Survivor: Game Changers

 Survivor Pop Culture Recap: You Can Act Like A Man!  

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: You Can Act Like A Man! 


Welcome back everybody! Last week’s first episode of the season didn’t waste any time getting right into some huge moves. I mean we lost Tony! Sandra, for some reason, is already in control, or at least appears to be. We lost Ciera before she could get her game out of park and into drive. We lost two pretty serious players in the game. I could be wrong, but it looks like some players are switching sides tonight? If so that’s going to throw another wrench into things. It’s tough to evaluate where we are at right now, other than we know the Mana tribe as of now is controlled by Sandra. Let’s look at everybody where they are heading into tonight.

Mana Tribe

Aubry: Aubry might be feeling like she is in some danger, as she aligned herself with Tony, and now that he is gone, she needs to recalibrate and go hide in the weeds for a little bit and not look like a threat of any kind. I think she can and I think she will be safe tonight…maybe. She may have to go kiss Sandra’s ring to ensure that.

Caleb: Caleb, like Aubry, was firmly aligned with Tony and now we will see how well Caleb can adapt. If he and Malcolm can link up and trust one another, they would be a formidable duo. Will Caleb be a passive player or an aggressive player?

Malcolm: Call me crazy, but Malcolm is looking good to me. He seems poised and is still a huge physical threat. I really hope he doesn’t fall into Sandra’s web. I would like to see Malcolm (smartly) emerge as the alpha dog on Mana and wrestle control away from Sandra.

Ciera: RIP

Hali: Hali, just like I suspected, has been cast as just an extra this season–a lamp on stage, not doing anything. She doesn’t have the swagger to make anything happen in this game it seems. Maybe I’m wrong, but it just seems like her destiny in this game is just to follow the leader.

Michaela: God, Michaela is really entertaining to watch play Survivor! She just can’t control herself. She physically cannot control her facial expressions, or use her words, or have a poker face…or you name it and she can’t control it. She is a beast in competitions, but in all-star Survivor seasons you can’t be great at one thing but bad at all other aspects of the game. As much as I love watching Michaela, it’s hard to argue that she isn’t one dimensional. Loose cannons are hard to predict in Survivor because they could implode at any moment, but with that said, I don’t think it will be like that tonight for Michaela.

Jeff: So far, Jeff has lain low. Just staying calm and being “Mr. In the Middle”. People seem to be going to him on both sides and so we will see if Jeff continues in the middle or if he chooses whom he wants to roll with this season. I liked how he played last week– he seemed to be able to call out everybody’s intentions and meanings– and yeah, smart fellow. I think he is safe tonight.

Sandra: How can you not respect her game? I mean, the way she can swing and control things is pretty crazy. I don’t see how she continues to get away with it, but more power to her for being able to. Her social game is so formidable, but she is playing with other smart players who have to see that she must not be allowed to stay in this game much longer. I think soon it could be adios for her….I just got that feeling that she isn’t going to make it to merge.

Troyzan: Ok, well if you’re a Sandra fan, one reason she might continue to make it, is because of this dummy. I mean, Troyzan, the first time you played Survivor, you lost your testicles following around and never challenging Kim, until it was wayyyyyyyyy too late…so you come back and your plan is to do the exact same thing with Sandra????? Go find your balls from her purse and start playing! This is what I would do to Troyzan if I were Caleb or Malcolm:

Maybe his following the queen was just for this episode and he will start to make some independent moves….but I’m not holding my breath.

Tony: R.I.P. We will never get to know how glorious the Spy Bunker was going to be……

Nuku Tribe

Andrea: Was she even in the last episode? Or did she drown with one of Tai’s chickens when they destroyed the boat at the start of the episode? I honestly don’t remember seeing her.

Brad: Brad is pretty lucky being on such a good physical team. Maybe can survive these first few episodes? I mean, socially I think we can agree that Brad is probably in over his head. Maybe a tiger can change its spots and we haven’t seen enough of Brad this season to see if he is more self-aware than he was last time he played. Maybe he has changed, but I doubt it.

Cirie: Cirie knew she was and is in trouble in this game. She did what all great players d–, she hustled, trying to find anybody to buy what she was selling, even though it was appearing to fall on deaf ears…Not even crazy Deb was buying it. Cirie could be in real, real trouble here. She needs some help to stay in this game. She is a real target to go home tonight.

Debbie: Cray Cray Debbie,still seems very cray cray, just like the first time she played. She seems to be walking to the beat of her own drum, which is cool and entertaining for us. Will Debbie be able to hang with some of the smarter social players this season? So far so good as she sniffed out Cirie’s B.S. Let’s see what she’s got tonight.

JT: Okay… my pick to win it all this season…so far so good. I don’t feel completely awful about it yet. I like that he and Ozzy are teaming up and I think JT is well-liked by everybody….so I think I feel safe saying that JT is safe tonight (knock on wood three times).

