Survivor New Zealand | Final Week

Survivor New Zealand |Final Week

By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl

The first ever season of Survivor New Zealand has come to an exciting finish, with the loveable Avi receiving 6 of the 7 votes to become the sole survivor.

Lets try and break down those hectic four episodes and how we got to the final result.

Continue reading “Survivor New Zealand | Final Week”

Survivor New Zealand | Week 8 Episode 15 & 16 Recap

Survivor New Zealand |Week 8 Episode 15 & 16 Recap – Avi’s Heart Breaks in Two

By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl

Hello and welcome to week 8 of Survivor New Zealand. As we near the end of the inaugural season I’d like to thank anyone that has read along with my blogs as the episodes have aired. This is the first time I’ve written about reality television and I’ve loved hearing the feedback, so thank you.

Redemption Island

Shannon, fresh from her boot arrives sheepishly to redemption island. I was interested to see how Mike and Jak would react to Shannon, would they be sour or have open arms? In true Kiwi fashion they both greet Shannon with a big smile and a ‘what the hell!?’. Shannon admitted she got a taste of her own medicine and is more subdued than she was previously. Much like the turtle in the prior images, Shannon has popped her head back in and lost her cut throat nature, which is a shame.


We have been hearing quite a bit of confidence from Avi and how he thinks every single person left on Casar trusts him. Avi does admit he wants to stick to his loyalty and that everyone can trust him – In Survivor there will come a time young Avi… Where a vote must be cast and you have given too many promises. Remember that.

Remember when Barb was a total badass and voted out the humble Sala in cold blood? Remember ‘that’ Barb? Either she’s gone on vacation or she is really ramping up the lies,  Barb tells Tom to his face that she wants to get him and Avi to the final three and that she would be mortified to get there herself! Is this a false sense of security for Tom or is Barb truly scared of getting to the end? I’d hope she was fooling them but I’m not sure she is.

Next up we have Tom and Shay, the bitter rivals turned frenemies. They continue to reassure each other that they’re set for final three and that even though in the past they have been at each others throats, this time they are solid. Which immediately cuts to Shay, ‘I don’t trust Tom’. Which cuts to Tom, “I don’t trust Shay”. These guys are hilarious, I bet they both thought they were getting away with reassuring the other and they both pull that confessional. So good.

Shay, suspicious of Tom goes to Avi and tells him that Tom is coming for him. Avi, shocked that his good friend would do this goes directly to Tom and asks him if it is true. Tom is bewildered at this accusation and swears it is false. I don’t know what Shay was thinking. Of course Avi, the honour and integrity poster boy is going to ask Tom if it is true.

Avi is pretty upset at Shay, he kind of does let her off the hook by stating that she may of misheard (of course she didn’t). The audio from this scene is under a shot of a spider catching what seems to be a bee in it’s web, another cool shot. Shay has been caught just like the bee.

Reward Challenge

At last there is a reward challenge! And oh boy it’s a big one. The winner will go on an overnight stay at a resort and indulge in food and drink. I’ve never seen Nate so bloody happy, hearing Matt describe this reward.

The challenge is where the players must jump in a pool of mud and get as much as possible into their buckets. Loving the slow motion shots of Tom’s cannonballs in this challenge. The ten minutes is up and it’s time to weigh the buckets. I’m surprised they didn’t air the part where they weigh the buckets, you’ve got 75 minutes and no tribal council yet you cut out a suspenseful part to show? I don’t understand. Nevertheless, Avi beats barb by a decent two kilograms and wins reward.

POST CHALLENGE Tom weighs mud (Photocredit Scott McAulay) (7) +64(27)6241733

Avi is allowed to pick one person, he chooses Tom because he has ‘not been on a reward’. Matt does say after he has picked Tom that he can choose one more, Avi toils a bit on his decision before eventually selecting Barb. Nate and Shay seem to take it pretty well. Avi has done okay with his selections here.

The three really indulge in the reward, they are living up the food, drinks and really having fun. We get another confessional from Barb stating that the would love to see these two young men in the final three. It seems legit from Barb.

LUXURY REWARD Barb, Tom, Avi (Photocredit Scott McAulay) (38) +64(27)6241733

Back at camp

You know when you are left alone with someone that you just don’t click with, no matter how hard you try and make small talk it kind of just never flows? I have never seen a clearer case of that than here with Nate and Shay. They would of had to spend almost 24 hours alone together, barely talking. Cringe.

Barb comes back, successfully downplays the reward and how amazing it was…

Redemption Island

How funny was Shannonymous and Jak talking on the coconut phones! ‘Oh man Mike is going to be there? what’s the point!”. Jak believes if he can psyche Mike out into thinking that Jak doesn’t want to win, he can have a mental advantage. I’d try it too if I was up against Mike!

All three are hoping that the winner will re-enter the game but their dreams will have to be put on hold as Matt denies them. One will be eliminated while the other two go back to redemption island.

They must hold their arm in the air and if they slip or lower their arm, the water will fall and they will be sent to the jury. The challenge runs for fifteen minutes before Jak starts trembling, it looks like he is just about done but out of no where Shannon drops her arm and loses! Shannon is sent to the jury and just like that my favourite is gone.

REDEMPTION ISLAND Shannon (Photocredit Scott McAulay (20) +64(27)6241733

Episode 16

Ready to hear the same things repeated?

  • Mike is unstoppable
  • Avi is a good guy
  • Most Kiwi’s cant separate human behavior and survivor strategy
  • Shay trusts Avi – Not Tom. WE KNOW!
  • Barb is obviously the godfather and everything she does is part of a master plan – Right? Right!?

Avi is struggling with the nature of Survivor. He sees that the tribe is targeting Shay yet Avi has given his word to Shay. Tom plays on Avi’s heart here and explains to him, you’ve also given me your word. So you will break it to one of us. “If you look closely you can actually pinpoint the exact moment his heart breaks in two.” – Bart Simpson.

