Survivor Game Changers Episode 12 Liveblog: “It’s Not a High Without a Low”

Follow us on Twitter and Storify below for episode 12 of Survivor: Game Changers!

"It Is Not a High Without a Low" - Sarah Lacina on the twelfth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers, airing Wednesday, May 10 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Follow me


Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
Follow me

778 thoughts on “Survivor Game Changers Episode 12 Liveblog: “It’s Not a High Without a Low”

  1. Someone swearing on everything to Sarah has never turned out badly for her before…

  2. anyone else out there who wouldn’t get emotional at all about the family visit? Or do I just have a cold black heart?

  3. Way to go Sierra and Tai. Undercutting the emotional moment by being straight up motherfucking dickpigs.

      1. Yeah, but I think you pick the people who were clearly the most emotional, that helps you defend the picks down the road. And I think they did it right.

    1. It does seem like they were following the Terry Deitz hierarchy of relationships: first the child, then the partner of the person with a young child at home. (Which I don’t necessarily have a problem with as long as you don’t tell everyone else how inconsequential their loved ones seemed to you.)

    1. See Mario Lopez’s new reality show H8R. Seven greater words that were advertised.

    1. It’s not unlike the this-is-like-surgery Micronesia final 3 challenge where she gave Amanda a run for her money, except it takes place on a balance beam.

    1. “I think Sierra’s in trouble, I think Andrea’s in trouble, I think Tony’s in trouble, I think Shirin’s in trouble, I think Jennifer Garner’s in trouble, I think James Comey’s in trouble even though I don’t know who that is yet, I think Sarah’s hot husband’s in trouble. I think they could all be blindsided or possibly be President.”

  4. friendly reminder that the remaining players are close to worst case scenario for this season.

  5. I need to see the votes. Andrea only got three votes. Why is Sarah acting like that?

    1. To get the legacy advantage – she’s making Sierra think she didn’t vote for her

      1. That makes sense, but then she overdid it, to the point that Andrea noticed her. The best touch would have been the “dammit, they got us” face and a goodbye as Sierra went out the door. At least that reads ambiguously.

    2. I was thinking that she assumed that Sierra would hand it to her on the way out or something.

      But it could be an act to keep Sierra on her side. That would make sense.

      1. Sarah appeared to look shocked immediately after the vote, so if she was legitimately shocked because she expected FFSDT to give her the LA there at tribal, she shouldn’t have looked shocked until after she got her torch snuffed and left tribal.

  6. Yassss I was right while all y’all were saying Andrea! 😄

    I wonder if Mikayla will assume that Sarah got the advantage and try to use it against her. Pleeeeeaaassseeeee!!!!!

    1. That’s what I was thinking, shouldn’t Michaela know what a legacy advantage is? Like I don’t think Sarah would have explained it moved on to someone else.

        1. The problem is it seemed like Michaela voted Sierra out for that reason, which, the legacy advantage is gonna end up somewhere else and not with you so that’s a little pointless?

      1. Michaela could have been like “what’s that, explain it to me” and they just edited it out since we the audience do know what it is.

      2. Michaela was on the pre-jury and wasn’t close to anyone who knew about the legacy advantage (and none of them knew what it was). It’s entirely possible she has no idea such a thing exists.

      3. She wasn’t around when it was revealed in MVGX and hasn’t yet seen it on TV. So, no, she probably has no idea. I doubt “oh yeah, Ken played this meaningless thing near the end” was a hot topic of conversation in the two weeks she had to talk to her cast before shipping out again.

    2. Put Cirie, Michaela and Tao together and they know all advantages except Troy idol……beasts

    1. Couldn’t hear what they were saying because people were being loud where I’m watching, what the heck was Michaela saying to Brad?

          1. I’m sure we have seen the worst this season has to offer. If there is another zeke level crisis this season this would be the worst season ever

          2. It was fantastic to the end. Well deserved future Emmy Nominations for Everybody!

          3. Funny, for a second there I thought you meant Draper and Harris —referring to extremely deceptively edited previews — but I guess you must have actually meant Davis and Crawford.

      1. Michaela told him he needed to go fishing….he said “no”…..she said “I told you….” He said”You blackmailing me?” She said: “yea”. He put on pouty face and kicked sand 😚

          1. But Tai is in that scene with Cirie, so it could just as easily be Tai that we should be worried about.

  7. Not to jinx it, but edit aside, Cirie and Aubry are in ok shape, yeah? Tell me yeah…

          1. I want Andrea to make it to Final Tribal while getting predicted to go out every week.

          2. I alluded to this somewhere else a moment ago, but my guess is that Andrea was who we saw Cirie contemplating flipping on in the promo for next week. At this point they would probably need her for the numbers and everyone knows she’s been playing with Andrea this whole time (whereas her alliance with Michaela is as yet secret).

    1. It kind of makes no sense given the first half of the season. But that’s how I felt about Natalie Anderson’s season too. Kind of felt like two distinctly different plotlines from one half to the other.

      1. SJDS is actually kinda fun to rewatch because Natalie is there and doing some good stuff in the pre-merge (building relationships with the guys, volunteering for Exile). You just don’t realize it until Jeremy’s gone.

        1. I mean, it’s a more sensible arc than Michele Fitzgerald’s season, where she did nothing ever, and we realized nothing when everyone else lost.

          1. Pretty sure we realized that the editors are not always the crack team of experts. Or at least that’s what I took away from the season of Shitchele.

    1. speaking of which, that shot seemed to go in reverse, right? Like, the shark was thrashing the fish, but then spit it out and it was whole?

  8. Oh, Sierra. How hard is it to lie about the Legacy Advantage and say that, FOR EXAMPLE, this time you have to give it to someone else ON day XX if you make it there? I feel like she did this to herself, doubly–had Sarah not known to go back for Michaela, and felt very motivated to do it…

        1. She seems to be first-choice ally for quite a lot of people. And also to now have voted at least two of those people out without having them mad at her. I think if we hadn’t seen Cagayan we’d be raving about her by now.

          1. Not really…she got outplayed once. And then didn’t have the opportunity to get outplayed again.

            Also great as Kass’s flip was for the season…no one is really arguing it was a great strategic move, are they? She lost because Trish, on that occasion, had the better social skills.

          2. I mean let’s not overrate Sarah in Cagayan either. Kass flipped specifically to get Sarah out. Like Kass was only flipping if it meant Sarah was leaving.

          3. Right, and luckily for Sarah, it seems like everyone on this season has completely forgotten about that.

          4. Absolutely. I guess I’m making a distinction between being outplayed (strategically) and just self-sabotaging.

          5. Nobody does, she is Michelle Fitzgerald levels of boring as a tv personality

          6. I disagree. Both times I’ve met her have been really great. She comes across super hilarious and engaging.

          7. I was really impressed with her post game interview with Rob from a personality standpoint (not from a gameplay standpoint)

          8. At least Sarah called that Tony was a cop. I don’t think Fitzgerald did one interesting thing.

          9. I mean, Sarah wouldn’t be a great winner, but she’s nowhere near as bad as…wait, there was a winner named Michelle once?

          10. I find her way more engaging than Michelle on TV but I’m not sure I can justify that to the people who don’t.

          11. It’s more that Tony’s side didn’t care who Kass wanted out as long as it wasn’t one of them. Trish did the smart thing and said “Kass, who do you think it should be?”

          12. Cagayan she really had one bad half of an episode. Like people forget that she got herself through that Alexis vote-out where it really should have been her.

          13. It’s just that that episode was so terrible it killed her in public perception. It is clear that she has learned from it though.

          14. That’s the thing. Mistakes that are so brutal and obvious are often the easiest things to fix.

        1. It’s a callback to her confessional early on in the season and now you made me explain it and the joke is ruined dammit

      1. I feel like people are really not giving Sarah credit for being spectacular this season because her confessionals are given like she’s a cop and so matter of fact.

          1. Not really…voting someone else and still having them give you their legacy advantage is hella impressive, plus the way she’s been playing the middle without the Will Wahl-yness

          2. I mean Sierra’s just said “you deserve to win” in her closing words. People realize Sarah is playing the game they all need her too much right now to do anything about it.

          3. He’s right about her confessionals sounding like she’s a cop.

            Before Cagayan a lot of people had her as their winner’s pick.

            I’ve have her on 2 prp leagues. I thought out of the 3 what the heck women cast, she had the best shot.

  9. Michaela’s tribal council checklist:
    ✓ Sipping the tea
    ✓ Eating popcorn
    ✓ Metaphysical discussion on the concept of the group versus the individual
    ☐ ?????

      1. Wait, are you saying there was actually no emotional attachment to Zeke and she was just ticking off another meme? That would be incredible. If she makes it to FTC and starts listing all of them I assume people would have to vote for her.

        1. According to Zeke, they weren’t really close. Michaela claims he was her second best friend out there, though.

          (I don’t actually think she was trying to do the Crying Jordan. It’s just funny to pretend she was.)

        2. I think Michaela tweeted after last week’s episode that the reason she cried when Zeke got voted out is that he was only one of two people there that was nice to her (Cirie being the other).

          1. I will ignore this probably true fact and hope that she goes for Fry squinty eyes next week.

    1. I kinda feel like Sierra was like “if she voted with me, great. If she voted for me to get my legacy advantage, that’s ballin’ and she can have it”

        1. Which means she didn’t know for sure. Like she could have given it to Brad who she knew 100% voted with her.

          1. Which is a sign of how well Sarah is doing she’s the closest person to people who she isn’t even allied with.

          2. Game recognizes game. Yeah Sarah talks in a weird monotone and isn’t the most exciting player but she’s playing well and if you want to win the million that’s the most important thing. Gotta respect that.

          3. She is doing well and playing much better than in Cagayan. I don’t particularly love her, but she did well.

      1. I like this a lot? Particularly if Sierra knows she was allied to a couple of chuckleheads and doesn’t really want them to go any farther if it’s not to sit next to her at the end.

      2. What the hell happened with Brad and FFSDT? They were together the entire game and running their alliance together that entire time. They were seen as a pair by everyone else. Before this episode I would have put money on her giving the LA to Brad if she was voted out. Did they have a falling out, or does she not respect him?

          1. I heard that from her exit interviews, but before that vote, I wonder what happened that led her to believe that Brad would vote for her, and that it wasn’t Tai or Troy(zan) who flipped.

