Heath Chick recaps the penultimate episode of Australian Survivor as the final four battle it out for a spot in the finale.
The penultimate episode of Australian Survivor saw Flick, El, Lee and Kristie attempt to reach the season’s finale following the shock elimination of Matt at last night’s Tribal Council. Like most viewers, I was utterly perplexed to see Matt as the one who was eliminated. I know that torrential rain can produce chaos when contestants are stuck under the shelter and can’t freely wander off to discuss plans, but for the life of me, I just could not understand how Lee and El couldn’t get on the same page with their vote and then why on earth Flick threw her vote at Matt. It’s the final five! Surely you make sure you know what everyone is doing! Flick was in prime position to take control of the game, but she got intimidated by El after letting friendship cloud her judgement. Let’s see if that decision costs her the chance to plead her case for the half million dollar prize.
With four players left, the strategic discussion is again a familiar tune with Flick trying to pull strings while the others just pull away. Lee, in particular, is protective of Kristie, like a parent would be of a three-year-old child. He doesn’t want Flick to whisper in her ear and influence her any further in this game. Flick knows that her only way back into this game is to reunite her friendship with El and try to re-align herself with the power couple. El says to Flick that she wishes that it didn’t happen as she really wanted to go with the final three with her. Flick seems consigned to the fact that she’s going home if she doesn’t win the next immunity challenge.
Meanwhile, Kristie is trying to figure out her best approach. She’s realised that it’s ok to work with people that she doesn’t necessarily trust if the outcome can be mutually beneficial. When the four come together under the shelter of camp, Kristie suggests that they each talk about something that has made them proud during their time on Survivor. Flick says she is just happy to have made it this far, and the experience has taught her to appreciate the little things in life. Kristie says she was proud to hold onto the pole for so long in one of the earlier immunity challenges. Lee’s proudest moment was building the shelter at Aganoa, while El pauses for a moment before saying how she’s proud to have stuck to her alliances.
With that subtle message, Flick realises she’s still in the bad books and has some major ass-kissing to do. “I don’t want to, but I think I have to,” says Flick. We then cut to camp and see Flick telling El and Lee that they are amazing people and have a fantastic chance to win. Not so subtle but the ass-kissing seems to have warmed the relationship.
The tribe then receive some tree mail. I’m surprised they are still checking the tree mailbox as it seems an eternity since we saw anything unusual happen in the game, but the four are pretty excited to learn that they are being treated to a feast, Samoan-style! They wander along the beach to find a fire pit, dry firewood, shelter and some chicken to cook as they are set to enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon!
However Flick rarely switches off from the game, and she offers to help start the fire. It seems a noble gesture, but it’s actually rather genius as she realises a two-two tie in the next vote will force a fire making challenge to decide who goes home. So what better opportunity to get in some fire making practice! Surprisingly, Kristie’s instincts are spot on as she says to the camera that she knows exactly what Flick is doing.
As the chicken is boiling, and Kristie is off collecting shells or something, Flick and El have another chat. Both seem sad about what has happened, and Flick tries to convince El that she should go to the final three instead of Kristie. “Your gameplay has been way, way better,” says El. El says that she looks to Flick like a little sister, but says that she just doesn’t click with Kristie.
Meanwhile, Lee is still bitter with Flick actually trying to play the game. “She’d sell her grandmother if she had to, to stay in the game,” says Lee. However Lee inadvertently helps sell Flick’s position in the game by reminding El that if they keep Flick, El is guaranteed to reach the final two whereas with Kristie, she would probably take Lee.
The tribe enjoy the chicken feast and call it a night. However, Kristie is not ready to sleep just yet as she sneaks off to practice her fire making skills, just in case!
The next day and it’s time for one of the biggest immunity challenges of the season! It’s a combination of challenges they have done earlier in the season. They first run through an obstacle course attached to a rope, before balance walking on a barrel. They will then tie sticks together to make a pole to reach a key that unlocks a gate before finishing the challenge with a puzzle.
Kristie powers ahead, but after struggling early, it’s Flick who surprisingly emerges from the first stage in the lead. She has some trouble on the barrel, and Lee shoots ahead. El and Flick are next with Kristie falling behind. Lee has time to construct a double-strength pole, and he reaches his key easily to get through to the puzzle first. He pulls the puzzle pieces from a basket, but crucially leaves three pieces sitting behind. Could we see an upset here?
El gets her key and Flick cleverly fashions a hook on the end of her pole to secure her key. Lee is struggling on the puzzle, and the girls are catching up. Lee finally spots the extra pieces he was missing and calls himself an idiot. However, by that stage, El seems to have worked out the puzzle that reads “Final Three Guaranteed” as she wins the challenge to secure immunity!
