In the event that he turns out to be bad in the head like some other unnamed cast members from this season, we absolutely reserve the right to rescind this take at any given moment. But until such time it absolutely needs to be said: George from the current season of Australian Survivor is, unquestionably, King of the Ratbags. A glorious spanner in the works. The season’s one true saviour. And, frankly, one of the most thoroughly likeable “villains” in Australian reality TV history.

The Brains v Brawn modifier for this season of Australian Survivor (Nerds v Jocks, basically), theoretically makes things reasonably interesting, but in practice has put a fairly tedious inevitability on things. Brawn dominates challenges, unless there’s a puzzle involved, at which point they come horribly unstuck. The Australian outback setting has ramped up the physical difficulty on players who may have otherwise been mentally preparing for the sandy shores of Fiji, but the environment lacks the litany of deeply convenient hiding spots for idols. That’s lead to idol pursuits that end with a screamingly obvious brown package sitting in the crook of an open tree branch. Not much in that as far as intrigue goes.

Thank fuck for George.

Prominent in almost all pre-premiere promo, George – a “political operative” for the Labor Party in Bankstown, so the story goes – presented as every bit the archetypal Survivor villain. Calculating, cold, and just a little bit wrong in the scone. And for episode one, he absolutely was that.

What kind of fearless lunatic blows his whole game up on day dot by playing a ridiculous advantage like the one he did at the very first tribal council? Without even having a skerrick of the numbers to back himself up, no less?

But then something strange happened.

George didn’t necessarily change. But everyone around him did. Whether it’s the underdog appeal of someone being backed into a corner, or the brutally familiar High School-ish attempts by a popular group to bully an outsider into silence, or even just the sadistic thrill of watching someone fully embrace Survivor chaos, George became a King.

The tide turned quickly in episode two, and has been progressively swinging in his favour since then. By the time he swanned into camp, open shirt billowing in the breeze, Immunity Idol draped gloriously around his neck for all to see, he was everything.

What kind of maniac does that, and why is it SO GOOD to watch?

The best I can think of, is that – riding on high from last year’s truly excellent All-Stars season – having an entirely fresh cast, none of whom have played before, cautiously dip their toes into basic Survivor strategies has been jarring. We’re back to protecting majority alliances, staying “tribe strong,” excising the obviously weak for base reasons. It’s not exactly advanced Survivor play.

George, however, seems content to blister through all that with reckless abandon, and I simply cannot get enough.

He’s freely flitting about camp looking for Idols out in the open, and he can do that because the quote-unquote “majority” alliance hasn’t thought to put a tail on him at all times yet.

He’s weaving magic at tribal council and saying cool-ass shit like “I love a good blood letting. And let the blood flow” and chiding those who get voted out and trying to take their pound of flesh while exiting.

In a cast full of facsimiles (Emmett is a poor man’s David Genat, Joey a poor man’s Luke Toki, and Big D is… well, a pretty poor man, as it turns out) George is aggressively original.

Survivor has no script or format that needs to be followed. And if he can just keep running rings around everyone – staying in the game by hook or bloody crook – then Australian Survivor has well and truly produced another Hall of Fame-calibre star.

King George forever.