Here we are – finally! It’s the last day of Australian Survivor.
Who do you think will win? And who do you want to win?
Tonight I’m recapping as the program goes along (SA time).
Here we are and – oh my goodness – they are doing the walk of the fallen comrades! Original Survivor hasn’t done this for yonks, because so often the final three is reminiscing about people they never met. And that’s evident tonight, with a lot of “nice girl” and “what a character”. “Ah, Sammy boy,” is all Sam gets (from Lee), who follows it up with “Ah, Matt”. Yep – that was a worthwhile few minutes, although it’s nice to hear the former contestants voices again – and be reminded who some of them were.
Leel and Kristie arrive at the final immnuity challenge and, for drama, JLap meets them atop a cliff that looks like it’s made from volcanic rock, with the odd wave pounding against it to spray them.
He also reveals their loved ones are here, and this move is actually pretty annoying, because in “real” Survivor, loved ones visits are usually held around final six to eight (although not every season). I always shed a tear when the castaways realise their loved one is here and look forward to some noses getting out of joint as, inevitably, only some people get to spend time with their loved one. Usually the challenge winner gets to pick two or three other people and their love ones to accompany them on a reward, or to spend the night back at camp, and this can expose some alliances. Or it can lead to sneaky gameplay, a la Jonny Fairplay and the Dead Grandma Incident (and if you are new to Survivor, you have to YouTube that episode of Survivor: Panama).
But this is Australian Survivor so the loved ones are being brought out at a time when it really makes no difference to the game, other than to dehydrate contestants from crying so much.
Kristie’s dad is here and we know she’s watched Survivor with him since she was a kid, and he says some lovely things and we’re reminded that Kristie won only one reward the whole season, and gave up her letter from home. Lee and El get their sisters (and you have to wonder if anyone whispered “that’s my new squeeze”). We learn Lee once had major back surgery and thought he wouldn’t run or play cricket again, but went on to play professionally. (Sorry – I missed the bit about El because my 4yo woke up briefly).
JLap lays down the immunity challenge rules, which we already know from Survivor Borneo, the season that started it all. Back then, Rudy, Richard Hatch and Wiggles stood with both feet on a stump and leant in to a central pole relatively comfortably (see a pic here), but here the Aussies have to really lean in to it and have each foot on a pole at different height (as in Survivor: Africa). First person to lift their hand from the idol pole is out. In Borneo, Rich deliberately stepped down, knowing he couldn’t outlast the others and trusting that both would pick him as their final two opponent. Wiggles won when Rudy had a brain fade and lifted his hand.
Here the waves are an additional challenge, soaking them regularly. El at least manages to change position by squatting but Lee tells JLap his knees are buggered from sport so he has to stay standing. After 90 minutes in JLap starts with the questions about the pain and Lee’s feet are starting to look a bit purple. Eventually JLap gets sick of getting soaked and goes to sit with the loved ones for a chat.
Kristie’s Dad tells JLap Survivor started at the time of his divorce, so Survivor became an example of triumph through adversity and calling on inner strength for him and his kids. The waves are getting massive as the tide comes in so the trio are drenched, freezing and accidentally swallowing gobfuls of salt water.
Six hours later …
Six hours later they are still going.
“My wrist – I can’t move my wrist. I’m going to have to step down,” says El, screaming as the waves hit again. Finally she does hop down and Doctor JLap comes over to help her to her feet and almost carries her over to hug her sister.
No matter what happens now kudos to Kristie to outlasting an army major in and endurance challenge.
“Lee, you’ve got to let me have this one,” Kristie tells Lee.
“I don’t want to go home,” he replies.
“I will take you … I promise. You ave me an opportunity in this game that I could never have gotten without you. I swear to you, I promise, I will take you. And you know what you will probably beat me … I won’t have the votes,” she cries.
His response: “Keep fighting.”
“You remind me so much of my Dad,” she tells him, thanking him for his support throughout the game, throughout the “crazy”. Now, this is likely true but it is also very good strategy on Kristie’s part, because she knows how much being a role model for his kids is. “I swear on my Dad,” she continues.
“I’m so proud of you,” he tells her. And then he falls hard off the poles.
Kristie wins immunity! Five seconds later she follows, tumbling to the jagged rocks below. “Kristie, are you ok?” JLap asks as they both lie helpless on the rocks.
“Can you get me up, please, because it’s hurting,” she sobs. Her dad picks her up and carries her off. She is both crying and laughing as she shakes on the ground with fatigue and what looks like hypothermia. Don’t they have blankets for them? And water? We do get to see El put an arm around Lee as he apologises for not lasting.
Will Kristie take Lee? I reckon she will. JLap gets dad to come over and put the immunity necklace on his now-crippled daughter, which is a cool moment for the both of them.
I want to see their faces when they see Kristie has the necklace. There are gasps from Matt, Nick is open mouthed and and there’s a whispered “I can’t believe she won” from Flick. Tonight, Kristie is the only one casting a vote but Leel get to put forward lacklustre pitches.
“What you see is what you get with me. I think I’m less likely to get votes off the jury,” El laughs.
Lee says: “We all three of us have been together since day one. It’s up to her – it’s her choice. It’s the first time she can have a decision by herself without any pressure.” God, Lee, you still sound patronising.
And the 22nd person voted out is El. Yep. No surprise there.
Lee and Kristie head back to the beach for one final night and to hone their jury speeches. Kristie should kick Lee’s arse when it comes to conveying emotion and passion for the game – it will come down to whether the jury thinks she fluked it – and whether they are annoyed at Lee for distancing himself from the game for so long.
