A Blast From The Past And Some Bad Timing Send Dirty Harry Packing
It was only a few weeks ago when Harry Hills faced off against one of Australian Survivor's most gruelling trials before arriving to find a very familiar set-up.
In Season 4, next to Pia Miranda and Baden Gilbert, Harry lasted almost seven hours holding up two idols, with only two narrow pegs to stand on. It should come as no surprise that Harry was the least thrilled of the All Stars to see a similar challenge on the beach on Wednesday's episode.
"We were on the mats, Jonathan LaPaglia's there and I was like... that looks familiar," Harry told 10 daily. "He basically asked me a question that confirmed it. I was like, this is going to be horrible. It was not going to be pleasant."
Calling it "one of the worst" challenges of all time, JLP had a few bonuses in store to make this a real All Stars challenge. Rather than just two pegs, the castaways had to hold up two sandbags making up 20 percent of their body weight, moving to increasingly narrow pegs at various intervals.
"Basically they turned up the difficulty level to the extreme so there'd be no records broken," Harry said.
Once again defeated by the ridiculously tough trial, the bad news hadn't stopped for the ice cream maker, with JLP revealing that the castaways would be heading straight to tribal council.
"That was the WORST!" Harry exclaimed.
Admitting that he "didn't really feel safe" heading into tribal, Harry said one of his best skills when it comes to Survivor is being able to pick where votes are going and what his chances are.
Seeing that the majority of seven were going to whittle away the Vakama five until there was just two or three of them left, Harry knew his head was clearly on the chopping block.
"I was banking on it maybe being Brooke because she was such a dangerous threat and she had that connection to Locky," Harry said, "but she ended up winning immunity so that wrecked that for me."
Hoping the vote would shift to AK, Harry said he thought he would be able to "slide through cockroach-style" to the point where the Mokuta seven would begin flipping on each other and see him and Shonee as valuable allies.
Harry had also been working on winning Zach and Lee over to attempt to get Jacqui out of the game, and he felt like he was onto something. Until JLP's surprise move to tribal threw everyone into a frantic panic.
"I feel like I actually had something going," Harry said. "There was an idea in Zach and Lee's head and I really needed more time to actually push it through.
"They're both not people who want to jump to rash choices," Harry continued, "That air of panic around the bonfires was making it more difficult for me to lay out this rational plan as to why they'd be fine voting with us."
The instant tribal spooked Zach and Lee, and with that Harry's chances of swaying their votes away from the alliance of seven.
"It's quite a common thing to happen. If you feel threatened that something might happen to you next after making an overly aggressive move, players retreat," he explained.
"Having a high-pressure environment was detrimental to me," he said, adding that it was impossible to know how things may have played out if he would have had time on the beach to chip away at Lee and Zach.
But it wasn't meant to be, and Harry became the second member of the All Stars jury.
Harry was one of a few of the All Stars castaways who had barely finished Season 4 when he signed up for a follow-up season. The 30-year-old said he definitely felt the toll of the game the second time around but in an unexpected way.
"I think you'll get a different answer from all of the Season 4 people but the one thing we have in common is that it's far more difficult doing it back-to-back," he said.
"The first time I felt like I was rubber and everything bounced off me, even when I was going through horrible things. The second time I struggled mentally more than physically. Everything felt that much more difficult," Harry added.
For Harry, getting to play twice did mean he got to change up his style.
"The first time was abrasive and aggressive," he said, adding that for All Stars he wanted to change things up.
"I think it was a really cool opportunity because I'm such a big Survivor fan, this time I had the chance to play much more social, quieter.
"Some people might not like that from a TV perspective but as a fan, to have that shot twice was pretty amazing."
The first time Harry played, he didn't get a chance to watch the entirety of his season before he was shipped back to compete on All Stars. This time around he said it's been a whole new experience being able to watch and see comments flood in.
On top of that, Harry had also made quite the name for himself during his first season and had to live up to his own cockroachy reputation.
"It's been a new experience," he said, "because I played such a quieter and more strategic social game this time around I think it upset a few of the viewers, which has been something for me to wrap my head around.
"It has been a complex experience watching it back. In a way, I tried to play similar at times, but I was always going to play smarter."
From day one Harry had a target on his back and had to make up a lot of ground to be seen as somebody who could be trusted.
"It was a bit of a handicap, to be honest. There was an air of 'Harry's suspicious, we have to keep an eye on him'. The two ways I played were day and night, and that's going to upset some people, but I feel like I had to play it for me."
For Harry, the most unexpected outcome of his time on back-to-back seasons has been his new gang of mates.
"It's been so nice to sit on the couch and watch your friends play well and see all the moments you had together," he said.
"It's the nicest part of the Survivor experience."