Survivor: Game Changers
Episode 10: A Line Drawn in Concrete
By Jim Van Nest, BOP Game Changer
May 1, 2017

I'm actually 86% less pleasant than I look

Hello good people and welcome back to Survivor: Game Changers. I'm your fill in host, Jim and I couldn't be happier to be hanging with y'all tonight. Last week we had a boring yet confusing boot in Hali and a much more standard merge boot, with Ozzy being sent home after failing to win immunity for 2 challenges in a row. While everything seemed pretty much according to Hoyle, there were some issues of note. First off is that Zeke, despite being in an incredibly solid position coming into this episode, decided to go rogue on his alliance and start targeting Andrea. This pretty much made Cirie and Andrea start to target Zeke. Meanwhile, the other alliance decided to hone in on Ozzy, thus knocking the numbers away from the Cirie-Andrea-Zeke fractured alliance.

To set the table for tonight's episode, we're looking at a very solid 6 person alliance of Brad, Sierra, Tai, Debbie, Sarah and Troyzan looking to Pagong the rest of Cirie, Andrea, Zeke, Michaela and Aubry. I specifically listed all the names here to point something out. Look at the controlling alliance. You have 2 people who fizzled at the merge (Sarah and Debbie), Culpepper who didn't even make the merge, 2 people who did very little to propel themselves to the end of their respective seasons in Tai and Sierra and then Troyzan who just ran into the buzz saw that is Kim Spradlin. Now, let's look at the other side. Cirie - considered one of the top strategists to ever play the game. Andrea and Zeke were both considered huge strategic threats in their previous seasons. Aubry should have won her season with a stellar strategic game and Michaela who has shown that she has the chops for this game, despite kinda pissing everyone off this season. What I'm saying, in short, is that the brains are all on one side of the scale here and it would not shock me a bit to see them pull something off and turn the tables on Brad and Sherriff Dawn Thomas tonight. Ok, enough of me, let's get to the show!!

We begin back at camp right after Tribal and Debbie is thrilled with the vote of Ozzy and proceeds to tell us how locked in their alliance is. It's just a matter of picking them off one by one. Also, Andrea is furious with Zeke. They try to talk it out after Tribal but Andrea just wants to insult him and be mad. He decides to move away from this conversation and he takes Sarah to the watering hole. She apologizes to him for not including him in her decision that night, but she really wants to work with him. Now, tell if you've heard this before. He gladly accepts her apology and totally understands why she did what she did. It's often been said that when a non-winner returns to the game, they try to play the game of the person that won their original season. What Sarah just did with Zeke is Tony Vlachos 101. He would do whatever the hell he wanted at Tribal. Vote with whoever the hell he wanted and then come back to camp after and apologize to the people he voted against and explain to them why he did what he did. And they always forgave him. So much so, they gave him a million dollars. Sarah is totally channeling #TeamTV right now and it's working. Well done, Officer Sarah!

We come back from break on Day 25 to a Probst Sighting! We see some shots of the course as well as a note marked "Secret Advantage". Wait, what? Jeff explains the challenge as a 5 on 5 challenge - which automatically means 1 person will be sitting out. The challenge includes a water obstacle course complete with balance beam, netting and a ladder slide thing. They'll go through 1 at a time and when all 5 people are through, they'll need to use a grappling hook to grab 5 rings out of the water. First tribe to get all 5 rings wins a sweet sea plane ride over this amazing group of islands here in Fiji as well as an awesome lunch. It's a school yard pick with 1 person being left out of the challenge. Team captains were Brad and Cirie. Brad has Debbie, Sierra, Andrea and Aubry. Cirie has Troy, Zeke, Tai and Sarah. Michaela not picked. Um, what??? First off, Michaela is a challenge beast. Second off, her island mom, Cirie, was a captain and didn't pick her girl?? Suffice it to say, Michaela is PISSED! So pissed that she fails to notice the #SecretAdvantage hidden on the leg on the very bench she's sulking on. I feel bad enough for her that I hope she finds it, but at the same time, she needs to get over herself a little, chill out with the attitude and then maybe she won't keep finding herself on the outside looking in. This ain't Millennials v Gen X. These are serious players that have no time or patience with her bitchiness.

