Survivor: Game Changers

Survivor Pop Culture Recap: Misery

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: Misery

Welcome back everybody! Last week, we had all hell break loose at Tribal when Probst let everyone stand up and chat with one another and line up all the votes like they were at a cocktail party. As we know, this royally screwed Malcolm. For some reason, JT got blamed for this (more on this in a second). Regardless though, this is what happened and now we are moving onto tonight.

Nobody is safe! Do not– I repeat do not– get attached to anyone because anybody can go at any time with no warning or anything. I didn’t see Malcolm going at all. In fact, I thought he was in one of the better positions in the game. All-star seasons are brutal for this reason: nobody is safe. Let’s take a look on where I think (most likely very wrongly) everybody stands heading into tonight.

Pre-show Status

Aubry: Aubry had a low-key episode last week. With all the big personalities this season, Aubry doesn’t get a lot of that “air time”, as those of us in the business call it. Aubry has a chance to really make it far, mainly because she isn’t stupid and I don’t imagine her making any dumb, impulsive choices that some of the other players are destined to make. I think she is safe tonight.

Caleb: R.I.P.

Malcolm: R.I.P.

Ciera: R.I.P.

Hali: Okay, so to me, last week Hali acted like a petulant teenager. Granted, I understand that she is playing Survivor and has to do what she has to do to survive, but come on, don’t waltz around like one of the Mean Girls.

It’s tough to tell if Hali would still be a target. I mean, they change the rules and swap people left and right so who the hell knows what will happen tonight, She could be in danger if they stick to the current three teams and her team goes to Tribal. If she does survive tonight, I could see her being safe for a few episodes following.

Michaela: It’s been a quiet week for Michaela with no crazy outburst or anything to enlarge her already big target. Michaela, I think, is someone you can’t really bet on long term with any confidence due to her wildcard nature of emotions. My gut, though, tells me that she will be safe tonight.

Jeff: Just like last week, Jeff is still playing low-key. He’s doing a good job staying poised, not forcing anything, and seemingly letting the game come to him. I don’t see Jeff being targeted tonight. I think he is safe, and I tell you this, I’m liking his game this season more and more as each episode passes (Fast forward to tonight when Jeff makes a monumentally bad decision that leads to him being voted out).

Sandra: I really thought they were going to pull the trigger on Sandra last week, but alas, the “Queen” is still on the board. She is playing so cocky that you have to think her hubris is going to catch up to her. Nobody is allowed to be this cocky, without the Survivor gods getting angry. There is a code.

For most of the Survivor players, getting blindsided got to be accepted. Murder was the only way that everybody stayed in line. You got out of line, you got voted out. Everybody knew the rules. But sometimes, even if people didn’t get out of line, they got voted out. I mean, blindsides just became a habit for some of the players. Players would get into arguments over nothing, and before you knew it, one of them was dead. And they were blindsiding each other all the time. Stabbing people in the back  was a normal thing. It was no big deal. We had a serious problem with Malcolm. This was really a touchy thing. Sandra killed a made guy. Malcolm was part of the Nuku crew and was considered untouchable. Before you could touch a Nuku guy, you had to have a good reason. You had to have a sitdown, and you better get an okay, or you’d be the one who got whacked.

“She’s gone and there’s nothing we could have done about it”.

Will it be tonight? Or is Sandra just getting more and more powerful? I think we will get a better idea after tonight.

Troyzan: Troyzan wasn’t too Troyzan-ish last week. It was a quiet episode for him, and frankly, I think I have to come to grips with the fact that Troyzan is in a pretty good place in the game. Nobody seems to be targeting him and I don’t seem him imploding tonight. I think he is safe tonight.

Tony: R.I.P.

Andrea: Andrea, it’s just a matter of time for you. I don’t think it will be tonight, but I have the feeling that it will be soon. I don’t think she has the feel as someone that is every going to be capable of winning the game. She just lacks that certain something. When she tries to lead it always comes off as forced or her leading instincts are wrong. She just strikes me as someone who is destined to be voted out, not someone that will be voted for. Maybe harsh, but just the feeling I get.

Brad: Brad had back to back weeks of looking like a “big deal” this season. I mean, none of us thinks this can last, right? Like at some point he is going to try to bite off more than he can chew and Brad is going to get smoked by more clever players. He is playing well this season so far, though, so props there, but yeah, he’s going out like this:

Cirie: Look out. Here comes Cirie charging away from her apparent early doom to now settling down into a dangerous familiar role for her. She is the “vote”–the person that lays low whom certain people underestimate and let join their alliance to provide another vote against the more obvious target. Cirie is dangerous if they let her completely slide into this character again. I think she is safe, and if so, watch out!

Debbie: Debbie is Debbie. She’s almost like a cartoon character with how awkward she is. Based on the previews for this episode, it appears that we might get to watch Deb blow a gasket tonight. That should provide some entertainment tonight. One thing about Debbie, though, is that it’s hard to argue that she isn’t smart on many levels. Her issue is that she can’t really be the leader others are going to follow. Tough call on her, but I think she will be safe.

