Logan Saunders recaps the sixth episode of Australian Survivor and asks if Mark W and Samantha learned anything from last season.
Australian Survivor: Stretching the Numbers
It’s a new week for Australian Survivor. Both tribes appear to be on a fairly straightforward trajectory that may be as stale as one of Jericho’s cookies for viewers who have grown accustomed to constant shakeups since the start of the season.
Or will there be yet another shakeup to surprise everyone at Tribal Council?
In the words of Darkwing Duck, let’s get dangerous.
Previously on Australian Survivor: Endurance athlete Samantha made the early running at Asaga while she made a strong bond with ex-soldier Mark. Henry and Jacqui see her as a threat and want her gone. Those plans have been frustrated by Asaga winning four straight immunity challenges despite Henry’s best efforts to lose.
At Samatau, wedding DJ AK played too hard at the start. The game’s biggest strategist changed tactic and worked hard to mend bridges and became part of the core alliance. But it was all part of his plan… AK picking the perfect moment to recruit a new alliance, and in the game’s first blindside he seized control of the tribe.
Nineteen are left; who will be voted out tonight?
AK said Aimee going home was the perfect scenario and the power shift has happened. We are reminded of the current majority with Peter’s vote being the crucial swing.
Jarrad said there is no need to defend their actions because votes went against AK.
AK: It’s safe to say the Misfits alliance is no more.
Locky says he and Tara now have to work their way back in.
LOCKY (to PETER): I can’t believe how good youse lied at Tribal Council…Like, I’m just upset with you, Pete.
Youse? What’s next? Somebody is going to say they are gutted?
TARA: I am PISSED off. I am really really gutted about Pete.
Well, I’ll be damned.
TARA: I’d rather go out proud knowing I stuck to my word (points at PETER).
PETER: You didn’t.
TARA: No. When Locky said he wants me to be a part of my group, what did I say? I need to bring Petey with me. Own it.
Since when is Peter a piranha from the Mushroom Kingdom?
Tara rambles some more.
TARA: AK, anything you say to me is nothing to me. You’re all puppets. He’s the mastermind and you’re all puppets!
Tara even proceeds to play a solo game of charades as she pretends to be puppets. It’s like a bad re-enactment of N*Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” music video. Tara doesn’t want to be a player in this game for twenty-two.
AK says Tara’s rant is perfect because there is no way in hell that Peter will go back to Tara.
AK: It is a dream result for me. I have gone from the bottom to the top.
OK, Drake. I guess you can’t spell DRAKE without “AK”.
Alright, Tara’s rant is going to upset a lot of people watching at home.
- a) She referred to everybody as AK’s puppets. Just six hours earlier she was sitting on the beach with everybody who was expected to eliminate Tessa, and Tara was the one who blurted out, “Let’s just vote out AK,” started laughing, and assumed everyone would go along with it. As if they were all, I dunno, puppets.
- b) Tara is probably upset that a guy she assumed would be a permanent clown after his day one antics has now completely outplayed her and will likely prepare her for a slow and agonizing death on Samatau.
- c) When things have not gone Tara’s way in the past, e.g. Eliminating Tessa, she is prone to self-righteousness. I am not saying Tara is a self-righteous person in her everyday life, but people who get angry tend to go the self-righteous route in their rambling before they can recover from their personal pain. It’s just human nature.
- d) If I am wrong and Tara is always self-righteous… Samatau may just throw the challenge, and unlike Zenry, probably succeed at it.
Ziggy Locky Anneliese
Tara Jarrad Tessa
Michelle Sarah Henry Ben
Mark W Kent Odette Jacqui
Jericho Samantha Luke
The first shot is of Kent’s upside-down crotch in the water. Wow. This is the first non-cookie scene for Asaga in two weeks. You’ve got to be kidding me.
Jacqui is on Kent’s shoulders. Sarah says backstabbing will be difficult because everybody is bonding so well. Everybody is getting along so well.
HENRY: It sucks. I am sick of all of this. I came on Survivor to do blindsides and make big moves. On day two, I made a plan to get out Sam. Mark and Sam. The power couple…They’ve got to be split up.
Calm down, Henry. It’s like you need to take up yoga or something.