The contestants head back to camp and enjoy some sunshine with a swim in the ocean. Flick says to the camera that she feels that she’s the most deserving to win Survivor, but she always seems to be on the chopping block, so she’ll have to keep fighting all the way to the end.
Flick tries to convince Kristie that there’s no way she can win the last challenge against the physical threats of El and Lee. She also tells her that Lee and El have a plan to take each other to the final two. Surely that is blatantly obvious, but Kristie still seems uncertain of what she should do. She says that Survivor is her dream, but for someone who supposedly knows the game, she has struggled to make any strategic or logical moves in this entire game.
Flick is still the only one scrambling as she goes back to El. She says that she helped save Lee and El earlier in the game and hoped they would take that into consideration now. “I owe you for that,” acknowledges El. Flick then suggest that El and Lee split their votes for Kristie and Flick, and they will do the same, to force a two-two tie between Kristie and Flick. They will then have to go to a fire making challenge which seems a fair compromise.
El seems open to it, but Lee is quick to point out the flaw in the theory. While I’m sure Lee would love to support the idea in the spirit of competition, he realises that it exposes himself to a potential blindside if Kristie and Flick both vote for him. “Desperation is a stinky cologne, and her cologne stinks at the moment,” says Lee with some words of wisdom.
Flick continues to try and sell herself, but Lee is starting to freak out at all the strategy talk. “This is getting a bit Nick-ish,” says Lee, in reference to the strategy talk that led to Nick’s downfall.
The foursome head off to Tribal Council where they are greeted by host Jonathan LaPaglia and the ever-expanding jury. JLP talks to Lee about choosing between Kristie and Flick. He says he has a history with both – a 30-day alliance with Flick and as an original tribemate of Kristy. It’s a tough decision, but he says that he doesn’t trust Flick.
JLP then talks about the jury and asks the question, is it important to put someone on the jury who will vote for you to win the half million dollars? “Yeah I guess,” concedes El somewhat reluctantly. “If you want to win the game.” Who doesn’t want to win the game?!? It’s like the thought of planting allies on the jury is a foreign concept to these guys which is totally infuriating to watch.
El says she wants to take someone to the end who she trusts and has played the whole game with. Blah blah blah. She then blurts out that she’ll be taking Lee to the end. The jury raises their eyebrows at the frank admission and Kristie just nods her head in acknowledgment.
JLP has a slip of the tongue in asking Kristie if it’s a concern that, “They are taking each other to the end anyway.” “Who is they?” defends Lee. “You just threw my name in there!” Flick says that Lee said that to Sam. Lee doesn’t deny it, so they all seem to accept that as fact and move back to the original question to Kristie.
Despite the news of El’s intentions for final two, Kristie seems just to accept it and says if she has to win immunity then that’s what she’ll do. Nick nearly falls off his seat in the jury and the rest of them are just as dumbfounded. “Has she won a challenge, though?” questions Flick. “I’m here for a challenge, and I’m going to take that challenge on!” defends Kristie. “Good luck,” replies Flick. Flick says that she’s resting her game on Kristie voting with her for Lee and forcing a fire making challenge. “Wouldn’t that be fun!” says Flick.
It’s time to vote. The first two votes are for Flick; then there’s one for Lee. Could we have a tie? Nope, Flick gets the third vote, and she’s out in fourth place. It will be Lee, El, and Kristie who will compete in the finale for the chance of the half million dollars. It’s amazing that a power couple like El and Lee have been allowed to steamroll their way to the finale untouched. Flick and Matt had the right idea about breaking them up, but neither were able to execute a plan effectively.
For those who watch “The Jury Villa” extras on the Channel Ten website, you will have seen that Flick got a pretty icy reception from the other contestants when she was back at the hotel. It really is a shame to see as there’s nothing worse than a bitter jury. We had a few decent game players this season but far too many who preferred to take the moral high ground. This is not a game of honesty. Play it that way if you choose, but don’t persecute those who play the game with a higher intensity than that. The mantra is to “outwit” so when deception and manipulation are written in stone as the essence of the game, those who do outwit shouldn’t be made out to be bad people. It’s a game, and they’ve played it as such. For anyone to hold grudges or think they know the real person based on a character they’ve seen in a game, well, it’s just embarrassing. Get over yourself. Separate yourself from the game.
Finally, this is my final recap of the season, so thanks to Martin and Inside Survivor for the opportunity to write about a game and a show that I love. And if any of the casting crew for Season 2 are reading this, then please give me a call. Tasmanian Devils might look cute and cuddly, but this season certainly could’ve done with a creature that spins like an out-of-control vortex and devours anything that stands in its way!