The hapless castaways of Season Two of Survivor NZ.

Survivor NZ returns with literal bangs, bad rice, and mispelled names

It’s the OG, the king, the grandaddy, and it’s back – New Zealand-style. Luke Harries recaps the first episode of season two of Survivor NZ.

The first of anything is never that good. It’s like when you make pancakes and the first one is really burnt because the pan was way too hot. You eat it anyway but it wasn’t great. That was season one of Survivor NZ – a little underwhelming, but it was still better to have a local version of Survivor than to not have one at all. Last night the second season of Survivor NZ premiered on TVNZ 2 and I was bloody excited. Could this season be the perfect golden brown pancake I’ve been craving?

This time around we have new castaways, a new location in the remote jungles of Thailand, and some welcome changes to the game format. Redemption Island is gone (good riddance), hidden immunity idols are in play, and the cash prize is sweeter than ever at a quarter of a million whacks.

Exploding Rocks

Season two started out with a bang. Literally. After winning the unintentionally homoerotic mud wrestling challenge, the Khangkhaw tribe finally had flint to make a fire. I didn’t know that rocks could explode when they get hot, but it turns out they definitely can, and it is terrifying. Watching the red hot rocks shooting out of the fire has definitely put me off ever going to a Stonegrill restaurant.

Maybe the exploding rocks can become a fun prank over the rest of the season.

Matt Counts To 100

Matt Chisholm can count to 100 really fast. A truly astounding feat of numeracy. Low-key though, I wish he had pulled the old “One, two, miss a few, ninety nine, a hundred” trick.

Overnight Rice

Without fire to cook their rice, both tribes were desperately hungry enough to prepare some “overnight rice” by leaving the raw grains to soak in cold water. On behalf of white people, I must sincerely apologise for once again massacring Asian cuisine.

Liam enjoying the hard crunch and rough mouthfeel of uncooked white rice.

Strat Chat

The strategic play was hot straight off the bat. Early on we found out that Dave and Matt were old buddies from high school looking to rekindle their bromance in a post-merge alliance, and Dylan was excited to have his first “strat chat” (yes, I totally stole that for the name of this section) with Kaysha.

Liam was stoked that no one in his tribe was out forming alliances yet. JT was stoked that he built an alliance of five over the course of an hour.

Definitely no alliances forming. Nothing to see here, Liam.

Lisa told us she wants to play up the narrative that she’s in the game to make her family proud, when actually the truth is she doesn’t give a rats ass about that! Suck it, Lisa’s family!

Lisa doesn’t care about crap like making her family proud.

Tribal Council

Tribal council is in a cave this year! The Chani tribe is trying to convince Matt that they’re one big happy family, but he isn’t buying what they’re selling. Least convincing of all is Liam who still hasn’t figured out that a “nine person alliance” in a tribe of nine doesn’t work when you have to vote someone out.

Liam is not fooling anyone, except maybe himself.

In the end, it’s “loud spirit” Jos Yos Jose who gets the boot. Look, it’s not like you can just rock up to someone on Survivor and ask them how to spell their name.

Character development.

While we’re on the topic of the voting papers, I’m totally going to claim this year’s tattered and weathered papers as a personal victory, since it looks like my impassioned complaints about the crisp papers did not fall on deaf ears. Sometimes it’s just nice to be heard.

Blindside Rating: 2/10

Jose didn’t see it coming but would it have mattered if she did? It’s never really a blindside on week one.

Chisholm-ism of the week

“Everyone is back in the drink now!” Every time someone entered the water, Matt announced that they were “in the drink”. The lake is a drink. I think even the mud is a drink. I think I need a drink.

Survivor NZ Quick Stats

18 – New castaways.

2 – Cut fingers on Karla’s hands.

1 – Machete lesson: “Really careful with the machete”. Cool tip, Franky.

100 – The biggest number you need to count to on Survivor.


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This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

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