          2. I haven’t listened to her RHAP exit yet, but I skimmed her exit interview where she says that she figured out Sarah voted for her about 2 days after arriving at Ponderosa.

            I don’t usually watch the Ponderosa videos, but I want to watch this one because I heard that she tells everyone about the Legacy Advantage and Zeke says “I am familiar with that advantage!”

          3. I think Zeke starts to say something, but stops. Probably because he and Michaela were under orders to not reveal much about their season.

    1. She already made a blunder by revealing the true extent of legacy advantage to Sarah. Then topped it off by telling her about Michaela thinking about flipping too.

    1. I’m amazed that Sarah asked leading questions about the Hidden Advantage, delivered the most hollow “I love you” I’ve ever seen, made a face after the vote as if she was clearly expecting to receive a Hidden Advantage, and Sierra still didn’t catch on!

        1. Lol, i keep willing myself to forget about Rodney and he just keeps popping back up!

      1. Yeah. Giving the legacy to Sarah makes me wonder if there was a falling out between Brad and Sierra. Otherwise, its just such nonsense. She tries to use the advantage to get in with Sarah, it doesn’t work and she gets the booted, and she gives it to Sarah.

  10. Actually watched live this week cause i have busy plans drinking and playing video games tomorrow. What a thrill. What a joy. What a wonderful boot that keeps my Fantasy League team untouched!

          1. I slipped an immediate paid vacation upon elimination clause into that paperwork. I so wish I could help you.

            And I hope you uphold our agreement of awarding the top pick in the next draft to the unfortunate team that had the lowest placement in this season’s competition. Abolish the lottery! Let me have the best player!


    I mean, some of the things she did may be a bit questionable…


    1. I’m loving the Tai and Michaela alliance. And they have every reason to stick together – each has a good reason to believe they can beat the other.

      1. Except they didn’t vote together in this episode. Not sure if that alliance is still a thing.

          1. You’re right! I thought for sure it was a 5-4 vote and that all 4 of them voted for Andrea. So now I have renewed hope for the Tai/Michaela alliance.

    2. She’s not the best Survivor player in the world, but she has STAR QUALITY. I need her on a scripted series. Titus’s sister on Kimmy Schmidt or something. OMG brb writing that spec

      1. Jimmy’s temp when Francesca goes in for some radial keratotomy. Or snarky sister of Huell who does a few jobs for Jimmy.

    3. I enjoy your commitment. but I stand by Phillip, who everyone here hates…

      1. I’m indifferent on Phillip. He was fine on Redemption Island, and he got a little too into his own act in Caramoan, but was nowhere near the worst part of that season.

  12. So, at final 6, Sarah plays legacy advantage, Troy plays one idol, Tai plays two idols, and Cirie or Michaela goes home because there is no good in the world.

    1. Oh, and Sarah plays the Secret Advantage she got that should have been Michaela’s, but I’ve already forgotten what that was–extra vote?

    2. I mean, all of those frickin’ idols, there’s no getting around them. These last couple of weeks are just delaying the inevitable. But at least the inevitable is no longer FFSDT, which…boy, it really felt like.

    3. It’s entirely possible that Tai would put his second idol on his new BFF Michaela. So Cirie… just… has… to… win… Immuniohhhhhhhhh.

        1. Since I am an asshole, I want Cirie to have to face another fire making challenge

          1. If Cirie must lose again, at least I want her to continue her streak of always requiring a little something extra to knock her out of the game.

        2. (Three idols walking into final five is equally scary; let’s all hope some start getting played immediately.)

      1. He should play one idol on himself, sit down, then get up and play the second idol … also on himself.

        1. It would be baller if he won immunity at F6, so when he goes to play it at F5 he asks Jeff which one he’d prefer.

  13. Let’s just be happy that we avoided one worst case scenario for this season. get Troyzan out please!

      1. Seriously, I’m not convinced the rest of the cast knows he’s even there. There was a part of me that thought we may straight up not get shown his loved ones visit

        1. I believe he’s always that person people list when talking about alliances or challenge teammates in interviews.

        2. I’m smiling at the idea of the edit forgetting to include Troy’s loved one moment, heartless as that may be. Everyone eventually comes out, we see everyone else embrace and cry, cut to a shot of the loved ones plus some random dude. Viewers shrug or, more likely, fail to wonder who that guy even is.

    1. He’s going all the way to FTC, for two reasons:
      1. It’s what this season deserves
      2. Who doesn’t think think they can beat Troy?

  14. So: Sierra’s highlight was putting the Malcolm vote into motion, right?
    The funny highlight is always talking about flipping on her core alliance and never doing it.

      1. How about that time she stood there and laughed in Dan Foley’s face, before she concluded mute acceptance of Dan Foley’s Dan-ness would get her further in the game?

        1. I thought it was when she got annoyed at him because he had an issue with bamboo because he was a fat guy.

        2. Was she the one that called him Dumbledore? Because that moment was awesome, and that was even before I figured out that Dan Foley was an awful person.

          1. No one called him Dubledore. Rodney called him “Harry Potter’s grandfather,” demonstrating an egregious misunderstanding of Harry Potter.

          2. At least he didn’t call him “Dubledore”. That kind of typo could get you kicked out of Gryffindor.

  15. Look, we got some Neat Lady Monica Culpepper talking strategy with Not-Quite-As-Neat Gentleman Brad Culpepper, and that was all I was hoping for this season, because I knew it was best to keep my expectations low, so I’m happy.

  16. On April 25th, Andy said this about Cirie, “I’d consider it a miracle if she survives the next three votes.” Since then, Debbie, Zeke and Sierra have been voted out. You don’t need miracles when you’re Cirie fucking Fields. Don’t doubt her.

    And, I directly quoted and named the person so there is no mystery who I’m talking about and what point they wanted to make.

    1. (Probst voiceover)
      “This week, it’s a Purple Rock Podcast first when Andy is forced to respond to a specific comment by a specific commenter! You won’t believe what happens!”

      1. Andy if you address it please pretend BD has only been posting here for as long as however he’s been Blurry Denzel.

    2. Hang on, gotta demote the current featured comment before I can feature this one…

      (Trolling Andy is a sure-fire way to get your comment featured.)

        1. I liked that reluctantly, because I can see them pulling that again.

          (Though apparently the finale’s in two weeks? So that might be a bit much.)

      1. I should add: Denzel wanted to hold out until she won to throw it in my face. I was the one who encouraged him to aim lower.

  17. Despite how a lot of people feel about Sarah, I don’t know if anyone’s a lock for FTC yet. Cirie knows about Sarah’s vampire vote, Michaela knows the Legacy Advantage is in play, and Andrea sensed something was up with Sarah. If they put it together in time, they might gang up to remove Sarah (and this could be Cirie’s decision from NTOS). FTC could be Sarah/Brad/Troy but I wonder if Cirie/Michaela/Aubry is in the mix at all. Tai is still the perfect goat, but I somehow don’t see him making FTC again.

    1. At this point, Aubry is the only one I’d give 0% chance to make the finals. Her absence is so glaring at this point I feel like she either gets eliminated in a rock draw, or it’s an Erik in Caramoan situation where the editors are upset that she’s not playing the same character as previous seasons, and gave her no screen time as a result.

        1. I agree that strategically her game is similar, but we’re getting far less of the neurotic uncertain Aubry of Koah Rong. I don’t blame her; it’s why she lost, and was probably an aspect of her personality that wasn’t fun to watch on national television.

          There are Survivor returnees who double down on their show personas (Phillip, Rupert) and those who try to consciously avoid playing into how they were edited. Survivor, for whatever reason, likes showing the 1st type a lot more.

      1. There’s another possibility: Aubry makes FTC, but the editors make it glaringly obvious she’s not winning so they don’t break our hearts all over again.

      2. I was sad that she was so invisible even in an episode where she got to go on the family reward! Ditto for Andrea I guess, but at least that helped tip me off that she wasn’t going anywhere this time.

    2. I really can’t decide if Cirie’s hardest move is voting out Sarah or voting out Michaela. I hope for the first because obvious Michaela BAE

      1. The editing of that promo really made it seem like she was talking about Michaela, but I’m also wondering if it could be Andrea? They’ve been working together at least since the merge, so maybe it would be a tough decision for her?

        1. Yeah, it seemed made to appear that she was talking about Michaela, but I think it is more likely it was about Andrea.

    3. Nice try to pretend this season has anything epic to offer. Bottom 10 season for sure

      1. I like how you staked this claim after the premiere and have never backed down.

    4. If Sarah did not say that the legacy advantage can be willed, michaela may not know it is in play.

  18. Random thoughts:

    “Hey, I know I’m a target, but to make you want to keep me around, I’ll tell you about this legacy advantage that I can will to someone if I’m voted out. And I’m telling you that I’ll will it to you. But don’t vote me out, OK?”

    Tai’s flirts with Wyatt. Wyatt seems ok with it.

    Have we ever heard of Andrea’s sister before on the show?

    Dan from Worlds Apart is back! No, not that one – the good one.

    Dan talking about thick sin – it’s like he’s talking directly to the FFSDT commenters.

    Tai has his priorities straight. His first question to Mark the chicken is about the cats.

    Michaela and Sarah are going to break Tai in half shoving him under that log.

    Andrea and Aubry show great strategy in this challenge. “Get out of his way.”

    “Michaela will get over it.” Um, Andrea, have you MET Michaela?

    I wanted more scenes of Cirie explaining island-life to her son.

    Shouldn’t there be a ceramic plate under the buoy for it to break?

    FFSDT says “That snuck up on me.” Foreshadowing? (Yup)

    Tai says he’s closest to Michaela which happened after the reward. What happened to Cirie saying in the first 5 minutes that they should bring Tai over to their side? Did they forget to do that?

    Why did FFSDT tell Sarah that Michaela was voting for her? Whoops.

    Would Michaela know about the Legacy Advantage? She was pre-merge last season and didn’t see it played, but one of her fellow players must have told her about it, right?

    Jeff’s hand gesture with the we/me – that feels too well prepared to be off the cuff.

    I keep hoping that Troy(zan) is going to play his idol when he doesn’t have to, and once again he disappoints us all.

    The sheriff is voted out of office. Sarah looks confused. Is she really, or is that an act so FFSDT doesn’t blame her and gives her the LA?

    Was the episode title said?

    Sarah voted for FFSDT. She *was* acting! Sarah: Master Thespian.

