Australian Survivor, Season 2: Week 4

Episode 8

We come back to Asaga after Mark has been voted out. It’s not clear if Jericho and Luke are surprised that their plan didn’t work, although, given the confidence Luke displayed during Tribal Council I assume they have to be. Jericho is certainly puzzled, because he decides he has to get ‘vengeance’ for Mark. Jericho, I know you haven’t developed object permanence yet, so, just to remind you, Mark got voted out for making trouble over something you were part of. You voted for Sam along with everyone else. So… deciding to be his avenging angel rings just a little hollow.

At Samatau, nothing has changed. AK is acting like a big swinging dick and Tara, Locky, and Annelise are still on the outs. More on this to come.

There’s a challenge. Guys, I skipped all the challenges this week. It kind of started with this one because it was taking foreeeeever, and then I realized we weren’t in for another challenge throw and I didn’t have to care. I did cut in just in time to see Kent nail the last target, so good for you Kent, you found a thing you can do. Asaga wins.

Reward this week is the most vertigo-inducing spa visit in Survivor history. I say vertigo-inducing because the first thing I noticed about it was that Michelle was getting a ton of confessionals all of sudden, and all of them were content free, but she certainly was getting them. I want you to let that sentence echo through your head and share my fear.

There’s also a fun bit where Henry and Luke both pocket what they think are idol clues but turn out to be grooming kits. Everyone chuckles. Also, Henry, you know you have your tribe’s idol, right. I mean, I know you do, because you bring it up next episode, but, um… you do have it.

At Samatau, Locky takes another run at Ziggy. While the two of them tend the fire, he stokes her growing resentment over AK’s laziness and sense of entitlement. Ziggy is still the one who’s most likely to flip, and this is a much better approach that “you should make this move because it’s a move you can make.” It’s like Locky has a better social game than Tara or something.

We also see Luke give in and restart Asaga’s fire, followed by a bunch of stuff about how charming Luke is. This is puzzling to me, because the rest of his tribe are human beings (except for Jericho, who is made of felt and has a tag on his neck that says ‘Jim Hensen’s Creature Shop’) and Luke is a semi-sentient herpes sore.

Immunity challenge. Samatau is going to tribal.

The majority plan to split the vote 3-3 on Locky and Tara. This is puzzling, because it presumes they have Annelise, who voted for AK at Samatau’s last tribal council, on their side. No evidence is given that they’ve made any effort to shore up that relationship, and Annelise certainly still seems to think she’s with Locky and Tara.

Said minority trio are still trying to flip Ziggy to their side, which, with a vote split, would give them the numbers to get rid of AK. For a group without a lot of options, this is a solid enough plan.

Tribal council is fairly by the numbers – Tara reminds Jonathan that she and Locky are on the bottom, AK denies he’s the mastermind, we vote. And things start to turn sideways.

The votes come in, 2 for Locky, 3 for Tara, 3 for AK (the plan back at camp was for the men to go Locky and the women to go Tara, but apparently Jarrad voted for Tara. I dunno.) On the revote, everyone piles on Tara. Except, just as she’s about to get her torch snuffed, something clicks in Australian Survivor’s lizard brain and screams “twists!” So Tara gets to sit and wait while Samatau carries out a second, blind vote.

Again, I’m not sure why the majority feels betrayed by Annelise, but they sure act like they are. Although, realistically, this is more about making sure everyone is on the same page than it is about her.

Of course, now that Australian Survivor has some of that sweet sweet twist riding its veins, it can’t give up the high, so this isn’t an elimination, it’s a swap! Tara and Annelise will spend a night in exile and join Asaga tomorrow. I kind of wish I had written this before I watched episode 9, because I can’t divorce my reaction from how much I love what happens at Asaga. I guess, in isolation, it’s fine. AS1’s version of this scheme didn’t really give us much beyond Nick’s hurt feelings, but it’s not stupid or game-breaking like some things I could name.

Episode 9

We come in on exile beach. Tara remembers she’s hasn’t thrown herself a pity party in a couple days, so she sets herself up for a good cry. It starts off being about how she was ready to see her family (does Tara not know about Ponderosa?) before seguing back to her favorite topic –how unfair it is that she’s not allowed to dictate the flow of the game.

At Asaga we learn that cracks are forming. On one side you have the young people, who are getting fed up with Jacqui and what they see as her bad attitude, and on the other side you have Jacqui, Henry, and Kent, who think the young people are morons. Nobody is wrong here. Jacqui gets a confessional about what a great spot she’s in. That’s… always a good sign.

They’re ferried off to a beach where Jonathan surprises them with the news that there’s a tribe swap in progress. In exchange for Tara and Annelise, they’ll have to give up two people to Samatau. Ben immediately volunteers, which makes sense, since he just had a confessional about how he’s on the bottom, but then… Henry volunteers?

Let’s take a moment to savor how insane this is. He explains in confessional that, now that he’s conquered Asaga, he can take control of Samatau and come into the merge with both tribes in his pocket. Gee, Henry, I’m sure Asaga is gonna sit around and not change at all while you’re gone. And I’m sure that, after they begged you to stay, they’ll be falling all over themselves to forgive you for switching sides with no explanation. This is a very bad plan. It is maybe a top five all-time Survivor bad plans.

But, whatever it means for Henry, it’s wonderful for us, because it puts both of our egomaniacal ultra-strategists on one beach. AK almost immediately sees through Henry’s scheme. The two have a conversation where he does a good job of feeding his new adversary misinformation. This is, of course, immediately undone when he allows Locky and Henry to be alone together. I dunno what can come out of Henry/Locky alliance, but this is just an unforced error on AK’s part.

At Asaga, Jacqui is starting to feel worried. She’s lost her closest ally and her access to the idol and she doesn’t understand why. She starts scrambling, trying to make sure everyone is down for voting off Tara and Annelise. This is probably her only move, but it looks a little desperate. Luke, meanwhile, does a pretty good job of getting Tara and Annelise on his side.

Immunity challenge. Samatau wins.

Back at camp, any notion of staying Asaga strong falls apart almost on contact. Sarah sees this as her chance to move against Jacqui and pitches the ex-Samataus to go with her, Luke, Luke’s sidekick, and Michelle. Jacqui sees something is up and pitches a counter-plan to target Sarah with her, Kent, and Odette. I am not sure why Odette is with them, because this show has no interest in telling us what Odette thinks. This leaves Tara and Annelise in the middle with total control over the vote. Great job, guys.

Tribal council is pretty tense, with everyone pitching competing plans. Tara makes a big show of being done with Samatau, which is probably true. They hurt her feeeeeelings, and you never hurt Tara’s feelings. Never. In the end the young people triumph. There is no twist; Jacqui is gone.

So, I guess I have to address how much credit I’m willing to give Luke. The answer – not fucking much. I will concede he did a good job as an ambassador for Young Asaga, but every step of the way this was presented as Sarah’s plan. Luke can pretend he was behind this all he wants, and he will, but at the end of the day he saw two people who were desperate for allies and let them be his allies. I give as much credit for that as I give Jacqui and Henry for keeping Kent under their thumb. The heavy lifting here, at least as we saw it, was Sarah’s doing.