After the mutiny, all is well on new Heroes beach as the Spice girls re-unite, especially besties Shonee and Liz. And Liz also brings the information that Sam, Nina, and David were working to blindside Hayley. George snaffles this information and plans to use it. He wants to work with Hayley: the King and the Queen, indestructible.
Flick feels in a very precarious position, so she goes into full charm offensive with Shiz, feeding them coconut juice, noticing aloud how nice it is to ‘have an extra girl,’ promising them allies on the other side come the merge. George appears to go along with the gal gang, but he lived with Flick for 47 days in the Outback in Brains v Brawn, and he doesn’t trust her promises. So he starts work on Gerry for a Flick vote out and also, at the Reward Challenge, feeds Hayley the info on the thwarted blindside of her from the previous Tribal Council.
After New Villains win the Challenge, they are given sealed instructions for how the Survivor Sandwich Bar will work. Fans immediately glean that it’ll be the famous Australian Survivor ‘one at a time’ food reward and settle in for the comedic chaos that is sure to ensue. And so it proves, with the castaways drawing sticks to see what order they will go in.
Everyone expects an idol or an advantage to be hidden in the food. We are treated to a delicious montage of starving players trying to hold back their appetites while searching high and low for an idol. Watching them eat one-handed while sifting, lifting, and stirring is comedy gold. As always, the last one at the Reward decimates the setup. And Sam does not disappoint.
— SurvivorAU (@Survivor_AU) February 26, 2023
Australian Survivor editors play things close to the chest, and we aren’t shown anyone finding an idol or advantage. I look forward to the inevitable flashback to someone finding it at the narratively perfect moment.
On New Heroes beach, Matt realises he needs to work with George, as it looks like he or Flick will go home if the tribe loses the Immunity Challenge. Matt declares that he has made his decision to throw in with George and to offer himself as a mole come the merge. George is inclined to trust Matt over Flick and draws Gerry and Stevie into the discussion.
The Immunity Challenge is a marvelous creation: hold up weights to stop a trough of water landing on your head (which we have seen before), but, meanwhile, a player from each tribe races to complete a puzzle to gain the advantage of removing one player from the other side. Nina smokes the puzzle versus Stevie, and shortly thereafter, the New Heroes drop their weights, punching their tickets for a visit to Tribal Council.
Scrambling back at New Heroes beach swirls around as Flick tries to solidify the gal gang, and Matt assures the men he is a trusted number. Trouble in Spice Paradise starts to brew with Shonee and Liz appealing to George to keep Flick over Matt and George refusing to budge, citing his greater experience with Flick being untrustworthy.
Shonee and Liz want to keep Flick, not just because it means keeping a woman over a man, but because they trust her more than Matt, who they think will turn at the merge. It seems insolvable, and George’s refusal to bend in any way does not sit well with Shonee and Liz. However, there is never a whisper of a fracture between this cemented threesome.
At Tribal Council, Shonee tells George that Liz is prepared to play her idol for Flick if he doesn’t budge on the vote. George takes Gerry aside to give him a choice: vote out Matt or vote out Stevie. George may be counting on Gerry’s known soft spot for Matt, and indeed Gerry doesn’t hesitate to select Stevie as the new target. George asks Shonee and Liz if they would agree to a compromise vote on Stevie, and they do.
Even though George is unmoved in his belief that Flick will desert them come the merge, he compromises for the sake of the tight alliance with Shonee and Liz and binds Gerry closer to him by giving him the apparent choice of who to vote out. So even when making a move he knows is not correct, George manages to turn it to minimise damage and draw advantage out of an unsatisfactory situation.
And so to the votes: two on Flick from Matt and Stevie, one on Matt from Flick, and the central four of George, Shonee, Liz, and Gerry voting, sadly, for Stevie. Australian Survivor editors are also sad and give Stevie the thoughtful, regret-laden exit edit he has come to deserve, including his last words being inside the episode itself, rather than tacked onto the end of the “Next Time On.”
The casting of Stevie was a head-scratcher for many Australian Survivor fans, given his previous time out. But he has proved to be a wonderful addition to this incredible season. Erratic, charming, with flashes of smarts that immediately sailed away as he seemed to struggle to remember which plan was the actual plan. George’s faith in his puzzle ability was never rooted in reality. Still, once Stevie dropped the ‘vengeance against Shonee’ storyline, his intense loyalty was a genuine shining light in this season’s shifting sands of alliances.
It is a tribute to the continued excellent storytelling of this season, as well as to this fascinating man himself that Stevie’s ouster had audiences sitting in sadness and taking to social media to find validation in their feelings of loss and regret.
The merge is coming in the next episode, and the question is only how fast Flick will jump over to the other side. That George was correct in his read of her is not in doubt, but to watch him choose to privilege his alliance over being in the right, find some advantage in the compromise, and move forward to the next stage without looking back, continues to prove that he is, indeed, King George.