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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Probst Sighting: The Sequel!

Only 19 minutes into the episode, he’s already making his second appearance. The immunity challenge for the episode is appearing earlier than normal in the episode. That means it’s probably long, and something odd will happen after the challenge ends. Sure enough, Probst drops the bomb that we’d predicted last week. Only one team will win immunity tonight. The other two will head to Tribal Council. Oddly, Probst specifically doesn’t mention that both teams will eliminate someone. Color us intrigued.

We’ve seen this challenge many times before. One player calls out directions to their teammates, all of whom are wearing blindfolds. Inevitably, people wreck into hard objects at maximum velocity. The one caveat this time is that teams can go out all at once or some can stay behind, although everyone ignores the latter option. Since they’re tethered together, everyone going at once makes the most sense. As usual, one of the players has troubles in yelling out instructions. Surprisingly, boisterous loudmouth Brad Culpepper is the one who doesn’t shout loud enough. Cirie…doesn’t have that problem. That woman missed her calling as a Banshee.

Each team has to track down bags of clues, and it’s not that hard. The space is tight, and the obstacles aren’t as ominous as in past seasons. Nuku returns to their base in relatively short fashion, with what Probst describes as, “A giant lead!” Tavua is second to return, but since only one team is safe from Tribal Council, they’re still in trouble.


The final phase is the balancing puzzle. It’s the one where a player uses levers to manipulate a ball through a maze. It’s akin to manipulating a puppet. The first team to get three balls is safe from elimination. JT and Malcolm both sink their balls, leaving Varner to finish the challenge. As his teammates tell him that he has a giant lead, they fail to notice that Tavua is absolutely destroying the puzzle, akin to how Culpepper performed earlier. They quickly position two balls correctly, completely negating the “giant lead.”

Varner…isn’t very good at this challenge. He seems to be standing still as his opponent, Andrea, quickly catches up. He does have one remaining chance to sink his ball, but it falls through the final slot just outside the inner circle. Seconds away from victory, he chokes. Moments later, Andrea sinks her putt, giving Tavua the win after a huuuuuuge comeback. And we can assure you that avoiding Tribal Council is a much bigger deal than winning iced coffee.

After Tavua leaves, Probst drops the bombshell that we’d inferred. For the first time ever, two tribes will share one Tribal Council, and only one player will be voted out of the game. This dynamic is a brilliant deviation from the show’s usual pattern. Rather than the members of an alliance picking off the unaffiliated players, the door is open for someone to cut a deal with an opposing tribe. The person voted out tonight should come from the tribe that’s least loyal.

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