which episode we’re up to, so there’s no need to click through and possible expose yourself to spoilers. We’ll try to post recaps within 24 hours after episodes air, but inevitably we’ll fall behind at some point. In addition, almost everybody watching the show will be time-shifting, and posting comments at all different times. So the basic commenting etiquette around here is to spoiler-tag any comments about episodes that you’ve seen but haven’t been recapped yet (and indicate before the spoiler tag which episode you’re talking about), and it’s extra-polite to go back and remove those spoiler tags once the episode recap is up.

Sadly, the rumors of this season being on US Paramount Plus are not true, so if you’re new to Australian Survivor and unsure of how to watch it, DM any of the AU Team (Assistant Dragon Slayer, Kemper Boyd, Barbara Anderson, and Something Quirky) on Twitter for assistance.

As is the unfortunate Australian Survivor custom, this season immediately spoils the outcome of the previous season. If you’re a newbie, skip ahead exactly one minute as soon as the first episode starts, and watch Brain vs. Brawn when you have time (which presumably won’t be until after Sandra gets voted out the season ends).

OK, on to the recaps.

Episode 1 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)

  • As with Brains vs. Brawn (also film domestically, in the Outback), we start off with a title card acknowledging the First People of the land where they’re filming the season, in this case the Gudjal.
  • The setting for this season, while still in the Outback, looks pretty lush relative to last season’s barren wasteland. Lush means green, green means wet, and wet means rain, probably.
  • Right away we’re introduced to half the cast: brothers Jordan and Jesse (not the podcasters, apparently), sisters KJ and Sophie, brother- and sister-in-law Croc (a retired pro rugby player) and Chrissy, siblings Khan (from MasterChef Australia) and Amy, siblings Andy (the punching bag from Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders 2) and Kate, and spouses Mark and Sam (from the beloved Australian Survivor Season 2). We get some glimpses of other contestants, as well as a couple of US passports getting stamped (Mysterious!).
  • 22 players hike up to the starting mat; two are helicoptered in. Out of the chopper emerge Queen Sandra and her baby girl Nina. I dunno, I kind of think this showy entrance could put a target on their backs.
  • The pairs of loved ones are split up and grouped into two tribes. One tribe is given red buffs and the tribe name “Blood”, the other, blue buffs and the tribe name “Water”. Blood vs. Water, Red vs. Blue–get it? You get it, right? Never change, Australian Survivor.
  • We immediately have a reward challenge for a fire pit (along with a flint and comfy chairs), pitting pairs of loved ones against each other, best of five. Unsurprisingly, the deciding match is between Sandra and Nina. Also unsurprisingly, Nina wins it for Water.
  • We get the lowdown on the Water tribe, mostly from Mark’s point of view. He’s more than happy to let ever-self-aware Andy take charge of the tribe (although IIRC, the first time Mark played he was similarly wary of being seen as tribe leader, but eventually couldn’t help himself). Chrissy makes a big deal about being completely out of her element.
  • Over on Blood, Sandra wants to keep a low profile in the early going, but is inevitably top of mind for everybody. Sophie gets the first big intro package of the season.
  • At Water, we get a big intro package for Shay and then she finds a clue to the idol while out gathering wood with Briana. HAHAHA it’s a podium idol! But it says there are other clues out there. I assumed this meant that the same clue is at the Blood camp. However, fellow Water tribemate Chrissy (who genuinely seems to have not watched Survivor before) finds the same clue, but within view of several other Waters.
  • [Deleted]
  • The two tribes seem more or less evenly balanced for challenges (far more than on a Champions vs. Contenders or Brain vs. Brawn season), but Sandra can’t help but be the sun around which the other Bloods orbit, making for a much different atmosphere than on Water. Blood also has probably the physically strongest player (Croc).
  • Immunity challenge: Blood files in, then Water, but Alex has to be human-crutch carried to the mat. It looks like he injured his ankle, but in fact his back has seized up. JLP reminds everybody that winning the immunity challenge puts their loved one at risk. With Alex unable to compete, Blood also has to sit somebody, and that somebody is Kate (Andy’s sister).
  • Battering rams, walls, obstacle course, throwing things at things, yada yada. Blood absolutely destroys Water, smashing all five jugs before Water can even start on the obstacle. Loved the trademark Australian Survivor super-slo-mo on Sophie’s throw.
  • Alex is a young, fit-seeming guy, but there’s no way he’s not getting voted out, right?
  • Oof. I don’t like being on the same page as Andy. Brianna and Shay want to get Chrissy voted out and avoid a highly visible fight for the podium idol. Conveniently, Chrissy also struggled badly in the challenge.
  • So it looks like a choice between Alex and Chrissy, but Nina don’ know ’bout thaaat…. Her mama taught her to make moves that benefit her, and not somebody else, and Nina doesn’t see herself ever working with… ANDY!
  • It’s possible that Nina is pushing on an open door, with Andy so universally distrusted, but she impressively rounds up Mark and Jordie right away at the water well. She then pulls in KJ, Mel, and Kahn. Presumably Alex will be keen to vote out somebody other than Alex. That’s the seven she needs.
  • Andy’s plan is to split the vote between Alex and Chrissy. Everybody smiles and nods.
  • Hmm, just a couple hours after having to sit out a challenge with a back injury, unable to even walk, Alex is sitting cross-legged on the ground giving confessionals, in no apparent discomfort.
  • Wait, now Briana says the plan is to beat Chrissy to the podium idol and then play it for Alex (?????)
  • Tribal council: As the castaways take their seats, several pairs of eyes are on the idol, which is prominently on the front of the podium, right up top. JLP asks Alex about his injury and then WHOA THERE GOES SHAY FOR THE IDOL. Chrissy goes into hot pursuit and gets the idol because Shay must have thought it was somewhere other than where it so obviously was. Excuse me while I delete the paragraph about how I’m getting winner vibes from Shay.
  • JLP asks Andy what the hell just happened, then he asks if it changes his plan. Andy says no, then JLP asks the entire group and gets a lot of head shaking. After a skeptical “Huh” from JLP, Briana all but says they’re going to flush Chrissy’s idol.
  • Andy continues pressing for tribe strength, Briana agrees but uses that as argument to vote out Chrissy. Interestingly, rather than continue the pretense of going along with Andy’s plan, Nina says the vote is about finding out who she can trust and can work with going forward. She’s basically whipping any potential stray votes back into line. Boss move.
  • We see multiple votes for Andy and Alex, none for Chrissy. Chrissy plays her idol for herself. Andy smirks. The votes come in Alex, Alex, Andy, Andy, Briana, Andy, Andy (the smirk is gone), Andy, ANDY.
  • I almost feel sorry for the guy. I don’t think he did anything that shady this time around, but his performance on his first season was so toxic that it turned a supermajority of two different tribes on two different seasons against him.
  • What a debut for Nina Twine! Everybody voted for Andy except Andy, Josh, and weirdly, Alex (who was the stray vote for Briana).


