Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn Week 3: Episodes 7-9 Recap

Week 3 starts with the aftermath of the non-elimination/individual swap of Cara, Wai’s flip on George, and the challenge winning streak over on Brawn.

Episode 7 (Barbara Anderson)

  • We catch up with the post-episode stinger from last week with Cara finding out the news that she is now on Brawn. She gets to Brawn and jumps on them as they sleep. Not exactly the best wakeup call, but that does mean that Brawn is now 1 person up.
  • We then catch up with the Brains the next day. Joey is extremely cocky about getting rid of Cara and lays out the hierarchy of the majority. In his mind, his core foursome is at the top with Hayley, Rachel, and Wai making up the next layer. Because of Tribal, George is devastated since he didn’t want Cara to go. He says that last night was his crucifixion and he is disappointed by Wai and goes to confront her. During this conversation and her confessional, Wai explains that she flipped because George was too volatile for her game. She wants to enjoy her time out there and worries that she may be the fallout of George’s gameplay, which is extremely valid considering that Cara was taken out for that very reason.
  • On Brawn, Cara is getting to experience the Brawn morning boxing/yoga/line dancing routine and loving that she gets to get a second chance. During the sequence, we see Cara’s plans of getting Brawn to go after Joey and Laura while being willing to align with George (maybe Mitch wasn’t too far off last week?). We then experience Simon and Shannon wanting Cara for their own alliance. Simon thinks that if he gets her, then his alliance will be truly unstoppable with five people and two idols. Shannon just wants another number for her alliance.
  • Time for the Reward Challenge! Brains comes in first, which would cause me to go huh because that usually means someone had to go home on the other tribe. Brawn then enter the challenge area with Cara hiding her face with her hat until she gets to the mat. Brains are clearly shocked with George talking way too much about his issues with his tribe to Brawn. Cara is just happy to be on such a happy and loving tribe. We then go into the explanation of the challenge. Everyone on the tribe must hold a ring that is attached to a barrel with a percent of the tribe’s collective weight in it. They are allowed to tap out and hand the ring out if they can’t handle it, but they are not allowed to come back in. If a barrel is dropped, then the other team wins. You also must keep a hand on your ring at all times. The reward is an Aussie bbq. Wai drops first after 20 minutes with Shannon soon to follow. We then see Shannon and Cara (who sat out) talking about Shannon’s alliance and how they are targeting Simon. In a crucial mistake, Chelsea takes her hands off a ring in a transition between her, Simon, and Big D. Dani then taps out. After roughly 90 minutes, Gerald and Flick are clearly struggling beside each other with Gerald holding two rings that he cannot pass off to anybody else. He drops and Brains finally win their first reward challenge!
  • Reward is delivered. According to Laura, her frittata tasted like an angel peeing in her mouth, so I guess that is good? Afterwards, Baden approaches Joey in the water about potentially working with each other. This occurs in front of Hayley washing dishes and causes her to have an epiphany to make a big move (camera cut to Joey).
  • Poor Gerald believes that he is on the chopping block for losing the reward challenge back on Brawn. Elsewhere in camp, Cara puts her empath skills to the test and is able to determine that Big D had a broken jaw and that Shannon has an aura around her midsection because she has been thinking about having kids. It is just a genuinely good scene of human connection. Simon sees this and still wants Cara for his own alliance, but he recognizes that Cara has a great emotional intelligence, so he has to handle their interactions carefully. Their first interaction is about how old women are when they go through menopause. Cara handles it better than I would, but Shannon sees this and thinks this is an example of his weak social play in comparison to her great social play.
  • Let’s go to the Immunity Challenge. Tribes will have to collect ropes to make a rope bridge. They will then climb up a tower to collect an idol. Then they will collect more rope to pull the idol onto the hook. But, there’s a twist. Halfway through the challenge, by the big logo for the show, there is a Hidden Immunity Idol. Obviously, the hunt is the big highlight with George followed by Hayley and Gerald going to look. Hayley gets it and immediately start working on the rope bridge. Brawn has the lead throughout the challenge and win, even though there is a bit of catch-up by Brains.
  • On Brains, we hear yet again about Joey wanting George gone. The foursome decides to split their vote on George and Wai because they think that George has an idol. Joey does feel sad about using Wai like this, but he got what he needed out of her at last Tribal. Joey is also counting on Hayley’s idol to propel him further because he is the one with all of the moves and the puppetmaster. George is public enemy number 1, but he does try to pitch Joey and Laura on either Wai or Rachel because they are the two weakest at challenges.
  • Meanwhile, we get Hayley deciding that getting the idol wasn’t her big move for this episode. No, her big move is getting rid of the head of the snake by getting a crew together to vote out Joey without playing her idol. While this does seem easy since it would 5-4 with the 4 doing a split vote, getting the five has its challenges. She first goes to Baden, who is all up for stirring the pot. After that, she goes to Rachel, her fellow swing vote, who is hesitant until Hayley reminds her that they will be targeted after George and Wai are gone. She then tells Wai that the majority alliance is planning on using her as a pawn for the swing vote. Wai is extremely hesitant because she doesn’t work with George again and even has another awkward moment with him. Joey remains extremely cocky, while Hayley is worried that she wasn’t able to touch base with George. Can she during Tribal Council?
  • At Tribal Council, we get the explanation that Cara was voted out because she was too close to George (duh). We then get talk about the hierarchy and how the foursome thinks everybody is equal. We also get talk of allies and easy votes and George being an asset. During this, Hayley whispers to George “Joey”.
  • After voting, Hayley holds on to her idol and we get one vote for Wai, three for George, and five for Joey. Laura and Andrew look visibly shocked, and Joey has no idea who came up with the plan since he wanted to be the Blindside King.
  • This was a pretty fun episode. I especially liked how we got to see the four different interactions that Hayley had to make her plan succeed as well as the thought processes between the three people going after the idols. I wish we could have seen more from Brains before now about why they are not the heart tribe that Cara thought they were. But, it doesn’t matter now because it is time for the swap! I am excited to see how most of these players interact with each other.

