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"The Characters and their Stories: Game Changers"
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michel2 2214 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Roller Coaster Inaugurator"

03-05-17, 04:12 PM (EST)
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"The Characters and their Stories: Game Changers"
In her introduction to the Guatemala season, Veruca Salt defined three archetypes for Sole Survivor: The Clinical Player (Hatch, Brian and Vee), the Head of Household (Tina, Ethan, Tom) and the Under the Radar Player (Jenna, Sandra, Chris).

For the following seasons, we saw that these archetypes held: Earl, Parvati, Tyson, John and Natalie Anderson were clinical players (even if Cirie ran Parvati’s clinic!) Aras, Yul, Todd, JT, Boston Rob, Kim and Jeremy were Head of Households while Danni, Bob, Natalie White and Sandra were UTR players.

We first encountered a problem with Fabio’s win, forcing us to envision a new archetype yet undefined. With Burnett ceding the wheel to Probst we saw a proliferation of idols, swaps and seasons with returning players who began to play to the camera rather than for the win. This led to a definition of this latest archetype: The “Accidental Winner”.

It fit perfectly with Sophie’s win in South Pacific: While the season first looked like it would be “Sophie’s Choice” that theme completely disappeared when Coach overruled her and voted out Mikayla. We constantly saw images that underlined her poor social game: She was shown manicuring her toe nails or looking to be more interested in sun tanning when people like Edna, John and Dawn came to plead for a stay of execution. She won the game when Oscar called her out for being a spoiled brat. Her tears in front of the jury won votes over the self-righteous Coach and the despicable Albert.

While Denise could be called an “Under the Radar” type winner, I think the “Accidental Winner” fits more. After all, as early as episode 4, Russell Swan told everyone that if anyone was dumb enough to let Denise get to the end, she’d win so she wasn’t under the radar. No, Denise won by accident when that idiot Mike and his equally idiotic ally Lisa eliminated Abi Maria over her.

Likewise, Tony and Mike were “Accidental Winners”. Following Fabio's recipe, Mike won only because he ran the tables in the immunity challenges which can only be done if the player is lucky enough to have a series of challenges that suit his skill set.

For Tony, we certainly can’t call him a clinical player because his strategy was all over the place and entirely based on his emotions. He won mostly because Trish got Kass to flip and then stayed incredibly loyal to the Jersey cop, Probst put the overpowered idol back in play, Kass unbelievably beat Spencer in the Final 4 immunity and Woo is an idiot. That is the very definition of the “Accidental Winner”.

Michele and Adam were also “Accidental Winners”. Aubry and Hannah were the clinical players in those two seasons but the jury chose not to acknowledge their accomplishments. It was particularly vexing in Hannah’s case because Chris championed Adam’s win by crediting him for turning Ken against David when we all saw that it was Hannah who did all the work to get Ken to vote with her.

So, what can we expect in this season of so-called “Game Changers”? Could it be anything but another “Accidental Winner”? With that in mind, I give you my impressions of these Desperate Attention Whores who haven’t had enough yet of being puppets for Probst.

Let’s start with Mana:

Michaela: I enjoyed watching Michaela last season but I would have preferred waiting a few years before seeing her again. The funny thing is that could have helped her, giving her time to socialize outside the game which is a vital part of seasons with returning players. See, Michaela can’t win for one simple reason: She hasn’t had that time to get to know the Survivor alumni so they will use her strength in challenges but won’t let her in the inner core of their alliance. She will probably make the merger because no one will feel threatened by her but then she will have no one huddling around her to hear how she wants the rocks to fall.

Hali: I want to thank production for giving us some eye-candy. Hali is nice decoration but as far as game changers is concerned, I don’t see it. The funniest thing is that this cast may have doubt concerning Hali’s loyalty because of her vote against Vince! I don’t think she’s part of the Survivor “brotherhood” so I don’t know if she’ll fit in. Hali has no chance of winning this game.

Ciera: While Jeff clearly has a hard-on for her, I don’t think Ciera played well at all. It’s one thing to change the game to please the fans, it is quite another to come up with a winning strategy. If she’s a first boot, I’d be happy. No one will trust her so her chances of winning are NIL.

Aubry: Despite a roller-coaster ride, things worked just about as well as could be for Aubry during Saoh Wrong but she still didn’t win. How can she do it now? She’s one that could be described as a schemer but she has a good social game and can contribute in challenges so she does have a small chance, say 5%.

Sandra: While I’m glad that Sandra is back because, let’s face it, she’s one of the few that can make us laugh, I wonder if she was invited only because Probst wants to finally snuff her torch. I have a feeling that this will please him tremendously. 5 Players list her as their intended first target, the most after Tony’s 6, so we have a repeat of the original All-Stars focus on previous winners. Sandra simply has no chance at a threepeat.

Troyzan: The guy has a problem: He thinks Survivor is HIS own personal adventure and his alone. Most kids grow out of the phase where they think the world revolves around their bellybutton but, apparently, Troyzan hasn’t reached that stage yet. I enjoyed One World a lot and a big reason why was seeing Kim completely outwit this pretentious dumbass. Troyzan’s chances of winning: Nil.

Caleb: What move did Caleb do to earn the title “game Changer”? Jeff’s attempt at justifying his selection can only be called pathetic. According to him, Caleb was willing to die to win but actually Caleb risked his life for, wait for it... salt and pepper shakers. What a player! On the other hand, he is a hard worker, a strong competitor and loyal in a way that is completely detrimental to his own game. That means he will be used early on especially when we consider that Mana looks overmatched physically but at some point no one will need him anymore. Caleb’s chances of winning: Nil.

Jeff Varner: Varner had a shot during Second Chance but a foot injury and an unlucky swap did him in. Unfortunately for him, everyone saw that he is much smarter than your average Survivor player. Who else votes someone from his own alliance just to shake up everyone else and get them to play? That sort of deviousness will certainly get him in trouble. I don’t think Varner has a chance this time.

Tony: Judging by his exit interviews after Cagayan, Tony thinks he’s a great player. He isn’t. He thinks his skills earned him the title of Sole Survivor. They didn’t. Luck and an overpowered idol did it all. From a pre-game poll, we have 6 people (Andrea, Hali, JT, Sierra, Tai and Varner) all wanting to vote him out first so unless he finds another idol very quickly, Tony is dead meat. Tony was part of the Reunion 7 so I’ll be generous and give him a 5% chance of winning but that’s mostly because I’ve just realized that I have 5% left after going over everyone else and who am I going to get that? Debbie?!?!

Malcolm: While Malcolm hasn’t shown that he is a trustworthy player, Mana is going to need his challenge skills. His good nature should also get him inside an alliance but at some point it likely will collapse around him. Still, he is resilient so I think he’ll make it far. I put his chances of winning at 10%.

So now, let’s move over to Nuku:

Debbie: Like all the other players, we saw that Debbie is “coocoo for cocoa puffs” and judging by the reason she gives for targeting Andrea first (“This isn’t a Playboy shoot”) things haven’t improved since last time. All the guys will want to get rid of her because she tried to rally a women’s alliance while the women wouldn’t want to cut their options by sticking their neck out for her. Bye Debbie.

Sierra: One could ask why she is on this cast because what move did she ever make. I appreciate the eye candy factor and the Nuku tribe may consider that she's the only woman they have to rival Michaela physically. Add the fact that she will be seen as a loyal player so she could last a while but the other won't see her as a deserving returnee. The concept of being a deserving player has played a role in every season of returning players except the very first one. Her chances of winning are nil.

Sarah: It’s interesting to imagine what would have happened if Kass hadn’t given the game to the other side. Maybe she should have been aware of her tribe mate’s concerns but she was dealing with Kass who acted like a needy 5 year old so I don’t hold it against her. Sarah gave us the impression of being a clinical player when she decided it was time to get rid of Cliff and when she aligned with the Luzon trio against the three “Beauties”. For the most part, Sarah played a loyal game so that should serve her well here. She is quite capable in challenges and she is level headed in camp so I expect her to go far. I give her a 5% chance of winning.

Cirie: Cirie has stated it often: If she trusts you, you can trust her. In Panama, she trusted three people: Bruce, Aras and Danielle. She never betrayed any of them. In Micronesia, she trusted Parvati and Amanda and she was loyal to them. The same can be said in HvV where she was loyal to her alliance. Cirie is also somewhat of a regular in Survivor get-togethers which means she has a web of connections by now so I have no doubt she will be well prepared for this game. I really like Cirie and I think she’s a great character, but that doesn’t prevent me from seeing Cirie’s main flaw in Survivor: She can’t win those final challenges so she isn’t really a threat to win it all if you don’t give it to her. A good strategy for anyone aligned with Cirie would be to use her connections and then get everyone to vote her out at F5 or F4. Since she was part of the “Reunion 7” I give Cirie 5% chances of being Sole Survivor.

Andrea: I’ve seen hubris, paranoia and schemer used to describe Andrea but I really don’t see her that way. If anything, Andrea was not paranoid enough! She let Rob run things at will in her first season and then, in Caramoan, she trusted her alliance so much that she sat on her Immunity Idol. The best way to describe Andrea is to say she’s a naïve player. For the longest time, she thought she could go to the end with Boston Rob and then she thought Cochran would choose her over Dawn. If she lets the game come to her it will run over her once again. She has shown more loyalty than most of the other players here and I think she’s been active on the Survivor circuit so I think she could do well. I’ll give her 10% chance of winning.

Brad: Brad was brought back for one reason: Create conflicts. They’ll endure him while it’s time to build the shelter and win a couple of challenges and then he’ll become disposable. His chances of winning are Nil.

JT: Will we see the smart Tocantins version or the dumb HvV one? Since Stephen won't be there, I think we can expect the latter. JT's challenge abilities should keep him from being voted out early but he's proven to be untrustworthy so he'll probably fall at the swap. Chances of winning: Nil.

Tai: While his Survivor skills will be appreciated during the tribal portion, the players will see him as someone who can make the game go Boom! and he showed a propensity of finding idols so he won't be trusted. He was one of the "Reunion 7" so that makes me think he'll see the merger but he shouldn't last much longer. Chances of winning: Nil.

Zeke: The biggest question I have regarding Zeke is why Jeff didn’t mention his presence this season during the last reunion. He did say Michaela would be there so why not Zeke? I’d say there are two possibilities: Either Zeke does very poorly or he does very well. His final words last season included a line about playing better next time. Of course, he had no way of knowing how he would do at that time but when it came time to edit his last words, production knew how he had done because, for them, S34 had already been filmed. I think they included that line because Zeke does, in fact do well. Like Michaela, Zeke hasn’t had time to mingle with the other Survivors outside of the game but he is a much more gregarious person so that shouldn’t hurt him as much. Zeke’s chances of winning: 25%

Ozzy: When he is competing in challenges, Ozzy is someone to watch but when he is trying to play the game, Oscar is a moron. As sick as I am of seeing him, I have to realize that this is his 4th go-around and production owes him still. Maybe even more than Cirie who was robbed by the Micronesian F2, Oscar was deprived of any chance of getting rid of Yul when that abominable Final 3 twist was revealed. Like Boston Rob during RI, South Pacific was designed to reward Oscar but Sophie intervened. (Hey! sometimes you think you’ve fixed your car but it still refuses to go) This could be his time. Besides, Ozzy was part of the Reunion 7, and not only was he introduced last, he completely dominated that stage. I have a bad feeling so I give Oscar 35% chances of winning this game.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: The Characters and their Storie... DRONES 03-11-17 1
   Episodes 1 and 2 - The Unknown michel2 03-11-17 2
 Episode 3 - Leading the Sheep to Sl... michel2 03-18-17 3
 Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You! michel2 03-25-17 4
   RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You! kingfish 03-25-17 5
       RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You! michel2 03-26-17 6
   RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You! Jims03 03-27-17 7
       RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You! michel2 04-01-17 9
 Episode 5 - It's Payback Time michel2 04-01-17 8
   RE: Episode 5 - It's Payback Time PepeLePew13 04-07-17 10
 Episode 6 - Preparing a Hit michel2 04-08-17 11
 Episode 7 - It's All Fun and Games ... michel2 04-15-17 12
 Episodes 8 and 9 - What Happened? michel2 04-23-17 13
 Episode 10 - Reshuffling the Deck michel2 04-30-17 14
 Episode 11 - Idiots michel2 05-07-17 15
   RE: Episode 11 - Idiots Flowerpower1 05-08-17 16
       RE: Episode 11 - Idiots michel2 05-08-17 17
           RE: Episode 11 - Idiots Agent99 05-08-17 18
               What a nice post, Agent 99! Flowerpower1 05-08-17 19
               RE: Episode 11 - Idiots michel2 05-08-17 20
           RE: Episode 11 - Idiots Murphy3126 05-08-17 21
               RE: Episode 11 - Idiots michel2 05-09-17 22
 Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died michel2 05-14-17 23
   RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died Flowerpower1 05-16-17 24
       RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died michel2 05-16-17 25
           RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died Sheldor 05-17-17 26
               RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died michel2 05-18-17 28
           I cannot accept this! Flowerpower1 05-17-17 27
               RE: I cannot accept this! michel2 05-18-17 29
           RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died Murphy3126 05-20-17 30
               RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died Flowerpower1 05-21-17 31
               RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died michel2 05-22-17 36
                   RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died Flowerpower1 05-22-17 37
                   RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died Murphy3126 05-22-17 38
 Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (t... michel2 05-21-17 32
   RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... Flowerpower1 05-21-17 33
       RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... michel2 05-22-17 39
   RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... Murphy3126 05-21-17 34
       RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... michel2 05-22-17 35
           RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... MandC 05-25-17 40
               RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... michel2 05-25-17 41
   RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... CTgirl 05-26-17 42
       RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... michel2 05-28-17 45
   RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... attic125 05-28-17 43
       RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... michel2 05-28-17 46
   RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... kingfish 05-28-17 44
       RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothin... michel2 05-28-17 47
 RE: The Characters and their Storie... Agent99 10-03-17 48

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DRONES 614 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Reality Show Commentator"

03-11-17, 05:50 AM (EST)
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1. "RE: The Characters and their Stories: Game Changers"
Michel, I always enjoy reading your season preview. I especially like your review of the archetype winners including a new one, the Accidental Winner.

Survivor, as it is marketed by Jeff, is a show that will humble you. Secondarily, the show is constantly changing and you have to adapt. Since this is an all star season I believe the editing has already taken a turn towards those two themes. What follows are my comments as to the 3 main characters, with big personalities, who will play into these themes.

What does it mean to be humble when it comes to survivor. Humble means that the players respect the game. Respect the game means that you understand how difficult of a game it is to play. We see this played out all the time during the show with Jeff's constant statements of how difficult the game is and his leading questions to elicit responses from players of how difficult the game is and how it has humbled them.

To that end there are two players that stick out this season, Sandra and Ozzy. Ozzy, the ultimate outdoorsman, the contestant who was built to play this game. The harsh elements of this show have never humbled him like it has so many others. What has humbled Ozzy has been the game play. He has been done in by circumstance and betrayal. That is the one part of the game he could never conquer. Ozzy has been humbled and I think in this, his 4th go around with Survivor we will see a different player who works harder to build those relationships.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Sandra. She plays the social part of the game to a tee. From the minute the game starts every move she makes is purely to benefit herself. She spots the biggest threats and those that are targeting her and gets them out of the game. She looks at the big picture. She knows that this game is not a team sport. While Sandra is very resilient in surviving the harsh elements she is also one of the worst challenge competitors in the history of the show, and she really doesn't care. She has been relatively unfazed by all the twists and turns of the game and has still won the game twice.

So here we have two players, one that has been humbled by the game and another one that has not been humbled by the game.

For the last few seasons Jeff has beaten us over the head with how the game has changed. He's especially fascinated by, and rather enjoys, the fluidity of the alliances. Why is this so important to the Survivor franchise. Simply put it keeps the show from getting stale. The player that embodies that the most this season is Zeke. Zeke is the new type of player. The one who changes as the game changes.

So what happens this season. What are the overriding themes.
In a season full of all stars the star is going to be Survivor proving that the show is bigger than any one or group of players.

The biggest stars this season, the ones who will be narrating this to all of us are Sandra, Ozzy, and Zeke.

Sandra, the Queen of survivor. The player who has become to big for her britches will be humbled by the game proving that the game will ultimately always humble you.

Ozzy, will once again become the lovable the loser. Ther person everybody wants to win because he deserves it. Once again the game will humble the greatest player to never win the game.

Zeke, will become your sole survivor. The evolution of the game. He will be shown as humble while showing how the game as evolved. His strategy will prove to be the biggest game changer of them all as he changes alliances based on the situation. This is something that Sandra and Ozzy have not experienced since they have both not played in a long time.


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michel2 2214 desperate attention whore postings
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03-11-17, 08:37 PM (EST)
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2. "Episodes 1 and 2 - The Unknown"
Thank you for nice words and for getting us started, Drones.

All-Star games show more entitlement than humility so we'll see how this theme works out.

Here is what I saw:

The Unknown


Jeff: “The game of Survivor has evolved...These are the players that changed the game.”

Tony: “Coming into this game, I already know that I am a huge threat. I created the spy shack, I found the special idol, I voted out my closest allies, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, you ain’t seen nothing yet.””

Malcolm: “In Survivor Philippines and Survivor Caramoan, I swung for the fences and made some splashy, firework type moves. I have a reputation to uphold and I’m going to keep on making big moves (Ozzy shown on screen). I’m so excited I can’t stop bouncing in my seat! Ha! Ha!”

Sandra: “I’m the only person to ever win Survivor two times and it wasn’t just luck. That’s what I know how to do: Make it to day 39 and not get voted off. (Andrea and Sierra shown) The queen stays queen: Adios!”

Cirie: “I am a bona fide ex-couch potato that saw this game and loved it. I’m a gangster with a smile, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’ve made it to the end so what’s the next step? The only next step for me is to win.”

Debbie: “Anybody who watched Survivor Kaoh Rông that I got strength like a gymnast and tenacity like a giant squid. When I come into this game it’s to go for broke. This is the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes (Michaela seen, then Caleb and Ciera) all at once so you better go for it.”

We had a break to show quick scenes of future events while Jeff delivered his pitch.

Brad: “We’ve all changed the game so, to win this game, you got to go big or go home.”

This is when we heard the Survivor tribal chant and saw a brief intro which featured the image of a male standing alone in a victory pose.

Were they spoiling the gender of the winner? I remember them showing two males (one with a baseball cap no less!) and one female during the Redemption Island introduction.

We also had a quick glimpse of the Tarsier that was so prominently featured during Caramoan.

Then, it was associated with Cochran so this could be a hint to look at the two former Caramoan players, Malcolm and Andrea.

Jeff’s introduction: “Some of you made bold moves (Tony) some of you made quiet moves (Sierra). Some of you made moves that were so successful that they are legendary (Malcolm and Cirie) and others have made moves that were a disaster (Ozzy) and got you voted out but that is the nature of the game in which there is only one winner. Most moves won’t work (Sierra, Brad and Zeke) it’s having the guts to make the move that got you here.”
Jeff then asked Ozzy how much time he’s spent thinking of his mistakes.

Ozzy: “I have crazy dreams, wake up sweating with a million dollars slipping through my fingers (Varner) but I also have amazing memories that I would never give up.”

Jeff then asked JT about being with some other winners.

JT: “I think it’s great that I’m not the only winner here but I don’t think it matters at all. Sandra is not going to be the only two-time winner, I don’t think.”

Turning to Cirie, Jeff said: “If JT is right, you have no shot.”

Cirie: “Who says JT is right?”

Asked about being with players who know the game, Zeke said: “As a fan, I am geeking out quite a bit. You wonder if you belong on this boat. I intend to prove that I do.”

Jeff then told them about the supplies and a twist: A massive tool kit was up for grabs out in the ocean.

We heard JT saying: “Ozzy’s gotta go.”

As an editing analyst, I just love these “double-entendre”.

In fact, Ozzy was the only one to go right away for the advantage. Probst was dumbfounded that no one from Mana appeared to care. Finally, Caleb challenged the former “King Neptune” but he was too little too late.

Andrea picked up a crate which had a secret advantage envelope underneath it. She didn’t notice it so it stayed there for a long time until Sierra finally picked it.

Tai grabbed the chicken and they almost killed him! the crate falling on his head.

Both tribes got a veritable cornucopia of supplies but Nuku got the tools and the chicken.

JT promised to build a mansion with those tools. (How long will he enjoy it though?)

Andrea had a confessional right after Jeff said: “For one of you, this is the beginning of a million dollar adventure.

Andrea’s thoughts: “It’s Survivor Game Changers so you can’t just sit around and hope to make it to the end. The stakes have been raised. This is going to be an epic season. So, game on!”

As always, it is important to note the players that were heard during the opening segment. More often than not, the eventual winner will have been heard by now. The list include: Malcolm, Sandra, Cirie (twice), Debbie, Brad, Ozzy, JT, Zeke and Andrea.

That means we already have a question mark by the names of Sierra, Tai, Sarah, Michaela, Hali, Varner, Troyzan, Caleb and Aubry. It’s not a huge question mark but still; why weren’t they included?

By having the confessional immediately after Probst words of a million dollar adventure, I think Andrea just positioned herself at the very top of the list of contenders.

Scene 1

The Mana tribe arrived at their camp.

The first hug seen was between Varner and Michaela.

Hali’s interview: “Seeing the flag was like Déjà vu. I mean that’s when you really feel like you’re on Survivor. Everyone here is like a snake in the grass but I’m like the cobra that you don’t know is sitting underneath you and then all of a sudden it strikes and you don’t know what hit you.”

Interesting interview but it could only have been inserted to fabricate an explanation for Hali’s presence on this cast, not to foreshadow anything. We’ll need to see that cobra in action first.

Michaela’s interview: “This season, I believe my best shot at winning is schmoozing up to everybody and making them feel awesome. Every time someone starts talking to me, I’m going to go like this (we see her biting her tongue) because I can’t control my facial expressions. It is very difficult for me to lie.”

After collecting some bamboo, Tony told everyone he’d be out looking for an idol.

The fool immediately took off!

The nine others decided they would just vote him off first.

Malcolm’s interview: “All of a sudden that big bald maniac screams: “I’m going for the idol, baby! Woo-hoo-hoo!” If you’re going to call a season “Game Changers” I think it’s more important for me to get a foothold with alliances and making relationships and not be pulling a “Tony” who is freaking out everyone at camp with all of his idol hunting.”

Considering this, I wonder if Malcolm’s future alliance talk with Tony were real or if we only saw the parts where he pretended to be with Tony. I think Malcolm was never really with Tony but he was so hesitant that it enabled production to hide his real intentions until the second vote.

Tony couldn’t believe that no one was following him. He simply wanted to rattle them, that they would follow so he’d tell them he was just messing around but now he was really going to hunt for idols.

Sandra’s interview: “Everyone is already talking about: “we really can’t trust Tony, he doesn’t know what he’s doing” but I don’t know that we can hurry up and take Tony out because we need him. He is a physical player and we need strength.”

Sandra and Caleb met Tony in the woods and told him he was getting everyone paranoid.

Caleb's confessional: “I like Tony; he’s got high spirits. Day one, paranoia, stirring up trouble all I can say is that’s just Tony for you. You wouldn’t expect anything less but he’s got a big target on his back.”

Doing some island hopping, we went over to Nuku who had three visiting goats.

Here, the first hug was between Ozzy and Brad.

Zeke’s interview: “I’m here to slay everyone and to win a million dollars, right, but I have like the greatest tribe ever (Sierra shown laughing). I’ve got the goddess Cirie! I’ve got Ozzy! I’ve got JT! I’m playing surrounded by Game Changers so part of me has to keep slapping myself, saying: You’re out here too. You belong out here and you need to act like it so I want to get my hands dirty. I want to lather myself in the blood of my enemies, right? I want to change the game! That’s what I love about Survivor.”

Both of Zeke’s interview have been about the fan trying to fit in but they have enough substance to give us the impression that Zeke will indeed play an important part in the game.

When the tribe saw the goats, Brad remarked: “If you want to kill a goat we’d have to kill Tai.”

(Or vote him out...)

Sarah’s confessional: “I have a phenomenal social game. I’m a police officer so I can read people and with a season called “Game Changers”, I feel like somebody will get anxious (Zeke shown) and feel as if they need to make a move which will put a target on their back and then I got to be the silent assassin! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Sierra walked off alone to give an interview: “Finding the secret advantage, it’s just giving me this opportunity to do something big and it’s exactly what I wanted to do with my game this time around.”

It was a “legacy advantage”: Sierra read that the advantage would give her immunity either at Final 13 (which tells us when the merger will happen) or at final 6.

Sierra’s confessional continued: “The legacy advantage opens up a lot of doors for me: I’m already a strong competitor, I know what it takes to do it socially. I mean, I’m a cowgirl like my job is working out with guys every day of my life. My comfort is hanging out with the guys so I’ve got to keep them close.”

The first guy she talked to was Brad. The two agreed to work together and that Ozzy would be a great ally.

Brad’s interview: “In Blood versus Water, it was so difficult. I had my wife Monica on one side and I had my side that I came on and I was very aggressive. This time around, I’m trying to let everyone come to me and I find myself saying: “WWMD: What Would Monica Do? and I promise you she’d be slow-playing this right now. I got a long way to go but I think I’m off on the right foot”

Yes Monica slow-played it so much in One World that the 5 women alliance formed before she realized it. However, it does appear that Brad is right about his good start.

Sierra then approached Ozzy and talked about being a team player and about having a core alliance. They agreed that Cirie was scary.

Ozzy’s interview: “I think my competition is fierce. In Survivor, big moves always require big risks. A lot of times they are not successful but if you don’t make them your chances of winning the game are very small. Cirie and I played together in Fan versus Favorites and Cirie helped to get me out. I’m not sure if I can trust her. So, this time around, as a game changer, I need to be the master of blindsides and if we lose an immunity challenge, it’s going to be Cirie that is going to go.”

Since Mana went to both Tribal Councils and a swap is coming next, it’s hard to make sense of anything that happened in Nuku but I think Sierra’s role has alliance maker has to be noted. That is something we didn’t see in her first season and she solidified things nicely with Brad and Ozzy who both had a good start to the game. Hearing Zeke talking about covering himself with the blood of his enemies and juxtaposing that with Sarah’s interview about players being too anxious hints that while he will have an impact, she will be there waiting to catch him.

Scene 2

We were still in Nuku and Cirie was observing the work in camp.

Cirie’s interview: “I think it is good that you can say you put the past behind but I knew that it was a problem when I saw Ozzy on the same tribe as me. What the hell?! I didn’t start the blindside on Ozzy, I participated in Fans versus Favorites but that was 8 years ago or something. Get on with it.”

That’s an interesting quote from Cirie from a historical point of view. As many others, I had given Cirie full credit for blindsiding Ozzy while the show later tried to paint Parvati as the mastermind. Now even Cirie says she was simply a participant.

Cirie talked to Ozzy, asking if they were good. Ozzy said they were. They even shook hands.

Cirie’s interview went on: “Maybe everybody will remain calm.”
Ozzy, JT and Tai took a walk in the jungle and Ozzy said: “With Cirie it really wasn’t anything because she just went along with what my alliance decided to do so I can’t hold that against her.”

Again, this indicates that the presentation of Cirie masterminding Ozzy’s demise during Micronesia wasn’t accurate. She certainly talked about it and wanted him out but it’s possible that we should give more credit to Parvati.

Tai’s interview: “I had a conversation with JT and Ozzy and they keep bringing Cirie out. He and Cirie have a history, he doesn’t trust Cirie but I like Cirie so I don’t want to get caught in something that Cirie has to go.”

Tai went to clean the chicken coop with Cirie

Sharks were seen attacking right before Cirie had her conversation with Tai so those two are in danger.

Cirie asked him about his conversation with Ozzy. He couldn’t answer her so she said: “You paused. That pause is giving me concerns.”

Tai should never play poker!

Cirie’s interview: “So, just hearing the way Ozzy is feeling about me I know it’s going to take more than the conversation we had. Listen, the war is going to start anyway; what difference does it make if the war starts tonight or tomorrow? There will be blood either way.”

Nuku’s story will mostly be about “Cirie the Underdog”. It certainly plays to her fan base that will worry about her chances but will it be a season long story or is she really in so much trouble that she cannot escape? The shark imagery suggests she will fall but it could be a smoke screen.

We followed a school of fish over to Mana but before we got there, we were attacked by sharks! The music was intense and it ended in a long fade out while the camera turned from the group of Mana players over to the solitary Tony and then back to a close up of Ciera.

We saw two sharks attacking and we were shown the tribe’s two victims! Was the shark attack symbolizing only their next two immunity losses or is this whole tribe doomed? I wouldn’t eliminate everyone in Mana so early but we’ll have to keep it in mind.

Tony asked if anyone wanted a refill of water and he went to the well. He told us that these bums were talking while he’s working. He started building a spy bunker next to the water well. He got caught while digging by Troyzan.

It would have been much simpler to use the bushes nearby which he would eventually be forced to do anyway!

Troyzan’s interview: “Tony is the biggest threat here. He’s probably the number one game changer and look, I already caught him digging in places like the idol weasel. I mean he’s out of control and then he acted like: “Hey bro! what’s up?” I didn’t confront him but when he’s guilty he has a fantastic guilty face but I got to be very careful with a guy like that.”

Troy told Malcolm about Tony’s activities. Malcolm told Hali who quickly relayed the information to Ciera, Aubry, Michaela and then Varner.

Ciera had an interview telling us that she’s played with winners before so she thought it gave her an advantage.

To the group, Ciera said they should split the vote between Tony and Caleb, his right hand man. Varner didn’t like the idea of going after Caleb.

Malcolm’s interview: “It’s open season on who the first target for this tribe is. Everyone is playing nice with everybody but names are being thrown out: Caleb, Tony. These are two people who I don’t want to go at all. What I do know is the person throwing these names out: Ciera. Strategically, for my game, I am where I want to be. Everyone is talking to me but if Ciera is the one who is going to push us out of Zen mode in this tribe, it makes it easy to target her early.”

Scene 3 - The Immunity Challenge

These first two challenges worked well to Ozzy’s advantage and the next one would also. If all challenges involve water, “King Neptune” may very well thrive.

When Jeff announced that there wouldn’t be any revotes this season, Andrea told him it really impacted the split vote strategy.

Well, maybe you don’t split votes 4-4 but 5-3!

Mana in a strange strategic decision chose Hali to compete against Ozzy in the swimming portion of the challenge. Hali did OK but this tactical error gave Nuku a big lead.

Nuku also made a weird strategic choice when they gave the keys to Debbie. Varner gave a momentary lead to his tribe but then, according to Jeff, he started panicking. Varner said he wasn’t panicking but he certainly was stalled.

Cirie and Zeke beat Ciera and Sandra on the wheel puzzle. Nuku won immunity!

Ciera had the kiss-of-death confessional spot telling us that she let everybody down.

Scene 4

Varner’s interview: “Losing the first immunity challenge is nothing new to me. That’s exactly what’s happened to me every time I’ve ever played. Nobody wants to be the first person voted out. To even have to go to the first Tribal is awful. Even though Tony is a snake, my gut is telling me to keep the tribe strong. When you talk about game changing, you talk about Ciera. She voted her mother out! That says a lot. Ciera has flipped-flopped, she’s forced ties. Ciera is slick.”

Caleb, Tony, Aubry, Malcolm and Varner were at the well and when Caleb mentioned Ciera’s name, Aubry and Malcolm were quick to say that she had thrown Caleb and Tony’s names out there. Sandra joined them and agreed to their plan. When they saw Ciera approaching them Tony suggested they tell her Michaela was their target.

Sandra informed Troyzan, Hali and Michaela that Ciera was the target.

Michaela’s interview: “Going into Tribal Council tonight is going to be an easy vote. The name Ciera came up and I’m perfectly fine with that. That’s actually who I want to go home first.”
Back in camp, Michaela wanted to know who Ciera was told was going home. When she learned from Tony that she was the pawn, she didn’t like it. She reacted very strongly.

The rest of the episode was spent trying to convince us that Michaela was going home.

Aubry’s interview: “Michaela is a bit of an odd one to handle. She has a hot streak and if you ignite that the wrong way, the whole place is burning down.”

Sandra’s interview: “The plan was Ciera was going home but the only issue is; the minute they told Michaela that it was going to be Ciera but that we were telling Ciera it was going to be Michaela then it was a different story. Michaela was pouting, making these faces like she was pissed off. When push comes to shove, we could easily pick off Ciera some other time. If Michaela is somebody we need to take out she is somebody we need to take out quick, fast and in a hurry.”

Tribal Council

Tony told Jeff that the tribe quickly put the brakes on his craziness.
Malcolm said that Tony went looking for the idol only 10 seconds after they got in camp. He added that they were enjoying themselves.
Aubry said they were trying to figure out if the players they saw on TV were the same in reality.
Caleb agreed with Jeff that the fact he never went to TC could be an advantage since people don’t know what he can do but it could also frighten people.
Michaela hoped that she made a good impression.
Sandra said she liked Michaela. When Jeff said a two-time winner would be an easy target, Sandra said she wouldn’t be the first to go because everyone loves her. No one would give her a third million anyway.
Varner explained that many different groups talked about the vote so it was very unsettling.
Hali said the vote had two components: They had to think of challenges and about some feathers that were ruffled. She added that loose lips sink ships.
Jeff noticed Ciera’s facial expression.
Ciera said she was wondering about the loose lips comment because it made her wonder if she was in the majority.
Michaela said she was expecting at least one vote against her.
Sandra gave Jeff (and me) the title for the first three days: “The Unknown”.

Ciera was voted out unanimously. She didn’t even get final words except for the good luck wish she sent to the tribe.

Jeff sent them back to camp with flint and these words to ponder: “No matter how the game of Survivor evolves, one thing always remains true: blindsides never go out of style.”
After catching the flint, Sandra told Jeff: “I wear glasses now so don’t throw things at me anymore.” It made him laugh.

Episode 2 - Take Your Ass Home

Scene 1 – The Morning After

Tony had the first interview, saying that the last council was the smoothest he ever saw. He added that everyone was waiting for someone to make the first move. He was bored and just sitting back so he wanted to get it into gear and jump into action.

He’d soon get more action than he could handle.

Tony quickly formed an alliance of 5, first with Aubry and then adding Malcolm, Caleb and Sandra.

Aubry’s interview: “I talked to Tony this morning. He’s a threat in the game and so am I and I want to play with people who are threats because I think it’s the best thing for me right now.”

Tony explained his plan of going with threats because they would shield him.

Sandra’s interview: “I want to work with Tony, you know, he’s a winner, I’m a winner, JT is a winner. We do have to protect each other for a little bit. Tony wants me in his alliance of five, my game is pretty simple: As long as it’s not me, I don’t care who goes home which I really don’t. I honestly believe that Tony is going to help my game. As long as our interests line up, there is no end to the damage we can do together.”

I wonder if this interview was conducted before the game even started, before Sandra actually saw Tony in action. One thing that could point to it is that we didn’t see Sandra wearing a buff during that interview. It isn’t conclusive but part of this could have come from pre-game interviews. I say this because I wonder if Sandra was really interested in aligning with Tony on the morning of Day 4. The part where she said “Tony wants me in his alliance of five” certainly came from Day 4 but that was heard in voice over so it could have been spliced in. The next words were heard with Sandra on screen and still without a buff. It would have been fun to see Sandra and Tony working together but what was about to happen was much better!

Accompanied by the sounds of joyous string instruments, we flew over to the peaceful Nuku camp.

Tai was taking care of the chicken.

Debbie’s confessional: “Tai and chicken have a history that’s sketchy. There is going to come a point where those chicken start looking like Angus cattle so we shouldn’t be getting too attached to them.”

But then Debbie started naming the chickens.

Tai’s confessional: “The chickens have become my responsibility to keep them alive. Nobody else would. I’m the chicken guy. It’s like a burden but it’s a responsibility I don’t mind taking on.”

When JT started cutting the corn off the cob, Tai objected because he wanted to leave it for the chickens. JT said the chickens were getting more food than they were!

JT’s confessional: “Tai and myself, we both love the animals, no doubt about it. I’m a country boy from Alabama but I’m looking out for me and Tai seems to be looking out for the chickens! I think the chickens, inevitably, are going to hurt Tai. In this level of competition and in this game, everything you do is critiqued; everything can be a reason for someone to get rid of you. He’s got to decide what he is here to do: Win a million dollars or marry these chickens.”

Right then, we heard the chickens as if they were trying to influence Tai’s decision!

Since nothing more strategic was happening in Nuku, we went back to Mana.

There is really little place in today’s Survivor for fun and we just wasted 2 whole minutes on a fun scene.

Tony couldn’t sleep so he raced out to build his spy shack. He was only halfway done when Troyzan and Sandra came up to the well. Tony bailed out and crawled over to the bushes where he spied on the pair. Troyzan was talking about Tony not really being a threat because no one would ever join forces with him. Hearing his name tossed out, Tony confronted them. Troyzan and Sandra said they were looking at the tide and the crate.

Tony would have been wiser to continue gathering more information or keeping this to himself. Jumping out of the dark showed Troyzan and Sandra just how paranoid he really was. It was funny hearing him say that he was upset to see Sandra sneaking around when he was doing the same thing!

Sandra’s interview: “I thought I had aligned myself with Tony but he’s running around acting crazy. If he wants to look me in the eyes like the fuzz, like the police are taught to do, I don’t want to ever deal with that again. There is no telling what this dude will do for a million dollars. Tony needs to go home.”

Scene 2

Our 5th day started in Nuku.

JT and Ozzy were saying how the first week is the hardest. JT told Ozzy that he trusted him 100%. Ozzy agreed.

Cirie was observing them. She gave us an interview: “I know Ozzy is coming for me and I see that Ozzy and JT seem super tight which is not good for me. My whole life right now is hanging by a string in this game. I think they think Cirie the legend Jedi mind trick puppet master is trying to get me. That might be so but just not right now! Ha! Ha! So I have to try and weed out who I can play with and who I can’t. I have to get in with somebody. I can’t play by myself.”

Cirie went to talk with Sarah. She told her they were solid even if they didn’t talk much.

Sarah’s interview: “I told Cirie I’m good with her but if someone is going to throw her name out I’m going to go with it. Last time I played like a cop; look where it got me. This time, I’m playing like a criminal and we’ll see where it gets me. My word is not my bond in this game this time.”

While this is a good plan for this evil game, I have a problem with showing it if Sarah was going to win. Would they really want to show that acting like a “corrupt cop” is the way to win Survivor? With her confessional content, I expect Sarah will do well but that a jury will find her “guilty”, meaning they’ll think she doesn’t deserve to win the game.

Cirie then talked to Zeke. She hoped he would never screw her and hoped he would keep his options open. She promised him she’d tell him if she heard his name mentioned. He said they were solid.

Zeke’s interview: “Cirie is a masterful player. She has like this mystical quality that draws you in. I wanted nothing more than to work with Cirie but as gaga as I am to be playing with her Cirie is arguably the most dangerous player so my gut tells me that it’s too early in the game to align with someone who everyone is gunning for.”

