We have finally hit Week 3! Week 2 had everything- successful blindsides, idol flushes, a quit that probably should have been a medevac, off-island drama, and “adios, mate!” Let’s see what this week has in store.
Episode 7 (Barbara Anderson)
- Full disclosure: I got spoiled on the outcome of this episode because I decided to check Twitter to see the results of the ice dancing competition at the Olympics. The funny thing was it was not even the final part of the competition, so I could have stayed off Twitter and been fine.
- With our recap of our last week, we get a long spotlight on Sophie and her Alpha Pack. Yay. We also get the briefest of farewells to Jay, which makes complete sense.
- We start with Nina saying that she feels comfortable with everyone in her Water alliance as they all go on a fishing excursion, which ends with Jordie mooning them. Nina is happy to play her own game and thinks that she can get to the end of the game.
- It is Day 15 and time for the Reward Challenge. A lot of JLP-encouraged talk about being united, which any Survivor fan or alum should immediately be wary of, because it almost always leads to a swap. Sam is immediately worried, but she is happy to play with Mark. Meanwhile, Nina does not want to be on the same tribe with Sandra, because she doesn’t want the distraction. Since there is an odd number, one of the buff packages is empty. Buffs are opened and mostly people are sad/pissed. Mark ends up getting the empty buff.
- Blood Tribe: Amy, David, Shay, Jordie, Mel, Nina, Sandra, Jordan, and Josh.
- Water Tribe: Michelle, Jesse, Khanh, Ben, Sam, Sophie, KJ, Chrissy, and Croc.
- Mark, with his lack of buff, gets to pick which tribe he goes to. Everyone immediately starts to get his attention, especially Sam. However, Mark goes with Blood and Sam is bummed but concludes that they need to play individual games. Both tribes each have two pairs, with the Red Tribe getting to talk about it.
- Reward Challenge: 4 people from each tribe does a boat tug of war with rounds. The reward is the Survivor hot dog cart. The gist of the commentary is that despite Mark doing his best to lead the Blood tribe when he is in a round, they are all over the place throughout the entire challenge, except for the one round they win. They also seem to be a weaker composed team, which is an issue when the majority of the challenges leans heavily towards the physical. The highlight for me was JLP’s shady comment about Sophie finally proving that she is a team player during the all women’s round. After Water wins, we get Sam talking once again about Mark not choosing her plus having to now deal with Sophie after voting her out.
- Water gets to celebrate their hot dog reward. We also get to see Croc and Chrissy being emotional about reuniting, which was nice. A lot of the segment with Water is about Mark not choosing their tribe. Sam trusts his decision, because she figures that they have to downplay their couple status, especially after their previous outing.
- Sam then decides to talk to Sophie by herself about what went down with the Sophie blindside. It is all information we knew (Sam was just a vote and as far as she knew, it was devised in the hammock), and Sophie seemingly is okay with letting it go. However, Sam is worried that Sophie still wants her out, so Sophie is on Sam’s primary target.
- After more eating, we see that Chrissy notices a scroll tacked into the handle of the hot dog cart. She awkwardly goes over to the cart and sneaks the scroll, but the scroll is a long and slender one, which means it is awkward to hide in a pair of shorts. She gets Croc to grab the scroll out of her pants and hide it. After sneaking off, they read the clue, which Chrissy immediately recognizes as the spot with her eucalyptus. Despite it looking like half of the tribe heard her yelling, they get the idol. Croc is technically the idol holder since he grabbed it. He is also worried that she is going to ruin it for them with her excitement, but he does plan on playing it for both of them.
- On Blood, Jordie says that basically everyone is a legend, except for Sandra, who is the target. We also get Mark’s perspective on his decision, which is exactly what Sam thought in her confessional. He also expects for both of their alliances to meet up and work together at the merge.
- Sandra is worried that she is the target especially because she swapped with two people who wrote her name down at the last Tribal. She wants to play an invisible game and goes to David to make amends. Despite Nina keeping her distance, she is happy to be on a tribe with Nina and her alliance because they might protect her.
- Meanwhile, Nina is excited to have her alliance together at the swap and she would love to keep her mom around, but she doesn’t know if she can keep both. She goes to the group and tells them that it is okay with her if they take out her mom. However, they don’t need to tell her if that is the case. Nina remains worried about being in the middle.
