Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways arrived on the beaches of Samoa divided into Heroes or Villains depending on either how they play the game – for our 11 returnees – or how they intended to, for our newbies. Or their profession, in the case of our journos and real estate agents. As quickly as she came back for her redemption, poor Jackie was medevaced. She was followed by a string of newbies as Anjali, Michael, Mimi, Rogue and Sarah soon followed. George then set his sights on his nemesis Simon, but after a surprise individual immunity challenge we lived through the best tribal council of all time which cost Fraser his spot.
Iconic scream queen Sharni was next to go (back to Yabbie Creek, darl) before the swap (thankfully) cost Paige her spot in the game. We then suffered the tragedy of losing sweet Jordie before my dear friend and legit hero Benjamin Law was shown the door. Internal battles between the Spice Girls caused Stevie to be blindsided just ahead of the merge, before George’s instincts proved correct as Flick turned on them while Matt stayed loyal, allowing the OG Villains to take control and boot David from the game.
For her deception, Flick became Australia’s first ever Queen of the Jury before a lack of mateship sent Sam out. George then broke our hearts by turning on Shonee before the Villains turned their attention back to eliminating Heroes in the form of Shaun and Hayley. George and Simon’s feud finally came to a head with the King booting sweet, power-bottom Simon before Nina became the first Twine to join the jury.
The final four were gagged by Jonathan when he announced that they would be eliminating a juror with Matt and Gerry pushing to get rid of Shonee, given she was 100% in Liz’s corner. Which should have been a warning to George that he would not be making it to the final tribal council again, with the final three newbies banding together to send him to the ALL RETURNEE jury. At the final tribal council Liz well and truly rose to the occasion, laying out a comprehensive, nearly watertight argument why she deserved the win. Before the jury awarded her unanimously, making her our second Olympian to take out the crown. I mean, if presenting to the jury was an Olympic sport, she would come out on top while Sharn, famed barrister and two-time runner-up wouldn’t even qualify.
While the edit may not have shoved it down our throats, there is a very clear reason why Liz was not only the final woman and villain standing, but our newly minted Sole Survivor. And that is because she not only played a hell of a social game but also knew when to make the right moves. It may not have been the most exciting television watching the newbies ride it out with George at the end, however it made the most sense to use him as a shield as he will always be easy to eliminate at the end (another reason Sandra should actually always make it to the end, but people get too excited) as their best shot was with each other.
Despite Matt opting to eliminate Shonee from the jury for being a locked in Liz vote, he clearly underestimated the bonds she made and how well she would be able to articulate her game. Which is why he landed in second and she joins our iconic pantheon of winners. As the fireworks settled, I pulled her in for a massive hug – did you know I was a champion pole vaulter and we became friends on the circuit? – and thanked her for keeping us fed this season. More important than winning the title, she also managed to put an end to the long running Survivor curse and that is worth celebrating, with a glorious Liz Parciuttov & Asparagus Pizza.
This pizza is so delicious, it is hardly a surprise it had the power to end the curse. The earthiness of the asparagus works perfectly with the salty tang of the prosciutto and the creamy ricotta to deliver a pizza fit for the newest queen.
Liz Parciuttov & Asparagus Pizza Serves: 4.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅔ cup ricotta kosher salt and pepper, to taste 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths 1 lemon, zested 2 tbsp chives, thinly sliced ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 6 slices of prosciutto, roughly chopped
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Spread a thin layer of ricotta over the bases, followed by a sprinkle of salt and a good whack of pepper. Add the asparagus, lemon zest, chives and parmesan, before topping with the prosciutto. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Serve and devour triumphantly, knowing you’re the one person great enough to break an epic(ish) curse.
Previously on Australian Survivor 13 newbies were dumped on the islands of Samoa ready to do battle with 11 returnees to prove once and for all whether heroes or villains do it better. Nearly instantly Queen Jackie was violently dumped off a barrel in the first challenge, breaking her collarbone and ultimately medevaced from the game. Despite a warning at tribal council that George – who was also injured in the first challenge – may not return, they opted to continue with the vote and sent his only ally, the iconic Anjali Rao out of the game.
George ultimately did return however, with Shonee quickly pulling him into an alliance with her given she knew that as the only three time player on the beach, she needed another threat around as a buffer. Oh and she also found this season’s island bestie in Liz, and just like that Shiz was born. After losing yet another immunity challenge, Michael was felled for trying to target George. Stevie meanwhile was out for revenge against Shonee for blindsiding him on their first season, however when he was the target at the next tribal council, she redeemed herself in his eyes with a last minute flip to send Mimi out of the game.
Meanwhile over at the Heroes despite being the biggest threat as the sole winner in the cast, Hayley was feeling confident enough to throw the immunity challenge to get rid of Rogue because she was rude and abrasive. After losing the next immunity challenge, the Heroes were gagged to discover they’d be sending a mole over to the Villains tribe however when Sam said they were sending someone expendable, Gerry was less of a mole and more of a powerful tool for the Villains post swap. The Villains returned to their losing streak, running over the swing vote in Sarah before Fraser got caught in the crossfire of George and Simon’s feud in the most epic tribal council of all time.
When the Heroes returned to tribal council my love Benjamin idol-ed Queen Sharni out of the game before the swap arrived and kicked things into overdrive. Despite being outnumbered at the new Heroes, George and Shonee took control and blindsided Paige – ugh, hunting is yuck – before Jordie was felled back at the Villains despite having Shonee’s idol in his pocket. The Heroes then sent Benjamin from the game before Liz was able to mutiny to reunite Shiz before a feud between George and the girls led to Stevie tragically being booted. After the merge, the OG Villains and an assortment of friends took control, sending David from the game before Flick became our first Queen of the Jury. She was followed by her bestie Sam before queen, icon, legend Shonee was felled by George before she could get him, due to her being closer to Liz. Shaun and Hayley were the next Heroes to go, before George finally got to take out Simon and then opting to stick with the boys and take out Nina.
Jonathan threw in one final twist however with the tribe required to boot a juror with Matt and Gerry getting their way and sending Shonee out of the game due to her being a guaranteed vote for Liz. Which really should have been a warning to George that his goose was finally cooked, as they banded together with Liz to send him out of the game as our fourth place robbed goddess of the season.
At the final tribal council, Liz absolutely dominated her opponents and took ownership of the move Matt had pinned his entire argument on – getting rid of George – neutralising him in the eyes of the jury, and allowing our newest queen to take out the title unanimously, leaving Matt to finish as the co-runner-up with Gerry. As I said with Gerry, despite being shut out, Matt played a solid game and arguably did all he could to win as one of the few newbies left by the jury phase. Since George was clearly taking them to the end for an easy win. But alas, they cut him loose at the end (which was also Matt’s move, despite not having revenge attached) making Matt a lovely runner-up, with a hearty Matt Borscharp reward.
When I was little, the entire concept of borscht freaked me out, despite my passion for beetroot. I assume it had something to do with the fact I couldn’t figure out how to make cheese work with it, but that is a conversation for another time. As an adult, I finally tried borscht and fell in love with its rich, earthy perfection and the soup quickly found its place in my permanent rotation.
Matt Borscharp Serves: 8.
Ingredients ¼ cup olive oil 4 beetroot, peeled and grated 2 celery stalks, sliced 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced ¼ cup tomato paste 8 cups chicken stock 2 cups water 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp champagne vinegar 3 tbsp dill, finely chopped kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste sour cream, for dolloping
Method Place a large stockpot over medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the grated beetroot, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring infrequently, until they are soft and juicy.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or so, before stirring in chicken stock and water, followed by the potatoes and carrots. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Add the beans bay leaves, vinegar and dill with a good whack of salt and pepper, and simmer for another five minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and devour, like a boss.
Previously on Australian Survivor after the boys tragically removed Shonee from the jury in the surprise final non-elimination, the final four finally faced off in their final immunity challenge. Set on the same cliff face that housed the iconic moment Kirstie convinced Lee to step off his perch, they would stand in torture devices as JLP turned a crank to further extend spearheads into their back with the last one standing guaranteeing their spot in the final three. After rolling out their loved ones – featuring the iconic Duchess of Double Bay, Cara “I’ve Cooked It” Atchison – they took their places before the Olympian took out immunity, forcing the boys to turn on each other. Despite Gerry’s plea to be voted out and let George stay, the newbies held firm as Liz finally got revenge and sent George to the jury.
The next day the final three awoke to watch the sunrise before Liz spoke about how difficult it was to vote out George, despite how great she felt to have gotten revenge for the legendary Shonee. Knowing the jury was made up of only returnees, the feeling was that they will reward gameplay, despite Liz being a little nervous about the fact it was also very hero heavy. After collecting their feast from treemail, Matt spoke about how much of an honour it was to make it to the end and make his family proud. Gerry was equally surprised, thrilled to have made it to the end despite being the oldest contestant in history. He then opened up about how much the victory would mean to him, given COVID ruined his business and he could now actually repay his family and rebuild his life. Before they all panicked about getting their pitches right.
At the final tribal council everyone took their places on the relevant benches before Jonathan explained how the evening would proceed as Liz kicked off the opening statements, talking about how she came in as a physical threat and that she has proven herself week after week. Despite that, she had no experience in the game and as such, absorbed all the wisdom of George, Shonee, Simon and Jordie to sharpen her skills. She built many alliances, forged via her stellar social game, but nothing compares to the fact that she was able to bide her time before finally getting revenge and taking out George. At the toughest position, as final juror. She then doubled and tripled down on the George vote being solely her move as Matt looked on awkwardly.
And damn, she is off to a strong start.
Speaking of Matt, he spoke about how he came out here driven to win for his family by building close social bonds. He outlined all the moments he was selfless, talking about how those moves made him a perfect person to flip without being noticed. Also he won three immunity challenges like Liz, but with an extra vote to boot. While Gerry was far less polished and intense, this time keeping it brief, telling everyone he is the oldest to ever play and he was thrilled to buck the trend of becoming a first boot. He fought through an injury and being deemed disposable, which ultimately led to him changing up his game and focusing on revenge against the Heroes. And well, he rode George to the end as his partner. And you best believe, he never missed when casting a vote.
