Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders Episodes 17-18 “The Mighty Ducks”

Awwww yeahhhh, that’s the stuff, Australian Survivor.

Episode 17

  • Mat is targeting Brian for daring to ingratiate himself with Shonella. As the last of the Contenders, Benji and Shonella are now a tight three and looking for numbers.
  • Mat doesn’t trust Benji, but he trusts him more than Brian, so he wants to align with Benji (and therefore Shonella) to get rid of Brian. This seems really risky, although I guess the only alternative is to pull in Monika for a bare 5-4 majority.
  • Sharn finds a clue at the well. There’s an idol hidden at the next challenge.
  • Benji proposes a trust cluster to Brian and Monika to vote out Mat. When they hesitate, he lies and tells them Mat has told him to spy on them, and that Brian is on the chopping block. This is a great move if it works. The best lies are partly true. So I’m told.
  • The immunity challenge is one of those multiple stage things where only the top X people advance. Sharn gets knocked out in the first stage. I don’t see how she’ll be able to retrieve the idol, which is in the base of one of the snooker tables (heh, Survivor Snooker).
  • Nevertheless, it’s impressive that Sharn was somehow able to sneak away from the post-challenge hugs and grab the idol (the clue must have been extremely specific about its location) without being noticed.
  • Both Mat and Benji are giving super-overconfident confessionals. The kind that US Survivor puts in your boot episode.
  • Benji wants to both blindside Mat and flush Sharn’s idol. He notes that it would be a disaster if this results in Sharn playing her idol for Mat. So maybe don’t do it then, dude.
  • At tribal council, during a discussion about idols, Mat notes that Russell went home with an idol in his pocket because he was overconfident, thought he had the numbers when he didn’t, and underestimated his opponents. GOOD GAME, MAT.
  • Sharn plays her idol. BUT WAIT she plays it for Mat. BUT WAIT Benji tells her she needs to play it for herself because it’s a vote split.
  • Sam is literally doing the Macaulay Culkin on the jury bench.
  • So this was Malcolm’s “Hold up, bro” in Caramoan in reverse, right?
  • So Mat must have left his idol back at camp, right?
  • As Sharn noted, her idol was basically useless, so playing it was the smart move. But man did she get big-dogged by Benji in front of current and future jurors. Needless to say, she absolutely cannot let him get to the end now.
  • Notice how Fenella and Shonee were expressionless when Sharn first played the idol for Mat, then acted all shocked and dejected when Benji start talking Sharn into playing the idol for herself. Given how they really voted, there’s no reason for this. It had to be a ruse to convince Sharn that there was really a vote split happening and Benji was going rogue. The Ducks must have worked out in advance what each of them should do in the event that Sharn played the idol for Mat.

Episode 18

  • The riff on Michael Corleone’s theme that plays as Benji declares himself the new Godfather is the funniest music cue in Survivor history.
  • With Mat off the board, it’s the three Champions Strong versus the three Contenders, with Brian and Monika in the middle. While Shane and Steve pout hilariously, Sharn approaches Brian. It’s the right thing to do, but there’s really no reason for Brian and Monika to flip back other than Benji’s threat level.
  • For the reward challenge we’re back at Monika’s Terror Platform. Benji and Shane are the captains and Benji chooses Shonee over Monika with his last pick. This is possibly his first mistake of this pair of episodes, since this will give Shane and Sharn the afternoon to work Brian and Monika.
  • Shane is just a marvel swimming. And yes, she did deliberately put Brian and Monika on her team.
  • Shonee tells Benji about her vote steal. This is dumb. They have the numbers as long as they have Brian and Monika, and if they’ve lost them then the vote steal can only force a tie.
  • Brian and Monika aren’t really buying what Sharn is selling. The problem is that although Benji’s big move showed that he’s a dangerous snake, he also exposed Sharn as playing both sides (and the idol fiasco didn’t help). Shane should really be making the pitch, but she doesn’t trust Brian any more than Benji.
  • Brian goofs around openly searching high and low for clues and actually finds one, and then finds the idol (note the pockets). This is a mental lapse by Sharn most of all: she’s is the only one at the table who knows that two idols could be back in circulation.
  • The immunity challenge is bouncing a ball on a disc; a concentration/dexterity test similar to the famed ball-and-hoop challenge. Benji, Steve, and Brian end up in a stalemate so they have to do it one-handed. It seems like holding the disc from the edge would be superior to holding it from below like a waiter’s tray, but nevertheless Brian wins.
  • Benji is targeting Sharn, but needs to keep Brian and Monika on side. So he tells Monika about Shonee’s advantage, but lies and says it’s worth “two or three” votes, in the hopes that a panicked Monika will keep Brian from flipping. This seems like more of a triple bank shot than it needs to be.
  • Then Monika goes running to Steve for some damn reason. Does she also get Steve and Brian mixed up, like I do 18 episodes in?
  • After 39 days, a mental lapse like that is sort of understandable, except Brian IS STANDING RIGHT THERE WEARING THE DAMN IMMUNITY NECKLACE!
  • Tribal council: I’m a bit disappointed Sharn is just kind of laying down on the tracks. Brian has either gone full Benji minion or he’s making him comfortable just before giving him the shiv. Steve trust faith blah blah blah.
  • Shonee plays her advantage and steals Sharn’s vote.
  • It’s a tie between Benji and Sharn. Did Brian and Monika both flip? Did Shonee force the tie?
  • I actually wouldn’t have hated a Benji win after his brilliant performance in getting rid of Mat, but to have the game wide open with seven left is fantastic. The irony of the two Godfathers going home back-to-back, with unplayed idols, is off the chart.
  • I think we can definitively rank Fenella above Shonee now. Shonee apparently didn’t realize it would be pointless to force a tie since she wouldn’t have two votes on the revote, and Fenella had the presence of mind to switch on the revote.