Survivor: Game Changers Recap
The Stakes Have Been Raised, Part 2
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 13, 2017

Thank goodness we don't have to listen to him for another several weeks.

With the Ciera vote out of the way, Tony is trying to align with other tribemates who he considers to be threats. He chats with Aubry, and she agrees that this is a strategy that can work. He figures the other people to bring on board their five-person alliance are Malcolm, Caleb and Sandra.

Sandra tends to agree with this approach. The only way a previous winner can be voted Sole Survivor at the end is to go to the final Tribal Council with other winners. Thus, she's looking at Tony and JT as potential allies. She reiterates her game strategy - which has always been the best one in Survivor - “As long as it's not me, I don't care who goes home.”

Over at Team Ozzy, Tai is already overprotective of the chickens, giving them corn that is meant for the tribe and assigning them names. This doesn't sit well with JT, since they need to eat more than the chickens do. In fact, the chickens seem to be all too comfortable with their state of existence, wandering around the food area and eating what they like. This softness towards “future dinner” was a problem for Tai last time around, but it looks to be even more troublesome with this group.

Back over at the Mana tribe, Tony is paranoid - and we mean more than the usual type of paranoia. While the rest of the group is asleep, he stands around and stews about what everyone might be saying behind his back, and decides he needs to go expand on his Super Secret Spy Shack (the one that pretty much everyone knows about).

While he's digging in the ground, Sandra and Troyzan go off and talk near Tony. After watching this segment a couple of times, we're actually wondering if Sandra didn't do this just to see how Tony would react. She and Troyzan are talking about who should be next to go, and they're saying that there's not any particular reason to vote for Tony. No one's going to join forces with him for any true length of time. Of course, Tony hears his name and thinks that means they're voting for him, so he comes stumbling up and asks them what they're talking about. Sandra makes up something about a crate, but he's being ridiculous.

At this point, Sandra says that although she thought she had aligned herself with Tony, he's clearly unstable and looks as though he may see her as his next target. His erratic behavior has her convinced that Tony should be next to go.

Back at the Ozzy camp, Cirie is similarly paranoid. She's worried that Ozzy and JT are coming for her, so she needs to forge some alliances elsewhere. Cirie tries to get in with Sarah, who says something about playing like a cop last time but playing like a criminal this time. Frankly, we can't remember her previous appearance, so this doesn't mean much to us. Either way, she's at least embracing the Sandra strategy of “anyone but me is fine.”

Since she presumably thinks that the older players won't team up with her, Cirie continues to go after some of the newer folks. Her next target is Zeke, who is in awe of Cirie and might just fanboy himself right out of the game. To his credit, he does recognize that it's far too early to be in an alliance with someone who the majority seems to be targeting.

Next, Cirie goes for Debbie and tries to advise her to “talk less… smile more.” Debbie now claims to be a captain in the civil air patrol, although it's not a paying position but rather one that gives her benefits in military experience. (We really never understand what she's talking about.) If Survivor ever starts a dating site, Debbie and Philip would be a perfect match. They'd have so many imaginary crime-fighting adventures.

Either way, Debbie's not buying what Cirie is selling, which means that Cirie basically just struck out on three swings.

We go back over to the Tony versus Sandra battle, and Sandra has enlisted Hali and Troyzan to her team. Next up is Jeff Varner. Let's just say that Sandra's ability to enlist people to her alliance is MUCH better than Cirie's. Before you know it, she has Hali, Troyzan, Jeff and Michaela in a group of five.

On the other hand, Varner notices Sandra's prowess at the game. Although he seems to be onboard with her for the Tony vote, he's certainly aware that she's not someone you want to allow to go far in the game.

Tony approaches Malcolm and Caleb, who both give lip service to the fact that they want to keep stronger players (aka Tony) in the game. As far as Malcolm is concerned, the more people around that he can hide behind, the better. Both guys worry that if Tony goes home, they'll be next to go.

And with that talk of strength, it's time for a Probst sighting and an Immunity Challenge. For this challenge, teams will walk out across a narrow beam that stretches through the water. Then they have to climb up and over a cage, where they'll retrieve a heavy snake. Once they get the snake all the way back to the shore, the group will be able to open it up and get out some tiles that indicate the solution to a combination lock. The lock opens a container with some rings that they'll throw at posts that spell “Immunity.” Obviously, the first team to finish wins immunity, but also some fishing gear.

The challenge really isn't close for the bulk of the race. Team Ozzy gets out to an early lead by efficiently getting their snake out of the cage (don't make it dirty) and back to the shore. Before they know it, JT and Sierra are throwing rings.

Mana is well behind until they get back to shore and allow Malcolm to take control. He solves the lock combination almost immediately and then gets to throwing his rings. He effectively ties JT and Sierra, with both teams having two rings to go, but then JT gets on a roll and Mana wins immunity.

Almost everyone compliments Malcolm in his singlehandedly fantastic performance. Of course, Michaela hates to lose and wasn't used at all in the challenge, so she is sulking. We saw this behavior in her last season and she clearly hasn't learned much from it.

They're only back at camp for moments before Tony goes wandering off by himself. Troyzan says someone should go after him, but the looks on the faces of Sandra, Hali, Troyzan and Jeff clearly say that Tony is going to be the next guy to go. Sandra rightly notes that Tony has been sneaky and since they're not sure whether he has an idol, they'll need to throw a couple of votes Aubry's way. She also wonders whether they can get Malcolm and Caleb onboard for a Tony vote. Hali is their ambassador, and while they have the discussion, they do a great job of covering as Tony walks up and they all say that the name they will be writing down is Aubry's.

For his part, Tony is trying to orchestrate a Sandra vote with Caleb and… well, just Caleb, apparently. He suggests Michaela as a potential ally, but doesn't talk to her himself. He lets Caleb do that dirty work. Basically, the discussion seems to come down to whether they want to keep strong players in the game (for all the good that's done them so far) or if they want to get rid of the sneaky guy who can't be trusted.

Tribal Council and that same conversation continues. Do they need strength in the game, or does that really even matter at this point? So far, they've lost two challenges with their strong players, and Sandra makes sure to hammer that point home. When Troyzan makes a comment that he has to be wandering around at 4 a.m. to make sure someone's not being sneaky (and Tony retorts that he caught Troyzan and Sandra having an early morning conversation), we're more sure than ever that Tony was captured in a clever trap.

And now we take a brief interlude for Sandra to freak out about the giant bug in her hair. To be fair, when she sees it, Michaela runs for the hills as well.

For his part, Tony swears that he's playing a totally different game this time around, and Jeff Varner, Caleb and Malcolm all say that they believe him. At least it calms his crazy paranoia for a minute.

After the votes come in, they're all for Tony except for Tony and Sandra's vote for Aubry. Remember when we were hoping for Tony to go in Part 1 of this recap? We're so happy right now!

Sandra does say a lot about how she's the queen and she's staying the queen. She probably needs to settle down with that, even though we think there's very little hope of her lasting much longer in the game, especially since next week's preview promises a tribe switch up already. We'll find out on Wednesday!