Kristie is delirious with happiness whereas Lee is rather subdued, but he perks up with the final day breakfast arrives and they can eat bacon.
“I’m very happy with how I played the game; good people can win,” Lee tells the camera. Urgh – does this mean Kristie is not a good person by your standards, Lee? This is the girl who gave up her letter from home to someone else. Although, to be fair, I can’t see either of them doing much opponent bashing at final tribal.
“Looks pretty, doesn’t she?” murmurs Lee as a showered El arrives at the jury bench. JLap announces they will do opening statements (which US Survivor ditched a while back, or at the very least started cutting them from the edit).
Lee’s jury pitch is, as expected, about playing a clean and honest game. And unless there was a lot that was cut out, that’s about it from Lee.
Kristie has obviously thought long and hard about her jury speech. “All of you, you thought I was absolutely crazy,” she tells them. Her “move” was successfully gunning for Phoebe, who had flipped on her, and how, despite her name always being mentioned, she outlasted everyone.
“I have had to fight my way through 20 tribal councils. In the end, I was able to get through two whole tribes. Who in Survivor can say that? I can,” she says with conviction.
Well said, Kristie!
Time for jury questions .. El’s is a Dorothy Dixer about what his first “selfless acts” will be. Apparently, looking after his folks, his boys and some unnamed philanthropic works. El’s question is just a criticism of Kristie’s perceived lack of strategy but Kristie responds with some good examples and how her strategy of stepping back and watching them eat each other paid off.
Flick tells Kristie everyone is pissed at her for “not playing the game” and making big moves (because that worked so well for you, Flick). Kristie schools her in the difference between subtle moves and big moves. “You look at the jury and the people who made big moves were voted out straight away afterwards,” Kristie responds and she’s getting the swelling music and nods from the jury.
Brooke asks Lee an awkward question about whether he and El had a secret romance. “There is no romance going on,” he replies, stating they will be good friends. Brooke tells Kristie it seems she let Daddy Lee control her, but Kristie replies it was all part of her masterplan to make others think she could be controlled.
JL goes in hard, telling Lee he is ignorant and arrogant for thinking people who wanted to win were greedy pigs – and reminds him she is an aid worker. Go, JL! Lee does not compute. Lee apologises to her and says he made the comment at tribal councils, which were “not his forte”. (He was worked in the media, previously, though, so he should be more eloquent.)
Kylie basically just gives them a pep talk
Sam accuses Lee of taking advantage of Kristie. Lee mentions Kristie had a rough time in the early days and he supported who through that. “I didn’t force her to do anything; she probably played me as much as I played her.”
And now to Nick, and he gives Kristie a big compliment: “Tonight you have come out balls to the wall and you are literally a different person.”
Nick tells Lee he is hypocrite for playing the “morality” card, and mentions they initially got on, doing “manly things” together.
“And that is not as weird and as Brokeback Mountain as it seems,” Nick jokes. (I love that JLap starts cracking up at this.) Lee says he didn’t realise, coming into the game how impossible it would be to stick to that moral code.
“Kristie, you did my head in. You did a lot of flip flopping … and I think you now that,” Sue says. “Of course,” replies Kristie, saying she was sorry but she had to deflect heat off herself. “Well, you outsmarted me – well done,” concedes Sue.
Matt, a fellow huge Survivor fan, tells Kristie she often appeared panicked and yet at other times was friendly and supportive (is that a reference to her giving him the loved ones letter?), and wonders who is the real Kristie. She admits she had two panic attacks early in the game and didn’t realise until she arrived in Samoa she suffered from anxiety.
That’s it. Kristie has soooo got this. Sure, El will vote Lee but will anyone else? Maybe Flick?
Time to vote
Here comes the crazy loud music. Nick is first and, for dramatic effect, draws a downward stroke that could be the start of an L or a K. Matt does the same – love it. Bet they talked about it beforehand.
We see El votes for Lee – der – and Kylie for Kristie.
At this point the US show would normally cut to a studio several months later, for the big reveal in front of an audience.
JLap is set to read the votes but first announces that their families are here, and it’s lovely seeing Lee sob as he quietly hugs his boys. Asked by JLap what they think about Dad’s beard, the elder replies: “He looks like Obi Wan Kenobi.” Kristie is so happy to introduce her family to JLap.
So here come the votes.
Kristie, Lee (and we know that’s El’s vote because of the smiley face), Kristie, Kristie, Kristie and the winner is Kristie! She collapses screaming and is picked up be her family.
(I can’t be sure but I think they did and MKR and recorded two endings, which is such a shame.)
Well done, Kristie. You absolutely nailed that final tribal.
We get to see how everyone voted.
“I don’t know how you’ve done this, but it’s inspiring, it’s incredible,” says Matt.
“Good on you, but you are still a naughty little girl,” says Sue. The others congratulate her and a smiling Brooke says Kristie’s words changed her vote.
That’s all folks. Well, that was actually a pretty fun end to what at times has been a lacklustre season due to the lack of tribe shakeups.
A reminder the Survivor Family Feud is on Ten, Sunday at 7.30pm (and how strange is it to see Phoebe all dolled up in the promo. A lot of people online wondered why Craig wasn’t selected to take part as he seems such a natural fit for game shows, but on Facebook he messaged fans he’s travelling overseas.
Oh, here’s a fun tweet from JLap: