Logan Saunders recaps Episodes 17 and 18 of Survivor New Zealand as we wind down to the final five. You can follow Logan on Twitter: @logsupacoowacky.
Survivor New Zealand: The Walk of Shayme
Previously on Survivor NZ:
After 32 days, two dominant players have controlled two sides of the game. Mike has had an unbeatable rule at Redemption Island.
MATT: Leaving the question of not ‘if’ but ‘when’ Goliath would return to the game.
This is a bit much in terms of build-up for Mike.
On the other side, Tom has won four immunity challenges in a row. He gained control of the game as Barb agreed to sacrifice her chances to get Tom and Avi to the Final Three. With numbers on his side, Tom pushed the target to his oldest rival, Shay (for the second time in case anybody has forgotten).
As Shay is sent to RI for a second time to join Goliath and a caveman in a loin cloth, the remaining players contemplate the final week of the game as the ever growing jury looms.
Yet another Redemption Island scene to start out the episode. Jak labels himself as a concierge and talks about how Mike has managed the facilities for twelve days. Mike has heard Shay doesn’t like him or Jak. It is put aside to chat about what happened anyway.
Mike is surprised to hear Avi put down Shay’s name and how Avi has turned into a no-fun bloke rather than the pre-merge reputation of being super nice and emotionally stable. Add in a few backstabs, and Avi’s chances of winning are looking no good anymore.
JAK: Aside from being a nice guy, he has done literally nothing in this game, hasn’t he?
SHAY: That’s my point. In terms of who is in the jury and what they look at, he doesn’t have anything to sell.
Ouch. And with only two rounds of voting left, Avi does not have many chances to win over the majority of the jurors–especially when three of those likely jurors just demolished him at Redemption Island.
We go to the Casar camp with the Final Four. Nate and Avi talk about their dreams. No, actual dreams. Avi dreamt about being abandoned by his family and–
AVI: I felt completely gutted having to write Shay’s name down last night.
. . .Give me a second while I grab a drink from the fridge.
Avi doesn’t feel good about not preserving his integrity for the first time this season. He really is the Chase Rice of this season. I think Avi is completely lost despite being a vital vote for most of the game.
Tom likes that Nate is feeling vulnerable. This stops as we have a goofy scene where they compliment Barb’s dreadlocks as “Barb Marley”. Jak is pissed he missed out on that joke.
Everyone wonders why the hell there is still a week left in the game. Avi says there is not much strategy when the only thing they can do is either vote out Nate or blindside him.
Avi admits he would feel extremely violated, betrayed, and totally spent, Jeff if he were to be voted out.
Nate and Barb talk in the shelter. Shocker, Nate is half-napping. He is eager to see who will return from Redemption Island.
Cue a Redemption Island scene. Jak recaps a log mural including acronyms, initials, and “Matty Chis was here”.
SHAY: Was he?
JAK: He must have been here. Mike was going to do a hit list of who he knocked out, such as Lee, “Sala was here” and Shannon, but he was too lazy.
Shay tells us that she has been spinning stories about what Avi has been doing with the hopes of him being protected to Final Three and potentially winning.
The three of them share a meal together.
JAK: Don’t hate us ’cause you ain’t us.
SHAY: I think they’re fine not being us, actually.
Actually, I think the most envious person is the viewer watching this at home because nothing has happened in 1 1/4 episodes. This is way too slow.
Avi and Tom decide they need to tell Nate that he is safe in order to keep him from scrambling. We watch Nate slowly unfold the paper for the reward challenge invite.
NATE: “And you thought the team game was over”.
My God. Reward challenge-Redemption Battle-Immunity Challenge-Reward Challenge over the span of three episodes.
BARB: So. No Redemption.
TOM: This reassures that only one person comes back.
What? They thought two players would return? That’s just ridiculous.
Avi says he has been hard on himself for not doing well in challenges (minus the previous reward challenge, but whatever).
