Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders Episodes 15-16 “Words Kill You, Real Quick”

The blindside of Lydia exposed big cracks in Mat’s Champions Strong alliance. Can anybody bust it up completely?

Episode 15

  • There’s an interesting juxtaposition right away between the two pairs of Shonella and Renji. Shonella are giddy, literally giggling because the heat is finally off them and they can slip through the cracks for quite a while. Meanwhile, newly on the bottom, Renji are looking for safety in numbers. They quickly rule out Mat and turn to Monika.
  • Wow, Sharn is good. She vows to Benji that she has his back, then doesn’t hesitate to agree when Mat and Steve propose getting rid of him next. In both cases, she’s completely convincing.
  • The castaways have to pick one person to make a decision for the entire tribe. They immediately pick Sharn, and she knows this exposes her as a social threat. It’s a neutral box, and she goes for the advantage.
  • Sharn gets a big advantage in the next immunity  challenge, which is endurance based and thus her forte anyway. She would have been much better off with an idol clue or an extra vote or something. Under the circumstances (i.e., she’s almost certain to be immune this round), I think she should just tell the truth. Any lie you make up about why you’re coming back to camp with a sad little bag of vegetables isn’t going to be believed. And it isn’t.
  • Ah, forget what I said about telling the truth. I thought that her advantage would be apparent at the challenge, but JLP doesn’t say anything and the challenge is cleverly designed to conceal the fact that Sharn is holding up significantly less weight than the others.
  • The challenge requires a lot of upper-body strength, and in fact all of the women except Sharn drop out quickly. It eventually comes down to Sharn and Mat, and Mat volunteers to drop out. This is pretty strange, since the rationale for getting rid of Lydia now applies just as much to Mat.
  • Sure enough, Benji tries to save Robbie by rounding up votes against Mat, using the same arguments Shane did regarding Lydia.
  • So going into tribal it comes down to whether the Champions alliance can regroup after the Lydia blindside (Sam, for one, is pretty sore about being left out) or whether Benji can make common cause with Shonella temporarily to take out Mat and also pick up at least two Champions. The latter seems really unlikely.
  • Yup, it was all a misdirect. Everyone votes Robbie, including Benji (with Shane voting Benji in case of an idol).

Episode 16

  • Happy Birthday Commando Steve
  • Wind sprints for a spa reward, basically. Steve drops out early because the reward isn’t worth the effort. I don’t know why more players don’t do this mo–Oh wait, yes I do! There are clues and advantages at a reward, dummy!
  • Mat takes Sharn and surprisingly, Fenella. Is this just jury management, or is he making new connections, as Sam suspects?
  • The latter. Mat’s core group (which includes Steve, Sharn, and Shane) is ready to get rid of the other Champions and needs Shonella for a majority. Fenella should say yes now, then work the other side for a better deal.
  • Benji tries once again to offer himself as a number to Mat, noting that he’s done nothing but vote out Contenders. He then correctly deduces that Sam is ready to make a move, but in his pitch to Sam he counts Sharn as being on his side. Who’s side is she really on, anyway?
  • Both Benji and Sam have a severe lack of chill as they make their pitches to Shonella and Monika, and none of them seem at all stoked about committing to the plan.
  • Immunity is the Let’s Drown Brenda challenge. Mat perfects the hand-snorkel and outlasts even Shane.
  • With Mat immune, the misfit toys all agree to target Steve, but there’s still only five of them.
  • OK, the pre-tribal scramble and tribal council were extremely eventful, with Mat and Benji both trying to lock down a sixth vote and Sam pretty much just flailing. Rather than giving a blow-by-blow account, I’ll just offer up a discussion question: Who blew up their own spot more unnecessarily: Sam or Matt the traffic cop?
  • Both of this week’s votes were essentially unanimous, which obscures a couple of points worth noting. First, the larger Champions Strong alliance is dead and buried. Peripheral members Brian and Monika (and Sam obviously) are gone for good. Second, Mat is not good at alliance management. Of course he sees it only in terms of Sam being disloyal, but it’s basically Mat’s fault that Sam got spooked in the first place, and if Sam had been just a bit calmer it would have come back to bite him. As a result, Mat now has only a plurality and not a majority. And it’s not like Sharn and Shane are just going to follow orders for long.