Nate is growing ever weary of Shay, he doesn’t trust something about her. Wether it is her running around and telling lies or her nervous laugh (which is noticeable) he just doesn’t trust her. I have no problem with Shay planting seeds of doubt, the problem is the people she’s telling trust each other and they just confirm with others that it is false.

Nate, mirroring myself is sick and tired of people putting friendships before gameplay. ‘It’s called survivor; not friends’. THANK YOU NATE.

Immunity Challenge

The players must balance a ball on a disc, from increasing distances and also from a thinner balance beam as the challenge progresses.

IN CHALLENGE Nate, Avi, Tom (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Avi desperately wants a win, but falls out in the first round. You can tell he is such a competitor but he just can’t pull it together, he’s furious.

It comes down to Barb against Tom on the last stage, they fight it out for a few minutes before Barb drops her ball resulting in Tom’s fourth individual immunity win in a row! Very impressive. He might out have to win out at this stage though, he must be seen as a massive threat.

Back at camp

Avi is wrestling with the emotions on having to flip on a friend and he tells Tom he doesn’t want to write Shay’s name down.

Nate realizes that Avi is so likable that if he gets to the final three, he will be hard to beat. Nate is angry that Avi will not betray people and he would be the only one who could say that at the end. Lee and Sala would love hearing that. Nate asks Barb if she’d consider voting out Avi. She ponders this in her hammock and as soon as Nate leaves her sight she runs to tell Tom and Avi. Looks like Barb has severed ties with Nate pretty quickly.

Avi comes into some self awareness, realizing that maybe he was naive to believe he could make it through the entire game with full honesty. You’ve harped on about it all season Avi, is it too late to become the bad guy?


Matt asks the tribe about honesty, Avi tells him that you suppose you don’t turn on your own. Shay doubles down on this, stating that ‘suppose we already have turned on her own’. I think Shay knows the deal here.

TRIBAL COUNCIL Casar (photocredit Scott McAulay) (11) +64(27)6241733

Shay is voted out unanimously and for the second time is on her way to redemption island. Avi has made the move from Harvey Dent to Two Face, what will the jury think of his ‘honest’ approach now?

Going into the finale next week, I will make some predictions.

  • Mike wins his way back into the game, but loses the first immunity and is voted out.
  • Nate is voted out fourth.
  • Final three of Tom, Avi, Barb.
  • Avi gets roasted about ‘honesty’ and how he wanted to play with integrity but ultimately could not.
  • Barb gets roasted for not doing much for the most of the game.
  • Tom is my pick to win if he makes it to the end as he never pretended to be honest and also smashed the immunity challenges.

Thanks for reading, see you next week!


Survivor New Zealand | Week 6 Episode 13 & 14 Recap

Survivor New Zealand |Week 6 Episode 13 & 14 Recap

By James Rowland

Instagram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl


In the initial aftermath of the blindside of Sala we have a few strong reactions from the tribe members. Avi goes on a full rant on how he trusted Nate, Barb and Shannon and he could not believe how they’d do this to him. A rant we’ve seen many times before on survivor. Do these people forget that the game has the tagline “outwit, outplay, outlast”?

Avi thought he could be a nice guy and make it to the end of the game with his alliance members, a strategy that rarely works. It rarely works because the nice guy will be targeted as no one wants to go against them in the final three!

Tom and Jak are feeling pretty chuffed over what happened at tribal last night, hoping to target Avi next. Jak’s bold move of pointing at clouds to pretend he wasn’t talking about strategy was hilarious, Tom’s response of ‘what a giveaway that is’ was just as good! Funny moment.

Barb now believes that the game has become too easy, the people she is playing with aren’t doing well and she can just sit in the hammock and not worry about being targeted. The whole Barb the Godfather, having people visit her office was great too, good stuff from the editing team.

Barb at camp (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Next up we have Shay who is still quite upset over the blindside of her close ally, “All rules went out the window last night… everyone is in this game for themselves” ARE YOU KIDDING ME SHAY!? Of course everyone is in this game for themselves, people aren’t out there to get to the final four and then say, “Nah it’s cool guys, Sala is a good bloke so vote me out here and let him win.

Redemption Island

Everyone attends the duel between Mike and Sala. Sala wants some clarity on who voted him out but also offers the fact that he is not hurt and understands why he was voted out.

Mike on the other hand, finally with the chance to tell Shannon how he feels, comes down hard on her. Mike calls her out for lying and calling her a fake person. Shannon is pretty hurt by Mike’s words which will affect her outcome for the rest of the game.

New Zealand survivors are really harsh on integrity, I can’t say it enough that the game is not about integrity and never has been. Mike was pissed off that he was bested and needed to let the person who got him feel his wrath. That’s fine, but don’t pretend it was ever about honor, you’re pissed off because you got beat.

The memory challenge is played and Sala reveals too many open tiles to Mike in the beginning, Mike takes out the challenge very comfortably and his hopes of re-entering the game stay alive. Sala is sent to the jury to an applause from the remaining members of the game. Sala was so well liked and you can really see it here.


Back at camp, Avi is having a heart to heart conversation with Nate. You can see Avi’s strength as a social player clearly here, where he makes sure Nate remembers that everyone is out for themselves. Nate relates with Avi, understanding his previous frustration and wants to continue working with him.

Immunity challenge

This is a proper throwback challenge, where the host tells a tale of history from Nicaragua and the survivors’ must answer questions and if they are correct, gather gold medallions. The whole aesthetic is very ominous, playing at night against the backdrop of the jungle with fire spread across the challenge. Tom once again dominates, he gives no one else a chance when he answers every question correctly to win his second immunity in a row.