Culpepper makes quick work of the course while Tai struggles a bit including crawling across the balance beam. Sierra practically laps Tai, but Troyzan makes up some serious time and Sarah catches up as Aubry struggles with the balance beam. Zeke and Debbie are now on the course at the same time. Debbie, former gymnast and balance beam extraordinaire, decides to crawl across the beam. Zeke can't stay on the beam and Andrea actually laps Zeke finishing the course while Cirie has yet to hit the course. Cirie, easily the worst challenge competitor on any season just kills any chance they had of keeping up. Sierra and Culpepper are quickly bringing in rings and this challenge is over. It's not a contest anymore. Now, the concern is whether or not Cirie will complete the course. Sarah dives in the water to help Cirie. It means she'll have to do the course again, but she refuses to give up on Cirie. What happens next is both ridiculous and touching all at the same time. Culpepper wins the challenge, but no one really cares, it's all about Cirie finishing this obstacle course. It is a very touching moment about not giving up no matter what. Her whole team is there with her to cheer her through the balance beam. Probst calls it one of the most powerful moments on Survivor. And I hate to be a stick in the mud - but people have trouble on challenges all the time. I'm not sure what made this the challenge the one where we essentially stop the show so one person can conquer their fear - but there is an interesting development because of it. Due to Cirie's fatigue, Jeff decides not to make them swim back to shore, but to call a boat to come get the losing team to take them back to the beach. As they all board the boat, Sarah happens to catch a glimpse of something interesting on the foot of the bench Michaela was sitting on through the whole challenge. Amazingly enough, with no one seeing anything, Sarah is able to climb up on that platform, untie the advantage and stash it in her shoe. Wow...everything's coming up Sarah tonight!

We get back to camp with the losers and Cirie tells us about the challenge. She's very touched and proud that she kept trying and then completed the challenge. The rest of the tribe is incredibly supportive about this, considering that they lost one of the sweetest rewards ever. She goes on to tell us that she has no chance to win the game by winning challenges so she's going to have to keep building on her relationships with everyone on the island. And finally we get to the advantage Sarah found right before the commercial. She gets a moment to herself to read her parchment. She tells us about finding the advantage and how it's the attention to detail she's learned while being a cop. She mentions that most people driving down the street wouldn't know if the car in front of them has an expired license plate. I have to say - I'm not a cop - but anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows that I notice that shit. And I take pictures of it and post them on the interwebs. It's just one of those things I do.

But I digress; let's get back to the advantage. Looks like Sarah has found herself a vote stealer!! At any Tribal Council all the way to the final 5, she can announce to Jeff that she wants to steal someone's vote. She'll pick the person and their vote will not count and she'll get to cast a second vote. This vote is non-transferrable and cannot be stolen from her. She is very excited about this turn of events. She tells us how people don't play these kinds of votes correctly, but she'll be the first one to play it correctly. It's a very interesting time for her to find this vote too, right? We're at 11 where there is a 6-5 split right now. She can pick a side at this Tribal and then use her steal to do whatever she wants at the next. This gives her an amazing opportunity to continue her Tony-like play by following up her flip on Ozzy with another flip and then possibly using this vote stealer to flip again. I can't wait to see if she manages to work in all the possibilities I see with this vote stealer.

Oh yeah - 1 tribe won a reward or something. As they're flying over the islands, Debbie reminds us that she's a captain in the Civil Air Patrol - Air Force Auxiliary, so she just loves airplanes but she's not as star struck as everyone else. You know, like Brad Culpepper - former NFL Player - he hardly ever gets to be on an airplane. And by the way, the Air Force Auxiliary she keeps referencing - it's a not for profit organization that arose back in the late 30's early 40's as civilians who could fly wanted to volunteer to help the war efforts without actually joining the military. They were an integral part of the effort with one of their main tasks being rescue missions and saving hundreds of crash victims. The organization was kept after the war where their 3 main primary missions are aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services. While I applaud anyone in the organization, especially the active members, it is not a branch of the service which I feel like Debbie constantly suggests. Anyway, I was curious and I thought some of you might be too. Back to the action!

