At the Villains camp, we get the Sarah Marschke content we’ve been gagging for. The former Miss World Australia and rugby league player says she was born to be a Villain and, after checking with producers, confesses that she relishes hurting people. The Spice Girls, aka Shonee, Liz, and King George, hang on her every word as she wiggles around the question of whether or not she pushed Miss Greece down the stairs, putting her in a wheelchair “for life.” Or just for a few days. It looks like Villains really do have more fun, and Shonee has found her gang of ne’er-do-wells.
On the beach, Simon tells Jordi he’s not going to gun for George just yet; he’ll wait for the right time. Which, spoiler, is going to be mere hours from now.
Stevie leads the tribe in tai chi, ending with a visualisation of their destiny — a victory at the Reward Challenge. At the Challenge, Hayley and her heroes are astonished that George survived the previous night’s Tribal Council.
The reward is an enormous jar of what Australians used to call ‘biscuits,’ but now apparently, we refer to as ‘cookies.’ It’s a water challenge, so there are plenty of abs and butts on show. One-on-one, castaways must run out to a sack in the water and dunk it, and potentially their opponent, into their tribe’s goal. Simon is keen to have a crack at Shaun, but George’s strategic chops are on show here as he points out they’re not all going to get a go.
Knowing that whoever goes up against Shaun will almost certainly lose, George suggests Stevie is the appropriate match. And so it proves, with Shaun strolling to victory before Stevie has run to the end of his buoys. I suspect there is a dip in the sand under the water on the Villains’ side, as all the Villains now stumble at the same spot. A case could be made for swapping sides each time, but the buoys are colour-coded, and the Villains win anyway.
Rogue, in confessional, doesn’t rate her own Heroes tribe. It’s hard not to colour anything she says with the poison of her breathtakingly offensive remark to Nina in episode 1. Rogue schools the Heroes tribe on lacking strategy in challenges, and wonders aloud where the actual Heroes are. I assume she has already counted herself.
In the water, the well-named Meat Tray Convention (“a gathering of minds and meat” – Benjamin Law in his first confessional being completely divine) of Shaun, David, Matt, and Sam are not thrilled with Rogue’s gripes and settle on themselves as ‘the core group.’ Meanwhile, the editors treat us to a montage of rippling backs. No objections.
While the Heroes enjoy a feast of a view, the Villains dive into the comically large jar of chocolate cookies. It’s a bonding moment. But soon, all eyes are flicking to the glass sides of the jar, contemplating what else besides cookies is in there. The returnees know that there is bound to be a clue or a trinket inside and that digging for it can make the digger a target. So Jordie puts it cleanly “Don’t go looking unless you reckon you need it.”
And speaking of looking for idols, as the Villains head to the beach with their jar, George slips into the bush for a quick search. It’s not his first. He’s grubbed around most of the trees, leaving a large one yet to be checked. And sure enough, there’s a green idol on a string. George models the new idol for us, draping it carefully to show how it will look as a tattoo beside the one already adorning his chest. George tells us it’s an idol because it comes with a parchment that says it’s an idol. Foreshadowing? Australian Survivor editors would never!
As her tribe-mates sleep, cuddled up together like a pile of puppies, the blue light of the night-vision camera finds Mimi digging in the cookie jar. Behind her, like visuals from a good horror show, Liz’s eyes are open and blazing fire into Mimi’s back.
*As described as @mrbenjaminlaw #SurvivorAU pic.twitter.com/8688F0OJGX
— SurvivorAU (@Survivor_AU) February 1, 2023
The next morning, rumour spreads around the tribe that “someone was looking for something” in the cookie jar. Stevie advises, “be sneaky, but don’t get caught out.”
At the Immunity Challenge, which is an exciting climb over this, under that, through that, and throw coconuts at that, the Heroes tribe wins yet again. Perhaps not being weighed down by chocolate was to their advantage. In the milling cross-tribe congratulations/commiserations afterwards, George and Hayley hug. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. We weren’t fooled by the Channel 10 promos insisting on their rivalry. George gives Hayley good intel on the location of the tribe idol, along with the information that he hasn’t had to use his idol yet.
Elsewhere, Shonee gives us a swift lesson in Australian Survivor history: the Villains tribe is the first to lose the first three Immunity Challenges. Iconic.
Pre-Tribal scrambling begins on the Villains’s beach. Mimi seems an early contender for the boot, given her nocturnal digging. Though Stevie’s name is also mentioned early, his usefulness as a number (for Simon) and his surprisingly powerful challenge performance (for Liz), and his trustworthiness (for Jordie) seem to indicate he may be safe. Jordie’s approach to the women to suggest Mimi as the target is markedly deferential. “I’m not saying this is how it has to be.” Good job, Jordie.
Meanwhile, George is put off by Simon barking orders. George also wants to keep Mimi as a number. And so he goes to work. He wants to swing the vote onto the erratic Stevie, and he wants Mimi to be grateful he has saved her.
The camera points us to a cookie-shaped object in the jar adorned with a tacky jewel. Simon also spots it and pops it in between his arse cheeks. Hidden Immunity Idols haunt him. In case we had forgotten for a moment, he was sent home with two in his pocket last time out. He longs to play one correctly. Sadly for him, he can’t see the idol symbol with a red X through it on the chyron beside his name. What on earth is that thing, then? Well, it’s an idol as far as Simon is concerned.
With barely repressed excitement, Simon tells Jordie he has an “idol” (he doesn’t) and lets him cop a feel. The budding bromance between these two is somehow the purest thing on Villains Beach. Of course, Simon immediately wants to idol out George by getting all the votes except theirs on Stevie, then playing the “idol” (it’s not an idol).
Jordie is torn. On the one hand, he could be part of “the duo that took down King George” — great for your resume, but you have to get to the end. On the other hand, Shonee’s point about George being a shield for them at the swap is well taken. He gets Simon to agree to ask Shonee and Liz at Tribal whether to do it or not.
Tribal Council has barely begun when the whispering starts. Simon is gung-ho for the George blindside. He says he needs to do it and needs Jordie’s help to make it happen. Jordie is reluctant. He jumps up to take the message to Shonee and Liz, who respond with an unequivocal “No.” Simon and Jordie continue to whisper. JLP tries to keep the Council going but has to stop and ask those not involved in the whispering how they feel about being left out. Stevie answers serenely. And now here is Mimi getting defensive and jumping on Stevie’s words. The back row now whispers their change of mind — put the votes on Mimi. Simon still wants to play his “idol” (it is something, just not an idol).
At last, Jordie speaks out to JLP and the tribe, though his message is firmly for Simon. “Tonight’s not the night to go swinging your club around, taking out big threats, and all this changing the game. Tonight’s the night to lock in trust with the people you want to move forward with.”
It is time to vote. Everyone votes for Mimi (Stevie saying, “You’re one smart cookie, Mimi.”). Mimi votes for Stevie, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. As the Villains make their way home, Simon stays behind and pulls George’s hat from his bag, and throws it in the fire. “I’ll be back to finish the job,” he vows to JLP.
Next time on Australian Survivor: Simon still wants to get rid of George, George can see right through Simon, the Heroes ponder throwing a challenge, Shaun ponders getting rid of Hayley, and Hayley didn’t come all the way to Samoa to play it safe. Sunday can’t come fast enough.