Week two of Australian Survivor 2021: Brains vs. Brawn was an absolute clusterfuck and my head hurts just thinking about it. Let’s get started.
Last week, I placed Big Bad Simmo firmly in the loser category because, despite his endless ravings of making “big moves”, he failed every single time. As such, he quickly managed to land himself firmly at the bottom of the food chain on the Brawns tribe, and it wasn’t looking good.
I would’ve counted Simmo out because the unstoppable trio of Shannon, Flick and Kez – or the Powerpuff Girls of the outback – seemed poised to flick him like the booger he’s made himself out to be.
But, because ~television~ says so, Simmo spent his time at camp on Monday night desperately searching for an idol. And, because ~television~ says so, Simmo got his grubby little hands on one. Immunity for at least one tribal secured!
Cut to the Brawn tribe winning yet another reward later that day (toasties! maybe the first food-based reward of the season actually worth playing for IMO) and Simon has his eye on some hessian sacks. Because ~television~ says so, Simon hears an obnoxiously loud thump. How no one else heard it is beyond me. He scampers his little behind out of his tribe’s view* and unfurls yet another idol.
Two idols, in one episode, found by the same person. Simmo, you’re winning. Good for you hun.
*Except our lactose-dependent, gentle giant Gerald who spotted Simmo grabbing idol #2, and then ran and told the girls, and Simmo has no clue. The plot thickens and I am thriving.
Look, Benny’s not a loser because he played literally no role in the Brawn tribe throughout his time on the show. He’s not a loser because he was being weird in the challenge and was then blamed for the loss – though really the spelling of ‘Survivor’ (the literal name of the show these people applied for) as ‘Surviver’ seemed like a failure of Brawn collectively.
He’s not even a loser because he basically spoke out his ass until his own alliance turned on him at tribal council just so they wouldn’t have to hear it. Nope, none of that.
He is a loser this week because of stuff like this. Benny, it’s a no from me.
So far, Cara has felt like one of the most non-sequential players of them all. Copped little screen time, wasn’t making big moves, wasn’t in the Brains’ majority alliance and wasn’t exactly a challenge beast.
And then Tuesday night’s episode came along and Cara might just be MVP of the whole season thus far.
Cara is aligned with George, who has stopped at nothing to outcast himself from the rest of the tribe. Knowing he was next to go, Cara and George began scrambling for an idol, and would you believe Cara found one?! Why?
Because ~television~ says so <3
Cut to tribal council, and Cara rocks up with the idol around her neck – the second time in two weeks this has happened. Brains vs. Brawn is chaos. (I love it.)
As Jonathan LaPaglia is giving the tribe the third degree, Cara, George and Baden begin to play hot potato with the idol, sporadically passing it between them to throw the others off. However, the majority alliance – Joey, Laura, Georgia, Rachel, Hayley, Andrew and now Wai (which we’ll get to later) – had suspected they might have an idol ahead of time, and agreed to split the votes between George and Cara should one of them play it.
Votes cast, JLP asks if anyone would like to play an idol. Cara gets up, mumbles something about her kids and gives up her idol. But, she left the whole tribe shook when she said she wasn’t playing it for her – she was playing it for George.
George, beside himself at this point, continues to cry as JLP reads off the four votes cast for him – all of which are invalid. The remaining six votes? Three for Georgia, and three for Cara. It’s revote time baby, except now everyone has to vote for either Georgia or Cara, and Georgia and Cara themselves can’t vote.
Cara, knowing her fate is sealed, puts her backpack on and continues to tell George that everything’s OK as he struggles to comprehend why she did that. In an incredibly rare act of selflessness in Survivor, Cara threw herself under the bus to save George, who would’ve been eliminated if she didn’t play the idol for him.
Why? “I’m a mum,” she says. Bless.
Cara gets the majority vote and is sent packing, but as she ambles away from the Brains tribe, she finds another torch, a message and a red ‘Brawn’ buff. She’s leaving the Brains tribe, but she’s not leaving Survivor, and if that isn’t a delicious heaping of good karma, nothing is.
LOSER: THE ENTIRE BRAINS TRIBE
After an impressive immunity challenge winning streak from the Brains tribe – they’ve still lost 6 of 6 reward challenges – this week seemed to see the crumbling of almost any sense they had.
