Survivor: Game Changers Recap

The Tables Have Turned

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

March 27, 2017

The game just got 85% less interesting.

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Previously on Survivor, Tai once again gave Caleb the kiss of death. The two allies from Survivor: Kaôh Rong briefly reunited after a tribe shakeup last week. They bonded as old friends, one of whom is in love with the other. Then, their tribe lost an immunity challenge, and everyone turned on Caleb so emphatically that even Tai voted against him. Fittingly, this episode aired on March 15th, aka the Ides of March. So, it’s not the first friendly backstabbing to occur on the date.

Back at camp on night nine, Tai is feeling like a traitor due to his recent treachery. Sierra reassures him that he did exactly the right thing. What she doesn’t need to add is “for my game, not yours.” Tai tells the camera that he’s playing with his head rather than his heart this game. All evidence to the contrary, bud. You just betrayed the person most likely to remain loyal to you until the end.

The following morning is day 10 at Mana camp. Hali is feeling relieved that she somehow survived after a night with her head on the chopping block. She takes a run at Debbie, offering to build a voting block based on the elimination of Tai at the next Tribal Council. Debbie emphatically agrees then has a(nother) weird monologue where she points out that this is her second appearance on Survivor, not her first. Yes, Debbie, that’s the core concept of a season featuring returning players. Notice that we specifically didn’t say an All-Star season because, well, you’re there. Anyway, Debbie claims that she’s only telling Hali what the Knoxville native wants to hear. What novel Survivor gameplay.


Hali is in a lot of trouble right now, though. The other four members of her tribe are former Nuku allies, and they remain loyal, at least thus far. Caleb and Hali were outnumbered due to Survivor producers meddling, and Caleb never had a chance. If Mana loses again today, the same is likely true of Hali, although the way the episode spells this out is a strong hint that something else will unfold.

Debbie tells the camera that Hali has no options. Just last week, Zeke said the same thing of Troyzan, who immediately hunted for and found a hidden immunity idol. Survivor players really need to research what “no chance” means. Unjustified arrogance is the show’s most frequently recurring mistake.

In a bad sign about the quality of tonight’s episode, we skip straight to a reward challenge at the two-minute mark. It does have a novel premise, though. Only two players from each tribe will compete to win the reward. For the first place finisher, that’s iced tea, iced coffee, coffee beans, and sugar plus chocolate cookies. Second place wins iced coffee. Since we’re not coffee drinkers, we already see everyone as losers this week.

There are two jobs in this challenge. One player carries a ball, while the other throws sandbags. It quickly becomes an alpha male battle. JT and Malcolm play for Nuku, Ozzy and Troyzan carry the load for Tavua, and Mana seems screwed. With Caleb gone, their best options are Tai and Brad. Call us crazy if you disagree, but we think Brad and Caleb would look better on paper.

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