40 DAYS, ONE TRUCK, 16 CONTESTANTS, who will be SOLE SURVIVOR?!

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It’s no volcano, but baby steps, Matty!

Kiwi friend Simon joins me to recap week 1 of the inaugural season!

EPISODE 1: Day 1-2

Lou gets the honour of receiving the FIRST Survivor NZ confessional!! Matt asks anyone to raise their hand to say, YEAH, I’m a villain! And superfan Dee raises it dead quick. Not sure why she would want to put a quick target on her back like that, and if i were Tom I’d put my hand back down quick smart! Army man Tony thinks he’ll be the next Richard Hatch in being a provider to the tribe; we’ll soon see.

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Eyyyy Matt!!

And the game begins… NOW! The tribes are split by Matt, very diplomatic, and the first challenge gets underway. There are two boats in the water with camp stuff, fruit, rope, machetes etc and the tribes have X minutes to grab as much stuff they can. Everything returned to their mat they get to keep. On top of that, dig under some rocks for a key to the secret rice box and you’re set!! Everyone has their job to do and are quickly at work. Who’s the smartest one of all?? MA GIRL IZZY! Not sure if she’s watched Pearl Islands, but she pulls a sneaky sneaky Rupert by stealing items from the other tribes mat!

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Izzy steals and keeps watch.

Time’s up! And Hermosa realise they got shit all!! I mean, Mogoton even stole their nice statue! I love Barb and Dee btw.

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“I’ve got a squished melon; I’m alright!!”

Izzy feels bad and gives them a knife; Lee says no and throws it back! Woah dude.

MOGOTON CAMP. Tony is the clear leader and steps up to the plate; typical army man! And Avi is right, he doesn’t mind Tony being the leader as it takes the heat off him. Being an ‘alpha male’, having Tony around makes you look great!

Tony digs his own toilet hole making some sexist comment about how the girls will get lost in the bush. Oh em gee! And who ends up digging the shitting hole? Tom. Poor Tom.

Hannah catches dinner!!

Shay: “Nah, more like an entree ey!”

Hannah and Shay think Tom is a strategic threat, and I couldn’t agree more. He seems shady AF. Which means, I do like him. hahaha. I must say, I find most of these castaways very likeable! And Hannah, Shay and Izzy form an initial Charlies Angels alliance.

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Never trust a guy in a bucket hat.

And just as I predicted, Hannah is seen as the ‘weak’ player for being a bigger gal. Not cool. Shay calls on her homeboy Sala and he tells her Tom wants to target Izzy, WHAAT!? Shay, you cannot go against the girls!! And suddenly it’s between Hannah or Izzy.

HERMOSA CAMP. Dee’s inner super fan comes out and wants to get the shelter up and running like she knows what she’s doing. I love how she mentions how she has planned this since she found out Survivor was coming to NZ and how she was going to become a ‘nicer’ person for the game! Dee, Shannon and Georgia go for walkies and the latter two don’t trust Dee at all! With the way she carries herself, I’m not sure I would either!

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Dee puts on her charm for the girls…

Cue Georgia blatantly flirting with Mike. AHH! Georgia, calm it down, Lee is watching!

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I bet Georgia has a ripper Bend and Snap!

Mike tells Nate he doesn’t like Villains… who are you?!?! Please tell me you didn’t root for the Heroes tribe in HvV!! Mike wants to work with Nate… little does he know that the girls want to shut that alliance down quick! Shannon doesn’t want the ‘OLD PEOPLE’ in her alliance, no way! It’s gonna be a tough trot for both Nate and Barb.

Mike throws Dee off by getting her to turn on Barb. Dee agrees she doesn’t need a mummy on Survivor. Aww, love ya Barb!

MOGOTON CAMP. Shay, you so shady!! And Izzy tries to sell voting out Tom to Sala. Yikes. I really like Sala, even though he talks about being loyal and playing with honour, etc, etc, he does have interesting traits about him.

Seriously, no one knows what’s going on as they head to tribal… or so they say.

TRIBAL COUNCIL – MOGOTON

Can I just say that I think Matt Chisholm has done a fantastic job for his first tribal council. After watching I even forgot it was his first tribal cherry pop and it just felt natural. Not everyone will agree, but I feel he navigated it very well for a newbie. And didn’t push anything when it wasn’t needed. Also, Matt ‘tallied’ the votes, not ‘counted’; take note Jono P! The votes are read and I ALMOST DIE when Matt opens the parchment papers, why do they look like I made paper hot dogs?! OMG!

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The voting paper fold; Survivor New Zealand’s legacy.

Poor Hannah, she was judged by her looks right off the bat, which is what we all saw coming. She actually didn’t do anything wrong, but be herself. In my cast assessment I thought she would be strong physically and mentally, and I believe I am right in those aspects. She will be a force on Redemption Island!! Hannah-7, Izzy-1.

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TRIBAL COUNCIL – HERMOSA

Nate is livid that they were ROBBED at the first challenge. Georgia, I think you are SOOOO innocent, so precious. I don’t believe you love everyone though! [Halfway through this tribal my hubby yells out, why are we watching a New Zealand show?! Rude as, bro!] Shannon didn’t know she was playing Heroes v Villains this season… Makes it exciting doesn’t it 😉

Matt questions Dee on raising her hand to be the villain, she backs up her case on why she did. Unfortunately, this hand raise caused too much of a stir for the rest of the tribe. Still unsure where Dee’s charming side is, but I gotta say as a fellow Survivor ‘super’ fan, I do like her! The castaways vote and it is so clear to me that the voting urn is so fucking small!! No wonder they have to fold the paper weird! The votes are read and Dee is sent packing. Dee-7, Barb-1.

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Yada yada, both tribes make fire with their flint… Although ol’ Tones won’t let anyone have a go at making fire.

HERMOSA CAMP. OMG, I think Jak is hilarious, albeit me thinking he wasn’t in his initial cast interview. More jokes, please! The rotting fruit was SO DISGUSTING. And awesome at the same time!! Shannon is enjoying the ass tasting fruit. I love how they just kept eating it.

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Georgia’s got her eyes on you too, fruity!

MOGOTON CAMP. Morning time and it already looks like Izzy’s grave site. LORDY!

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Shay, you’ve come up with some great one liners so far, but your one about Izzy takes the cake.

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“Izzy’s a pretty girl, but right now she looks like crap!”

Lou is so diplomatic and friendly and is legit concerned about Izzy, BECAUSE THEY’RE FAMILY. My poor Izzy… even my other fave Avi is concerned about her welfare! Only Tony confesses he made the wrong decision in keeping her around :O

Side note: New Zealand went all out with a cheap box from the Reject Shop to collect tree-mail from.

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REDEMPTION ISLAND

WHYYYYYYY?! If you know me, you’ll know I cannot stand Redemption Island. It takes away from tribal council vote outs; if you’re out, YOU’RE OUT! In saying this, I have gone into this season with an open mind being the Kiwi’s first and actually didn’t mind it. I just hope RI doesn’t drag on into the merge.

Does ANYONE know what Redemption Island is? Because they all pretty much think they’re competing in the arena. Cue Hannah and Dee!

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It’s a build a pole with sticks and collect keys challenge and it’s GAME ON. Dee and Hannah have a different approach to it as well. Dee goes for the build-a-sturdy-long-pole first off, where Hannah builds the pole as she goes, collecting keys when she can. Of course Hannah takes the lead on this one. Unfortunately, Dee’s strategy of making a great pole does not pay off. Hannah’s strategy of spending less time building does, and she gets to stay on RI! Congrats, Hannah!

The first Survivor NZ and THE biggest fan out in Nicaragua is the first boot. *cries* Dee’s exit is bittersweet, and I completely get where she’s coming from. Other people on the tribe looked at her strangely, but us super fans get ya, Dee!! Survivor is a huge part of her life and the one thing she loves she’s realised she’s not good at… Stay bitter, Dee! Kidding. I hope she does eventually get over the feelings.

Check out Dee’s exit interview HERE, hilarious!

