Australian Survivor Recap: The Long Goodbye

Previously on Australian Survivor: Evan was sent back to drama school to learn how to better act like a successful reality show contestant.

Tonight on Australian Survivor: Phoebe is incredibly smug about her success in getting Evan voted off. “I just want to control everything,” she says, which is pretty much exactly what Hitler wanted, but let’s not draw comparisons or anything.

Life, of course, moves on, and at Saanapu, which is…the blue team I think…a chicken fruitlessly attempts to try on a thong, little knowing of the strict divides society has constructed between the species. On the beach, Peter is struggling. “This is a position I’ve never been in before,” he says, amazing all of us who had thought that being stranded on a tropical island with a group of game show contestants was fairly common in the life of an air traffic controller. It’s possible that Peter is struggling because he insists on wearing a bright red suit that seems incredibly ill-suited to the conditions. He complains that the tribe wants to keep him around for “Friendship reasons” — he spits on your so-called “Friendship”.

Friendship is for the weak.

On Vavau — the yellow team? — Craig is being loud and obnoxious, always a good strategy in a game where other people’s opinions of you are the determinant of your success or failure. Craig is furious at Nick’s duplicity. Nick wishes to be honest, but has had trouble getting his allies alone. He takes Craig and Jennah Louise and….some other woman I guess, to a secluded spot and tells them the truth about the idol clue. Which isn’t very useful because Nick doesn’t remember the idol clue and just babbles about trees.

Oh Sue is the other woman, OK.

Anyway, Nick is either really forgetful or still being a big fat liar. Craig does not trust him, and as loud and obnoxious as he might be, Craig is quite right. He wants to take Nick out — something nobody has ever said before about Nick.

At Aganoa, which I guess must be the red team, Rohan and Phoebe are searching for the immunity idol, and the cameraman is searching for the best angle on Phoebe’s buttocks. Rohan believes that “X marks the spot” might mean two palm trees crossed, and to my disappointment, Rohan is right. They find the idol. I can’t believe the clue was so unimaginative. I bet that was LaPaglia’s idea. And now Phoebe is smugger than ever. Ugh. “That is going to change the game completely,” says Rohan, who is on a retainer from the marketing department.

Phoebe is pissed off that Rohan wants to hold on to the idol, even though they agreed beforehand that she would hold it, but when he asks her if she wants to hold it, she goes all passive-aggressive and is like, “No, it’s fine”, but then bitches behind his back about how he didn’t give it to her. Goddammit Phoebe, your head games are ruining Survivor for everyone.

Back at Saanapu, Peter wants to help Kylie find the idol, and for her to keep it, because he wants her to stay in the game. Peter is being suspiciously altruistic, and you wonder what his game is. A quick shot of a hermit crab might hold the key to understanding. Is Peter just a hermit crab, cloaking himself in the garb of a kindly grandfather figure, but in fact prepared to grab your nose with his wicked claws? Is that the message you’re trying to send, Survivor? Are your visual metaphors revealing the whole plot and we don’t even know it?

Reveal your secrets!


Anyway Peter and Kylie look for the idol but can’t find it because they’re not very smart.

Meanwhile at Vavau the flint is broken and they can’t make fire, which has put a major crimp in plans for the Australia Day barbecue. As they starve to death, Kate passes the time by telling her teammates about her horrific boating accident, just to make sure that if they ever think about voting her out, they’ll be horribly wracked with guilt.

On Aganoa’s beach, Phoebe tells El all about what a total dick Rohan is, and El agrees that she’ll never trust Rohan again because Phoebe told her not to, and Phoebe naturally has only El’s best interests at heart.

After half an hour of rubbish talking, the tribes finally gather for an imunity challenge, the part of the show that is actually worth watching. “Is Vavau the team to beat?” The Other LaPaglia asks Jennah Louise, who enthusiastically avers that it is. “Hardship only makes you stronger,” she says, quite incorrectly: actually hardship makes you weak and feeble and easily overwhelmed. Particularly if the hardship is not having anything to eat and then an obscure actor demands that you run through the ocean and climb a ladder and bring a heavy chest back to shore. Which coincidentally is what happens here.

As it turns out, hardship has not made Vavau stronger at all. In fact it’s made them even weaker than you might have imagined, as Nick and Kate sluggishly wade through the water, crawl exhaustedly up to the top of the platform from which they apathetically haul up their chest and drag it halfheartedly back to shore.

There are three chests to be grabbed in this challenge, and inside the chests, of course, there is a puzzle. There’s always a puzzle, the producers have a one-track mind. As Vavau struggles onward with growing futility, LaPaglia yells, “Vavau half-walking, half-swimming — like a dolphin”, which raises the question: where did Jonathan LaPaglia learn about dolphins? They do not half-walk. He might be thinking of newts?