Henry wants to be the power couple with Jacqui. He wants to bring in Kent as their third. He brags to Kent how unsuspecting everybody would be about such an alliance. What a conversation at the water well.
Henry is paranoid Samantha is bonding with other players to create numbers just like he is and is why he is seeking out numbers of his own.
Just chill, Henry. You are such a likeable guy. Bond with people, make connections, and you’ll likely have a ton of power.
Tara is pouting in a hammock.
TARA: I can’t believe how one Tribal Council flipped my game.
Welcome to Samatau.
TARA: I am not confident …I feel gutted.
What is this? Survivor New Zealand?
Tara sits silently with Peter before walking away. Locky walks away too. Both of them put all of their loyalty in Pete. Locky is really upset with Peter too as Peter laughs with AK.
AK: Last night was really cool and we did a really cool thing together.
PETER: Yeah, it was cool.
In the words of Abed, cool cool cool.
Tara starts imitating AK in the worst AK impression I have ever seen. Since when does AK walk with swagger and swinging his arms? Tara should stick to Survivor rather than impressions.
Peter says he just took a step into his own game rather than someone else’s game.
AK: We just did what they had tried to do but better and now they’re angry.
That sums up Survivor at Tribal Council fairly well.
AK and Peter talk about how decisions aren’t based on emotion, but who you choose to eliminate definitely triggers lots of emotion.
Locky and Tara assume Peter is at the bottom. If Peter is on the bottom of the alliance, then Tessa is on the outside.
Peter confirms Tara will be the next one to be eliminated. It’s like she has run out of people who want to work with her or something.
REWARD CHALLENGE #6
Asaga sees the new Samatau tribe.
SAMANTHA: Oh, baby baby.
JLP: Sam, what did you say?
SAMANTHA: Oh, baby baby. We’re all surprised by that.
I am more surprised they quoted Salt n’ Pepa.
JLP questions Tessa and Locky about food. Locky misses pizza.
Alright. Time for the challenge. It is time for the Yau-Man Balance Beam Erection Challenge.
Each tribe lines up on balance beams over the water. One person at a time will get by their tribemates to reach a platform. You cannot touch two people at once. First tribe across wins reward.
NOTE: The beam looks more like a tree tipped over.
The reward is an Aussie BBQ. It also looks like an American BBQ. Ben squeals. It is the first sound I have heard him make all season.
Mark W, Michelle, and Kent are on the bench. Sitting out the two biggest dues is a huge advantage. Not sure why Michelle is sitting out, though.
Sarah and Odette are the two smallest people on the tribe but both fall in. Odette fell in last.
Tara falls in followed by Samantha. There is a learning curve for contestants’ curves.
Ben does absolutely nothing. He looks really uncomfortable. Poor kid. I don’t think he is used to being this close to too many women. Sarah hugs Ben tightly. She warns him that he is pulling her. Ben falls in.
Tessa passes by an uncomfortable Peter to score the first point for Samatau.
Jericho is practically eating Ben’s armpit hair. This is hilarious. Both fall in like the challenge turned into a sumo match.
Ziggy is across for Samatau. It is 2-0.
Samantha passes by Ben and Sarah.
MICHELLE: Just stand like a pole and let her do the work.
Anneliese is across. Then Samantha.
Samatau leads 3-1. It is now Ben’s turn.
Ben is extremely awkward. Ben, Jacqui, and Jericho all jump in.
Locky and AK hug it out.
JLP: No matter what’s going on at camp, you have to work it out.
Way to tip the dynamics of Samatau to Asaga, JLP.
Locky pretends to do a diving motion as he passes by AK. It’s 4-1. Odette gets through.
ODETTE: F–K YEAH!
Tara is struggling just standing on the beam. She tries to pass Peter but Peter falls.
Peter and Tara communicate.
TARA: Trust me. There you go, Petey.
They made up, how cute.
Sarah just needs to pass Ben. As Sarah is about to touch the platform, Ben shakes which spooks Sarah off the platform.
Peter is across. 6-2. Only Tara and AK. Jacqui and Ben meanwhile fall in.
AK insists he has Tara. Tara gets by. AK walks across. Our first lopsided challenge victory of the season …and it’s another reward for Samatau that is down 11-8!
