Australian Survivor: Titans vs. Rebels

Episode 20 Recap – Scared to Death

What went down in Episode 20?

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“I’m just chillin’,” Kirby said at the last tribal council as Alex threw her under the bus during his grand unraveling. “Chillin'” is an excellent word to describe Kirby’s game this season. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t been playing hard; the opposite, she’s been going full force from the start. But she never panics, never loses control, and, through it all, approaches every facet of the game with a massive smile on her face.

Until now! The latest episode sees Kirby succumb to paranoia for the first time this season. It’s not unwarranted paranoia; the way Alex shone the spotlight on her at the previous tribal is bound to unsettle any player. It’s just an unusual sight to see Kirby, of all people, rattled and playing a panicked game.

She starts the episode pitching a women’s alliance, with her and her ride-or-die Rianna joining forces with Caroline and Kitty. The plan is to vote out Mark at the next tribal, giving Caroline a chance at revenge for Mark’s previous attempts to take her out. Caroline and Kitty seem receptive, but they can tell Kirby is on edge.

Feras also recognizes Kirby is playing “scared” for the first time. He expertly reads the island and correctly surmises that Kirby will have pitched an all-women’s alliance to Caroline and Kitty. When he brings this up in conversation with Caroline (along with the lie that Kirby wants Caroline out after Mark), she confirms that, yes, Kirby did pitch a girls’ alliance.

But Kirby is smart and, like Feras, is one of the best players we’ve seen when it comes to reading a situation. She realizes things aren’t solid with Caroline and Kitty, so in the middle of the night, she approaches Feras with a potential backup plan. In a surprising move, Kirby offers up her number one ally, Rianna, as a sacrifice, telling Feras she is willing to cut RiRi loose if Feras can promise to get her to the final four.

It’s a bit of a hasty move on Kirby’s part, but I understand the motivation. She already has a ton of heat on her, and her seemingly unbreakable bond with Rianna only increases the temperature. While she’ll always be considered a big threat, with Rianna out of the game, it might take off the pressure a little. However, whether or not the timing is right is the critical question.

Despite her groundwork at camp, Kirby enters the immunity challenge with a ‘win or die trying’ attitude. The only thing that can guarantee her safety is that necklace, and so she gives it her all in a classic domino-stacking challenge (with added weight-pully-system because, of course, it’s Australian Survivor). After a couple of close calls, plus Ray and Rianna breathing down her neck, Kirby pulls it out, winning her second individual immunity challenge of the season.

Knowing she’s now safe, Kirby tries to walk back the Rianna plan and shift the focus to Mark. She and Rianna speak with Caroline and Kitty to get assurances they’re on board for the Mark blindside. Kirby also checks in with Feras to tell him that voting out Rianna now will be bad for both their games, as with the challenge threat out of the way, they’ll become the next big targets.

Kirby isn’t wrong. With Rianna gone, it’ll be very easy for Caroline, Kitty, and Mark (all original Titans and former alliance members) to come together and wipe out Kirby and Feras. Plus, Ray has jumped ship on Mark’s insistence before, so if he’s looking for another highlight on his resume, taking out a Kirby or Feras could be appealing.

However, Feras isn’t having it. While he tells Kirby he gets where she’s coming from, he says the votes are on Rianna, and he and Ray will be voting with everyone else to take her out. It’s hard to hold this against Feras; Rianna is an endurance beast and could easily win out the rest of the challenges from here. They might not get this opportunity again. There are pros and cons to Kirby and Feras’ arguments, which is to be expected from the season’s lead strategists.

With Feras out on the Mark plan, Kirby is back to relying on Caroline and Kitty to vote with her and Rianna. And when it comes time for tribal, Kirby and Rianna seem confident with the plan, particularly Rianna, who whispers to Kirby, “I think we’re good.” This leads Kirby to lean over to Feras and tell him everyone is voting for Mark.

But, when the votes are read, it’s Rianna’s name on the majority of the parchments, with only Kirby and herself voting for Mark. In a rare misread from Kirby, she finds herself on the wrong side of the vote for the first time in a long time. Feras apologizes as they head back to camp, but Kirby takes it in good spirits, telling him, “Nah, you read it well.”

Only six players and six days remain in the game, and each person is capable of upsetting the apple cart. Kirby and Feras stand out above the pack with their more consistently strong games, but the others are no sheep. Caroline and Mark have made bold plays of their own several times this season. And Kitty and Ray, though considered to be followers, have flipped when they deemed it necessary.

There’s no telling where this bonkers season will go next, but I expect more chaos and paranoia before all is said and done.

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

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