By James Rowland 

Instragram – @jrowl and Twitter – @jamrowl

Episode 9

Previously on Survivor New Zealand. Shay lays her “cards” on the table and Jak has a coconut on his head…

All the talk at Hermosa, is about the numbers, and having the RIGHT numbers moving forward in the game. Avi is starting to lose faith in Tom, feeling that if the tribes were to merge soon that he may not be able to regain Tom’s loyalty. Barb is also unsure of Shannon, nervous of her potential Return to the Planet of the Apes alliance.

Back at Mogotón, the Boys Club is in full effect! “The first rule of Boys Club is: You do not talk about the Boys Club.” Jak has decided the four have the beginnings of the biggest act since Flight of the Conchords – The Survivor enchilada (W)rap group. They even go as far to recreate The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover as an homage. Nice one boys.

Redemption Island Showdown

Georgia (photocredit Scott McAulay) (2)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

It’s Shay vs. Georgia in the all important duel to re-enter the game! It’s a house of cards stacking challenge and the first one to reach the mark wins! Mike tells us how eeeeaaaaasssssy the game will be if Georgia re-enters – setting Mike up for a fall here guys.

With a time limit of 30 minutes and a 3-meter limit set the challenge begins. In an absolutely neck and neck duel, Georgia takes one too many cards and loses her entire stack! Shay breathes deeply and claims the win smoothly to re-enter the game.

Georgia post challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay).jpg (8)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Georgia is absolutely gutted, she wanted nothing more than to make the merge and to fall this short is really difficult for her.

Drop Your Buffs

Feast at Casar (photocredit Scott McAulay).jpg (4)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

‘Want to know which tribe you’ll be joining Shay? Both! We are merged!’ – good one Matt.

The pre-named? merge tribe ‘Casar’ is delighted! The merge feast upon us! Where is the hidden immunity idol clue?

Jak, Shay, Avi (photocredit Scott McAulay)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Shay’s re-entry into the game has shifted the power in the game. New Mogoton v New Hermosa with Shannon as the swing.

Shay has not fallen for Tom’s strategic throwaway vote for Mike which has thrown out any possibility of Tom being a spy for the Mogotón 4. Shay has had out for Tom since Day One! This rivalry surely has to have an epic showdown at some point?

The Mogotón 4 – believing they have Shannon as a solid, agree that Tom should persuade Avi to join their side. Tom tries to have a subtle chat with his old mate and eludes to a final four consisting of himself, Avi, Jak and Barb. Avi is smart enough to see through Tom’s attempt to sway him and he knows that he has once and for all lost Tom.

Jak, Avi and Shannon have a chat about moving forward. Jak is feeling confident about Avi and Shannon and believes that they are to be trusted.

The view from the Retirement Village has never been better as Barb, Nate and Shay sit back and watch the scrambling unfold in front of them. – The wiser troupe looking over the silly kids.

It’s time for cake and eat it…three?

It’s a classic memory pattern challenge. Matt will hold up a series of pictures and the contestants must show the same pictures in order. Classic challenge.

Challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay) (2)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

AND THE REWARD – THE REWARD IS… a cake. With all the Fixins.’ Chocolate, Sugaaaar and Chochlate Icing. Worth Playing for! Thanks Jeff… I mean Matt.

Photo: CBS – Two and a Half Men

On a serious note it is a flipping cake. Please enjoy. This cake is marginally better than pillows and a sloppy bag of chocolate. This is the kind of item that typically ends a Survivor auction – not one that is a standalone reward. What’s next weeks reward? A plate of real Survivor Enchilada? (Jak would love that!) A clue to the hidden immu- Oh wait scratch that, don’t have those either. Anyway, I digress.

Eat the cake (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Mike takes out the win on the last picture when Shannon, Tom and Shay all select the wrong tile. Mike being the noble man he is states that he will select the two closest who lost to join in eating the marvellous chocolate cake. Matt reminds Mike that three people lost at the same time so he must decide, Tom assists Mike in choosing Shay and Shannon. The clear strategic decision in this scenario. 5 minutes on the clock. Survivors ready? Go!

