The merge and first post-merge tribal are finally in the rear view mirror and it’s time for old tribal lines to hold or fracture, time for people to stick to the plan or play an individual game. It’s almost always my favorite part of a Survivor season.
- Unfortunately there’s no post-tribal scene explaining the unanimous vote for Andy. However, as I said in the comments last week, the Champions and Contenders went into the merge theoretically even in numbers, but the Contenders were never going to win a game of chicken with the Champions with someone as unreliable as Andy on their side, nor were they about to go to rocks for Andy. So now that they’ve pre-emptively eliminated the flipper, the David vs. Shaun battle can resume, with the Contenders needing to pull in one Champion.
- Janine and Luke seem to have made a genuine bond. Interesting. Not what I would have expected.
- Car Challenge! Abbey wins, but as Survivor South Africa viewers know, she’s not necessarily doomed because the Car Curse probably won’t be a thing anymore by the Australian Survivor finale. David is the runner-up, which is genuinely impressive, since big guys are at a major disadvantage in the chimney sweep challenge. Abbey takes David and John on reward.
- David proposes a final 3 deal. Neither John nor Abbey fall for it.
- Shaun cautiously feels out Janine about voting out David and seems to be pushing on an open door.
- The immunity challenge is the Brenda Memorial drowning challenge. They’re in very shallow water, which means they’re tortured not only by the rising tide but by swells. Shaun and David far outlast everyone else, but eventually David prevails.
- They’re sent to tribal council directly rather than back to camp. I suppose the challenge started relatively late in the day because they had to wait until the tide was coming in, but this still seems unnecessary. Although it does ramp up the suspense, with one of the obvious targets suddenly immune.
- The castaways separate briefly along old tribal lines. Shaun lobbies for the old Contenders to take a shot at Luke. Meanwhile, the old Champions want to split the vote between Shaun and Daisy, getting to a plurality by getting Shaun and Daisy to vote for each other.
- Luke turns his back on Simon and Abbey long enough for the Contenders to propose a Luke blindside to them.
- When Luke arrives to put the kibosh on that conversation, Harry, John, and Daisy pull away Janine and Pia to make the same proposal. Simon makes six and they agree, but who’s for real and who’s just playing along?
- At Tribal Council, David openly targets Shaun and Shaun equally openly targets Luke. The classic early-post-merge arguments get trotted out (Should they get rid of a challenge threat or a likely winner? Should the majority widen its numbers advantage or switch over to an individual game?). Janine basically tells everybody to vote Shaun. Harry and John (sort of) push back.
- All of the old Champions except Simon vote for Shaun, who becomes the first member of the jury. I think the Godmother was so assertive because she was only sure of five votes for Shaun (the three Champion women plus David and Luke) and wanted to browbeat others into voting for Shaun. Numerically, the old Contenders plus Simon were still a majority but their votes were all over the map (John and Daisy voted for Shaun).
- An original Contender has been voted out in each of the past seven tribal councils.
- David was very confident that nobody believed Andy when he outed David as an idol-holder. It ended up not mattering because David won immunity, but I’ll bet David’s assumption will be put to the test soon.
- Note: I watched this episode spoiled about the boot because I stupidly checked Twitter beforehand.
- (Edit: Never mind; see comments)
Isn’t David’s idol only usable by an original Contender? Or did it become a general-purpose idol at the merge?
- Pia, Janine, Luke, and David are all riding high; Daisy is down in the dumps both for having voted Shaun and for being the obvious next boot.
- The Champions women are ready to jettison David. Pretty ingenious of Janine to let Pia lead the charge, though.
I just remembered that David’s idol was originally Janine’s. I’d still be pretty pissed off about that if I were her.
- “Finesse your balls into that hole.” Take that, Jeff Probst!
- Luke wins his first immunity challenge rather easily.
- Watching the post-challenge scenes, I really regret knowing the boot. I wonder if I would have sensed the outcome, or if David’s seven other downfall edits this season would have blinded me to it.
- They don’t need Daisy’s vote to get to six. Why ask her to pretend to twist in the wind when they could just let her twist in the wind?
- David’s Tribal Council Tarzan costume is Peak David.
- Daisy isn’t even pretending to push back. I’m a bit surprised Luke isn’t getting suspicious.
- The looks on everyones’ faces as the votes are read is priceless. Bit late for Luke to ask David if he has the idol (although would it be against the rules to pass the idol to an ally before the deciding vote is read?).
- For now, none of the final 9 has an idol or advantage.
- I’ll let you folks eulogize David properly, but what a player! What a character! He’s being such a good sportsmanship on his way out the door, too. He must know he’s first on the return player list.
- Luke, Baden, and Harry are the Coconut Rice Bandits. With Janine, Pia, and Abbey a tight three, it’s smart of Luke to consider scooping up the stray Contenders.
- Janine: “Now (that David’s gone), I feel like I could actually win the title of Sole Survivor.” Pia: “If Luke’s on your side, he can keep you safe. And if he’s not on your side, he can really work against you.” I wish Network Ten wouldn’t Tweet things like “Another big name goes home tonight.” We’re 10 minutes into the episode and I think I know where it’s headed.
- Harry reckons it’s Champions strong again and that he needs to go idol hunting. But Daisy beats him to it!
- Lol, the wadded-up shirt isn’t going to work for Daisy a second time. Ladies, when you go on Survivor just bring shorts with pockets and tell production to go f*ck themselves.
- It’s quite ingenious how the pens that they’re in for the reward challenge aren’t just for decoration: eventually they interfere with your ability to extend your pole.
- Harry bets on Janine and Abbey and they indeed win. Harry then gets to pick the +1 and takes Simon, saying that he’s starving the most out of all of them. Is that why Simon’s been utterly invisible?
- I’m impressed that after 35 days of starvation Harry and Janine still choose to use chopsticks rather than, say, slide the food straight off the plates and into their mouths.
- The family plates are back. I wish someone had made a joke about Oskar. The plate reminds Harry that he needs to eliminate the Champions, not work with them. Shades of Lisa Welchel’s brother.
- Daisy is thinking along the same lines, and must intend to work around Luke and Pia, not with them.
- Plank challenge. The light, yoga-practicing, well-nourished Janine should take this. Nope, Simon wins.
- Daisy tells the Contenders about her idol. They agree to vote Abbey and hope the Champions split the vote. Why not take a shot at Janine or Luke?
- Luke and Pia tell the Champions about Daisy’s idol, so they shift their target to Harry.
- Baden says his best bet is to stay Contenders strong, then he tells Luke everything. D’oh! Now the Champions know they can’t split the vote.
- The Champions are going to try to make Daisy paranoid so she plays the idol on herself and not the real target. Will this work twice?
- Luke wears a knock-off of David’s Tarzan costume to Tribal Council.
- Daisy plays the idol for herself, and the Champions don’t react at all. A Contender must be going home.
- The first Champions vote is for Harry and everybody groans, but it’s just a stray. It’s a 4-4-1 tie between Abbey and John, John goes home on the revote.
- I loved John as much as anybody, but at this point it’s better him than a more strategically-minded player (and I’m getting annoyed that Simon is still in the game).
Assistant Dragon Slayer began watching Survivor in 2013 with Survivor: Caramoan, but continued to watch the show anyway. He is up to 59 seasons and counting (43 US, seven Australia, five South Africa, two New Zealand, two Japan). So there.
Favorite player from each country: Cirie Fields (US), Luke Toki (Australia), Santoni Engelbrecht (South Africa), Lisa Stanger (New Zealand), Sakiko Sekiguchi (Japan) [and Maryanne Oketch (Canada)]