Tom really does save himself here. Nate has a plan to keep feeding Mike his mates so if Mike does get back in the game he does not have many ally’s to help keep him in the game. It was going to be Tom, so it switches to Jak.

Avi is on the acting trail now, letting Jak and Tom think that it will be Avi going tonight. Jak is feeling confident enough to bring out the infamous loincloth, asking the tribe “should I wear this to tribal?”.

Nate brings up to Avi that he wants to tell Jak that he will be going home. Don’t do it Nate!

Tribal Council

THE LOINCLOTH MAKES IT!! Jak’s blurred butt makes it’s way into tribal. The whole tribe, who would usually be really tense start cracking up laughing. Even Matt gets in on the laughter, unable to hold back. Matt does ask Jak about it, wondering if he’s perhaps too confident in wearing that at tribal. Jak plays it off with another joke.

Avi tells Matt he is feeling nervous, but he really isn’t. He is feeling confident tonight and his social game has bought him enough votes to feel confident. There is more smoke and mirrors from Nate, saying the game is “predictably unpredictable”.

TRIBAL COUNCIL Matt collects the votes (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Jak is voted out unanimously and while he looks upset about it, cracks (pun intended) a smile on his way out.

Episode 14

There is a bit of talk around the next vote potentially being Barb. The tribe thinks that she is a goat for the final three – um… how? And it would be better to remove her before she gets dragged to the end. Could Nate turn on his closest ally?

Immunity Challenge

We get to the immunity challenge, oh and by the way why hasn’t there been a reward in like six days? bit rough really.

The contestants must run into the jungle and retrieve bags of sandbags and throw them into boxes of increasing distances. Tom absolutely smashes everyone out of the water (again) and wins his third immunity in a row. Tom is quite clearly a challenge beast by this point.

POST CHALLENGE Casar (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Back at camp

We hear from Shannon who is fighting with herself at this point. Shannon came into the game with a clear plan to betray people and vote out threats. She is now feeling bad about that strategy because the people around her (except for Barb) are all about honour and integrity – give me a spell.

Tom who is now in a strong position with his immunity win, reconnects with Avi. They agree that the smart move would be to take out Shannon now, as they think they can get further with Shay. Nate and Barb are are unsure about the vote and would prefer to vote Shay out.

Shannon does gather that there is doubt about tonights vote, she hopes to vote out Barb but has lost her cutthroat nature to really force the issue.

Shay does her best to reconnect with Tom, the same guy she’s been trying to vote out since day one. Funny how things work in survivor. Tom works this conversation well, he exploits Shay’s outreach and gets her to say that she would not want to take Avi to the end. Vital information for Tom to use how he pleases.

Tribal Council

Entering tribal, I have no idea who would leave. It could of easily been Barb, Shannon or Shay and I would not of been shocked.

Shannon tells Matt that she is grappling with the nature of the game. She tells us that she was playing hard but now she has stopped. Matt asks Nate wether you can make it to the end and be honest with everyone, to which he responds ‘I don’t think you can be honest with everyone’.

The votes are read and Shannon is voted out 4-2. Shannon let Mike’s words at redemption get to her and put her foot off the gas pedal, she found her conscience at the wrong time and it led to her demise, which really sucks.

TRIBAL COUNCIL Shannon eliminated (photocredit Scott McAulay) (2) +64(27)6241733

Thoughts heading into next week

With only five people remaining, the person returning from redemption island has to come soon, I’m hoping the winner next week re-enters the game or else it will be too chaotic if it happens at the final 4.

Tom is still vulnerable as a challenge competitor, I wonder if he loses if his alliance with Avi will be enough to keep him safe.

Shay was left out in the cold on this vote, She voted for Barb and it will be interesting to see where so votes next time.

Barb should go next, she has made the biggest moves and in my opinion has the biggest case to win. Although the people out there don’t think the same.

See ya next week, survivor lovers.

Survivor New Zealand | Week 6 Episode 11 & 12 Recap

By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl

Tribal’s One-Two Punch

Let’s pick up where we left off. The tribe is put straight into another immunity challenge. Mike, who thought he would be safe for three days, now has to relinquish immunity the very same day he won it – ouch.

Survivor New Zealand goes old school with the trivia challenge. It’s sudden death style, with your first wrong answer putting you out of contention. The first few questions test the Survivors’ recollection of past events in the game and their knowledge of Nicaragua. In the end it comes down to Matt asking “How many times have I worn a green hat?”. Jak correctly answers zero and doesn’t fall for the trick question. Matt you sly dog.

After the immunity win Matt directly tells the tribe it’s time to vote. Mike interjects, wanting to voice a last ditch effort, as he knows he’s in big trouble. His plea really does fall on deaf ears and he is voted out by everyone with the exception of his alliance members Jak and Tom. Mike adds fuel to the fire Lee started, further singling out Shannon and asking the tribe to “please vote out Shannon next”.

Considering Mike’s alliance was just proven to be in the minority, and with no time to create further bonds Mike was put in a corner here. This twist was harsh, but it saved the viewers two predictable episodes. Short of another immunity win, he was the next to go.

I also love in the second vote someone wrote ‘still Shay’. It’s a bit of a potshot at production, saying really? make us vote again? Nice little tidbit.

Lee is shocked to see Mike arrive at redemption island soon after him. Imagine being in Lee’s shoes at this moment in time. Even as a super fan I’d have the same reaction. Pretty crazy that they both thought they would be in the final four and then within the space of an hour they are both on redemption island.

Fallout From The Shock Tribal

Back at Casar, the majority could not be happier with what went down. They got to eliminate the two biggest immunity threats in a one-two punch. Shay is very confident at this moment in time. The plan to overthrow the boys went off without a hitch and she’s already plotting her next move, guess who Shay wants to vote out next? I’ll give you a hint… it’s the same guy she’s been wanting to vote out since day four. That’s right! It’s Avi!!! – Just kidding, of course it’s Tom. Will she finally get her wish next vote?

