Australian Survivor, Season 2: Week 11, Episodes 24-25

Even when stalling for time before the finale, Australian Survivor manages to remain exciting. Jericho breaks two players’ hearts, and ours.

Episode 24 (by Kemper Boyd)

My main thoughts after the “previously on” is that if Peter is a goat, why the fuck did Locky target him? Why not convince people to go for Jericho who everyone loves?

The beginning of the episode is just a series of winner montages for each of the final 4, Jericho is used to hotels and being manly cutting of coconuts and starting fires; Tara is just an uneducated stay at home mum who wouldn’t grace the pages of a dirty magazine; Michelle is a girly girl who has survived the hardship and Petey is an emotional wreck who misses his family. Pete is the only one who actually talks about the game going forward though. Imagine if Pete wins after being the purplest of Australian Survivor contestants.

We see discussion of who people want to get out at 4, it seems the answer is Pete apparently. Michelle and Jericho “have a special bond”, Tara and Jericho “have a close bond” and Tara uses her lollies to make a final 2 deal with Michelle, but I think Michelle would take that deal anyway because Tara looks a goat with only 1 locked-in vote on the jury in Locky. I think even Pete has more guys who will vote for him because of friendship (Tessa and Jarrad for a start).

We go to the immunity challenge, psych, it’s the kick off a jury member challenge. The challenge itself is one of the most interesting challenges I’ve seen in a really long time. Hold onto a pegboard whilst removing numbered pegs, last person on the board wins. I really hope the American production team steal this one. Jericho wins and I think his is the hardest choice, I’m not sure there is a single jury member who won’t vote for him at all. He has a shot with every member depending on who he sits next to. Pete could have dumped Luke, Tara could have dumped Tessa, Michelle could have dumped Locky.

We get a scene of Jericho, Michelle and Tara going through his options. He seems to be zeroing in on Tessa. He asks the others for advice, why they would give him honest advice I don’t know but it’s game theory for sure. Petey is trying to convince Jericho that Tessa will only vote on gameplay (I think this is probably true if it’s not Pete at the end).

The jury look pissed when they find out a juror will be thrown out. Fair play I’d be angry as fuck. OH GOD I JUST NOTICED JARRAD’S BRAIDS, what the fuck Jarrad? I hope you are kicked off now. Through the tribal council everyone is talking but only Jericho is saying anything. It looks like our beloved Tessa is out. Jericho gets to ask 3 questions, he asks Jarrad a question “do you think there is someone you think I should be worried about sitting next to at FTC?” Jarrad says “blah blah blah yes”. Tessa next he asks a terrible long winded question that is basically “who do you think is the least deserving person and why?” she answers it’s Tara, that answer might save Tessa after Jarrad’s answer. Last question is for Annaliese “what will put you off voting for someone at the end?”, the answer is someone who just sat there and says I voted that way because I was told to.

Jericho has voted out Tessa and I think he’s made the right call, where the fuck is she going though? I mean she’ll still stay at Ponderosa right? Or is she just in a tent on the beach alone?

What do you all think of that decision? I don’t think it’s too bad. She would only have voted for him if he was next to Tara but I think Jarrad is the same and I don’t like him as much, especially after his hair tonight.

Episode 25 (by Assistant Dragon Slayer)

We go straight from the opening credits to the loved ones visit. For the second season in a row, this comes super late in the game. It’s not quite as late as last season, when they did it at final 3. At the time I thought that was a strange decision given that everybody would be reunited with their families in just a couple days anyway, but it paid off big because the loved ones were on-hand to watch the epic final immunity challenge.

Anyway, this time there’s not even a challenge, they just let all four loved ones visit. I guess it would be cruel to withhold a visit given that it’s day 51 and not day 31 like US Survivor. Both the small number of contestants left and the extended running time of Australian Survivor allow us to spend a good chunk of time with everybody (remember how Aubry’s sister got purpled, in yet another indignity Aubry had to endure on Game Changers?). There’s not a lot to say except that it was charming in all four cases, particularly Tara with her family and Jericho’s brother cosplaying at being on Survivor, scheming at the well.

