Welcome to the final week of Australian Survivor: Blood vs Water!
Will the things that we think might happen, happen? Will they not happen? We’ll find out!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed coming here to chat about this season more than most of you have enjoyed watching it!
Episode 23 (Something Quirky)
- We open with everyone returning from Tribal.
- Chrissy is excited to be in the top 5.
- Mark: “I told you that second idol was bullshit.”
Shay: “Mark, leave it.”
- Chrissy is also excited about Mark flushing his idol but has to stay calm around everyone.
- Chrissy continues to be quite worked up.
She says she has strolled to the top 5 unscathed, and her and KJ are <crosses fingers> this tight, ditto her and Mark, and her and Josh are double crossed fingers tight, and Shay will want to work with her because she lives near her.
She is convinced that tonight she will be top 3.
(There’s 5 people left.)
- Crested pigeon.
- It’s Day 45.
- Mark acknowledges he played the idol badly, and gets a montage of doing this for his family.
- The non-Shays say they need to beat Shay and vote her out.
- Josh says no-one in the past has bought “the best” to FTC and pitched against “the best”.
- KJ thinks Mark and Josh will vote her out, and wants to go to the end with Shay and Chrissy, but knows that swinging Chrissy will be a challenge.
- KJ talks to Chrissy and says Shay would take those two, but Chrissy thinks she’d take Mark.
KJ says if Josh gets to top 3 he’s won. Chrissy agrees.
- Shay tells KJ she knows if she doesn’t win immunity, Josh/Mark/Chrissy will vote her out.
- Someone’s told Shay no-one wants her at the end.
- THE MUSIC SUBTITLE IS BACK!
(DRAMATIC MUSIC BUILDS)
- Immunity Challenge:
Roll a ball down a maze, run down stairs to catch it, put it back at the top, incrementally add more balls. Don’t let a ball smash the tile at the end.
Shay’s counting the seconds it takes to do things.
Chrissy and Josh are sort of working together again by trying do the same timing and spacing.
Josh gets out, but Chrissy is still going.
Shortly after, Chrissy drops a ball too close to the last (despite Josh telling her to wait) and can’t get to the top and back, so just watches it smash her tile.
Mark drops a ball (doesn’t smash the tile), so Shay wins.
(Mark throws his ball at the tile.)
Shay: “These guys are probably a bit cranky now.”
- (TENSE MUSIC)
- Flock of flying birds, maybe pelicans.
- Shay’s happy.
- Shay thinks it could be Josh, Mark, or KJ.
She wants to vote out Josh.
- The girls are bathing in the river.
Chrissy: “I’ll do my abs when you get out. I don’t want to embarrass you.”
- Josh says in a confessional that Mark needs to go eventually, but if Mark goes tonight then he will be next.
- Mark and Josh discuss voting KJ.
- Josh (back in confessional) says that everyone thinks they’re tight with Chrissy, but he knows he’s the tightest with her.
- Spider eating a dragonfly.
- Josh discusses voting KJ with Chrissy.
Chrissy says she needs to think about a resume : “I’ve got you, but I need to have a bit of me.”
Josh says it’s her call.
- Shay and KJ confirm they’re voting Josh because he’ll win at the end.
- KJ knows Chrissy’s ultimate loyalty is to Josh.
- Crested pigeon.
- KJ approaches a sulking Mark.
KJ says she knows it’s Josh, Mark, or three votes on her.
Mark says if he takes out Josh he’ll be the only guy and won’t get through to FTC.
KJ says he has a better chance of winning a challenge against three girls than against Josh, which is kind of ridiculous seeing how well Shay’s done.
- Mark (in confessional) says he’s going to do some great acting and tells KJ he’s in for voting Josh.
- Mark’s confessional continues with if he votes out Josh, and Shay wins the next immunity, then he’s next out, but if Josh is still there they’ll vote Josh out.
- (SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC)
- KJ doesn’t really believe Mark will vote Josh.