Do these guys ever win an immunity challenge? That’s five rewards in a row. Ridiculous.
Samantha says Ben and Michelle are offering the least to the tribe. Luckily it’s 11-8 in numbers and both will probably be spared given the current dynamics.
Ben performed about as well in that challenge as Slick Rick does at a test involving depth perception.
SAMATAU — DAY 14
The BBQ feast is huge. Production probably anticipated eleven people to enjoy this rather than just eight.
Locky joins the James Clement “Open the Beer With My Teeth” Hall of Fame.
LOCKY: I love standing in front of a BBQ.
I love long walks on the beach.
Yay! Not a strategy session. Everyone is happy. Oh, nevermind. Tessa talks about being in the majority.
TARA: I’m ecstatic! Then, of course, AK has to say. . .
AK: I’m just thinking where the clue would be.
EVERYONE ELSE: . . . . . . .
Cue everyone lifting baskets looking for a clue. Inside the BBQ. Underneath.
ANNELIESE: I’m just making the ice cups.
JARRAD: No, you’re not.
That’s so AK. Way to ruin a fun BBQ, AK. Although it seems like everyone is joking about the paranoia.
SAMANTHA: We haven’t won a reward yet.
Actually, you have. Samantha really sucks at this numbers game.
Samantha views her and Mark W as just mates. Articles on the Internet currently indicate otherwise.
Mark W, Samantha, and Luke are out in the water setting traps. All of a sudden Samantha is swept up. Luke and Mark W dive after her. Jericho is smiling.
JERICHO: …Oh, sh–.
I know Jericho is on the beach, but I can’t help but feel he is involved.
Luke grabs Sam’s arm and put her on the rocks. Endurance athletes can’t drown that quickly, right?
Luke brags about his arms being propellers.
And that’s the scene of how Jericho nearly got away with murder. Like, I know he was on the beach, but something doesn’t add up here. His alibi is too obvious.
Anneliese and Tara are strategizing on the sand.
ANNELIESE: I have hope. I think AK is gonna self-destruct… It’s only day 14 and we’ve never felt more divided than we do right now.
Either this confessional aired out of sequence, or Anneliese just learned why she was on the wrong side of the numbers.
Tara walks to Locky and Anneliese while everyone else stands around. Tara cries in a Disney-esque fashion.
TARA: I just want to let it out… I’ve just been so strong.
Everyone except Locky and Anneliese walks away. Now I feel bad for Tara. I can already hear the casuals rolling their eyes while watching this scene. Tara is going to be pissed while watching this edit, I imagine. Hopefully, she finds the comedy in it.
TARA:To have one lazy sh– who is going to destroy it all for … and he just gets to walk around and vote anyone off.
Hey, he can’t be that lazy if he can walk around. It’s more than what Dan Lembo can do.
Locky is upset because Tara is upset. He knows there is nothing they can do to topple AK.
AK: We’re on Survivor. Fight… That’s the nature of the game and only one of us is going to win. Don’t play the victim… Don’t sit back or else I am going to write your name down.
I can see that the one trait which would piss AK off the most would be someone who turtles over and doesn’t want to battle it out in the game, especially for AK who, on a scale of 1 to 10, plays at a certified 20.
Tara wipes her tears and is ready to fight. This is almost a duplicate of how she reacted to her whole conflict with Tessa. Tara takes that one day too long to stabilize herself and be able to reconnect with people.
Henry refers to himself in the third person as a caring person at home, but here he wants to switch on the game for 55 days and do whatever he wants.
Henry leads a yoga session with Odette, Jericho, and Luke to draw people in. This is hilarious.
Samantha watches the yoga session. She thinks everyone is being honest about what they do except Henry.
SAMANTHA: I don’t believe Henry is a yoga teacher.
SARAH: That’s stretching.
SAMANTHA: Yeah, that’s not yoga.
It takes the term “stretching the truth” to a whole new level when you lie about your job.
Samantha and Sarah both have the suspicion that Henry is not a yoga instructor.
SARAH: He’s telling a bit of a fib.
Henry–The Fit Fibber.
Samantha confronts Henry in front of the whole camp.
