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Pop CultureJune 3, 2018

Survivor NZ, Week 7: Farewell to two of the biggest characters of the season


Luke Harries dives deep into the drink of Survivor NZ week seven, including a shock exit and a tense mud challenge. Contains spoilers, obviously. 

Would you believe, we’ve already made it to the halfway point of Survivor NZ’s second season?! The first half has already packed in more drama, sassier villains and fresher pizzas than we saw in season one, and with the merge just on the horizon, this game is only going to get crazier. This week we marked the midway milestone with an emotional rollercoaster of an episode.

Let’s recap the questionable challenges and iffy mathematics, as we say goodbye to not one but two of the biggest characters of the season.

Kicking and Screaming

This week’s reward challenge started out like any other – the tribes rock up, Chissy shows them a couple of chickens, and the tribes hear the rules to a challenge recycled from past seasons of US Survivor. Kicking and Screaming is the name of the game this week, and it involves one tribe member holding on to a post, and two from the opposing tribe trying to pull them off, and back through the mud to the goal line.

Survivor is usually pretty good at ensuring that any challenges involving physical combat only pit men against men and women against women, and this week we see exactly why that’s a good idea. I was a bit shocked to see that Arun and Dave from Chani – two of the biggest guys in the competition – were tasked with pulling Eve from Khang Khaw off the post.

It was clear afterwards that neither Arun or Dave felt great about this; no matter how much context you put around it, at the end of the day what I saw was two big strong guys wrestling and dragging one woman through a pit of mud. The whole thing played out on screen in a pretty troubling way.

Josh thinks Dave’s muscles might be “just for looks” but either way this is a rough deal for Eve.

I was super impressed with how Eve, Arun and Dave handled the situation. Arun was pretty blunt with Matt. “That’s just crap mate,” he said. “We don’t feel good dragging females through the mud like that.” In the end, Chani made a quick decision to forfeit the challenge. Eve was in good spirits, and took it all on the chin, but honestly I think it sucks that anyone had to be put in that situation in the first place.

Adam and Dylan weren’t totally on board with their tribe’s decision. Adam thought his tribe was being “very dramatic” about the whole situation, and I really don’t think I need to explain the irony here.

I’d also like to quickly mention my gripe with the maths puzzle in the immunity challenge. The answer was wrong! If you don’t believe me, google it! Technically it works if you solve it sequentially, but you can hardly call that “primary school maths”, Matt. How will kids ever remember BEDMAS if their favourite reality TV stars aren’t expected to?

Dave struggled with the maths puzzle, but to be fair I’m not too good with fake maths either.

It really wasn’t Survivor NZ’s finest week when it came to the challenges – I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

We Farewell JT

In an unfortunate turn of events this week, we saw JT make the call to leave the game, after being unwell for about a week. In the first few weeks of the season, JT played the game hard, and he gave us the strategy and drive to win we so desperately wanted to see. I’m pretty sad to see JT go out this way. Since we didn’t get to see his highlight reel on the show, I’ve put together a few of my favourite JT moments.

Feud Update

After I went to all that trouble of making a graphic for this section last week, it looks like it’s all over for the Adam vs Dylan feud – well, at least until the reunion show.

This week we saw Adam working hard at Chani to convince the rest of the tribe to get rid of Dylan. I think Adam finally realised it’s not possible to actually blindside someone when you are constantly letting them know how much you hate them, so we saw possibly the only civil conversation ever between Dylan and Adam this week.

Adam looks almost… tolerant of Dylan. I think this is his finest performance yet.

Strat Chat

This week, Lisa headed off to The Outpost for Khang Khaw, checking yet another item off her Survivor bucket list. Going up against Dave in a puzzle challenge, it’s no surprise (sorry Dave) that Lisa managed to come out on top. Lisa won a ‘steal a vote’ advantage and, upon returning to her tribe, gave one of the worst performances I have seen in all my years watching Survivor. Even JT, in the throws of illness, managed to figure out the advantage within about 30 seconds.

Dave didn’t leave The Outpost empty handed though – the clue he found next to his puzzle led him to an immunity idol – the first truly hidden idol this season, which will give Dave a huge advantage heading into the merge next week.

Dylan seems pretty confident going into this tribal, since he really feels he’s become an honorary member of Chani. Unfortunately his tribemates don’t feel the same way, with literally no one trusting the poor guy. Going into tribal, it looked like either Matt or Dylan on the chopping block, and even with Dave and Matt’s secret bromance, it looked like it could go either way.

Tribal Council

I’m bloody glad that this is the last pre-merge tribal council, because I’m getting bored of everyone being so tight-lipped! I need drama! I need suspense! I need last-minute plan changes! Matt asks something like “Are you feeling confident tonight?” and someone replies with “you can never feel too safe at tribal” and then Matt says something like “is there a plan going into the vote” and someone will say “we’ll just have to wait and see”.

Riveting stuff.

Blindside Rating: 6.5/10

I think Dylan was genuinely feeling quite safe going into this tribal, and I still think Chani should have kept him around – Dylan was never going to win back the trust of Khang Khaw in a post-merge game, and he poses much less of a threat than Adam or Matt. It’s probably the most disappointing spot to leave – just shy of the merge. I was hoping we’d get to see Dylan pulling faces at Adam from the Jury seats for the rest of the season, but no dice.

The Adam vs Dylan saga has come to a close (for now). I will be tuning in next week with great fervour to find out who or what will be next in Adam’s firing line.

Chisholm-ism of the week

“Definitely worth a nudge” was the deeply confusing way Matt described the mystery prize of this week’s outpost challenge. I tried googling “worth a nudge” for more clarity, but all I found was a Tripadvisor review for a Newmarket cafe by a user named “Durry-357”. Based on context I gather that a “nudge” is a good thing, but really, who can be sure?

Survivor NZ Quick Stats

-34 – The correct answer to this week’s maths puzzle

8 – The number of days I’m guessing those chickens will last.

2 – The number of castaways heading home this week.

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