Previously on Australian Survivor 24 Australians were dumped in the Fijian jungle, once again split up into tribes of Champions and Contenders with the latter desperate hoping to get revenge on Shane Gould. Who last year taught us that she is not to be fucked with. One by one they were sent from the game with Anastasia, Laura – yep, happening – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, booted before the merge, Ross was tragically medevaced, ultrafan Andy was felled before the jury, while Shaun, David, John, Daisy, Simon, Janine and Abbey were sent to the jury back-to-back. After losing the final four immunity challenge, all hope looked lost for Luke who tried to convince Pia to vote with him and force Baden into a fire making challenge against the returning Champion. Ultimately Pia knew her best shot was to trust in herself to get to the end and joined the Contenders to send Luke to the jury, breaking Australia’s hearts in the process.
The next morning the final three stood by the shore taking in the view, with Harry thrilled to finally be the odds on favourite to win the game. Clearly unaware that pride generally comes before the fall. Pia was lacking Harry’s bravado, struggling with the fact she had to vote out a dear friend to make it to the final three. She listed her impressive resume and hot damn, I need her to win. Baden was sick of being underestimated and honestly, I am just feeling guilty for essentially writing him off as a non-entity in the episode.
Finally they arrived at a clearing where Jonathan’s killer guns welcomed the trio to their final immunity challenge where they were required to stand on two narrow pegs while holding on to two ropes keeping heavy idols aloft, with the last one standing snatching immunity. Before the challenge got underway, Jonathan gave them all a little extra inspiration for the challenge and called out their family. Harry sobbed as his girlfriend and mother were wheeled out, Baden broke down as his parents and brother arrived on the scene, but Pia’s emotional reunion with her husband and kids was the true star of the moment. Pia was crying, her husband was crying, the kids were cute bewildered and desperate for a nap and honestly, my goofy grin couldn’t be wiped off my face. Then I cried happy tears.
After Pia gave an inspiring speech about appreciating her family even more, the families were sent to sit out bench and the final three stood atop their perches. Baden, giddy for the fun ahead. Both Baden and Harry looked wobbly early on the challenge but the trio managed to power on for an hour, which was just long enough for the sun to set and the set to light up in fire in an epic manner. After two hours Baden started talking about stargazing, which his mum pretending to be interested though clearly not giving a fuck. Baden then started running his mouth like Christian Hubicki and honestly, I stan. After 4.5 hours the pain started to get to PIa, before Harry nearly tumbled off the pegs only to be saved by the love of his girlfriend. At five hours Pia buckled in pain, moaning through while her husband covered his eyes from the sidelines and tried to remind her that she could do it. While Pia fought back tears, her husband reminded her that she can drop if she wants however she reiterated that she isn’t ready to go home.
He then went full lamaze class, helping her stay focused, getting her to breathe through the pain and miraculously, she found the strength to pull her idols back to the top. The challenge then ticked over to 6.5 hours, earning the record for the longest challenge in Australian Survivor history. But at what cost, honestly. Harry was shaking and grunting in pain, Pia looked like someone was cursing her with an avada kedavra. Then, out of nowhere, Harry asked Jonathan to come over and help him out of the challenge and honestly, my heart broke for him in that moment and I’m back to loving everyone. Pia then asked for help getting out of the challenge, breaking down in tears and handing Baden final immunity.
Pia, why couldn’t you wait long enough to make a deal with Baden?!
We immediately arrived at tribal council where the jury were shocked to see Baden wearing immunity. He admitted that the power of being the only person voting tonight is really weighing on him, aware that both have played strong games and not sure who the jury will respect more. Pia jumped in to fight for her life, not willing to say Harry doesn’t deserve it and instead reminding Baden that he and Harry have played the entire game together and as such, Harry, the flashier player, already owns them and he won’t be able to claim them. Harry argued that his game is already transparent, while Pia has been stealth and letting her get to the end to argue her case is the bigger risk. Harry then pointed out the majority of the jury are also Champions, so already the odds would be stacked against him.
Pia jumped in to point out that she voted out every Champion but Janine and as such, she has made a lot of enemies and as such, he has the better shot against her. Harry pointed out that Pia makes very convincing arguments and as an actress, knows how to perform for an audience. He then pointed out that he wanted to take Baden before the final immunity challenge and honestly that just proves that he thinks he can beat him. Which Pia rightly pointed out before reminding Baden that everyone has tried desperately to get rid of Harry throughout the game and his final big move, would be taking him out in front of the jury.
With that Baden went off to vote and hot damn, Pia the icon somehow won the battle and Harry was sent from the game with the single vote.
Was Harry as likeable a villain as David? No. Was he as nude as my favourite Contender John? Of course not. Does his half-closed eye fill me with concern about what happened? Undoubtedly. But none of that takes away from his ridiculous staying power in the game. While cockroach sounds like a mean title, I explained that it was true and he should wear the title proudly because there were a lot of other people that didn’t survive their shitty hands – and then I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride – which only prove how strong a player he is. So despite myself and the fact Nick Wilson is his favourite player (a sign of a new fan), I whipped him up a Spicy Macharroni Chills.
Just when you thought chilli and macaroni cheese couldn’t get any more delicious, I go and mix them up in a vat and bake it with even more cheese. It may not be pretty or elegant, but like Harry’s game, it is effective in filling you with all the happy feels.
Spicy Macharroni Chills
3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, pricked
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh chorizo, casings removed
2 onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups milk
2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
2 cups vintage cheddar, grated
Heat oven to 150C and put a large pot of salted water over high heat, and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
Place the cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or so.
Heat a small lug of oil in a dutch oven and cook the chorizo, breaking up with the back of the wooden spoon, until browned and the fat has started to leak out. Add the onions and cook for a further five minutes, or until softened and sweet. Add the butter and cook until melted before dumping in the flour, mustard powder, sriracha and Worcestershire and stirring into a glorious gloop. Cook for a minute or so before bringing off the heat and stirring through the milk. Return to the heat and cook for a further five minutes, or until the milk has started to thicken.
Once the pasta is ready, add it to the dutch oven with the blistered tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of each cheese and stirring until well combined. Decant into a large baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly.
Devour immediately, trying hard to avoid the ropes of molten cheese. Like Harry avoided the boot for longer than anticipated.