Survivor NZ: Nicaragua

Survivor New Zealand: The Godmother Part IV

Logan Saunders recaps Episodes 13 and 14 of Survivor New Zealand complete with a few Survivor firsts.

Survivor New Zealand: The Godmother Part IV

Episode 13

Previously on Survivor NZ: After eliminating two of the strongest players in the entire seventeen-year history of Survivor, Barb went after the most “honourable” player in this game–Sala. She pulled off the biggest blindside to date. Will honour triumph over strength, and with the two biggest alliances broken who will be sent to Redemption Island tonight?

Wow. Production really overhyped what has gone down since the merge. Chill out, everyone.

Sala admits he has no idea who blindsided him. Michael expects to see Avi soon because he is the biggest threat in the game.

Back at Casar, Avi demands an explanation of who voted for whom.

AVI: Nate, you voted for Sala?

NATE: No.

AVI: You voted for Shannon. Which is essentially voting for Sala.

See what I said last week?

AVI: I am so stoked I trusted you guys so much.

No, you’re not.

AVI: I am really gutted and disappointed. You gave Sala your word and I put so much trust into you.

It took less than three minutes into the episode for somebody to say “gutted”. Take a sip of Foster’s, everyone.

Barb and Shannon do not let Avi walk all over them and sully their names.

AVI: Shannon, you don’t want to be the villain but you’ve flipped twice.

SHANNON: I never gave Sala my word. You guys had such a tight three. None of us had a chance if we didn’t break you guys up.

BARB: We weren’t in Sala’s top three.

AVI: That’s not–uh.

Remember the proposed boot list of Tom, Jak, and Shannon? Or have we conveniently forgotten that, Avi? :)

AVI: Barb, you are good. You are underestimated.

BARB: I know everybody underestimated me.

AVI: I feel like such a f–king fool. I thought I could be nice and trusting with everybody, but that’s not how this stupid game goes.

(Everyone watches AVI’s meltdown in awkward silence.

AVI: So I’m next to go?

BARB: More than likely.

This has been the most brutally honest conversation after a blindside. And yes, this is the first Tribal Council for a while that is a blindside in Survivor because Avi was truly shocked. It’s not like Probst saying “What a blindside!” whenever players are mildly surprised.

Avi sleeps off the blindside by writing twenty pages into his journal. He can’t stand the idea of a Barb, Nate, and Shannon Final Three.

Barb and Nate brag to each other about how long they napped for. This actually happens. Avi disses Nate and Barb’s constant sleeping and mocks Shannon.

AVI: Shannon’s been like, “If I win I am going to take my family to Rarotonga. We’ve always wanted to go to Rarotonga.” I’m like “Holy shit, I have two hundred dollars in my bank account.”

Candice and Jonathan wanted to go to Rarotonga too. We saw how that turned out for them.

Avi goes on about how this money would help his twenty students and their apprenticeships and feels sick at the idea of voting for Shannon, Barb, or Nate to win.

NOTE: We just learned about Avi’s personal life at an in-depth level. We know what to expect in episode fourteen, folks.

Jak talks about his alliance with Tom. He labels them as Beans and Rice. Pay Sandra and Courtney Yates their royalties, ya copyright infringing fool!

Tom says neither he nor Jak can call the shots. He adds that Barb doesn’t deserve to be dictating the pace of the game, but is.

JAK: I am pointing at clouds to make it not look like that we’re talking about this.

TOM: What a giveaway that is.

JAK: Yeah, it is.

C’mon. Nate and Barb know Jak is invested in astronomy and cumulonimbus formations. I mean, New Zealand invented the idea of counting sheep before one falls asleep.

Jak approaches Barb who is lying in the hammock writing in the journal. Shannon observes that Barb is like a mob boss as everyone talks to her one by one on the hammock as to what to do next. She is just lying in the hammock like Chris Daugherty.

SHANNON: She is a Mafia Queen! . . .It’s like we are all individually asking favours.

