Australian Survivor

Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders — “Keep Hope Buried Alive”

Logan Saunders recaps the second episode of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders in part two of a two-part blog series about the first week of episodes.



Previously on Australian Survivor: 12 Champions and 12 Contenders who never give up. The Contenders came guns blazing, but the Champions lived up to their name. Contender Steve was too sneaky for his own good as he searched in vain for an idol while Survivor player Russell found an idol.

In the first immunity challenge, an injured Jenna put the Contenders on the back foot leading the Champions to victory and themselves to Tribal Council.

The way forward was clear until Matt’s paranoia set him on a path of destruction and was the first to be voted off.




No full intros but we get a lot of man butts. Hopefully no one shows up in my room. Steve is with the other guys. Heath’s seven foot form does not go into the water.

STEVE: Size doesn’t matter in this instance.

Wow. A penis joke to open our episode.






















FENELLA (I always want to type Fenelli because of Recess)







HEATH (Jumping in the intro shot makes him look like he is ten feet tall)




Commando is sharpening his machete.

Shane is proud of how her team is pulling together. Samuel says it’s not the “best” weaving he has done for a fish trap. Like, he does this frequently. As frequently as Coach.

Russell asks Mat if he is “famous around town.” Mat says he is famous around a small part of town and can escape quickly.

Brian talks about being a footballer from Melbourne with Shane. He is a father of three. Shane is amazed by everyone’s stories. She is getting to know everyone.

JACKIE: I am Australia’s fastest Rubik’s Cuber.

That’s a measured record?

JACKIE: The Rubik’s Cube is pretty much my thing. 10.41 is my official record.

We’ve consulted Maury Povich and it IS A LIE! She is one of the best female poker players in the world. Yes, even better than TAR 15’s Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle.

The poker playing profession is concealed.

Shane asks if a Rubik’s Cube is like a Sudoku puzzle. She says no.




No man butts today. Instead it’s a shark. Where’s Luke and Jericho? Nowhere to be found. The once-nude-dudes bring in raw papaya. It’s like the fruity version of a shark.

Tegan says their fire is amazing.

TEGAN: We’ve got full bellies AND Matt’s gone.

I like how food is as good as voting out Matt.

STEVE: I am Chinese–I eat everything.

Ironically enough, Chinese food is the only vegetarian based cuisine I cannot eat.

Heath and Tegan miss their kids at home. After Jackie’s poker montage and various footballing montages, Tegan gets a “I’m a mom” montage.

Jenna compliments being around her amazing bunch of people. Robbie lifts her up. Watch the ankle, bro!!!

JENNA: Champions should fear us. We’re coming for ’em one at a time.

Mat’s ass is complimented by Damien. Oddly enough Commando is one of the few guys who hasn’t gone Commando yet this episode.

Sharn observes Russell segregating the tribe a bit, and sees him having talks with Monika and Samuel.

RUSSELL: I feel like I am the easy out. I am not going to allow it. I’ve played this game three times. I refuse to be the easy out. That’s it. I’m going to shake this shit up.

And shaking the feces out of this game he shall.

Russell calls for a house meeting.

RUSSELL: I have an announcement. I know I am an easy out. I am not going to allow that to happen. I am not going home first.

I am going home second.

Russell pulls out the hidden immunity idol. Monika’s jaw drops.


RUSSELL (confessional): All hell breaks loose.


RUSSELL: I’m letting y’all know it’s game on now. That’s all I have to say.

RUSSELL (confessional): They so stupid they’re walking around with the devil and don’t even know he’s there.

Eh, I think the devil has better places to go than a random jungle in Fiji.




Everyone has to carry a bunch of supplies waist-deep in water and mud. Jenna is suffering. They get to a platform.

CHAMPIONS: Girl with the dreadlocks is still there. . .bald guy’s gone.

BRIAN: We thought Walking Wounded would be gone.

Holy hell. A Tea Party reference? I didn’t expect 90s Canadian music to be topical.

Champions ate pumpkin risotto as a meal; the women on Contenders have crabs. Gross.

For today’s challenge, they’ll play Sumo at Sea to seven points. Do I need to explain this challenge?

