Survivor Game Changers Episode 13 Liveblog: “Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow”

Follow us on Twitter and Storify below for episode 13 of Survivor: Game Changers!

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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
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796 thoughts on “Survivor Game Changers Episode 13 Liveblog: “Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow”

  1. Well, our broadcast is pre-empted for dangerous weather coverage, so liveblog, I’m depending on you!

      1. Your servicey coverage is EXTRA appreciated this week. (Also, I think I live in the same TV market as Sarah, so all “under the radar,” “nowhere to hide,” etc. comments seem very ominous all of a sudden.)

  2. Oh my God, I just realized why Sarah is the worst: She is a poor woman’s Jeff Goldblum. It is the way she talks about the game is similar to Goldblum speaking style. How she forgets the uhms and that makes everything less dramatic. She present enough where it makes it easy to dislike despite their talents.

      1. Survivor 35: Mediocrity finds a way. We pit twenty Blandy von Blandersons in the ultimate race to find out who can outbland, outbore, outsnooze their way to the ultimate final meh. Tune in this fall!

    1. When I think of Jeff Goldblum talking now I always think of David Duchovny’s impersonation on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy.

  3. Aubry has the best strategy. In case anyone is ever cast: alternate your wall directions

  4. Andrea got the challenge-to-commerical confessional. That’s not good for her, right?

    1. Come on now, Eddie Fox was a normal sized human. Even Sierra’s not that tall!

    2. At least it is not made on neon plastic like the Christie Brothers’. I still think they got them at a capsule machine in the entrance of a Wal-Mart.

  5. So it can’t be Brad because they haven’t shown the shot of him throwing his hat from the preview yet, right?

    1. Oh wow, I was actually about to say that it had to be Brad because they would show Cirie pulling in Michaela and Tai if it was Andrea. They tie at 4 otherwise. What you’re saying sounds right.

  6. This season has to be a record for most advantages out there going into final 7. We have 3 idols and two advantages

  7. That was contraction between Sarah who was on a jury that rewarded gameplay compared to Aubry who lost with a jury that voted for the person they liked the best.

    1. I really enjoyed the different reactions between those two. Then I thought about Aubry losing to OWM and got a little sad.

        1. I am probably the biggest only Michele fan on the site so it was okay with me.

          Fixed it for you.

  8. So Aubry isn’t winning, and that’s clear by the edit. But even if she was shown more, she wouldn’t win just by the number of times she’s said “Nice play, your guys” after the vote.

      1. I’m kinda not… I feel like she’s prominent because she gets picked off as a “eh, why not” now that Andrea is gone and Brad has Immunity.

        1. I just like seeing her talk and smile and frown and cry and roll her eyes and walk and sit and stand.

    1. If survivor was clever they would give the winner a non winner edit to throw us off the scent

      1. Someone at the Toronto KIAs suggested Aubry could be the winner and she was getting a “reverse Aubry” edit based on how she got a winner edit in Kaoh Rong.

    2. Ughhh every time she says that I cringe and imagine her dying inside a little more. I just picture someone being bullied terribly (so, not like Sierra) in high school and trying to laugh it off, so they can fit in.

    3. Yeah, she’s been drowning all season long. At this point, I don’t even blame the edit. They haven’t used her as a narrator because she’s barely had any idea of what ANY of the story has been this season. Including her own.

  9. Has Cirie met Tai? It’s like she doesn’t even know that Tai is a person who is uncomfortable with any distress whatsoever.

    1. To be fair Kaoh Rong was just finished airing by the time the people went out to play Game Changers so she might know Tai as a person yet.

    1. I had hope for this. It is my fondest wish that the Cirie balance beam thing will prove to be a setup for a challenge win. Then she’ll win the season and Probst will send us all cake and ice cream through the television. Please?

  10. Aubry must be setting a record for being blindsided by your own alliance. What is going on with her this season?

  11. Jesus Sarah, supposedly my mom used to have a terrible regional accent (Long Island) but she trained it out of herself. Fix your voice. Fix it.

    1. Aww. My grandmother trained herself out of her Brooklyn accent and I have inherited parts of her weird unplaceable “neutral” accent through my mom, which I then got shit for as a kid. You just can’t win! Give up on human speech!

