Look, I don’t watch Australian Survivor for heart-warming, tender moments. I have Masterchef Australia for that. And, unless a forthcoming reward challenge is gonna give the tribes a chance to win a croquembouche, I don’t predict an overlap any time soon.
However, after last week’s clusterfuck of nonsense that both the Brains and the Brawn tribe put me through, this week’s events did give me a sliver of that warm, fuzzy feeling I get from hearing the Masterchef judges complement the perfect risotto. In the HEART, you pervs.
Now, that’s not to say week 3 of Australian Survivor was without its nonsense. The fact that someone was accidentally booted out is hysterical (we’ll get there). But with nonsense comes winners and losers, so put down your rice and lentils and let’s dive in.
WINNER AND THE ONLY WINNER: HAYLEY
I believe, with every fibre of my being, that no one in this series will have as flawless and as well-calculated of a winning streak as Hayley had this week. That includes whoever wins the whole damn thing.
Now, not to be that guy, but I always liked Hayley – I just never really had a reason to. As I quietly stanned my favourite pain researcher – and only pain researcher I’ve ever heard of – I counted down the days until she’d do something worth stanning, or anything at all really.
AND DID MY GIRL FUCKING DELIVER?!
Hayley woke up on week 3 and chose violence. But not George from Bankstown or Big Bad Simmo level violence. Her violence was going to be silent, efficient and leave little room for error.
At Sunday night’s reward challenge, JLP made it clear there was an idol hidden along the course. George, still in the game by the nobility of Cara and nothing more, obviously makes a B-line for it. But Hailey is hot on his tail. There’s a bit of scrambling, before Hailey grabs the idol, shoves it in her bike shorts for everyone to see, and carries on with the challenge as normal.
Brains lose, also as normal, and discussions ensue as Joey and F-R-I-E-N-D-S conspire to get George out, as per normal. Hailey, feeling messy, talks with Baden and toys with the idea of cutting the head off of the snake, and giving Joey the boot. Joey, blinded by his own ego, gets five out of nine votes, and Hailey single-handedly pulls off the season’s biggest blindside to date without even breaking a sweat – or playing an idol.
Cut to tribe swap, and Hayley gets to shuffle on over to the Brawn tribe running away from the bomb she just dropped before the dust has even settled, along with fellow Brains Wai, Andrew and Baden. Some days past, and on Tuesday night, both tribes are going to Tribal Council. However, both tribes competed for individual immunity – with each tribe having two up for grabs. Andrew and Wai (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) secure it for themselves, leaving Hayley and Baden the only two ex-Brains up for elimination.
But in a masterful display of survivor-ship, Hayley opts to speak to the tribe for “transparency” and outlines her situation. She knows Big Bad Simmo, Shannon, Chelsea, Dani and Flick will keep Brawn strong, and Hayley says she wants to keep Brains strong as well. So, since Wai and Andrew are immune, she tells the tribe that she is going to play her idol tonight, but she and Baden will play scissors-paper-rock after votes have been counted to see who she ends up playing it for. THIS means that the OG Brawns have a 50/50 chance of placing ineligible votes, which also means the ex-Brains can pick off any Brawn they want.
Like clockwork, the OG Brawns begin to crack. Shannon says she and Flick will vote for Chelsea, while also convincing Big Bad Simmo – who she has some sort of blood vendetta against him – to do the same, while also trying to get him to play one of his two idols. Big Bad Simmo – hell bent on Shannon’s demise since day 1 – calls bullshit, runs to tell Chelsea and Dani, and they decide they’re voting for Shannon. Both factions come to Brains with their plans, and the decision rests with them.
Cut to Tribal, and barbs are thrown between Shannon and Simon, as the Brains tribe scoff their face with proverbial popcorn. Hayley feigns her worry, but her plan goes off without a hitch. Votes made, JLP asks if anyone wants to play their idol, Hayley looks Simon dead in the face and says “not tonight”. Shannon gets the most votes, and following a bizarre discussion between all immune contestants about who should go out of her and Brains’ Laura, Shannon is given the boot, with Hayley still clutching on to her idol.
In the same week, Hayley spearheaded the removal of two of the game’s biggest threats, without having to play an idol that everyone knew she had. THAT is winning, my friends, and it would be a disservice to our new lord and saviour Hayley to dub anyone else a winner this week.
LOSER, AND THE ONLY LOSER: CARA
Cara won us all over last week with the sacrifice of her own position in the game to save George from Bankstown, before karma immediately rewarded her by instead pushing her to the Brawn tribe. Brawn welcomed Cara with open arms and open hearts, while George from Bankstown was left to wallow in his apparently imminent demise over at Brains, looking not unlike Anna Magnani in Rome, Open City (1945).
Cara helped secure the Brawn’s immunity win on Sunday night, and it seemed she would continue to win the way she did our hearts. But come Monday night, it all came crashing down in glorious and spectacularly stupid fashion.