- Time for the Immunity Challenge. After talking to Mark and Sam about his choice and JLP worrying about causing a Survivor divorce, we hear about the Immunity Challenge, which is an obstacle course that leads to a big table maze that relies on a caller above them to solve it. Despite Michelle causing a bit of a delay, Water catches up and get the head start they needed on the table maze. Both tribes do struggle with the tribemates on the deck competing with the caller to give directions (which is a flaw in this challenge’s design). It is interesting that they had Nina instead of Mark, who is known for being level-headed and good at communication in challenges, be the caller for Blood, but it doesn’t matter because Khanh is able to lead Water to victory.
- After the Immunity Challenge, Nina apologizes for the loss while Sandra is worried about the Day 16 curse striking again. However, she is excited to work with Nina’s alliance, but she understands that Nina can’t pull her to the end. Mark talks to Sandra about who she wants out, which she says David since he constantly writes her name down.
- Meanwhile, the new Blood Alpha Pack wants to stay strong by taking out Mel. Everybody immediately jumps in on this because she is apparently super clumsy, even outside of challenges. Sandra, though, is in disbelief that they would target Mel over her because Mel is younger than Sandra, but it is down for whatever.
- However, that is too easy for Jordie and he decides to pull the trigger on Sandra, which he then says is easy because it is Blue Strong and Mel strong. Jordie is also excited because it would be a good move for his resume to blindside Sandra. This is not a blindside! Sandra is super aware that she is always a target. However, the men are worried about Nina’s reaction because she could get Shay to play her idol on Sandra and send home one of the men. They decide to not tell Nina.
- Shay, meanwhile, is getting nervous about her idol. Nina tells her that she doesn’t need to play her idol, but those are her instincts, not Shay’s. She then informs Sandra that she did throw out that if her alliance couldn’t save Sandra, then they should probably keep Nina out of it. Sandra though thinks she is good and intends to vote for Mel. I take back my comment on Jordie’s blindside.
- The next sequence is pretty much everybody getting filled in on the Sandra plan. Everybody seems on board, but Jordan and Amy seem worried about Nina’s reaction. Nina immediately picks up that Mel and Mark are acting differently to her. Jordie is just stoked that he is going to cause an epic Tribal by taking out Sandra. Nina is nervous about what is going to happen.
- At Tribal Council, we get the usual beating around the bush. Jonathan finally talks about what the vote comes down to tonight. Jordie says strength, which Sandra immediately combats and talks about how the alpha males will be the first to go once the individual game starts. They need the weak to have their back or else they will go once they lose immunity. Jordie immediately mansplains that this is not the case. Shay suddenly gets worried that it is her name on the chopping block. JLP talks to the two pairs about the danger level of having both on the tribe and Nina looks to be in tears. Towards the end of Tribal, Nina is asked about how worried she is about her mom. Nina stammers and Sandra knows that she is in trouble because of this response. Time to vote and we see at least two Sandra votes while Sandra votes for Dave ( I guess she finally decided that the Mel vote was the red herring and went with Dave for revenge?) We then see Nina and she votes for Sandra to stay in the majority just like her mom says to do. Millions of hearts break in a second.
- Shay plays her idol for herself, but it is wasted. We see one vote for Dave, then the rest for Sandra with the last vote being Nina’s. Sandra is extremely classy throughout the exit, wishing them all good luck and thanking JLP and Production for the opportunity.
- Sandra survived a lot longer than we all expected, but I don’t know if this was a good move for anybody, except for maybe Nina and even then, she felt like she had to. They all wanted to say that they took out Sandra without thinking about the repercussions that may have on the games of their loved ones (for example Michelle seemed to be pretty close to Sandra). Yes, Sandra is the easy vote, but sometimes they need to think about the road ahead, especially when Nina may want their head on the guillotine next. After all, she did vote out her mother.
Episode 8 (Kemperboyd)
- It is very interesting that after Tribal we see everyone apologising to Nina. That’s a solid positing to be in.
- At Red Nina is hanging out on her own, feeling shitty about voting out her mother, the Queen.
- Nina catches a fish. We see Jordy taking all the credit for the Sandra move. The men are getting together and want to vote out Mel, she’s weak and a floater.
- At Blue Khanh is doing a cooking show for everyone, he brings in Sam and Sophie had a face like a slapped arse. Sam is concerned.
- KJ is also concerned, she is playing an understated, social game whereas Sophie is out there. Sam, KJ and Sam talk and Sophie says no one would expect them working together. But after Sam goes, Sophie goes weird on KJ for talking to Sam.
- At the immunity challenge Blue are relieved Sandra is gone, Nina says she doesn’t feel that bad, she was always there to play her own game.
