Survivor: Game Changers

The Characters and Their Stories: Week 11 – A Show About Nothing (That Makes Sense…)

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 11–A Show about Nothing (That Makes Sense)

sunPreviously on Survivor,

Sarah shared her secret to gain an ally and Sierra followed suit but it backfired.  At Tribal Council, Sarah’s plan worked and she was willed the legacy advantage.

We get it, Jeff. Sarah is your game changer…

Andrea and Aubry talked about Sarah’s acting job at Tribal Council.

Andrea in confessional: “There are little things that Sarah does that kind of raises some question marks and this was definitely one of them.  Sarah has lied to me before so maybe it’s time to get someone like Sarah out.”

Cirie’s interview:  “Sarah has been getting her work in with a lot of people and fine for me.  I’d like to take her to the end and all the people she screwed over will be right there to decide who wins.”

It’s weird hearing the most famous goat hunter of all times say that she needs to keep the goat around.  Of course, it isn’t the only thing weird about this season…

Sarah’s interview:  “Last night at Tribal, taking out Sierra was good because she told me about this legacy advantage.  She said, in the event that she is voted out, she is going to will it to me.  So, at Tribal Council, as her name comes up, I look at her in shock, like I can’t believe you’re going and it worked.  Now I have two advantages…so, this time:  Game Changers!  I’m shooting for the stars here and if I had to pick, I want Andrea gone.  I cannot stand the girl, however, it’s got to be the right time.”

Did you notice that no one mentioned that there were only three votes on Sierra?  Of course they didn’t because that’s the big flaw in this whole story. 


The Immunity Challenge

Aubry won immunity, bettering her “boyfriend” Cochran’s time in the process.  She was so happy she tackled Jeff.

Andrea had the end-of-challenge confessional:  “For me, Brad and Troyzan voted for me twice but Sarah is so good at pulling people in, she’s very crafty so we want to get to her when she’s not expecting it and I think the next vote would be the perfect time to do that.”


Back in camp, Aubry gave an interview: “I won immunity!  It felt really, really good to have a high moment in a 33-day journey where I needed something to kind of start a résumé.  Now, I’m thinking a couple of steps ahead and Troyzan is someone who is likable but Brad is physically a big threat.  So the time is nigh for Brad Culpepper.

Cirie was making sure everyone was on board to eliminate Brad.  Michaela wanted him to go catch fish so she could eat.

Michaela’s interview:  “Brad is nowhere to be found because he’s in the forest so I volunteered to go find Brad to make sure he’s not looking for an idol and maybe we should get Brad to go fishing.”

She found him and told him so.  He took her suggestion as blackmail.

Brad’s thoughts:  “Michaela is trying to be a princess and blackmail me into fishing for her.  I’m not going to sit here and kowtow to some diva’s demands.  I’m just looking for a way for me to get back into this game to be able to make it another day.”

Taking a walk in the woods with Aubry, Andrea put the target back on Sarah.

Andrea’s interview (all three of Andrea’s confessionals were actually filmed at the same time as you can tell by her position on the beach and her hair which is up in the same type of bun each time.):  “I’ve been with Sarah since day 1 and I feel I have a great bond with her but maybe Sarah is pandering to the jury already.  Maybe Sarah is pandering to Sierra as she walks out.”

Aubry felt that it was still Brad’s turn.

Aubry’s interview:  “Luckily, I have a little solace tonight.  It’s really weird to have this feeling.  I feel I can see things a little more clearly.  I am not acting on that gut feeling with Sarah because I fully believe that it’s time to send Brad home.”

What is a unique feeling for Aubry was normal for Yul who had that feeling every single time he went to Tribal Council.  It wasn’t as if he worked hard to win immunity each time but simply because he found something in the sand during the second episode which is the reason why I say he never actually played Survivor.

Bypassing Aubry, Andrea went to Cirie with her thoughts on Sarah.

Cirie’s interview:  “Andrea is trying to work me like I’m a cheap suit, trying to hint around about Sarah but I need Sarah to stay in order for me to make it further in the game.”

So Cirie went to Sarah about eliminating Andrea.

Andrea was once again shown sleeping in the shelter while the players were plotting against her.  If that isn’t a clear hint of things to come, what is?