We flipped over to the jury where Sam congratulated everyone on making it to the end before asking how Liz was proactive, with her articulating that she had to hit the ground running to simply survive against returnees. She then powered through the swap phase, building new alliances and then dominating at the merge. Simon then asked Gerry how he had control throughout the game, with him explaining you can’t succeed in this game by yourself and as such, he was steering the ship with George and while everyone looked sceptical, George confirmed it was true. Speaking of George he then congratulated them on making it to the end, asking Liz and Matt to articulate which move they made in the game that wasn’t instigated by him. Matt quickly tried to take ownership of getting him out, which Liz promptly shut down, telling him that a decision after the immunity challenge isn’t equal to her biding her time after the Shonee vote until it was the right time to strike. At final four, when she knew he would be vulnerable.
Matt then tried to say he considered working with Simon after the Hayley vote but ultimately didn’t, which TBH, doesn’t matter as it didn’t happen. Which is exactly what George told him, as he scolded him for not actually being able to name one, reiterating that he’d love to vote for him if he can name something. Liz then jumped in, because lol, telling George that there were many moments that she and Shonee spent time working behind the scenes to sneakily turn the tide against him, using saving Flick at the Stevie vote as an example as she continued to knock the question out of the park.
Hayley then asked Gerry if there was anything he regretted in his game, with him saying he doesn’t have any regrets and that he is proud of the game he played. He spoke about the 30 year age gap between him and the rest of the cast, and how he invested so much time in overcoming having nothing in common with anyone, leading to Sam patronising him about being terrible with human interaction. Which is a bit of a lol, given who it is coming from. Shaun then jumped in to say that he and David only spoke footy because it was their job, ripping Gerry for never taking an interest in him, pointing out that he has many things in common with Gerry, like hiking, however Gerry just never bothered to ask.
Queen Hayley tried to get things back on track, asking them why they deserve to win, with Gerry talking about how the game gave him a new lease on life and whether they vote for him or not, he is a winner. Liz meanwhile spoke about how she has played an interesting, exciting game and was scrappy as she played from the bottom, being the last woman, last newbie and last Villain standing and she is ready to take out the crown that she rightly deserves. Given she expertly straddled the line between Heroes and Villains. While we got nothing from Matt, which is kinda sucky for him, given it makes it abundantly clear he isn’t winning.
With that the jury voted before JLP wheeled out the final three’s loved ones and got to work counting the votes, with Liz taking it out unanimously. Like an absolute boss. I pulled Gerry aside to congratulate him on a game well played, because despite being shut out by the jury, there is no denying that he really played the game as George’s partner. Despite a lot of those instances – the Stevie vote in particular – being a calculated move on George’s part to let him make the choice, Gerry more than Matt had agency throughout the game. Which more than earned him a piping hot celebratory Almond & Cherry Geltch Danish.
It feels kind fitting that both Gerry and George were bequeathed danishes on their first attempts at the crown, though I would argue Gez got the better version. Sticky, sweet and oh so moreish, this cherry and almonds are the perfect pairing to toasting the great man.
Almond & Cherry Geltch Danish Serves: 8-12.
Ingredients 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed 350g cherry jam ¾ cup toasted slivered almonds, plus extra to top 1 egg 1 ½ teaspoon raw caster sugar ½ cup icing sugar 2 tsp milk ¼ tsp almond extract
Method Preheat the oven to 160C.
Place the puff pastry on a lined baking sheet and spread the cherry jam down the centre third of each, leaving a two centimetre border at the top and bottom, before sprinkling the almonds on top of each.
Use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts, along both long sides of the pastry, cutting until you almost hit the preserves. Starting at the top, fold the strips over the filling, alternating sides until you make it to the end, before pinching to seal.
Combine the egg and sugar with a tablespoon of water and whisk to double. Brush over the top of each and sprinkle with the extra almonds. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove and leave to rest for five minutes.
Finally, combine the icing sugar, milk and almond extract in a jug and drizzle over the warm danishes, before devouring.
Previously on Australian Survivor after finally vanquishing sweet Simon, the tribe battled it out for a guaranteed spot in the final four, with Liz taking out immunity. And promptly rallying Nina and George to work with her to get rid of Matt, given he was her biggest threat. Sadly for her, George was getting nervous about rehashing his mistakes from the previous season, so didn’t want to blindside Gerry in the process of getting rid of Matt. This put him well and truly in the middle of the two duos, making him, once again, all powerful. Sadly for the girls, Nina gave a stellar tribal council performance, which sadly proved that she was the bigger threat – and confirmed she will vote for the best game – scaring George into flipping and taking her out with the boys. Though again, it also gave us our first Twine on the jury.
Back at camp George congratulated everyone on making it to the top four while Liz death stared at him, irate that he had ruined her plan once again and made her path to the final two that much more difficult. Later that night George dropped by to apologise to Liz who straight up cussed him out for signing her death warrant while he was sitting pretty with the boys. George however wasn’t bothered that she was salty given he was essentially choosing which final three he wanted to go with and he still technically has options, given she either votes with him at the next tribal council if he wants to take a shot, or she gets voted out.
The next day Liz was still super nervous, unsure how she was going to navigate the remaining days in the game. And I assume a little bit angry at herself for letting George blindside her again with Nina, just like he did our lord and saviour Shonee Bowtell. Once again though, she knew she had to suck up her feelings and caught up with him in the shelter, with George explaining Nina speaking so well at tribal is what made him change his mind. Liz pretended she was all good, though didn’t bother telling him about what Nina said to her on her way out the door. George then told us he just couldn’t break Gerry’s trust once more, whereas he knew it would be easier to win Liz back. Though he assured her that if Matt wins the next immunity, he will join her in finally getting rid of Gerry.
George next caught up with the boys, reminding them how hard they have worked to avoid the jury, with George telling us how given the jury is made up of only returning players, should he make it to the end, he will be rewarded for dominating the game. Gerry and Matt meanwhile were talking about the path ahead, both genuinely wanting to go to the final three with George and pledging their undying loyalty, before confirming what we have long suspected and that they assume it is a final two, at which point they are looking to cut him just before final tribal council as their big move.
While poor Liz just knew that she was completely screwed should she not win immunity.
Right on cue the final four met Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge. Or so they thought! Instead, it was a challenge for an extra vote at tonight’s tribal council, meaning there is definitely going to be a twist, because they won’t leave George without the chance of immunity at the final four. But anyway, back to the challenge as this one is a biggy! They would race to swim to shore and collect balls, land them in a shoot, crawl under a net and then solve a puzzle before climbing stairs and landing sandbags on five platforms. Matt took out an early lead with Liz nipping at his heels before George and Gerry somehow overtook her. That being said, the other three were kind of irrelevant as Matt continued to power ahead, solving his puzzle as Gerry arrived at the table, while George and Liz desperately tried to close the gap. Matt then got to work tossing his sacks, landing one after the other before anyone else even joined him, promptly taking out the extra vote.
After handing over said vote, Jonathan announced that tonight they will not be voting someone out of the tribe. (Side note: duh). Instead it is the return of the infamous juror removal twist and oh shit, I feel sick because Shonee has been mentioned multiple times already this episode and given Matt and Gerry now have three votes and they know she isn’t voting for them, she is toast. Oh and then JLP confirmed it is a final three, with final immunity coming up tomorrow before the final person will be voted out and replace the juror they eliminate tonight.
Back at camp the final four celebrated making it to the final immunity challenge before popping on some rice ahead of a vastly different kind of scramble. For some reason George started to talk to Matt about the fact that if you have a guaranteed vote, you’re that much closer to winning now that only 7 people will be voting for 3 people. George then went to Liz, both agreeing that getting rid of Simon is the best idea for them, given he is least likely to vote for them. The bad thing being that should be very clear to both Gerry and Matt, so therefore they should keep him.
George and Liz joined the other two to try and sell it as revenge for Simon calling everyone pawns. Sadly for them, Matt gave them a non-committal response while Gerry suggested Nina would vote for Liz for being a female, rather than looking at the game. Liz rightly was offended by that with him explaining he just meant that they were closer and as such, she is way more likely to be swayed by her. Matt then shared with us that his extra vote puts even more pressure on him, given it could be the decision between winning and losing. Matt pulled George aside and told him he is open to both Nina and Simon, however feels like if Liz is sitting at final tribal council – because his and Gerry’s plan to go to three with the King has totally changed now – Shonee is a guaranteed vote for her and as such, she makes the most sense. George tried to point out Simon doesn’t deserve a vote, though stupidly didn’t try to explain that if he and Liz both make it to the end, they split Shonee and as such, make it a tiny bit easier for him to squeak out a win. I mean sure, it isn’t a great pitch, but it is literally the only one we’ve got to keep Shonee vibing on the jury.
Matt then pulled Gerry aside to float his horrible, no good plan. He told Gerry it is very clear they are being played by George with the Simon vote, given he is a guaranteed vote for one of them. Matt continued, explaining that since it is now a final three, they need to adjust their plans and get rid of George at the next vote. And therefore if they go to the final three with Liz, they need to get rid of the only guaranteed vote for her, in Shonee. George filled Liz in on the drama, with Liz telling him to get down to the shore and break it up as they can’t lose Shonee. With Matt expertly playing derpy and telling him they have realised getting rid of Simon makes the most sense as he arrived. Gerry and Matt then spoke about trying to play their cards close to their chest at tribal council so as not to spook anyone, while trying to weigh up who is the better option of going to the final three given everyone loves Liz while George has played the best game. Before Gerry wisely pointed out that George also has a lot of hate against him from the jury and as such, maybe he isn’t a guaranteed winner.
While Gerry just felt like tonight was a chance for him to draw a line in the sand by either going with Matt to eliminate Shonee, or sticking with George to take out Simon.
At tribal council Jonathan quickly caught the jury up on what would be happening tonight, explaining that one of them will be leaving tonight, which obviously pissed all of them off. Particularly Shonee, who appeared to know the writing was on the wall. George spoke about this being the most important tribal council he has ever attended since the winner will only need to secure three or four votes to win. Matt opened up about being the one with the extra vote tonight, and how while he has power, he still needs one other person to agree with who should go out. Gerry admitted two names were on the table pack at camp and that both are warranted to go out. George meanwhile spoke about how fierce debate was back at camp and as such, suggested things may still be up in the air, as Liz interjected and pointed out that she had actually thought they were on the same page.