Tom and Jak feel pretty dejected at this point believing they are the next two to go. Until low and behold, a strategist is awoken… It’s your friendly neighbourhood Barb! Barb is on the front foot and lets Tom and Jak know she wants Sala out. She rightly can see that Sala is so bloody loved by everyone that if he makes it to final tribal council, it’s a shut-out! Barbara – the sly dog is using these two stragglers in Jak and Tom to play some solid strategy and I love it.

Reward For… Pizza!

Next up we have the ‘coconut chop challenge’, the challenge where everyone answers revealing and jarring questions about each tribe member and their move can often show who is on the bottom of the pecking order. By the way, if I ever do play Survivor, I’m on the record saying I do NOT want to win this if it is for reward. There is little to no upside.

The reward is for Pizza Hut! And damn son, they look pretty tasty. Matt struts over to the tribe and wafts the pizza steam all around the tribe, How brutal!

Naturally, Tom and Jak go strong for Shay and vice versa. There’s no love lost there and the three of them are out of the running quickly. Now this is where the challenge gets really interesting, if you are not subtle enough in your choices, the entire pecking order of the majority alliance could be outed.

Jak cops quite a few harsh answers, he is the consensus answer for “who does the least for the camp” and “who needs a wake up call in life”. Jak should be pleased with these answers because it proves that his facade of being a goof who doesn’t do much strategy is paying off.

It comes down to Avi, Sala, Barb and Nate. Two strong couples left at the end of the challenge. This is something that, if it were not for Barb’s advances to Jak and Tom before the challenge, they could of used to their advantage.

Barb ends up winning over Nate, and has to pick three people to indulge in the Pizza with her. I was thinking to myself, is she smart enough to pick one of the swing voters here or will she pick the majority. Barb picks her bestie Nate but is smart enough to keep Sala in her good graces and also chooses Jak, who she can continue to groom. Great gameplay.

Barb and Sruvivors post challenge (Photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Redemption Island

The ‘invite’ for the redemption island duel specifies that only two may attend. Jak wants to go because of his close bond with the duellers and Tom also raises his hand. Nate thinks it’s better if one of the majority members go along too, just in case there is some information that Tom and Jak may hear but not share. Nate is really on the ball lately, not letting anything stump him.

Nate and Jak view the duel between Lee and Mike who are in relatively good spirits, considering their position. Nothing of much value is said by the two boys who fight off in a balance beam and puzzle challenge. Mike does get out to the early lead and completes what looks like a difficult puzzle first. Lee is sent to be the first member of the jury.


Episode 12

Sala is starting to realise that there will come a time where people will want/have to go back on their word. To Sala, his word means everything to him. Sala is turning out to be almost too nice for Survivor. It’s hard too see because the player in myself is annoyed, but the human side of Sala is very beautiful and you can tell that he just can’t separate life loyalty and game loyalty.

The survivors have gone a bit stir crazy. Avi is in a slump and is becoming tired of the repetition of the game and the struggles in catching fish. Jak has gone the complete other route, sporting a quite dashing loincloth and performing a ‘fish dance’. I’m glad they have the blur filter in New Zealand editing.

Casar_EMBARGOED until June 12th 8 (56) +64(27)6241733

Immunity Challenge

The immunity challenge comes and it is run in heats. Barb and Shay are eliminated after the digging section and the rest have to collect water in their mouths and fill up a bottle. It was really weird seeing Jak and Nate give up half way through the challenge, knowing that they would not catch up. The final puzzle aspect is played between Tom, Shannon and Avi.  Tom smashes the puzzle and wins immunity very quickly. This outs Tom as a serious challenge contender as he was not previously seen in this light. Good to win, but also dangerous.

Challenge EMBARGOED until June 12th 8.35pm (102) +64(27)6241733

Badass Barb

The plan is set in motion with Barb, Shannon, Nate, Jak and Tom on board to vote for Sala. Jak is acting grim and playing off that he is resigned to going home. Nate is unsure about the vote as he believes Sala is a great guy. Another moment where you’ve got to decide how you will play this game. Barb has chosen the path to vote out the biggest threat, will Nate play with strategy or his heart?

Shay and Avi are very confident in their vote, they believe their alliance will stick strong and that Jak will be the next to go. As far as we see, they do very little scrambling before tribal due to their confidence.

Sala is shown to be feeling a bit iffy, he must know that he is a threat and there is a small sense of doubt creeping in.

Tribal Council

We get to tribal and the first member of the jury walks in. Lee, sporting a Tom Selleck style moustache peers on with a steely look. He reacts strongly when Matt asks the tribe if Shannon is to be trusted. Shannon has done well to avoid the backlash so far, but she will really have to ramp up her gameplay to avoid the predicted upcoming barrage.

Sala tells us the hardest part about this game is creating bonds with people and then voting them out, something that comes a bit easier for others. Looking at you Barb, you badass.

The vote is cast and Sala is sent to redemption island voted out 4-3-1. Nate does not vote for Sala but allows for it to happen by casting a throwaway vote for Shannon.

Avi and Shay are truly blindsided and the hero of the season is sent packing.

On the block:

This may be a stab in the dark, but I believe Barb will regroup with Shay and Avi and they will vote off Tom. She will tell them that Sala was too dangerous but they are still together.

On the up:

BARB. Barb proved her strategic chops this episode and I bloody loved it. +100 Barb.

Survivor New Zealand | Week 5 Episode 9 & 10 Recap

By James Rowland 

Instragram – @jrowl and Twitter – @jamrowl

Episode 9

Previously on Survivor New Zealand. Shay lays her “cards” on the table and Jak has a coconut on his head…

All the talk at Hermosa, is about the numbers, and having the RIGHT numbers moving forward in the game. Avi is starting to lose faith in Tom, feeling that if the tribes were to merge soon that he may not be able to regain Tom’s loyalty. Barb is also unsure of Shannon, nervous of her potential Return to the Planet of the Apes alliance.

