reality tv

In defence of Pia Miranda, the woman who 'broke Australia's heart' on Australian Survivor.

On Monday night, Australian Survivor fans (including this writer) quietly wept watching Luke Toki be eliminated from the game.

After losing the individual immunity challenge that would’ve secured his top three spot to contender Harry Hills, the writing was well and truly on the wall for the King of the Jungle.

Despite first appealing to original contender Baden Gilbert and then former champion Pia Miranda to force the vote to a draw, which sees contestants play off in a fire making challenge, the vote to send Luke home was three to one.

You can watch Luke’s Survivor exit interview below, post continues after video.

Video by Ten

The tribal council was a highly emotional struggle between the head and the heart. Luke was crying. Pia was crying. Dave was crying. And so were all of us at home.

As host Jonathan LaPaglia put it, “Survivor is a brutal game that spares no one.”

Following the emotional episode, Pia received a lot of hate online for not throwing Luke a lifeline.

“This game is brutal. I didn’t expect to have to make a decision that tore me apart like this but Survivor will do that to you,” the actress wrote on Instagram.

“At the end of the day we are all out there playing to change our lives and Harry, Baden and I made a choice that was strategically right but morally painful. So send me all your snake emojis and know that I get it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And send snakes the people did. The backlash against Pia’s decision was swift and as ruthless as Luke’s elimination.

If people on Twitter were to be believed, Pia is a heartless, morally compromised human being who ruined Luke’s life by sending him home.

But here’s the thing about Survivor true fans of the reality show know to be true.

The aim of the game is to: Outwit, outplay and outlast. In defence of Pia Miranda, that’s exactly why she had to send Luke home.

Unlike a lot of other reality shows, the Survivor winner isn’t decided by a public vote or ‘the judges’. Who takes home the $500,000 comes down to who the eliminated contestants on the jury believe played the better game.

Who made the big moves? Who aligned themselves with the right people? Who worked for it behind the scenes and who didn’t just coast along on someone else’s coattails?

In the finale, the final two players are answerable for every single thing they did in the game that brought them to the end. They have to pitch why they think they should win over the other person.

It’s exactly why Luke was the biggest threat in the game and the reason Pia, Baden and Harry had to send him home. He had to go because everyone liked him too much.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Luke Toki (@luketoki) on

ADVERTISEMENT

You see, the 33-year-old from Perth had the best story of all the contestants vying for the title of Sole Survivor. Having left his wife, two sons and six-week-old daughter with cystic fibrosis for the chance to win $500,000 for his family, there was no denying Luke could’ve really used that prize money.

But even Luke himself has said in post-elimination press interviews that if he were in Pia’s situation, he would’ve done the same thing.

“I knew it would be a super sad episode… did I think it would get to this level? Probably not,” Luke told Mamamia’s The Spill podcast.

“I keep making sure she’s getting my support online, because most of the Superfan community understand why [she had to do that]. She doesn’t owe me nothing in that game. I might’ve saved her once or twice and had my moments with her, but when it gets to this point, top four, all bets are off. It’s win or lose. I have no hard feelings and I hope no one really goes at her too hard.”

You can listen to our full interview with Luke on The Spill podcast below. Post continues after audio.

Luke also told 10 Daily, “I think that she said, the way I was talking in tribal, I was speaking quite well that she was… it was just the tipping point to say, well I can’t sit next to this guy who can talk this well.”

At the end of the day, Survivor isn’t a popularity contest or a show about finding love. People aren’t there to make friends and there’s no prize for Miss Congeniality.

Sadly, as Luke said, the Survivor Gods weren’t smiling down on him this time, but he’ll treasure the experience forever.

Who do you think will win Australian Survivor? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

00:00 / ???