Survivor: Game Changers continued to be a pretty fun show through the second episode. I found it funny that the producers didn’t even mess around with any camp life to lead into the episode, instead just leading off with the tribe swap scene. In a returning player season, the focus tends to be on strategy and cutthroat play, and that was certainly the case with the first scene being a swap, but I’ve been happy to see a lot of variety in the beach scenes thus far. It seems these players are playing with their cards close to their chest, but it’s actually made for a more well-rounded TV show thus far. I was very happy with episode 2, and with the outcome after my winner pick didn’t get voted out! It was a nail biter towards the end, but I think it could be leading to some interesting stories later on.
Power Rankings for Episode 2:
- Tai Trang (-4)
– Tai keeps finding himself in situations where people are talking him into things that are against his best interests. Essentially, he’s having the same issues he had in his original season, only now he’s trying to compensate a little by rolling over to everyone else’s wishes. Voting out Caleb was not something he should have done and not something he should have allowed to happen, yet it did and now he’s officially along for the ride.
- JT Thomas (-11)
– JT really picked the short straw in terms of the tribe swap. It really could not have gone any worse for him than it did, but he actually managed to bury himself a little further with his actions after the fact. Instead of staying calm and trying to make social inroads, JT decided to bring his entire tribe out to sea, then abandon them to hunt for an idol. Don’t get me wrong now, that was one of the funniest stories from the episode, but from a game-play perspective, that was way too obvious. JT looks like a goner if something doesn’t turn around quickly for him.
- Sandra Diaz-Twine (0)
– Sandra looked really bad during that whole gat debacle. She just wanted to eat poor Bambi-goat while all the others just didn’t have the heart for it in that moment. Michaela had a great remark about her, saying that’s why she’s the villain, and she’s on the money about that one. The negative opinions of Sandra can only really hurt her game I imagine, so I’m having a hard time picturing her lasting 39 days.
- Andrea Boehlke (+3)
– Andrea has been so invisible so far, and I hate it. She’s energetic and bubbly on screen usually, so either she’s being coy or she’s just not giving them great material so far. I’m not sure what it is, but we need more Andrea in the future guys!
- Debbie Wanner (+1)
– There’s a thought in my head that Debbie could be in trouble if they try to target Kaoh Rong people. That’s my only thought on Debbie this week because, other than that, she seems to be doing OK and assimilating well with that group.
- Cirie Fields (+6)
– Cirie is doing great now that her tribe has a new target to focus on. Now that they have a 5-1 advantage over Troyzan, the 5 of them can bond together and solidify something going forward, and with Ozzy on board, I imagine they won’t lose too much. Cirie just needs a foot in the door with an alliance and she’d probably be fine. The problem of course is that no one is bound to forget her game for too long, so she’s going to need to play a flawless game in order to win. But, I do feel much better about her prospects this week than I did last week.
- Michaela Bradshaw (-1)
– It’s dawned on me that Michaela might very well be the youngest person out there in the game. That could seriously be advantages for her if she lays back and lets the older people start telling her what to do. If she can wait out some of the pre-merge fireworks that are about to go down then she could find herself in an optimal position to play a strong game later on.
- Hali Ford (-6)
– That was a really close call for my winner pick in this week’s episode. I was not looking forward to having to explain my lack of foresight in this blog, but luckily I don’t have to! Hali was very diplomatic in discussing her usefulness to the tribe, and even though Caleb was likely always the target, I think she did a good job to save herself. My hopes for Hali haven’t changed despite her tough post-swap predicament because I still think she has the smarts to maneuver this game.
- Troyzan Robertson (+7)
– Troyzan looked to be in the worst spot of anyone after the swap, being down 5-1 in the numbers, but he was able to find a immunity idol clue and successfully procure the idol at an immunity challenge. That was a tough grab for Troyzan because he had to be careful about people seeing him do what he was doing, but his acting was amazing and no one noticed what happened. Troyzan is not in a powerful position and I’m excited to see how he’ll use the idol he found!
- Aubry Bracco (+3)
– Aubry knows not to overplay the game and I think that will serve her very well in this ‘Game Changers’ season. Plus, I think if she can stay by Malcolm’s side until like the final 6 or 7 she’ll be in a superb spot.