Winning tribe gets to choose between comfort items or a fishing kit. One of the Champions stands awkwardly close to JLP.

A man has to sit out. Sam is sitting out.

RUSSELL: I did this challenge. It’s a lot like wrestling. You have to get low.

Yes, the Flo-Rida approach.



Steve pins Zach to the ground. Zach gets up and holds down Commando. He gets him in the water after miming that he is making it rain.

MOANA: Why don’t you puff out your chest a bit more and borrow my sports bra?

On a scale of 1 to 10, that burn is a 8.



Paige absolutely crushes Moana. It was an ass whooping.



Jenna’s busted up ankle does nothing as Shane is absolutely man/woman-handled.



Samuel thinks it will be over in three seconds.

It lasts about three seconds. Lydia makes quick work of Anita. Everyone complimented Lydia’s swimming strokes. Champions finally score a point.

3-1 Contenders.



Mat fakes out Robbie by clearing out of Robbie’s charge, then Mat jumps in to quickly swoop Robbie into the water.

MAT: He’s a Muppet. Too much weight work, not enough speed work.

???: Not enough agility work.



Shonee has -zero- strength. A light push gets her down. Jackie slowly rolls Shonee into the water. Wow. It was like pushing a feather into the water.

3-3 tie.



They combine for nearly fourteen feet.

????: Brian, imagine he stole one of your favorite pink shorts.

I guess Brian beat Heath in the previous reward challenge. I forgot about that.

Heath fakes out Brian’s charge by dodging. Eventually Brian gets Heath down. Heath tries to get up. He does. Lots of shoves to Brian’s face. Brian fights back with charges of his own. Heath goes in. That looked like it went a while. Heath is frustrated.

4-3 Champions.



We completely freeze as Sharn has Tegan pinned. She waits. Pushes Tegan to the other side. Sharn scores the point.

5-3 Champions.



Fenella giggles when she realizes she is up against a pro football player. Holy crap she has her opponent pinned. She gets back up. Starts dictating the action. Plenty of pushing around by Moana. Fenella is pushed in. So close.



Use your Sun Tzu tactics!

Russell is like a bull against Steve. Steve is in. No sneak attacks today.

7-3 victory.

Russell insists they need to go for the tarp for when it rains. It’s theirs.

Steve is determined to fine-tune the Contenders strategy so they can beat the Champions in a challenge.




Robbie is upset he used the wrong strategy. Benji hates the other tribe at challenges (I assume he competed against somebody in an unaired heat thanks to limited TV time).

ZACH: I guess you could call me #CommandoKiller.

Isn’t that treason?!

The women laugh at all of the men on the tribe being upset they are losing these super macho challenges.

They all do squats together. Workin’ that booty. Now they are stretching to touch their toes on the ground. Jenna is leading these exercises. Now they are doing an Aras Baskauksas “Put Your Hands Together” team unity.


Inch by inch

Day by day








They hang up hammocks. Everyone is relaxed.

RUSSELL: It’s like a burrito.

Just in case you forgot Hantz is from Texas.

As everyone is relaxing, Russell is obsessed with strategy.

RUSSELL: As soon as I showed them the idol, I know people want to play with me and not against me. . .now I know I am in control of the game.

He pulls Jackie aside.

RUSSELL: I know I am a gamer and I think you are too. I can -see- it.

RUSSELL: If me and you can trust each other, I believe we can get to the end of this game.

JACKIE: I don’t doubt that. I think you have the skills that can carry me and with my strengths as well.

RUSSELL: Let’s work something out to where me and you will be safe.

Russell pretends to be married. He will hand her his “wedding ring” and if he breaks the deal she will throw it into the woods.

RUSSELL (confessional): I brought two. . .I am the master manipulator. It’s unbelievable how awesome I am at this game.

Russell talks with Damien, Mat R, and Commando. He promises to go to the end with the three of them. Russell hands them the other wedding ring.

RUSSELL (confessional): They’re gonna be my slaves.

This ain’t Australian Survivor: 19th Century Confederacy Edition.

While everyone is sleeping, he is pulling people aside to build his team. He goes back to his post-Kelly Sharbaugh elimination description of “painting his Picasso”.

