Australian Survivor Champions vs Contenders Ep. 1 Recap

Thank the Survivor Gods! Australian Survivor is back and it started with a bang. Anastasia was the unfortunate first boot on a really solid first episode. Watch our full video recap below:

Although a return to Champions vs Contenders wasn’t our preferred option, the casting team has once again proven that they know how to pick them. The return of Luke is, of course, TV Gold, whilst Pia, Nova, and Steven Bradbury are all showing really positive signs that they’re not just going to be “mateship” passengers.

 It too often goes without saying, but the production on this show is pretty much unrivalled on Australian Reality TV. The emphasis on dramatic music is very ‘Australian Survivor’, but the camerawork, editing, and production design are spectacular once again.

We don’t get much out of the contenders this episode, but Andy really stands out as a textbook, arrogant, enthusiastic superfan (Season 1 Andy is doubtlessly watching with excitement). Andy does earn big points this episode for having the sense to keep his mouth shut and not go hell-for-leather immediately (a lesson learned from AK).

It’s not a perfect episode, starting with a challenge that sees only 5 members of each team actually participate is odd, and we don’t really meet any other contenders, but that’s all pretty minor stuff.

The vote itself flip-flops between Pia and Anastasia, both of whom get their introductory “hero packages” out of the way early to keep us guessing. In the end, Nova swings the vote over to Anastasia, and the ballerina joins the illustrious list of Australian Survivor first boots (we love you Des!).

Also, former AFL player Shaun Hampson is on this show (as a contender), anyone else surprised they didn’t mention it?

Australian Survivor Stock Market

Going Up:

3. David

International model David didn’t get that much play in episode 1, and does find himself on the bottom alliance, but he has a lot going for him. As one of the youngest males on the contenders team (he’s 39, but still), David is one of their biggest physical assets, and that means he’ll definitely be the last to go out of the “non-athletes” alliance. And when you’re the last of an alliance, that’s exactly when you can be dangerous.

Additionally, David has secured the spot of Luke’s number 2, and we all know what happened to Luke’s previous partner in crime.

2. Andrew (ET)

ET’s game is, at this point, indecipherable from Mat Rogers’, but hey, Mat was pretty darn good at this. ET is eminently likeable, and a natural leader. That may make it hard for him to win, but it’s a good bet that he won’t be gone any time soon.

His handling of Nova and Steven’s debate about whether to send Pia or Anastasia home wasn’t highlighted, but he was composed and shrewd, and in the end, his alliance held firm with nobody getting upset.  

1. Steven

Steven Bradbury has come to play, and that’s fantastic. Last season’s Champions definitely suffered from the fact that many of their athletes weren’t willing to play the game, which is exactly why Bradbury is great casting. He quickly put together a dominant alliance with ease to start this episode. Is he playing too hard? Well, Bradbury, of all people, knows the value of timing your run, and he seemed genuinely committed to not be seen as the decision-maker.

One thing we know for sure is that, if Steven Bradbury wins this season, it won’t be because he was waiting at the back.

Going Down

3. Casey

We didn’t get much notable stuff from the contenders in this episode, but one thing we did get was Andy rolling his eyes at the massive camp mismanagement. A horrendous shelter and no fire left the contenders in a plague of bean-disease. It may not be what actually happened, but the editing of this scene framed Casey as the mastermind of the camp building operation.

People get very angry after a night or two with no sleep.

Here’s hoping that subsequent episodes can turn it around for her.

2. Nova

Nova is definitely a very shrewd operator, and she got the win this episode, changing her alliance’s vote to send Anastasia home. However, this could all come at a cost. We’re yet to see how happy Steven and ET are with Nova changing the vote, and the alliance could come to resent her for this. Coupled with the fact that she’s probably the least physically damaging member of the Retired Athlete Alliance, and Nova could well be in a bit of hot water.

1. Luke

Aah! Luke is already on the bottom!!! The aptly named “people’s champion” remains absolute tv gold, but needs to work some classic Luke magic to recover from here. Unlike the other 4 members of his tentative alliance, Luke is a known quantity. The other champions know how much of a massive physical, strategic, and social threat he is. On a team with plenty of physical prowess, Luke could face the same fate as Russell did in the previous season.

If anyone can get out of this situation though, it’s Luke (actually to be honest its probably Tessa (the real people’s champion), but Luke’s the one on the show).

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