Previously on Survivor 18 castaways were once again marooned in the islands of Fiji for a season of shenanigans and scheming. And while Jesse and Karla kinda dominated everyone, they were eliminated back-to-back resulting in a wild final tribal council where Cassidy was robbed and the jury awarded Gabler victory. Before he promptly gave all the money away to charity, which was lovely, but also kinda ended the season in an odd way. So basically, it happened and we were there.
But that is then and this is now, and I am obviously going to roll right past things and embrace more Probst time. We kicked things off with Carolyn learning a little bit about how to deliver confessionals and while it was all about herself, she seemed a little confused about what she was meant to do, so I love her already. We then cut to three boats speeding to a shore where we learnt young Carson has been studying for a shot to play for years and years. A lady named Claire meanwhile was hoping to translate being a venture capitalist into winning the money, while Jaime will use her yogi skills to build bonds while Yam Yam just can’t wait to shit in the ocean. Oh and Frannie loves tests, while Bruce is exploding with excitement.
But more importantly, Yam Yam is pumped for aqua dumps.
The boats arrived on a beach to meet Jeff where Jaime immediately fell in the ocean, while Matt and Frannie were shocked by how real it felt. And well, everyone was just a tad bit excited. Jeff gave us some flashbacks to past maroonings and victories, reminding them they have to both build a society and be strategic enough to make it to the end and convince people to give them money. Yam Yam was first to speak officially, saying he wants castaways to bring it and give it their all and that he is just pumped to hold their puke bags as they’re family now. Frannie agreed that they’re bonded for life while Matthew was just anxious, rather than fearful. Which is relatable AF.
After introducing Ratu in orange, Soka in green and Tika in purple, Jeff explained that their first reward challenge would see pairs from each tribe race through obstacles to collect puzzle pieces, then two people will solve said puzzle before three people would each release a ring from a pole – swoon – with the first tribe to finish getting supplies and second place getting to pick whether to do the sweat or swoon challenge back at camp, while last place would have to suffer through the other. On the second obstacle, Bruce smacked his head on a piece of wood and started flowing blood as Probst told him to let him know if they needed to pause the challenge. The other tribes continued to power ahead, as Tika pulled up the rear while Bruce was completely covered in blood.
Everyone was working on their puzzles before Bruce fell to the ground as Probst finally called pause on the challenge as medical checked his vital signs. Everyone cheered as he sat up and gave them a sign and ugh, it was beautiful to see. He then called the challenge back on as the tribes powered through the puzzles, with Tika somehow first to finish theirs. The other tribes then cheated on the puzzle as Carolyn struggled to release the rings, leaving Soka to power through the rings and win their supplies. Before Ratu burnt through theirs, handing them the choice of the additional challenges while Carolyn was just exhausted and the tribe was left with the dregs. After handing out maps to their camps, Probst ominously advised Bruce that the medical team would continue to monitor him over the next day.
We followed Soka to their new camp, where the tribe were still super excited about literally everything. Matt meanwhile admitted to us that he was a little bit nervous to hit the beach, since he is fresh out of a break up and wanting to find himself. They went into the ocean to wash off the mud and make introductions with everyone vibing and having a nice time and ugh, I love it. Despite the fact Danny wished there was an asshole that would make it easier to get rid of people when the time comes. Josh, Frannie and Claire went for a walk looking for firewood as they came across a locked birdcage with an idol – or at least, something – in the middle of the jungle. They pulled everyone aside to show them and well, just the sight of it seemed to make everyone a little nervous.
At Ratu the tribe read the challenges in front of them where they would either have to work collecting 100s of coconuts at opposite ends of the beach in under 4 hours, while the savvy challenge would be to solve a puzzle in 15 minutes. Matthew pointed out the other tribe were kind of down and out already with Bruce’s injury, so sweetly suggested the brawn challenge makes the most sense for them. Matthew and Brandon got to work on the coconut challenge as the other four started sorting their camp. We bounced over to Tika where Helen was delighted to learn they jagged the puzzle with Carolyn and Yam Yam quickly dapping out. As such Carson and Helen stood up to the puzzle and straight up solved it within a matter of minutes, as the rest of the tribe wandered around and discovered their cage. And while Yam Yam knew it was an advantage, he desperately wanted it to be candy. While Carolyn wanted to break in without a key.
And I ship both of them already.
Back at Ratu Brandon and Matthew were straight up exhausted by the challenge, though continued to power ahead in the hope of getting their supplies. The rest of their tribe came across the cage, which they quickly agreed to ignore and do as much work as possible for the duo working hard for their supplies. And while they were cramping up and ready to quit, the duo managed to finalise it with a matter of minutes remaining. And well, they were just overjoyed.
Carson and Yam Yam were busy trying to make fire back at Tika, with Yam Yam proving to have done more practice as he ignited a roaring blaze. He opened up to us about how thrilled he is to be from Puerto Rico, given he is used to living in humidity, meaning he is ready to live on an island for a month. Everyone then got to know each other with the biggest takeaway being that Carson gained 30 pounds to come out here and oh god, was he a child?
Over at Soka it was Heidi that quickly got a fire going, surprising and delighting her tribe with her boss behaviour and ugh, I love her and look forward to her dominating. Ideally with Yam Yam and Carolyn. Speaking of love, Matt and Frannie were weaving palm fronds and being all cute and flirty, and ugh, I ship these nerds so hard.
That night as Tika was getting ready for bed they noticed that Bruce was very lethargic and quiet, prompting them to call medical back to camp. He told them that he had developed a massive headache, which had gotten progressively worse over the course of the afternoon, which was unfortunately a sign of concussion. Which sadly pulled him from the game as Jeff arrived at camp to talk him through the process. He was crying, the tribe were crying, I was crying and ugh, I need him to get another shot ASAP. While Yam Yam assured him that they will bring it home for him.
After getting discharged from hospital, I pulled him in for a massive but gentle hug, assuring him that we will see him get a real shot at the game into the future (which has been confirmed by Jeff even). Given I didn’t have much to go on from his 10 minutes pre-injury, I focused my attention on running through strategies for his return, so if he wins, I can take credit. That or my Briuce Sperreault Cheesecake, that is.
A little bit cheesecake, a little bit bread and butter pudding, this spicy little number is an absolute delight. The smooth cream cheese and rich brioche work perfectly to create a decadent dessert which is surprisingly easy.
Briuce Sperreault Cheesecake Serves: 8.
Ingredients 250g cream cheese, at room temperature 250g sour cream ⅓ cup raw caster sugar 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste 3 eggs ½ cup milk ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped 100g chocolate, roughly chopped 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon 400g brioche, cut into thick slices 100g butter, at room temperature
Method Preheat the oven to 160C and line a square baking dish with some baking paper.
Using a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sour cream with half the sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, followed by the eggs, one at a time and then the milk, in a slow steady stream, waiting until everything has come together before making the next addition.
Combine the hazelnuts, chocolate, cinnamon and remaining caster sugar in a small bowl. Butter the brioche and gently sprinkle with a little bit of the nut mixture before sandwiching together and repeating the process until you have a series of the sweetest sandwiches around. Then cut the sandwiches into triangles.
Arrange the sandwiches cut-side down in the lined dish before pouring over the cheesecake mixture. Cover with cling and leave to soak for about 15 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until the cheesecake is set and golden. Remove to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and serving, ideally with some vanilla ice cream, before devouring.
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.
Previously on Australian Survivor as the original Spice Girls decreed, two became one, as the Heroes and Villains came together to form a single tribe. With Simon once again all alone on the bottom. Flick was thrilled to reunite with her bestie Shaun and while she initially wanted to protect the Spice Girls as payback, she ultimately decided to stick Heroes strong after Shaun reminded them they have more than enough numbers to take over. Sadly for them, George roped in Hayley and his former nemesis Simon to take control. After David sketched out Liz by the well, she decided to play her idol for Shonee, though didn’t need to, as David himself was booted from the game. As Shonee whispered to George that Flick is finished and ugh, I have goosebumps.
Back at camp Matt pulled everyone together to admit that he was the one that flipped, with Hayley quickly jumping in to say that she also made the jump to make sure they both got the credit come final tribal council. As Sam and Co. tried to wrap their heads around things, they kept taking little shots at the OG Heroes with George and Shonee iconically telling him to stop undermining their decision to play for themselves. The new power alliance then opted for a trip to the hammock – since the Heroes wouldn’t let them use it the day before – where Matt giggled about being an evil vixen, while Simon was happy to finally have friends again and ugh, is nature healing? Because when Matt suggested they call their alliance the Vigilantes to steal Nina’s suggested tribe name, I almost flooded my basement.
While the four Heroes stood quietly in the dark and sulked.