George whispered to Gerry to see who he was thinking about voting out, with George reiterating he will be taking out Simon as Gerry gave him nothing. Matt spoke about how they need to make a choice between getting rid of a guaranteed vote for someone else or just someone they think will be bitter. As Gerry and George continued to whisper, Gerry told him he had a bad feeling about all the girls on the jury being locked in behind Liz before George pointed out that since she won’t be at the final tribal council, it shouldn’t matter. But you could kind of tell he realised he is definitely going out in fourth and maybe should have kept Nina. Matt and Liz then got in on the whispering, with Liz asking if we’re all losing Shonee before Matt announced he is confused, but ready to vote nonetheless. With that the tribe voted and Gerry finally swayed from George, though tragically it broke the hearts of the nation in the process, as he, Matt and even George removed Shonee from the jury. Which was 100% the correct move for two of them, but it doesn’t make me hate it any less.
As she just cruised on out of there and even further into our hearts.
The next day the final four were jubilant to officially be the last ones standing, with Gerry sharing how at the start he was ready to ride it out with the Heroes until they sent him to the Villains without any concern, leading to the second best revenge arc behind Queen Shon’s in All Stars. But just ahead of Stevie’s in this season, given it went nowhere. George meanwhile was just shocked to still be in the game given he came in with such an epic target. And now he just needs to survive one more tribal council to take out his deserved victory. His words. Matt on the other hand was shocked to have made it there, though knew that without immunity everything could come crumbling down. In the form of Liz, who knows she is out next without immunity, though you know she is ready to fight and given she is an Olympian, you know she has the resolve.
After a brief glimpse of Kristie, Lee, Jericho and Peter in their respective final challenges, the newest final four arrived at a cliff face to discover this year’s final immunity challenge. Which will feature them all standing on a narrow perch holding a handle above their head, while JLP will turn a crank pushing blunt spearheads into their backs to make things as uncomfortable as possible. But before that, he delivered a little bit of love to help motivate them. First up was iconic cooking queen Cara for George, followed by Liz’s boyfriend Daniel, Gerry’s fiance Pam and Matt’s pregnant wife Kirsty and oh lord, I’m crying, they’re crying, everyone’s crying.
The visitors were promptly kicked off to a bench to watch their loved ones be tortured as they speculated how long they would be up in the devices. After JLP gave the crank a spin, the boys all complained as Liz suggested it was nothing and begged JLP to give it another crank. Which you know he did! Instantly the boys started to feel the pain while the two-time Olympian laughed with glee. Mother nature then joined in the fun, unleashing a deluge of rain as they fought for an hour before JLP whipped out his crank to further dig the spikes into their backs. Which was all it took to take out Gerry, as he stepped off the perch while his competitors sweetly praised him for doing so well. After two hours and an additional crank, George suggested nobody wanted the win more than him with Liz calmly telling him he is wrong and to just wait and see. We got to three hours before Jonathan gave the spears another crank which saw George start to struggle, badly, as he begged Matt to hold on, before ultimately dropping out. Leaving Liz to battle Matt for final immunity. After four hours Liz started to get the shakes as Daniel willed her on before she requested JLP dish out one final crank.
As the loved ones watched on with baited breath, George swapped seats and started chatting to Gerry, telling him that all they need to do is stick together at the next vote and there is a way forward for them. Liz continued to breathe through the pain before Matt’s hand slipped off, handing Liz final immunity. And ideally, crowning her our winner.
Back at camp George was very nervous about the newbies banding together to take him out, though was confident in his ability to plot and scheme. Even in such a shitty predicament. Knowing she would have been out of the game if she didn’t take out immunity, Liz was well and truly feeling her oats and ready to finally get her revenge on George and send him out of the game. Gerry meanwhile congratulated everyone on fighting so hard in the challenge, talking about how humbled he was by their performance. He then took it one step further, telling everyone that he didn’t deserve to go to tribal council and begged them all to vote him out. Which George obviously jumped at, promising to do his wishes before getting to work wooing Matt and Liz.
George first pulled Matt aside to tell him how important it would be for them to just vote out Gerry and guarantee their place in the final three. And while he agreed to George’s face, he knew he couldn’t do it to Gerry and instead told him he would actually be voting for George and if he wanted to avoid making fire, he should vote out George too. Speaking of George, he pulled Liz aside to try his best, with Liz too pretending to be all in on the Gerry vote, though obviously, that would not be happening. Because revenge. Though George was confident Liz would have his back and as such, was ready to march to the end and take out victory.
At tribal council the jury were absolutely delighted to see that Liz had immunity – I wish Shon was here to see this – before she opened up about her own pride to have come out on top after such an epic, intense challenge. Particularly with her boyfriend there. George immediately cut her off to talk about how driven Liz is and how proud of her he is, while Liz spoke about the fact she was so driven because she knew she had literally no other option. Matt meanwhile was gutted to be the one coming in second, talking about how now they need to be smart about who they send out of the game. Gerry on the other hand spoke about how hard it would be to vote for either Matt or George. With that the tribe voted and despite Gerry’s plea the newbies banded together to take out George, as Liz wisely whispered in his ear that she finally got him.
As George arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled him in for a massive hug and praised him on such a dominating performance. While he was disappointed to be eliminated so close to the end, he admitted he was expecting his massive target to take him out early so was thrilled he was once again able to find his feet and dominate. I then did a quick detour and yelled at him for turning on Shonee too soon and robbing us gays of our mother. I mean, I know she was planning to turn on him at the next vote, but given siding with the newbies landed him on jury, I would have preferred to see a wee more exciting end game by having her stick around a little longer.
While I would argue that come the merge, George got lucky that people knew he would be an easy vote at the endgame, there is no denying that he once again proved himself to be a master strategist. And that alone deems him worthy of going out as the fourth place robbed goddess of the season and the piping hot Beef Bourgeorge Mladenov prize that goes along with it.
Boeuf bourguignon is one of those dishes that has the power to convert even the most vehement beef naysayers of its delight. The meat melts in your mouth as the sweet, rich sauce washes over your tongue and fills you with glee.
Beef Bourgeorge Mladenov Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 200g bacon, diced 1.5kg beef brisket, trimmed and cut into a large dice 1 carrot, thickly sliced 1 onion, diced 10 cloves garlic, minced kosher salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp flour 12 French shallots, peeled 3 cups red wine 2 cups beef stock 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp butter 500g small mushrooms, quartered
Method Pop the oil in a large dutch oven and sauté the bacon over medium heat for a few minutes, or until crispy and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. In batches, brown the beef on all sides in the glorious bacon fat before using the spoon to transfer to the bacon dish. Finally, add the carrots and onions to the pan and cook for a few minutes before adding 6 of the garlic cloves and cooking for a minute, or until fragrant. Drain off the fat, leaving a tablespoon or two, before returning the beef and bacon to the pot. Stir in the flour with a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for about five minutes, or until browned. Add the shallots, wine and stock, the latter to just cover the meat, before stirring in the paste and herbs. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and cover before simmering for a few hours.
While the beef is rollicking, heat the butter in a large saucepan until foaming before adding the remaining garlic and cooking for a minute or so, or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally to coat, for about five minutes, or until browned and plump. Season with salt and pepper, before transferring to a plate.
Remove the bay leaves from the casserole, before stirring in the mushrooms and skimming off any of the excess fat that rises to the surface as it cooks until it reduces to a glossy liquid, enough to coat a spoon. Adjust seasoning before serving with a gloriously buttery mash and devouring, like a king.
Previously on Australian Survivor Gerry was feeling betrayed after landing in isolation after George and Liz switched their votes from Simon, leaving him plenty of time to swap stories with Nina about their relevant final three deals with George. At the immunity challenge for four, Matt just snatched victory ahead of sweet Simon, who felt like his time would surely now be up. Back at camp George was ready to repeat the previous tribal and split the vote between Simon and Nina. Nina meanwhile was not interested in going down without a fight, trying to woo Matt and Gerry to her side to take out the king with Simon. Sadly though it was clear it didn’t work at tribal council as Gerry spoke George had been mentoring him before it finished on a tie between Nina and Simon, with our sweet, iconic bottom finally exiting the game.
The next day the final five were delighted to find a little breakfast treat with the warning that they will need all the energy they can to make it to the end of the game. While everyone smashed muffins and coffee, George appeared to be most excited by the bag of sugar. Matt meanwhile was all jacked up on caffeine and sugar, buzzing and feeling like he can finally think again. And by think, run around the camp screaming and belly flopping into the ocean. The fivesome then had a lovely moment together, bonding in the shallows and celebrating how far they have come. George and Gerry caught up privately, locking in going to the final three with Matt, while George spoke about being grateful to have found a lifelong friend in Gerry. But then ominously pointed out he would be happy to finish in fourth. Or third, or second. Meaning it is pretty clear Nina is next, right?
That afternoon the boys caught up to lock in their vote against Nina, as she hung in the hammock while Liz wandered around camp. She had finally realised that George’s relationship with the boys was becoming a massive threat to her game after the last tribal council, identifying Matt as her biggest physical threat and George as the most likely to win. Which again came infuriatingly too late. Trying to restore the jacuzzi alliance, Liz instead caught up with Nina by the shore and locked in the plan to vote out Matt should he not win immunity. Knowing that if she appeared positive it could prove a spoiler, Nina pretended to be disappointed as she caught up with her fellow former Heroes, leaving Liz to catch up with George and lock in the vote against Matt. You know, if he doesn’t win immunity.
Meaning it is very, very obvious that Matt is winning immunity.
The tribe met Jonathan by the beach for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to race to drop a ball in a shoot, race to collect it at the other end of a disc before walking over obstacles and collecting two more. Before then navigating them up an upright maze and into a hole, with the first to land them all taking out immunity. Nina and Liz took an early lead, with Liz powering ahead as Matt overtook Nina and worked to close the gap. While George and Gerry were stuck collecting their balls, with the former cursing it as a stupid challenge. Liz had a massive head start as she got to work on the maze before dropping, leaving enough time for Matt to join her. He too struggled, allowing Nina to join them followed by George as Gerry was still stuck on the first obstacle. Eventually Liz landed her first ball, followed closely by Nina. As George tried some wild tricks, Liz landed her second ball, making me realise how very wrong I was about Matt. As George magician-ed the ball to the top, Gerry joined the fray before Nina dropped her second ball as Liz powered through, landed her third and jagged herself immunity. Like a damn queen.
