In case you missed it, we have a premiere date for Australian Survivor: Brains vs. Brawn: Sunday, July 18. It would be bad form to complain about having too much Survivor so soon after the Year of No New Survivor, but we’re about to get a LOT of new Survivor.
- Santoni is now targeting Nicole, but I don’t know why. Maybe for rubbing the food reward (and her double portion) in Zamba’s faces? Even for a player as skilled as Santoni, getting rid of Nicole seems difficult, considering that she’s on the other tribe and all.
- Tyson is worried because the tribe didn’t hesitate to vote for him and flush his idol. This is weird, since this is exactly what Tyson asked them to do.
- Reward challenge: Chappies almost literally puts his tribemates on his back in the swimming portion (to keep them from drowning), but Zamba gets smoked anyway. The puzzle portion seems impossible (it would be difficult even if they were told what order the tumblers go in), but after more than an hour Vuna figures it out. Dino asks if they can share the reward with Zamba, and Nico consents. Dino’s enough of a superfan to know that if you’ve been starving for weeks, coffee is the opposite of a reward.
- Marisha is picked over Dino to delivery the goodies to Zamba (and return their machete), but Dino’s apparent selflessness is setting off Anesu’s alarm bells, as it indicates that original Zamba is looking to just reunite after the merge.
- Chappies genuinely does seem to have taken the target off his back.
- Immunity challenge: But first, DROP YOUR BUFFS! I wonder if this is an audible by production after Zamba’s terrible performance in the reward challenge, given that we can’t be that far from the merge.
- Individual alliances and animosities aside, the new tribe split is almost as even as it could possibly be in terms of previous tribal lines, given the imbalances in the numbers. Original Zamba has a 3-person majority on Vuna 3.0, original Vuna has a 1-person majority on Zamba 3.0, Vuna 2.0 has 1-person majorities on both of the new tribes. Unfortunately, the two new tribes are almost perfectly sorted into a white tribe and a POC tribe.
- I think Anesu is the closest to being swap-screwed, as she’s separated from allies Tyson and Kiran but facing the core of the OG Zamba alliance on Vuna 2.0 (Marisha, Nicole, and Renier) as well as the reunited Zamba girls alliance (Marisha, Amy, and Nicole). But she has the Tribal Council Pass.
- Every time Survivor does these water-based Schmergenbrawl variants, I’m amazed nobody gets hurt. Smash and Renier exchange information during the challenge, with Smash begging Renier to send him to Immunity Island. I guess he must already realize that with Chappies and Marisha both on Vuna, Zamba is going to get wiped out, and they do.
- Vuna does indeed send Smash to Immunity Island, and it appears that Renier overruled some tribemates who wanted to send Wardah.
- Dino sees Smash’s absence as an opportunity to connect with Tyson and Kiran. If those three work together then by definition it’s the end of the line for one of Wardah, Qieän (nooo), or Santoni (nooooooooo).
- The Immunity Island game is just bog-standard cornhole, but sinking five beanbags in the time allotted is a lot, especially if you don’t have an endless supply and have to run back and forth retrieving them. Smash loses.
- On Vuna beach, Renier is glad to be reunited with Amy and Shaun. Yep, Anesu’s Tribal Council Pass might very well come in handy if Vuna 3.0 ever go to tribal council. Oh, and there’s an idol in plain sight on Vuna beach, if up high.
- On Zamba beach, Wardah thinks she’s back in control, reunited with Tyson and Kiran, and is looking to take out Santoni. Kiran figures out what I did earlier, that both Vuna 1.0 and Vuna 2.0 have a majority on Zamba 3.0, meaning that he and Tyson could be safe until the merge if they preserve the Vuna majority.
- Santoni tells Tyson that she sent him his original idol clue, and he quickly finds the Zamba beach idol in a similar spot (in the presence of Santoni and Kiran). I’m shocked that Santoni wasn’t looking for it the entire time (it turns out she believed Thoriso when she said she had it), but at least she knows who has the idol, and is still the only one who knows about the tribal council idol.
- They promise to work together but Santoni immediately starts thinking about blindsiding Tyson (as she should) and Tyson and Kiran decide to get rid of Santoni (as they should). But Tyson realizes that if they take out Santoni, original Zamba and original Vuna will be deadlocked once Smash gets his vote back. So Dino it is.
- Tyson gives Santoni a heads up that they’re telling Dino and Qieän to vote Santoni but it’s a decoy. Santoni tells Tyson she has an idol (but no further details), presumably as a warning if he’s lying.
- Wardah tries to shift the vote to Santoni, but Tyson remains committed to preserving the original Vuna majority.
- Smash (returning from Immunity Island) and Wardah really get into it at tribal council (having been opposite sides in the Zamba 2.0 battles). It almost certainly won’t affect this vote, but this has to be incredibly useful information for Tyson and Kiran if indeed they seize control of the tribe.
- Santoni plays the tribal council idol, but the only votes that come her way are from Dino and Qieän. Everybody else votes Dino.
- I say this every week, but with a cast this stacked, every boot is a gut-punch.
- Smash and possibly Qieän are in a very bad spot next time if the idea remains to preserve the original Vuna numbers until the merge, but I can’t see Santoni and Wardah continuing to cooperate.
- Getting Island Hot: Amy, Qieän, Kiran
- Trinket Watch: Chappies has Diplomatic Immunity, Anesu has the Tribal Council Pass, Tyson has the Zamba beach idol (Smash has no vote at his next tribal council, Santoni now has nothing). Did I miss anything?
Assistant Dragon Slayer began watching Survivor in 2013 with Survivor: Caramoan, but continued to watch the show anyway. He is up to 59 seasons and counting (43 US, seven Australia, five South Africa, two New Zealand, two Japan). So there.
Favorite player from each country: Cirie Fields (US), Luke Toki (Australia), Santoni Engelbrecht (South Africa), Lisa Stanger (New Zealand), Sakiko Sekiguchi (Japan) [and Maryanne Oketch (Canada)]