Australian Survivor, Champions vs Contenders II: Episode 18, 19 & 20 Recap

Right on the verge of the US Survivor 39-day threshold, and with only eight castaways left,  seems like an odd time to bring back a historically dodgy and seemingly unnecessary twist. Yet here we are.

Episode 18

  • Harry and Daisy go idol-hunting. Daisy’s wearing a hoodie this time. Progress!
  • Tailed by Luke and Simon, Daisy bluffs that she was warned pre-tribal that Luke told all of the Champions about her idol, and that’s why she flashed it before the vote. Luke buys it completely and deduces  that Pia is the mole. 
  • It’s obvious why Luke would eliminate as suspects Janine (doesn’t want to upset the status quo) and Simon (seemingly isn’t playing the game), but I wonder why Abbey isn’t a suspect.
  • Janine and Simon win reward and take Pia and Daisy (there was no other pair of two champions). Daisy throws Harry under the bus and then Simon does the same to Luke. He tells them what Daisy told him and Luke, and that Luke now suspects that Pia is a mole. Interestingly, Daisy doesn’t get any blowback for her bluff, nor is Pia suspected of actually being a mole for even a second. It’s a bit of a breakdown in logic. If they believe Daisy then they have to suspect Pia, and if they believe Pia they should realize that Daisy is stirring the pot.
  • A plan to oust Luke forms, but Janine is being entirely too quiet.
  • Back at camp, Luke questions Harry about who told Daisy, and to his enormous credit, Harry realizes both that this is the crack the Contenders were looking for, and that Luke would suspect Pia.
  • Taking advantage of Luke’s paranoia, Harry and Baden ask him how he’s going to get to the end with the Champions. Once again Luke takes the bait. The Coconut Rice Bandits are now an official alliance.
  • This is amazing if real. The two players who seemed certain to go next in some order (Daisy and Harry) have, through their own actions, shifted the target to two of the front-runners (Luke and Janine). 
  • In the immunity challenge, Simon and Janine far outlast everybody else, and Simon drops out in exchange for her taking him on future rewards, inadvertently blowing up the Bandits’ plan to get rid of Janine.
  • As I thought, Janine isn’t keen to vote out Luke, and wants Daisy out. 
  • Just as Simon tells Janine he doesn’t want to get rid of Daisy (where has this Simon been the past 37 days?), Daisy walks up. Janine tells Daisy the vote is on Harry, but she immediately realizes it’s a lie and the vote is really on her (where has this Daisy been the past 37 days?).
  • Finally Pia talks to Luke and explains that the story of there being a mole is all just Daisy trying to crack the Champions. Luke assures everybody that he’s still Champions strong but there’s a distinct sense of mistrust among the Champions now.
  • At tribal, JLP informs the castaways that the next two votes are non-elimination votes. Instead, two players will be sent to Exile Beach for a duel. It’s very strange to haul out this twist this late in the game. I’m not usually conspiracy-minded, but is it a coincidence that this is happening in a vote where Luke is in danger?
  • Daisy is sent to Exile Beach, apparently unanimously. I felt Daisy was more likely to be sent home than Luke going into tribal, but with a sudden non-elimination vote thrown at them it’s no surprise that a move against Luke (if there really was one) was abandoned. You come at the king you best not miss. 

Episode 19

Hello Pals, it is I, KB.

