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Survivor New Zealand Episode 10 Recap – A Balancing Act


Evan Francis recaps the tenth episode of Survivor New Zealand.

The real game has finally begun. Survivor is the best show there is, but in almost every season the post-merge gameplay is much more captivating than the pre-merge. This is due to the sheer fact that the game is getting closer to its conclusion and players feel the need to make big moves to improve their resume. This is the reason we all watch this show we love so much.

I want to start off by saying congratulations to my rival, Shay, on making it back into the game. I am mainly upset that her re-entrance created a clearer divide and will make it hard for the aforementioned strategy to move to the next level. Had Georgia been the winner, we would have five people on the bro alliance and presumably five on the other side, giving us more opportunity for flipping and blindsides. I know Shannon was still on the edge this whole episode, but she had given her word to her post-swap tribe and worked so hard to get in with them, I didn’t think she would truly ever flip on them; well unless Georgia was going to be in the game.

With that being said, onto the episode, which had a decent amount of action. We start off on an unusual note; Lee gets the first confessional of the episode. He talks about how he has not been into the actual playing of the game much, and that he would rather provide and build shelter for the tribe. He wanted to play Survivor for the experience, not for the gameplay, something you could say was very similar to how Ozzy has played the game in the American seasons, especially early versions of Ozzy. We all know how that has worked out for Ozzy in his four attempts (we also know that Ozzy dominated Redemption Island when sent there, twice).

The main reason I say starting with Lee for the episode is an oddity, is that Lee has not been a television presence for most of the season. Other than his beautiful hair, he has been very much invisible. My edit senses immediately picked up on this, but I thought, oh maybe it will just be a slow episode. But then, Lee gets even more airtime when the rest of the tribe is complaining about how he just does things on his own without consulting the rest of them. Considering this was a topic in the previous episode, I was ready to call Lee as being the one voted out very early in the episode, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Lee (photocredit Scott MCAulay) (3)

Photo: Scott McAulay.

We hear a conversation between Tom and Avi, which from my point of view, was the most genuine we have heard Tom in the whole season. He says he wants to go to the end with Avi, and Avi questions why him. Tom states that he promised him and that Sala had taught him to “Stay true and do it for the students.” He seemed like he genuinely meant it, but I know he was trying to deceive Avi, that makes Tom an extremely dangerous person.

We then move to a conversation between Avi and Shannon, two players who are in the current power positions, as they will decide the path the rest of the game takes. There are clearly two solid foursomes. The two players in the “middle” are Avi and Shannon. Both sides think they have Shannon, and the boy band side is unsure of Avi, while the old people’s home is certain of Avi. Shannon does not seem to want to be in this position, but I think it is a great spot to be, at least for this vote. She knows she is safe. She decides the fate of the group. Of course, it puts her at the bottom of each respective group, but anything can happen later in the game. Let’s play out which side I think each of them should go with because this is the focus of the episode.

Shannon and Avi talk (photocredit Scott MCAulay) (2)

Photo: Scott McAulay.

Shannon made a promise and worked so hard to be a part of the old person alliance. She wouldn’t want to go back on this word, but she also does not have many allies on that side. You would think going with the guys would be the smart play since she has an in with them, especially Mike, even though she dislikes him. But thinking about the makeup of the old five, you have a three on two of original Mogoton vs. Hermosa, this puts her in the swing spot, which is definitely not the worst place to be in at the final six, should it come down to them.

For Avi, I think it is much simpler. He has been tight with Sala and Shay the whole game. If he flips, he upsets them, and I can almost guarantee they would not take that too lightly. He’s also been in an alliance with Tom, but he owes Tom nothing. He saved Tom on several different occasions, and even Tom knows this. So going against him, for now, would not be the worst move. Also, Tom is probably third on the chopping block of the four boys. If he can get him to final eight or seven, Avi has another solid alliance member on his side to play with.