Make Barb an offer she can’t write in her journal on the hammock refuse.

BARB: I am used to dealing with teenagers. It’s so easy to misdirect them and point them one way. I am surprised I haven’t hit a brick wall yet. Everyone seems to be going with the flow which is toward their own demise.

This is unbelievable. Have we seen a cold-blooded older woman play Survivor who is in charge but is weak enough to be prone to fainting? The closest I can think of would be someone like Scout, and those two have very little in common. We have a new archetype in Survivor NZ. Another barely similar contestant could be Cirie, but Cirie had an easy-going giggly nature to her that made her fit in with the younger crowd quite easily.

Also, every teenager officially hates Barb after her confessionals. John Hughes would be fuming in his grave right now.

Shay says all bets are off. Avi scampers away with his journal for the twentieth time today. Shannon knows Avi despises her. Avi has gone from being a downer to being bitter and jaded. I don’t know which is more depressing to watch on television.

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It’s a Redemption Duel invite. Producers decide to have everyone attend. Perhaps because Sala isn’t around to convince everyone to draw cards. Shannon knows what is coming to her. So does everyone else.

Prior to the duel, Sala tells Michael that he could be an underwear model. We go from underwear modeling promotion to Sala switching into a soliloquy about how people are using the game as a way to cover up their own negative personality traits and true selves. What a transition.

The players and the duelers enter the “arena”. Sala has “Phil 4:13”–Personally I would want to be wearing “Stone Cold Steve Austin 3:16”.

SALA: Avi, did you know my name was going down?

AVI: I am gutted.

Time to get tipsy.

Rain and a lightning storm begins to rage as Michael lectures Shannon. As we go to commercial break, a woman dancing outside is also stuck in the pouring rain. Poor woman.

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Michael rants to Shannon about her being a fake person. Shannon says some of her lies were unnecessary and did not want to draw rocks.

MICHAEL: I don’t believe any of that.

Well, that ends that defense for Shannon.

We have another memory challenge. I repeat: We have our THIRD memory challenge since the merge. You turn two tiles each round that reveals two symbols. Match two symbols and you score a point. Whoever is the first to five points wins the duel.

It is like the format to the Survivor: Fiji memory challenge–or for NES superfans, it is just like the memory mini game from Super Mario Bros. 3.

Three memory challenges and a Do You Know How Your Tribe Will Answer Unflattering Questions? Quiz in just two and a half rounds of play. There is no such thing as a physical challenge threat in this game anymore.

There are only ten pairs on the board. This challenge will not take long to film. The duel is done in almost complete silence which means we don’t have any amusing moments to talk about.

Michael wins the duel 5-1. It is the biggest blowout I have seen in a memory challenge with this format in Survivor history. Ravu would have even crushed Sala in this duel. Too bad the platforms were too short for anybody to fall like Lisi did.

Sala says he played this game with honour and has nothing but love and respect for everyone. Shay cries. Michael says Sala is a legend–that’s one way to butter up a juror. Sala hugs Nate knowing he still has to talk to him for another 29.5 years.

By the way, how boring was this Redemption Island duel? This scene lasted OVER TEN MINUTES. A ten-minute memory challenge that was silent and extremely lopsided. That doesn’t even include the preamble with the tree mail at camp or Sala’s underwear modeling comments.

Ten minutes of Michael and Sala quietly flipping over tiles for approximately seven rounds and had no suspense to it whatsoever.

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We return to camp. Shannon cries in front of everyone.

SHANNON: It was never my intention to be that person! I am now the villain!

Silly Shannon. Kiwis can’t be villains. Only Aussies can. Where is Dee to proclaim it is fine to be the villain?

SHANNON: Survivor is not fun. It’s hard to be in a tribe where nobody trusts you anymore and nobody thinks you’re a good person anymore. I don’t know if there’s I can do to change that now because I have gone so far.

Good ol’ Shannon Macbeth. If you are up to your waist in blood, you may as well keep slashing your way through to the end. You can’t cleanse yourself now.