Back at camp the tribe quickly congratulated Liz on her victory before everyone scattered to work through plans for the upcoming tribal council. She sat by herself in the hammock, talking through all the scenarios by herself, knowing that trusting in Liz is kinda her last option and as such, she needs to be solid. Matt meanwhile checked in with George to see if he wanted to talk, with George assuring him that the only option is Nina tonight and as such, they need to load their votes on her and not worry. While Matt worried about Liz turning on them, George assured her she had no other options. Just as she and Nina caught up by the well to lock in their votes against Matt, while she worried about George’s growing closeness with Gerry. Liz caught up with George to tell him that voting out Matt is literally the only correct option moving forward, as George panicked about upsetting Gerry. Leading to Liz telling him to stop being soft and letting Gerry play into his emotions, and instead get cutthroat and play to win.
Which is energy I would have loved at any of the last four tribal councils.
Sadly for Liz, her pep talk actually triggered George, reminding him that he voted out his closest ally in fourth in his first season and that being cutthroat is what led to his loss. Which I would argue wasn’t the case, but it definitely didn’t help. Though he knew that by going to the final three with Matt and Gerry, he was essentially handing himself third. As such, he approached Nina to affirm that he would reignite the jacuzzi alliance. Matt then dropped by Nina, asking how she was feeling as Nina outlined that she, Liz and George were targeting Matt and while he knew she was trying anything to survive, he was very nervous. He then approached George and Liz to tell them what Nina said, leading to them vehemently denying it and ugh, I feel like it may be the thing that causes them to just vote her out.
Matt then approached Gerry to loop him in, with Gerry calmly telling him George knows he is playing for third with them, though he was happy to finish there. As Liz and George continued to bicker in the shelter, Liz pointed out he needs to stop being emotional and to just get rid of Matt. George then caught up with Nina, with her expertly telling him that she is voting Matt because that is the only plan anyone has given her and if he has a different one, she is willing to hear it. Sadly for her, as they spoke it became more and more clear that George will continue to be a swing vote until the very last moment.
At tribal council Nina spoke about how there is a high likelihood that she will be going home given she is literally the only person left from outside of the major alliance. While she has appealed to people to make a move, she feels like everyone is just holding on to their ticket to the finale and not letting go. Liz praised her for never giving up and always trying to find a way to survive, before talk turned to Matt’s challenge prowess, with George admitting it is a concern given he only makes it to the end if someone takes him. Liz praised him as her biggest challenge competitor, leading to Matt pointing out that Liz is also a huge physical threat, seemingly not realising she is immune so it literally doesn’t matter at this point.
George spoke to the fact he lost Brains Vs Brawn due to only focusing on strategy and not listening to his heart, though he intended to be guided by it this time to make it to the end. He then laid all ownership for building the minority alliance as Shonee looked on, enraged. Gerry tried to pretend their alliance had not had a leader with Jonathan hilariously pointing out that it completely contradicts what George just said. Gerry tried to double down, talking about everyone having a different moment to make the decisions, leading to an epic eye roll from Nina. She then spoke about how her perception is completely different and that is what matters when the power switches to the jury, as to her, Gerry has done nothing but do what he was told and tend to the fire. Essentially.
With that the tribe voted and two votes piled up on Matt and Nina before George proved to listen to his heart as Nina was tragically eliminated from the game. Meaning voting out a close ally cost him a win, as will likely keeping one. As Nina urged Liz to just not let George make it to the final tribal council.
As Nina arrived at the Jury Villa I congratulated her on becoming the first ever Twine to serve on a jury, which is literally all we’ve ever wanted from Sandra given she would give us the most iconic, sassy questions known to man. But that is all I said about her mama, as I pulled her in for a hug and praised her for playing such a strong game. While she and the Heroes may have botched it against Shonee and George – note who was put up front, for a reason – the fact that she managed to be the last one standing proves her impeccable skill at winning people over, gathering the right intel and making sure there was always someone that was a more pressing boot. So while I’m heartbroken we didn’t get the Twine Heroes Vs. Villains bookend we wanted, I am glad I could cheer her up with a Biryanina Twine.
This Indian classic – biryani – is one of those great dishes that are just as tasty as they are simple to make, meaning it quickly finds a permanent place in your rotation. Spicy and soothing, it is the perfect way to wash away the stress of the day. Or celebrate a win (or fifth place, in this case).
Biryanina Twine Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 1 cup Greek yoghurt ¼ cup korma curry paste 600g chicken breasts, diced 2 tsp olive oil 1 onion, sliced 1 tbsp minced ginger 5 garlic cloves, minced 800g tin diced tomatoes 1 cinnamon stick 2 bay leaves 1 ½ cups basmati rice 1 ½ cups chicken stock a handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
Method Combine the yoghurt and korma paste in a bowl and stir through the chicken to coat. Cover with cling and pop in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.
Once the chicken is well and truly marinated, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes before stirring in the tomatoes, cinnamon and bay, cooking for a few minutes.
Stir in the chicken and rice, followed by the stock. Bring to a boil before reducing heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or so, or until the liquid is absorbed and rice, soft and tender. Stir through the coriander and remove from the heat. Before serving, with an extra sprinkle of coriander or a dollop of yoghurt and devouring. Greedily.
Previously on Australian Survivor Nina told George that Hayley told her about his cash prize, setting the stage for her blindside at the hands of her runner-up. After Liz took out an epic overnight spa reward, she locked in a final three deal with her guests, George and Nina, which TBH, gives off big Russell, Parvati and Sandra energy, so I am all in on it. After Simon won yet another immunity, the tribe locked in the plan to blindside Hayley. Not to be outdone, Hayley meanwhile was rallying Simon to join her to blindside George. Sadly for her, Nina wasn’t on board with said plan which meant Queen Hayley was tragically felled from the competition. This time without exile in sight to save her.
The next day George, Matt, Gerry and Nina woke up to watch the sunrise together with George disappointed to have lost his biggest rival though he was confident in his chances to make it to the end. Since he has two final three deals, because that sort of behaviour never comes back to blindside you. Particularly when you eliminated the two other massive threats coming into the season. Simon meanwhile was still left right out, though bless, openly told the tribe that he has absolutely nothing to lose and as such, if people need a number, they need to pull him in before it is too late. He then admitted to us that he may have bumbled through the post-merge, but it has actually left him in a good position as everyone underestimates him which could give him a different narrative to pitch the jury.
After filling up on some coconut, he went to the shore to talk to Matt, telling him that they need to talk sooner rather than later if he wants to make a move on George. While Matt was quiet, Simon powered ahead and told him that he is nothing more than George’s pawn and it is very obvious that is what the jury thinks of him, so he will not win unless he does something. Which is 100% correct. As Simon gave Gerry the same pitch, Matt reported back to George and while the latter pretended it was not the case, he laughed to us in confessional that that is all Matt is. Simon returned to camp to openly call everyone pawns for just mindlessly following George. This annoyed Liz who told Simon his actions have left him on the bottom and that is why she will never work with him before storming off, telling him she can’t deal with him anymore.
Poor Matt meanwhile broke down in confessional, admitting Simon’s words had gotten to him because he truly believes what he is saying and that he doesn’t know how to prove himself in the game. We then got another little personal story of Matt being away from his pregnant wife and that while he is struggling, he wants to focus so he can win the money for his family. So maybe he is ready to make a move after all? Feeling hurt to have been left out of the Hayley blindside, Matt approached Gerry to float the fact he thinks George made a deal with Nina and Liz at the reward and as such, he is wary of them as a rival trio, given George has a history of turning on his allies before they can get him. Deciding Simon is his best shot, Matt pulled him and Nina aside to float the idea of working together at the next vote, hoping Simon isn’t immune so the tribe is distracted by him. With Matt just begging Simon not to screw him over and tell George.
Which is either exactly what happens, or we’re finally getting the blindside.
The tribe joined with Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to stand on narrow pedestals and keep a hand on an idol with the last person standing winning. So yeah, the iconic Hands on a Hard Idol challenge, but with individual stations. After 15 minutes JLP got bored and told them to move down to their narrowest pegs which instantly cost George his place, followed closely by Nina. The remaining four made it to 45 minutes before Jonathan made things even harder, making everyone spread across the two furthest apart pegs before Liz slipped out nowhere leaving Matt, Gerry and Simon to battle it out. After an hour and twenty minutes, Simon slipped off while stretching before the duo opted to go down to a single foot to speed up the challenge, ultimately costing Gerry and handing immunity to Matt.
Back at camp the tribe congratulated Matt on his win, barely able to contain their excitement to finally be able to get rid of Simon. He thankfully is a resilient king, asking the tribe if anyone wants to tell him where to put his vote, with George calmly telling him no. While he tried to talk to Matt, George pulled him and Gerry aside to try and keep things chaotic between his two alliances, locking in a split between Nina and Simon. George then dropped by the girls, telling Nina to put a single vote on Gerry just in case. Gloating to us about how making it a 2-2-1-1 vote will guarantee his safety, when in fact, it looks to have overcomplicated things. Simon and Matt finally caught up with the latter suggesting now would actually be the right time to blindside George and hot damn, is this about to get very exciting as George’s arrogance comes back to bite him?
While Matt was being genuine, poor Simon has grown wary of always being sold a decoy plan and as such, wanted to check in with Nina. Matt and George went idol hunting, giggling around as besties while Nina cautioned Simon about trusting Matt, floating the idea of instead targeting Gerry given they have all heard the plans to get rid of George before. And they have all been lies fed to them by his closest allies. George started to grow paranoid that something was afoot, so caught up with Nina and Matt with Nina accidentally talking about throwing a vote on Gerry. Which immediately made Matt concerned that George is telling everyone lies – he is – and more convinced than ever that he needs to take the shot at George.
At tribal council Matt spoke about how he laughed through the challenge, though admitted it was still painful. Simon meanwhile was terrified given he is no longer immune, with George pointing out that he is only still here because of his immunity, before cautioning everyone else that the end is in sight and everyone needs to focus on finding a clear path to make it to the end and not get distracted. Nina meanwhile wasn’t sure if she could trust what she has been told at this point, with Matt agreeing he isn’t sure what exactly to trust as Liz spoke about everyone flipping and getting antsy. Just as Nina and Simon whispered in the middle.
Gerry on the other hand was solid with his alliance and ready to ride things out, while Nina was worried about figuring out what her best choice was. While Matt just wanted to make the right choice for him moving forward, rather than someone else, as Simon laughed about not even having that luxury. Talk turned to resumes, with Nina pointing out that an extensive resume may help at the end, but it also makes you a massive threat to getting there. Simon started to whisper to Matt about flipping, while George whispered to Liz about being scared that they’ve lost Matt. He then went hard about it being unwise to throw away trust this late in the game, while Nina said that action is the only thing that matters at this point. George and Liz then spoke Russian – iconic – and flipped their votes on to Nina as Matt and Simon gave each other looks and Gerry was just left right out.
With that the tribe voted before Jonathan gagged them with the information that the two highest vote getters would not be voted out, instead going into Survivor isolation. Aka locked in a pen away from camp, only eating and drinking what people are willing to deliver them, unable to communicate with anyone unless they visit and worst of all, unable to compete in the next immunity challenge and only should they survive the next vote, they return to camp as normal. Five votes then piled up on Nina with her solitary vote dooming Gerry to join him, meaning shit is about to hit the fan.
Back at camp Gerry and Nina made their way to – triggering language warning – iso, where Gerry questioned how she ended up with five votes, given that was not the plan. Nina obviously had no clue, outlining to Gerry that she was told to vote for him by George, as the plan was meant to be Simon, though Gerry was clearly a back-up. And while he doesn’t usually trust people talking smack about George, he believed Nina instantly and was ready to bring him down. Speaking of George, he was busy explaining how the vote switched to Nina and while Liz felt Gerry would be angry, Matt assured them they had nothing to worry about. Right on cue, it appeared he did have something to worry about as Nina continued to spill secrets to Gerry, outing the jacuzzi alliance. As the duo were talking in their cage, Simon dropped by to check in on them, wondering how in the hell he was still in the game. He pointed out that Gerry is clearly on the bottom and he needs to make a move, as George loitered in the trees eavesdropping. Just as Gerry ominously assured them that when you cross him, he will bounce you.
The next day George was rightly super rattled, so as the duo slept he dropped by isolation to deliver them a chair to sit on. After returning to camp he continued to spiral, with Liz very much warning him and Matt that they need to keep Gerry happy as Nina is scorned and has information that is powerful enough to flip the game. George returned to take credit for the chair as Matt and Liz joined him to make sure they actually kept him happy. George explained that he just got nervous at tribal council and thought Matt was going to be blindsiding Gerry, so flipped to save him. And while Gerry appeared to believe George’s lies, Nina rightly pointed out George was only saying things to get that exact reaction and as such, he needs to stop trusting and make a move against him. As all he cares about is winning.
The remaining four dropped by JLP where they would have to stack blocks around a hanging table while rotating it to feed through a window, with the first to knock them all the way around like dominoes taking out immunity. Simon obviously got out to an early lead while Liz, Matt and George continuously dropped theirs. As he got further and further along, Simon began to slow allowing Matt to close the gap while George and Liz both discovered that they had placed theirs too closely. Simon and Matt also discovered they had spaced theirs too closely as they raced to spread them out further, before Matt knocked his over just ahead of Simon, snatching immunity by a literal second. As George assured Simon they would talk later.
Back at camp Nina was mentally preparing Gerry for the fact she is the plan and he just needs to convince them he is on board, with her working on Simon and Gerry responsible for getting Matt over the line to blindside George. As the other four returned, Simon was left alone as George, Matt and Liz locked in a plan to split the vote on Simon and Nina, assuring them that he would not get nervous and change his mind again. George looped in Simon, assuring him that Nina is the plan though admitted the split will be on him, with Simon happily locked in with George given he knows he really has no options at all. Or so he thought.
George dragged Matt to isolation to get Gerry on board with repeating the original plan from the last tribal council to get rid of Nina but split on Simon. Nina being a wise icon, after the duo departed, she pointed out that George made Matt do all the talking given the fact Gerry doesn’t exactly trust him. While Matt was busy back at the shelter warning George that something felt off, given Gerry was actively trying to protect Nina. Simon was next to drop by isolation, straight up floating the plan to get rid of George, while he in turn spiralled to Liz about the fact that he could cop three votes and should that happen, he will go home. Matt then dropped by with Gerry only keen to make a move if his bestie is on board and while it seemed like the vote against George might actually happen, Matt was still nervous about making a move. Knowing the tides were turning, George dropped by to assure Gerry that he is his number one ally and that after playing 90 days in a row, he is honestly at the point he is just happy to come third. And no Gerry, make a move, don’t fall for it.
At tribal council Gerry spoke about how he enjoyed bonding with Nina while in isolation while Nina agreed it was great to reflect on everything that has happened in the game and focus on what is really happening. Gerry meanwhile had George bricking it, talking about how long it takes to build trust but warning that it can be broken very quickly. George jumped in and told the narrative that he flipped the vote to Nina to try and save Gerry, rather than himself, while Simon just smiled about having once again narrowly avoided certain doom. Nina spoke about the fact George has been on edge all day, meaning the panic wasn’t an isolated incident. Which was only made worse when Matt said he was ready to make moves that benefit only his endgame.
Simon hilariously opened up about the fact he called three players left in the game pawns, telling everyone that way too many are playing for George’s win rather than their own. Before outlining said pawns were Gerry, Matt and Liz. He told them that now is one of the last moments to make a move ahead of final tribal council and given it is a life changing amount of money, they need to play to win. Sadly his plea angered Gerry, who explained that Gerry is not a pawn, instead George has acted as a coach and mentor and he is grateful to him for everything he has learnt in the game. While Nina hilariously whispered to Simon that Gerry is clearly not going to be voting for George.
With that the tribe voted piling up 3-3 on Nina and Simon before George finally got his wish on the revote, eliminating his nemesis Simon. Who was obviously an absolute delight, thanking his fellow competitors and praising them on a game well played. As he arrived at the Jury Villa, he was rightly applauded for carrying the season on his shoulders. I mean sure, he had to follow my screaming, heartbroken cries to find Jury Villa, but once he found it, I pulled him in for a massive hug – the kind he would climb Shaun to give – and thanked him for keeping us fed week after week. And by us, I mean the gays. His storyline was honestly iconic, starting out as the cocky alpha before being humbled and becoming a hilarious, happy and self-aware king who earned his place as one of the greats. So great, in fact, I felt bad I could only offer him a Simonscow Meeule to toast his success.
Like Simon, this spicy little number is an absolute delight. Packing the classic warmth and punch of a moscow mule, the addition of chilli adds just enough interest to keep us engaged (or enraged, from the heat).
Simonscow Meeule Serves: 4.
Ingredients ½ cup vodka ⅓ cup lime juice 2 cups ginger beer ice, to serve 1 long red chilli, sliced on the diagonal mint leaves, to serve
Method Combine the vodka, lime juice and ginger beer in a jug and stir to combine.
Add some ice to four tumblers, followed by some chilli and mint before filling each glass with the gingery liquor. Then down and repeat as required until you accept you’re now an icon. Just like Shonee.
Previously on Australian Survivor despite having the worst luck of the entire cast – including Jackie, who literally injured herself in the first challenge and was evacuated – Simon somehow managed to snatch himself a car and ugh, he was loving it. As was I, given he has become so hapless you can’t help but root for him. After being invited on his celebratory reward, Hayley outed George’s $60K win at the auction to Simon, Nina and a very loyal Matt. And she was ready to destroy George at the earliest opportunity. While he was back at camp dressing as Shonee to win back Liz. After Nina became the first Twine to win individual immunity, George set his sights on finally putting Simon out of his misery. That is until Hayley told him to split the vote, allow her to protect her little puppy for another round and send Shaun from the game.
On the way back to camp George was seething about Nina flipping on him, telling Hayley his reads are spot on and that he will get rid of her ASAP as revenge. While Hayley praised him for his skillful reads, knowing how wrong they were. She on the other hand was nervous about getting to the end without moves, so wanted to get a big scalp on her resume, though didn’t want to appear like she screwed everyone to get there. After George berated Nina for flipping, she continued to deny it before pulling Hayley aside to praise her for the move and assuring her that whatever she says won’t change his mind, so Hayley at least is all good. And well, if she goes next, it is another name Hayley can claim. In reality though, she wanted revenge against Hayley – who she thinks is actually in control – and as such, got to work turning George against Hayley. She pulled him aside and told him that Hayley told her about the $60K he won at the auction and that he best beware, leading to a rare moment of humility where the king apologised.
Oh and then he pulled Liz aside to let her know that Hayley is out for him, so everyone needs to turn on her. Which apparently is logic.
The next day George was still filled with rage against Hayley, though tried to pretend he wasn’t aware she was after him. Simon meanwhile proved himself to be quite aware, thanking Hayley for saving him while she just wanted him to realise she actually wants him around. George meanwhile was catching up with Liz to talk more shit about Hayley under the guise of being worried about Matt, while he admitted that Hayley took the real world into the game and as such, he needed to get rid of her ASAP.
The tribe joined JLP in the jungle for an epic challenge for an overnight spa reward where all they would have to do is build a tower using blocks while standing on a balance beam. TBH, it was a pretty straight forward challenge with Hayley, Simon and Liz all powering along until the girls dropped out of nowhere, followed by Simon, opening things up again. It went back and forth as the wind picked up and screwed each and every one of them until Queen Liz got her eye in and scored herself the reward. Jonathan obviously let her choose someone to come with, selecting George since they still had drama to work through before Liz chose girl power, dooming Hayley and giving Princess Nina some glam time.
The trio arrived at the spa, delighted to smash all the food in sight while Liz assured us the duo were only invited to reward to get her to the end and not because she likes them. As Nina questioned how she could pay her back for the kindness, Liz promised she had a few different ways. Talk turned to the game with the trio strong in the fact they want to get to the end together, with Hayley their first target. Oh and then George modelled his buff skirt and showed off his foreskin, and again, my basement is far more flooded than it should be. They then shaved off, getting their stories straight for Hayley and while I want to warn her, maybe she should have turned on George rather than Shonee last week. But whatever, I’m not bitter.
Back at camp meanwhile Simon and Hayley were nervous about the trio on reward and how it could impact their games. Hayley was obviously nervous for her own longevity, while Simon was concerned about getting George out. Annoying Hayley, given Gerry and Matt are clearly in his pocket and that is near impossible. Matt, bless him, asked Simon to explain why getting rid of George is best for them, with Simon clearly articulating that George is a threat to everyone and as such, they all at least need to try to open things up for themselves. While Matt agreed George is definitely more likely to win, he reiterated that now is just not the right time for him to make a move. That night Simon got creative in his pursuit of securing some power, emptying out half the rice so that everyone would be fatigued so he had a better shot at the immunity challenge. And while, sure, that makes sense, why, Simon? That could easily backfire on you.
Over at the spa, the trio woke up early the next morning to work through their stories ahead of blindsiding Hayley, should she not win immunity. While back at camp Simon was nourished for the challenge ahead while everyone else complained about being starving. Speaking of said challenge, the tribe reconnected by the beach where they would race to build a fire in a drum and then fill a hole riddled bucket with water from the ocean to raise it until it burns through a flag. Matt and Haley were first to get flames, before Hayley’s just as quickly went out. Simon then got to work on his fire as Matt got to work filling his drum, confident in the fire’s strength. As Simon made a break, Liz decided to abandon her own chances and opted to help Matt to raise his flag and while she well and truly helped, his fire was a bit of a bust as Simon closed the gap and snatched immunity just ahead of Matt. Which feels poetic as a newfound Simon stan, TBH.
Back at camp George was thrilled by Simon taking out immunity, ready to blindside Hayley. Given her passion for a split, George was ready to tell her to split the vote on Liz and Nina, when in actuality, the vote was against her. Liz meanwhile filled Gerry in on the plan before dropping by George and Hayley to pretend she was super annoyed by George and Nina for ruining her reward. As Nina scurried around pretending to look for an idol to sell the story, Hayley realised that they could in fact blindside George if she, Nina and Simon worked together. And well, can they pull this off? Because I love it. Hayley pretended to follow Nina idol hunting, floating the idea with her and just like that, Nina holds all the power to decide who goes home between the King and Queen. Oh and then the duo caught up, assuring each other they are in it to the end, while both dropped some secretive hints that they’re about to get rid of each other.
At tribal council Liz spoke about her spa being a transformative experience, allowing her to reset and refocus on the task at hand. She admitted she invited George to clear the air, while she simply wanted to block Nina from finding an idol. Nina meanwhile played her part dutifully, pointing out George was out to get her after the previous tribal council before George warned everyone that they need to be careful about making a move, because if they bomb, they are next on his hit list. Oh and he just wants people to own their moves, rather than hide in the shadows. Liz spoke about being comfortable with those left behind at camp, while Simon was just desperately trying to find friends, despite the fact people clearly don’t want to work with him. Ever.
Gerry meanwhile just wasn’t interested in hearing anyone’s plans as he is comfortable with his place in the game. While Simon was grateful to be immune, he doesn’t have power and as such, he needs people to be willing to work with him. Like Nina, who is clearly tonight’s target. George argued it is a balance of finding people that want to work with you, though also having friendships. Hayley pointed out that friendships and alliances are different, agreeing that she prioritises alliances while George was hoping to ride his alliance all the way to the end of the game. And as such, is wanting to target people that go rogue and punish them for deviating from his plan. Essentially. Hayley meanwhile planned to vote out someone she doesn’t want to see at the end, while Liz was focused on getting rid of a silent threat.
With that the tribe voted as Queen Hayley was blindsided from the game, holding her head high as she congratulated them on a killer move. Wishing and hoping that exile would not be around to save her again. As she arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and praised her for proving herself to be the most skillful winner to return to the game. In Australia, at least. Despite being the biggest target on her tribe, she managed to lay low and work her way into a position of power until she reunited with George. Which should have been something both tribes were nervous about, since when they did come back together they dominated and made it deep. Sadly though, George wasn’t interested in losing a second time and as such, had to dethrone the queen. So to dull the pain, I toasted her run with a delicious Hazeleynut Leake Bark.
There is nothing quite like a chocolate bark and while this one is rather simple, it is super tasty and oh so good. A little bit nutella-y, a little fruit and nut, it is the perfect gift to congratulate your bestie, or cheer you up when you need to eat your feelings.
Hazeleynut Leake Bark Serves: 2 queens.
Ingredients 200g milk chocolate ¼ cup dried cherries 1 ½ tsp kosher salt ¾ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Method Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until shiny and smooth. Fold through the dried cherries and salt and pour out on a lined baking sheet before sprinkling with the hazelnuts.
Transfer to the freezer to set for an hour before breaking into shards and packaging. Or devouring.
Previously on Australian Survivor George was playing 5D chess as he told Hayley about his secret $60K prize at the auction, not as a way to get her to take him to the end as she assumed but to act as a canary in the coal mine for her turning on him. After his attempts to work with the OG Heroes at the previous tribal council, though when he won immunity George had to pivot. Despite Shaun and Nina being on the bottom without any more idols to save them, George started to grow concerned about how close Shiz were and as such, used Hayley and Nina to blindside arguably the biggest threat to win, Shonee, instead. Breaking the heart of the nation and ruining the month of March for me.
Back at camp Simon marvelled at how great the blindside was as Liz and George immediately caught up, with him taking full credit for the move but assuring her he feels horrible about it. Though he did admit that this turn of events now makes it easier for the two of them to win, before he promised that the two of them will still be there to face off at the final challenge. He went back to Hayley and Matt to assure them that Liz is still 100% on their side, gloating to us about how well he played it all. The next morning however it was very clear how wrong he was, as George and the tribe joked around while Liz stared daggers at him. In her confessional she broke down in tears, heartbroken to have not only lost her bestie but to have been lied to by the entire tribe. And while she felt all alone at the bottom, she vowed to bide her time and take George down at the right time.
As he dressed up as Shonee and she pretended to laugh. And oh God, I am here for her Natalie Anderson revenge arc.
George caught up with Gerry and once again incorrectly assured him that nothing has changed with Liz, so now they just power ahead as a group of five rather than six. Which was also formerly seven. As such, he turned his attention back to Nina, Shaun and Simon, vowing to exacerbate tensions between them to keep them from pulling off any moves together. Speaking of Simon, he was next to chat with George, pointing out that he did what he was asked at the previous tribal council and as such, wanted to know if he would protect him at the next vote. With George assuring him that he, Hayley and Matt all see it that way, so he is good. Simon then pointed out that he has had very little agency throughout the season and as such, is unlikely to get many votes at the end before straight up floating the idea of them going to the final two together.
Sadly George then told us that when the vote changed to Shonee, the deal changed. So poor, sweet Simon is once again in danger.
The tribe reconnected with my love JLP for the reward challenge where they would use their feet to release some blocks, organise them and then stack them onto a three level tower and place a flag on top. For one of two cars and a little picnic. Matt whipped out in front from the very first moments while everyone else took a more slow and steady approach. Nina overtook him when it came to building as Simon and Liz closed the gap. Shaun meanwhile was a mess while Hayley was surprisingly almost just bad, making me feel like she is throwing it to avoid the car curse. Simon eventually took out the lead as he powered through the third level with Nina and Matt right behind. Until Nina dropped a couple, that is. In any event, it didn’t really matter as Simon continued to power through, placed his flag and guaranteed he would not be winning the game. After breaking down in tears over such an epic victory, everyone hugged him before Shaun begged to go with him on the reward. After selecting his ute, he opted to take not Shaun but Matt and Hayley. Before JLP chose to be kind and let him choose one more person. With him shockingly once again not opting for Shaun, but Nina.
The foursome disappeared to celebrate Simon’s win with their epic feast, joyfully eating everything in sight before everyone spoke about how shocked – and grateful – they were to Simon for picking them to go along. Hayley knew it was a good chance for some strat chat and given Simon is super eager to play, asked him if there was a specific reason why he chose the three of them to come. With him hilariously saying no, given he had no options anyway. He then told everyone that George told him to vote Shaun last night to save himself, while Nina opened up about her own deal with George and that they really can’t let him get anywhere near the final five. While Matt straight up told them he didn’t think he would ever turn on George. For some reason that made Hayley feel like it was the right time to get messy, telling everyone about George’s $60K win at the auction. And while she thinks it will rally everyone and help them take George down, I feel telling Matt will be the actual undoing. Tragically, hers.
The groups came back together for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to squat against a wall to try and balance an idol on a ledge with the last person holding up their idol taking out victory. Almost instantly Matt became the first to go and followed by George, as Jonathan speculated the challenge would be over within ten minutes. Liz was next to drop, followed by Gerry at two minutes before Hayley dropped out of nowhere as Simon shook hard. Hayley tried to keep Shaun focused before Simon dropped, leaving Nina to fight it out against the athlete to be the first Twine to win individual immunity. After ten minutes both of them were struggling badly before Shaun finally dropped, taking out the win for the Twine family. And ugh, I’m as proud as Sandra would be right now!
Back at camp the tribe quickly got to work scrambling, with George pulling Shaun aside to float the idea of getting rid of Simon. He laid it on thick, pointing out that once Simon is gone, the entire tribe opens up as everyone settles on the endgame and that he truly sees value in them working together. George then caught up with Hayley, Matt and Nina, locking them in on a solid vote for Simon. Hayley however was ready to make a(nother) move and as such, pushed hard to split the vote between Shaun and Simon so she could dictate who goes home. Liz joined them and they quickly locked in the split before George approached Shaun to let him know about it too. Though once again assured him that things will get better tomorrow. That is if he is still there, thanks to Hayley.
George returned to camp and looped Gerry in on the plan, praising it for being completely foolproof. The only potential complication to it however, was Nina, who he just isn’t sure he can trust. As such, he pulled her aside and begged her to hold firm on the plan and while she assured him she is good, he wasn’t sure. He then found Hayley and spoke to her about his fears and once again, she promised they were fine. Sadly for him, he didn’t factor in Simon and given he had spent the afternoon being ignored, he was also ready to make a move given something is clearly afoot. And since Matt has already said he will never turn on George, Simon suggested they get rid of him instead. He and Shaun locked it in before approaching Liz to see if she’d be interested in working with them. And when she was, they rallied Nina and Hayley to see if they’d be willing to take the shot.
While George was just confident he was making it to the end again, unaware that there are multiple plans on the table and without Shonee around as a shield, he is now the biggest threat. Which is wild, given a winner is there.
At tribal council George opened up how great Shonee looks, though was using her as a reminder that anything can happen at tribal council and you can never let your guard down. Otherwise you get taken out. Liz meanwhile spoke about how sad she is to be without Shonee, fairly throwing George under the bus for being the cause of her demise though admitted she had to move on, otherwise she will be cut. Shaun meanwhile was grateful to have been saved at the last couple of tribal councils, though continued to advocate for people in the majority to use him – swoon – to make a move. Before Simon spoke about how Shonee going simply transferred power from the Spice Girls, to George, Gerry and Matt, meaning he was still on the outs. And George is still in power. While George tried to laugh it off, Matt started to spook and questioned whether Simon was still the plan.