Back at Mogotón, the Boys Club is in full effect! “The first rule of Boys Club is: You do not talk about the Boys Club.” Jak has decided the four have the beginnings of the biggest act since Flight of the Conchords – The Survivor enchilada (W)rap group. They even go as far to recreate The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover as an homage. Nice one boys.

Redemption Island Showdown

Georgia (photocredit Scott McAulay) (2)

It’s Shay vs. Georgia in the all important duel to re-enter the game! It’s a house of cards stacking challenge and the first one to reach the mark wins! Mike tells us how eeeeaaaaasssssy the game will be if Georgia re-enters – setting Mike up for a fall here guys.

With a time limit of 30 minutes and a 3-meter limit set the challenge begins. In an absolutely neck and neck duel, Georgia takes one too many cards and loses her entire stack! Shay breathes deeply and claims the win smoothly to re-enter the game.

Georgia post challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay).jpg (8)

Georgia is absolutely gutted, she wanted nothing more than to make the merge and to fall this short is really difficult for her.

Drop Your Buffs

Feast at Casar (photocredit Scott McAulay).jpg (4)

‘Want to know which tribe you’ll be joining Shay? Both! We are merged!’ – good one Matt.

The pre-named? merge tribe ‘Casar’ is delighted! The merge feast upon us! Where is the hidden immunity idol clue?

Jak, Shay, Avi (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Shay’s re-entry into the game has shifted the power in the game. New Mogoton v New Hermosa with Shannon as the swing.

Shay has not fallen for Tom’s strategic throwaway vote for Mike which has thrown out any possibility of Tom being a spy for the Mogotón 4. Shay has had out for Tom since Day One! This rivalry surely has to have an epic showdown at some point?

The Mogotón 4 – believing they have Shannon as a solid, agree that Tom should persuade Avi to join their side. Tom tries to have a subtle chat with his old mate and eludes to a final four consisting of himself, Avi, Jak and Barb. Avi is smart enough to see through Tom’s attempt to sway him and he knows that he has once and for all lost Tom.

Jak, Avi and Shannon have a chat about moving forward. Jak is feeling confident about Avi and Shannon and believes that they are to be trusted.

The view from the Retirement Village has never been better as Barb, Nate and Shay sit back and watch the scrambling unfold in front of them. – The wiser troupe looking over the silly kids.

It’s time for cake and eat it…three?

It’s a classic memory pattern challenge. Matt will hold up a series of pictures and the contestants must show the same pictures in order. Classic challenge.

Challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay) (2)

AND THE REWARD – THE REWARD IS… a cake. With all the Fixins.’ Chocolate, Sugaaaar and Chochlate Icing. Worth Playing for! Thanks Jeff… I mean Matt.

Photo: CBS – Two and a Half Men

On a serious note it is a flipping cake. Please enjoy. This cake is marginally better than pillows and a sloppy bag of chocolate. This is the kind of item that typically ends a Survivor auction – not one that is a standalone reward. What’s next weeks reward? A plate of real Survivor Enchilada? (Jak would love that!) A clue to the hidden immu- Oh wait scratch that, don’t have those either. Anyway, I digress.

Eat the cake (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Mike takes out the win on the last picture when Shannon, Tom and Shay all select the wrong tile. Mike being the noble man he is states that he will select the two closest who lost to join in eating the marvellous chocolate cake. Matt reminds Mike that three people lost at the same time so he must decide, Tom assists Mike in choosing Shay and Shannon. The clear strategic decision in this scenario. 5 minutes on the clock. Survivors ready? Go!

Continue reading “Survivor New Zealand | Week 5 Episode 9 & 10 Recap”

Survivor New Zealand | Week 4 Episode 7 & 8

By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl

Episode 7

We start off on Hermosa who are mourning celebrating the loss of Georgia. Barb, Nate, Sala and Avi are pleased with their vote and feel a tight connection, this could be an alliance that goes into the merge solidified.

Shannon joins the Hermosa tribe the day after Georgia had been voted off. The four from Hermosa are tentative upon Shannon’s arrival, aware that she may not be trusted. Shannon is quite nervous talking to the group, quickly disowning her alliance to captain Mike and his jolly pirates. Nate in his typical cautious fashion is sussing Shannon out, he lets us know that ‘The game starts for me today’. 

Mogotón continue to bro down, Tom feels quite comfortable in his new alliance but is still aware that he is on the bottom of the four. Mike is feeling hard done by, seeing that Georgia has been voted off Hermosa. Mike even goes as far to call voting her off ‘Treason’, sounding a little like Emperor Palpatine here Mike.


Hero Reward Challenge

We enter the venue for the hero reward challenge. This is a gruelling challenge, the run into the crashing waves combined with the repetition of jumping on the plank would tire anyone out. It’s Avi who edges out Lee to snag the win. Avi and his tribe are delighted with the comfort items and a sloppy bag of chocolate.

Lee jumps (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Back At Camp

Back on Mogotón, Mike is still frustrated, stating ‘four bigger older people have targeted little 25 year old Georgia, they’re now on my hit list’ – he does know that voting someone from the majority out when you get the chance is Survivor 101 right?

Mike comes off a bit arrogant here, I understand his frustration but he needs to tone it down a bit. If this is clear to other members of the game then they clearly know that he and Georgia were and potentially (if she returns) are a tight couple.

The next scene is one of my favourites so far from the season. The men on Mogotón are still acting like buffoons and Shay gives the best deadpan confessional i’ve seen. Something along the lines of – ‘I’m glad I got married before this show because if I didn’t I would of lost all hope in men’. Just the way she delivers that line, resembling Pam from The Office.