      1. I studied voice in college, and they kind of beat the accent out of you. Plus I’ve done a lot of amateur and semi-professional theater, so I pretty much come across as Standard English / Mid-Atlantic. But if I’m talking with people from Brooklyn or Long Island for a long enough time, some regionally-accented words will pop out. I remember once in high school being teased for referring to my friend Bob as “Baahb,” because everyone around me legit pronounced it as “Bawwb.”

        1. I have been told that I have a strong Midwestern accent. I have no interest in correcting that issue.

    1. I’m feeling like Troy plays his idol. He and Culpepper vote Cirie and there’s no counter. Hopefully Cirie/Michaela/Tai/Aubry can get a 3-2-2 split on Troy/Sarah/Cirie.

  12. With Culpepper winning Immunity, I’m almost positive Cirie goes here. If only she had kept Andrea around one more tribal.

  13. “Brad is safe, so now it’s really just about which of us is going to be the victim of one of Tai’s idols.”

  14. Hunted strikes again. I would’ve liked to see more footage from that afternoon.

      1. Not to beat a dead horse, but first season in ages where every TC result makes me angry. This season is the death of joy

      2. I’m going to start waking up in the middle of the night worried about Cirie losing at FTC, I can feel it.

      3. ….yeah.

        It looks like that will be a thing.

        And the even more horrible part is…Sarah’s going to deserve to beat Cirie by any objective metric other than “who is more Cirie, and therefore better.”

    1. Cirie’s legacy is going to be that every future Survivor player reads the fine print five times over. This sucks.

  15. Remember 5 minutes ago when we thought we were gonna say one of the greatest moves of all time?

    1. The annoying thing is that there’s no good reason for the producers to make it non-transferable. Like, sure, don’t let players steal it, but if Sarah is stupid enough to give it to Cirie, Cirie should be able to use it.
      I guess they won’t change it because they got good drama out of it, but we COULD HAVE had some good GAMEPLAY which in my opinion is better and more desirable.

  16. I just do not understand this season. Every Tribal is just a “what the hell just happened” ball of confusion.

      1. I need to watch that again. I’m wondering if we got (seemingly) no indication that Michaela could be a target is because she literally wasn’t until Cirie tried to play Sarah’s advantage.

        I agree about not letting them get up.

        1. Culpepper and Troy had to be voting for someone before tribal. What happened at Tribal shouldn’t change those plans.

          1. That’s got to be what this is, I’m just throwing stuff at the wall.

            I just want this season to be over.

          2. I keep waiting for Redmond’s Season 35 casting spoilers so I can get excited about next season instead.

          3. Though if trends hold, we’ll get a Vanuatu/Nicaragua/Kaoh Rong quality season. I have low expectations for S35.

          4. I think Kaoh Rong is top tier, while Vanuatu is only a little below average, so I’m hopeful.

          5. I actually like Sarah (who I still think is winning) and am enjoying her game but Jesus Christ this season just seems determined to screw itself up.

      2. Not even the getting up so much as the lack of any story whatsoever that Michaela was in trouble.

      3. What’s the line on chairless tribals next season to promote whispering and improv planning?

    1. Like, Jesus Christ, how hard is it to show 10 seconds of people talking about wanting to get Michaela out? I’m not surprised by all this cuteness, Survivor, I’m just frustrated.

      1. It literally might not have existed until it did. What this move tells us is that no one is particularly interested in taking out Cirie right now, but they want to limit her power.

        Also: they did show her being a dick to Culpepper.

        1. Right, so Sarah feels betrayed by Cirie and wants to hurt her, but she knows she can’t wrangle the votes for it on the spot, but she does know that Dong 1 and Dong 2 are voting Michaela, so it’s a straightforward play from there to take out Cirie’s number 2 with very little risk of an idol wrecking things. And maybe she assures Tai that he’s safe so he saves his idol.

        2. But that’s the part that is so irritating about the “go fish” scene. All you need is to sprinkle just a little bit more – a bit with him and Troy talking about how they want to get her out or even a voice over of him just saying it. You don’t even need the footage to have come from that day; I’m sure the words were there. That scene was just too isolated.

          Hell, even better – you caption words into tribal council that weren’t actually said. How are we going to know; we wouldn’t hear them. Have them whispering and then some captions like “Aubry or Michaela?” Make her name an option. Put in fake captions like “what about an idol?” *Then* the story is clearer.

          I don’t care if they fudge the truth – they’re gonna do that anyway – but I want the story to make sense.

