Survivor: Game Changers

Survivor Pop Culture Recap: Ten Little Indians

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: Ten Little Indians

Welcome back everybody! Last week we lost Caleb, who wasn’t a huge threat to win this game… and by “wasn’t a huge threat to win this game,” I mean “literally had no chance of winning the game”. The point, though, is that nobody is really safe this season. Usually in a normal Survivor season the players with little or no game get whittled out early. In these all-star seasons, nobody is ever really safe. It really comes down to timing (winning Immunity Challenges) and maybe some luck–kind of a last man standing sort of thing. Let’s look at where everybody is at heading into tonight.

Pre-Show Status

Aubry: Aubry is a tough one because her game is so low-key for the most part. You gather that she doesn’t come off like a huge threat to the other players out there, I mean that relatively speaking compared to some of the other players out here. This should buy Aubry some time to get her ducks in a row and get a plan together to push herself further in the game. The only danger I could see Aubry in tonight would be if her team bombed the Immunity Challenge and she was to blame–so much so that the rest of the team turns on her. Other than that, I think she is safe tonight.

Caleb: R.I.P.

Malcolm: I still am feeling Malcolm’s game this season. For whatever reason, he is not being seen as someone that the others are hyper-focused on targeting yet. Maybe this changes tonight, but there hasn’t been any indication of this yet. Malcolm still has the Survivor goods–he’s a multi-dangerous player and he hasn’t ruffled any feathers this season. Watch out for Malcolm.

Ciera: RIP

Hali: Hali survived the last episode, where it came down to her and Caleb. This is probably because the rest of the players weren’t sure if she was playing the game or if she was a production assistant. I think Hali now has two paths this season; either she is going to be voted out immediately, or she is going to be a silent vote in a majority alliance until her vote is no longer needed. Maybe some of you see things in Hali’s game that I don’t see, but to me she is irrelevant in this game this season.

Michaela: Michaela, again, is a tough to read as to what will happen with her because she is such a wildcard with her emotions. She could be completely safe by 8:40 pm tonight and then react to something small in such a negative way that it could cost her her Survivor life. You just never know with Michaela. It’s tough to read so far who she is really tight with, and more importantly, who really has her back this season. Everybody in the game knows that Michaela has a short fuse. At some point, maybe a real smart player will exploit that. IT could be tonight maybe.

Jeff: Jeff has continued to lay low. We haven’t seen a whole lot of him, other than when he correctly read the true intentions of everybody’s “moves”. When you have that natural ability to read people, it makes you a dangerous player in the game. He’s like Christopher Walken in Suicide Kings…He can read everybody around him.

The issue for Jeff is that it’s going to be hard for anybody to trust him and therefore want to bring him with them in a ride and die situation. I think Jeff is safe tonight, though.

Sandra: I want to see what happens if Sandra’s team goes to Tribal tonight. Will the other players wake up and realize that she is too dangerous to go? OR will they continue to not call her bluff and let her play this game like she is holding pocket aces??? Sandra plays tough in all aspects of the game, including non-game situations as well, like when she almost completely left me traumatized when she wanted to slaughter the baby goat and the mother goat. Let’s not relive that. Let’s just all agree that it would have been the most horrific moment in Survivor history, since Richard Hatch walked around naked at least.

Troyzan: I’m sure Troyzan away from the game is likable and friendly and awesome. I just hate his Survivor game so much…so very much. Look, he found an idol so maybe that will embolden him to play with a little more balls– seriously doubt it, but you never know. I want to see Troyzan not meekly follow whatever alpha female is in charge once. I don’t think he is going anywhere tonight, though. Let’s see some spine, Troyzan, tonight please.

Tony: R.I.P.

Andrea: Andrea plays with a huge sense of entitlement. It’s been that way every season she has played and I don’t think it’s changing this season either. I don’t think she is much different from every other player as far as entitlement goes, deep down inside of each player, only Andrea’s entitlement comes out in more obvious ways than the other players’. I can’t get a read on whether Andrea is going to be able to sit back and let the more obvious threats take each other out first, or if she is going to interject herself into things when she shouldn’t and cripple her own game…

Brad: Brad had a good week last week as far as being able to get done what he wanted to get done in getting Caleb out. He was able to get Tai to flip to his side on things. I don’t think anybody thinks that Brad has that capability to make moves like that as time goes on, as naturally he will get turned on. He just can’t help himself– he will get turned on. It’s just a matter of when not if. I don’t think it will be tonight, but it will be soon.

Cirie: Cirie appears to have stabilized her game, from when it was almost on life support week one ago. This is how Cirie becomes dangerous. She survives early and then falls back into the background until you realize she is in the final five again. Now we aren’t quite out of early stage yet of the game, so she could still become a victim of getting voted out due to her lack of physical skills in a competition. I get the feeling that she survives tonight, though.

Debbie: Debbie is still crazy and still somewhat enjoyable to watch, mostly because she just appears socially awkward. I think Debbie is safe tonight because the theme of this season has been to get bigger targets out. I don’t think any of the players out there view Debbie as a serious threat, so maybe Debbie can realize this and use this to her advantage.

