Previously on Australian Survivor after the boys tragically removed Shonee from the jury in the surprise final non-elimination, the final four finally faced off in their final immunity challenge. Set on the same cliff face that housed the iconic moment Kirstie convinced Lee to step off his perch, they would stand in torture devices as JLP turned a crank to further extend spearheads into their back with the last one standing guaranteeing their spot in the final three. After rolling out their loved ones – featuring the iconic Duchess of Double Bay, Cara “I’ve Cooked It” Atchison – they took their places before the Olympian took out immunity, forcing the boys to turn on each other. Despite Gerry’s plea to be voted out and let George stay, the newbies held firm as Liz finally got revenge and sent George to the jury.
The next day the final three awoke to watch the sunrise before Liz spoke about how difficult it was to vote out George, despite how great she felt to have gotten revenge for the legendary Shonee. Knowing the jury was made up of only returnees, the feeling was that they will reward gameplay, despite Liz being a little nervous about the fact it was also very hero heavy. After collecting their feast from treemail, Matt spoke about how much of an honour it was to make it to the end and make his family proud. Gerry was equally surprised, thrilled to have made it to the end despite being the oldest contestant in history. He then opened up about how much the victory would mean to him, given COVID ruined his business and he could now actually repay his family and rebuild his life. Before they all panicked about getting their pitches right.
At the final tribal council everyone took their places on the relevant benches before Jonathan explained how the evening would proceed as Liz kicked off the opening statements, talking about how she came in as a physical threat and that she has proven herself week after week. Despite that, she had no experience in the game and as such, absorbed all the wisdom of George, Shonee, Simon and Jordie to sharpen her skills. She built many alliances, forged via her stellar social game, but nothing compares to the fact that she was able to bide her time before finally getting revenge and taking out George. At the toughest position, as final juror. She then doubled and tripled down on the George vote being solely her move as Matt looked on awkwardly.
And damn, she is off to a strong start.
Speaking of Matt, he spoke about how he came out here driven to win for his family by building close social bonds. He outlined all the moments he was selfless, talking about how those moves made him a perfect person to flip without being noticed. Also he won three immunity challenges like Liz, but with an extra vote to boot. While Gerry was far less polished and intense, this time keeping it brief, telling everyone he is the oldest to ever play and he was thrilled to buck the trend of becoming a first boot. He fought through an injury and being deemed disposable, which ultimately led to him changing up his game and focusing on revenge against the Heroes. And well, he rode George to the end as his partner. And you best believe, he never missed when casting a vote.
We flipped over to the jury where Sam congratulated everyone on making it to the end before asking how Liz was proactive, with her articulating that she had to hit the ground running to simply survive against returnees. She then powered through the swap phase, building new alliances and then dominating at the merge. Simon then asked Gerry how he had control throughout the game, with him explaining you can’t succeed in this game by yourself and as such, he was steering the ship with George and while everyone looked sceptical, George confirmed it was true. Speaking of George he then congratulated them on making it to the end, asking Liz and Matt to articulate which move they made in the game that wasn’t instigated by him. Matt quickly tried to take ownership of getting him out, which Liz promptly shut down, telling him that a decision after the immunity challenge isn’t equal to her biding her time after the Shonee vote until it was the right time to strike. At final four, when she knew he would be vulnerable.
Matt then tried to say he considered working with Simon after the Hayley vote but ultimately didn’t, which TBH, doesn’t matter as it didn’t happen. Which is exactly what George told him, as he scolded him for not actually being able to name one, reiterating that he’d love to vote for him if he can name something. Liz then jumped in, because lol, telling George that there were many moments that she and Shonee spent time working behind the scenes to sneakily turn the tide against him, using saving Flick at the Stevie vote as an example as she continued to knock the question out of the park.
Hayley then asked Gerry if there was anything he regretted in his game, with him saying he doesn’t have any regrets and that he is proud of the game he played. He spoke about the 30 year age gap between him and the rest of the cast, and how he invested so much time in overcoming having nothing in common with anyone, leading to Sam patronising him about being terrible with human interaction. Which is a bit of a lol, given who it is coming from. Shaun then jumped in to say that he and David only spoke footy because it was their job, ripping Gerry for never taking an interest in him, pointing out that he has many things in common with Gerry, like hiking, however Gerry just never bothered to ask.
Queen Hayley tried to get things back on track, asking them why they deserve to win, with Gerry talking about how the game gave him a new lease on life and whether they vote for him or not, he is a winner. Liz meanwhile spoke about how she has played an interesting, exciting game and was scrappy as she played from the bottom, being the last woman, last newbie and last Villain standing and she is ready to take out the crown that she rightly deserves. Given she expertly straddled the line between Heroes and Villains. While we got nothing from Matt, which is kinda sucky for him, given it makes it abundantly clear he isn’t winning.
With that the jury voted before JLP wheeled out the final three’s loved ones and got to work counting the votes, with Liz taking it out unanimously. Like an absolute boss. I pulled Gerry aside to congratulate him on a game well played, because despite being shut out by the jury, there is no denying that he really played the game as George’s partner. Despite a lot of those instances – the Stevie vote in particular – being a calculated move on George’s part to let him make the choice, Gerry more than Matt had agency throughout the game. Which more than earned him a piping hot celebratory Almond & Cherry Geltch Danish.
It feels kind fitting that both Gerry and George were bequeathed danishes on their first attempts at the crown, though I would argue Gez got the better version. Sticky, sweet and oh so moreish, this cherry and almonds are the perfect pairing to toasting the great man.
Almond & Cherry Geltch Danish
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
350g cherry jam
¾ cup toasted slivered almonds, plus extra to top
1 ½ teaspoon raw caster sugar
½ cup icing sugar
2 tsp milk
¼ tsp almond extract
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Place the puff pastry on a lined baking sheet and spread the cherry jam down the centre third of each, leaving a two centimetre border at the top and bottom, before sprinkling the almonds on top of each.
Use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts, along both long sides of the pastry, cutting until you almost hit the preserves. Starting at the top, fold the strips over the filling, alternating sides until you make it to the end, before pinching to seal.
Combine the egg and sugar with a tablespoon of water and whisk to double. Brush over the top of each and sprinkle with the extra almonds. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove and leave to rest for five minutes.
Finally, combine the icing sugar, milk and almond extract in a jug and drizzle over the warm danishes, before devouring.
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