Next, Cirie approached Debbie giving her a “gift” in the form of advice. She said that Debbie was giving the impression of talking to everybody which could get her in trouble. Debbie said she didn’t think she was. Cirie wanted Debbie to agree that one of the guys would go if they were to lose.

Debbie’s interview: “I don’t fully trust Cirie because she’s feeding me what she thinks is counter-intelligence: “Hey Debbie, I’m doing you a favor, pal! I’m coming to you and telling you they are trying to get you out.” I assessed it, I don’t buy it. I don’t know if Cirie understands what kind of training I’ve been through. I am a captain in the civil air patrol. Although I don’t get paid in dollars, I get paid in military training so it’s going to take a lot to outwit me. All you have at the end of the day as far as who to trust is your instinct and your internal radar, your BS detector and mine says Cirie would be on the chopping block if we lost and she’s looking for an opening. I admire it but my BS detector was going: Han, Han, Han! with what she was telling me.”

We will see about that! I remember that an 18 year old girl, Julia, completely fooled her in Kaôh Rông. Debbie was so convinced they could trust Julia that her own alliance had to ditch her! It’s very interesting that they build this whole scene about Cirie being in danger when not only did this tribe win immunity, it will never be going to Tribal Council. With such a powerful underdog story, the legend of Cirie will only grow if she makes it far. Imagine if she does take the next step and wins!

A solitary shark was lurking off the coast of Mana.

Sandra asked Hali if Tony had approached her with talks about his alliance of five. Hali said Tony hadn’t talked to her at all so she wanted to know if he had included Sandra in his alliance. Sandra said that, according to Tony, she was but she wanted to turn the tables on him because he wasn’t the boss.

Not talking to someone is a big flaw in anyone’s social game. It is even worse when you are a big threat like Tony.

Sandra’s confessional: “I’m done: Tony cannot be trusted. I think he feels like he can do whatever but he is totally confused because this is my game. You know that saying that you are only the king until the queen arrives! I’m here. I was born to play this game. It’s so natural to me that I don’t feel I have to put too much effort. I have to make sure that I’m still here, I’m still on top, and I’m still the queen. Tony is going home and that’s it!”

Sandra informed first Troyzan then Varner of Tony’s alliance plans. Troyzan told Michaela of the new developments.

Varner’s interview: “Sandra put together an alliance of five in just 15 minutes. I mean, that’s scary! Sandra knows what she’s doing. She’s won this game twice for a reason. When two winners of Survivor go after each other for another million dollars, it gets ugly fast and I love it! I can’t wait to see the fireworks.”

Scene 3 – Mana Day 6

Aubry asked Tony if he was working with Sandra. He said he wasn’t because he caught her talking to Troyzan at the well.
In interview, Tony told us he knew Sandra was plotting against him. He didn’t really like weasels.

After talking to Tony, Malcolm gave us an interview: “You can’t let Sandra get an army, mobilize her forces and have them at her beck and call whenever she wants them because that’s how she won the game twice. As far as allies go, Tony is not my first choice but he is somebody I think I can work with. Not because I can trust him. I don’t trust any further than I can throw his big bald body but it benefits me to have the strong players there as long as possible. I need camouflage and the more targets around the better.”

Caleb told Tony that he wasn’t with Sandra and he was down with him.

Caleb’s interview: “With Sandra and Tony, I don’t think you can trust either one of them but right now, I feel I can trust Tony more than I can trust Sandra because he’s got a big target on his back and I feel the same way so we got to try and keep each other safe. Playing with Tony is dangerous but, for challenges, we got to keep the tribe strong. It might be a bloodbath later but, for now, we got to win.”

In the middle of Caleb’s confessional, we heard him talking to Malcolm about everyone being oblivious to Sandra’s game.

I wonder what changed Malcolm and Caleb’s mind. Did Sandra rally them or did someone else get to them? It could be as simple as counting the votes and realizing that Tony was on a sinking ship but with a split vote plan in play they could have saved him. The person acting behind the scene could very well have been Varner.

The Challenge

When Jeff announced that Ciera had been voted out, we heard Ozzy’s reaction: “I knew it.”

The challenge was for both immunity and reward which was a fishing kit.
Cirie sat out for Nuku.

Led by Ozzy, Nuku took the lead when it came time to untie the underwater snake.

Once more, Jeff berated Varner’s efforts, saying he was barking orders from the safety of the cage when it would have been better to have everyone going under water. When Mana tried to lift their snake, we heard Varner saying he didn’t have the strength to do it which led to another comment from Jeff: “Varner has been useless so far in this challenge.”

This pattern seems very bad for Varner. It sets up an early boot due to poor challenge performances.

While Mana was still struggling with their snake, Sierra and JT were taking turns hitting targets for Nuku. They already had 5 letters when Malcolm started throwing rings. He made a valiant effort to catch up (aided somewhat by the challenge design because the targets were on a diagonal with the last letters much further away than the first ones) and he actually tied it at 6 but, by then, JT had figured the range of those longer shots and he scored the next two to win immunity for Nuku. Michaela was visibly upset that Malcolm didn’t give her a shot.

Malcolm’s interview: “I can’t lose every damn challenge and expect to win “Game Changers” so we need to keep the strong people who are good at challenges around as long as possible or else we’re doomed.”

With the vote already set up, the interviewers could focus on someone who was about to see his first option taken away. This is very encouraging for Malcolm’s supporters.

Scene 4

We saw more sharks going after their prey.

Michaela’s interview: “The challenge today was deplorable. It was so frustrating because I am a strong player. That’s the only reason that I’m here. So, to be standing there, doing nothing, while weaker players lose it again pissed me off but other people are making decisions for the group so I guess I just got to sit here and deal with it.”

While everyone stayed silent in camp, the music underlined the tension in the air.

Sandra’s interview: “At this point, I’m almost sure I have the numbers to vote out Tony. He feels like he can do whatever; he’s running around acting like he’s the king so he’s got to go. Unfortunately, Tony is good at finding idols and that makes him dangerous so we got to split the votes.”

To do that, Hali pointed out they needed to have two more votes which had to come from Caleb and Malcolm.

Hali was the one that made the pitch to the guys, saying they had to act before Tony started racking up the idols. She added that Tony and Aubry were thick as thieves. When Tony came over, Sandra told him that they were voting against Aubry.

Tony told us he was ready to do what he had to do to stay in the game but he knew that losing Aubry, he would be giving control if the game to Sandra. He still wanted to make a big move and get her out.

Caleb’s interview: “Tony is right, Sandra has convinced everybody that Tony should go and now they are trying to get me to be a part of it but I don’t want to do that because when it comes to strong people, when you get rid of one, it exposes the others. You send Tony home, it exposes me and Malcolm. But looking at numbers on who will vote out Sandra, we’ve only got four so we need one more person.”

We often saw that taking out one strong person doesn’t expose the others. Take Panama or Redemption Island as examples: When Bob and Matt were sent packing early in the game, it forced their tribes to rely even more on their strong guys. It’s also strange that the lack of finding a fifth would discourage the attempt at taking down Sandra because they knew her group was splitting their votes. Four could have been enough.

Michaela’s name was suggested as someone who could flip back, Tony adding that Sandra wouldn’t see it coming.

Caleb’s interview: “So Tony throws out: “Let’s try to flip Michaela” and it might just work because one thing about Michaela; she just hates to lose. So maybe she’ll be down with getting rid of the weakest link.”

Caleb talked to Michaela and Varner, telling them that voting out a strong player was stupid.

Why include Varner? I think it’s another clue that it was Varner who did most of the leg work to keep Sandra safe. He didn’t look exactly receptive to the idea of keeping Tony so he must have talked Michaela and got her to stay with the plan and then done the same with Malcolm and Caleb.

Michaela’s confessional: “People who know me, knows that “Lose” is not in my every day vernacular so to come out here and do it time and time again when it doesn’t have to happen, it doesn’t make sense. I know that Tony’s a threat but he can help us win challenges but Sandra is useless in just about everything.”

You won’t be able to convince me that there is a difference between old-school Survivor and a supposed new-school Survivor until players start saying it isn’t about winning immunity. Strangely, old-school Sandra is the only one here who seems to get it!

Varner’s interview: “I’m in heaven! Having two winners going after each other is Christmas and the best part of it is we get to decide which one is going home.”

He told Caleb that they were playing with fire.

Like Hali, Sandra knew that the guys could spell trouble.

Sandra’s interview: “Tony has already been eating away at Caleb’s brain (so Tony’s on a very strict diet!) that’s why he’s got to go. There is a chance that it goes south and I end up going home but let me tell you something: Just because Tony won once, it doesn’t make him a king. No one has a track record like me and we are going to put that into perspective tonight when Tony goes home.”

For a rare time, we had a commercial break before Tribal Council. It gave sort of a cliff-hanger feel to Sandra’s confessional! When Sandra mentioned that things could go south and she could be going home, we saw an image of Caleb and Michaela behind the smoke from the campfire and then the camera cut to a clear close-up image of Varner. The symbol is that Caleb and Michaela were confused by the “fogs of war” while Varner saw clearly. If anyone rallied the troops besides Sandra, it had to be Varner but he didn’t get any credit in the narrative. Getting the last confessional of the episode for a second straight time, the editors gave all the credit to the Queen. We’ll see if she truly is queen of this tribe when she faces the next close call. Will Varner still be in her corner?

Tribal Council

Jeff asked Tony about the back-to-back losses, saying it wasn’t the way to start a season of Survivor.

Even Probst is hanging on to the Old-School strategy!

Tony said they didn’t give up and that they were all angry to lose that challenge. He argued that they needed to stay strong in order to kick some ##### in the next challenge.

That’s so old-school! When was Cagayan? Was it season 3 or 4?! Actually even in Season 4 Ma’aramu sent Hunter home early and look who won?!

Malcolm chimed in saying they needed to keep the tribe strong adding that it was the most strategic thing to say.

Even though he was in Matsing with Denise, Malcolm doesn’t understand that it isn’t about winning immunity now that tribe swaps abound and especially when you have friends on the other side! I hope he was only doing lip-service for Probst but he seemed earnest.

Michaela told Jeff that she was there because she was a strong physical player. And that it didn’t make sense to send strong physical players home right now.
Now Sandra was getting scared. She added that the problem was putting the strong players in the right positions.
Troyzan said that the tribe would be 50% less paranoid if the vote went the way he thought it was going. Certain people put the others on edge by their crazy actions.
Jeff knew he was talking about Tony who said Troyzan and Sandra were the ones sneaking off at 4:00 in the morning.
Sandra said it was a two second conversation that caused Tony to jump up and ask what they were talking about.
Varner was taking it all in, listening to the argument.
Sandra then said she wasn’t paranoid like Tony, that she was always calm...and then something flew into her hair!

What timing!

That bug was big and it made Sandra jump up while Michaela, who was sitting the farthest away, literally jumped out of her seat and seemed to race for a hiding spot.

Tony said that despite his reputation as a big liar, he wasn’t scamming anyone.
Varner, Caleb and Malcolm said they believed him, Malcolm adding that he loves Tony even if before the game he thought he wouldn’t.
Asked what he wanted to do, Varner took a deep breath and said: “We are a round hole and it’s time to get rid of our square peg.”
Asked what he thought that meant, Tony said he wasn’t too sure so Sandra answered for him: “He hopes he’s not the square peg.”
Everyone except Tony laughed at that.

It was time to vote.

We saw Sandra voting against Aubry saying: “You are not going home but I have to cast this vote just in case.” She added that Tony was going home so that the queen could stay queen.

Tony was voted out 7-2 with Malcolm, Caleb and Aubry all voting against him while he voted with Sandra against Aubry.


When he retrieved his torch, Tony said: “Sheep being led to the slaughter! Good job, Sandra!”
Like always, Sandra could also get loud: “That’s what you get for plotting against me! That’s what you get and the queen stays queen!”
Turning to the tribe, Tony said: “You guys are suckers if you let that happen.”
Sandra went on: “That’s what you get. Take your ass home.”
Varner and Troyzan really enjoyed that exchange.
When Tony started the walk of shame, Sandra delivered her parting shot: “Bye Tony! Say Hi! to Ciera for me!”

The camera angle was just perfect because it showed Tony in the forefront walking in shadows while the only player clearly seen in the distant lights of Tribal Council was Sandra.

After that, Jeff sent them back to camp saying: “It’s interesting that both votes have been decided by group think which means it’s only a matter of time until the finger is pointed at you.”

Hali was the one that felt the threat, telling Jeff that he knew how to spread paranoia.

The Story

I’m sure you noticed but I used two quotes from Sandra as the themes of each episode. I intend to continue doing this for as long as Sandra remains in the game. The only time I did something like this was when I used the titles of the 13 chapters in the “Art of War” as main themes for each episode of Survivor: China. It was a lot of fun to determine which chapter fit best with what we had just seen without repeating any of them. Quotes from Sandra could be even more interesting so we’ll see where that takes us.

For a season of returning players, there were a lot of unknowns in these episodes. Production always tries to hide the pre-game alliances but we know that no one trusted Ciera and Tony so all the talks about targeting Ciera because she was throwing out names and working with Tony to keep the tribe strong served mostly as excuses. Similarly, it’s hard to imagine that Cirie waited 8 years to talk with Ozzy about the Micronesia blindside. Of course, what they said outside the game still had to be confirmed once they saw they were on the same tribe but it’s not hard to imagine that there was much more going on than what we saw. There is also the baggage between Cirie and JT that was barely mentioned.

This second episode was one of the better ones we’ve seen. More often than not, the second episode is one of the weakest of any season. Think of Gabon where the only memorable moment came when Gillian told us about elephant dung. Australia and Vanuatu still have my two all-time favorite second episodes but Tony’s demise and Sandra’s quotes put this one right up there. The episode also set up some long range questions: Is Zeke going to make big moves or is he going to be exposed by Sarah? Will these suckers let Sandra reign or will they overthrow her? Is Cirie doomed or will she overcome all odds once again?

The Characters

Uncertain Ground – These players haven’t found a good foothold in the game yet.

Tai: The chickens’ guardian angel finds himself in the middle of the tribe’s two factions. He likes Cirie and he helped her see that she had an uphill battle to wage despite Ozzy’s reassurances. JT laid out Tai’s main problem: Is he there to win the million? I don’t think he has what it takes.

Cirie: Despite ranking her here, I think Cirie could very well take the next step and win this game. All but one of Nuku’s scenes served to place her in danger. We saw players coming together and setting their sights clearly on getting her out but Nuku, in this form, will never go to Tribal Council. It’s a great way to start an underdog story but there is such a long way to go that it could also be a way to pay homage to a great player who didn’t really have a chance. We’ll see if she wins the Swap lottery and how she navigates her way. I wouldn’t sell her short just yet.

Unknown Future – These players have been exposed

Aubry: Tying her boat to Tony’s really put Aubry in a bad spot. She was forced to vote against her shield and she received votes in the process. She thought she was a threat but I don’t think anyone felt that way about her. Yes, she showed she could scheme but outwitting people like Scot, Julia and Jason wasn’t exactly the game’s highest achievement. She would have been well served to go with the flow from the start, hang around with Hali and watch the fireworks instead of trying to use Tony. She got badly burned but the swap could be her life line.

Varner: He had two great episodes and things went his way on both occasions. I suspect that it was Varner who assembled the army that saved Sandra and I don’t think he’d necessarily put his soldiers to her service again but Jeff exposed his weakness: At 50, he isn’t in the greatest shape of his life and everyone could see it. I think one tribe will vote him out in order to win challenges.

Sandra: She had a couple of marvelous episodes and she showed why so many viewers simply love her. The way she can avoid becoming a target despite that loud mouth is really unique in the history of the show but she was clearly exposed after this vote. If she truly has an army at her beck and call as Malcolm feared then maybe she could go for a third title but I think some of her soldiers weren’t too committed to her cause. Everyone should play this game like a mercenary and Varner seems to be that type of player. If the swap keeps Sandra with Hali and Troyzan then she may have a chance but what happens if she winds up with Aubry, Caleb and Malcolm? She’d show us that she is truly the Survivor Queen if she makes it to day 39 again!

Unknown Quantities – These players are just going with the flow for now

Brad: Doing what Monica would do got him in the main alliance of Nuku so it’s already worked better for him than it did for her on her first try. He seems much less confrontational this time and since players still unbelievably play to keep their tribe’s strong, Brad should prosper until he reaches the merger. Then, doing what Monica would do won’t help!

Debbie: She received a lot of content for being on a tribe that didn’t go to Tribal Council but all of it was to disparage her fellow tribe mates, players who are much more liked by the audience than her. First, she told us that Tai was going to create problems if they wanted to eat the chickens and then she said that Cirie was feeding her BS. When it comes to analyzing her own game, Debbie constantly talks about being under rated but what I hear is that she over rates her own abilities to unbelievable levels. A gymnast? Because she can hang from a tree? Please don’t make me laugh. A Triple Crown winner? A dunce cap would fit better on her head than a crown. A military strategist? If that’s really how the military operates then America is in more danger than we think!

Michaela: While her challenge performances played a role, I think that is was her mouth that got her this invitation and she hasn’t learned to control it. I doubt very much that Michaela was happy with the second vote but she went along just like she went along with the Mari vote in her first season. I suspect that she will soon want to make decisions but that no one will want to watch her playing with rocks.

Hali: She seemed to be completely loyal to Sandra. When Tony didn’t come to her, Hali simply sided against him. Her intervention when it came time to rally Caleb was nice so she does have the skills to play the game but I don’t think she will thrive if she gets separated from Sandra. Will she forget that loose lips sink ships? It would be a funny turn around if her own words get her in trouble.

Troyzan: Sandra’s other close ally; he was the first to talk to her about eliminating Tony. Troyzan and Varner were in identical positions in these two episodes but their content was totally different. Troyzan was front and center in his desire to see Tony go so he practically disappeared when it was time to blur the picture after Mana’s second immunity loss. At least he is less arrogant than during the latter stages of One World but he was rather calm at the start of that season also. We’ll have to see how Troyzan handles the pressure this time around.

Caleb: With his first option failing, Caleb rallied to the majority so I don’t think anyone will hold his closeness to Tony against him. I think he’ll continue to be a useful pawn in someone else’s game but can he play it to his advantage? I doubt it.

JT: While Mana was pitting its two winners against each other, no one talked about targeting JT in Nuku. He’s got a good deal with Ozzy and that should tie him in to Sierra and Brad but that alliance will soon be split. How will the swap affect JT?

Smooth Sailing – These Players are the top contenders.

Sierra: Like others in Nuku, she disappeared once she established her position in the alliance against Cirie and we may have seen her only because she wound up with the “Legacy Advantage” but I liked the little we saw of Sierra. Her alliance talks with Brad and Ozzy were expertly constructed so she should be able to do the same in her next tribe. I think Sierra will have the opportunity to use her advantage.

Ozzy: He gave his tribe a huge advantage when he got the tool kit. He also was a key performer in both immunity challenges so I expect these players will keep him until the merger. A lot of people wanted to work with Ozzy and that should serve him well going forward. Most of his interventions centered around Cirie so it will be interesting to see how his character is developed when those two are separated.

Zeke: He had some good moments despite the small amount of time spent in Nuku. The others seemed to like Zeke even if they didn’t know him before the start of the season but it will be important to see what happens when it comes time to decide on a vote. Will he be once again left on Dumbass Island like he was at the start of Millennials versus Gen X or will he be able to scheme with the majority? I have the feeling that Zeke will go with the flow for a long time but then he will become too eager to make a move and he will pay for it.

Sarah: If Zeke does act too rashly, I suspect that Sarah will be there to make him pay. The one who wants to play like a “criminal”, which means she’d become a “corrupt” cop, has given me the impression that she will do much better than in her original season but will fall short when the jury doesn’t reward her new type of game. Already, she has outlasted her nemesis so that’s a small victory. It will be interesting to see her reaction when Jeff says: “Nuku getting their first look at the new Mana; Tony voted out last night”. If she shows the same restraint that Boston Rob showed when he learned of Russell’s demise in South Pacific then I will have to reassess her chances but now she looks like an unhappy finalist.

Malcolm: Malcolm played this first week of the game brilliantly. For one thing, he never appeared to be as close to Tony as Caleb and Aubry. His interviews also had some great content that could lead him to victory. He first reminded us that he can make big, flashy moves but that it was more important to get a good foothold in the game. Then he did just that when he said: “Strategically, for my game, I am where I want to be. Everyone is talking to me” and finally, he got a bit of an underdog story when, after the challenge loss, he said: “We need to keep the strong people who are good at challenges around as long as possible or else we’re doomed.”

We also had some editing hints that he could be the winner from the image of a solo male player holding a torch in victory during the introduction and the use of the Caramoan Tarsier to picture a predator.

The only thing I didn’t like about Malcolm’s content was his rather thin presence during the two Tribal Councils. His interventions lacked substance but maybe it was intentional on his part rather than an editing choice.

Andrea: I think many will be surprised that I put her here. It will likely be said that I put too much importance on her sole confessional during these two hours but it has to be said that her confessional was really well placed: Jeff had just said: “For one of you, this is the beginning of a million dollar adventure. Out of all of those, the one that replied was Andrea who said: “It’s Survivor Game Changers so you can’t just sit around and hope to make it to the end. The stakes have been raised. This is going to be an epic season. So, game on!” For those first 6 days, we didn’t see Andrea playing the game at all so it figures it will get epic once the big characters all eliminate each other.

Of course, there is also the Tarsier imagery that works even more for her than for Malcolm. While she proved she can handle herself well in certain competitions, she is more like Cochran, a Survivor munchkin, than a giant physical player.

Most of all though was the “dog that didn’t bark” theory. It wasn’t as bad as Tina who was completely ignored in Australia’s premiere but Andrea was the only Nuku member that we didn’t taking sides against Cirie. We saw Sierra, Brad, Ozzy and JT aligning themselves and mentioning that Cirie was dangerous. Then we had Cirie herself trying to find someone to play with her only to have Sarah, Zeke and Debbie giving us reasons to believe they would back stab her in a minute. That leaves Andrea as the lone player not to take position in the fight against Cirie. Maybe those two will come together on one of the new tribes but I suspect they will wind up in different tribes next week. Maybe they will rejoin later on if Cirie survives or Andrea’s game will simply evolve without Cirie and she will have escaped the blame of targeting such a big fan favorite.

It’s still early but I like Andrea’s chances.

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03-18-17, 02:34 PM (EST)
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3. "Episode 3 - Leading the Sheep to Slaughter"
Previously on Survivor;

Twenty of the biggest game changers in Survivor history were battling it out. (Malcolm seen in the last challenge)

The Mana tribe was on a losing streak.
Facing Tribal Council it was a battle between Survivor royalty and only one could keep their crown.

At Tribal Council, nobility took a back seat as Sandra slayed her nemesis and kept her title.
Can Sandra keep her empire intact?

Leading the Sheep to Slaughter

We immediately went to the Swap

I usually make my comments immediately after Jeff’s little summary of the previous episode but this unusual editing choice suggests that those first two episodes didn’t really matter. Everything was going to be reset by the new tribal division or so we were led to believe. One thing still counted though: Nuku was up by two players and another Mana was about to leave. Has the game really changed?

First, Jeff said: “Nuku getting their first look at the new Mana tribe: Tony voted out last night.”

After showing Tai’s surprise, the camera (and Andrea) turned to Sarah who had a smile when she said: “I can’t believe this.”

Well Nuku only had to glance back while they were walking up to meet Jeff to see that Tony was gone because Mana was barely 20 feet behind on the same path to the challenge arena. Sometimes production is so lazy. We would have had more authentic reactions if Mana had remained hidden, only coming out of the jungle at the last minute.

When Jeff asked if they knew the game well enough to figure out what was about to happen, no one could answer him at first. Zeke finally had the answer: “We’re about to swap.”

Great; you get a cookie, Zeke! As for the rest of you? you really should pay more attention to the game if you want to win the million.

Sandra’s confessional: “I was leading the sheep to slaughter so I am in a good spot with Mana but now there’s a swap and I hope I am on the right side with the strongest people.”

As the upcoming challenge will prove, Sandra did have a decent swap (although she lost Hali and Troyzan, her closest allies) and she does have the strongest people but this confessional will soon take a whole new meaning.

Andrea was the first one shown being nervous about the swap. Sierra then said her heart was pounding and Cirie said hers was also. Michaela didn’t even look at the plate. Cirie hoped someone knew CPR because she was about to have a heart attack. JT also closed his eyes while Zeke, picking last, said the gods decided for him.

It’s funny that Cirie, who is arguably the savviest player out there, was heard expressing surprise at picking the green buff.
The swap to three tribes should have been anticipated with 18 players left in the game.

For new tribes, we had in Nuku: Varner, JT, Sandra, Malcolm, Aubry and Michaela.

For Mana: Hali, Caleb, Debbie, Brad, Tai and Sierra.

And in the new yet unnamed Tribe: Troyzan, Ozzy, Sarah, Cirie Zeke and Andrea.

Looking at the new tribes, Jeff pointed out that Caleb and Hali were the only former Mana to stay in that camp. Tai was happy to be with Caleb and he got to kiss him on the cheek.

In Nuku, JT stood out as the only remaining Nuku in that camp. (Ozzy’s tool kit and all those rewards that the whole tribe fought for is now helping the former Mana tribe members) JT said they would be alright.

Jeff called the new Tribe Tuvua and there Troyzan was the lone Mana in a school of Nuku. Troyzan said it was bad to be 5 against one but there had to be a silver lining somewhere.
This tribe was starting over but at least they’d have some supplies.

When Jeff detailed their predicament, the camera focused on Cirie, Troyzan and Andrea. Was it to suggest that those three will make the best of it or that they will suffer the most? Troyzan would soon find his silver lining so I think Cirie and Andrea will also flourish. When Jeff said that their advantage was in the knowledge that everything was still possible, three players had close up: First Hali, then Ozzy and, once more Andrea at the end of his sentence. She was nodding in agreement so everything is still possible for these three, Andrea more than the others, I’d say.

Varner’s confessional: “With Game Changers, the game changes fast but whatever I’m dealt with, I’m going to make the best of it and it’s an exciting time I think. I love it: I’m ready to go.”

Indeed this swap is much better for Varner than the one he had in Second Chances. The numbers are to his advantage and he’s now in the luxury shelter instead of having to start from scratch. Having this spot for a confessional also is a good sign for his longevity. He says he is ready to go and there is no reason to think he won’t make the best of it.

Nuku Day 7

The music was subdued which didn’t match what we’d expect for this lucky tribe.

Malcolm’s confessional: “You walk into this Nuku camp after spending six, seven days at Mana where we didn’t get the chickens and we didn’t get the tool kit off the boat; it’s shocking. I couldn’t pick my jaw up off the floor. It’s the Survivor jackpot! It’s like going to a resort: Everything is already built, they got a bunch of food they didn’t take with them, the chickens are walking around free like they run the place. They got this awesome shelter and they’ve decorated. That’s how well it was going on in this tribe: They’ve taken the time to hang ornaments from the damn trees like we’re at some dinner parlor in Mexico.”

Is this confessional the equivalent of Boo’s at the start of the original Fiji where he said: “This is not Survival... it’s a Thrival” or is it more in line with Earl’s situation when, after suffering for a long time in Ravu, he finally got to enjoy some comfort but still kept his head in the game? It’s hard to say because Malcolm certainly didn’t suffer very long, the Survivor jackpot fell on his lap rather quickly. On the other hand, it can be said that both he and Varner have suffered a lot in this game over the years so maybe the Survivor gods won’t make them pay for enjoying some comfort.

Malcolm and Varner said they felt like they won a reward while JT said he wasn’t expecting to be swapped 5 to 1 but he’d take it.
His good nature and his skills could help him get in good with Varner and Malcolm.

JT’s confessional: “I feel the Survivor gods really let me down this moment. Five to one is about as bad as I can hope for. I mean, in all likelihood, I’m a sitting duck so at this point the only thing that could save me is an immunity idol so I have to do everything I can to stir things up here. In the back of my mind, I’m already thinking: If I can get them out snorkeling out there in the ocean, I can get back to camp and start looking for an idol.”

So, off we went into the beautiful blue ocean off the coast of Fiji where Varner was admiring the view, Michaela was snorkeling and Malcolm was already spear fishing.

JT’s confessional continued: “I get everyone on the raft I drag them out to sea a good half mile and we’re snorkeling a little bit. We started fishing and finally that opportunity presents itself when Malcolm bends the spear. So, I say: “Malcolm, I’ll go back and get the pliers so just enjoy the good time out here in the ocean. I’ll be right back.” With dramatic percussion instruments, we saw JT looking everywhere around camp while he said: “I know I have to go back soon but I got to look.”

By that time, everyone was starting to wonder what JT was doing.

Varner’s confessional: “We sat out there on that raft for a long time waiting for JT to come back. It doesn’t take that long; what is he doing? I’m thinking to myself: He’s looking for an idol! What a great way to get rid of the five people that might take you down. Brilliant!”

Malcolm even figured that JT was going through all their bags. Aubry agreed.

JT: “I’m looking everywhere. It’s not over until it’s over and I’m not giving up. Everybody knows that and they probably know I’m looking for idol right now but I took them out in the ocean as far as I could and I left the pliers on purpose so my job is to keep looking. It’s all I can do.”

Malcolm was laughing about being left out there. Varner added that JT was dangerous.

Varner’s confessional: “If JT is out looking for an idol; good for JT. It just doesn’t matter: We have the majority five to one so JT is screwed.”

Right then, we saw sharks swimming around making us think that things could indeed be bad for JT but he wasn’t the one out in the ocean! This extended, meaningless scene in Nuku is very good for its three main participants: JT, Malcolm and Varner. JT showed that he was very resourceful while Varner and Malcolm showed that they can’t be easily fooled. How will it play out in the end? What I found most interesting is that we didn’t see how this scene really ended: Did JT swim back out to the raft? Did the boat people make it to shore on their own? What was said when they got back together? I suspect this tribe will not be going to Tribal Council because they have great challenge players so all this could amount to nothing.

Scene 2

A light melody played on string instruments accompanied us to Mana

Brad was hard at work decorating the shelter to make it more like home.

Brad’s confessional: “This is my new home so I start thinking: Let’s make this house a home. I love antiquing and I like to decorate. Monica and I spend a lot of time redecorating our own house. I kind of relax while I’m doing that. It gives me something to think about. We’re here; meager supplies, meager food in an unbelievable game: Difficult but I am having a lot of fun because it’s four two so I’m thinking I’m in good shape. The four of us Nuku are going to stay together so it’s going to come down to either Hali or Caleb.”

Does it matter that we saw Hali throwing away food when Brad mentioned they had limited supplies? Maybe not a whole lot but it would have been better seeing her working or talking to people to save herself when Brad was mentioning her name as one of two targets. I think it is quite noticeable that Hali will not be shown making any tactical moves to save herself from the vote. She won’t be shown talking or scheming with anyone in this scene or during the scrambling portion of the episode after their challenge loss. For someone that was supposed to strike like a cobra, she didn’t do anything to get anyone on her side except argue with Caleb during Tribal Council.

Hali’s confessional: “We have to play it like we’re one big happy family but Caleb and I; we’re at the bottom, numbers wise. Caleb and Tai could get back together and put a big target on their back so maybe I’m not the most obvious target.”

Talking to Brad, Tai said Caleb would help them stay strong so that they should trade Debbie for Caleb. Brad said Debbie would be more loyal than Hali and that Caleb could go after Debbie. Tai said they could do whatever they wanted. The two were on the same page.

Brad in confessional: “Seriously, I wouldn’t mind getting rid of Caleb first.
Right then, the image changed to Sierra and Caleb with Sierra saying very loudly: “What? Stop it.” The effect was unmistakable: Production used Sierra’s “what?” to tell us that going after Caleb first like Brad just said was idiotic. Then Brad and, by association, Tai are doomed.

Brad went on: “Caleb, Debbie and Tai played together on Survivor Kaoh Rong and that’s a threat and I’m trying to bring Tai and Debbie closer to me than everybody else.”

At the end of Brad’s confessional, we heard a prolonged sliding sound played presumably on a trombone and it was like a braking sound effect. Just like Sierra’s “what?” it seemed to indicate that Brad’s plan won’t work out in the end.
Tai and Caleb talked by the ocean. Tai told Caleb that he talked to Brad and that it looked like Caleb would be safe because he could help with challenges.

In confessional, Caleb told us it felt good to be back with his friend Tai.

When Tai asked Caleb if he was close to anyone on the other tribe, Caleb said, without hesitation, Jeff and Malcolm.

It seems that I was right to say that Varner was the one that gathered the soldiers against Tony even if all the credit was given to Sandra. So, in the long run, that tells us that Sandra isn’t solidly in charge. Does it really matter for her type of game? Well, she shouldn’t be able to skate to the end this time so she would need an army on her side.

Tai’s confessional: “The plan is to vote out Hali or Caleb and I know I crossed the line because I told Caleb but I do want to play with Caleb because we had a relationship before, a pretty big relationship. But this is exactly what happened last time: I’m put in a position to betray my friends. If I protect my buddy, I have to betray Brad so I am weighing the risk. Either way, it’s going to hurt.”

Yes Tai, I believe this game is going to hurt you again.

The new tribe was arriving in Tuvua

Troyzan said that he had been in a chaotic tribe so it was nice to have a fresh start.

That is another hint that the first two episodes won’t matter much in the long run.

Zeke’s interview: “We get up to camp and there’s nothing but fishing gear and a meager amount of rice, a pot and a machete. You know it’s congenial. We are trying to be nice to Troyzan, I’m sure he feels he’s on the outs because, you know, for all intents and purposes he is.”

Ozzy said they had more coconuts and palm fronds than the others and the shelter they’d have to build only needed to hold six so it wasn’t so bad.

Ozzy’s confessional: “We’ve got to start from the beginning and I’ve got to take the lead because I have a hundred and fifteen days on Survivor more or less. I am one of the veterans in this game. I’ve played this four times now. This is a chance to let my tribe know that I still got the skills and that they can’t get rid of me yet.”

A popping sound was heard at the end of Ozzy’s confessional suggesting a surprising outcome. Will Ozzy surprise us or with his tribe surprise him?

While Ozzy went to work, Cirie and Zeke talked about their situation, saying that they were safe. The two agreed they were good.

Cirie’s confessional: “I wasn’t on the right side of the numbers in the old Nuku tribe and I think Ozzy is still a little skittish of me but I’m trying to cultivate a relationship with him. So I need to take advantage of this new start. I’m hoping that it will help me later on down the line.”

Ozzy and Cirie talked briefly, saying they were feeling good about the numbers.

Ozzy’s confessional: “On the original Nuku Tribe I didn’t have a strong alliance with Cirie but here we need each other so this is a crucial time for me to build trust and if we do Troyzan could be an easy first one to go.”

We then saw Troyzan working on gathering wood with Andrea. He asked her if he had the plague. She said he didn’t.

Andrea’s confessional: “Troyzan is a cool guy, he’s super laid back but the thing is that this is Survivor and it’s all a numbers game. I mean we are going to get rid of him if we lose so we have to try to make him feel comfortable.”

Troyzan’s confessional: “Andrea, come on man! She acts like she’s my buddy but she’s a little devil that one. I know she’s playing a game. She’s not as clever, I think as she thinks she is. I’m 54 years old, I’m the oldest guy out here and, you know, my intuition is good and I feel like I learned so much from One World and I found an idol then when I had to find one. I won an immunity challenge when I had to and I changed the game. So this time I will not let any stone be unturned I’m going to start to at least look for the idol.”

Back in camp, Andrea was telling Sarah that they had to be watching Troyzan. Ozzy figured he couldn’t be gone for a long time.

Still, it was enough for Troyzan to spot the bottle that contained a clue to an idol hidden at the challenge. Troy was in tears when he read the message, saying he thought he had lost his life.

Troy’s confessional: “The next immunity challenge is going to be crazy for me. It’s going to be hugely difficult because I’ll have two things to think about: Winning a super-tough game changing challenge plus I have to find an hidden immunity idol in front of everybody but if I can do it will be like a complete 180.”

This scene raises one question: Who will be Troy’s victim? With Cirie in the picture, I doubt that Troy will be left with the decision but if it is a 5-1 vote then I’d expect him to target that little devil Andrea. However, I think he’ll play his idol to stay safe but there will be a 3-2-1 voting scheme in place. Cirie and her ally will place two votes on someone in their alliance. Would that be Ozzy? I think Cirie will want to trust him for a while.

Nuku – Goat Hunting

JT’s confessional: “Sandra’s mentioned a couple of times that she would love to have a goat. She’s starving to death and we could eat so much goat so I said it would be great, I could probably catch one for you. I don’t really want to catch any goat but first thing I need to do is keep myself safe and if I can please Sandra and make her happy then I think Sandra would love me to death. That would probably keep me safer in this game.”

Sandra spotted their meal in the form of two goats right outside the camp so JT and Malcolm raced after them. JT caught the baby goat while Malcolm grabbed its mother. JT handed the little one to Sandra and went to help Malcolm.

Malcolm’s interview: “Catching a goat was never on my bucket list and we pick it up and take it back to camp when we realize the only reason we caught it was because it was a momma goat and it didn’t want to run away from its baby. So we don’t really have a choice. We won’t kill them because we have a conscience but I got to be very careful what I say to Sandra because Sandra desperately wants to eat a goat and in a game like Survivor there’s no need to make enemies or cause angst in this camp.”

When Michaela asked to pet the baby’s head, Sandra who was holding it tight said: “You can but don’t get too attached because it’s going to be our meal.”

Michaela’s confessional: “Sandra doesn’t care about killing these goats. In her mind, it’s just food. She was a villain for a reason.”

Sandra’s interview: “I don’t see anything wrong with killing and eating a goat. That’s what they are here for; for human consumption. Everyone wants to add their 2 cents in and I got to get everybody to do it as a group because that was the plan: To catch something and kill it.”

Sandra’s biblical view of animals is definitely not in style anymore. Most viewers care for the ethical treatment of animals so they had to be really upset hearing this and they would all have voted against Sandra.

JT and Malcolm told Sandra that they couldn’t kill either one.
JT’s interview: “I didn’t really expect to catch a goat this quick but I’m not a savage beast. (We had a close-up of the baby goat just lying there, free but not walking away from its mom and simply looking adorable) There’s no way I’m going to kill that momma goat and her baby. I just can’t do it.”

JT suggested he catch a male goat. Sandra wanted to vote on that.

JT’s interview continued: “Sandra wants to eat a goat and she’s running the show but I’d rather let these goats go. I’ll see if I can catch a random goat that’s not a momma or a baby so I’m going to try my best to save the goats.”

Varner said he was hungry but that he couldn’t. Sandra said: “I don’t know how to kill it but I’ll help you clean it out, clean the carcass.”