- Immunity is the old hold a disc between you one hand. Mark says the trick is to keep your arms moving, Sam says they should stick the strongest together.
Jordy says this will suck and yeah, it looks like it will.
- I feel like the move is to put a weak person on one side of a strong couple, allowing your strong players to concentrate on one arm.
- Mel drops in under a minute. Then Croc is gone. Jessie has awful form and drops. Suddenly both sides are down to two. KJ and Chrissy end up the last pair for Blue vs Mark and Jordan and Dave and Jordy.
Red win as Mark and Jordan talk and move their arms about. Chrissy and KJ do amazingly but can’t win it alone.
- Sam is dead set on Sophie. She talked with Jessie then Chrissy, Croc and Ben asking for a split between Sophie and KJ.
- Ben and Sophie go for a walk and talk about getting out Khanh. Sophie sensibly knows she doesn’t have the ability to go after Sam. So instead they met with Sam and Croc and talk about flushing the idol.
- Croc says its smoke and mirrors, they want to finish the job and get rid of Sophie, but he’s worried the fake plan hasn’t confused anyone. But it seems to have confused Jessie and Ben. They want Khanh.
- I bloody love Chrissy, she says it’s a hot mess and she’s going to stuff it up.
Croc tells us it’s confused Chrissy and he thinks she’s clear.
I think Sam should go to Khanh and say look Sophie is coming for you, be aware, consider your idol.
- Sophie and Ben go looking for idols. KJ says Sophie looking for idols is putting her at risk as a split vote. She speaks with both Croc and Khahn about it, about
- Sam follows Sophie and hears her say “oh my god I’ve found it”, it’s it the biggest brain move ever to just throw Sam off?
- At Tribal we hear from Khanh who says he could be getting votes as he has an idol. Sophie says she’s a loyal person and her morals are in tact. I hate this line of thinking. It’s Survivor nothing mostly wrong with voting someone out.
Sophie goes on the offensive at Sam and KJ asks her to stop. KJ then says she so tired of being in the middle. KJ is pretty concerned that of multiple idols are played then she will go home.
- We see KJ’s vote and see for the second episode in a row that someone had voted for their loved one
- JLP asks for idols, none are played. The vote come down and Sophie is voted out. She gives KJ a huge hug and says no more twists. She says she’s proud of Kate (another name change after two players with the same name) and doesn’t tell her enough.
- Honestly this is two huge screen time hogs taken out in two episodes and hopefully the season will open up now.
Episode 9 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)
- Not only does the departures of Sandra and Sophie open up a lot of screen time, but it takes the easy consensus boot off the board at both tribes, so hopefully the game gets more dynamic from here. Honestly, I could really feel the editors straining to fill the post-immunity challenge minutes in this week’s first two episodes.
- After a brief post-tribal check-in with KJ, on the morning of Day 19 Sam is yet again our narrator at the Water tribe. She’s wondering what kind of relationship she can have with KJ, given that she led the charge against her sister.
- Sam and Khanh have a wonderfully subtle conversation in the river. Khanh is well aware that people must be plotting to flush his idol (although they passed up the chance to do so on the Sophie vote), and he pitches a solid four of himself, Sam, Chrissy, and Croc. Meanwhile, Sam wants to play with Khanh, but Khanh making the merge with an idol is just too dangerous. KJ, Michelle, and Khanh’s idol seem to be on the chopping block in some order.
- At the Blood tribe, Amy says she’s in a tough spot, as the tribe consists of six original Waters and only three original Bloods (herself, Jordan, and David). I have to give Juicy Dave credit for fading into the background like Homer Simpson into the bush. Amy laments the change in her relationship with Jordan now that he’s reunited with Josh and bro-ing down with the OG Water big boys.
- Josh speaks! And gets an intro package! He analogizes Survivor to his occupation as an airplane pilot, with cousin Jordan in the first officer seat. Can a tribal council speech about pilots and passengers be far behind?
- Nina is on board with Josh (for now).
- Reward challenge: We’re back at the Sumo at Sea platform, but this time it’s outfitted with a pole mechanism. In two v two matchups, one player from each tribe will play tug-of-war with the pole, attempting to knock a player from the other tribe trapped in the path of the pole into the water. Reward is fish and chips. Deep-fried anything has to be the ideal food reward nearly three weeks in.
- Mark beats Croc (who’s been consistently and surprisingly a poor challenge performer), Chrissy beats Mel, Josh beats Ben in a come-from-behind win, Jordan beats Croc in another last-second comeback, JLP gets to say “tugging on his pole” a lot, Blood wins 3-1.