SAMANTHA: So where did you do your teacher training?
HENRY: Well, I did it online. I’m not really certified.
From Colombia University.
HENRY: It’s kind of like a personal trainer. Everybody is a personal trainer.
Should’ve just said LA. Or come clean and say you are a landscaper who previously played as an NFL Quarterback.
Henry notes that Samantha is picking up on cues about his deception.
HENRY: I just need her to go. This time I am going to throw the challenge. I need that control to get rid of her. I am going to do everything I can to make it happen. I am going to take that chance, and I need to take it.
If only he convinced Luke to let her drown in the ocean.
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE #6
JLP quizzes Sarah on what has made Asaga unbeatable in the past four immunity challenges.
LOCKY: I know what it is. It’s Henry… He’s a finisher. He takes it home every challenge. Every single one comes down to him throwing it or lifting something. He does well.
Such a great choice of words, Locky. Henry will indeed be throwing it. Just not in the way you expect him to. Great job, editors. I am still laughing.
Ben gives back the idol. He doesn’t fall on the ground in the process.
In today’s challenge, they will race through obstacles in the water. First, a high tower. Then a slide (Will’s favourite). Then a net crawl. Once on shore, they will use a machete to hack through a rope and release a bunch of puzzle pieces. Put the puzzle together and win immunity.
The puzzle is the classic fire puzzle we have seen in One World, Caramoan, Blood vs. Water, and probably other seasons of the American version of Survivor. Maybe it was in Game Changers, but alas, I blocked that season out from memory.
Jacqui, Odette, and Samantha are sitting out. What happened to Jacqui being fabulous and fifty?
Sarah and Henry are going to do the puzzle. Ah. Henry put himself on the most critical part of the challenge.
Each tribe can only send one person at a time to do the water obstacles. Locky beats Mark W to the beach. Tessa and Samantha end in a virtual tie. Kent does not fall from the slide too gracefully.
Peter develops a lead over Ben, but that is quickly neutralized when Luke passes AK. JLP constantly praises Luke. We know who production’s favourite is this season. Although AK can’t be too far behind.
Jericho is surprisingly agile for a guy on a low as Asaga now has a slight lead over Samatau.
Sarah demolishes Tara as Asaga has a big lead over Samatau. Zenry is the last to go. He doesn’t appear to struggle. I think he just wants this puzzle to be botched.
Mark W starts chopping at the wood. Locky is going crazy with the machete like he is channeling his Inner Jericho, but is not making rapid progress.
Asaga releases the puzzle. Samatau does too.
JLP: The puzzle in Survivor is always the great equalizer.
Man, Kent would do better at this puzzle than an apathetic Henry. Sarah is the only one putting pieces in. Anneliese and Tessa are crushing them.
JLP: It’s like Henry is stalling over there…He is a little confused now… Henry looks quite tired. He is walking through it like a zombie.
Henry starts pulling pieces out.
It’s over. Samatau wins. Asaga could have easily won that puzzle and gain an enormous four person advantage.
For the first time in thirteen days, Asaga shall return to Tribal Council.
HENRY: We lost that challenge because I didn’t want to win that challenge. Going into tonight I have complete control, and after tonight I’ll have even more control.
If you have complete control… then why throw it? If there is any sort of switch next round and anybody wants to defect from original Asaga, Samatau will now have control.
Mark W says it is the final task that always gets them all two times they lose. That final task of crossing the balance beam also screwed them over.
Henry confirms how I assumed he was attempting to throw the challenge. Hopefully going from a four-person advantage to two-person advantage just to eliminate Samantha will be worth it.
Henry tells Samantha and Mark W that the plan is to split the vote between Michelle and Ben. Meanwhile, Henry has to talk to eight other people to vote out Samantha.
HENRY: Sam is going to everyone for information. She is playing this game too hard.
Isn’t it just the worst when people play too hard?
Sarah finds this situation to be complicated. Sarah wants more time to think about it. Unfortunately, thirteen days is about as much time as you are going to get in Survivor.
Samantha approaches everyone. The women are supposedly voting Michelle and the men are voting Ben.
SAMANTHA: This game includes paranoia, and I don’t feel safe.
MARK W: Something’s not right… My spider sense is telling me this is not something clear cut.