Malcolm’s interview: “You could tell who is for it and who is against it immediately. Sandra doesn’t give a damn which is Sandra’s MO about life I’m starting to realize. But everybody else starts talking it through and no one wants to be the Survivor that abandoned a baby goat motherless in the wild.”

Varner was the first to say that he wanted to let them go. JT quickly agreed. Michaela pointed out that they had four chickens so Sandra relented and said: “JT’ we’re eating a chicken.”

Malcolm’s interview concluded the discussion: “This is an easy decision because we have a heart. We are not going to kill either of the goats so we ended up letting the goats go. That initial surge of adrenaline and your mouth watering slows down a lot when you’re actually thinking about abandoning a little baby goat so it made sense to let them go and it’s going to be much better for this tribe moving forward.”

The scene ended with the baby goat running away.

In her first two seasons, Sandra “slaughtered” goats during final Tribal Councils but this time the votes didn’t go her way. In the great scheme of things, this was another meaningless scene but it really painted JT, Malcolm and even Varner in a good light while the “villainess” Sandra lost many fans.

Scene 3 - The Challenge

The runners for Mana were Tai, Malcolm and (?) Debbie. (Even before we saw the line-ups for the other teams, I could already tell you which team would be last at the puzzle!)

Nuku sent JT, Malcolm and Michaela (an unbeatable trio when it comes to racing)

Andrea, Sarah and Ozzy ran for Tuvua.

Troyzan’s interview: “This idol being hidden under this table makes me way nervous because I’m in charge of untying knots so I have to wait until after the challenge ends in order to grab it.”
As expected Nuku were the first through the gates, Tuvua came in second while Mana brought up the rear.

Aubry untied the puzzle pieces that Varner and Sandra assembled. Sierra made up a lot of time for Mana, finishing before Troyzan. Hali and Brad were their puzzle solvers while Zeke and Cirie did the work for Tuvua.

Nuku and Tuvua won immunity. (Did you notice the lack of creativity for the second place idol? It was simply the support for the original idol!)

Faking exhaustion, Troyzan slowly walked around the table and bent over as if in agony. He quietly picked up the hidden idol while the others were high fiving each other.

Troyzan’s interview: “To find an idol again is like Hah! I did it! Finding this changes everything. It’s life for me. It gives you the feeling of power and power is huge in this game.”
With Tuvua likely going to Tribal Council next week, Troyzan will have to play it then so who would fall victim to that idol?
In addition to the tarp, Nuku chose comfort items, leaving the spices to Tuvua.

Debbie had the interview at the end: “In this game, it’s all about numbers. This is a dictatorship majority rules so we will have a brief negotiation whether it is Caleb or Hali and I believe we are rock solid staying together.”

I was really hoping this was the kiss-of-death confessional once more but unfortunately, we’ll have to listen to Debbie for some time still. It would have made sense for game changers to make a move. Debbie has hurt them in challenges and, from Brad’s perspective, it would have broken up the Kaoh Rong trio just as effectively as eliminating Caleb.

Scene 4

This scene started with images of a sunken ship which reminded me of Hali’s words at Tribal Council: “Loose lips sink ships”. Would someone say something to change the inevitable? Actually, no one has lived up to the title of Game Changer yet and this vote was already locked in. The melancholic violins told us we wouldn’t be witnessing any surprises, only an execution.

Hali’s interview: “We lost a challenge. The unthinkable occurred so a miracle will happen if I’m to be here tomorrow. I’m feeling like two against four and Caleb is a freaking powerhouse so immediately I know I’m in hot water.”

Was that really unthinkable? Shouldn’t she have been thinking of that exact possibility? The next part of her comment was right though; her stay in the game wasn’t due to anything we saw her doing so, from her perspective, it was a miracle. In fact, we saw her hanging out by the sea with Caleb instead of talking to those who had the power to keep her in the game.

In his interview, Caleb reminded us that he left on day 9 in his first season and this was also day 9.

Debbie and Sierra talked to Tai about the vote and it was clear that for him, Hali had to go first.

Sierra’s interview: “The two names that are on the chopping block tonight are Hali and Caleb. I haven’t really talked to Hali since I’ve played with her before on Worlds Apart so, seeing her here, you know, we have no relationship, but Tai and Caleb, they scare me. They’re close so there would have to be some underlying alliance there...There is a little bit of concern but obviously, if you target a strong player such as Caleb your chances of winning challenges get smaller and smaller.”

Debbie’s interview: “My logic is this: I’ve got Caleb and Tai from Kaoh Rong that I can potentially work with but Tai and Caleb have a history and one thing I’ve learned from playing before is past relationships absolutely matter and you’re a fool to discount them.”

Brad’s interview: “Maybe getting rid of Hali would be a better choice but Caleb, Debbie and Tai absolutely have a relationship and if they wanted to team up, I’m sure they’d send me home first. Right now, I don’t want to be the chief so I would like Tai to make the decision.”

When Tai returned from his swim all covered with sand, the two sat down.

Suddenly the music did become tenser; the pounding drums told us this was a crucial moment.

When Brad asked for his thoughts, Tai was quite direct: “Hali is going home.” When he saw Brad’s expression, Tai started questioning but still he felt they needed Caleb for the challenges. Brad pointed out that Caleb would hurt Tai’s game if he was still there at the merge. Brad asked if Tai was in the game for Caleb or for himself? Tai said he was in it for himself.

Tai’s interview: “Brad gave me such valuable advice. It makes sense. Last time I played with my heart but this game changer I got to think clear. If we get rid of Caleb, it’s very difficult because I’m friend of Caleb. We’ve played together before, we had some great time and it’s very, very difficult for me to say I will write his name down because it’s such a betrayal to our friendship. Can I do it? I will live with this moment over and over again. Tonight I have to really think with my brain who is the better person to take out: Hali or Caleb.”

Did Tai freely use his brain or was Brad in there pulling strings? That was a great job of manipulation by the former NFL player and seeing Tai covering his face and his eyes with sand, we had a clear symbol that he wasn’t seeing the picture correctly.

Tribal Council

Debbie said it was unnerving to be with Tai and Caleb because the others are going to perceive them as a trio.
Tai agreed, adding that everyone would see them as being dangerous together.
Caleb pointed out that Tai had been with a whole new group for 7 days.
Brad said he bonded well with Tai on the old Nuku tribe so maybe that broke the earlier bond.
Sierra said that Caleb and Tai’s connection was a huge concern while she and Hali have no relationship so it was different.
Hali said that she first felt like she and Caleb were at the bottom but then she realized that Caleb had more options.
Caleb said the others had to make a determination: “They either want to take a strong player that would be loyal, kick butt in challenges and give them all they’ve got which is me, or they are going to go with Hali who is probably easier to manipulate and possibly easier to take along.”
Jeff asked Hali what it felt like to be considered the easier one to eliminate.

Jeff wasn’t even listening...

Hali corrected Jeff: “I don’t think that’s exactly what he said. I think he put himself out there as someone who is stronger headed than me and a bigger player in this game and in a game of game changers is that who you want around?”
When Jeff realized that Hali flipped the script, he asked Brad for his thoughts.
Brad said she was a budding attorney for a reason. Brad said they both were valuable so it was a difficult decision.
Tai told Jeff he had to look at the big picture.
Caleb pointed out that he doesn’t have as many connections with the other side as Hali.
Hali’s closing argument was that she had been herself and would continue to be like that with these people and go far with them.
It was time to vote.

This was certainly going to be a 5-1 vote so even those who hadn’t guessed by now had to realize that Caleb was gone as soon as Jeff read the 3rd vote.

Caleb, who showed a lot of class in his final words, kissed the top of Tai’s head for luck before grabbing his torch.

Jeff’s final words of the episode: “Well, every time you vote somebody out, you change the dynamics of the tribe and the question is always the same: Who does it benefit? Who does it hurt?”

The Story

While a quote from Sandra could once more be used as the episode’s theme, she wasn’t the one that led sheep to slaughter. Ever since season 3, random swaps have led defenceless players to be slaughtered. That twist got general acceptance because its first two victims were Silas and Sarah but it’s always been unfair. Some win the jackpot while others see their games end without any real recourse. But more than the vote or even a swap, the editing favors some players over others. While the eventual winner can still be hidden behind the big characters some players really had a good swap and a good portrayal in this episode. It would stand to reason that these will be long term players.

The Characters

Hurt by the Vote – They cut their options moving forward:

Tai: The sand in the face was a great symbol for Tai’s game: He can’t see clearly. Yes, the Kaoh Rong trio was on everyone’s mind but why not target Debbie instead? Brad would have been reassured that those three weren’t about to take over their group of five and Tai certainly could have sold Brad on Caleb’s loyalty. As a former NFL player, he would have been much comfortable with a former army soldier than with whatever Debbie is at the moment. Instead of getting Brad and Caleb together, Tai was fixated on Hali and that will probably hurt him down the line.

Debbie: She did have options with Caleb and Tai so it would have been simple to recruit Hali and take control of the tribe from Brad. Instead, Debbie simply went along. This odd-ball would have a lot of difficulty convincing any jury to reward her with a million dollars but she certainly couldn’t do it by riding coat-tails. Yes, she’s delivered some interviews that show her playing with a level head but she is used only as a narrator instead of having every day camp scenes devoted to her. This is a way to soften the craziness from her first season.

Hurt by the Editing – Three practically disappeared while the other three had bad exposure

Aubry: If anyone was hurt by the unusual way this episode started it was Aubry. She had been the pawn during the last Tribal Council so the audience could certainly assume she was next on the block. It would have been the perfect time to let us hear her thoughts about the situation especially considering that the swap would leave her pretty much with the same group. We didn’t even go back to the original Mana after their Tribal Council and we heard nothing from her except when she agreed that JT was looking for the idol. Shouldn’t she have been looking also? Does she plan on sneaking out to find it? We don’t know because her plight simply doesn’t matter.

Michaela: Her only intervention served to tell us that Sandra was a villain for a reason. All of us wondered about that casting decision 14 seasons ago but this episode finally explained it: Sandra doesn’t give a damn and even Michaela, who doesn’t give a damn about much herself, saw it. It doesn’t tell us much about Michaela’s longevity in the game but, like the premiere, she doesn’t seem to be portrayed as someone who will have an impact down the road. Staying quiet could earn her a place at the merge which she just missed last season but it won’t earn her the title of Sole Survivor.

Sarah: Like Andrea with Cirie last week, Sarah was the only member of her tribe that didn’t talk about Troyzan’s precarious position. The difference here though is that the viewers don’t care for Troy as much as they do for Cirie so there was nothing to gain by hiding her. She must have said something in interview about Tony’s elimination but we didn’t hear that either. I saw Boston Rob’s silence about Russell’s elimination as a clear sign that Boston Rob’s goal wasn’t to beat Russell; he was there to win the whole thing. Can the same be deduced from Sarah’s silence about Tony? While Tony could claim to be one of Survivor’s “Legends” he still wasn’t on the same level as Hantz and Boston Rob. This season wasn’t built around him and CBS wasn’t going to pay for his wedding! And what can we say about Sarah? Reminding us that she wanted to do better than Tony would simply have served her story instead of showing pettiness. In Redemption Island, revealing too much information was a main theme and David even said that seeing his tribe mates “dancing on Russell’s grave” was painful. Those themes don’t exist this season so this is simply a big hole in Sarah’s story.

Zeke: Troyzan found an idol and he’ll most likely play it next week so I look at Zeke’s interview about Troy as an indication that he could be the one hurt by an idol play. He did get some nice moments like when he was the only one to figure the twist and when he made up with Cirie but Zeke looks too confident for his own good.

Hali: While her arguments at Tribal Council were well delivered, I think it was clear that the decision had been made before leaving for Tribal Council. Only Tai was undecided but even his vote couldn’t save Caleb. It would have helped her story if we had seen her talking to Brad, Debbie or Sierra to save herself. I hope she did but what we saw was her hanging out on the beach with Caleb, hoping for a miracle. She didn’t make any important moves in Worlds Apart and she doesn’t seem to be doing anything worth mentioning here either.

Sandra: While some of Sandra’s previous actions showed she was a villain (letting Christa get blamed for throwing out the fish for example) most of the viewers liked her. The queen’s crown was badly tainted by her desire to kill the goats. It’s also interesting that while Sandra agreed to let the goats go only because they had four chickens to eat, we never saw the chicken dinner. We are left with the impression that Sandra kills animals while the others, JT, Malcolm and Varner in particular, care for them. That baby goat walked away with Sandra’s crown on its head.

Benefitting from the Vote

Brad: The effects of all those hits he took to the head during his NFL career are much less noticeable than during his first season. Like CT Girl p;ointed out, Brad had a great portrayal in this episode: He took the lead of Mana but he did it subtly, letting Tai think he was making the decision. However, the way his confessional was cut, with Sierra’s loud “What? Stop it” inserted when Brad was explaining his scheme of getting rid of Caleb first tells us that this was a pyrrhic victory. Somewhere down the line, Brad will regret making this move against Caleb who could have been a useful ally. Maybe that’s why we heard Caleb saying he was close to Varner and Malcolm. Those two will now see Brad as a rival, not a potential ally.

Benefitting from the Editing

Andrea: While she received a negative comment from Troy who called her a little devil that wasn’t as clever as she thought she was, we had some good visuals for Andrea during the swap suggesting that everything is still possible for her. Maybe Troyzan is underestimating her, not having learned the lessons of his first season. Andrea told us about the situation on her new tribe without sounding as over confident as Zeke and we heard that she likes Troy so maybe she can soften him up in the next three days and then prove that she is a clever little devil. Like everyone else in her tribe she gave Troy too much time alone and now his idol could hurt her. There is still not enough substance to Andrea’s story to say she will be the season’s Sole Survivor but her presentation merits attention.

Troyzan: I hesitated before putting him here because a lot of his triumphalism reminded me of the jerk in One World screaming that it was HIS ISLAND! but then his tears when he held the clue in his hands softened his image a lot. Still, his idol could be only a momentary reprieve. With two tribes going to Council next week, it would be surprising to see a tribe with no real shelter and little supplies beating the other two. If they do go for a vote then a 3-2-1 split would cancel most of the sting from that idol. Someone in the group of 5 would elave but, just like in One World, Troy would be left alone going up against a determined group.

Ozzy: His confessional about being a veteran and having to take the lead to help his tribe wasn’t delivered with Oscar’s usual amount of arrogance but rather in a very matter-of-fact way. He does have over one hundred days of experience and he is an outdoorsman so it was critical for him to take charge in this rather dire situation. We’ve seen tribes collapse when they had to start from scratch and battle an opponent with a better shelter (Koror was probably the only exception) and Ozzy’s biggest contribution for the tribe was in the challenge where he guided his group to climb over the obstacle instead of going through it. His biggest contribution for his own game was making up with Cirie. If Ozzy can work with the tactical genius that is Cirie then maybe he can indeed make it to the end. Will Cirie stay loyal to him? Right now she seems honest when she says she wants to fix things with Ozzy. Like no one could believe that Cochran and Dawn could work together in Caramoan, no one would imagine Ozzy and Cirie in a symbiotic relationship.

JT: Considering that JT was the big star of the only three meaningless scenes this season, one can’t help but put him right at the top of the list of contenders. First he told us that he loves animals just like Tai but he wouldn’t compromise his game trying to save them. In this episode he had a brilliant scheme to look for the idol which was quite reminiscent of Rob’s tricks in Redemption Island but he didn’t find the idol. That little ploy attracted attention of the other five but the next scene showed that JT has found a way to recover the Teflon he wore in Tocantins because he was back in his tribe’s good graces. That even included Sandra! When has Sandra ever let a rival out of her dog house? She counted on JT to catch her meal and when the tribe disagreed she once more turned to him for the chicken dinner. We certainly have to keep in mind JT’s “promise” that Sandra wouldn’t be the only two time winner after this season.

Benefitting from the Swap and the Editing

Cirie: While she wound up in the tribe that had the worse living conditions, the story has turned and Cirie doesn’t appear to be in danger anymore. Like the other former Nuku members now in Tuvua, Troy’s idol hangs over her head like the sword of Damocles. However, Cirie has a lot of experience dealing with immunity idols so I doubt she’ll let Troy have his way. Troy isn’t as dumb as Erick so I doubt she’ll be able to convince him to sit on it but she’ll find a way to deflect its power.

Sierra: We were impressed with her tactical contributions in the first episode but that could have been all due to finding the legacy advantage. Now we saw that these tactical skills have carried over to the new tribe. After the challenge loss, Sierra immediately realized that Tai and Caleb’s alliance was scary. In the long run, a trio of Brad, Tai and Caleb could have been even scarier for her: Even if she works well with men, those three would have probably preferred keeping it between the boys when it came to the Final Three. I wonder if she tried to connect with Hali once it was decided that Caleb was going or if she was telling the truth at TC about not having any kind of relationship with her. While it was inexcusable for Hali not to talk to her, for Sierra it was a missed opportunity. Maybe she can make up for it now.

Varner: He delivered a nicely placed interview after the twist when he said he was ready for the challenge. We saw that he wasn’t fooled by JT. Then he showed compassion for the goats. From an editing perspective, that means he hit all the right notes during this episode. Maybe some will say he was a hypocrite because he certainly enjoyed eating pig during Australia and that the only difference was Mike killed the pig immediately while JT and Malcolm caught the goats so they still had to be killed. If it really matters, I suggest the difference is enough to say that Varner’s compassion was honest. If any game changing moves are successful this season then I think Varner is a prime candidate for one of them. We heard that Caleb was close to Jeff so it seems that the former Kucha tribe member was really a mercenary in Sandra’s army instead of her loyal soldier.

Malcolm: Like Varner, he talked about the great swap they enjoyed and he wasn’t fooled by JT’s shenanigans. He was the first to say that they couldn’t kill the goats so that should endear him even more to the audience. Malcolm, who was never all in with Sandra, could find a better suited ally in JT and wouldn’t that be an ideal match up for the finale in many viewers’ eye? We still don’t know what Malcolm said or did when the group returned from snorkeling. The way this scene was cut before its real ending gave JT the upper hand: He outwitted them even if he didn’t find the idol and Malcolm was left holding a broken spear. It leads us to suspect that JT will have the upper hand in their final confrontation whenever that occurs.

So, since I will certainly be asked, who are my top contenders? While it seems that Brad, Cirie and Varner will go a long way, I’d have to put Sierra, Andrea, Ozzy, Malcolm and JT as the ones who are more likely to win it all.

Sierra has been much more visible than expected.

Andrea has been shown less than expected but everything is still possible for her so she merits attention.

Ozzy is much less Oscar than he was in Micronesia and he’s apparently realized he needs to work with Cirie.

Malcolm is shown as a noble warrior that can get along with Sandra even if he isn’t really with her.

JT has been the center of all the odd little camp scenes that don’t count in the game’s strategy but have been left in to connect us to him. If he survives his present peril then he knows how to win even without the numbers.

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DAW Level: "Roller Coaster Inaugurator"

03-25-17, 05:04 PM (EST)
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4. "Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You!"
LAST EDITED ON 03-26-17 AT 02:32 PM (EST)

Previously on Survivor:

A surprise switch shook up the game.
At the Nuku tribe, JT was outnumbered.
At the Tavua tribe, Troyzan had no control.
At the Mana tribe, Brad held all the power
At Tribal Council, Brad rallied the tribe to vote out Caleb.

I found this recap interesting because Jeff didn’t approach the three tribes from the same angle. The overview of Nuku and Tavua was done from the perspective of their underdogs but for Mana we immediately are told that Brad is in charge. Why were the three tribes treated differently? It could be for the simple reason that Mana went to TC and voted as a bloc against one of their underdogs but it could also be in order to set up long term stories. JT and Troyzan both need to change the game just to have that long term story while Brad seems set on a direct course to the merger and beyond. However, being singled out as the power player isn’t necessarily good news for Brad. Could it be that both JT and Troyzan outlast Brad?

Jeff, We Love You

Scene 1 - Night 11 in Mana

Sierra was trying to comfort Tai who was distraught after voting out Caleb. Tai said he did it to show his loyalty and Brad agreed, adding that actions speak louder than words in Survivor.
Tai’s interview: “I was close to Caleb so this vote was really hard for me but I want to earn my trust from the rest of my tribe. I’m not playing with my heart this time, I am playing with, my head.”

Mana Day 10

Hali was talking to Debbie at the water well. When Debbie asked her who she would vote if they lost, Hali quickly said it would be Tai.

In her position, the only answer to Debbie’s question was another question: “Who do you want me to vote?” Naming her preferences without knowing if it coincided with Debbie’s was a rookie mistake.

Hali’s interview: “Caleb going home last night instead of me was a break in this game. I know that Debbie and Tai do have a complicated relationship so I am trying to show Debbie that I am your asset going forward and Tai is a liability.”

Debbie’s interview: “This is my second time playing, not my first, so I tell Hali just what I think she wants to hear but the philosophy for this Mana tribe is to keep old Nuku tribe. It’s too soon to make Tai a target so Hali, you have no options. You have none.”

I think it was quite telling that Tai’s emotions were more important both to the players and the editors than Hali’s predicament. Hali’s attempt to play the social game with Debbie got an immediate rebuttal. On the surface, that reminds us of last week’s exchange between Andrea and Troyzan. There were however some important differences: Hali was approaching Debbie from a position of weakness and her overture was completely flawed. Andrea talked to Troyzan from a position of relative safety and she was trying to make Troy feel comfortable inside the tribe. Andrea’s safety came from her tribe’s initial challenge wins and a lucky draw during the swap. Hali’s safety in this episode came from an unprecedented twist in the game. It would follow that Andrea’s future looks brighter.

The Reward Challenge

Running the reward with only two players should have carried a consequence: One of the players that ran this challenge should have been forced to sit out the Immunity Challenge. It would have forced the tribes with a numerical advantage to weigh their options more carefully.

When Jeff announced that Caleb had been voted out at the previous TC, Andrea expressed the opinion of the castaways and a large segment of the audience: “That’s crazy.”

- JT and Malcolm played for Nuku.
- Ozzy and Troyzan were Tavua’s participants.
- Tai and Brad carried Mana’s hopes.

As expected, Ozzy led all the way and finished first while Tai was in last place. Brad told Tai to relax because he could catch up. While he was too far behind Malcolm who won the reward for Nuku, Brad overtook Troyzan and got the consolation prize.

Cirie’s interview: “We thought we had it but then Troyzan dropped the ball. He was terrible. He was already the odd man out and now Troyzan’s life is hanging by a string.”

I looked for which bench players would be featured in case our eventual winner wasn’t participating in this challenge.

We first had a group view of Tavua and heard Zeke’s encouragements to Ozzy. Then we had a close-up of Sierra exhorting Tai to take his time and focus. We then head Debbie saying “son of a b*tch” when Tai dropped his ball on the 3rd leg. We then had a group shot of Nuku with Aubry encouraging Malcolm and then Cirie doing the same for Troy. Sierra clapped her encouragement to Culpepper when he finally had a chance to join in. Then we had Nuku admiring Culpepper’s form as he quickly caught and overtook Troy. He did play football after all so even if he wasn’t a Quarterback, all players throw that ball around for fun in practice so his arm has had much more training than Troy’s and it showed. So, to recap, only Sierra, Debbie and Cirie had individual close-ups and Debbie’s was quite negative. We can add that while her advice was positive, Cirie’s interview wasn’t very kind. Did she get that interview just to give her something during this episode or does it suggest that she’ll be the victim of Troy’s idol?

Scene 2 - Tavua Day 10

While the camera gave us a close-up of Troyzan, Ozzy showed some diplomacy: “You win some, you lose some.”

Ozzy’s interview: “As a tribe, losing is always horrible. We all want to win but losing the reward challenge was great for me because without rewards they need me to survive in this game. I feel really confident; I’ve been doing an awesome job being the rock of this tribe. Not to toot my own horn but I’m able to catch fish and I’m able to provide a constant supply of great proteins. If I didn’t bring food in, my name would come up a lot more than it does but, more than that, it’s almost like a meditation. Fishing gives me a chance to think about the game and come back a little more grounded. It’s just extraordinary.”
We saw that he brought back a big fish. Both Troyzan and Andrea were impressed.

I was intrigued by Ozzy’s remark about his name coming up. Did he hear from someone that his name had come up once or twice or was he just assuming that it had to come up? If it’s the former then Ozzy has solid allies in this group even if he is momentarily separated from JT, Brad and Sierra. Some will say that Oscar’s arrogance showed in this segment but I think he was proven right. He is the tribe’s provider and their MVP in most challenges. Troy and Andrea’s words showed that they appreciate Ozzy’s work.

Andrea’s interview: “Ozzy’s played four times; he’s no joke. As a fan of the show, just seeing him in action is amazing. He caught a stingray so we’re going to get a meal and hopefully that’s going to give us more confidence to do well in the next challenge.”

While this is mostly narration and some positive words about Ozzy, we have to note that Andrea will actually do very well in the crucial challenge coming up next. As a side note, we know that production likes to color match the players’ clothing to their respective tribes so I found it funny that both Troy and Ozzy have green colored swimsuits. Did production know they’d wound up in green Tavua?! While I find it funny, the fans should find it disturbing but did they even notice?

Nuku Day 10

Varner was thanking JT and Malcolm and the tribe toasted to their win.

Sandra’s confessional: “This tribe has it going on, let me tell you. Best tribe ever! I’m ecstatic here at the Nuku tribe. I pretty much got everything in line; all my relationships with everyone are perfect. I’m the queen here, I know that much, I know I’m running the show and nobody really knows it.”

Talking to Malcolm, JT said that Sandra should be taken out if they went to Tribal Council. Malcolm agreed. The two also promised to watch each other’s back.

JT’s interview: “The longer Sandra is in this game, the more trouble we’re going to have getting rid of her. She’s a two time winner for more than one reason and you can tell by the attitude, the sass in Sandra’s voice: She knows she’s in charge. Malcolm and I definitely hit it off. We are both hard competitors so Malcolm is excited, I can see it. He wants to play with me. I don’t plan on losing but if we lose the immunity challenge then bing, bam boom, I can go ahead and make my move like I need to do here and get rid of Sandra.”

Juxtaposing Tavua and Nuku’s scenes is interesting. Ozzy and Sandra both expressed confidence in their situations in the game but while Troyzan and Andrea backed up Ozzy’s statement, Malcolm and JT completely deflated Sandra’s claims. While Tavua’s scene ended with Ozzy going back to catch more fish, the one in Nuku ended with Sandra lying in the hammock, unaware of the dangers around her. How did she escape the trap that production had set up?

It has to be noted that we didn’t go to Mana to see them toasting Brad for his nice performance. It could mean nothing because Mana would be heavily featured after the immunity challenge but would they have missed the opportunity to celebrate their eventual winner?

Scene 3 – The Immunity Challenge with a Twist

I have to wonder why the cameras had to show us the dream teamers running through this challenge. We’ve seen it run so many times that we know how it works. If they do want to remind us how it works then they should use footage from previous seasons. It wouldn’t be exactly the same course but it would be more fun but the fun is gone... We could have even seen that both Ozzy and Sierra did that puzzle maze before.

Sandra and Troy sat out for their respective tribes.

We didn’t get close-ups of them encouraging their tribes.

We were going to have only one winner (finally) while the two losing tribes were going to TC.
Malcolm was the one who voiced concern when Jeff explained the part of both tribes going to TC.

He had good reasons to be concerned.

Led by Varner, Nuku finished the blindfold segment with a big lead over Cirie’s gang. Strangely, no one in Mana could hear Brad.

Jeff mentioned Malcolm’s fall.

Malcolm was heard laughing about it but his later fall would not be so funny.

This challenge used to be great comedy, people knocking each other over, people not knowing their left from their other left, Michelle falling off the calling tower, etc... What about this time? Nothing really unless you count the weird way Michaela ran back to the platform behind JT. Survivor has lost most of its comic factor, one of the things that made it such a success.
JT and Ozzy did well on the puzzle maze portion while Sierra had problems so she handed it off to Hali who didn’t do any better..
Michaela took over for JT but she would have to let Malcolm take over.

Sarah followed Ozzy for Tavua and scored the second ball.
Varner had a big lead when he took the third ball for Nuku but then Andrea took her turn and quickly put the pressure on Varner.
Jeff said: “Varner is in the middle of the maze. He was the caller who got them this lead but now he’s going to be either the hero or the goat.”

Varner’s ball was inside the inner circle while Andrea was still two moves away.

We saw Ozzy on the ground, praying for Andrea’s success.

Varner made a sudden move and his ball went sideways into a hole, opening the door for Andrea who won it for Tavua.

Everyone hugged Andrea while Aubry had to console Varner. We could hear him crying.

When Zeke and Sarah came to embrace Andrea, she had quite the winner’s pose!

Her two hands were still holding the handles of the pulleys so she had her arms raised as in victory! Will she have the same pose on Finale night? Will Zeke and Sarah be next to her and embracing her? It would be fun to look back at this moment if it does unfold this way.

When Andrea ran over to collect the idol, Jeff congratulated her and poured salt in the wound: “Andrea pulled it off over Varner.”

It was only after Tavua left that Jeff dropped the bomb: The two tribes would be voting as a group with only one person going home. Sierra’s expression reflected everyone’s reaction.

Aubry’s interview: “This twist is so dangerous to everyone because any fracture in any relationship is a reason to send somebody home tonight. This Tribal is going to be insane.”
Well all I know is that suddenly the people who were in danger, namely, Aubry, Hali and JT are now pretty much safe. In fact, Hali and JT momentarily held the keys to this Council until Tai found an idol.

Scene 4 Nuku Day 11 - It would have been more interesting to send all 11 players to the same camp

Now that was what I call a big chameleon fish! Rupert would probably say that he didn’t know they made such animals!

Nuku was confident that their 6 would beat Mana’s five.

In interview, Malcolm told us that he needed to get ready for everything with this season because who knows what Probst was cooking up next.

The group figured that they would try to get JT on board with them but JT said he was solid with this group.

Sandra’s interview: “It takes one person to flip to change everything but we have to vote six strong. If someone messes this up they’re getting their ##### beaten when they come back to this camp.”

Sandra put the target on Sierra because she was their strongest woman but JT disagreed, saying they had to go for Tai instead because he wouldn’t have an idol. Malcolm said he wouldn’t want to risk his life that they didn’t have an idol.

Oh! the irony of it all! Poor Malcolm... We can also note that Sandra said she wanted to vote against Sierra for being a strong woman twice and that both times the camera went to a silent Michaela who couldn’t be too happy to hear that. She was either thinking that targeting strong women was a bad idea or realizing that Sandra didn’t believe that she could compete against Sierra.

Varner’s interview: “We are not on the same page. Everybody is on their own page. This is Survivor and everybody plays as part of a tribe but it’s an individual game from the beginning regardless of what anybody says.”

When Malcolm asked who Brad would target, JT whispered that it would be Sandra. Malcolm agreed, adding: “I would say me but if he thinks we’re good...” JT reiterated that they were good.

JT’s interview: “The most trustworthy relationship I have on the Mana tribe is Brad Culpepper. If I was a betting man, Brad is over there now saying all our votes go on Sandra. I could be a swing vote and vote out Sandra but it’s a big risk. I could simply go with the majority and vote for Sierra or Tai but, you know, I’d much rather see Sandra go. If I wanted to I could definitely change the course of this game big time.”

Mana Day 11

Debbie was saying that they should convince them to take out Sandra.

Brad’s interview: “This Tribal is going to be extremely complicated because now we’re going with them having six against our five. I know that four of us are all going to vote one way. We have one wild card, Hali, who used to be on death row however now the survivor gods have smiled on her and she’s in a pretty enviable position.”

Brad tried to convince “blue eyes” to stay with them.

Hali’s interview: “Oh! my gosh! All of a sudden, oh! look how the tables have turned. I mean, I have options: I could go with this tribe but I could also flip. There are so many different dynamics going on that you need to consider your short term and long term game at the same time in this vote.”

Brad was sure that JT would vote against Sandra so they had to do the same. Sierra said that they probably had to do Sandra but that it was stupid for the long run not to vote out Malcolm.

Tai’s interview: “It’s very tricky tonight because we still don’t know if JT is with us or with them. They got the numbers so wouldn’t they stick together so I need to look for the hidden immunity idol.”

How convenient that this idol was hidden at camp and not in the challenge arena! Of course, Tai found it.

Here is more of Tai’s interview: “This idol’s gonna equal out the two tribes’ power. They have the numbers, we have the idol. It’s the key to our life.”

After expressing her fears, Sierra noticed that Tai had something to say. He told them he had found an idol. Sierra gave him a kiss.

Where was Hali during this time? She was probably recording her interview. They did well to keep it secret.

Sierra’s interview: “Right before Tribal, Tai has found an idol. I’m extremely excited but I’m also completely terrified because we just don’t know who to play it for. A lot can go wrong but I’m just praying that we can make this happen. It’s going to be a huge move. Tonight’s Tribal has never been done before. This is going to be crazy because it can be anybody tonight.”

Tribal Council

Malcolm was the first questioned and he told Jeff that despite all the experience in this group this was unlike anything they had seen.
When Brad said that it was a Mexican standoff except they didn’t know if all of the guns were pointing at the other side.
Sandra intervened to say that all of their guns were pointing at the other side.
Debbie said that one of their six used to be close to them. She needed to remind Jeff that she meant JT.
Once more, Sandra interrupted saying that the magic words were “used to”.
JT said that people were expecting him to put himself at risk but he didn’t want to take a shot in the dark.
Brad said they had to look at the threats and the two biggest ones were Malcolm and Sandra.
Sandra told Jeff: “I’m not worried. I know I’m not going home tonight, how about that?”
Malcolm said that Brad probably mentioned his name because he was scared and wanted to take the target off his own back.
Varner said they tried to figure out what would happen if any from the other side had an idol.
Sierra told Jeff that they also looked at the big picture so it was just a question of who will be going.
Debbie had two big questions: Would JT flip or would Hali flip?
Brad added that if Hali didn’t stick with them she’d become public enemy number one.
Hali didn’t think those were the right words to groom her in. That made Varner smile.
Hali said they could be in a situation that would require drawing rocks.

A tie would have been a real concern in a 6-6 split but with 11 players any tie would be so dumb that it’s not worth considering!

Sandra had no concerns.
Sierra realized that Sandra meant they didn’t need Hali.
When JT told Jeff he had concerns, Sierra started talking quietly to Hali, pleading with her to stay with the group.
Raising her hand, Hali said that they should only be concerned with physical threats. Whispering to JT, Sandra said that Hali wanted Brad gone. JT and Sandra then spread the information to Michaela and Varner.
Addressing the former football player, Probst said that the other tribe was calling an audible.
Malcolm and JT said the other side was voting against Sandra.
Aubry said she felt that she had walked into the wrong wedding.
Debbie got up and talked in Brad’s ear.
Both sides were saying they should stick to the original plan. Sierra said she thought she was the target.
Probst told Sierra that she looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
Wanting to save herself, Sierra said they should continue playing the way the game started.
That’s when Jeff lost all control:

- First JT went over to Brad telling him that they were voting against Sierra.
- Hali walked across the floor to tell Sandra that they had to vote against Brad.
- Standing behind everyone, Brad asked JT to come back and swear that he was being honest. He swore.
- Hali told Varner that she would vote Brad with them.
- Sitting alone in the middle of the two huddles, Sierra and Malcolm, the two who had reason to be scared, agreed they were indeed both scared.
- Brad huddled his four to tell them what JT had just revealed.
- Sandra huddled her forces saying Hali wanted Culpepper out because he doesn’t have an idol.
- JT told his group that he informed Brad that it wasn’t him.
- Sierra told something that made Hali go oh! She then asked if they were voting against her. Hali said she had tried to change everything.
- Hali and Probst exchanged laughs.
- Varner and JT were talking but we couldn’t hear.

Using an on-line game analogy, Aubry said it was like carrier pigeons going all over the place. Jeff realized that round two was starting.

- JT was telling Brad to vote against Sandra.
- Sandra said that it was just side notes and the group agreed they were ready to vote. Everyone said they were ready so Probst sent Hali first but she objected, saying she didn’t give her consent. When Sandra said they could vote, Hali stood up but said they could regret this.
- Jeff finally realized that ordered had been restores so he stood up, trying to look like the man in charge!
Michaela was worried about Hali who should have told them who had the idol. Sandra reassured her saying nobody had the idol.

Probst asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, Brad told Tai to do it so Tai stood and showed his idol. Turning to face his allies, he asked who wanted it. Brad pointed to Sierra who was all smiles and ready to accept it so Tai gave it to “the pretty lady”. Varner’s jaw dropped.

When Probst read the first Sierra vote, the whole group rejoiced because they knew they had outwitted the others. Probst read Sierra’s name five more times. Sandra was getting nervous, wondering who they went after. Probst turned the 7th parchment which read “Malcom”. The next one was also for “Malcom” and Malcolm was starting to feel sick and Aubry was dumbfounded. (I wonder why. None of those were against him but someone named “Malcom”.) An excited Sierra first told her group that they had done a good job and then she kissed Malcolm on the cheek while Varner, unable to watch, buried his face in his hands. The next vote was against “Malcomb” but for some reason, Probst said that Malcolm was the 4th person voted out of Game Changers.
Before grabbing his torch, Malcolm said he was about to vomit. JT looked at the other side with daggers in his eyes but Brad could only smile. When Malcolm started down the steps, it looked as if JT was crying.

Probst said that this Tribal Council showed why Survivor was so entertaining and devastating because “no matter how many times you play, no matter how certain you are, the game can still smack you in the face.”

When the tribes headed off, Michaela told Varner that she thought JT set them up. JT walked out of there looking rather lonely.

In case you weren’t certain, all of Mana voted against Sierra while everyone in Nuku, including Hali, voted for Malcolm (only Debbie knew how to spell his name.)

The Story

Like Malcolm said, this was the most ridiculous Tribal Council in the history of the game. There is a saying in sports that you should always let the players play which means that no one wants to see the referees deciding the game. Survivor is definitely more of a TV show than a real competition because Probst heavily influences the outcome. While Sandra said she loved Jeff when he offered them chocolate, I used her quote sarcastically, having in mind what she thought of him after he revealed this latest twist! I think the idea would have been better served if both tribes had been sent back to one camp before going to Tribal Council. Maybe Probst could have told the players they could mutiny and go from one tribe to the other.

The price to pay for this one shining moment is much too high because we’ve now lost three of the biggest schemers that were cast this season and others are toast. Despite what Varner said and all the cross-tribal chatter, we still had monolithic votes so the game changers haven’t really been changing the game. It’s much like having Hatch’s Tagi going up against Lex’s Boran despite all of Probst’s shenanigans! If only we had the same fun watching them now as we did back then... One thing that will be interesting is hearing how Probst explains the vote to Tavua when they get to the next challenge.

While many strange things happened during that episode, the strangest of all was to note that, despite their 10-7 advantage, only one of the three possible combinations of tribes going to Council was going to favor the original Nuku players. The Tavua-Mana combination would have seen Nuku with a 9-2 advantage. If Tavua had joined Nuku it would have given us a 6-6 deadlock. We wound up with the worst possible combination for Nuku and yet another original Mana member went home.