Tribe swap found Cara back on the Brains tribe after a literal two day respite. She was back with George from Bankstown, who I’m sure almost wet himself with excitement, but she was also back on a tribe that successfully voted her out.
However, she was bringing some newfound Brawn allies with her in Emmett, Kez, Daini and Gerald. Fusing that alliance with her friendship with George from Bankstown, and the OG Brains – Laura, Georgia and Rachel – found themselves as the minority on their own tribe. Embarrassing!
Brains lose immunity in what was entirely Rachel’s fault, and tribal council looms. George from Bankstown has (correct) suspicions that Laura found an idol, and devises a plan to bypass it to ensure their alliance of six stays strong.
The plan is as follows:
- Kez, Cara and George from Bankstown vote for Georgia.
- Emmett, Gerald and Daini vote for Rachel.
This way, assuming Laura plays her idol for either herself or her allies, the votes will tie, and they’ll be able to revote on one target without having to worry about an idol.
It seems simple, right?
Well, George from Bankstown quickly realises he must be communicating in hieroglyphics because none of the OG Brawns understand. Emmett complains to camera that the plan isn’t simple enough, as George from Bankstown literally tells him who he is voting for. There is about five minutes of watching the alliance struggle to understand the concept, and five minutes of my brain cells suffering irreversible damage.
Cut to tribal, and things seem to be going ahead as normal. Laura plays her idol for Rachel, and the three votes cast against Rachel by Emmett, Gerald and Daini are nullified. Georgia receives two votes – yep, good – before JLP pulls out another name...and it’s Laura.
Georgia, Rachel and Laura band together with votes for Daini. This leaves the split at three votes for Daini and Rachel, two for Georgia and one for Laura. But Rachel was immune, meaning Daini got his fire snuffed in truly one of the biggest blunders ever seen.
Cara signed Big D’s death certificate by complete accident. It was like the exact opposite of the moves Hayley was pulling on the other camp. Just fantastic television folks. 10/10.
Since this was such a monumental fuck-up – one that she admits to relentlessly – we can’t really call anyone a loser. Sure, Joey’s ego and Shannon’s risky gameplay got them actually eliminated, but Cara fumbling her way through tribal council and booting off her own alliance member accidentally is a loss too powerful to compare.
HONOURABLE MENTION: THE TEAM SPIRIT! GOOD SPORTS! MATESHIP. ETC.
Australian Survivor is inherently an individual game, despite literally almost everyone on the show forgetting this very important fact. However, when it is tribe against tribe, you have to stick together and support one another otherwise you’ll fail.
This week had multiple instances of the challenges themselves pitting individual tribe mates against one another, with Sunday night’s immunity challenge containing a hidden immunity idol somewhere along the course. Tuesday night’s immunity challenge was an actual competition for individual immunity. However, in what has to be some sort of Australian Survivor anomaly, plenty of these instances showcased….great team spirit?
Now, lots of it has to do with Wai. Wai – who is by far the smallest contestant this season – has continually struggled with physical challenges. She’s unbeatable at games of intellect, but sometimes it feels like she can barely put one foot in front of the other. However, my girl tries her hardest and that’s what counts, damn it!!!
The first part of Monday night’s immunity challenge – the first challenge following Wai finding herself on Brawn – involved swimming to a platform with a thin beam with a ball in your hand, and then walking across the beam as it ricketed over waves. You fell, you had to start again.
Flick, big wave surfer and all-round champion, literally carried Wai and swam them both to the platform. Flick crossed the beam with little struggle, but Wai not so much. She takes one step, loses her balance, steps back on to the platform and slips straight on her ass. My tailbone hurt from just watching it. But, like the fighter she is, she keeps trying and keeps falling. Brawn continue to cheer her on, not sharing the defeatist silence Brains gave Rachel who similarly failed at the beam.
When Wai does manage to cross, everyone jumps and cheers for her, even giving her a big hug, despite there still being a challenge to finish? We love to see it!!! Besides, Brawn won so no real harm was done.
Cut to the individual immunity challenge, and both teams seem pretty set that they will help each other through the course until the final obstacle – throwing two sandbags onto a platform with your name on it and having them stay there. And, much to my surprise and delight, both tribes stick to their words (mostly)!
Baden, Dani and Big Bad Simmo end up bolting off towards the end, but every member of every tribe ends up making it to the sandbags before anyone has won. Andrew was first to have his bags stick, but when Wai managed to have both of hers stick, the tribe once again erupted into applause and cheer. They lifted her on their shoulders, even though most of them were vulnerable for elimination. Fuck, even tribe members of Brains began to cheer for her, despite still participating in the challenge and being on the opposite tribe.
This week made my cold, locked-down heart warm again, and tears well in my cold, locked-down eyes, but Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen were nowhere in sight???
I’m confused but elated, and I’ll cling to these feelings knowing that savagery and sabotage will fill me with unbelievable tension come week 4. Godspeed to us all.
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.