Review: Survivor NZ, episode 11 - a revolution is underway
SPOILERS FOLLOW. Survivor New Zealand, episode 11:
All hail queen Barb.
A revolution is underway in Nicaragua, but thankfully not of the sort this country has witnessed in the past.
This revolution has nothing to do with politics, freedom or reality.
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On a beach somewhere in the Central American nation, a group of New Zealanders plan an uprising.
Their leader is Auckland mother Barbara Raos and her coup is fuelled by commercialism and ego.
She is one of the last remaining souls in TVNZ's first crop of Survivor contestants. For two weeks she lay languishing under the 30 degree Nicaragua sun. She likes to put tea bags on her eyes and everyone thought her time was up, but it isn't and now Barbara Raos wants to be queen.
Raos has a plan. To be queen she must topple the jungle king, Mr Matai'a 'Sala' Salatielu Tiatia, who just happens to be one of the nicest people to have ever featured on television.
So to overpower his geniality, Raos will enlist a tried and true television tool: corporate sponsorship.
Henceforth we shall witness one of the greatest and most gratuitous displays of corporate sponsorship to have waved its mercantile hands on free-to-air television.
"Alright Barb, I'm going to give Pizza Hut a bell and have those pizzas delivered to you shortly," announces host Matt Chisholm as Raos takes out a challenge.
Chisholm takes extra care as he gently waves a New Zealand Pizza Hut box across the screen, in front of the starving contestants and eventually takes it into the jungle. He has previously handed the contestants melting and unwrapped chocolate bars, and ordered them to scoff a cake in five minutes. But this time, it's special.
Cue slow-motion pizza eating. Cue endless (literally non-stop) repetition of benign praise for pizza. Cue sad faces as people don't get to eat pizza. But nobody ask how the hell this pizza got onto an alleged jungle island. And why is the pizza logo in English when 90 per cent of Nicaragua speaks Spanish?
Raos is a smart woman, and knows not to ask these questions. Instead she uses the pizza to lull Tiatia into what she calls a false sense of security.
Tiatia formed bonds across tribes and carried Raos to where she is now, but the 53-year-old mother now sees him as a threat. If she can knock him out, that leaves his throne empty.
The pair earlier evicted their two biggest threats; opposition leader Mike and his right-hander Lee.
They were hit from behind during a double elimination, and the friends were forced to battle each other on "Redemption Island" (not an island, just a bit further down the beach).
That left only Tom Campbell and Jak Thomas from their alliance, but Raos has a message for the two boys. They're safe with her, she says, to which Thomas exclaims: "Barbra you sly dog, what are you doing?" The dog lines don't stop there.
"Barb is the apple of my mind, she this amazing Wonder Woman. I take back everything I said about her needing to be in a rest home," Thomas tells the cameras after hearing Raos' plan. He has spent the day talking with the woman, who had overtly gunned for his head earlier on.
She asks him what his plan is, to which Thomas responds: "I don't really have a say in the matter, do I?"
Grinning like a crazy horse high on power and schadenfreude, Raos replies: "I know what that feels like, darling!" She had been left to sleep on the island for weeks as Thomas and his friends made it obvious they would cut her. Now she has the upper hand.
"At one point she was looking like the old labrador sitting on the porch but now she's a little pippy fox terrier running around the front yarn," Thomas says.
Back on "Redemption Island", one of the boy's time has come. They're off to battle and they leave the shirts behind.
Mike and Lee are determined to go out how they entered this competition, shirtless and true to the bro code.
Chisholm has prepared two puzzles. The first to finish gets to stay in the competition. In the end, Mike finishes first and his friend is sent home. Lee's last words: "puzzles have never really been my thing."