Australian Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Episode 10 – Acing the Joker

What went down in Episode 10?

Photo: Network 10

Day dawns at the new Heroes camp as Shonee swings in the hammock with George, getting five-star treatment from the rest of the tribe. “Good,” she says, “keep ’em working. More working, less chatting.” With Paige gone, Queen Shonee can have as much crispy rice as her villainous heart desires.

George feels that he is sitting pretty on New Heroes. One by one, the three players left out of the Paige vote approach to make their pitch. Benjamin confesses that George, Stevie, and Shonee are such good players they terrify him, stating he is not blowing smoke up George’s arse, while we can clearly see it emerging from his lips. I’m a huge fan of Benjamin, and it’s hard to see him in this supplicant position. Flick and Matt also approach separately, each offering to act as a double agent after the merge. George is the lady at the delicatessen. “Take a ticket!” Oh how the turn tables.

Over on New Villains, Simon uses the word ‘moist,’ and that’s enough said about that. Liz misses Shonee and knows that she, Jordie, and Simon are on the outs against the five original Heroes. Simon hovers over Liz and Jordie, but he only has eyes for the ‘stacked and jacked’ ex-Heroes. He has a little trouble with the maths of his “idol,” but vows to try to protect whichever of them needs it most. Liz privately questions his willingness to give up an idol for someone else.

The Reward Challenge is a competition for a big ‘juicy Aussie breakfast (juicy? moist?? what is this show trying to do to us???) On the mat, Hayley takes one look at New Heroes and surmises an idol play. She knows this game backwards and forwards. Shonee agrees with JLP that the remaining ex-Heroes should be worried.

As the bitter battle is playing out, Shonee and Liz take the opportunity to strategise. Shonee tells her she played an idol for George and that she can give Liz one, too, if she is in trouble. Meanwhile, New Villains win the challenge in three swift rounds, “like creditors stalking their prey.” (thanks JLP).

Fantastic move here by production, dividing the challenge into three rounds of smaller groups, leaving post-swap castaways free to chat under cover of the splashing and yelled encouragements.

Back at camp, the freshly caffeinated New Villains shout and play. That’s not Liz’s vibe. She slips away from the group carrying her plate to search among the roots of trees. As planned, she is not greatly missed, with only Nina noticing her absence. Liz is rewarded for turning her attention away from food and onto survival when she finds an idol. Way to know your place in the tribe and use it to your advantage. Liz is such an impressive new player. I hope we have her in the season for a long while yet. She takes Jordie into the bush to “look for wood” and reveals her idol. Jordie’s gears start turning. Man, he loves playing this game.

Elsewhere on New Villains, Shaun and Sam worry about Simon’s “idol” (it’s not an idol). Sam approaches Simon with a proposition: give us your “idol,” and we will keep you safe. Simon agrees with an added twist — “I’ll give you my idol if you pass it over to Flick on the other side to (wait for it) GET OUT GEORGE.” A player on THE OTHER TRIBE. I would love to see Simon play without a blinkered focus on one player shutting down his flexibility. Oh, and one last thing: Simon wants to hand his “idol” directly to his Survivor idol Shaun (definitely an idol).

Hayley takes a look at the cookie idol, fresh from Simon’s butt crack (replete with the traditional kiss from Simon), and asks if there was paperwork or anything. Is Simon sure it is an idol? Simon is sure.

At the Immunity Challenge, New Heroes win. Along the way, JLP does not disappoint: “chopping his log,” “sack of nuts,” “grab your sack.” In the cross-tribal congratulations/commiserations, David fills Flick in on Simon’s plan to get out George, including drawing Stevie in with his own phrase, “this is your destiny,” and his hand symbol of the diamond with touching thumbs and for forefingers. As the New Villains walk sadly away, Shonee, alerted by Liz, pops her idol its Jordie’s bag.

