Logan Saunders recaps the nineteenth episode of Week 9 of Australian Survivor featuring next-level gameplay.
Australian Survivor: The Lukewarm Champagne Alliance
Previously on Australian Survivor: Luke hit the jackpot at the Survivor auction. He won every single item on offer. That included an overnight luxury spa with Michelle and Tessa which proved to be a game-changer. The champagne alliance was born. When Tessa won immunity, master strategist Henry had no idea what was coming. But at Tribal, his confidence became his downfall.
Nine are left; who will be voted out tonight?
Hey, a hermit crab is crawling on the beach.
TARA: This is Survivor and Tribal, so of course nothing went to plan.
Welcome to this season, Tara.
Tara isn’t upset because Henry was a huge threat. She thinks Luke, Jericho, Sarah, and Michelle flipped. She knows people didn’t trust her on the vote because they assume she would have told Locky.
Everyone talks about the blindside in the shelter.
LOCKY: I knew you guys were gonna do it. I told him to play his idol…He is so stubborn. The whole time he was digging his grave.
Locky is sad because Henry left and was his closest ally even though he knew Henry was going. He acknowledges Tara is still his closest ally and will need to find a way in as him and Tara cuddle on a slab of bamboo.
By the way, this isn’t hindsight bias on Locky’s part–we really did see footage of him at Tribal Council telling Henry to play his idol.
Ziggy Locky Tessa
Michelle Peter Sarah
Everyone is all smiles.
LUKE: Tribal played exactly like I thought it would.
Man, he and Henry are going for the record with having the “I knew what was happening at Tribal Council” confessional at the start of each episode.
Luke talks about the blindside in front of everyone.
LUKE: How long have I been waiting for this, bro? You know me, and I always said, “I’ll get you. I’ll get you, bro”…then last night, see ya.
JERICHO: Well tonight the joke is on you.
Luke is having fun watching everyone else take credit for the blindside.
MICHELLE: -I- am responsible for the blindside of Henry and I am damn proud of it.
TESSA: I have taken a lot of power out of the group.
SARAH: Henry walked out of the game and that basically comes down to two people: Me and Jericho.
JERICHO: I just slayed the spartan warrior and he didn’t see that coming.
LUKE: They can fight over the credit, but the story is that I am the true mastermind…It’s another trophy in the trophy room.
What a great piece of editing. Good job, editors.
Luke casually goes fishing.
Michelle, Tara, and Ziggy go into the jungle. They catch up on the state of the game. Ziggy tells them she fears it is her next. Good thing she has an idol.
ZIGGY: You and Locky are a pair. You and Sarah are a pair. Luke and Jericho are a pair. Tessa and Peter are a pair and I am like “Hi, I am here everybody!” Everybody is trying to form a five, and I can be that fifth.
Why is Ziggy telling Michelle and Tara this? Hide that you are in the Vanessa Rousso or Natalie Anderson position. It’s a very dangerous position to be in.
LUKE: Eliminating Henry the Dictator is like putting in a new government. There’s a new president, a new mayor in town. And I’m starting to call the shots.
Aren’t you the king? The ayatollah? The chief? The leader? The bossman? How many other titles have you assigned to yourself, Luke?
Luke reminds us of his spy shack from the season premiere. It is three metres from the water well.
Tessa and Ziggy go to the well. Luke sprints into his spy shack.
LUKE: Like a creep.
And not the TLC kind.
Luke said part of the Champagne Agreement was that Tessa isn’t allowed to work with Ziggy anymore. Uh oh. Full on strategy talk occurs.
TESSA: I think Jericho is the person I’d like to take out next.
Luke sticks out his tongue in the jungle. Champagne Alliance is erased like a deleted hashtagged tweet.
Well, that was a quick day 41.
Jericho and Michelle sit together. Jericho starts rubbing her knees. Everyone else giggles. They watch a shark swimming in the water. Everyone is excited.
LOCKY: Ah, I won’t be able to get that.