Talk turned to Nina’s victory, with her sweetly saying she will keep it as a surprise for her mum. Liz mentioned that everyone should be feeling nervous without immunity, while Hayley reminded them that they now need to turn their attention to who they face off against in the final three. With George saying if you haven’t done that yet, you may as well just go to the jury now. Simon theatrically got up to wander off – bless – before talking about George telling he has done nothing to justify the win, leading to yet another blow-up between them as Simon – again, bless – told him trying is sometimes enough. He then admitted to being nervous, unsure how to rebuild trust this late in the game. With that the tribe voted and the smile was promptly wiped off George’s face as Hayley switched her vote and sent Shaun out of the game. As George vowed to get revenge on Nina for flipping, as he praised his spot-on instincts to Hayley on their walk back to camp.
As Shaun arrived at the Jury Villa, I was inspired by Simon at the previous immunity challenge and straight up climbed him like a tree for a hug. Once again, Shaun played an exceptionally strong game, which is sometimes forgotten because he looks and is built the way he is. He has solid reads on the game, builds loyalty, is strategic and most importantly, kind and likeable, meaning people naturally gravitate to him. Add in the fact he is 9 foot and hot as hell – not to be mistaken for rotting in hell or rawting in heal, which Tom Sandavol should do – and well, you’ve got an all around strong player that will make it to the merge, but will never win given he is the target. Which more than earned him a big fat platter of regal Coronashaun Chicken Hampsondwiches.
Originated way back when at the last coronation of the British Empire, these sandwiches may not be everyone’s cup of tea (see what I did there?), but they are jam packed with flavour. Sweet and tangy, they are a decadent way to celebrate a solid run and toast the way that is king of our loins. And long may he reign (on me).
Coronashaun Chicken Hampsondwiches Serves: 2.
Ingredients ¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain 2 tbsp Joe Manngo Chutney 2 tsp curry powder 1 lemon, zested and juiced 2 tsp dijon mustard 1 tsp celery salt 1-2 cups roast chicken, shredded butter, for spreading 4 slices sourdough 1 cup baby spinach leaves
Method Combine the mayo, chutney, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, mustard and salt in a bowl and toss through the chicken until well coated. If you want a lighter flavour hit, go with more chicken.
To assemble, butter the bread and divide the mixture between two slices. If you went with more chicken, however, you can probably get more sandwiches out of it, so build to taste. Anyway, top the mixture with some baby spinach and close with the remaining bread. For full royal flair, cut into triangles. Otherwise just devour greedily.
Previously on Australian Survivor on the bottom with dwindling options, Shaun revealed his idol to Simon, anointing him his closest ally as they locked in a plan to blindside George. After Simon won immunity and climbed Shaun like we all want to, George was spooked by their growing closeness. The Vigilantes planned to split the vote on Nina and Shaun given Sam is not exactly the most strategic person. That is until Simon left the group and they agreed to load all their votes on Sam, to navigate around a Simon flip. Sadly for George, Hayley was also planning on making a move against him, telling Nina the real plan and advising her to use any idols they had on Sam given they won’t be doing a split. With Shaun’s idol in hand, Nina improved their chances further by jagging a second. Despite having three out of their four people immune, however, the Heroes and Simon botched the double idol play resulting in Sam’s exit.
The next day Shiz were busy hunting for crabs and doing best friend shit, with Shonee particularly thrilled to have all the power in the game on top of having a bestie. She spoke about how close they are before venturing to the ocean to plot who would be the smartest people to take to the end, agreeing Gerry is easiest to beat in challenges while Simon is a bit of a joke. The one person they know they can’t hang with, however, is George, given everyone will assume they rode his coattails. And they were happy to lose to each other, but not him. Oh and then Shonee wandered off and found yet another idol which honestly is just Queen shit. As is her plan to use it to have a fun little blindside.
Shaun and Nina however were feeling far less zen, bonding over how screwed they kind of are after their spectacular blunder with the idols. They agreed the smartest thing to do was keep quiet about Hayley leaking information, given it means they could still use her in the future. Simon meanwhile was explaining why he moved to Hayley – unaware she also tried to flip – while George went person to person talking about how stupid Simon is. Seeing this, Nina decided it was in her best interests to throw him under the bus, approaching the Vigilantes to work with them to get rid of Simon the instant he doesn’t have immunity. Oh and then she and Shaun decided they probably still need an idol to seal the deal, despite not having the best track records.
With the duo off hunting for idols, the Vigilantes discussed who would be the smartest to take out next and while Hayley and Matt felt Simon was easy – given that is what George wants – Shonee knew it was a bad idea, given Shaun and Nina have more friends on the jury and Simon’s gameplay has been far from winning. The Spice Girls and Hayley caught up with Shonee calmly trying to explain why they need to put Simon on the backburner, particularly since the immunities get less physical as they go along, meaning he will get less and less threatening.
Shonee and Liz then sneakily ate rice by the shelter as everyone else was away, unaware that George was lurking behind and heard them refer to themselves as Shiz rather than the Spice Girls. And well, let’s just say, he was pissed. Later that night, George woke up and paced the shoreline as he simmered in rage, before Gerry woke up and joined him. George unleashed about how hurt he was and floated making a move sooner rather than later. And oh God, please don’t break up yet, I can’t handle it!
The tribe met Jonathan for the latest epic immunity challenge which would play out across three stages. The first would see them race to land three sandbags on a disc with the first six to finish moving on. In the next stage they would have to toss sandbags to knock rungs off a ladder and then use them to build a bridge with the first three to finish going to the final round where they would be tethered to a spinning platform and have to stack 10 discs into a tower with the first to finish winning. Simon was the first to move on to the second round, followed by Gerry, Matt, Liz, Shaun and Hayley. In the second round Shaun pulled out in front as Hayley and Simon nipped at his heels, while George whispered to Nina that he just doesn’t want either of the boys to win. Sadly for him however, they made it to the final round with Hayley. Simon got out to an early lead, while Shaun continued to botch the balancing as Hayley quietly worked away. Until she dropped, giving Simon plenty of breathing room to place the final disc and secure immunity. Again.
Back at camp everyone gave Simon some half hearted congratulations before he, Nina and Shaun went for a walk to the well, leaving the Vigilantes to lock in the split vote between Nina and Shaun. The minority meanwhile focused on hunting for an idol as Simon went back to chat with the Vigilantes, with him suggesting they work together for this vote and that he will just lock in who he will vote for when the time comes. Obviously George hated that idea, given he wants control, so he agreed to work with Simon once again and not come for him until the OG Heroes are gone. But only if he votes for Shaun.
George returned to the shelter to fill Shiz in on the plan and while they were happy with things, they went into the ocean to wash off together and talk about how happy they would be if the other person won. Sadly George watched on, growing more and more jealous of their closeness until he suggested to us that Shonee is so dangerous to his game that maybe now is the time to take the shot. And ugh, I fucking hate it here.
As the tribe gathered to eat dinner, the girls fed each other as George looked on angrily. He pulled Gerry aside to float the idea of getting rid of Shonee and while he was keen on it, he cautioned that now is not the right time and told George they just need to hold firm for a few more rounds. As such, George pulled Hayley aside to get a different answer with her obviously thrilled by the idea, wanting to play a fun, messy game. Which obviously filled George with joy as he suggested to her that while Liz will be angry, he will happily beg for her forgiveness tomorrow. He went back to Gerry to fill him in, who in turn told Matt, while George went to rope in Nina. Horrifically, it all fell into place very quickly as everyone was ready to get rid of Shonee ASAP, given she is such a massive threat. While she spoke to Matt about feeling nervous, given she has been the one to blow up 3-3 votes from the minority in the past.
At tribal council – where I was ready to vom and cry all at once – Simon spoke about how immunity is the only thing that saved him tonight, meaning either Shaun or Nina are going home. Nina played coy about hearing word of people jumping ship as Shaun whispered to her asking what George had wanted to talk to her about back at camp, with her just assuring him they are fine. Liz spoke about the alliance being solid and steamrolling to the end, while Shonee was equally as confident as George spoke about sticking to a deal that was cut post immunity challenge. Matt, Simon and Shonee all mentioned they heard about the deals, while Matt and Shonee agreed George’s deals are always solid. George spoke about how they need to make moves when they have numbers, while Shonee whispered to Liz whether they should be worried. With Liz assuring her they are fine.
Talk turned to timing, with Shonee reiterating that it is too early to make a move and doing it too soon often screws you out of alliances and stops you from making it to the end. Nina joked about them definitely being at the right point of the season to make a move, so to join her, while George spoke about how making moves at the right time is simply when you have the numbers. Nina whispered to Shaun that it won’t be him going home tonight, making him confident enough to speak up and tell the majority that if they don’t know how they are proceeding beyond the six, then they are likely not making it to the end. With that the tribe voted and despite our queen feeling uncomfortable about a 3-3 vote, she held firm onto her idol and was tragically blindsided from the game. As Liz looked on enraged – just like me! – while George thought winking at the jury would make them like him, rather than hate him.
While Shonee was her usual positive, delightful self as she arrived at the Jury Villa, I was an absolute mess. I was screaming, I was shaking, I had had it. Officially. I went full Laura Dern in Enlightened on poor Sam and Flick – coincidentally created by King Mike White – until Shonee arrived and pulled me, her number one cherub in for a hug. After a day or so – just ahead of the next boot, TBH – I stopped crying long enough to congratulate her on such a strong game. Despite this being her lowest placement, she absolutely dominated the game and proved she is far and away the best player of the franchise. She then got me talking about pilates, which is now my personality – I do it with David Wenham, which is a true sentence – giving me enough strength to toast her third game with a delicious Lemonee Buttell Cake. In preparation for her fourth, winning game.
Like Shonee, this cake is near perfection. Sweet, a little zesty and a hint of salt, working together to give you a joyous (viewing) experience. Oh and the lemon butter creates a glorious, gooey centre which is just perfection.
Ingredients 300g raw caster sugar 2 lemons, zested and juiced ¾ tsp sea salt 3 eggs, at room temperature, 2 separated 227g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 330g flour 2 ½ tsp baking powder 250g cream cheese, softened 225g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
Method Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 22cm round pan with baking paper, leaving an overhang to help remove the cake later.
