After nine weeks of blindsides and betrayals, Australian Survivor concluded its 2019 season this week. While not without its weaknesses, I enjoyed this final week of the 2019 season. With four players left, the end game was bound to be epic.
For this final week, I will do what I did with last year’s finale in going through everything chronologically.
Finale- Part 1
Coming back to camp after the Abbey vote, there were four players left in the game: Baden, Harry, Luke and Pia. On the morning of Day 47, the finalists received tree mail in the form of a do-it-yourself challenge. The four remaining went ahead and played the game- answering questions an picking one of the remaining players as an answer. For the last question, the contestants decided on which contestants deserved to eat a burger. Baden and Luke were picked and off they went to have their reward. This was a strange challenge to watch due to the fact that we really didn’t get to see it. Instead, the editors kept cutting back and forth to confessionals. Personally, I would’ve wanted to see the little challenge play out but it doesn’t really matter.
The immunity challenge for Episode 23 was a variation of the challenge “Simmotion.” In the original challenge, contestants had to place a ball on a silvery-loop track- having to catch the ball once it reaches the end. In intervals, contestants would have to add another ball. With more balls added, the challenge becomes more and more difficult. Should a ball fall to the ground, the player is out of the challenge. Last one standing wins the challenge. In this version, the contestants had to use a staircase to go up a large tilted board. Placing one ball at the top, the ball would proceed to go down through a zig-zag like maze very slowly. Once at the bottom, the ball would go through a funnel- after which the contestant would have to go down and catch it. Comparing the two versions of the challenge, this version looks even harder. In the end, Harry won the challenge.
At the end of Episode 23, Luke Toki became the 21st person voted out of the game and the eighth member of the jury. After losing the immunity challenge, Luke knew that he would likely be the next to go. Harry was dead set on voting for Luke and Baden followed suite. Luke pleaded his case to Pia- so that the two could each vote for Baden. In the event of a tie in the final four, the two people in the tie must compete in a fire making challenge to remain in the game. Pia, an original Champion like Luke, considered giving Luke a chance at making fire. However at a tearful Tribal Council, Luke was voted off in a 3-1 vote. Had Luke made it to a final 2 with anyone, he was guaranteed to win it all. With that, he was the one who had to go. This was hands down one of the most emotional episodes of AU ever. I found myself tearing up for Luke as it’s almost impossible to not love him.
Finale- Part 2
On Day 49, the final 3 of Baden, Harry and Pia made their way to the final immunity challenge. After Jonathan explained the challenge, he then surprised the final 3 by bringing out their loved ones.
For Harry- he got to see his mother and his girlfriend Jordan
For Baden- he got to see his parents and his brother
For Pia- she got to see her husband and two children
The final immunity challenge was a variation of “Wobbly Boots” from Guatemala (Season 11). In this challenge, contestants would have to stand on a platform- with their feet on narrow pedestals while holding onto two ropes, each weighted with a heavy idol. The contestants will stay there for as long as they possibly can. The last one standing wins the challenge. After a grueling six hours and 40 minutes, Baden won the challenge- giving him the power to choose who sat next to him at Final Tribal Council.
In the end, Harry Hills became the 22nd person voted out of the game and the ninth member of the jury. Throughout the season, Harry had played one of the most devious games in the history of AU. He played several idols and was able to take out some of the game’s biggest threats. As to why Baden voted him out, Baden probably felt that his strategical game wasn’t as strong as Harry’s compared to his more passive one. Personally, I don’t see how Harry could’ve won the game. Given his edit, it made it seem like no one on the jury respected him enough to vote for him.
And the winner is…
After a fairly short Final Tribal Council, Pia Miranda was crowned the title of Sole Survivor after a landslide 9-0 jury vote against Baden Gilbert. So at last, the confessional had given in the first episode turned out to be true: she was either going to be the first one out or the winner. Now, the 46-year-old actress is the fourth person to win the revived AU series.
So how did Pia end up winning the game? From my view, I think Pia was able to win from making the right connections at the right time. She could’ve been the first one out but she managed to save herself through her acting chops- leading to Anastasia’s boot. When the Athlete Alliance of seven had formed, Pia found herself on the outs along with Luke, David and Janine. Together, the four were able to get Abbey and Ross to flip over and form a majority alliance. With Janine and Abbey, Pia was able to find a bond with her two fellow female Champions. When the three were swapped over to the Contenders, the three remained on top. With Janine the “godmother” and Abbey the athlete, Pia was the “smiling assassin.” Along the way, Pia was able to arrange the hits one several players- most notably David.
When Abbey flipped on Janine and Pia with the Simon vote, Janine would be the next to go. While other players were trying to advance themselves by making flashy moves, Pia remained in the middle- strengthening her bonds with almost everyone. While fairly predictable, Pia’s win means a lot. In US Survivor, it’s rare to see a mother take home the win. Sure, there’s been Tina Wesson, Sandra Diaz-Twine and Denise Stapley but it doesn’t happen very often. This is especially the case now in modern day Survivor with the overabundance of idols and advantages. With that being said, this was nice to see.
As for Baden, I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. He made it to the end- only to receive no jury votes. While I’m still a fan of his, I have to admit that his Final Tribal Council performance wasn’t the best. With all due respect to Baden, he struggled with trying to defend himself for his game. I also can’t help but mention that he might’ve made the wrong choice in taking Pia. Seeing the way Harry had been portrayed, the Baden could’ve won easily for being more likable. However after seeing his FTC performance, I’m not sure how he would’ve fared against Harry. Still, I’ve enjoyed watching Baden this season.
While he wasn’t a major character in the season, I couldn’t help but relate to him as I too struggle with anxiety. From what was shown of him in the season, I think all that matters in the end is that Baden had the experience. Through the experience, he was able to slowly come out of his shell and become a better person. He reminds me of David Wright from Millennials vs Gen X (Season 33): David was a contestant that had a rough start and was out of his comfort zone. However as time went on, he not only became a better player but a better person. However compared to Baden, David was a major character in his first season. When it comes to players like Baden or David, I don’t think it matter if they win in the end. All that matters is that they had the experience and got something out of it.
Final Thoughts and Next Season
Overall, I really enjoyed the 2019 season of Australian Survivor. Comparing it to the previous Champions v Contenders season, I think his one was better given it had an entertaining pre merge and post merge. While not a bad season at all, the 2018 season did have a few slow weeks. However, the one thing the 2018 season has over 2019 is that is was less predictable. Still, AU has had four great seasons- which is impressive.
As for Australian Survivor, it has been confirmed that the next season with be Australian Survivor All Stars. As I’m writing this, the season is currently filming. According to AU‘s Twitter feed, the season is supposed to air in early 2020. If this is true, this will be airing at the same time the US version’s 40th season Winners At War (an all winner season in celebration of the show’s 20th). After hearing about all of the lame twists and things added to Season 40, I can safely say that I am more excited about AU All Stars. Hell, I don’t even know how much of Season 40 I will watch.
So with that, I will end the recap right here. Congrats to Pia on her win and thanks to anyone who has followed my recaps over the course of the season.
I’ll see you all in early 2020 for Australian Survivor All Stars!
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.