Previously on Survivor New Zealand, two tribes were abandoned in the wild of Thailand with one flourishing – well, except for Dylan – and the other floundering. Like Dylan. Thankfully for both him and Chani, Host Matt decided to mix things up and switch the tribes meaning High School besties Dave and Matt were reunited on new Chani, as were Arun and Josh who aligned at The Outpost. Sadly we didn’t see much of those coming into play as Khangkhaw lost immunity – despite Tess throwing herself into it, amirite (I know it was reward, JK Kimora) – and poor Liam was felled by a mis-played idol and my pizza curse.
Back at camp Eve shared their extremely creative plan with the idol, by playing the idol on herself as they decided she was most vulnerable. Next level game-play, no? Watch your back Cirie Fields because we’ve got a new idol whisperer. Anyway Brad was actually feeling grateful as had she played it correctly, he would have been out on his arse. But she didn’t and so now the tribal council not only got rid of a Chani but it also solidified the alliance between he, Tess, Tara and Lisa.
The next day we checked in with new Chani where Dylan was making the most of his emancipation from Khangkhaw by chatting to Renee, while Josh and Matt looked glorious stand-up raft-fishing. While Dylan was trying to make inroads with the Chani’s, the boys decided to lock the vote in on Dylan … without realising he is kind of the swing vote. While Josh’s confidence seemed to signal a blindside, he shared his cancer journey with us and how watching the first season got him through treatment and getting on the show was a goal. I’m not crying, you’re crying – he is perfect and I now want him to win.
Back at new Khangkhaw Eve was thrilled to have gotten rid of the idol while JT rightly wished that it hadn’t been misplayed and instead they had a fighting chance in their new tribe. Tess was thrilled with the new tribe dynamic, as it brought her and Brad closer to Tara and Lisa by having two new Dylan’s to ostracise. To continue the smug, Brad questioned Eve’s strategy in sticking by JT when it was clearly between the two of them for the next boot … however he pulled it back in surmising that Lisa is the most likely person for them to pull over and as such, he knows to keep her close. Meanwhile on Chani, Dylan was no longer spending as much time alone instead trying to bond with Arun and Dave about snatching the numbers and, I assume, be their hero bay-ba. That scheming didn’t go unnoticed with Adam who continued to swing between loveable zaddy with the good hair and nasty bully. Sadly for Dylan, Arun and Dave weren’t trusting Dylan though appreciate that it is time for them to take out one of the big boys with his help before taking him out.
Matty Chis arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would be required to swing out to a raft and untie planks which they use to build a bridge back to shore before completing a puzzle. Given it is for a shit tonne of pizza everyone is thrilled … begging the question, DON’T THEY KNOW THEY ARE CURSED?! Brad and Eve got out to an early lead for Khangkhaw however the Chani boys quickly closed the gap and arrived back at the pontoon just in front. Sadly for Khangkhaw Dylan and Dave made quick work of the planks and extended their lead and had the puzzle done and secured victory moments after JT and Lisa started the puzzle.
As Chani exited to feast on pizza, Adam shared that Brad told them not to lose the next immunity challenge which between that foreshadowing and the curse, you know they’re going to do. Before we could explore that any further the tribe smashed the food, moaned and made guttural noises. If they won’t so gross about the entire thing, I probs would have been aroused TBH. Breaking from the burps and laboured breathing, Dylan shared how relieved he was that Liam left the game last week as it showed the Chani members that he’s been working on that he is their only hope for survival in the next few tribal councils.
Things were far less jovial back at Khangkhaw where they instead sat down to some peanut butter sandwiches, much to Brad’s heartache. And JT’s heartache at Brad’s heartache which makes I’m kind of here for. Before I could see where their love affair went, treemail arrived and the two tribes were tasked with sending someone to The Outpost. Tara was selected for Khangkhaw while queen Renee was sent from Chani, thanks to Arun’s killer riggery.
Tara and Renee met Matt to discover they’d be competing in a memory challenge for the opportunity to loot the opposite camp. Both women lasted six rounds before seven proved unlucky for Tara, handing Renee the chance to be this season’s queen of looting, similar to the iconic and GOAT Sandra Diaz-Twine. Renee, Tara and a flood of Tara’s tears immediately went to Khangkhaw and shared that Renee would be taking two of their items. Going straight into Queen SDT mode, she snatched their tarp off the shelter and took all of their coffee. While Khangkhaw were glad not to lose Tara it seemed Brad would have rathered her go if it meant he got to keep his coffee. Meanwhile over at Chani the boys were thrilled to see Renee return to camp with their stolen loot and immediately put the fire on for a coffee, while Adam and Josh wandered away to plot about getting rid of Dylan. Or at the very least, blocking him swaying over the Khangkhaw. Sadly it brought back mean Adam and that makes my boner sad. Josh then shared his intel from Brad at the challenge that Khangkhaw had flushed the idol and used that as their in with the OG Chanis.
He quickly approached Dave about splitting the vote between Dylan and Renee as his back-up, which sadly backfired on Josh as everyone loves Renee. As they bloody should. Obviously Dave took the information back to Renee and Arun, with the queen quickly pointing out that the boys were not thinking strategically and this is their chance to even the playing field … by throwing the challenge. And while I normally hate that, the fact that queen Renee suggested it and is planning a major power move, I will look the other way.
With that Matt arrived to lord over said immunity challenge where the tribes were required to spell immunity using blocks … on a disc suspended by ropes held by the rest of tribe. Which is the perfect challenge for even just one person to throw, though sadly Chani got out to an early lead. Thankfully they mastered dropping on the second last letter, leaving Brad the chance to … nope, Khangkhaw dropped too (for their second time). Again Chani took out the lead, again Renee, Dave and Arun managed to topple the blocks just before victory leaving Eve the chance to secure immunity for Khangkhaw.
Chani returned to camp with Dave feeling bad about throwing the challenge, though not enough to be thrilled about his opportunity to shake up the game. Both Josh and Matt appeared salty about the loss, though seemed none the wiser about throwing the challenge and instead locking in a plan to take out Dylan. They then approached Dylan and the three of them locked in Dylan’s choice – that he had no plan on honouring – in taking out Arun. Adam tried to smear Dylan to Dave, Arun and Renee however that appeared to be all for nought. Adding another layer of intrigue, Josh and Arun joined together to discuss tribal with Josh quickly spilling Dylan’s fake plan and hoping their Outpost alliance would hold. This was enough for Arun to suggest Matt gets the boot instead, however Dave desperately tried to deflect that since they were best friends in high school.
Dave and Arun then started to get nervous about making a moving, since that will automatically put a target on their backs for the remainder of the game. Thankfully Queen Renee was on the scene and made quick work allaying their fears and explaining that Dylan is screwed without them and has no other options. And since they threw the challenge to get rid of one of the top dogs, they need to take out one of the top dogs. Not to be outdone on the control side, Dylan went to Matt and played up his loyalty and gushed about being the swing vote which left me hella confused.
At tribal council Matt quickly got to work rubbing salt in Renee and the boys wounds about their loss and questioning whether anyone threw the challenge. While Dylan deflected the question, Matt wasn’t buying it and tried to push Renee to admit it. Which since she is the queen, she didn’t budge. They discussed the politics between the tribes with Josh talking about trusting the OG Chani while Dave laughed at the thought of them trusting each other. Contestant Matt they channeled Kellyn and tried to push Khangkhaw strong while on the flipside, OG Chani pretended to play defeated. Meanwhile poor Josh continued to be trusting and earnest and I dreading the thought of him being the victim when he is so damn sweet. Host Matt gave everyone the chance to give a last minute pitch which they all denied, leading to the tribe voting and – as expected – poor Josh finding himself the victim of a crushing blindside.
There is no way to dance around the fact that Josh was feeling hella salty by the time he arrived into my arms back at camp, angry that he was betrayed and handed a pass. While I felt sorry seeing such a sweet guy blindsided, it was delicious to watch – which I obvi didn’t tell him. Almost as delicious, say, as my Josh Hickfory Shortbreads.
Was I aware that hickory was a nut and anything more than a flavour? No. Do I feel stupid? Extremely so. Does that take away from how glorious these babies taste? Never.
Josh Hickfory Shortbreads
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
2 cups flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
⅔ cup hickory nuts – you could use walnuts, but I have a nut guy. Well, two – roughly chopped
Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and zest in a stand mixer on medium for about five minutes, or until so fluffy it is pulsating. Fold through the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts until just wet, before transferring to the mixer to combine for five minutes. Shape the dough into a long log, wrap in cling and transfer to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
About half an hour before you want to bake, preheat oven to 160ºC. and line a couple of baking sheets.
Slice the dough into ½ centimetre discs and place on the baking sheets leaving a couple of centimetres between them. Transfer to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until just golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before devouring. Or not. No judgement.