    2. I’ve understood the rest of the episodes; this episode was the first, for me at least, where there were zero clues to the boot.

    3. They think surprising us with what happens is the most important thing. They’re wrong.

  17. Michaela seemed legitimately pissed walking out of tribal, but she was in a great mood after that. If she plays a third time, she’s definitely getting to the end.

    1. How funny was it when she was like “guess I’ll just have to play a third time” while staring meaningfully just off camera and then giggling. She’s great!

      1. I think Michaela is one of those people who has a really /intense/ competitive mode, but the ability to completely switch that off when no longer in competition.

        The problem for her is that she’s in competitive mode for the ENTIRETY of Survivor, not just the challenges.

  18. Storm territory update: broadcast came back and Internet went out simultaneously during the second Immunity Challenge.

    CRUSHED that Michaela is gone in what seemed to be a totally avoidable situation. Almost certain next week will be a disappointment.

        1. They are doing their best to pull a gotcha with the editing and it’s not cool. It’s better when we know what’s happening

          1. To be fair, I guessing Brad and Troy’s plan going into tribal was Aubry but was changed towards Michaela when Cirie failed to used the vote steal and Sarah offered to assist them.

        2. Different strokes I guess, but All Stars is consistent unpleasantness wrapped in a dull Pagonging.

          1. Yep, that’s about how memorable All-Stars was.

            Seriously though, that’s the one where Boston Rob and Amber cruised effortlessly to the end because they were playing against dopes obsessed with honor and integrity and honesty. Also where Lex stupidly failed to vote Amber out when he had a chance, because Boston Rob asked him nicely not to, and Lex thought that he and Rob were BFFs or something. Didn’t Lex get an incredibly stupid mohawk or something at Ponderosa, as if to say I’M SO MAD THAT I’M A PUNK NOW and glare from the jury with fire of a thousand burning nuns the rest of the game? Good Glob, the game was so boring back then. At least now people know how to play and that it’s just a game. This season is nowhere near as bad as All-Stars even if I’m annoyed that half the time I have no idea why any particular person is being targeted, and for that matter I’m not sure the players know why they’re doing it either. At least they’re trying.

          2. To be fair, it’s not like Lex wasn’t clearly into the punk thing before the mohawk.

          3. Some fun moments in the pre-merge though. Rare but there, and often a bleak, sneering sort of fun, like Rupert versus shelter.

          4. True. It starts out pretty fun (despite all the gameplay being based on prior reputations) and then the worst episode of all time happens and the season never recovers, alternating between boring and uncomfortable.

        1. All-Stars featured one player almost single-handidly pushing the show into a new direction strategically. You can see the new era of Survivor beginning there, pushing hard against the dying old era.

          This season? Less so.

  19. Sob. This jury really doesn’t like Sarah, right? I’ve still got brad winning

    1. Sarah stock does indeed seem to be doing badly. The problem is with 4 fucking immunities in the game, Sarah pissed at Cirie, Tai seeing he can’t trust Aubry, and the people that want Brad out of the game no longer in power, it’s almost impossible to see Aubry or Cirie making it to FTC.

      1. Everyone seems to have legit forgotten that Aubry’s there half the time, so she might make it through to FTC just by default. At which point the jury won’t ask her a single question, because they’ve forgotten she’s there too.

        1. On the other side, it would be hilarious if she makes it to FTC and wins based on playing a no moves likability game.

    2. Actually in Ponderosa interviews she was the most popular #1 choice of the first five jurors. And Andrea was #2 and she is out. Edit wise Sarah is definitely winning this season. Especially after that.

    3. The issue might be that the jury might not get a very good choice. Like, juries may have been pissed at Rob and Tony too, but the alternatives were worse.

      Sarah vs Troy and Tai/Aubry? They might get over their hurt feelings.

      1. Debbie is the only person on that jury so far that I’m confident will vote vindictively. Everyone else I think there will at least be a balance between their wish to punish vs their wish to appear magnanimous & graceful in defeat.

    4. I feel like Sarah’s plea to the jury to “reward good gameplay” is pretty obvious foreshadowing. Whether it’s foreshadowing a win or a loss is up for debate, although I would personally lean more towards win.

  20. The editing this season is like someone threw a whodunnit novel in a blender. I have no idea what is going on, but I’m pretty sure it involves Tony’s spy bunker, an incredibly rare poison, and Monica Culpepper for some reason.