Like the green fish that disappeared from our sights as it approached the sandy bottom of the ocean, Tavua disappeared from the players’ sight when Nuku and Mana had to target each other. That Tribal Council will leave scars and both sides could be looking at the Tavua players to side with them. This twist could really favor the Tavua players that make it to the merger. So where does that leave our castaways in the race to become Sole Survivor?

The Characters

The Red Lanterns – These players have a target on their backs

JT: I wonder what his plan was when he told Brad that Nuku wasn’t targeting him but Sierra instead. His tactic didn’t match his vote. If he wanted Brad to join him and Malcolm then those two had to vote against Sandra but JT joined Sandra and voted against Sierra. It wouldn’t be the first time that JT got all confused trying to figure the dynamics of the other side! However, it would make sense if he guessed that Mana had an idol and was going to play it on Sierra and he was trying to get them to vote against Sandra while trying to look like he was loyal to his new tribe. If so, why didn’t he tell Brad that Malcolm was with him and would be a solid ally for Brad later on? Now JT’s only options are winning immunity until the merger, finding an idol or seeing another swap.

Hali: I think seeing Debbie’s explosion in the previews is a bad sign for Hali. If production is pointing us in Debbie’s direction then we should expect someone else getting the votes. Where else should we look than in Hali’s direction? While her hesitation before voting wasn’t as bad as Hanna’s last season, everyone saw that all those discussions had confused her and her tribe will think that she voted with them only to save appearances. Like JT, her options are limited.

Troyzan: Nothing in this episode changed our impressions that Troy will have to play his idol to save himself but will then be dispatched immediately after. Before the season started, he said he would vote against Tony because he was too crafty so he would likely target Cirie in this group. Maybe we heard the “little Devil” comment about Andrea only to blur the issue.

Cirie: I’m hoping I am wrong but Cirie’s unnecessary interview about Troy’s desperation made me think she could be the one eliminated by his idol. I’d like to see her working with Ozzy but she may not have the chance.

Sandra: She said she wasn’t worried about going home but we know that it came close. Debbie, Brad, Malcolm and JT all wanted her gone and only Sierra’s influence and the madness of Tribal Council saved her. Malcolm’s elimination may have been the best thing for Sandra especially now that the tribe has found the ideal scapegoat in JT. I noted that Sandra was often showed sitting behind a cloud of smoke from the camp fire. She thinks she’s in a great position but we know she isn’t. If she is to remain queen, she has a lot of work to do. I would never count her out but she doesn’t look like a three time winner.

The Peloton – This group includes all the non-descript players who will leave unceremoniously or will be unlucky finalists.

Michaela: She sits in silence which is a great way to stay in the game but a terrible way to win it.

Aubry: She didn’t sense that there was a strong current going in Sandra’s direction. Talking to JT could have helped Aubry who was definitely outside of the Queen’s army but we haven’t seen her attempting to change the game at all. Like Michaela, she just sits there but she has a lot more to lose.

Debbie: It looks like the craziness is coming out so the end can’t be too far but it figures that the next episode is too early.

Tai: He says he wants to play for his own benefit but he’s really playing for Brad and Sierra.

Sarah and Zeke: We do see them in group images reminding us that they are indeed in Fiji (if they really are filming in Fiji and not in Burnett’s backyard!) but they have no substance to their characters. Sarah scored the second point for Tavua but Probst only mentioned that it set up a showdown between Varner and Andrea. I do want to mention though that Zeke’s relative anonymity, just like Michaela’s and Aubry’s is a rebuttal of all those comments from casual viewers who say that players are invisible only because they are boring and they blame the casting department for casting duds. While it certainly was true for a few, all the people cast have interesting personalities. Those three did impress us in recent seasons but now they simply don’t have the same role to play in the overall story so they are ignored.

The Chase Group – These players are trying to catch up to the “échappée”

Varner: In two consecutive weeks he’s seen his main allies exiting the game. His interview about the game being individual tells us that he gets it but you do need allies in order to advance to the finals. The original Mana players are going to have a hard time finding enough numbers if things continue like this. His challenge performances are really hurting him but his story is still quite interesting. He stands out of the peloton but he is fading and would need to pedal hard on his little bike to catch up.

Brad: The guy smoked through the reward challenge and was called the “Terminator” after winning the consolation prize. Will he be the season’s Terminator? The story is certainly turning in Brad’s direction and he showed a lot of cool when he pointed to Sierra, indicating she was the one who should receive Tai’s immunity idol. He is the backbone of this group and he should be able to get Tavua to join his side over the new Nuku tribe when they reach the merger. This hectic TC solidified his group of four so if they do get rid of all the original Mana players then Brad could find himself sitting behind the wheel when the original Nuku players turn against each other.

The Lead Group

Sierra: She was the first to put the target on Malcolm and the vote eventually went as she desired. In that situation it would indeed have been dumb to go after Sandra if they couldn’t count on JT. This way, they’ve reduced the opposition’s power for the next immunity challenge. It was also interesting that the scene where Tai revealed his idol was presented in such detail. We could have simply heard Tai saying he had the idol and was playing it for the tribe but instead we saw him hesitating so Sierra had to draw it out of him. Presented this way when some say that she was lucky to be saved, we can always counter with the argument that she played an active role in getting Tai to give her the idol. She also said something to Hali at the last minute that surprised the budding attorney. Sierra must have made Hali realize that Sandra’s tribe wasn’t voting against Brad which meant they were abandoning her. That would explain Hali’s vote against Malcolm. We also saw a few close-ups of Sierra during the reward challenge encouraging first Tai and then Brad so she is given a role even when she has none which is a great sign.

Andrea: She is still under the radar as far as getting screen time is concerned but she had another interestingly positive confessional and she was right to say that a good meal would help her win that next challenge. When Nuku and Tavua were on their last ball, Probst told us that we would see if Varner was the hero or the goat and since he turned out to be the goat then that left Andrea as the hero and she gave us a victory pose. If she wins a Final Three against Sarah and Zeke, we will have to look back at that celebration when she had her two arms raised in the air and they were on each side hugging her.

Ozzy: Just like that chameleon fish, Tavua could be so well hidden that they will be forgotten in the heat of the battle that will surely erupt when Mana and Nuku sit down once more in front of Probst. Tony, Caleb and now Malcolm have been removed from the game while JT is sitting in a very precarious position so it leaves a much weaker competition for individual immunities. That could play nicely in Ozzy’s hands. Of course, it looks like this season will have a majority of women making it to the merger, a rather unusual situation except for Ozzy who certainly has vivid memories one such season! If all the physical threats are removed before the merger then he could find himself in a situation where he will have to win all the immunity challenges but he’s done it before. I would prefer if we didn’t hear him say his tribe needs him but it doesn’t have the same arrogance as his words once had. He is confident but I don’t think it has reached overconfident levels, at least not yet. Andrea’s positive comments certainly indicate that Ozzy could get votes if he makes it to the end.

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03-25-17, 10:18 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You!"
Whew! Thanks for that dissection of the TC chaos. I only discerned about 10% of the whisperings.

I miss Veruca. As well, I miss your and her interchanges. But you are carrying the baton in fine fashion.

Sandra is also one of my favorites, she's a sassy mother figure in her mind. But her confessions and TC comments show she is no where nearly introspective enough to gage the dangers around her. This season she doesn't seem to have the self control she has had in the past. Some of the things she said at TC were jarring to me, and probably to her tribe mates as well.

Brad just isn't smart enough to go the distance, I think. His unnecessary comment about Hali only served to cement her isolation from her tribe mates.

But what a tribe, Hali - a declared non ally to her tribemates, and Debbi who is predestined (per the previews) to go off on her tribe (who exactly is she going to be mad at, Brad?). Brad, Tai and Sierra should be tight because of the HI exchange at the last TC. If they go to TC next as a single tribe and there isn't another shuffle, will they team up against Hali, or Debbi? My guess would be Hali because even though Debbi reverts to Crazy Debbi, they probably can depend on her to vote their way in the future.

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03-26-17, 02:35 PM (EST)
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6. "RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You!"
Thank you, Kingfish. I wonder if Veruca is still watching. We've lost many of our friends over the years...

With so many original Nukus left in the game, Brad should be in a good position at the merger even if he has to eliminate Debbie. I really hope he does...

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03-27-17, 09:15 PM (EST)
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7. "RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You!"
Hey michel, wanted to let you know I'm still following the column and enjoying it. Unfortunately, I accidentally got spoiled, so I am hesitant to add my thoughts. Some jerk thought it would be funny on premier night to post a thread on Sucks with the spoiled Final 3 in the title. I haven't seen the bootlist that is going around, however.

Either way, I'm going to abstain from speculation for now.

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04-01-17, 01:49 PM (EST)
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9. "RE: Episode 4 - Jeff, We Love You!"
Thank you, Jims. From all the resistance I'm getting over at RHAP I'm guessing I'm totally off base. Looking at who is getting support gives me an idea about that spoiler but I'll continue calling it as I see it.

Once the season is over I'd like to know what that spoiler said if you would, please.

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04-01-17, 01:45 PM (EST)
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8. "Episode 5 - It's Payback Time"
Previously on Survivor;

“Andrea for the win.”

I don’t make these things up! Jeff’s words could very well be spoiling the season’s outcome.

Tavua won their second immunity challenge...

A replay of Andrea’s winning pose was shown.

...and there was a twist for the two losing tribes: “One group where you will vote out one person.”

At Tribal Council, it was utter chaos. JT leaked Nuku’s plan...
We saw JT going to Brad saying: “They’re voting Sierra out.”
...and Tai used it to his advantage...
Tai gave his idol to the “pretty lady”.
...Saving the Mana tribe and sending Malcolm home.

I think it must be noted that Probst didn’t credit Brad for telling Tai to give his idol to Sierra and we didn’t hear Sierra saying she would be getting the votes before JT’s warning so this recap wasn’t good for either one of them. It wasn’t very good for Hali either because her interventions were also ignored. The only thing it did was set up this episode’s vote.

It’s Payback Time!

Scene 1 - Nuku Night 11

Sandra couldn’t fathom Tai’s motive. “How did he know to give his idol to Sierra out of all those people there?”
JT pleaded ignorance, claiming he only told Brad that he was safe.

In his interview JT told us that he warned Brad that Sierra was in trouble and that they should give her an idol if they had one. He thought it was an easy opportunity to get rid of Sandra.

Sandra’s interview: “JT’s hands are all over this. This is JT’s dirty deed and if he knows how I am, I’m going to turn around and send his ass packing right behind Malcolm if I can. He crossed me, it’s payback time.”

We were still in Nuku at the start of Day 12

We saw JT preparing his coffee, putting one tablespoon of sugar in it. He told us in interview that he needed to find the idol.
He quickly found a clue telling him to dig near the tribal flag. Since everyone was out in the ocean, JT picked a shovel and dug up his treasure. He was happy to tell us that the idol would keep him in this game.

Well, that’s if you play it, dummy!

While the recap had neglected to tell us Brad and Sierra’s role in the previous TC, this first segment simply forgot their story.

Scene 2 – The Reward Challenge

The Tavua tribe members were rather perplexed when they saw that Mana was intact. They were in shock when they saw that Malcolm had been voted out.

Once more it was Andrea’s reaction that we heard: “Oh! my God!”

Probst asked Ozzy what he felt seeing Malcolm voted out. Ozzy answered: “Malcolm is a huge, huge player in this game and for him to be gone at this point, it definitely changes the game.”

Tavua must have asked about the mechanics of that Council but we don’t know if Probst told them that they voted as one group. We did see the camera focusing on Tai when Ozzy spoke about changing the game.

Troyzan was sent to the sidelines.

He’s still in the doghouse after losing the previous reward.

It’s rare that they do it but the editors let us hear the tribes talking about their strategy.

For Tavua, we heard Zeke saying he does slide puzzles all the time.

Michaela just wanted to dig the ___ bags for Nuku.

In Mana, we heard Debbie saying: “I have a really good sense of balance.”
Brad then said: “OK then you will balance.”

I’m pretty sure I heard her correctly and the person doing close captioning heard the same thing.

Sarah, Varner and Sierra were handling the grappling hooks for their respective tribes.

Probst told us that Sarah was a little short while Sierra had a nice toss. He also told us that Varner had trouble getting the bow.

After Tai dug up the first ball, Hali started on the balance beam. She fell off once.

When Varner finally hooked the bow, Probst was really impressed with Michaela’s digging skills.

She got that ____ bag before Cirie got hers.

JT and Ozzy then went to the balance beam. Ozzy walked over the beam as if “he had done this while growing up in the jungle.” He finished his leg before either Hali or JT got over the first balance beam.

Sarah quickly snagged Tavua’s second bag so Cirie went after their second ball.

During that time was saw that both Hali and JT got across the first balance beam but the second one gave JT problems. Hali was “getting it”. She was “locked in.”

Sierra and Tai did their part so well that Debbie had a lead heading into the second leg.

I’m not dreaming this: Probst clearly said: “Just like that, Mana is now in the lead.” My High Definition TV screen even showed Debbie heading out with their second ball while Andrea was still waiting on her tribe’s mat.

Andrea was through the first stage while Debbie was starting over again. Like Probst said: “Debbie had the lead for Mana but she’s lost it.”

Meanwhile JT was still falling off the second balance beam, putting Nuku well behind the other two tribes.

Andrea finished the second leg at the same time that JT finished Nuku’s first leg.

Debbie you ask? I saw her still at the starting point, unable to balance the ball on her handle.

Zeke attacked the slide puzzle while Varner tried to hook Nuku’s second bag. While Probst wasn’t sure if she could dig as quickly as the first time, Michaela told him that she could and she did.

Probst said that Zeke put himself in the hero’s spot but wondered if he could deliver.

Debbie was “finally” through the first balance beam.

It was Probst who used the word “Finally”. I’m just quoting him here.

Aubry caught up to her former Chan Loh tribe mate and just like in Kaoh Rong, she left her in her dust.

Zeke was still working on his slide puzzle when Sandra attacked hers.

Checking in on Debbie, she was still working that second balance beam.
Zeke won reward for Tavua.

I wonder why Probst was standing so far away when Zeke finished his puzzle. I mean, these things often come down to the wire so shouldn’t he have been standing close to the tables just in case? I mean, Debbie almost had time to cross the balance bean before Probst “finally” acknowledged Zeke’s victory!
Probst said we were now looking for second place.

Well, I don’t think we needed spoilers at this point to tell us that Nuku was going to get the consolation prize!

Debbie was trying to cross the beam with one hand holding the ball but she still couldn’t keep it balanced!!

We heard Brad talking to Sierra: “She was adamant about doing it, wasn’t she?” Sierra agreed.

Sandra finished her puzzle just when Debbie finally made it across joining Hali who said: “Yeah! You finished it!”

After Sandra grabbed Nuku’s plate, Debbie gave an interview: “Once again, we lost and we don’t strategize; it’s a dictatorship with Brad just telling people what positions they are going to take. The bottom line is; I’m pissed.”

That’s when CBS showed us a replay of Debbie telling her tribe: “I have a really good sense of balance” and Brad letting her have her choice. I mean we all saw it the first time, we were shown it again to remind us about it so it cannot possibly be true. Somehow, it must be fake news...

Scene 3 – Tavua’s Reward

Ozzy told the tribe that peanut butter was like gold on Survivor.

Yes, at auction, a peanut butter sandwich is usually worth $200 and you can even get two girls to take off all their clothes just to have some...

Sarah gave us an interview: “Tavua, who started literally from scratch, has somehow banded together and we’re like dominating stuff now but I don’t want to be over confident. In the event that something crazy happens, I need options. ” We saw Sarah and Troy gathering firewood in the forest. Sarah asked him if anyone had talked to him. Troy said no and that she was the only one he trusted. Sarah advised him to continue working or else the girls would get suspicious. Sarah’s interview, resumed: “At this point, Troyzan is the odd one out against me and the other four but the set four, that’s stupid, that’s boring, I don’t like it, let’s grow up, come on. I’m completely playing this game like a criminal this time. I know how criminals lie to me so I know how to lie to these people.”

Sarah told Troy that she was going to look for an idol.

Troyzan’s interview: “I have an idol and Sarah doesn’t know anything about it and she says she wants to work with me so it would be a huge plus in my game not to play that idol right now. If I can work with Sarah and keep my idol that would be the golden ticket!”

The two shook hands.

Well, what can we make of this? Troyzan didn’t actually lie to Sarah but he did have the idol Sarah was looking for so we can say she couldn’t read him.

Mana Day 12

The music was quite tense when we got to the losing tribe’s camp.

Debbie told the group that they should talk while she was gone, they could make decision without her and then let her know. She added that when they vote her out, they could give her stuff to Hali. She then stormed out.

Brad’s interview: “Today at the challenge, Hali rocked the balance beam (he saw it too!) but Debbie couldn’t get over it and we lost the peanut butter. She was adamant that she could balance but now she is real angry so I don’t know what she wants. The only predictability about Debbie is that she is unpredictable.”

I could predict a lot more things about Debbie: For instance, I’m sure she will say dumb stuff and that you can’t trust her...

Sierra tried to comfort her but Debbie was saying that she was on the bottom of the totem pole. She said she should just shut the ___ up and do as she’s told. She then turned to Hali and said: “Whatever you want, you get. He’s got his head so far up your ##### that his eyeballs are sticking out of your mouth.”

Debbie’s interview: “Brad treats me with very little respect. Brad is used to being in charge... If Hali wants to do the balance beam even though she cost us peanut butter and jelly by dicking around for ten freaking minutes and I zipped across the balance beam in 30 seconds, that means you don’t respect me. It’s nauseating, frustrating and I’m pissed!!”

Ok, so despite all the visual and verbal evidence we’ve had, Hali is responsible for the tribe’s loss and Debbie should be congratulated for her great effort. CBS somehow faked the footage and even if Debbie had the lead when she started zipping over the balance beam, it was all Hali’s fault. Many buy all that fake news so maybe many viewers were on Debbie’s side!

Hali’s interview: “Debbie’s explosion about Brad centered on her not being heard in the challenges. I don’t really see the argument. I think Brad’s great in challenges. He’s a leader and he pulls people together but she thinks I’m the princess and I get whatever I want and she’s the ghoul that gets nothing!”

Tai tried to calm Debbie.

Tai’s interview: “I tried to comfort her but watching Debbie getting upset like that, I got really scared. I think Debbie is just different. She’s the crazy lady. Debbie thinks she’s an expert in everything but Hali is better than her as far as agility in the challenges.”

Debbie continued venting in her next interview but you will excuse me for skipping over it... I had to throw up a little when she raised her shirt so I don’t want to see that part ever again. All I remember is she wanted to target Brad next so why didn’t this tribe go to Tribal Council? We could have gotten rid of that irritating character once and for all. She did show us what was wrong with the world today though: Repeat a lie often enough and people start believing it. I guess that’s why she was wearing Mana’s orange colored buff on her head...

Scene 4 – Nuku Day 13

Michaela was ordering sugar with a few drops of coffee.

JT thought Michaela was losing it out there and he didn’t want to have to babysit her.

Sandra’s interview: “So JT was annoyed that Michaela was using one tablespoon of sugar for a tiny sip of coffee so I had a sweet idea and I said I’m just going to go ahead and eat the rest of the sugar.” She explained her plan to Varner. “The only other person here that uses the sugar is JT and Michaela so I knew JT would blame Michaela for the sugar jar being empty.”

Sure enough, as soon as JT noticed the empty jar, he blamed Michaela.

Varner’s interview: “The sugar disappeared. Ha! Ha! Ha! JT thinks it’s Michaela and it’s 100 percent Sandra.”

Michaela’s interview: “JT was trying to act like I took the sugar. I was just so angry and the problem with me is the more I try to hold something in, the worst it gets and in this environment, it’s like you’re holding it and holding it and holding it but I wanted to kill him.”

That’s when we saw two sharks almost attacking each other! With just a bit of sugar as bait, Sandra set two predators against each other.

Mana Day 13

Tai’s interview: “I can feel the tension in the Mana tribe and I don’t know where I’m fitting. I have to look at what’s best for me and I used the idol at Tribal so I’m thinking there’s an idol out there. I want to be productive and look for an idol. Even if they think I’m sneaking around at least I feel like I’m in charge of my game. It’s so hard to find. It’s a big jungle out there. I found another clue... I’m not going to look for the idol yet. I’ve been gone maybe a little bit too long.”

When Tai said that he wanted to be productive we had a close-up of Sierra just sitting there in silence, being very unproductive. As for the idols being hard to find it certainly doesn’t appear to be that way because the clues seem to pop up in every episode! Just look for them! At least this clue looks a bit more difficult to solve.

The Immunity Challenge

Cirie didn’t participate in the challenge.

This time, we only saw Mana’s strategy session if you can call it that.
Debbie wanted to do the balance beam again because she took gymnastics for ten years but Tai thought he’d be better. In the end, a pouting Debbie said she wasn’t doing it.

Debbie was proud to announce that she was the first one down from the wall.
Probst told us that Varner was the last one over.
The three tribes were in a virtual tie after pushing their cubes across the field to the stand that held a key. Sierra, Sarah and JT went for the keys.
Debbie asked Brad if he noticed that she was the first person over the wall. Brad responded by saying he loved her and didn’t know why she was mad at him.
Sierra was the first to get the keys so she tossed them to Tai. JT and Sarah finished at the same time, giving their keys to Michaela and Ozzy.
Michaela and Varner were the first to start transporting 100 sand bags across the balance beam. Michaela had problem with the beam and was carrying only three bags at first. Hali and Tai were on the beam for Mana while Andrea and Ozzy did the work for Tavua. Varner dropped off so Hali, Andrea and Ozzy were the first three to make it across. When Tai fell for a second time, Debbie erupted: “Well I’m glad we didn’t send the gymnast.”
Wasn’t she the one who refused to go?!
Andrea and Ozzy completed their second crossing while Hali dropped a bag earning a snicker from Debbie.
When Andrea crossed with their remaining bags, Probst noted that they had been very impressive over the balance beam giving Tavua a massive lead.
Ozzy used the slingshot for Tavua but couldn’t hit a target. That opened the door for the other two tribes to catch up.

I don’t remember Ozzy losing many leads in Survivor tribal challenges but Probst didn’t say anything negative.

Sierra was the first to hit a target. JT and Sarah, who was now shooting for Tavua, saw Sierra hit a second target before each hitting one. Brad took over for Sierra while Ozzy went back in for Tavua. JT kept firing for Nuku. Brad quickly hit all three remaining targets for Mana, winning immunity for the tribe.
After a back and forth battle, Ozzy finished in second sending Nuku to Tribal Council. Troy hugged Ozzy saying he was amazing.

Michaela’s interview: “The last time I played, the challenge that got me to the Tribal Council that sent me home ended with slingshots and today it ended with slingshots but this is Game Changers so the same thing can’t really happen to me twice... I hope!”

Scene 5

JT apologized for not switching out.

Aubry’s interview: “So we lost the immunity challenge. The Fijian gods are not loving Nuka right now...Nuku or whatever it is. I don’t even know the name of this tribe. That’s the point that we’re at. I feel like Michaela has to be the next person to go and for JT, we came into his camp, he’s done his job, he’s been a part of us.”

With Michaela out of camp, JT was telling the other three that he had more to offer and that they’d be better off without Michaela. Varner said he was behind the idea. When JT said there would be a lot less problems without Michaela and he included sugar stealing to his list of complaints, Sandra couldn’t help but laugh, correcting him to say it was “sugarnapping”.

In his interview, JT said he couldn’t think of a single reason to keep Michaela. He said he could use his idol but he was needed to win challenges.

How about tribal loyalty for a reason to keep Michaela, JT?

Sandra assured JT that he had no reason to be scared about going home.

I really liked the close up of Sandra’s face when JT said Michaela licked the sugar jar clean.

Sandra’s interview: “Today’s immunity challenge was for JT to win for himself except JT didn’t know how bad he had to win. I need to get vengeance for what happened to Malcolm and I think that between Varner, Michaela and I, we make a good team.”
Imagine how mad she would have been if she had known JT had been plotting to get her out, not Malcolm!

Sandra told Michaela that she trusted her more than she trusted the others. She was going to see what Varner was thinking.

Michaela’s interview: “Sandra, Varner and me make three which is enough to vote out JT. Ugh! I’m ready for him to go home. He’s just irritating. The only thing that could happen to go out of my favor is either Sandra or Jeff Varner deciding that they would rather vote for me than vote for JT.”

Sandra was asking Michaela to trust her and that would be the way to get to the end. She added that the only thing she knew was getting to Day 39.

Sandra talked to Varner about the plan to go with Michaela. Varner asked Sandra about the possibility of JT having an idol.
Varner’s interview: “Tonight, I am in a perfect spot because I can choose to vote with Sandra and Michaela and vote out JT or I can go with JT and Aubry and vote out Michaela. I’d like to go both ways at the same time please! Anybody can have an idol in this game but I want to keep winning so it is: Get rid of an attitude problem or get rid of a big threat.”

Tribal Council

Asked about the previous Council, Sandra said they blamed JT because they thought he gave it away by talking to Culpepper. She knew they had a leak because Tai knew who needed the idol.
JT said he felt guilty because he didn’t want Malcolm going home. He said he didn’t sabotage the tribe but simply gave away too much information.
Michaela said they went from a tribe that was together to a tribe where someone thinks he’s running the ___ show. Even Probst knew she was talking about JT.
JT said he wasn’t surprised by that remark and that everyone was tired of babysitting. Camp life was tough so he was excited to be at Tribal Council.
Sandra explained that their feud started over sugar. That intrigued Probst and made Varner laugh. Sandra added that JT thought Michaela licked the jar. Michaela said that showed how stupid JT was.
Probst asked Sandra about the vote, saying it was just as important to know which person to keep as deciding which had to go.
Sandra said they were going to keep their strongest player in the game and with him they were going to move forward.
Michaela said she wasn’t surprised.
JT said they were simply tired of babysitting because Michaela simply lies in the shelter and does nothing.
Michaela asked if anyone saw her cleaning dishes, preparing food, serving food. Sandra agreed on each point and even if she was the only one, it was enough for Michaela to tell JT to shut up.
Varner agreed that JT speaks for the whole tribe more often than not. Aubry also said that JT was expressing how she felt about Michaela. Sandra said JT didn’t speak for her as far as Michaela is concerned but that she listens to what he says because he makes valid points about moving forward.
JT said that some of them weren’t Game Changers but just filling space.
Aubry said she likes Michaela but that they had issues.
Varner added that the vote was complicated because there was arguing going on at camp.
For Aubry, the vote was abundantly clear. Everyone agreed that the vote was clear but Michaela said that her vote didn’t matter.

It was time to vote.

When we were shown that Sandra voted against JT we pretty much knew that Varner was voting that way also. It would have been very weird seeing him going against Sandra; weird and dangerous. So, the only question remaining was JT’s idol. He certainly has to play it, doesn’t he?!

Of course, JT didn’t play his idol so Michaela poured herself a glass of water.

She looked so calm that it was as if she was drinking to her success.

JT was voted out 3 to 2. With a damn! That wasn’t nearly as funny as Chicken’s, JT got up and received Michaela’s hair right in the face as she swiftly whipped her head around.

Varner and Sandra were smiling. When Sandra and Michaela started laughing Aubry said: “Damn! You guys are good.”

Michaela then said she didn’t steal the sugar and didn’t even know where it went. Sandra silently raised her hand and then pointed at herself making everyone laugh.

Probst: “This is the level of game play you expect in a season called “Game Changers”. The only rub is, as we just saw; it’s only a matter of time until the game is played on you.”

The Story

This equation is known as the time-dependant Schrodinger equation and it changed how we viewed the world. Today, one of the main interpretations of Quantum Mechanics is called the Many-Worlds theory. It states that all possible results of the wave function exist in different branches of the universe which are mutually exclusive but are equally real.

At least those worlds are supposed to be mutually exclusive but last night’s episode gave us a glimpse of what happens when some of those Many-Worlds collide. In Mana, we observed a tribe of 5 people who suffered a loss during the reward challenge due to Debbie’s inability to get across the balance beam. Her team had given her the lead but she let the other two teams catch up and eventually pass her. However, when we returned to the Mana camp, we ran into a Debbie that had somehow escaped from an alternate universe, the one in which she apparently zipped through the balance beam and it was Hali who was actually responsible for the tribe’s loss. Like her tribe mates, most viewers were dumbfounded by Debbie’s claims but it’s only because we don’t usually get visual evidence of the Many-Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

Surprisingly, the same thing was observed in the Blue camp. In the blue camp named Nuku, JT was in deep trouble but he was fully aware of his predicament. In our observable universe, JT did all the right things: He diligently looked for and found a hidden Immunity Idol. He said he would use it to insure his safety. After the tribe loss another immunity challenge, we somehow crossed into another one of the Many-Worlds, the one in which the blue camp was called Nuka and there JT felt completely safe. He was so certain that Michaela was going home that he left his idol at camp and he was promptly voted out. I guess Nuku is Fijian for “I got You” while Nuka means “I got it good”.

In comparison, the Tavua tribe was quite boring because we were trapped in only One World; the one where Tavua won reward and immunity and toasted to their success. It did however have one note of discord, a disturbance in the wave function that complicates our calculations!

The problem we now have to solve is the wave function for the rest of the season. Of the Many-Worlds, which one will be shown during Finale night? Solving the wave function gives us eigenvalues E that we will relate to the players’ probability of winning.

The Characters

E -> 0 - While one player’s wave function has flat lined, the wave function for three other players is quickly approaching 0.

Aubry: In Kaoh Rong, Aubry was the smartest player of the Brains tribe. She was able to outwit everyone and she made some very good game changing moves. This time however she has been completely outwitted by Sandra...Twice! The next tribal swap is providential for her and we will have to wait to see how it unfolds before we can determine when Aubry’s torch will be snuffed but we can be fairly sure it will.

Michaela: Being called lazy is the worst thing in Survivor and while I wouldn’t take only JT’s word for it, we also had Varner and Aubry telling us that she has an attitude problem. We could even look at her being used as a pawn to appease Ciera as an indication that she wasn’t well liked around camp. After all, Ciera had to buy in to the ruse and they couldn’t have sold her on a player that was liked. Michaela could be there at the end but it would be as Sandra’s goat and we know what Sandra does to goats!

Cirie: Her invisibility is quite telling. It’s as if Cirie isn’t even in Fiji. Maybe the real Cirie is the one arriving in that boat to join the game a little late and all we’ve seen up to now are out of sequence images of Cirie (just kidding) but Cirie is such a great character that keeping her off our screens has to be mean she isn’t important to the story.

E < 5% - These players aren’t eliminated but their winning probabilities are still very low.

Zeke: One of the most visible players in his season, Zeke is being completely ignored this time. At least he was the hero of Tavua’s reward challenge so maybe the editors felt it was enough to keep him connected to the audience.

Hali: The recap completely erased her contributions in the previous Tribal Council and we never returned to Nuku before the reward challenge. When we finally did it was only to show that Hali was the butt of the joke named Debbie. If she has become Brad’s princess then her social game must be excellent but it was presented in such a negative way that it can’t amount to much. I would much rather have seen her working her social skills and heard Brad telling us that he was impressed than having it come out of nowhere (or a parallel universe!) Like Aubry, Hali can really be helped by the next swap and a reunion with Sandra would greatly enhance her chances but would she be anything more than a fourth now for Sandra?

E -> Increasing - They still have long way to go but their chances are improving

Troyzan: There is a nice substance to Troy’s story: He wasn’t fooled by Andrea, he found an idol that he won’t even have to use in order to get out safely of Tavua and he may have gained a precious ally in Sarah. I liked it when she told him she was going to look for the idol because it was almost like Troy had already stolen her idol and she didn’t even realize it was missing. Troy pulled the perfect crime right under cop’s nose!

Tai: While it seems that finding clues isn’t all that hard, no one else even bothered to look for it. The problem is that Tai may not have the time or the smarts to find that new idol. For once, the clue wasn’t easy to decipher and Tai could be sent to a beach where the clue is different. Still, it was good that he received all the credit for the action at Tribal Council. We didn’t see any hesitations or guidance, only Tai saving the “pretty lady” and his tribe in the process.

Varner: He was always a trouble-maker but even he was impressed by Sandra’s prank on JT. He’s attached his wagon to the Survivor queen and it could serve him well. We still have to worry of the constant reminders that Probst gives us about his poor challenge performances. There has to be a reason for such a treatment and it can’t be good for Varner. This swap could end his game rather quickly. He’s one that doesn’t need it.

Sarah: She gave us one of the only two significant interviews from the Tavua players. Her line about being a cop playing as a criminal still bothers me because of the social climate. Would Survivor want to portray a “corrupt” cop as their winner? Maybe I’m wrong and since it’s “only” a game they don’t mind at all. Still, for a cop who can read criminals, Sarah was fooled by that thief, Troy! I like the fact that her introduction story has picked up but I still see it ending in a condemnation by the jury.

E -> Decreasing – These players lost momentum but their chances are still good

Brad: While Debbie’s rants weren’t backed by any images, they did connect with our earlier impressions of Brad. It was as if despite all his improvements he still can’t shake the “FU Brad Culpepper” images that were so vividly painted by Candice. He did his best to stay calm and defuse the situation but I have to wonder why he won that challenge for Mana. Placed in the position to win it or lose it, I think Brad would have been wise to aim away from the targets. Not only would he have been able to rid himself (and us) of that nuisance but he would have saved JT in the process. JT told us that he trusted Brad more than everybody else so that could have been useful down the line. Winning that immunity could prove costly.

Sierra: I didn’t like the fact that we didn’t hear from her tribe after that hectic Tribal Council. At least she wasn’t attacked by Debbie but I didn’t like seeing her silently looking at the ground when Tai said he needed to be productive. She was impressive in the challenges so a swap could hurt her. If she winds up in Sandra’s camp she may not be able to survive long.

E = Stable – Nothing happened to makes me change my view of these two players

Andrea: Even if she didn’t give us any interviews in this episode, her challenge performances were nicely underlined by Probst and she’s become Ozzy’s favored assistant. Her chances simply cannot be ignored when the episode starts with the words: Andrea for the win!

Ozzy: He played a big role in both of his tribe’s “wins”. Probst asked him a question that went directly to Ozzy’s main story: His challenge competition is getting weaker because, as he said, Malcolm was a huge player in this game. The episode would eliminate the only other young man so who is left to compete against him in physical challenges except Brad? Of course someone can surprise him like we saw at the end of his last season but his odds are looking good. While he didn’t give us an interview, I don’t think it matters when an episode focuses on someone’s explosion.

E -> Exciting Level – She’s the season’s saving grace

Sandra: Now let me get this right: JT was the only original Nuku facing 4 original Mana tribe members. All of those former Mana tribe members were convinced that JT betrayed them by selling out Malcolm to Culpepper. Additionally, JT had been gunning for Sandra and only Sandra when this episode started and he found an idol to insure his safety. If that wasn’t enough, JT was the one who lost the challenge for Nuku. Despite all this, by the end of the episode, JT was counting on Sandra (and Varner) to eliminate HIS new target Michaela and he was so sure that he had them on his side that he didn’t even bother bringing his idol to camp. All of that was due to Sandra’s prank and her acting skills. She’s that good!

I’m not saying that Sandra is going to win this season because it looks so improbable but, you know, there’s another way to interpret the words JT said just before the marooning: By the end of the season, Sandra will not be the only two time winner of Survivor because she will be the only THREE time winner of Survivor!! Is it possible that, in all the Many-Worlds, Sandra wins Survivor every time she plays?!

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04-07-17, 12:15 PM (EST)
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10. "RE: Episode 5 - It's Payback Time"
Good stuff, michel. Didn't quite work out with Sandra, though she certainly played her butt off and lasted longer than what I'd think most people would have expected, considering the USA-sized target on her back.

I'm starting to wonder if Troyzan might be the winner because this past week, we were shown some bonding between him and Culpepper that had no impact on the episode itself, and combine that with last week's bonding with Sarah that you mentioned, we're starting to see a real pattern with Troyzan that may explain why he'd get the votes if he makes it to the end. In both cases, Troyzan's story had nothing to do with that week's boot story, so there's a reason why these are being showcased. Let's keep an eye on this development over the next few episodes.

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04-08-17, 06:15 PM (EST)
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11. "Episode 6 - Preparing a Hit"
Previously on Survivor

At the Tavua tribe, Troyzan was in the minority.
Zeke: “I’m sure Troyzan feels like he’s on the outs because he is.”

At the Mana tribe, Tai found a clue to an idol...and Debbie lost her mind.

At the Nuku tribe, Aubry and JT tried to rally the troops but Sandra was leading the charge.

At Tribal Council, Sandra got her way...again and Aubry was left in the dark.

Boston Rob had been watching everything that happened on Survivor Game Changers and he wasn’t happy: “Those dumbasses are going to let Sandra win again” Boston Rob said angrily. “All that clown JT had to do was play his idol and get Aubry to write Sandra’s name... Right now, The Diaz-Twine cartel is tied with the Mariano-Brkich family so I have to do something to protect my famiglia. I’ve been grooming my four little girls to win this game but it’ll take a few more years before they are allowed to go on the show.

Boston Rob got on the phone woke up Burnett and told him that he would need to use his jet. Burnett knew better then to ask any questions: A hit was being set in motion.

Scene 1

While BR and his secret associate were flying over to Fiji, we watched Nuku’s return to camp where Aubry said she was impressed with the tribe’s play.

Aubry’s interview: “I went into Tribal thinking that Michaela was going home but they voted out JT. I’m constantly on the bottom and I feel I’ve been trying really hard to build relationships with those people but then it all blows up in my face.”

Aubry wanted to know why they chose to keep her over JT. Sandra explained it was all about the betrayal.

Snitching is one of the worst things in any outfit and JT had been caught red handed. He really should have used his idol... Aubry should have also been expecting that hit.

Aubry’s interview resumed: “Clearly, Sandra is running the show and I feel like she’s cutting my legs out from under me like a slow death. Without a doubt, Sandra is the best player here; she is the queen of this game and I need to learn a thing or two from her.”

Unfortunately, she will not have time for more lessons.

Mana Day 13

Tai was on the hunt for an idol again and he wanted to find it before the others got up. He was off to the water well. There he did some spring cleaning and found the tribal symbol painted in invisible ink on the water well. Underneath it was a bag which contained a message.

The message was: “Use this but only if you need it to get rid of Sandra.”

Tai was now a made man.

The Next Twist

When Probst informed Mana and Tavua that JT had been voted out, we first saw Brad’s disappointment, heard Sierra saying “damn it” and Andrea shaking her head.

Hali was happy to say bye to these Mana folks, Troyzan was giggling like a little girl and Aubry was doing a happy dance.

Tribal Swaps usually help those who play poorly.

When Sandra asked Probst to give her a “good one” Boston Rob, who had been watching from the bushes, thought: “Oh! don’t worry. I’ve made sure you’d get a good one indeed.”