Russell is talking to Damien and promises to save him LESS THAN FIVE FEET AWAY FROM THE SHELTER as Moana can hear their conversation clear as day. Da hell? Why don’t they at least get out of earshot from the freakin’ shelter? I can’t emphasize enough how close they are to everyone. All it took was one person to not be asleep in a game where everyone typically gets less than two hours of sleep per night.

MOANA (confessional): Don’t play your game so loud. Bad move.

No kidding.




Damien brags about the tribe’s teamwork.

For today’s challenge, they will race out into the water to retrieve four hanging boys–er, buoys.

They will then make their way to the top of a tall tower. One at a time they’ll dive back in to retrieve four more boys tied underwater. First tribe to shoot all eight boys into a tall basket wins immunity.

We’ve seen variations of this challenge many times before in Survivor. Water + Buoys + Free Throws.

Damien is sitting out. Wise decision.

The other twenty-two sprint into the water. Such a cool shot. Benji is -sprinting- like a madman. It’s time to retrieve the boys. Paige is first hoisted up to untie the first pair of boys. They shift her to the other pair hanging.

Champions try to hoist Sam but he takes a Tessa-esque fall.

In the meantime, Paige releases both pairs. Away they go.

Sam releases the first pair.

Contenders climb up the tall tower that is the size of two and a half Heaths.

Champions have the second pair. They try to catch up.

Tegan is PUSHED into the water. It’s a big jump from the tower.

Champions are now climbing the tower.

Tegan has the first boy.

Mat jumps into the water. They are probably about four or five minutes behind.

Fenella is second to dive for Contenders. Mat is swimming back with a boy.

Commando is ridiculously good with the swim as he has made up nearly all of the time. It’s now 2-2 for boys.

Jenna is third to have a boy. Lydia is about a minute or so behind with her third boy.

Robbie is fourth in for the Contenders. He is a strong swimmer, I guess.

Lydia is at the top. Shane is last to dive in for the boy at the bottom. Oh yeah, she is an Olympic swimmer. This should be damn easy for her.

Shane. . .comes up empty. I guess she is a swimmer and not a diver.

Contenders start shooting. They can’t land anything. Now they have to jump in to collect all eight boys. Four are allowed to dive in.

Shane finally has the boy from the bottom. That’s mildly embarrassing for her. I feel bad.

Sane is up. Champions start shooting almost simultaneously with Contenders’ second round of shooting.

Nobody has landed anything.

Mat scores the first boy! One-zip!

Contenders are in their third round of shooting. Not a single one landed until Heath gets one. Now he has two.

Mat scores a second boy. 2-2.

Heath is on a roll. It quickly jumps up to 5-2. 6-2. 6-3. 7-3. It’s all Heath. 7-4.

Heath takes another shot. 8-4. All eight scored by Heath.

Contenders win immunity! Damien casually applauds from the sidelines. Robbie looks like his pecs are gonna burst from his chest.

Heath swims to grab the idol from JLP. He has to sink all of the baskets AND swim to get the idol?

Champions take the Swim of Shame.

RUSSELL: You got Lucipher walking around and you don’t even know it.

I don’t think Lucipher would casually go on a game show. He probably has better ways to stir the pot in the world.




Sam notes players are “grabbing firewood” or “collecting water.”

Sharn pitches the plan to throw a few votes on Russell to ensure the idol gets played. Jackie openly talks about flushing the idol with Mat and Samuel while using Shane or Damien as the back-up vote. Particularly because both will suck in super physical challenges.

Lydia tells Commando she is voting for Damien because he is “dangerous”.

Lydia tells Russell she is voting “in the best interest of this tribe, but won’t give you a name”.

Russell talks to Commando thinking the women are going for Damien. He suggests Jackie.

RUSSELL: By saying this name or this name, there is no damn way they’re putting my name down.

Russell tells people to vote Jackie because they can’t trust her, Shane is the weakest in challenges, and wants to ensure nobody will “know who the hell to vote for.”

Monika and Jackie are walking on the beach. Russell joins them on their private conversation and is upfront with Jackie the boys will be voting against her.

JACKIE: I doubt that. I doubt the team is gonna get rid of their strongest people to do puzzles.

MONIKA: What do you propose to do to keep Jackie here?

RUSSELL: I’ll get all of the guys to switch to Shane. . .I just need you two to do it.

RUSSELL (confessional): I am playing with a bunch of dweebs. I am by far the best gameplayer here. What I’m doing is one of the most brilliant things I have ever done because I am trying to -not- play my idol.

Moana and Mat talk. She wants to vote for “Texas” because he is “arrogant, rude, and so far up himself.” Mat will vote for Jackie. She keeps referring to Russell as Mr. Texas.

MOANA: I can’t trust him as far as I can throw him, my upper body strength is horrendous, and I can’t throw him very far.

It is MOANA vs. MR. TEXAS.

Moana enters the jungle with Sharn and Lydia. She suggests Russell is pulling a Matt and wanting a male-based alliance.

SHARN (confessional):  Russell has been causing chaos all day today. . .He’s not in control of the game even if he likes to think he is.

SAMUEL: Russell’s got an idol. So he’s not going home.

RUSSELL: You ain’t seen the last of me, boy. I promise you.






Russell is wearing the idol around his neck. He talks about having a target immediately and will do whatever it takes.

RUSSELL: It’s by far the best camp I’ve ever had. . .we have two fireplaces, a wall, and the shelter can fit twelve people. . .the Aussies [play] a little slow, and like to sit around the fire koombayahing. . .today people started playing the game today. Nobody wanted to play.

MOANA: Nobody wanted to play -your- game.

RUSSELL: If I just sat around the campfire, I would be gone tonight. For sure. So the reason I am not going is because I play hard.

MOANA: You haven’t won yet, mate. So maybe change it.

RUSSELL: They’re not ready for playing aggressively.

JLP: The idol around your neck. Why you wearing it?

RUSSELL: Because I am playing it. . .This is part of my old gameplay. In two seasons I ended up with six idols. If I can end up with six more in a row, you’re in trouble.

JLP asks who feels vulnerable given Russell’s idol. Jackie, Sharn, and Damien raise their hands. Jackie feels her words were manipulated because of her plans being viewed as “gameplay” rather than “unity”. Wonder if Rick James still has that ring.

Mat thinks Jackie should be worried “in the scheme of things.”

Damien thinks it was a hell of a play for Russell to find an idol on day 1 and announced it on day 3.

Sharn says it is too early to be playing it really hard and shoot for self-preservation rather than go for team unity. Jackie brings up Russell talking to everyone at night at the end of the third day.

Lydia whispers to Moana she is voting for Russell because he might not play it.

RUSSELL: I’m going to play it so these next three days are going to be fun for them.

Some more discussion is had until we vote. Moana is up.


MOANA: You’ve played the game three times, mate. Maybe go home and review it and try again.

DAMIEN votes JACQUIE. Yes, Henry’s ally is receiving a vote.


If anybody wants to play an idol, now would be the time to do so. . .




RUSSELL grins and sits there.





















2-2-2. Russell’s brilliant plan is working!


























4-3-2-2. Oh.






Russell couldn’t frown harder if he tried. That idol is still around his neck.

MOANA votes RUSSELL in the revote. Russell itches his tiny beard. Then his lip.

Everyone else votes.

DAMIEN still votes JAQUIE. I don’t know why.

JLP reads the votes again.













Ralph cast the final vote. It’s enough and he is done. No Redemption Island to extend his stay by one vote this time.

Russell brings his torch while -still- wearing the idol around his neck.


LYDIA: Winning.


Russell gets humiliated in two jury votes.

He gets humiliated by having a tribe intentionally throw an immunity challenge just to eliminate him at their first Tribal Council, and send him home in seventeenth place.

He gets humiliated by being the first person to literally have the idol around their neck while being voted off in twenty-third place. Once again, he goes home at his first trip to Tribal Council.

It will never not be funny to see how bad Russell is at the game of Survivor. If you can find six idols, why not just play an idol every single time and get to Final Four with that alone? Why not just fade into the background and make bonds within your tribe like every returning player who has joined a tribe of newbies?