LUKE: You don’t know that…It’s low tide. I’ll do it.
LOCKY: I’ll go.
Just like that, the most macho exchange happens.
Locky is in the water. The shark swims away.
LUKE: I knew that would happen.
Luke just wanted to dupe Locky for his own amusement, eh?
Locky throws up his hands in despair to the wind as if to say “what the hell?”
Michelle has her millionth “everyone underestimates me” confessional. This is the slight downside when you get to episode nineteen of a season–the editing of some of the contestants can get a bit repetitive.
MICHELLE: I call it as it is.
Locky decides to ask everyone how many Tribal Councils their name has come up. Michelle says her name has come up six times.
LUKE: It didn’t come up in the Mark one, Michelle.
MICHELLE: Yeah, one.
It’s a good thing past votes is not the tiebreaker in Aussie Survivor.
MICHELLE: I’m not sympathetic in hearing their stories. I’m not the Sarah who needs to walk around and be friends with everyone here…I know what moves I want to make next.
Michelle trusts Sarah the most and knows Luke and Jericho have her back. Combine it with her Champagne Alliance, and she has five out of the other eight in her corner. Michelle knows everyone is onto Sarah’s strategy of attempting to play everyone.
Sarah sits herself down between Ziggy and Michelle.
SARAH: We could do an all-girls thing, including Petey. Not including Tara. That’s five out of nine. We could get rid of Luke or Jericho or Locky.
Sarah refuses to give up on taking Petey to the end, eh? She must know Petey is her closest ally other than Tessa.
MICHELLE: She is taking it in directions that I will not.
That’s one thing going for Michelle–she is very upfront with her strategy and doesn’t make pointless deals or flake out on anyone.
Ziggy and Michelle rat out Sarah’s plans to Petey and Tessa. Ziggy finds it funny that Michelle is turning against Sarah. She knows it is scary to work with Sarah because nobody ever knows what side she will pick.
ZIGGY: I don’t believe a word that she says.
Either Sarah will get eliminated soon or will be a great goat to take to the end as the ultimate “flipper” in Survivor history.
MICHELLE: I don’t know how long she is gonna last.
Neither do I.
INDIVIDUAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE #4
The snakeskin talisman is back up for grabs.
JLP asks Jericho how Henry being voted out has affected the tribe. We get a boring answer. JLP asks Ziggy how important it is to win immunity. We get another boring answer.
Talisman is back up for grabs. There we go.
In this challenge, they must balance an idol on top of a pole. At regular intervals, they will add another section to the pole. Once the idol falls, you’re out. Last person that keeps their idol standing will win individual immunity.
Another unoriginal immunity challenge. Very few unoriginal challenges this season, but we now have two in a row. I guess the mid-merge phase does not rely on challenge creativity in contrast to Tribal Council blindsides.
The last time we saw this challenge play out was in Second Chances when a lack of blood circulation led to Joe and Keith fainting.
It is extremely windy at the start of the challenge.
LOCKY: The wind is crazy.
That seems to be the name of the game as this episode airs on TV during a horrific hurricane season here in North America.
Everyone survives the first section. We are not told of the time lapse of these “regular intervals”. Wind is picking up.
SECTIONS OF POLE: 3
The sections of pole seem much larger than the American version. They are like Leif-sized.
Everyone makes it through the transition. The wind keeps growing.
JLP: Some are keeping their eyes on the idol; others have their head down, focusing.
Henry probably has his eyes down.
SECTIONS OF POLE: 4
Nobody has dropped. The poles are now three metres in the air. Even though I live in Canada, I use feet and inches.
A gust of wind pushes Jericho out then Tara then Locky. They are shivering. Michelle and Tessa are eliminated without warning.
Sarah is nearly knocked out by her own idol. JLP says this all takes place in a matter of seconds.
Sideways wind and rain are hitting them.
LUKE: This is too easy, Jonathan.
You can hear the wind on the audio. Yikes.
Petey looks bored. Luke is the only one talking.