In a large bowl, combine the caster sugar with half the zest and ½ tsp of salt using your fingers until it is a fragrant, yellow mixture. Add the whole egg, half the lemon juice and cooled butter and whisk to combine before folding through the flour and baking powder until just combined. Transfer to the lined pan, smoothing out the top.
Using a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until it forms a smooth, soft batter. Add the egg yolks, remaining salt, lemon zest and juice, and beat until smooth. Pour on top of the cake and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until the edges have browned and the centre is puffed. If it is still a bit under, cover with foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes to set completely.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes or so before removing to cool completely. Then simply sprinkle it with some icing sugar and devour it in honour of our queen.
Previously on Australian Survivor the OG Heroes were well and truly screwed as the Vigilantes fed us with their dominance. After spending most of the game as the producers punching bag, Simon was just too giddy to be part of something, while Matt exploded onto the screens as he relished the drama. Echoing her run on All Stars, Shonee was out for revenge against Flick after her protecting her pre-merge was repaid by her trying to spearhead her blindside. Knowing she was screwed, Flick went idol hunting and despite looking all around the spot where it was, didn’t find it. After Liz won immunity, Shaun considered playing his idol for his closest ally, though ultimately held firm as Flick was sent out of the game to become the Queen of the Jury.
The next day we caught straight up with Jonathan for a reward challenge where they would be split up into pairs and forced to stand and hold onto a large pole with the last duo standing taking out the win. For an epic KFC feast in a lush tropical location, so yeah, I am hungry, jealous and my basement is a little flooded. Simon and Nina, Shaun and Sam, Hayley and George, Gerry and Shonee and Liz and Matt took their places with Hayley coaching George on how to handle the pain, given he is a huge KFC stan. Sam was busy wiping sweat off Shaun’s feet as Simon became the first person to drop after just six minutes. Shaun and Sam then followed them out leaving only Vigilantes fighting for the food. After fifteen minutes the duos dropped down to the narrower footholds leading to Shaun whispering to Simon about how the girls will win every upcoming endurance challenge. After twenty minutes Liz dropped, eliminating her and Matt leaving Hayley and George to fight Shonee and Gerry. But given JLP moved them to the narrowest footholds, it wasn’t much of a fight as Gerry dropped handing Hayley and George the reward.
They were then given the chance to select one other pair to go with them, rightfully picking the second place icons to smash chicken. Leaving Liz, Matt and Simon with the minority, who would know doubt use the time to work on a way out of their mess. Well, Shaun or Nina may give it a try, at least. The foursome arrived at a lush picnic area overlooking the ocean, with Shonee thrilled to smash food with cutlery while George was just proud to take out a win. The foursome spoke about the fact their alliance was in it for the long haul, though if they need to get rid of Simon along the way, they aren’t overly concerned, given he is definitely the most likely to flip. They then ventured to a hidden swimming hole, while Shonee reminded us that her bestie was back at camp and as such, she felt like she could relax knowing she was all over it.
Back at camp however she was not all over it, instead napping in the hammock as Shaun and Nina caught up with Simon by the fire to tell him that should the Vigilantes split the vote 4-3, their vote would be on George. And if he flipped to join them, it would be the biggest move of the game. Simon told them that they should probably go hunt for an idol to help with this little plan, which led to Shaun immediately spilling the beans about his. And while he danced around the when of his find, the Heroes trio were thrilled as Simon told them he had a lot to think about and if he kept his word, he hoped they would repay him at final tribal council. Which hardly feels hopeful for their long term survival, no?
The victors returned to camp that night as Simon napped in the hammock. Shaun caught up with him, and admitted how long he has been holding on to his idol. He then lay it on even thicker, telling Simon that he is now the one he is closest to – just like Simon always dreamt – and locking in the plan for them to share the title of King Slayer. Begging the question, how are the producers going to troll Simon this episode?
The next day Simon was hanging with his allies, as George made a lot of pointed statements designed to keep him in their group. He spoke to us about how great everyone is in the alliance and that they bring different things to the table; Gerry is wise, Matt is friendly and the Spice Girls have control. While he knows he and Hayley are only aligned for a time, given they are both each other’s biggest threat. He pulled her aside to loop her in on the fact that he won $60K at the auction, meaning both of them have an uphill battle to get the money from the jury. And while she thought it was done to make her think taking George to the end was a good idea, he actually did it to know at what point she is turning on him when people start talking about his money.
Hayley and Sam were next to catch up, with Sam assuring her he is always open to chatting and his door is not closed to working with her. While Hayley agreed she is willing to do whatever it takes, she knows there are still way too many people in the game that would beat her and as such, she needs to start positioning herself ASAP. As she and Sam rightly identified George as the one to beat, Hayley suggested to us that should one of the OG Heroes win immunity, it may just be time to make that move.
Speaking of immunity, the tribe rejoined Jonathan in a volcanic field where they would each have to hold on to a rope balancing a frame on which they will stack blocks to spell out Heroes Vs Villains. Which means we know that Sam is very unlikely to be immune. Right on cue, Sam dropped instantly, followed by Matt, Shonee and Nina as Simon, Gerry and Hayley got their eye in. Simon then dropped as Shaun got the hang of things before he dropped, putting Liz in front. She then got too confident and dropped a couple. Everyone went back and forth until Shaun rebuilt and pulled ahead, before he dropped again and gave Simon the lead. And when it was nearly all over, he dropped a couple on his last run allowing Shaun to close the gap. Somehow he managed to correct without dropping the entire stack as Shaun dropped all his blocks, giving Simon enough time to take out the win. And put everyone out of their misery.
Sadly for him though, George noticed that he immediately celebrated with the OG Heroes giving the King all the ammunition he needed to reignite their feud. Back at camp though, Simon was feeling unstoppable, completely unaware that George was ready to destroy him. The Vigilantes caught up to lock in their target, with Simon suggesting Sam is not a threat and as such, they need to split the vote between Nina and Shaun. Simon asked to be one of the people voting for the main target in Nina, which confirmed to George that he would be flipping on him. He then pulled Hayley and the Spice Girls aside to change the vote to Sam instead, with the group locking in the plan, as Liz marvelled at how Simon could do that to them. Again.
Hayley meanwhile wasn’t thrilled by how the season was going, feeling like now should be the time for her to pop her head out and make a move. As such, she pulled Nina aside to paint George as the biggest threat that has corrected his game since last time and will beat them all. Nina asked if she was in danger tonight, with Hayley telling her that she is fine and if she had an idol, she wouldn’t need to play it. Nina casually asked who should be playing one then, with Hayley straight up telling her that Sam is the target. And as there is no split, George would then go home, if that was their plan.
Nina then took the information straight back to Sam and while he was open to working with Hayley the day before, his gut told him he couldn’t trust her and as such, he didn’t want to believe it. The duo then approached Shaun and while Nina felt like they should trust in Hayley, he too was unsure whether they could risk it. While vowing to avoid Simon to lessen suspicion that they were working together. Instead the trio got to work hunting for another idol to improve their chances, as Sam missed it just like Flick the week before. Thankfully though, Nina wasn’t so blind and instead found the idol meaning the Heroes minority were just that little bit more confident heading into tribal council. The trio caught up to speculate which one was the actual target and how to use their idols successfully. While by the fire, George and Matt laughed about how powerful they were, as Hayley worried that leaking the information would backfire on her.
At tribal council Shonee spoke about how nerve wracking it can be to take time away from camp, though was confident the allies left behind held it together. Nina awkwardly danced around whether any conversations paid off while George reiterated that everyone aligned in the majority did so to further their games and would be stupid to mess it up. Which Gerry agreed with. George took it one step further, reiterating he would also not be voting for anyone that flipped in the final tribal council, should he land on the jury. Hayley spoke about finding the balance of keeping your game secret from the players while impressing the jury, while Simon spoke about needing to be careful about how you send people out of the game, not wanting to piss them off in the process.
Nina suggested it was a good time to make a move with the minority to pad their resumes, with George telling them it is too late to start playing on Day 33. Shaun agreed you really should have at least one move under your belt by now, while Nina suggested a big enough move would always be impressive. Talk turned to the idols, with Hayley playing it coy, while Sam spoke about how difficult it is to correctly identify who the target is. Even though they were explicitly told. George spoke about how good he is at reading people, filling everyone with terror that he was on to their plans. Sam spoke about how confident the majority is, though alluded to the fact not everyone is on the same page. You know, based on body language. Which piqued George’s interest and made Hayley absolutely terrified, while Shonee casually reminded them they have seven people. And left it at that. While George was just hopeful nobody would be surprised by the outcome. Tonight, at least.
With that the tribe voted as Sam told Nina to play her idol for herself, which she promptly did, followed by Shaun playing his idol for himself, as Sam begged him to play for him. The first four votes piled up on George – with Shonee hilariously pointing out which handwriting was Simon’s – before the rest of the votes piled up on Sam, sending him out of the game and costing Shaun a carton of beer. Meaning that this time it was the OG Heroes that trolled Simon, not the producers.
While I have been a little shady about Sam’s game, it is really hard to find him anything but lovable and charming. I pulled him in for a hug as he arrived at the Jury Villa and thanked him for learning from his first experience in the game and playing with a little bit of strategy. Despite the fact the OG Heroes were expertly outplayed by George and Shonee, it doesn’t take away from the fact he only said mateship once (that triggered me enough to remember, at least) which is more than enough to earn him a big vat of celebratory (for the growth, not the boot) Sam Gingerwebb Ice Cream.
For some reason as a child I absolutely despised gingerbread, however as my palate developed and I became far more sensible. This little number is the perfect use of the flavouring, giving you a spiced ice cream that somehow warms your soul.
Sam Gingerwebb Ice Cream Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1 ½ cups milk 1 ½ cups cream 6 egg yolks 125g muscovado sugar ¼ cup golden syrup 1 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup gingerbread biscuits, roughly chopped into chunks
Method Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until it just starts to bubble around the edge. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, golden syrup, spices and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Still whisking, slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the spicy egg mixture until combined. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium low heat for about five minutes, or until the custard is just starting to thicken. Transfer to a clean bowl and place over ice, stirring occasionally until it has cooled completely.
Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn per its instructions, adding the crushed gingerbread at the first sign of it starting to freeze. Once done, transfer to an airtight container and pop into the freezer to fully set. Then, devour.