Like, did he pay -any- attention to how Skupin, Russell Swan, Penner, Rob, Coach, Ozzy, StepheMe, and Bobby Jon all survived their first trip to Tribal Council? They all survived a minimum of three Tribal Councils pre-merge because they got along with their tribe and formed unity and leadership.

Hell, the only reason Russ Swan didn’t make merge is because he went to Tribal Council with just Malcolm and Denise. That’s right. The only returnee mixed in with newbies who went home pre-merge was because it was a tiny Tribal Council with virtually no other options remaining.

Russ had a tribe of TWELVE players. Twelve. Most of them don’t even watch Survivor.

Moana summed it up perfectly. “After losing three times, why don’t you review your game, mate?”

It’s so true. In Samoa, at least Jaison was the tribe leader and Russ had a close alliance with him and faded in the background as Jaison dictated the whole game pre-merge. Meanwhile, build relationships with Natalie, Mick, Ashley, and to a lesser extent Ben.

But man, everything got to his head. This is the third season in a row where Russell has done the following:

  1. a) Try to align with just two players, make it super obvious. The rest of the tribe aligns against you.
  2. b) Stir up as much chaos either with idols or painting targets on other people’s backs. Everyone knows you are doing it.
  3. c) Either have the tribe hate you so much they throw a challenge, get far enough and everyone knows you’d be the perfect jury goat to get humiliated, or everyone just wants you gone to restore harmony again.

Essentially, Russell demonstrates the perfect way to ensure you lose Survivor every. single. time.

And trust me, go on social media to see how Russell fans react:

1) “I can’t believe the Aussies didn’t get rid of Russell. He is completely controlling them! Hopefully a bitter jury doesn’t ruin it for him at the end!”

2) “I can’t believe the Aussies got rid of him right away! They’re a bunch of dummies who don’t know he could have taken them far!”

And just as I predicted, #2 is circulating around Facebook and Twitter. They’ll never get it which is part of the fun.

Next Time on Survivor AU: Champions and Contenders push harder than ever before, and the game is ramping up as clues are discovered and the threat of being voted out hits home.


Russell has no regrets.

RUSSELL: Some people may think “wow, dang, that’s a stupid move”. . .when you play Survivor you play to make bold moves. . .I made the right move. It just didn’t work.

Four. Times. In. A. Row.



Moana, Samuel, Shane, and Sharn all voted Russell. Damien, Russell, Mat, and Commando voted Jackie. Lydia and Brian voted Damien. Monika and Jackie voted Shane.

Then everyone except Damien voted Russell. Man. Damien really is on the outs of his tribe.

Despite the split nature of this vote, I assume the Champions sans Damien will be united. I think everyone will forgive any votes cast due to the chaos triggered by Russell.

It’s essentially a new game as eleven champions are now Contenders to win. Well, minus Damien.

As for Steve: He really needs to stop being sneaky and switch to a much more upfront approach. He needs to put his trust into whoever is leading the tribe. Somebody will embrace him as a valuable number in a gigantic tribe. Somebody is bound to stick their neck out just a wee bit too far. I can’t imagine these idol clues will create trust within some of the Contenders’ dynamics.

I can’t wait to see how the new dynamics unfold on the Champions tribe. It should be fun. They’re not going to base it purely off of challenge strength to preserve their hero image like a certain Canadian version of The Amazing Race, are they????


Well, due to the international Survivor overload, things are going on hiatus in terms of international Survivor blogs at RHAP. I’ll keep blogging about this season on my longtime RTV blog (a.k.a. the most in-depth look at the history of The Amazing Race you will ever see on the planet). Hope you continue to follow Survivor’s best franchise worldwide!

And if you get bored, catch up on Belgian Mole and/or Dutch Mole. But mainly Belgian Mole. It’s my favorite and will immediately make you one of my best friends.


P.S. No, I will not be watching Survivor 37 and 38. I’ll be back for when the next international season of Survivor airs. When Aussie Survivor hits, I’ll be catching up on the earlier seasons of Dutch Mole! It’s what happens when a Survivor franchise jumps the shark further than a quadrillion Fonzes on jet skis.

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