Survivor NZ: Nicaragua

Survivor New Zealand: Take a Whee Whiff of This Blindside!

Logan Saunders recaps Episodes 11 and 12 of Survivor New Zealand where only the good die young by blindside.

Survivor New Zealand: Take a Whee Whiff of This Blindside!

Episode 11

Shannon was in the middle! Remember? Remember? Well just in case you happened to miss episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 all in a row, remember that Shannon was in the middle.

Mike won individual immunity and said he doesn’t have to worry about what would happen at Tribal Council except for the fact that his closest ally would be voted out hours later, and put him at a 6-3 disadvantage in the game.

We have an impromptu immunity challenge at Tribal Council. For the first time since Survivor: China, we have a night time Q&A challenge (yes, we had the return of the Story Time challenge in Game Changers, but you know what I mean). This challenge is practically designed to screw over Mike. He is out after three questions. Yeah. He’s done.

Barb finds a way to faint in this challenge during the fourth question and has to be removed from Tribal Council. The host says fire represents life in this game, but Barb would argue that water is the correct answer.

Shannon says the season is being filmed on the Indian Ocean. Did she teleport ten thousand kilometres without telling the rest of us? At least I can forgive the Atlantic as a guess because Nicaragua is a narrow country bordering two oceans, but Indian? I think she is throwing this challenge. I hope. Even the Arctic Ocean is closer to Nicaragua than the Indian Ocean.

FINAL QUESTION: How many times has the host won a green Survivor hat?

 Not even Jeff Probst would ask a trivia question about himself during the early season Fallen Comrades challenge.

“Whose shorts are these? Oh, they’re not Nick Brown’s. They’re mine.”

 Jak, the smartass, figures out the answer to such a ridiculous question has to be zero. His smartassness wins him immunity on a trick question. The host scolded Avi for thinking the answer was eleven, but the clip went unaired.

HOST: Avi writes down eleven. Eleven?

AVI: Yeah.

HOST: Avi. . .my name is Matt. Not fucking Luigi. You are thinking of the online fanfiction Survivor: Mushroom Kingdom. Jak wins immunity!

Did you know there were other unaired questions leading up to the green hat question?

“How many times did I rewatch Men in Black 3 because of Jemaine Clement?”

“True or false? I attended the same high school as Phil Keoghan.”

“What is my favourite flavour of ice cream? HINT: It’s not chocolate.”

“How many sheep did my grandfather will to my father upon his death?”

My personal favourite is the tiebreaker question:

“Tiebreaker question: How many times did Georgia’s jealous boyfriend call production and beg us to put him on Redemption Island to face off against Michael to prove who is ‘a real man’?”

I am amazed the challenge lasted as long as it did, really.

As they prepare to vote, Mike makes his plea to Avi and Shannon that Sala, Barb, Nate, and Shay are very tight. I think the two pairs within that four are tight, but not as a whole. But can you blame Mike? He can’t just there quietly. He begs everyone to target Shay for his third Tribal Council in a row.

We go to vote. Somebody voted “Still Shay”. Well played, Jak.

Since there is absolutely no time to have a side conversation and make a long-term plan, Shannon and Avi cannot risk their necks and eliminate Michael. I mean, they could have a side conversation seconds before voting if they wanted to do so, but that would just be weird to see. Wait until Survivor NZ racks up 34 seasons before they do that.

MIKE: Good luck everyone. Please vote Shannon out next.

-Cue huge windstorm-


I don’t know if Shannon and Avi will be cunning enough to pull a Tina/Colby or Todd/Amanda pairing by jumping back and forth to solidify their power position. I think their game, especially Shannon’s, has been exposed. Shannon will need to properly balance between being indecisive but reliable enough to remain in the game.

Mike and Lee hug it out at RI. It is a Brodown if I have ever seen one.

We return to camp with everyone commenting on the “double bonanza” vote. Shannon said she wanted to take out her biggest threats while she could. No kidding.

TOM: Tribal Council didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I am f–ked.

Which Tribal Council, Tom? I think both went equally poorly for you. You have to be more specific.

Barb whispers to Tom that she will keep him as long as she can and that she does not trust Shay.

After Shay’s morning long rant about Tom and giving a history lesson about Mogoton, Nate realizes it is pointless to go after Tom when everyone knows not to trust him.

Shay, Sala, and Nate have a powwow. Shay labels Shannon as being ruthless and is worried. Uhhhhh. . .

Sala refuses to be in on Shay and Nate’s hypothetical plan. Shay says Tom has to go next anyway.

JAK: What a bunch of f–king losers.

JAK: My name is Jak Heaton Thomas, and I want to f–k off.

That should be his campaign slogan.

JAK: F–k this joint.

Howler monkeys eavesdrop on Jak and Barb’s conversation. They don’t even realize the howler monkeys are there. The howler monkeys must have copied Sandra and Tijuana’s techniques.

Barb has got game. She knows she needs to split up Sala-Shay-Avi. In other words, it will be Hermosa + Tom vs. Mogoton at the next Tribal Council. And I bet Mogoton won’t even realize it.

JAK: She went from being an old labrador sitting on the porch and is now the peppy Fox Terrier.

Jak knows his dog breeds. Hopefully, that will be the theme of an immunity challenge quiz at the next twist. Which dog breed is the best at herding sheep?

Barb uses teabags rather than cucumbers on her eyes. Someone call Jeff Foxworthy ASAP. That would be something my friends would do in the trailer park. . .Or Jak when he is playing Truth or Dare with his buddies.


We head to a reward challenge invite. Shannon says it is important to win reward challenges. Yeah, just ask Mike. Look at what winning reward challenges did for him.

Last week, we had a symbol memory challenge quiz.

This week, we have a Survivor NZ memory challenge quiz and a “Do You Know Your Tribe Members?” quiz.

It’s one way to save money for producers.

What are they playing for? Pizza Hut. Wow. If Shannon and Shay didn’t learn their lesson from the chocolate cake, they will certainly learn their lesson from Pizza Hut. The only way production could have been more ruthless is if it was Domino’s. Then everybody would be throwing it–whoever is out first earns the “reward”. Shii Ann’s rice in Survivor: All Stars wouldn’t look so bad anymore.

The host “taunts” everyone with Pizza Hut.

HOST: Have a weeeee whiff of this!

Oh man. I lol’d. It is the exact same tone as when Eminem and Triumph the Insult Dog offer cookies to police officers.

First Question: Who does not deserve to be here?

Jak answered himself but he was wrong. Barb was the correct answer. We need to work on that self-esteem, Jak.

Tom cuts Shay’s rope upon the first question. Sala notes it is a personal vendetta for Tom.  Excellent observation, Dorothy Ann. Did you pay any attention to the social interactions on Mogoton, Sala?

Second Question: Who would you trust with your life?

Nate and Shay were the only ones to get it wrong. Everyone else answered Avi. Tom and Jak cut Shay out of the challenge. The majority alliance eliminates Tom.

TOM: I am not getting pizza no matter what.

Again–it is Pizza Hut. You’re not missing much, bud. Unless Tom is being sarcastic?

Third Question: Who needs a wake-up call in life?

Everyone including Jak answers Jak. Well, this will expedite the challenge.

Jak answered himself for every question. Well, except for the unaired question of “Who specializes in making all the girls get naked?” Even then he couldn’t justify answering himself. Some guy named Calvin was the number one answer on that question.

Jak is out next.

Fourth Question: Who does the least for their tribe?

Jak is the answer while he sits on the bench.

Shannon is out while Jak silently hurts on the inside.

Nate eliminates Sala from the challenge.

SALA: So close. . .yet so far!

Fifth Question: Who would you most want to be stranded on an island with?

Nate and Avi answer Sala. Barb answers Avi. Barb is correct. She targets Avi.

Sixth Question: Who would you never want to see after the game?

Avi holds his own name because he refuses to throw his friends under the bus some more.

Barb answers Jak.

Nate answers Tom. C’mon. We all know it is going to be Jak. Why did Nate pick Tom?

NATE: I picked Tom because he is a surfer and I am not.

Uhhhhhhh. . .that is the weirdest personality trait to scrutinize and use as your criteria for answering a question. It is like the time somebody answered a question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with B) because their last name started with a B.

HOST: Avi answers himself. It’s gonna be hard to not see himself after the game.

Eh, Avi could accidentally blind himself with scolding hot water by the end of this game or pass out into a fire.

Barb gets it. She chops Avi out of the challenge.

Seventh Question: Who would never survive on their own?

Barb answers Jak. Nate answers Barb. Barb is the correct answer. Each person has one chop left.

Eighth Question: Who is most likely to stab you in the back?

Barb answers Shay. Nate answers Jak. Shay is the correct answer. Barb wins a challenge.

HOST: Pizza is best when shared.

No. Every pizza is a personal pizza if you put your mind to it. Pizza is cut into eight slices because you can’t fit the whole circle onto a plate, but with enough balance, you can stack all of the slices on top of one another. Kiwis are amateurs when it comes to pizza.

Barb picks Nate, Sala, and Jak to share the five pizzas.

HOST: Pizza Hut will deliver the pizzas to you shortly–except this one is staying with me.

Er, make that four. Matt keeps pepperoni. Barb unknowingly shared the reward with four other people instead of three. She didn’t count the host.

Barb tells us she picked Sala for purely strategic reasons to make him feel comfortable. My god. Barb is truly the most ruthless player in this game, and nobody is catching on yet.

Ruthless appears to be our word of the day.


Everyone comes back to camp. Shay tells everyone she will stab everyone in the front as well as the back. Well, it can’t be a backstab anymore.

Sala, Barb, Jak, and Nate walk to a blanket on the beach near their camp that is covered in pizza boxes.

SALA: Explosions of flavour in my mouth!

JAK: In one way or another, Pizza Hut will always deliver.

And within forty-five minutes or else your pizza is free! Local restrictions may apply.

NATE: The cheese, the meat, the crust.

SALA: My body was happy, my eyes were happy, even my hair was happy. I am speechless.

This is almost as over-the-top as TAR Canada‘s advertising spots in each episode. Where is the Mentos?

Barb expresses her disappointment with the men that they could only eat four pieces each. Wow. I typically eat one large in a sitting, and I am not a big guy. This is not good PR for Pizza Hut.

Shannon wants to open a coconut with a machete. It is like watching Chris and Anastasia saw off some wood in TAR Australia. It takes a while. She starts using a rock. Nate is ready for a nap. Hopefully, Lee doesn’t storm into camp to wake him up.

After thirty minutes, Shannon proclaims herself as Coconut Woman.

TOM: I am relieved. I feel at ease now.

This game didn’t need another medical evacuation, and Tom needs a number to stay alive–especially when Barb is at risk of being physically unable to do so.

Strategy talk for Sala and Shannon. Sala tells her that Tom is spreading that Shannon and Shay are flippers.

I personally think Shannon didn’t realize how good of a position she was in with Mike, Lee, Tom, and Jak. I think all four of those guys were going to take her to the Final Three and is why the blowback from the betrayal is bigger than she had anticipated. She can’t play the middle anymore.

Right on cue, Mike and Lee confirm to the audience that Shannon’s betrayal was a huge shock. Mike hails Lee as a potential great winner of this game.

MIKE: I hope the duel is not a. . .

LEE: Balancey thing?

MIKE: Yeah.

We switch back to camp. Barb approaches Shannon about voting off Sala because Tom will keep targeting Shay and vice versa. After Sala, she intends to eliminate Avi.

In other words, Shannon thought she was the one playing both sides of the fence all season long, but rather it is Barb and Barb is getting away with it.

Barb tells Jak everyone is on board.

JAK: Barb, you’re a f–king beautiful woman. You know that?

That’s the first time a 21-year-old has said that to somebody who is old enough to be their mother and have it not be in a really weird Pacey-like context from Dawson’s Creek.

Shannon thinks Sala believes he has made it in this game and is comfortable with his position. I don’t know about that. Sala comes off as being extremely loyal and is very predictable to judge. When he is in the minority, he is hailed–when he is in the majority, it probably comes off as obnoxious and irritating.


Redemption Duel invite. Only two players from the tribe can attend. Jak is allowed to go. Tom wants to go too. Sala pulls a “Hold up, bro” and wants everyone else to draw cards because he secretly wants somebody from his alliance to have information from the duel.  Tom and Jak would be a dangerous combination for him. Nate draws the highest card. Poor Tom. He hasn’t caught a break all game.

The duel involves a balance beam with three bags of puzzle pieces. How appropriate. Sorry, it’s not a triathlon, boys. I should note this balance beam is EXTREMELY short, but both guys have terrible balance so it balances out.

Mike beats Lee to the puzzle by a full bag, but the beam is so short that the time advantage is less than a minute.

Michael wins the duel. The host asks Lee if he is gutted. Lee confirms he is indeed gutted. Jak and Nate are gutted for Lee. We are all gutted. The elderly sheep at Shannon’s zoo are also gutted. It’s a sad day for everyone.

We head back to camp. Sala is gutted for Lee. Take a drink at home, everyone.

And that was how this episode ends. I wanted to watch more. I am gutted.


Episode 12

Mike rants about Shannon. He thinks he will get back into the game around day 33 or 34. RI and South Pacific had re-entry at day 36. Nobody tell Mike this to see how crazy he gets.

Avi is getting claustrophobic being in the same cove around the same people for 23 days.

Shannon realizes her, Barb, and Nate have shared the same beach on Hermosa for 23 days. She is a prisoner. All we want is some information, number five!

At this rate, the episode feels like it will have lasted 23 days.

We learn everything about Sala and how he is rich in everything about his life except financially. Well, if we learned anything from Lee’s edit where he had a sudden surge in personal content, Sala will be going home by the next Tribal Council.

Avi catches one tiny fish and is really down about his struggle.

JAK: I don’t know if Avi wrote Creative Writing stories about catching fish, and it isn’t going his way. He sucks at catching fish. I have a genius idea that should work.

Of course, Jak’s first step involves having Sala make him a loin cloth. Genius.

Before Jak’s moment of terror happens, Avi and Shannon strategize. Avi tells Shannon she is “one of us,” and wants to have Shannon on his side in case Barb and Nate flip.

Now back to things that aren’t strategy:

JAK: It’s a perfect fit Sala! I’ve never felt so great in my life!

Shay’s eyes don’t feel great. She can’t identify genius when it’s dangling in front of her face. . .which is probably for the best.

Avi’s least favourite person is Jak and he views him as an easy target, especially when he only has a loin cloth to protect him and no barrels to throw, nor a princess to hold as hostage. Jak is currently the most vulnerable contestant in Survivor history.

tvnz-boyImmunity challenge invite.

HOST: Jak, I need to take it back.

JAK: You don’t want to know where it’s been.

Next time the host needs to wear gloves.

He asks everyone if anyone feels they need to win immunity more than anybody else. Nobody raises their hands, not even Jak or Tom.

It’s a 3-part challenge. Let’s sum up the three parts in Jak’s loin cloth terms.

First Part: Find club. Smash lantern.

Second Part: Put water in mouth from trough. Crawl under trough. Spit water into container. This is the most physical event in four rounds of play.

Third Part: Solve puzzle.

Shay and Barb are out in the first round, probably because Georgia isn’t around to drop her club in the ocean at the last second.

Nate says he is too big to get under the trough. He doesn’t even try. If Hannah were around, she would claim the trough is fat-shaming Nate.

HOST: Shannon taking a massive mouthful!

I see Ponderosa is happening sooner than we thought. Tee hee.

Jak quits when he is only one-tenth of the way as Tom advances to the final round.

HOST: Sala keeps going even though he must know he is out of this game!

Way to encourage those who have a never-say-die attitude. “He is refusing to quit, but is looking like a complete moron for putting in this unnecessary amount into a challenge he is already guaranteed to lose!”

Shannon and Avi advance to the final round along with Tom.

The third part is a Survivor classic–stack four blocks without any repeated colours on any sides. Oh. Tom has already solved it.

JAK: That was quick.

Yep. Tom wins individual immunity. As long as there aren’t any “How many jellybeans are in my house?” as a challenge, and Tom could go on a run.

