The champions had to wake up and face the music on a twist-filled episode of Australian Survivor.

Luke has learned a lot from his first time around. He and David pulled off an amazing night with this episode. They found an idol, they flipped a 7-4 deficit to a 6-5 in their favour, and damn were they smooth and charming doing it.

Before we get back to the Champions, let’s examine the Contenders night. Baden’s win in the reward challenge was a great moment, a big win for the little guy, and also a big win for all of those who gained empathy with him after his speech last week.

The dynamics of the Contenders tribe remains a mystery, despite best efforts to introduce them all by Andy. Many more questions than answers there.

Janine’s failed tactic drew the ire of her team, but watching the episode; the real difference was John. He dug about 5 times faster than the next person, and pretty much single-handedly got the contenders the lead. Did Janine’s tactic work? Not really, but it didn’t spectacularly fail either.

Abbey and Ross were both right to jump over to Luke’s side. Steve moved swiftly and strongly to establish the Athlete Seven alliance, but he clearly wasn’t doing enough to control it (partly because he doesn’t want to be seen as the leader). Describing Abbey as “the last” was likely the last nail in the coffin for the audience. Luke and David sold their alliance brilliantly. Luke is never going to be anything but the decisionmaker, but he completely sold Abbey and Ross that the alliance was the opposite of that. Having said that, Abbey and Ross were clearly on the bottom of the Athlete Seven alliance and will do much better with Luke, playing brilliantly at the moment, working with them.

It almost goes without saying, but well done again to production for strong challenge design, although editing-wise there was a moment in the challenge where the contenders could be seen in the background, a few two obstacles behind where they were in the previous shot.

Survivor Stock Market

Going Up:

3. Baden

The feel-good story of the night, Baden’s reward challenge win was such a great moment for the underdog. It seems like the last few eps have piled onto the “Baden is weak” train, and his nimble dodge around Ross, coupled with his team’s reaction, was great to see.

2. David

David’s recruitment of Abbey was pretty much flawless. Established an actual social relationship, then lent on that, told her what she needed to hear, and executed the plan. Also, he touched the idol first, so while Luke appears to be the main custodian, its definitely at least partially co-owned. The only reason that he’s not number 1 is his weird gloat to Suzie, tipping her off that she was being targeted.

1. Luke

The king of the jungle has an idol! Luke remains an amazing TV character, but beyond that, he is an amazing player. The move tonight was risky, but it massively paid off. After being on the bottom at the end of episode 1, Luke is now clearly on top of the tribe, with an idol in his pocket. Amazing

Going Down

3. Sarah

Through no fault of her own, Sarah is in a little bit of trouble at the contenders. Baden’s reward challenge win may well have lifted him slightly off the bottom, and if Andy’s summation is anything to go by, she now finds herself in the bottom bunch. Teaser’s for tonight’s episode have massively focused on her, so here’s hoping a big episode can get improve her standings.

2. Steven

It all collapsed for Steven last night. His alliance betrayed him, and he’s left in the minority. He also hasn’t cultivated that position of “anything but the strategic leader” that he so clearly wanted. The other Champions know that Steve is playing the game, and now that he’s on the bottom, he’s going to have to play better than ever.

1. Nova

Firstly, according to her socials she competed in the reward challenge, winning her round, so congrats for that. That was edited out of the episode, but left in were other scenes of tribe mates getting frustrated by her around camp. If Luke’s newly formed alliance sticks together, Nova is the most obvious target in what’s left of the Athlete’s alliance. She has a lot of work to do from here.

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