Episode 8 (Something Quirky)

  • In the aftermath of Tribal Council, Georgia hasn’t worked out who voted for who, but has worked out that herself, Andrew, and Laura are now in the minority. No-one seems to realise that it was Hayley who orchestrated Joey’s blindside.
  • That is not a saying I have ever heard.
  • Laura and Rachel go for a walk (and get spied on), and Laura finds a very long string that leads to an idol. They’ll be falling out of trees next.
    So Laura and Hayley both have idols now, but only two other people know about Laura’s (for now), whereas everyone in the game knows about Hayley’s.
    The new Brains tribe: Big D, Cara, Emmett, George, Georgia, Gerald, Kez, Laura, and Rachel.
    That’s 5 ex-Brawn (including Cara) and 4 remaining Brains.
    One idol (Laura’s)
    The new Brawn tribe: Andrew, Baden, Chelsea, Danni, Flick, Hayley, Shannon, Simon, and Wai.
    That’s also 5 remaining Brawn and 4 ex-Brains.
    Three idols (Simon’s two and Hayley’s)
  • Emmett points out that the Brawny people could just pick off the Brainy people and come back together.
    I’m sure it will be just that simple!
  • Wai has some concerns about fitting in on the Brawn tribe due to the value they place on physical strength.
  • Simon tries to convince Shannon, Chelsea, and Danni (though he’s mainly pitching to Shannon) that they should work together and stay Brawn strong. They don’t seem particularly receptive to the idea, so Simon thinks the best course of action is to tell them he has an idol.
  • Over at Brains, the new members of the Brains tribe now know about Laura’s idol.
  • The Immunity Challenge involves swimming some balls between and over obstacles (a beam and a see-saw/slide hybrid) to a floating maze. Let’s get it on.
    Flick impressively swims Wai (holding both balls) across to the beam. There’s an emotional moment when Wai makes it through the obstacle course and is proud of herself (and possibly also relieved). Brawn are supportive of her.
    Shannon makes the brainiest decision to carry the ball across in her pants.
    Big D makes a comment that Brains are going to Tribal Council before the challenge is over, like the supportive teammate that he is.
    Brawn win by quite a way. (“This is for you, Wai!”)
  • At the Brains camp, the writing seems to be on the wall for Laura, Georgia, and Rachel.
    The majority’s plan seems to be for three of them to vote for Laura, and three of them to vote for Rachel. Due to the other three tribe members probably all voting for the same person, this would cause a tie, and then the majority would put all their votes on one person – Laura if she hasn’t played the idol, and Rachel if she has. This way the idol is played, or Laura goes home with it.
    The ex-Brawns seem very confused by this strategy. Emmett in particular would like it to be more simple than being told who to vote for.
    Now the plan has changed to splitting between Rachel and Georgia. So I guess guaranteeing getting rid of an idol was too complicated?
  • On to Tribal Council.
    Rachel is a very eloquent speaker, in that she is often able to make her point clearly and simply. I like that.
    Big D is very cocky about the majority voting off the minority.
    Laura, Rachel, and Georgia confirm with each other that they are all voting for him.
    Daini and Emmett continue to arrogantly joke around a lot, about the alliances and Brains’ experiences at Tribal compared to Brawn’s.
    The votes are cast and Jonathan gives his idol spiel.
    Laura plays her idol. For Rachel!
    The Rachel votes are nullified, and then the Georgia votes start getting read.
    Cara is getting very confused and concerned. She thinks she might have stuffed this up.
    A vote comes up for Laura. Uh-oh, Cara. Though, in her defense, the original Laura/Rachel vote made more strategic sense.
    The three votes for Big D come up, and he gets sent home.
    The Brains Tribe still has a 3-5 split, should the majority alliance keep Cara with them.
  • There are some big things teased for the next episode.
  • Who has custody of Phil’s hat?!?

