Welcome to Week 2! We grieved over the debunked rumor of this season being available on US Paramount Plus but cheered at the arrival of both Princess Nina and uncensored Sandra along with a brand-new season of Australian Survivor. Fingers crossed that we end the week with both Twines still attached to this season.
Episode 4 (Barbara Anderson)
- We get a recap of the first week including the idea that the singles are out for revenge after losing their loved ones.
- We have a fishing trip on Blood, which isn’t going well. Meanwhile Sandra describes her first Australian tribal council as both a “hot mess” and “between a shit show and a three-ring circus”. Welcome to Australian Survivor, Sandra! Anyway, Sandra talks about how David (I refuse to call him Juicy Dave right now.) screwed up his game so badly that everybody wanted him out at Tribal, but he is still there. The others confirmed to her that she was the target, but they believe that David was using her to deflect from his idol.
- In confessional, David tells us that he lost his nerve going after Sandra due to paranoia. Due to that paranoia, he is on the outs, but he believes he has a chance to rebuild the trust. He goes to apologize to the tribe, but it doesn’t go as well as he intended. He backs off and hopes that the tribe forgets about what he did.
- Cut to Sam being pissed off that he correctly called out her game as being the “social butterfly”, so she now potentially has a target. Sam then proceeds to throw him under the bus by pointing out his lies and making him a bigger target. The sequence ends with David obviously looking for an idol, which Sam calls out.
- We meet up with Water and everybody is happy to have had a night off. Khanh has cooked something up literally and metaphorically as he described the tell that David and him came up with if they had to use the idol. After seeing each other, they will tip their hat back. Khanh plans on holding on to his idol because his tribe trusts him, and he is the top of his alliance which potentially includes Mark.
- Mark immediately sees how Khanh is dangerous because he is popular and has an idol. He proposes flushing out the idol while also disclosing that he is working with Khanh to a group of people. He points out that you need to time early big moves just right because you could become the target yourself.
- Reward Challenge Time! Mark immediately tips his hat upon entering the area, which Khanh seemingly notices and reacts. JLP asks Nina if she is relieved to see that Sandra survived the tribal, which she is. Sandra gets asked about tribal, which she repeats her line from earlier and says that she did get a vote cast against her, so it wasn’t a perfect outing for her. The challenge: Face off in a trench one-on-one to ring the opposite side’s bell. On each side of the trench is the rope to lead you to the bell. Once you touch that rope, then your opponent cannot wrestle you and you essentially win that round. First tribe to three wins morning tea. Blood/Red wins with a few eventful matches being Mark vs. Croc and Josh vs. Jordan being wrestling matches, with the latter including wedgies and butt shots if you are in to that sort of thing. Nina and Sandra have a bit of scuffle before Nina wins. However, two of the deciding three matches for Blood are non-combat rounds where the two opponents just hope to the first to ring the bell. While I like the concept of you can’t wrestle once you touch the rope, I kinda wish the rope would have been attached to the bell, so you had to rock the rope hard enough to ring the bell.
- Not only does Blood win, but they can kidnap a member of Water to join them on their reward. They select Shay with no complaint. JLP warns them on their way out to go easy on the coffee.
- After enjoying their reward (including Ben kissing on Shay), several tribemates point out how much they want to hear news about their loved ones. Sam, meanwhile, is very chill about not having Mark on reward because she can have a “lifetime of cuddles” with him after the show. He needs to worry about getting things right on his tribe, so they can merge together and hopefully win.
- Sophie tells Shay half-jokingly about what Shay should tell her tribe about her(including telling Mark that Sam and her are “scissor sisters”). Sophie talks about how she is a natural born leader who has to dilute that aspect of herself playing, which leads to a montage of her coming across as being loud and a bit controlling. She says that her core alliance is with Ben, Croc, and Jordan, who will protect her. Ben immediately confirms this to her. Jordan then says that the target should be David, which she agrees with.