    1. The editors had ordered a whole BUNCH of Accidentally Ironic Confessionals tonight. I think they’ve got a job lot they’re trying to use up or something.

      1. To all future players – if the producers hand you some index cards and say “Work these expressions into your confessionals”, be very worried.

      1. Drinking while watching Survivor? You’ll never get “Emma” in the Which Staffer Are You quiz doing that!

        1. I got Mark (Matt?), and I’m grilling him to figure out why! I’ve ruled out Simpsons.

          1. I should have said: I do, and I did, and so can you, with my foolproof new method, available for the low, low price of fourteen payments of $19.95!

          2. When I plug “for the low, low price” into the Morbotron, my top images related to Zoidberg getting two oil changes for the price of one!

        1. Yes and no. Michaela immediately started putting her name out there, and even though Sarah got the target back Sierra this week, I think Michaela has mostly written Andrea off now.

    2. I don’t think we’ve heard much about Andrea’s background beyond “Wisconsin farm girl” before. In fact, am I wrong that this was the first time she’s made it to the family visit?

      1. No loved ones visit on RI because there were no reward challenges. And Andrea got voted out just before the loved ones visit in Caramoan. So you’re right – this was her first loved ones visit.

      1. Michaela talked about “we” and “me” but did she make those hand gestures? I didn’t see them but maybe I missed them? And if she did, the way Probst did them indicated that he wasn’t copying her, he was trying to visually describe what Michaela had just said.

        1. I already deleted the episode, but I truly thought he was copying her. But I could be confused.

  19. Just lost my first pick four player of the season, but that was the best part of my evening.

    Nationals are getting whomped by the dirty Orioles, Wizards are getting crushed by the Celtics, and the Capitals are doing their thing and are just under 20 minutes from losing in the 2nd round again. I hate being a DC sports fan.

    1. I tried being a Caps fan when I moved down here, but these playoff suckfests are making it impossible. The Nats did stick, I love them, but they quickly fell in line with the rest of the teams as far as post-season flops go.

      1. It’s so painful watching this year after year. I remember watching the Caps in the Stanley Cup back in 1998. They got swept by Detroit. And that was the pinnacle of Caps success. All this celebrating over the Presidents’ Trophy bothers the shit out of me. It’s a pro league regular season award. It’s pointless.

    2. My friend covers the Caps for, so I’m rooting for them more for her than anything else, but also f*ck the Penguins.

        1. Living only 20 minutes from Sid’s hometown, I have enjoyed travelling outside of Canada these past 10 years and telling everyone I meet that Crosby is my second cousin. Because the most common question I get when I am in another country and tell someone I am from Canada is “Oh, my friend Mike lives in Canada, do you know him?” Yes, we all know each other. There are only 30 people in the whole country.

          1. I know of no player by that name. And before you ask I don’t know a Johnny Damon either.

        1. Plus, they’re in the AL. That automatically makes them less awesome than at least 15 other teams.

    3. The audacity to complain about the Nationals right now, smh. The Giants, on the other hand, not only managed to win a game, but it was the first time in quite literally two years to the day that they came back in the ninth.

      1. I mean the Giants have three titles in what, seven years? DC as a city has four ever. I’d take a season like the Giants are having without a single regret if it could guarantee the Nationals three World Series wins instead of three NLDS flame outs.

        1. Five! And of course I wouldn’t give up the titles, but that doesn’t mean a .333 record is fun to watch.

  20. So let’s say Sarah gets voted out next. Who do you think she passes the advantage to at this point?

      1. I’m just trying to feel better about the looming possibility of a final six Elimination By Process of Elimination, so “Cirie” is exactly what I wanted to hear; thank you. (I agree with, but will discard, the rest.)

    1. Well…she’s not getting voted out next.

      But if she did? Who knows? Cirie hopefully.

  21. My thoughts on the Legacy Advantage are that you should only tell people about this if you lie about what it does. Since it gives them no reason to keep you in the game. That was very stupid Sierra.

    1. I think it depends on who you are talking to. Jessica told Ken and it helped keep her in the game for a bit, but Ken’s game was ALL about trust. Sarah had demonstrated a willingness to flip and change alliances, aka, not a person to tell about an advantage. But, to be fair, Sierra had never seen a legacy advantage when she went out there, so she probably assumed it would have the same social/relationship affect as any other advantage or idol.

      1. Yeah, it worked out fine for Jessica. It just seems like telling people the truth is giving them a reason to boot you to get it.

        1. Unless you’re telling them individually that you are not giving it to them if voted out, but that you are willing to play it for them if necessary. I still think the Legacy Advantage could be a tool to actually keep you in the game when used this way, even have people work with you.
          Sierra just did the worst thing possible with it. Jessica did pretty much the same thing, but I can see why she would have thought it is safe to play it that way with Ken. Although I’m not sure if she just got lucky or correctly recognized that Ken would handle it the Ken way.

      2. Ken’s game was mostly about being an insufferable douche. Then came abs and general sexiness. Trust was a distant third.

        1. Whether it was the abs or the sexiness or the trust, it worked alot better for Jessica then Sarah did for Sierra.

    2. I have to wonder what Sarah relayed to Michaela too. And/or if Michaela learned about it from Zeke. Will she know that Sierra got to pass it on?

      1. She did not see her season. Unless producers told her, she probably would not have known. She was only home for two weeks so unless another player told he,she probably would not have known.

        1. Yeah, the most likely scenario I could thing of was Zeke telling her and others in-game that such a thing might exist

    3. Anyone that saw what Tony did with the mystery of the Tyler Perry idol’s powers should know this.

  22. At this point it is Sarah vs. Brad. Sarah is starting to pull ahead, but I would not count out Brad just yet.

    1. At this point, Brad hasn’t done a ton, but the edit has dipped him in gold. Sarah has done lots of things, and the edit has dipped her in, silver?

      1. Yeah, recency and game position all scream Sarah. But so much happened early in the game with Brad in the edit that still don’t make sense without him winning. I thought it could’ve just been a build-up to the Monica visit, but that wasn’t that big a pay off, tbh.

          1. (8 hours on, and I discover that no one but me remembers the contents of episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked from several years ago. Disappointing.)

          2. I regret nothing.

            A while ago, I felt an uncomfortable numb in my waterproof utility shoes. I eventually flipped it over and found a nail jammed through the rubber. I got lucky that the sole was thick enough to block the point.

        1. Anyone remember the show Profit from the 90s? Adrain Pasdar had to take a lie-detector test and can’t tell the truth (because he’s a murdering psychopath) so he put tacks in the soles of his shoes and pressed his foot down whenever he had to lie. This released pain receptors and other medical mumbo jumbo, which allowed him to pass the test. Still makes me shiver just thinking about it.

    1. WWSNPD?

      (Also, I don’t completely get your comment because I’ll still never read the liveblog)

    2. Thank you for raising awareness about homeless cats. Tai would approve (he has his priorities straight).

  23. I haven’t heard “we” said that much since Inspector Clouseau kept correcting Deux Deux in those old cartoons.
    I don’t have too much to talk about for tonight’s episode. Sarah is at least starting to show signs of life as a decent player. Andrea seems to realize the walls are starting to close in on her. Michaela was like Xander in The Zeppo: she went off and had a fun little adventure with some dead people and then came back home at the end of the episode.

          1. Ah. No, I got nothing. My memory is a sieve though. For that stuff. Not so much for Buffy or Simpsons or lots of other things.

  24. So… 8 people left, finale in two weeks. Even with a double elim both weeks, you get four players remaining, so either:

    + 2 this week, 3 next, which means these will be some rushed episodes.
    + FTC is four people, which would be hilarious if Cirie is one of the four and production hands her the win they took away, once again with an unexpected number of people at FTC. (Though a four-person finale could leave the opportunity for *anyone* to win, frankly.)
    + Less sexy, but a late-game injury. Which would definitely and sadly explain the Aubry edit….

          1. Hunted delayed the start of the season. Usually it starts the first or second week of February. That’s why we’ve had two weeks that aired two episodes back-to-back, and (likely) a double-boot next week.

        1. Yeah, that is a lot for a finale. But, hey, at least the number isn’t that high due to Redemption Island.

    1. My bigger confusion was, and maybe I read wrong, but I thought I saw “Day 30” toward the beginning of the episode? Like, that has to be wrong, right? How could they be at day 30 with 9 people? 9 days and 6 boots?

        1. Alright, I looked it up and apparently last season someone was voted out on Days 33-38, so this might be par for the course then. Just a bunch of eliminations in a row.

    2. We had eight people at this same spot last season. Will and Sunday were voted on in the penultimate episode, and then Jay/Bret/David prior to the final tribal.

      1. That simply sucks. One of the worst drawbacks of last season was that
        the ending was simply so underwhelming. And of course
        it was underwhelming, when you have 5 people voted out over two episodes. And not only that, but basically one boot per day. So it is not only that you barely have screen-time to show anything meaningful or entertaining, but you also barely have any real time for meaningful and entertaining things to happen!

        1. Preach it. I’m sticking to my “Final 4 to Save Cirie” prediction ’cause the truth is just too boring.

      1. Because she got saved by a medevac on her first season?

        …and then sort of screwed by a medevac, also on her first season. Dammit.

        1. Her two closest allies from her original tribe, both felled. She’s the Final Girl who escapes. Until the sequel.

  25. OK, I’m starting to finally accept the Sarah winner’s edit. I don’t like it, but it’s a thing.

      1. Thing is, that’s only a little better. For the season anyway. It’s a lot better for my Pick 4 team. I really want the Michaela-Tai alliance to go to FTC, maybe even bring Cirie, but the show is practically screaming that it won’t happen.

      2. I mean, my feeling is they are probably both going? Brad vs. Sarah vs *pick a goat* in the final?

        1. Brad sounds like he is a goat as well according to out of game press and a couple Edgic things like Sierra calling him an idiot. Pretty sure Brad is a FTC loser. 1-2 votes tops. 3rd person will be like Troy or Tai. Sarah is definitely winning this thing.

          1. Sierra calling him an idiot is not an indication that he loses. Zeke, Taylor and Jay had a bonding scene over how annoying they thought ADAM was and they (and everyone else) voted for him. Rodney and Dan constantly referred to Mike in belittling fashion. Debbie made a joked that Michele should go drown herself. Russell Hantz openly belittled Natalie White and Sandra. Fabio was referred to as an idiot by multiple people. Abi Maria attacked Denise at several points. Winners are not always presented as flawless. Also Debbie was shown flipping off Sarah when she revealed that she betrayed her, which the show has highlighted to a greater degree than Sierra’s one-off remark.

