Survivor: Game Changers Recap: Smiles Before the Bloodbath

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There's A New Sheriff in Town

There's A New Sheriff in Town

“Double Episodes” seem to happen at least once or twice every season on Survivor, usually during the very first night and then again sometimes post-merge. In seasons past, the “double-episode” seemed like a way for the producers to fly through what might otherwise be thought of as a boring episode, or a predictable Tribal Council. During Season 33, I ate my words in this regard, as we were given two of the best, most memorable Tribals of that season (forgive me for not remembering them off-hand, but look it up…I remember it as being awesome) during a back-to-back episode night.

Tonight’s latest two episodes of Survivor: Game Changers didn’t disappoint and things were far from predictable. But before we gather our troops and prepare to go to war, please be warned that there are spoilers to follow, as we will be discussing in detail the events that took place during tonight’s double-episode of Survivor: Game Changers.


There's A New Sheriff in Town

With tonight’s two-hours of Survivor being single back-to-back episodes, there’s a lot to discuss. And for those keeping score at home, just a friendly reminder that this is more of a “reactionary” column…I’m coming from a place where I’m assuming we’ve all seen the show (and again if you haven’t, please do before reading this). I don’t find it necessary to go through each episode moment-by-moment. Yes, I’ll recap and highlight the big events, but it’s much more interesting and fulfilling to me to discuss the show on a gut level, and to break down the strategies and game-play that we see unfold. I like trying to make sense of what just happened, analyze what was really going on and just bask in the glory that is Survivor. This season is ripe for the picking when it comes to talking strategy, because we really do have a cast of Game Changers who are all playing the game at an extremely high level.

The shock and awe following last week’s emotionally-charged episode was still lingering as tonight’s first episode began, where Varner outed Zeke as being transgender in a desperate attempt at Tribal to somehow make Zeke look deceitful. But Zeke himself gave us a nice pivot during tonight’s opening minutes when he said, “Let’s just get back to it.” In his honor, let’s follow those words.

There's A New Sheriff in Town

First off, the major development tonight was of course the #Merge. It came with a twist, where both Tai and Culpepper volunteered to sit out of the traditional merge feast, because they had to in order for the others to eat. I liked this twist, because choice is always good. And it paid dividends. Culpepper reasoned that it’s what his wife Monica would have done (leading CBS to flash the #WWMD hashtag), but Cirie took it as a calculated game move.  Tai, well he’s just Tai…being selfless is sort of what he does.

The merge – and the first few Tribals that follow – are always an exciting part of the game, because it is during this crucial time period where the endgame is set in motion. The idea that Survivor is an individual game for a million dollars comes quickly into focus, and quite often we can trace a winner’s path to a huge move that was made at or just following the merge. As I predicted earlier in my Preview article (which I’m sure everybody read…), Michaela was quickly singled out as a target. She hasn’t been shown as having too many allies, she’s a physical threat and she also hasn’t been fitting in socially. For many, this made her a target, but she found an amazing ally tonight in Cirie. For those that may have forgotten let me say it clearly and in all caps: CIRIE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PLAYER IN THE GAME. As I also pointed out earlier today, Cirie was also the only person who miraculously had not been to a single Tribal Council this season until t…

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