So with all this said, combined with Lee’s uptick of screentime during the episode, it is looking like it will be an easy 6 to 4 vote against the spring break boys. But then.

Mike_First Immunity challenge (photocredit Scott MCAulay) (3)

Photo: Scott McAulay.

We have the most confident confessionals and conversations in the episode. Avi says, “It is definitely clear how the future looks.” Shay talks about how funny it is that the boys are so confident they have Shannon, all while doing the exact same thing and showing how confident she is. The only skeptical one on this side seems to be Nate, who sees the double-dealing going on. Must be his cop skills. But the confidence curse in Survivor is a real thing. As soon as you say, “I feel safe” or anything similar to that, you can kiss your game goodbye.

To add to the confusion, Barb passes out after the immunity challenge. Like she was out; there were no lights on in her head. So then you are also thinking, wow, Shannon flipping could be the decider, and back walks in Barb, with the most pep in her step that I have seen in 20 days.

Also, at the immunity challenge, Mike is able to take the victory by balancing his ball for the longest period of time. I was thinking this challenge would take awhile, given there are usually two or three balls being used, but that wind was no joke. It was whipping the ropes all around and made the challenge ten times harder. But in the end, Mike is able to showcase his inner Mike Holloway and do the happy dance. That is now 2-for-2 in single player challenges for Mike, one with memory and one with balance/focus. He could be the real deal challenge competitor.

We then proceed onto Tribal Council. I want to say one thing about these players at tribal. They are not giving anything away. Maybe host Matt Chisholm needs to ask better questions, or maybe they are just very smart about what they are saying, but I feel like we need more drama at Tribal. Anyways, the votes are read in a way to set us up for a tie, especially with the preview of the tie-breaking rules being shown at the beginning of the episode. And to the surprise of no one, besides Lee, Lee goes home.

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Matt then throws a bomb on the players. The next immunity challenge starts now. See this is the drama that we may need!

On next week’s episode, the tribal council immunity challenge takes place, followed by a vote out. I am hoping there is not going to be a Pagonging of the other three guys because I need a little spice up for my liking, but I think if Mike doesn’t win this one, he has no chance of staying. This will set up a terrific reunion at Redemption and an even better battle. If Mike is not the one that is sent to Redemption though, I believe Lee has the ability to beat everyone else in the game, as he is a very capable competitor (and also because of the Ozzy correlation). Until next time!


Evan is a 23-year-old from Hartford, Connecticut. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Masters in Accounting and currently works in that field. He has been a fan of fan Survivor since the beginning when he was 7 years old. He plans to apply for the show as many times as it takes until they cast him. When he is not watching Survivor, he spends his time playing with his puppy and watching other shows such as The Amazing Race, The Challenge, and The Leftovers.



  • Elysia Valentine

    I get what you guys keep saying about Sala having an obvious winner edit, but I wouldn’t count out Shannon. Every single episode has checked in with her and much of the important narration has come from her. I think it might be possible Shannon wins, and Sala is being set up as the guy who goes out fourth because everyone believes Sala is unbeatable. Just a theory.

  • Jasmine

    I just feel it was so obvious that Shannon and Avi were going to stick with the Hermosa people. Most of the time, they would be shown strategizing and conversing with Mike, Jak, Tom, or Lee. They were rarely shown strategizing with any members of the new Hermosa. So that led me to believe that they were officially with Sala, Barb, Shay, and Nate. And I was happy to see I was right in the end when Lee got voted out. It wasn’t surprising because Lee got more than one confessional this episode, when in the past he rarely ever got confessionals. The second Mike doesn’t win immunity, he needs to be out.

  • Jasmine

    Right now it’s looking like it’s between Shannon (my first episode pick for winner) and Avi. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Nate came from under the radar and nabbed the title. For some reason, I feel he could make it to final 3.
    I’m rooting for Shannon. After the mess of a pre-merge where most of the girls got picked off, I hope at least that Shannon is the last woman standing.