Previously on Australian Survivor seven groups of castaways were marooned across Samoa, Fiji, Cloncurry and Charters Towers – well, after a terrible season in the Great Australian Bite and an ok season of celebrities – ready to battle each other and the elements to prove themselves. And in doing so, became heroic competitors or iconic villains. After a supercut of past maroonings and some star moments of our returnees old and new, we cut back to where it all began in Samoa ready to put good and evil to the test. Despite the fact Sandra kinda already proved that villains are always more likely to take out victory.
We first got a glimpse of our Heroes as they wandered through the bush with Shaun reminding us he is a total zaddy and Hayley hoping good will triumph like it did on her first season, before jumping in the Season 1 trucks that were left in the bush like a cast off from Jurassic Park. They were joined by my personal hero Benjamin Law and AFL’er David Zaharakis before we met Rogue Rubin who is an animal activist and all around badass. Mateship King Sam returned to drop his fave word alongside Nina, daughter of aforementioned Villain Queen Sandra and Flick, who tragically lost her mother during filming of Brains V Brawn and ugh, I’m crying just remembering how heartbreaking it all was.
We traded the good for evil where we reconnected with Jordie and the absolute Queen and saviour Shonee who was, is and always will be an absolute icon. I. Con. Hook the Shontent directly into my veins. She is here to fight against heroes and inflation and is ready to be cheeky and have fun and again, I love it. Simon and Jackie parkoured on to the truck alongside real estate agent Fraser who is ready to lean into stereotypes but let’s be honest, I’m only here for Anjali, former real housewife, when it comes to villain newbies. She is the moment and I love it, though let’s be honest, that probs just cursed her to become the first boot. We then got our first taste of George’s return to hog airtime, leaning into his self-appointed kingdom and dropping his key catch phrases and ugh, am I going to like it?
Almost as much as scandalous beauty queen Sarah who iconally wants Miss Greece to know if she had pushed her down the stairs, she wouldn’t have gotten up.
The two trucks converged on a narrow street before pulling up with Jonathan – ahhh, swoon town – along the beach at the site of their epic first challenge. But first, we had some introductions to get to! Jonathan doubled down on the characteristics of heroes and villains before George explained he is not actually a rulebreaker. Oh and he has been working out and got a bad immunity idol tattoo. Hayley immediately got shady, mocking said tatt – sweet baby George, no – and ready to get the job done. Again. We met lifeguard Matt who is like a human puppy before Queen Anjali spoke about how boring heroes are and that they are set up for a fall given they’re already on top. And well, she is ready to get the taste of hero blood and come out on top.
And again, Anjali came here to feed us and I love that mother is mothering so hard.
After collecting their buffs from Jonathan he explained that their first reward challenge would be rather simple. In front of them were a field of supplies and each tribe would simply grab what they need and take it to the top of a tower before going and collecting a torch at the end of the course, with the first tribe to light a fire getting to keep everything they collect and flint, while the losers would start with nothing. Despite saying it was rather simple, as soon as the challenge kicked off young Matt went from human-puppy to scrappy fighter, trying to tackle all the villains and stopping them from collecting anything. While the rest of the Heroes powered ahead, working in unison and being generally heroic, Simon likewise leant into his tribe designation, climbing the platform and stealing everything the heroes placed.
Obviously that annoyed Sam – that is NOT mateship, mate! – who climbed up on the tower to stop him and save what they were collecting before Summer Bay icon Sharni Vinson stepped up – geddit? I have so many jokes lined up – to help him given Simon was crafty. While that battle was playing out aloft, Jordie and Matt were still wrestling – swoon – over supplies, with Jordie taking the time to get to know him and welcome him to the game. Which honestly, is pretty damn heroic for a villain like him. The Heroes continued to pull away as the Villains were comically messy, my favourite moments being when Liz tossed wood at the wall and Anjali getting rice thrown at her head. As Shaun ventured out to grab the torch and light the Heroes way to victory, Simon gave one last burst of entertainment as he ran interference by grabbing him off the platform. Sadly though it was only a slight delay, as Shaun quickly jumped up and secured the win.
We followed the Villains back to camp where the mood was decidedly dejected, with Anjali in particular annoyed by the fact the Heroes predictably won. As they settled in, Jordie asked everyone to do introductions, with Michael coming out as a journo while Anjali spoke about her extensively impressive career. Jordie was much more impressed, however, with Mimi who is in luxury car promotions, while Shonee was smitten with Liz the Olympian. Talk quickly turned to the fact that Simon is a chippy and as such, the tribe asked him to pull together a shelter while he opened up to us about knowing he can’t hide his skills, so was planning to be helpful and humble. Despite being good at everything. Sadly though he already was growing frustrated by people not helping out around camp as Shonee laughed with Anjali about having no skills in construction.
That being said, it was George already working on building relationships that was drawing Simon and Jordie’s ire rather than our Queens. Despite quickly falling in love with Shonee, George decided his best ally would probably be Jackie given she is a poker player and as such, knows how to play hard and fast. He then told Anjali how much he loved her on Dateline before roping her in to form a tight little threesome. And just like that, George is lining up allies. Or you know, painting a target on Anjali and Jackie’s backs. Either or, depending how the rest of the tribe feel about him.
