Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes joined Jonathan by the water where he decide to make things exciting by switching up the tribes. While that resulted in Croc and Chrissy, Josh and Jordan, and Sandra and Nina reuniting, odd-man-out Mark was given the chance to join Sam on the new Water tribe, and instead elected to join Blood. Sophie meanwhile was reunited with Sam, making things, in a word, very awkward given the blindside. After Nina and Sandra lost the immunity challenge, new Blood quickly planned to take out Mel for being clumsy until Nina’s allies decided it would be far more interesting to blindside her mum instead. Caught between and rock and a hard place, Nina joined her allies to take out her iconic mother Sandra. On Day 16. AGAIN. Like fucking bullshit.
Back at camp Nina was shocked to have gone full Ciera on her mum, while the tribe checked in with her to make sure she was feeling ok with them all banding together to take out the Queen. Which she humbly – and wisely – said was ok and that she completely expected it to happen eventually.
The next morning she was quietly reflecting in her mother’s hammock while the tribe caught up by the fire, trying to give her some space while she processed everything. She opened up to us about how the move should benefit her in the long run, given it shows her loyalty to the alliance despite the personal pain it caused. She then joined the rest of her tribe and was delighted to catch a fish, feeling her oats at everything looking up. Jordie then opened up about how great it was to claim Sandra’s scalp, given it is such a big move, though sadly he ignored the fact it is still very early in the game and half the potential jurors weren’t even around to see it. Jordie caught up with Mark, Jordan and Josh to lock in their allegiance to each other, gossiping about who they would target next, defaulting back to last night’s original target Mel.
Meanwhile over at Water, Khanh was hosting another episode of Survivor Kitchen – don’t come for my gig, sweet angel Khanh! – with Sam giving some awkward acting as a studio quest. Thankfully she quickly snapped out of it to remind us that she and Sophie are still feuding, and given the daggers being shot her way, she is well and truly right to be worried. As Soph continued to wander around bitching about Sam, Sam wisely darted around to her people to remind them how dangerous and angry Sophie is before calmly leaving them to reflect. Michelle meanwhile was hanging with Sophie and KJ, hilariously telling them she is thrilled to not have to deal with her sister yet given it could ruin her game.
As the duo looked on, wide eyed and fearing for their place in the game.
Sophie then caught up with Sam to talk strategy while she was chatting to KJ, suggesting that maybe now is the time to secretly work together given nobody would expect it. Sophie once again threw out Khanh’s name, with Sam all smiles and agreeing it was a great idea. After Sam walked away, Sophie confronted her sister to find out what they were talking about before she arrived and repeatedly told KJ she was fine with her pretending like she doesn’t care about her trying to stay out of the Sophie-Sam drama. When she cared. Truly, madly, deeply cared.
The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the latest immunity where they would each have to line up and hold discs between their hands like paper dolls with the last tribe with a disc left standing taking out immunity. Since both Sam and Mark had played the challenge before, they each gave differing advice as Sam told them to put strong people together, focusing on similar heights while Mark just told them all to keep moving, focusing on blood flow and staying alert. After Jonathan threw shade at Chrissy for struggling, Amy and Mel became the first to drop. They were quickly followed by the disc between Chrissy and Croc, and the one between Sam and Michelle. Josh then dropped out for Blood, followed by Michelle and Jesse for Water. It came down to Mark and Jordan and Jordie and Dave battling against Ben and Sophie and Chrissy and KJ.
Sophie then started to struggle, directing Ben how to help her reset before ultimately dropping, pinning all her hope on Chrissy and KJ. Aka our iconic challenge beast queens. Mark and Jordan meanwhile started doing micro-moves to stay focused, as Mark reminded us that the last time this challenge was played it was won by him and Henry and ugh, I am living for Mark’s quiet confidence right now. Tragically I did not love watching Chrissy and KJ struggle as they were desperately trying to hang on for their tribe, arms shaking and fumbling before ultimately dropping and handing immunity to Blood.
As the tribes hugged each other in congratulations, Sam whispered to Mark that Sophie was coming for her before he encouraged her to take her out quickly. And yes, this is the fight I need to shake me out of my post-Sandra-boot depression.
Back at camp the tribe congratulated KJ and Chrissy on a job well done before Sam immediately got to work taking out the biggest threat to her game. She and Jesse quickly locked in the plan with Jesse agreeing that Sophie doesn’t seem to realise it was the entire tribe trying to get her out, not just Sophie, and more importantly, it is the entire tribe wanting to get rid of her again. They then caught up with Ben, Michelle, Khanh, Croc and Chrissy to lock in a plan to split the vote, putting two on KJ as a back up. With Sam requesting she be one of the votes for Sophie.