SECTIONS OF POLE: 5
Petey does not make it through the transition. It’s down to Ziggy and Luke. If Ziggy can take this talisman, she should be safe for a while.
JLP reminds them of the pain their neck must be in.
Ziggy’s idol wobbles. Luke’s idol is shaking. Down it goes.
Ziggy wins individual immunity.That core strength paid off.
TESSA: Nothing else matters except that Locky did not win…This is a door to get Locky out of this game.
Hopefully, Tessa is not blinded by her six-week rivalry with Locky.
Luke congratulates “The Zigster” on her win. I wonder if she is related to The Dougler from Undergrads?
ZIGGY: That one felt like a bit of luck.
A bit of luck in terms of whether or not you faint.
Tara says this is the first day since merge that she is freaking out, and tonight might be her night…and not in a good way.
TARA: Locky and I need numbers to get Sarah out…I would never turn to Tessa and Petey for numbers in a million years, but to stay in this game I have to go with that alliance. Old Samatau crew.
Was it ever an alliance?
Tessa tells Locky and Tara she will vote with them.
LOCKY: We go Sarah. Happy days.
If only Henry Winkler was on Samatau.
Tara says Sarah is dangerous, and Locky thinks the Samatau crew can fight it out at five.
TESSA: We very scarily fight it out at Final Five. Whatever. At least we made it to Final Five.
LOCKY: I’ve heard you say that before.
TESSA: I’ve heard you say that before too.
TARA: Children, we’re trying to work together here.
LOCKY: So yeah, happy days then.
Now we need Ron Howard.
Asaga Unity has been proven despite their previous differences…Samatau? Not so much.
Tara is very nervous because everybody is saying it will be a simple vote tonight, but it hasn’t been like that since merge.
Tara pulls Locky aside saying it is too easy. Locky insists Tessa is telling the truth about eliminating Sarah. Tara is hesitant because Ziggy, Tessa, and Petey all voted her out of Samatau. Tara is finally convinced that Sarah is the target.
TESSA: I am so hopeful that this is the day I get rid of old mate Locky.
Tessa admits it is all a deception. Her real plan is that the Champagne Alliance will do a vote split between Locky and Tara, then eliminate Locky on the revote.
Luke does not want to do a split when all six of them chat. Michelle and Tessa convince him to do a split. Tessa does not want Locky to get any deeper into the game because his threat level grows.
SARAH: Are you sure you have all of the numbers?
Has anybody been sure of anything since merge? Well, other than Luke.
MICHELLE: Today is clean and simple. Locky is going home.
JERICHO: We’re already ready.
All nine players are convinced it will be an easy vote. The only difference is everyone has a different target.
It will be girls on Tara and boys on Locky.
MICHELLE: Let’s just say it one more time–Girls on Tara. Boyyyys on Locky.
TESSA: We can tell you’re a nanny.
JERICHO: Boys on Michelle.
MICHELLE: Then kids go “I forgot who I’m voting for!”
Jericho wants the men on Michelle? Let’s keep this a family show, guys.
Luke tells us the real deal Holyfield.
LUKE: We’ve got the fake plan which is the split vote between Tara and Locky. Then I’ve got the real plan which is spitting out the Champagne Alliance, going behind Michelle’s back and Tessa’ back to get out Tess.
Simple vote, guys.
Luke and Jericho talk about eliminating Tessa in the jungle.
LUKE: Tess is in the middle of Pete and Ziggy. She can go to Tara and those people.
Luke doesn’t want Tessa to start calling the shots and splitting the vote after working together on just one vote.
LUKE: There’s only one boss around here.
Does his name rhyme with Duke?
Luke, Jericho, and Sarah sit together. They convince Sarah to get Tessa out. Sarah wants to vote out Locky.
Jericho says if they get the idol then Samatau will want Sarah out next.
SARAH: Oh, okay.
Whatever. Sarah will just do whatever. She’s a honey badger.