- Sandra immediately interrupts the conversation as we get her confessional of picking up on their agenda because we have seen footage of her “watching them” throughout the Sophie montage. She calls them out on their rookie plans, especially Sophie. While Dave is an easy vote, Sophie is just a little too obvious of a threat. She then describes herself as an American eagle watching these mice scurry about and priming herself to take them out one by one. That visual made me chuckle.
- Immunity Challenge time. Ben and Shay gets asked about their reunion, while Sandra gets asked about quality time with your tribe over your loved one. Anyway, you have to drag a thing over a building, raft to puzzle pieces, get them back, and construct an arched puzzle that if done correctly should support itself for three seconds. Sophie sits out for Red. It’s an interesting twist on the puzzle challenge because the puzzle is easy on its face but it requires the whole tribe to get it right. From the start Blue just had the communication down from the rafting portion and was able to be patient about the issues with the puzzle for their second immunity win. On Red, Sophie was yelling at Ben for portions of the challenge, but they weren’t truly that close to the puzzle (they even had Blood misspelled on one side for portions of the challenge). She also immediately starts questioning how they lost from the start.
- JLP springs on Blue that they will not have the night off because they will be joining Red at Tribal Council. Weird to do that on the same cycle as sending Shay to Red, but okay. Sophie is excited because she has her alpha pack to decide. Her pack of 4 on a tribe of 11.
- After immunity, Sam asks the group how do they want to Water to view them. Someone says that they need to behave themselves. Smash cut to David. It then quickly becomes a reading session on David’s last Tribal. Sophie then reiterates that her plan is to take out David and her pack wants the plan to be unified. Sophie then goes to Sam and Jesse to tell the plan, which gives the Alpha Pack the majority.
- David suspects that his time is up because no one is talking to him. He then goes to Croc to remind him that they would have been further behind in the Immunity Challenge without him. Weird flex but okay.
- During this, Sophie, Ben, and Jordan have Sandra in the water talking about how she should vote out David since he is going home anyway. We don’t get a direct response from Sandra to their question.
- In confessional, Sandra knows that Sophie thinks she is the puppet master. She wants to turn the vote around on her because there is only one Queen. Sandra then knows that it is an uphill battle because she must get 6 and do it subtly. She quickly gets Michelle and Amy on board, which leads to the next part: putting the target on Amy, so she gets the blame and Sandra can be under the radar. This happens with Sandra sending out Amy to rally the numbers.
- Amy then talks to Jay and he is seemingly on board (although Amy does mention to him that Sandra is planning on voting out Sophie). Her next objective is getting Jesse and Sam, which is hard because they are close to Sophie. They go off and talk and ponder their decisions. Jesse is leaning towards doing it, while Sam is leaning towards not because she is still close to Sophie and she is worried about the relationships afterwards, especially because they will be seen as the flippers.
- Sophie is confident that she has the vote. Sandra is confident that she has the vote and she gets the last laugh.
- Tribal Council time. It’s so weird to see Water seeing in the jury spots, which leads to a lot of shared glances across the set through the entire Tribal Council. Most of this Tribal Council is talking about David’s antics at the last one and how that has painted a target on his back, much like a lot of this episode has been. Most of this conversation is led by Sophie, much like a lot of this episode. We also get a lot of “Blood is an united front”, which is done to save face in front of Water. JLP also brings up how they weren’t close in that challenge at all because of early snafus. JLP then asks if the vote is for Strength vs. Unity. Some people, including Sandra, say Unity, while Sam (who appeared to be nearly in tears throughout Tribal) says that this will be a new beginning for the tribe.
- During vote, Ben says that David needs to be off of his tribe, while Sandra votes out Sophie with an “Adios, mate”. The normal voting music drops out for Sam’s walkup, which makes fairly clear that she will vote out Sophie.
- After David fakes an idol play, we see 4 expected votes for David, but then we see the 6 needed votes to take out Sophie. After staring down Sam and running to give devastated KJ a hug on the jury bench, Sophie walks up to JLP where he reveals that she is not voted out. She is instead now part of Water. As she exits with Water, Sophie makes a remark about how that is how she gets treated after being loyal to her tribe. Welcome to Australian Survivor, Sophie! Throughout this, Sam and Sandra look pissed, while the Alpha Pack is pretty happy about the turn of events.