Imagine if Peter Parker got a job in Special Ops rather than as a photographer? He probably wouldn’t have as much access to chewing gum.
Mark W talks about being in war zones and one of the skills is judging how to read people. He is going to talk to people and watch people talking. This is going to get creepy.
Mark W defines Sarah as a chameleon. He talks to her first. Mark W awkwardly stares at Sarah as she keeps talking and she is squirming.
SARAH: Mark is scary.
Yeah, he just stared at you from one foot away for the past ten minutes.
Mark now talks to Jacqui. He thinks Henry and Jacqui are pulling the strings. After the conversation, Jacqui concludes that Mark is onto something.
Mark now speaks to Luke.
Kent fears Mark’s reaction will make him turn into a bulldog. Kent just jokes around with Mark.
KENT: I’ll be honest, nobody is chatting with me.
Mark’s eyebrows raise. Kent knows Mark thinks he is lying. Now Kent wants to target Mark before Sam.
Mark wants an enemy rather than a traitor. If Henry and Jacqui betray him, he will put their necks on the chopping block.
For a tribe that has eleven people and hasn’t been to Tribal Council in thirteen days, this has been a very calm strategy scene. Mark and Sam aren’t even proposing a counterplay to what Mark assumes will be a blindside.
TRIBAL COUNCIL #6
KENT: No one likes Tribal Council usually.
Yoga masters are unusual people.
Kent says it is sometimes good to go to Tribal Council. JLP repeatedly makes fun of him for that answer. Then JLP makes fun of Mark for a diplomatic answer regarding what went wrong in the challenge.
Sarah says some people fit into a naturally high contribution role and some who default to a lower contribution role because of what they do in their regular life.
MICHELLE: My experience with camping is staying at a three-star hotel… I honestly am trying.
BEN: I don’t have much experience with camping. I still live at home and yell at my mom to make me dinner.
Excuses, excuses. Nah, just kidding. It’s tough to keep up with military dudes and endurance athletes.
Luke jokes that Henry and Sarah screwed it up big time.
SARAH: It is a classic Survivor error where people play too hard too early… You don’t want people to be paranoid and you don’t want people constantly strategizing with you.
The mystery is who is Sarah talking about.
SAMANTHA: I don’t think being sociable is the reason to vote someone out yet; it should still be all about keeping the tribe strong.
Michelle defends herself saying challenges are important but you can’t keep someone if they won’t keep you alive through to the next round.
Sarah says she thought she wouldn’t get along with Michelle, but now they spoon every night.
Mark W says being to trust somebody who you can talk about things outside of the game is important. Henry says it is more important to keep the tribe strong. Jacqui says tight bonds may have strategy talks or be discussing quinoa recipes.
JACQUI: It’s like a game of Monopoly. You could be playing with your best friend. You could hit Mayfair and think, “I might buy it”. You just buy it. Then put hotels on it and wipe her out.
Mayfair? What f–king version of Monopoly is she playing? That doesn’t sound like Atlantic City to me.
Samantha said the first Tribal Council was an anomaly because nobody knew each other. Now it will be much more indicative of where the tribe will go.
JLP asks if Michelle, the woman who hasn’t had a single confessional yet this episode, feels safe tonight. Let’s just say she has mixed feelings on whether or not she is safe.
After a really long TC Q&A that I greatly shortened, it’s time to vote.
I can’t get over The Sims icon being the paper weight.
JACQUI (voting SAM): It’s no doubt you’re a mover and a shaker. You moved and shook this game far too quickly for my liking.
Samantha writes down Michelle and hopes she goes instead of her.
JLP has his arms folded in the most macho pose ever.
FIRST VOTE: Michelle
SECOND VOTE: Michelle
THIRD VOTE: SAM
FOURTH VOTE: SAM
FIFTH VOTE: SAMANTHA
She cries. Her tears are magically delicious to Jacqui.
SIXTH VOTE: SAM
SEVENTH VOTE: Samantha
EIGHTH VOTE: SAM
She’s out. Let’s just say the vote wasn’t as close as Asaga’s last Tribal Council. 9-2. Yikes.
Samantha’s torch is smuffed. Away she goes.
