Episode 24: It's election night for the crown
Published: September 14, 2021
The final showdown of Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn pitted two strategists against each other, and delivered an all-time great Final Tribal Council performance, as Queen Hayley was crowned. It also highlighted the King George paradox: Why were the editors so unwilling (unable) to demonstrate his strategic prowess, forcing him instead into to be an entertaining "character"? Plus a modest list of suggestions to improve the show.
Episodes 22-23: The story comes together
Published: September 8, 2021
It took seven long weeks, but in the final two pre-finale episodes of Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn, the broad, season-long narrative pieces have finally started to fall into place, like the puzzles that have been so lacking in challenges this season. The final three players all have big stories, and we've been set up for an exciting final episode.
Episodes 19-21: Slowly finding its Wai
Published: September 2, 2021
In the second-to-last week of Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn, the show found itself navigating a tricky path: Trying to justify a final five in which three of the people have already been voted out, and giving belated, extremely welcome attention to one of the two who hadn't in Wai, who has slowly, steadily been building a case for the season win.
Episodes 16-18: The gameplay finds its footing
Published: August 18, 2021
At long last, production allowed just enough room for Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn's players to play (in two of the three episodes, at least), and those players delivered: A tricky blindside-within-a-blindside, a one-vote idoling out (with a fun new idol variant), and a nifty plurality vote that took out a major player. It's a reminder that hopefully the show notices: If you cast people who are capable and eager to play, they'll do the work. No need for a twist and an idol every episode!
Episodes 13-15: Lost in new twists
Published: August 18, 2021
After delivering a top-notch merge episode, Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn's week (and perhaps the entire season) careened predictably off the rails as production acted quickly to smother nascent gameplay in a duststorm of unnecessary and/or misleading twists. On the one hand, a non-elimination followed. One the other, still tilting the numbers all-but-permanently in favor of Brawn.
Episodes 10-12: Zzz, zzz, whoa!
Published: August 12, 2021
It took a while to get there, but Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn closed out the pre-merge portion of the game with a bang, as the supposedly warring original Brains and Brawns got together (with two more Brains, for no obvious reason) and collectively took out an allegedly 'bulletproof' central character and power player. Boom.
Episodes 7-9: Nothing is normal in this place
Published: August 5, 2021
Things are both really good and really questionable at various points in Week 3 of Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn, and Laura's "What the hell?" reaction pretty much sums it up. Hayley was everywhere, overthrowing the patriarchy, grabbing idols, leveraging them to save the otherwise swap-screwed Brains. It was glorious. But production's heavy thumb was also on the scale at various points, which was significantly less wonderful.
Episodes 4-6: An avalanche of idols
Published: July 31, 2021
The second week of Survivor AU: Brains v Brawn was all about the idols. And about the people holding them, although those people were also what the first week was about, before they had idols. The show also creakingly, reluctantly remembered that the Brains tribe also has people named Georgia and Andrew on it. In short: Survivor AU has not only imported US Survivor's challenges and twists, it's also ratcheting up some of the American version's worst production and editorial tendencies.
Episodes 1-3: That's not a Brains tribe, THIS is a Brains tribe
Published: July 24, 2021
Australian Survivor has always been Survivor, just bigger: More contestants, more days. This season's outback location is quintessentially Australian, and is a welcome departure from always-Fiji. The format, "Brains v Brawn," is that used by one of US Survivor's best seasons (Cagayan). Here, the results are a bit more mixed. The traditional deficits in SurvivorAU casting persist — lack of diversity, over-representation of athletes — but by the third episode, the season is succeeding despite all this. There a lot to like here. (Also a lot, period.)
Jeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes