The Tasmanian devil Heath Chick recaps the second episode of Australian Survivor.
When the new season of Australian Survivor was announced, there were mixed emotions among hardened Survivor purists. On one hand, we were excited at the thought of another season of Survivor, but we also knew the risks of the local version living up to the hype. Australian Survivor had a poor track record, and with an extended cast of 24 castaways over a whopping 55 days, we had every reason to be concerned.
But ultimately, our enjoyment of the show will come down to three main factors. Production, casting, and gameplay. The good news is that two episodes into the Australian Survivor season, at least two of those three fears have been eased. The production quality has been pretty good. Clearly mimicking the US version is the right way to go, and even though it’s not perfect, it’s far better than going against the grain of what already works. Episode two also gave us our first taste of some real Survivor gameplay. After the obvious boot of the obnoxious Des in episode one, we are treated this week to some back and forth strategy that resulted in a rather well-executed blindside. Gameplay – tick!
The jury is still out for me on casting. Many castaways have had no airtime so far, which was always going to be a challenge when you have such a large crew, so it’s a little hard to judge. There are a few castaways who I rate highly, and a few who are no doubt making up the numbers, but we’ll just have to see how the characters unfold throughout the coming weeks.
Episode two starts with the traditional Tribal Council post-mortem at the Aganoa camp and a rather bizarre meltdown by kooky Kristie. Her bag is unexpectedly missing, and so her first assumption is that somebody must’ve taken it and that the entire tribe is conspiring against her. #SurvivorLogic
“I know every single person in this tribe are in an alliance together, and they are doing everything they can to get me out next,” exclaims a rather paranoid Kristie. After some nervous stalking of the camp, and prying through bushes that brought back memories of Tony’s “Spy Shack”, Kristie anti-climactically finds her bag hanging innocently among the others. Oh dear.
Over at the Vavau camp and they are struggling with survival against the elements. No fire means no food and no water. Nick resorts to licking leaves for moisture before they finally realise it would probably be a good idea to try and make use of that flint that they got given in the last challenge. You would think that before going on a show like Survivor that you would learn how to start a fire, especially with a flint. However, this team of outback heroes are clearly not on the show for their survival skills. After several false starts and near misses, the Vavau team finally get some sparks burning and manage to throw some sticks on it to miraculously maintain a flame. Alleluia!
Alliances appear to be surfacing with plenty of strategy discussion among the camps. Evan is clearly a mover and shaker over at Aganoa, which is getting under the skin of both Lee and Phoebe. While at the Saanapu camp, it’s Bianca who is concerned about the tight-knit pair of Brooke and Flick. Peter is the oldest castaway this season, and at 62 years of age, he’s struggling with the conditions. On Day 5 he says he’s already exhausted and feels like a liability to the tribe. “I don’t want to leave the game, but I feel like I have to leave the game,” says Peter, as the 15,000 unsuccessful applicants, sitting at home on their couch, start muttering obscenities at the thought of the opportunity Peter may be about to throw away.
Peter soldiers on for now, but isn’t up for the physical challenge that is about to unfold for immunity and reward. He sits out, along with Grandmother Sue, in a challenge that sees teams manoeuvre two players chained to a rope, through a series of obstacles. It seems logical to carry your smallest players through the course as the “sacrificial lamb”, but Aganoa takes a risk in choosing former pro cricketer Lee, one of their physically largest and strongest members. It’s an interesting strategy, designed to make use of Lee’s cricket skills as the final stage involves throwing sand bags to knock blocks off a table to win the challenge.
Saanapu is again quick out of the blocks, with Brooke and Conner as their lambs, with this tribe continuing to show the intensity that won them the previous two challenges. Vavau, carrying Tegan and Kate, are next, while Aganoa is again dropping off the pace with El and Lee as the lambs. It’s not until Lee comes into the game that Aganoa starts to close the gap.
Saanapu is first to the sand bags, but it’s quickly evident that Conner has the throwing arm of a toddler, while over at Vavau its Kate with a sidearm whip that is having more success hitting the target. However, when Lee arrives and unleashes his rocket left arm, Aganoa start to surge back into the contest. The blocks are tumbling, and Kate is down to her last block before a final whip knocks it off the table to secure victory, immunity and fishing gear for Vavau. Conner is still flailing as Lee quickly catches, and with a final hurl, he knocks off his last two blocks to avoid Tribal Council for Aganoa. In a bit of an upset, it will be Saanapu who have a surprise date with Jonathan LaPaglia tonight.
Back at camp and Conner takes full responsibility for the loss, but the younger members of the tribe quickly band together as it appears Peter is going to be an elderly sacrifice for the good of strengthening the team. However, Bianca has other ideas. She approaches Conner with a plan to remove Flick to break up her friendship with Brooke, but that backfires when Conner takes that information straight back to the two girls who are then forced to scramble.
“People are going crazy in camp now,” describes Matt the Magician. “People are swinging. They are swinging, and they are not hitting much I tell you what! There’s panic for the first time.” The Saanapu tribe head to Tribal Council and the decision is clearly not as obvious as the previous episode.
JLP (Jonathan LaPaglia) fires some standard questions about camp life with some overly-dramatic music accompanying some closely-guarded answers from Brooke and Kylie. Peter reveals that he hasn’t really had an appetite which seems a little odd when you’re marooned on an island with no food. Things then get a bit more intense when the close friendship of Brooke and Flick is examined, and Bianca raises the idea of them becoming a threat. “That’s a worry!” giggles Brooke in response, perhaps showing a little of her naivety towards the game.
The tribe speaks about voting for group unity, but JLP points out that there are so many variables in the game that you never know which way it’s going to go. And with that, it’s time to vote! Peter throws a vote at Kylie, for reasons unknown, while Peter takes bullets from Bianca and Kylie, however, in the first blindside of the season, it’s Bianca who becomes the second player eliminated. It was the classic mistake of overplaying too early in the game, and when the younger members of the tribe caught wind of Bianca’s plans, they removed her with ruthless efficiency.
It’s refreshing to see a nice twist, some strong gameplay and a decent blindside in just the second episode, which bodes well for the remainder of the season!
Check back tomorrow for the Australian Survivor Player of the Week poll.