Survivor: Game Changers Recap
It’s Not a High Without a Low
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
May 15, 2017

She won't be smiling that much when she realizes Sarah betrayed her huge.

Previously on Survivor… oh, we’ll be honest. We haven’t watched Survivor in a couple of weeks. During our glorious time at Walt Disney World, Debbie Wanner was mercifully eliminated, along with Zeke. Thanks to Jim for covering for us while we were away. Now, we’ll just go ahead and hop right into this week’s recap, which starts with…

…The group in the minority wondering what the heck just happened. Overall, they had voted for one of their own, Tai, but the majority alliance got together and voted to eliminate Zeke. Tai asks them, “You want to talk about it or no?”

Of course, this means that Tai has figured out that his own alliance voted for him. Brad realizes that he may no longer have Tai in his corner due to this strategic misstep.

Michaela feels pretty disappointed about the Zeke vote, which gives Cirie the opportunity to stir up a little bit of dissention in the majority alliance. Understanding that Tai may be a candidate to flip to a different group, she suggests to Michaela and Sarah that they should consider breaking up a pair. She figures Brad and Sierra are a tight alliance, so perhaps Culpepper is the choice at the next vote.
Michaela and Sarah agree.

Meanwhile, Sierra wonders if Sarah, who has been her closest friend (if not ally) in the game, is someone she can rely upon. She feels discouraged that she and Culpepper have lost control and figures it’s time for bold strokes. She goes to Sarah and confesses that she has the “legacy advantage,” an Immunity Idol that she can only use if she’s part of the final six. Sierra does make the tactical error of telling Sarah that she will pass the legacy along to her if Sierra does wind up voted out. Sierra figures it’s a way to curry favor.

For now, at least, Sarah does want to keep Sierra around. Sierra’s secret gives them both advantages moving forward, and it seems to guarantee a loyal ally.

Probst sighting! Let’s just go ahead and get right into the Reward Challenge. Winners will receive a good ol’ fashioned American barbeque. But wait! There’s more!

Yes, tonight is the “loved ones” episode, where friends and family of the contestants arrive to provide comfort and support just when it’s needed most. Several of the Survivors break down in tears at this news, especially Sarah. She hugs her husband, Wyatt, and asks him about their son, Knox.

“Damn, he’s sexy, Sarah,” says Sierra.

Andrea’s mother Linda is her visitor. Andrea says she had been a troublemaker growing up, but her mother replies that she went through some difficulties as a teenager that only made her emerge stronger.

Aubry is thrilled to see her sister Carrie. You can definitely see the resemblance. When her dad emerges from the forest, Sierra seems to finally be at ease. Michaela’s mother Candy is the cutest thing ever. They scream when they see each other.

Troyzan is hoping to see his brother, Todd, but isn’t sure that he could make it. But happily, it is Todd, and it’s clear that they’re close. Tai wants to see “the love of my life, Mark.” They embrace, and Tai asks him about their cats.

Brad Culpepper obviously wants to see his wife Monica, previous contestant on Survivor. He tells her that he never realized how hard it was for her to go all the way to the end of their season, and that he’s proud of her.

Probst informs the viewers and the Survivors that Cirie made a huge sacrifice this season. Her son has graduated from high school while she was playing the game. “Shall we bring him out?” Probst asks. Jared comes running out, and he says that he and Cirie are just like two peas in a pod.

To earn today’s reward, the Survivors will be grouped into three. The first team to win will get to barbeque with their loved ones. Each team will be linked together. First portion of the race is to jump from a platform into the water, then climb over an obstacle. Then, they’ll climb under an obstacle.

Teams are neck and neck, even though Tai and Cirie have to be dragged in spots by their respective teams. The next obstacle is one where they have to dig under a log. That means that Andrea, Brad Culpepper and Aubry are in the lead. They have to release a set of keys next, and they’ve done so before either of the other two teams have gotten under their log.

Both of them finish at about the same time, and as they’re getting their key, Brad Culpepper is leading the charge for the final portion of the challenge – throwing a bean bag and knocking down some blocks. We don’t really even need to say more. Brad Culpepper is throwing. Obviously his team wins.

Michaela kicks something. Her mom tells her to settle down.

So, Aubry, Andrea and Brad Culpepper are our winners. Probst tells them that they can choose one player and their loved one to spend time with them. They choose Cirie, because obviously she is dying to spend time with her son.

Probst is evil and tells the three winners they can choose one more person. They choose Sarah, who was near collapse after thinking she wouldn’t get to spend time with her husband.

Andrea figures that Michaela was devastated not to be included, but she’ll be fine after a day.

“I never in a million years expected myself to be in a jungle in Fiji with my shirt off,” says Jared, Cirie’s son.

Brad and Monica Culpepper discuss the fact that Michaela was slighted after the Reward Challenge. Monica thinks she’ll flip.

Cut to Tai and Michaela chatting with Tai, while Sierra and Troyzan wonder if they can flip Michaela to their side. They tell Michaela that if any of them are at the end with Andrea, they won’t win. Michaela high fives them, but she figures that she’s got options. She’s the swing vote, which is a pretty good place to be.

Probst returns quickly for today’s Immunity Challenge. The Survivors must balance on a narrow perch while holding a buoy. It’s one of those challenges that seems to favor people with small feet. We’ll see if a woman (or Tai) wins.

After struggling, Aubry is disgusted with herself as she drops her buoy. Sierra goes out right after Aubry. Andrea and Sarah follow. So much for the small feet theory. Next out is Cirie, and then Troyzan drops his buoy. By the way, the gap between Andrea and Troyzan is about 30 seconds.

So, it’s down to Michaela, Brad Culpepper and Tai. Michaela had looked solid, but she drops her buoy. Culpepper has had several instances where he looks like he could fall, but Tai has a stumble. Brad Culpepper wins immunity at an opportune moment.

Tonight, Michaela says it will be between Andrea and Sierra. It’s all down to which group she wants to hang with.

As predicted, the Andrea alliance wants to go with Sierra. Michaela tells Sierra that she’s up for the vote. Also, Sarah is hesitant to vote Sierra at first, but figures it’s all good no matter what. All she needs to do is ensure that Sierra thinks she’s with her so that she’ll will her the Legacy advantage.

Sarah tells Michaela just enough to let her know that Sierra has an advantage, but not enough to know that the advantage will be willed to Sarah.

There’s a lot of back and forth about “who can you trust” and “who is a group” and so on, with Andrea, Aubry, Michaela and Sierra given most of the airtime. We pretty much know from the voting that is shown that we’re looking at either Andrea or Sierra as predicted.

Ultimately, it’s the Legacy Advantage story that swings Michaela over to stick with her group and send Sierra home. She played a solid game, but simply got on the wrong side of the numbers.

Sierra does will her Legacy Advantage to Sarah, saying she hopes her friend didn’t vote for her. Oops. She really shouldn’t have mentioned the advantage to Sarah at all.