After several weeks of champions decimating the contenders, it was time for a tribal swap this week on Australian Survivor. First introduced in Africa (Season 3), tribal swaps are now a staple to the game. It’s a nice way of switching things up and could potentially prevent pagongings (or in plain terms: annihilation of a tribe in the merge). While the results of this tribal swap weren’t anything amazing, it was still another good week for AU.
Like the last few weeks before it, the episodes this week were the usually running times: 50 minute Monday episode and 70 minute Tuesday episode. While I prefer the longer episodes, I was pretty impressed with how much they were able to fit in Episode 11, in telling what was going on at each new tribe.
As far as the swap itself goes, there weren’t too many drastic changes. Tegan and Shonee switched over to the Champions while Sarah, Lydia and Sharn switched over to the Contenders. Even though it’s technically not Champions vs Contenders anymore, the two tribes kept their names. I did consider the ideas of the tribes getting new names or new colored buffs. In the end, it isn’t a surprise that the names stayed the same.
Stand Out Contestants
For the Contenders, things have changed as there is a new tribe vibe. With the original Contenders, the six that were left were all divided into groups of two- with Benji and Robbie looking to go next potentially. With the swap, the two men have found a new ally in Lydia, formerly of the Champions tribe. Of the new Contenders, I think Lydia got the most camera time. While she’s my pick for the Contenders this week, I can’t say I agree with everything that she has said. For example, I didn’t like that her and Robbie had the same mindset in wanting to be around strong people- targeting Fenella as the next boot. However in Episode 12, I liked how she and her new tribe all got to know each other a little more. With Lydia, she talked about her career as an Olympic aerial skier and I liked hearing it. During this time, her tribe seemed impressed too- especially Fenella, who had her jaw dropping and kept mouthing expletives that the editors had to blur out. Also this week, Benji was able to find the idol that was hidden last week during the nacho reward.
For the Champions, Mat had a change in his numbers- with some of his closest allies switching over. Even then, the guy is calling the shots on his tribe and he’s playing an impressive game. With the new Champions tribe, it was clear that Tegan and Shonee were on the outside. While Mat is aligned with people such as Sam, he had to work and strengthen his ties with Shane. While the original Champions were winning challenges, some of the cracks are from the original tribe seem to be showing this week- with Brian on the outside too.
The three challenges this week were okay. The first two were simple endurance challenges. Of the those two, I liked the immunity challenge in Episode 11. In that challenge, pairs of contestants had to hold a cube between them with their feet. The last pair or last tribe standing won immunity. It was something different, compared to some of the challenge in the recent seasons of the US version. I especially loved how Sam tried to distract Benji during the challenge, telling Benji that he had a dream about him the night before.
However, my favorite challenge is week is the immunity challenge in Episode 12- which is called Tyred Out. In the challenge, contestants would make their way through tasks in different trips. The first part required two contestants to go across a monkey bars with tires tethered to them. Once complete, the tribe would use the tires to create a cart-like platform- which would be pulled by one contestant to start with. As the contestant was pulling the card, the contestants would have to keep up with the pace climb over and under on an obstacle course. Once the entire tribe was pulled through, the wheels would then have to be pulled off for a puzzle portion- which when completed would raise a tribe flag. The first to finish would be declared the winner. I really liked watching this and seeing how the tribes had to rely on those tires for the entire challenge.
The Champions went to Tribal Council in both episodes this week.
In Episode 11, Jackie Glazier was voted out of the Champions tribe. Early in the game, the professional poker player had a few votes cast against her. However, Jackie was able to rebound nicely in the immunity challenges in the following weeks. Still, Jackie was on the outside with Brian on the original Champions tribe. Mat also noticed her aligning with Monika a week or two ago, showing that she could cut ties in an instant. For Monday’s episode, Tegan and Shonee were able to save themselves by telling Mat that Jackie had spoken to them. This showed that Jackie couldn’t be trusted and along with everything else working against her, she was voted out.
Despite her comeback, Tegan Gasior was voted off in the following episode from the Champions tribe. She and Shonee had swapped from the Contenders to the Champions, easily putting targets on their backs as the ones to go next. Even when on the Contenders, Tegan was seen as a threat and her connection with Heath was seen as dangerous. No matter which tribe she was on, Tegan was seen as a threat.
However, Tegan didn’t go away just yet: as part of a twist, the Contenders were allowed to attend Tribal Council that night. They were also given a note, which Sharn read after the votes had been read. The note read that the Contenders would decide whether they wanted to save the person voted off. Should the tribe agree to save Tegan, she would be saved and join the Contenders. The new Contenders tribe now had to write on parchment whether to save Tegan or send Tegan home. The seven tribe members all voted by tribal lines, with the exception of Benji and Robbie- who decided to vote against Tegan and send her home.
While I enjoyed this week of AU, I have to admit that season has been a little slow lately. Don’t get me wrong: I’m liking this season but I think with AU‘s format of 24 people, this is the part of the game where it tends to get just a tad bit boring. This is usually when the tribes merge at around 13 or 14 people. With 12 left in the game, it looks like there will be a merge soon. Personally, I think the merge will either be in Episode 14 for Tuesday’s episode (which is longer) or it’ll be the following week.
Whatever the case is, 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.