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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Plenty of discussion ensues. Most of the Tribal Council participates ignore Probst and each other, whispering gameplay questions. Debbie, who is genuinely bad at the game, leaps to Brad to ask if Nuku is targeting him. Brad, after years in football huddles, knows panic when he sees it. He stresses that he thinks that his counterparts are sticking with the original plan. Sierra adds that she believes that she’s the target. Sierra’s really good at this game. We wouldn’t want to see her sitting across from us at a poker table, either.

At this moment, the entire conversation goes off the rails. JT and Malcolm decide that their Alpha Male Club isn’t complete without Brad Culpepper in it. Even though he’s on the opposing tribe, JT leaps up and walks over to talk with him. What he does next might rival The Letter that caused him so much humiliation during Heroes vs. Villains.

JT leans in and whispers to his former tribemate, “I love you brother, but they’re voting Sierra out.” Hali then rushes over to Sandra, stating, “If that’s how we’re going to be!” She then validates Sandra’s earlier thought process, indicating that they should vote out Brad. Sandra really doesn’t even care if Hali’s telling the truth. She infers from this that Brad is a better play than Sierra at this point. She tells her allies to change. JT resists, noting that he just gave Brad Culpepper his word that his bro was safe.

Probst finally gets tired of watching the negotiations and asks everyone to vote. Hali refuses, saying that she’s not ready yet. Sandra (!) tells her that she should go ahead. Hali comments that she can but that the other tribe (her allies?) may regret it. With 11 people at Tribal Council, we’re not sure any of them knew what Hali was going to do at that moment, including Hali.

Something important happens as Hali leaves. Michaela whispers to Sandra, “I wonder why she didn’t just tell us who had the idol.” Sandra’s reply demonstrates that even the greatest Survivor players can make huge mistakes. “Nobody got no idol over there. Girl, please.” Oops.

After everyone votes, Tai’s tribemates request that he play the idol. Tai does so, and then takes a moment to debate which of his allies is in most desperate need of the assist. Brad Culpepper selflessly points to Sierra, jeopardizing himself to make the best move for his tribe. Guys don’t survive for a decade in the NFL unless they’re team players.


Sandra’s huge gulp is the dead giveaway that Sierra was the target. The only question is which one of the threats on Nuku will go home due to the shocking appearance of this idol. To his complete and utter disgust, the answer is Malcolm, who was playing a wonderful game. Suffice to say that Malcolm is so ill over this turn of events that he looks like he might throw up. In fact, he comments that he’s going to vomit. We don’t think he’s exaggerating.

Two other notes about these frenzied final few seconds of the game:

For the first time we can ever recall in this game, Sandra looked worried for a moment that she was going home. It was weird to see genuine concern on her face.

Also, JT is a really good guy. While he could have easily been the target, he wasn’t just worried about himself. He took Malcolm’s elimination as hard as Malcolm did, eventually breaking into tears. JT’s made a couple of epic mistakes on Survivor, but he’s a really good guy and an even better friend to have.

Finally, we won’t be surprised if two-tribe single-eliminations become a thing on Survivor. The first one turned out better than Survivor’s always-meddling producers could have dreamt possible.

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