The next day Shiz were talking about their disappointment that Flick broke the girl code, likening it to a messy breakup. As such, they pulled Flick aside to find out what they did to upset her and while she explained she was just trying to save herself the night before, it obviously meant nothing to them. Though while they accepted the apology, Shonee was still out for blood and if All Stars is anything to go by, Flick is in trouble. Sam, Nina and Shaun meanwhile were busy trying to figure out how to get out of the mess of their own making and while Sam suggested they need an idol, Shaun smartly mentioned they need another way. As such, they decided that Simon was their best option to flip again, so they put Flick to work on winning him back. Or somehow win four immunities for the upcoming tribal.
George, Simon and Matt caught up by the well, with George thanking Simon for putting their issues aside and working together and well, it was wholesome and I love it. Particularly since Simon finally feels like he has friends. Hang on, maybe I don’t love Simon because he still wants to work with Shaun. Given he has lingering uncertainty about whether he can trust the Spice Girls, he caught up with Sam and Flick to talk about how shocked he is to have an alliance while Sam tried to act like he was happy for him to have some power. With Simon reiterating he is ready to make moves at the right time and aligning with George proves he can bury the hatchet, which kinda gives them some hope without saying anything. And again, do I now love Simon?
The tribe joined Jonathan on a beach for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a barrel containing 40% of their body weight with the last one standing winning. After ten minutes, Shonee asked Shaun how much weight would be in his barrel before George dropped out of nowhere. While Shonee started to struggle, she managed to hold on another 25 minutes before she dropped out. As Shonee and George kikied about getting rid of Flick, the rest of the tribe clocked up an hour before JLP told everyone they had to drop down to only one hand, costing Nina, Gerry and Shaun straight away. Sam was next to go, followed by Flick as Shonee praised her allies for outlasting the Heroes. And while Liz started to celebrate, Shonee told her to cut out the funny business and focus. Matt and Simon then dropped out, leaving Hayley and Liz to face off with Hayley dropping out of nowhere after another 20 minutes, handing the Olympian immunity.
With Flick quickly jumping in to congratulate the girls on being so strong. Which will not save you babes, I’m sorry.
Back at camp George obviously called his allies aside for a pow wow as the 4 Heroes skulked off to the well to figure out if there was anything they could do. George assured the Vigilantes that the only way they don’t make it to the top seven, is if something goes catastrophically wrong. They locked Flick as the target and while Simon suggested they need to split the vote in case of an idol. Everyone explained that they don’t have the numbers to make it work, with George going on step further and pointing out he or Shonee would be the target anyway so let them take the risk. He assured us that while he still doesn’t trust Simon 100%, he will be watching him like a hawk. The Heroes went person to person trying to figure out who the target is in the hope of saving themselves with an idol, though the Vigilantes would not budge. As such, they decided to load their votes on Matt to spook him a little and not upset anyone in power, while Shaun awkwardly danced around having an idol in the hope of them finding a second one to save the group. Given he is holding on to his, to play at the right time to save himself.
While Flick spent hours hunting around the hidden idol, she gave up and decided she needed to at least talk to Simon about making a move on George. She reminded him that the Spice Girls are a solid four, meaning nine is the latest they can make a move to beat them. Shonee meanwhile was watching on, talking to Hayley about how Flick could easily convince Simon to make a move just for the sake of it. Thankfully though, he checked in with Hayley who was super reassuring, reminding him that they want to get rid of more of the alphas first before trying anything and as such, it makes sense to hold firm for now. Hayley was then pulled aside by Shaun, who tried to guilt her into sharing who the target was, with her expertly not budging or even offering assurance. Leading him to speculate to us whether it was a smart decision to actually play the idol for himself or Flick, given she is his number one.
At tribal council Sam spoke about how shocked he was after the previous tribal council, though also knew he couldn’t really do much, before throwing out that nothing that happened at the last tribal council changed anyone’s place for those that flipped. Which drew an audible gasp from George, who pointed out that they are now on the winning ship and that ship has set sail, whether the OG Heroes like it or not. Shaun tried to point out that he is just in a bit of a trough, but the game is all about peaks and valleys with Simon agreeing that his game has only been ups and downs, though he is glad to be working with George and being part of the conversation now.
George pointed out that you should never close the door on any options, or at least, that is how the Vigilantes roll. Which annoyed the hell out of Nina that the tribe name she suggested was co-opted for the alliance working against her. Flick tried to pretend she was swap screwed with George whispering about the fact she actually had a numbers advantage, so that’s a lie. While she doubled down on the fact she was upsetting someone either way she went, which Shonee called bullshit on given she was the one leading the charge against Shiz, which makes it all the more hurtful. Particularly since Liz was willing to use her idol to save her. This clearly got Shaun thinking about doing the same as Matt pointed out he was in the same situation as Flick at the previous tribal, though clearly made the right choice. And well, now one of Flick, Nina, Sam and Shaun are drowning and they don’t have a lifesaver on their side. Which feels extra savage and I love that for him.
With that the tribe voted before Shaun proved himself a little more selfish than the Villains – or well, Liz – as he held on to his idol as his closest ally Flick was shown the door. Though hey, at least she has now been the final juror and the Queen of the Jury in her Survivor career. As she arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her that while I am firmly team Shiz, I was rooting for her and love how effortlessly she plays the social game. Plus, she is sensible and not bitter, meaning we should be lucky enough to have a fair jury on our hands with no toxicity with her as the Queen. Leaving me nothing more to do than toast her success and her new reign with a piping hot bowl of Flick Paellmateer.
While I forgo any of the seafood additions which are commonly placed in a paella, this is still a smokey, salty delight. The rich, spiced tomato bathes the al dente rice, working with the sweet meats to warm your soul and wash away any disappointment.
Flick Paellmateer Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 carrot, cut into rings ½ a bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks roughly chopped separately 500g chicken thighs, diced 250g chorizo, cut into rings 2 tsp hot smoked paprika 1 capsicum, sliced 300g paella rice 2 tbsp tomato purée 3 cups chicken stock kosher salt and pepper, to taste 100g peas 1 lemon, for squeezin’ at the end
Method Heat the oil in a dutch oven – or paella pan, ideally – over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the parsley stalks, chicken, chorizo and paprika. Cook for another five minutes or so before stirring in the capsicum and cooking until soft and sweet. About five minutes.
Add the rice and tomato purée to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes, until the rice is coated in all the juices. Stir in the stock and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 15 minutes. Once reduced, stir in the peas and cook for a further few minutes, or until cooked through.
Adjust seasoning and serve with a good sprinkle of parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice, before devouring.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race instead of delivering a maxi challenge, Ru gave the dolls a reprieve in the form of a lip sync lalaparuza. Which obviously is only a reprieve for the dolls that win their first round. Everyone else, however, had a fight. Despite some of the queens selecting opponents they felt would be the easiest to beat, sweet Anetra focused on battles. Though after watching her lip sync with Sasha in the first round – which should have been a double shantay – who can blame her confidence. Ultimately it came down to three girls where it came down to Anetra to choose one sister to save, sending sweet Spice to safety and fellow lip sync assassin Jax out of the competition.
The next day the dolls were thrilled to have survived the lip sync lalaparuza, with Marcia particularly happy to be safe on the first round. And to not have to see Jax lip sync a sixth time. Anetra meanwhile was thrilled to have faced off against the Simone Biles of drag and come out on top. While Spice wanted to clarify what she said about entering her top era last week, explaining that she actually meant this week while Mistress joked she was thinking about entering her congeniality era.
Before Malaysia could malfunction at that suggestion, Ru dropped by to challenge the dolls to a little mini challenge where they would have to get into quick drag and photobomb some iconic moments from throughout the series to celebrate the 200th episode. Salina slayed Laganja’s entry, Anetra bombed into Willow Pill’s bubble bath, Malaysia joined Vanjie’s exit, Spice hung with Gaga, Luxx grunted through knocking off Ornacia and Vivacious in their opening shoot, Mistress caught Morgan’s ping pong balls, Marcia creeped on Jinkx’s crowning, Sasha creeped on Ru at the Despys and Loosey hung onto Serena in the tank photoshoot mini challenge. Obviously though it was Anetra that took out the win, given it was iconic and hilarious.
Given the episodes are still only an hour we couldn’t dwell on things, so Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge they’d be throwing a 15th anniversary ball. And since that is traditionally marked by crystal, welcome to the Crystal ball! First category the dolls would have to update Ru’s iconic opening racing suit for Start Your Engines. Next up, the dolls would pull inspiration from their favourite balls of yore in the My Favourite Ball runway and close out the show in the Crystalised Eleganza look which they make from scratch. Emphasis on scratch, given it will be fully crystalised. Oh and Loosey is confident, given she makes all her own costumes, so she wants her sisters to know she is the one to beat despite Sasha being right there.
