Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders Episodes 3-4 “Male Intuition”

Week 2 mystery solved. The Australian version of The Bachelor doesn’t premiere until next week, so Channel Ten had two extra prime-time slots it needed to fill this week. That’s why there’s a get-a-life four episodes of Survivor this week; from Week 3 onward, it’s only (only!) two episodes per week.

I’m traveling this weekend and won’t be able to recap episodes 5 and 6. Kemper Boyd has stepped up to cover episode 5, and if anyone wants to give it a go for episode 6 please say so. I only ask that you turn it around fairly quickly (like by Friday morning in the US) so we can get the conversation rolling.

Episode 3

  • Jackie wants to put someone else on the chopping block, pronto, and targets Damien. Ugh, but to be brutally honest I would probably do the same if I were in her shoes. She has to tread very carefully on a tribe that could revert back to mateship now that Russell is gone.
  • At the reward challenge, the Contenders are thrilled that Russell’s gone, but they really shouldn’t be. It’s a soccer PK shootout. Are there any Croatians on these tribes? This seems kind of unfair given that one tribe has actual professional footballers on it. And after much trash-talking, the Champions win. Damien’s kick is strong but very wide, but he makes a very nifty save on defense.
  • Heath finds a barely hidden clue, to an idol hidden at tribal council. It’s the Palesa memorial idol (sob!).
  • Heath pockets both the clue and the glass bottle for some reason, and Robbie immediately spots the bulge in his shorts (!). Benji is brought in but Zach is apparently excluded. Interesting.
  • Meanwhile, at the Champions camp, the clue literally falls at Lydia’s feet, but it’s Moana who spots it from way over in the shelter. As a vegetarian, Moana is the only one not preoccupied by the fish. Shades of Jenn Brown.
  • This is fantastic. On both tribes, the clue was found by a strong challenge competitor who could single-handedly throw a challenge and get away with it (as opposed to, say, Anita).
  • Both Heath and Moana are on wagon-pushing duty, which is the least optimal in terms of challenge throwing. But luckily for Moana, Shane and Damien botch the fishing, and Jackie and Monika are comically bad at the puzzle (why wasn’t Sam doing the puzzle?).
  • This tearful mea culpa seems like a bad idea, genuine or not (update: it’s not). I think it only intensifies the target on Jackie’s back. It seems inconceivable that any of the men would vote Damien, so Jackie needs to round up every single woman to survive tribal.
  • I’m genuinely shocked. Only two votes for Jackie, and Damien is out. There were so many Damien votes that Mat was able to throw his vote away on Shane.
  • Voting out Damien is some bullshit. It’s way too soon to worry about him winning sympathy votes. They claim to want to keep strong in challenges, but Jackie was awful in both challenges this episode. While Damien wasn’t fantastic, did everybody forget that he saved all their asses at the episode 1 immunity challenge? This is particularly stupid of the men, who are now outnumbered 6-4
  • Holy shit, is Commando Steve pissed!

Episode 4

  • Like a reverse Damien (who went from tribe-rescuing immunity challenge beast on Day 2 to jury threat who must go immediately on Day 8), Stevie has somehow transformed from first-boot outcast into the bro alliance’s head kung fu and Mandarin instructor.
  • It’s interesting that Moana wants to form a core alliance with a very schemy player and a very mateship-y player. Maybe that’s how you keep your allies from conspiring down the road. However, it seems like a big misstep for Moana to demonstrate trust in Mat by both telling him about the idol AND giving it to him for safe-keeping. I’m pretty sure that’s Mat’s idol now.
  • Reward is the Eve Clarke memorial pole challenge. Champions win, and once again the men fight mostly to a draw (except for Heath, who is both irresistible force and immovable object), and the relative strength advantage of the Champions’ women is the deciding factor. And now Jenna’s ankle is hurt even more badly.
  • I’m pretty good at identifying regional accents, and between Luke last season and Jenna this season, I think I can now clearly tell the Western Australia accent and the Standard Australia accent apart.
  • Champions win the immunity challenge, with Mat first putting them in a big hole and then getting them out of it. Heading into commercial, Zach says that losing immunity is a good thing as they can now get rid of one of the women. Why do alpha-male alliances always think they’re in control of the game with a minority of the votes? Five into 11 equals out Zach!
  • After a great deal of scrambling, with multiple alliances starting to form and then dissolving, and with the target shifting from person to person, Paige votes Shonee, the men minus Heath vote Paige, and the women minus Paige and plus Heath vote Stevie. Stevie goes 6-4-1.
  • Based on who voted for whom, my guess is that the parents alliance must have agreed to vote with the bros (creating a large enough majority to blindside Paige), then switched to Stevie.
  • So of the first four boots, one self-destructed and three were “others” of one sort or another, with no real hope of blending in. Survivor!
  • Man oh man is the show setting up Zach as a villain.

Note: Episode 5 will probably have aired by the time this recap goes up. Please use spoiler tags if you want to discuss it, or just wait a couple days.