Tom wins the necklace that he admits smells like Jak. No matter how you interpret that, it can’t be good. Barb says Tom winning immunity doesn’t change anything. I have a feeling Shay does not see it from that perspective.


Avi, Sala, and Shay come up with the boot order of Jak-Tom-Shannon. Sala feels safe tonight.

Nate doesn’t feel good about voting out Sala.

BARB: I hope Jak doesn’t overdramatize things.

We cut to Tom and Jak talking.

JAK: Should I punch a tree?

Barb tried. Don’t pull a Ghandia, Jak.

Actually, Jak is indeed acting like he is downtrodden. His word obviously, not mine.

For some reason, Sala, Avi, and Shay do not want to lie to Jak and make him believe he has a shot at staying. They are letting Nate, Barb, and Shannon have all of the power over his vote as they are the only ones providing potentially fake promises of safety.

Man, this strategic talk is really dragging out for a while. Nate says he wants to talk to Sala for the next thirty years. Nate is younger than I thought. I thought he was a senior police sergeant rather than a junior police sergeant. Maybe Sala will get bored of Nate after twenty or twenty-three years. Thirty is a pretty big commitment.

Lee enters Tribal Council with a moustache. He da real MVP. I can’t even pay attention to anything else going on at Tribal Council. I just keep laughing at Lee’s facial hair. I wish Lee’s moustache could participate in the next duel. Mike Haggar’s moustache was originally picked to go to Redemption Island, but the moustache grew in America, and thus is not eligible for Survivor NZ.

A redundant Tribal Council discussion takes place. No one in this cast has made any notorious blunders with bad Tribal Council answers or offbeat answers.

SHAY: We’re smart and we can see through people being fake.

Fake or ruthless?

The host grills Jak for him and Nate giving up on the second part of the immunity challenge.

Jak responds by saying he is horizontally challenged, and everyone is jealous for always being the answer in the reward challenge.

Seriously. Those are the only highlights from the Tribal Council discussion.

Everyone votes.

Shannon. Sala. Jak. Jak. Jak. This ain’t looking good.

Sala. Sala. We are now at 3-3-1. One vote left.

Jak closes his eyes. Sala is voted out. Avi is stunned. Barb smirks. Sala cries. Avi’s expression has not changed–he looks like he has just seen Jak in a loin cloth.

Nate threw his vote away on Shannon. C’mon man. You’re just as culpable as the other four who ousted Sala. That doesn’t make any difference to the viewers or the people playing. All you’re gonna do is induce eyerolls, man.


Oh, you want some actual strategic analysis? Very well.

Sala, Avi, and Shay were extremely loyal to one another. Considering they were in an alliance with Shannon, Nate, and Barb, they were doomed to lose the Survivor equivalent of the game show “Friend or Foe?” in this format.

Shannon, Nate, and Barb are in a huge power position with the endgame outcome of Redemption Island being their only major obstacle. Tom hates Shay. Shay hates Tom. Avi thinks Jak is extremely annoying. Shay thinks Jak is annoying. If Jak or Tom make it to the end, he will certainly win the majority of the jury votes by the early post-merge boots. I can also see Avi or Shay win over a jury by being the pre-merge underdogs unless Avi continues his trend of being a huge downer.

Therefore, not only are Shannon, Nate, and Barb going to be the most attractive goats for the other four players, but they are also in the power position. It is a classic position of irony in Survivor that has played out over the past two decades.

If Avi, Shay, Tom, and Jak can temporarily morph into robots for the next round of play, we should see the game being levelled to three equal pairs by the end of Tribal Council, but they won’t. Jak probably has to go next as Nate, Barb, and Shannon continue to run circles around their competition unless three hidden immunity idols and a Legacy Advantage are inserted into the game by production because they still have to film another ten episodes and keep the audience intrigued.


Chances of Winning

HIGH CHANCE: Anyone on Hermosa except Jak.

LOW CHANCE: Anyone on Mogoton.


NO CHANCE: Michael*, Jak

* Subject to change if Michael goes all Austin 3:16 on all dey asses.

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