In its fifth season, Australian Survivor has taken the plunge in doing its first ever All Stars season. With a cast of 24 returning players from the revival’s first four seasons, it’s been an all out war thus far. These first three episodes were firing on all cylinders- making for a great first week for the season.
I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of All Star/all returnee seasons in US Survivor. In the US, we’ve done this four times before with All Stars (Season 8), Heroes vs Villains (Season 20), Cambodia (Season 31) and Game Changers (Season 34). Now for the winter/spring season, Winners at War (Season 40) will be the US show’s fifth all star season. For me, all star seasons are really hit or miss. Of the previous four, the only one I like is Heroes vs Villains just because of its surreal moments- which was all done for the show’s 10th anniversary. With these All Star seasons, I find them to be frustrating to watch when they’re airing: some favorites get cut early while lesser known people are elevated to legend status.
With the US version’s more recent returnee seasons, the editing has been very poor with reintroducing us to the characters. With AU, they have four seasons to go back to that span from 2016 to 2019. So far, the season has done fairly well in reintroducing the players and showing us what made them memorable. I particularly liked the introduction of the contestants, all entering the game via different modes of transportation. We’ve gotten some great scenes involving tribe dynamic and survival- while still factoring in the strategic portions of the game.
For Mokuta, I’ve been impressed by Henry Nicholson. Originally from Season 2, Henry was one of the biggest players out there- maneuvering his way through the game until he was blindsided with an idol in his pocket. During his first time, Henry lied about his occupation- telling everyone he was a yoga instructor. This time around, Henry know that he needs to change his game around. In the first episode during the opening challenge, he found a clue to a hidden immunity idol near a fire torch. As he was running back to his tribe, he saw Mat Rogers from Season 3 on the other tribe. He told Mat to look for a clue at his tribe’s fire torch- which Mat did. Henry discovered later in the episode that the idol hidden in Tribal Council, which he was able to grab at the end of the episode. Since the idol was only good for three Tribal Councils, he gave it to Mat during the immunity challenge in Episode 3. I like how Henry is trying to spread out a little here- trying to pull in allies that he can team up with later in the game.
For Vakama, I’ve been enjoying David Genat from Season 4. David was one of the most entertaining contestants from last season. From his hilarious confessionals to his alliance with Luke Toki, it was great to see the self proclaimed “Golden God” again. Given that this season filmed while Season 4 was airing, almost everyone on Vakama was coming up to David. This surprised David and seeing him play up for the cameras was fun to see. David’s also playing a solid game so far, as he made a secret alliance with Mat this week. With these people that play back to back seasons, they usually go further than they did the first time around. David made it up to the merge the last time around. Could David possibly make it further than he did in his previous season? Personally, I would love to see David stay for as long as he can and provide the viewers with another season full of laughs.
Of the challenges this week, I loved the opening challenge in Episode 1. In this challenge, contestants from each tribe must work together in building a bonfire. The tribes must trudge through the sand with a heavy sled-like board- going around a course and obtaining the material needed to make a fire- such as logs and husk. Once the tribes have obtained what they need, they can start building their fire. The first tribe that’s able to burn through the rope from above the fire making station wins the challenge. In short, this challenge is basically the fire making challenge in US Survivor except on a bigger scale. With this being All Stars and everything being epic, it was the perfect choice for a first challenge. In the end, Mokuta won the reward- which came in the form of an already prepared tribe camp.
In Episode 1, Shane Gould became the first contestant voted out of the game. Shane won the game in 2018, making her one of the franchise’s oldest winners at 61. As predicted in my pre-season thoughts article, I didn’t think Shane would last long considering her age and winner status. During Episode 1, Shane was reverting back to her game from early in Season 3- when she went off looking for idols. Everyone could see through her and she wasn’t trying to cover it up. I remember comparing Shane to US Season 2 winner Tina Wesson, in that they were both female winners that relied heavily on connections to win the game. Just like Tina was in the first All Stars (Season 8), Shane was a previous winner voted out first.
In Episode 2, Jericho Malabonga became the second contestant voted out and the first vote out of the Vakama tribe. Similar to Shane, Jericho was a previous winner- having won the game in 2017. As part of their reward in Episode 2, Vakama was able to pick items from the Survivor shop. This included things such as a tarp, a hammock and other things needed for the 50 days. Locky and Phoebe were the ones chosen to pick out items for the tribe. While they picked the essentials, they also picked a jar of cookies- a tip of hat to how Jericho was left in a moral dilemma in Season 2, as he had to pick between firewood for the tribe or a jar of cookies for himself and whoever else. Jericho picked the cookies and was able to build his alliance with them- earning him the nickname of the Cookie Monster. Locky and Phoebe shared their cookies with AK, Brooke, Flick, David and Daisy. Together, this alliance of seven decided to vote for Jericho considering he would be dangerous to keep in the game and could possibly win again. So with that, the Cookie Monster was voted out by a cookie alliance
In Episode 3, Daisy Richardson became the third contestant voted out after being the victim of an idol play. Daisy’s name had come up in the previous Tribal Council, given that she wasn’t pulling her weight in the challenges. The alliance of four in Vakama- Mat, Moana, Tarzan and Jacqui– knew that one of them would be next. With David’s new alliance with Mat, along with the idol Henry gave Mat- the alliance of four thought they could change things up. For the cookie alliance, they spotted Henry giving Mat an idol. With that, they decided to split the votes between Jacqui and Moana- with the majority going to Jacqui. David relayed this information to Mat and come Tribal Council, Mat played the idol on Jacqui. However, Brooke had found an idol herself on the Vakama beach and she decided to play it on David. With Jacqui’s five votes negated, Daisy became the second person voted out of Vakama after a 4-2 vote. The other two votes were for Moana- coming from David and Phoebe. So while David turned on the cookie alliance, he didn’t vote for Daisy.
These first three episodes of All Stars were a lot of fun to watch. For next week, there will be another three episodes.
With that being said, I’ll see you all next week!
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.