Being at the end of the line, Varner realized he would be stuck with the buff that nobody wanted.

Sierra said she was scared while Andrea had to take a deep breath.

The New Mana tribe had: Troyzan, Michaela, Sierra, Hali, Aubry Cirie and Brad.

The Nuku tribe included: Sandra, Sarah, Varner, Andrea, Tai, Zeke and Ozzy.

Debbie was left without a tribe.

Tai was quick to point out that the three gay men were together.

Probst noticed that Sandra and Varner were in the minority.

“No sh*t, Sherlock!” whispered Boston Rob to himself. “There’s never anything random in Survivor... especially when I’m concerned!”

Sandra told Probst she was optimistic, hoping that they would give her time to get to know her first.

Everyone was surprised to hear that Debbie was going to Asylum.

Isn’t that what Probst called it? My surprise was that they would let her leave the asylum in less than three days...

We heard Varner’s comments: “I went from the top to the bottom in a New York minute...I’m going to charge head first, I’m not scared of it...”

A Bahston minute would have been more appropriate!

Scene 2 - Mana Day 14

The tribe arrived to happy Caribbean music.

Troyzan’s interview: “When Jeff said drop the buffs I thought this must be some kind of good luck going my way. Being 5-1 on Tavua was tough even though I’ve got an idol. I’ve been sweating bullets all those days so I thought anything that happens now could be good.”

Brad’s interview: “Jeff has thrown some curve balls this season and this is another one. I end up in a tribe with most people I do not know. I’ve got Sierra, I’ve been with her this whole time but, while I was on the same tribe as Hali, we weren’t really tight and I’ve never had a connection with Cirie, I’ve never met Aubry and Michaela but there’s Troyzan. Troyzan played with my wife, Monica, so I figure that could possibly be a connection. He’s also a man and I’m a man and we are the only two men on the tribe.”

It didn’t take long for the two guys to get together. Troyzan said he was by himself. Brad said he wasn’t alone and that they also had Sierra.

Troyzan’s next interview: “Brad seems like a really up and up guy but I also feel we’re connected because we’re just two guys on a tribe with five women. This takes me right back to my season of “One World” and the last thing I want to do is get bamboozled by women again.”

Michaela, Hali and Sierra were the three women shown as if depicting Sabrina, Chelsea and Kim!

Brad’s comments ended the scene: “I definitely think Troy is an ally for me going forward. I feel good with Sierra, I feel good with Troy but that’s only three and I need a majority of four so I’ve got some more work to do.”

When we arrived at Nuku the music was quite somber, eerie even.

Like he had done first with Chris and then with Bret last season, Zeke quickly connected with Varner. They both had lived in New York so that formed the basis of their connection.

Varner’s interview: “Sandra and I are on the outs over here. We showed up here in the minority because Andrea, Zeke, Sarah and Ozzy were all on Tavua together and Tai was on the old Nuku with them. You can just see that they are together.”

Sandra’s interview: “Me and Varner, we are in a bad spot but when I come into a situation where I’m outnumbered I’m just calm and collected because once I get my feet wet, give me a day or two and I’ll be running the show over here too. The queen stays queen.”

Talking a walk in the woods, Zeke told Ozzy that Sandra was scary and he wanted her gone. Ozzy agreed, adding that Sandra and Varner would have to be blindsided in case they had an idol.

Zeke’s interview: “We have to get Sandra out of the game before we hit the merge. If you don’t, she’s going to beat you. People always say that you can get Sandra out of this game at any time but you know what’s happened to everyone who’s said that? They’ve lost the million dollars to Sandra Diaz-Twine. You’re doing the impossible here: No one has ever gotten out Sandra so it’s going to be very tough.”

It’s strange that they showed us Zeke’s comments about getting Sandra out before the merger right after he was seen talking to Ozzy, someone who is much more the type that needs to get voted out before the merger.

Zeke revealed his plan to Andrea and Sarah, saying that they needed to feed Sandra and Varner a story but he didn’t know which one. Andrea brought up Tai’s name immediately.

Andrea’s interview: “Tai is the perfect decoy because Tai is dangerous in this game. He’s really good at finding idols and he’s really sneaky. He’s all over the place and it makes me very nervous working with someone like that. So, even though we’re actually targeting Sandra it would seem that it would make sense to get rid of Tai.”

Zeke’s interview: “We are in a precarious position: On the one hand, Tai is the name that we are giving Sandra and Varner so that Sandra believes she’s safe. However, if Tai was to find out that we threw his name out there, it could very well blow up in our faces because Tai is known for flipping so it’s tricky.”

Tai told Zeke he’d be happy to see Sandra leave.

Tai’s interview: “In the past, I found idols, I flip-flopped. I was worried that they’d think I’m the dangerous one. The plan is to get Sandra out but there is always a chance that they blindside me and get me out first so I want to go look for another idol just in case I’m the target.”

The Nuku idol was hidden in the same place as the Mana idol so it didn’t take long for Tai to be packing even more heat! He said the Survivor gods were looking after him.

“I wouldn’t call myself a Survivor god” said Boston Rob in a secret scene “but, since season 4, I have a lot of influence on this show!”

Debbie’s Retreat

When Probst spoiled the surprise that a former castaway was going to be paying a visit, the viewers quickly figured it would indeed be Boston Rob. He would have been the perfect candidate to give advice to a cast member but Rob declined since he had more pressing business to deal with this season. He therefore got Cochran to act as his substitute, to play the role of consigliere. Rob even sweetened the offer by telling Cochran it would be like a blind date in a Fijian paradise! Imagine Cochran’s disappointment when he saw that his date was Debbie!

Scene 3 - Nuku Day 16

Varner and Zeke were resting near the ocean. Varner expressed his fears: He had never made it to the jury phase and now he was in the minority.

Zeke’s interview: “I will be the first one to admit I like Jeff. I like him a lot. We have bonded and connected quite a bit and even though we are going to vote out Sandra and blindside him, I see Jeff Varner as a potentially desperate person who I think I can trust and save going forward in this game but first I need to convince him that Tai is going home.”

Varner was relieved when he heard Zeke say he wanted Tai out of the game.

Varner’s interview: “Me and Zeke, we go lie on the beach and within five minutes, me and Sandra, we’re not on the bottom anymore. Zeke is scared of Tai because he can find an idol in his sleep and you got to get rid of that as soon as possible. I didn’t think it would happen as easily as it did and I’m not sure I trust it completely yet but, at this point, I have no choice.”

By removing day 15 and presenting this on day 16, it adds to our impression of Varner’s gullibility. This was the 3rd day that Varner and Zeke had been together so it didn’t happen as quickly as the presentation made it appear.

After being informed of this development, Sandra gave us an interview: “Varner is telling me that they want to target Tai and as long as it ain’t me, I’ll vote Tai out all day every day but inside I’m thinking it’s not adding up because it would be stupid of them not to get rid of me or Varner. We’ll see what happens at the challenge but if they think I’m not going to take control of the situation, they don’t know the queen.”

The Immunity Challenge

Considering that the losing tribe would get Debbie after their vote, we can say that this challenge was both for immunity and reward, the winning team wouldn’t have to deal with the crazy lady! And we were rewarded with girls in bathing suits!

Jeff was surprised that Ozzy was the last to dive in the water and that Mana could finish the puzzle in record time but it was all due to Boston Rob acting behind the scene: He made Ozzy an offer he couldn’t refuse and he numbered the barrels to show where they went on Mana’s board!

Cirie picked up the immunity idol which could be an indication that her tribe saw her as the one who solved the puzzle.

Varner told us that he hated everything about that challenge but he was certain Tai would be going home unless he played an idol.

Well, he said he would soil himself if an idol was played at the previous council so he shouldn’t have been so confident this time.

Scene 4 Nuku Day 16

Everyone was silent, the loss weighing on their shoulders.

Zeke’s interview: “We got our tushys handed to us and the only solace I can take is now we have an opportunity to get Sandra out of this game. She is the most dangerous player arguably in history of Survivor so she’s got to go. As long as she and Varner think that Tai is going home, we should be fine.”

Sandra’s interview: “Of all three times I’ve played Survivor this is the first time I feel something could go wrong. Varner is telling me that Tai is going home but I don’t believe it so I can’t just hope for the best. I need to assess the situation and work my magic. I laid out the scenario of the Kaoh Rong three. Aubry is still here, Debbie is still here and Tai is still here. They can say that they’re not best of friends but at the end of the day these people share something that no one else shares: They played that one season together and when you come out to play a game like this, you usually stick with what you know.”

We saw that Sandra exposed that scenario to all four previous Tavua members and she promised to help them.

Even if Sandra was warning all four of the dangers awaiting them at the merger, the cameras really focused on Ozzy.

Sarah’s interview: “The reason Sandra has won twice is because she doesn’t come off as the most dangerous person in this game. I almost feel that the way Sandra talks to people is she’s grooming us. She doesn’t pressure you, her voice never raises, it’s calm and she just starts to suck you in.”

To prove the point, Ozzy was heard telling Andrea and Sarah that he almost started believing what Sandra was saying but they were still voting her out.

Tai was starting to notice the conversations happening around camp.

Tai’s interview: “I’m getting really nervous. I feel certain conversations I’m not included. I’m not very smart compared to all these dangerous people like Ozzy and Sandra. They’re very good at scheming and plotting. It’s not the way I think so it makes me nervous when they walk away.”

So Tai mentioned the plan to vote Sandra out if the game in front of Varner.

Ozzy’s interview: “Tai just spilled the beans and told Varner that we’re all voting for Sandra. What the hell is he doing? It was stupid, it was unnecessary. It didn’t make any sense.”

Soon everyone knew about Tai’s slip but Tai was telling the group that he had faith in them. Sandra had to be taken down because she won twice. Tai felt safe because of his two idols.

Sandra’s interview: “Coming into this game, I knew I had the biggest target on my back and now Tai is saying they are coming after me. Tonight’s Tribal Council is making sure that Tai is enemy number one. I am going to set him up big time. I’m going to twist it around and he will go home.”

To her credit, she almost did.

Tribal Council

This being their first visit, Zeke, Sarah, Andrea and Ozzy all had to get torches before Debbie returned from Asylum.

One more person entered the council area but went unnoticed.

Probst asked Andrea about the state of the game.
She explained that it was all about getting rid of the big threats so they were looking for the next big threat to eliminate.
Probst turned to Ozzy saying everyone was a threat.

I’d say it is all relative.

Ozzy said he was debating every day about his targets.
Like Probst, Sandra knew Ozzy was talking about her so she simply said: “It’s been sixteen great days Jeff but I think this is it for me. I went in to the new Nuku tribe at the bottom and in the three days I’ve been there, no one has talked strategy to me. I haven’t heard any names and I figure they consider me a big player.”

Lurking in the back, Boston Rob was smiling: “This is going according to plan” he thought.

Can you spot Boston Rob?

Tai almost told Jeff that Sandra was going home but he said he was worried he could be the one going home after making the game changing move of getting rid of Malcolm. He froze for a moment because, as he then explained, he was paranoid.
Sarah said she heard a few names and that some of their votes were still open.

“Damn!” muttered Boston Rob under his breath. “Is this starting to unravel? I guess I will have to be the brains of this operation once again.”

Probst realized that Sarah’s “few names” were making Tai nervous.
Tai said he thought they were all on Sandra.

Sandra openly said that she would vote with Tai as long as it wasn’t her. Tai laughed but the others weren’t too happy. Sandra added that he could whisper the name in her ear.

“Great! “Pretty Boy” Probst lost all control again.” Boston Rob was fuming: “I should have known better to leave it in the hands of a cugine. This is a job for the Robfather. The Russians can hack into an election to influence a vote but we’ve been doing it for a long time and we do it better.”

After hearing the name, Sandra whispered “Ozzy” in Andrea’s direction while Tai walked over to Varner to give him the name. So, while he wasn’t looking, Sandra pointed at Ozzy to let everyone know what Tai was planning. Realizing they needed one more vote, Tai shared the information with everyone. He said he couldn’t compete against Ozzy who was a god.

While Ozzy silently asked Zeke if they should change their vote, Sandra told Andrea that she and Varner would vote with them.
Soon everyone was ready to eliminate Tai.
Zeke asked Tai if he trusted anyone, saying he couldn’t vote with him if he couldn’t trust him.
Everyone was ready to vote. Varner was even clapping.
Andrea was the first one up.

“Psssit!” she heard once she reached the voting booth. A hand reached out and she heard a shadowy figure saying in a Boston accent: “This is your vote.” She looked at the parchment and it read: “Sandra” in big bold letters. “But I was going to vote Tai” she said. “Not if you know what’s good for ya.” The threat was clear so Andrea took the parchment and presented it to the camera.

Varner and Sandra were the next to vote.

When Sarah came up next, Boston Rob repeated his threat. Having dealt with Dons before, Sarah knew when it is best to avoid a fight.

Next came Tai who was about to write Ozzy’s name. Boston Rob grabbed his arm and said: “Do you wanna stay in the game and keep your two idols?” Scared, Tai turned around and saw who was talking to him. “Su...Sure” he said. “How do I do that?” “Just take this parchment and put it in the urn.” Hesitating, Tai looked at the parchment, saw the resolve in Boston Rob’s face and quietly put that vote in the urn.

Ozzy and Zeke were just as easily convinced.

Probst nearly had a heart attack when Boston Rob handed him the urn. “You couldn’t get the job done so I helped ya. Here: Enjoy the moment you’ve been waiting 13 years for it.”

Sandra was voted out 5-2 and she probably had the classiest exit ever. Her words were perfect, the players’ applauses were great and even Probst’s hesitation before finally snuffing her torch let us reflect on this momentous occasion.

The Story

This episode marked a Survivor revolution, the overthrow of the Queen. Despite packing the field with supposed game changers, Sandra was really only undone by production’s interference. That second tribal swap was fatal. So, I wanted to have fun with it.

The Characters

I will list them by tribes and will simply order them in relative importance for this episode.

Mana – I’m listing them first because they didn’t go to Tribal Council.

Hali: She should have been Brad’s 4th and she probably will wind up in that enviable position but we only heard that she wasn’t tight with Brad. It was surprising that Troyzan didn't bring up her name as a possible 4th since they had been working together and Sandra on the original Mana.

Michaela: Mana needed her strength during the immunity challenge but that could simply put a target on her back.
Cirie: One of the three puzzle solvers, Cirie was probably the most valuable player in that challenge because her tribe let her grab the immunity idol. She didn’t get any personal mentions however.

Aubry: She was smart to realize that she needed to take lessons from Sandra but she didn’t attend the final course. An incomplete doesn’t really help your CV.

Sierra: Like Michaela, Sierra had to compensate for unbalanced tribe in a very physical challenge. We know she is part of the tribe’s main alliance so she should have a good run after the merger.

Brad: He formed a strong three person alliance with Sierra and Troyzan. We heard that he only had three people in a tribe of seven but since this group didn’t go to Tribal Council it gives him time to complete the work.

Troyzan: For playing alone against a solid group of five, Troyzan is now teamed up with Brad and Sierra. To recapitulate his story, we saw him working well with Sandra, we’ve heard Andrea say he was a cool guy, Sarah wanted to work with him and now he’s aligned with Brad and Sierra so we know that Troyzan’s social game is solid. We saw that he hurt himself at the end of the challenge: The raft seemed to land on his leg and then we saw him rolling in pain. Hopefully, it wasn’t serious.


Varner: I think it was quite telling that Varner’s gullibility was put in full display. It could have been only to contrast Sandra’s awareness but it didn’t paint him very favorably. His only option is to stick with Zeke but this Tribal Council really hurt his game. Will he be able to simply make the jury? It would be a nice reward for someone who has given a lot to this show.

Tai: I don’t care if Tai gets 10 more idols, I don’t think he’ll ever be able to get a jury to vote for him. His mind isn’t sharp enough to explain his actions to a jury so he always looks hesitant, indecisive.

Ozzy: He has to rely on his allies and they don’t have his best interest at heart. He is now the biggest physical threat left in the game so he will need to deflect the attack.

Debbie: She called herself the queen and now that the real queen is dead, will we see a new one wearing the crown? Production would be very happy if this new twist was going to pay off. We will have to see if Debbie heeds Cochran’s advice, especially if she can swallow her pride and make up with Brad.

Andrea: Her presence is quite noticeable: Her face was shown in close up when Probst said JT had been voted out, when her tribe lost immunity, when it was time to decide the vote and whenever things heated up in Tribal Council. She was also the one who came up with the story they needed to feed Varner and Sandra. In her case, we have to wonder if she shouldn’t have used the occasion to get rid of Tai who made her nervous.

Sarah: Aubry mentioned that she needed to learn a thing or two from Sandra but it was Sarah who figured out Sandra’s game. It was her words at Tribal Council that alerted Tai and nearly derailed the plan so she still has things to learn about sucking people in. However, if it’s true that someone who doesn’t look dangerous will win the game then we have to look at players like Andrea or Sarah.

Zeke: He was given full credit for getting rid of arguably the best player in Survivor history. We were worried that Zeke would be too eager to make a big move but this one was very well timed. Only Varner was upset by this vote and he’s in no position to go after his only lifeline in this game. That’s because Zeke has shown an uncanny ability to connect with people. We can ask whether Zeke targeted the right threat though. Since he had this good connection with Varner then maybe Ozzy would have been the better choice.

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DAW Level: "Roller Coaster Inaugurator"

04-15-17, 03:01 PM (EST)
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12. "Episode 7 - It's All Fun and Games until Someone Gets Hurt"
This week’s episode was a shocking example of crossing the line. It started rather innocuously with Jiffy’s previously on Survivor montage.

First we saw Cockroach enjoying his blind date with Daffy. He seemed to be having a good time but I’m sure he would have preferred a Survivor Hottie. After a hug that lasted uncomfortably long, he gave Daffy an extra vote and quickly left. Yes, I would have given her a “Dear Jane” letter and hit the road also.

At the Mañana Tribe, Numskullpepper was working his way to the top by kissing Troyzan’s behind.

At the Kookoo tribe, Sandra and Vermin were on the bottom but Tie was being a chicken so at Tribal Council he tried to shift the target by throwing Oscar under the bus. In the end, Sandra was such a juicy target that she got her torch snuffed for the very first time. That’s when Daffy joined the Kookoo tribe which suddenly became Kookier.

And now, on to tonight’s silliness...

It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Gets Hurt

Night 16 – At the Kookoo Camp, Daffy said she had just seen a horror movie. So, it seems her date with Cockroach included a dinner and a show but he bailed out on her before the cinema show. Just seeing her was horror enough for the former winner. She was happy to be back to the Kookoo Camp where she belonged. Hey! she said it, not me! The castaways all made the mistake of greeting her as if she was a long lost relative when she could have been an easy vote. Daffy told us that what happened on Exile stays on Exile in order to protect Mr Cockroach’s reputation but we all know that nothing good happened on Exile. Her lips were sealed. Who knew that by the end of the episode we’d all wish someone else’s lips would have been sealed, like with glue...

Oscar and the Chicken Whisperer started circling each other like two fighters in a ring. “He who talks to Chickens” told us that all this game talk confuses him and he thought he could be at the bottom. Hey! maybe he’ll go look for another idol. In that, he is an expert. By the end of the season he will have searched the islands of Fiji so thoroughly that he could end up finding Lisi’s long lost dignity. She lost it early during season 14 and, from what I heard, hasn’t found it yet. Chicken Whisperer felt like he was terrible at Tribal Council. Well, we’ll soon see that, on a scale of terribleness, Tie was no match for this episode’s “champion”!

Since Vermin couldn’t care less about Daffy’s adventures, he went right back to his favorite confessional spot next to a tree and started bitching about all those bitches. He was mad but he didn’t want to let them know that he was mad. He talked to Z and said he was fine with being blindsided. As long as it wasn’t him he was fine but when he’ll see that he is next he won’t be so fine... Z told him everything (and maybe a bit too much...) He even offered to work with him until Final 3. Vermin told us that he wasn’t done just yet. No, he wasn’t...

Day 17 – Did you notice that we always go directly to the challenge arena? We used to see some Designated Survivor walking all the way to tree mail, pick up a note, race back to camp all excited and proceed to read a moron’s poem. That moron got fired. (I would have fired the guy in charge instead but sh*t always trickles down)

When Jiffy told Mañana that the two-time winner Sandra had been voted out, we only saw Brie’s surprise. Sandra had been close to Troyzan and Mañana’s Brunette but they didn’t seem to care about losing an ally. Maybe by Mañana they will realize the significance of that vote.

As for the challenge itself, it was another rerun: A group of players worked their way around Jiffy’s big pole then they raced over an obstacle course to grab big balls which they then catapulted in a series of nets. They would be playing for cold pizzas with the works: Pepperoni, cheese, flies and sand.

For Mañana, we had a hot threesome of Cowgirl, Brown Sugar and the Brunette while Kookoo tied Oscar, Deedee and Bad Cop to Jiffy’s big pole. As the challenge got underway, it became evident that Oscar had experience in bondage because he went through those ropes faster than anyone. Cowgirl, Brown Sugar and the Brunette took their time, enjoying the moment and I must say I liked it also.

Having the lead, Kookoo made the oxymoronic choice of sending Tie to untie the planks. Somehow, he figured it out and next we had Vermin and Z working together assembling the planks. I don’t see them doing anything together anytime soon after this. Brie didn’t wait until Mañana to untie her planks so Numskullpepper or Troyzan had a chance to catch up. Daffy was sent up the ladder to grab those balls and soon the Kookoo tribe was squeezing its way by Annette. Oscar took the balls for Kookoo and started launching them. When Mañana finally got passed Annette, Cowgirl used the catapult. It was hers to win but she had very little success. Numskullpepper took over and landed a few balls but Oscar still had a big lead. In the end, Kookoo won pizza while Mañana would have to wait for another day... Couch Potato told us that she really wanted to eat pizza because she was about to break down physically and emotionally. Jersey Girl, you’ve been twice to the end of this game, you should know what to do by now. If you still don’t then you should have stayed on that couch.

When we got back from commercial, everyone in Mañana was rehearsing for the Final Tribal Council. Ever since Sophie showed us that tears will win the million bucks, the players know what sells. The first one we saw in the crying booth was Cowgirl but she came off as a complainer. She hadn’t eaten for 3 days and couldn’t sleep at night. Well, boo-hoo! We could expect this from a newbie but Cowgirl’s been to this rodeo before, she even lasted 39 days so she knew she’d be ridden hard and put away wet. Next, Brie went for the sympathy vote by telling us that it’s hard to explain the hardship to those who never experienced it. At least she had the chance to experience it so I’m not going to cry over her “misfortune”. As a tough guy, Numskullpepper realized that he couldn’t cry over his own situation so he managed some tears by recalling that his wife made it to day 39 and how hard it must have been to do that. Yes, especially when you know you don’t stand a chance of winning the prize at the end. Having Tyson crush your dreams leaves a mark... Numskullpepper’s tears would not only work well for the jury if he makes it there, it also paid immediate dividend when Brie and Coach Potato both said they were amazed by his openness. Soon Numskullpepper had a solid alliance of five which included Cowgirl, Troyzan, Brie and Couch Potato.

In Kookoo, the music was sickeningly upbeat and the pizzas cold but that didn’t stop the tribe from having a good time. Vermin, talking with pizza in his mouth, realized that Oscar was making him look bad. Oscar was winning challenges and providing for the tribe while he, Vermin, was doing nothing. So he came up with this dumb plan of getting rid of Oscar. If you’re at this party, listening to music, smoking some good stuff and you suddenly get the munchies, you’re not gonna throw out the guy who offered to pay for all the pizzas. You’re more likely throwing out the party crasher and, in this case, that’s Vermin. Even way back in the Outback, Vermin knew better than to go after that Idiot Mike after he killed piggy. We can’t say that Vermin improved with age...

Like a snake, Vermin approached Bad Cop with his plan and she was all in. Like him, she hates it when the true Survivor wins it all in the end while the inept players just sit and watch. Feeling inept herself, she wanted to take out the biggest threats to have a fighting chance. Bad Cop had gotten rid of one Latino so now it was time to cut the throat of the other.

Day 18 - We were right back to another challenge and since the girls just got their bikinis may as well show them so the challenge was going to be on water and then they’d be doing some more pole dancing and juggling big balls. For that, I applaud Deedee, Cowgirl and the Brunette but I’m disappointed in Sugar Cane. She used to show us her tatas but not anymore. She put a plain beige shirt over her swim suit. Why couldn’t Daffy wear a shirt instead? I’m begging the cameraman not to point his lens in that direction...

Oscar took no time getting his buoys while Numbskullpepper and Brie fumbled around with theirs but like in every Survivor challenge, all this excitement was for nought. It always comes down to the puzzle so, while Jiffy was commenting on the swimmers, I was watching the Brunette pulling on Mañana’s rope and collecting their balls. Oscar is so good at these water challenges that the buoys don’t even put up a fight anymore: As soon as he gets them out of the bag, they either obediently stay by his side so that he can just toss them over or they float right to Oscar’s raft by themselves. In comparison, Numskullpepper’s buoys go off in the wrong direction every time! Numskulpepper tries to gather them but, for him, it’s like herding cats. While Kookoo put Varner on top of their pole, Mañana had to good sense to put Cowgirl on theirs while the Brunette worked the floor. Brunette wasn’t there just for her looks; she was good at word puzzles. The whole tribe jumped for joy when her word was correct. She grabbed the idol and Mañana lived to see tomorrow. Kookoo had a date with Jiffy and Vermin had something special in mind to guarantee he wasn’t going home. After this, maybe he shouldn’t have gone home. Antarctica would have been a more welcoming place...

Getting back to camp, Deedee admitted that she wasn’t even close to a metamorphosis but Vermin said none of them were to blame. Vermin then came up with a novel idea: Since he was the obvious target, he’d like it if they gave him a chance to have one-on-one talks with everyone. Not a bad idea in itself but, as we soon saw, it always left five people alone in camp to agree that the Vermin had to go. Well, at least that’s what Daffy thought but Bad Cop still wanted to get rid of the Latino. Z wanted to save Vermin but he didn’t want to lose Oscar. Then I’d think the alternative was evident: Boot either Tie or Daffy! I’m baffled that their names didn’t even come up.

During his one-on-one with Vermin, Z admitted that there was a good chance he was going home. He wasn’t going to risk his game for Vermin. Suddenly Vermin realized that there had to be a secret alliance between Z and Oscar. He brought that realization to the girls who immediately became jealous that Oscar wasn’t in a secret alliance with them instead. Vermin had another realization about Z and he hinted at it by saying that he had picked up something about Z that no one else knew, that it was insignificant to the game, it meant nothing except that Z wasn’t the guy we thought he was. Well, I think we’d all find out that he is an even better guy that we thought he was...

Bad Cop was angry and she told Deedee about it; Z threw them under the bus so because of that she was ready to vote out Oscar and keep Vermin! Wait...what? You don’t trust Z so you want to get rid of Oscar? That makes sense...

Tribal Council Looking at the clock, it was obvious that we had rushed through the first three days of the story to get to this part...

Vermin told Jiffy that he knew he was going home. That got a reaction from Daffy: If Vermin is certain then maybe he has something up his sleeve to shock her. Vermin said he realized that there were things going on at camp Kookoo: They were not six strong because there was a secret alliance between Z and Oscar. Vermin said he was going to vote for Oscar and he wanted the others to follow him. As Daffy said, Vermin was good so his pitch could have worked but now that he had the floor, Vermin was going to infest the whole room.

Varner asked Zeke why he didn’t tell anyone he was transgender. Zeke was in shock and the whole room fell silent. Ozzy and Andrea’s discomfort was immediately visible. They all rallied to support Zeke who handled the situation with class and quality. Ozzy said it right: Varner showed what he was willing to do to get further in the game. Tai said it should have been Zeke’s choice. Andrea said it was painful to see someone being outed this way. Zeke explained that he stopped telling people because he didn’t want to be “trans-person” or the “trans-Survivor-player” but simply be Zeke. He said that the circumstances were crappy but that he felt fine. Sarah was still shaking her head at Varner. In tears, she said that was a malicious attack. She then said that she was happy to have known Zeke and that he was “super kick-@ss”. Not being exposed to much diversity, she felt knowing him and liking him made her grow as a person. Zeke said he hoped this would be helpful for someone.

The Story

As expected when Sierra read her legacy advantage, we are going to merge at 13. We’ve reached it with 9 original Nuku players and only 4 from Mana. The interesting part is that Brad’s alliance includes 2 of those four original Manas, Troy and Aubry. Which grouping will hold up under the pressures of the individual game? Using the immunity challenge solution, Jeff introduced a new theme to our story, saying that “Metamorphosis” is the most important aspect of the game. With that in mind, which players have undergone a metamorphosis?

The Characters


Michaela: She remains a character without a story. She has changed from an interesting character to one that is mostly ignored.

Troy: In this episode, he was only a number in Brad’s alliance. However, if we look at his trajectory since the beginning of the season up to now we can see that Troyzan isn’t the same player as the one we saw in One World. He isn’t as gullible and he has an alliance that may work for him instead of against him.

Hali: We didn’t hear from her but she had her winning moment. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Andrea’s win but it was something. I find it strange that we haven’t seen her talking to Troy because they were together on the original Mana. Still, it’s hard to say that Hali has gone through her own metamorphosis; she’s still the same as we saw in Worlds Apart: Mostly quiet and keeping her head down. She doesn’t even have the advantage of being seen as a carefree “No Collar” because, by now, her competitors all know she’s a law student. Will she be the cobra that strikes or the one that gets hypnotized by some snake charmer? The latter feels more likely.

Sierra: We can hope that the intent behind showing her confessional was simply to underline the hardship of Survivor but she didn’t have to be the one used to deliver that message. Other than that, she was reduced to being a member of Brad’s alliance much like Troy. She has been more assertive this season but can we really talk about metamorphosis? It’s more like a slow evolution. Maybe she’s keeping a surprise in store for the merger. Since her legacy advantage can be optioned at the next TC then she has to be given a role in that merger episode. We’ll have to see how much of an impact she makes.

Cirie: Like Sierra, her only confessional was simply to set up the tribe’s moment of despair. Cirie’s biggest change is due to the fact that her tribe never went to TC. In Panama not only did Cirie go to TC in the first 2 cycles but she was a target in both and told she’d be next to go even if she survived that 2nd TC. Cirie had to scramble early and often. The start of her next two seasons, Micronesia and Heroes Vs Villains, weren’t much better for Cirie. She trusted Yau Man but felt betrayed by him so she had to improvise and switch sides and then the Heroes kept losing. Now Cirie will be going to TC so we’ll see if she’s considered a target or if she can remain in the shadows. If she can manage to stay out of the crosshairs then this silent assassin could go far.

Aubry: Considering that we had seen her breaking down in her first season, it was nice to see that she was the one being supportive this time. Is that enough to be called a metamorphosis? Maybe but her main contribution in the episode was to make a case for Brad not for herself.

Culpepper: The star of Mana may have just assembled the alliance that will take over the game. His confessional about Monica had to remind viewers of Jeremy when he talked about Val. The tattooed names of his wife and his kids made me think that he is carrying his family on his back! And if “Metamorphosis” is really the theme of the season then Brad has really changed. He went from public enemy number one in Blood versus Water to being the most trusted by some and seen as the most genuine by others in this season. Being a former professional athlete, Brad will need to work hard in convincing a jury to award him a million dollars but if he can show them tears then anything is possible.


Debbie: She didn’t cause the night’s drama. That’s a plus but we know that the real Debbie will soon return.

Tai: Like everyone else, Tai handled the Tribal Council situation very well. For once, he found the right words to show Varner the gigantic error of judgment he had made. But Tai is still confused about this game so it will be hard for him to get to the end.

Ozzy: If Varner had stopped after making his original pitch and let it sink in instead of outing Zeke, there was a possibility that Ozzy would have been voted out. Did we hear that they had to vote him out before the merger because he will run the tables or was it to prepare us for his downfall? In Cook Islands, the tribes merged at 9, not 13 so the odds aren’t in favor of anyone running the tables even if Ozzy’s competition is weaker this time. His best option is to rejoin Brad and Sierra who connected with him during Nuku’s first days. Do they still need him though? Ozzy has changed; he is much less arrogant this time and much less of a hot head. Twice now people have put the target directly on him at Tribal Council but Ozzy hasn’t once raised his voice or even shown agitation. We didn’t hear anything approaching the “Mutineers die first” he kept yelling at Candice and Jonathan when he felt betrayed by them. It won’t be an easy road for Ozzy but he’s managed it before.

Andrea: She served as the audience’s conscience when Varner dropped his bomb. Like her, we were very uncomfortable. Her tears also showed her empathy. Since we didn’t see her aligning with anyone on the original Nuku, it’s difficult to see where she will go after the merger. Brad has an alliance of five so he’ll need two more in order to have majority at the merger so we’ll she be one of his numbers or will she take charge? If Andrea changed is that she seems less trusting than in her first two seasons. She still seems too nice for this game but maybe she has more changes in store for us.

Sarah: Much like Tony tricked her into believing that Cliff was targeting her, it didn’t take much for Varner to convince Sarah that Zeke was her enemy. In comparison, Andrea didn’t react as strongly to that information. Sarah seemed to consider the option when Varner made his first pitch at TC only to recoil after he dropped his bomb. By the end of that scene Varner was starting to get off the hook when she called his action for what it was; malicious. She was the last to express herself before Zeke delivered his message of hope and she did it very well. Her words and her tears showed that the tough police officer had a softer side. Was it enough to say that Sarah has changed?

Zeke: I admire the way Zeke handled this difficult situation. Even if he says he is happy with the way Probst and production handled the situation, it must be said that they didn’t give him much time to think about it. When Jeff said there was no need to vote then Varner’s outing couldn’t be edited out of the episode; it had to be shown. Zeke was still under shock so he never had time to calmly reflect on the situation. I wonder if the others will see him as a bigger threat now that he can tell that story to the jury. I don’t know a thing about what a person must feel before undergoing such a transformation but there must be some awkwardness; one cannot feel comfortable in one’s own skin. If so, then the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is an apt comparison because what we saw of Zeke in the latest episode still had a bit of the butterfly’s fragility but he certainly had all of its elegance.

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04-23-17, 07:53 PM (EST)
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13. "Episodes 8 and 9 - What Happened?"
LAST EDITED ON 04-24-17 AT 00:35 AM (EST)

He dreaded this day. Even if he had 10 months to prepare for it, he still wasn’t over the emotions he felt on that late June night in Fiji. Having played the game so often, he had seen himself many times on TV but he never quite felt comfortable with his presentation. Not that he blamed the edit but it was so... superficial was the best word he could find. He remembered being invited at the last reunion, promoting this season, how he felt torn inside to see some of these people again, still not knowing exactly what had gone down but putting up a good front, acting as if he owned that stage. He had laughed when some thought it meant he had finally won. Well, he didn’t and tonight, he was going to find out what had happened.

So, here he was; sitting in the hotel room that CBS had put at his disposal and planning on watching the show alone, trying to order his thoughts before he’d have to make the interminable rounds tomorrow morning. At least he had a nicely stocked bar and since CBS was footing the bill, why not indulge? The commercials were over and Probe was already in his habitual: “Previously on Survivor...”

At the Mana tribe, Hali and Michaela were left out of the Culpepper alliance while on Nuku, Varner knew that his game was falling apart.

At Tribal Council, Varner made a desperate move...

“At least, I think we handled that situation very well.”

Looking at the image of Zeke standing in the ocean, he remembered that the tribe was still on edge. Sarah said they had left Varner off the hook too easily but Tai thought he was remorseful and wanted to give him a little comfort.

He couldn’t help thinking: “You are certainly right about that. Man! those internet bullies have really gone over the top...” He remembered that everyone had been pulled out of the shelter and whisked away to give an interview that morning even before they had a chance to eat. Which interviews would be aired?

It was Sarah who was heard saying: “I come from a very conservative background. I didn’t know any transgender people until now. The fact that I got to know Zeke as a person from day one... I love that guy and it doesn’t change who he is to me... Zeke is Zeke.”

In turn, Zeke said: “I wanted people to see me as myself. When I tell people I’m Trans, it’s what they are interested in and everything else about me gets pushed to the wayside. Survivor makes you tough it makes you resilient and it makes you adaptable and I think I had all those qualities before but they certainly have been strengthened and grown. I am a little bolder to help others and to get over my own fears, complexes and insecurities about being Transgender. I love these people and it’s odd that in this game, when you are at your lowest moment, the people who are out to get you in some regards do stand in your defense. I was truly touched but in the mean time there’s still a task at hand, a task I’m rather committed to. I’m here to win a million dollars; I’m here to play Survivor so let’s just get back to it.”

“Well, there were a lot more interviews and we talked for half the day but I guess that Probe was eager to get back to the game.”

When they got to the challenge arena, Cirie immediately knew that something was wrong. “What was on that table, Jeff?” Sierra told Jeff that she was starving.

He remembered being more interested in seeing what was under the tablecloth. What a dirty trick! “I certainly wasn’t going to let them eat at my expense” he thought. “Most of the time, they eat my food so why should I give more away? I know, I know: It could have helped my social standing within the new tribe but I felt pretty good at the time and I wanted food. Even if it’s pretty gross when we watch at home and see all those bugs landing on our feast you don’t care. If I had known that Wanner had a feast at the last tribal swap, I would have volunteered her right out of our feast. Doing that to Tracy in Micronesia got me in a whole lot of trouble so maybe it was best that what happened on Exile stayed on Exile. When Brad sat out for Nuku, he put the burden clearly on our shoulders.”

Zeke had a confessional about Brad’s decision that I found funny: “Here’s the deal about Brad Culpepper: I don’t think he liked how he came out in the first Blood versus Water so Brad falls on his sword to be the hero and the great provider. I think that’s pretty much the Culpepper brand: To sacrifice themselves for others.”

What was funniest about this confessional was that Zeke certainly didn’t volunteer. Like the rest of us he looked at the little Asian guy thinking he gets a bowl of rice everyday so for that’s already a feast for him. When Tai raised his hand, I could hear a collective sigh of relief. I liked what Andrea said about giving him all the rice he wanted when we get back at camp. It made us all look good!

He was surprised to see that Cirie gave another confessional: “Brad and Tai got brownie points because you provided for everybody in a sense but that makes me suspicious. Everything in this game is calculated.”

He remembered the mad rush when Jeff gave them permission to eat but, at the time, he hadn’t notice that Zeke totally cut in front of Aubry, Sierra and Troyzan to get there first.

“The inner fat kid is coming back to the surface” he thought.

It was quite a shock for him to see that the cameras focused a lot on Cirie and Sierra. Even more shocking was seeing Sierra’s wavy blond hair. Everyone else’s was dirty and tangled but she looked ready for a photo shoot.

He found Sierra’s confessional particularly interesting: “I made the merge I have food so I feel like a whole new woman. Now, I’m going to go gun blazing and I’m ready to make some moves. I also have my legacy advantage but I can only use it when there are thirteen or six people left in the game. Right now, we’re at thirteen but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep it in my back pocket until the final six.”