- I am a bit bummed by the twist happening so soon and especially after a really well done blindside. I was also ready for Sophie to go after this episode. I worry that this will encourage more safe play by Sam, who already seems to be in her head about the game. It especially paints a huge target on Mark, who was just readying the troops to blindside Khanh. Although, it could end up that Water will just take her out again tomorrow, but I feel like having Shay to back her claims up might save her a round or two. Also, the show telegraphed this one a little too much by having Sandra getting two “watching Sophie” montages as well as not dismissing Water after they cast their votes at Tribal. But, here’s hoping that Sandra can bounce back and Nina can finish what her mom started.
Episode 5 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)
- The previously-on mentions Alex’s back injury. Uh-oh.
- The new Water tribe member Sophie is unsurprisingly mad at Sam. I’ve often wondered how, in a game of shifting alliances and deception, you can be so certain about who voted for you. How can Sophie be so sure that it wasn’t the big boys who turned on her? How does she know for sure that Sam flipped on her and brought along Jesse and not the other way around?
- Sam and Michelle fret when they spot Sandra in the river talking to Croc and Jordan, but she’s only giving them a Survivor 101 lesson.
- Immunity challenge: Sophie was not “evicted”, Jonathan!!!!! Sophie makes the general observation that now she can fuck up the games of the loved ones of the people that voted her out, and both Jonathan and Sam interpret that as a shot at Sam. But the fact of the matter is that if Sophie can’t find a crack at Water, she’s probably screwed. And since the Andy and Briana votes were nearly unanimous, maybe the crack just isn’t there yet.
- Sumo at Sea! It’s been ages since US Survivor has done this, probably because of the high risk of injury. As an actual sumo fan, I could go on at great length about how this bears no relation to the real thing, but I’ll spare you (except to say that if they could grapple, it might get somewhat close). The reward is a cheese platter, which seems absolutely not worth playing for.
- Alex’s back is indeed still killing him, and he sits out. The first tribe to three wins. Blood puts up Jesse, and Water counters with Mark. This almost seems like an agreement to make it best two out of three, since Mark and Croc will presumably make quick work of anybody but each other. Mark beats Jesse of course, but not before getting confirmation that Sophie’s a snake. Sam volunteers to go next, which unsurprisingly means she’s matched up with Sophie. Sam beats Sophie with some difficulty. In the vanishingly small chance that anyone reading this is also a sumo fan, I’ll note that Sophie actually had Sam in position for an uwatenage, if she had been allowed to grab onto her. Next is Jordan versus Josh, the loved ones match-up Jonathan’s been craving. Jordan maneuvers Josh into the drink as gently as possible. Blood, one win from victory, puts up Ben and not Croc for some damn reason. This seems like a mistake. Jordy taunts Ben before quickly beating him, to Shay’s dismay. The next match is the decider. Nina volunteers, and then so does Sandra (is there an agreement that Sandra and Nina will always go against each other, or is there 10 minutes of Jonathan begging and pleading with Sandra on the cutting room floor?). Nina immediately beats Sandra and isn’t getting shit for Christmas. Water wins the cheese platter, but they have to eat it at Blood camp, where the tribes will mingle. Sophie is not amused.
- As the loved ones reunite temporarily, Sophie seems completely boxed out by both tribes. She confronts Jordan. She’s really bad at playing from the bottom, to the point where even KJ is ducking for cover from the blowback. Sam pulls Sophie aside and if anything does her a favor by letting her blow off steam without engaging. But then Sam does what she can to make sure Water will finish the job of getting rid of Sophie.
- What does Sophie’s “BF” earrings stand for: Black Friday? Best Friends? Ben Folds? Boba Fett? Bloody Fool?
