Australian Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Episode 2 – Pull the Trigger First

What went down in Episode 2?

Photo: Network 10

Following a tragic and insane double elimination, the Villains are down three members, with a potential return from King George on the horizon. While Jackie, unfortunately, couldn’t continue, George is cleared to return, emerging from the bushes with a nasty scar on his forehead and a massive target on his back. As the King of Bankstown is literally rebaptized in the Samoan shallows and his second coming begins, others watch from afar, hungry to finally take him down.

Journalist Michael isn’t having fun with the elements or the hunger, but he’s a genuine fan of the game who wants to leave his mark by headlining the ultimate move against the ultimate villain. Rallying Simon to his side, he believes in pulling the trigger first, voting early and often to knock out big players while they’re still vulnerable and lack proper footing in the tribe dynamics. And Simon, happy to hear a plan against his white whale is in motion, is ready to make it happen.

But while George is on an island of his own with both his allies taking the fall two days in, that doesn’t mean he’s out of options. Because down from the heavens comes Shonee, his guardian angel looking for a huge shield to take into the swap and beyond. It’s an inherently selfish strategy, one fit for a three-time player on the Villains tribe, but she makes a good point: George is just fun. He might get grating, and his constant numbers crunching and stealthily joining every conversation to gather intel is a lot to handle, but the man’s straight-up entertaining to have around.

Photo: Network 10

Shonee’s number one ally, the Olympic pole vaulter Liz, agrees that George needs to stay. As for Liz herself, she’s quite the character, as we learn from her introduction. With an endearing “resting bitch face” and a hyper-competitive edge, Liz doesn’t care much for filters. She’ll say what she wants, be it brutal honesty or expressing her emotions without remorse. The perfect ally for Shonee and George if there ever was one. And as part of The Shiz (Shonee and Liz’s rebranded Taurus Terrors alliance), she’s in a position to have a lot of power… provided they can avoid Simon and Michael’s impending takeover.

As the Villains scheme, the Heroes are, as expected, the kumbaya tribe of the season. Aside from the cringeworthy and offensive comments by Rogue in the last episode, they’ve been drama-free and living a life of pleasant peace. So what better time to meet some new faces, right? First up is Sharni, an actress who left the fakeness of Los Angeles to be her true self in Samoa. But it’s cowgirl/jillaroo Paige who’s really making inroads with the group. She’s getting in good with the guys, walking us through all their individual contributions, from Gerry’s MacGyver-esque knowledge to Benjamin’s insane palm frond weaving speed. She’s even close with Flick and Hayley, reflecting on her lack of female friends back home and looking to step outside her comfort zone. So yeah, happy tribe, happy life. Surely nothing could ruin that, right?

Well, we’ll see what the reward challenge has to say about that because the Villains are hungry for a win against the physically imposing Heroes. Thanks to Liz’s ferocious determination, the Villains score a chance to raid the Heroes’ camp for fifteen minutes, free to take what they want and do as they please. If there was ever a reward for the Villains to win, it’s this one. Camp raids are always entertaining, but giving ten people a theme to play into that specifically encourages being devious and chaotic at every turn for the sake of entertainment? The great TV writes itself.

While the Villains won’t let George hack their enemy’s shelter apart, they will settle for taking most of their food (leaving some scattered about the sand to be painstakingly cleaned up) and dousing their fire. But one Villain isn’t so sure about embracing the theme. Mimi, a boxer and luxury car PR manager, wants to be a little nicer to the Heroes with the fear that a brutal raid would only make the swap and merge harder to navigate.

Photo: Network 10

On the one hand, Mimi has a good point. Relationship building across tribal lines is a key part of many winning games, and the Villains can’t afford to sink their entire ship with bad manners when things are already looking bleak. But George has a solid counter: they’re down two people against a stacked tribe of Heroes, so why not go all out and deal a blow that could turn the tide? George’s argument wins out, and thus the Heroes return annoyed at the lack of food but relieved their shelter is still standing, albeit with a few chunks taken out.

But the Heroes will get the revenge, taking home immunity yet again. And yes, your eyes do not deceive you. There was, in fact, a puzzle in this Australian Survivor challenge! Though given how badly the Villains botch it despite puzzle master George taking the reins, production’s hopes of the brainy Villains finding their niche against the brawny Heroes might be a pipe dream. But with George taking the heat, Stevie upset that he wasn’t allowed to help despite having the best read on the puzzle from the start, and most of the tribe fine with an easy George boot; it seems like the king’s head is about to roll.

Photo: Network 10

Michael and Simon link up yet again to solidify the votes against George, but they immediately hit a snag when Simon learns his newbie ally hasn’t had any further conversations to secure the numbers since they last spoke. Frustrated with Michael’s lack of agency, Simon has to take control of the situation and command the troops himself. As Micheal rallies Stevie and Jordie for their core alliance, Simon gets Sarah and Fraser on board as extra numbers, giving them a solid six to work with for the time being.

Shonee’s not having it, though. Not one bit. Once the George plan hits her ears, she’s off to work her magic and foil this assassination plot before she is left as the biggest target on the tribe. With Liz locked in and George brought into the fold, a new alliance is born as The Shiz evolves into The Spice Girls and takes aim at a new target: Michael. With the journalist in their sights, it’s off to the beach to change some minds as Tribal Council nears.

Once the Villains find their seats, any fears of a ho-hum Tribal are put to rest as Simon’s wavering loyalty is made evident. His vote isn’t locked in anymore. Michael and Jordie see the red flags, but while the more experienced Jordie is keen to let it play out and keep his head behind cover, the less experienced Michael pushes back with full force, scrambling to keep the focus on George as the rest of the tribe slowly loses their patience with his scrambling.

Whispers travel from end to end, blame is thrown both ways, and bickering becomes the name of the game as Michael is overwhelmed. And to cap it off, we get a fantastic quote from Stevie that sums up this whole mess: “If you want loyalty, go get a dog.”

With eight votes against him, Michael’s lone vote for George (and George’s own vote for Stevie just to be safe in the event of an idol play) is nowhere near enough to save his floundering game, and away he goes, happy to have played hard despite his early exit.

And that sums up Michael perfectly. He played badly, sure, but at least he played to begin with. Overplaying is the downfall of many early boots in Survivor history, especially in long games like the Australian edition that reward those who wait in the shadows instead of going all out less than a week in. Michael aimed for the heavens and fell on his face due to inexperience and bad calls, but good on him for giving us a couple of great episodes of messy strategy and a fun one-sided rivalry.

Written by

Cory Gage

Cory is a writer and student from Texas. He's a die-hard Survivor fanatic who's seen over 50 seasons worldwide, hosted his own season in high school from scratch, and hopes to one day compete on the show himself.

One response to “Episode 2 – Pull the Trigger First”

  1. This season is why I much prefer over the USA version.

    1. The characters are more interesting and have better interplay chemistry.

    2. The twists are more interesting.

    3. JLP is a better host for comedy and entertainment while Probst makes it seem like Survivor is center of universe. Talking about love as if they haven’t seen their families in years when it been like two weeks.

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