          2. The sad thing is that I really don’t know why I have any investment in the Brad or Sarah outcome. I don’t really care that much about either.

          3. Moreover, all of Sarah’s recent editorial shine makes complete sense even if she ISN’T the winner. She’s been the hub of recent votes and now holds TWO advantages that should figure into the endgame of this story. I still don’t know why they bothered to dedicate camp life time toward having Cirie and Aubry praise Brad if he’s a loser. It’s a mystery.

          4. I think this is the new edit, when they want there to still be some question over who the winner is going in to FTC, so at least one losing finalist needs to look like a plausible winner. Seen first with Aubry, then Ken/Hannah, now whichever of Brad or Sarah loses, probably.

          5. I’m into the type of storytelling where there’s more suspense for the finale and so far this season seems to be doing it better than last (hard to say for sure until the end) where Adam’s winner story was undersold and it was tough to buy that Hannah would be a legitimate threat at the end (even though I think she had some good plays). Michaela seems to be getting a bit of the Hannah edit to me – she articulates her game and has some good awareness but it’s tough to see this jury giving her the win.

            At the moment, it seems plausible that either Brad or Sarah could win (my money’s probably on Brad at this point, but I like how it shifts) AND there’s enough there for delusional people like me to think that Cirie can still take this.

          6. They don’t have to give edit and game-play indications that the loser of FTC could possibly win. (For me at least, it is totally alright to arrive at FTC with a done deal.) What bothered me about some of the recent seasons is that they didn’t give enough edit and game-play indications that the winner of FTC could possibly win.

          7. Remember last episode when the PoS segment gave her credit for everything in Debbie getting voted out? I’m very much thinking that is this season equivalent to PoS saying Parvati was responsible for Ozzy’s blindside in Micronesia when anyone who watch the episode would say it was Cirie.

          8. The best answer I can give to this (besides him winning, of course) is that Brad is a friend of the producers (and a really nice guy overall), and they felt bad and wanted to compensate for his terrible FUBC edit in BvW. So they made every effort possible to show that No, Brad is not and a-hole.

          9. Remember when Rodney voted for Will? And everyone was like OF COURSE YOU WOULD and they both went and got sunburnt on Jackoff Island? lol, great season…

    1. All aboard the Sarah train!
      About halfway through the strategizing sequence I found myself wondering “but where is Sarah in all of this?” and the editors didn’t let me down!

        1. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but what I’m about to say is not a joke:

          When my wife and I were discussing how we thought the votes would go before tribal council, we both forgot Aubry was still in the game.

          1. Last night when watching the episode with my friends, Aubry wasn’t mentioned one time amongst the group. If you think I’m a super Aubry fan here, just imagine how I am in person. For her to not even be in the discussion is crazy. I can see how you guys forgot she was still in the game. The show has made it clear that they don’t want you to think she is.

    2. I was getting shaken from it a bit until the last scene. I still think Cirie’s potential winner’s edit is underrated though

      1. Keep the hope alive! Natalie A is a good precedent for Cirie’s edit and not to read too much into this but all of the women of color who have won the game (Vecepia, Sandra x 2, Natalie A) had quiet spots in their edit while the story focused on dude-feuds, almost as if women of color often have to play a quiet game, esp in pre-merge, to avoid being a target…

        1. This is where my hope comes from too. Especially with the whole she never went to tribal pre-merge thing so there’s only so much they could do with her without hanging a big flashing neon sign over her head that said WINNERS EDIT, like what’s her name from Kaoh Rong

    3. Picked her after episode three as my front runner. She is Edgically a lock. It would be a shock if she didn’t win .

    4. It seems to me that she is getting the villain edit, and she is the one Brad beats at the end. (Probably at FTC.) Each episode that passes I like her less and less. (Although this might be more of a personal thing than a edit-read, I admit.) For me, she winning would soon be like Russel Hantz winning this game.

      1. I hope you’re right. I don’t think it’s a done deal or anything, but her edit is getting quite strong.

  26. Sorry that your arch nemesis is in a good spot Sharcules. If it is any consolation, I named my Garchomp after you (and my Arcanine Barculese). I am going to try my luck at the Toronto Pokémon VGC Regionals this weekend. I hope the purple power will be on my side, and if not I will probably go to the Aquarium Sunday, so win win.

    1. I’m updating my resume and “I have two Canadian Pokemon named after my internet persona” is going under ‘special skills.’

  27. THANK GOD Brad did the right thing inviting Monica as his loved one. Also, I was absolutely living for the Culpeppers hosting the family BBQ.

    1. I was really hoping he would be like “I don’t know how you did this game, it’s so hard Monica!” and she was like “Grow up Brad, and get a grip! You’re weak. Ever tried BIRTH? THIS GAME IS NOTHING!” and then she picked up Brad and ran off into the woods.

      1. I mean given how Blood vs Water turned Monica into a mess, that doesn’t seem like something she would say.

  28. Let’s take stock of all the advantages left:
    Legacy Advantage, auto F6 immunity – Sarah
    Idols – 2x Tai, 1x Troy
    Vampire Vote – Sarah
    Naturally, an IC winner at F6.

    This is going to be Cambodia all over again, isn’t it? If they last two votes, that means 4, probably 5, immunities. Thus, someone gets booted by default. I should be excited, and yet…

    1. The reason I’m not excited is that the people that don’t have the advantages and will be in danger are the people I actually like.

          1. You know, the moment he walked out of the jungle I thought “That guy looks like a former cocaine enthusiast who doesn’t know how to end a good story”.

    2. I don’t think a default boot should be exciting because it’s kinda dumb, but i am admittedly not as big of fan as the Cambodia Final 6 as most people.

  29. What was that pop-up promo about horse meat while Sierra was on screen in a confessional? Did anyone catch that? I feel like there’s a joke somewhere in there…

    1. I completely missed that… though I do tend to zone out during Sierra’s confessionals.

      1. I was going to say “that time she sat around and did nothing.” I feel like your example would fall under that general umbrella.

        1. The time in WA when she said she hated her alliance and should make a move but didn’t.

          Did she even really make one here? Tai saved her.

        1. Shellacked, apparently. Which is still only supposed to last two weeks. And she claims she got them done before she even knew she was going to be on Survivor.

          1. Yeah, shellac isn’t supposed to last as long as gel. She could probably get an endorsement deal from that brand.

      1. This. Except I think one of her nails lost its blue – I was distracting myself with checking in on her nails while her Dad made some inspirational speech.

          1. Almost like FFSDT was Samson and nail polish was her hair: once that nail chipped, she wasn’t long for the game.

      2. I know people are claiming that gel can last forever but I’m convinced Sierra had that powder they do now where they coat your nails in powder and then like press it down… lasts even longer than gel.

        (I knew that PRP was for me when people were like “how do her nails last so long” and there were a million answers “GEL!!!” whereas on r/survivor it was just a serious of posts like “how are her nails so good??? producer interference!!!” there are absolutely no women on that site, it seems).

        1. I’m not sure about the powder. I’ve seen the chrome powder, but not solid color. (To be fair, I only watch one nail art channel on YouTube.) It’s also possible it’s acrylic. Those last awhile. She probably also is one of those people that can stand having her nail polish on and doesn’t pick at it. I use a peel off base coat so I can change my nail polish regularly, but I also have a hard time resisting taking it off as soon as it starts peeling. Hers had chipped a tiny bit but she left it alone. That’s really why it looks so good.

        1. You can see it’s grown out and was even chipping a bit at the top. The fact that she managed to avoid picking at it is what makes her a #GameChanger.

      1. I was going to say “but she lost that challenge anyway,” but that fairly accurately describes her whole Survivor experience in a nutshell.

    1. To be fair if she was this was not an all-stars season, she was the player who least deserved a second chance, and she was the player who was against most of our favorites I would say she was a decent villain this season. And compared to the rest of her alliance she was surprising decent on TV compared to Brad, Troy, and Sarah

      1. She was a villain for maybe 2-3 episodes and her best line was something about being a sheriff or some such non-villainous occupation. Fail. I mean really, she’s not even the criminal this season.

          1. On the other hand, a cock-happy sheriff sounds pretty fun.

            *Second dick joke of the night.

      2. I know I’m alone on this one, but I still get absolutely confused how you people saw her as a villain. I think she is adorable. (And I admit—please don’t kill me—that I was rooting for her over Andrea.) Sarah is the villain one! She is like Russel Hantz 2.

        1. I think it is more that the show wanted us see her as a villain. I do agree that Sarah is the worst.

  30. Does anybody else wonder who Debbie would have had for her loved ones’ visit? I imagine it to be the guy who played “The Most Interesting Man In The World” in those Dos Equis commercials. Or the Pope.

          1. “debbie wanner mirror makeout” gets you to Putin by the seventh line of images.

            (Adam Sandler is a few images ahead though.)

    1. Which one? The older one whose only interesting thing was that he was once a redshirt on Star Trek or the younger one whose has nothing. And I mean the The Modt Interesting Man in the Worldnot the pope.

  31. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago on here that I was hoping that one of Cirie’s sons would be her loved one. It was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be <3 <3 <3

    1. I badly want Cirie and one of her sons to do a Blood vs Water season.

      Also I want Cirie to introduce Michaela to one of her older sons.

  32. I know the loved ones challenge always takes up a lot of time, but did that feel to anyone else to take an exceptionally long time, since we did a segment for all nine people?

    On another note, when he was saying Troy and whoever showed the most brotherly love he’d ever seen out there had Probst forgotten what literally would have been like 5 weeks ago when Adam and his brother were out there?

      1. My hope for the world is that this comment gets the attention it deserves when people log back on tomorrow.

    1. It always feels that way. Loved ones are the worst. Rarely, something funny happens, but other than that, I don’t care for human emotions.

      1. Funny is good. Then there’s the odd time its truly emotional. Otherwise, I’m totally disinterested. I made my lunch during this one

      2. I liked this one, all things considered. Andrea’s moment was touching, Cirie’s son is awesome, and Brad asking advice from his wife was a good way of making his victory seem shared. (Although she ended up being wrong, at least for now.)

    2. I found Andrea’s mum using her moment in the spotlight to talk about Andrea’s school days and her long dead sister the weirdest nonsequitur.