I think the Survivor: Australian Outback season finale had a faster pace than these past three episodes.
After 16 minutes of running time, we have a Final Four reward challenge. For those who have read my very brief Survivor Rankings blog from seven years ago, I am strongly against Final Four reward challenges because the momentum of the endgame comes to a screeching halt, and almost nothing interesting comes out of it. It also adds an extra layer of frustration when you know they could have just turned it into an immunity challenge and guarantee there is a Final Two on day 39.
We have a pointless Q&A with Nate.
This challenge is a duplicate of the Survivor: Philippines pre-merge challenge where you have to race into three different circles to flip drums to match your team’s symbols. Once all three drums are correctly flipped simultaneously, you score a point. First team to three points wins reward.
And what’s for reward? A fruit and nut energy boost from Alison’s Pantry! What the f*** is Alison’s Pantry?
MATT: Crucial protein to give you a crucial leg-up in the NITTY-GRITT-TEE of this game.
They are drawing rocks to determine teams. Finally, a time where drawing rocks at Final Four is not cringe-worthy.
Nate and Avi vs. Barb and Tom.
Avi and Tom are the first match up. Much like Michael Harmstone, Tom’s colour blindness backfires as he flips over one of Avi’s symbols. That was a quick point. I should note Tom’s hair is morphing into a mop.
Second round is Barb vs. Nate. Barb is limping. Nate doesn’t need much time to score the second point.
From now on, anybody can be picked to participate. Tom’s colour blindness is cured as he faces off against Avi.
Tom gets a point. It is 2-1. In the surprise of surprises, Avi and Tom are facing off again.
Things get surprisingly physical. Tom screws up a bit with colours again as Avi wins reward for his team. He says winning another challenge helps his case in front of a jury.
Matt praises Nate for winning his first challenge. He proceeds to grill Tom for losing the challenge for his team (although a speed and agility challenge could not have been won by Barb).
Nate and Avi fill up their Alison’s Pantry bags with cashews, nuts, and other stuff from the cart. Nate and Avi return to camp with deeeeez nuts.
AVI: Nate is the only one who can throw a spinner into my plan.
A fidget spinner?
We return to camp. The extra fuel from Alison’s Pantry is supposedly a HUGE reward. They also get a glass of cold water. None of this warm boiled water sh**. Oh, and did we mention it is in a glass?
NATE: It’s so good, isn’t it?
AVI: It’s so good.
Amber thinks it is soooooo goooooood.
Nate admits he likes Avi. He wishes he could go with his wife, but Avi is a close second.
Strategy talk between Avi and Nate occurs in between cashew bites. Avi knows Nate does not want to take him to the end, but luckily has the ball in his court.
Nate shuts down the strategy talk. Thank God. They instead turn the conversation to how amazing and awesome Michael is.
NATE: Avi’s weakness is he is too nice. . .Tom’s story is similar to Mike’s with constantly winning and is hard to ignore.
Nice versus physical dominance? Is that going to be the FTC showdown?
Tom catches a fish.
BARB: That makes up for not flipping the right thing over.
Clearly, Barb prefers nuts over fish.
Nate and Avi return. Barb wonders if they have happy bellies or sore bellies. Since this reward is not cake or Pizza Hut pizza, I think happy bellies would be the answer.
All four of them watch the sunset together. Barb says her reserved and patient game has worked for her up to this point.
Barb spots two crabs on the beach. She wants the crabs to race. Tom designs a course in the sand for the crabs. It is like a freakin’ horse derby.
Avi names his crab El Blanco.
El Blanco gets his own subtitle on the bottom of the screen! So does Barb’s The Stone! This trumps Speedy McSpeederson from TAR 29.
Barb says she is the enabler who enables who goes to the Final Three. I have never seen somebody edited as being in this position so blatantly.
For the millionth time, Avi promotes his case for why he should win this game. It feels like day 39 with the projected Final Three talking about why they deserve to win.
