After all the tribals and tribulations we’ve seen since Episode 2 over on Samatau beach, it’s nice to see a bit of dissent at Asaga. Not that I don’t like seeing Tara thinking that it’s totally reasonable for Ziggy to betray her allies or Locky catching sharks with his bare hands… it’s just that a little tension in a fresh bunch of faces goes a long way.
We open the episode with Henry claiming responsibility for not only the recent Sam vote but the Joan vote we saw weeks ago. Henry states that he turned the whole tribe to vote out Sam although, as Jacqui points out, Sam did plenty to help herself out of the game. Mark fails to see this though and has his sniper set on finding out “who is accountable.” Welcome back to the game Soldier Mark. Mark has transformed from the goofy smiley sidekick back into SS Commander. His entire demeanour and facial expression have become more rigid, his arms tensed and poised to respond at a moment’s notice. Mark is using his best tactics to seek (and hopefully destroy) whoever it was that took out Sam. Mark’s first tactic is to interrogate Kent at the water hole, and through Kent’s vague yet mainly honest answers Mark deduces that Henry and Jacqui have pulled the strings to take control of the tribe.
This episode was really an outing for all those castaways who have been lingering in the background. Ziggy gets the opening confessional from Samatau camp and talks about how her game is happening beneath the surface. Tara and Locky are keen to sway Ziggy back to their side instead of hanging with the dastardly AK, Tessa, Jarrad, and Peter. It’s worth noting that Anneliese isn’t pointed out on either of these sides, so she’s either part of Tara and Locky or flying so far under the radar that she’s not on anyone’s side. Still, despite the strategic unrest, there’s plenty of good vibes and happy music playing when Locky manages to use a machete to take out a shark. In the words of AK “who does that?”
While Mark is patrolling tribe Asaga, Luke takes the opportunity to jump into a nest of wasps. It’s a sign of what’s to come for Luke’s game – he means well, he’s simply looking for a coconut that is hidden in foliage and instead of coming up with a piece of fruit (like he has so far in the game) he comes out with some nasty wasp bites. Just like every other move Luke makes, he brushes it off smiling and joking to the camera.
Mark is fishing for an ally and Luke is more than willing to bite. Luke’s game philosophy seems to be not being told what to do. Sam wants him to vote off Kent? He makes a tie. Henry and Jacqui want to take out Mark? He’s going to rally to save him. Luke and Mark start talking about who they can draw over to vote their way. Luke mentions Odette, Sarah, and Ben. What strikes me as odd is that he doesn’t bring up his closest ally/Sesame Street act/bromance Jericho. I’m not sure if Luke is trying to downplay how tight he and Jericho are because if anyone will be a number for Luke, it’s the cookie monster.
Sumo challenge! There’s no reward challenge this episode, but the immunity challenge is a Survivor classic. Apart from being highly entertaining as a viewer, I think this challenge also allows the castaways to blow off a little steam. The highlight of this one for me wasn’t even somebody who won their round. When we got to Mark vs Jarrad Part 2, the way that Jarrad fought was captivating. Jarrad has been playing a gentle game and was much applauded for his work bringing in votes last week. Jarrad in this challenge was the underdog story, and I think his Survivor story will be the same. My heart went out to Jarrad fighting against the mountain that is Mark, and I don’t think it will be long until he captures my attention again. Samatau takes the win with Anneliese beating Sarah in the final round.
Back at Asaga, the whole tribe is scrambling. Henry (Mr “I love tribal”) and Jacqui are planning to vote out Mark. There’s no splitting votes or telling Person A that they’re voting Person B and Person B they’re voting Person A, it’s just a straight forward Mark vote out. Everybody is on the same plan. Mark and Luke are going for Jacqui since Henry is too important for challenges (ironic given Henry’s best challenge skill is throwing them). Most people seem to be teetering on the edge, unsure of who to vote, though Ben points out that it’s only a matter of time before Luke crashes and burns. I tend to agree. Sarah says she is the swing vote again and we see her telling Jacqui and Henry that Mark is the one going even though she’s up to speed with the Jacqui vote and hasn’t made a decision yet.
Tribal is a war ground from the moment Jonathan LaPaglia opens his mouth. Odette points out that this game is different to what she thought and that the vote isn’t always to keep the tribe strong. Jericho says the tribe shouldn’t vote for vengeance. Mark is straight forward saying his target is Jacqui since she and Henry are the power couple of the tribe. Mark’s reasoning is that if people went after Sam to split up a power couple, then they should go after Jacqui to split up another. I think Mark fails to see that Sam’s controlling nature and paranoia were also part of the problem but by all means continue taking shots since it’s great viewing. Henry, who has been saying all episode that he turned the whole tribe to vote out Sam, says that two people can’t sway a whole tribe of seven. Ben is just happy that it’s not him. Jericho finishes up tribal by saying they should vote out a liability. I’m not sure who Jericho means here since neither Jacqui or Mark are holding back the tribe challenge wise but each to their own.
Time to vote! The vote ended up being closer than I thought – I really thought we’d see 7-2 with a clear majority. Luke and Jericho seem to have been thrown under the bus by the rest of the tribe since they’re the lone two who back up Mark to vote out Jacqui. Mark gets everyone else’s votes which suggests to me that saving Mark for challenge strength was not worth causing a divide in the remaining tribemates. This wasn’t the most captivating episode although we’ve been spoiled with the first three weeks.
Twenty-one days (more than half an American Survivor season) have passed, and the cracks are beginning to show. Lots of people thought we might see a tribe swap this episode into three tribes of six people, but I think the next shake up will come when there are sixteen left, and we get two new eight person tribes. Keep it up Australian Survivor; it’s been a cracker so far!
OTHER #SURVIVORAU COVERAGE on INSIDE SURVIVOR
Australian Survivor will be back next Sunday at 7.30pm AEST – and Austin Smith will be on hand to recap everything that goes down, down under.