Previously on Australian Survivor with Sandra gone, Josh and Jordan decided now was the right time to take control of the Blood tribe. And while things appeared to be on the up and up for the tribe, Jordie was messy in the immunity challenge and left Jordan to officially lose the challenge for them. Despite two of the big boys causing their loss, the tribe was keen to get rid of Mel for being clumsy. Except for Amy, who wisely decided it was time to split up the cousins as the last couple on the tribe. Sadly though, she looped in Shay who immediately went to the boys and spilled the beans. While Nina was keen to make a move with Amy, the numbers weren’t there and as such, she stuck with her allies to get rid of sweet Amy. Who just wanted Khanh to know he loves her.
Speaking of Khanh, he was living his best life over at the Water tribe however Chrissy was frankly sick of the masterchef’s cooking given there are only so many meals of rank rice and beans you can handle before you stop pretending to be grateful. Even to a professional chef.
Meanwhile over at Blood Nina was happy with her decision to stick with her alliance at the last tribal, however when the boys started to throw out the idea of getting rid of Shay as casual morning chat, she immediately started to feel a bit uneasy. She shared that she and Shay have grown really close, even beyond the game, and while the boys may want her gone, Shay is the one she wants to navigate the post-merge with. We then learnt a little bit more about Nina’s life and how she has been feeling unhappy in her job and wanting to do and be something more than she is. And to prove to her mum that she has learnt so much from her. And this emotional content is really making me more and more nervous. To counteract the Shay whispers, she caught up with the boys and instead slyly suggested they get rid of Mel instead. Which, just never seems to happen despite the fact she is their go-to target.
We went back to Water where Jesse was living his best life, being in the majority and rocking his bright speedos. But that zen, happy go lucky side of Jesse was soon to be coming to an end, as he focused his attention on making some moves and taking some names. And the first person on his hit list was Ben, who entered camp wearing a sarong which obviously makes me hate the idea. Ben opened up to Sam and Michelle about how he is struggling with the lack of food, unaware that that contant talk is fuelling everyone to turn on him. Particularly since he keeps scraping dregs off the pot and taking everyone’s crispy treats away from them. With the target growing, Jesse pulled Sam aside to float the idea of getting rid of him which she immediately jumped on. Mainly because she and Khanh had the same discussion last week.
The tribes joined up with Jonathan for the reward challenge where Khanh was heartbroken to see his baby sister had been eliminated. As he started to cry, he thankfully avoided spitting rage at the rival tribe before Sam jumped in to talk about how hard it is to arrive at each reward, worried to find out whether their loved ones were still in the game. With that sweet interlude out of the way, we focused on the reward challenge which Jonathan decided to complicate by splitting each tribe into two teams. One person from each team would then slide down a waterslide to grab a ball then shoot it into a basket. With the first two teams to score two baskets jagging a picnic reward. Which immediately makes the entire thing more interesting.
The teams ended up with Khanh, Ben, Chrissy and KJ versus Michelle, Sam, Jesse and Croc against Shay, Mel, Josh and Dave battling Mark, Jordan, Jordie and Nina. Mark, Josh, Croc and Ben were the first four to face off, with Mark quickly scoring the point for his team while speedo king Ben missed his ball altogether. Mel, Michelle, KJ and Nina were up next with the latter terrified about the slide before tragically injuring herself as she landed, wincing through the water as Mel scored the point for her team. While she celebrated, Sam and Jordie were the first to notice Nina’s injury and asked Jonathan to pause the challenge. After her competitors carried her from the water, medical arrived and checked her out, diagnosing her with a twisted ankle and clearing her to wait it out for a few hours before they make a final decision on whether she can continue in the game.
Mel, Michelle, Jordan and Khanh were next up, with Jordan securing reward for him, Mark, Jordie and Nina, leaving the other three groups to fight it out. Kate faced off against Croc and Dave and while KJ battled valiantly, Dave shot his basket and secured reward for his group, meaning despite the twist, only the Blood tribe were enjoying the reward.
The tribe arrived at their picnic by the river with the tribe giddy by the sheer amount of food in front of them. As they spoke through full mouths, they vowed to take out immunity the next day while Mark was just grateful the food would help them think clearly for a day or so. As he caught up with Jordie and Jordan, the trio spoke about the likelihood of a clue, all agreeing to share it should they find one. Which is obviously not what happened when Mark found the clue and pocketed it in his shoe without anyone noticing. Or so he thought, given Jordie spotted him and planned to use his little secret to his advantage.
Reward was interrupted by the medic for a follow-up assessment of Nina, who was trying to put on a brave face as the doctor eventually told her that she had to be removed temporarily to go and get an X-ray and dear god, please don’t let this be the way our rightful winner Nina goes out?!
The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for the immunity challenge the next day where Nina was driven in and unveiled a moon boot and crutches. With tears in her eyes, Jonathan announced that Nina had an avulsion fracture and as such, she had to be pulled from the game to receive the care she needs. Though THANKFULLY, she has an invite to a future season which doesn’t stop me from crying watching her and everyone else break down. As she said her goodbyes, her fellow castaways praised her kindness, strength and killer gameplay and again, I am crying.
Once out of shot – for some reason, Channel 10 don’t want my gorgeous mug on the screen – I popped up from the floor of the Isuzu and pulled Neens in for a massive hug. As a close personal friend of the Diaz-Twine family (fun fact: I was Sandra’s family visit for Game Changers and Winners at War), I’ve seen Nina grow into the impeccable woman that she is and I was heartbroken to see her game finished in such a cruel fashion.
Which I obviously told her, reiterating she is a star and destined to be one of the great Survivor players and carry on her mother’s mantle. Given an injury is arguably the most bitter pill to swallow, I knew Nina needed something sweet for her journey home and as we laughed our way to the airport, trying to distract from our shared disappointment, we smashed some Pralina Twine and started to talk about how best to prepare for her second season.
Just as sweet as it is easy, praline is such a gorgeously versatile confection. A snack, a garnish, a gift or just good old comfort, there is nothing praline can’t do. Including fix your injury and get you ready to dominate next season.
1 cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup water
⅔ cups slivered almonds, lightly toasted
pinch of salt
Start by lining a baking sheet with some baking paper and popping it to the side.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over low heat, cooking, stirring for 5 minutes, or until dissolved. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for five minutes, or until golden.
Remove from the heat and leave to settle for a minute or two before folding through the almonds and salt. Pour on to the lined baking sheet and leave to cool completely.
Break into shards and devour, greedily.
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