Since he knew Cirie a lot better, he was expecting something like this: “Once the merge happens, everything takes off like a jet plane. Yeah! We’re all happy when we’re eating and drinking having a last supper together but people are having conversations, people are reuniting. Everybody is sizing people up and things are going to start flying, people’s heads are going to start rolling so this is where I step my game up.”

He saw that he had talked a bit with Andrea but he couldn’t remember a word they said. Maybe he should have paid more attention but he didn’t consider her important.

Since Brad and Tai had nothing to do for a couple of hours, they had confessionals. First came Brad’s: “In Football, you’re only as good as your next game: I made the merge? Awesome! It’s in my rear-view mirror. I’m looking straight ahead: Who is the next person going to be? It’s not going to be me. Tai and I connected prior to today on numerous occasions. I think I have taken over his Caleb role from last season so I think I can trust Tai going forward and, on my own tribe, Michaela and Hali were on the bottom so I want to gun for them first.”

Then it was Tai’s turn: “I love Brad. He and I have a lot of things in common so I’m thinking: I have the numbers, I’m comfortable, I’m happy.”

He did remember Wanner making a “Debbie” of herself at the end of the feast. She started dancing and then she even mooned Tai. Grossed out, he had to look away. “She’s such a fool. Why
didn’t we take her out? Being inept helped her because why waste a vote? The only problem was we still targeted someone that was just as inept. Did Wanner just say she didn’t take a drop of alcohol? Does that means she’s naturally crazy or is she crazy smart? Who is the fool?”

He had just prepared another drink, still scratching his head over Wanner’s prank when he saw some yellow fishes merging in perfect harmony.

Yes, the tribe would be peaceful for a while longer. Maybe it was that peaceful atmosphere that lulled him to sleep when he should have been scrambling. He remembered those few moments when they first got back to the old Nuku beach, he even remembered Wanner giving Culpepper a hug but he thought that was just to thank him for giving her a chance to have the feast. He did see the episode where Cochran instructed her to make up with Brad at all cost so only now he realized it was a tactical move. Could Wanner actually be a player? he asked. He was shocked to hear her talk with such clarity about a game of deception and intrigue...

Zeke then told everyone about what Varner had said during the last Tribal Council and the players that were hearing it for the first time were all shocked.

Of everyone that was interviewed, we heard Aubry’s confessional: “I was so proud of Zeke. Amazing! More respect for Zeke for telling his story than I do for a handful of these jokers in knowing them for twenty days. And Zeke is right: The experience of going on Survivor makes you tough and nothing is going to be easy about the merge. There are thirteen people at this camp and now, the game at hand is figuring out where people stand and who is in the loop and who is out of it.”

He always enjoyed the ironic confessionals! Aubry had been mostly out of the loop since day 1 and now she thought she could simply figure it out. Well at least he wasn’t only talking about being in the loop; he was going to get in that loop. Troyzan and Brad were on board: We were going to do whatever we wanted to do because everyone on his side was cool.

Brad immediately had a confessional: “My number one goal is reconnecting and strengthening the bonds with people that I haven’t been with, people that I had a little rocky time with. I bonded with Tai. Debbie? She’s come back and apologized. With Sierra, myself and Troyzan; so far so good. If I’m just thinking about myself and who I can play best with; I don’t feel that good about Michaela. Her reputation precedes her a little bit and in the long term, I don’t trust her. So, right now I’m getting everyone together to be on the same page and Michaela would be the first to gobble up after the merge.”

It was a little disappointing to see that Brad didn’t name him. Since he was targeting people from his own tribe, players that started in the original Mana, it hadn’t set off alarm bells. If that was cool with Brad, it was cool with him. Michaela was first on his list also. Zeke Tai, Sarah, Hali, Cirie and Aubry were all on board with that plan. So why wasn’t she the first to go? Where did things go wrong? He immediately got proof that it wasn’t Sierra who flipped the vote.

Sierra’s confessional: “Me and Brad, we don’t care to work with Michaela. I think she’s a little shifty, she’s tough to be around, she’s a loose cannon and she’s a beast in challenges. There are many threats that Michaela has that keeping her in the game will hurt a lot of us. Every time I talk to somebody, here comes Michaela, creeping around a bush. She will not let anybody talk. She’s driving me bonkers. She’s also very blunt and doesn’t have a lot of tact. I’m constantly on edge with Michaela around. This has to be a blindside: She can’t know that her name is getting tossed around and if one thing sets Michaela off then we’re all going down.”

He wasn’t in the shelter when Cirie, Zeke and Andrea talked about going to the end with Sarah. Andrea even said that they had to keep Michaela as one of their numbers and that they had to strike against Brad and Sierra first. Maybe they should have talked to Sarah first because, just like she was shown on camera she was still moving from one place to another.

He was shocked to hear Zeke’s next confessional: “Michaela could be a potential number for us to work with going forward. So, this vote is a bigger deal than anyone is letting on. There have been two sort of natural groups fighting to get into a power position moving forward. It’s Cirie, Sarah, Andrea and myself and then there’s Brad and Sierra’s group and I think everyone is wondering if the other side is going to strike first and I’m going to be caught with my pants down. We have to strike first. These are the last moments of people pretending to get along. It’s the smiles before the blood bath.”

The next scene was at the start of day 21 and Andrea was climbing a rock in her bikini. She was looking very good so Troyzan pretended to take pictures of her.

She did look like she was standing on a pedestal but then she slipped...

He got up to serve himself another drink but he heard something that made him stop: Hali was talking about working with Michaela and telling her that her name had come up. “We are about to find out how the vote changed” he thought.

First, they showed Michaela’s confessional: “You can become a target very quickly here. I’ve already heard my name and I haven’t done anything and that kind of pissed me off. I was about to explode. Being out of the loop at this point in the game is very dangerous. I’m going to have to find some people that I can trust so that I’m not the one going home. Maybe that person is Cirie.”

Even before Michaela said her name, the camera had already turned to Cirie who was sitting comfortably on the chair that had just been fixed.

She had a regal air and, even if it was just a f&@# stick, she looked like she had a scepter in hand! That little camera work could only mean one thing: Cirie was the one behind it all. She must have used the split vote to shift the target away from Michaela. He should have known because split votes are Cirie’s specialty. Sierra said that all of them would be going down if Michaela found out and now those words really resonated with him. He didn’t care about the rest of them but he certainly knew it was about to happen to him. At that point in the game, he was still carefree but things were already going downhill.
Like all of us, he saw Cirie giving Michaela a lesson not only in Survivor but in life.

Cirie’s confessional: “Michaela wears her heart on her sleeve. I used to be like that. When I was Michaela’s age, I was a hothead like Michaela, I thought I knew everything but I learned that, when you put that guard up, you push people away and in a game like Survivor you want to bring as many people in as possible. You don’t want to be pushing people away by making people feel uncomfortable.”

Michaela’s reactions: “Cirie and I had a straight up like heart to heart conversation because we do have a lot of similarities. Cirie has skyrocketed in trust with me and I’m extremely excited to play with her.”

Cirie had another interview: “Right now, Michaela is public enemy number one but I do like Michaela and, as a human and as an older person to a younger person, you want to save her and if I can do that then that’s one person that I can count on to have my back.”

While he saw that they were about to show the immunity challenge he could not stop thinking that he also needed to hear that advice. He had pushed a lot of people away and had ignored even more. “Why didn’t Cirie talk to me?” he asked.

He hadn’t enjoyed that challenge. He was already rehearsing his interviews: “It was supposed to be fair for everyone but it really felt like my stand was lower than it should be. At least I didn’t have a walk of shame like Hali, Troyzan and Zeke who fell off before the challenge really started. When I saw that Michaela was out, that was good enough for me so I decided it was time to take a rest and let these other clowns work a sweat.”
For a moment, he couldn’t really remember who had won that challenge because it didn’t really come into play. Was it Tai? No, and it couldn’t have been Sierra who must have felt so uncomfortable in those jeans so it had to be Andrea. “At least she didn’t beg to win it this time” he thought.

Andrea’s confessional: “Tonight’s vote seems so simple however this is Survivor Game Changers. No vote is easy, everyone has ulterior motives so tonight’s Tribal Council is about who is going to take control of this game.”

When the tribe got back to camp, Sierra had the first confessional: “As of now, I feel like I’m the person in charge.” (Foolish girl, he thought. No one is in control when there is a group of ten or more! I think the music editors agree with me because they’re playing the Kooky musical theme throughout her confessional) “I love having control and from what I see, my perspective, there’s the big group and we have our outsiders who are Hali and Michaela. I think Michaela going home tonight is what’s best but I’m really worried about an idol being played. Seeing Hali play this time compared to the time I played with her before, she’s playing completely different and that triggers something: She might...she might have an idol. Right now, the numbers are so big; I just want to split them between those two in case there is an idol.”

Splitting votes always gives someone an opportunity to take over and, just as he had guessed, that person would be Cirie.

Sierra told Cirie that four people were voting against Hali while everybody else was voting for Michaela. Right before Michaela popped in (the girl is a lot like the pop-ups in web pages!) they agreed they’d tell them to vote for Zeke who would certainly win this game if they let him get to the end. Hali was going to vote for Zeke even if she didn’t feel comfortable. When Michaela said she felt her name was going to be written down, she received Cirie’s death stare. She realized she needed to shut up.
Cirie gave a confessional: “I don’t particularly like the vote for Michaela. Is that good for my game? Why would I just go with that plan? Because Sierra says so? Being that there were two options: Michaela or Hali; why not Hali?”

He saw that she went to Zeke with her concerns but he hadn’t been filled in.

Zeke’s confessional: “Tonight’s vote is the opening shot in a war between two alliances and I think everyone sees Michaela and Hali as potential soldiers in their army. So this vote is making sure the other side is one man down.”

Just like Cirie had told him, Sierra tried to convince Zeke that the majority of votes had to go on Michaela. Cirie was that good but he knew that first hand...

Cirie’s next confessional: “Here’s the thing: You can’t win the war unless you have a sufficient army. (Well, Vee, Chris, Danni and a few others show that it isn’t the sine qua non but it’s not totally wrong) If Michaela goes home that’s one less person that I can count on.”

When Sierra said she was the new Sheriff in town, she got a laugh from Debbie but Cirie didn’t look impressed. She told Michaela that they were lying to her about Zeke. Michaela knew her name was on the chopping block but she wasn’t going to explode. Instead she was putting her life in Cirie’s hands.

Before Tribal Council, Cirie had the last confessional: “Everybody is on edge. Everybody is watching everybody so I need Michaela to vote for Zeke to stick with the plan so nobody knows Cirie is the one that changed the plan. For me, tonight’s Tribal Council is about saving a person that I can depend on and use for the numbers on our side. If I can pull this off, the future of my game is looking good.”

“What will I say about this Tribal Council?” he thought. He knew he’d be asked questions about it but he didn’t remember much of it. Despite all of Probe’s needling, it certainly wasn’t as emotionally charged as the previous one. For some reason, he remembered that Hali offered to do a strip tease but she never went through with it. Too bad, it would have spiced up the evening...

Zeke talked about the insanity of watching 13 people, Andrea said that the vote would draw a line in the sand but, in the end, they voted out the weak link.

He couldn’t help but think that they did make a huge mistake just like Probe suggested.

- Michaela and Hali voted for Zeke.
- Cirie, Sarah, Zeke and Andrea voted for Michaela.
- Sierra, Culpepper, Troyzan, Debbie, Aubry and Tai voted with him against “Hayley”.

It’s funny that the questions he should have been asking himself during the walk back to camp were only surfacing now, during the commercial break. Weren’t there supposed to be only four votes on Hayley? Why were there suddenly 6 and why they were practically all from Sierra’s side? It looked like Cirie saved Michaela by getting most of her army to vote for her while the other side voted for Hayley. Even after four tries, this game was too confusing for him. It was being played well over his head but he couldn’t tell anyone that. At least, if he still couldn’t figure it out then he couldn’t be blamed for being blindsided.

After a very short night, the tribe woke up and gathered around the fire on the morning of Day 22.

A very relaxed Michaela had the morning’s first confessional: “Cirie stuck her neck all the way out for me at Tribal Council and I will do the same if I’m put in a position I can. For somebody of my background, a Black American female, to be able to play with another Black American female, there’s a level of trust that’s there automatically so I’m deferring to her right now because she understands the dynamics of what’s going on more than me and the last thing I want to do is mess up her game when she tried to help mine.”

Cirie’s confessional: “At Tribal, I voted for Michaela and Michaela voted for Zeke to go which was to go along with the plan. I have my own ideas and my own game that I want to play so this next Tribal Council is going to let the dragon loose. Everything is going to be out in the open and the war is going to start. The way I see Sierra and Brad: Sierra is like the godfather and she is controlling Brad who is controlling Troyzan. It’s like a chain and if we cut the top link off the chain, it’s going to shatter. So, I think she could be potentially on the chopping block. Zeke is willing, Andrea is down, I trust officer Sarah and I know Michaela will go along with it. We’re ready for war! Ha! Ha! Ha! We are soldiered up.”

What is this talk about dragons? He had enough of that playing a whole season with Coach but now Cirie is bringing up dragons? He thought he was part of her army but he realized that some were much closer to her than he was. She wasn’t taking a morning stroll in the woods with him, was she? Cirie even said it: He was number 7 in her army, thank you very much... But how did the vote switch from Sierra to him? he asked himself. Strangely, just like last week, his name came up after they started mistrusting Zeke!

Aubry had a confessional: “I feel like right now I am in the middle of a big Italian family brawl. There are two sides and Cirie is like my Black Italian grandma or aunt. She’s more like an aunt. If I’m going to be on Team-Cirie, that’s fine with me.”
With all this talk about godfathers and Italian family brawls, it seems like Boston Rob’s visit a few weeks back has left its mark!
Andrea’s confessional: “I’m dying to get out Brad or Sierra. I’m starting to gather numbers to slowly take over this game which would be ideal.”

In response, Zeke had an interview: “Typically, I’m in control but I haven’t seen a clear picture so far because most of my information has been told to me from Cirie and from Andrea. They’re in control; something is not right. I’m not in the position I want to be in the game. The last time I played, I may have shot for the moon too early but if you’re going to live with regret, do you live with the regret of making a move too early or the regret of not making a move at all? You got to regret making the move... You got to play.”

As someone who has lived with regrets from four seasons, he would have told Zeke that both are just as bad but of course, with Probe’s love of big moves the regret of making a move too early will get you a new invitation! What was his biggest regret? “I think having Yul present when Parvati got naked in the bath tub... Oh! wait... I should be thinking regrets about the game. So it has to be letting that idiot Billy decide that Yul should go to Exile Island. Without that idol I would have been one-and-done, retiring from the game a millionaire!”

Unaware of Zeke’s itching desire to make a move, Andrea laid the course for him: “We take out Sierra then we take out Debbie” who Andrea felt was playing too hard and was a loose cannon.
Zeke’s confessional continued: “So, to be honest, Brad and Sierra; they are sort of a threat but they are not really a threat. So, I look at Cirie and Andrea as much bigger strategic threats than Sierra. They’re trying to control the game so I can get out Cirie or Andrea in this vote right now. Why wait?”

Starting to feel disgusted about the whole thing, he saw Zeke as a cry baby: Cirie and Andrea weren’t letting him play so he wants to get rid of them. We were at twelve back then and he even said that they were giving him all the information which is incredibly valuable in this game. Wasn’t it time to wait for the perfect opportunity?

The Reward challenge would be his last hoorah in the game. Once Probe stopped pretending to be a model on “The Price is Right”, we got down to the school yard pick. Andrea had first pick and, of course, she picked him. Smart girl that Andrea. The Cleveland Browns should hire her. We also had Tai, Troyzan, Debbie and Zeke. Sarah was the other captain. She picked Brad, Aubry, Michaela, Cirie and Sierra.

He felt production hurt his team because their knots were much tighter than Brad’s but he still got to the beach first.

It all came down to the fish puzzle and there Zeke and Debbie outworked Cirie and Sierra.

Sarah, the losing captain, had a confessional: “We lost the Marshall Spa day and it’s a huge let-down but I find myself in the middle. I have options and it’s just going to be which group wants to vote out the person that I want to vote out. That’s where I’m going to go.”

The cameras first went back to Maku Maku where Cirie gave an interview: “We come back to the camp after we lose the reward challenge. It was up to Sierra and I to win it and we could just not do it today. You feel like such a loser like: Can I, am I going to do anything? Am I going to be successful at anything? I had kids young so I worked really hard to provide. I never wanted to be in a position where my kids needed something and I am unable to do it for them but this game; it takes you to the deepest, most hurtful places that you’ve ever felt especially in a loss like today. To not be able to get it for them is like not being able to provide for your family. My family is my motivation and I plan on winning for them. That’s where it gets emotional for me.”

He never shopped at Marshall’s but he certainly enjoyed the reward that they sponsored. Well, except for the part where Tai started streaking of course. At least it wasn’t Debbie! When Zeke said your mind still had to be in the game, he realized that he had turned the switch to off. So while Zeke talked to Debbie and Tai about the next move, he simply stayed in one of those comfy chairs and relaxed. Maybe if he had talked to Debbie... who knows?

Zeke’s confessional: “I am amassing a team of snipers right now because I know the war is coming. A lot of people in this game think the war is going to start one way but I’m going to make sure the war starts my way.”

Debbie’s confessional: “Zeke is throwing out a story to get me and Tai to vote for Andrea which I immediately was skeptical of. The first thing you always should ask yourself in Survivor is: Is this information true? It’s hard for me to take anything Zeke says at face value because he is trying to form a coalition for himself that I’m not in any frame of mind to be moving into the Zeke camp. I want to make a big move but I don’t need Zeke to make it.”

Did he really want to watch that Immunity Challenge again? The good thing is that they skipped day 23. He wanted this to end as quickly as possible but that challenge was his and he blew it. Well it was his challenge until too many Big Macs made it more difficult to hold on... It took a determined 80 pound Asian guy to beat him so he couldn’t be too hard on himself...

We heard Brad’s confessional: “I think sides are starting to be taken and you need to get on one or the other pretty quickly or else you’re going to be on the small side. It’s going to be a crazy tribal because it could very well dictate the remainder of the season.”

He thought he was on Brad’s side so what went wrong? Well, maybe he should have talked to Brad and Sierra a little instead of ignoring them for the last few days...

Back in camp, Zeke had the first confessional: “I’m happy that Andrea didn’t win individual immunity because I am gearing up for the battle of my season; to get rid of Andrea.”

To get some leverage, Zeke told Sierra that her name was being thrown out there by Cirie, Andrea and Aubry but he wanted to see Andrea going home. Sierra was surprised because she thought he was very close to them.

Sierra’s confessional: “Zeke is acting like he wants to switch sides all of a sudden (there’s a joke in there but it would probably be in bad taste...) but whenever I talk to Zeke, I feel like he thinks I’m stupid. (Hannah felt exactly the same way) and I don’t trust him but if they are saying my name, I’ve just got to figure out ways to get the numbers so I don’t go home.”
Sierra then went directly to Cirie, informing her of Zeke’s revelation. Cirie was quick to tell him and Andrea about Zeke’s betrayal.

Andrea’s confessional: “I am furious at Zeke. I’ve been working with him since day one (well even before would be more accurate) I thought we were not only alliance members, I thought we were friends.”

He had a confessional (It was about time, wouldn’t you say?): “Cirie and I, we’re good. I want her on my side voting with me against other people like Zeke.”

Cirie and Sarah also informed Sarah of Zeke’s betrayal.
Sitting in the hammock, Debbie asked Sierra what she wanted to do, she told her she wanted to go after Zeke, telling him they were voting for Aubry.

He was so furious that he nearly screamed: “It was that damn Wanker who said they should vote me out just to blow people out of the water. What the hell? You get mad at Zeke, you vote Ozzy instead? What a bunch of crap!”

Sierra was immediately down with it but she wasn’t sure that those idiots would follow.

Feeling sick, he saw Brad and Troyzan on camera when Sierra mentioned idiots. “They really were idiots”, he thought”. “Why didn’t they warn me?”

Debbie and Sierra agreed it was time for the biggest ##### move. Debbie made the rounds and she managed to gather all the cats she needed.

Debbie’s confessional: “It’s OK if people think I’m quirky and you can underestimate me at your own risk but if everybody listens to me; Brad, Sierra, Sarah, Troyzan, Tai, this will go off and we will be massive game changers tonight, largely thanks to me and I have an extra vote. I don’t want to use it this early but I don’t know if I had the numbers.”

His only consolation was that she wasted that game advantage.

After hearing Debbie’s pitch, Sarah gave a confessional: “At this point, I’m sitting in the middle of two groups that are starting to surface. The one group: Brad, Sierra, Troyzan, Tai and Debbie, they want to vote out Ozzy and then there’s another group of Cirie, Andrea, Michaela, Aubry and Ozzy and they want to see Zeke go. I’m weighing out all of my options and to vote Ozzy out, that means taking out a big social and challenge threat right now. That’s the move to make early on in a merge. But then, a lot of people want Zeke out because he’s a smart guy and he’s willing to make moves and when you trust somebody like that, you will end up getting blindsided so it’s a real tough position to be in. But, a line will be drawn in the sand with this vote”

He still felt very confident when he entered Tribal Council even if he knew people were playing harder than usually. Sarah said she was still trying to get a date with someone while Tai was happy to be wearing his immunity necklace. At least Aubry stood by him, saying she appreciated his role as provider. He should have told Debbie that he would never vote for her in the end. Maybe that would have made her realize that sending him to the jury wasn’t the best plan ever.

When Jeff tallied the votes, he was very interested to see who had voted against him.

- First he saw that Cirie voted against Sierra only to spice things up.
- Zeke was totally out of the loop having voted for Aubry.
- Andrea, Aubry and Michaela voted with him for Zeke
- The treacherous Sarah, that numbskull Brad and that old fart Troyzan joined Tai, Sierra and Wanker in voting against him.

The Story

It was clearly stressed in these episodes that it is important to be in the loop at this point in the game. You don’t want to be in the smaller group but it’s worse to be alone. Who was in the loop? Because of the split vote strategy, it was kind of hard to tell during the Hali vote but it’s safe to say that it was Cirie’s side who wanted to keep her over Hali. This would lead us to divide them as follows:

The Characters

Sitting All Alone on Dumbass Island:

Zeke: It was his own agenda that got him in this mess. He needed to make a big move in order to show he was playing the game but it blew up in his face. We had been expecting this since the introduction. There are still a lot of players so Zeke could slide by but people are already aware that they can’t let him go to the end.

They were in on the first vote but not the Second:

Aubry: She had some confessionals but they were mostly narration. She is presented as a soldier in Cirie’s army instead of a real player so she will need to make a move to earn the jury’s respect.

Michaela: By her own admission, Cirie has a better understanding of the game so it will be hard for Michaela to get to the end if Cirie is voted out and it will be hard for Michaela to win the game if Cirie isn’t voted out. She’s facing quite the dilemma.

Andrea: Like the others players said, she rocked that first immunity challenge and then she looked very good standing on a pedestal. It was interesting to hear them say that Andrea was a dangerous strategist. We all know that Cirie is great at this game but we had never seen Andrea on the same level yet that’s where she was in Zeke’s eyes. Will the battle to get rid of Andrea prove to be the story of the season? They didn’t get rid of her this time so will they continue to fail? It certainly looks like she will have a huge impact before the end of the season.

Cirie: The first vote showed Cirie’s skills. She was pictured sitting like a queen and she quickly turned a split vote strategy to her advantage. She said that saving Michaela would be good for the future of her game so we will have to see if she can overcome the latest setback. Ozzy was only 7th in her army so she still has good numbers and she only needs to flip one person. The main problem is that the other side has all three idols and the legacy advantage. Cirie should try to turn Tai to her side but would he go with Aubry a second time?

They were tricked during the first vote but took charge of the second:

Tai: He will be hard to beat in endurance challenges but there usually are many puzzles during the individual portion of the game so he’ll need those idols. In his first season, he flipped because he didn’t like the bullies in his alliance but he likes Brad and trusts him. Will he realize he isn’t in the core alliance and will that realization be enough to make him move?
Troyzan: While he’s had some good episodes, he is now being reduced to Sierra and Brad’s adjunct. He will need to shake that perception in order to have a chance.

Brad: Sitting out of the merge feast made him look good in the eyes of his tribe mates but that will be long forgotten if he makes it to the end. The fact that he is seen as Sierra’s puppet isn’t very promising. What is good for him is that we hear his confessionals detailing his strategy and his perceptions.

Sierra: Even if Debbie got most of the credit for switching the vote on Ozzy, we saw that Sierra was part of the conversation that led to this move. She is portrayed as the person in charge of the main alliance but her reasoning to target Michaela was accompanied by a syncopated melody and Zeke practically dismissed her as a strategic threat. Can she be taken seriously?

Debbie: She arranged the biggest move of the season and she made full use of Cochran’s advice so there is hope for her. Making others think you are crazy is a great way to avoid the votes, both those against you and the important one to win the title.

She was on the right side both times

Sarah: Just like we heard in the season’s introduction, Zeke was too eager to make a big move and Sarah was right there to make him pay. Now, she’s sitting pretty while he’s in a whole lot of trouble. While we didn’t hear her talking about saving Michaela, she was still on Cirie’s side at that point so she benefitted from the move. Then she jumped to the other side to get rid of a big threat so her decisions worked to perfection. Navigating between two alliances isn’t the best way to make friends but for now both sides need her. Can she maintain the momentum?

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04-30-17, 10:42 PM (EST)
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14. "Episode 10 - Reshuffling the Deck"
Today, we are very lucky to have Jiffy Probe sitting in as we look back at the latest episode. Thank you for doing this, Jiffy. Before we replay the episode, I want to go to the reward challenge because there were unusual things going on: First, you showed Cirie completing the challenge even if it was over. Is that something that happens from time to time and you just don’t show it or was this really unique?
- “Well, we did show something similar once in Guatemala when Jamie wanted to finish a challenge even after Brandon had completely humiliated him but you’re right; most of the time we let them complete it but cut it out since it means nothing. Here, we wanted to show Cirie’s struggles. Yes, I know, everyone was cheering for her and the audience was moved by her tears but our editing team had an ulterior motive in showing it: See, for most of the audience, Cirie is the “Best-Player-Never-To-Win” Survivor but that’s just not true. Survivor is all about PMS...”
- “Pardon me?”
- “PMS”: The Physical, Mental and Social Games. While Cirie is great at the Mental and Social Games she’s just awful at the Physical aspect and we wanted everyone to see it. This year, she really lucked out; her tribe didn’t even have to go once to Tribal Council before the merge. Was that because of her efforts? Of course not! Yes, she may have helped in a puzzle or two but she sat out in some challenges. Maybe she doesn’t make it this far if she has to make a trip to Tribal Council. In Panama, if only we hadn’t been so stupid, we could have stayed with 4 tribes for one more cycle which would have sent the older women to Tribal Council and even if Cirie had survived it and Ruth Marie had been voted out then Cirie and Melinda would have been the two last picked and, being in opposite tribes, would have been the first two voted out...”
- “OK, if you say so... The second thing I wanted to bring up was Sarah’s “Secret Advantage”. How can it still be considered a “secret”? I mean; everyone had to see that she didn’t get on the boat, she jumped off the team’s platform then climbed up on Michaela’s, bent over to untie the knot and then hid the envelope in her shoes yet she seemed to think no one noticed. How is that even possible?”

- “No one saw her and that’s all I’ll say about that.”
- “But...? They were all there on that little boat so they certainly saw her jumping off the platform...”
- “Hey! if we didn’t show it then it didn’t happen. If you don’t drop this then I’m walking out of here right now.”
- “Sorry... (Sounds like a cover up to me but we’ll let it pass...) So, to get to the episode, the Previously on Survivor” segment was interesting: You said that Zeke started a revolt against Andrea but that Andrea fought back so that gave Debbie an opportunity to strike leaving Sarah in the middle with a major decision to make. Debbie got her way but wasn’t Sarah the real game changer?”
- “Yes, sometimes things fall right in your lap but you have to be ready to seize the occasion.”
- So the episode begins and I really only have one question to ask. First we saw the fallout of the last Council:
Debbie had the first confessional and she was quite happy with herself and the control her alliance had on the game. It was set in concrete...”
- “What was Frank’s line? "Linda is so concrete; she's buried in the bottom of the Hoover Dam.” That may have been true in season 3 but not anymore...”
- “Yes, yes, we’ll soon see proof of that but getting back to the episode and my question...
We then heard Andrea saying that she was shocked with the result of Tribal Council. She confronted Zeke who answered that he didn’t feel that he was going to go far with her and Cirie. When Andrea called him shady, he said that some people trusted him...”
- “That was a funny way of putting it! The other six didn’t even tell him about their move!”
In confessional, Zeke said he needed to stay with the majority even if he wasn’t part of it. He got a sympathetic ear from Sarah who was willing to go after Andrea next but, as she told us, the lines were about to change again.
On day 25, we were at the reward challenge and another I found interesting was that no one picked Michaela. We didn’t see the picking order, which, by the way, is something I think you should always show.”
- “It’s funny how things work out sometimes. People were so fed up with Michaela that they preferred leaving her out of the challenge even if she would have been very helpful to their team. On the other hand, can you imagine Debbie’s reaction if Brad hadn’t picked her?!”
- “Since we heard her encouraging Aubry at one point, I thought Cirie must have been the one with last pick and she ignored Michaela to hide their alliance.”
- “We showed Michaela clapping for Tai when he was racing against Brad, making him the bad guy in her mind.”
- “Well, we only saw her clapping but that could have been for anyone really.”
- “Did you notice that Debbie, the so-called gymnast, went across the balance beam on her hands and knees?”

- “Yes, that made me laugh but are you trying to change the subject?”
- “...”
OK, getting back to the episode, we had an inspirational moment with Cirie who vowed to push herself to do what she needed to do in order to win this game. Then Sarah read the rules of her secret advantage: She would be allowed to steal someone’s vote and she vowed to use it properly. We then joined the Blue team on their reward. Instead of showing us those stunning mountain chains we were subjected to more of Debbie’s love of Debbie. Brad then told us about one of his Survivor 101 rules: “Never take all your alliance on reward; leave some back at camp to keep tabs on the other side.”
- “Or they could, you know, flip on you...”
Sierra was happy to see how things were going; Andrea was still mad at Zeke for flipping on her simply because he wasn’t the center of everyone’s attention. Sierra was in the driver’s seat and she was all smiles. Of course, back and camp, Sarah and Cirie were plotting against Sierra and Brad because they were running the show. Cirie told Sarah that she didn’t have a chance to beat Sierra and Brad if she sat with them in the Final Three because everyone will say that they carried her to the end. Cirie then told us that Sarah was facing her own “balance beam”; she had to cross that line but it was scary. In response, Sarah told us that she didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes she made the first time. In Cagayan she looked for the safest route, letting everyone else make the decisions.
- “It’s funny when you think of it though: In Cagayan, Kass flipped on Sarah and their alliance because she felt that Sarah was receiving too much attention, being allowed to make the decisions.”
On day 26, we saw the immunity challenge and while Andrea came close, Troyzan won it.
- “It was easy to see who the alliance’s target was because Debbie and Brad were cheering for Troyzan all the way. Debbie even let out an aaah! in derision when Andrea dropped her stack..”
We heard Sierra in confessional saying she was happy that one of her power 6 had won immunity and that the smart thing to do would be to eliminate Andrea who was a huge threat in the game.
- “Yes, we know you guys see that as the kiss-of-death confessional so we wanted to change things up a bit. Anyway, we had heard enough of Debbie already.”
Getting back to my question, we returned to camp where Troyzan told us he loved that challenge. Brad said they were all sick of Michaela who was eating all the time...
- “Look back at that remark once we get to the vote...”
...he was tempted to vote her out but he knew that Andrea was a bigger threat. Debbie was set on voting Michaela but Brad immediately killed that idea because Andrea was simply too good. Debbie told us she found Michaela to be highly annoying...
- “Hello kettle, I’m pot...”
...but she was going along with Brad. Huddling his alliance, Brad said they were taking out Andrea but telling everyone it was going to be Michaela, in case, like Troyzan said, she had an idol.
- “Did you notice the social game mistake that Brad made there? He should have let everyone give out their opinion instead of imposing his. They probably would have come to the same conclusion but everyone would have felt included. Had he been paying attention to Sarah, he would have known this wasn’t sitting well with her.”

On cue, Sarah told us that the plan was hatched without consulting her so she knew she wasn’t high on their pecking order. She went to Zeke to see if he wanted to make a move. Since the power alliance was, in effect, ordering him to sit and be quiet, Zeke was all in for another move but he had no desire to work with Andrea. He’d deal with it for at least one vote.
- “One vote! I love that line...”
Andrea told Sarah that she wanted to work with her and Zeke to take out someone in the power alliance. Cleverly, Sarah said she was in that alliance so it could be good to be in with the enemy. The two women hugged while we heard Andrea saying she was on board with that move. She wouldn’t trust Zeke but she was willing to play with him. Sierra and Sarah had a talk on the beach. Sierra told us she was very close to Sarah and wanted to go to the end with her. Sierra proposed a Final Three deal to Sarah with Debbie as their third. Sarah said she loved that idea because it showed she wasn’t on the bottom of that alliance. Meanwhile, Debbie had her own talk with Aubry, telling her that Michaela was going home. In confessional, Debbie told us that she wanted the others to vote for Michaela in case Andrea pulled an idol. Debbie told Aubry that Sarah didn’t trust her but that she did. Debbie wanted to be able to use Aubry down the road and for that she needed to have her think they were friends. She thought Aubry was buying it.
- “Debbie said that in confessional but we caught Aubry’s eye roll and just had to insert it there!”

- “I really like Aubry and think she should have won her season.”
- “Let’s not get into that fiasco...”
Aubry told Michaela and Andrea about her talk with Debbie saying she felt like telling Debbie to go (bleep) herself. Aubry explained in confessional that she was now seeing the same Debbie she saw just before voting her out the first time. When Aubry told Sarah about Debbie, Sarah felt betrayed. Both agreed that they hated liars. Sarah said she didn’t want to be in the Final Three with Debbie anymore. She knew she’d be safe going with her but she wanted to make big moves so we were off to Tribal Council...
- “You said you had a question...”
I’m getting to it... In Tribal Council, Cirie made her case saying she didn’t want to give up, Sarah said she didn’t want to leave anyone behind while Andrea said she felt particularly in danger. Zeke named the power six alliance, saying they went into the woods together and decided who would go. Gloating, Debbie said she was in that six and, through dialogue and respect, they came to a unanimous decision.
- “She does have a funny definition of dialogue, doesn’t she?”
Andrea said she heard it was going to be Michaela but since everyone cheered when her blocks fell, she knew they were spreading false information. Sarah said Survivor was about being on the right side of the numbers. Troyzan explained that making it to six was the smart thing to do because anything could happen after that. His argument didn’t seem to impress the jury. Zeke was hoping the deck would reshuffle before they reached six. Michaela said she knew who was in charge and that they needed to make a move before it was too late. When it was time to reveal the vote, Michaela took some pieces of coconut out of her bag, looking very confident.

- “Loved it! She was saying: This is going to be a good show so I need some popcorn! The only thing better would have been seeing her offering some to Debbie!”

While Andrea received 5 votes, Debbie was voted out leaving Sierra and Brad wondering what went wrong.
- “So, your question...”
- “Well, I have to ask: We are used to seeing the men narrating the story, running the game but this season and this episode in particular, it seems that the story is all about these women. The women are getting the vast majority of airtime and are running the show. Isn’t that an unusual editing decision?”
- “Well, if you look over the years, the best players have mostly been men. Women are simply inferior... at playing Survivor I mean...”
- “Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Jiffy Probe’s views on Survivor.”
- “You’re not going to print it like that, will you?”
- “Don’t worry; my editor will make you look good.”
- “What would we do without good editing?!”

The Characters

As the jury is slowly forming, let’s look at how the players might be perceived:

1- Michaela: I believe Michaela would be everyone’s goat. We’ve heard that she is annoying and she is simply following along so I don’t see how she would get any votes at the end.

2- Tai: While he probably beats Michaela, it is starting to look like he would be Mr Irrelevant if he were to make it to the Final three just like he was the last time. His only chance rests on playing those idols to perfection. If he can repeat what he did when he saved Sierra during the pre-merge then maybe he will earn the respect as a player that he clearly needs.

3- Aubry: I’m not sure exactly where to place Aubry in this scale of potential vote getters but she’s been out of the loop most of the time this season and her allies are seen as better players. Maybe we will come a couple of vowels away from a repeat of the Aubry/Tai/Michele Final Three but that seems very unlikely.

4- Troyzan: We saw Ozzy’s negative reaction when Troyzan said that their only concern was to make it to the six. Someone has to tell Troyzan that he’ll need a résumé to present to the jury or else they’ll ignore his contributions. He does have an idol to play and that could always turn some votes in his favor but if his alliance stays in power he may not even need it. If they don’t then one idol won’t be enough to keep him safe to the end.

5- Zeke: His story will certainly earn respect but people are starting to realize that Zeke likes to be the center of attention and that was the motivation behind his moves. Dan in Worlds Apart was another player who liked to be the center of attention and that didn’t work too well for him. I doubt that people will reward someone who played mostly to be noticed.

6- Sarah: While Cirie said that Sarah would lose to Sierra and Brad if she was to face them in the end, this move could reshuffle that deck. It can either work in her favor or turn some people away from her. We know that Debbie holds a grudge so I don’t see her voting for Sarah and it will be tough to convince Ozzy since she basically sealed his fate. Strangely, her best option may be to put on the jury the players that she just helped out of a major jam, a jam that she prepared herself by the way. Will they see her as the best player or the biggest snake?

7- Brad: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brad get votes from Ozzy and Debbie over everyone else in the field but then again he is a former NFL player and a lawyer so they probably see him as stinking rich. That will probably work against him. Also, people are seeing Sierra as the head of the alliance and Cirie even said that he is being controlled by the cowgirl so would he get votes over her? He seems intent on making it to the end with her but she may have other ideas as we saw in her offer to Sarah. Brad may have to reconsider his Final Three.

8- Sierra: If she had guided her alliance to the end and then sat in the Final Three, I have no doubt that Sierra would have been seen like a second Kim and she would have easily won the vote but now? Of course, the road to the end just got harder so she would be more deserving if she makes it to the end but can she? We heard Sierra’s views on how a minority alliance should work so maybe she will put that into practice and find a crack. It’s not very well hidden lying right between Andrea and Zeke.

9- Andrea: Her main problem will be making it to the end because she is seen as one of the biggest threats ever which is a little exaggerated if you ask me. She has done well in challenges and she is a good social player but she will need help to get to Finale night so that could cost her some votes. Right now, she can tell the jury that she was a very strategic player but if she simply follows someone else’s agenda to the end she will have lost her main argument.

10- Cirie: She is a long time fan favorites and most of these players were fans before being contestants so they all know her story very well. If she does finally make it to the end, I think she would easily win.