- KJ tells Chrissy that her and Shay are voting Mark.
- Chrissy said on Day 2 that she wouldn’t write KJ’s name down, and she hasn’t since.
- Chrissy: “I haven’t been heavy, hard-out, meticulous strategy.”
- Chrissy thinks she needs to do one big thing to show the jury, because she came in with only a social game and has just been doing little strategies to get through.
- (TENSE MUSIC)
- Stick insect.
- Mark asks Chrissy to let him know if he’s on the chopping block, and she says she hasn’t even spoken to Shay.
- Chrissy seemed to go to a school where all her male friends wanted to either fight or date one of her female friends, and vice versa.
- Bird; an egret?
- Mark and Josh talk about Chrissy while she crouches and rocks with her head down in the background.
Josh thinks she’s on the fence. (He must have had intense military training.)
- Crocodile eye.
- Once again, Mark uses his military training to suss out the super obvious.
He says Chrissy’s been super nervous today.
- (SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC)
- Now Mark’s nervous.
He’s thinking he may need to vote Josh.
- Two snakes.
- KJ asks Mark what Sam would want and he says she wanted Josh gone ages ago.
- Crocodile eating meat.
- KJ says to Shay that maybe sticking with Mark is better because Chrissy might not be with them.
Shay just wants all girls at the end.
They enjoy Josh being uncomfortable because he’s cruised through the whole game and they haven’t.
- A flock of pelicans and black swans.
- Josh says stuff about the will she, won’t she of Chrissy.
- Chrissy, in confessional, heavily suggests she’s voting Mark.
- (DRAMATIC MUSIC)
- Tribal Council:
Oh, Juicy’s still a thing? But not one TDK reference, so that’s a tiny win.
Haha Shay refers to the others as “the average person” in challenges.
Chrissy says there could be a blindside.
Shay talks to JLP and Josh whispers to Chrissy.
Mark tells Shay they’re good.
Josh continues to try to convince Chrissy that voting for KJ will get her jury votes, but voting for Mark won’t.
Shay whispers something to Josh.
KJ whispers to Shay that she thinks Mark is voting with them.
Josh indirectly, but pretty obviously, pitches to Chrissy in reply to JLP.
JLP points out Josh has been talking as if Shay’s the only obstacle in the challenges.
Josh uses the phrase “motherly strength” and I can’t even respond to that.
Chrissy hopes the jury views her as either “really, really, really loyal, or really, really, really brave”.
Time to vote.
Josh is not sure but thinks KJ might be voted out.
Chrissy does not yell head or heart but does put a heart in front of her vote for Mark.
The votes are Mark, KJ, KJ, Josh, Josh.
Obviously the votes are:
Josh (Shay), KJ (Chrissy), KJ (Mark).
- That’s me done for the season, and on a personal note, I still enjoy doing these recaps even when what I’m recapping isn’t always enjoyable. I hope I’ve been able to inject a slight bit of extra personality to some of these episodes. See you next season!
Episode 24 (Barbara Anderson)
Before we get fully started, I am going to try to cut out redundancy as much as possible with my half as I already tend to be a bit verbose. Also, this is so much redundancy with this episode. Let’s get it on!
- We get a two minute recap of the season along with an introduction to our final four. Mark “The Commander”, Shay “The Warrior”, Josh “The Pilot”, and Chrissy “The Social Strategist” I would take Social Butterfly, but Social Strategist?!? En route to FIC, we get the start of the pitches with flashback footage as necessary. This lasts for a while, so I will hit the highlights.
- Shay says that she has had to play from the bottom after losing Ben. She says that she has won ten immunity challenges, includes three solo individual immunity challenges. That may give HvHvH Chrissy a run for her money.
- Josh tells us that the winner will be decided tomorrow night. Good to know. He wants to make F3 with Chrissy and Mark and win for his fiancée and unborn baby due to his overall good game.
- Chrissy has the growth arc. She has been working with the best in the biz, Mark and Josh, for so long and believes that she can pitch her good social game to the jury. She also wants to point out that she has no blood on her hands, which in her eyes is real clever.
