It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We have finally reached the Australian Survivor merge (which at 36 days is almost one U.S. season), and the contestants have not slowed down. Last episode we saw Michelle and Locky flip on their Samatau tribe to vote with Luke, Sarah, Tara, Jericho and Henry in a blindside that saw Jarrad voted out. An unconventional first merge boot to say the least.
Upon arriving back from tribal council, the Samatau alliance that consists of Peter, Ziggy, Anneliese, and Tessa are dumbfounded by the vote and are trying to figure out who were the flippers. The group believes that it is either Locky or Anneliese but Locky plays dumb, denies being the person who flipped alongside Michelle and throws Anneliese under the bus. Locky explains in a confessional that he voted to eliminate Jarrad due to his loyalty to Henry and it was what he wanted to do. Despite Locky feeling chuffed with his acting abilities, the Samatau alliance does not believe Locky and express their distrust towards him.
Anneliese is incredulous of the fact that Locky was throwing her name out as someone who flipped and now wants to vote him out of the game. She has a conversation with Peter about recruiting Michelle, Sarah and “possibly Jericho” to their Samatau alliance and moving forward as a strong seven. Peter says that he doesn’t trust Michelle but believes they will have opportunities to make moves down the line. Anneliese describes her position in the game as “pretty shaky” but is confident moving forward due to her hidden immunity idol. Later on, we see her try to convince Sarah that Locky should be voted out because he is playing both sides and playing up his “dumb jock” persona. Sarah, someone who Anneliese created an alliance with back at her time on the Asaga tribe, agrees with the plan.
Meanwhile, Henry thinks he is “sitting pretty” with his immunity idol and says that the fact he has yet to use it is a testament to his ability to stay in control the entire game. He also says that his game is built on his ability to get people to trust him which subsequently pushes him to try and garner more trust with Jericho. To do this, Henry decides to re-find his hidden immunity idol using the clue he gave to Jericho earlier in the game. When they both find it Jericho is in awe of Henry’s idol-finding abilities and describes him as the “golden child that is supposed to get everything.”
Jericho, the man who talks about the game being a war where each soldier will come after one another in a blood-and-gore fueled fight to the death, decides that the way he wants to go about causing mischief is… eating the tribe’s jam. He convinces his closest friends Luke and Henry to lick the jam jar clean during the night so that the tribe can implode trying to figure out who the culprit was.
There appears to be a recurring theme now where Jericho is using food to solidify his bonds with the people around him. Interestingly enough, the immaturity and mundane nature of his plans are so minor in the grand scheme of things that it is almost difficult to take him seriously which only emphasizes his child-like innocence in people’s eyes. Whether it was using the jar of cookies he found to secure a so-called “cookie alliance” or by eating the tribe’s jam to cause friction; it appears that Jericho is placing himself in the little brother role with the other male contestants. Initially, he became the Cookie Monster to Luke’s Elmo, and now he is the peanut butter to Henry’s jelly. Jericho is being taken under the wing of the strong alpha males in the game placing him in a position where he is competing well with everyone in the game physically but will most likely never be targeted ahead of Luke, Henry, Locky, and Ziggy.
It’s jam gate. Sticky fingers are being pointed every which way, and the number one culprit on everybody’s sweet lips is Anneliese. Henry says that he and Locky plan to target Anneliese because she didn’t vote with them at the last tribal despite the fact that she promised them top three when they made an alliance back at Samatau. The controversy surrounding who ate the jam has now reached its pinnacle with Sarah and Michelle adamant about the fact that Anneliese was the one responsible. Henry says that the situation is working out perfectly for him with the majority of the tribe now willing to vote Anneliese out because they all think she is the one to blame for the jam.
Meanwhile, Peter is hesitant of the fact that Locky flipped on the Samatau alliance and can no longer trust him. Ironically, Peter did the same to Tara and Locky when he flipped to vote Aimee out, but regardless he decides to use the situation to solidify his alliance with Tessa and Ziggy and says that he would rather go down swinging with them than just blindly follow Locky. However, after Jarrad’s elimination Ziggy is feeling vulnerable and as if she could potentially be voted off if she doesn’t win the immunity challenge. In order to secure her safety, Ziggy considers flipping on her Samatau alliance hoping that it will take her further in the game. Going into the immunity challenge, Anneliese says she doesn’t want Locky to win because it will ruin the Samatau alliance’s plan whereas Henry doesn’t want Anneliese to win because he considers her a threat to his game.
