Survivor: Game Changers serves up returning players and big moves

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So getting into the season, I felt like I had a bit of an idea on things.

You had:

  • Tony, the no holds barred nonstop crazy lucky player.
  • Malcolm, the savvy player who can’t quite pull it off.
  • Sandra, the only two-time winner and sneakiest winner of them all.
  • Cirie, the smartest player ever to not win.
  • Debbie, the nutball.
  • Jeff Varner, the entertaining guy who isn’t that cutthroat.
  • Zeke, the superfan who’s also a pretty savvy player.
  • Hali, the friendly cypher.
  • Caleb, the strong guy who got medevac’d out of the game.
  • Troyzan, the decent player who got outplayed by the legendary Kim Spradlin.
  • Aubry, the runner up and super strategic player people think was “robbed.”
  • Michaela, the strong, smart challenge threat who can’t lie well.
  • Ciera, the over-player who can’t clinch it.
  • Tai, the friendly guy who has trouble with betraying others.
  • Andrea, the social magnet and smart player who kept getting screwed.
  • Brad Culpepper, the guy who was most well known for getting cursed out.
  • Sierra, the “farm girl” who couldn’t stay in the game.
  • Ozzie, the ultimate survivalist but could never quite win.
  • JT, the social and challenge master who didn’t quite have the strategic edge on his own.

It’s a confusing set of names; Cirie and Sarah, plus Sierra and Ciera! Luckily I don’t have to worry about one of those after the last episode.

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The first two hour episode was fun, although I didn’t find the challenges that interesting. The strategic mad rush more than made up for that. So starting from the top, why did Ciera lose? First boots are always tricky, partially because everyone is just looking for someone to vote out. But Ciera was the first we saw to bring up multiple targets, and that made her a target.

After that, it was just her not paying attention to the shifting winds enough, and it was so hard for her to stay in it. Considering it was a nine to one blowout, Ciera was just pushed out entirely. This early, there may not have been much she could’ve done aside from not pushing too hard or making too many assumptions.

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On her tribe (Mana), there were a few people who really did come off very well. Malcolm was popular and seemed “cool” to people, and his name never came up as a potential boot. Hali similarly was having good conversations and was also never discussed as a potential boot. Even Troyzan had a low key episode, although he did screw up with his obvious lie to Tony. Tony would’ve probably appreciated honesty, albeit with a twist on it.

But I suppose that didn’t matter. For now anyway.

Caleb was identified as a threat, as was Aubry, and Jeff Varner was snowed by Sandra despite realizing it. Michaela had an iffy episode, getting angry but at least she didn’t get too angry. Sandra played hard though. But let’s get back to that in a minute.

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On the Nuku tribe, we didn’t see as much, as they won. Ozzie was dominant in the swimming challenges and was decently polite regarding Cirie, although he couldn’t help that Tai completely sold him out to her. Tai was a nutball, so I don’t know about him yet. Cirie was playing carefully, but it’s hard because everyone knows how smart she is in this game. Even fanboy Zeke wasn’t full in on that, yet he wasn’t a target, which makes it a good episode for him.

Brad had nothing in the episode, except noting that he wanted to do what his wife Monica would do. So … lose?

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Sierra had a good episode because she found the new legacy advantage, which had a interesting new twist. I liked the concept, but it remains to be seen how well it’ll work. Debbie wasn’t quite as crazy as she has been, but she was still calling out about her “job” as an unpaid military captain. I don’t know, I guess you need a few crazy people in each season.

JT did everything right so far, and he’s in a great position. Because he lost so publicly in “Heroes vs Villains,” despite the fact he’s already won once, he doesn’t come across as a threat. But as Sandra said in that season, I don’t know about that!

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So back to Mana. Tony and Sandra were in a funny little arc. At first they combined forces, talking about a final three of winners (a smart idea). But Sandra couldn’t help but lie to Tony when he caught her and Troyzan talking, and that led to Tony getting paranoid and deciding Sandra had to go. After that, only one was going to survive the episode since no one had an idol.

I think the episode showed how it was moving back and forth several times, but it was clear that Sandra successfully argued that Tony was the real threat. And honestly, that’s true. Why did Tony lose? Because although his paranoia worked for him the last time, Sandra is even better at that tactic. So we’ll see how it goes for her going forward, but she’s gotten to the third episode already, which is impressive.

He also lost because his paranoia got the better of him. Although I don’t know why Sandra voted for Aubry. Hopefully we got some secret scene to explain it.

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Next time on Survivor, only been six days, tribes switch up, hidden idols, someone chases a goat, and JT may strand people at sea.

 

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