Survivor NZ: Thailand

Survivor NZ: Thailand — “Giving it to the Jury Straight”

Logan Saunders recaps the finale of Survivor NZ: Thailand.
SURVIVOR NZ: THAILAND Finale: “Giving it to the Jury Straight”

Matt Chisholm is backstage as everyone is giggling. It’s like the start of a lip dub. Adam is doing Cactus Jack fingers. Kaysha is riding a wall.

CHISHOLM: Here in front of this incredible crowd at Monaco!

Where did they get the budget to film a finale in Monaco?!

 

Previously on Survivor NZ: 18 contestants found themselves on a cutthroat lake and forced to survive on two desolate islands. All with one common goal: The Soul Survivor title and the spoils that come with it.

Of the two tribes, Khangkhaw dominated early in the game.

Chani was sent to TC three times in a row, but while Khangkhaw appeared strong and united in challenges, there was a divide within.

At the very first opportunity the Invisible Five blindsided Kaysha leaving behind her shocked ally Dylan.

But just when they thought they had it all sorted, tribes were redrawn. And new alliances formed. The Invisible Five saw its first member blindsided. With Josh gone, it looked like Matt and Adam were next. But forces beyond the game were at work–a hidden high school friendship unknown to the rest of the castaways.

A third big blindside saw Dylan eliminated.

At the merge, the game changed as players who once dominated the game saw themselves as targets while those who played it safe emerged as threats.

And even long standing alliances were no longer safe. Matt and Lisa working together to make Brad’s departure from the game the biggest blindside yet, and to top it off he walked off with an idol in his pocket.

Dave’s idol gave himself insurance as his buddy’s confidence rose as he dominated in challenges. His victories ensured the final few members of the old Chani tribe were sent home while Dave saw his old allies go home as he held the only idol in the game.

Another idol entered the game while Lisa fell short of possessing the idol. She sensed an opportunity to eliminate one of the game’s strongest players. Dave put his real life relationship with Matt to the test, and in Dave’s eyes Matt failed to make the relationship true costing his place in the game.

Five remained and Tess and Adam found themselves on the outer. Adam’s strong social game made him a target first. Sensing what was going to happen, he went to TC scrapping. But it was Ramona Gray Too Little Too Late and Tess was left fending for herself which she did.

She did so by hanging on a vertical pole then a horizontal pole as she brought grit and determination the likes of which the game had never seen casting doubts over both Dave’s and Lisa’s futures in the game.

Tess wanted Dave gone and so Lisa, Tara, and Dave conspired against Tess allowing Tara to leave the game on her own terms.

But it’s what’s going on outside the game that is turning everything on its head.

Full intro time.

DAVE

LISA

TESS

That’s it.

FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL

(YOS)-(KARLA)-(FRANKY)-(KAYSHA)-(LIAM)-(JOSH)-(JT)-(DYLAN)

(ARUN)-(iBRADi)-(RENEE)-(EVE)-(iMATTi)-(ADAM)-(TARA)

X

(DAVE)-(LISA)-(TESS)

Idols never affected the game despite there being three of them. Hooray!

 

FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL

It is time for opening statements.

Lisa goes first. She acknowledges her inability to win physical challenges but was good at puzzles. She focused on building relationships. Lisa says everyone was scrambling while she swam, sat on a pontoon, and knew it would deflect any target away from her for the first couple of rounds by being non-threatening. However, she didn’t want to get to the end by being non-threatening and not doing much.

Lisa goes over lying. Anything non-game related was pure honesty while everything else consisted of a lot of lies because she was eager to win.

LISA: Because there’s every possibility you were lying to me. . .I don’t know if you can get to the end by being honest, but if you could then that person is a better player than me.

(TESS smirks more than DYLAN.)

Lisa is open she felt “shitty” about voting out Renee and Matt. Particularly Matt. She wanted to go to the end because. . .