JT: My pick to win it all. It feels like he could be on life support. He needs to avoid tribal tonight at all costs. His game got screwed by the tribe swaps, not to make excuses for him, but come on, you all know it! He was in a perfect spot before the swap happened and now he needs some help to survive tonight.

Ozzy: Ozzy appears to be okay, but Ozzy seems like he is ripe for another blindside orchestrated against him. If this was a horror movie, Ozzy would be the character you meet in the first five minutes of the movie that you know is going to be fated for a dramatic death scene. I don’t think it will be tonight, though.

Sarah: Sarah, I don’t think, has the tool chest to win Survivor. I think she has the heart and determination, but I think she just lacks that certain something, that will prevent her from really being a meaningful player this season. She is like a minor league baseball player trying to hold her own with professional players. I don’t think her game is professional ready. I think she will be safe tonight, though.

Sierra: Sierra is a better player than I remember her being. She has the ability socially to connect with a variety of different players and she doesn’t kill your team in competitions. I think she can be a threat and I think she has settled into a good place in the game, where she isn’t on the radar of anybody as we speak.

Tai: Tai appears to be the exact same player he was the first time he played. He is going to say dumb things at the absolute wrong time that are going to make somebody mad or is going to blow up a secret plan due to something he says. Tai really can’t be trusted with intel. Because of this, I don’t think he is going to make it far this season. I feel like he will do something dumb and will turn the votes that were supposed to go against someone else towards him.

Zeke: Zeke again seems safe tonight. Zeke is doing a good job blending in and is playing a good social game. Zeke can be a threat, because if he has learned anything from last season, it’s not to try and force any moves, sit back and let things naturally unfold as long as it doesn’t involve him being a target. “Can Zeke maintain this?” will be the long-term question.


Okay, so once again, I think this is where we are all at heading into tonight. I would guess since Caleb went home last week, that the whole “We need strong people here to help us in competitions” strategy will go out the window again and it will come down to a majority targeting the biggest threat in the minority. Who will the wheel fall on tonight????? JT feels very unsafe and Sandra has to be targeted at some point soon, right? Who will it be???

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

8 pm

Previously on Survivor, we quickly relive last week… not a lot of recap from Probst…just him basically wanting to get us into this episode without all the bells and whistles of a normal “Previously on Survivor!” I picture Probst walking into the sound studio to record these “Previously on Survivor” things hungover, angry, and telling everybody he is going to do this in “One take, goddamn it!”.


We rejoin the tribal council team post-vote as everybody consoles Tai, as he holds a picture of Caleb and cries hysterically.

The next morning, we join Hali and Debbie already talking about taking out Tai next vote. Hali, gunning for more camera time, tells Debbie what she thinks she wants to hear. Debbie tells us the same thing– that she is just telling Hali what she wants to hear, but tells us that Hali, in her mind, is the next to go.


Everybody shows up for the reward challenge. Everybody feigns disbelief when told that Caleb was voted out. It’s always a highlight of any Survivor episode. You can almost see a producer off-camera telling them: “This is take twelve. This time I want everybody to bring more energy. So help me god, we will keep all of you out here all day if we have to ’til we get it right!”


This comp is a little different because it’s only two people from each tribe competing.

It’s JT-Malcolm for Blue, it’s Ozzy-Troyzan for Green, and Tai-Brad for Orange.


The comp comes down to Blue vs Green, Malcolm vs Troyzan. Tai has set the Orange team back at least five minutes behind the other two teams.

Malcolm wins first place.

It looks like Troyzan is going to win second place, but he can’t knock down the last two things. Brad, out of nowhere, catches up and like a pitching machine is knocking down the targets left and right and  steals second place from Troyzan. Secretly (not secretly), I’m happy that Troyzan choked. I stand by this sentiment.

Commercial Break

I always complain about sitcoms on nowadays, but can you believe at one time in the 80s there was this?:

I mean… seriously? How did I block this out of my memory? I have no recollection of this show ever being on. I challenge you to YouTube this show and watch it for as long as you can without cringing completely (probably about forty-seven seconds). I’ve said this before, but it really feels like the sitcom era is all but over. I just don’t think that anybody gives a crap about watching predictable, telegraphed jokes on forced premised sitcoms. Got to be over.


Back from break, we join the Green team post-Troyzan implosion.

Ozzy shares that he is happy they lost because he feels that they need him to survive in this game, via fishing. Ozzy feels like this will keep him safe. He catches a huge stingray on cue and tells us not to worry, that he is fine right now. I think Ozzy is under the delusion that, in an all-star season, people give a sh*t about who can provide food. I don’t think it matters much…although Ozzy is badass…I mean he fishes like a grew up in 125 B.C.


The Blue team is enjoying their coffee that they won in the competition. I’ll take a Mint Mocha Frappuccino, please.

 Sandra tells us that she is the “queen”, that she is running the show and that she is safe. Sandra is so cocky right now. She’s walking into camp with the swagger of Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused:

The next scene is JT and Malcolm talking about forming an alliance, and if so, Sandra needs to go. It looks like JT is ready to make the big move here. I don’t think they can get this in place tonight, though, to get her.