- At the reward, Josh is unsurprisingly targeting Mel. I think it’s too soon for him to make a move (and Mel is probably already a target anyway), but he does have an interest in shielding Jordan from a Pagonging of the original Bloods.
- Back at Water, morale is low, with Chrissy particularly miserable. Khanh says that losing a reward can be useful by revealing who’s demoralized and worried, all the better to push them out. Ben is unhappy with his challenge performance, and lo and behold Khanh suggests getting rid of him to Sam.
- Immunity challenge: One by one, the castaways have to step through a wobbly frame while carrying spools on poles, and then stack the spools on the other side. Jostling the frame will knock over the stack. Mel sits out on Water (incidentally, the talk at the Water tribe of Michelle being clumsy is apparently due to an injury that wasn’t included in the edit). Both tribes essentially send their players through from smallest to biggest, but I think the reverse order would be better (the bigger the feet, the greater the risk of bumping the frame, but doing so has less of an effect while the stack is still low).
- Jordan knocks down Blood’s stack on the sixth spool (out of eight total). Blood never relinquishes the lead, sending Water to tribal council.
- Jordan is feeling vulnerable because he blew the challenge, but he’s in the majority (original Water) alliance through his association with Josh. The consensus seems to be for voting out Mel, not so much because she’s not good in challenges or because “she doesn’t fit in for some reason, I just can figure out why, it’s a mystery”, but because she’s too obviously playing a middle game.
- But Amy thinks Josh and Jordan now have too much power, so Jordan has to go. Going by the original tribe breakdown, you’d think she’d want to get rid of Josh, but maybe getting rid of any original Water is too much of a lift.
- Amy has no problem recruiting Mel of course, and then Juicy (JLP isn’t even bothering with the “Dave” anymore). She then approaches Mark, who seems open to it if Amy can get one more to form a majority, and Amy says she’ll try to get Shay (this even though Mark can surely bring in his allies; like Sandra, he’s making Amy do the dirty work). I’m a little surprised she isn’t trying for Nina.
- Shay spills the beans to Josh, and he tells Jordan and Jordy they need to vote out Amy. Then he tries to pull in Juicy and Mark, who are non-committal. The new plan is for the original Waters to vote Amy and the original Bloods to vote Mel. Finally someone (Josh) loops in Nina, who seems quite surprised that Amy and Josh are now going after each other (and I’m surprised she’s not staying on top of things, even if she wants to lay low for while).
- Amy pulls Nina aside like she should have before (she must sense that it didn’t go well with Shay), and Nina admits that she wants to ally with Josh, and the presence of Jordan is hindering that. This is more great work by Nina, not just reflexively saying “yes” to Amy but giving Amy a reason why it’s also in her self-interest to get rid of Jordan. This dovetails nicely with Sandra’s advice about only going along with somebody else’s plan if it benefits you (this will come up again at tribal council).
- Nina asks Amy if she has the numbers and Amy says that she “can’t confirm” that, but would if Nina is on board. Not good Amy, but just then Mark walks by and tells Amy that Juicy and Mel are in. Since that wasn’t in doubt, I wonder if Mark was hanging around off-camera waiting to bail out Amy if necessary. Nina doesn’t commit either way.
- Tribal council: JLP asks Jordan if he’s feeling vulnerable because of what happened at the challenge, then gives Josh an opening to defend his cousin. Juicy praises Amy’s challenge performance, as does Josh. Amy raises the issue of the original Bloods being swap screwed, and says she hopes she’s not the target. JLP asks nobody in particular when the right time to build a resume is, and for some reason Amy takes the bait and says you should always be making moves. Mel says they need to think about the big picture, and about who the threats will be after the merge. Amy and Nina both talk about what happens when the pairs are reunited. Jordan says “stick to the plan”: everybody drink! Amy seems very confident.
- A choice between Amy and Jordan is far from ideal from an Island Hot perspective.
- The votes come in Jordan, Amy, Amy, Mel, Melissa, Amy, Amy, AMY.
- Josh’s plan to have the original Waters vote Amy and the original Bloods vote Mel prevailed. Mark, Mel, and Nina all voted for Amy, and Juicy voted for Mel, so everybody who signed on to Amy’s plan was just making her comfortable. My mind goes back to the scene where Mark wanders by the Amy-Nina discussion and reassures Nina that they have the votes to get rid of Jordan. They must have both been faking out Amy.
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.