Worldwide interest in “Australian Survivor” has never been higher, and that’s no doubt thanks to the casting of Sandra Diaz-Twine, the iconic American player who was the first person to win twice (“Pearl Islands” and “Heroes vs. Villains”). Now, Queen Sandra is back in the hunt for her third career crown, and she’s bringing her daughter, Alanna “Nina” Twine, along with her. This year’s cycle is “Blood V Water” and will feature 12 pairs of loved ones duking it out Down Under for the ultimate prize of $500,000.
Read our “Australian Survivor: Blood V Water” episode 1 recap below. This episode aired January 31, 2022 on Network 10 and 10play on demand.
Welcome to Australia
The premiere begins with host Jonathan LaPaglia informing viewers that this season will last 47 days and feature 24 people, but only one will be the sole survivor. Some of the players then get special pre-taped introductions. First up are surfers Jordie Hansen and Jesse Hansen, who talk about their “unbreakable” bond as brothers. Kate “KJ” Austin and Sophie Cachia are sisters who “know each other so well” — but is that a positive or a negative? Jonathan then teases that “blood demands loyalty, but how far will they go to take the crown?” Okay, let’s get back to the intros!
Rugby star Michael “Croc” Crocker is competing with his sister-in-law Christina “Chrissy” Zaremba, who admits she doesn’t know much about the reality TV show. “MasterChef” contestant Khanh Ong and Amy Ong are siblings, with Amy expressing how she’s lived in her brother’s shadow all her life. Former “Australian Survivor” contestant Andrew “Andy” Meldrum calls this game “unfinished business” — he’s now playing with his “secret weapon” sister Kate Tatham. Mark Wales and Samantha “Sam” Gash met on the 2017 season of the show, and are now competing as a married couple.
Jonathan welcomes the players to Australia and warns them the season will be “unpredictable.” As if on cue, a helicopter is heard in the distance. “Let’s bring it in!” he shouts as the chopper arrives. Ladies and gentleman, the Queen has arrived in style. Sandra reminds the viewers that she’s won twice before and then promises to “beat [Nina’s] ass” if it comes down to her vs. her daughter.
SEE Everything to know about ‘Australian Survivor: Blood V Water’ — cast, trailer, premiere date
Jonathan separates the group into two tribes — Red representing the blood portion of the game and Blue signaling the water aspect. The winning tribe for this first reward challenge will find a blazing fire pit at their new camp, plus firewood, flint and comfortable seating. For this challenge, the loved ones are paired against each other and they have to slide down an enormous slide and then battle in muddy water to bring a ring to their team pole.
Jordie for Blue gets the first point, followed by Sophie for Red, Andy for Blue and Croc for Red, making it a two-two tie. The tie-breaker round is Sandra vs. Nina, with Nina outmaneuvering her mother and prevailing for Blue.
At the Blue camp, Chrissy is “gutted” that she’s been separated from Croc. She hates all the dirt and bugs, but loves the social aspect of the game. The 12 gamers wade around in a creek and introduce themselves to each other. Andy gets called out for a lie he told in his previous season, and notes that his goal this year is to “try and build connections” with people. Mark uses his military background to suss up all of his tribe mates and targets Nina immediately for being Sandra’s daughter.
Over at the Red camp, Jesse is “ripped apart” that his brother beat him in the challenge and admits to being “mind-blown” that he’s in a tribe with Sandra. The Queen’s hope was that none of these Aussies would recognize her, but that’s definitely not the case. Sandra vows “not to play too hard too fast” this time around, but then admits in a confessional that she will take down anyone if it means she can win her third trophy.
The Blood tribe talks about their “horrible” first night, with Sophie saying she felt an animal licking her while she slept. The recent divorcee calls herself a “natural born leader” and is the owner of a multi-million-dollar company who recently discovered she is gay.
The Water camp is having rice for breakfast when Shayelle “Shay” Lajoie gathers wood for the fire. She and partner Ben Watson are surfers who are very much in love and she’s desperate to make it to the merge to play with him. Shay bonds with Briana Goodchild immediately and shares with her a clue to the hidden immunity idol which is attached to Jonathan’s podium at tribal council. (Somewhere, Adam Klein is feeling vindicated.) However, there is another clue as well (found by Chrissy) so only the fastest person will be able to claim the idol. Amazingly, Chrissy has no idea what tribal council is — oh, this is gonna be good!
“Come on in!” Jonathan shouts for the first time this season. Unfortunately, Alex Frost‘s back seized up at camp, so he had to have help arriving to the challenge. He’s not able to compete. His in-law Jay Bruno is “rattled” to see Alex injured already on Day 2. For the challenge, the tribes have to bring a heavy battering ram over a ramp, through two walls and up a tower. Then, whoever smashes all their targets with hammers first wins immunity and is safe at tribal council. Kate volunteers to sit out in order to make the teams even.
The physical challenge plays out according to plan until Blue gets stuck at the second wall. They are tuckered out and essentially give up as Red advances through the challenge. Just after Blue finally makes it through the wall, Sophie of the Red teams throws the final hammer and wins the challenge for her tribe. Jay has hope that his in-law Alex will survive the vote, but he has no power being that he’s on the other tribe.
The Blue team is bummed they lost, and all eyes turn to Alex for hurting his back. Andy essentially blames Alex for losing the challenge for the group, saying he’s a “natural” target for votes. Shay and Briana talk secretly about getting the idol from Jonathan’s podium and then reveal they want to vote out Chrissy because she kept dropping the battering ram. Nina learned from her mother that she needs to make her own moves in this game, and she wants to turn the tables on Andy. “My gut tells me don’t trust him,” she confesses.
Nina and Mark have a talk at the watering hole and both agree that Andy is the biggest threat in the game. Jordie joins them and likes the plan as well. Nina says she’ll chat with others to try to get the numbers. Alex thinks he’s going to be eliminated and is heartbroken at the thought, but Chrissy doesn’t want to vote for him. Andy wants to split the vote between Alex and Chrissy, having no idea that the others are throwing his name out. Andy believes he has “complete control” of this game, so we’ll see how that plays out.
With 12 people, it only takes seven votes for someone to go home. The players arrive and grab their torches, dipping them in the fire because “fire represents your life.” The camera focuses on the flower-shaped object at the front of Jonathan’s podium. Chrissy, Briana and Shay all keep eyeing it, and then all three jump up at the same time. Chrissy gets the idol! Jonathan asks if anyone’s game changes now that Chrissy has an idol, and they all say no. Chrissy learns she’s a target, while Andy has no idea he’s about to get votes. It’s time to vote!
After all dozen castaways write down the name of the person they want to go home, Jonathan asks if anyone wants to use their idol. Chrissy happily hands over her idol, perhaps not aware that she can save it for later. The votes are read: Alex, Alex, Andy, Andy, Briana, Andy, Andy, Andy, Andy. That’s enough — Andy is the first person voted out of “Australian Survivor: Blood V Water.”
Kate says it’s “game on” after her brother goes home. Jonathan teases the most “brutal challenges” are about to come. Sandra vows, “If [Nina] goes home, every single person I come after.”
In Andy’s final words, he says he was just the recipient of a “consummate blindside” and that he is “100% surprised.” He hopes all of his fellow Blue tribe members lose to his sister Kate.