- Immunity challenge: Alex’s back is still barking but he’s not allowed to sit this one out. The challenge involves holding onto a rope tied to a log that is linked to logs of your other tribemates. After more than 15 minutes in toasty 43 degree heat, nobody’s dropped out so Jonathan makes everybody do it one-handed. Three Bloods quickly drop out, and Sandra isn’t even one of them. Oh wait, there she goes, but only because Croc surprisingly dropped, leaving Sandra all alone on the entire right half. It’s a battle of attrition from there, with people on both sides dropping out quickly, but Water seems to have an insurmountable advantage, eight people versus only Ben on Blood. But amazingly, Ben outlasts them all, sending Water to Tribal Council.
- Sophie looks like the easy boot. Maybe a bit too easy. Alex is still a liability because of his injury, and Khanh and Shay both have public idols.
- Khanh is the first to say “re-zhu-me” this season.
- KJ goes to bat for Sophie with the Nina/Mark group, but she knows she can’t push too hard. She throws out Khanh’s name, as she should. The group seems to take the bait. Since they don’t have a big enough majority for a proper vote split, Shay volunteers to be the decoy and just burn her idol. Chrissy comes along and signs up for the plan. They tell Sophie they’re going after Khanh and not her.
- By KJ’s count, there are five votes for Khanh, three for Sophie, and three for Shay, so it’s just a matter of making Khanh feel comfortable. But Khanh senses that there are too many conversations happening around him for such a cut-and-dried vote.
- Sophie’s picked the wrong time to calm down, because I think the move here is for her to make a desperate pitch to Khanh, to reinforce the ruse that she’s being shut out by everybody else.
- Tribal council: The conversation is largely what you’d expect people to say, and most of my observations get made for me. I was noticing peoples’ new outfits (Khanh’s matching pink sweats, Michelle’s floral dress, Shay’s denim sherpa jacket) and then JLP commented on Khanh’s look. Khanh says he’s a target because he has an idol, which raised the question in my mind of why Shay isn’t necessarily a target, and then Shay brought it up herself.
- And with that, it is time to vote: Alex, you’re up. But he just sits there. Has his back seized up again? Nope, he blindsides everybody and asks to be voted out. After some whispering, it’s clear that there aren’t enough votes to grant him his wish. JLP gives him the option of just plain quitting, and he takes it. Bummer for him, but having both Sophie and Khanh still in the game at maximum paranoia is probably good for the season.
- Just for the sake of me keeping the members of each tribe straight in my head, I wish they’d start voting out the J dudes (Jay, Jesse, Jordie, Jordan, Josh).
Episode 6 (Something Quirky)
- There’s 20 players left, and I agree that there are too many males with similar characteristics who have names starting with ‘J’.
- We open on the Blood tribe, where Jesse “the kid” is comic relief, and is fine with people underrating him.
I have no idea what’s up with people being called “juicy”.
- On the Water tribe, Mark teaches us that machiavellian = bad.
Sophie seems more aware of the target she could put on KJ’s back.
Sophie and KJ talk about Khanh being a threat.
Sophie goes to Khanh to propose an alliance, using the argument that no one would suspect it.
Khanh is not buying it.
He tells the other guys about Sophie’s proposition, and they seem on board with voting her out.
Oh, it’s The Circle Brazil now.
- Back at the Blood tribe:
Hi monitor lizard!
Ben makes good rice.
We get a Sandra photo montage.
It’s Day 13, and Sandra talks about her Day 16 Curse; the other times Sandra has been voted out have been on Day 16.
(Though due to the difference in days of the US and AU seasons, someone better at maths might be able to point out that Day 16 in US Survivor is the equivalent of a different day in AU Survivor.)
Talking at the well, when asked by Sandra, Amy says she’d prefer a guy who isn’t Jordan to go home.
Sandra suggests Dave, outwardly because he has no connection to the other tribe, inwardly because of revenge.
Nevermind, outwardly for revenge too. She calls him out in front of the tribe for voting for her.
Amy wants to keep Dave around, but is scared to go against Sandra.
Sam notices Amy, Dave, and Jay are close. Sandra also notices and calls them the “throuble”. Michelle is also there.