The race for the chests is fairly uneventful apart from Vavau’s pathetic failure. Lee puts in a mighty effort by running two legs, proving that there is no more mighty warrior than a retired fringe state cricketer.

The proof of the pudding.

What is made obvious is that Saanapu and Aganoa are tribes populated mainly by powerful, muscular, perfectly sculpted specimens of anatomical perfection, whereas Vavau is primarily made up of people who failed the physical exam for chess club membership.

In the end Saanapu is the first to win immunity. Aganoa should be the second, but all of a sudden they turn out to be idiots, and Vavau gets the jump on them in the puzzle leg. Will all Lee’s agonising work be in vain?

Yes it will. Vavau has overcome its flabby bodies and chronic fatigue syndrome and thrown Aganoa into tribal council. Before they receive their immunity spear, the Vavauans strike a deal with Jonathan that if they bring all their comfort items and fishing gear to the challenge the next day, he’ll give them a new flint, so that they’ll be able to set fire to the forest in their anger at having no comfort items or fishing gear.

A close-up of a bug tells the story: Aganoa is as depressed as…a bug, I guess. “I’ve never been on a losing streak like this,” says Lee, which is probably true since he never played for the national team.

El and Phoebe discuss who to vote for. They have to vote for Kat, because to win challenges, in El’s words, “we need brawn” — this apparently means keeping Rohan, although I don’t know if there’s all that much to choose between Rohan and Kat, brawn-wise. This presents a moral dilemma for El, because, I don’t know, she likes Kat’s taste in hats or something.

Phoebe and Rohan have a very bitchy discussion on the subject of Phoebe not trusting Rohan. She calls Rohan out for not giving her the idol, which she absolutely could’ve done earlier and saved all this trouble. He points out that he asked her if it was OK for him to have it and she said yes. She points out that he should have known that this actually meant no. He points out that c’mon man, be cool. She threatens him. He says not to threaten him. She says she wasn’t threatening him. They agree to be suspicious and hate each other from now on.

Phoebe now goes to talk with Lee, who values honesty above all things. She wins him over by pretending to be honest about how dishonest she plans to be. Phoebe has decided to tell Rohan that they will all vote for Kat, in order to trick him into not playing the immunity idol, so they can actually vote for Rohan. Or possibly she’s decided to actually vote for Kat — who can tell what twisted calculations are going on behind that bikini?

Phoebe and El tell Rohan they’re voting for Kat. Kat is standing right there and hears them. She is upset, although surely by this stage in life she’s used to people not wanting her around. The other women tell Kat that actually they are voting for Rohan. Kat may or may not believe this, but it’s not like she can do anything about it anyway — there are no middle-management training videos to save her out here.

We now go to Peter, for some reason. Peter is not eating or sleeping and he has decided to quit the game. The Other arrives in a speedboat to have a chat with him. Peter tells him that he is quitting. LaPaglia seems devastated — Peter was his favourite!

Peter says goodbye to his tribe, who give him warm hugs and say silent prayers of thanks that they won’t have Peter in challenges anymore. LaPaglia asks Matt why he’s so upset, because he’s an insensitive boor. Peter goes off in the speedboat, presumably to return home, although who knows, really — for all we know LaPaglia is going to sell him to pirates.

He’ll be gone a while.

OK, now to Tribal Council and the traditional Wasting of Time With Uninteresting Questions. After a disturbingly Blair Witch-esque tracking shot through the jungle, Aganoa gathers around the campfire to discuss how rubbish they are at challenges and how ashamed they should all be of themselves. LaPaglia asks Rohan and Phoebe why they didn’t tap out during the puzzle and let someone else have a go. Phoebe explains that it’s not in her nature to quit or give up or make good decisions or think clearly or win things. Rohan agrees that it was his never-say-die, I’m-an-idiot attitude that shone through.

Time for the vote…but then The Other drops a bombshell. He informs them that Peter, sick and wasting away, has been sold to pirates, and that therefore there will be no vote tonight. Of course everyone is pretty pissed off that they’ve been made to walk through such a sinisterly-filmed forest at night for nothing, but Kat is pretty happy, since she now gets at least one more day of being ostracised and disliked by her teammates. Phoebe says that they can now go back to camp and “work it out”, so there’ll be plenty more work spinning that web of lies for her.

And with that Aganoa disappears into the jungle, never to be seen again. Oh wait, no, they’ll be seen again tomorrow night. Tune in then to see Kat force-fed a whole lot more bullshit.

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