Australian Survivor 2019 episode 16 recap: Dismantled

Ten Network
Ten Network /

Would the Contenders put up a fight or is a two-person numbers advantage not enough for Australian Survivor 2019’s Champions to take out one of their own?

I’ve made the argument in the past that good gameplay is not necessarily entertaining gameplay. Australian Survivor 2019 has been a rollercoaster ride from start to the jury point we’re at now, and that came as a result of a poor Athletes Alliance, the Contenders flipping on themselves instead of taking out David and Luke, and people throwing challenges.

This season has been entertaining except for one or two episodes, and that’s an amazing hit rate so far. A great deal of the entertainment has come from David so far, as the Golden God has been unstoppable in the face of big threats ahead of him. The way Pia speaks of taking him out and shaking things up, however, might be the python in the grass waiting to strike.

I’ve never seen someone react so earnestly happy in the day after receiving votes quite like Lukey. The king of the jungle played up like he was a pensive, Gandalf type, but secretly the fact he could have gone home turned him into Wormtongue. Daisy posited The Godmother as the one who pulled off “a business” with her business background, but David still viewed himself as the one calling the shots.

Though David has got away with telling people how to vote condescendingly in the past, telling people to vote a certain way a day before a Tribal Council and to not talk to others about the vote pissed everyone in his alliance off. All that did was kick Janine, Pia, and Abbey into Sicko Mode as they plotted to blindside David.

The Australian Survivor 2019 producers love having Janine compare everything in the game to her business background, and now we have Pia talking about basic social skills as if nobody but her masterful acting skills could lead to convincing fake laughter. The ego-stroking was in full effect, as everyone in their core alliance talked about how they would stay strong to the Final Four.

However, with the consensus target of Shaun eliminated in the previous episode, Daisy only makes sense for David as the next to go. These discussions all happened before we even learned what the Immunity Challenge was, as players lined up to dig up a bag of balls in a rectangle of sand. Once retrieved, they needed to roll and place six balls onto a giant paddle first to win immunity.

It wasn’t as gigantic of a digging arena for the castaways as the Reward Challenge players of Kaoh Rong experienced, and not nearly as many people risked death just for the opportunity to enjoy spices. Baden was the first to find his bag, getting a head start on everyone else to learn just how difficult it is to balance balls when you’ve been starving for 34 days.

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Baden couldn’t even get one ball on before Luke found his bag and caught up to him. However, Baden quickly learned the trick to get his first two in, but Luke caught up to get four onto his paddle. All that happened before Abbey even joined in the competition as a third player, as the producers of Australian Survivor 2019 tragically misbalanced this competition.

Even with Abbey and David frantically trying to get just one ball on their paddle, it was too little, too late. Luke won his first individual immunity with ease, securing individual victory for the first time out of both of his seasons. The fact that a Final 10 challenge win had Luke suggesting it would help him get to the end was a bit ominous, as he’s had one of the most ordinary edits for being the only player in the Ten Network era to return to the show. Could he be our winner?

As the players arrived back at camp, David was quick to target Daisy, gathering players of both tribal lines to come forth with a vote split plan. In case Daisy found another idol, they would split the votes between her and Harry, but that didn’t sway the power women trio of the Champions from whipping the vote.

John, as always, seemed onboard with whoever talked to him last about changing the vote, so Pia worked her magic there. Janine used her relationship with Dirty Harry to bring him on board with their blindside plan, even though he acknowledged he placed a huge amount of trust in her. Abbey went a step too far, however, as she let Daisy know that she’s the fake vote target and to trust her.

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The problem with letting somebody know they aren’t actually going home but are still having their name thrown out there is you don’t know what could happen. Players that have been as emotional as Daisy has been in Australian Survivor are unpredictable, and the uncertainty of what she told Luke in private before Tribal Council had everyone on pins and needles.

Despite Luke’s real and hammed up cockiness winning the individual immunity, he was one of two people who didn’t know the real plan. The other was David, who was being teed up to fail by the way he threw Daisy’s name under the bus in suggesting he blew up his original alliance once the merge arrived. Everyone else seemed to be staring down at their feet and counting down the seconds until they could vote.

Two players slipped up before the voting process, however. Daisy didn’t do nearly enough legwork ahead of Tribal Council, especially when she didn’t talk to David whatsoever. The other was John, as everybody whipped their head to the right as he suggested there were, in fact, cracks forming in the foundation of the former Champions alliance. He even winked earlier in tribal, like a maroon!

Fortunately, David was overconfident in his standing, and the blindside stood. As David voted for Dirty Harry, asking him the famous question from the movie (“Do you feel lucky?”), he really should have been asking himself that question. After Daisy received zero votes and David received three (eventually, the remaining), he was sent home, opening up the game for everybody else.

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Luke continues to shine even in the face of adversity in Australian Survivor, as now he has to either assemble a new army or fall as David’s foot soldier. It was nice for David to tell Luke that he had the idol, as now he is clued into the fact that he can go treasure hunting for a trinket if push comes to shove. However, Luke is a skilled player that doesn’t have to rely on toys to survive this game in the long run.