Episode 9 (Assistant Dragon Slayer)

  • Just a few days ago I recapped episode 9 of Survivor South Africa, the second post-merge episode, and here I am recapping episode 9 of Australian Survivor and we’re nowhere near the merge. Australian Survivor is truly a different beast.
  • After tribal council Cara immediately confesses to the tribe that she was the mistaken vote for Laura. George goes into spin doctor mode because he doesn’t want the OG Brawn turning on Cara. Rachel, however, would like to make this exact thing happen.
  • At Brawn 2.0. Hayley gives us the lay of the land for the OG Brains. They’re outnumbered 5-4, she has an idol but wants to preserve it, and even before trying to find a crack with OG Brawn she needs to mend fences with Andrew, who was left out of the Joey blindside. Georgia is sick. Shannon says she wants to stay Brawn strong but with her next breath vows to get rid of Simon.
  • Immunity challenge: OG Brawn is baffled that Big D is gone, but not for long. Cara announces to all that it’s her fault and explains what happened. This is truly terrible gameplay, Cara.
  • Tribal immunity is back up for grabs BUT…. It’s individual immunity, with two winners from each tribe (who also get to go on reward), both tribes going to tribal council, and both voting somebody out. It seems like Hayley is the first to realize the implications (TL;DR, the Brains on both tribes, in the minority on Brawn 2.0 and fractured on Brains 2.0, could be screwed).
  • During the minute of strategizing, Brains agree to help each other get through the obstacle course portion. Nevertheless, Georgia asks to sit out. Given the stakes, is this a quasi-quit?
  • Simon, Dani, and Baden break away and leave the rest of Brawn to fend for themselves. It’s interesting that Baden is part of this group, and that Flick and Chelsea are not.
  • Andrew and Wai win for Brawn and Emmett and Rachel win for Brains. I literally jumped out of my seat when Wai landed the second bean bag.
  • Simon tells Emmett (or vice versa, I couldn’t tell) that he needs the night off and for a second I thought he was asking to be sent to Immunity Island.
  • Everybody hugs after the challenge is over and Cara tells people she’s probably going home. She’s done nothing but self-destruct ever since playing her idol for George. Medical takes Georgia away.
  • At the reward, Rachel floats Cara and George’s names with Emmett, but Cara first. Emmett is seemingly on board.
  • JLP comes to the Brains camp and tells them that Georgia is being pulled from the game temporarily, and per Australian Survivor rules, if she can’t return to the game within 24 hours she’s out for good. Either way, she won’t vote at the upcoming tribal council nor can she be voted for. This will make Rachel’s job harder, and potentially makes Laura a sitting duck. However, Laura searches for cracks and finds out that Kez wants Cara out.
  • It turns out Emmett and Kez (along with Gerald) really are willing to vote ostensible ally Cara out because all they care about is getting the three OG Brawns to the merge intact. You know, there’s a way to edit this tribe to make it seem like Emmett, Kez, and Gerald (and Big D) are the scrappy, endangered minority who were lucky to pull in George and Cara but got burned anyway.
  • At Brawn, Hayley once again breaks it down: Brains are outnumbered, but Andrew and Wai are immune and she has an idol. She calls a tribe meeting and says that the OG Brains are sticking together, and with Andrew and Wai immune, the OG Brawns can only vote for her or Baden and she’s going to play her idol randomly on either herself or Baden (the OG Brawns don’t have the numbers to split the vote), so somebody ought to flip. I know this gambit has been done at tribal council on US Survivor, but I don’t remember when (Mike and Shirin on Worlds Apart, maybe? Malcolm in Caramoan?).