JT: Okay, so my pick to win it all is appearing like he is going to get the Lee Harvey Oswald treatment by the rest of the players.

“I’m just a patsy”. It doesn’t take a lot to justify voting someone out in Survivor, so those of us that bought JT stock are really nervous heading into tonight. JT needs to find a way to wiggle out of this Malcolm vote mess. I think he can.

Ozzy: Like I said last week, I just get that eerie feeling that Ozzy is going to face some horrific Survivor death. He just lacks those certain socially Survivor instincts to see more than one move ahead. I think at some point soon, the other players are going to get together and be like: “Hey, let’s all take a break from scheming against each other this week. Ozzy has no clue what’s going on. Let’s just take care of this now” and then everybody in the game at that point takes the poor guy out.

Sarah: Sarah is strictly a background extra this season. I’m sure she will get camera time, but only when it’s her episode to get voted out. So if we see more than five seconds of Sarah tonight, it probably means she is going.

Sierra: Sierra got saved by the idol last week. Will she be targeted again or was this just a random vote? Obviously, the other players see her as a target so watch out if you are a Sierra fan…It could be a sketchy night for her.

Tai: Tai, once again, played a pivotal, lead character tonight by playing the idol for Sierra. He was completely coached into doing it, but Tai always seems to find himself smack in the middle of things, which can’t be great for your long-term Survivor health. Tai, I think, will be safe tonight, but I wouldn’t invest in his long-term Survivor future.

Zeke: Honest question: Was Zeke even in this last episode? I have zero recollection of Zeke even being on camera last episode. I think Zeke is safe tonight– they haven’t showed him enough to make me think that he would be going tonight.

Okay, so once again, I think this is where we are all at heading into tonight. I would like to think that tonight there won’t be any more gimmick changes, like another team swap, or anything like that. Can we just get a good ol’ fashion Survivor episode tonight?

I like when they change it up sometimes, but when it’s episode after episode, it really does screw good players over. I mean, without a gimmick last week, who knows how far Malcolm would have gone. The theme of this season, though, is: “Anybody can go at any time”, so your guess is as good as mine tonight.


It’s 8 pm Portland, Oregon time. Let’s see who it is!

8 pm

Previously on Survivor:

We relive the moment that Probst lost control of Tribal. I just realized that JT telling Brad that they were voting out Sierra, led to Tai giving the idol to Sierra…Only took me seven days to piece that one together.


Post-vote, we join JT as he tries to do damage control and faces a barrage of questions from Sandra, Jeff, and the rest of the team. Clearly, JT would be an idiotic choice by someone as someone you think is going to win this game.


Next morning, we are still with JT as he realizes the predicament that he is in, knowing that he needs to find an idol. He goes on an idol hunt…


Okay, I’m not saying this game is fixed, but let’s just say that JT found the idol a little too quickly. Seriously, is this Quiz Show? Maybe the Russians are behind this too? We need a senate hearing over how easy these idols appear to be to find these days. Something smells fishy.

Commercial Break

I’m just going to put this new movie trailer here and we can all form a support group afterwards to discuss how disturbing it is:

Granted, you will only understand if you saw this:

As a kid, as a thirty-six-year-old, 6’3″, 205-pound man who is fairly certain he could take care of himself in most threatening situations, I will be sleeping with knife under my pillow tonight just in case anything goes sideways here.


Back from break and it looks like we are headed to the reward challenge.

Everybody sees that Malcolm was voted out, and for once, the surprised reactions seem genuine.


Today they are playing for cookies and milk.

For some reason, Troyzan is sitting out again…….(not making the joke I want to make here about that).

Before we start the comp, Debbie tells the team she has a great sense of balance. I was going to say a good sense of being awkward, but let’s not split hairs here.


The comp is pretty close here. Debbie’s team had the lead, but once the balancing portion of the competition started and it was Debbie’s turn to balance, let’s just say that she struggled with the aspects of “balancing”.


Zeke and the Green team win first place and get the milk and cookies.

The Blue team gets second place and gets peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Debbie is still trying to balance and can’t so her team loses.

We go to commercial with Debbie lashing out to us about Brad acting like a dictator, but she gets no favors from the show as they go back to the clip of her telling us how great she is at balancing.

Commercial Break

Good commercial for the Christian Mingle dating site. I wonder if those Christian dating sites are just like the regular dating sites…just a slew of awful dudes posing shirtless in a poorly angled selfies and women, who are far more adept in taking a selfie with good angles and lighting…every guy with the gym photo and every girl with the nature, wearing yoga pants on a hike photo. I wonder if the creep factor is still large in that setting. Do they flirt with throwing Bible verses via text to one another? Can you flirt that way? Are there flirty Bible verses? Can this be answered, please?


We join the Green team as they enjoy their reward. Sarah tells us that she needs options.

This leads to Sarah and Troyzan having a side conversation. Sarah is itching to make a move. It looks like she is deviating from her plan to lay low and she wants to make a move.