- Mark’s whole life has changed because of the show, so it would clearly mean everything for him to win. He could have played the idol, but he says that they agreed that “if one of us win, then both of us wins”. I don’t know if this was what Sam had in mind, Mark. Anyway, this season has been redemption for him and he is playing for Harry.
- Final Immunity Challenge Time. After congratulating them, JLP confirms what has basically been assumed: it’s a F3, not a F4. No one seems shocked, so I think everyone just did the math at camp. As is tradition in Australian Survivor, we get our loved ones visit. However, instead of them being in person, they are regular phone calls, not even FaceTime. Every phone call has a follow-up question with JLP about “how that felt?”, so I will once again just hit the highlights.
- Chrissy gets her husband and kids. They tell her they will have the cordial on ice for her when she gets home. Oh, and they are proud of her.
- Mark gets a call from Sam’s mom, who we know is watching Harry from the auction episode. Now, I wonder if we didn’t get Mark’s letter because he would get this moment. Anyway, Harry gets on the phone, which leads to a typical phone conversation you would have with a toddler. Sam’s mom gets back on the phone and tells him that his mom is looking down on him and so proud of him.
- After wondering who her phone call will be from, Shay immediately hears Ben’s voice. Hey, remember when Ben was on this season. Also, her parents are there. Chrissy yells hello to Ben.
- Josh obviously gets his fiancée, who tells him that she will be thirteen weeks along in her pregnancy the next day. He tells her that he found out about it last week, which causes both of them to go “That’s crazy, right?”.
- We then get to the actual challenge, which is smartly set at the best location this season, the waterfalls. They will be holding on to pegs on rack over the water. At intervals, they would move down a peg, which will cause them to dangle more over the water. If their feet go off the platform or if they fall, they are out. This is an interesting challenge, but it feels very similar to the Kim Spradlin memorial challenge that happened a few episodes ago. I’m also not a big fan of the fact that they can let a hand go from the peg throughout the entire challenge as long as they can stay in.
- From jump, Chrissy realizes not only is she toast because she doesn’t have the good abs that everyone has, but that Shay has this challenge on lock.
- An hour in, they start the descent to the lower pegs. JLP reminds everyone that it is the Tightest Alliance against Shay.
- After roughly an hour and half and many vocal complaints, Chrissy falls in.
- A few minutes, Josh’s arms start shaking and he falls in. Shay is in visible disbelief because she suspects that it would be Shay vs. Josh as the final showdown. Instead it is the biggest vs the smallest of those still in the game.
- On the bench, Chrissy says that if Mark wins, he will take Josh and Chrissy, but if Shay wins, then who knows. They still don’t get that Shay doesn’t get to pick because it is a F4, not a F3.
- After losing his balance, Shay wins immunity and the majority three have a choice. After the challenge, Mark tells us that it is between his best mate (Josh) or the person who has been close to him since Day 1 (Chrissy)
- At camp, Shay is stoked to win, but she is genuinely sorry to stop their final three plan. Mark and Josh immediately leave the two women at camp. Shay then immediately gets Chrissy to herself, which is great because she wants Chrissy at the end. Shay’s read of the game is still not great because Chrissy should be a locked seat at FTC. Chrissy says that Josh would be stupid not to take her to FTC.
- Cut to Josh saying that he wants Mark and him to vote out Chrissy. He hopes that they can do a 2-1-1 with Chrissy and Shay not getting the memo. He thinks this is a masterplan, even though he clearly left Chrissy and Shay together. I guess this continues his whole ” I need to beat the best” which equals Mark at the end with him at FTC.
- Later Josh tells Chrissy sadly that she should vote for Mark because he has a better resume than Josh does.
- Mark tells Chrissy that he wants Josh out. In confessional, Mark then says that the whole “Josh is the leader of the alliance” plotline was his masterplan for the past five weeks as a shield for him, but he doesn’t need that shield anymore. Chrissy points that Josh has a good resume, but Mark says that the jury likes Josh more. Chrissy is struggling between who she wants at the end (Josh) vs. who she should have at the end (Mark). At this point, it doesn’t matter where Chrissy goes because Shay and Mark are both leaning towards taking out Josh. She also says that Josh and Mark are her two best friends out there, which had me shook.
- Tribal Council time. Khanh looks like a James Bond villain while KJ looks fantastic and angry at the same time. JLP tells the jury that there will be a F3 which seems to produce mild shock at best. We get discussion about Shay’s endurance, Chrissy’s FIC performance, and Mark’s phone call to Harry. Sam gets teary eyed when Harry is mentioned. Josh tells us that there are two clear targets. Mark is concerned that he is going home. Chrissy looks concerned to be caught in the crossfire but can’t explain that feeling without being bleeped. Shay is unhappy to cause this trouble but happy to watch them implode. Josh then whispers to Chrissy to vote for Mark and leave it up to fate. Josh hopes that his relationship with Chrissy will be enough, while Chrissy makes a face that seems to indicate that it won’t be.
- Time to vote! None of the votes are really shown. Chrissy is indecisive to vote for. The votes are then shown to be Josh, Chrissy, Josh, and Josh. Josh does not really acknowledge them standing up or giving him his stuff, but it also seems to be weirdly edited.
- Chrissy gets her socks too close to the fire, which results in holes.
- The final three decide to go for a morning stroll to the creek. Mark then talks to them and us about how his experience out there was all about confronting fear. He talks about how the creek reminds him of a similar creek where he lost one of his soldiers. Chrissy smartly says that hopefully seeing a creek like this will remind of him of Survivor memories, not war memories.
- They walk back to camp and see the traditional last day breakfast. Shay is excited about her game and how she is representing for young athletic girls. Chrissy is excited to talk about her game to the jury. Both of these sequences are considerably shorter than Mark’s, just saying.
- This is a wrap for me. I just want to thank you all for being along for the ride. Even though this season has been extremely disappointing on several fronts (especially the storytelling), I was always grateful to have a place to vent. Here’s hoping for a better season next time!
Final Tribal Council (Assistant Dragon Slayer)
- Ugh, this seems like a foregone conclusion. Mark is the only player with a partner on the jury (and therefore an advocate at Ponderosa) and he genuinely played a very good if hard-to-root-for game (more on this later). Meanwhile, Shay and Chrissy may have excelled at the physical and social aspects of the game, respectively, but had very little aptitude for the strategic aspect.
- Khanh struts in wearing a goddam tuxedo, and the rest of the jury is looking pretty spiffy, too, except Jordie and Jesse didn’t get the memo.
- Opening statements: Mark walks the jury through his entire game, taking credit for everything and not bothering to undermine either Shay or Chrissy. Shay emphasizes how she had to scrap her way the entire game relying on her physical strength, and how she won four individual immunities. Chrissy says she played intentionally, using her social game to embed herself with the physical players. She reminds everybody that nobody’s voted for her since Day 5 and that she went against her loved one to stay loyal to her alliance. She continues playing the social game, telling Josh directly that taking him out was the big move that he told her she needed to make.
- No notes. These are three good opening statements.
- Khanh tells Chrissy he loves her, then asks Mark about letting Sam get voted out. Mark said they decided in advance not to play the idols, so if one got voted out the other had both idols. Jordie interrupts and asks why Mark made him feel responsible for Jesse getting voted out. I’m not sure what he’s referring to, but Mark admits that nobody was on the receiving end of his moves more than Jordie and Jesse, and apologizes for it.
- KJ asks Chrissy if loyalty (specifically to Josh, Jordan, and Mark) clouded her judgement within the context of Survivor. This is a request for an apology in disguise. Chrissy says she played for herself. KJ says it’s a good answer but it’s clearly not what she wanted to hear.