Tom says he is not enjoying Nate’s strategy up to this point. Red Rocket is Nate’s crab, apparently. There would never ever ever be a scene like this in contemporary American Survivor.
Everyone speculates on what Michael will be doing in terms of strategy when he returns to the game. Not if.
AVI: We want to be the real Final Four. . .We can’t even celebrate yet.
It is now day 34 on Casar. They pitch the idea of two players coming back to the game.
AVI: We’re pretty sure this is the final duel.
Seeing how Survivor in the US never has anybody come back later than day 35 nor when fewer than four players remain would definitely make this the logical returning point.
Avi and Barb discuss how they can plead against Tom at a Final Tribal Council. I love how in-depth this conversation is because it is always such a one-dimensional discussion in the American version. It is as if all three note all of them deserve it, but how do you angle it to the jury that you are the most deserving. This is much better than the casual fan’s “They deserve it and the other person doesn’t” dichotomy that contestants are frequently labelled as entering day 39.
Now Tom and Avi talk about what would happen if Nate made it to the end. Tom is in Barb’s hammock.
Barb has the Tree Mail. It is a Redemption Battle Invite. All four are invited.
BARB: Let’s hope it’s over.
We switch to Redemption Island.
JAK: Screw this island, am i rite?
Everyone cheers as Jak demolishes the trees and some of the structures in camp.
JAK: I have a chance against Young Michael. He could be a little too confident at times. Could it be eventually his downfall? I’ll take advantage of that.
What is the difference between Young Michael and regular Michael? What is this? The Legend of Zelda? Can one handle the Master Sword while the other cannot?
JAK: I declare Redemption Island. . .CLOSED!
SHAY: I am up against Jak The Loin Cloth Wearer and Mike Who Hasn’t Lost Anything Yet.
Meanwhile, Jak has lost everything. . .including most of his clothes.
Mike assumes this will be the Battle of All Battles and it has been a long fifteen days. I believe that is the longest consecutive days record for Redemption Island.
Avi perceives Shay as looking a little blue. Perhaps Jak sang too much Eiffel 65.
Jak enters Redemption Arena with warpaint along with Mike.
JAK: You have to become the beast to defeat the beast.
I should point out Jak has even painted on six-pack abs. It’s subtle if you aren’t paying attention. It is Jak’s Situation.
Matt feeds Mike’s ego with having beat three “top” competitors. Terry, Tom Westman, Joe Anglim. . .er, I mean Shannon, Sala, and Lee.
What is today’s Redemption Battle? It is the individual pre-merge Survivor: Gabon challenge where Matty Whitmore laughed like a psychopath until he beat Bob to win tribal immunity.
Nobody Crystal’s it as all three are still in it after a few seconds. Jak informs Matt he is shaking. I would assume half of it is true and the other half of it is a mind game.
Avi roots on Shay.
MATT: Those poles are everywhere right now!
Shay is out after an unspecified amount of time. The battle is done.
MATT: Mike and Jak are alive in this game!
It is time to bid farewell to Shay. Shay says she does not want to cry but cries anyway. She wants her busband, brownies, and Mormony stuff. The trifecta. She wants Matt to wrap up her farewell. The Oscars Ceremony band starts playing their music.
Jak gives Shay a one-armed hug because he is still clutching his club from Tribal Council in the other hand. It has been in his hands for eight days. Hilarious. What a way to take from this boring and over-the-top emotional exit for Shay.
Shay burns her buff and is now gone.
Matt compliments Jak that the warpaint has worked, and says he is the only person to “beat” Mike in a duel. I presume this is in reference to Mike voluntarily dumping.
MATT: Well guys. . .it is time to head BACK to Redemption Island.
Jak and Mike could not be more deflated. It is like a balloon shriveling into a prune.
JAK: WHY?! Please?!
Actually, this is really good for the Redemption Island occupants because that is fewer challenges they will have to win upon their return. It could all come down to one immunity challenge.
For some reason, Nate thinks this is a good thing. Since when did giving contestants fewer opportunities to eliminate the returnees work in their favour?
AVI: I bet the guys are GUTTED.
Take a drink.
Everyone is surprised by the shakeup in the RI format. They speculate if they ate all of their food at RI or demolished their camp.
We go back to Redemption Island. Lots of swearing. Mike feels like he is slapped in the face.
JAK: Big Chahoo. So this defeats the purpose of being back in the game. And you ate all of the food! Why are we here?!
MIKE: It didn’t even cross my mind that we’d come back here!
Mike hasn’t had a handle on this game since the day tribes were swapped pre-merge. Even when he doesn’t go to Tribal Council he gets blindsided!
JAK: That is the least funny joke played on me in my entire life.
The tables have turned, Mr. Bond.
JAK: I’m starving. Awesome! Yes! Can I get two more servings of hungry and tired? Words can’t describe how much I don’t want to be here.
Well played, producers. Well played. Nobody saw this coming. At all.
It is day 35. Everyone is bored as Nate tells stories about tickets. Tom is annoyed.
BARB: Oh no. . .
Nate is the only one who doesn’t handle cabin fever by being silent and spacing out. Nate wanders off as the other three immediately talk about how to blindside Nate.
A wild horse wanders through camp. Did production plant it to give something the contestants to comment on as this excruciatingly slow stretch continues?
Nate walks to Tree Mail.
NATE: Please. Redemption.
Nope. Individual immunity invite.
TREE MAIL: “So much of what has come before.”
I would assume it is a vintage Survivor immunity challenge near the endgame where a collection of previous challenges are combined into a Final Five immunity challenge.
We head to the immunity challenge. We watch contestants walk to Matt for over thirty seconds. Everything about the Final Four has been exceedingly dragged out.
Tying the Survivor record is on the line as Tom prepares to win his fifth in a row.
It is a combined reward and immunity challenge. Two rewards at Final Four.
Thanks to Matt’s friends at Spaaaaak (Phil Keoghan voice), they will receive messages from home. Because of Spark, they get to receive very brief clips.
Tom’s partner puts warpaint on her face.
Nate’s family sings a lame song.
Barb’s horses nicker and bray. She breaks down crying.
Just kidding. Her video features real people.
Step 1: Balance a ball on a pole while stepping over and under a crate.
Step 3: Then add another stick to the pole as they cross a teeter-totter.
Step 4: Then add another stick and cross a barrel bridge.
Step 5: Once that is done, they will release a key, unlock a padlock, then use sandbags to knock over a series of targets.
Complete these steps and Final Four immunity is yours. Let’s rip into it.
Nate and Avi are told to restart because they are not holding the pole below the black line. Amateurs.
Tom is first to clear two obstacles. The barrel bridge is done. Barb is in second.
Matt plugs the Spark reward again.
Tom unlocks the padlocks. Barb is right behind. Avi also finishes the balancing obstacles.
For some reason, Tom is slowly throwing underhand. I would be whipping the sh** out of them. I guess Kiwis play cricket rather than baseball.
Tom, Barb, and Avi are all throwing bags. Tom is down to five. Barb is down to seven. Tom is down to four. Barb is down to six. Avi is at seven. Now he is at six. Then five. Then four.
Tom is still going with his slow underhand technique. Barb is the only one throwing overhand.
Tom and Avi are down to three targets. Tom ran out of bags. So did Avi.
Barb is down to five as she runs out of bags.
Tom is down to two.
Nate finally has his sandbags.
MATT: It’s a four-horse race.
Since when do we constantly utter horse references?
Barb is down to four. Then three. Tom has just one. Barb is down to two. Tom hits his last target, but it doesn’t fall off.
Barb is down to one, she barely knocks her final one but it is enough momentum to push it off the ledge.
MATT: BARB! BARB ROCKS! BARBZ WINS IMMUNITY AND REWARD!