Ozzy: Ozzy, coming to camp with some ill-will towards Cirie, appears to be in the power positon in that camp and will probably win that specific war this season. It didn’t seem like Ozzy had a lot of heat from anybody else looking to take him out yet. I think Ozzy is in a stable place heading into tonight.

Sarah: Sarah is so determined to lay low and not make any waves. At some point it might start to make people think she’s scheming or something? We don’t know who she is wanting to play with really yet. Her place in this game hasn’t been flushed out at all, so it’s hard to predict somebody that has been quiet so far this season.

Sierra: Sierra had a quiet episode. I think she is in a pretty good place heading into tonight. She isn’t making any waves but is better at being social than Sarah or any of the other girls on her team (other than Cirie, but she’s already in a bad place).

Tai: Tai is a tough one to project what is going to happen with him. He says things at the wrong times to the wrong people and that rubs other people wrong and makes it so it’s really hard for them to trust Tai. I want to root for Tai, but I think he will take a grenade to his own game at some point and it could happen soon.

Zeke: Zeke seems safe tonight. He is smart enough to realize that there are bigger targets on paper than he is. He should figure out who he wants to get tight with and solidify that soon. Do the JTs and Ozzys of this Survivor world, trust Zeke and will they want to play with Zeke when it comes down to it?

That’s where I think we are at headed into tonight. This should be fun like the last episode. I don’t know where we are headed–anybody could go. All-star seasons always seem to have one huge move after the other. I hope it continues that way.

Let’s hope so. It’s 8 pm, Portland, Oregon time, so let’s get this going!


8 pm

Previously On Survivor: We quickly recap the two-hour first episode, as Sandra sent Tony packing saying: “The Queen stays the Queen”. They just gloss over Ciera getting bounced.


Okay, apparently we are jumping right back into this episode as we don’t start with the Manas post-vote last time. We join Jeff on the beach as we are swapping tribes already.


So I guess we are going from two tribes to three tribes. Wow. Everything is changing. Forget what I wrote above. All bets are off.

The Red team: Hali, Debbie, Caleb, Tai and Brad. Tai, happy to be reunited with Caleb, tells Jeff that he wants to kiss Caleb…Caleb halfheartedly plays along, allows Caleb to kiss him on the cheek and then awkwardly makes a face. Like the face you make when you’re at a bar and you run into a girl you know, but she’s sloppy drunk and too over excited as she kisses you on the cheek and you just want to run away. That is how Caleb looked just now.

The Blue team: Jeff, JT, Malcolm, Michaela, Sandra and Aubry….Wow that team is stacked with high-end players both physically and socially…my lord.


Jeff points that JT is the only Nuku here on this team. JT glares back at Jeff like he wants him to drop the subject at once.


The Green team: Troyzan, Cirie, Ozzy, Zeke, Sarah and Andrea.

Jeff asks Troyzan the same question as he did JT as Troyzan is the only Mana on this team. Good, I hope you get voted out Troyzan! Tougher to follow Sarah and Andrea, than Sandra champ.

All three new teams go off to their new camps.


Malcolm and Jeff are loving their new digs.

JT, on the other hand, is feeling really screwed over by the Survivor gods as he is the only former Nuku there. JT knows he needs to find an idol.  He has a plan. He brings everybody out to sea and then swims back to camp and starts going idol hunting.


Everybody else on the raft realizes that JT is idol hunting. Jeff tells us that it’s smart that he is because he is screwed– he will be the target.

Commercial Break

I’m looking forward to tomorrow as I’m flying to Lake Tahoe to make some bad decisions, gamble, watch the college basketball tournament go on a missionary trip to build houses. Once again, the highlight of the trip will be going to In N Out Burger, which I will fight anybody to the death that In N Out is the greatest burger place in the world. I seriously mean that.

So who wants to challenge me on that?


Back from break, we join the Red team with Brad as he helps building the shelter. He shares with us that he has a soft spot in his heart for antiquing. Who knew?

Hali points out to us that she and Caleb are going to be the targets on this tribe…although, she points out that Tai might protect Caleb from being a target as he is in love with Caleb.


Right on cue, Tai makes a pitch to Brad about keeping Caleb safe. Tai goes as far to say that he will swap Debbie for Caleb. Brad, a little stunned by this, is not liking what Tai is selling. Brad tries to stay calm, though.


Tai goes to Caleb to tell him he is safe. Wow. Tai is really smitten with Caleb. It feels like Tai is wanting to be Caleb’s personal bodyguard.


Next we join the Green team. Troyzan shares with everybody that he is happy to join this team, that his last team was “chaotic”. Everybody is like “Yeah, dude. You are the target. Nice try”.