At Hermosa, Shannon is still working out how to ingratiate herself into her new tribe. She correctly calls that these people won’t respect scrambling and to really be accepted by the tribe she will have to fight hard and win her way into the good graces. Nate and Shannon have a good talk, Nate is still weary of Shannon but she does gain some confidence from Nate.

Redemption Island Duel

We head to redemption island, where the duel will be viewed by everyone. Georgia and Izzy battle it out and both look quite nervous stacking their plates. It does seem as though Izzy is doing better, her arm is more steady and Georgia is shaking quite frequently. All of a sudden though, both girls drop their stack at almost the same time. The dramatic ad break cut away is brought out – NZ taking a leaf out of every single Australian reality show ever. It’s declared that Georgia is the winner by the skin of her teeth. Bit of controversy, it looked like Georgia touched her plates before Izzy’s dropped. I think Izzy’s stack was falling before Georgia touched hers. 

Mike is ecstatic with Georgia’s win, knowing how easy it will be once she re-enters the game. If she re-enters the game.


Tom is happy with the dynamics at Mogotón and he believes he has a close bond with Jak, he believes his bond is stronger than the one he had with Izzy. Tom is very trusting here, if it comes down to the same situation with Jak that he had with Izzy, Jak would do the exact same thing, no doubt about it.

At Hermosa, Shannon is working Sala in a very subtle but effective way. Shannon is playing on his heart and Sala who tends to give people the benefit of the doubt could be persuaded into keeping Shannon over someone like Barb. Avi and Sala are playing around before the challenge, they have a very strong bond and perhaps a new power couple.

Immunity Is Back Up For Grabs!

At the challenge, Mogotón is all set to throw it in order to vote of Shay. They must have enough finesse to make sure Hermosa and Shay don’t realise they are purposely losing the challenge here. Jak hands back old mate idol to Matt and the challenge is underway.

Hermosa get out to a strong lead, getting the hang of the water throwing quickly. Shay is struggling in her attempt to heave the water to Tom, making the boys’ job of throwing the challenge a bit easier. Shannon and Barb start on the puzzle with a 10 minute headstart on Mogotón, Jak fumbles around with the key and Sala begins to suspect something is up.

Shannon and Barb really struggle with the phrase puzzle, Mike and Jak are purposely fumbling through the puzzle – something about a ‘tight ass’. Matt lets out a hint even Jeff Probst would sneeze at ‘I say this phrase at redemption island’. Shannon and Barb finally get a spark and solve the puzzle, Shannon collapses with joy.

Shannon emotional (Photographer Scott McAualay)

Sala and Nate suspect the challenge was thrown, Jak and Mike were too complacent at the puzzle table and gave it away. This will get out eventually and possibly tarnish someones game in this NZ/Aussie ‘mateship and loyalty’ style season of survivor.

Tribal Council

Shay tries to persuade Tom and Jak to vote out Mike, under the false pretenses that they will run the game after he is voted out. Jak and Tom listen to her but never truly consider it. Shay is as good as gone. Tom brings up the idea to Mike and Jak that he might throw a vote Mike’s way, in the case that Tom may be able to play a double agent role come the merge. Not a bad play as long as Mike is okay with it.

Tribal council comes and goes, Shay is voted out 3-2 with Tom casting his vote on Mike.

Urn awaits (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Continue reading “Survivor New Zealand | Week 4 Episode 7 & 8”

Survivor New Zealand – WEEK 3 – EPISODE 5 & 6 RECAP


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By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl & Twitter – @jamrowl

This week on our Survivor New Zealand recap. Tony’s Warpath. We cut to Redemption Island where Izzy arrives to a grumpy Tony who can’t wait to tell another person his story. Have you heard that one before Izzy? I think she has.

SUR1_E05_Izzy gets some company on redemption island_Photo Credit Warner Bros

Back over on Mogotón, Shay is feeling confident that even though she has passed up on voting out her nemesis Tom three times, that there is ‘no doubt Tom will be gone next’. Shay and Tom’s relationship almost akin to Dr. Evil and Austin Powers, ‘I’ll get you next time, Mr. Powers!’.

Tom and Avi bring up the issue that Hermosa keep sitting out the same people (Producers. Think McFly, Think!) and if they ask Matt about this, will he make them stop doing it? Very strange to see this talk on the screen, something that perhaps could of been done in production prior to the game.


Hermosa are thinking strongly about throwing the next immunity challenge to ship off either Barb or Nate, as they are the clear two on the bottom. Not a bad idea to vote off the people that will obviously flip come a swap or merge – but try to at least make them feel a part of the conversation before you get the chance.

Reward Challenge – The one JT broke his tooth on!

The tribes initiate into their match-ups for the slingshot challenge. Nate makes an effort to chat to Sala about the game, as Nate really has nothing to lose at this stage. Sala dominates the challenge, catching 4 balls for his tribe and willing Mogotón on to their drought breaking challenge win.

Action shot (photocredit Scott MCaulay) +64(27)6241733

Mogotón revel in their win. They enjoy using the fishing gear and boosting team morale. Catching five fish quickly doesn’t hurt either!

We see Lou with a large cut on her foot, she seems in a bit of discomfort but is eager to push on throughout the game.

Redemption Island: First Blood Part 2

Tony begins part two of story time, Izzy is laughing – me too. I really hope Rambo Tony stays, it’d be interesting to see if he could make every contestant that comes to Redemption Island laugh.

Rambo Tony.jpg

Tony and Izzy compete fiercely in the obstacle course. During the challenge the spectating contestants casually chat about how many fish they have been eating.

Izzy climbing in challewnge photocredit Scott McAulay +64(27)6241733

Izzy beats out Tony and his quest for redemption is over. Well played Tony, the guy put everything he had into the game and you could see how badly he wanted it.