Shay latches on to Shannon for a hug and freezes like it is a Mannequin Challenge.

Shannon craves love. I am sure she can find that in certain areas of downtown Managua. She keeps crying and talks about wanting to see family.

I know what are you thinking–the family visit is coming and we’re about to have a reward challenge. However, I doubt production has the budget to fly out family members. It doesn’t matter how much you beg, cry, and plead to the producers– the budget won’t change that.

Shay continues to follow Shannon around.

JAK: At this point, Shay has got herself so far up Shannon’s ass that I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. I am enjoying this because with NOTHING going on, any bit of drama is fantastic for me. Whether it be someone crying or Avi having a mental breakdown, it’s all good for me. All while I sit with my little rice and beans.

Barb and Jak talk about how there is no way Shannon would jump for a third time.

Shannon says Shay is so supportive and trusts Shay completely. Shay takes this as an opportunity to propose the idea of Tom going to Redemption Island to guarantee Tom or Michael are eliminated.

SHANNON: I would clutch onto anything.

Like how Shay clutched onto you for that hug?

Nate and Avi go for a walk. Avi is one hundred percent sure he is the next to go. Avi really doesn’t play in grey areas, eh?

Nate tells Avi that he still likes him, and that nobody could have beaten Sala in a Final Three.

NATE: I am gutted he is gone, and I miss him already. I said last night that I could see I could speak to for the next thirty years.

Three drinks in. Nate is really fixated on this thirty-year number. What happens when the thirty years are up? Is there a contract negotiation as if Sala were a pro athlete? Is it a five-year extension which is followed by arbitration? I am curious.

NATE: I can handle your anger but I can’t handle your disappointment.

Such poetry from the senior police sergeant.

Avi tells Nate he still believes in his relationship with Nate. Of course, Avi contradicts this in a confessional and admits all he is going to do is listen to everyone else in the game.

Nate reiterates to Avi that there is no way he will let Avi go this round and wants Tom or Jak to go to Redemption Island in order to weaken Michael if he were to make it back to Casar.

No reward challenge. It’s an immunity challenge invite. They were playing for Pizza Hut pizza again, but Matt already ate all of it. Somehow April’s dog from Big Brother 6 went missing.

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TREE MAIL: A story told; a story recalled.

FOUR. F—ING. MEMORY. CHALLENGES.

SHANNON: And now it’s an immunity challenge. It’s like this game never ends!

Shannon. Nearly every day in this game has had a Redemption Island duel, a reward challenge, or an immunity challenge. Have you guys had a day off all season?

Yep, it is the classic Story Time challenge that we saw in the early seasons of Survivor, and for some reason, also made a cameo in Second Chances.

It is structured like the Second Chances adaptation of this challenge. First, to retrieve all five medallions sans hidden immunity idol clue wins immunity.

We have a history lesson about the city of Granada and its surrounding area. Not Granada, Spain, obviously. There is a city of the same name in Nicaragua. We discover facts about volcano eruptions, trading centres, Spanish graffiti, and markets.

With so few stations, three players will be standing at the same one simultaneously. There is a lot of hesitation to be the one to pull the medallion first and essentially have everyone copy your answer or let you be fooled into picking first and being wrong.

Tom wins individual immunity again after running the challenge flawlessly. 5-for-5 without missing. Who knew lining up cubes and memorizing a story would net him back-to-back wins. Everyone has until the following night to strategize and figure out who will be voted out next.

Nate says Tom was in the crosshairs for Tribal Council. Uh oh. This isn’t good for Jak. Shannon wants to make sure her vote is aligned with Shay’s vote, but admits she is at Barb and Nate’s mercy.

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We advance to day 26. Nate, Avi, Shannon, and Shay are playing cards. Jak is nearby in the hammock.

AVI: Utah is beautiful. It’ s Coyote and Roadrunner with big arches.

SHANNON: That’s cool!

JAK: And your mom could be your sister and your auntie.

AVI: You don’t know that, Jak.

SHAY: Go back to sleep.

Yes, You Don’t Know Jak, Jak. You Don’t Know Jak About Mormons. I can’t wait for that PC and Xbox One release.

While everyone else plays cards, Barb goes out of her way to be by herself.

BARB: They’re big people. They don’t need me to hold their hand every day.

Which is ironic considering Barb needed everybody to hold her hand at the end of the first immunity challenge to prevent her from falling down onto the ground.

Nate tells us that everyone decided Jak would go home last night to ensure Michael cannot gain any traction upon his return from Redemption Island.

Jak has a fashion meeting with his tribe. He wonders if he should wear his loin cloth as a neckpiece at Tribal Council. Shannon vetoes the idea.

SHANNON: If Jak goes home tonight, what a way for him to go out.

Jak decides to wear his loin cloth and will give himself a “womanly tuck” when he sits down at tribal.

SHAY: I am traumatized. I have been looking for that loin cloth to burn it.

Avi and Tom sit together. Avi plays up that he is going home. Tom is at ease that Avi has accepted his fate.

Jak refers to Nate as “Nate Dogg”. Yeah, a White Kiwi police sergeant is definitely one of the OGs of G-Funk.

JAK: I’m going to brush up my cheeks before they go on show at Tribal. I’m going to need your full support, Nathan.

NATE: It won’t be that kind of support.

JAK: I will need your FULL support.

o_O

Nate likes Jak because he doesn’t empower people to hurt their feelings. Meanwhile, Avi is pissed that he could be eliminated while Jak treats it like a joke because of his loin cloth.

Nate tells Avi that he intends to let Jak know he is going home as they walk into Tribal Council. While Avi contemplates his fate, Jak is playing a belly drum.

Avi notes that Barb has been isolating herself frequently which is scaring Avi who is more paranoid than ever. Barb says the game continues to run its course and is not finding it stressful. Barb says her biggest strength is observation and doesn’t say anything anymore because everything keeps going to plan.

BARB: I see everyone as chess pieces.

We all know how that perspective worked out for Spencer Bledsoe. Barb is trying harder and harder to guarantee she is a goat for day 39.

Jak approaches Barb on the beach.

JAK: The Retired Village People are still keen to vote out Avi at this point.

I know Nate is the cop, but what is Barb? The construction worker who is holding out for a bigger pension?

JAK: I don’t trust old people!

That makes two of us.

BARB: If I tell you once, nothing’s changed but they need to hear it four or five times. “Has anything changed?” For fuck’s sake.

Jak and Barb need to have their own sitcom. Every interaction between them is hilarious.

Everyone else is paranoid as they watch Barb and Jak talk for hours and hours talking about the sweet and the sour, and how their families are doing okay. I guess this is what happens when nobody has to go into the forest to search for hidden immunity idols.

Jak leaves Barb and talks to Shannon to ask “About the old A-V-I”. Since when was a file format a Survivor contestant?

The other five contestants sit silently on the beach watching the sunset.

Jak is in his loin cloth, or as CatskillsSurvivor responded last week on this website, a “lap-lap”. He does a full 360 for Nate.

And is it CatSkillSurvivor or CatsKillSurvivor? Those murderous felines!

JAK: This is the worst I have felt heading into a Tribal Council. . .This is what happens when you leave your fate with, you know, people with early onset dementia and potentially Alzheimer’s.

At least it’s not Tarzan who doesn’t even know which one Monica is. Nate and Barb are a step above that.

I hear when Barb or Nate get eliminated from Redemption Island, they will be sent to a retirement home rather than the jury. The ice cream will be removed and instead replaced with corn on the cob that I smashed into a fine paste. Now that’s good eatin’!

***

BARB: Stop adjusting yourself, Jak! It’s not a good look!

JAK: It’s only awkward if you make it awkward.

BARB: Oh, please.

It’s better than watching ten minutes of footage of a memory challenge.

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It is now time for Tribal Council. The host is already sitting down before everyone walks in. What a lazy bastard. He takes Barb’s pizza, he has a default name for their tribe, and doesn’t even rise for the remaining players who have suffered for 26 days in this game.

The camera zooms in on Jak’s butt when he walks with his torch and follows it up with a zoom in on his crotch after he sits down. Everyone giggles like little school girls for about thirty seconds before the host can recompose himself and call in the jury.

By the way, Jak is holding thread as if it were a club.

HOST: Jak. . .what’s up with the loin cloth?

JAK: Cool Matt, thanks for asking. See this is how the ancient warriors of Nicaragua dressed. With thread as my weapon, I will be victorious.

HOST: Not sure if your local history is quite up to scratch, Jak.

While some are history buffs, Jak provides history in the buff.

Sala and Lee’s moustache can’t keep a straight face.

HOST: We saw the strategy heat up when the very popular Sala was voted out.

Lee’s moustache feels hurt by your words, Matt. :(

We switch to the reality TV tradition of “omg the strategy in this game is truly escalating you can’t trust anybody. omg” storyline.

HOST: Shannon, Michael gave you a bit of a dressing down. Are you a villain?

I think Jak is the only one who is dressing down. Shannon is fully clothed from what I can see.

HOST: Avi you were upset by the big move.

HOST: People make big moves. That’s Survivor, isn’t it?

HOST: How do you make big moves in this game and stay onside with the jury?

Somebody sure loves their Probst-isms. That’s a big move.

Avi is annoyed that kind and nice people are voted out on Survivor. Since when did Avi turn into a casual fan on the official Facebook page? Is he pissed that Rupert didn’t win Pearl Islands too, or that Ozzy should come back for a fifth time because nobody else deserves it?

FIRST VOTE: Jak. Jak.

SECOND VOTE: Jak.

THIRD VOTE: Jack.

FOURTH VOTE: jaCk.

Jak’s vote isn’t even read.

Jak brings his torch while his ass is blurred. This is how I expected Amanda Kimmel to be voted out in Survivor: China or Survivor: Micronesia.

Jak’s torch is snuffed. He walks a few feet before he turns his head to glare at his tribe in a Big Tom-like manner. Everyone tries ot keep a straight face for a couple seconds but they all break out in hysterical laughter and give him a round of applause as he jogs out of Tribal Council.

HOST: This game is getting harder and harder each day.

I don’t know. After an episode of Jak in that loin cloth, everyone is getting softer and softer.

Not even Richard Hatch was blurred at Tribal Council. Jak is a first.

We see the other votes cast in the episode credits.

FIFTH VOTE: Jak FM.

SIXTH VOTE: Nate Dogg.

SEVENTH VOTE: Jak.

Yes, Nate’s first vote against him is named after a celebrity whose signature line was “Smoke weed every day!”

JAK: I’ll give it a good crack [against Michael] but I can’t see myself coming out on top.

Jak has been the expert at exposing cracks this episode. He may have a bigger chance at beating Michael than he thinks.

JAK: It’s not over until the fat lady sings.

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How much pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut do you think Matt has eaten in twenty-six days?

Since Tribal Council has already happened, I suppose I should give a brief prediction of what I think will happen before watching episode fourteen:

Because Tom has won back-to-back immunity challenges, he will be voted out unless he wins another immunity challenge. Otherwise, Avi is being voted out. Nobody knows exactly when the Redemption Island returnee will come back into the game, and if Tom wins until three remain, and Michael is added to the game to make it a Final Four, Nate and Barb will feel like they are in trouble.

Personally, if I were Nate and Barb I would split up Avi and Shay while they can still make Shannon feel hopeless by using Tom to scare Shannon that there will be a rock draw, but I think the fear of the unknown at Redemption Island may overcome the logical move. Nate and Barb may not split up Avi and Shay.

Remember: There is no rhyme or reason to these individual immunity challenges. They can truly be anything as long as it doesn’t have a large build to it.