LISA: I had a pregame alliance. . .that pregame alliance was with Tess.

WHAT?!

Nah, just kidding. Her pregame alliance was with her family so she can win money and have a better life with her son. That was her priority. Matt is grinning the whole time.

LISA: If you want the winner of your season to who was never in danger of going home, who had a plan and executed it, and always knew where the vote was going then vote for me.

Holy crap that was a good speech.

Tess is next. She stayed true to her word for all 39 days. She did it without scheming thanks to vertical and horizontal poles. Tess kept every promise she made. Tess’ tone and the music in the background is very Game of Thrones.

TESS: I still can’t feel half of my right hand.

Ew. That is not something I don’t want to hear.

Tess didn’t have a lot growing up and that you don’t have to have a lot to do a lot.

TESS: Here’s to making the impossible possible.

Who knew it was possible to beat a middle-aged librarian in strong

Dave is next.

DAVE: I went to twelve out of fourteen Tribal Councils. . .I had my name written down twelve times, none of which by Matt. . .Every single person I wrote down except Arun because I had faith in my gameplay and knew I was invulnerable. . .and one of the few international Survivors ever to still carry my hidden immunity idol to the end. . .all of the times I was hustling to stay in the game was hustling to stay in control of the game.

Dave talks about his close shield and friendship with ARUN. It was a shield he -never- wanted to leave. The most vulnerable he felt was after Arun left. He had a to-do list. Hopefully not the same to-do list as the woman from Parks and Rec.

DAVE: The Matt vote was the toughest vote I ever had to cast. . .at six our games clashed a little bit. Honestly the repercussions were really big for me but I really charged on.

The repercussions are going to be MASSIVE, son.

Dave talks about his family life where he nearly died. Him and his mom fled to New Zealand for a better life. He is going to donate 25k to where he works. I would never donate 25k to the job I work at.

Dave wants his mom and stepdad to retire.

(ADAM pretends to sleep. Blatantly pretends to sleep.)

Eventually Arun is summoned as the first juror to speak.

ARUN: Tess you are an absolute beast! Is it true you really called the Tree Mail a Mail Box and that you didn’t know this game?

TESS: I knew the gist of it. . .I was no superfan.

ARUN: Dave. . .my brother from another mother. Ummmm, merge happened. I got booted off. So my question to you is how the hell did you survive?

DAVE: That’s going to be tough to keep concise.

(ADAM has all sorts of reactions.)

DAVE: Just use my strategy, bro. I hustled, bro. I made genuine conversations, bro. Based it off my strategy, bro.

ARUN: . . ……………………………..Good luck, guys.

Oh, Dave. Prepare for the thrashing.

Brad is summoned next.

BRAD: I’m going to start off with Dave. . .I’m nervous. So we’ve all found out you and Matt are childhood friends. Your alliance goes back several years. . .I feel severely undermined because of this friendship and alliance that no one knew about until now. Do you think it has helped or hindered your possibility to win tonight?

I’m going to say hindered. Like, extremely hindered. Like, zero votes instead of four votes hindered.

DAVE: I was going to wait for Matt to get up there then reveal it, but. . .

You weren’t going to reveal it, Dave. You had a confessional right before FTC saying you weren’t going to say a word.

Dave talks about changing the Josh vote to save Matt and it ultimately made it a two-way street. The bond made it difficult for him towards the end.

Renee is up.

RENEE: You threw my name out a lot to get me out. . .you lied and betrayed a lot of people on the jury. Can you say why I shouldn’t vote for you and can you respect that?

DAVE: . . .It’s your decision and that I do respect that. What lies are you talking about specifically?

RENEE: I just gave you an opportunity and classic Dave, good answer mate. That’s all I’ve got to say to Dave. . .Tess, the only one that’s played a genuine game. Lisa, question to you is who here is voting for you tonight?

LISA: . . .If there’s anything to learn from dealing with you Renee, I know I shouldn’t name names.

RENEE: Thanks.

Well, Lisa got herself out of that jam.

Eve goes up there next.

EVE: Will your husband and son be proud of how you played the game?

LISA: No. My hubby will file for divorce.

No, she actually says they will be proud of her and is the game they wanted her to play, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

EVE: Would you be sitting there without the alliance of Matt?

DAVE: I don’t know.

You would’ve been gone in ninth, eighth, seventh. Guaranteed, mate.

Adam is up next. He congratulates all three of them, including Dave. Matt is skipped over for now, apparently.

Adam is proud of Tess, he adores Lisa. He has a question for both of them.

ADAM: Would you rather have an advantage where you have three extra plates in a challenge or a best friend from school in the game?

Both go with the best friend.

Matt is up next. He said he sat on it the whole time on the jury until last night and made it out of respect for the jury.

MATT: It’s not the Matt and Dave Show. . .they needed to know the whole story and fair for the whole game.

I feel so bad for Matt.

Matt asks why he was voted out by him. Dave says Matt wasn’t being upfront about conversations and the idol. They talk through the whole idol situation. Matt retreats to his bench.

Tara is up last.

TARA: What personally have you gained from all of this?

She dusted the jury seat before she sat back down. You can fill in the blanks with their answers. Tara is wearing overalls, surprisingly.

No closing statements are shown, if any. It is time to vote. Dave should really play his idol.

Eve votes.

Matt votes.

Brad’s manbun votes.

Renee votes.

Tara votes.

Arun votes.

Adam votes.

Chisholm grabs the oversized urn. He is not going to read the votes until he gets back to the United–er, Auckland.

***SEVERAL MONTHS LATER AS CHISHOLM GETS ON A BOAT IN THAILAND, DISEMBARKS IN WELLINGTON, SLASHES THROUGH FIELDS OF SHEEP AND PEPPERONI PIZZAS BEING HIS ONLY FORM OF SUSTENANCE***

Chisholm asks Adam about the vibe. More Cactus Jack fingers from Adam.

He proceeds to compliment JT’s jumpsuit. JT loved the first seven episodes.

JT: I set it up they finished it.

Chisholm asks Franky if she had any regrets. She wanted to make it further, obviously.

Eve enjoyed watching every episode with her fellow tribe members despite her having the worst average confessional count post-merge.

Chisholm awkwardly interrupts everyone from applauding before he lets them go full force.

Lisa starts squealing rather than answering a direct question.

Tess was most surprised by her tanned face during the game.

CHISHOLM: That’s the one thing you focus on? Women!

Chisholm turns to Dave and calls him weak from lack of Chris Tucker. Dave had a really tough time adjusting to reality afterwards.

Time to read the votes.

FIRST VOTE: Tess

SECOND VOTE: LISA

THIRD VOTE: Tess

FOURTH VOTE: LISA

2-2. I should note there are long pauses between each individual vote.

FIFTH VOTE: TESS <3 XOXO

3-2.

SIXTH VOTE: LISA <3

3-3. One vote left. People start cheering for Dave.

WINNER OF SURVIVOR NZ 2. . .

.

.

.

JOHN CENA!!!!!!

Just kidding. It’s Lisa. 4-3-0. Nothing like a razor thin FTC vote. Hugs and tears ensue.

CHISHOLM: You haven’t always given it to me. . .you haven’t always given it to me STRAIGHT!

Oh, awkward television.

CHISHOLM: How is this for the bucket list?

LISA: . . .Tick.

Chisholm compliments her for executing her game-plan perfectly. Lisa can’t believe she won Survivor. Soon we will find out the winner of the Appliance Shed People’s Choice Award which definitely sounds like a made up thing.

Lisa is breaking down to tears after the break. She thinks what tilted the win in her favor is that everyone appreciated her hard gameplay. On the flip side, Tess was one vote away.

TESS: I’m happy it’s over.

