Survivor New Zealand
continues to prove one thing: That even when marooned in the jungle in a remote part of Nicaragua while competing in a reality television show, people love to gossip.
Despite Tony's rousing declaration to his fellow Mogotons at Redemption Island that Kiwis don't backstab, it's already clear that Kiwis do, in fact, backstab.
Tony is especially salty about Shay, his "lazy" teammate who did a 180 on their alliance and voted him off last week.
"Tony was too confident ... he's had his turn," says Shay, who may have to watch herself now that he's back in the game. After promising to "nail" those who betrayed him, he won this week's Redemption Island challenge, sending Hannah packing.
Lou will be relieved to see Tony stay in the show - her emotional apology was a sweet, tender moment that showed just how quickly the contestants have gotten to know each other.
Hannah's elimination from the show is a loss, however - she was already starting to carve out a space as one to root for, smashing the cynical assumptions of her tribemates when she beat Dee last week. Unfortunately, someone has to go home; that's just the way the turtle tile crumbles.
Despite winning this week's challenge in a burst of impressive strategy and endurance, politics are just as volatile over at Hermosa.
Barb and Nate are trying furiously to divide their five younger tribemates, who seem to be getting along swimmingly. Michael unashamedly wants to date Georgia ("She's got a boyfriend back home, so that puts a bit of a spanner in the works," he says, as though Georgia would forgive him for his poor weaving skills.)
Meanwhile, Shannon's suddenly found herself on everyone's side, and Jak is throwing up a goofy facade, hoping to be underestimated.
Barb reminded me chillingly of Catherine Keener in Get Out when interrogating Jak - commanding him in a hypnotic tone to "Have a little think, Jak" when trying to find out who he would eliminate.
The Hermosa drama dragged on for far too long - once I'd seen Michael sitting in some sort of beach wedding attire I wondered whether I'd fallen asleep and Survivor and The Bachelor had blurred into one excruciating mega-reality show in my brain.
This week's challenge was highly entertaining, despite Matt Chisholm's annoyingly unhelpful shouts from the sidelines. The hyper-intense score drew on elements of the Chariots of Fire theme as much as it did Pirates of the Caribbean, with slow-mo shots and dramatic falls to boot. Who knew watching people chase each other in circles could be so much fun.
Sala took Mogoton's loss harshly on himself, and Michael proved to be a sore winner, wishing heavy rain and suffering upon his losing opponents as Hermosa snuggled in with their prize of tarpaulin, tea and coffee.
Despite the drawn-out drama weighing this episode down, Survivor NZ is already proving itself to be thoroughly entertaining, with memorable contestants and thrilling challenges. I look forward to seeing whether Tony gets the chance to unleash his vengeance on Mogoton, and whether Hermosa will be torn apart by its brewing internal conflict.
Special mentions for this episode go to:
• Sala, for embracing nature, and naturism
• This monkey
, who made so many appearances in between scenes that I wondered whether they're meant to represent us, the wide-eyed audience
• This sloth
, who just doesn't have time for anyone's drama.