Australian Survivor 2019 episode 20 recap: Take me back to the start

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Australian Survivor 2019 episode 20 shows the audience what happens when you introduce a twist so late in the game; it flops in the worst ways imaginable.

This week, we’ve seen Daisy and Simon voted out, although one elimination was more shocking than the other. We’ve reached Day 41 in Australian Survivor 2019, and with Exile Beach in play and just seven players remaining after the challenge to get back into the game, it was hard not to feel like both players were dead men and women walking, no matter who won.

That led us to the Dual Challenge classic, with players standing on a balance beam while using a long iron pole to navigate discs through a spring-balanced maze. Once players moved their discs through the maze, they needed to place it on a platform at the top, with the first player to stack all 10 discs winning the right to return to the game.

Simon started out with a rush to the top, while Daisy began with a “slow and steady wins the race” approach. Simon’s style was too rushed, as both players swapped styles with one another. Once it got to seven discs apiece, that’s when we started to see some serious lean in the stacks for both players. It was at Daisy’s eighth disc and Simon’s ninth disc, respectively, that both players’ stacks dropped, effectively resetting the challenge.

As we rushed through both players’ attempts to re-stack their piles, Daisy was the first one to get their tenth disc onto her platform. Even though she did place it down, her stack dropped before the three-second limit, opening the door for Simon to place his tenth right behind her and secure his spot back in the game. Poor Daisy even had to burn her buff; something nobody else in the game has to do! Everyone else has an awesome souvenir she will never have.

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Simon’s return to the game remained true to his character, not wanting to talk to anyone while going about his business. He is playing harder with his second chance within Australian Survivor 2019, as he started to go the full Stanley Yelnats route by digging up a bunch of holes around camp in his search for a Hidden Immunity Idol.

Despite Janine telling lies to players all season about who the target is for each vote she decides, she’s fairly upset with Abbey, saying that she blatantly lied to her. Both Pia and Janine understand that they are on the bottom of the tribe, so both are gunning for immunity to give them each their second of the season.

Today’s Immunity Challenge was another test of patience, dexterity, and determination. It was the “hold up a platform with a rope while stacking blocks to spell I-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y” challenge, and the Australian Survivor players are both whipping through it and keeping a better pace with mistakes than their US counterparts.

Abbey, Luke, Baden, and Pia were the ones in control of their challenge, but those last two were the ones to drop their stacks coming back from placing their “I” blocks. This opened the door for Luke and Abbey to secure a win for their new alliance, but Abbey dropped her stack approaching the final block. This gave Luke the opportunity to go slow and steady with his final block, and with Simon rapidly chasing after being a block behind, Luke crawled backward to secure his second immunity win of the season.

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More important than Luke winning immunity is that Simon, Pia, and Janine weren’t guaranteed safety. This effectively meant that barring Simon finding an idol, we saw the efforts of the week’s previous episodes doubled down and repeated in this last hour of the week, dragging down the rapid-fire pace we had been seeing in Australian Survivor 2019 up until this point.

I’m shocked that Janine and Pia didn’t quite see through Abbey’s betrayal until she started talking to Luke alone, as they finally saw the extent of their situation. It meant having to scramble and appease at differing times, as Luke and Abbey’s plan to pile votes onto Simon as a tribe then bring the Champions back into a 4-2 lead at the Final Six was agreed to in passing.

However, Janine was not willing to give up without a fight. She pulled Dirty Harry in trying to get him to flip against Abbey, stating that although they couldn’t get Luke, Abbey was the next best bet. Honestly, it was the worst attempt at the show trying to show the possibility of more than one target while laying all the logic for Simon going home on the table.

Luke and Abbey were dead on with their read, knowing that Simon wouldn’t spend 12 hours searching for an idol if he had one. They recognized that Simon was second in the last Immunity Challenge and is a challenge beast in general, so he was too big of a threat to stay. Tribal Council was effectively verbal pitter-patter because of it, with players talking about empty platitudes about the future of the game.

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Before the vote, Jonathan asked the tribe if they were voting with their head or their heart, which made me glad that Kellyn Bechtold, as sweet as she is, wasn’t there to give the unnecessary “gut” answer and diatribe to follow. Instead, we saw Simon go home in a unanimous 6-1 vote. As ho-hum as this hour was, it does set up an impressive Final Six. Each one has a case to make to win Australian Survivor 2019 outright should the game fall their way; it’s a great thing to see.