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How juicy the reunion will be!

EPISODE 2: Day 3-4

REDEMPTION ISLAND. Hannah is keeping her cool and realises SHE CAN DO THIS. YES YOU CAN, HANNAH!

MOGOTON CAMP. Shay says she broke the girl code and should have gunned for Tom more in the previous vote. I’m impressed with Sala so far as well. He has spoke about being a loyal, honest guy, but he has caught on quickly that whatever you choose to do in this game you have to stick with it and live with the consequences!

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#TeamSala!!

Tom and Avi are bro-ing out on the beach, and what’s that you got there Avi? Luxury item, perhaps? Anyway, It’s really odd how people are wanting Tom out when we haven’t really seen anything that snakey from him. Maybe just the way his face looks? Strange!

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Ready for NZ Top Model tbh.

HERMOSA CAMP. Captain (Mike) Sparrow and his first mate Lee feast on delicious termites! Mmm, I’m actually ready to see a gross food eating challenge.

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And just like The Specialist, Capt’n Sparrow has his pirate mates on hand, purple parrot Jack included… hehe.

One of Captain Sparrow’s deckhands seems to be incapacitated right now…

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Oh Barb…

MOGOTON CAMP. I love how Tony trusts Shay, when she’s flipped the most! Avi feels left out as he hasn’t strategised with anyone and has no idea where he stands. The poor love!! Who knew this guy was going to become a goat. I am loving Shay’s game right now, and how Lou is happy to carry the big guy through this game. Avi’s loyalties are being tested with the potential of having to vote out his mate Tom. I would love to see Avi try and start something with Tom, but right now it just seems his fate will rest with the girls.

HERMOSA CAMP. Georgia is now flirting with Lee! It’s almost like watching a camping version of the Bachelorette NZ right now. Nate is a bit jelly Georgia isn’t flirting with him and wants her to go!

MOGOTON CAMP. Tony is doing his best to run the camp, and there’s no doubt he’s good at what he does. He’s probably the only one who knows how camp life really works! But damn, he is giving off serious Roger Sexton (Amazon) vibes and it’s getting on me nerves.

IMMUNITY CHALLENGE

Aww yeah it’s the caller and blindfold challenge! Lou and Lee are Mogoton and Hermosa’s respective callers. Gosh, hoisting the items up on the makeshift lift is proving difficult for Mogoton. My two crushes are paired up, and Izzy just grabs on to Avi and doesn’t let go! LOVE IT. Capn Sparrow cops it in the balls, ouch! Lou gets her right and other right mixed up; I’m confused too! Avi is breaking fences with his crotch! Hermosa make it back to their mat first and win Immunity! Such a close race.

MOGOTON CAMP. Tony is being blamed for losing the challenge, mainly by Tom, who couldn’t even see what was going on! Tony tells Sala and Lou that Tom needs to go, the other two want to keep him. Sala respects Tony so much!

On the other side of camp, the rest of the tribe are strategising and Avi tries to persuade them to vote for Tony and it’s great to see him step up from the last episode already.

Sala made a vow and just can’t vote Tony. No Sala, no vows allowed!! He warns Tony he may be on the chopping block. Umm, at the water well, are those actual plastic bottles disguised in bamboo?? #GASP! I digress… Tony is throwing Tom under the bus to everyone now. No one is gonna eat that up.

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TRIBAL COUNCIL

It’s pretty obvious by everyone’s answers about keeping the tribe strong and who you can trust that Tony was going home tonight. Although it’s a fact he is a strong Survivalist, his personality rubbed ‘some’ people up the wrong way. I don’t think there was much more Tony could have done 😦 Tony becomes the 2nd person voted out of Mogoton and the 3rd sent to Redemption Island. Sala voting for Tom just showed his loyalty card and I guess he still stays in Tony’s good books in case he returns. Lou voting Avi… guess it was a throwaway vote because she did say she didn’t want to vote either Tony or Tom! Tony-4, Tom-2, Avi-1.

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Tony will be out for blood at RI!

SURVIVOR SIMON SAYS

Simon

Follow Simon on Twitter

In the words of me old mate Keith Nale “Gooolly!’’ This whole Survivor NZ experience excites and overwhelms me. It makes me so unbelievably happy to see all these NZ Survivor players and characters. It overwhelms in the sense that I have never seen so many New Zealanders seemingly loving Survivor. Are they like Dee and I or are they a different type of fan. So odd that I feel overwhelmed by this. Anyways, the quality of the show, while cheaply made, is fantastic. I can utter no qualms with casting aside from the fact that I am not on it. New Zealand even has its own first Purple character. Even though he gets a mention from Captain Mike Sparrow in episode two and a small confessional in Ep 1 I feel I have barely heard from Jak. I do not expect him to stay purple for long. The guy does seem fun and from interactions of the cast with him he seems genuinely funny.

In terms of this cast they seem to be playing quite hard fast. And it appears, at least in Shay’s case, that alliances seem to shift on a dime. She seems a lot like JT in Heroes vs Villains in this respect. Her secret putting up her hand to be the villain was also one of the funnier moments of the first two episodes. I am also impressed with Sala after the this week. While ahead of the season he talked about playing a game of honour and integrity he seems to already be rethinking this. I am glad he has woken up and seems aware that in this game he wont quite be able to please everyone. Tom seems like he’s seen as a SNAKE like his Australian teacher counterpart Nick Iadanza. Honestly I do not see why unless I have missed something. Tom obviously gives off an air of distrust in some way and I feel like that is only going to affect him and others close to him like Avi. A lot of people are talking about making winner picks of Georgia, Michael, and Avi. However all those three I worry a little bit. Avi seems to be trying to keep around Tom who can only taint his game. Georgia seems to be popular because she is building bonds with the young men in her group. I feel she is at serious risk of being seemingly playing the flirt game, ala Alexis Maxwell, Misty Giles. The older alliance would target her before they target the young men. Mike I am worried for in case they do go for one of the men. Shannon is one winner pick others are coming up with; this I think I can get on board with. Although she does strike a startling resemblance to NZ politician Jacinda Adern.

OK, one huge gripe. Why in the goddamn did NZ Survivor decide to take on the widely panned Redemption Island twist. It was not too bad watching it straight at the end of the episode, but it does seem to take off some of the impact of a vote. Dee and Hannah were our first to head there (no surprises on my side to be honest). When making my cast assessment I thought Dee came across a little too much like a smug superfan and would rub people the wrong way. Hannah was a completely different story. While I think she came across well at camp I think she was a victim of first impressions. Which brings me to the other NZ Survivor twist. Another straight out of the panned US Survivor Twist book came the first day vote out. I agree immensely with Dee who seemed none too pleased by the twist in this interview. However I think she was destined for a short game anyway (sorry Dee). At least with these twist it has given a platform for Hannah to prove herself on. Also if the “Next Time On Survivor” can be taken as gospel it looks like Tony is going to unleash his best Marisa Peterson and Candice Cody impression F**K YOU MOGOTON.

Moving forward it looks like on Hermosa that Barb and Nate have their own version of Millennials vs Gen X to overcome. Hopefully neither of these two end up as the next Carl Bilanciaone vs the young person’s alliance (RIP Carl). I genuinely enjoy everyone on this tribe, however so am unsure who I would like to be sent to Redemption. I feel like the edit is kind of setting us up for Georgia or Nate. On the other side it is a lot more all over the place. With Izzy falling sick at the end of episode 1 she seemed like she was being set up as a boot; that was not to be. Shay seems all over the place. Tom seems in danger. Avi seems in danger by association. Lou and Sala are on the bottom, but they do not even seems as likely as the previously mentioned four. Lee on the other hand is flying under the radar, but not looking as if he is as eager to play as Shannon. I feel like Shannon has been the best to drift under the radar. Slaaaay Queeeen!


Blog by Lynda Olson

ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE COPYRIGHT TVNZ AND PHOTOGRAPHER SCOTT MCAULAY. THIS IS A PERSONAL BLOG AND ALL VIEWS ARE MY OWN.