        1. “Look, Andrea has a great story to tell at Tribal Council as well! You should totally take her, so she can tell it.”

    3. It felt like Probst didn’t put as much effort in. I mean, when his question to Michaela was basically “So, your mother.”

      1. I feel like he was trying to get her to be done so he could get to Brad and Cirie. With Troy he was like “that guy, okay shut up” (not that I’m complaining about that one)

    4. Sometimes Jeff has a comment for the loved ones pair at the ready that is really appropriate, or he comes up with one on the spot based on what happens when they hug.

      But with Troy(zan) he was probably thinking “Yeah, I’ve got nothing. Might as well say something generic about brothers.”

      1. Pretty much. I can even see Jeff’s line of thought

        “Okay, whose left? Brad and Cirie andddd…oh yeah, that other guy I thought I liked for some reason. Let’s get that over with to get to the good stuff….Come on out, whatever….okay now I have to say something…who is that again? his brother right? I hope its his brother…say something about brothers…what’s his name again…oh right the stupid nickname okay….(says thing about brothers)….oh thank god, now we get Monica”

  33. God I can’t stand Sarah, listening to her talk is like listening to Ben Stein on downers reading the phone book, her voice doesn’t change tone only pitch, normally I wouldn’t bring this up if I wasn’t convinced the winner was down to her or Culpepper

        1. Upvoted for the laugh. I do think she at least has our last two winners beat in terms of on-air charisma/personality, though.

          1. Adam yelling about Ken’s “test” to Will is better than anything Sarah has done in a confessional. But Sarah’s hilarious acting has made me warm to her, so we’ll call it a draw. We had a pretty amazing streak of winning personalities from Sandra 2.0 through Jeremy, so I guess it was bound to end eventually.

          2. Damn Debbie DrVanNostrand!

            (I already used this same joke on here, but I’ll never stop reminding people that Michele’s tribemates laughed about her going off to kill herself)

          3. She is easily worst then Adam and that coming for someone who did not Adam’s character when his season was airing. Hell I argue that while Sarah is doing more in the game, Michele is more charming character then Sarah.

          4. She barely beats Michele in the charisma department. Adam was all over the place, but at least he was interesting.

          5. Nah Michele was way better. You’re just trying to make this season be less disappointing.

    1. I feel like if there was a talking Sarah doll, when you pulled the string it would say “You are hearing me talk.”

  34. I really can’t stand Jeff trying to be Dr. Phil during the Loved Ones visit. He annoys the crap out of me.

    1. I get that it’s his thing and he really wants to inject emotion and “human moments” into the show, but it gets so fucking forced at times. And he definitely over-narrated this one.

      1. It could be that he doesn’t trust this group of game changers to narrate it for him.

        1. I prefer to think that he has some kind of Dorian Gray deal going on wherein he gets to look 45 and host the show indefinitely as long as he never once drops the facade that everything about the show is socially relevant.

          1. Honestly, I’m at the point where it’s debatable that this version of Aubry is even still a good narrator. I think she’s just had the life drained from her. Also, she doesn’t really have that good a handle of what’s going on anymore.

          2. This is true. I feel like it may have been too short a turnaround for her to return

          3. That, and the constant getting blindsided and seeing her alliance partners go home early on has just left her silently flailing out there.

          4. I repeat my sentiment that I think that this point in the game realize with every thing is that she not winning this game. I think she playing to be good enough character, like James in Micronesia, to be invited back and to have a ending that fans would like and respect (hence her being a number in Andrea and Circe partnership still)

          5. Kaoh Rong Aubry : Borneo Kelly Wigglesworth = Game Changers Aubry : Cambodia Kelly Wigglesworth

      2. I just find it weird whenever he says “get some love from your mom” or poorly-phrased things of that ilk.

      3. It’s also kinda creepy when he’s all ‘go on, have another hug for the cameras.’ They could have replaced almost all of Jeff talking in that segment with him being almost knocked over by the wave last season and I would have been happy.

        1. They should have just put, instead of these forced Jeff-moments, like actual moments between the contestants and their loved ones. Monica and Brad were great at the reward, and Cirie’s son also. We didn’t even get to see any of the others there.

          But I get that 5 people didn’t get to go to a reward, so that was the only chance of giving them some loved-ones screentime.

      4. So forced! He was asking stupid questions like “would you say that the relationship between a mother and her child is important, or not that important?” Uh…

  35. Just how dumb was it for Sierra to tell Sarah that her side had lost the numbers? I feel like you deserve to go home on an own goal like that. Shut up and let the Andrea vote happen.

    I get that her thinking was probably that if that had occurred, she’d still be on the losing side of 3-5, and she was trying to curry favor with Sarah. But that neglects the fact that voting Andrea is what saves you. If you tip off Sarah, who do you think takes her spot as target? I just can’t see any possible way to justify that behavior by Sierra.

    1. Yeah, she sabotaged her own game. Not only did she give Sarah a chance to talk Michaela around…she made herself clearly untrustworthy by blowing up Michaela’s flip. Luckily Sarah kept it quiet, but if Sarah had gone to Andrea then Michaela is the new Zeke.

      You know what it’s like? That time in Cagayan when Malcolm and Corinne had the numbers, but Corinne just HAD to try to get Dawn on board too. Don’t get greedy!

      1. Corinne tweeted out that she was upset to see Sierra go, and that Sierra had played a great game, and I almost responded, “Did she?”

        1. Corinne is such a helpful Survivor barometer. Do you agree with Corinne? If yes, you probably want to revise that opinion.

          1. Yeah. Maybe the reason she’s resistant to making moves is because she’s terrible at it. The one time she made a move, it was “tell Sarah important information that ensures she votes me out.”

      2. Also, since Michaela has actually been bluffing really well this season so far, I thought there might have been a chance that she talked to someone after the reward (maybe Cirie??) to let them know that she had been stringing along Sierra/Troy/Tai. That way, when it inevitably gets back to her main alliance that she was considering flipping, she has the easy out of claiming that she was just playing a double agent to get information and/or make the other side complacent.
        This probably isn’t something that they could show us very well in the edit without tipping the viewers off about how the vote will ultimately go, but maybe it’s something we’ll find out post-season…

    2. I mean, we know that it didn’t work because she ended up being voted out, but I would argue that this behavior was only in evidence because it didn’t work: we see this action almost literally every week. She had an ally, and she told her ally where the vote was going; it is pretty normal and excusable.

      Because even if they had managed to vote out Andrea otherwise, I bet Sarah wouldn’t be very happy to be blindsided like this. And it is not a good way of making allies to keep blindsiding them whenever you don’t need their vote.

      1. If Sarah was blindsided by Andrea being voted out, the anger would have fallen on Sarah’s allies like Michaela. I don’t see a world where Sarah is upset at Sierra for voting Andrea. Of course she votes Andrea. Who else is she supposed to vote for? The Sierra/Brad/Troy alliance had to be targeting someone, and Andrea is the logical choice; Sarah would have known that. The only thing Sarah didn’t know was that Michaela and Tai had decided to flip, and Sierra could have easily made the case that those two made the decision behind closed doors without her knowledge, since they knew that she and Sarah were close friends.

        If the opposition alliance decides to implode and eat itself, you stand by and get the popcorn.

  36. Weird that [it appears] they didn’t let Sierra know the final vote breakdown. It wouldn’t have been that hard to deduce that Sarah voted for her. I wonder if she figures that out before (or during) FTC.

    As strong as Sarah’s edit is, I don’t get the sense that the jury is too pleased with her….

    1. Sierra was allowed to attend the Tribal Council though, so that should’ve helped.

      Here’s a hint for her and others: basically, since The Australian Outback, they will show every minority vote. The ones they don’t show are the extra votes for the booted player. So if Sierra saw three votes for Andrea, and one of them was hers, it shouldn’t take much to guess where Sarah’s vote went.

      1. Yeah. I’m trying to rationalize it. I thought for sure she was going to give to to Brad. Woulda been fun to watch Sarah interrogate Brad and Tai over it and use her police skliz

    2. My hypotheses are either:
      -Sierra was too stunned in the moment to think about it rationally so she just went with her original plan to give it to Sarah
      -the two women bonded enough that Sierra is still rooting for Sarah even though she’s pretty sure Sarah voted for her
      -Sarah’s ~acting~ was good enough to convince Sierra they were voting together, so Sierra assumed the extra vote came from either Brad or Troy?

      1. Yeah, the way I see it is that she just didn’t have time to think. But note that even if Sarah did vote for her, for all she knows maybe she had no choice (her vote wouldn’t change the outcome). Still, in that case maybe she should have given it to someone that stayed with her throughout the game and never voted for her, like *cough* Brad *cough*.

      2. I do wonder if there was a falling out or at least a distancing between Brad and Sierra that we didn’t see. I mean, I can’t remember them talking ONCE in this episode. Considering that the Brad/Sierra duo has been the only rock-solid alliance to last from post- to pre-merge, it’s odd that it’s invisible here. If they had some sort of falling out that production decided not to show, that would make more sense why the two closest people seem so distant, and why Sierra doesn’t even consider giving her advantage to her only 100% alliance member.

      3. Exits confirm that Sarah’s acting fooled her. She thought Brad had voted for her because he was expressionless. Good job by Sarah!

    3. Jessica gave Ken the legacy advantage and then he didn’t get her vote. Wouldn’t be too shocking to see the same happen after the jury gets to Sierra and points out how duplicitous Sarah has been.

  37. So that was maybe the best episode of the season so far, I’m coming around on Sarah, and the Michaela/Tai duo that just arrived is delightful, but FUCK THE EDITORS AND THIS STUPID AUBRY EDIT! I will not forgive them.

    Also, (preview “spoilers”) is Cirie trying to pull off a Reichenbach immunity type move with Tai and his idols in the preview?

    1. Yeah, maybe Stockholm Syndrome is kicking in, but if Sarah keeps playing like she did this episode I’d be fine with her winning (I’m still worried that she’s going to win mostly by emerging unscathed from a huge idol/advantage pileup).

      I hate to keep leaking from my big post-finale rant about editing, but: Among the many problems of the “winner’s edit” this far into Survivor’s run, creating a winner’s edit by definition also creates non-winners’ edits. I would gladly accept a Natalie Anderson-style late-game, possibly out-of-nowhere run from Sarah in exchange for being able to root for Cirie or Michaela.

