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SURVIVOR NZ – NICARAGUA / EPISODE #1 RECAP
By James Rowland
Instagram – @jrowl
Twitter – @jamrowl
Here it is! Survivor New Zealand has graced the screens across NZ and our (laptop) screens across Australia.
The beautiful surroundings of Nicaragua are shown before we meet a select few castaways. Getting good vibes from Lou, the small town girl with her head on straight. We hear from Dee, who can’t wait to let everyone know that she has got it all.
We are greeted by Matt ‘Chiseled’ Chisolm who welcomes the contestants and lets them know which tribe they will be a part of. Matt does his best Jeff impression and asks the leading question “who here, would label themselves a villain?”, Dee raises her hand and instantly excludes herself from the rest of the tribe.
Matt drops the bombshell, two people will be voted off tonight. Going from 16 to 14 on day one. Seems like the game would be over quick? No one seemed to think that was odd.
The ol’ ‘grab everything off the boat and get it on your mat in a minute’ begins. Tribe members grab knifes, pots and fruit and some dig for keys to unlock the chest with flint.
Izzy hangs back and goes full Rupert Boneham – One by one she takes every essential item the Hermosa tribe places on their mat, one of the great moments of the episode.
Kiwi Probst then calls out Izzy for her quick thinking, which in turn plays on Izzy’s heart and she gives the Hermosa tribe a knife.
We follow the Mogotón tribe and narrator Tony lets everyone know he’s got experience and has no problem being a leader. Tony, straight out of the Andrew Savage school of leadership thinks that targeting the weak is the way to go for tonight’s vote.
Little bit of talk about pre-game alliances creeping into the show, I’m not sure I like people targeting anyone from before the show started filming.
Over on Hermosa we’ve got good guy Michael creating bonds with Georgia, Shannon and Nate. Georgia and Shannon are unsure of Nate which really puts good guy Michael in a situation, he’s given Nate his loyalty and can’t go back on it. Uh oh.
Mogotón head to tribal and its a toss up between Hannah and Izzy. Sala gets annoyed at Izzy for giving back the knife, after she took the initiative to loot in the first place?!
Hannah says you can’t judge a book by it’s cover yet the tribe does and she is the first one booted off the tribe.
Hermosa follow in to the tribal council area, Good guy Michael lets us know that this is a tribe of heroes and the villains need to be weeded out – cut to Dee. She tries to backtrack her Villain statement but it’s already too late, she is unanimously voted out 7-1.
Izzy is feeling the effects and is immobile at the start of the next day, the tribe starts to regret voting out Hannah as she was strong and valuable around camp. Izzy even states that if the tribe goes loses a challenge, she will voluntarily be voted out.
The tribes both walk to the challenge area, and see the small gate and keys. Tony and others exclaim they would be good at doing this, still unaware of the twist coming.
Matt Chisholm then drops the twist. Dee and Hannah come in and Matt lets the tribes know there will be Redemption Island!
Shay is quickly on the empathy path, apologizing to Hannah saying they made a mistake. Shay doesn’t seem to worry how this makes Izzy feel. Shay is trying to have her cake and eat it too here.
Hannah and Dee fight it out, Hannah gets out to the early lead, quickly tying her pole together and gathering her keys. Dee takes a more cautious approach and it doesn’t work out. Hannah wins and it’s not close.
Dee has her final say, telling everyone how she is a super fan and listens to 40 hours a week of survivor podcasts. Us super fans have to feel for Dee here, she got so excited to play her favourite game and she just went too hard to early.
Overall, a strong premiere for Survivor NZ. Good production quality and closely follows the structure of a typical US season with the exception of an extra day and redemption island.
On the block:
Izzy seems to be in trouble with her sickness, which is good news for Tom who looked like he was in trouble early.
On the up:
Shay and Sala quickly forming a power couple alliance and look to be in the pole position in this tribe if they allow Tony to continue assuming the leadership role.
On the block:
Harder to read on Hermosa, Georgia started the game very strongly but her alliance with Michael was too obvious and they might be seen as a couple and she might be voted off next.
On the up:
Barb might be in trouble if they lose the next challenge but I do like her chances of working her way into the tribe if they can win the next couple of challenges. She seems to have a good rapport with Nate and a strong social game.
SURVIVOR NZ – NICARAGUA / EPISODE #2 RECAP
Amidst the fallout from redemption island, the Mogotón tribe start discussing how impressed they are with Hannah’s performance in the duel.
Shay continues to express her regret for voting Hannah out, wishing she instead ousted Tom from the tribe.
Tony explains that there is a strong four forming of himself, Lou, Sala and Shay. And we all know that 4 into 7 is majority.
Avi admits to Shay and Lou that if it came down to it he would vote out Tom. Avi plays this talk perfectly, he doesn’t push to keep Tom too hard but also doesn’t jump at the chance to stay for just one more vote.
Over on Hermosa Nate feels like he is the low man on the totem pole, Nate believes that the young people are banding together and if he does not win the next challenge he will be sent to redemption island.
We get to the immunity challenge and it’s another classic, it’s the ‘blindfold the contestants and watch them run into objects because it’s funny’ challenge. And Matt is really relishing the host role in this moment.
Tony is out of sync with the tribe, he just can’t lift the ball up at the same pace as Sala. Somewhere Probst smiles at this.
Hermosa work well together and pull off the close win, Lee raises the flag with glee and Nate lets out a sigh of relief.
The Mogotón tribe head back to camp and it seems like it’s a tussle between Tom and Tony.
Avi rallies for his ally Tom, he gently reminds the young girls that Tom is a strong competitor and someone that will keep the tribe strong.
The word is spreading and Shay breaks the news to her close friend
Lee Carseldine Sala that the vote may be heading toward Tony. Sala struggles with voting out Tony as he vowed he would not vote for him.
Tony hears that his name is on the chopping block and rallies to save himself. He threatens Avi that if he’s sent to RI that he will be back for vengeance.
At tribal, Chiseled Matt Chisolm grills the tribe. Tony and Sala feel the heat for making mistakes in the challenge. Lou has a final word before the tribe votes and says that the tribe should vote with trust and friendships.
Tony is voted out 3-2-1 with Tom receiving two votes and Avi receiving what I presume is a throwaway vote from Lou.
Overall a solid second outing for Survivor NZ. Both tribes seem strong and the challenge was quite close. Hermosa seem to have a strong 5 while Mogoton are quite scattered in their alliance.
On the up:
The cool kids 5 seem to be strong, Shannon is looking quite flexible and even if the 5 breaks up I think she will be able to find her feet.
On the block:
Despite the preview I believe Nate is in trouble, unless he and Barb can really swing things up next episode.
On the up:
Avi! Avi comes off very positive in this episode and proves his strategic chops in keeping his close ally Tom, but does not out to the tribe how close they really are.
On the block:
Hard to call here. Izzy, Avi, Shay and Tom voted for Tony yet Lou and Sala are supposed to be tight with Shay. Given Lou had a throwaway vote for Avi I think she may be in trouble if Avi can gather numbers in his favour.