Episode 10

Back on Casar, we are introduced to a new player on the show. Is this an intruder? His name is Lee. Lee lets us know that he doesn’t really “DO” the strategy portion of this game. I guess he missed the section that states outwit? He is more willing to do the hard work around camp to keep his position in the game. Lee bringing out his inner Ozzy here. Lee’s biggest fear in this game is losing the integrity he has built up in his real life… Why is he not working the Integrity alliance with Sala?

Lee goes for a walk (photocredit Scott MCAulay)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Shannon is having a chat with the Mogotón boys (keeping her hopes alive for a Emmy award  alive) by casually keeping up a great relationship with them. Shannon tells us that ‘It’s not the greatest position to be in the middle’ – oh but Shannon, I think it is the best position.

Shannon at camp (photocredit Scott MCAulay) (2)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Immunity Challenge

The tribe walks into the challenge area. Matt is standing next to the Immunity Necklace and it is… a KITE made of Lego?

It’s actually not, he lifts the sheet to reveal quite a fashionable number with some colour.

Mike with idol post challenge (photocredit Scott MCAulay) (2)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

The challenge is a fusion of two US Survivor classics. Balance a small ball on a disc using two ropes from increasing distances. Four castaways fall out quickly. Shannon, Mike and Barb are fighting it out on the furthest distance when a strong gust of wind comes over the challenge and Barb – who gave it a red hot crack, drops her ball. Shannon and Mike are the last two left and Mike takes it out in impressive fashion. Expect these two to be challenge beasts moving forward.

Shannon, Mike_First Immunity challenge (photocredit Scott MCAulay)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Captain Mike has won Immunity. Huzzah! But as Matt is discussing the challenge, Barb takes a sudden turn. The rest of the tribe are sent back to camp without Barb. Will she be okay?

Barb feeling unwell Survivors post challenge (photocredit Scott MCAulay).jpg (11).jpg
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Back at camp, the scramble is on. Shannon is the focal point of this vote, the Mogotón boys have full trust that she will vote with them. They work on Avi and he entertains their conversation. Mike is very confident that this six will stay together for this vote but makes it clear in the confessional that Avi is on the bottom.

Shannon and Avi talk (photocredit Scott MCAulay).jpg
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Shoutout to David Bloomberg for bringing the red herrings to my attention. Survivor New Zealand are giving us another one here, implying that Avi is entertaining the idea of flipping. Why bother, we know he has no intention. Do people truly believe he will? Shannon having the swing position is compelling enough.

Barb returns to camp! 

Nate is feeling uncertain about Shannon and Avi, loyalties are finally about to be tested.

Tribal council

Matt starts grilling the tribe, sussing out where the numbers are at the current moment. He does let the tribe know that everyone voted out from here on in will be part of the jury. Sala states that making a big move can earn respect – Will the big move theme start creeping into the season?

Sala_Tribal Council (photocredit Scott MCAulay) (2)
http://www.scottmcaulay.com

Matt reads the votes and Lee is outnumbered 6-4. Lee looks very shocked, Mike hangs his head and Jak looks somber. Lee goes from modest Ozzy to full blown Ozzy on his exit, pointing to Shannon “Better hope you don’t make it to Redemption Island.” 

Lee WILL have a chance to re-enter the game

If that wasn’t big enough of a bombshell, Matt drops another. We are having an Immunity Challenge. Right. Now. – Cut to Sala “ha ha ha… cool!”,

On The Block:

With clear lines being drawn in the sand, Jak, Tom and Mike are on the block. With the immediate challenge and vote off impending, if Mike does not win the next challenge, it looks likely he will end up on Redemption Island with his best mate Lee soon.

On The Up:

Avi correctly read Tom and while it was hard to blindside his friend, he made the right move to progress his game.

Shannon played the swing situation perfectly in terms of the Mogotón boys not seeing her vote coming towards them. I do believe she will have some damage control to do but considering her ability to smooth talk she will be able to justify her decision.

Until next week!

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