Commercial Break

I’ve never seen an episode of Criminal Minds. CBS must know what they’re doing, but they just hit us with a Criminal Minds preview followed by a Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders spin-off preview starring Gary Sinise. Wasn’t he already starring in one of the CSI shows? Can’t they just spin-off Forrest Gump and do a Lieutenant Dan show? Wouldn’t that be way more interesting than a Criminal Minds spin-off?

I would rather find out about the inner workings of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company than watch weekly plots involving Americans oversees getting mixed up in absurd, formulaic situations.


Okay, back from break, and it’s already time for the Immunity Challenge. It feels like we haven’t had a lot of substance yet in this episode. It’s tough to forecast where we are headed tonight.

Jeff shares what we already knew from the end of the last episode, which is that tonight two tribes will be going to Tribal.

The comp tonight is the blindfold one they do every season, where two people blindfolded as one person chaotically scream directions to them. This is usually good for at least one person completely eating sh*t during the competition.


The Blue team which starts with a huge lead just has to do the last part of the competition: rolling balls through a maze.

The Blue team looks like they are going to take it home, but here comes the Green team who is gaining steam!

It comes down to Jeff and Andrea for their respected teams. Jeff had a huge lead but is clearly choking.

Yep…Jeff chokes. Andrea wins it for the Green team. Jeff then starts sobbing on Aubry’s shoulder. I mean, let’s call it as it is here, Jeff choked big time.

Probst sends us off to commercial telling us that this will be one tribal council with two teams and I don’t have a clue who the target is going to be.

Commercial Break

Whoa– there is another Fast and the Furious movie? What number is this–like seven or eight? I mean, I don’t think anybody who watched the first one and heard Vin Diesel utter the line: “I live my life a quarter mile at time” felt like this had the legs to last seven movies or whatever the hell it is. Is Vin Diesel in any other movies that isn’t a part of this series anymore? Seriously, what the hell happened to Vin Diesel? It seemed like he was flying high from 2001-2008 and then his career fell off a cliff.


Okay, back from break, we join the Blue team as they decide they have the power in this combined Tribal because they have the numbers.

Malcolm is thinking about scrapping the plan to take out Sandra and stick with the numbers of his side to take out an Orange team member.

Sandra wants the team to vote out Sierra. JT wants to vote out Tai. The team seems split on which way to lean.

Malcolm and JT think the other team is going to target Sandra…Hmmm, this could get interesting.


The Orange team indeed wants to target Sandra…the problem is that Hali is thinking bigger than she should. She is not giving her team a full commitment on this and they can feel it. Hali acting defiant shouldn’t pay off long-term for her.

Tai goes idol hunting. Shortly after, he finds the idol clue which leads him to the idol. Tai has the idol. That was quick. Is it really that easy these days to find a Survivor idol?


For some idiotic reason, Tai shares with the rest of his team that he has the idol….Why???????? Why would you divulge that information when you don’t need to? Keep that bad boy in your pocket and don’t tell a soul!

Commercial Break

So yeah, this an interesting situation here. Could this be the night that the two-time winner Sandra goes home? Does everybody have the balls to make this happen? If not Sandra, then who? This is going to be a huge move here. I feel like this whole episode they have not telegraphed who the targets are…This should be good because unless I’m missing something, we have no clue who it’s going to be.


Okay, back from break and we are headed straight to Tribal. Neither team has had a chance to collaborate at all, so it will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Debbie basically calls out that JT used to be with them, so maybe he would swing their way. It’s tough to read, though, on whether that is true or not.


Sandra says: “I know I’m not going anywhere tonight”…Wow…Talk about tempting fate.

Hali basically tells everybody to f-off, that she is going to vote how she wants to vote.

This leads to chaos. Everybody is standing up, whispering to one another.

It appears that Hali has told people to vote out Brad. It appears the other team is going after Sandra, but honestly it’s really impossible to tell what is happening as it’s like literally person-to-person whispering in each other’s ears.

I can’t make out who is saying what here, or who is voting with whom here.


We go to the votes. I have no clue who is going.

Jeff asks if anybody wants to play an idol. Brad orders Tai to stand up and play it. Tai asks for whom and Brad points to Sierra! Wow, here we go….

First vote









Fourth person voted out: Malcolm. Wow……Wow….



I am stunned. First off, did I miss when Brad and that team were talking about throwing Malcolm’s name in there? To me that seemed like a total surprise. I’m still in shock and so maybe I missed it, but it seemed like that came out of left field. I’ve got to give big props to Brad. It seemed like Brad was the brains behind this whole thing and that whole thing just got Malcolm out of this game. I thought Malcolm was a lock to go deep into this game, but once again, in these all-star seasons, nobody is safe… nobody. It’s like Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians…Anybody could go at any time. That is what we are learning here.

It looks like JT is going to be blamed for what happened, which god knows, is going to lead to something big happening next week. I don’t know, though. I’m still so stunned by this outcome tonight.

Let me know who you think is in the best position(s) here at this point. Thanks for reading!


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