QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Last Week: A goat was spared because of its mother, Sierra disowned her Dirty 30 sister, and Tai voted out his Big Brother.
39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog…
Alright, let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…
The Mana Tribe (wearing orangey-red)
The Nuku Tribe (wearing blue)
The Tavua Tribe (wearing green)
The fun kicks off back at Mana Beach after Tribal Council. Tai is bummed that he had to vote out his buddy, but he did it for the good of his game. And, he got a bag of magic beans out of it. So, it was a pretty sound decision.
The next morning, Hali and Debbie agree that Tai should go home next. However, Debbie was just joshing, because she wants to keep things classic Nuku strong.
Reward Challenge Time: One player will race through an obstacle course while balancing a ball on a pole. Once they have all the balls to the end, another tribe member will use sandbags to knock over pegs. The first tribe to knock over all their pegs will win comfort for their face in the form of chocolate and coffee. The second place tribe will win a thermos of ice coffee.
Quick Aside: “Survivor” production has amazing ice coffee. No joke.
JT and Malcolm will participate for Nuku, Ozzy and Troyzan will play for Tavua, Tai and Culpepper will suit up for Mana.
Another Quick Aside: Why a challenge for just two players at this stage?
Ozzy is the first one through the ball-balancing portion, but JT is right behind him.
Malcolm and Troyzan battle it out with Malcolm taking a lead. Tai finally makes it through the course and now Culpepper gets to join the fray.
Malcolm wins first place for Nuku. Culpepper and Troyzan go toe-to-toe with Brad amazingly pulling off the come-from-behind win.
Culpepper Bandwagon…Woo Woo!
Man, that was intense for a thermos of coffee.
Oooo…as we head to commercial, Cirie lets us know that Troyzan’s performance did not help his standing in the tribe. Well, yeah.
Back at Tavua Beach, Ozzy isn’t too heartbroken about losing, because it makes his fishing skills more valuable. He says he doesn’t mean to toot his own horn, but then he goes right on tooting it.
Ozzy proves his talent by bringing back a giant stingray. Nobody on Tavua seems to care if the stingray is a mother or not.
Meanwhile at Nuku, Sandra tells us that she’s the queen and nobody knows it. Dude, you say “Queen stays Queen” every three minutes. I think people might have figured it out.
CUT TO: Malcolm and JT talking about how dangerous Sandra is.
JT and Malcolm agree to work together and tip each off if either of their names is mentioned.
Immunity Challenge Time: One player from each tribe will stand on a tower and be a caller. They’ll direct their tribemates, who are blindfolded and tethered in pairs, through an obstacle course. The duos will have to retrieve three balls. Once all three balls are attained, the players can remove their blindfolds and maneuver the balls through a table maze. The first tribe to get all three balls to the end will win immunity. The other two tribes will go to Tribal Council.
Sandra will sit for Nuku while Troyzan will sit for Tavua.
Brad, Jeff, and Cirie are our callers. Oh, and all of the obstacles are at groin height. Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer is the devil.
Nuku is the first tribe to get all of their balls. They have a huge lead. Mana and Tavua eventually join them.
JT sinks the first ball, then Ozzy gets one.
Malcolm hits Nuku’s second one, Sarah gets Tavua’s second.
Varner…just…struggles…with the third one.
Culpepper gets Mana’s first, while Andrea gets Tavua’s third. Tavua wins immunity.
Wow…Varner blew a huge lead. He actually wept when it was all over.
Before Jeff sends the tribes off, he tells them that both tribes will vote out one person. Oh man…
These are not even tribes.
Back at Nuku, JT is psyched because his tribe clearly has a numbers advantage. The others realize that he is the most likely person to flip, seeing that he was a member of classic Nuku. But, he assures them that he’s solid.
JT and Malcolm wonder who Mana will target and agree that it will probably be Sandra. This makes JT contemplate voting for Sandra to help them along. Oh man, JT. Stick with the plan, buddy.
At Mana, Hali realizes that she doesn’t necessarily have to be on the bottom anymore. Brad tries to convince her that the bonds she’s forged on New Mana are stronger than the ones she had on Old Mana, but I’m not sure why exactly he believes that.
Everyone wants to vote for Sandra because they think that’s how JT will vote. However, Sierra wishes they could get rid of Malcolm.
Tai, however, has another plan. He goes out looking for an idol…and finds a clue. Huh…and it’s not at a challenge. It’s buried between four trees.
Note: Probst did say they’d use all kinds of methods for hiding the idol this season.
Sure enough, Tai finds it. He shares it with the tribe and earns a kiss from Sierra. Totally worth it.
That night at Tribal, JT finally gets to light his torch. That fire represents his life.
Malcolm admits that their time at camp was crazy because there were so many different angles to cover.
Brad calls it a “Mexican Standoff” because you’ve got two sides with their guns pointed at each other. But, they don’t know if there are traitors on either side.
Sandra assures him that all of their guns are pointed at Mana.
Debbie points out that JT used to be really close with them at Old Nuku.
JT thinks it’d be a shot in the dark for him to end up in the right place.
Sandra admits that she isn’t worried because she knows she isn’t going home.
Debbie wants to know if JT or Hali is going to flip. Brad even says Hali will be public enemy number one if she votes against them.
JT says he’s got to do what he’s got to do to stay alive.
Hali raises her hand and tells everyone that they should be focusing on physical threats.
Sandra takes this to mean that they want Culpepper gone.
Now everyone is whispering to each other.
Finally, JT approaches Brad and says, “I love you, brother. But they’re voting Sierra out.”
THEN Hali approaches Sandra and says, “You have to do Brad. It’s better for us. I promise.”
Everyone is wandering around whispering to each other. Both tribes split into huddles. Probst is loving it.
They finally settle down. That was insane. Jeff asks if they’re ready to vote and Hali tells him that she’s not ready. Sandra tells her that they’re good and they’re ready.
What the what?
Voting Time: No votes are shown.
During the voting, Michaela wondered why Hali didn’t tell them about an idol. Sandra assures her that none of them have an idol.
JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…Tai does.
And…he plays it for Sierra!
Alright, we’ve got six votes for Sierra, three votes for Malcolm…and the fourth person eliminated from “Survivor: Game Changers” is…Malcolm.
Verdict: That…was…a wild one. Too much going on to unpack during the brief period where it happened. Did JT betray his tribe? He told Culpepper they were targeting Sierra. Or, was he trying to misdirect them? Did Hali betray her tribe by telling them to vote for Brad? She could’ve voted for Malcolm knowing he’d be safe if Tai played the idol for Sierra and she wouldn’t have been in trouble because she voted the way she was supposed to.
And, was Malcolm targeted because they assumed an idols played would be played for Sandra?
Either way, that was intense.
Power Rankings Results: Adam Klein had Malcolm in spot five. I had him in spot four. The current score is now Team Adam 23, Team Gordon 20.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes