Now in it’s fourth week, Australian Survivor 2018 has been a character based season so far. When it comes to this week, this is still the case but to a certain extent. This week focused more so one tribe over another. While this might not sound like a good thing, I actually found myself enjoying this week more than last week. It was entertaining, intriguing and even had some laughs here and there.
I liked both episodes from this week. Of them, I liked Episode 10 more given the amount of content packed in there. As stated before, this week was a little weird: this week focused on the Contenders more than the Champions. In fact, no one from the Champions tribe had a confessional in Episode 9- which happens often to contestants in these later US seasons. In the case of AU, it’s not that bad: between the two tribes, I feel we know more about them compared to the Contenders. Besides, the story this week was about the Contenders: two of their tribemates were sent to Exile Beach and were forced to compete in a duel to remain in the game. In the duel, Tegan was able to beat Anita. Seeing this play out was fun, as Benji thought he could control the entire tribe. With Tegan back, seeing Benji squirm was entertaining. The vote out in Episode 9 was also satisfying, but more on that later.
My favorite moment from this week, however, was seeing the Contenders enjoy their reward. For reward, the tribe would get to dine on nachos and margaritas (the latter of which would make Jan Gentry from Thailand [Season 5] very happy). However, there was a twist: the tribe would have to decide on the order in which they would eat and for how long. The tribe would not be eating together and would be eating individually. Somewhere in the hut, there was a clue to a hidden immunity idol. This twist was used in Heroes v Healers v Hustlers (Season 35) except the food was spaghetti- where the clue was hidden at the bottom of the plate. I didn’t like this twist in HHH because it felt weird and the idol’s location was too easy (which was by the tribe flag). With AU, I thought this was hilarious to watch. Some contestants tried to look for clues while others just chowed down. Benji ended up finding the clue but getting the idol would involve paddling over to another island. This is a huge improvement as they made it so the person with the clue would have to work for it.
Of the Champions, Monika stood out the most- particular in Episode 10. Prior to this, we haven’t seen much of her. Aside from knowing she won Miss Universe, she hasn’t really gotten any confessionals. However in the reward challenge in Episode 10, Monika stood out as she struggled in the challenge. The first portion of the reward challenge required contestants to grab a rope from above a platform while diving several feet down into the ocean. Monika struggled and missed the rope twice. Mat stuck with Monika and helped her out, giving her tips. On her third try, Monika was able to retrieve a piece of rope. I liked seeing this and hearing from Monika in her confessionals. Just from seeing that, I can tell she’s the type of person that won’t give up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Monika has a rise in power later on in the game. Aside from Monika, there’s nothing else to note about the Champions. Keep in mind that I still like Mat and Sam but there wasn’t anything new from them this week.
As for the Contenders, I’m liking Tegan‘s comeback in the game. She and Heath have been playing a fairly solid game. If I had to pick just one person this week from the Contenders, it would be Fenella. With the Contenders being the focus this week, we’ve gotten to hear from all of the Contenders. Whenever featured, Fenella has been a joy to watch. In a confessional in Episode 10, she commented on how life at camp was easier without Zach. When talking about Zach, however, Fenella said that she couldn’t think of a better word for “dick.” When the tribe lost another immunity challenge in the same episode, the Contenders returned to camp after the challenge. When talking about the losing again, Fenella remarked to her tribemates that losing challenges felt like Groundhog Day. I really want to hear more from Fenella, as she brings some good laughs here and there in the episodes.
I enjoyed all of the challenges from this week. The one challenge that I thought had something a little different was the slip and slide immunity challenge in Episode 9. In this challenge, the tribes would have to go up one at a time up to collect water in a bucket with holes in it. Going down the slip and slide, the contestants would have to try their best to keep as much of the water as they could- pouring it into a tube that has a ball at the bottom. Once there was enough water to retrieve the ball, two tribemates would use the ball to get through a hole-filled wall maze. The first to get their ball at the end of the maze won immunity. While the latter part of the challenge is nothing new, I liked seeing the slip and slide part. That was fun to watch.
However, my overall favorite challenge was Nut Bucket. In this challenge, both tribes have several people holding onto a rope that levers a hoop. The other contestants would then retrieve coconuts and try to aim it in one of the opposing tribe’s hoops- making it heavier for the weight holders. The tribe able to carry the weight the longest without dropping wins immunity. This challenge first appeared in Micronesia (Season 16) and AU has used this challenge before. It’s a good challenge as it’s a nice balance between endurance and accuracy.
Anita Berkett was eliminated from the game for good this week after losing the duel against Tegan. I talked about Anita last week and her situation is different: she was voted out by Heath’s vote, given Heath played his idol. However, Anita’s name did come up several times before given her age. While Anita did fairly well in the challenges, her tribe probably would have voted her out sooner or later. One of the things that bugs me about Anita’s departure is that she had to toss her buff in a fire pit. With this twist in the game borrowing from the Redemption Island twist, the thing that all defeated opponents had to do before leaving was throw their buff in the fire to serve as the visual. I absolutely hate the buff burning and it’s a shame Anita had to do it.
In Episode 9, Zach Kozyrski was voted out of the Contenders tribe in a 7-1 vote. The reason why the personal trainer was eliminated is very simple: no one could stand him. In the previous weeks, Zach stuck out for the outlandish things he would say- turning his tribemates off with his misogynist comments. I said in the last week that he was setting up for a downfall and boy did Zach fall. At Tribal Council, he commented on how his tribe wouldn’t win any challenges given the female Contenders were not as strong as the female Champions. The tribe did consider voting out Benji, given that the women couldn’t trust him after he had the women turn on each other to vote out Tegan. While Benji was dangerous and unreliable, the tribe couldn’t stand being with Zach any longer.
In Episode 10, Paige Kerin was voted out of the Contenders tribe- leaving the Contenders down to six people. Looking back, it’s impressive to see how long the marketing coordinator was able to stick around. The Contenders discussed talking about voting her off given she didn’t perform well in the challenges. On top of that, she tried talking to the Champions several times- telling them that she was on the bottom. Once again, the Contenders debated whether to vote out Benji. In a strange move, Benji revealed to Shonee that he’s a entrepreneur and makes close to $1 million per a year. Revealing this put a huge target on Benji’s back, given that he wouldn’t really need the money in the end. At the same time, Benji was good in the challenges. In an effort to keep the tribe strong, Paige was the one that was voted off.
Once again, I thought this was a fine week of AU. I will admit that I do have one problem with the season’s concept: when you pit a tribe of everyday people up against a tribe of athletes, it really isn’t all that fair. That seems to be the case as the Contenders have six while the Champions have nine. However, this will change in the next episode as there will be a tribe swap. This is a pleasant surprise, as naming the tribes Champions and Contenders would make it seem like there wouldn’t be a swap. Perhaps they’ll get new colored buffs? Maybe the tribes will have different names? Whatever the case is, we’ll get to see it in Week 5.
I'm a writer/journalist with a passion for music and pop culture. Having graduated from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 2014, I've been looking for a platform in which I can share my passions. Since 2009, I've been posting to my own blog- The Walrus' Music Blog- via Blogger. I'm also the author of two self-published books, "The Camp: Stories from the Summer" and "The College: Stories from King's." Together, the two books cover the story of my life from 2004 to 2014. I've been lucky enough to interview several of my favorite musicians over the years and go to concerts from time to time. I'm also very devoted to the CBS reality TV show Survivor, which I started watching in 2002 when its fourth season started. I currently live in New Jersey.