On Monday night, Joey, the self-imposed spokesperson for the Brains tribe, is still stewing in his anger over the move George pulled in episode one, which is essentially ancient history at this point. To be honest, he never really shuts up over it.
Then, at the reward challenge, George puts the whole tribe on blast in front of Brawn, giving some spiel about heroes, villains and snakes (?)
And speaking of not shutting up, Joey gets invited to the Brawn tribe’s reward of milkshakes and lamingtons (??) because they think he’ll talk. Much to their delight, he does! He tells them about George and his playing idol #1 (???) and how Mitch – the doctor, in case you didn’t hear – was merely collateral damage (????)
What??? Have they never seen this show before??? You cannot, and should not, under any circumstances give away your tribe’s beef to the other team. The Brawn tribe are hanging together by a thread and you don’t hear them quack on about it.
Cut to the immunity challenge, and it’s puzzle time once again. But, to the surprise of literally everyone, they opted to sit Wai out. Now, Wai is probably the weakest member physically on the team and she might have slowed them down when it came to this challenge’s more athletic components, but, this woman is an absolute BEEEEEEAST at puzzles, and she’s proven her worth time and time again. Having her sit out a puzzle challenge…unwise, in my professional, “never-played-Survivor-and-never-will” opinion. Coupling all that with the fact that Brains lost five out of six of the week’s challenges, they’re going to have to do some very hard work to get themselves back to being winners.
And I want Wai to make it to the merge so they best get a wriggle on.
George is, if nothing else, an enigma. By far the most interesting player this season, he consistently catapults himself between the top and the bottom of the food chain entirely of his own doing.
Now, that strategy (using that term loosely) has ensured him the most screen time of anyone, and ensured that he dominates literally every story arc of the Brains tribe, but has it helped him in the game?
Yes… but also no.
Take Sunday night’s episode, where George was gunning for Baden because Baden was gunning for George. Baden, on the out, goes looking for an idol of which he has the clue to. George, with Wai in tow, follows him, because he’ll be damned if Baden slips out of his slimy, politician grasp. And, astoundingly, George finds the idol stashed in a tree that Baden missed.
Here, George is a winner.
Brains win immunity and don’t go to tribal council, but at the beginning of Monday night’s episode, George’s cogs are turning and he thinks now it’ll be a good idea to get Baden on his side by telling him he found the idol Baden was looking for. An unlikely pairing, and one that could take down the majority alliance.
Again, George remains a winner.
Cut to that night’s tribal, and George plays his idol that by this point the entire tribe knew that he had. Some might call it bold, I think George just couldn’t keep a secret that he was so powerful. The majority alliance vote for Mitch instead – who voted for George anyway? – and George calls them all “ruthless”. Not wrong.
George played his idol with no need to, but none of his allies went home either. I’d say still a winner, but only just. Idols are there to be played.
Tuesday night, and everything goes ass up. George immediately confronts Rachel for changing her vote in front of everyone, making things very uncomfortable while also furthering his reputation as unpredictable. Rachel stands her ground, reminds him what show he’s on and keeps it pushing. George concedes defeat and walks off.
Here, George is starting to lose.
You have the aforementioned reward challenge where George expresses his dismay at the Brains tribe in front of everyone, which isn’t nearly the smartest thing to do before you have to go into a challenge as unified as possible.
George, you’re starting to look like a loser.
Back at camp, Rachel confronts George for his comments and says that she doesn’t think it does anything for tribe morale. A correct statement. George, however, sees it as a surprise attack, spits the dummy and walks off.
George is a loser.
Georgia, who seemingly popped up out of nowhere, opts to follow George to a) make sure he doesn’t find an idol b) because George was clearly upset and c) to let him air out his frustration.
George, you’re losing.
George, seemingly unprovoked, thinks Georgia’s trying to manipulate him, and sets his target on her resulting in the votes she received at the most recent tribal council. That same tribal council, he tries to guilt Wai into voting with him after she expressed very honestly that she might be reconsidering.
George, for the love of god, stop losing!
But of course, this is all happening at the same tribal council that Cara would eventually save him at!!!!!
So... George...a loser??? But also not???
This is all too much, I’m going to lay down. See you next week.
Survivor Australia airs on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play. Catch up on the episodes you missed here.
Editor’s note: Network 10 and MTV are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.