This season of Australian Survivor had an excellent start, with the returning players showing the newbies exactly why they are considered the greatest in the game. Alliances and targets are shifting with every tribal council, and every word and action is being considered to see who can survive for another day.
At the last tribal council, we saw the Heroes in motion; collectively, they decided to eliminate their most controversial player, Rogue. Now that the rogue player is out of the game, will the Heroes stick together, or will some players become what they sought to destroy to get ahead? Only time will tell.
The episode starts with the Villains enjoying a quiet morning. That’s until Simon and George start going at it again for the millionth time. Jordie, Simon’s number one ally, enjoys working with him as they want George out of the game. But Jordie knows that Simon’s ego is becoming a significant liability. So, he considers branching out within the Villains’ tribe.
This would mean working with *gasp* George, who’s closer to the rest of the tribe than Jordie is. Though not a concrete alliance, Jordie ponders what beautiful chaos could ensue with the King and the Joker potentially working together. At this point, there is a lot of trouble, especially for Simon, who doesn’t even realise that he has a fake idol. This is looking to be the build-up to a shocking blindside, though the question is… whose?
At the Heroes camp, everyone is celebrating Rogue’s elimination (who isn’t?), but no one more than Hayley, as her plan of throwing a challenge, voting out her target, and escaping the dreaded winner’s curse worked out perfectly. So far, Hayley’s strategy is stellar, unlike Benjamin’s, who, out of nowhere, decides to make a fake immunity idol IN FRONT of the entire tribe. He later justifies his plan because it is a “team building” exercise. Everyone is utterly stunned, and as Flick says, this is the kind of thing that gets a player caught in deep water. Well, I paraphrased a bit here, but Ben’s stirring the pot for no reason.
Meanwhile, Shaun hasn’t told his allies about finding the real immunity idol and lets them wander around looking for it. Shaun says they’ll eventually find out he found it when he plays it at tribal council. Lines between playing “heroically” or in a more “villainous” manner are starting to blur for the players despite their respective tribes, and it is about time they do so.
Both tribes arrive at the reward challenge, where the merriment about Rogue being gone is palpable even at the Villains tribe. Jonathan explains the challenge, where two members of each tribe will face off in a coconut-throwing competition. The first tribe with three points will win a “bakery bonanza.” Unfortunately, Simon’s ill-fated strategy costs the Villains the first point, and though the Villains manage to tie things up for a second, the Heroes win another challenge. The Villains hold their heads high, remembering they have taro and beans back at camp. That is sad, indeed.
But, once again, the Heroes’ reward isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They are met with a new task before they get to enjoy their feast, as the person who reads the instructions is the one that gets to decide which person gets which pastry. It’s a challenge designed to show the players’ allegiances and what type of player they are. This time, Sam is the lucky caller. Or unlucky, depending on how strategic is Sam’s decision-making process. Sam behaves like a true hero, as he goes for the least essential item while he gives the real goodies to his fellow tribemates. Shaun notices how loyal Sam is, which reminds him how blindly he played his first time and remarks that this type of gameplay leaves too many blind spots and generally leads to being eliminated.
Following his early statement about playing more like a Villain, Shaun continues to grow Hayley’s target by telling his allies that she’s still looking for an idol, which spreads like wildfire throughout the camp. Hayley tries to do damage control, but the information is already out there. However, she does get Shaun to consider perhaps using her as a meat/brain shield moving forward.
When immunity is back up for grabs, both tribes must push a heavy cart through an obstacle course while collecting coconut husk and firewood along the way, using those materials to build a bonfire. Basically, the final four fire-making challenge but with an Aussie twist. I’ve got to say I loved the Villains’ attitude throughout this challenge. First, George yells to his team as if he were Jonathan himself to “drive those quads,” and then reminds them why they came to Survivor: “to push heavy s**t.” Then Stevie jumps on top of the gigantic firewood pile as if it was a dune while Jordie tells George to keep screaming at them.
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The Villains quickly start to assemble their structure for the bonfire, and almost in seconds, Stevie gets the fire going. The Heroes cannot catch up and are sent to their second tribal council in a row.
At first glance, there are three potential targets for the Heroes: Ben, for being shifty; Gerry, for being injured; and potentially, Hayley, for being a former winner. The majority consensus is going after Ben and splitting the votes with Gerry just in case an idol is played. Hayley disagrees with the plan as she’s close with Ben but knows that she can’t risk leading another vote this early.
Meanwhile, the boys’ alliance still wants to make a big move and target Hayley. However, Shaun and Flick want to keep Hayley around as she will always be a larger target than either of them and would be especially useful in case of a tribe swap.
Heading into tribal, Jonathan asks the players if they have a united vote like last time. The Heroes start showing cracks as some say there’s still a group with trust, but others admit that this vote won’t be as easy as the one before. After some back-and-forth, Jonathan shocks everyone by saying they will not vote to send someone home but rather to send someone to the Villains tribe. If that person survives the next two days, they’ll return to the Heroes tribe.
— SurvivorAU (@Survivor_AU) February 6, 2023
The Heroes start scrambling as all bets are off and different strategies are implemented. The main concern is who could be sent without them betraying their original tribe while bringing back inside knowledge within the Villains tribe. At the same time, it could be the perfect opportunity to send off someone who won’t be a loss to the tribe. While the rest are debating between Ben and Gerry (the players, not the ice cream), Paige volunteers to be sent instead.
Once again, the pros and cons are considered as to whom would be best to send, with Sam worrying that it would raise a red flag to the Villains if they voted out Paige. Ultimately, the vote is 8-2-1 between Gerry, Paige, and Ben, sending Gerry to the Villains tribe. An upset-looking Gerry is last seen with a new purple buff heading into enemy territory, while some Heroes half-heartedly tell him they’ll see him soon.
Whether Gerry returns to the Heroes tribe or not, this vote shows that some Heroes are not as noble or loyal as they claim to be and are willing to cross whoever is in their path to get an advantage in the game. Plus, some people like Sharni and Gerry were left out of this crucial decision, which could tarnish the trust bond between the Heroes and make the tribe implode just like their predecessors did a decade ago.