      1. I agree, though in this case I feel I can still root both of them too. If anything, Sarah’s sweet move here justified the rest of her edit should she not win.

  38. Probst’s boner pretty much burst through my screen when Michaela turned We into Me.

    1. Sister: So is Culpepper’s loved one going to be Monica?
      Me: Oh, you remember her?
      Sister: Not really, but he keeps mentioning her

        1. I also got a text from my mom. Culpepper said something about being proud of her knowing how tough it was, and my mom asks “Did she get to the end or something?”

  39. While in some ways this episode is dead to me for not bringing Monica the Chicken and Monica together (or did they? What was edited out of that BBQ?) there were also many things to like including:

    1. Tai waving at Sarah’s partner after Sierra calls him hot. I love Tai’s commitment to flirting with straight dudes. And his bit with Mark was sweet too.

    2. Loved that Monica Culpepper strolled in and made Brad run to her.

    3. Could have watched so much more of Monica + Brad at the bbq strategy talk with their slight Macbeth vibes.

    4. Cirie’s son also brought it: Cirie and Jared for Blood v. Water 3!

    5. Stealth Cirie is doing well. Okay, so she wasn’t shown doing too much this episode (chances of her winning back to like 92% wishful thinking) but the fact that she’s just cruising through this post-merge is pretty incredible.

    6. Michaela’s we/me speech was pretty great and I loved how into it Probst was and how foolish he looked when trying to bandwagon-along on top of it.

    7. The downfall of FFSDT due to the legacy advantage was great, especially because it came down to her v. Andrea, Andrea just missed the legacy advantage in the premiere but then, twist!, Sierra having the advantage was what saved her.

    1. “their slight Macbeth vibes”

      Holy shit that’s so on point. I’d absolutely watch them star in a re-creation of the Scottish play.

    2. Maybe Monica the chicken was at that BBQ? You may say there’s a little bit of Monica in everyone who won that reward. You may say that they killed Monica and ate her and she’s in their stomachs … (laughs) … wait, too far. Forget that last part.

      I completely forgot about Tai’s boyfriend (?) Mark (from all the Mark the Chicken nonsense) so when he was flirting with Wyatt I thought “Oh Tai, you’ll flirt with anyone.” And then Mark comes out and I’m like “Tai! Your boyfriend is coming out in mere minutes, control yourself!”

      I don’t know if Cirie’s son would want to do Survivor, now that he knows where they go to the bathroom.

  40. No playing with your loved one, and a group winning instead of an individual? Taking out all the fun bits.

    But Cirie’s son was awesome. And I had no idea what to expect of Tai’s husband.

    And yeah, you’d want that ring to be stuck on your finger pretty good. I guess if you’re as rich as they are, it’s not as much of a concern, especially if the ring isn’t like custom-made or anything.

    1. I know! Competing in challenges with loved ones is nearly always really entertaining. Missed opportunity, maybe they thought Brad and Monica would have had an unfair advantage. Someone definitely would have complained if they ended up winning as a team.

      1. I would guess that was a huge factor in why it wasn’t a ‘work with your loved one’ challenge. Brad/Monica have such an advantage since she’s played, no one would even pretend it’s fair.

  41. In the alternate, Earth-2 universe where this season would still be played by this cast, but they were all newbies instead of returning players, I’d be enjoying the season slightly more, because the cut-short opportunities of Tony and Malcolm wouldn’t have stung so much, and in that universe, I think people would be more enthusiastically on board with a potential Brad or Sarah win.

    1. Agree in theory but it’s tough to imagine as reputation plays such a huge role in the ‘Let’s Take out the Actual Game Changers’ main story of this season. I think if this were Malcolm’s first time I would still have been pretty devastated because it doesn’t take many episodes for him to be charming. Equally the Tony/Sandra feud was so good it would have been sad to see it pop so quickly, whatever their histories.

      What is good is that Brad and Sarah have both made moves that I liked and while there’s still a ways for them to go for me to be excited about them as winners, they’ve already done more to impress me than some people who’ve won the game, cough/pander.

    2. If I didn’t know Tai already and his social foibles, I’d probably be disappointed he wasn’t getting any love. Finds three idols, ditches an on-the-out alliance to prove loyalty to his numbers, is integral in swinging a key pre-merge vote in his tribe’s favor, isn’t a big target, hasn’t offended anyone, is consistently good at challenges, has yet to waste an idol despite his side being at a disadvantage, and then aligns with someone else on the bottom and actually keeps it secret.

      Unfortunately we know Tai won’t get anyone’s vote, but on paper he’s playing a pretty strong game; he’s just not (and never will) get credit for anything.

    3. Yes, but in this Earth-2 season we wouldn’t have had the #CoffeeIsForClosers hashtag since they have no coffee because of the Blight.

    4. Yes, exactly. If this were a non-returnee season, it would be perfectly cromulent (with the obvious exception of Varner outing Zeke). Even as an Earth-1 returnees season, it would be pretty good if the edit wasn’t so heavy-handed. We theoretically still have several PRP favorites to root for, it’s only the edit that’s telling us not to.

    5. I saw an ad for this season on Xfinity On Demand Tuesday. It featured a confessional from Malcolm. I nearly burst into tears.

    6. Even ignoring all the things I unfortunately know about real life Sarah, I would never be enthusiastically on board with her winning. She’s just barely more interesting than Michele.

  42. Favourite episode in a while, Sierra going home and all the Michaela stuff was 10/10. Didn’t really care for the loved ones scenes though. Less Probst “why is your mum important to you” etc. and more footage of them at the reward would have been better.

    Cirie’s son was great, but is it cynical for me to think that she may have told him to play everything up a bit for the cameras in case he ever wants to apply? Not really a complaint, he’d probably be good on the show.

  43. What I’ve never understood is why they don’t just run and try to get one last bit of love before they leave.
    Penner did it once, and there were no consequences, as far as I could tell, so what’s going to happen? Sorry, you hugged your dad one more time, you’re out of the game?

    1. If anything, you would probably get some screen time while Jeff says something like “Wow! That is the strength of love! Michaela, you just had hug your mom one more time, tell us about the bond you share! Tell us about what love means! Tell us about how hard it is to play the game of Survivor!”

        1. As sharculese is fond of pointing out, the only ironclad rules are no hitting and no quid pro quos for sharing prize money. Everything other rule can be bent or ignored for the sake of good TV.

    2. I thought it was super weird that they made that little circle in the sand where the players were I guess supposed to stand and wait for their loved ones? And then like everyone except Brad actually did it! I’m guessing they did it to make things a little easier on the camera people, but it seemed really hokey to me.

      1. Yeah, I’m guessing its marking spots for filming/sound. It’s important to remember that this is a TV show with heavy considerations of what production requires to produce it.

  44. My favorite thing about Michaela’s conversation with Troy/Tai/Sierra in the water was when she said everyone should just “act regular” so they didn’t tip anyone off to the flip. I love that she is absorbing so much from some of the best Survivor mentors ever, and I really hope she comes back again in a few years and just blows the competition out of the water 😀

  45. Here is why I have argued in the past that knowing the winner is not such a bad thing (and it can even make the season more enjoyable): if someone from the future came and told me that Brad was winning this season, I could probably enjoy these last couple of episodes much better than I do now, fearing that Sarah is going to win. (Especially after all the Obvious Winner Sarah™ talk of late.)

    I just don’t like Sarah. She is a villain, but not even a good villain. Say what you will about Russell, but he was at least funny. (Tony is arguably a villain, and he is awesome.) I can’t think of a single good character/funny moment for Sarah.

    1. Somebody else pointed this out last week, but if someone from the future told us at the beginning of the season that Andrea, Aubry, Michaela, Tai and (somehow) Cirie were all going to make the final 8 (Tai in non-goat fashion and with two idols in his pocket), we would have been ecstatic. It’s the edit’s fault that we’re not.

    2. I almost always enjoy a season more on the rewatch. I’ve often wondered if part of that is knowing the outcomes in advance? It allows me to watch what the show is actually presenting instead of constantly trying to interpret the edit and predict the future. The little character moments are more fun, and it makes it easier to separate the important stuff from the misdirection. I’m actually ~this close~ to experimenting with intentionally getting spoiled on a season to see if it improves the viewing experience, but then I wouldn’t be able participate in the discussions here to the same degree, so I’ve avoided it up to this point.

      1. So, when I watched all the seasons for the first time last season I was spoiled on who wins seasons 1-3, 7-8, 10, 15-17 and 19-31. It was interseting to see the seasons from that certain perspective, where I was looking for how they managed to get to the the end (well, with Bob it was impossible, but you know what I mean). And I wasn’t spoiled for much of the biggest things in Survivor history, so watching the first tribe swap, the first overthrowing of the power alliance, pretty much all of Rob C.’s game, dead grandma, final immunity in Palau, giving away the immunity necklace, double idol play and many things was great, even if I knew who the winner was (and now I’m watching for the first time all of the seasons of BB, including Canada ones, and the only times where didn’t know who won was BB5 and BBCAN1, and I know who wins every season from 6-17).

    3. Here the issue with Sarah: the show wants us to root for her. To be fair her is respectable if she does manage to win but as a character she is the worst. She is dull, mean spirited, and the show is spending way to much on her. This is too much of an uphill battle for us to want to see Sarah as an routable character.

      Hell compared to Kaoh Rong the show never asked us to root for Michele. They showed her so the audience remembered she existed but the show was too busy asking us to root for Cyndey, Tai, and Aubry.

      1. In which way is she exactly mean-spirited? I didn’t ever felt that. I’m just asking of course.

        1. It just a personal opinion and I feel it there in the way she interacts with the other castaways.

  46. Since the merge, we’ve lost Hali, Ozzy, Debbie, Zeke, and Sierra. I’m not sad about any of them. (Maybe a little Zeke, but he’s too hardheaded to ever win, so I’m not stunned.) I mean, yeah, we lost the majority of the great players pre-merge, but we haven’t really lost anyone great since the merge.

  47. Apparently Troy has been making jokes about how he’s been completely absent from the show each week, which almost makes me disappointed that he blocked me so I can’t see those tweets. On the other hand, I’m not at all disappointed that he blocked me.

        1. Was it a bunch of comments, or was it just the existence of the diss track post?

    1. I just checked it and you are not missing much and also I’m a little upset that I wasted my time to look. Troy does Twitter as well as Survivor.