An honest but not an honest answer either.

We see a highlight reel of multiple blindsides and people playing much harder than the first season. Dave says blindsides are really hard to pull off and that it’s a matter of getting Chisholm to shut up so they can vote.

We get an in-depth look at the Kaysha blindside. Chisholm compliments Kaysha on being a lovely human which makes her a poor player. Dylan awkwardly giggles.

CHISHOLM: Matt, who was running the Invisible Five?

MATT: We all tried to run it a bit.

CHISHOLM: That doesn’t work for me. It wasn’t Tess, it wasn’t Adam.

MATT: I was pushing it a lot.

Chisholm is a good interrogator.

Matt viewed Kaysha as a massive threat who could make merge and possess social skills. A swap with Kaysha would be tough.

Adam viewed himself as The Joker and the pet dog off running in the water.

CHISHOLM: I think you pulled that off. . .Thanks, Adam.

How does Chisholm get away with being a complete D-Bag and have everyone love him for his charm while Probst just, well, comes off as a D-Bag when he makes comments like this?

We review the Josh blindside including the swap. Josh’s attempt on assassinating Dylan followed by Dylan’s successful retaliation ten seconds later. Josh’s insurance vote against Renee. . .nope. The audience laughs at Josh and Matt’s individual reactions and OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE DYLAN’S SMIRK.

CHISHOLM: Dylan beat The Blindsiders at their own game.

They blindsided somebody at just ONE Tribal Council. ONE! Now they’re The Blindsiders.

CHISHOLM: Joshy, you described the behavior as the most deceitful behavior in your life. . .you blindsided Kaysha and Dylan. What makes this any different?

Chisholm asks Adam about his planned Party shirt for when he assumed Dylan was going to go home. Dylan was happy to pull it off.

Chisholm turns to ask Tess about Dylan’s deleted tweet and how Dylan’s smirk was THE WORST THING EVER SINCE TANKMAN IN TIANAMEN SQUARE.

Tess stumbles over her words and that she never laughed at people being voted off “but everyone is different”.

CHISHOLM: Everyone is different and that’s why it’s a beautiful world.

I feel like Chisholm has put up with Tess’ roundabout answers like this before. You get the idea Tess isn’t too keen on controversial answers in front of a live audience.

CHISHOLM: Renee, you were Josh’s insurance vote. . .do you still blame Arun and Dave?

RENEE: You know, it’s kind of a he said-she said situation.

CHISHOLM: Even now?

RENEE: Even now. . .it doesn’t even really matter which way it went. I wanted on Khangkhaw.

CHISHOLM: . . .OK, Renee.

We see a highlight reel of Matt being on the bottom and working with Dave to try and eliminate Dylan with Adam. Dylan and Renee went after Matt. It was all in Arun’s hands as he made his big game-ending blunder.

Dylan admits he left stuff back at camp. Chisholm asks if he would have been loyal to Chani. Dylan points out his blue and yellow shirt.

Arun and Chisholm talk about Dave calling the shots and that it seemed off he would protect Matt. Renee said nobody voted out Adam instead of Matt to get rid of an Invisible Five member because he had a really good social game. Adam said he was dancing and doing Cactus Jack fingers..

ADAM: I’m a random little beggar.

CHISHOLM: Thanks, Adam. Always a good time.

We skip over Arun’s 8-2 vote despite his best efforts to go after Lisa and viewing her as a dangerous player. Oh, that double vote Outpost with Dave. We decide to focus on Brad’s idol blindside.

Specifically Adam doesn’t tell Tess about the blindside plan. Lisa set up the perfect blindside with Brad as Tess and Renee were left in the dark.

Brad was unaware that Matt assumed Brad didn’t want to take him to the Final Three, and never promised him a Final Three spot. He admits he was going to blindside Matt fairly soon and Matt got him first.

Lisa is asked if she would have still won if Brad played his idol or didn’t go home.

