Survivor: Game Changers

The Characters and Their Stories: Week 4 – It’s Payback Time

The Characters and Their Stories is a blog in which Michel Trudeau uses the edit to determine the themes of the season to try to find its long-term players. Each week, he will explores the overt signs as well as the more nuanced nods.

The Characters and Their Stories Week 4–It’s Payback Time

tree-1Previously 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.

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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 Tribal Council, this first segment simply forgot their story.

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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 closed 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 tribemate 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 beam 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…

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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 overconfident.  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.

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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 ass 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!!”

Okay, 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 you are 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…

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.”

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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.”

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The Story

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This equation is known as the time-dependent Schrödinger 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 tribemates, 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 Y gives us eigenvalues E that we will relate to the players’ probability of winning.

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The Characters

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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 mean she isn’t important to the story.

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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?

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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 about 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.

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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.

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E = Stable – Nothing happened to make 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.

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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?!

b4r

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