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Survivor New Zealand 2018 Episode 8 Recap – Expect The Expected


Evan Francis recaps the merge episode of Survivor New Zealand!

We’re back after last week’s debacle, where we saw arguably the two most strategic players leave the game in a matter of fifteen minutes. Before we get started on this episode, I wanted to say my piece about last week, which hopefully does not signify the downfall of this season, as I still have high hopes.

I don’t understand the move by Chani. I’ve heard the argument that they didn’t trust Dylan, so they wanted him out, but I still don’t see any logic behind the move. You are down in numbers and Dylan was a guaranteed number as he had nowhere else to go. Apparently, Chani also knew that JT would be leaving the game as he said his goodbyes after the immunity challenge. This makes the move even more confusing! You could be going into the merge 5-on-5, instead of 6-on-4, and even with the vote steal advantage, all it would take is one person to flip, or Dave’s immunity idol used correctly to switch up the game.

Now the original Chani members are just praying everyone else turns on each other. I guess there could be reasoning that once it is 6-on-2 or so, the remaining Chanis become free agents, but that still is a huge risk, especially for someone like Arun, who may be the biggest threat left and is in the minority. It was certainly a head-scratcher.

However, onto this week’s episode. When Chani returns from tribal council, Adam is happier than a kid on Christmas morning. He could be voted out next and would be satisfied with his game because he outlasted Dylan. Renee expresses her doubts about the move and says she did not agree it was the right one to make at this time (thank you Renee!). A common theme throughout this episode is that Renee does not feel like her voice is being heard by her alliance. I get that, as Arun and Dave seem to think it is their way or no way at all. Although she did sell them on Josh, she feels like she is being told what to do and not choosing what to do. You love to see a player recognize this in Survivor, especially if they have an opportunity to do something about it.

The same can be said of Lisa. This is her big episode, which is to be expected as she has the vote steal to use. She knows how she is being perceived by everyone and is out to change that perception in the second half of the game. Lisa is one of our big hopes remaining in the game, as she is a superfan. I’m worried she isn’t as ruthless or cunning as we need, but when you go through what we did last episode, one needs to find hope somewhere.

At Khangkhaw, we get the storyline we were all hoping for – chickens! I swear if this turns into a Mark the chicken plot I will not be happy with the producers. As everyone is looking ahead toward the expected merge, Lisa starts a plan with Tess and Tara, saying that she will go along with any Chani plan proposed to her. Basically, she isn’t going to change what she has been doing for 20 days. I’m not really sure what this plan did, other than point out to your alliance you will be playing both sides.

NZEp8_Lisa

Photo: TVNZ

We then go back to Chani, where they are the happiest anyone has looked all season. Sorry, Dylan, I guess getting rid of you was a good idea! We hear about the connection that Adam and Renee have made in their time together, and how they really get along with each other. They both seem to be flying a bit under the radar as threats, mostly socially, but I have a prediction. They both will be in the final. Renee has been my winner pick all season, but I see them both making it to the end. I haven’t figured out who the third will be though, I was thinking Matt, but I see him getting fourth in classic Ozzy or Malcolm fashion, coming up just short.

Renee has a confessional where she talks about not having a voice in her alliance, as I mentioned above, but this confessional is made up of multiple interviews, as she has a hat on in one and not in the other, and is in different locations. In the second interview, it looks like earlier in the game, and she is saying how she wants to work with people who will work with her. This clip being thrown in now means that Renee is going to do something to change her narrative this episode.

When we get to the reward, Khangkhaw is relieved to see both of their man buns are still alive, miraculously. Matt Chisholm informs everyone of JT’s medi-quit (the term that is being used), and which everyone already knew about. He then throws in that the reward will remain covered until after the challenge is over. It is a slingshot challenge, and unfortunately, everyone shoots at the correct targets this season. Besides Brad, he forgot how to shoot at all.

Khangkhaw dominates the challenge and are rewarded with… the merge! Just kidding they also have a reward at tree mail, but seriously I thought this was going to be a reward for nothing. How great would that be, just getting the competitive juices flowing over nothing?

