Survivor New Zealand: Thailand. Episode 12 Recap

Welcome to the week Survivor New Zealand gives us all what we have been waiting for.

Post Tribal Camp Life

Tess is checking in with everyone after they took out Eve. Dave is frustrated and annoyed, he feels like he can only trust Matt… and Lisa he guesses. He says only being able to trust less than 50% of the remaining competition isn’t great but to me the 40% he can trust seems like a high percentage this late on.

Pre-Reward Camp Life

Matt tells Adam and Tara they need to get rid of Tess. The move to tell Adam who will be going home before even an immunity challenge is a bit overly confident. It annoy Adam which is fair enough, Tess is his best mate. Not a great look on Matt.

Adam says something really dumb. He doesn’t think Tara will get a single vote at the end but he doesn’t know why people aren’t getting rid of her. Listen to that again Adam, it’s pretty self evident.

There is a fantastic juxtaposition here of Adam saying Matt has built an army and no one will go against him and Lisa saying she doesn’t want to go to the end with Matt. The editors have done a lovely job this season with this sort of thing.

Lisa goes to Dave, to sound him out about Matt. She starts by asking him how he is feeling having axed his close friend Eve. This is where Lisa’s social awkwardness becomes so obvious, as Dave breaks down crying she looks confused and uncomfortable. It’s fascinating to hear her in confessional saying she has realised in life that social situations aren’t just about her wants and needs and the other people have their own expectations and wants.

She’s explaining the basic human condition of empathy and selfishness from an outside perspective almost. It makes me wonder if she is diagnosed neutro atypical.  If she is then it makes her gameplay even more remarkable. Even better, she realised that after Dave talks about Matt and how much Dave trusts him and pulls back from her approach. She says she’ll look at new way to get Dave onside but she isn’t sure yet.


It’s the first Survivor NZ auction. Matt says he wants to save money for an advantage but then spend $300 on a beer, pistachios and crisps. Dave gets more and more upset as everyone buys food. Lisa fully understand the Monty Hall problem and proves she’s an RHAP patron by automatically picking the swap option when Chisholm presents her with a covered item. Always pick the second. Dave gets the advantage but no food and is all grumpy about it.

Post Auction Camp Life

Dave is annoyed he didn’t eat. It annoys Adam. Dave feels the advantage puts a target on his back, but only if it’s something he can hold onto.

Tara uses the D word. Deserves, everyone deserves it and no one does Tara, it’s a game. Matt does a confessional about Dave knowing that Matt has put a lot of work into keeping Dave.

Tess says maybe the dumbest thing anyone has said, even when lovable dumb dumb Liam said there were  no alliances as JT was pulling everyone. She says “I’m trying to figure out who is with who and I can’t see it anymore”. Come on Tess, please come on.

Matt and Lisa talk about the idol and Lisa tells us in confessional that removing Matt is her Big Move TM that will get her jury votes. She also says she’s a librarian and all information is good information, but it sounds like she said Liberian. Like she is George Weah or some shit. (George Weah was the first African footballer to win the Ballon D’Or for Best Player in the World and is now President of Liberia).


It’s the stack the dishware challenge. Dave’s advantage is starting 4 dishes later. He wins. Time for Lisa to go to work.

Post Immunity

It all starts with the five who aren’t Tess going off and agreeing to vote of Tess. As they do this she hangs out with her truest ally Larry the Lizard. Larry could not give two tosses about Tess. Which is pretty much like the rest of the game of Survivor. Tess is relatively unimportant and has been since she got Kayla out.

Matt chats with Adam to make sure he’s ok with voting for Tess.

Matt thinks Tara is subtly trying to set him and Dave against each other. So close Matt but not quite!

Lisa has decided to make an anti-Laurel move! She tells Dave about Matt’s idol, setting him on a negative thought spiral. She then sets out a Cirie Fields special; Dave, Lisa and Tara vote Matt, Adam and Matt vote for Tess and Tess does whatever. She lays out that they would both lose to Matt and that Matt doesn’t want Dave in the final 3.
Dave decides to talk to Matt and if Matt doesn’t tell him then Dave will go with Lisa. Lisa cements her three by talking to Tara who is of course on board.

Dave and Matt have their talk. Matt feels Dave is panicking and needs calming down. Dave straight up asks Matt “have you got anything to tell me” and Matt responds “no, honestly bro, like…” in the end Matt tells Dave about the idol but only after Dave tells him he knows about it. This is the biggest mistake Matt has made. Had he told Dave straight away Dave would have told no one, not a soul.

Dave is shook and Lisa is doing damage control, keeping Matt calm that it’s going to be Tess. It’s a game of trust now, does Matt trust his alliance? Does Dave trust Lisa?


The jury comes out and sits out of order. It’s disgraceful and is grounds to cancel the New Zealand version. Chisholm asks the same old questions. Does Tess feel safe? How does Matt feel without the necklace? The answers are all the same none answers. Matt feels unsafe without immunity. Dave wants to continue to play his game. Matt is overly factoring in the jury. Adam doesn’t think there are any idols out there, not smart Adam. Chisholm does his stadard thing now and asks the obvious target Tess to give a last speech. I hate this, it’s the same every tribal. Tess says she doesn’t have the numbers to do anything as though she couldn’t have spoken to Tara, Adam and Lisa. She literally just says “don’t vote for me if you don’t want to”. It’s so whatever I’m sad she’s got a chance to stay.

No idols are plays and the votes come in Tara, Tess, Tess, Matt, Matt, Matt and Matt is blindsided. Lisa has pulled off the move of the season. I loved Tess and Adam being clear they didn’t know anything about it, as though not knowing about a huge and brilliant move looks good. Chisholm signs off with “blindside after blindside after blindside”, as though Eve, Renee and Arun didn’t know 100% they were going home.

Final Thoughts

Lisa has pulled off the best move we’ve seen in Survivor NZ,  she has pulled in a man’s real life friend to vote him out. I am so impressed that she pulled off the 3-2-1. She used Dave’s loyalty and integrity to turn him against Matt. Matt’s small white lie was enough to get rid of him. Even though she should have been able to go to Adam and Tess to 4-2 Matt out without Dave she has picked a better way. This way she keeps Dave’s trust, she knows he has an idol and if he wins immunity he could use it for her. She has made the biggest move possible and left herself with two goats in Tess and Tara and Dave and Adam. Adam is well liked but hasn’t played a big game. Dave could be seen as being dragged by Matt.

It’s refreshing to see a character like Lisa on tv full stop. Women are rarely allowed to be older and awkward and when they are awkward they are not allowed to be the hero. Lisa is categorically the hero of this season now. She for me is the only acceptable winner. If it’s not Lisa this season is won by a goat who didn’t own their own game.

It’s finally gotten good guys and we’ve got three more episodes. Thanks for hanging in with me.


The edgic has been clear throughout that Tara will win this season