And frequently thinking she should be ranked higher than the judges place her.
After Ru departed, the dolls went nuts grabbing supplies, literally breaking glassware in the process. Mother Sasha was confident in her ability to know fashion and herself, rather than being worried about her lack of sewing skills, while Anetra planned to crystalise Kennedy’s dead chicken. Ru returned with Carson to kiki with the girls, with Spice getting read for giving too much of the same thing and asked to mix it up a little. Mistress meanwhile was sassy as she showed off her big gown moment and while other dolls were going that route too, hers would stand out for being nice. Salina was giving too much and was reminded to edit and sell it on the runway, rather than getting lost in her head. She then opened up about how difficult she has found the emotions of the competition.
Ru and Carson disappeared leading to the girls reading Loosey for being heartbroken over losing the acting challenge. And while Mistress was trying to have a bit of fun, Loosey worried she was trying to get in her head.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls talking about their siblings, with Salina opening about her queer brother before Anetra spoke about not having talked to her mum after she kicked her out for allegedly making everyone in her uncomfortable for being herself. And ugh, her mum is a dumb bitch and I hate her for doing that to Anetra and making her lose her siblings that she so dearly loves. The positive though is that she reconnected with her birth father who has become her biggest supporter and even bought her her first sewing machine. Talk turned to iconic moments of the past, with the dolls throwing out Shangela and Mimi’s fight, anything Alyssa has ever done, Bianca’s Judge Judy, opulence and Ongina coming out as HIV positive. While Spice was grateful Rebecca Glasscock wore jeans on entry, so she and Sugar could trot in rocking mini skirts.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Emmy winner Julia Garner on the panel to judge their 200th episode ball. Well, after Ru debuted her new song Cake and Candy. And while she gave us nothing – obviously – the sexy dancing bakers flooded my basement as they gave everything. Kicking off the Start Your Engines category, Mistress gave a classic racer suit full of all the big girls catchphrases. Spice meanwhile turned it into a mini skirt and avoided strutting, while Luxx made things edgy, Marcia slayed in a pastel mod vibe, Salina was street and sexy, Malaysia was glam and gorgeous in pink while Loosey slayed as Barbie and Princess Peach’s lovechild while Sasha turned it into a glamorous gown, while Anetra was fluro and represented her heritage in all the right easy.
Mistress kicked off the My Favourite Ball runway celebrating the ball ball like a sexy club kid beachball, Marcia gave canvas milkmaid in honour of the bag ball, Malaysia was beautiful in a hair gown for the hair ball while Spice gave little furballs for the ball ball. Salina gave palm tree cash for the money ball, Loosey looked like a hippy made out of doggy bags for the bag ball, Luxx was architectural in a hair ball number while Sasha celebrated weed in the sexiest way for the bag ball while Anetra was sickening and sweet for the Sugar Ball.
Closing out the show Mistress’ gown truly was perfection, not like something she made in under 24 hours. Spice looked like she just extended her usual look, Marcia gave a slutty Marie Antoinette, Malaysia too gave a perfect gown, Salina looked beautiful in her gown – despite it not fitting great – while Loosey mocked herself in a gorgeous runner-up evening wear gown. Luxx gave ice fairy and oh god, how did she make that in 24 hours?! Sasha too was stunning, giving a golden coral goddess while Anetra slayed in a gown complete with beaded exposed spine.
Marcia Cubed, Malaysia and Luxx were sent to safety before the judges praised Salina’s first two looks and how she sold them, though read her final gown for just not having the fit down. Spice was praised for her first look, read for giving furball before Michelle read her for filth for the final outfit, though loved how hard she tried not to trot. Mistress received wall to wall praise for all three of her looks, before Loosey was read for her middle look. Sasha then received all of the praise for thinking outside the box on all of her looks, and for looking stunning while doing it. She opened up about House Colby and how it saved her life and ugh, I love her so damn much. While the judges lived for two out of three of Anetra’s look, particularly her final look which was stunning. Though Michelle cautioned her to try not give so much resting bitch face on the runway.
Backstage the dolls – well Marcia and Luxx, anyway – weren’t loving the fact they were only safe which honestly is kind of fair, given the looks they both pulled together in a day. Malaysia was happy with her collection, though kinda was in her feelings about just wanting to have that star moment, given she is still without a win. Marcia felt she deserved the win while Luxx was enraged that her creative look didn’t get the props it was due, as Malaysia tried to suggest it could have just been that she just didn’t give the judges eleganza. Which was sweet, but obviously meant nothing to Luxx. Just like Art.
The tops and bottoms joined them with the girls not shocked to hear Sasha was beloved for giving vastly different looks. Salina shared how disappointed she was to be in the bottom, despite the judges not really hating anything, just the details. Spice just laughed about how the judges found her funny for not trotting and charming the shit out of them. Oh, but she knew she was in the bottom. Loosey shared she was hit and miss with the judges and then when Malaysia pointed out she had no idea what her middle look was about, Loosey cracked it and the duo started fighting. With Malaysia hilariously just finishing things by telling her the look sucked. Basically. Anetra’s final look was beloved though Michelle hated the colour of her first look, with Spice asking them to consider how green feels about Michelle, since she always comes for it.
Talk turned to Spice potentially going home, with everyone talking about how much she has grown and they love her. And I LOVE it. Oh and then Julia Garner dropped by and spat Anna Delvey lines, so I LIVE for that.
Ultimately Sasha took out her second victory of the season, as Anetra and Mistress joined her in the top before Loosey narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Salina and Spice to battle it out. And as soon as Lil Nas X’s That’s What I Want kicked off, it was clear Salina was surviving, but honestly, I could watch Spice read the phonebook because she is just so silly and joyous and ugh, I love what I love. Though yeah, Salina served a moment, hitting every lyric, finding the perfect balance between comedy and emotion and well, it was only fair she lived to see another day as Spice sadly sashayed away. Via extensive trotting, as Ru and Michelle finally embraced it and cackled along with her.
As she entered the Werk Room, I pulled Spice in for a massive hug and thanked her for being such a glorious ball of joy throughout the season. While the judges never seemed to get her (or Sugar’s) vibe, the fact that her sisters quickly went from hate to love proves that the duo are legit. And absolute delights, so I’m glad that translated to the audience. Given she and Sugar are already uber social media famous – like me, don’t ya know! – it isn’t like she needed much of a pep talk, so instead I toasted her run with a piping hot Pumpkin Spice Bundt.
This spicy number is the perfect addition to any occasion, despite the fact I used a haunted house bundt tin. The earthy pumpkin pairs perfectly with the combination of spices, leaving a moist, cake that melts in your mouth and fills you with glee.
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Serves: 8.
Ingredients 2 cups muscovado sugar 115g unsalted butter, softened ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée ½ cup sour cream 3 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Method Preheat the oven to 170C, and butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the muscovado sugar, butter and olive oil on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add an egg, allowing the batter to come back together before adding the second. Pour in the pumpkin purée and sour cream, and mix until combined.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and pepper in a large bowl. Remove the other bowl from the stand mixer and fold the dry ingredients through until just combined. Pour the batter into the bundt tin, tapping on the bench to remove any bubbles. Pop the tin on a baking sheet if it isn’t stable (the haunted house is far from structurally sound) and transfer to the oven to bake for an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once chill you can either make a little glaze – maple is a particularly good choice – or simply dust with icing sugar before devouring. Either way, you’ll love it.
While Australian Survivor – specifically, the Spice Girls come Vigilantes alliance – has been keeping us well and truly fed, I can’t help but feel excited for the latest season of the OG franchise. Even though this new era has been a wee patchy.
Despite Jeffrey’s love for seasons not always aligning with mine, I am inclined to believe him when he tells us they are electrifying. Because like Whitney Wild Rose, I had the fucking chills watching the previews. And watching it all play out live from Jeff’s Fijian villa, of course.
Yam Yam is a total bear zaddy who I want to be my best friend, there is so much queer representation – I love you too, Matthew don’t worry – while Carolyn and her rock collection own my damn heart. So basically, they just need to live up to my hype and be All Stars Silky, rather than Season 11 Silky, where we all turned on her halfway through the premiere.
And even if it doesn’t translate into good television, once again I was on site to provide culinary comfort for all of the losers because I would do anything for Jeff. And the attention, so check back next week when I welcome the newest member to the Sonja Christopher First Boot Club.