At Hermosa, Shannon is thinking down the road and how far she can truly get with the Millennial 5. She sees Michael as the one with his hand in all the cookie jars and that he needs to be the first to go at the merge.

Back at Mogotón. Lou has gone from bad to worse. Quivering in pain, she can barely move.  The Doctor comes to check on her. He determines that she needs to be assessed off the island and is sent away. We knew it was serious when Matt made his way down to Mogotón beach. We hold out hope that she may return if deemed fit enough – something not done in other formats of Survivor, but I am 100% okay with it.

SUR1_E05_The medics arrive_Photo Credit Warner Bros
Photo: Scott McAuley


At Hermosa, Barb has had enough. She can see the writing on the wall and knows that there is no inroads for her or Nate and at this point is happy to leave if things stay the same.

Tribe Swap

In Survivor things rarely stay the same for long. Drop your buffs! It’s time to “redraw tribes.” Everyone will draw buffs and one lone player will draw the black buff. Sent to Exile/Redemption Beach for 24 hours only to rejoin the tribe who next goes to Tribal Council and eliminates one of their own.

Matt tells the tribes that Lou will not be returning and that her time in the game is up – feel terrible for Lou, she was a great player and a joy to watch.

The tribes are broken down into:

New look Hermosa (photocredit Scott McAualay) (7)
New Hermosa: (Avi, Georgia, Barb, Sala, Nate.) Credit: Scott Mcaulay
New look Mogoton (photocredit Scott McAualay) (6)
Mogotón: (Lee, Mike, Shay, Tom, Jak.) Credit: Scott Mcaulay
Shannon goes to Redemption Island (photocredit Scott McAualay)
Exiled: Shannon. Credit: Scott Mcaulay

Immunity Challenge

The new tribes compete in their first Immunity Challenge where they must work together to manoeuvre across the sand using only barrels and planks – a great challenge to see who can work together effectively after just combining together.

Teams pre-challenge (photocredit Scott McAualay) (2) +64(27)6241733

The challenge starts off close but Mogotón get into a quick rhythm and really smoke Hermosa to win immunity.

Mogoton wins (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

The dynamics on the new Mogotón quickly fall into place, Shay is clearly on the outs as Tom has found his new core and he looks safer than he did just a few hours earlier. Shay really was gunning for Tom but left it too late. To compound the issue, Shay has to watch four grown men stammer around like it’s the Planet of the Apes as she deals with an open wound with a small cuts her foot! Sorry Shay.

Georgia, Georgia, Georgia!

Hermosa have a clear person on the bottom… Georgia! She is in a terrible position and it looks like there isn’t much hope. Barb has reversed her decision on wanting to leave, now that the numbers have flipped. 

Georgia makes a play to officer Nate with a knife by her side. This is a funny exchange and good character moment for Nate who is uncomfortable with the knife but still laughing about it.

Tribal Council

Hermosa at Tribal Council (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Georgia makes one last ditch effort at tribal, to try and persuade Nate and Barb to vote off Sala or Avi as they will become threats at the merge. Nate does seem to ponder the idea but Barb is having absolutely none of it. She is almost smiling at tribal, waiting to vote off Georgia and diminish what was the tight 5.

Georgia is voted off unanimously and sent to Redemption Island, ready for her duel with Izzy. Will this be the last time we see Georgia? “I don’t know about that!”

Georgia votesd out (photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733


On the up: Barb and Nate have gone from 0 to 100 faster than any survivor I can remember in recent history.

On the block: Sala is in trouble as he is so loveable and I believe Shannon can work her way back into the majority.


On the up: The 3 guys have stayed in their position of power but Tom has gone from being the next to go to at least now having a lifeline.

On the block: The same way Georgia was in the majority but got swapped into a less than favourable position, I feel Shay has been put in the same position at Mogotón.

Until next week!

Survivor New Zealand | Recap Week 2, Episodes 3 & 4


By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl

Episode 3 Recap

Tony’s arrival on Redemption Island is greeted by Hannah. Oh the betrayal! Tony is hellbent on revenge… just as soon as he finds out who flipped on him.

Tony (photocredit Scott McAulay).png
Photo: Scott McAulay

Back at Mogotón, the tight 6 are convinced that their team spirit can will them to victory in the next few challenges, changing the tide of the game.

Over at Hermosa, the tribe is anything but unified. The two tribal elders Nate and Barb are still the odd ones out and need to try anything to change the tribe dynamic.

Nate is working on Shannon and laying out why flipping would be a good idea. Nate has the right strategy in pointing out the tight bond of Mike and Georgia to which Shannon does agree to. Shannon contemplates Nate’s thoughts and is open to playing the middle and not rule out any options yet.

Reward – Tarp, Coffee, Tea and all the Fixins’

A Survivor classic challenge ‘Hot Pursuit’ I love this challenge because there is so much strategy involved, there’s probably 80 different ways to play the challenge and the tribes are willing to try them all.

Mogoton (photocredit Scott McAulay) (13) (1)
Photo: Scott McAuley

The tribes huddle before the challenge, Nate is growing in frustration with how long the tribe is taking to decide who to sit out. He nominates himself, this also takes the heat off him if they don’t win.

Loading up on the stronger men within the tribe, Mogotón get within metres of the Hermosa tribe. Close but no cigaragua (Thanks Mr. Iadanza) the strategy backfires and within a short period of time Mogotón are caught.

Hermosa are delighted with the reward of coffee and a tarpaulin (i don’t think anyone has ever used the full word instead of ‘tarp’ on survivor, pesky kiwi’s).

Georgia (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Back at Camp

Captain Mike Sparrow is loving life on Hermosa, he has a tight five (millennial) alliance and is growing in confidence in his confessionals. Over confidence perhaps? Nate continues to try and gain a majority, slowly working Jak. Barb asks Jak who he would vote out from the majority, but Jak contines to play the tribe court jester and dodges the question.


Jak is doing a good job of playing dumb and it is working at the moment as Barb and Nate see no way he would work with them. The problem is if you overplay this hand, you could miss out on vital strategic chats as people do not see you as a competent player.

The Mogotón power struggle is intriguing as it seems there is a 3v3 battle between Tom, Avi and Izzy vs Sala, Shay and Lou. If they go to a tribal soon could we be in for a tie?

Sala is lighting up the mood quite literally with his ‘mallow puff bum cheeks!?’ (did i get that right? – also they really missed an opportunity to hashtag that).

-Redemption Island-

The duel on Redemption Island is viewed by Sala and Lou from Mogotón and Georgia and Shannon from Hermosa. Tony can’t wait to let his tribe know that he was really hurt by someone from his four turning on him, the word backstabbing is thrown around several times and he makes it very clear that if he gets back in the game he will be joining the Hermosa numbers for revenge.

Hannah and Georgia are literally leaning off the edge of their seats, relishing the info Tony is blurting out. The challenge begins and Tony is doing well, Georgia cheekily asks Sala and Lou who turned on Tony. Lou, who is still distressed from Tony’s anger tells Georgia it was Shay. Lou has given away vital information about someone she is tight with.

Tony beats Hannah 4-1 in the challenge and she is sent home to a round of applause. Tony consoles the only two people who were loyal to him, Sala and Lou and leaves the arena.

Hannah Tony Redemption Island (photocredit Scott McAulay) (51)


Episode 4 Recap

Sala and Lou return to camp and tell the others of Tony’s anger and resentment toward at the people who voted him out, especially Shay. Shay is seemingly shocked at his reaction!

Stacey Gif

Izzy is preparing a cake made of sand for Sala, who’s daughter is at home having her birthday. This is a nice gesture and it seems Sala really appreciates it. The problem in survivor is that the person who generally does something just out of the kindness of their heart is usually hurt by that exact act of kindness.

Georgia and Shannon return to Hermosa with a secret, do they tell their whole tribe the information Tony let loose at Redemption Island? The girls decide not to tell Nate and Barb the full details about Shay flipping, but do let them know of Tony’s desire to join the Hermosa numbers if he does return. Shannon decides that it’s in her best interest to stay with the five – which is smart but she needs to find her close three within the five. I believe Mike has Lee so she needs to work a bit harder on Jak and Georgia.

Jak takes toilet humour to the next level!

Immunity is back up for grabs.

The Immunity Challenge is set up for a hero to win it for their tribe. The endurance test is done by four members of each tribe and the last tribe standing win. This is one of those challenges that you can almost feel through the TV.

Challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay)
Photo: Scott McAuley

Jak sitting from the sidelines offers the cliché “pain is just weakness leaving the body!”, Thanks Jak.

Izzy and Tom fall for Mogotón, leaving Lou to battle it out against three Hermosa members. She fights so hard (I can’t believe she is only 18 with that endeavour and strength) but eventually loses out to Georgia and Mike.

Hermosa Challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay) (1)
Photo: Scott McAuley

Mogotón are devastated that they have to go to tribal again and leave their tribe with only five members. Morality starts wreaking havoc on the players as the options are so slim. Shay refuses to vote for Izzy and is pushing for Tom once again.

Mogoton Challenge (photocredit Scott McAulay) (4).jpg
Photo: Scott McAuley

Tom and Izzy have grown close, but it seems like the vote will be for one of them. Tom makes a plea with Lou and Izzy to see if they would consider voting out Shay but it seems Lou is having none of it. You are chatting to each other, one of you is going home, split the vote and make a move! 

The vote is cast and Izzy is sent home with a majority vote of three. Tom receives two votes and Shay casts a throwaway vote for Lou. Shay’s moral compass won’t allow her to vote for Izzy but she won’t go as far to go to rocks to save her.


On The Block:

Lou was the only one on the wrong side of the numbers now that Izzy is gone. Shay will have to recoup with her if she is still working toward voting Tom off.

On The Up:

Avi once again kept his ally Tom in the game while not disrupting his position in the majority.


On The Block:

I really see no way out for Nate, he seems to be the more dangerous out of he and Barb and it looks like Hermosa may even throw a challenge to vote him out.

On The Up:

Georgia had a strong two episodes in gathering the information from Lou and creating stronger bonds with Shannon. Her position in the five is very strong.

Until next week!


Survivor Game Changers: Week 10 Episode 12 Recap – Exploring Fields

Exploring Fields – Game Changers Week 10 Recap

by Jonathan Sloan – Find me on Twitter and Instagram

Here’s a quick question: If you had a secret advantage that only you knew about, and the only way that it could benefit someone else was if you were to suddenly disappear from the game, what would you do?

  1.  Hold onto your cards and use your smarts and social ability to sway someone to your side?
  2. Pretend it’s an idol?
  3. Give someone an objectively good move in taking you out and promise them your advantage even when your alliance of 3 are the only people not to vote for you
Fan Favourite Sierra Dawn Thomas. Guess which one she picked, here’s a hint: It’s half of six.

Returning from last week’s blindside of Zeke, a strong core of five has emerged, headed by Andrea with Cirie, Aubry, Michaela and Sarah in toe.

Our protagonist Sierra remained on the outside looking in, after her core of Brad and Troyzan had been fooled into voting for Tai. Sierra has shown this season she is willing to fight, with a resilient spirit and determination that allowed her to change her game so immensely compared to last season. Luckily for her, public enemy #1 is Brad Culpepper. Sierra has made it clear: she will write down whoever’s name she is told. Remind you of anyone?

The Queen Stays Queen

Continue reading “Survivor Game Changers: Week 10 Episode 12 Recap – Exploring Fields”