Nate appears to be in the best position to win this game. Nobody is going after has strong alliances with the biggest goats left in the game.

Avi breaks the curse of “Hey Audience, everyone learn about my background two seconds before I get voted out, okay?” Perhaps this is a big hint that they win this season.

It’s gotta be Nate or Avi winning, eh?

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Episode 14

Previously on Survivor: Shannon switches from being in the middle to being a crier after being cussed out by Michael at Redemption Island. But she went back to her ways by giving her word to Shay and Avi, once again being in the middle of everything going on in the tribe.

We watch a hilarious highlight reel as editors show every time that Shay stated she wanted Tom out, and put the day number at the bottom of the screen. It goes all the way back to Shay’s very first confessional on day one. How long ago was that? So long ago that Shay’s mascara was still intact when she originally targeted Tom. I am not kidding.

Shay’s 26-day mission has been disrupted by Tom winning individual immunity. This led to Shay’s plan being cracked as everyone had to stare at Jak’s crack as his torch was snuffed.

Jak feels bad for Tom that he will be stuck with the least funny people in the game. Are you so sure about that, Jak?

Michael is stoked at how confusing these eliminations have been and thinks there is no strategy going on. Maybe Michael doesn’t understand the game as well as I thought he did.

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Tom and Avi talk after Tribal Council.

AVI: Barb is running things which seems insane to me. She doesn’t even know what’s going on.

TOM: Which makes it pretty clear to me that I’m on the chopping block anyway.

Tom reveals that Nate whispered to Jak that he was being voted out, and Jak told Tom to go along with the group and vote against him.

Nate likes how Jak used his sense of humour to have people laugh with him rather than empower those to hurt each other’s feelings. Wait, didn’t we already hear these exact words two days ago?

I am curious how much of a downer these remaining episodes will be without Jak’s sense of humour driving camp life.

It is day 27. Barb is writing in her hammock. Tom sits by himself. Avi and Shay strategize in the shelter. Nate is preparing for a nap. Oh joy.

Avi asks Shay and Nate if they should vote out Barb next. Nate responds saying he has never made any promises to Barb or vice versa. C’mon man. That’s BS.

Shannon and Nate talk. Shannon thinks Barb does not like her, and is scared of Barb. If Tom does not win immunity, Shannon wants to vote out Nate. I am amazed they are this upfront with Nate about eliminating Barb.

We head to another immunity challenge. They have ran out of money to do reward challenges by this point.

Today’s immunity challenge is not trivia or memory. I for one am shocked.

On Matt’s go, they race to a structure that has a bag of sandbags tied to it. Untie it, then race back to untie the sandbags and throw them at five of your coloured targets. First person to land a sandbag in each of their five targets wins immunity. This is better known as the reward challenge from Kaoh Rong where Joe was getting it done at seventy-one. . .then ate a ton of meat where his digestive system couldn’t get it done.

HOST: Let’s rip into it.

The challenge begins.

HOST: Nate is bringing up the rear. . .no, it’s Barb.

Does Barb really count in immunity challenges, though?

Everyone seems slow with throwing the sandbags. Once they run out of sandbags from a bag, they have to race back to the structure to untie another bag. Barb is the only one who didn’t land any with her first bag.

BARB: I am obviously not a thrower.

Nor a smasher.

Avi has landed only one sandbag after two bags. Tom has four. Shannon has three. Shay has two. Nate has two. Barb has none.

Only Tom and Avi are throwing their third set of sandbags as Tom lands his fifth target and wins immunity for the third time in a row.

TOM: It is never good  to gloat when you win, but this was for Jak.

He. . .he isn’t dead, mate.

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Tom thinks this is the first time he has his foot in the door and has any control in the game. He wants to plant seeds with Avi and Shay because nobody expects him to work with Shay.

SHAY: [Barb] is gunning for Tom?

AVI: Yeah.

SHAY: I thought she was gunning for me.