Cirie’s interview resumed:  “Everything around here is about timing and when to make a move so, at Tribal Council, should Sarah and I get rid of Andrea and get our numbers down or keep our five strong and go for Brad because he is too dangerous to keep around; he wins challenges.  It’s a real difficult position to be in but timing is key here.”

If viewers hadn’t caught on when Andrea was shown sleeping, then they put the camera on Andrea picking up her torch just when Cirie said timing was key. I find it impossible to believe that the woman who was burned by Terry’s long immunity win streak in Panama would miss the perfect opportunity to vote Brad out.  Of all the people who have ever played Survivor, Cirie is the last person who would turn on an ally when a strong male is still around and subject to be voted out.  This simply doesn’t wash.  And it wasn’t as if Andrea wasn’t trustworthy; she told Cirie about her plan and then changed her vote to Brad.    


Tribal Council

Aubry said the last vote gave them a more solid alliance.

Sarah said it wasn’t broken so don’t fix it.

Troyzan made a point to say he was a vote for the bottom people.

Aubry said a lot could happen with 8 people.

Cirie told Jeff that the group was very quiet and little scrambling was done.

Andrea agreed with Cirie, adding no one came up to her.  She found it odd.

She should because that is always a huge red flag.

Brad said he didn’t talk to Andrea because he had already written her name down twice but he did talk to the other girls hoping one would see it was time to make a move and go with him to the end.

The camera showed Sarah right then.  If you still don’t know why, don’t ask me to spell it out for you.

Sarah said the jury will reward the person making the moves.

They usually don’t but a little incentive will probably help.  That or a direct order…

Aubry said that emotions always play a part.

Tai felt that the jury will reward the person who played the best game.

Well that isn’t Tai…

Andrea said good gameplay should be rewarded but not if you rub salt in the wound.  The way you send someone to the jury matters.

Michaela wanted to simply advance her group and stay as safe as possible.

Brad pointed out that someone would get it at Final Five.

Someone will get voted out at five even if they side with Brad on this vote… 

It was time to vote.

Aubry and Andrea voted against Brad.  Everyone else voted against Andrea.

Andrea went to Cirie before grabbing her torch, pointing her as her executioner.  Aubry uttered: “Nice Play” in Cirie’s direction but the camera showed us Sarah instead.


Maku Maku Night 33

Cirie’s interview:  “We sent Andrea to the jury but we still have a lot of people in this game that need to go and although Aubry is still in our group, I can’t trust her that much.”

Aubry’s interview:  “Pretty standard day for me in Survivor, up and down.  I really felt great at the immunity challenge winning.  It never happened before.  I had a good relationship with Andrea so naturally she is going to get killed off too.  For me, Survivor seems to be really high highs and really low lows.”

Cirie’s next interview:  “What was really bizarre when we came back from Tribal: Tai immediately runs right to Aubry’s side.  Tai was like Aubry’s husband and he was consoling her more than anybody else which was kind of weird to me.  Tai works people and he works on their emotional side so the way he is moving around on Aubry lets me know that they are some kind of pair happening there.”


The Immunity Challenge

Why waste time on the story and the characters?  We have a second challenge and another Tribal Council to see and a lot more of Jeff’s peroration to hear.  Aren’t we lucky?

The puzzle got a kick out of Michaela while Brad got a kick out of the puzzle.

(It was much more fun when we had Shane standing on that pole, imitating Jeff.)

“Pick somebody else, people” he yelled after winning immunity.

Cirie’s interview:  “Brad is safe so now we have to recalculate what our next move is going to be and I’m ready to take out somebody that is a threat to me.”

A secret alliance between Cirie, Sarah, Brad and Troyzan would be the only way to make some sense of this season but Cirie’s words here means there isn’t one.


Back in camp, Troyzan gave us the first interview (He’s still giving them?  I thought he had retired):  “So at the challenge, Brad Culpepper wins so I’m going to Tribal with my idol and if I feel like I’m in trouble, I’ll play it.”

Tai and Aubry were looking at the game from the jury’s point of view and both agreed that Sarah made the moves that would be rewarded.

Tai’s interview:  “I need to start showing the jury some big moves.  And Sarah’s the dangerous one.”

Aubry’s interview: “I think Tai has been drinking the Kool-Aid that he needs to make a move in this game but if I want to make a big move for my résumé, if I don’t get Tai out of here before he gets me out of here, my game is over anyway.”