    2. So what you’re saying is that he’s not going to do a podcast with Matt for “international men’s day” next year?

    1. I can’t really remember but we must have seen at least one of Josh/Reed or Colton/Caleb kiss right?

      1. I seem them to recall them editing around Ami and Scout kissing their respective significant others in Vanuatu. Am I mistaken in that memory?

  48. Some quick thoughts:
    -I liked this episode, and someone from the other side went, so for now it’s all good in a Survivor world
    -The loved ones took unusually long time this season, but I always am a fan of them, and it was great to see Monica and Cirie’s son.
    -So, after choosing her to go last three weeks, I decided switch from Sierra to Andrea, thinkg “She HAS to go this week right?”. SO, yup…..I blame all of you for brainwashing me, and my loss is ALL your fault.
    -This seems to be a very unpopular opinion around here, but I’m fully aboard Sarah train. While I understand the point that she gives very monotonne confessianals (which I kinda agree with btw), but I really do think she’s playing a great game. Everyone wants to work with her, she’s playing middle really well unlike last time. I’m still rooting for Andrea and Cirie mor than her, but if she were to win, I wouldn’t be one bit unsatisfied. Plus if she really wins, we would have another Survivor female winner who didn’t get to the end and win by being ‘nice’ (which I don’t have any problems with btw, but I always like having different types of Survivor winners). I’m not clammoring for Sarah 3.0. by any means, but I think it would be a good ending for her story.

    Ashley Underwood, we’re forever grateful for what you’ve brought to the game. We are not worthy of the joy you bring us.

    1. I agree with you about Sarah. While she definitely wasn’t at the top of my list of players I was rooting for going into the season, at this point I wouldn’t be disappointed if she won. She’s playing really hard out there, but in a way that’s more complex than either lying low and coasting or insisting on making constant Big Movez. If she makes it to the end, I’m excited to see how she is received by the jury and if she ultimately wins, I think it will be cool to hopefully see a jury reward strategic play from a female player.

      1. Again, maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome setting in, but I agree with this take completely. Clearly, she’s never going to be a scintillating TV presence. But remember, a lot of people thought highly of her chances going into Cagayan.

        1. She actually might have been my pre-season winner pick in Cagayan, now that I think of it…

      2. I agree. Plus, I forgot to write this, she managed to sway the vote from Andrea to Sierra aka from person we like to person we don’t care about. If people really are bend over to not likng her, at least thank her for keeping one of our favourite players this season.

      3. Just so we’re clear:
        -Zeke flipping from one side to the other and back = insisting on making constant Big Movez

        1. Yep. If it had worked for Zeke I probably wouldn’t have complained in that case either. I’m fickle and extremely easily swayed by the edit ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        2. But when Zeke does it, it endangers Andrea and Cirie. When Sarah does it, it endangers Brad and Sierra. Completely different situation.

          1. And it’s possible, just maybe, that it’s being portrayed that way due to results.

    2. So this is where I stand on Sarah, and I think its what you’re getting at: She is playing a good game and I can acknowledge that. Her game itself is even somewhat entertaining. However, I find her boring as hell and that kills my enjoyment. First and foremost I watch Survivor to be entertained and when someone’s not doing that, I don’t want them to win/be part of the dominant narrative, regardless of how good their game is

      1. Agreed 100%. Sarah is a big believer of “Tell, don’t show” in her confessionals. She has a bunch of quotes that basically are “I am a game changer and I am going to change the game.” She is just so boring!! I guess something is getting lost in filming as everyone seems to love her – she flipped on Sierra yet Sierra gives her the legacy advantage? I’m sure others have discussed how stupid Sierra’s strategy was but it was really, really dumb. Sierra basically said, “Hey, Sarah. Vote me out!”

        Not a big edgic guy, but other than Cirie, I do not see anyone else winning. I feel like Sarah is getting jammed down our throats (eyeballs?). Love this show, but this seasons has been a major bummer for me. Going to be a long wait until September.

        (Holding out hope for Cirie but it is such a long, long shot. I guess I should be happy if she makes the finale)

          1. It’s all I’ve had for a while now… we will see how this season ends but its probably bottom half for me, which is insane given how many amazing players are in it. I never thought I’d say that I did not love a season with Cirie, Aubry, Varner, JT, Sandra, Tony, Zeke (I’ve been critical of his game play but I do enjoy him as a narrator), Malcolm, and Michaela…

          2. I know. But so many went out pre-merge and Aubry got purpled. The boring people are dominating airtime and there’s no coherent story really. The pre-merge was mostly good, except that it did slaughter our favourites leading to this dull as hell post-merge. Probably bottom half for me too

      2. I fully understand where you’re coming from. What I think is the difference for me is a) while I absolutely don’t find her an exciting or even interesting, I don’t find her AS dull as people are saying she is, b)she plays enough of an entertaining game to make up for all of her shortcomings, and c) Brad, who is besides her and Cirie the only real contender to win, is in my opinion MUCH more boring and dull than Sarah.

        Plus I would argue that, even though she played a otherworldly game, I don’t think that Kim was MUCH more interesting than Sarah, but that didn’t stop me from rooting for her.
        If someone isn’t really unlikable, I don’t have anything against someone winning.

        But still, I understand why you’re feeling this way.

    3. I mean Sarah is definitely playing a great game, I think she would be top tier winner.

  49. The downside of beloved returnees is that I now spend half each episode worrying about Cirie and it’s starting to interfere with my enjoyment of the show.

  50. So, how uncool was it for Probst to go from Andrea’s mom talking about her sister to gushing about the special relationship between sisters with Aubry and her sister.

      1. In his defense, he also called the relationships between brothers, mother-daughter, father-daughter, husband-wife, husband-husband, and mother-son special too. He can’t help it if all relationships are special and unique and unlike any other…

          1. I 100% love my child/mother/father/significant other/sister/brother/cousin/aunt/uncle/grandparent.

          2. Part of me wants him to ask this in situations where people bring people they aren’t all that close to, though I feel that happens less:

            “Darrah, talk about how special your relationship is with this random guy”
            “Randy, talk about your special relationship with your dog”
            “So, kinda close friends have a special relationship, right?

          3. I want someone just once to say “he’s fine. But he was my 4th choice. It’d have been better to see my mother father or our other brother who I love a little more”.

        1. Right, but maybe a production thing would have been “hey, let’s change the order so we’re not bringing a sister out right after this.”

          1. In all truth, i’m assuming they didn’t think Andrea’s mom would bring up unprompted background information about her daughter, so there wasn’t anything to be concerned about. And once they established an order for the loved ones, it would probably require a bunch of confusing and/or awkward switching around to avoid it, so they just said fuck it.

            They could have also not thought about it at all.

    1. I noticed it and thought it was uncool, but I didn’t think anyone else would. I lost my sister in childhood, too, and you can’t help but notice that kind of thing that other people (Probst!) would sail right by.

  51. One thing that I would like discussed in the podcast (and/or here): Do you think it was really Sierra telling Sarah that she had the Legacy advantage that got her out? I mean, I certainly agree that the edit tried to sell that story. But was it really? Do you think that Michaela and Tai changed their minds about voting for Sierra because Sarah told them she had an advantage?

    If Michaela knew about the Legacy advantage in her season, she could use that to infer that Sarah was saying the truth. (Otherwise there would be no reason at all to believe her.) But if that is the case, she would also know that the Legacy advantage is one of the most useless ones in Survivor. (Besides the fact that Tai has not one but two idols, so he shouldn’t care that much about that.) Would they really find it so threatening that it would change their entire game plan?

      1. Yeah, but again, the more that I think of it, the more it sounds like a complete producers’ fabrication. Sarah said it so herself in her confessional, “I didn’t want to vote for Sierra, but now that Brad is immune, I have to. I guess it is not that bad because at least I get the Legacy Advantage.”

        The show tried to make it seem like she heard of the LA and decided to get rid of Sierra to get it for herself, but her alliance’s plan was always get rid of either Brad or Sierra. That was the plan all along. After Brad got immune, it was going to be Sierra, unless they flipped on Andrea. I think it is much more likely that she heard Sierra talking about Andrea and thought, “Wait a minute. I don’t want Sierra gone, but I want Andrea gone even less. I just turned on my biggest ally in this game because Andrea asked me to. Voting her out now makes no sense.” And that is when she went to talk to Michaela and Tai.

    1. Absolutely. It blows my mind how dumb Sierra was to tell Sarah about the advantage. She basically just voted herself out.

    2. No, I think Sarah was always going to vote out Brad or Sierra and with Brad winning immunity then she was with Sierra. Now she used fact that Sierra had a legacy to convince Michaela to vote for Sierra but I think Sarah really wanted to break up that Brad/Sierra pair.

  52. Here is my long awaited Part I to my long brewing rant: The editing this season has been atrocious.
    1) While I thought Brad was winning for a while, now it just seems that it has to be Sarah since Brad is basically mauve at this point. We have gotten some heartwarming moments of Sarah supporting her castaways at their lowest points (Zeke and Cirie) and some evidence that Sarah is well liked by being bestowed the legacy advantage. We also got some Fitzgerald touches of Sarah saying that she was going with options during her otherwise meaningless conversation with Troy. Brad’s great pre-merge edit leads me to my second point…
    2) Everything having to do with a Mana person has basically been rendered moot (besides the Incident, but the editors dropped that as soon as they could). Think about how much editing real estate we got early on with Mana and how it doesn’t really matter now. We still have three original Mana members and two of them are super Purple at this point. Michaela only appears when she is the target or the swing vote. Now, you’re probably wondering “What about Malcolm’s boot?” Well, that strong alliance certainly made it to the end without fracturing, right? Oh wait, no it didn’t. Look, I get why they wanted to give a tribute to the Queen, but did we need to root for Varner for so many episodes? I never thought that Solana or Nagarote would get unseated as biggest redshirt tribe, but congrats. Mana took you over.

    I am hoping to write a longer post soon about my theory about how Production wants the more interesting tribe to fail on returnee seasons, so look forward to that.