Sandra tries to sway the big guys to their side by telling them that Amy thinks one of them, except Jordan, should go.
Croc montage; he lost his way a bit after retiring and was used to being part of a team. Winning Survivor would prove he can accomplish things as an individual, but for now he wants to prove himself to his team.
- Reward challenge time:
JLP waits until the entire Water tribe are on their met before saying that Alex quit.
Jay is emotional, and proud of him.
The challenge is 3v3 competing in the water to get a ball up a ramp. First to 3 gets club sandwiches and juice.
Water lead 2-0
It’s two brothers, two cousins, Mark, and Croc competing, and they go pretty hard but not dangerously so.
“All this, just for a sandwich” -JLP
- At the Water tribe:
Khanh gives a foodie description of the food. Could have extended to the tomatoes and lettuce. Maybe they were organic heirloom tomatoes.
Mark is thinking clearer with food, and debates between voting out Khanh or Sophie.
He decides on Sophie.
He flips a table.
- On the Blood tribe:
Sandra is looking at Amy, Dave, and Jay again.
Those three look for idols.
Sam, Michelle, and ostensibly Sandra, start looking for idols.
Amy spots the pole.
Then Michelle and Sam spot it.
They all start looking in the trees without the pole.
Amy spots the package, grabs the pole, and gets the idol, apparently without anyone noticing.
- Immunity challenge time:
They have to swim out, climb a net, grab a ball, bring it back, pass the ball to a tribemate, and the tribemate has to toss the ball into the thing. It’s picturesque.
- Water leads, then Blood surges ahead, then Water reclaims the lead.
Croc is exhausted, and Chrissy goes over to him.
Then more people go over to him, including a medic.
Meanwhile, Water wins!
JLP notices Croc’s situation and checks in on him.
Croc is okay now.
- At the Blood tribe:
There are a lot of snakes (as in literal ones) in this episode.
Sandra has a “big plan” (vote Dave out). As far as big plans go, that’s pretty meh.
The “throuble” talk about voting Sandra out.
Amy talks to Jordan and says Dave’s chill now, but Sandra is staying under the radar.
Word spreads through camp about Sandra being a threat (and not great at challenges).
Possible editing mistake! Didn’t Sophie take the purple/blue bucket hat with her to Water?
Michelle gets her first confessional.
Turns out, she saw Amy get the idol.
She tells Sandra.
Sandra gives a pretty rough assessment of Amy’s game, saying that Amy thinks she’ll make it through because she’s pretty and cuddles the boys.
Sandra now wants to do an Amy-Jay vote split.
Jordan tells Amy she needs to play her idol, but doesn’t give her any information. (Why?)
Amy throws Jordan under the bus to Sam, Jay, and Jesse.
Everyone in that group, plus Ben, say they’re voting Sandra.
Amy is confused.
- It’s Tribal Council time:
They say that was a tough immunity challenge today.
Did Sophie’s blindside solidify Croc, Jordan, and Ben’s alliance? Yes.
Did it draw a line in the sand? No.
JLP seemingly forgets Michelle’s name for a few seconds.
Michelle mentions all the scrambling at camp.
Sandra speaks about not being told who to vote for, and being left out, which she repeats you shouldn’t do to the person you’re targeting.
Amy mentions that she heard her name being thrown around.
JLP asks why that would be.
Sandra pressures Amy into revealing that she has an idol.
Croc says the first rule of Survivor is not to tell anyone you have an idol.
Amy says she didn’t tell anyone.
A few people are surprised to learn that Amy has an idol.
Sandra says that if you have an idol then either it’s gotta go or you do.
People give vague answers about doing what they said they were going to do, and a line possibly being drawn in the sand.
(That phrase is getting annoying.)
JLP goes to read the votes and says now’s the time to play an idol.
Amy – “I’ll play mine, because not tonight, Satan!”
The votes for Amy don’t count, three votes for Sandra, three votes for Jay.
Jay gets voted out.
- You’ve already used a bad rotten fruit metaphor, Jonathan.
- Next week on Survivor: Tribe swap!
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.