Episode 2 (Something Quirky)

Hello again! I’ll be writing these recaps while on the land of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation.

  • The “Previously on…” reminds us who Andy’s loved one is (Kate)
  • The Water tribe is thinking about what’s happening over on the Blood tribe, and to take their minds off it, of course there’s a yoga person (Shay).
  • Chrissy gives a confessional, and is perhaps sounding more aggressive than she meant to towards Shay.
  • The credits come up, and I realise how much more aware I am of the people on the Water tribe.
  • It’s 41 degrees. That’s almost 2 degrees cooler than Christmas was here.
  • It’s Day 3 and Blood doesn’t have fire yet.
    Should… should Sandra know how to make fire by now?
    Anyway, they make fire.
  • Sandra says she’s competed against all kinds of people, but it’s a bit of a different experience on a Blood vs Water season.
    She also compares herself to The Incredible Hulk, emotionally.
  • Water seems to have a pretty solid camp; a fire, a clothesline, a good shelter, etc.
    Until the shelter starts falling. Even the camera person is taken by surprise.
    They seem to fix it.
  • Nina wants to play her own game, out of her mum’s shadow.
    At this stage it seems she is wary of Khanh.
  • Chrissy’s one strategy is to play a social game.
  • Briana is a roller skater.
    She’s concerned about last night’s Tribal and how she might be perceived now.
    Her and Chrissy have a meaningless conversation.
  • Chrissy refers to “Chaos Chrissy” (Hat tip to Kemper Boyd in the comments).
  • Reward Challenge time:
    Kate and her Adelaide Crows socks stay stoic, and she praises Andy’s throwing and puzzle challenge skills.
    It’s a 2v2 where you have to make your way out of a rope cage by climbing the net with your tribe’s colour, and grab your tribe’s flag.
    They kept mentioning that you needed to climb the correct coloured rope, but that never really came up, except for that the contestants started on the opposite tribe’s side.
    The rewards, plural, are fishing gear and comfort items.
    Sam volunteers to sit out. Sandra once again stays out of the sit out discussion.
    It’s Jesse and Croc (Blood) vs Mark and Khanh (Water).
    Khanh shakes off Jesse while the other two are tied up and grabs the blue flag.
    Then it’s Nina and Briana (Water) vs Kate and Sophie (Blood).
    After a struggle, Nina pulls Kate off the ropes and gets the flag.
    Sandra: “My baby beat you up. She’s Puerto Rican, I’m sorry.”
    There’s a little interlude where Mark and Khanh joke about being boyfriends. I missed what prompted it.
    Next is Amy and Sandra (Blood) vs Chrissy and Shay (Water).
    Shay was dragging all three other people, before breaking away and getting the flag.
    Then it’s KJ and Khanh (Water) vs David and Michelle (Blood).
    Khanh also holds up the other three, shakes them off, and gets the flag again.
    Water wins their second reward!
    They can take everything, or give one of the rewards to the other tribe. They give Blood the comfort items.
  • Back at camp, and Nina’s chyron is now her occupation instead of her relation. Later on, Chrissy’s is her occupation, and Khanh’s switches from occupation to relation. Everyone else’s just shows their relation. I just found that odd.
  • Briana gets the tackle box from the fishing gear and searches through it. While everyone watches. And notices what she’s doing.
  • Khanh’s strategy is to seem non-threatening, while being the one pulling the strings.
  • Over on Blood, Kate feels vulnerable.
    She’s not a part of any of the conversations that are going on, and says “If you’re not part of the plan, you are the plan.”
  • Sam gets her backstory package.
  • The discussions are indeed about Kate.
  • Croc asks Sandra about people getting paranoid, and then there’s a weird montage of clips of people together around camp while Sam has a confessional about paranoia.
  • Immunity Challenge time:
    Can I say how glad I am there is no skull? I’m so glad!
    The tribes must drag three barrels over hurdles, then collect three more barrels and manoeuvre through obstacles and to the top of a tower, from where they will roll barrels down the other side to try to knock three targets off poles. (It seems to be the same targets as in the last immunity challenge.)
    Sophie sits out for Blood.
    Alex seems to be participating alright, other than almost getting Donkey Kong’d by barrels a few times.
    Water takes the lead.
    JLP refers to “Pilot Josh”, but then just “Jesse”.
    Blood pulled two barrels up at once a few times, so have started to catch up, and hit a target so it’s 2-1 to Water.
    Water have rolled all their barrels and have to bring all six of them back up the tower, which gives Blood time to hit two more targets and win their second immunity!
  • At the Blood camp, a group gather to discuss voting out Briana.
    They are concerned about a potential idol.
  • Briana pitches voting out Chrissy to Alex and Nina.
  • People aren’t talking strategy with Briana or giving her a name to vote for.
  • Briana and Shay (the person she is closest to) go looking for an idol.
    Khanh follows Briana, but then Briana comes back to camp, which leaves Shay looking by herself.
    Shay finds a big stick, that is actually a long pole that can be used to get a package that is hanging from the tree.
    Khanh, Briana, and Jordie see her, and Nina also turns up.
    Khanh ends up being the one to grab the package, but hands it straight to Shay, and it is an idol.
  • Khanh and Nina kind of corner Shay to tell her Briana would have grabbed the idol and she will pressure Shay to use it on her.
  • Shay tosses up between saving Briana (and sending Chrissy home) or keeping the idol for when she might need it.
  • Briana seems pretty confident Shay will play the idol for her.
  • Tribal Council time:
    Alex is feeling better and grateful.
    Josh says the tribe is prioritising cohesion.
    JLP questions Briana, Briana, Chrissy, Chrissy, Jordie, Chrissy, Mark, Mark, Briana, Briana, Chrissy, and Khanh.
    Briana gets concerned. She suggests “we might have to do something crazy”.
    Time to read the votes.
    Does Shay play the idol…?
    2 Briana votes and 2 Chrissy votes.
    Then the rest of the votes are for Briana, and she gets voted out.
    (Sidenote: I would also spell Briana as Brianna if I wasn’t told otherwise.)
  • We end with the question: Why would you want to bite into a bad apple, JLP?!?

Episode 3 (Kemperboyd)

I’ll be honest guys, my computer crashed 30 minutes into this recap and I lost what I had written up until that point so I will summarise what I remember:

  • These previously ons are bloody long for something we all watched literally yesterday!
  • Khanh gets loads of credit for the Brianna move, rightfully so but with dangerous music under it. He speaks with Mark who clocks him immediately as both an asset and a threat long term. Mark uses the term “females” and we take that note against him.
  • Sandra wants David gone, David wants Sandra gone.
  • The Reward Challenge is a long tiring physical slog with sandbags and Blood win it. There was no equalising challenge like a puzzle at the end and Australian Survivor’s propensity towards pure physicality strikes again.
  • Blood pick David to go to the Survivor reward shop, David decides to take Khanh as he can take someone from the other side.
  • They find a Super Idol, each gets one half and if reunited it becomes the Tyler Perry Idol.
  • David refuses to give Khanh anything from the reward as he doesn’t have anyone at that camp to look after.
  • Khanh explains Brianna went a little hard after the fish reward challenge looking for clues.
  • And we are back up to date.
  • David’s plan from this way forward is “whatever it takes to get to the end”.
  • They agree that David can say Khanh found a clue and Khanh agrees the same. They agree that if one of them uses their idol then they will take their hat off when they get to the challenge.
  • Khanh tells the tribe he got an idol, rather than allowing David to create suspicion at camp. He doesn’t tell them about the Super Idol part but does say David has an idol.
  • Back at Blood David brings back some nuts back for the veggie, beef jerky and a fishing net.
  • David claims he found a package, thinking it was a clue but it was in fact soap. Sandra does not buy it. David tries to sell that if it was there Khanh got it.
  • I would once again like to lodge my complaints about “Once again, Immunity is back up for grabs”, either the once again or the back is redundant, and I find it very annoying.
  • The Immunity Challenge is an obstacle course, with chopping down logs, then more obstacles then a balance word puzzle. Kate and Jay (?) sit out. Can red’s pure power keep Sandra from failing miserably?
  • Early on Sandra can’t do the over under obstacles, but she’s happy to be pulled along. Croc then destroys the log chop, catching up with Mark easily. Jordan has awful chopping technique and Josh creates a lead for Water. Water have a big lead into the block section of the challenge. The editors really want to make Sandra seem like the weak link but the entire issue was Jordan’s chopping. Sandra clocks Blood vs Water immediately. Chrissy counts out the placement of the blocks on the seesaw. Blood are in bits. WATER WIN IMMUNITY.
  • Sandra says “I’m a pro at throwing people under the bus. Anyone but me”.
  • Apart from Sandra I think at this stage I’d be inclined to remove one of the two players who doesn’t have a partner. I think I’d go for Kate as she is as weak as Sandra.
  • Everyone has a word and David says “Sandra is so dangerous, we need to vote her out early”. David floats a split vote between Kate and Sandra.
  • The one thing about a first tribal on Australian Survivor is how many players I do not have any idea about, some I swear I’ve never seen before.
  • Sandra decides that the big dogs will come to her when the time is right. And Ben comes to her, tells her that her name has come up. Sandra doesn’t want to look like she’s scrambling but she will be leading an assault on David.
  • Sandra, being brilliant starts with “what do you think?” Ben says he doesn’t want his fate in David’s hands and will talk to Croc. Michelle(?) is there and says it has to be a blindside. Ben and Michelle speak with Croc and Sophie about wanting to remove Dave. He feels David is a loose cannon, he is abrupt and rude. Ben is now 100% confident.
  • Jessie and Sam have a chat, Sam doesn’t want David to go out. Jordan wants the challenge strength but he’s the one who messed up the challenge. Classic man.
  • At Tribal we start with Sam saying it’s a kumbaya tribe. Sandra says usually on US Survivor the strategy starts immediately and Australians love blindsides. Kate thinks it’s her, she says she was not part of the plan so she assumes she was the plan. Sam says no there were so many plans, in fact it was a shemozzle. Sandra only heard two plans and thinks she could be one of the other plans.
  • David goes on the offensive against Sam, calling her the social butterfly of the group.
  • Sam then says she came in with a plan that didn’t include David. David says he is the loyalist person if he feels like he has trust. He goes off about how “why were there so many plans?” Sam should be saying “because it’s Survivor Dave you big buffoon” but she doesn’t she answers that she was trying to get him out of it when his name was brought up. Oh no, is Sandra getting idoled out??
  • Sam then asks Jay if they can go Dave? Dave then apologises that it was the paranoia, and it was a misjudgement.
  • It’s suddenly whisper central, which is brave to think he won’t have an idol after he went on the reward!
  • Sandra votes for Dave! Adios Mate. Sam votes for Sandra after a nice pause, in case of a double idol.
  • JLP asks if anyone wants to play an idol and Dave plays his. I can’t take this!
  • After all the David votes it’s Kate, Kate, Sandra, Kate! THANK GOD. I liked Kate but to lose Sandra in week 1 would have been devastating!
  • I think this was actually the vote they should have gone with, a physically weaker player with absolutely no investment in the game and no one to be pissed off at the other camp. But David is now such an obvious target Sandra might have found her big crack.
  • So far so good on this season, a little too little of some players but I remember we didn’t really see last season’s winner for a good few episodes so there is still potential there.