Cirie, on the other hand, is thanking her lucky stars for this swap, as she and Zeke appear to be good right now and she is still holding out hope to rebuild bridges with Ozzy.

Ozzy tells us that he is open to it right now as he knows he needs anybody he can use right now.


Andrea talks with Troyzan and tells him to his face that he is safe, but tells us “Yeah, he’s screwed”.

This time Troyzan sees right through her and makes the point that I have made about Andrea: that she thinks she is smarter than she is.

Troyzan goes idol hunting. He finds a bottle that has a clue to the idol. He appears to be holding back tears as he finds the clue. The clue tells him that the idol will be at the next immunity challenge.

Commercial Break

I feel like this tribe swap has really thrown off my Survivor equilibrium. All of a sudden the game changes, teams change and now we get this messed up alternate universe headed in a completely different direction if they kept the teams the same. Now we are living in a universe where Troyzan is probably going to find an idol, and my pick to win it all this season, JT, is screwed. I hate this game sometimes.


Back from break, we rejoin the Blue team, as JT shares with everybody that there are goats over here. JT vows to find a goat and kill it for Sandra. Has this happened before on Survivor? A goat seems a little big to casually kill on TV. I’m guessing we are not going to see this if they do it.

JT, true to his word, goes after the goats and finds a baby goat and a mother goat. Wow. This is dark. Are they going to kill a baby goat???

Malcolm and everybody but Sandra is down to let them go. Sandra wants these two goats killed….and this is really dark. This might be the darkest moment in Survivor history.

Thank god, cooler heads prevail as they set them free. Wow. I feel like we almost lost our innocence right there. That was scary.


Commercial Break

I feel like I’m a little traumatized from that moment. It brought back flashbacks to being a five-year-old, watching Bambi for the first time. I don’t think I could have handled watching a scene of Sandra cleaning out the dead carcasses of a mother and baby goat. That would have been just a little too much for what I look for in an episode of Survivor. If Tai would have been there, he may have had a stroke…


Okay, back from break, it’s time for the immunity challenge.

The first place team gets the world famous Survivor tarp and pillows or food seasoning. It’s up to them to choose.

The challenge is running through a wooden maze thingy, untying knots and then completing a puzzle.

Troyzan tells us that he won’t go for the idol until after the challenge. Is he going to blow this?


Everybody gets through the meat of the challenge, and it comes down to the three teams working on the puzzle.


The Blue team wins first place. The Green team wins second. The Red team loses.

Troyzan grabs the idol…..


The Blue team grabs the tarp and pillows. The Green team gets the food spices. Thank god, once again, that those spices won’t be used on a mother and baby goat.

The Red team has to send someone home. Debbie tells us that it’s either going to be Caleb or Hali going home tonight.

Commercial Break

Anybody got any good TV shows they’re watching out there? Other than waiting for the new season of Better Call Saul to come out, it feels like there are not really any good shows out there right now to watch. We are due for a new epic show. I’m looking forward to the new season of Fargo as well.


Okay, back from break, it’s the final stretch of this episode. Who will it be going?

Hali shares that she knows she could be screwed. Caleb also kind of knows his number could come up. Not a lot either can do at this point. Both really lack the social ability to make something happen it seems.


Sierra talks with Tai and Debbie, pushing hard for Hali to go. Both Sierra and Debbie are a little squeamish with leaving Caleb and Tai together.


Brad talks with Tai, desperately trying to be subtle with him about why he should vote out Caleb.

This Tribal should be interesting. We may witness Tai pull a Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard on Caleb if the votes aren’t going his way:


With that we head to Tribal. I have a feeling it’s going to be Caleb.


The Caleb/Tai history is being brought out and it looks like everybody is making the argument for Caleb to go. Caleb makes his pitch, Hali makes her pitch. We don’t get a great indication on which way people are leaning soon.


We go to the votes. It feels like it could go either way, but if I had to guess right now, it feels like Caleb could be done, especially as we see Tai laboring over his parchment……

The votes:





The third person voted out this season….. Caleb. Caleb gives Tai a kiss on the cheek on the way out.

That ends this week’s episode.



This tribe swap(s) really screwed over some people, obviously Caleb. We spent two hours last week getting to know these two teams and then it’s all washed away this episode. The dynamics have changed. What we know right now is that Sandra appears to be the biggest threat in the game still. Malcolm appears to be in a great place. It’s just so tough to tell, though.

This game is wide open. The moves all season are going to be big– you could get an ending where the people left standing are the non-threats–the Aubrys, the Sierras of the world. It seems like every week a block of people want to go for the obvious big threats. It could be the season for the quiet, middle-of-the-road people. I could be wrong, as I have been known to be when it comes to forecasting Survivor, but it seems that if you have a big reputation, you are in trouble. That theory will be tested, though, if Sandra gets targeted next week or the week after. We will see.

Let me know who you think is emerging from this mess.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

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