Luke knows he can’t tell Michelle because she will tip off Tessa about the plan. Jericho likes that Michelle won’t know.
JERICHO: ‘Cause I don’t like it when she gets so cocky.
Asaga isn’t as tight as we think.
Sarah is aware her name is up for elimination. She doesn’t know whether to side with Luke and Jericho or the Champagne Alliance.
I wonder how much producers have coached Asaga, Tessa, and Petey into using the term “Champagne Alliance”.
SARAH: Tonight it can be anyone.
Considering the highest number of votes anybody is going to get is three if anyone’s plan goes according to plan (except Locky and Tara). My god this is going to be a mess. It really could be anyone.
TRIBAL COUNCIL #20
(JOAN)-(ADAM)-(KATE)-(MARK H)-(AIMEE)-(SAMANTHA)-(MARK W)-(JACQUI)-(KENT)-(AK)-(BEN)-(ODETTE)-(JARRAD)-(ANNELIESE)-(HENRY)
Henry enters Tribal Council with the hidden immunity idol around his neck. Luke sends a ‘hang loose’ sign to him.
JLP: Tara, last Tribal you said the last vote was pretty straightforward; pretty easy.
TARA: Ha! I’m never going to say that again.
She just did. Ten minutes ago.
Tara acknowledges she said it earlier today but knows it means it won’t be straightforward then.
Michelle says plans have been shifting hourly. Locky agrees. By the way, I love Jarrad’s scrunchie.
Ziggy says people will back off if they make too many big moves in a row because your target will grow instantly. Tessa says that it is indeed true.
TESSA: There are all sorts of different targets.
Tessa finally sums up everyone is a target.
JLP: Put your hand up if you think you can still completely trust somebody in this game.
Michelle, Sarah, Tessa, Petey, Locky, Tara.
SARAH: For how many votes though is a different question. You have to reassess after every vote.
In other words, Sarah shouldn’t put up her hand.
JERICHO: I think I’ve heard multiple people say the word “I’m with you one hundred percent” and I don’t like that because they can’t be with you one hundred percent.
Unless they are a Final Two ally.
They discuss temporary trust versus extended trust.
JLP asks for everyone to put their hand up if they have never lied in the game.
Luke jokingly puts his hand up. That’s a lie right there. JLP wonders how the hell they can completely trust somebody despite everyone lying. We get a bunch of temporary trust answers.
Jericho relies on his history book of everyone else’s actions. JLP asks Jericho what his vote will be about tonight.
JERICHO: To assassinate a threat.
And knowing Jericho, it will be a beheading without any mercy whatsoever.
It’s time to vote.
Jericho writes down Tessa.
Locky writes down Sara L.
LOCKY: You’re a huge social threat.
Petey writes down Locky.
PETEY: You’re our biggest threat in this game, and I don’t know why no one has realized it though. Hopefully people have realized it and tonight you go home.
We know Tessa and Petey are voting Locky. Luke and Jericho are voting Tessa. Locky and Tara are voting Sarah.
Wanna play your idol for somebody Zig to make it even more confusing?
Ziggy does not play her idol.
MIKE GOLDBERG: Here. We. Go!
Sarah covers part of her face.
FIRST VOTE: LOCKY
SECOND VOTE: TARA
THIRD VOTE: LOCKY “MAN”
FOURTH VOTE: TARA
FIFTH VOTE: Sara L.
SIXTH VOTE: Sarah
SEVENTH VOTE: Tessa
Tessa swallows. Tara and Locky are confused.
EIGHTH VOTE: Tessa
Four-way tie with two votes. I haven’t seen anything like this.
FINAL VOTE: TeSSA
ANNELIESE: Oh my god.
(LUKE grins and bumps JERICHO’s shoulder.)
LOCKY (to ZIGGY): You voted Tessa?
Tessa’s torch is smuffed. She smiles and waves. I doubt she has figured out what even happened, and most of the audience doesn’t either.
Three separate plans collided for one of the most ridiculous post-merge Tribal Councils ever seen that didn’t involve mass idoling.