    1. I would probably say that editing is probably the number one thing going wrong with this season (though uneven casting is a top contender too). We spent so much time on players and stories that have proven to be completely irrelevant to the game over all. I’m okay with occasional touches of this (for example – how could they not have devoted the lion’s share of Tony’s boot episode to his antics?) but the fact that one of Andrea/Aubry/Cirie will most likely make it all the way to the finale episode after being essentially invisible for the entire pre-merge (or longer) is really frustrating.
      I love Sandra as much as anyone, but I still would have been okay sacrificing some of her screen time to hear more from Andrea or Aubry’s point of view. Other things I would have happily traded away for more time with the invisible castaways:
      -the goat eating debate
      -interior design talk
      -challenge and reward content
      -Cochran boat
      -everything to do with Debbie

      1. I would say the premiere can be set aside, especially since they had some establishment of the storylines that are still here somewhat (Cirie vs JT/Ozzy fizzled out quickly) but we had the start(ish) of Cirie vs Debbie, Sarah playing like a criminal, Aubry on the outside, Tai having some bond with Cirie. But, even then, Andrea was not in the premiere much.

      2. See, here is where we differ. If you were to ask me in one or two years what were the memorable (positive) moments of this season, I would probably name all these moments you would have taken out of the show.

      3. I agree with Cochran boat and everything having to do with Debbie, for sure.

        But do you watch the show purely on guessing who is “relevant” or not to the final tribal? I’m not critiquing you (I promise!) but that just sounds like an inherently frustrating way to watch the show.

        Nothing is really irrelevant to me because all of the character moments are why I watch the show in the first place – looking at the edit in terms of who will be winner/goat/journey etc is interesting but that would hem in my enjoyment too much if that’s all that I focused on. I love just the basic idea of how people interact with each other while on Survivor Island, and I really love how the editors highlight a bunch of interesting, moving, and/or amusing moments. And I figure that if a person is invisible, then that means they are not bringing much of interest to either the narrative or in general, as a tv character.

        Again, all of the above does not include Debbie of course.

        1. These are fair points 🙂 I guess I made my original comment based on the assumption that Aubry and Andrea were providing something of equivalent entertainment value to the goat hunt/interior decorating content. If they truly weren’t, then I suppose I would rather see something entertaining from an ultimately less “relevant” person than something boring from someone who is going to last a long time. I just have more faith than that in Andrea and Aubry *sobs*

          1. Ha, I’m with you on the Aubry sob!

            Sorta. What they’ve given us hasn’t been all that interesting, except for her eyeroll a couple episodes back.

            On the other hand, I have actually been enjoying Andrea immensely this season and would have liked more of her pre-season.

          2. I would argue that we didn’t see much from Cirie and Andrea almost entirely based on the fact that they didn’t go to tribal for pretty much the entire pre-merge, so they aren’t really relevant for any storylines these episodes. Maybe they could show a bit more, but I understood why they didn’t.

            But not having more Aubry is a crime (I do think she still provides enough good content to have at least an above avarage edit,

          3. “I would argue that we didn’t see much from Cirie and Andrea almost
            entirely based on the fact that they didn’t go to tribal for pretty much
            the entire pre-merge.”

            Which I think it is a mistake, and one of biggest mistakes this season. For many of the pre-merge episodes, they didn’t even had to bother with the immunity challenge, since we got like 95% time with one tribe and one scene with the other one. (So people wouldn’t mistakenly think it was post-merge, I assume.)

            I understand that there is more to talk about with the tribe going to tribal, but it shouldn’t be that uneven. And this goes back to my third point: if all you are giving screen-time to is strategy talk, then it is understandable their choice. Some tribes didn’t go to tribal ever this season. But there has to be more going on than pure strategy talk.

          4. I would have loved to see more from Cirie and Andrea especially as they are now allies. I also think getting some more early on from Andrea and Zeke would have made their storyline pop a bit more.

    2. For sure, I’m with you, and I have an edit rant of my own in the oven. But to be completely fair, original Mana accounted for seven of the first eight boots, so the fact that the early part of the season focused on a bunch of stuff that is irrelevant now was pretty much unavoidable.

    3. So I also have huge huge problems with the edit in this season (and recent seasons overall), but ironically they only slightly overlap with your complaints.

      I have two big problems with editing in recent Survivor. The first (which overlaps a bit with your complaints) is simply how uneven it has been. You are maybe arguing that they should have swapped Aubry and Sierra in the edit table, and “purple” Sierra instead of Aubry, who actually goes farther into the game. (I think that this is a hard point to argue when we don’t know what material they had to work with.)

      I think instead that they should have given mostly equal screen-time to everyone, no matter if fun or boring. I even consider “to purple someone” a misnomer: it implies that the producers intentionally hid PK from the season (maybe as a punishment for quitting), when it seems more likely that they simply had no material at all on her. (But even if it is possible that Aubry’s (or Troy’s, for that matter) material is not great, as actually seems to be the case in some of her secret confessionals, it is impossible that they had nothing.)

      My second big problem with editing in recent Survivor is that I feel they pressure themselves to always create tension in TC, and to make it seem like there are many different possible scenarios (even when there actually are not), that they crowd out time for more personal and funny moments. Even with strategy: they seem to always try to make the strategy seem deeper than it actually is, with endless strategy talks, and that leaves no time for anything else.

      I do think that they have been casting more game-bots recently. But I also think that a big reason why recent seasons have seemed (at least to me) more “game-botty” is because of this new edit that tries to always overemphasize and over-complicate the strategy, smothering any possible screen time for everything reality-show.

      1. I completely agree with your second point – I think the editors are working so hard to make every vote into a blindside that they sometimes end up presenting a misleading edit and depicting possibilities that weren’t really there (or leaving out important content that would help the audience understand what happened and why). And somehow, to seasoned fans the outcome still ends up being obvious based on the edit, etc. A more balanced edit could potentially even combat this by sprinkling in character moments in a more fluid way throughout the season, so we wouldn’t automatically associate increased screen time with that person’s imminent boot.

      2. I think instead that they should have given mostly equal screen-time to everyone, no matter if fun or boring

        But why would viewers want to watch someone who is boring, week after week? The result would be fair but deadly dull. That sounds like a good reason not to watch the show! I don’t want to watch a show that gives equal time to Cirie and Troyzan.

        1. Yeah, I expressed myself badly. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t put good TV moments, like Cirie talking with her son or hunting the goat, so you could show Troy being boring.

          But when you are selecting confessionals, many of which are extremely interchangeable among people (like those “what a great reward” ones), try to spread the love instead of actively focusing them on people you know are big players in the season.

          And even in other confessionals, even if the moment is slightly worse for being Troy instead of Cirie (Cirie is not a good example here, because she is hardly being over-edited), it makes for a better season overall. Because it stops being so obvious which players we should care about and which we should forget they exist. The edit stops being so much in our faces, and we can focus on the actual show.

          Besides, if we got more time with Troy, probably people wouldn’t like him as much as Cirie, but probably they would like him much more than now. And a season where you don’t dislike anyone (except intentionally as villains) is much better (IMO) than a season where you have 8 people on the island, but only 5.5 on the show.

          1. To add: ideally, we would have a edit system where the fun people appear more, and the boring people appear the least. But that unfortunately doesn’t always (or even usually) lead to satisfying outcomes, as Aubry’s season showed it very decisively. Given that, I think that a system where edit is more spread out is better than what we currently have, where we have two possible winners, two or three characters, and 2-4 ghosts.

      3. I think MvGX after the merge is a good example of what this season could be like. With the exception of Sunday, you could easily point to moments that every cast member had.

    4. I, too, have many thoughts about how production wants the more interesting tribe to fail, which is not actually something I think we’ve discussed before, which is odd, considering we’ve now see every returnee season apart from All Stars together. (And I’ll say All Stars is sort of the root of my theory). BUT, I will save it for whenever you start that discussion.

      I will, however, agree with you that the editing has been awful. There are some pretty solid moments that, while unnecessary, were some of the most enjoyable things of the season. But the editing on everyone else has been uneven as hell. Like, if even 1/2 of FFSDT’s confessionals had been spread out to some of the people that lasted longer than her, I think we’d be in better shape.

      1. Why did they give her so much time? There were better players to focus on? Give some of Sierra’s time to Aubry or Andrea or Tai or Cirie.

    5. I agree. You shouldn’t be able to guess the winner so easily with even the more surface level reading of the edit.

      1. The baffling thing is that it’s so easily correctable: Just don’t purple anybody who makes it this far into the game (except Troyzan, of course). I’m not even talking about distorting narratives or taking shine away from anybody else. If Aubry had even as much as one additional 15-second confessional per episode she’d be the consensus PRP choice to win (“she’s such a boss at navigating being in the minority”; “she’s adapted her game after seeing herself be too flashy last time”).

        1. Yup, or give Brad a couple of good “underdog comes back” confessionals or something about Tai being “underestimated” etc

        2. To be fair, some of you don’t even need the additional Aubry confessionals to convince yourself she still has a chance.

  53. We keep saying that these last few episodes have been boring with not much to discuss, so it should not be this difficult to close out the discussion and study for my certification exam tomorrow, and, yet, here I am.

  54. That moment when you realize that even Aubry’s SISTER was invisible this episode…

  55. I said this on Twitter but I would like to repeat this: Sierra is not good at the whole “don’t vote me out” thing. Both seasons, she has pointed out why somebody shouldn’t vote her out with the reason why they should vote her out.

  56. I think I’m figuring out why I hate this season. These people are so….bland. Post-merge the only ones that seem to have a personality are Debbie (as annoying as she is) and Michaela. Everyone else is just a bore. When was the last time we had funny/entertaining interactions between cast members? For example, compare this cast to that of Cagayan or Pearl Islands where there was conflict and entertainment and its just a complete bore.

    1. I think it’s a combination of the editing, the large number of castaways to keep track of, it being all returning players, and the constantly shifting gameplay in addition to the actual contestants. Cambodia also lacked funny/entertaining interactions in the postmerge, but I think that was helped by the cast having more charisma and personality in the confessionals.

    2. My two cents:

      Cirie, Michaela, Tai, Zeke, Debbie, Andrea, Brad – not a bore (although Debbie is ugh)
      Sarah, Hali – somewhat interesting
      Troyzan, Sierra, Ozzy, Aubry – bores

      That’s actually more bores than I expected. But still plenty of gold in the cast, for me at least. I’ve seen funny, entertaining, interesting interactions in each episode.

      Comparing this or any season to two of the show’s very best seasons is setting the bar pretty high!

  57. Also slightly interesting fact, Debbie hasn’t been in the game for two episodes and she still leads the confessional count, which is odd because I feel like I’ve sat through about 50 Sarah confessionals in the last three episodes.

Comments are closed.