  • Exile Island sucks. I get that Daisy is from a draught ridden place where realistically people shouldn’t be cattle farmers but rain isn’t always a blessing. I think in Bangladesh where they have monsoon flooding most years would probably have different opinions on rain. Daisy is now committed to gunning for the win. Wish she had been when she decided to vote out Andy. If they had voted for Janine there and played her idol on Andy the entire game is different.
  • Pia gives a confessional about how really strong her alliance is, how really good she feels about her positions. They are the Italian Mafia and she is the smiling assassin. I really like this analogy.
  • Luke apparently trusts Harry more than anyone at this point. I guess Harry is a good option as he won’t have anywhere to go but with Luke.
  • Harry has a chat with Abbey to convince her to flip on her alliance. He’s not wrong when he says that if she goes to final 3 with Janine and Pia everyone will think Janine was the one pulling the strings and Abbey will get no credit, probably because Abbey doesn’t deserve any credit strategically.
  • Abbey shouldn’t be considering this, she should be voting out Abbey, then flipping when Daisy/Harry comes back. That way no one comes back from Redemption angry at her.
  • The Immunity Challenge is to hang from a bar on an incline. They are hanging from the huge towers they built over the water. Production must have spent so much considering how often they’ve used them. Pia wins her first immunity and it’s right when Abbey was looking to target her.
  • Janine wants Baden to go to Exile because he has been better in challenges than Harry, which is true, Harry’s one challenge win was picking who would balance the skulls best.
  • Abbey talks about not being about the easy option. It’s not always about hard vs easy but it’s about good vs bad. Abbey at least understands not to send Janine because she could come back very very angry. She explains this to Baden and Harry and Harry pushes too hard to get Abbey to consider Janine but accepts Abbey’s request for it to be Simon. Harry sensibly just agrees to vote for someone who isn’t him or Baden.
  • Janine seems to feel completely confident that the 5 will stay strong and has no idea Abbey and Luke want to flip.
  • At tribal Janine sensibly discusses how Exile changes the way they should be voting. And she is completely correct. Harry then pitches for a pair to flip.
  • Janine is dead on saying that the contenders created this situation because it was 6-6 at merge and had they not capitulated and voted Andy then they could have taken control. Harry never wanted to work with the Contenders because he got himself on the outs on the original beach. I think he’s continually a bit salty because he can’t convince them to play with him.
  • I really do understand Abbey and Luke wanting to take some control over a game that looks like it’s being controlled by Janine and Pia. But I don’t see why you would do it here. Sure you still have 4-3 majority if Simon comes back but all you need for that to fall apart is one person to flip. If Daisy comes back you are 3-2 down Contenders v Champs in your new alliance. I think had Abbey and Luke just voted out Baden and then flipped with Harry and Daisy or Baden at the true 7 vote they could have taken out Pia or Janine not strategically inert Simon. They could have taken control then voted out the other at 6 leaving Simon at 5 for Luke and Abbey to scoop up to take out Harry. I just don’t like it at this vote when you aren’t getting rid of someone for certain.

Episode 20

  • Daisy is both amazed and annoyed it’s Simon, because A) it means the Contenders got one over but B) now she has to compete against a legit athlete.
  • The confessionals Simon has before the Redemption Duel are the most I’ve heard him speak in 20 episodes.
  • The Challenge is to manoeuvre 10 discs through a metal contraption on pole and stack them at the top while the contraption sits on a spring. Simon wins in dramatic circumstances and Daisy places her 10th disc and the tower falls before JLP can count down from 3. JLP makes Daisy throw her buff in the fire, meaning she is the only person who doesn’t get to keep her buff from the season. I hate that.
  • Simon is as raging as we thought he’d be and decides to go idol hunting. Which is him digging holes all over the shop.
  • Janine is annoyed that Abbey lied to her face.
  • Luke wins immunity! He has now finished better than his previous season!
  • The new 4 is thrilled that Simon didn’t win immunity, they plan to vote him out again.
  • Abbey and Luke float to Janine and Pia that they all vote Simon and then the 4 of them reconnect. Which is a better pitch that one of them being voted out. Janine wants to get rid of Abbey instead.
  • Janine floats it to Harry which doesn’t sound smart, because Harry’s main target is Janine. Her logic is that Abbey is a challenge beast but no one has really been a challenge beast on this season except Shaun. Harry seems to like the option though.
  • At Tribal, Daisy’s top is awful and does nothing for her at all.
  • Janine says it’s deja vu and Abbey says the tribe doesn’t feel any different. That Simon was voted out for a reason, that he’s a physical threat and needs to go again.#
  • Simon gives all the credit for the move on Luke. He is afraid though.
  • SImon is voted out again 6-1. There really wasn’t anything he could do beyond finding an idol and he was looking in the wrong places as nothing has been buried that deep this season.

Next week only two episodes on Monday and Tuesday.