Next Time on Australian Survivor: Left in the dark by her own alliance, Michelle is on the warpath.
TESSA: That was absolute madness. I am bewildered by the decisions that people make in this game. I don’t know if that was a planned targeted attack.
SARAH: Actually, you’re not the person I want to go home but I am taking a gamble and hoping this vote is not my undoing.
Tessa doesn’t think she is a bigger threat than Locky. She is happy with how she played.
TESSA: As opposed to how happy I am with the other people who have played the game like total dummies because they obviously should have kept me in over Locky…I can’t believe Locky’s beat me!
You know what? I think Tessa and Petey are the only ones who viewed Locky as a major threat. Luke and Jericho obviously viewed Locky as somebody they could easily outwit, outplay, and outlast. Not to mention Tessa has been stronger in every post-merge challenge than Locky except for today’s challenge where Locky won by 1.2 seconds.
Tessa rallied multiple times from the bottom and put together temporary alliances which forged long-term bonds. You know what? Tessa was probably the biggest threat left in the game. Luke had the perfect read on the situation.
A 3-2-2-2 vote with no idols is something you would see in an Online Reality Game rather than Survivor on TV. It almost always narrows down to two plans with maybe one rogue vote. It can’t get any closer than that at this stage of the game.
Henry held onto an idol for an unprecedented thirty-six days without playing it, and now Tessa goes home in the closest vote ever. Jarrad didn’t see his blindside coming. Anneliese played an idol when Ziggy canceled her own idol.
It is easily the craziest post-merge stage I have ever seen. Other seasons see shakeups frequently, but there are big enough core bonds or underlying alliances that you knew who was going to make it to the end.
But this season? It has been a complete mystery. Luke has kept Jericho in the dark about some of his plans. Sarah is now playing triple or quadruple agent while being transparent about it. Because of this Michelle doesn’t really want to trust Sarah. Locky and Tara are tight but they are at the absolute bottom of any dynamic they have been involved in over the past several rounds. Ziggy has been insecure about her position in the game for a while now. Petey’s closest allies were AK, Jarrad, and Tessa–now they are all gone he will be confused as to what to do. Sarah is trying really hard to keep Petey but will Petey buy that?
That is a lot of information to digest in one paragraph, and that is pretty much my point.
Locky and Tara are essentially the Zhan Hu minority. Sure, they -could- be the easy vote if you so choose or you can use their stray votes and targets to your advantage and get whoever the hell you wanted out of this game.
Now that Michelle has been left out of the first core Asaga plan for a very long time, she may be what it takes to split up Luke and Jericho. There is no idol for them to use, and Michelle is an extremely persuasive force in this game.
For anyone who has known what I write about Survivor and TAR over the past several years, I tend to have this know-it-all attitude about 90% of the time or an “if this doesn’t happen then it must be this”.
However, this is a very rare time where other than ruling out Locky and Tara as not winning, I have absolutely no idea how the rest of this game will play out.
Sarah is a quadruple agent. Shouldn’t you get her out before you need to rely on her vote?
Luke and Jericho are a tight bond who like to go after big threats. Because players think of themselves as big threats, shouldn’t you go against them?
Michelle is a hell of a talker at Tribal Council, and when you sit down to think about it, she has survived a lot of heat at camp and at Tribal Council. And most of the time you don’t even see it coming.
Ziggy is extremely strong in challenges and has an idol. Her social game isn’t the greatest and is frequently outwitted, but couldn’t she be taking up your spot?
Locky and Tara aren’t to be taken seriously, but what if everyone views them as much of a goat as you do? Shouldn’t you take them out so others have to choose you?
And Petey. The man is such a variable. What the hell is he going to do?
No easy vote should be an easy vote. Hell, could this finally be the time where Old Samatau reunites to form a deadlock, and Michelle flips to avoid rocks and send Luke or Jericho go home?
That would be the easy vote most likely to happen…but that would be the easy vote. That can’t really happen, right?