The plane finally lands and the feast is on. Brad tells us that his plan in picking his team was to leave a couple people behind to keep an eye on the rest of the tribe. Troy and Sarah were those 2. As they all talk around the table, talk turns to what the deal is between Andrea and Zeke. Sierra is riding high and loving life. She loves seeing Andrea and Zeke feuding. They should totally be banding together to combat her forces, but they're not. She is in total control of the game and couldn't be happier.

Meanwhile, back at camp, one of Brad's spies is cozying up to Cirie. Sarah asks her who she thinks is running the show. Cirie says Sierra is running the show and they're just gonna start picking people off one by one. And eventually, they're gonna come for her. Sarah asks Cirie if she were to be in the final 3 with Brad and Sierra, would she have a chance? Cirie told her not a chance. They'd just claim they carried her to the end and they made all the decisions. Sarah tells us that last time she played, she played it safe and didn't make the big move and all it got her was a seat on the jury, so she's not going to do that again. She starts counting people with Cirie. The two of them and Michaela and Aubry makes 4. Then the realization hits them that they need Zeke and Andrea to kiss and make up if they want to have any chance to make a move here. Cirie seems to think they can repair things with Andrea. As we head to break, Sarah is really back and forth about whether or not the timing is right to make a move.

On Day 26, it's time for another Probst sighting!! This is a great throwback challenge. They have a balancing platform attached to a long rope. They have to balance the platform while walking back and forth with puzzle tiles that spell out Immunity. The first person to stack all 8 tiles, in order to spell "Immunity" will win immunity and be safe from the vote. If they drop their stack at any point, they have to start over. The challenge starts off as these challenges usually do, except for Tai. He decides to try to stack his tiles in the order he'll need them, but he’s struggling to do so. I mean, they're pretty deprived of both food and sleep AND English is not his native language, so he's really struggling with this. And it actually takes him completely out of the challenge. Andrea is out to an early lead with Debbie and Sierra close behind. It pretty much stays this way through most of the challenge. Aubry, Brad and Troy get in on the action a little with Zeke, Cirie and Tai pretty much out of it. Sarah drops her entire stack basically taking her out of the challenge. Aubry also drops and it pretty well out. Andrea and Troy are now neck and neck with the 7th letters and Andrea loses it, which gives Troy a completely open course to place this one last letter. Culpepper is in a place to challenge, but loses his stack. Troy takes his time and easily wins immunity. THIS IS HIS ISLAND!! Sorry, flashbacks. As we head to commercial, Sierra is excited that one of her alliance won immunity which gives them the freedom to get rid of whoever they want - and if she has a say in it, that would be Andrea.

So, with that in mind, we're back to play "It's Anyone but Andrea." Brad tells us that everyone wants to get rid of Michaela, but it's smarter to get rid of Andrea. He explains to Debbie and Sierra that Andrea has to be the play. She's a strategic and physical threat, so she has to go next. They lock it in with Tai, Troy and Sarah. However, Sarah tells us that the decision was made without even talking to her. They just pulled her in and told her what to do. What they've actually done here is let her know exactly where in the pecking order she stands. That would seem to be last. She's not down for that so it might be time to make a move. Sarah goes to Zeke and asks him if following along with the majority is still the best play, because she's ready to make a move. He is also ready to make a move because being the 7th person in a 6-person alliance isn't anything he wants to be a part of. They do realize, however, that they have to do something to bring in Andrea if this is to have any shot at working. So Sarah heads off to talk to Andrea. And once again, everything's coming up Sarah - she plays this brilliantly. She lets Andrea know she's not alone and that they can still work together. THEN she asks what Andrea wants to do. She admits to being in with the 6 person alliance even though she knows she's #6. She's using this to be a double agent and she is ready to make a move with everyone else, they just all need to get on the same page. So, it looks like Andrea and Zeke are on board, despite hating each other and not wanting to work with each other. And there we have it kids - locked and loaded. #Blindside coming up!