The immunity challenge is the kind of long, multi-stage challenge that I just love when it gets down to the last 4-5 thoroughly exhausted people. It tests everything: strength, endurance, swimming, balance, agility, throwing, with a bunching point (the water tank) for added suspense and a puzzle at the end. Peter arrives at the puzzle third, but he makes up for lost time and wins his first immunity.

Back at camp, Peter is immune and Tara is effectively immune because everybody wants to go to the end with her. So it’s Jericho vs. Michelle, competing for the votes of Peter and Tara. Peter is easy for Michelle to recruit because he wants Jericho out for his own reasons (Jericho is the most likely to win final immunity, which Peter surely needs to win to get to the end). Michelle says that Jericho will “take it well”, and that “he’ll understand”. If this strikes you as arrogant and short-sighted, well just wait, there’s more where that came from.

Peter talks to Tara and she immediately signs on and gives her blessing to Peter throwing out her name to blindside Jericho. He then goes to Jericho and tells him the vote is on Tara. Jericho is suspicious, in part because Peter is no good at lying and in part because it doesn’t make any sense for Peter, or anybody, to target Tara. While Michelle watches Jericho relight the campfire (!!!), Peter pulls her to the side. This confirms Jericho’s suspicion that the vote is really on him, because why else do they need to exclude him from the conversation?

The obvious thing for Jericho to do here would be to go to Tara and lock down her vote, setting up a 2-2 deadlock. Instead, he goes to Michelle and basically tells her the jig is up, he knows she and Peter are targeting him, and that he has no choice but to defend himself by turning to Tara for a 2-2 tie even though what he really wants to do is vote out Tara. I can only conclude that Jericho is trying to flip both Michelle and Peter to vote Tara and avoid fire-making altogether. This seems vanishingly unlikely, not least because Peter isn’t going to play along (he wants to get rid of Jericho, but if that’s not possible he’s surely not going to choose Michelle over Tara). And the downside risk, of course, is that Peter and Michelle swing Tara and Jericho is out.

But rather than run immediately to Tara to lock her down before Jericho can, Michelle, being the emotional player that she is, gets indignant about being “threatened” and “told who not to have conversations with” and explodes at Jericho, seeming oblivious to the danger she’s now in.

Tara says in confessional that all this chaos is great for her, and that she’s “not going to miss an opportunity to make a move,” which is the funniest thing I’ve heard this season, and this season had AK and Luke, mind you. Going into tribal, confessionals from all four players lay out the stakes: Peter and Michelle are voting Jericho and Jericho is voting Michelle. The only real question is whether Tara votes for Jericho and Michelle.

At the now Tessa-less tribal council (sniff), Jericho comes out swinging, explaining the situation to the jury and aggressively saying that he’s not just going to let Peter call the shots and is happy to go to a fire-making challenge if need be. The jury obviously loves his feistiness. Michelle essentially resumes her beef with Jericho about her right to have conversations with whoever she wants to, but she doesn’t provide the context the jury needs to understand what’s going on, and frankly without that context she must seem a bit unhinged to them. The torrent of words that buried Ben doesn’t seem to be working as well with the jury.

The vote does in fact result in a 2-2 deadlock, and remains 2-2 after a revote. The fire-making is essentially over before it even starts, as you can just see the hopelessness in Michelle’s eyes as soon as the votes are read. At least she was self-aware enough to acknowledge in her boot confessional that she should have sided with Jericho (although I still don’t see how she could have swung Peter over) and that she shouldn’t have let the boys do all the work around camp.

I think it was clearly the right move for Tara to side with Jericho. Yes, he’s the biggest threat to win final immunity, but that’s irrelevant to her game. Her only real chance is to get taken to the end, then at final tribal council replicate Kristie Bennett’s “I was running the show all along” speech, and Michelle is the most likely to shut that nonsense down. Plus now Tara has something, at long last, to put on her resume.