We cut to Barb and Nate.

BARB: To tell you the truth I was hoping he would win so we could get out Shay. I would say Shay is promoting me to Shannon.

Nate confirms to her that Barb is a target.

Nate thinks the alliance is him, Barb, Tom, and Avi and does not think Avi will blindly follow Shay.

Shannon and Shay walk together. Shannon clings to Shay because she is her only friend. Man, this Tribal Council is going to be a mess.

SHANNON: I stuck to my game plan until day 24–get the weak ones at the start, and then eliminate the strong ones. My conscience has caught up with me. . .I think there is a high chance that it will be the downfall for me onwards because it’s not the smart way to play.

Michael’s tongue lashing did more damage to Shannon’s game than anyone could have anticipated.

Nate and Barb spend the day hunting for crabs. Shannon and Shay are sitting in a pool of water. Tom and Avi are chatting at the hammock. Tom’s win today has really messed up the dynamics on this tribe.

Tom pushes for Shannon to go next and thinks it will help push the numbers his way. Avi will supposedly go along with it.

Nate notes Avi and Tom are getting tighter and tighter. He approaches them. Avi pitches the idea of voting out Shannon.

NATE: It feels like the pendulum of influence has swung away from me, Avi, and Barb, and for whatever reason has swung in his direction. I feel like Tom has got his hands on the steering wheel.

I think the cop will toss him out of the car once immunity is lost.

Nate doesn’t agree and will campaign to protect Shannon, and that Shay should be the next to go.

NATE: I have no idea what’s keeping Shay in the game.

Surprisingly, the answer to that is Tom. You guys wanted the rivalry to stay intact and now it is blowing up in your face.

Barb brings back a bag full of crabs to the rest of her tribe. Parvati Shallow emerges from the bag too.

Avi says he has been a part of every conversation this afternoon as to who should go home. Although he wasn’t part of Shannon and Shay’s conversations nor Nate and Barb’s, but whatever.

AVI: Barb, Nate, Tom, and myself are going to vote for Shannon. However, there is also discussion of Tom, Shannon, Shay, and myself voting for Barb. I am a little confused as to which vote I should go for. . .I am starting to think voting out Barb is the best.

Eventually Tom and Avi join Barb and Nate in the shelter.

BARB: What’s the decision?

AVI: We’re still thinking Shannon.

BARB: I thought you’d be Shay.

TOM: No.

Conversation continues.

BARB: I can see your logic. Shannon would be great to take to the end because none of the boys would vote for her.

Barb assumes Shannon and Shay will vote against her.

BARB: I have no control over the vote tonight. Tom and Avi want Shannon to go home. I think it’s the wrong move.

I think right now the wrong move for Barb should be “whatever pushes Tom and Avi into voting against me”.

Barb, Tom, and Nate play cards together. Barb has the biggest sneer on her face while playing. Not only does she have a bad hand leading into Tribal Council, but also in a silly game of cards.

Nate talks to Shannon. He wants to protect her from elimination. He says that the Hermosa bond should be stronger than their bond with Mogoton.

SHANNON: Nate is all over the place. He’s not giving me a straight answer. That leads me to believe it could be me.

But yet she wants to vote out Barb. Shannon says she is going to keep pleading her case that she can be trustworthy all the way until they vote.

Shay wants to scramble on Shannon’s behalf and makes a deal with Tom. Tom finds the handshake painful. Shay agrees that Avi will be impossible to beat at Final Three.

Shay, Shannon, and Tom all do not want Avi in the Final Three. How in the world is Avi not the target?

We cut to Shay and Shannon begging Avi to talk to Tom to convince him to vote out Barb.

Avi talks to Tom. Tom tells Avi that Shay will not take him to the end, and that she will only let the alliances go so far.

Shannon goes up to Nate that Avi is talking to Tom about the vote.

NATE: Tom has become quite influential, hasn’t he? Not sure why.

Nate is extremely passive-aggressive with wanting everyone to keep in mind that Tom should be the biggest target.