Wait a minute, not so fast. Sierra takes a shot at Sarah talking about how close they are and how they've bonded. She tells Sarah that she doesn't care how everyone gets voted out as long as it's the 2 of them and Debbie sitting in the Final 3, that's what she really wants to happen. Now, Sarah is wavering on making a move against Sierra. Maybe she's not on the bottom like she thought. And just when it looks like all hope is lost, Debbie starts running her mouth. We see her telling Aubry that the 6 of them will decide who to vote for. Sarah may not like and trust Aubry, but Debbie does, so Michaela will be going home tonight. She tells Aubry that there might be a way into the alliance, if she proves trustworthy. As Debbie tells us that she might need to use Aubry down the road, Aubry does a sweet eye roll right into the camera. I should probably point out that it was right around this time her last time out there that Debbie found herself on the right side of the numbers. She got power hungry telling people how it was gonna be. Yeah - it pissed Aubry off and she made sure Debbie went home that night.

And just like last time, Debbie has kicked Aubry into high gear. And frankly, Aubry's high gear far surpasses anything Debbie has in this game. She goes to Michaela and Andrea to relay the conversation, which only solidifies the 3 of them. She then goes to Sarah to tell her that Debbie offered to put Aubry in the alliance over Sarah. As Sarah mentions that she hates liars, Aubry responds, "She's a grade A liar." Then goes on to tell Sarah how they have her back and they'll do whatever she wants. This just in - Aubry is really good at this game. As the music builds up to Tribal, Sarah lays everything out for us again and then ends it all with, "I'm gonna decide at Tribal." Yeah! Just what Jeff likes, a #LiveTribal!

Jeff begins by asking Cirie about the reward challenge. She says she was amazed by the help she got from all the other people, especially Officer Sarah. Sarah says that she just couldn't watch Cirie struggle and she doesn't see how anyone could have watched her and not helped. Andrea talks about how devastating the immunity challenge was since she is clearly on the bottom. Jeff asks her how she knows she's on the bottom and she beats around the bush a little, which gets Zeke shaking his head. Jeff asks him about it and he basically calls out the 6-person alliance and how they went into the woods and decided who was going home. Jeff goes to Debbie and she confirms that the meeting did happen and that it was great and easy and only took 10 minutes. He asks Sarah what it's like to be part of the group that's making the decisions. She says it's all about being on the right side of the numbers and can you really blame them for feeling secure? Debbie goes on to tell us that there is no way that the 6 can be broken up. Troy is happy with the way things are. He says you get to the final 6 and worry about after when that happens. Zeke, on the other hand, suggests that the deck reshuffles after every vote and that he's hoping that after this reshuffle, there'll be a place for him to make a move. Sarah responds saying she thinks it is wishful thinking that the deck reshuffles. With all of that out of the way, it is time to vote.

We don't see many votes this time around. We see Debbie voting for Andrea saying something no one giving orders or taking orders because their 6 is a democracy. We also see Andrea's vote for Debbie saying that she hopes Debbie is for a rude awakening. And with that, Jeff is gonna tally the votes. No hidden idols are played. As expected, it breaks down to Debbie versus Andrea. Also as expected, the first 10 votes are split 5-5 between the 2, leaving Sarah’s vote as the tie-breaker. 10th person voted out and the 3rd member of our jury - Debbie! BOOM! Sierra looks lost. Brad is trying to figure out who flipped. Troy isn't sure what the hell just happened. Ozzy is both thrilled to see Debbie get her comeuppance and devastated that he's going to have to spend the rest of his time at Ponderosa - with Debbie. So, Sarah made the move she refused to make last time out. She's saved her vote steal AND she got rid of a royal pain in her ass that was spreading lies about her. She has the perfect story to take back to camp and Vlachos her way out of this. "Yo, Brad - she was telling people lies about me, talking about how she wanted to replace me with Aubry in the alliance. This was a vote against Debbie - not against you guys. I'm still with you and I'll prove it with my next vote." It's been a long time since I can remember one person having as nice an episode as Sarah had tonight. Looks like my Cagayan winner pick wasn't so dumb after all. Well done!

Next time on Survivor: with the tide turned, everything seems to be up for grabs. We see Sierra go to talk to Andrea and Cirie with Andrea telling us it's time to make the really big move. While Zeke is staring up conversations with Culpepper and Troyzan. He says that with the game wide open, he can get back to playing the way he wants to play. And with an even number AND a vote steal out there - things could be VERY interesting at Tribal. Y'all have me for one more week and then David and Kim will be back to take you home. Til next week - take care!