Back with the Orange team lamenting their loss at camp, Debbie out of nowhere clearly not happy, grabs some clothes, tells everybody to make a decision without her, and to vote her off…then she storms off. This leads to literally everyone acting utterly confused about what happened.

Tai: “I think Debbie is really upset”…..Thanks, Sigmund Freud.

Another person asks if she was being serious…Yeah, it was that random of a meltdown that half the people there have no clue if it was real or not.


Debbie vents to Andrea, Sierra, and Hali about Brad. To the viewers, she also slams Hali, claiming Hali choked the competition not Debbie…..Wow. This is getting scary. I think I would have been more comfortable watching Sandra slowly shank a mother and baby goat two weeks ago than watching Debbie’s complete mental breakdown happening right now.

Yeah. She’s close to that level right now.


Tai takes a crack next to calm down Debbie, but as soon as he agrees that Brad doesn’t talk with respect to her, she blows a gasket again, screaming and shouting.

Tai tells us that he’s generally afraid.


Wow. The next shot is Debbie doing push ups with ominous music being played in the background. The only thing missing was a huge cross tattoo on her back:

This has turned into “Cape Survivor”…..

Debbie tells us that Brad is her target. Brad tried to apologize to Debbie, which elicited a very bizarre reaction from Debbie that I couldn’t explain in an articulate way even if I tried my best.

Commercial Break

I’m really not sure where to go right now, as I can’t remember another more chilling mental breakdown in Survivor history. Seriously, where do any of us go from here?


Back from break, we join JT and the Blue team. JT tells us that now Michaela is mentally unstable as he vents about her sugar to coffee intake.

Sandra picks up on this and deviously tells Varner that she is going to eat the rest of the sugar to hopefully set JT off on Michaela. Varner looks on startled, like he clearly doesn’t want to be a part of this.


The plan works as JT is clearly pissed. JT passive-aggressively makes comments to Michaela, who literally looks like she has timer on her forehead that is going to go off and god knows what is going to happen tonight.


Back with the Orange team, Tai decides that he needs to find another idol…And what do you know?…Twenty seconds later, Tai finds the idol clue. Seriously, the Russians are behind this…Thanks, Trump.


Time for the Immunity Challenge.

There is another balancing competition and the Orange team delicately tries to talk about who will do what.  Debbie has a mini-meltdown as everybody wants anybody but her to be the balance person. Debbie shouts that she took gymnastics for ten years. Nobody will look her in the eye right now…It’s creepy.


Mid-comp as it’s not going good for the Orange team, Debbie is shouting sarcastically: “It’s good we didn’t choose the gymnast to do this”. Wow. This is impressive…Give Debbie the Emmy right now.


Wow! Despite Debbie the Orange team wins Immunity and comes in first place…Damn, I was really hoping to see what next level Debbie would take the crazy at Tribal.


Pretty good battle as it comes down to Ozzy vs JT to avoid Tribal.

Ozzy wins, as the blue team is headed to Tribal and it could be curtains for JT….

Commercial Break

What are the chances that Brad wakes up tomorrow tied up at camp?

I just remembered that Misery like IT is a Stephen King story. How many great books has Stephen King written that have been turned into movies? Like twelve? (I’m not looking it up– I’m guessing). He must be worth a billion dollars by now.  Not to mention the movies that you forget are Stephen King stories like Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile….Jesus, maybe it’s closer to like twenty movies based on his works.


Back for the last stretch of this episode and it looks like it’s JT or Michaela going tonight. JT makes his pitch to Sandra, Aubry and Jeff. They are telling him what he wants to hear.

Sandra tells us that she is going after JT. She goes to Michaela and, of course, she is on board.


Sandra and Jeff talk one on one. Jeff tells us that he knows he is the swing vote, and right now, he doesn’t know which way he is going to go.


We head to Tribal. Will JT play his idol? Does he have to? Will he make a boneheaded move again?


Michaela aggressively calls out JT.

JT aggressively calls out Michaela.

It appears that Sandra and Jeff are trying to make JT feel safe not knowing that he has an idol. Sandra is playing this smart if she is planning on shanking JT right now. Wow.


We go to the vote…It feels like JT is about to get absolutely blindsided….

although they just showed us Sandra’s vote…..which means maybe Varner is voting out Michaela?????????!!!

We go to the votes:

No idol is played





Fifth person voted out: JT

Wow….Just Wow…..



Sandra isn’t the best for nothing. That was painful to watch if you are a JT fan because you saw what was happening, knowing that JT is a little too oblivious sometimes and that he wasn’t going to play the idol. JT is gone and we all mourn his exit. He got played by one of, if not the greatest social players ever…even though she is getting too cocky. Varner made the call to not rock the boat and ride with Sandra. Maybe those two together would be quite the pair. I don’t think it will happen long-term, though.

Anyways, so much crazy with Debbie tonight and if the merge happens, all the good work Brad has done this season could be wasted because Debbie is going to jump ship the first chance she gets. I think Brad could be doomed…but we will see.

Besides Sandra, who do people think is emerging as a viable winner this season? Thanks for reading. See you next week!


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