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05-07-17, 03:35 PM (EST)
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15. "Episode 11 - Idiots"
Welcome to Wednesday Night Survivor on SeeBS. I’m your host, Jim Nutz and I have the pleasure of bringing this episode to you alongside some of the most famous announcers ever. First, let’s welcome Hall of Fame coach and announcer, John Madder, to the booth. John, we must start with the Previously on Survivor segment.
- JM: “Yes Jim, no offense but it was nuts.”
- JN: “It certainly was: First we saw that two members of Cirie’s team had a face off. Andrea couldn’t trust Zeke anymore so that left Brad’s team, the “Bradsters” in complete control of the game. However, Sarah declared herself a free agent and switched locker rooms right in the middle of the season.”
- JM: “It used to be that you build your team up during the pre-merger and then you went at it mano a mano with the other side but now? Boom! There are free agents everywhere. I guess it makes the people selling programs happy because how can you keep track of your own team otherwise?”
- JN: “Well said, my friend. So, after all this Debbie was beaten by the vote and she will now miss the rest of the season.
- JM: “She’ll have to watch from the sidelines and, knowing Debbie, she won’t be happy about it. If you look back at the play, we saw that Cirie had a big role in bringing the minority together but, on camera, it looked as if it was all Sarah.”

So, now, we join Brad for his post-game interview: “I’m in shock. I was totally blindsided... I clearly was in a great position before tonight, now I’m... in a terrible shape with the four.”

After telling everyone that she was the one that flipped, Sarah met the reporters: “Tonight at Tribal Council, I was the deciding vote in which alliance was going to get the majority of the numbers. This is Survivor and it’s Game Changers. Hopefully, if I make it to the end, the jury will reward the fact that I was a game changer enough to make this type of a move.”

Cirie then stepped up to the podium: “We took the control from Sierra and Brad tonight but in Survivor there’s never any rest at all. You have to be like an eagle eye; you have to watch everything because if you’re not watching, it just takes a second and it all moves and the next thing you know you’re sitting on the jury.”

Madder: “You have to admire Cirie who is a certain first ballot hall of famer when she retires; unlike Andrea, Zeke, Aubry and Michaela who were laughing it up in the shelter, she knew she had to keep an eye on these players so she stayed seated right between them all. No one is going to catch her unaware.”

“You are watching live the Survivor reward challenge from the fabled challenge arena. It is day 27 of Survivor Game Changers and I’m Bren Mustburger; I will be your host for this portion of the evening. We will see two teams of five facing off in a showdown that will require a good combination of speed, strength and wits. For the Bradsters, we have Andrea, Sarah, Aubry and Zeke teaming with Culpepper and they will be going against Sierra, Troyzan, Tai, Cirie and Michaela.

Right off the gate, the pace is furious with Michaela finally able to show her stuff and getting an early lead on Brad. Both teams go back and forth during the three stages where they have to retrieve the letters but then everything comes to a screeching stop. For nearly an hour nothing happened: We were watching 10 people baking under the hot Fijian sun. I’m sorry but I’m out of here; this is even more boring than golf...

“Hi, everybody and a very pleasant good afternoon to you, wherever you may be. Vin Skully here and I’m glad to be with you today. While we watch these players struggle figuring out this puzzle, let me tell you a story: It was the summer of 2000 and everyone was watching the best new show on TV and its star Richard Hatch. The happy-go-naked Hatch had been in control for most of the game but now, we were in the 10th episode and he felt like he was getting close to the chopping block. His alliance was starting to have doubts and everyone was gunning for the season’s mastermind. There were 7 players left so this was the crucial vote: If Hatch survived he had a good feeling that the check would be his. The best way to survive the next vote was by winning immunity but Hatch was very nervous about his odds of winning. He really wanted to win that one. It was a fire-building challenge and, sure enough, Hatch saw his flame burn through his rope first. The game was his and he knew it so what happened next? Hatch turned into a kid and started a little spin dance on the beach. The “Rooty-Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity ”dance it was called and it was one of the funniest things we had ever seen.

Getting back to our challenge, the players are still bamboozled by the 30 letters, trying every word that will fit and some that don’t! Finally, Jiffy seems to have enough of this challenge so he is giving them hints that are so evident he could just have told them the solution and had them race to put it together. I’m guessing it was a union thing and his crew’s lunch break was overdue. Or maybe some local groupies were waiting for Jiffy in his suite, who knows? Anyway, here’s Jiffy saying “this game is constantly changing and you are changing it. This puzzle is a great metaphor for this season because everything is always changing in this game.”

Finally, the key-word dawned on Andrea: “Reinventing” she said. The rest came easily. The Bradsters won the challenge. It was a pleasure being your host, hope you enjoyed the evening, good night and thank you for giving me the chance to present it to you.

Jim Nutz back with you as we interview the Bradsters after their impressive win.

First we have Brad: “Walking off, I can hardly contain myself. I’m going on the reward, I’m going to have an unbelievable meal but more importantly, I’m with the people I need to be with from a strategic standpoint to change the game. It’s a win-win.”

Next, it was Sarah’s turn: “I’ve never been on a helicopter. I’m super stoked; I get a window seat. Fiji! It’s a dream come true. It’s insane how many islands and how beautiful they are. The helicopter lands; basically the red carpet is rolled out and there is a guy waiting with drinks for us.”

Zeke also told us that the resort was incredible then he started talking football with Culpepper.

John Madder: “It worked with Chris last season so he’s probably thinking why not with Culpepper this time? What he should realize is that getting too close to someone makes you suspect to the others. We can say that Zeke didn’t reinvent his game!”

Sure enough, Andrea was catching on and she told us about it: “Looking at the people during the reward it would seem that Brad is the odd-man out but there is some weird bonding going on between Brad and Zeke. As a Survivor Super-fan I would think that Zeke would know better than this. Zeke voted with us at the last Tribal Council but I don’t think we will ever get back to the place we were before he betrayed me. I’m never going to forget that he did that so I am a little nervous that now he’s going to try to do something over with Brad. It’s super-lame.”

JM: “Can you imagine how much damage those two could have done if they had stayed together? Zeke only has himself to blame for his demise.”

JN: “Our aerial coverage is brought to you by the blimp... what? no blimp? This show is even lamer than I thought. Are we even getting paid for this gig? Anyway, we have a beautiful shot of the moon. When the sun comes up, we are back in the Maku Maku camp where the five losers are having a tough morning.”

Sierra told us all about it: “It was a really crappy night. I got no sleep, I’m exhausted and I’m still trying to figure out what the heck happened the other night at Tribal. It’s super humbling to be like OK, I’m at the bottom with Brad, Tai and Troyzan but hopefully, something happens where I can get into the numbers.”

Tai and Troyzan promised to warn each other if their names came up.

JM: “Poor Tai; Troyzan not only lied to him but he was going to write his name down! Imagine how he must have felt sitting on two idols and Bam! You’re name pops up without warning. I can imagine how he would have felt if he had been voted out; it would have been a bit like how I felt after the so called “Immaculate Reception”. Did I ever tell you about that, Jim?”

JN: “Yes you did, coach...every single time. We need to get back to this century. Tai is about to give an interview.”

Tai: “This is the first time ever playing two seasons I feel really at the bottom. I’m not telling anybody that I do have two idols but I rather not to play it. The longer I have the idols, the longer I will be in the game but who knows? If my name come up, I am going to play it.”

That’s when the “Bradsters” returned to camp.

Aubry had an interview: “Coming back from the reward, I feel so lucky. It felt like the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. It was awesome. However, I am a little bit concerned about the fact that I feel like Brad and Zeke had time to bond with each other. I think we need to think very carefully about who we want to take out in the next vote.”

Our cameras caught Andrea and Cirie plotting in the hammock so we asked Andrea about her thoughts: “You don’t want to be the person throwing out names but you also don’t want to be the person that waits too long to make a move. So now, I’m trying to put the target on Zeke. If Zeke thinks the six are going to stay together for a few more votes maybe take one of those votes and actually blindside him.”

Cirie agreed as we heard in her interview: “It would be easy just for us six to vote Sierra but Zeke is way more threatening to me than Sierra. He knows this game better than any of us out here. I’ve played four times and Zeke knows this game better than I do. Now I have to get Officer Sarah on board but Officer Sarah is real touchy about Zeke so you got to handle Officer Sarah very carefully.”

Sarah wasn’t quite receptive: “When Cirie presents the idea of getting rid of Zeke I’m definitely not down for it because I can trust Zeke so I need to reassure her to keep him in this game for as long as I can. I need to fill her in on what my secret advantage is. Typically, in Survivor, you don’t want to show your cards but sometimes it’s necessary to lock people in. I feel pretty good with Cirie. I think it completely calmed her and smoothed over the situation but in the event they want to flip the script I could jump ship next vote and go back and work with Troyzan and Brad and Sierra and Tai because I want to go with whatever side can get me further in the game. I find myself sitting in the middle which is perfect for me. So I’m going to let the plans develop and then I’m going to pick a side.”

John Madder: “This turnover could go a long way in deciding this game. Cirie now knows about Sarah’s secret play and Sarah lost possession of Zeke. That puts her in a very bad situation. Sitting in the middle rarely works, just ask Dolly!”

Jim Nutz: “But as long as we’re not talking about sheep, Sarah is smarter than Dolly.”

JM: “No question about that, Jim but so is the competition. They already forced her to fumble Zeke.”

JN: “After a time out, we rejoin camp Maku Maku on the morning of Day 29 and you can feel the tension in the air. We turn to our sideline reporter, Allie Laforceiswithyou who spoke with Zeke just before the intermission.”

Allie: “How are you feeling this morning Zeke?

Zeke: “Here’s why I’m nervous today: There’s an eerie calm about camp. These people; I don’t know what to make heads or tails. It’s been really hard for me to get a read on where the lines are drawn and I feel like I’ve been sort of handcuffed and haven’t been able to play like I want to play but now the game has been broken open and I’m finally getting to use my Survivor skill set which is the running around and the scheming and the plotting and the voting people out.”

JN: “Thank you, Allie. What do you make of this, John?”

JM: “Well, I’ll just say that Zeke is tremendous at running around, plotting, scheming and getting himself voted out! That’s what happened last season, that’s what got him in trouble this season and that’s what will get him voted out this time also.”

JN: “Before we get to that, let’s listen in on Sarah and Zeke as they talk by the Gatorade.”

Sarah to Zeke: “What if we get rid of Sierra and then we get rid of Andrea and then we get rid of Tai?”
Zeke: “I like that.”
Sarah: “So in a roundabout way, let that be our outline.”

We asked Sarah for an interview: “I feel good with Zeke. We’ve been together since day 1 and right now, we’re staying with the girls but at the end of the day, I don’t trust them, I trust Zeke.”

Zeke asked Sarah if she’d be alright with a Final Five deal that he’d offer to Brad and Troyzan, Michaela being their fifth.

John Madder: “I’m not sure Brad and Troyzan would accept to trade Sierra for Michaela. I know I wouldn’t accept that deal.”

Zeke also gave us an interview before the big challenge: “I trust Sarah to the end but I don’t trust Andrea and Aubry who are very tight together. I need a couple of options: Brad and I bonded on the reward and now we’re getting to the point where I need to bring in Brad and Troyzan.”

Zeke told Brad and Troyzan that he wanted to go to the Final Five with them.

Coming out of the huddle, Brad told us: “That’s music to my ears. I made tremendous headway at getting in with Zeke at the reward. So, in 24 hours, I worked my way up very quickly but not without effort, into a good position. It will bother me if I have to vote for Tai or Sierra but make no mistake; I’m here to win the game.”

John Madder: “When you hear this, it’s surprising to look at the upcoming vote and wonder what went wrong. Why didn’t Brad and Troyzan vote with Zeke?”

JN: “We’ll have to wait for that answer because we are now going to the Immunity Challenge.”

Good Afternoon, it’s time to take you out to the ballgame. I’m Hara Kiri and I’m glad to bring you this game live from Fiji on this beautiful sunny day. Hurry up and get your peanuts and Cracker Jack because the guys have already come in. Troy has given back the immunity necklace and the players are set. This will be a race to place dominoes in a line while avoiding the obstacles that would send them all crashing to the ground. At the start we see that Tai didn’t forget to bring a block this time! Andrea is off to a good start. Watch her go! Brad trips over his big feet and loses everything! Brad spelled backwards is Drab and that wasn’t drab at all, was it? Andrea and Sarah are dead even for the lead but Michaela and Sierra are catching up. Sarah surges ahead but Andrea is fighting back. Now Sarah is slowing down and Andrea takes the lead. Oh! no! Andrea misjudged the space between dominoes and has to replace them all. Can she do it? The crowd is root, root, rooting for her; if she doesn’t win it’s a shame. She circles back to the start, places her last domino, looks at her line and sets it in motion: It’s rolling ... it’s falling ... it might be ... it could be ... it IS! A home run! Holy cow! She did it! Andrea has won immunity! That is her second individual immunity challenge win. It sure looks like she is going to break her own 6 year curse."

Despite a cruel loss, Sierra was gracious enough to give us an interview: “I really needed it today. I’m at the bottom of the numbers. I’m not safe; I don’t feel safe so I’m terrified. I’m hoping I can get back to camp, make a big move and they keep me here just another day longer.”

Jim Nutz: “Back in camp after that thrilling challenge, I’m now joined by our good friend John Goober. What do you think of the game so far, John?”

JG: “You got to love it, the players are playing dumb, the referee is interfering as much as he can, the girls are beating up on the guys and the votes are going in every direction. I love it but then again, I love everything about this game.”

JN: “What do you expect to see next?”

JG: “Well we heard Andrea calling the play before the challenge. It was: Twins I Right, 3 power check, 5 Y Seam Right.”

JN: “What does that mean?”

JG: “I have no idea but I sure hope she does.”

JN: “Aren’t you the coach?”

JG: “Not their coach.”

JN: “Fortunately, Allie is with Andrea on the sidelines. Allie?”

AL: “Thank you Jim: Andrea what is your next move?”

Andrea: “Now that I won the challenge, let’s make a bigger move here. I’m for sure safe tonight so why not go for someone that’s been coming for me? And that would be Zeke. Initially, we were targeting Sierra. It makes sense: We have six, they have four, why wouldn’t we just pop one of them off? But my relationship with Zeke has been so out of control. We went from what I thought was BFF to him totally betraying me and now I cannot wait to get him out of this game. I know he’s going to come after me at some point so that’s why this plan is so brilliant because he won’t see it coming.”

Walking to the water well, Andrea explained her plan to Cirie who thought it would be hard to convince Sarah to go along but they might be able to convince Sierra who, as if by magic, walked up right behind them. Andrea and Cirie told her they had a plan that would keep her safe but that they needed a moment before telling her about it. Sierra told them she would vote any way they wanted.

We caught up with Sierra after that discussion to get her thoughts: “At the moment, I’m reaching for straws and I’m going to do what the girls tell me to do. Tonight, I’m going to turn my back on my initial alliance and I’m willing at any moment to throw any of them under the bus. I’m kind of just trying to be patient, sit back and wait for the word and hope that it’s not me.”

Jim Nutz: “It would appear that the girls never told Sierra what to do because she didn’t vote with them.”

John Goober: “I’m not so sure about that, Jim. Remember: Twins I Right, 3 Power check, 5 Y Seam Right. It’s starting to make sense to me now. They want two votes on Sierra (twins I right) to draw her in. Then Andrea and Cirie will get Sierra, Brad and Troyzan to put 3 votes on Tai in case Zeke has an idol; that’s the power check. And then they put five votes on Zeke because he is the “Y Seam right” on the play and it just seems right for them to vote him out now.”

JN: “Well there you have it folks, directly from an expert of the West Coast Offense.”

Sarah was the next to enter Andrea and Cirie’s war room.

After hearing their plan, Sarah gave us an interview: “Just because Andrea’s got a little bit of power now, she’s talking about potentially taking out Zeke with this vote. I’m definitely not down for it. I need Zeke for a few more votes but I really need to keep my mouth shut because, if I start scrambling around to try to save Zeke, I’m going to get in hot water.”

Aubry and Michaela were also briefed on the plan.

We first turned to Aubry: “Zeke is a very smart player, Zeke is obviously calculating things many moves down the line and something you have to do in Survivor is you always have to strike before the other person.”

Then we asked Michaela for her impressions of the plan: “I don’t see how getting rid of Zeke right now is a smart move. They don’t seem to see that if you leave four people on the bottom, they only need one more person to be in the majority for the rest of the game. Zeke is somebody that I can trust to some level because we have played together before so, at this point, I don’t want to vote out Zeke.”

John Goober: “While I can see Michaela’s point, she should know that at least three of the four that are on the bottom are very tight so, if they do stay together, it will be hard for that one person who flipped to make it to the end with them. It’s also funny to hear Michaela saying she trusted Zeke because she played with him when, in reality, they never voted together! On the other hand, I didn’t like hearing Andrea saying that her plan was foolproof. There’s no such thing on Survivor because time and time again fools have proven to be so idiotic that they will change the game in someone else’s favor. Michaela could be that idiot.”

Sarah gave us an interview just before going to Tribal Council:
“Tonight is all about Sierra versus Zeke. This vote for our alliance is a huge decision because right now it’s six to four. We vote out one of our own, it’s five to four; one person flips over and they’ve got the numbers but at the same time, if I press the issue of keeping Zeke, they are going to think I have an ulterior motive, they are not going to trust me and trust is everything in this game. So, I don’t know what I’m going to do but I have a feeling the deciding vote is going to come down to Michaela and me.”

Jim Nutz: “We must be quiet now as the players enter Tribal Council and sit right under our television tower. I’m joined by Sir Nick Fouldo, glad to have you here, Nick. What are your thoughts on the evening’s vote?”

NF: “It doesn’t matter what I think, Jim, does it? I would be getting rid of Brad because he is the hub of all the connections between the four and he’s even the link to Zeke. I see the alliance of 6 as being split in two factions with Andrea, Cirie and Aubry on one side, Sophie and Zeke on the other with Michaela kind of floating between the two...”

JN: “I think you mean Sarah, not Sophie and isn’t it weird to see Michaela apparently closer to Sarah than Cirie.”

NF: “Thank you Jim, yes Sarah and Zeke are together as for Michaela, I think Cirie wanted to hide their alliance so much that Michaela found trust elsewhere. Like I was saying; if they get rid of Brad then it would be easy to pick up two of the remaining three and take control over the other faction. There, I would say Cirie, Andrea and Aubry would be more likely than Sarah and Zeke to pick up Tai and Sierra.”

JN: “That does sound like a solid plan, Nick.”

NF: “Yes but Debbie is giving us the evil eye so we better be quiet.”

JN: “I think that was meant for Sarah, not us...”

When Sarah told Jeff that she was the flipper, Debbie gave her the finger.

NF: “What class...”

Brad said that they were put on the outs in an instant.
Tai agreed with Brad, adding that it was the first time in two seasons that he’s been in the bottom.

NF: “Tai has always been on the bottom of something...”

Sierra said it felt like playing Russian roulette and the gun was pointing at her so she hoped the chamber was empty.
Zeke said this situation mirrored the previous one so the best thing to do was to keep the vote to yourself.
Andrea pleased Jeff by saying this was unlike any seasons before because everyone was trying out new majority alliances. She hoped the six were sticking together.

NF: “It’s as if we’ve never heard of voting blocs before...”

Michaela wanted to see the six staying together until their numbers were solid. The simple move was often the best.

NF: “Seizing the opening, Jeff now is trying hard to save Zeke by saying the numbers aren’t solid right now. Of course, Zeke will agree with him.”

Zeke warned about making the big move at the right time because now wasn’t the right time.

NF: “The toast is starting to be crispy isn’t he?”

JN: “I can certainly smell burnt toast from here.”

Cirie told Jeff that she wasn’t listening to his question but was busy looking at her grid.
Sierra pleaded her case by saying she was a vote they could use.
Sarah said that they were simply trying to sell their case.
Michaela said she listens to people but that she has to turn the heart down at times to make it to the next day.
Andrea countered that by saying you couldn’t treat people like chess pieces if you wanted to get to the end.

JN: “It was time to vote. When Jeff returned with the votes, Sarah didn’t play her secret advantage, Tai held on to his two idols while Troyzan did the same with his. Sierra probably wished she could play her advantage but it wasn’t time for it yet.

NF: “Isn’t that incredible; you need a scorecard just to keep track of all these items”

JN: “So when Jeff revealed the votes, we had:
- Tai and Zeke voted for Sierra
- Sierra, Brad and Troyzan voted for Tai
- Cirie, Aubry, Andrea, Michaela and Sarah all voted for Zeke.
So there you have it, folks, Zeke gets his torch snuffed and will once again be on the jury.”

NF: “It was well deserved because he tried making big moves much too early. It was weird seeing Michaela crying over Zeke.”

JN: “Hali called them Game Changers but Debbie called them idiots.”

NF: “It doesn’t happen often, Jim but I do agree with Debbie.”

Jim Nutz: “Now that the players have left Tribal Council, I welcome my newest partner, Tony Nomo for the “Next time on Survivor” segment.”

TN: “Thank you, Jim. Next time on Survivor, we will see Sierra telling Sarah about her legacy advantage opening the door for her to stay in the game. She will try to form an alliance that will include Michaela, Tai and Troyzan. Then the players will be playing for their Loved Ones.”

JN: “What do you make of that, Tony?”

TN: “I have no idea but I’m happy to be getting my millions while sitting in the booth with you instead of lying under two or three 300 pound linemen.”

The Story

Howard Kosher and I’m here to tell it like it is: This season, the women are running circles around the men. While Brad is still trying to play the game, Troyzan and Tai are just hanging on, trying to figure out what’s going on. Cirie is part of what could be called the second “Black Widow Brigade” but there are big differences between the Micronesian version and this one. Back in Micronesia, Parvati served as the bridge between the two Fans and the other two Favorites that formed the alliance and they were pretty much all listening to what Cirie was telling them to do. This time, we have many hands on the wheel and no one that is really holding the group together. Also, their rivals aren’t as dumb as Ozzy, James, Jason and Erik. Sierra and Brad will certainly have a word to say in the outcome of the season. In a season of Game Changers, you have to look at the player that has the clearest plan to the end. Like my old partner Dandy Don used to say: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

The Characters

Michaela: She certainly didn’t look happy to vote for Zeke so that could be the kick in the behind that gets her to make a move. It simply can’t work for her. Either she becomes a goat for Brad and Sierra or she gets voted out for being untrustworthy.

Tai: He says he’s never been on the bottom before but Tai has always been on the bottom of one alliance or another. It’s just that no one ever bothered voting him out before. If it were anyone but Tai we could wonder how he will react after seeing his three allies writing his name but knowing Tai it won’t even make him ask questions.

Troyzan: It was funny to see Troyzan on screen when Brad said he made the effort to turn the situation around. Troyzan hasn’t had any input in the strategy of the game so if it changes in his favor it won’t be because of his efforts. What could he say right now to earn votes?

Aubry: She is right there with Andrea and Cirie in making these decisions but we really don’t hear it from her perspective. She’s the women’s narrator, not their decision maker as far as the story is concerned. She couldn’t get the votes in her season when she was making most of the moves so how could she get them this time?

Brad: From the beginning, Brad has been the only man to have sound strategic confessionals. He has also reinvented his game by adding a strong social game. I really think the women should have gone after him first because he is the link between Sierra and Troyzan, between Sierra and Tai and even between Tai and Troyzan. Those four are still in an alliance because of their connection to Brad. He has played a solid game but his bank account will work against his chances of convincing the jury to award him a million dollars.

Sierra: We have followed her story from the start so she is a strong character but some feel she was arrogant when she was on top and then we often heard her complaining about the tough conditions. She made a solid plea to Andrea and Cirie but we didn’t see the follow-up. Was she told to vote for Tai as I suppose she was or did she simply take a shot in the dark? I think Sierra has a chance of going with Cirie and Andrea who don’t see her as a threat but will she stay with Brad and Troyzan?

Cirie: Now that she is in another 5 women alliance will Cirie find a happier ending than in Micronesia? She may very well keep her alliance to the end but once more she will need someone taking her to the Finale. Is anyone dumb enough to do that? Everyone likes Cirie so that makes her a huge jury threat.

Andrea: She is showing that she is the most complete player out there winning individual immunities over a full field and having a strong input on the game’s direction. We are far from the girl who quietly depended on her alliances to make it to the end. I have no doubt that Andrea had to act quickly because we heard Sarah and Zeke saying she was next according to their outline of the game. This was the right move but it could still lead to elimination. Andrea has reinvented her game but Zeke has really hurt her chances of making it to the end by forcing her hand so early. Everyone sees her as a threat to win so who will want to keep her?

Sarah: Most of the strategy comes down to Sarah. After Cirie, Andrea, Debbie or Sierra exposed their plan we always heard how it affected Sarah and what she wanted to do about it. The problem is that she lost Zeke and we heard just how much she depended on him. That puts her in a difficult situation so it will be interesting to hear what made her vote against Zeke and how she plans on moving forward.

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Flowerpower1 2089 desperate attention whore postings
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05-08-17, 10:26 AM (EST)
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16. "RE: Episode 11 - Idiots"
Thoroughly enjoyed this segment of the post game wrap up! Attention to detail, with quirky and witty commentary to boot! So funny, thanks for the extra effort there, Michel. I couldn't agree more with all of your assessments. I don't know why they overlook Brad....i think you may have figured out the voting avoid an idol if Zeke had one. Tai's only confessionals have revolved around finding his idols, he's a non-entity, and makes me believe his idols will not help him in this game.

Brad could be a goat, Troyzan definitely, but isn't anyone fearful of their ability to win challenges later?

Well done, great account!

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05-08-17, 02:10 PM (EST)
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17. "RE: Episode 11 - Idiots"
Thank you, FP. There hasn't been too many visitors around here so it's nice to see you. I was hoping the readers could hear the voices of these commentators as they read my comments.
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Agent99 7 desperate attention whore postings
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05-08-17, 08:52 PM (EST)
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18. "RE: Episode 11 - Idiots"
In no way am I able to provide an editing insight in this post, but I do want to say thank you for years of your editing insights. I have been a lurker starting at SurviorSucks and Tapewatchers insights back to Australia Season 2. Yes, a LONGtime lurker. Thank you for Veruca in starting this thread, michael2 for your fine continuation, Flowerpower, Pepe and all the wonderful people that have contributed about the sounds and animals. I appreciate you all. It really hit me yesterday that there were only 15 messages in this post, when back in the day Veruca would have to start a new one once she got to 100 or so. Anyway, I may not provide insights like all of you, but I faithfully read just about all of the posts here in TV Reality World. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! Back to lurking.
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05-08-17, 10:07 PM (EST)
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19. "What a nice post, Agent 99!"
What a lovely post, Agent 99! I agree with you, MOST EVERYONE counts on this thread and it's thorough nature. Michel, we know how long it takes and I so appreciate every word you write! Long live the editing thread!!

You are a BRIGHT and shining STAR around here! I hope you ALWAYS do it, as long as the show runs, you will have those of us that can't wait for Saturday night, or Sunday AM to get here so we can read your thread! You have incredible insight into the entire nuance of the show, and your attention to detail is second to none!

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05-08-17, 10:24 PM (EST)
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20. "RE: Episode 11 - Idiots"
LAST EDITED ON 05-08-17 AT 10:28 PM (EST)

I'll second what FP wrote about your post, Agent99. We did lose so many great contributors so it's heart warming to read that people have been following all this time.

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05-08-17, 11:39 PM (EST)
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21. "RE: Episode 11 - Idiots"
There are lurkers about, without much to post. I did consider chipping in with the Varner & Zeks thing, as I though it was much more about Varner than Zeke. I still enjoy reading the West Coast Update, even if I saw the episode. There are such keen insights by dedicated fans that I didn't notice myself. Thanks for all y'all's work!
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michel2 2214 desperate attention whore postings
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05-09-17, 00:08 AM (EST)
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22. "RE: Episode 11 - Idiots"
Thank you, Murphy. PLease don't hesitate when you have somethig to say. It's always fun to hear different point of views.
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05-14-17, 02:21 PM (EST)
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23. "Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
The public has no compassion. Already the intense discussions and analysis aroused by the murder of Lady Sierra is a thing of the past and nearly forgotten. The questions surrounding next time on Survivor have already taken its place.

My friend, Hercule Poirot, has long been retired but he still helps the authorities with their more troubling cases. I have been very fascinated with the murder mysteries provided by Survivor and, as surprising as it sounds, I have been able to turn Poirot into a fan himself. (Don’t tell anyone but Miss Marple is a fan of Big Brother) Poirot has never been mentioned in the credits of the show but he has solved every single case.

I can no longer follow him on location but, in accordance with my wishes, he comes over so that we can watch the cases together. As always, I am in awe with the genius that enables him to discover the truth of the affairs. But for Hercule Poirot I doubt if any of these criminals would ever have been brought to face Justice.

I feel therefore that the time has come for me to set down all I know of the latest affair. I know the ins and outs of the case thoroughly and I may also mention that I shall be revealing very disturbing information in doing so.

I clearly remember Poirot, sitting on a chair in my living room, giving me his masterly and astounding resume of the case while we watched the recorded events. I am going to begin my narrative where he did on that occasion, when we watched as the 9 castaways returned to camp after burying Lord Zeke of Transylvania.

“You remember, mon ami,” he started, “Countess Andrea de Boehlke was quite the center of attention in Fiji; she had won some competitions and was considered by many the darling of the islands. Lord Zeke had been her closest friend and the two had been inseparable since they had been shipwrecked together. Some say they even knew each other very well and were actually engaged before embarking on this expedition. Unfortunately, Lord Zeke betrayed Andrea who found out about his indiscretions and immediately broke off their engagement. Shortly afterwards, Zeke was found dead. The rumours quickly floated around camp: It was said that Andrea got her way and had Zeke killed, derailing the life of everyone around her. It was I, Hercule Poirot, who discovered the truth: Devastated (and ruined because, despite his title, he had no fortune of his own and was counting on winning the million dollars), Zeke ended his own life.”

“Yes, you were brilliant as always, Poirot. I don’t know how anyone could blame Andrea after what Zeke did to her.”

“You’ve always liked Andrea, mon ami, haven’t you? Don’t deny it; I see you blushing just at the mention of her name. I assure you that she is even nicer in person. But let me continue my story: When I first got to the island, I knew better than to ask Andrea about the evening’s ceremony right away. She needed her space so I interviewed Culpepper instead. He said: “I thought myself, Sierra, Troyzan and Tai were on the bottom and thought one of us was going home but come to find that there was a whole diabolical plan to get rid of Zeke but unfortunately, we all put Tai down. So I don’t know that I have Tai anymore.”

Next, I talked to one of Zeke’s friend, Michaela: “The ceremony was a heartbreaker. We decided to acquiesce to Andrea. The majority turning on each other after one vote just means that there is nothing solid in a big group.”

Returning to the shelter, I heard Cirie say that the three had voted for Tai so that he could be someone to get on their side and that they needed to break up the pair of Brad and Sierra.

Cirie admitted: “If the pair of Sierra and Brad stay together long enough and they can convince enough people to come back to that side, we’re back in trouble. So we got to split that up.”

The next morning, Sierra was feeling depressed so I gave her a shoulder to lean on: “It’s a weird feeling losing control of this game and being on the bottom because you have nothing to lose. Sarah has been my closest friend, not alliance, friend while being out here and I feel like I really got burned by her but she could be a key person to get me further in this game. I need to leave that behind us and somehow try to continue to work together.”

When we approached Sarah, she had fire burning in her eyes.

It was just the reflection of the camp fire in her glasses but it gave her a fiercely determined look. At that point, I didn’t know what tragedy was about to hit Sierra but looking back, even I asked myself if it was that fire that burned Sierra.

Sierra told Sarah about finding the legacy advantage on day one, that it was an immunity idol that she could use when only six castaways remained but that she would have to will it to someone else if she was eliminated.

I then had a talk with Sarah: “Brad and Sierra need to be split up and when Sierra told me about this advantage, it actually makes me want to keep her now because she is giving me information and she wants to work with me. So, the door is opening for her to stay in this game and Brad’s game is over.”

“That is a death threat, Poirot! You should have had her arrested immediately.”

“Sarah was dangerous indeed but it was still only part of the game. If we arrested everyone who put a target on someone, there wouldn’t be anyone left in Fiji.

By that afternoon, we received the visitors.”

“Yes, I was asked to fly over for you, my friend but I simply had to decline. I wish I could have been there with you.”

“I felt your presence, mon ami. We’ve spent so many adventures together that I always imagine you by my side. Anyway, everyone had tears in their eyes and, as always, we got some funny moments; just look at Tai after Sierra told Sarah that her husband was sexy!”

“That Tai!

I’m guessing he was thinking of a way to have a bromance with Wyatt, wasn’t he?! That was a touching moment when Andrea said she was on Survivor because of her dead sister. Not surprisingly, they showed Sarah when Sierra’s dad said that there was always someone ready to take you down. Did Tai say he wanted to see Mark the chicken? Oh! no of course, he meant Mark his boyfriend. Monica looks just as beautiful as ever”

“I heard Brad and Cirie had an agreement not to target each other before the family visit so that they could both enjoy it.”

“Those types of deals don’t surprise me. Cirie’s kid looks like quite the athlete. If he has his mom’s wits, he’d be quite the player. I bet we’ll see him in a season soon. But you know that I’m more interested in what happened in that competition.”

“They were playing in teams of three. Andrea and Aubry were still focused on the game: They managed to separate Brad and Sierra by picking Brad as their third player. Considering the challenge ended with throwing sandbags at wooden blocks, they certainly made the best choice possible. Cirie was with Troyzan and Sierra while Sarah, Tai and Michaela formed the third trio.

All three teams reached the beach at about the same time but then Andrea, Aubry and Brad took a lead at the last obstacle when both Tai and Sierra got stuck in the sand. Monica’s husband hit all the targets before any other team had a chance to throw any of their sandbags.”

“Michaela was so upset her mom had to calm her down!”

“She wasn’t going to be happier with what happened next.”

“Speaking for her team, Andrea picked Cirie to join them. Asked to pick another, Aubry called for Sarah. I asked Andrea to explain.”

Andrea said: “That was a very, very difficult decision. Michaela was completely defeated but Michaela is very smart and she knows that this is a game so we’ll give Michaela a day and she will get over it and we will be back on track.”

“I think Andrea is overestimating Michaela’s reasonableness.”

“You will soon be proven right, mon ami. I couldn’t follow the winners to the Bar-B-Q but I interviewed them just before they got back to camp. First though, I observed what was going on in camp. Michaela was telling Tai that she was really disappointed not to have been picked so I asked her for her thoughts.

Michaela: “I was really pissed off...because they didn’t care about me and my mother so I saw a huge opportunity to move myself forward in the game. Tai is awesome to work with because he has no one.”

Sierra and Troyzan had been making calculations back at camp, figuring that they needed Michaela.

I laughed: “They were just a bit slower than Tai. Imagine that!”

“Yes, that will come into play later so remember this” said Poirot who went on with his narration: “I then asked Sierra for her thoughts: “I don’t want to turn my back on Brad and Troyzan so I’m hoping we can pull Tai back into our mix and maybe have an in with Michaela who I never worked with. It’s a great opportunity because she’s the type of person to get upset, feel disrespected and flip.”

“Sitting in the ocean, the four not only agreed to work together, they decided that Andrea had to be the next one to go because, as Sierra put it, she would beat them all in the end.”

“Oh! no! not the sweet Andrea.”

“Don’t get so agitated, mon cher, it isn’t good for you. Let me continue: With this new development, I interviewed Michaela once more. She said: “I put Tai and me in a wonderful position! The stars aligned for us. We got options: Be with the group that votes Andrea or be with the group that votes Brad and we’ll come to that decision whenever it’s time to come to that decision. At the end of the day, this is about Michaela and what Michaela is trying to do in this game.”

“I can never get used to people talking about themselves in the third person.”

“Neither can I” said Poirot, “I’d never put myself anywhere but first!”

“These are the interviews I conducted after the players returned from the reward. First, I talked with Cirie who said: “Jarred is like his mom; he’s not an island boy, he’s a city kid. He’s never been anywhere. It’s huge to see him open to different things. The only thing that would be better than that is for me to make it to the end and win for him.”

“Do you remember back in the day when such a quote used to mean something? Now, everyone gives us million dollar quotes...”

“You are right, and considering how little Cirie impacted this case, I think we can say that the family visit played too much on her mind but we have to watch what happened next. I talked to Brad and this is what he had to say: “I’m very fortunate that my loved one is a former stud Survivor player. She’s a huge resource for me. As Monica pointed out, Michaela was angry after she was not selected so hopefully, Troyzan and Sierra are back at camp convincing Michaela to flip and get in an alignment with us. Otherwise, I have to win immunity for me to make it another day.”

“I wonder if Monica’s advice helps Brad more than Cochran’s advice helped Debbie! Who did you talk to next?”

‘No one else on that Bar-B-Q had anything interesting to say. Anyway, it was time for your favorite part of the episode and the one I find the most tedious: The immunity challenge.”

“Yes, I want to see that. I’m hoping Andrea will win a third necklace.”

“Well, this one involved endurance, balance and upper body muscle stamina and while he had some trouble with his balance, Brad had the advantage in that one.”

“Did you notice Sierra’s smile when Andrea dropped her ball?

I’m sorry about what happened to her but she did have an evil side.”

“It is this game that is evil, my friend, but did you hear what Sierra said when she dropped her own ball? “It snuck up on me” she said but something much worse was about to sneak up on her.”

“Who did you talk to after the challenge?”

“I thought I’d change things up a bit and went right back to Michaela who said: “Brad saved himself so because of the whole idea of splitting up Brad and Sierra, I think Sierra is in trouble, Andrea is in trouble and it’s funny because everybody’s thinking that I’m voting with them so a couple of people are going to be blindsided tonight.”

“I still don’t understand why Michaela turned her back on Cirie. The woman had given her solid advice, saved her a couple of times and how does Michaela repay her? She’s making alliances against Cirie’s own allies.”

“Don’t forget that Cirie herself had an understanding with Brad that she didn’t tell anyone. There’s much more going on than I can recount. Now comes the interesting part of the episode: The plotting before the execution.

I asked Andrea for her thoughts.”

Andrea’s comments: “Before the challenge, we were planning on taking out Brad and Brad ends up winning immunity so it does kind of limit our choices.”

With Aubry, she went to Tai saying it had to be Sierra. Tai agreed that she and Brad had to be broken up but he had other ideas.

Tai’s revelation: “The group of five want to vote Sierra out tonight but Sierra, Brad and Troyzan want to vote Andrea so I’m weighing my options. Right now, I’m closest to Michaela and strategically, both groups want us. They both need our numbers.”
Tai and Michaela agreed that it had to be Andrea.


Michaela added: “They all try to outsmart us but when we work together we’re smart enough to win.”