Tom knows he has Avi’s trust from now until the end of the game. This conversation sure has received a lot of airtime.

Alright. It’s finally time to go to Tribal Council. Well, before we watch some random woman dance in the rain.

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Thirty-six minutes of airtime in this round and we are already at Tribal Council. Better than those excruciating 89 minutes from when they merged.

The host praises Tom for being a real force to reckon with in this game.

Shannon talks about her emotions. Nate says it is impossible to be honest until the end of the game.

The host reveals it is day 28. Since when did day 28 occur? Did they completely edit out a full day with a reward challenge because it was too boring?

We vote. The host has the slowest walk ever as he grabs the urn.

FIRST VOTE: Barbz.

SECOND VOTE: Barb.

THIRD VOTE: Shannon.

FOURTH VOTE: Shannon.

2-2. It comes down to Tom and Avi.

FIFTH VOTE: Shan. couldn’t vote your way sorry”

FINAL VOTE: Shannon.

You can flop once on your own. Maybe twice. But not thrice. She should have stuck to Barb and Nate.

Sala and Lee both nod at Tom.

Shannon is on her way to Redemption Island.

SHANNON: I feel pretty gutted about being voted out.

There we go. I needed confirmation that this was still Survivor New Zealand.

By the way, Nate was the one who squeezed a paragraph onto his parchment.

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So there we have it. Shannon is on Redemption Island. This is a classic case of Survivor fatigue wearing down your logical prowess and allowing your emotions to take over.

Shannon was playing this season with a classic Survivor strategy. She was such a strong social force that she was in the inner circle of every alliance in the game. The opposing tribe threw a challenge just to protect her pre-merge!

At the merge, she flipped not once but twice because she kept her word to Barb and Nate–two players who have been the biggest goats since about day eight or nine of this game. If it was a Final Two, I could see splitting up Barb and Nate at five or six because you may not have another option, but because this was a Final Three it was a perfect scenario for Shannon.

So what about this third flip? Not only did she flip to join Shay, somebody who appears to have a stronger loyalty to Avi, but also campaigned against Barb to Nate’s face. I do not know how Nate and Barb were able to hide how close they have been since day one of this game. How were they able to convince the others that they would potentially turn against each other?

As soon as Shannon did this, she was pretty much doomed. If you are targeting Barb, that means you will automatically have two votes against you. You might have Avi’s vote in your corner as a third vote, but now you need Shay’s biggest enemy since day one be willing to bury the hatchet and join you too. Surprisingly, that did not work out.

On day one, Shannon was probably the smartest player of all sixteen in this game. On day twenty-eight, Shannon’s mental breakdown collapsed what was close to being one of the most dominating performances in Survivor history. Barb and Nate were pleading with everyone to take out Shay, but Shannon messed all of that up.

Amazingly enough, the original Mogoton members hold the majority in the game. What is even more amazing is that Tom and Shay are two of the last three Mogotons standing. It’s like watching Paul and Nicole from The Mole 5 duke it out almost all the way to the end.

Nate and Barb are still a pair. Both of them want Tom out next.

Shay and Avi are likely still aligned. However, will Shay split up a pair or join Nate and Barb knowing she could not beat Tom or Avi in Final Three?

Will Avi protect Tom and find a way for himself, Tom, and Shay to form an alliance at the next Tribal Council? Or will Avi eliminate the outsider who completely trusts him, and go for the easy win? Will Avi be so sick of Barb and Nate’s journey in this game that he can’t bring himself to reward them with a pass to day 40, and shoot for an all Mogoton Final Three?

Oh, and after next Tribal Council we could see Michael rejoining the game.

A Shay-Nate-Barb Final Three is the most likely scenario. It looks like the only one capable of disrupting that is Avi.

Dare I say this endgame has been more intriguing than Australian Survivor? The American version could really take notes as to how Survivor NZ and Australian Survivor are producing seasons with minimal twists, but infinitely more fascinating.

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