Heath Chick recaps the twenty-first episode of Australian Survivor.
After twenty arduous episodes of Australian Survivor, Episode 21 was hyped as the must-watch episode of the season.
“The unbreakable alliance is about to shatter!”
“Mateship will be broken!”
“Friendships will implode!”
“And the ultimate blindside will happen!”
After being fooled by the hype throughout most of the season, I was a little pessimistic about such bold claims. However, this episode was definitely one of the better ones of the season, as FINALLY, someone grew some balls to make a big move. For fans of the US version, the move wasn’t anything out of the ordinary – it was a pretty classic flip-and-strike move – and while the audience weren’t exactly left in shock, it was certainly a worthy blindside.
The episode kicks off with players returning to camp following the straightforward elimination of Jennah-Louise at Tribal Council. Everyone seems pretty happy to see her gone, with Brooke and Lee, in particular, making such comments, with Lee saying that JL and Nick were the best strategists. However JL’s speech at Tribal Council has left an impression on the tribe as Flick is concerned that JL said she was on the bottom of the alliance.
Flick talks about thinking ahead to the end game and that the time to make a big move is now. She talks about her relationship with both El and Brooke and compares the two. She says that El is a real, genuine person, while she worries how much of Brooke’s personality is just an act.
Kristie gets some airtime this episode as she pretends to know how she got to the final seven. She claims that she’s played an independent game, fitting in with everyone else’s plan. I don’t know if that strategy was by design, but the game is called Survivor, and she is doing just that.
Brooke seems to be the one at the head of the alliance, and she says that her plans are to stick with the original alliance of Flick, Matt, Sam and herself, which means they will try and target Lee and El.
It’s time for a reward challenge with the prize of a good night’s sleep with mattress, blankets, and pillows to be won. The challenge is held on a pontoon in the water and involves leaning back over the edge of the pontoon while holding onto a rope. The last player left hanging on will win reward. The girls start mocking the boys, telling them that they might be able to win this one after the domination of the girls in challenges so far this season. And this challenge is definitely an upper body strength challenge that will suit the muscle men.
Sam wins a good night’s sleep and gets to choose someone else to share in the reward because according to host Jonathan LaPaglia, “It’s never fun sleeping alone!” Sam decides to “keep it fair” and chooses Lee since he finished the challenge in second place. When they get back to camp, they see a comfy bed setup, but that is only half the spoils as they look in the bedside drawers to find some Tim Tams – a gift from the heavens no matter where you are!
Once again we get inside Brooke’s head as she talks to the camera about the end game. She says she’s been thinking about the money and needs to get the ball rolling for a big move. She says that El and Lee would both beat her at the end as they are both legends. “As much as I hate to say it, they have to go home,” says Brooke. Brooke needs to convince Sam that Lee is a threat, but she knows it won’t be an easy sell with their bromance blossoming. Sam says to Brooke he wants to go to the end with someone that he trusts. Sam is pushing for El to be the one to go as he thinks Lee can be a shield to protect them as a potentially bigger target. However, Brooke bats her eyelids and seems to be able to convince Sam that Lee is the way to go.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in this game,” reflects Sam. “I don’t want to do it but might as well start getting down to business and do what we came here to do, and play the game.”
Back on Flick and she says some people in the game have had an easy ride. She speaks about her best bud in Brooke and says she has been too comfortable in this game. Clearly, Brooke has let the ease of their alliance dominance get to her head, and Flick resents it. Flick approaches El on the beach and tells her that Brooke and Sam don’t want to go the end with her. El takes that personally and feels that they are betraying her trust. El and Flick quickly get on the same page and conspire to eliminate Brooke.
Back at camp and one of the more hilarious moments of the season as Lee models the new boxer shorts he won as part of the reward challenge. Lee struts up and down the beach runway with the pizzazz of a pro which has the tribe in stitches.
The next morning, El grabs Lee and tells him all about the plan of Brooke and Sam to get them out. Lee takes it personally and feels that his mateship with Sam has been jeopardised. Lee refers to how well they are getting along and El says that it’s all just an act which doesn’t sit well with Lee. Lee reflects on his family back home and how he wants to play the game with integrity but is struggling. However, he realises that this time in the game had to happen where they would eventually have to turn on each other.
As always, Kristie is the last to know what’s going on as she catches up with Lee on the beach. Lee tells her that the plan is to blindside Brooke which Kristie is obviously happy to go along with. Lee tells Kristie to act normal – “I’ll just be an awkward loner with no friends!” laughs Kristie, seemingly comfortable with her position in this game.
It’s onto the immunity challenge where Brooke is looking to make it a hat-trick of wins for the season. Brooke should be a good chance in this one as the challenge involves a lot of poise and dexterity. Players must build a house of cards sitting on a rotating platform while holding onto a rope to keep the platform steady. First, one to build their house of cards to a height of one metre will be safe at Tribal Council. Lee is the one kicking ahead and he reaches the one-metre mark without too much resistance to win his first immunity.
It was a well-timed win for Lee who was certainly under pressure if Flick decided to stick with her original alliance. Now Flick and Brooke have to look to Plan B so they decide they’ll have to go with El. With Flick away from camp, Matt and Sam seem to be concerned about Flick’s loyalty, but Brooke does her best to assure them that she’s solid.
The alliance tells Lee and El that they are voting for Kristie, while the plan is to tell Kristie that they are all voting for Matt. The alliance is going to vote for El, while Lee, El, and Kristie are hoping that Flick will flip and vote for Brooke. El doesn’t know if she can trust Flick, but she decides she has no option but to give her the benefit of the doubt. Lee says everyone will be playing their poker face at tonight’s Tribal Council.
Flick talks about El being the motherly figure to her and Brooke being like a best friend. It makes her decision tough, but she is focused on doing whatever it takes to win the half a million dollars. She says that this might be the biggest blindside in Survivor history. A slight exaggeration but it’s definitely the most defining move of this season so far.
They arrive at Tribal and are greeted by the fresh-faced jury. JLP talks about potential cracks in the alliance while also reminding everyone that Lee still has an advantage in his pocket. You’d forgotten all about that, right? Me too. It seems like this should have come up in conversation seeing as Lee and El were worried whether Flick would vote with them or not. Cancelling a vote from the opposing alliance would have been helpful here!
Brooke concedes that while the alliance has carried them so far, it’s an individual game now. “We use the alliance to get as far as we can, and then we rip each other’s heads off if we need to!” laughs Brooke to raised eyebrows from everyone else.
There is discussion over the multiple alliances within the core alliance, and that trust has been thrown out the window at this point. Everyone’s minds are racing, and paranoia has set in. JLP asks when the right time to make a move is? Matt responds by saying that making a move first certainly has its advantages, but a counter-attack might come back twice as hard.
The overly-dramatic music has been turned up to maximum levels as the votes are cast. It comes down to the wire with three votes for El and three for Brooke as Flick’s vote will ultimately swing it one way or the other. JLP pulls out the final parchment, and it’s revealed as Brooke! The queen has been dethroned!
“Well, that was a surprise,” sighs Brooke with a smile on her face as she seems to be taking the blindside pretty well. Matt and jury member Nick both have their jaws on the ground in disbelief, while Flick is looking pretty smug. In her post-elimination interview, Brooke says that she doesn’t hold grudges and that she will eventually forgive Flick, but her rounds of the local media might suggest otherwise.