Previously on Survivor despite bombing the first challenge Baka did as their name suggested and bounced back-a, coming together and winning immunity. I mean sure, there was still some drama in the form of Elie having to explore which of her island sons were her favourite and Jeanine going through Gabler’s bags to check if his idol was expired (it wasn’t). On Coco, Karla dominated socially, just like her tribe continued to dominate the challenges, leaving Vesi to head to tribal council. And despite Karla being a star, I am gutted she isn’t vibing with my zaddy Ryan. At Vesi, Nneka felt like she cost them the challenge, Dwight had no vote due to his visit to advantage island while Cody lost his just before heading out (though regained it). The three duos faced off with five votes in play, which led to Justine being tragically booted.
The next day Cody and Jesse caught up, with the former thrilled to have narrowly jagged his idol and managed to keep his vote. And more importantly, keep the numbers to get rid of Justine and protect his ally Nneka. Jesse on the other hand was nervous about how upset Dwight would be with him for turning against Noelle and Justine, who he wanted them to side with. Speaking of Noelle and Dwight, they were nervous to be on the outs and while they were wary of Jesse, they were willing to work with him if they needed to. Given Cody and Nneka are still super tight, which is always a problem.
Over at Baka Elie and Jeanine continued to be concerned about how Gabler was handling the elements and while he assured them he is fine, Elie was ready to get rid of him ASAP. The duo caught up with Sami to figure out how to navigate around Gabler’s idol situation, with Elie suggesting they should simply pretend it is dead and talk to him about using it as a fake ‘down the line’. Sadly for Elie, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to Gabler about it and when they shut it down, he took the information about the plan straight back to Gabler and cut them off at the knees. And while yeah, it locked in the alliance between the two boys, if Owen sticks with the girls, Sami will be the one to go home.
We checked in with Coco where the tribe were still zenning out and living their best lives as they celebrated James’ birthday and gifted him a bracelet. He then suggested they go for a walk amongst the rocks and look for an idol, which obviously got them all talking about idols and instantly paranoid. Cassidy, Lindsay and Ryan went fishing as James took a nap, leaving Karla enough time to go on said hunting expedition. And while she instantly found the Beware Advantage, once again, she opted against taking the risk for an advantage.
Back at Vesi Nneka was bonding with Dwight and Noelle, opening up about a Nigerian mission that she supports and how they inspire her to be better. And ideally win the money and be able to give back.
We pivoted back to Coco where Karla was discussing idols with James and whether he believed there would be old school idols or just beware advantages, these days. As they were talking, she realised that her wife would want her to take a damn risk and as such, quickly snuck off to grab it. Upon learning she would need to steal beads, she quickly got to work bartering with her tribemates and making a fake necklace for her wife to get her vote back and score an idol. She was giving away earrings and beads, pretending she wanted them all to share a part of themselves with each other and honestly, it was beautiful to behold. Almost like Sandra in the opening of Pearl Islands, TBH.
Jeffrey finally arrived for this week’s Immunity Challenge where the tribes would dive off a platform, climb blocks and dive again, this time to retrieve keys before unlocking puzzle pieces. And solving said puzzle. With the winners jagging a toolkit and some fruit, while second place would get budget versions of the reward, while last place would be heading off to tribal council. After Geo took his place on the sitout bench and Noelle took off her leg, the challenge got underway with Owen getting Baka out to an early lead. Despite Karla and Noelle closing the gap on the second leg, Baka continued to stay out in front until Ryan dominated the third leg. All three tribes got to work solving the puzzle and while Vesi got out to an early lead, the other tribes closed the gap and overtook them as Nneka and Jesse grew confused. Ultimately sending Vesi back to tribal council.
As Noelle served another iconic rage face after losing.
Before sending everyone out, Baka was given the chance to send someone from each tribe to go on a journey opting for Noelle, James and Owen. We followed Vesi back to camp where Nneka was feeling bad to have lost another immunity challenge due to the puzzle, quickly checking in with Dwight to see what he was thinking. She immediately started to break down, not wanting to get rid of Noelle, given she is so inspirational. Jesse and Cody meanwhile were busy debating the merits of getting rid of Noelle who is strong or Nneka who they are tight with. Jesse opened up to us about how Nneka reminds him of his mum and worried that voting her out would be just as hard.
We checked in with the trio on Journey Island where Noelle was concerned about being away from her tribe this close to tribal council. On the journey she opened up about how her amputation impacted her life and by impact, it kinda didn’t as she is still an epic athlete and ugh, I love her. On the walk she told the boys that she is on the bottom of the tribe, offering that should they look out for her and let her have the advantage, come merge, the trio will work together to take control. And well, it worked and I love her. What an icon.
ALSO, how cute is Owen’s hoodie?
As Noelle returned to camp, Dwight was still nervous about whether they could trust Jesse to work with him and how what happened to Noelle will dictate how things go. Despite telling everyone she didn’t risk her vote, she pulled Dwight aside and assured him that she did snag an advantage. And conveniently, it was the very one they needed – a vote steal – so should Jesse give them bad vibes, she could steal his vote to take out Nneka.
At tribal council Nneka once again took accountability for losing the challenge, with Jesse jumping in and blaming himself. Nneka admitted it was quite a heartbreaking afternoon as they came to terms with losing one of their tribemates and that she was struggling with ending someone’s journey. While Cody agreed it was sad, he realised it was a game and had accepted it. Dwight spoke about finding the balance between trust and strength, while Noelle was concerned about how her journey would impact things, given she couldn’t scramble. Though she assured them she is there to prove things to herself, rather than destroy the competition. While Jesse mentioned they are also concerned that maybe Noelle also jagged an advantage on her journey.
Jeff asked everyone how confident they were that things would go their way and after they finally agreed on survey metrics, all but Noelle admitted they were very confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Which obviously meant that when the tribe voted one of them was wrong, as the tribe banded together to choose strength and booted sweet Nneka from the game.
Given she is a kind, sweet delight, she took her boot in stride and gladly thanked me for welcoming her to Loser Lodge. Nneka was a breath of fresh air in the game, at times feeling like a player from the earlier seasons in the way she quietly built up relationships and looked after the tribe. But alas, these smaller tribes leave little place for those games to survive if the person isn’t bringing it in challenges. And while that is a bitter pill to swallow, it was sweetened up by a Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish.
Flaky on the outside while all at once sticky, sweet and earthy on the inside, these decadent danishes fill you with joy. Though, I am a sucker for pastries so I am always going to say that. So why not give them a go and see for yourself!
Nneka Peajere and Praline Danish
50g whole blanched hazelnuts
200g whole blanched almonds
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g raw caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 sheets good-quality butter puff pastry, quartered
4 firm pears, peeled, cored and halved
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pop the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (though leave the oven on).
Once the nuts have cooled a little, pop them in a food processor and blitz until they have formed a meal-like consistency and no further. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs and blitz until well combined.
Blend the cooled nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground – keep an eye on them and stop as soon as they’re ground or they’ll become oily. Transfer to a large bowl and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until well combined and a little paler. Using a large metal spoon, slowly fold in the eggs.
To assemble, place the puff on a clean bench and place half a pear, face down, in the centre of each portion. Dollop over some of the praline, leaving a 1-2cm edge around. Crimp the edges to form whatever shape you desire and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp. Then, obviously, devour.
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