Survivor: Game Changers

Survivor Pop Culture Recap: Life Lessons

Each week, Scott Gallagher breaks down the show minute by minute in Survivor Pop Culture Recap. It’s live blogging complete with commercial breaks.

Survivor Pop Culture Recap: Life Lessons

Welcome back. It’s time for another week of Survivor after we lost Ozzy and Hali last week–one monster player in this game and another player that was way more low-key.  We saw people’s games implode, paranoia striking all through camp and people who think they have great instincts displaying that they have awful instincts. I mean, seriously, is there anything worse in Survivor than having to watch somebody think they know someone has an idol or knows that someone is against them when they don’t have an idol and/or they aren’t against that person. There is just something about hubris that is really unappealing. More on that in a little bit, but for tonight, it appears that there has been a line drawn in the sand made between two teams. The quality of play is really ratcheted up and it’s hard to say with any sort of confidence how the future will unfold here because people are out for blood, looking to make big move after big move.

With all that said, let’s see where everybody stands heading into tonight.

Pre-Show Status

Aubry: I don’t think much has changed from what I thought last week about Aubry. Aubry may not be charismatic, very vocal, or someone that Survivor historians will write novels about in the future, but in this season, Aubry is a threat as of now because she is not someone who is being targeted. Aubry has the ability to adapt and flop sides without it being too transparent. I look for more of the same from Aubry this week.

Last week… My theory of somebody random this season appears to be a pretty damn good theory if I do say so myself. Aubry, like I have said, fits that criteria. Aubry can now settle into the game knowing the merge happens and we will see tonight where she falls on the food chain. I think the more visible targets are going to go first and I don’t see Aubry as one of those people. I think Aubry is poised to make a good run here moving forward.

Caleb: R.I.P.

Malcolm: R.I.P.

Ciera: R.I.P.

Hali: R.I.P.

Michaela: Michaela survived the last episode by the skin of her teeth, thanks mostly to Cirie. Even with Cirie looking after her and trying to remind her to use her anger management skills and form a poker face, it doesn’t matter as Michaela is incapable of not making sh** weird if she feels like her name is being bandied about. I mean, I get it. It would be stressful knowing that your name is being thrown out there, but she takes that to the next level with how she acts. I think Michaela is on very shaky ground heading into tonight…We will see how much power Cirie has to protect her because I think Michaela could be gone tonight.

Last week… The Survivor god of competitions and anger management issues heads into the merge in not an awful place, but you’ve got to think she is someone who looks like a pretty good target to everybody else and it’s only a matter of time before she is the target to go. I think before she does, she and Ozzy need to have head-to-head battle with each other like they are in 300, equipped with some dark one on one talk with one another.

Jeff: R.I.P.

Sandra: R.I.P.

Troyzan: Troyzan has an idol and Troyzan comes off like such a weak player. He makes it very hard (that’s what she said) to root for him. He walks around camp all day like a prisoner who thinks he is going to be killed at any moment by the guards, so he actually seems like he has Stockholm syndrome. With all that said, Troyzan isn’t in an awful position by any stretch. He doesn’t appear to be anybody’s target and he doesn’t ruffle feathers per se, so maybe he can rise to the occasion.  I mean, not that I would bet anything on that, but he seems stable right now.

Last week… Okay if you are a Troyzan fan (the one or two of you out there reading this) now is the time to make people like me shut up. Will Troyzan try to take a leading role here down the backstretch or will he follow a female and do her bidding like before? Troyzan has an idol, with that comes a nice insurance policy for him. I don’t get the sense that he will be one of the first ones targeted here post-merge. I just think he plays Survivor with so much fear of getting voted out that he never leads or gets a chance to show maybe the real Troyzan. We will see if that changes, but I doubt it.

Tony: R.I.P.

Andrea: I think Andrea is literally doing exactly what I said she would, which is having a false sense of her standing in the game parlayed with an itch to make a move that will only backfire on her and lead to her demise. Does anybody disagree with that? No way is she winning this game– not happening. Her downfall is coming. The thing is her instincts on reading things are pretty good; her instincts on moves to make, though, are pretty bad. I think she could be a prime candidate to go tonight.

Last week… Andrea, like Hali, strikes me as someone not in a bad spot, but Andrea has just god-awful Survivor instincts and will try to force a move that isn’t there and in doing so will be responsible for her own Survivor death…like a suicide by cop plan. Andrea just can’t help herself; she just has to try and control things and fails to see the big picture. I haven’t seen anything this season that would make me change my mind about that. Andrea will go in the next three episodes is my prediction.

Brad: Okay, so Brad appears to be seen as one of the top leaders in the game by the other players. That usually means he will be targeted if not now, then very soon. It’s just too easy for the other players to justify going for him. Brad gets props for holding it together for as long as he has. He’s been way more likable this time around. I just don’t know if the people close to him (Sierra, Tai) will stay close to him at the first sign of trouble.

Last week… Brad has played a way better season than his first time around, where he basically played like a bull in the china shop. This time around he has played way more poised and even dealt with psycho Debbie’s mid-psychotic meltdown and stayed calm. He deserves a medal for that alone. Now I feel that Brad is about to meet his fate. I think he will either lose his poise now, or he will be targeted anyways by people and that will be curtains for him. He has played well, but I don’t think he has the goods to carry this all the way.

Cirie: I ended the last blog saying that Cirie is the person I have found myself rooting for now. It just kind of happened last episode, and for whatever reason, she seems to be being portrayed as someone who might find herself winning this game…not that I’m trying to jinx her. For Cirie, it comes down to whether the other players let her continue to fly under the radar, or is she truly seen as a threat? Tonight is huge, she has to make a move that weakens the other side–somehow, someway get things a little more balanced or tilted her side’s way.

Last week… Like I said last week, watch out. Cirie has settled into this game and now it seems like she is completely off everybody’s radar. Cirie is, for sure, someone who could slither her way to the end without anybody seeing it happen. I think she either goes in the next three episodes or she will be one of the final three players left in this game. She is that dangerous.

Debbie: Well, Miss Crazy pants had a really good episode last week. She appeared to be the one that started “Screw the plan: Let’s just take Ozzy out now” and it worked. Obviously, it’s not that hard to get the ball rolling on uniting to take out one of the biggest threats in the history of Survivor, but still, Debbie appeared to start it. I still wouldn’t want any sharp objects around her, nor would I care for one of her awkward make up hugs that last seven minutes long like Brad got last episode. What if Debbie starts running amuck in this game? How scary would that be?

Last week…Between her misplaced anger at Brad to her rewriting history about her balancing abilities or lack thereof, Debbie was really the star last week. Lord only knows what we are in store for tonight? The scary part, though, is if we get the merge, Debbie can cause real damage by whatever crazy rationale she uses to pick a block of people to vote with. Debbie’s mental health last week was scary and so let’s all buckle up and await that crazy voice again to rise up:

JT: R.I.P.

Ozzy: R.I.P.

Sarah: Not a lot changing for me here. Sarah appears to be smack in the middle of both sides of things. I don’t see her being able to get to the top of anybody’s food chain here, but maybe that is exactly what is needed this season, as each side guns for the other side’s strongest player. Maybe Sarah can find herself in a pretty good spot. I think Sarah also is itching to do something stupid. This season is leading the way for people who are in good positions itching to do really stupid things.

Last Week… Sarah is undercover, but she’s undercover as a non-impressive Survivor player. Let’s just say that it fits her well. Sarah would be best served doing nothing drastic, letting the game come to her…I think that will be the struggle for her long-term, but tonight I think she will be safe.

Sierra: Sierra, I feel took a big step back last episode. Her instincts are bad….really bad…..Topped with the fact that she was acting wayyyyyyyyyyyy too cocky. The Survivor gods hate that. Normally, they will send a Survivor angel of death to take the soul of cocky Survivor players to Hades….not to be overdramatic or anything. Sierra has a target on her back. Watch out tonight. It could be her time.

Last week…Sierra was caught in between a player who is too bright of a target and someone who can just hide behind the crowd, meaning, it will be tough for her to win the game, even though I think she is an impressive player. I don’t think she will be the target tonight, but I do think her time is coming to an end soon.

Tai: I still feel like Tai has no chance to win this game. It just feels like at any time, Tai can completely swing the game by revealing something accidentally that he’s not supposed to share that will then alter the destiny of the season. I don’t want Tai in control of altering the Survivor destiny..Don’t do that Tai. It will be funny if Tai starts playing idols left and right. It should be annoying to everybody else. Tai maybe, actually now that I think of it, could at least get himself to the final four on idols alone….Hmmmmmmm.

Last week… No chance to win the game. I feel very confident typing that sentence…Please, somebody challenge me on this? Tai is going to do something that will piss us all off, like I could see everybody plotting Sandra’s death this week and then Tai going up to Sandra and asking her, what her plans will be tomorrow after she is voted out. I think Tai is too much of a wildcard that nobody trusts. In a merge situation, it could be curtains for Tai…although the chances of him or anybody for that matter finding an idol when they need it, apparently is almost a certainty these days.