Immunity Challenge & Tribal Council
This individual immunity challenge sees contestants grab their rings, tug on their rope and drop their balls. The three-round challenge comes down to a tight competition between Jericho, Henry, and Locky. In the end, Henry comes out victorious leaving Locky vulnerable and Anneliese ready to make a move that she says will either make her game or end it.
Coming back from the challenge there are two main targets on the chopping block – Anneliese and Locky. The majority alliance between Locky, Henry, Michelle, Sarah, Jericho, Luke, and Tara aim to vote out Anneliese whereas the Samatau alliance of Peter, Ziggy, Anneliese, and Tessa will vote out Locky. Henry reiterates that he wants to vote out Anneliese because she didn’t vote with him last tribal council and doesn’t think she would be loyal to him. He says she is a threat to his game by having an idol and not being on his side. As a result, Henry and Locky devise a plan to try and get Anneliese to give Locky her idol. Thus, Locky flexes his acting muscle once more and pretends to be worried that he is being voted out. Anneliese calls the entire conversation a rubbish waste of time and says that she will not consider using the idol on him.
Later, we see Peter and Tessa letting Anneliese know that they do not have the votes to keep her safe. Anneliese then tells them that she has the hidden immunity idol and the plan to take Locky out can still work as long as he has the second most amount of votes. Soon after, Peter and Tessa fill Ziggy in on the plan, much to Ziggy’s dismay. Ziggy says in a confessional that she wants to keep Locky in the game so she can use him as a shield going forward. She acknowledges that because she is a physical threat, she needs to surround herself with as many challenge beasts as possible. As such, Ziggy is heavily contemplating using her Super Idol to negate the idol Annaliese will use thus voting her out. Henry is confused with Ziggy’s decision to want to work with them considering that he voted out her closest ally Jarrad but intends to use the situation to knock out two idols in one night.
At tribal council, trust is once again the topic of conversation with the jam bandit controversy firmly at the forefront. Jonathan LaPaglia puts it best when he says, “The only truth in this game is not what people say, but how people vote.” Given how skeptical Henry was about Anneliese and Ziggy for not voting with him last tribal, it could not be said at a better time. In the end, Anneliese decides to use the hidden immunity idol on herself feeling as if she was “set up to take a fall for something [she] didn’t do.” This provokes Ziggy to use her Super Idol to negate Anneliese’s idol, sending Anneliese to the jury by a vote of 8 – 3, with the three votes from Peter, Tessa and Anneliese going towards Locky.
This episode saw Ziggy let the paranoia get to her. At the start of the episode, Ziggy made it clear in a confessional that she was worried about being the next voted out because she is a physical threat who was on the wrong said of the numbers, which definitely makes sense. However, with Jarrad being the first person voted out at the merge and Anneliese being a large target throughout the episode, Ziggy had an incorrect read of the situation around camp. The problem with the move that Ziggy made was that she did it because she was trying to keep a physical threat in the game thinking that is why people would vote her out. However, now that she has flipped on her alliance and used the Super Idol, she will stand out even more than Henry and Locky which was why she made the move in the first place.
Moving on, with some of the best facial expressions seen since Eliza Orlins graced our screens way back when, Anneliese was a wide-eyed super fan of Survivor. It’s difficult to say that Anneliese did anything overtly wrong this episode when Ziggy clearly made a move that was terrible for her game. Anneliese was forced to join various alliances due to the multiple tribe swaps she had to endure. Having been originally voted off in a double elimination tribe swap that saw her move to the Asaga tribe to only be swapped back to Samatau later on, Anneliese had her hand in multiple cookie jars (or jam jars I should say). Unfortunately for Anneliese, she was therefore always going to be a target for being someone who played several alliances. This was only exaggerated by Ziggy’s ability to string along the Samatau alliance well enough for them to be blindsided when she used her Super Idol.
Ultimately, we can say that Anneliese was overwhelmed by the many twists that Australian Survivor is now notorious for and couldn’t manage the relationships she made in the process. Whether it’s the Super Idol or the double elimination tribe swap, Anneliese made it to Day 38 and the jury on borrowed time. That’s something any super fan can look back on and be proud of.