Over at the far more stocked Heroes camp, the tribe plopped their bounty under the flag with sweet Matt particularly thrilled to be so Survivor rich. Benjamin suggested they go around and share with Paige opening up about living on a cattle station, David mentioned he was fired from the AFL and Queen Sharni tragically didn’t name drop Irene. Which to me, is a bit of a butter fingers of the mind move, darl. Being Heroes, they all rallied around to get camp sorted with Gerry ominously reminding Hayley to be humble in victory (he is totally orchestrating her blindside in the future, right?). She opened up about being the obvious first target and how nervous it makes her, so as such, she got to work charming the hell out of people. She bonded with Gerry and Matt while Shaun quietly got into Rogue’s ear about Hayley being a winner amongst them and as such, a massive target.
Unaware that he was working against her, Hayley calmly planned to find division and exacerbate it to save herself. And well, Rogue was making it a super easy job for her. She told Gerry she has been closer to death than him since a lion biting her butt is worse than a plane crash, checking whether Shaun was cut or uncut – babe, we love all dicks, who cares – and then the kicker, telling Nina she didn’t need to explain U.S.A. to her like an idiot AND that she is more African American than her, since she lives part time in the US. Which begs the question, was there a way that those interactions could have been edited to make it sound that bad because I don’t even know how you could Frankencut normal sentences to say those things. In any event, congrats Hayley for breaking the returning winner curse – love you Shane and Jericho! – Rogue has your back!
But seriously, looping back, cut or uncut, Shaun can sit on my face so just no, Rogue. He is my hero.
Despite the lack of anything, things were pretty swell at Villains camp the next morning as Jordie tried his darndest to get fire going as the tribe rallied around cheering him on. While they weren’t having much success, it was bringing them together. Well, except for Michael who excused himself to go hunting for an idol by himself. Sadly though, he wasn’t as stealth as he thought he was, getting caught by Jordie who also pointed him out to Mimi. After we learnt more about his career as a journalist, Michael bonded with Stevie and assured him he will stop at nothing to win and well, unless they are aligned, that isn’t the best pitch.
Michael then approached Shonee and Fraser to build his alliance before throwing out George as the potential first target for their tribe. Before even losing immunity. After assuring Fraser that Liz is good, she dropped by and agreed George was super annoying and as such, she would be willing to get rid of him. But more importantly, she was just keen because he is annoying, nothing else. Like a damn Queen. While Michael rallied his numbers, Jordie quietly watched how intense he was and decided he needed to go ASAP. After Simon freed himself from Michael’s grasp, he caught up with Jordie and the duo agreed that Michael is just as much of an issue as George. Though the question was whether George could be taken out later if they don’t strike immediately making use of Michael and his numbers before cutting him too. Since Simon learnt George couldn’t be left for later in their first season.
The tribes came together with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would race through a series of obstacles of mud and sticks before searching through coconuts for a hammer which they would use to knock rungs into a ladder. They would then ascend said ladder and throw additional hammers at tiles with the first tribe to crush all five taking out immunity.
The Heroes got out to an early lead while Jackie and George were pulled from the course on the first obstacle to see the medic, after landing awkwardly in the mud. While the rest of her tribe tried to close the gap, Zaddy Shaun demolished their sticks and made life easy for the rest of his tribe. Somehow the Villains battled on as the tribes drew neck and neck searching through the coconuts before the Heroes took the lead back on assembling their ladder. Wait, no, Jordie was a boss as he assembled the ladder and took the lead for the Villains before Shaun swapped out for Sam and evened things up again. Both tribes were neck and neck throwing the hammers at the tiles, knocking them out one at a time before the Heroes once again pulled away and narrowly secured immunity for their tribe.
After the Heroes exited the Villains learnt that they would be two people down for the afternoon scramble as Jackie and George were taken to the hospital to receive further testing. Which either dooms them or helps them dodge the bullet, depending on whether the tribe wants to turn their attention elsewhere just in case the duo aren’t options.
Fast forwarding a little bit, after a quick X-ray at hospital it became very clear that Jackie at the very least would be unable to continue in the game due to a fracture in her collarbone and as such, I hightailed it over to cheer her up.
Well, after I stupidly pulled her in for a massive hug and made her fracture just that little bit more painful. After apologising with some pain meds, I gently grabbed her by the hand and told her how heartbroken I was to see her return cut short so damn soon. Jackie had such a spark in her first season and in her brief time out in Samoa, it was clear she was back and ready to take it all the way. Though sadly Australian Survivor is going to Australian Survivor with some brutal challenge set pieces, which tragically cost her the game. Though I did assure her that like Shonee, her third time will be for the win. Which perked her up, alongside a piping hot batch of Jackie Glaziered Muffins.
Yes, yes, these are clearly Halloween muffins, but the season was filmed around the holiday, so it made sense to us. Plus, they taste perfect, so who cares, you know? Sticky and spicy with a gooey, sweet glaze – remember, Jackie’s exit came early so I didn’t get to cool them as much as required – they are a decadent cake to eat away the *technically* first boot pain.
Jackie Glaziered Muffins
140g butter, plus extra for greasin’
1 cup golden syrup
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 cup Guinness
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
2 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups sour cream
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease some skull muffin tins with a little bit of butter and flour. Or, you know, a Texan muffin tin if you don’t want to be festive.
Combine the butter, syrup, sugar, Guinness and spices in a pan and melt over a low heat. Once shiny and combined, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda, in a gentle fashion, until smooth. Next, whisk in the sour cream, followed by the eggs until smooth.
Divide the batter between the skulls, giving the pan a little tap on the bench to work through any bubbles. Place the pan on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If using a textured pan like the skulls, you’re better off cooking a little further to leave a drier crumb to make it easier to turn out.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the muffins once completely cooled, or if going for the melting in the Samoan heat until the skulls get a macabre Halloween vibe, leave them a little bit warm.
Either way, devour with villainous glee.
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