“I’m reminded of Rob Cesternino’s famous quote: “Two girls. One brain. Divide by two. Only one halfwit left.” Two half-wits don’t add up to one smart Survivor player!”

Poirot pointed out: “Unfortunately, when the plotting started against her, Andrea was fast asleep in the hammock.

I don’t think she is working as hard as she should to survive until the end.”

“But she’s so cute...”

Poirot didn’t care for my sentiments as he simply returned to the story: “Michaela informed Sierra that Andrea was gunning for her.”

I went to Sierra for her reaction: “Michaela and Tai told me that my name is getting thrown around and I’m absolutely terrified but people have given me their word and it’s myself, Brad, Troyzan, Michaela and Tai who are going to vote for Andrea. So I’m hoping that people are looking at the big picture right now and I’m not the biggest threat; It’s Andrea.”

I noticed something interesting and pointed it out to Poirot: “Did you notice that she wasn’t even counting on Sarah at this point?!”

“Yes, Sierra certainly had a blind spot because, at that very moment, Sarah was plotting with Aubry to get Sierra out of the game.

I immediately went to Sarah to ask her a few questions. Sarah admitted: “So, originally, I didn’t want to vote Sierra out but Brad won immunity and if Sierra goes, it is not all bad because Sierra has told me about this Legacy Advantage and that she would will it to me if she leaves. Now, the only trick is that I need to confirm that Sierra thinks I’m good with her to make sure that she gives it to me. I don’t want to vote her out but this isn’t about making friends, this is about winning a million dollars. So now, according to Sierra, Tai and Michaela might be voting out Andrea which is news to me. I need them to help me vote Sierra out because I need that advantage.”

“Ha! Ha! Poirot! you are such a genius! You get a confession on tape even before the crime is committed! Sarah just gave you the motive and she certainly had the opportunity. This won’t be a tough case at all!”

I remember Poirot’s ominous reply: “Do not mistake intention with commission, mon ami. There was much more going on underneath the surface.”

As the images rolled along, Poirot continued: “Sarah, despite promising Sierra that she would keep quiet about the legacy idol, went directly to Michaela telling her that Sierra had to be voted out because of that advantage. I soon found out that Michaela is easily manipulated: “Initially, it was just get Andrea because she might win everything but the fact that Sierra has an advantage further convolutes what’s the best move to make right now. Tai and I need to decide which way to go tonight. Sierra is a good person to get rid of but we would like Andrea gone sooner than later. The question is now the right time? It’s a great thing when the decision is in your hand as long as you make the right one because, if you make the wrong one, you end up on the jury looking stupid.”

For Sarah, there was no such hesitation; it had to be Sierra no matter what.

I interjected: “This execution was mostly the right decision for Sarah but not for Michaela so we can expect that she will soon be on the jury looking stupid.”

“Very probable, mon cher, but, at this time, the sun was setting and the guys were walking into Tribal Council:

Jeff greeted them and the members of the jury then he asked Andrea about the Loved Ones reward and the decision that had to be made.

Andrea said that it was hard to make and that they were wondering about the consequences.
Talking about those consequences, Sierra said the four had the chance to talk about going further in the game together.
Aubry said that every little thing could add up in this game.
Jeff turned to Culpepper, mentioning that he enjoyed his first big win during the immunity challenge.

That got a chuckle from Ozzy who must have been thinking of all his personal victories.

Brad said the necklace was a big help for him but not for the four on the bottom.
Sierra said she wasn’t concerned about who was going to win immunity; she was only concerned about being in trouble but that Andrea was a bigger threat than her.
Andrea said that the people on the bottom were big underdogs so they would become big threats if they were left in the game.
Aubry said that they each had to determine who their biggest threat was.
Sarah said they didn’t always know what was going on but they had a solid group and they should stick together.
Michaela said that the “we” is relative because the W can easily flip into an M, turning the We into a Me.

Jeff liked that. In 34 seasons, he had never thought of that line but now he was going to use it as if it was his own.

Andrea said she was hearing some red flags but that she had to trust the conversations she had.
Sierra said she also believed the people who talked to her.
Andrea pointed out she talked to the same people as Sierra so one of them was being served lies.

It was time to vote.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, no one budged so he read the votes:

Andrea received three votes while Sierra got all the others even if only five were shown.

Despite being lied to by Sarah, Sierra willed her advantage to her.

I immediately objected: “Well, Sierra couldn’t have known that Sarah had lied to her; one vote was left in the urn and Sarah did a good acting job, looking completely baffled by the result.”

Poirot was adamant: “I do not believe it for a minute. Except for the first couple of seasons, Probst always reveals all the meaningful votes and do you think for a moment he would have missed the opportunity to have a 4-4 tie with only one vote left in the urn? OF COURSE NOT! Sierra is a returning player so she absolutely had to know that the hidden parchment had her name on it and that it had to come from Sarah. As for the acting job, most of it came after Sierra had walked off the set and it was not convincing at all. If Sarah had been smart, she would have voted against Sierra herself. Then she would have deserved to inherit.”

“But I'm sure Sarah was NOT sure that Michaela and especially that Tai would vote for Sierra so she had to be afraid Andrea might get voted out 5-4 instead of Sierra if she voted for Andrea and either Tai or Michaela did not vote for Sierra.

“Well if they had both voted against Andrea, then Sarah’s own vote wouldn’t have mattered, would it? Voting against Sierra in that case would have meant that all hopes of getting the advantage the next time were gone because Tai and Michaela would have been quick to inform Sierra of their votes. And Sarah could have easily risked seeing only one of them voting against Andrea and having her own vote being the one sending Andrea to the jury. After all, the legacy advantage is only good at 6 so there was still time to get it or insure that Sierra would have used it for her if needed as she promised she would.”

“So Poirot,” I said, “This is a lot like the Murder on the Orient Express: Either by omission or commission, they were all guilty of Sierra’s execution!”

That’s when Poirot slowly rose to his feet and, with his mustaches twitching in excitement, he pronounced: “NON, mon ami, J’ACCUSE Jeff Probst for this abominable crime. He never liked Sierra and, after failing to get her out when Zeke ended his own life, he made sure he’d get her this time. Sierra could have told Sarah about the advantage without revealing the legacy clause so Probst and his henchmen forced her into revealing everything. Then, even if Sierra knew Sarah had voted against her and wanted to will the advantage to Brad, Probst forced her to go along with what would make a better story.”

The Characters

Michaela: To think she was voted out by the Millennials because she was too smart for them! This half-wit had to know that Andrea and Aubry couldn’t pick all three of their allies to go on reward. It was already good that they got two while Brad couldn’t invite any of his. She based her whole strategy on her frustrations and then she reversed course just on Sarah’s mention of Sierra’s legacy advantage. She wasn’t on the jury when that advantage first came into play so she probably didn’t know how it works but shouldn’t she have asked Sarah for more information? At the very least, she should have remembered that most game advantages don’t turn out to be advantages at all! She should have sought Cirie’s counsel but she’s still acting a lot like a teenager so she probably didn’t want to follow advice from her “mom” anymore.

Tai: We never saw Tai as a strategic player but I think he over reacted after receiving three votes from his allies. It certainly hurt but what choice did they have? Going to Michaela wasn’t a good alternative. With two idols, he could have saved Sierra a second time, completely flipped the game around and gotten back in that alliance. Now he’ll probably waste these idols or get voted out after they run their course.

Troyzan: Like Tai, he could have saved Sierra with his idol but after being outwitted so badly in One World it’s hard to blame him for sitting on it. Has an idol ever received as little attention as Troy’s? Maybe he lost it! Either way, it’s not hard to see that Troy has no impact on the story.

Aubry: We see her in action a little more than Troyzan but she’s mostly an adjunct to Andrea and her other allies. I don’t know what is in store for Aubry but even if she makes it to the Finale she hasn’t impressed anyone on the jury.

Brad: It would be funny to see Monica’s advice turning out being more useful than Cochran’s who was specially selected by production to help a player. Brad has one quality that should help him moving forward; his loyalty. In a season of players that want to live up to the moniker of “Game Changer” a truly loyal person is very precious. Cirie already worked with him to get to the Family Visit so maybe they’ll team up for a bigger reward.

Cirie: It’s hard to figure out how this tremendous social player could have her allies acting behind her back without her knowledge. It’s especially disturbing seeing that she lost contact with Michaela so much that she was left unaware of all her pupil’s wandering. At least she clearly heard Sierra saying that she felt confident during Tribal Council so that should alert Cirie that some of her allies are liars. Talking to Brad and Troy would confirm that they had solid commitments from Tai and Michaela. Will Cirie be able to flip the game back against these untrustworthy players? It would be quite satisfying to see her doing so.

Andrea: With 4 idols and a vote steal all in play during the next 4 Tribal Councils, the deck is stacked against the player perceived as the biggest threat in the game. It’s a weird story line considering Sierra is much more athletic, Brad is a former NFL player and while Andrea has won individual immunity 4 times or so in her Survivor career, she did participate in more than two dozen challenges in all so it’s not like she’s unbeatable or anything. It sounds more like an excuse to explain her elimination.

Sarah: With an idol, a vote steal and production doing back-flips in her favor, there is very little doubt that Sarah will have a huge impact on the conclusion of this story. The way she got her secret advantage under everyone’s nose was questionable but the way she got the Legacy advantage was simply unrealistic. Viewers will applaud her acting skills but Sierra had to know that Sarah voted against her. The desire to create a real “game changer” makes the whole show lose credibility.

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05-16-17, 06:11 PM (EST)
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24. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
LAST EDITED ON 05-16-17 AT 06:13 PM (EST)

A very nice who-done-it case, michel, and a very interesting conclusion to boot!

Apparently, you and I are indeed on the same page. Sarah really is in a very good position. Who knew riding the middle could pay off dividends. Certainly, not Dolly. You would think that someone that gets played would have her in the cross hairs, but no. The only one seemingly having her there is Debbie, and that's from the jury vantage point.

I would love to see Cirie triumph as well. She's done an amazing job of staying in the background. Let Andrea or Michaela draw the targets. And, interesting with her little side deal with Culpepper. Who will Cirie side with at this point? Clearly, that will be the question answered in the next episode. Bring it!

I have to add that I loved the segue that production used when Cirie noted that Jarod was a city boy, not an island boy, then we see Brad flipping hamburgers, the camera zoomed in on the spatula as he was flipping, and he and Monica were talking that Michaela would flip. ha!

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05-16-17, 10:24 PM (EST)
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25. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
Thank you, FP. I know it's not the popular opinion amongst fans of the show but I truly believe that some seasons are fixed or at least highly influenced.

In Cook Islands, I believe they did everything to avoid the all-white Final 4 that Penner and Adam discussed after the mutiny. That included not only the little green bottle but also getting Penner to flip after the merger.

The last minute F2 in Micronesia was done to let Parvati win. They apparently saw star possibilities in her because they gave her a couple of web shows afterwards.

I also believe that they helped Hantz with idols in Samoa and also helped him by cancelling the double boot that was scheduled before Swan had to be medevaced. During casting, he probably told them he'd be looking for idols without clues so they hid them in plain sight and then fell in love with the jerk.

Fabio's win in Nicaragua looked fishy. I believe they disqualified Sash because of the morgage offer he made to Jane. Why not let us know?

We all know that they helped the alliance between Parvati and Hantz and I also believe they twisted Tyson's hand in voting himself out. Maybe his win in BvW was the payback...

Many say that Redemption Island was fixed in Rob's favor. All I'll say is that he had a lot of fans in Ometepe.

Lastly, I cannot count Tony as a winner in Cagayan. Woo was probably offered a nice deal to pick him to go to the end.

This was my way of saying enough is enough and why I'll be hanging it up after this season.

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05-17-17, 05:48 PM (EST)
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26. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
Hanging it up?! No!

I'm naive and like to think Survivor is not fixed but it does feel highly influenced.

In Redemption Island Boston Rob and Russell drew Buffs for Tribes so theoretically there was a 50% chance that Boston Rob would NOT have been on Ometepe but if you wear a tinfoil hat you'd notice that Boston Rob drew FIRST and they could have rigged it so he drew the Orange Ometepe buff instead of the Purple Zapatera buff which was left for Russell to draw.

What Sierra says in her Ponderosa video seems to jive with her exit interviews (though we know player often re-write history) where in her Parade interview with Josh Wigler and other she says she thought Brad flipped and voted her out.

Wigler: When you were voted out, what did you think had happened?

Sierra: When the votes were read and I’m going home, Sarah looked at me and I saw tears welling up in her eyeballs, as if she’s just as shocked as I am. She’s shaking her head like, “I don’t know what happened!” She played me like a fiddle.

Wigler: She’s good!

Sierra: She’s goooooood. Oh, she’s good. I looked at Brad Culpepper, and there was nothing there. So I thought it was Brad. He voted for me. He was my man this whole time, but they must have told him that in order to last longer, he’s going to have to write my name down. Legitimately, I thought Brad had voted for me at that point. But he was just genuinely shocked!

Wigler: At a certain point, I have to imagine you figured out that Sarah voted for you. What was your reaction to that, whenever you found out?

Sierra: I wanted to vomit. (Laughs) “No. There’s no way. You’re joking.” It was probably an hour or two of me scratching my head. She got me. She got me good. That’s all there is.

Wigler: Did you respect it as a game move, or considering how tight you were, was it a tough pill to swallow?

Sierra: A little bit of both. I try to keep my emotions set aside. It is Survivor, but I feel like you can cross lines, and I felt that maybe she did a little bit with me, as far as that goes. We were very close. We shared a lot of deep, dark secrets. She could have at least just let me know: “Hey, they’re coming for you. Still give me the Legacy Advantage.”

Wigler: And would that have worked? If she shot straighter with you, would you have still given her the Legacy Advantage?

Sierra: I mean, probably! She still would have looked at me shocked, and I still would have thought Brad voted for me, and yeah, I would have given it to her. If she stuck by that? Probably. I probably would have.

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michel2 2214 desperate attention whore postings
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05-18-17, 10:09 PM (EST)
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28. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
If it is fixed as thoroughly as I believe it is then that's exactly what they payed Sierra to say. Brad gave Sierra zero reasons to doubt him while Sierra herself wasn't even counting on Sarah to vote out Andrea. She had her five set with Brad, Troyzan, Michaela and Tai.

Also look at Michaela's trajectory: She's Cirie's pupil, then she's Tai's number one, then she's ready to vote out Tai following Cirie's plan. Tai, not the brightest bulb, picks up on it and votes against Michaela. It simply doesn't make sense. If it was on the up and up, the issue was between Cirie, Sarah and Tai so why did Cirie get zero votes while Michaela gets the boot?

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05-17-17, 06:38 PM (EST)
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27. "I cannot accept this!"
LAST EDITED ON 05-17-17 AT 06:38 PM (EST)

michel: I just cannot accept it, NO! You cannot drop the ball now! Especially if we will get a whole different set of newbies next time! PUHHHHH-LEASSSSSE! With a cherry on top!

We have to keep it going, we all still love the dang show, no matter what. I agree I do think there are certain perks that some contestants enjoy. I thought it was over the top with Hantz and his freaking idols everywhere. I know they favor some, but let's face it there is a lot involved in winning this show, and LUCK has a lot to do with it.

Please, we need you around here, michel!

Got to keep it going! You are irreplaceable!


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05-18-17, 10:12 PM (EST)
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29. "RE: I cannot accept this!"
Thank you for your continued support FP but all we really need is your confessional thread. This place was dead for most of the season so why not put it to rest? I'll most certainly be watching but not doing an editing analysis. Maybe some summaries in Bashers, who knows?
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30. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
There were scandals in quiz shows in the ‘50’s. Stacey Stillman sued CBS after S1 in Borneo about Burnett manipulating Dirk & Sean to vote her out rather than Rudy. With today’s social media & whistleblower laws, I doubt they would risk trying to fix the game. Burnett has too much to lose now. I can believe Production is inadvertently or deliberately panning where the idol is when people are out looking for it. I have wondered if some of the spoiled bootlists were deliberate by Burnett to try to destroy the message boards. I believe Probst can & will influence Tribal Council, & made an executive decision that Verner had to go after outing Zeke, & put players in a spot where they had to go along when some might have preferred to have the vote & vote out someone else.

Maybe they gave Pavati a show because she is an attractive, personable, intelligent woman that is popular with the fans. Tyson wasn’t the brightest, nor was Woo, or Tai, Sierra, or Sarah, although Sarah does win the acting award though.

Cirie & Sarah both had bad ideas going into TC, but Sarah may have known or guessed Brad & Troyzan were voting Michaela whom many do not like. I thought Brad looked like a possible winner early, but now it’s showing he’s tired of these “people”. When Cirie caused Sarah to lose faith in Cirie she ultimately made a good choice in casting her 2 votes getting Michaela, a Cirie ally out.

Maybe they got new editors, or the old ones are just going thru burnout. I do think they’re mainly just trying to keep the show entertaining, rather than provide some deep meaningful story. The suspense adds to the entertainment.

I do look forward to your character analysis. I’ve gone from reading, then skimming, then skipping your recap of previous episode, although I imagine some do appreciate it. Then I went thru the same process with “the Story”. If you keep watching, I do hope you’ll keep that part up.

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31. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
Then I went thru the same process with “the Story”. If you keep watching, I do hope you’ll keep that part up.

I agree, michel. At least keep the story going. You don't have to do the play by play, it's so time consuming, I am sure. But, you have to give us your two cents! Especially things noted re: editing nuances and patterns, story, characters, etc. Pretty please!

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36. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
"There were scandals in quiz shows in the ‘50’s. Stacey Stillman sued CBS after S1 in Borneo about Burnett manipulating Dirk & Sean to vote her out rather than Rudy. With today’s social media & whistleblower laws, I doubt they would risk trying to fix the game. Burnett has too much to lose now."

Don't worry for Burnett, he won't lose anything. The Survivor contracts shield him from any lawsuit and blowing whistles would only get more ratings. Anyway, sometimes it isn't the outcome that is changed but just the way getting there.

Tyson was never really able to explain his own actions. Why? Because it wasn't his own actions.

If Woo is so dumb that he didn't know he'd have a better chance of beating Kass than Tony then the guy needs to be institutionalized. While he only hurt himself in Cagayan, he may very well inadvertantly hurt others in the real world. Dumb like that he could decide to keep warm by making a fire in his appartment or something like that.

Before winning Micronesia, Parvati was mostly a joke amongst Survivor fans. She was called Pervati or Poverty more often than her real name. It's winning that made her a star and opened up the possibilities for SeeBS to give her those shows.

How can I do character analysis when the show gives us nothing to analyze. Did you see how the last episode was presented? Two minutes post TC discussions, a challenge, scrambling before the vote and then TC and repeat. BORING. I'm done and I've been done for a few weeks now. It's only doing Basher type summaries that kept me going. Where you here during the best years of this board when we'd have to reserve our place to have the honor of doing a summary? There was a strict rule: To be allowed to recap one of the two top shows (Survivor and Amazing Race) you had to have written a summary for a lesser show. I remember writing one for Treasure Hunters just to get a chance of doing one for Survivor! Times have changed and now no one does summaries anymore. Well, I went back to them because that's really what I like doing.

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37. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
Well, I went back to them because that's really what I like doing.

Well Michel, I just hope you will post a summary thread in this spoiler site. We could ALL use it! Thanks so much for all your hard work over the years. It's been a great run! xoxo

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38. "RE: Episode 12 - Lady Sierra Died"
I certainly don’t question your credentials for posting. I certainly couldn’t do it. I posted a lot on sucks S1, but then quit watching until All-Stars. Then it was several seasons before I watched regularly again, although I did occasionally check out the boards. I missed Parvati’s 1st 2 seasons, other than maybe a few TC’s, but I agree with “It's winning that made her a star and opened up the possibilities for SeeBS to give her those shows.” I think that & being a 3 time player & a degree in journalism may have helped get her the job. I didn’t see the season she won, but I do question the fix with a “last minute F2 in Micronesia was done to let Parvati win” & likely still would if I saw the show.

I do enjoy & appreciate what I’ve read from you & other posters. Y’all see stuff I don’t, but sometimes I do not agree with the interpretations of you & others.

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32. "Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
LAST EDITED ON 05-21-17 AT 02:40 PM (EST)

Previously on Survivor,

Sarah shared her secret to gain an ally and Sierra followed suit but it backfired. At Tribal Council, Sarah’s plan worked and she was willed the legacy advantage.

We get it Jeff; Sarah is your game changer...

Andrea and Aubry talked about Sarah’s acting job at TC.

Andrea in confessional: “There are little things that Sarah does that kind of raises some question marks and this was definitely one of them. Sarah has lied to me before so maybe it’s time to get someone like Sarah out.”

Cirie’s interview: “Sarah has been getting her work in with a lot of people and fine for me. I’d like to take her to the end and all the people she screwed over will be right there to decide who wins.”

It’s weird hearing the most famous goat hunter of all times say that she needs to keep the goat around. Of course, it isn’t the only thing weird about this season...

Sarah’s interview: “Last night at Tribal, taking out Sierra was good because she told me about this legacy advantage. She said, in the event that she is voted out, she is going to will it to me. So, at Tribal Council, as her name comes up, I look at her in shock, like I can’t believe you’re going and it worked. Now I have two, this time: Game Changers! I’m shooting for the stars here and if I had to pick, I want Andrea gone. I cannot stand the girl however it’s got to be the right time.”

Did you notice that no one mentioned that there were only three votes on Sierra? Of course they didn’t because that’s the big flaw in this whole story.

The Immunity Challenge

Aubry won immunity, bettering her “boyfriend’s Cochran’s time in the process. She was so happy she tackled Jeff.

Andrea had the end-of-challenge confessional: “For me, Brad and Troyzan voted for me twice but Sarah is so good at pulling people in, she’s very crafty so we want to get to her when she’s not expecting it and I think the next vote would be the perfect time to do that.”

Back in camp, Aubry gave an interview: “I won immunity! It felt really, really good to have a high moment in a 33 day journey where I needed something to kind of start a résumé. Now, I’m thinking a couple of steps ahead and Troyzan is someone who is likable but Brad is physically a big threat. So the time is nigh for Brad Culpepper.

Cirie was making sure everyone was on board to eliminate Brad. Michaela wanted him to go catch fish so she could eat.

Michaela’s interview: “Brad is nowhere to be found because he’s in the forest so I volunteered to go find Brad to make sure he’s not looking for an idol and maybe we should get Brad to go fishing.”

She found him and told him so. He took her suggestion as blackmail.

Brad’s thoughts: “Michaela is trying to be a princess and blackmail me into fishing for her. I’m not going to sit here and kowtow to some diva’s demands. I’m just looking for a way for me to get back into this game to be able to make it another day.”
Taking a walk in the woods with Aubry, Andrea put the target back on Sarah.

Andrea’s interview (all three of Andrea’s confessionals were actually filmed at the same time as you can tell by her position on the beach and her hair which is up in the same type of bun each time.): “I’ve been with Sarah since day 1 and I feel I have a great bond with her but maybe Sarah is pandering to the jury already. Maybe Sarah is pandering to Sierra as she walks out.”

Aubry felt that it was still Brad’s turn.

Aubry’s interview: “Luckily, I have a little solace tonight. It’s really weird to have this feeling. I feel I can see things a little more clearly. I am not acting on that gut feeling with Sarah because I fully believe that it’s time to send Brad home.”

What is a unique feeling for Aubry was normal for Yul who had that feeling every single time he went to Tribal Council. It wasn’t as if he worked hard to win immunity each time but simply because he found something in the sand during the second episode which is the reason why I say he never actually played Survivor.

Bypassing Aubry, Andrea went to Cirie with her thoughts on Sarah.
Cirie’s interview: “Andrea is trying to work me like I’m a cheap suit, trying to hint around about Sarah but I need Sarah to stay in order for me to make it further in the game.”

So Cirie went to Sarah about eliminating Andrea.

Andrea was once again shown sleeping in the shelter while the players were plotting against her. If that isn’t a clear hint of things to come, what is?

Cirie’s interview resumed: “Everything around here is about timing and when to make a move so, at Tribal Council, should Sarah and I get rid of Andrea and get our numbers down or keep our five strong and go for Brad because he is too dangerous to keep around; he wins challenges. It’s a real difficult position to be in but timing is key here.”

If viewers hadn’t caught on when Andrea was shown sleeping then they put the camera on Andrea picking up her torch just when Cirie said timing was key. I find it impossible to believe that the woman who was burned by Terry’s long immunity win streak in Panama would miss the perfect opportunity to vote Brad out. Of all the people who have ever played Survivor, Cirie is the last person who would turn on an ally when a strong male is still around and subject to be voted out. This simply doesn’t wash. And it wasn’t as if Andrea wasn’t trustworthy; she told Cirie about her plan and then changed her vote to Brad.

Tribal Council

Aubry said the last vote gave them a more solid alliance.
Sarah said it wasn’t broken so don’t fix it.

Troyzan made a point to say he was a vote for the bottom people.
Aubry said a lot could happen with 8 people.

Cirie told Jeff that the group was very quiet and little scrambling was done.

Andrea agreed with Cirie, adding no one came up to her. She found it odd.

She should because that is always a huge red flag.

Brad said he didn’t talk to Andrea because he had already written her name down twice but he did talk to the other girls hoping one would see it was time to make a move and go with him to the end.

The camera showed Sarah right then. If you still don’t know why, don’t ask me to spell it out for you.

Sarah said the jury will reward the person making the moves.

They usually don’t but a little incentive will probably help. That or a direct order...

Aubry said that emotions always play a part.

Tai felt that the jury will reward the person who played the best game.

Well that isn’t Tai...

Andrea said good game play should be rewarded but not if you rub salt in the wound. The way you send someone to the jury matters.
Michaela wanted to simply advance her group and stay as safe as possible.

Brad pointed out that someone would get it at Final Five.
Someone will get voted out at five even if they side with Brad on this vote...

It was time to vote.

Aubry and Andrea voted against Brad. Everyone else voted against Andrea.

Andrea went to Cirie before grabbing her torch, pointing her as her executioner. Aubry uttered: “Nice Play” in Cirie’s direction but the camera showed us Sarah instead.

Maku Maku Night 33

Cirie’s interview: “We sent Andrea to the jury but we still have a lot of people in this game that need to go and although Aubry is still in our group, I can’t trust her that much.”

Aubry’s interview: “Pretty standard day for me in Survivor; up and down. I really felt great at the immunity challenge winning. It never happened before. I had a good relationship with Andrea so naturally she is going to get killed off too. For me, Survivor seems to be really high highs and really low lows.”

Cirie’s next interview: “What was really bizarre when we came back from Tribal; Tai immediately runs right to Aubry’s side. Tai was like Aubry’s husband and he was consoling her more than anybody else which was kind of weird to me. Tai works people and he works on their emotional side so the way he is moving around on Aubry lets me know that they are some kind of pair happening there.”

The Immunity Challenge

Why waste time on the story and the characters? We have a second challenge and another Tribal Council to see, and a lot more of Jeff’s peroration to hear. Aren’t we lucky?

The puzzle got a kick out of Michaela while Brad got a kick out of the puzzle.

(It was much more fun when we had Shane standing on that pole, imitating Jeff.)

“Pick somebody else, people” he yelled after winning immunity.
Cirie’s interview: “Brad is safe so now we have to recalculate what our next move is going to be and I’m ready to take out somebody that is a threat to me.”

A secret alliance between Cirie, Sarah, Brad and Troyzan would be the only way to make some sense of this season but Cirie’s words here means there isn’t one.

Back in camp, Troyzan gave us the first interview (He’s still given them? I thought he had retired): “So at the challenge, Brad Culpepper wins so I’m going to Tribal with my idol and if I feel like I’m in trouble, I’ll play it.”

Tai and Aubry were looking at the game from the jury’s point of view and both agreed that Sarah made the moves that would be rewarded.

Tai’s interview: “I need to start showing the jury some big moves. And Sarah’s the dangerous one.”

Aubry’s interview: “I think Tai has been drinking the Kool-Aid that he needs to make a move in this game but if I want to make a big move for my résumé, if I don’t get Tai out of here before he gets me out of here, my game is over any way.”

Aubry told Cirie that Tai was targeting Sarah so Cirie relayed the information to the cop who thought Aubry was lying. She trusted Tai over Aubry.

Sarah’s interview: “For whatever reason, Cirie wants to believe Aubry and everything that is coming out of Aubry’s mouth. So I’m going to give Cirie the advantage of “steal-a-vote” to hold on to. This way, if this doesn’t scream loyal, I don’t know what does.”

Since Sarah knew the “steal-a-vote” was non-transferable, she was setting a trap so I wouldn’t call that loyal. Despicable would be more appropriate. But then again, I think both Sarah and Cirie were simply playing their part in the upcoming production at Tribal Council.

Cirie’s interview: “Sarah is so confident in Tai that I can’t even get her to use her own advantage so she wants to give it to me because she’s that confident but do I play it tonight and save Sarah and risk Sarah being pissed off at me? I’m from the old school: “If you got it, play it” so I’m going to use it; believe that!”

The plan, as Cirie explained to Michaela, was to steal Sarah’s own vote because she was going to waste it on Aubry, so Cirie could put two votes on Tai and get him out with Michaela and Aubry’s votes.

Wait, wasn’t Tai Michaela’s closest ally now?

Michaela’s interview: “Officer Sarah is confused. If she is wrong about Tai, it doesn’t only screw up her game, it screws up my game and Cirie’s game.”

Cirie saw a problem with their plan: “The person we voted for has the option of playing an idol if they have and I think Tai probably has an idol. I need to get Tai comfortable enough to trust me. I maybe could tell Tai about the advantage and that I’m willing to use it to save him, that they are trying to pull a fast one on him but I don’t know that he will believe that. Damn! can I pull that off?”

Straight Poker is a great game but some think it’s better to add two or three wild cards. Straight Survivor is fun but we’re now seeing a version where the deuces, the fives and the sevens are wild. You could be holding a straight flush and still lose the hand!

Cirie carefully presented her plan to Tai, saying she was putting herself at risk.

Tai’s interview: “ going to use that vote because everybody’s targeting me right now which completely took me by surprise. Is there any reason why she would lie to me? Why would she make up this weird thing? I am completely freaking out. Can I use my idol? Maybe I should. I have two to play with. I don’t know; I’m terrified inside.”

Now, Tai isn’t the smartest player in the game so he should be asking himself the simplest question of all: Why in the world would Cirie use her advantage on him? The answer is simple: She wouldn’t because it simply doesn’t make sense.

Tribal Council

The actors entered the stage...
That is really the only way I can put it because I simply don’t believe anything that unfolded in the next scene. First, I cannot believe that Cirie would base her whole strategy on something she didn’t carefully read. I know Michaela said that Sarah was slick and only gave Cirie the advantage just before TC but we know that is a lie. We saw Sarah putting the advantage in Cirie’s bag and, judging by the sunlight, it had to be the middle of the afternoon. We also know that the players entered TC well after sunset so that left plenty of time for Cirie to read the note. She had seen fake idols in play so she certainly would want to authenticate this piece of paper and, normally, people can read and walk at the same time. Production had tried these types of advantages before and they always turned out to be duds. I guess they wanted to get their money’s worth in a season of supposed Game Changers. Stephen’s “steal-a-vote” advantage was also non-transferable but that twist miserably failed. Feeling cheated out of some good drama, production had quite some time to elaborate this display for the naive.

Even if we buy this part of their play, can anyone explain why the vote went to Michaela? When Sarah reclaimed her advantage shouldn’t she have gone after the woman that had just tried to swindle her? Cirie tried to explain herself so maybe Sarah believed her but, if so, why go after Michaela? Sarah’s target was Aubry, not Michaela. Seeing Michaela's torch getting snuffed simply didn’t make sense. The funny thing is that with Brad and Troyzan also voting for Michaela and Sarah stealing Tai’s vote, the actual advantage was once more wasted. I’m thinking that with 4 idols left in play, it would have been wasted anyway at the next TC so production came up with this idea to save what would have been a dud of a TC otherwise.

If we add all the other incongruities we’ve seen from Cirie and that I noted above then my conclusion is that “Survivor Game Changers” is not credible.

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33. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Well, I have to agree that it didn't make any sense at all to me how the vote settled on Michaela. And, after ALL that, Tai chose to NOT play his idol. That bamboozled me, to quote Hatch. Sarah must have known that the guys were voting Michaela. Why wouldn't they get Tai out? Aubry? Beats me, but it makes no sense. And, usually Survivor is edited in a way that makes it rational. We can see how some individuals are thinking....this season, is whacked.

It's almost like Game Changers is being stuffed down our throats. And, they are trying to edit it in such a way that we are blindsided. Half of the players were nobodies. Troyzan, Sierra, Brad Culpepper,'s like the people that had no impact on their first seasons have outlasted the rock stars. I agree, I can't say that I buy it.

I'm ready for the next group of newbies.

I do hope Sarah wins, however. I do enjoy her, fwiw. That is if Cirie can't win. Aubry needs to buck up and quit moping. I wouldn't mind if she won, but would be SHOCKED with her edit.

Thanks, Michel!

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39. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
I know I'm in a good spot if you agree with me, FP. Thank you for the support. It's pretty funny that a TC where Michaela gets voted out is presented as a game changing moment.
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34. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Why would production showing anyone on the show mentioning only 3 nonvotes for Sierra, except for Sierra? Sierra was the majority alliance’s target & received 100% of the alliance’s vote. The rest did not know about Sierra’s advantage. Sierra said in her exit interview that she hoped Sarah didn’t vote for her. No “flaw”, just Sierra was obviously too dumb to figure it out. She likely had to will it before heading to Ponderosa & didn't have time to think.

Michaela is self-centered, opinionated & loud about it, & has frequently alienated others. Brad, who Michaela annoyed before the TC by being a “diva” & Troyzan, expecting their votes not to matter, cast them for the person they dislike the most. Sarah, betrayed by Cirie, cast her 2 votes expecting or knowing Brad & Troyzan would vote Michaela, a Cirie ally.

Sarah has been at the bottom of both alliances. She has survived by being the swing vote. Sarah telling Cirie she had the advantage & offering to let Cirie hold it was to gain Cirie’s support in achieving Sarah’s big moves. At least Sarah didn’t promise it to Cirie if she got voted off. She was a goat Cirie needed to make it F3.

It’s entertaining to hear them try to avoid saying anything at TC that might cause problems, & when they say things expecting to be safe & in the majority. That mess of a TC was not entertaining. Maybe after JT’s running around to get Sandra out made editors think they were onto something, but I doubt production would try to arrange that mess. Yea, Cirie has made some bizarre choices this season, but I was still boycotting most of the seasons after S1 & missed her 1st 2 seasons, so I’m not as enamored with her as other fans are. That she would try to use the advantage without reading it doesn’t surprise me at all. Just like Tai didn’t “ask himself the simplest question of all” or recognize Brad, Sierra & Troyzan voting for him was their only apparent means of surviving & not personal against Tai. “Tai isn’t the smartest player in the game” (he probably is among the least smart of all the players in all the seasons.

Why would production try to orchestrate that mess of a TC? It should have resulted it Sarah telling Troyzan & Brad who to vote for & Sarah gets the person of her choice out. She might have & they just didn’t show it. It could have resulted in Cirie being voted out after betraying Sarah’s trust. Production would not try to get a fan favorite out.

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35. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Didn't you listen to the previous TC? Sierra and her allies were very confident that they had the numbers so getting only three votes should have triggered an interrogation. It would have been natural for Brad and Troyzan to go to Andrea and say that three people had promised to vote against her. I'm sure she also said that Sarah was with them so it would have put the cop in trouble.

As for Sierra, I do not believe she is that dumb. Everyone knows that all votes are read. Actually, seeing how production got Sarah to waste her secret advantage, I'm starting to believe that they gave her the F6 immunity as compensation. They could have had it all planned in advance.

You ask why production orchestrated that mess at TC. The answer is so easy to find that I'm surprised it didn't come to you: RATINGS! After Brad won immunity, they probably realized they were heading for a boring TC with almost everyone wanting Michaela out of the game. So, with that outcome in mind, they asked the players to spice it up a bit. The outcome is still the same but now they could present it as a game changing moment. By having total control of what they present, Survivor has a much easier time fooling its audience than a magician doing a live show.

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40. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Thanks for all years of providing your insight into the editing, It has been my favorite thread to read.
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41. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Thank you, I'm really glad to hear this.
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42. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Great insight as always Michel. Thanks for all your work on this. Even though I don't comment, I read your post every week!
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45. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Thank you, CTGirl. I've always appreciated your kind support.
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43. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
I have been a lurker on this site since heroes v villians, just wanted to say i love your posts and flowers i always look forward to reading your insights!!
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michel2 2214 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Roller Coaster Inaugurator"

05-28-17, 09:39 PM (EST)
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46. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
Thank you and welcome aboard!
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kingfish 19901 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Playboy Centerfold"

05-28-17, 12:40 PM (EST)
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44. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"
I am glad you aren't returning with this very insightful continuation of Veruca's thread, although I wish she would return and pound your butt into a compost heap where your ideas belong. I disagree with everything you say, I hate your column, I hate you, and I hate the ground you walk on. I hope a sinkhole opens up in your front yard while you are riding your global warming havoc wreaking gas powered John Deere.

You odious selection of long (probably made up) words and your moronic opinions are the stuff of the deepest flights of unfancy thinking. Instead of this gibberish, you should try your hand a science fiction so that I can have an all new reason to laugh at your attempts to publish.

If I didn't loath you and and everything you stand for, I would probably approve of the fact that you combined Aruba's ranking thread with the mishmash you present every week, and hopefully he will return someday to refute every statement you made.

I also resent the long words you use, and wish you would stop abusing the Canadian language with your all to frequent "eh"s and calling prople who very rightly disagree with you "hosers".

Add my vote to those wishing that you return with this thread. Get the message, eh, you Hoser?


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michel2 2214 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Roller Coaster Inaugurator"

05-28-17, 09:46 PM (EST)
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47. "RE: Episode 13- A Show About Nothing (that makes sense...)"

I should return just to fry your sticks. And you can be sure that if Aruba puts up his power ranking thread, I'll be there to fillet all your opinions. In short, Mr RoyalFish, you stink!

Thank you.

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Agent99 7 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "American Cancer Society Spokesperson"

10-03-17, 01:04 PM (EST)
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48. "RE: The Characters and their Stories: Game Changers"
There is a hole in my Survivor world and it is as big as missing the Calvin & Hobbes funnies. Every week on Friday or Saturday I would look forward to the incredible Survivor analysis of Michel2. Not only that but the other contributors like Flowerpower, Pepe, etc.... I was never perceptive enough to catch the sounds/animal references/overall editing, but each of you were and it was such a joy to read on all your observations. I understand that it was a great undertaking and so so very grateful for all the time each of you contributed. I've lurked from the beginning at Survivor Sucks, read Tapewatcher with fascination and fortunately found Vercu's original "The Characters and their Stories: Game Changers". All wonderful things come to an end, and I will accept it. THANK YOU for the years of enlightenment and entertainment, you became my friends (yes, I have friends in real life) in this world.
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