“Let’s do the maths,” said Sam Wallace. “We’ve got five players, they’ve got four. Both teams have full bellies and some Tim Tams to spare. It’s close. The clues are level. It’s game on.”
As snapshots go, it was accurate. As a forecast of tension, it was underwhelming.
Because what to make of that steaming hot mess of seething, scheming and shouting?
Yes folks, tonight Team Kahu completed its transmogrification from box of birds to shocks and absurd.
On their 11th day on the island, Olympic legend Eric Murray went full-on f-bomb at Shannon Ryan; Moses Mackay said he was a man of his word, then did the exact opposite of what he’d promised; Jodie Rimmer sniped and griped (with some justification) and said she wanted to go home; and Sam Wallace talked politics and did some of those ocular movements that make him look like Eagle Eye Action Man.
It ended in laughter, but it sounded like gallows humour.
Kahu have been rent asunder by the arrival of Moses. Recriminations were underway almost before the theme tune faded way.
Why, Kahu wanted to know, had he not told them about the Mercy Card that allowed Team Mako skipper Gary “Gaz” Freeman to save Shane Cameron from elimination?
“For me my word is my word and I gave my word to Mako that I wouldn’t say anything.”
Jodie had already joked that Moses’ new name was “Judas”.
Eric said: “I think that Moses is just a Mako proxy. I think … his allegiance is still in the Mako camp.”
Things really started to turn after Eric won $5000 for Autism NZ in the charity challenge.
One minute he, Sam, Jodie and Shannon were apparently agreeing their next captain should be Jodie but definitely couldn’t be Moses.
Then Jodie said: “Eric has many, many awesome skills but I don’t see him in the role as captain. He likes to talk smack, he gets emotional, he reacts and that’s not what I want from a leader.”
Eric said: “I’m not really sure why I’m not 100 per cent with Jodie. I just think there are better people to make the better decisions.”
They went to the face-off, with the losing team destined to pick a new captain.
They grabbed some buoys from the sea and threw them from a floating platform into a tall thin basket on another floating platform miles away.
It was first to three. Sam got one. Shannon got one. 2-0 Kahu. Gaz got two and Shane won it. Gaz jumped into Shane’s arms like they were Scooby Doo and Shaggy.
At the post-challenge debrief, Sam said he’d got two for Kahu.
And that’s when things really, really started to turn.
Shannon said: “Sam won’t be getting my vote [for captain] … don’t trust your judgement. I got one of those balls in dude. You claimed both of them.”
“Oh cool. It’s a public burn … thank you cap,” replied Sam.
Later, chatting to the boys, he said: “That was a burn, eh? I was just kind of lost in the game, you know. I don’t know who got it in.”
Somewhere else, Shannon said: “I did call him out in front of everyone, but hey, Sam calls everyone out in front of everyone else too so I think he knows how to take it.”
Moses told Sam she didn’t mean anything by it.
Sam said: “Course she did. She had a full stab.”
Moses said she was probably on edge about losing the challenge and captaincy.
Sam said: “Yeah, but you can be a dick about it or not.”
On the voiceover Bree said: “So true Sam, you can be a dick about it. Or not.”
Sam said: “It’s quite clear where the line is between our team and it’s girls versus guys. I don’t know how it’s ended up like that, but it has, so who wants to be captain?”
They sort of agreed they’d all vote for Eric. Then they spotted Jodie arriving with some biscuits.
“Who wants to go up for captain,” she asked.
“We haven’t even really got onto that subject,” said Eric.
Sam’s had a go and Moses is new — it’s me or Eric, said Jodie.
Mumble, mumble, rhubarb, went the boys.
Back at camp, Jodie told Shannon: “The boys, of course, have got other ideas about captaincy. I’m so f***ing over it. I just want to go home to my children at this stage. I feel like the pawn in a chess game and it’s not a very nice feeling. F*** this. We’re just pawns.”
The returning boys asked each other if they could hear swearing.
And that’s when things really, really, really started to turn.
“Most of our chat that we had just away from you guys was about Shannon cutting me in half,” said Sam.
“Did that not feel like it was a friendly jab?” asked Shannon.
“It felt like it was a ‘hey-sister-diva-snap’,” said Sam doing some kind of sassy finger-snapping thing.
Eric told the truth. Kind of. He said they were actually talking about the captain’s challenge.
“Who do we think would beat Gary in 90 per cent of the things?” he asked. “And I think, I could do that. Could Jodie do it?”
Sam: “Imagine Gary sitting there like, ‘right who’s it going to be, and the big dog that has both bases covered [Eric] walks in. He’d probbly drop his Tim Tam.
Shannon: “I reckon he’d freak out if Moses came in.”
Sam said: “Well that’s a bloody spanner in the works isn’t it?”
Everyone laughed, while eyeing each other up.
At Mako, Barbara Kendall was pointing out Moses was the most powerful player in the game.
In a clearing, Sam was telling Eric that Moses was the “swing vote … Winston Peters. Worse case result [the captain is] Jodie.”
Eric: “Oh worst case, yeah.”
Sam: “Unless Moses seduces them with some opera and gets all three of them to vote for him.”
Eric: “I don’t think Jodie would do that, nah, no way. If they did, it would be the worst thing that could happen to our team.”
Then he spotted something: “Mate, I’ve just noticed Moses is having a yarn with the girls.”
Sam: “Good luck to them, because Moses has said he’s a man of his word.”
On the beach, Jodie was telling Sam he’d make a really great captain.
“I know I said I didn’t trust you back there but that was really just a ruse. I know that you’re a man of your word and I would prefer you above Eric for sure.”
So Eric voted for himself and Sam voted for Eric. Jodie and Shannon voted for Moses. He said: “I’m a man of my word. I’ve always said I’m a man of my word and I told Eric and Sam that I had their backs in voting Eric.” Then he voted for himself.
And that’s when things really, really … well, you get the message.
Eric shouted at Shannon and Jodie: “I can’t believe this has just happened. What the hell are we doing? You’ve just given power to a guy that came to our f***ing team like two days ago. He’s still with Mako, none of us are going to make it to endgame.”
“You’re not going to let me speak are you,” said Shannon. “That’s your style you’re just going to keep speaking and I won’t get a word in.”
Jodie said: “How you’re reacting right now, Eric, and how emotional you are is exactly why I don’t want you leading this team.”
Eric did that gesture where you tap your thumb against your outstretched fingers repeatedly to signify someone’s going on and on.
He told the camera: “When I hit Shannon up, I probably shouldn’t have got as heated but I tried to relay my message the best I possibily could.”
Sam said, possibly hyperbolically: “Never in the history of war has someone gone, ‘you know what, we’re just going to handpick you the leader of the opposition, we’re going to put you into our team now, see how that works out’. It is the most ridiculous thing that’s ever happened.”
“Who would have thought,” mused Moses. “You know, I was in Mako team a few days ago and now I’m captain of the other team. What a bizarre set of events that just happened.”
When he got back from his soul-searching on the beach, he told Eric and Sam: “I’m sorry how that panned out, man. I told you one thing and I did another. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. A lot was going on and I had to make a call. I feel like I betrayed you guys and I’m sorry about that.”
“No, no, no, no, we’re in a game,” said Eric. “And now we just realise where eveyone’s gameplay is. We just have to be individuals playing a game. I’m fine with individual games. I like individual games. I’m confident in individual games.”
Eric feared Team Mako w