  • In the most stitched together confessional of the season to date, Shannon says this is her chance to control the vote. She tells Simon (with Flick also present) that the other side is obviously going to go after him and he needs to play his idol, and that they need to sacrifice one of their own, meaning Chelsea. Shannon says this part of her longer-term plan to weaken the top of the pyramid (Simon, Dani, and Chelsea), but I wonder if this makes Shannon so threatening that Simon puts his group’s votes on her.
  • So close: Simon takes Dani and Chelsea to get water. He wants to roll the dice on Baden, but Dani pushes him toward Shannon.
  • While those three are away, Shannon and Flick offer to flip but say the vote should be on Chelsea rather than Simon. Separately, Simon, Dani, and Chelsea approach Hayley and Baden and propose getting rid of Shannon.
  • Andrew and Wai come back and Hayley gets them up to speed. Hayley tells us that It’s important in terms of keeping OG Brains tight that this be a group decision, although it sure seems like she would rather get rid of Chelsea than Shannon.
  • This is such good play by Hayley. She’s controlling things, but letting each group (the two Brawn factions and OG Brains) make the call on who to vote out.
  • Tribal council: Both tribes file in and it’s a tight squeeze getting them all seated. I was expecting two separate tribals but this seems more fun. JLP asks Cara why she spilled the tea about the previous vote at the challenge mat and she says it was important for all of Big D’s allies to know that she didn’t vote him out deliberately. Cara and Laura both explain why they’re on the hot seat. George goes to bat for Cara. Dani says if Cara was on the Brawn tribe she’d be gone straight away. JLP says that with Andrew and Wai immune, Hayley and Baden would seem to be in trouble. Hayley reveals her plan to play the idol for either herself or Baden and let the OG Brawns decide if they want to risk the vote blowing up in their faces. Flick and Shannon are entirely too giddy, they’re basically announcing that they’ve made an arrangement to flip. Shannon then tells everyone that Simon has an idol. This seems like a dangerous over-reach to me, assuming that anybody’s votes are actually live.
  • Wait, are both tribes are voting all at once too? What if Cara gets confused again and votes for someone on the Brawn tribe?
  • Cara, voting for Laura: “Yesterday’s Plan B is today’s Plan A”. Oh honey, Georgia was yesterday’s Plan B.
  • The Brains votes come in two votes Cara, the rest Laura. The Brawn votes come in two votes Chelsea, the rest Shannon. But there’s entirely too much time left in the episode, so there’s definitely a twist coming. The four challenge winners who were immune have to choose between Laura and Shannon.
  • Since three of the four are OG Brains, you’d think it’s a no-brainer (so to speak) to keep Laura, especially since keeping Shannon also has the potential to blow up Hayley’s game. But the decision has to be unanimous, or Laura and Shannon go to fire-making.
  • Andrew and Rachel want to keep Laura. Wai wants to keep Brawn 2.0 strong so she wants to keep Shannon. Emmett wants chaos but he wants to keep Shannon more. He starts to upbraid the OG Brawn for screwing up whatever plan they had, prompting Simon to throw Shannon under the bus hard, saying she was the first to flip on the alliance (which isn’t true) and tried to get Simon to flush his own idol (which is true). Astutely, he adds that he would never leave someone who saved his life in the game (telling without telling Emmett that if he saves Shannon, she’ll eventually target him).
  • Wai says that if Shannon is such a disruptive force then the thing that keeps the tribe strong is to get rid of her, so she switches to keeping Laura. This prompts Emmett to keep Laura as well. After all that, Shannon is out.
  • Baden inexplicably voted for Flick.
  • There were some complaints last week about the number of women who were still purple after six episodes. This week went a long way toward fixing that, as we had big showcases for Hayley, Rachel, and Laura, as well as Cara and Shannon in a less positive way.