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Photo: Scott McAulay

The new tribe, Phsan, or “to merge” in Portuguese, then have their merge feast. And feast may be an understatement. There was so much food there, I feel like more than usual. Dave wanted to make sure he wasn’t cheated out of any free food and proceeds to eat until he pukes and then goes back in to share a spoon with everyone and continuing eating. Props to his stomach for puking and rallying, but bro get your own spoon.

As everyone begins to reconnect between tribes, a couple things stood out to me. Matt realizes that Brad and Tess are a lot closer than they were before. The first crack in the now invisible four. He feels like there is not a place in that couple for him and I expect he will do something about it. Arun and Dave are feeling very comfortable about having Adam and Matt on their side acting as double agents. Adam and Matt must have done a hell of a job convincing them they were all together because no way should they be thinking this is the case. Outside of Dave and Matt agreeing on this, I can’t understand why Arun is comfortable.

We keep hearing about how Tess and Brad were open to working with Eve, we haven’t seen this being attempted, but if they are open to using an outsider, we have an outlier in Renee who is looking to make moves now in the game. I am just trying to connect the possible dots here. An unlikely grouping could happen.

Lastly, Adam is so incredible socially. He a magician, and not like Matt Tarrant from Australian Survivor, but an actual social wizard. Whoever he wants gone he just gossips about them negatively, and they disappear. Throwing Arun under the bus to paint him as even more of a target is a terrific move. He is absolutely ruthless and is becoming one of the narrators of the game going forward, and I am all about it.

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Photo: TVNZ

Eve retrieves the reward for the challenge winners. It is a neat reward that allows you to choose one item from a list as an additional luxury item. After reading the list, in my opinion, Brad made the definite right choice. Toothbrush and toothpaste all day. Your breath usually smells after a day, imagine after 20 days, an easy choice and not something you will have to share. The choice of a towel, toilet paper, and pillow are great sure, but those can be shared with everyone. Tess made the dumbest decision and received basically two bites of chocolate.

At the immunity challenge, the task is building a house of cards. We’ve seen this reward plenty of times. Apparently not many of the contestants have. Everyone has different approaches; Tara tries to find a way to start her tower on a higher platform already. I think Lisa and Matt were the only ones to take the right approach from what I saw. Dave might have too after several attempts. Three cards sideways, then a layer on top and repeat is the easiest way to build and maintain enough blocks to keep building. This is not rocket science people. But maybe it is, as Matt, the rocket technician, comes away with the victory after getting his house tall enough and playing the waiting game.

The strategy back at camp before tribal is much of what is expected. The Chani four are sitting ducks, whose only plan is putting faith in Adam and Matt. They also choose probably the worst target to go for in Lisa, as she has two votes tonight and is the person you most want on your side. Even if they get Matt and Adam on their side, they have to hope for the vote split to have a chance. If it ends 5-5, you better believe Adam is switching back to being safe.

I will give credit to Lisa though, she went up to Adam and Matt, told them who they should vote for and not much else. This is smart, as they have been gone for a while and could very well have flipped. Telling them all they needed to know is smart. It also is a test to see if they can still trust them.

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Photo: Scott McAulay

The childhood bromance of Matt and Dave seems to be dwindling, as Matt looks very uninterested in helping Dave, but does give him the promise that he will be safe tonight. Although I am not sure Matt even knew what was going on. It prompts Dave to think of using his idol, which I’m glad he does not, as no one else knows about this and it could help flip the game.

At tribal, we honestly get nothing from anyone. Arun puts out that he will be voting for a big player at final tribal. Tara tells everyone what we already know that it is still Khangkhaw against Chani. Lisa uses her vote steal on Arun, who doesn’t even get to vote as he gets voted out. For a second I was scared Dave might be the target and his idol gone with him, but alas, Arun, Aaron and Aran receive five votes and is sent home.

The only item to note with this vote is that Renee voted for Arun. I’m not sure this proved anything, but maybe it was a vote of trust for something in Khangkhaw. I see big things for my winner pick in the future. Lastly, when Chisholm was giving his final ode to the tribe, he was holding the torch in his hand. Has he done this all season and I just haven’t noticed? Why not just leave it standing up? It certainly bothered me.

On the next episode, we may be seeing Khangkhaw starting to turn on one another, which would make the remaining part of this season a lot more exciting.


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.