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
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
250g sour cream
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
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
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.
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