JLP says strategy may not be the topic of every conversation of strategy, but every conversation is strategic. Watch out for those quinoa recipes.
Next Time on Survivor AU: With Sam gone, Mark is on the warpath. New battle lines are drawn.
Samantha is disappointed and the social game is why she is out because she didn’t talk to enough people.
LUKE (voting SAM): I told you ten times Sam, “No, we’re not voting you off”. For the eleventh time, “We’re not voting you off!”
Henry’s voting confessional surprisingly goes unaired.
Samantha realizes she can’t play small even though she is really small.
So, Samantha is gone. The endurance athlete barely makes it a quarter of the way through this marathon. How poetic.
Now for those of you who don’t know Samantha was the subject of a major controversy involving LG–nah, just kidding.
In this season of Survivor, romantic couples are a really bad idea. After watching Lee and El dominate every social dynamic last year as a romantic pair, there is absolutely no way in hell anybody is going to get away with that this year. People aren’t going to fall for a trap which they watched and took notes on for over twenty episodes less than a year ago.
In fact, Lee was a former professional athlete and El was twenty-seventh generation military.
Mark W? Military. Samantha? Professional athlete.
If Mark W and Samantha swapped seasons, you’d probably see El go home at Tribal Council tonight. Rohan would have been the one to say “screw you” in this scenario.
It didn’t help matters when every scene we saw with Mark W and Samantha showed them together except for when Mark went on a last second interrogation mission hours before Tribal Council. They really needed to separate a lot more despite what feelings they have for each other.
…Especially when those feelings have been confirmed as multiple media outlets have published that Mark W and Samantha are in fact dating.
Samantha and Mark are too intense of a pair for a tribe that involves goofballs like Jericho and Luke, not to mention they didn’t bond with people they thought were weak like Michelle and Ben. Nobody wants to be shunned by the over-controlling Hear Me Roar jocks. Samantha and Mark were better off befriending the weakest members of the tribe rather than relying on people as sharp and as competitive as they are–sometimes people do not want iron to sharpen iron.
Now to Henry. Throwing a challenge when nineteen people are left could be the worst time to do it. Survivor loves to split into three tribes when eighteen players remain nowadays, and possibly sacrificing trust with your own allies right before you might need them on a tribe with a Samatau majority could have been deadly, especially after Locky says you are the biggest threat in the whole game.
If I was terrified of Samantha, I would have waited one more round to confirm a switch is not coming anytime soon. Furthermore, throwing a challenge where you would still preserve a three-person advantage over the other tribe that has been competitive in challenges is a far more attractive option than a measly two-person advantage.
It would have been nice to see Samatau reacting to winning immunity for the first time in five rounds. You can’t tell me they didn’t have a few over-the-top antics when they returned to camp. It would have been more entertaining than watching a Tribal Council that was edited to be three or four minutes too long, and Mark W’s helpless interrogation scene that could have been cut by a minute.
I don’t think Locky or Tara will last much longer in this game. This episode reaffirmed my assumption that Tara always takes that one day too long to heal wounds with her tribe, and Locky is too much of an alpha to really fade into the background and become a subordinate to somebody else’s wishes.
By the way, after 400 minutes of airtime, Odette, Michelle, and Ziggy have only one confessional. However, Michelle did get a boost thanks to plenty of content at Tribal Council this round.
As for Ben? Zero confessionals. Some people will say he is one away from tying Purple Kelly’s record, but keep in mind Australian Survivor‘s episodes are so long that his silence is equivalent to Purple Kelly going TEN episodes without a confessional.
It doesn’t help matters much when he is showcased a bit more this round because he was really weak at the reward challenge and was pointed out as a weak person around camp.
Furthermore, the official Australian Survivor drew an alliance map a week ago, and everybody was looped into at least one alliance except for one person. Yes, that person was Ben. I love Ben.
The fans are expecting these two tribes to be split into three by the middle of next round. . .but what if they don’t?
And will Mark be able to recover? If you are an alpha and your tribe has more members than the opposing tribe, you are in a much more expendable position. Let’s see if an alliance of nine can crumble faster than an alliance of eight.
Goodbye, Sam. Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta shall play as you run at a steady pace into the sunset.