- Michelle asks Shay to rate her game from 1 to 10. Ugh, what a trap question. Shay says 8, which gets some stink faces from the jury. She says that she had to play from the bottom, and thus never had the numbers to orchestrate some flashy blindside. This is absolutely true. She then revises her score up to 8.5. The jury is not impressed. But there’s no satisfactory way to answer this question.
- Josh tears into Chrissy for betraying him. Chrissy says that he changed the previous day, talking strategy with her for the first time, tipping her off that he was coming for her. Again, good answer but not the apology Josh was looking for. Josh tears into Mark for flipping on him when they had agreed to go to the end together. Mark says that talking to his son reminded him that he had to either choose his family or Josh, and chose his family. Yuck, but at least this is a semi-apology.
- After a bit of a preamble, Sam asks them what it would mean to win the title of Sole Survivor. Chrissy says it would mean smashing it on a game she barely knew the rules of when she started. We don’t hear from Shay or Mark, even though Sam’s question is obviously teed up for Mark to hit out of the park (warning: this is not the last baseball analogy I’ll be making).
- Jesse starts off a bit bitter toward Mark but tees another one up for him, asking him to explain what he did to manage his threat level. Mark basically credits his social game, noting that he didn’t receive a vote until Day 31 (Day 32, actually, although this glosses over how few times he went to tribal pre-merge).
- I am shocked, shocked that the edit gives us not. a. single. word. from either Mel and Dave.
- Discussion question (?): Who wins a Final 2 between Shay and Chrissy?
- Just before JLP reads the votes, let’s have a loved one’s visit! Sure, why not?
- The winner of Australian Survivor Blood V Water: Mark Wales. It turns out it was a 10-0 sweep. Congratulations.
- Final thoughts: On September 9, 1995, a very young Assistant Dragon Slayer (Apprentice Dragon Slayer?) watched Terry Bross of the Yakult Swallows no-hit the Yomiuri Giants. Now, seeing a no-hitter in person is a bucket-list item if you’re a baseball fan, but here’s the thing about no-hitters—they’re hella boring until the ninth inning! Casual baseball fans want to see home runs, lots of baserunners, and great defensive plays, and a pitcher throwing a no-hitter denies them all of that. And yet, a no-hitter is a genuine accomplishment that deserves respect, even if it isn’t all that fun.
- Am I saying that Mark threw the Survivor equivalent of a no-hitter? Of course not! But because he was playing the entire game from the majority, it was his job (as with a pitcher in baseball) to prevent things from happening, to shut down the defections, unlikely comebacks, and game-flipping moves that Survivor fans crave. So what Mark accomplished deserves some respect. Are you disappointed that the underdogs never came close to having the numbers without Jordie (and not even then, really)? You have to give Mark some partial credit for assembling the brawn alliance and keeping it unified (and some blame to Sandra, who way back at the beginning of the game inadvertently told them what they had to do). Are you mad that the three women couldn’t get it together at final five? Again, you have to give Mark (and Josh) credit for keeping them divided.
- Turning to the state of the franchise, the showrunners that took over last season are clearly in love with casting brawny players (although the Blood vs. Water theme paid off to some degree, this was a de facto Brawn vs., uh, Not-Brawn season). This is what the Australian casual audience wants to see (or what the showrunners think they want to see, same difference). Given that, it’s imperative that they at least find hybrid superfan/brawny types like Emmitt and Dani from last season. For the good of baseball, no-hitters need to be rare, and for the good of Australian Survivor, so do overdog-win seasons (and two of the past three seasons have now been that type of season).
- As the sole male Australian Survivor recapper, I’m not the one to lead the discussion, but I feel obligated to at least note that, even though women have won four out of Australian Survivor’s seven modern seasons, going forward an over-reliance on brawny players is extremely likely to be very bad for women players and constrain even more the kind of games they’re “allowed” to play.
- That’s a wrap on this season, thanks to Kemper Boyd, Barbara Anderson, and Something Quirky for recapping and thanks to you for following along.
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.