Zeke: So I guess history repeats itself doesn’t it? Zeke, you just couldn’t help yourself…Things were looking good for you, dude, but you had to try and force a move that wasn’t there. Zeke is in trouble. Nobody is really going to trust him now as that little stunt he pulled last week is going to come back to bite him on the ass. If you are a returning player, you’ve got to learn from your mistakes that you made the first time around.

Last week… Honest question for the second week in a row: Was Zeke in the last episode at all??? Zeke has been quiet this season, which maybe that could mean he is going to sit back and wait to pounce, but if he was going to win this season, I feel like we would have been getting more camera time for Zeke. I could be wrong and I’ve never studied the camera time for winners of Survivor, so who knows, but I just got the feeling that Zeke had his starring role last season and now for this sequel is only doing a cameo.


So I think that is where we are headed into tonight. I think anybody could go home at any time, but I would think it’s going to be another big player…Watch out if you’re Sierra, Brad, Cirie, Andrea…It feels like one of them could go tonight. Lines are being drawn in the sand and so who the hell knows really when it comes down to it. None of us knows how any of this will play out….With that said, here we go, it’s 8 pm Portland, Oregon time.


Previously on Survivor:

We relive last week as, again, Debbie, yes Debbie, got the ball rolling on 86’ing Ozzy….Probably not his proudest moment in his long history of Survivor


Post-vote, we join Debbie as she recaps that her “side” won. Her side being: Sarah, Sierra, Troyzan, Brad and Tai…claiming they are going to pick off people one by one….not my favorite group of six there..


Andrea and Zeke have it out at camp. Zeke knows he is the kind of man without a country right now in the game…

Sarah shares that she still wants to roll with Zeke and now Sarah is kind of feeling herself and her place in the game…

Commercial Break

So this is not meant to sound like I’m a big prick, but honestly, mothers out there, do you really think that any of us who are your Facebook friends, really give a sh*t that your one-year-old tried asparagus for the first time and so you had to post a picture of it and tell us about it? I get if it’s one or twice a month maybe– okay cool– thanks for the update. But when it’s daily Facebook posts about what specific property of food your stupid kid put in his stupid mouth, trust me we don’t care…Even your girlfriends who would stick up for you here and say that they care don’t care either. They just have to follow the strict unwritten law that all female friends of another female friend on Facebook have to pretend to act overly happy about any post that has to do with your kids or else another Civil War would break out I guess? We all hate it…All of us…We don’t care what your kid ate. We don’t care what your kid just said because 9/10 times you add adverbs and adjectives that clearly didn’t come from his mouth but were added in your post to make your child sound smarter…In an unrelated note, I am single.


Back from break and it’s time for the reward challenge. Tonight they are racing through obstacles in the water, needing to retrieve things back.

The winning team gets taken somewhere for a picnic…If Debbie wins again, will we get to see her “act” drunk again? God, I hope so!


Michaela was not picked for the comp, which is like not picking Michael Jordan for a basketball game…You can guess how well Michaela kept her poker face over not getting picked….She’s literally muttering angrily to herself on the bench.


Pretty close comp, until Cirie goes as she runs out of gas and can’t get up on the dock. Then, after help from Sarah, she can’t get over the balance beams.


We get a subdued victory from Brad, Sierra, Debbie, Aubry and Andrea.


I guess we are going to get a life lesson spoonfed to us as we next get everybody waiting for Cirie to finish…..

“One of the more powerful moments of Survivor,” Probst says…..Okay, let’s not go crazy here…I mean we were waiting for her to walk over a balance beam in a reward challenge…This wasn’t Rudy.


We see there is a secret advantage under Michaela’s bench, but she doesn’t see it….Sarah sees it and grabs it, so advantage Sarah.

Commercial Break

Speaking of being single, since I have lost 30 pounds a year ago, I will say it’s been nice to find out how much better my personality is now with online dating apparently. I feel now it’s like doing a “Build-A Bear”. (PS If you watch that clip, I wonder how horrified the Disney staff was while they had to pretend not to be creeped out by the grown man with facial hair “building a bear”?)

You pick what you want and out come twenty women who are equally as damaged as I am to choose from. Fun to be had by all. I wish Love Connection was still on…


Back from break, we join the losing team at camp as they are all comforting Cirie. I get it, but I think they are overblowing this moment a tad……

Why didn’t Cirie pick Michaela for her team? Can we get an investigation on this? Seriously.


Sarah recaps how great her attention to detail is, which led her to this secret advantage. She learns that she can steal a vote at Tribal….