Previously on Australian Survivor the Spice Girls were reunited and living it up on the Heroes after Liz accepted the offer to mutiny. She quickly told George that at the tribal council she jumped ship, the Villains had actually wanted to blindside Hayley, unaware that George felt like his best shot at making it to the end was working with her again. At the next challenge, he immediately spilled the beans to Hayley that she was in trouble and that it was specifically Nina that was after her. After the Heroes lost immunity, Flick and Matt were dead men walking with the Spice Girls split on who would be best for their game come merge. George wanted to work with Matt while Shiz thought Flick would be the most helpful. Which led to fireworks as Liz threatened to play her idol to save Flick at tribal council. Ultimately though, they chose peace, agreeing to vote out Stevie instead as a compromise. Breaking the hearts of the nation.
The next day George gave us the first nude scene of the season, which was way more erotic than I expected. With that out of the way, he returned to camp as everyone reflected on the trauma of tribal council and how bad they felt for Stevie. Flick meanwhile was grateful to Shonee for saving her, whispering how come the merge, they have a lot of similar targets and as such, will easily work together moving forward. Gerry meanwhile was absolutely fuming, knowing how dangerous Flick actually is to their alliance. He caught up with George and Matt, with the trio vowing to work together all the way to the end and hoping to figure out a way to get rid of Flick ASAP without upsetting the girls. Oh and unbeknownst to George, he is totally third in this little alliance.
The tribes joined Jonathan and a massive feast in the middle of the jungle, with everyone giddy to clearly have all made it to the merge. Hugging it out before JLP even told them to drop their buffs. Shaun in particular was thrilled to see Flick and Matt still alive in the game, with Gerry and George clearly gritting their teeth about the former. Hayley got emotional talking about how shocked she is to make it this far, while Simon was glad to finally become datable as a juror on his second shot.
Everyone then took their places at the table and devoured everything in sight, before David whispered to Hayley and Shaun about how much of an advantage the OG Heroes have. Though George reminded us that he shines when in trouble and as such, got to work schmoozing with everyone. Hayley admitted was shocked that both she and George made it to merge as Flick and Liz reunited with their former OG Hero allies. And promptly locked in an alliance to take control, as Hayley watched on and asked George whether she should be concerned. And while they weren’t coming for her yet – Simon says, hey! – it spurred George into action, catching up with Liz to reiterate that they are screwed.
The tribe ventured back to the former Heroes camp where Hayley suggested they come up with the new merge tribe name, with George’s crew suggesting Fa’Amolemole while Nina instead wanted Vigilantes. And while she lost out on a vote, she didn’t really care given she and the OG Heroes have the upper hand on the votes that count. As the Spice Girls and Hayley went for a swim, Flick caught up with Shaun to let him know that she had to pledge allegiance to George, Shonee and Liz at the previous tribal council and as such, one of them needs to budge on this first vote. Sadly for Flick though, he had no interest in it being him and as such, told her they will be staying Heroes strong, though trading Gerry out for Simon. And well, given she would be closer to the top of that group, she was happy to go back on her word.
That night the alliance got together to plot about the upcoming tribal council, unaware that the Spice Girls were sitting back at camp watching them. And Flick girl, you’re in danger, because Shiz will not take it kindly if you’re really flipping on them so soon.
The next day Shiz and Flick went for an early morning walk down by the shore with Flick pretending that Simon is still the Heroes target, but she suggested she told them they need to split the vote. And then pretended it wouldn’t be on one of the Spice Girls. When it totally would. After Flick disappeared, Shonee told Liz that it was all a lie and Flick is out to get them, so pulled George aside to fill him in and tell him he was right. While he didn’t do a told-you-so dance, he got to work planning which two people would be easiest to lock in. And while George didn’t love it – and Liz sure as hell didn’t – he knew Simon was the easiest target given nobody wants to work with him, so if he offers something, surely it is a good thing.
With that, the Spice Girls and Matt pulled Simon and Hayley aside to float the idea of working together. With George promptly throwing Flick under the bus, letting Simon know that voting him out was what she told them was the priority. Hayley was all in given she knew it was better to be amongst other threats, while Simon was awkward about being the one that everyone talks about being the target. Knowing he needed to work him just a little more, George pulled Simon aside and assured him that them working together would be so unexpected that it just may work for both of them. And once they take control, they can ride it to the end and deal with their feud once their mutual enemies are gone. Essentially.
The tribe reunited with Jonathan for the first individual immunity challenge of the season where they would have to hold their breath under grates in the ocean as the tide rises until only one was left. Or in the case of Survivor 43, as the tide rose and then fell, leaving Jeffrey to hand out immunity to both Owen and Karla. So congratulations Flick or Matt, I guess, given their professions. Everyone was still holding strong at 30 minutes before a surge took out George, Sam and Shonee in a matter of minutes. The next surge cost Liz her spot, followed by a heartbroken Shaun and Simon. Gerry was next to drop, as Shonee and George started to speculate on the sidelines, with Shonee suggesting they propose everyone unites to get rid of Hayley while George suggested Shonee is actually the more likely target for the Heroes. Back to the challenge, Flick was next out, followed by Hayley and David leaving Matt and Nina to face off before Nina tapped out, handing Matt the first individual immunity of the season. As predicted, I may note.
Back at camp everyone congratulated Matt on a hard fought victory, while Sam quickly suggested one of Shiz would be the best target. So yeah, I’m back to hating Sam. Someone I am loving though is Matt, who was thrilled to be trusted by most of the tribe and as such, ready to play both sides, though assured us (or me) that he intended to side with George to take control. Sam, Shaun, David, Flick and Nina caught up by the well with Flick quickly locking in Shonee as the target while David wanted them to split the vote on Liz to also flush her idol. Hayley and Matt joined the group, quietly nodding as they agreed to split between Shiz. Like the OG Villains, they knew they had to get Simon on board to pull it off, so Shaun pulled him aside to let him know the plan. Selling it as his last shot to prove loyalty, which is a mood.
George and Shonee meanwhile were busy figuring out the best alpha to target, with George wanting to get rid of Sam given all he cares about his loyalty and is kind of holding everyone together. Specifically Simon and Matt, who are most likely to flip back to the alphas. And you know Gerry was keen on that one, given Sam was the one that pushed to send him to the Villains originally. And as was Hayley, given he was coming for her with Nina. Poor Simon however was suffering some Villains related trauma and decided to catch up with Hayley to see what she was thinking and while she tried to gently nudge him in the direction of being smart and working with the OG Villains, he admitted that he is still unsure which way to go.
Simon then wisely approached the Spice Girls to find out what the plan was once Sam was gone, with Shonee and George telling him that he can dictate who goes next should they align. Liz and David meanwhile caught up by the well with Liz pretending the Villains were still out to get Simon, while Dave warned her that she is a target and as such, she should play her idol. She was obviously spooked, so went back to the Spice Girls with her spiralling as George and Shonee tried to keep her calm. The latter, however, was also worried about Simon not being with them and instead of fracturing again, George got to work finding another number to guarantee they have eight people to work with.
Being a bold, messy icon, George pulled Shaun aside and straight up suggested he needs to jump early rather than too late, telling him to join with the Villains to get rid of Sam, given he feels like he is running the show. Shaun ran straight to Sam to fill him in and as he scowled into the jungle about being the target, George went back to spill the beans to Shiz who were irate that he gave the plan to their opponents. As such, the girls flipped the vote to Dave to navigate around a potential idol and while the trio were feeling good, it started to spook Matt that they were all over the shop until Gerry tried to calm things down. While Simon continued to question whether he can trust George enough to keep them both around until the end.
And yes, the answer is yes, given the meat heads are more likely to beat you in challenges. And I prefer the Spice Girls.
At tribal council Hayley spoke about how difficult the first post-merge tribal council is, given everyone has built different relationships, across multiple tribes and now has competing agendas. Matt meanwhile was thrilled to be immune and having the power to make a choice that will secure his future in the game without the fear of it burning him. Yet. George mentioned this tribal council is a turning point in the game, with players setting up their shot at the end with a single decision. Oh and he is super confident, which made David scoff. Liz opened up about clearly being on the bottom of the tribe with Shonee agreeing that she feels like she is in danger, specifically concerned about having to rely on new people for her own survival. David spoke about being hopeful he has built enough relationships to come out on top, as Shonee and George started to whisper about whether Liz needs to play her idol.
George cut everyone off, throwing out Survivor is about deals, rather than relationships and if everyone holds firm, someone will be walking out of here and he won’t be coming back. Which made Flick feel super confident, given she is a female. Simon spoke about the power of being on the bottom at the merge, given you’re elevated into the swing vote position and get to choose which side to work with. Well, unless you’re Sarah who was trying to play the middle pre-merge and like Julia before her, who promptly got run over by Michelle and Aubry. With that the tribe voted and Liz played her idol for Shonee as the OG Heroes looked ready to shit their pants. Dave then tried to get in her head, telling her it was a bad move, though she wisely held firm as four votes piled up on Shonee – with her offering a quiet thanks to Flick – before a single one landed on Liz followed by the alliance of seven holding firm and taking control, sending David out of the game and Flick straight to the top of the hit list.
And they looked so angry.
Despite wanting to toss his food on the table and walk out, as David arrived at Loser Lodge there was a part of my heart that felt sorry for his stumble. The stumble being, choosing not to work with Shiz instead of turning on them and trying to take control with the boring Heroes. Thankfully he felt bad for not working with our icons – particularly since it cost him a spot on the jury – so I assured him that despite being the first alpha out, he is one I would have happily seen last longer given I think he would have played things more interestingly in a few rounds. Which seemed to cheer him up. But even if it didn’t, he got a massive bowl of David Shakarakris Fries which sure as hell did the job!
Shaker fries season is my favourite time at McDonald’s, however lately they have been opting for new flavours rather than the OG – though the cheeseburger was stunning, TBH. This little copycat may not be a perfect replica of my beloved shaker fries, though it is bloody delicious. Spicy, sweet and oh so salty, this is the perfect snack while having a cold beer on a summer afternoon (or when hungover the next day).
David Shakarakris Fries Serves: 2 dear, athletic besties.
Ingredients 2 cups Jud Beerza Battered Fries 2 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp raw caster sugar ½ tsp beef stock powder ¼ tsp dried oregano ¼ tsp dried parsley ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ¼ tsp black pepper
Method Cook the fries as per Jud’s recipe, or if going packet because they are just as great, as per their instructions.
Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons over the fries at first, before adjusting to taste. And devouring.
Excess of the mix can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry.
Previously on Australian Survivor Simon broke down after voting out his friend Jordie, which annoyed the hell out of Liz, who was actually aligned with Jordie. Obviously Nina saw the growing tension, getting into Liz’s ear and making an alliance to go to the end with her. And even Sam became likeable, after announcing that he too wanted to align with Liz. At the immunity challenge, Shonee and George were gutted to learn about the Jordie boot, so hilariously threw the challenge in an obvious fashion. Since everyone thought Flick was given Simon’s immunity idol, the OG Villains decided to vote for Ben given it was unlikely they’d play it for him. Which was the correct assumption as Flick was crushed to learn the idol she played for Matt was a fake – and that she was potentially played – while Ben was tragically booted from the game.
Back at camp Flick was well and truly feeling like a goose, though Matt was feeling good that she at least wanted to protect him. George asked her for the background on everything that went down, with Flick immediately assuming Simon was coming for her as revenge for their first season. And given George is iconic, he obviously agreed with her as the new Heroes tribe all raged about how terrible of a player Simon is. And you best believe Flick is planning to channel a little bit of George at the next challenge and completely blow up his game.
The next day Flick was still completely enraged, assuring George that she will never work with Simon ever again. They spoke about how stupid his plan was to give a fake idol, with Flick explaining that Shaun had even seen the idol and didn’t realise it was fake. Which led to them all explaining it isn’t hard, given what David did to him in his first season. Knowing the merge was imminent, George realised he needed to pull in another person and as such, approached Matt to come over to the Villains and take control. And while Matt didn’t immediately sign up for it, he did say that if he aligns with them, you best believe he is with them till the end. Matt then asked who would be the first target if he joined them, with Shonee smartly telling him they would vote out whoever he wanted. Oh and then when Matt proposed he bring one other person with him, Shonee agreed a buy one get one free would be ok to her. Like an icon.
Over at the Villains they were blissfully unaware that Simon was about to be destroyed, as Hayley diligently worked while Simon felt he was living the hero’s life. Since he gave up the idol and showed he was a man of his word and now, he will live out his dream and make the merge. And oh god, I feel bad for him. Liz meanwhile was thrilled to have secured a majority on the tribe alongside Nina, Dave and Sam, with Simon the number one target on her hitlist. And she is ready to give him a reality check ASAP. She pulled him aside to show off her idol, asking if he would be willing to show his and instead of saying he gave it away, he told her he isn’t sure he can trust her enough to do that. She then immediately called him out for giving up his idol and turning on Jordie and let’s just say, he could not handle it.
Liz ventured back to camp as Simon tried to clear the air, while she straight up destroyed him, asking him to explain what happened to the idol while everyone in camp watched just how good she can be. Concerned about how angry she was with Simon, Dave approached her to check in and see how she was doing, unsure how to manage her emotions should they return to tribal council. And while he pushed for Simon to go, she pointed out that nobody trusts him or wants to work with him, and as such, getting rid of a real threat like Hayley makes even more sense.
The tribes came together with JLP at the beach where the new Villains spoke about how glad they were to see Ben go – fucking vom – before Flick agressively came for Simon. Much to his absolute shock. As everyone turned on him, he tried to reiterate how he believed it was an idol with George and Flick calling him out for lying before George pointed out that Simon has no idea what is going on. And Shaun got played by being handed a fake idol not once, but twice.
As is becoming tradition, let’s get back to the reward challenge though, where the tribes would face off one on one to climb a net and grab a ring before trying to land it on a post, with the first tribe to 3 winning a massive Chinese banquet. First up were Matt and Shaun with the latter making quick work of things and taking out the first point for the Villains. Stevie was up next against Liz and while the Olympian was first to the net, Stevie took out the lead and scored the point without even wearing his glasses. Like an icon. Simon and George then faced off in a grudge match, with Simon getting to an early lead before knocking off his ring and allowing George to toss it off course. To quote JLP, it became the battle of the tossers with Shonee pointing out Simon has it in the bag. And he did, after throwing George’s ring off the course to boot. Next up were Sam and Flick, with Flick using the time to suggest the Villains throw the next immunity challenge to get rid of Simon because he is a snake and ugh, I love her. Oh and then Sam won the reward for the Villains. Eventually.
Back at camp the Villains were gagged to see just how epic their banquet was as they filled up their plates with food as everyone joked about the fortune cookies having a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Which you know will be the case. Everyone went quiet as they smashed their food before Sam – again, do I love him? – asked if they should address the Simon shaped elephant in the room, with him immediately copping to the fact he just assumed it was an idol without paperwork. And while nobody believed him, I feel bad, because he can’t help being trolled by production. He apologised for the situation – his stupidity – while Liz said that she was told it just looked like a piece of wood. While everyone looked completely enraged, as Shaun spoke about how gutted he was for Flick, given it could have humiliated her. Simon tried to play it cool and offered a chance for everyone to talk to him, with Sam admitting he probably would have been fooled too and while he assured them it was done for the betterment of the tribe, they clearly didn’t buy it.
While Simon tried to apologise to everyone, Sam reminded him he probably should be apologising to Flick. Shaun though wisely pointed out to us that he swore on his kids life in exchange for an idol and since it wasn’t one, the deal is off. And since the new Heroes want him gone, he got to work rallying everyone to throw the challenge and make their dreams come true.
The tribes reconnected with JLP for the immunity challenge where one on one they would race out to a station to memorise symbols and recreate the sequence, with the first tribe to three taking out immunity. After Simon sat out – what, bro?! – Shaun elected to face off against George with Shaun pretending to be stupid long enough to let George take out the first point. Next up Liz – out of the loop – tied things up against Shonee before Hayley took things slowly against Stevie, who put the Heroes out in front once again. As Flick and George quietly whispered about the Villains clearly throwing it. Oh and then Nina and Gerry faced off, with King Gerry taking out the win. Just as everyone but Simon wanted.
Back at camp the tribe danced around the fact they threw the challenge, with Hayley thrilled by how easy it will be to get rid of Simon. Sam being Sam, he checked in with Simon to talk feelings as Shaun, Dave, Nina and Hayley caught up about splitting the vote between Simon and Liz, with a single vote thrown on Sam for safety. Simon caught up with Shaun, happy to offer himself up as the sacrificial lamb in a split between himself and Liz. And while he was nervous, he knew he had to roll with it if he wanted to last much longer in the game. But obviously, Simon gonna Simon, pulling Liz aside to see what she knew, with her simply suggesting he look for a real idol. Hayley and Sam meanwhile caught up, with the latter suggesting someone else needs to have a vote put on them, worrying that it would once again be him.
As such, Sam caught up with Shaun to see what was happening and somehow, he saw it was all bullshit. He then pulled Nina aside to see what was actually happening, given Shaun’s story wasn’t adding up. With Nina quickly spilling the beans on the plan for Sam to be the sacrificial lamb should both the OG Villains have an idol, before the duo flipped the script on Hayley and locked in a vote for their secret alliance with Dave and Liz to get rid of the only winner on the cast. Nina pulled Liz aside to tell her Shaun and Hayley’s plan, which she was obviously not keen on, so she immediately locked in Nina and Sam’s plan to blindside Hayley instead.
At tribal council Simon spoke about how terrified he was after being destroyed by Flick and Co, before questioning JLP on what exactly he pulled out of the cookie jar. With Jonathan thrilled to point out he only found a clue to which coconut had an idol under it. With Hayley wisely asking if that meant the idol had already been found. Thankfully for Simon – if you’re a fan – he felt vindicated that the producers confirmed he didn’t do it to spite anyone. Liz spoke about how tight the OG Heroes are and how disappointed she was to not be able to find an in, as David winked at her for playing the part so well. Simon turned things back to himself, pointing out he is now a gun for hire and as such, people need to use him when they can, rather than sending him out. While Shaun pointed out that both Simon and Liz add value to them. Sam spoke about how shocked he was to receive votes at the last tribal council, admitting that it makes him question his place in the tribe if they were willing to take the risk. While Liz just wasn’t sure if she could trust things enough not to play her idol.
Right on cue, JLP announced that this tribal council had a spoil and things would play out a little differently, as he wheeled out the Heroes before announcing that the Villains had a single opportunity to mutiny. One by one, they would go up to vote and if they wanted the shot, they were to write down their name, if not, they do nothing. If there is one name in the urn, they mutiny but if there are multiple – or none – they have to draw rocks to decide who goes. Liz pretty much signalled she is ready to go back to her friends, while Simon desperately wanted to take a shot at safety while David pointed out that it is a bad idea, since they hate him. Shaun meanwhile was busy whispering, suggesting if he goes over, it could be enough to win some people back. With that the tribe voted and Liz took the opportunity, while whispering to Nina about how they are still tight and she will fight for them to get all the intel.
The next day Stevie and Gerry bonded over being hard of hearing and enjoying being able to listen to people on their terms. Meanwhile the Spice Girls reunion tour was in full swing as Shonee and Liz went bathing in the ocean, holding each other close and living their best lives. And well, Shonee was feeling like she and George are particularly unstoppable. The trio hung out in the shelter, speculating whether a merge was imminent or whether they would get lucky enough to send the Villains back to tribal council one last time. Though when Liz told George that should the previous tribal council had played out, Hayley would have been blindsided, George was nervous about them returning given he knows it is better for both of their games if he and Hayley work together.
Flick meanwhile was feeling well and truly on the outs, but bless, she got to work bonding with Liz and working her social game a little bit. Liz boldly asked who she was working with on the original Heroes tribe and given Flick somehow found out who Liz had been working with, she opened up about vibing with Sam, Nina and Dave. And what do you know, just like that, Flick had almost worked her way into the girl gang. That is until she approached George and suggested she work with the Spice Girls to take control at the merge. He then pulled Gerry aside to fill him in on Flick’s powers and suggested they need to get rid of her ASAP, not just to keep Shiz in their pocket but also protect Hayley on the other side. So basically, we’re looking at another thrown challenge, this time going back to the new Heroes.
The tribes reunited with Jonathan for a massive challenge for a trip to the Survivor sandwich shop, where they would pull a cart through a series of obstacles to collect balls before shooting them into three baskets held up by their tribemates. Obviously the Villains got out to an early lead, though the Heroes managed to stay surprisingly close on their tails. Until the ramp happened, where the Heroes straight up got stuck and allowed the Villains to power ahead and start shooting their baskets before the Heroes even crossed the ramp. Oh and then Dave, a professional athlete, promptly landed ball after ball and took out the win for the Villains. As George warned Hayley that Nina had been gunning for her at the last tribal council. So you know shit is about to hit the fan.
We followed the Villains off to the reward where we learnt that, as is oft the case, the tribe would each go to the sandwich bar one at a time with the order decided by consensus. So yeah, obviously there is an advantage hidden there. And while Nina asked to go first, Hayley wisely said sticks is the fairest way to play things. Which obviously scared Nina, given she saw George whispering to Hayley after the challenge and didn’t want her anywhere near the start if she was nervous about being blindsided. While she got lucky with Shaun picking the shortest stick, Hayley was second and after Shaun came back empty handed – though full – Hayleyhad hope. Sadly for her, she also found nothing, as did everyone that came after until Sam trashed things and confirmed that maybe there really was nothing hidden there this time.
Meanwhile over with the Heroes, Matt watched on as the girls frolicked in the ocean, wary of the way Flick had weasled her way into their alliance. As such, he knew he desperately needed to make a final pitch to join the alliance ahead of her, pulling George aside to sell himself as the ultimate spy come the merge. And obviously pledge his undying loyalty to George and Gerry. Giving George the magic 7 people needed to take control. And oh God, do I ship this alliance?
The tribes came together for the latest immunity challenge – the tribal version of When It Rains It Pours – where everyone would have to hold a sandbag tethered to a trough above their head, with the last tribe standing high and dry winning immunity. Oh and one person on each tribe would race to solve a puzzle, with the first to finish getting the chance to kick someone out of the lineup from the opposing tribe. Everyone took their places as Stevie and Nina raced to finish the puzzle and while Nina was calm and methodical, Stevie was messy and a little bit chaotic. And while his tribe tried to keep him focused and upbeat, the writing was on the wall as they braced for Matt to be kicked out of the challenge. Which Nina did without hesitation after demolishing the puzzle, as Liz took on the second bag. After ten minutes, it started to rain making it even harder for everyone to hold on to the bags as Liz and Flick desperately tried to hold strong. Before they dropped after 20 minutes, sending the Heroes back to tribal council.
Back at camp the mood was decidedly sombre as Stevie apologised for bombing the puzzle, while George admitted to us that he isn’t overly upset, giving he can get rid of Flick and maintain control coming into the merge. He pulled Gerry aside to reiterate how important it is to get rid of her so they can topple the Heroes, with Gerry assuring him that he is positive that Matt is on their side. George then caught up with Stevie who was thrilled that Flick was the target, though assured him it was important that Shonee and Liz don’t find out how close they’ve grown to Matt. Which seems like a little misstep, but whatever. George caught up with Shiz, with the girls obviously suggesting they get rid of Matt with George trying to explain that from his experience with Flick, she won’t actually have their back long term and it is safer for all of them if they get rid of her now.
Not being her first rodeo, Flick realised that nobody was talking to her and as such, she knew that her name was being thrown around. She decided to address it head on, pulling George aside and asking him what the plan is and while he assured her Matt was the target, she still felt uneasy. Uneasy, but not exactly sure what she could do to change anything. Aside from pulling the girls aside and pitching her case to them. She reiterated that Matt is definitely going to flip back to the OG Heroes as soon as possible, so she would love to work with them to get rid of him as she will stay loyal. And she and Liz have the same friends in the OG Heroes tribe. As the girls tried to convince George that she was an asset, Flick approached them to try her luck herself before Shonee wandered off with her. Leaving Liz to point out to George that she also doesn’t want to get rid of any more women yet. And after she couldn’t convince him to change his mind, she walked off, leaving George very nervous about pushing too hard to get rid of Flick, whether it means he is breaking up the band at the same time.
At tribal council Liz spoke about how thrilled she was to be reunited with her allies, while Flick admitted she feels like how Liz was feeling at the Villains tribe, well and truly at the bottom. Just like Matt. Stevie meanwhile was comfortable with this alliance, emphasis on this, which should be a warning to Shiz. Shonee spoke about how the differing opinions within alliances can be frustrating, however George tried to remind everyone that they, as a tribe, need to focus on having the strongest chance come the merge. While Liz tried to remind him that sometimes, you need to bend a little. Matt meanwhile laid his cards on the table, assuring everyone that he doesn’t want to take advantage of cracks and instead, work together and go far.
Flick meanwhile gave her hail mary plea, telling the OG Villains that she definitely has the best shot at pulling in the numbers they need from the other tribe. And she loves the girls and told George that she finally wants to work with him to boot. Gerry meanwhile was having none of it, telling her that he was screwed by the Heroes once and he knows they are going to want to pull Flick back in. As he and Flick spoke, George and Shonee whispered about the vote, with Liz telling Shonee to tell him that if he refuses to budge from Flick, she will give her her idol. And while he told her it was a waste, she was firm that she will be protecting her. This spooked George, who asked to talk to Gerry, telling him that the girls will play an idol to protect Flick and as such, they need to pick Matt or Stevie to go. And ugh, Gerry chose Stevie to be sacrificed, just as Shonee told Stevie how gorge he was looking tonight.
George returned to the group, whispering to Shiz that he would be willing to get rid of Stevie as a compromise. Which they quickly agreed to, as Stevie spoke about how difficult a vote it would be, given he has genuinely grown to love everyone. With that the tribe finally voted, Liz wisely held on to her idol and the OG Spice Girls – and I’m including Gerry in that – banded together to blindside Stevie from the game. And ugh, he was absolutely gutted. After quietly making his way to Loser Lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that despite just missing the merge, he still played a very strong game and sadly was just struck by a stray bullet. Which had him feeling ok before he became positively jubilant upon seeing the massive plate of Stevie Bakhouw Wrapped Franks.
While it is kind of difficult to call this a recipe – given it is so simple – there is no denying these are a delicious little snack. Sweet and salty, they go well at a little party, celebrating game day – aka Rhianna’s recent halftime show – or my fave, as a breakfast snack when you had too much to drink at the aforementioned party.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls learnt the Maxi Challenge – or should we say, Maxine Challenge – would see them star in the sequel to Daytona Wind. And while the first one was super fun, it was mostly due to the fact the dolls were gagged by the surprise gas. Despite having the power to assign the roles, Aura opted to give up the campy, lead role and take on a quieter part which she quickly proceeded to bomb. Though Luxx noted, she probably would have bombed any and all roles she had. Jax meanwhile was forgettable and missed all the Drag Race references as Mistress – who inherited the lead role – slayed the game and took out victory. Only narrowly though, over her nemesis Malaysia, as the duo played off each other perfectly. Ultimately Jax and Aura landed in the bottom and like Angela Bassett, Jax did the thing and took out the lip sync, as Aura joined the win to elim club.
Before cursing them to be haunted by the ghost of her father on her way out the door. Backstage Jax was obviously a little nervous about said curse, given she was ultimately the one that sent Aura out the door, though was glad to prove she is going to be very difficult for the girls to send home. After a brief moment celebrating Mistress’ win, Loosey turned the attention back to herself as she complained about only being safe. When it is what she deserved. But whatever. I prefer Spice’s delusion that she is entering her top era.
The next day Spice was still busy trotting around despite Ru and Michelle’s hate, while Loosey asked the girls without a win how angry they were. Which obviously led to all the girls eviscerating her for going full Milk and raging over being safe. Before she could spiral any further, Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they’d all be lip syncing, in a battle royale LalaPaRuZa in full assassin drag. And by the end of the night, one of the dolls will be going home. They immediately split up to beat their mugs, with Mistress super confident knowing Spice, Loosey and Marcia are the easy marks, though admitted to fearing facing off against Sasha or Anetra. As she should, TBH.
We quickly pivoted to the Mainstage where Ru, Michelle and Ross took their places on the panel as the girls lined up to hear the rules. Which were super simple, given they just need to survive one of the eight lip syncs that were about to unfold. And Ru, Michelle and Ross’ coffee enema energy, which is always a highlight to me. Bruno entered the mainstage to toss his balls before selecting Malaysia as the first one to lip sync, meaning she was able to pick her opponent. Ultimately opting for Marcia. Which meant Marcia had the power to pick the song, going with Anitta’s Boys Don’t Cry. And while Malaysia was expecting to steamroll, Marcia had tricks up her sleeves, flipping around the stage and giving sass as she hit every lyric. And rightly took out the first victory, sending her back to safety while Malaysia would have to lip sync again in the next round.
Next up Bruno grabbed Loosey’s ball with her also picking the easy mark in Spice, with Spice selecting Joan Jett’s Do You Wanna Touch. Sweet Spice tried her darndest, bringing all the energy to the performance however Loosey’s choice proved wise as she took out victory and joined Marcia Cubed backstage. But yeah, make no mistake, the lip sync was boring. Bruno wheeled out his balls yet again, this time pulling out Luxx who opted to face Salina. Who in turn chose It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by my sweet Celine. Aka a song she does on the reg back home. And girl, it showed as while Luxx gave all the drama and emotion, it was definitely Salina’s show as she rightly entered the top nine and sent Luxx through to the next round.
Bruno’s balls decreed Mistress was next who chose Jax, feeling she was more likely to pick the song she wanted, Tell It To My Heart by the iconic Taylor Dayne. And despite Jax proving herself to be a bit of an assassin so far, it was Mistress who stole the show, serving reveals, comedy and drama and ugh, she was perfect. And lucky that the judges have already seen Jax’s tricks and flips twice already. As such, Mistress was deemed safe and Jax was forced to lip sync again. Which gagged the safe girls, before Mistress mocked Loosey for doing a shit job and just getting lucky with her opponent. Most importantly, the final round was an absolute battle royale as Anetra and Sasha faced off with the former picking I’m In Love With A Monster by Fifth Harmony. And holy shit, did mother Sasha and Anetra feed us. Every letter was hit, the dolls were on the beat, every flip and trick was perfection and gaggy and well, TBH, I feel like both of them should have been deemed safe. But sadly only Sasha was sent to safety, while Anetra was forced to lip sync again.
Bruno’s balls lined up Malaysia to kick things off again, this time going with the safest bet on stage in the form of Spice. And while Spice wisely chose Don’t Go Yet by Camila Cabello because Malaysia wouldn’t know the lyrics, neither did she. And well it was an adorable mess as they both tried to serve something, before Spice ultimately resorted to the conga. Which obviously led to Malaysia joining the safe girls. Where she promptly pretended she didn’t pick Marcia because she thought she could beat her. But more importantly, the last lip sync would be a throuple as the remaining dolls faced off to Vanessa Williams’ The Right Stuff. With Luxx proving that rage can take you far, as all three of the girls hit every lyric and absolutely dominated, but Luxx just clearly had more fire to stay which pushed her over the edge and sent her to safety.
Meaning Spice, Anetra and Jax took the stage assuming they would battle as a trio before Ru gagged them with a twist, courtesy of Bruno’s balls. You see, he would pull a queen’s name out of his sack and then that queen would get to choose which one of her sisters would be safe. And because Anetra doesn’t enjoy murdering puppies, she gagged the dolls by sending Spice to safety and opted to battle Jax in the final round. And while Jax vowed to make Anetra regret her choice, as soon as Finally by Cece Peniston started playing, it was clear Anetra is really one to be feared. She gave camp charms, sexy moves, hairography and all the attitude as she ran every phrase flipped over the stage before walking the duck all the way to safety, ultimately sending Jax home.
As I pulled Jax in for a hug backstage, I reminded her that a Lalaparuza also cost a lip sync assassin their spot last year – RIP Jasmine – meaning that she kinda, sorta did all she could to navigate the producer’s newest favourite storyline. I reminded her that despite being in the bottom twice in the season, she truly got the chance to shine. I mean, who will be able to forget her skipping with her hair? Not. Me. Plus to misquote Batman like Simon, it is always better to die a robbed goddess than live long enough to become a person production rigged the season for. Which was enough to cheer her up before she even saw the banquet of Jaxfruit Tacos.
I would argue that Mexican is the best cuisine, be it Tex Mex to the more traditional variety. And these jackfruit numbers are even better, since you can pretend they’re a healthy option. Spicy and smoky, the pulled pork-ness of the jackfruit melts in your mouth and makes you want more.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the jackfruit, breaking up with a wooden spoon to roughly shred it. Cook for a further couple of minutes before stirring in the cumin, oregano, half the chilli, coriander, one teaspoon of the paprika, the cinnamon, canned tomato and paste. Stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes, or until fragrant and reduced.
While that is simmering, combine the avocado, tomato and lime zest and juice in a bowl. Set aside. Next, pop the rice in a medium saucepan with the stock and remaining chilli and paprika. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and cook covered until all the liquid has absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave the lid on to allow it to steam a little. Finally, cook the taco shells in the oven for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp.
To serve, fill the tacos with rice, the jackfruit and avocado salsa – adding cheese and sour cream, if they are your jam – before devouring.
Previously on Australian Survivor, Shonee and George were living it up at the top of the new Heroes, accepting meetings with all the plebs who were begging for mercy. Meanwhile at the Villains, Simon won over the OG Heroes with his non-idol leaving Liz and Jordie on the outs. As such, at the immunity challenge, Shonee handed her idol over to Jordie while Shaun gave Simon’s non-idol to Flick to cause chaos in the Heroes tribe. After Liz also found an idol, she and Jordie used them to bluff the Heroes into turning on their own. However they were sadly just as played, as the Heroes made a last minute switch at tribal council to tie things up between Jordie and the presumed target, mateship king Sam. And when Jordie and Liz held onto their idols, Jordie was blindsided from the game. Breaking my heart in the process.
While the Villains tribal was busy being chaotic, at the Heroes camp Stevie was looking to the stars alongside Flick and Matt, who were quietly working him to float the idea of working with the Heroes. And by that, they straight up told him that they were given information at the immunity challenge that Simon still wants to work with him and should he survive tribal council, it is a sign that they should band together to take control over here. Which is great, but can we also remember that he (and Simon) will easily be on the bottom of the Heroes when the threats are gone and as such, it is just a bad idea all round for them. Though it is Simon and Stevie, so it tracks.