Aubry told Cirie that Tai was targeting Sarah so Cirie relayed the information to the cop who thought Aubry was lying.  She trusted Tai over Aubry.

Sarah’s interview:  “For whatever reason, Cirie wants to believe Aubry and everything that is coming out of Aubry’s mouth.  So I’m going to give Cirie the advantage of “steal-a-vote” to hold on to.  This way, if this doesn’t scream loyal, I don’t know what does.”

Since Sarah knew the “steal-a-vote” was non-transferable, she was setting a trap so I wouldn’t call that loyal–despicable would be more appropriate.  But then again, I think both Sarah and Cirie were simply playing their part in the upcoming production at Tribal Council.

Cirie’s interview: “Sarah is so confident in Tai that I can’t even get her to use her own advantage so she wants to give it to me because she’s that confident but do I play it tonight and save Sarah and risk Sarah being pissed off at me? I’m from the old school:  “If you got it, play it” so I’m going to use it. Believe that!”

The plan, as Cirie explained to Michaela, was to steal Sarah’s own vote because she was going to waste it on Aubry, so Cirie could put two votes on Tai and get him out with Michaela and Aubry’s votes.

Wait, wasn’t Tai Michaela’s closest ally now?

Michaela’s interview:  “Officer Sarah is confused.  If she is wrong about Tai, it doesn’t only screw up her game, it screws up my game and Cirie’s game.”

Cirie saw a problem with their plan:  “The person we voted for has the option of playing an idol if they have and I think Tai probably has an idol.  I need to get Tai comfortable enough to trust me.  I maybe could tell Tai about the advantage and that I’m willing to use it to save him, that they are trying to pull a fast one on him but I don’t know that he will believe that.  Damn! Can I pull that off?”

Straight Poker is a great game but some think it’s better to add two or three wild cards. Straight Survivor is fun but we’re now seeing a version where the deuces, the fives and the sevens are wild.  You could be holding a straight flush and still lose the hand!

Cirie carefully presented her plan to Tai, saying she was putting herself at risk.

Tai’s interview:  “Cirie…is going to use that vote because everybody’s targeting me right now which completely took me by surprise.  Is there any reason why she would lie to me?  Why would she make up this weird thing?  I am completely freaking out.  Can I use my idol?  Maybe I should.  I have two to play with.  I don’t know; I’m terrified inside.”

Now, Tai isn’t the smartest player in the game so he should be asking himself the simplest question of all:  Why in the world would Cirie use her advantage on him?  The answer is simple:  She wouldn’t because it simply doesn’t make sense. 


Tribal Council

The actors entered the stage…

That is really the only way I can put it because I simply don’t believe anything that unfolded in the next scene.  First, I cannot believe that Cirie would base her whole strategy on something she didn’t carefully read.  I know Michaela said that Sarah was slick and only gave Cirie the advantage just before Tribal Council but we know that is a lie.  We saw Sarah putting the advantage in Cirie’s bag and, judging by the sunlight, it had to be the middle of the afternoon.  We also know that the players entered Tribal Council well after sunset so that left plenty of time for Cirie to read the note.  She had seen fake idols in play so she certainly would want to authenticate this piece of paper and, normally, people can read and walk at the same time. 

Production had tried these types of advantages before and they always turned out to be duds.  I guess they wanted to get their money’s worth in a season of supposed Game Changers.  Stephen’s “steal-a-vote” advantage was also non-transferable but that twist miserably failed.   Feeling cheated out of some good drama, production had quite some time to elaborate this display for the naive.

Even if we buy this part of their play, can anyone explain why the vote went to Michaela?  When Sarah reclaimed her advantage shouldn’t she have gone after the woman that had just tried to swindle her?  Cirie tried to explain herself so maybe Sarah believed her but, if so, why go after Michaela?  Sarah’s target was Aubry, not Michaela.  Seeing Michaela’s torch getting snuffed simply didn’t make sense.  The funny thing is that with Brad and Troyzan also voting for Michaela and Sarah stealing Tai’s vote, the actual advantage was once more wasted.  I’m thinking that with 4 idols left in play, it would have been wasted anyway at the next Tribal Council so production came up with this idea to save what would have been a dud of a Tribal Council otherwise.      

If we add all the other incongruities we’ve seen from Cirie and that I noted above then my conclusion is that “Survivor: Game Changers” is not credible.    


Become a patron of RHAP