- Sarah Lacina (0)
– We don’t see much from Sarah, but I have a gut feeling she’s in an OK spot, compared to Andrea who has gotten a similar lack of TV time. Sarah’s also probably the one person who could benefit from Tony not being in the game, because people will likely forget about Cagayan, focusing instead on the dozen other people who have playing partners from their earlier seasons still in the game. Sarah’s OK for now, but she will have to start building a resume pretty soon.
- Jeff Varner (-3)
– Varner appears to be doing well in the game so far, but there are little editing points that make me wonder about him. The guy always gives snarky confessionals; it’s really a big part of his charm in all 3 of the seasons he’s been on, but the fact that he’s so confident that JT will be the first one out of his tribe gives me some reason to pause. Overconfidence in an edit can sometimes be a bad omen, so while I think Jeff is playing alright, I won’t be surprised if that changes quickly.
- Ozzy Lusth (+7)
– I think Ozzy is going to stay in this game for a long time. With the smaller tribes, he’s going to be relied on a lot more, and I also think that he’s going to be overlooked from a strategic standpoint. I don’t think people will target Ozzy as much as people might think because he’s not a strategic guy. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ozzy stays around for a long time and then goes on a huge immunity run towards the end.
- Zeke Smith (+4)
– Zeke is playing the same kind of game as we saw in episode 1; quiet and steady. As long as he keeps that up, it should be smooth sailing!
- Brad Culpepper (+6)
– So far, Brad looks like the most improved player out here in the game. Brad is not playing aggressively, but he is finding ways to influence the results. He masterminded the Caleb vote, but made it seem like Tai was the one coming to terms with it. I think Brad is playing the type of game that not only suits his personality but also lets him survive without the target on his back.
- Sierra Dawn Thomas (+4)
– I’m really high on Sierra right now. First she got the legacy advantage, and now she’s getting some good screen time in crucial moments. As far as I can tell, there really aren’t too many insignificant moments on Survivor, so I have to believe that the multiple mentions of Sierra and Hali not having a strong bond from their season are being mentioned to set something up. I think we are going to see Sierra and Hali work together despite what they’re calling a lacking relationship. If there’s a story to tell, Survivor will tell it, and my read of the editing is that Sierra and Hali’s relationship is worth focusing on going forward.
- Malcolm Freberg (0)
– Malcolm still feels like the golden child so far, and his tribe situation is favorable for this image. He seems in control, has a clear nemesis around him, and is working with a villain who will receive votes before he does. Everything is fantastic in Malcolm-land through two episodes, so he’ll stay atop my rankings for now.
Thoughts after the Episode:
- My player of the week honors will go to Brad Culpepper for this episode. He’s doing everything right this season and correcting the mistakes he made from his last time, and the results are showing. Brad was able to eliminate a target of his without putting his neck on the line, and he appears to have the ear of his tribemates without any really resent showing through. I’m pleasantly surprised with Brad’s social skills so far, so he’s gets a tip of the hat from me this week…My favorite moment of the episode was when the Nuku tribe, on a raft out at sea fishing, slowly realized that JT had left them behind to look for an idol. It was such a funny moment to put on the show, not necessarily a strategic triumph, but a hilarious moment nonetheless…I’m surprised they decided to go to 3 tribes this early in the season again, especially after we saw this exact same set-up done in Cambodia. It was a predictable thing and a lot of contestants could have bet their strategy on a shake-up by not making strong alliances at first. I think the show should try to do a tribe swap with odd numbers and bring back Exile Island, just because people won’t anticipate or expect that these days. The show needs to keep unpredictability central to the tribe swap concepts in the future…The goat storyline from this episode were really a very interesting moment regarding survival ethics. For the entire run of the show, Survivor has often had a backburner storyline about eating the animals at camp, and this one in particular had some great ethical debating involved. While they ended up catching the goats, JT and Malcolm were quick to identify that it was a mother and child goat, and 5 of the 6 felt very bad about eating the goats, given the situation. Sandra, on the other hand, was the one dissenting opinion on her tribe, and her stance on eating the goats ended up making her seem like a ruthless player to some on her tribe. It was a very different story for the show, and it went on to show once again how important it is to balance personal and team ethics when playing Survivor.