LISA: Yes.

Damn. She had her finger on the pulse in this game.

Chisholm wonders how Adam was never able to get his hands dirty.

CHISHOLM: You certainly never got your hands dirty, but you did clean them at one point in the drinking water. . .I thought it was despicable but I loved it.

That perfectly sums up Adam’s personality in the game.

Brad was gutted to exit the game with an idol in his pocket. He doesn’t view it as being arrogant to exit it with an idol in his pocket.

Chisholm is ambushed by the fact Brad is already wearing a hidden immunity idol because Chisholm had one in his pocket that he was gonna give it to him–I mean give to him straight. Chisholm doesn’t feel his son deserves to have the extra idol.

We now head to the Main Event–The bond between Dave and Matt, and the other bond between Matt and Lisa. Dave’s dilemma (cue Kelly Rowland) to choose between his mate who wasn’t entirely upfront and trust with Lisa that has been established since merge. The good ol’ Cirie Fields style 3-2-1 vote that was coordinated.

Matt admits to not being hurt by Lisa’s betrayal but more so because of Dave’s betrayal feeling more personal. He had a rough time watching Dave’s tough decision and his internal torment. Matt is still in awe of Lisa being able to turn Dave against him. Matt praises Lisa as the Queen of Puzzles and the Queen of Survivor.

Now we talk about Matt letting the whole jury know about the personal friendship. Matt wasn’t bitter, bro. He thought it was right for them to know and have the information to make the correct decision.

CHISHOLM: Matt, your entire game benefitted from that secret; why wasn’t that fair for Dave?

Excellent point, Chisholm. Dave’s secret got outed by Matt on day 39. Matt’s secret didn’t get outed during his whole 33 day stay.

Yos interrupts Chisholm not understanding the point Chisholm is making.

CHISHOLM: It’s not what I said. . .Arun is nodding. He gets it.

It’s why Arun was tenth and Yos was. . .eighteenth.

Dave said he told Matt every single conversation, and the conversation on the bank with Matt was over 45 minutes in reality. Chisholm compliments both of them for how they handled it, and there is nothing wrong with a man crying on TV.

CHISHOLM: Does anyone think they would be sitting in Final Three if not for that friendship?

YOS: I can safely say I would definitely not be sitting there in that friendship. . .the first two or three, then everyone else has been asking themselves that question.

Chisholm asks Matt if he feels responsible for Dave not receiving any votes at FTC. The answer of course is yes.

CHISHOLM: Would you have voted for Dave if you hadn’t known about the friendship?

(EVE raises her hand.)

Could’ve been more.

Eve thinks everyone would’ve been outraged if Matt hadn’t told anyone, and Dave had won under those circumstances.

Lisa thinks eliminating Matt could have been the difference-maker.

Now we get to the Pizza Bio-Strath Steers Home Appliance Fan Favorite winner. Somehow, I don’t know why, but Sala won it last year.

This year? The winner. . .had the least number of confessionals per episode beyond the merge. That’s right, Invisible Eve wins fan favorite SOMEHOW! Congratulations! She wins 10k. Eve joins Sala and Dana & Amanda from TAR Canada in “How The Hell Did They Win Favorite” Club.

CHISHOLM: The Challenge Queen. Cool as a cucumber.

Kiwis love cucumbers. Who knew.

Eve was worried about how she would have been perceived because she is not the type to go on a reality TV show.

And that’s our season. An improvement over Sala winning fan favorite, but if this were Survivor: Ghost Island then that means Chelsea would have won fan favorite. Soooo random. Karla may as well have won it too.

So, let’s rank the cast from worst to best character:

18) Karla – She did not stand a chance in Chani.

17) Josh – Big blindside. Tricked into making a cross-tribal alliance at the Outpost. Outwitted by Arun. While the season was airing he visited Vancouver. Nearly met up with the guy.

16) Eve – Invisible-Found an idol-Contemplated playing idol-Contemplated playing idol-Played it wrong-Invisible-Invisible-Invisible-Invisible-Invisible-Emotional TC. Voted out. Also, lol at being dragged through mud by her former tribemates.

15) Franky – Such an adorable and fierce presence simultaneously. Stuck it out through some rough conditions.

14) Dave – If it weren’t for the friendship with Matt, would we be talking about Dave beyond episode nine?

13) Brad – The second of four idols to not be successfully played. It had a permanent position in his pocket. One of many manbuns in this season.

12) Renee – Started off as an awesome character then got weird at the end and essentially booed by the reunion show audience. I’ll throw her somewhere in the middle as a result of that.

11) Arun – He is roughly the same age as JT. Classic case of being perceived as the ringleader on the minority tribe heading into merge and was physically gifted. Therefore guaranteed to go home in tenth place. It’s a good thing for him that Survivor doesn’t have the jury start one round after the merge boot.

10) Yos – An incredible first boot. The first of four major shocks the audience would go through as the audience had no idea she would be voted out. She didn’t see it coming either. Very strong personality. Very strong.

9) Kaysha – Tried to socially manipulate the game and worked extremely hard to go from being in the bottom two to being part of the Invisible Five. Scared the Invisible Five to the point they needed her gone. Lots of tears as she faced moral dilemmas regarding how to save herself and Dylan.

8) Tara – Lack of self-awareness from start to finish which always makes for a fun goat. Amazingly, this goat had so much empathy for her closest allies that she chose to dupe Tess and engineer a 2-1-1 vote after dusting her torch prior to Chisholm snuffing it. Matt revealing the friendship may have given Lisa the victory at Final Three, but Tara stopping Tess from eliminating Dave may have robbed Tess from getting that fourth jury vote.

7) Tess – One of the biggest recruits in recent memory internationally. Well, other than the majority of the Champions on the AU Champions tribe. Made friends. Never knew where the numbers were going after Arun was voted out. Won a couple of pole clinging challenges. Her social skills gave her three out of seven votes despite an extreme lack of strategic savvy.

6) Dylan – He made the pre-merge fun much to Adam’s chagrin. I can only imagine the chaos if JT’s med-evac canceled Tribal Council and we had an eleven person merge.

5) Matt – A great narrator. The entire season revolves around his and Lisa’s presence. The dilemmas he faced in the second half of the game have been dissected for hours and hours by yours truly. The decision to announce his friendship with Dave to the jury on day 38 is the biggest water cooler international Survivor moment in several years. You could argue that the Yau Man-Dreamz car deal is the biggest moment we have had before this one.

4) JT – He set it up, everyone else knocked it down. Unless you’re Tara, then you had to dust it before you knock it down. It’s a shame JT spent the majority of his time in the game with significant health issues. He is a good guy for saving Eve and is likely the reason she won the 10k fan favourite award. Perhaps she’ll have a grand to spare?

3) Liam – NO QUESTIONS FOR HIM DURING THE REUNION SHOW?! WHAT THE F–K IS THIS?! IT’S BULLSH-T!

2) Adam – I still don’t know whether I am Adam’s biggest fan or if he want to punch him in the face. Much like Radioactive Man’s goggles, the botox did nothing! His strategic game never took off, but my god was he a good soundbyte machine.

1) Lisa – Middle-aged women never win a final jury vote unless they are against other middle-aged women or you have somebody with as much personal integrity as Mr. Skupin. It was great to FINALLY see a middle-aged mom be able to defeat both a young likable lady and a young physically fit dude. Who was the last to be awarded the title of Sole Survivor in that demographic? Tina Wesson? Lisa played as close to a perfect game as we have seen in Survivor. When she says that she still wins even if Brad doesn’t get blindsided, you can tell she really had a good read on everyone in the game. She nearly died in a couple of challenges and I don’t think her brain ever shut off from the game. People didn’t know she was playing the hardest game out there until it was too late. Lisa eliminated two players with idols in their pocket, Tara sacrificed her game for her, and managed to still beat the likable underdog in a Final Three jury vote.

