Australian Survivor, week 4. Let’s hope this craziness works.

Guys, I took notes this week so I could be better at this. My notes were insane, though, and I’m not always sure what I meant, so I had to rewatch the post-challenge part anyway.

Updated through episode 1o.

Am I just posting pictures of dogs from now on? No, there will be at least one cat.
Am I just posting pictures of dogs from now on? No, there will be at least one cat.

“Episode 9”

Well that was a hell of an episode. I’m still not thrilled about yet another episode where nobody got voted off, but this swap paid off big time.

First off, Craig has an idol clue! That’s awesome because Craig is awesome. He’s consistently been the funniest and most accurate narrator of the season. I’m just gonna go ahead and start calling him Australian Cochran. Emma isn’t watching this show, so I don’t have to worry about her opinions on that.

Other things are happening at new Vavau. The theme this episode is that old Vavau is in charge and old Aganoa has to figure out what they’re going to do about it, and the answer appears to be revert to type. Rohan is a bossy idiot. Phoebe gives great confessionals that make you question just how well positioned she is. Kristie is a little bit crazy.

The only wild card is Kat, and I’m not sure exactly what is going on with her story. She’s been the underdog for so much of this season, but all of a sudden she has power. Except it’s also not being clear she knows what to do with power. I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re getting a “finalist with no votes” edit on her.

Less time is spent at new Saanapu, and it’s mostly about how Saanapu is great. Jennah Louise gets an inexplicable amount of air-time, both before the action begins and when she talks up Kylie at the reward. It suggests that something is going on there, but it’s not clear what, yet.

For the reward we get the Borneo throwback mudpit challenge, which, I don’t think, has ever been run as a team event before. It doesn’t make it better or worse to do it this way, and everyone seems to have fun.

The reward is a spa treatment, which, as I mentioned above, Jennah Louise uses to approach Kylie. This is puzzling, because it’s not like Kylie is in well with the majority, and I want to see what happens with it. Meanwhile, at Vavau, Rohan is still clueless and unreasonably smug. Andrew brags in confessional about how much power he has, and Craig goes off to hunt for the idol, which he does not find. If Craig finds that idol, it’s season over, right?

Immunity is basketball at sea. We haven’t seen this since Tocantins, where Crazy Sandy used Erinn’s bra as a bridle and rode her like a horse, right? The whole time I’m praying nobody gets a concussion. Australian Survivor dosen’t need more reasons to not vote people off. My roommate, who is resentful about how I got her sucked into watching Survivor 3 nights a week, asked why they couldn’t mess up people’s shots by smacking the platform. I did not have a good answer.

Fortunately, Saanapu wins and we’re getting a tribal council. At camp, Phoebe knows that the Aganoa minority is at a disadvantage and she is working so hard. The problem is that she has two disadvantages – Kat is not on her side, and Rohan is an idiot. Kat’s depiction is starting to baffle me. It doesn’t feel good, unless I just don’t understand what Australian people see as good, but it’s also being suggested she’s going to matter in the game. I’m waiting to see what happens.

The bigger issue is that Rohan reveals he has the idol, throwing Vavau into chaos. Do they vote for Phoebe, for Rohan, or target a third party? Tribal council doesn’t really suggest that there are other options on the table, but after the vote… It turns out Rohan gave Phoebe the idol. Holy shit. 5 votes for Phoebe get bounced off, leaving 2 for Rohan, 1 for Kat, and 1 for Sue.

So we know where we are. Kat’s not loyal to old Aganoa, and Phoebe has it out for her. It sounds like this story, plus Nick vs. Jennah Louise, are gonna make up the remainder of the pre-merge, and I’m not complaining.

“Episode 10”

There’s really nothing to say about episode 10 that doesn’t involve the gigantic bait-and-switch, since it so thoroughy overshadows anything else. I mean, there’s also Phoebe finding an idol, which we can talk about, and Lee being a little bit of a weirdo, which we’ll file under Lee stuff.

Holy shit did this episode set Andrew up to fail. To the point where I kicked myself a little for not seeing the misdirection. From the first minute we see him telling us how in control he is and how much smarter he is than anyone else on the tribe. Can anyone think of another time we’ve been shown someone this cocky, not once, but I think like 4 times in one episode? This feels like a record.

In non, Andrew-is-feeling-cocky news, Kat is feeling cocky. Phoebe is rattled about essentially voting out her friend and closest ally (don’t feel too bad, Phoebe, Rohan did it to himself and you’re still awesome.) Kat tries to talk to her about but really just rubs salt in the wounds with a monologue about how much she hated Rohan. I’m starting to think Kat has a lot of “conversations” that go like this.

Craig looks for the idol, in a scene I suspect was edited out of sequence. He doesn’t find it, but Phoebe sees where he’s been looking and tries her luck. Craig, even though Phoebe found your idol, you’re still awesome. I can have two loves.

At Saanapu we learn precisely nothing, just to make sure we know Vavau is going back to tribal council. I can’t tell you a single thing about them from this episode except for that weird scene with Lee.

The immunity challenge is, predictably, a blow-out, although it’s kind of nice to see something this ropes-coursey on Survivor. Not only does Saanapu get out to an early lead, they figure out the puzzle image before they’re done with the obstacles.

The rest of this episode, can I say, confuses me. First we see the group coalescing around Kat, which makes sense. Then Kate and Craig start talking about how Andrew is too scheme-y and bad at challenges. Okay, we’ve been set up for Andrew’s fall for 30 minutes, so that makes sense. We see what looks like Craig brazenly telling Phoebe to vote Andrew, with Andrew standing there. But then we get Phoebe talking about how she wants Andrew gone but can’t get the rest of the tribe to see that he’s too scheme-y and bad at challenges.

Are these scenes from later on that were dropping in to create tension in what would otherwise be an obvious vote and/or to set up a downfall for Andrew that the preview suggests is still coming? The whole thing is wonky.

Tribal council is lots of talk about challenge strength, determination, and sticking to the plan. (In this episode we got a “sticky situation” and a “stick to the plan.”) It seems like we’re getting set up for an Andrew blindside, and… 7-2 for Kat. I’m not complaining. The “fall of the braggart” storyline is great, but we’ve already used it this season and it’s not like they’re gonna beat Drew Christie anyway. So sure, let’s go with this.

“Episode 11”

So, the “we should vote out Andrew for being duplicitous and useless” story ends with Andrew getting voted out. I’m good with that, although I’m still processing the idea of Survivor having week long storylines.

After tribal council, everyone seems fine with what happened except the dude who took stray votes, which is what you expect when the vote is 7-2. Andrew vows that Kristie is going down for voting for him, and looks super crazy while he does it. This is not good for him.

We also get an actual Saanapu storyline this week. It involves how Matt the Magician is talking the rest of the tribe into letting the chickens go, and Nick objects to it. I’m not sure what this is about, but I think it’s supposed to make Nick seem even more cartoonish-ly evil.

Saanapu shows up at the reward challenge with chickens in tow, looking to trade them for whatever food was left at Aganoa. LaPaglia shuts them down, and I’m kind of bummed. I don’t want to go full San Juan del Sur, but heck yes I’m down for pre-merge tribes asking for crazy rules changes.

We get two classic challenges this week. The first is the race around a circle in the water carrying sandbags challenge. I’m solidly on the side of “ugh, screw the challenges” but I still like this one. It’s made more interesting by the fact that Saanapu gets down to just Sam and Lee before winning, but also it’s really obvious that Saanapu has the lead the whole time.

Saanapu wins a chocolate feast reward. I’m assuming that doesn’t make most of you cringe the way I do, but, in this situation, all I could be thinking about is the headache I would have. They also decide to let the chickens go, and Nick gets to sound villainous again. This is a thing we’re getting.

Immunity challenge is the one Phillip “threw” on Caramoan, where you have to load up your opponent’s basket with coconuts and tire them out. Craig puts out a valiant effort, but he’s up against Sam, who’s obviously going to destroy him. Both tribes do the smart thing and load up the strong dude first, leaving Sue to battle Flick, with Flick having a solid lead. It ends the way you expect it to, and Vavau is going to tribal council again.

I got pushback on this, but I’m more convinced than ever that these two episodes were edited out of sequence. Craig and Kate are shown here thinking about the idea of voting out Andrew seemingly for the first time, even though they discussed it yesterday. Andrew has some idea that something is up, and pitches Kristie on flipping. He also gets to brag some more about how he’s the puppet master.

At the tribal council, there’s a very obvious divide between challenge strength and staying Vavau strong. Honestly, it feels like a foregone confusion at this point, but we have to play out Andrew’s exit. It’s actually a closer vote than I expected, though, with Sue and Conner voting with Andrew and Craig and Kate flipping to blindside Andrew. Are we getting the Craig/Phoebe superteam we all want? The preview suggest yes! Fingers crossed.