Back at camp Ben went for a walk with Sophie and instead suggested voting out Khanh instead, with them joining up with Chrissy, Croc, Jesse and Sam to float the idea. Sophie even suggested Sam go so far as to talk about how much they hate each other and that she needs her out to really sell it. Everyone was keen to get rid of him, particularly with Sophie as the person they split the votes with so she goes if he does play the idol. That being said, it was all actually bullshit and Croc had no intention of turning on Khanh and as such, it was all a distraction to get rid of Sophie and finish the job.
Assuming nobody is confused by the duelling plans.
When Chrissy, Sam, Jesse and Ben caught up, they were all well and truly confused with Chrissy thinking the plan was still Sophie, Sam thinking that was the plan too, Ben thinking the Khanh plan was legit while Jesse now wanted the Khanh one to be legit so he could take out an idol and make the game a little safer. While Chrissy worried to us that she would pull a Cara and cook the vote. Even after the ad break the group were still confused, leading to Croc pulling Chrissy aside to make sure she was onboard with the correct plan. Michelle joined them to make sure Chrissy was all over it and when they finally got it through to her, we cut to KJ and Sophie hunting for an idol and oh god, she is getting an idol, isn’t she?
KJ caught up with Chrissy to complain about how selfish Sophie is for hunting for an idol in plain sight, given it is spooking the tribe into splitting the vote on her. Thankfully KJ caught up with Croc who calmly looped her in on the plan and assured her she won’t be going home on his watch, which made her feel a little calmer. When she caught up with Khanh, he encouraged her to prioritise what is best for her game and hot damn, are we getting back to back family boots? While Sam was trailing Sophie and Ben on their idol hunt, Sophie started saying things that made it sound like she had found an idol, however she didn’t seem to move, making me think it was all a fake-out. But whatever it is, I was confused as they exited camp and living for how damn entertaining Sophie has been.
At tribal council Chrissy spoke about how hectic things were back at camp after the challenge, admitting multiple plans were in play and that frankly she just needs to wait and see what happens. Ben agreed that while there are multiple plans, there is one he plans to stick with, filling Sophie with delight. Khanh admitted the idol makes him a target, so he wouldn’t be shocked to get votes tonight. Sophie then opened up about how she is super loyal and that she is definitely going to do what she says. While Sam reiterated she is telling some truths, Sophie fired up and fought back at Sam and while I was living for it as an audience, poor KJ started to break down over the fact she feels trapped by having her sister on the tribe.
Chrissy assured her that she would be freaking out if it was her and her sister with poor KJ just saying how tired she is with everything. Sophie tried to calm her sister and let her know that she is ok before pointing out that there are bigger strategic and social threats in the tribe, which turned conversation back to Khanh. Who was thrilled to have drama deflecting from his idol. He then said that multiple idols could show up tonight, with Croc agreeing that should Sophie have an idol, the game will flip upside down. As Sophie continued to play coy about whether she found one, while poor KJ reiterated it will be her going home should multiple idols appear.
With that the tribe voted and after Sophie pretended to pull out an idol, none were actually played and instead KJ followed in Nina’s footsteps, joining the tribe to vote out her sister like a damn icon.
Sophie was delightfully chipper by the time she made it back to Loser Lodge, thrilled to be out of the environment and not thrown through another emotionally jarring non-elimination. As a fellow internet celebrity slash influence, Soph and I have long run in the same circles, so I pulled her in for a massive hug and thanked her for providing such glorious entertainment in her short run. After that, we laughed and toasted her success with a piping hot bowl of Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi.
And oh, it was glorious. Everyone knows that potato and cheese are the two most comforting foods, and in such a polished combination, they truly are transcendent. Pillowy gnocchi, a sharp punch of parmesan and the spice of pepper work together to thoroughly warm your soul.
Sophie Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi
4 tbsp unsalted butter
130g parmesan, grated
1 ½ tbsp black pepper, freshly ground
Cook the gnocchi per packet instructions, drain and reserve 500ml of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and fry for a couple of minutes before folding through the cheese and pepper, along with half of the cooking water. Raise the heat and cook stirring until combined, adding more water to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency. Season to taste.
Transfer to bowls and devour, in honour of our pre-merge icon!
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