It is the most excited Matt has been all season long.
The challenge is over.
MATT: That was epic.
(We cut to NATE who looks downright miserable with his head down as if he is at a birthday party he did not want to attend.)
Barb watches her message from home. We see flamingoes and horses.
Barb didn’t cry.
BARB: Seeing the horse was really cool.
What about her kids?
BARB: I’ll see them shortly. They’re old enough and ugly enough to get on with their own thing.
Barb is awesome.
Two silver medals in individual challenges and now an individual immunity win makes Barbz the second strongest challenge competitor left in this game. Remember when she fainted from holding a couple ropes at a 180 degree angle?
So that’s it. Sixty-six minutes of airtime at Final Four has a reward challenge, a brief Redemption Battle, and an immunity challenge. Wow.
Shay wished she played nicer and wants Avi to win the game for the way she was hoping she could play.
Highlight of episode 17: Watching crabs race for a longer amount of time than the Redemption Battle.
We get a highlight reel of Barb and Nate from Hermosa and another highlight reel of Tom and Avi’s relationship from the early Mogoton days.
We are also reminded of Barbz, Avi, and Tom’s reward getaway.
Oh, and Matt nearly jizzing himself as Barbz winning individual immunity to disrupt Tom’s streak.
Barbz is stunned by her own individual win. We need to research if Barb is the oldest woman to win individual immunity.
Now we’re talking about hamburgers. It’s like Frost vs. Nixon all over again.
We cut back to Redemption Island. Lots of screaming from Jak.
JAK (laughing non-stop in a confessional): I am really sad! I don’t wanna be here!
This is Jak at his saddest. I want what he’s having.
JAK: I look like Abraham Lincoln now. The greatest twist is I look like Abraham Lincoln now.
The Vampire Hunter?
JAK: We must look like trailer park trash at this point.
MIKE: I feel like trailer park trash.
Abraham Lincoln–Former US president, vampire hunter, and trailer park trash.
JAK: Oh man. I’m losing my sh** out here.
All work and no play on Redemption Island makes Jak a dull boy.
We check in on Casar as the growler monkeys look angry and bored. Probably because Nate is talking again.
Barb is having a nap on the beach. Tom is in the hammock. Nate and Avi are the latest pair to have a scene talking strategy.
Gee, Barb has immunity so guess who Nate asks Avi to vote for? Yes, the default choice.
We go back to Redemption Island AGAIN. The scenes are getting shorter and shorter at both camps. It could be because absolutely nothing is happening.
Jak and Mike assume Tom will be joining them if he does not win immunity.
JAK: If Nate or Barb show up, it will be an absolute sh**fest. I’m going to stir the pot.
Mike knows there will be a massive target if he comes back into the game. Yeah, I think that has been the story since about day 3 or 4 on Hermosa.
Jak predicts it will be Nate or Barb who will be on RI. This is presumably because Tom will have immunity.
We go back to the Casar camp. Barb cries. She reflects on Nate’s backbone and friendship.
BARB: If I can win immunity, you can win Redemption. It’d be like Return of the Dinosaurs.
Or Return of the Horses.
Barb tells Nate that she thinks Tom is twitchy. That’s how many conversations they have run through? We’re now talking about how twitchy a player is?
BARB: I know which [jurors] will vote Avi and which will vote Tom.
Blah blah blah Nate and Barb are close. Blah blah blah Barb nearly drowns in the ocean. Wait, can we see more of this? Osten would be freaking out right now.
After 81 minutes of running time, we go to Tribal Council with the Final Four. Sala is surprised to see Barb with immunity.
NOTE: For viewers in America, 81 minutes of running time would mean you would sit through an entire season finale that starts with four players and would not go to Tribal Council until a third of the way into the reunion show.
Shay keeps playing with her own hair. That makes two of us.
I am still convinced Lee’s moustache will win this game.
AVI: I am not one to blindside. I am not one to stab people in the back.
BARB: I have been getting them to brush their teeth and do their homework.
Neither of these statements are true.
BARB: It’s not much different from being at home. Letting them think they have their own way, but it was really my idea.
These are going to be fun conversations to have at home.
Nate admits he was lucky but is able to read people.
NATE: Body language indicates that I won’t be getting much more than the tally of day 35. It’s not over until the Fat Lady sings, but I think she’s offstage gargling now.
Fat Lady uses mouthwash? Perhaps borrow Tom Westman’s mouthwash?
Barb and Matt talk about cobbers.
NATE: We all hoped that it would get to this stage of being painful.
What’s painful is me not knowing what a cobber is.
Wait. Did Kim Johnson win individual immunity at an older age than Barb? That thought just popped into my head.
Nate votes Tom. Tom votes “Nate Dog” with one ‘G’ as the whitest vote ever.
I am amazed the word “tie” hasn’t been mentioned once when we have had two distinct pairings for quite a while.
FIRST VOTE: Tommy.
SECOND VOTE: NATE Dog.
THIRD VOTE: NATE.
LAST VOTE: Nate <3
Nate’s torch is snuffed. He heads to Redemption Island. A lot of Hermosa dudes are occupying the island.
The “Final Three” return to camp. Barb speculates the jury assumed Tom would be voted out. They compliment Nate’s classy exit and want him to beat Mike and Jak. Barb’s only other goal is to make it to The Three.
Barb wants to make a few more little moves but will reserve judgment. Of course, there will be little moves since Redemption Island is the only unresolved part of the game.
Nate joins Jak and Mike as they interview him. They are stunned to hear Tom survived the vote. Jak doesn’t understand the dynamic. They constantly reference the fact it is day 35. Mike finds it tricky to have Nate with him because Nate rejected an alliance offer on day one. He wants to smooth things over again, anyway.
Day 36. It’s day 36. Did you know it is day 36? It is strange to have a Not-So-Final Three when four days remain.
Tom sings one of the lamest songs ever in Survivor history.
Four more days
Four more days
Four more days
Four more days
Just got four more days
Feeling really sad
Then I’m feeling really happy
On a roller coaster
I’m a happy chappy.
Tom’s subtitle needs to change from “Teacher” to “Happy Chappy”.
Tom uses sticks to play on the pots like they were drums. We see Tom stare into space then do a Coach-like grin at the camera. He has a f***ing staring contest with the camera. Maybe this will be the next Redemption Battle.
Tom makes bird noises. Caw caw caw! This is why you don’t have a Not-So-Final Three when four days remain. They have absolutely nothing to do except eliminate whoever comes back from Redemption Island.
Avi thinks Barb may quit after the Redemption Island Battle or may try to win this game. No kidding. Those are the only possibilities on the table.
HOW IS THERE STILL STRATEGY DISCUSSION???????!!!!!!
BARB: I still have to choose if I want to go to the end.
Every early boot in Survivor history is ripping their hair out. Somebody being able to single-handedly decide if they feel like winning this game is an absurd amount of power. “Meh, I feel like winning now”.
We get another Redemption Island scene. They look at what they assume to be Costa Rica across the water. I am surprised Costa Rica has never hosted a season of Survivor.
Nate has hated his only day at Redemption Island. Jak has racked up ten days.
NATE: This sucks! This! Sucks!
JAK: It’s the absolute pits, eh?
I am curious what the hell Mike and Jak have been doing for the past ten days.
Mike offers tips on Redemption Island.
#1: Mike looks after the food. He cooks the food and generally eats the food. Don’t touch the food. It’s like the guy from Rounders who has cookies.
#2: Get used to sleeping on round hard bamboo. If you can sleep there, you can sleep anywhere.
#3: If you like crabs and hermit crabs, it’s a good place to be (We are treated to a goofy montage of Mike chasing crabs as music from Diddy Kong Racing plays).
Mike says Jak has overstayed his welcome on Redemption Island.
MIKE: I feel like it’s kind of my island. . .It’s my island.
(Sappy music plays.)
JAK: I did enjoy my–no.
(Sappy music stops.)
JAK: No, I didn’t. I was going to say something really sentimental. “I enjoyed my time here”. No, I f***ing didn’t! I f***ing hated it. I never want to f***ing come back!
On that note, we go to Casar. Barb requests a drum beat from Tom as they wonder what tree mail will contain. Tom wants another immunity challenge. That would be awesome.
It’s a Redemption Island invite. Barb thinks Jak loses focus and that the other two may be returning.
By the way, the whole tribe has been invited.
We go back to Redemption Island one last time. . .we assume.
MIKE: This is the likely last battle. Battle of all battles. Winner is likely to go back into the game.
I love how cautious Mike’s wording is at this point. He hasn’t been right about anything for the entire second half of this game.
Jak wants it to be mental endurance rather than physical. No kidding.
Nate is not wearing his buff on the top of his head for one of his confessionals. I didn’t know his hair was that grey.
Mike has spent SEVENTEEN CONSECUTIVE DAYS on Redemption Island. It is the longest streak of all time.
The battle is identical to the Survivor: Nicaragua final immunity challenge. Balance oddly shaped coins on a sword. TWO people are coming back into the game. Just imagine if Andrea and Mike Chiesl both came back into the game.
There are lots of shots of Mike’s nipples. Rain starts coming down to make Mike’s nipples harder. The only sounds are the thunder and Matt’s commentary about the aforementioned thunder and rain.
Jak is shaking.
They must now put the largest coin on top of a large stack. Jak shakes too much and can’t even get the coin on top. The challenge is over just like that.
Jak reflects on going from being an overweight twenty-year-old into an Abraham Lincoln. He is talking REALLY fast. He is far more emotional than he is letting on. Jak now appreciates time–especially the ten days on Redemption Island.
Jak trains Tom how to properly fold his buff before throwing it into the fire. Jak’s exit this time is a bit more civilized.
Nate’s one day versus Mike’s seventeen days is brought together. Matt asks them a lot of questions before letting them leave the arena.
I can’t see much changing.
JAK: I am gutted I couldn’t go the full length. . .I hope nobody has any hard feelings towards me because I said some pretty gnarly stuff throughout the game.
Well, let’s do one last shot.
Well, Lou being medically evacuated had bigger implications than we originally thought. Instead of one returnee, we get TWO returnees with only four days left in the game.
That means whoever survives the first Tribal Council, whether it be Nate or Mike, will have their game all come down to one immunity challenge. Especially Mike. As long as neither immunity challenge involves a quiz, Mike should have good odds of winning at least one immunity challenge. It would be hilarious if he gets voted out 24 hours after a 17-day stint on Redemption Island.
Even Matt Elrod had four days on Murlonio before his return ticket was punched.
Episode 19 should also have a really fast pace as two challenges and two Tribal Councils have to be squeezed all into one episode. It is probably a wise editing decision since Avi, Barb, and Tom have absolutely no reason to turn against each other. Hell, we could see Nate going home in fourth place two times in a row.
Tom can breathe a sigh of relief as now he has two additional immunity challenges to attempt the all-time world record for individual talisman wins in a single season. Too bad every single person who has beat him in a challenge is still in this game minus Jak.
In fact, Tom, Avi, and Mike all being in the Final Five probably marks the first time where the three alpha males from day one all make it into the final rounds together. Lee is the only alpha male missing from the bunch.
I personally would have found it hilarious if they played this game down to a Final Two before bringing back two people from Redemption Island just to f*** everything up, but alas, it was not meant to be.
By the way, the Kiwis who love hidden immunity idols are still crying at home. Their tears are delicious.
Unless Mike plays spoiler, Tom and Avi should have quite the showdown in front of the jury. Could Mogoton and Hermosa voting lines determine who wins this game?