Previously on Survivor N … o wait a minute, Survivor NZ is one-upping Australian Survivor and has ditched Knee-coo-argh-goo-arua and has headed to a new location in the form of Thailand – yes, pronounced Thailand. While that makes me mildly misty for Brian Heidik’s porno past – he is a garbage person though, I know that – Tanya Vance’s illness and Shi-Ann’s robbery with the fake merge, I am mostly thrilled to have an inland location and thirsty after the Kiwi camera angles. Sigh, Lee and those up-short confessionals – swoon.
Anyway 18 Kiwi castaways boated their way through the Thai waterways – JT, Josh and Adam being particularly babin,’ and Tess speaking for all of us (or maybe just me) shocked by the fact tigers are in Thailand – before meeting Matt on a tiny remote island in the middle of a lake. Despite assuming they had already been split into tribes, the castaways arrived on shore en masse with Renee already terrified by the youth and physicality of her competitors. Though what everyone should really be worried about is the fact that Dave and Matt are High School best friends and in all likelihood will be a strong pair.
After Matt gave the laundry list of changes for the season – hidden immunity idols are a yes, redemption island is a no – Kaysha said she was ready to play, Jose shared she would love the money and Liam felt they would be more cutthroat. Putting that theory to the test, Matt announced that they would be kicking things off differently this year with everyone competing in an individual reward challenge for the, psych, he didn’t tell us … but they pick the tribes, no? Anyway, the challenge kicked off with Jose, Franky, Matt, Renee, Josh, Eve, Kaysha, Arun and JT dominating 20 knots and moving on to the second, now shirtless, round. Josh is still my fave, though Matt is coming through. Anyway, they swam out to a platform in the leak to find another bag of tiles, with Arun, Matt and Jose the lucky three to find tiles despite Franky’s dominance. The final three then swam back into shore before literally ordering tiles from 1-100. Despite being neck and neck with Matt’s glistening torso, Jose took out victory only to discover her victory won her – and Matt, who she selected for coming second – the opportunity to select her tribe. Jose selected Arun, Eve, Dave, Franky, Liam, Renee, JT – who was thrilled to be picked late – to form Chani, with Karla rounding it out as the only remaining female. Matt asked Tara, Josh – swoon – Tess, Brad, Kaysha – shocked she wasn’t first selected – Adam, Lisa forming the Khangkhaw tribe with Dylan completing the tribe by default.
Arriving at the island Chani’s spirits were up, until they discovered the food supplies were scarce and then opted to drink water without caring about whether they needed to boil it. Jose took on a leadership role by default, suggesting they clear a path to limit the risk of snakes and get to work building a fire and shelter closer to the shore. Despite admitting that selecting the tribe kind of made it obvious for her to take the lead on the tribe, Eve warned us that it could easily come back to bite her. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw, Tess and Adam were overwhelmed harsh location while Josh and Brad made quick work of putting together a shelter.
Despite being on the island less than an hour, Karla slashed her hand with a machete and almost bleeding out which made her feel even worse, already feeling on the outs of the tribe. While people were distracted by the drama, JT noticed Arun looking for clues to the hidden immunity idols and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and forming an alliance. While Liam felt nobody was worrying about playing the game yet, JT followed up his two-person alliance by pulling in Eve and Dave, and Dave rounding out the majority with Franky.
Tara decided to play up the mum-card, despite Barb killing the competition last year with that exact strategy. While she was out sorting the bathroom amenities for her new kids, superfan queen Lisa shared that she was also going to play the mum card and pretend she just wanted to make her kids proud. While she wanted to downplay her passion for the game, she took Tess under her wing and gave her a list of dos and don’ts in the game. While Lisa felt it was all a rouse and didn’t buy it, Tess was hoping the lack of knowledge would allow her to dominate without making herself a threat. Soooo, Tess will eventually blindside Lisa, no? Back at Chani, Arun was hoping to avoid being seen as a leader, leaving Dave and Jose to focus on building fire. That was contrasted with Khangkhaw who decided it was a good idea to soak some rice overnight so they’ll have some mildly moist rice ahead of the next challenge, hopeful it would be enough to get the jump on their competition. Jose was concerned about the target she painted on her back, though was proud of winning the challenge and felt she had selected a strong tribe that would keep her safe. Sadly for her, Franky was sick of her running her mouth which is an easy excuse to get rid of someone early.
The tribes arrived at a muddy field to meet Matt for the first tribal reward of the season for tools and a flint to help sort the fire sitch and make their live easier. The challenge would involve pairs running out into the mud, finding a bag and touching their mat with it … before the other tribe’s pair snatch it. Jose and Renee made quick work winning the first round over Lisa and Tara. Matt and Adam evened things up thanks to the dominant blocking of Adam over Dave and Arun … I think. It was sexy mud wrestling and my thirst is real. Tess and Kaysha owned Franky and Karla, leaving Josh and Brad to battle it out against Liam and JT for the win. Once again, the dirty shirtless men were writhing and hugging before Brad made a break and secured victory for Khangkhaw. Matt then wished Adam happy birthday, his flowing locks look glorious in the mud and damn, everything was right in the world.
Particularly knowing the God filled himself with botox to keep his fellow castaways guessing.
Back at camp Khangkhaw made quick work getting fire thanks to Tara’s passion for pyromania, while poor Chani struggled to make fire with sticks rubbing salt in their wounds. Chani decided to follow Khangkhaw’s lead and cook some rice in the sun to try and turn things around for themselves. Thankfully the winning ways of Khangkhaw ran into a problem as they loaded their fire with rocks to aid cooking … only for them to start exploding everywhere and almost killing the tribe. With that, Dylan extinguished the flames and they were back at square one. Adam felt people were yet to pick up on the fact he was avoiding work as much as possible, while Dylan and Kaysha went hunting for rocks, idols and building an alliance with them, Tara, Lisa and Adam. Slay queens. Khangkhaw then sat down to Adam’s birthday dinner of actually cooked rice, sang him happy birthday and it was fucking delightful. Poor Chani then tried to eat their sun-rice and started to feel even worse about themselves.
Matt returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to use long, hard poles to build a staircase and then run through an obstacle course, unlock puzzle pieces and complete said puzzle. Khangkhaw got out to an early lead while Jose started barking at her tribemates, though somehow they caught up which I assume says the strategy works. Matt then dominated the key maze, giving Khangkhaw back the lead from Franky allowing Dylan and Lisa to secure immunity for their tribe.
After their second loss, Jose proclaimed the strategy to blindly follow her worked well, despite the loss which immediately made me nervous since that isn’t really having any results. On the flipside, Franky was nervous about the vote after letting the tribe down. She went to get water with Renee and Dave, with them deciding they need to keep the tribe strong at this stage, though unsure what exactly that meant. While Franky identified Karla as an option and she felt like she was on the bottom, it didn’t really feel like it as they arrived at their iconic cave tribal council.
Eve felt disappointed to be at tribal council, while Renee felt that they were no weaker than their opponents despite their track record. Franky was nervous after blowing the competition, Dave thought the suffering was bringing everyone together. Renee and JT thought you should never feel safe in the game, Franky downplayed her scheming, Liam thought there had been no scheming, Jose felt they were outliers for being positive and not plotting while Karla was nervous and felt that no one should feel blindsided since everyone should be feeling nervous at their first tribal. That however was completely false as the votes rolled in for her and Jose, with Jose finding herself becoming the first boot to her and Karla’s utter disbelief.
While Jose was feeling her feels when she arrived back at loser lodge, she was thrilled to see me – her mentor and friend from Blenheim – there with a warm, slightly patronising smile. Given her dominance in the challenges, she was surprised to find herself becoming the first boot … until I reminded her that Ulong did it to Jolanda in Palau and we can always channel my pettiness into sabotaging them. Tragically she still wished her tribe well, though I suspect it had a lot to do with my Jose Tikka Maasdama.
Given she was kicked in the guts, I knew she would need something to give her back her spice … and let’s be honest, a Tikka Masala is the best way to do it. A little bit of heat and a shit tonne of spice, I had Jose back in top form in a matter of mouthfuls. Which is meant to sound less sexually aggressive than it does.
Jose Tikka Maasdama
2 tbsp garam masala
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup natural yogurt
600g lamb, diced
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup double cream
Combine half the garam masala with a good whack of salt and pepper, the cumin, coriander, chilli, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat before covering and placing in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.
Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. When starting to soften, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute before stirring in the tomatoes and remaining garam masala. Once bubbling, add the lamb and marinating liquid. Stir to combine and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for fifteen minutes.
Once the lamb is cooked through, add the cream and stir to combine and heat through. Serve immediately with rice, poppadoms and all the fixins’ … which Jose will never hear as the first boot.
Don’t be sad though. Devour!