Back on New Villains, plans take shape. The ex-Heroes (plus Simon) plan: a three-three split on Jordie and Liz, with Jordie copping the revote. The Jordie & Liz plan: each of them plays an idol. Use the idols to force an alliance with Hayley and Nina. They’ll leave the choice of target to Hayley and Nina. They force a reluctant “Sam.” Hayley feels Shaun would be more flexible after the betrayal than Sam. Jordie and Liz flash their bling and warn the women that whispering at Tribal Council will result in Jordie and Liz switching their votes to them. We glean a crumb that Nina has David as her untouchable.

In the fallout from this, Hayley returns to Shaun with the news of the two idols and the target of Sam. At first, the ex-Heroes-plus-Simon sees no way to save Sam. David floats the idea of putting four votes on Simon. But they feel that just having promised Simon safety, they can’t go back on their words. No amount of us yelling at the television months after the events have transpired will make that happen. Nevertheless, we continue to see glimmers of David’s excellent head for this game. His exit interview, or deep dive, is going to be fascinating.

Hayley fills in Simon and, seeing his perfect performance of a very surprised man, instructs him to “Just get your face better.” Is this the funniest season of Survivor ever? Unable to get his face better, Simon goes to Jordie and burbles, finally agreeing to vote for Sam with his fellow ex-Villains.

Sam feels that something is up, but he can’t figure it out because he can’t see past loyalty and mateship. We don’t find out who he thinks the ex-Villains are voting for because they have to vote for someone. He better get voted out tonight, or things will be v-e-r-y tricky on New Villains beach in the morning.

At Tribal Council, Shaun figures his defensive play and swiftly whispers it to key players — a four / four with votes on Sam and Jordie, and just cross-fingers Jordie doesn’t play his idol so that the ex-Heroes-plus-Simon can eliminate Jordie on the re-vote.

And so, startlingly, sadly, cruelly, it comes to pass. Jordie doesn’t play his idol. Neither does Liz. At the third Jordie vote, he knows. The first of the returnees to be voted out, going down with an idol gifted to him by Shonee, with most of a water-tight plan in place, just missing that last, final, crucial step. As Jordie stands to get his torch snuffed, he says, “I’ve done a Simon,” and laughs that Joker laugh. “That was great,” he says. “Do more of those.”

Jordie played his first season joyously and chaotically but let himself be strapped into the Joker persona. He mixed with apparent ease into the misogyny of the Blood v Water season and seemed to carry a vengeful grudge at being outplayed. On this new season, it wasn’t new Jordie who dis? But more the flowering of an enrapturing, strong, fun, flexible player, one who I would guess has watched his previous season and thought about it and has drawn lessons from it.

Back then, he was a carefree bachelor with a younger brother to protect. He returned to us with no less joy but broadened, softened, and deepened by finding a romantic relationship and the anticipation of his impending fatherhood. He was a good player on BvW, if you could look past the bombast and the performance of masculinity. In this season, he became a great player who added thoughtfulness and calm to his arsenal.

His plan for this episode was solid; even the notion of not playing this idol could almost be rated. He was using the idol for its utility in securing an alliance. But the numbers were against him, and he needed to take that final step to protect himself from the logical four/four split. It is a credit to this season’s producers that fans feel Jordie’s boot emotionally. And that it is hard to think of any returnee’s ouster not being a hard blow now, ten episodes of great storytelling in.

Written by

Sarah Carradine

Sarah is a writer, director, editor and podcaster living on Gadigal land in Sydney, Australia. Her plays and her opera have been produced throughout Australia, New Zealand, and in the US. She podcasts about reality and scripted TV. She co-hosts a true crime review podcast for RHAP called Crime Seen.

One response to “Episode 10 – Acing the Joker”

  1. It’s hard to blame Jordie for bringing Nina and Hayley in….if Jordie and Liz had just played their idols at tribal and blind sided one of the Heroes, they would still be in the minority, and now without the protection of an idol. I think the mistake was telling them too early, and giving them time to scramble and tell all the others.

    Damn, I was really rooting for Jordie.

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