The next day, Liz was feeling even worse about her situation back at camp. Despite Liz being the only person outside the alliance, it was Simon who spent the day breaking down in tears about missing Jordie, who he played a critical role in voting out. The white heterosexual males all appeared to be struggling, with Sam taking the last tribal council as a sign that the Heroes aren’t as loyal as he would like and as such, he only felt like he could trust David. Knowing Sam was feeling shitty about what happened, Nina also took it as a wake-up call and knew that she needed to bring Jordie and Liz’s energy with the idols if she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and take out the win.
After clearing the air with Sam and vowing to be a tight three with him and David, Nina realised they need one other person to take out the majority. And since she has an idol and some tight allies on the other side that could set them up at the merge, she set her sights on Queen Liz and ugh, I love to see it. After the girls talked shit about Simon, Liz went to catch up with Sam. Right on cue Simon asked to join the conversation with Liz being an icon, telling him to let them talk and they can have one next. Or something. While Sam straight up told her that he wants to work with her and oh my God, do I like Sam now? I guess I do and you’ll just have to accept I am fickle and love to change my mind.
Back at the Heroes, the tribe were celebrating Stevie doubling the number of days played from his first season. Flick meanwhile was more celebratory about her non-idol, as she and Matt decided to chat to Ben about how to take control. Though obviously left the existence of said idol out of the discussion, which is a problem, given he is one of the only people that knows it is not one. But no, no, Flick can’t trust Ben – who has been nothing but loyal – and would rather hold out hope that Stevie may, just may, change. As Flick and Shonee bonded in the hammock, George grew worried about her social game and as such, suggested to Gerry and Stevie that they throw the challenge to get rid of Flick and keep themselves in control of the tribe. And Flick girl, you in danger.
The tribes joined with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where Shonee was heartbroken to learn her idol exited along with her ally. While George was so ropeable that he called it a declaration of war from the OG Heroes and reminded them that he has two hostages that he is willing to get rid of. Liz and Shonee once again whispered like icons, with Liz outing Simon for ditching them and shared that Simon handed his non-idol over to Matt and Flick to use to blindside George. But back to the challenge. The tribes would transport massive blocks through a series of obstacles before using them to form a staircase and ascend a tower. So yeah, this is built for the new Villains tribe whether George was planning to throw it or not.
While the Villains clearly had the advantage, George and Shonee still obviously chose to throw it, doing the absolute bare minimum and well, I love that for them. Hayley meanwhile bitched about them throwing it as the Villains powered ahead, reminding us that this surely was a challenge the Villains were going to win anyway, so can you really get mad at the icons? Once again Liz stepped away from her tribe to chat to George and Shonee, outing Simon for working with Shaun and Hayley specifically, but assuring them that she has an idol and to not worry about her. Despite the fact the rest of their tribe were throwing it, Ben, Flick and Matt desperately tried to close the gap, somehow leading to the Villains only narrowly managing to take out immunity. As Simon desperately tried to gesture to Stevie about destiny before wishing the tribe luck at tribal council.
Back at camp Matt was ropable about the fact George and Shonee threw the challenge and as such, was even more fired up to woo Stevie to their side. He tried to downplay the rage though, pointing out that the Villains appeared to have a wild one the last night, speculating about Simon playing an idol. With George, ever the icon, telling him it didn’t happen because he gave the idol to Flick. With her awkwardly having no way to deny it, so instead pointing out that she will be happy to show George the idol tonight at tribal council.
Flick, Matt and Ben went for a walk to get water, asking Stevie if he would like to come with them and while he did, George wisely asked him to stay with them. As the Villains and Gerry tried to decide who to load their votes on, Gerry pointed out that the Heroes don’t care for Ben and as such, he is the safest bet to vote for given they will not play an idol for him. As the Heroes were by the well, Flick came clean to Ben about the idol, hoping to leverage it to convince him that now is the time to blindside George. While back at the shelter, Gerry was about to have an aneurysm trying to explain the plan to Stevie – and the fact four people can’t split six votes – as Shonee quietly told him to breathe and just keep focused.
As the two factions came back together, Stevie went for a walk with Flick, Matt and Ben to lock in the plan to blindside George due to his threat level. While George, Gerry and Shonee grew more and more frustrated that Stevie was wandering around camp and potentially outing all of their plans. After Stevie left the Heroes, they realised they needed to come up with a back-up, so if Stevie isn’t with them, they would play the idol and put their votes on the most likely to not have one in the other alliance, Gerry. But if Stevie is in, they will take the shot on George. Stevie rejoined the Spice Girls alliance and once again floated the idea of splitting the vote as each of them reminded him that there are not enough people and to do that. Unless Shonee can pull in a crab, that is.
Knowing Stevie was too much of a liability, George opted to appeal to Flick and asked her what she thinks the merge will look like when it is just the Heroes left. Which obviously led to him pointing out it may be better to work together to take control now and set up an easier path to the end. And while they agreed finding a compromise could be for the best, we didn’t learn what that compromise could be. Only if Flick proves willing to work with George, they will have a truce and if not, she will be the next one out.
At tribal council George explained that at the challenge he declared war on all the Heroes and as such, the OGs best have come prepared. Flick was obviously nervous, though admitted that given she has experience with George, she knows to take his grandiose statements in her stride. She spoke about everyone chatting with their allies at the challenge, as Shonee lol’ed about how obvious she is, while Stevie focused about just playing it straight tonight and going with the flow to make it to the merge. Ben admitted that he feels in trouble though that everyone really should be feeling that way, with George agreeing they really should, given Flick has an idol and is definitely planning to play it. Flick confirmed its existence and that if she guesses the right person to play it on, she and her allies should be sitting pretty. Though let’s just say, Matt is not feeling so confident about it.
Flick admitted she knows she could be the one going home tonight if she makes a mistake and while George shared that he fears going out due to an idol, he would just rather work with Flick and go to the end together. Again. George then straight up offered to go have a chat in the corner and cut a deal, with Shonee and Stevie agreeing it makes sense for her to play it smart. George told Flick she should burn her idol to prove loyalty which she obviously opted against, given it puts her at way too much risk and as such, no deal was reached between the rivals. With that the tribe finally voted and Flick played what she thought was an idol for Matt as Ben looked on in disgust knowing it wasn’t one. After Jonathan confirmed it, he got to tallying the votes with three votes piling up on Gerry, followed by four on Ben, which were enough to tragically send my actual hero out of the game.
Like Jordie just yesterday, Ben found his way to Loser Lodge by following my enraged screams. I mean, first we could have lost Sam yesterday and TBH we could have lost Matt today as the only straight male that wasn’t working with Shonee. Instead, we lost my gracious inspiration, who forgave my years of stalking in desperation of gaining his talent by osmosis and came to Australian Survivor ready to play with charm, kindness and a little bit of drama (RIP, Sharni). Instead, he was cast out from the alphas – let’s just take a pause to read into that however you want – and never really got his footing in the game.
I pulled him in for a massive hug and told him how heartbroken I was that he couldn’t win over Shonee and join the Villains to control the game post-merge. Because if there is one thing we can tell from watching thus far, it is that the Spice Girls are unmatched at this point and the alphas will soon be in trouble. In what I like to think is revenge for the way they treated the man that gave us the name Meat Tray alliance. Oh the other thing I am concerned about – though wisely didn’t tell Ben – is that doughnuts, like pizza, are a cursed food for reality contestants since Jordie’s were followed by a piping hot Benjamin Crullaw. So I think I may have cursed his chances, which just fucking sucks TBH.
These fancier cousins of doughnuts are the perfect way to honour my personal hero. Particularly since he kindly dropped the stalking charges to allow me to provide culinary comfort for the broader cast. Crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, with a heavy coating of cinnamon sugar? Like any time I spend with Ben, I am in heaven.
Benjamin Crullaw Serves: 2 amazingly talented Ben’s who are destined for best friendship. Forever.
Ingredients 100g butter, cubed 250ml water 170g flour 3 eggs sunflower oil, for frying 1 cup raw caster sugar ¼ cup ground cinnamon
Method Combine butter and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and beat aggressively with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes – this is like making profiteroles, ok? – or until it starts to come away from the sides.
Remove mixture from the heat and transfer to a stand mixture. Using a paddle attachment, beat the dough on medium, adding the eggs one at a time, waiting until the mixture has completely come together before adding the next egg. Spoon mixture into a piping bag with a 12mm star nozzle and pipe the dough into 8cm rings onto a lined baking sheet, pressing together at the ends to join.
While they rest a little, place about 10cm of oil in a large, deep saucepan and heat to 175C and combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Once at temperature, carefully add a couple of doughnuts and cook, turning a couple of times, for about 10 minutes, or until golden and browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel for a minute or so before tossing in the cinnamon sugar.
Repeat the process and then devour, like the besties you are.