Combine this with recent international Survivor winners such as Kristie and Jericho, and we have an extremely awesome streak going. Lisa is perhaps the most gifted Survivor player we have seen.

Tick. Tick. Booooooooooom.

*

Overall, Survivor NZ saw MASSIVE improvements over season one. We traded in Redemption Island for Hidden Immunity Idols, and when no idols ever get played we come out as Double Winners.

Most of the pre-merge challenges were phenomenal. The location of being on a lake in Thailand made for early grueling conditions. Lots of vomiting. Fainting. And pre-merge saw Eve, Franky, Lisa, Adam, and JT all be considered for medical evacuation.

The editing was incredible as the audience shared in on being completely in the dark when players such as Yos, Kaysha, and Tara went home. I can’t remember a time watching any version of Survivor in the past fifteen years where I gasped when somebody was voted out. Luckily the editing itself explained why that person was voted out. We didn’t need it hand-fed to us beforehand. Yeah, some of the scenes got repetitive since nobody in the cast had enormous personalities, but hey, New Zealand has one-tenth the population of Canada.

We cut down the number of episodes from about twenty-five down to fifteen. The pace picked up significantly and only during the “Eve or Renee are going home this week but let’s give Lisa 20, 000 confessionals about eliminating Matt or Matt 20, 000 confessionals about being in control” were the only dead spots that reminded me of NZ’s first installment.

We also saw a pre-merge twist that hit a home run–The Outpost. A new player from each tribe would be forced to interact during a game of mystery and intrigue where the rewards were filled with mystery and intrigue. I loved the added paranoia for everyone back at camp as they have to evaluate whether their tribe member was telling the truth or not. I love minor twists which don’t break the structure of the game or paralyze it. It also allowed under-edited characters to be thrust into the spotlight.  Kaysha trying to convince her tribe all she got were some brownies while everyone else doubts her will always be amusing to me.

We also saw a slightly more dynamic group than season one. Season one leaned towards eliminating their dynamic characters very early, watch that young woman nearly die for three full episodes, and then put all of our horses on Barb to save the second half of the season. I mean, just compare the winner from season one to our winner this year. It is a massive leap for us. The “nice guy” wasn’t automatically awarded the victory this time. We had a much better mix this year of personal moral dilemmas and individuals actively trying to win this game.

The goofy antics of Chisholm and the NZ structure in general carried over from season one–perhaps one of NZ’s biggest strengths. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all most of the time. When it does, it is more with an ironic twist.

Lastly, we got a major water cooler moment this season. What were our highlights last season? Barb pissing everyone off? Tom collapsing in pursuit of a sixth individual win? Jak traumatizing us in his loin cloth? Shay’s 35 day long Mormon sermon and her rivalry with Tom? This year the Matt-Dave relationship trumped all of that.  We also got Yos’ early downfall, the blindsides, Tara sacrificing herself, Adam’s confessionals, Eve’s emotional exit, JT’s unexpected med-evac, and Tess rallying at the end made for much more compelling storylines.

I am very sad to see the ratings were lower than expected for the network in NZ, but hopefully the international recognition is enough to potentially bring it back for a season three. NZ is on the right track–it just now needs to have a Final Two rather than the dreadful Final Three. Otherwise, I’ll be gutted. 🙂

*
OK guys, I loved recapping Survivor NZ for the second year in a row. Chisholm gave it to everyone straight for the second year in a row without anyone giving it to him straight at Tribal Council in return. Chani loved cagey answers at TC. It’s time to relax and not stress as we chow down on some pepperoni Pizza Hut pizza to wait for word on a season three.

Now let’s see how much of the final days of the game Survivor South Africa can steal from production.

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