Next, we join the victors as they head off to their picnic.

Brad says that he left Troyzan and Sarah off his team, so he can have spies for the other side back at camp with the “losers”…


Sierra recaps to us that she “loves life” right now and that her alliance of six is locked solid….And she says she is in the “driver’s seat”….Can’t the Survivor gods put a stop to this?


Back at camp, Sarah and Cirie talk about who they think is calling the shots in the game. Sierra and Brad are the names they agree on. Cirie is making her pitch to Sarah, but this is where I see Sarah struggling, not having the good instincts on where to go in the game.

On cue, after I say that, Sarah shares that she knows she played it safe last time and that she has learned from her mistakes from last time…I will believe it when I see it.

Commercial Break

So how many more superhero movies will be made until this phase completely burns out? I mean they are really running this into the ground, aren’t they? Growing up, the superhero movies I can remember were Darkman (yeah Darkman).

Obviously, the first Batman movie with my generation’s Batman,Michael Keaton…And then who could forget the He-Man movie Masters of the Universe, which I still don’t understand why it didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture.

And yeah, Courtney Cox was in that movie and the d*ck principal from Back to the Future as well…It was a tour de force movie.


Back from break and it’s time for the immunity challenge. The comp tonight is pulling a rope to balance a table where they will stack blocks that spell “immunity”….I’m not sure who should be favored for this comp….


Troyzan runs away with this one. Troyzan is your winner of this immunity challenge. I’m not sure right now who is going to be targeted?? It feels like it could be Andrea or Cirie.

Commercial Break

For one of these competitions, they should bring back the obstacle course from Double Dare.

From the ages of six to ten it was my lifelong dream to “compete” on Double Dare…Sadly, that dream now will never come true. Please watch the videos and listen to the prizes they “won”….Calculator? Binoculars?, British Knight shoes?…Eight prizes that totaled up to $900 dollars…What a disappointment that would be.


Okay, here we are– the last portion of the show tonight. Who will be going home?


Troyzan is giddy that he won the challenge as everybody gives him side-eye.

Brad shares that everybody is sick of Michaela, but Brad wants to go after Andrea. Debbie wants Michaela, but she says she is okay with going with Brad’s plan.


Sarah gets the news without having a say, which annoys her and she says that she may be ready to make a “move”….

Sarah goes to Zeke about making a “move”….They know that they need to go to Andrea to make this move.

Sarah and Andrea talk about making this “move”, but we don’t know who they are targeting.


Sierra and Sarah talk. Once again Sierra’s instincts are spot on, as she fully is trusting Sarah….She tells Sarah that she wants to go final three with her, so now Sarah is apparently taking Sierra’s word as gospel and appears to no longer want to make a big move.


Debbie talks to Aubry. She tells Aubry that Sarah doesn’t trust her and that she wants to vote out Michaela. Debbie tells Aubry that she would be really stupid not to trust her…always a great tactic to use with somebody.


Aubry goes and talks to Michaela and Andrea about the plan to vote out Michaela. Sarah joins them and Aubry tells Sarah what Debbie said about her…Sarah tells us that she is conflicted about what to do…


We go to Tribal. It seems like it’s going to be Andrea or someone random we haven’t talked about.


Once again, we relive Cirie completing the challenge…Was this really that big of a moment that has to be recapped like it was life changing for everybody involved?


Andrea shares that she knows she is at the bottom and in danger.

Zeke breaks down what the majority alliance looks like. Andrea shares that she knows Michaela’s name being thrown out there is only a decoy.


Debbie shares that she feels very secure. Troyzan says get to the final six and play it safe, which causes half the players to roll their eyes and maybe mutter “p***y” under their breath about him.

We go to the vote and I have no idea who it would be other than Andrea?


Andrea shows us her vote which was for Debbie….God, I would love that, but I just don’t know if that is going to happen.


We go to the votes:











The tenth person voted out and third member of jury…Debbie! Wow!



Wow. I did not see that working because the whole build up seemed like Andrea was going, with not a lot of tension built up towards Debbie. Good for Sarah, for not just sitting on her hands and letting the game pass her by. It makes the game more unstable, which is when Survivor is at its best. Debbie had quite the run this season, as she has taken crazy to the next level and should be recognized for her contributions in bringing next level crazy to Survivor.

The game is wide open. You’ve got Sierra feeling like she is the top dog and maybe she is…You’ve got Brad, but sooner or later, they are going to rally together to get him out. Cirie is still completely dangerous in her position. After that, and not that far below, it’s wide open.

Who else do people feel is in a great position here?

Thanks for reading and I will see you next week!


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