      1. No, that’s me watching any of the recent seasons of Doctor Who. Or “The Flash”

          1. Totally disagree! Bill is awesome and everybody should watch Doctor Who now. But then I’m a dirty leftist pinko and therefore love “Oxygen” and “Thin Ice” in particular. But this is all best left to another thread.

            To bring it back to Survivor: Doctor Who is way easier to understand this season than Survivor!

          2. I haven’t seen any from this season — I heard good things about Bill though…. but it sounds like the writing is more of the same in terms of plotting 🙁

          3. No one compares to Amy Pond. I didn’t start watching Who till the Matt Smith years, so maybe I just want that everytime and am biased.

            I think my bigger problem this season is that the stories haven’t been that great and there is much of an overall arc so far

          1. There were some good pairs of episodes (particularly the ones with Maisie Williams), but Moffat cannot carry an arc over a season, and too many explanations were hand-waved away. I can appreciate some whimsy and suspension of disbelief from a sci-fi/fantasy show, but the show consistently violates its own rules, to the point where I’m finding it harder and harder to care about the characters.

            I don’t have cable anymore so I haven’t seen the new season yet either, but I heard the new companion is a lot of fun, and that there’s no romantic subtext going on, so maybe she’ll be the next “Donna” (The undisputed best companion of Nu Who, and I will not accept any arguments otherwise)

          2. I loved Donna but didn’t love a lot of that season’s episodes. Season 3 was pretty good (although Martha–eh) as a whole. That, season 5, and the last season are up there as my favorites, although I agree that Moffatt’s season-long arcs just flounder. Season 5 *almost* made sense though. Capaldi might be my favorite Doctor overall.

          3. I just love Capaldi as an actor. Malcolm Tucker may be one of the best character ever

          4. Season 5 had a mostly coherent arc. Season 6 had a few good moments, but overall was a messy soap opera. Complete with evil twins, secret babies, and even amnesia. It just went downhill from there.

            It’s just frustrating because so many of my favorite Davies episodes were written by Moffat. I think he was just a much better 1-2 episode writer than a showrunner.

            I think I loved Donna the most because she had great banter with the 10th doctor, and it never fell into romantic tropes, which dragged Martha down as a character. Donna was just FUN.

            I will give you Mr. Pond, though, I always liked him 😊

          5. Donna is maybe the worst nu-Who companion so obnoxious. Enemy number one in this house.

          6. I wAtched one episode and liked the new companion. I just haven’t had time to get to the rest. They are piling up on the DVD.

          7. The new companion is awesome. As far as modern seasons go, I’d say Donna first, then a toss-up between Amy Pond and Martha Jones. I’d like to put Bill right after, but there’s a lot of season left.

          8. Yeah, having no cable makes it pretty easy unless I want to pay a la carte on Amazon or Google play. Which I don’t…

    1. Oh, that the editors would learn from mystery plotting. Clues are okay! Figuring it out a split second before it happens is part of the ride!

      As a Jane the Virgin watcher, I’m now hoping that the finale includes a whole bout of skin-mask unzipping, a la Sin Rostro. Tony’s greatest spy bunker was a full-body Troy disguise! Brad Culpepper IS Monica Culpepper!

        1. One of my favorite mystery shorts actually had the murderer and victim be the same person. The wife of the dude cozying up to Elizabeth 1 deliberately kills herself in a way that will always leave questions as to whether her husband did it, to clear the path to marry Elizabeth. Meaning that he never can.

          1. “So the killer flees on horseback with the girl, the cop’s after them on a motorcycle and it’s like a battle between motors and horses, like technology vs. horse.”
            “And they’re still all one person, right?”

  21. TRIBAL: Goes nuts
    WHISPERING: Everywhere
    EVERYONE: Ignores Aubry, because that’s just how this season goes apparently

    1. I KNOW! That was the saddest part of the whole thing. She just sat there, and didn’t even TRY to get in the middle of it. She knew it didn’t matter. 🙁 🙁

      1. This season absolutely broke her. I only hope that with enough gifts of geometric-print clothing we can piece her back together somehow.

    2. I don’t think you’re allowed to talk to the jury members if you’re still in the game.

      …What? She’s still in the game!?!

  22. I’m trying to figure out why Tai feels the need to give his idols to Culpepper and Troy. Unless he wins two immunities in a row and has no personal need for them.

    1. a) maybe spoiler tag this, before someone comes along and yells at you?
      b) the thought of Tai weeping is so sad. Almost as sad as Aubry crying this episode. Look what you did, season 34!

        1. If we tell him how Zeke ruined his game by trying to make a big move too soon often enough, I think we might be able to break him.

      1. a) imo, the NTOS previews are canon since they’re part of the broadcast. And the second sentence is speculation.
        b) This finale is going to be super depressing, isn’t it?

          1. My bad, sorry dude. It was my impression that everything within the hour was fair game.

      1. But Tai doesn’t know that he has an idol. Based on the preview, maybe Tai offers his idols at the final 6? Or maybe Troy(zan) uses his idol at 6 and Tai makes that offer at 5?

  23. Sob. This jury really doesn’t like Sarah, right? I’ve still got brad winning

  24. My immediate, cynical “why Michaela and not Cirie” theory: Cirie’s the obvious choice and therefore protectable (though if you’re not certain she doesn’t have an idol at this point…); Michaela almost won the IC; taking out Michaela weakens Cirie; Black women are interchangeable and/or assumed to be an unbreakable bloc? (Or, even more simply, each individual white folk assumes they have a better chance trying to sway another white folk.)

    1. Or the “blackmail.” That’s the only reason I can come with for why that scene was included.

      1. Oh yeah. I totally forgot about that scene. Why did they decide to make this the double episode? I feel like the Andrea vote was so rushed that I’m not even sure what the rationale was, and even if there was no way to edit the second vote they could have at least given Cirie’s plan more time to shine.

          1. Tougher to do at the merge though. Because you have to also settle up the merge.

        1. Because it was the cycle they had set up for a double boot episode. I sorry to say this but this one is on production and not on CBS scheduling department.

          Personally I would have had a double tribal in the Malcolm spot to vote out two people but that is only a good idea instead of what they did do.

          1. Production has to assume there could be at least 1 quit or medevac. If there isn’t then we get this double-boot episode right before the finale.

          2. I know why they do it but personally if production has to prepare for a quit/ medevac but my response would be Survivor does not six people in a finale. If a person leaves the alter that and don’t have a double boot pre finale. It shortens the storytelling and the flow of the episodes.

          3. I don’t think Production plans for a quit/medevac, but they have to be ready for it. Just 2 seasons ago they had 3 medevacs when usually they only have 0-1

            I’d rather they have a double-boot episode just before the finale (when there have been no quits or medevacs) then having multiple quits/medevacs and then they have really drag out those final episodes. I remember the final Australian Outback episode which started with 3 people – that felt like the longest 2 hour Survivor episode ever – so much padding.

        1. After the first IC, the women are planning to vote for Culpepper, but he disappears off into the woods to collect coconuts. They want Culpepper to fish for them once more before he goes, so Michaela finds him and hints to fish (possibly so he can ingratiate himself/prove his value). Culpepper calls is blackmail and gets pissy.

  25. It’ll be interesting to see how the jury receives Sarah at the end. It’s possible that, even though she’s completely backstabbed a good number of jury members, they take the “game changers” thing too seriously and give it to her because she made the most #BigMoves. If she’s up against Brad (which is likely), she may get the “I don’t want to give money to the dude who is already rich” votes. Just going based off of edit assuming both of them are final 2, I mean.

    1. When I watched SDT’s Ponderosa video, after she told the rest of them that she willed her advantage to Sarah, no one on the jury seemed that excited about it.

      1. Returning player seasons typically reward the person who was involved but not in charge. So I can see the vote going against Sarah as much as for someone else.

        1. I just don’t see anyone but Sarah winning. She isn’t interesting enough to get this edit otherwise.

          1. Unless she is a zero-vote finalist and the show is trying to make us think of her like Kaoh Rong Aubry.

  26. To paraphrase twitter:

    Now I think Sarah suffers the wrath of the jury, Tai or Troy is the goat, and Brad wins by the two greatest words in the English Language (DE-FAULT).


        1. That would be the worst winner’s edit of all time, but guarantee my slot in next year’s Champion’s League. So I’m all for it.

  27. Do we think Stephen is watching this somewhere and privately rejoicing that, thanks to Cirie, he is no longer the person to most fuck up the vote steal?


    1. It is kind of an amazing Tony-esque play from Sarah though. Make Cirie think you’re showing incredible trust/loyalty when you’re really not, mislead her about exactly how your advantage works…

        1. I don’t think she saw where it was going to go at all, but I do think she intended to appear to be taking a risk without actually taking one, which is pretty shrewd.

          1. She literally said “This way if I’m voted out, at last you can use it,” as she was giving it to Cirie. As indescribable hat said, it’s VERY shrewd if she knew at that point.

        2. She seemed quite aware that she did not actually give away her advantage. So, yeah, I think she did work it out.

          Sarah is playing a Tony-esque game, minus all the fun and charisma. And she just pwned Cirie Fields.

        3. When Cirie says she’s playing it, Sarah very calmly said “It’s mine and it’s not transferable.” I think she had read over the entire instructions and knew that Cirie could not use it.

    2. It also seems like an unnecessary bit of fine print, but there’s no question that Cirie is the one that fucked this up. As much as I love her, she blew it.

      1. One hundred percent. She got so into her elaborate scheme that she didn’t actually read the sheet of paper.

        It’s such a colossal error that I kind of think she’s so neutered that you can take her to the end as a goat.

        1. I wouldn’t go that far. She could still get points for effort, plus she’s so likeable.

          What I do think she’s done is reminded everyone that she’s dangerous.

      1. She did. She didn’t actually need to in order to achieve the vote, but she was smart to get rid of it once it became public knowledge.

    3. I mean, at least it’s on-brand for Officer Sarah to know the statutes and regs.

  28. Let’s take a moment to remember that Michaela was voted off with the help of the advantage she totally missed. Because this season loves cruelty.

    1. The advantage wasn’t even needed, when it came down to it – Tai wasn’t going to vote for himself, so whether he voted for Aubry or Michaela, she’d still have gone home.

      That doesn’t mean it was a bad decision for Sarah to play it though – once everyone knew about it, getting rid of it immediately was probably the right call.

      1. Debbie’s advantage wasn’t needed either. Maybe none of Tai’s and Troy(zan)’s idols, and Sarah’s Legacy Advantage idol, will matter either – they’ll play them but the votes are going for someone else and they’re not needed.

  29. Random thoughts:

    Aubrey wins the challenge and hugs Probst, who hugs her back. Troy(zan) is instantly jealous.

    If Aubry didn’t have immunity I’d be worried about this sudden spike of visibility … oh wait, there’s 2 trials this episode. Uh-oh.

    Michaela telling Brad to go fishing was weird. “Go get us some food before we vote you out tonight!”

    Andrea says she’s been with Sarah since day 1 and has a good bond with her. Although at the start of the episode Sarah said she can’t stand Andrea.

    Jeff asks Aubrey if she agrees that the best player should be rewarded by the jury. Don’t cause Aubrey to have flashbacks to her FTC, Jeff!

    Brad tells everyone that when they’re at 7 they’re gonna got who got them at 5 (or something like that). The next vote is 7 – Brad’s talking like this vote is 7

    “I’ll go tally the votes.” Commercial break. What the hell?

    I can’t remember Andrew’s reaction after getting voted out in R.I. but she had a fun reaction in Caramoan and again here.

    Finally a Tai and Aubrey scene! And it’s only 5 seconds long.

    Jeff brings back “spin and grin”. But no reaction from Troy(zan)?

    Jeff yells “Do it Cirie!” Yes, do it – save this season!

    Brad acts like Troy(zan) from One World when he wins immunity. Why does he think he was the target when the majority alliance just voted out one of their own yesterday?

    When Cirie tells Michaela that Sarah gave her her advantage, why doesn’t she say “The legacy advantage?” Does Michaela know about Sarah’s vampire-vote?

    This is either going to be more Ciera magic, or it’ll blow up in her face.

    No! Oh Cirie, why didn’t you read the fine print?

    Troy(zan) has to listen in on every conversation.

    When Brad goes to vote, Zeke looks like how I feel watching this crazy tribal.

    Tai has nerves of STEEL not to play one of his idols.

    I saw all the votes during Michael’s final words, and I’m still confused about what happened.

    1. “Brad tells everyone that when they’re at 7 they’re gonna got who got them at 5 (or something like that). The next vote is 7 – Brad’s talking like this vote is 7”

      If I’d been in the game at that point I would have been unable to prevent myself from making a snotty comment along the lines of “sure Brad, I’ll be sure to take that into account when we actually get to final 7”, because that’s the sort of charm and ability to generate goodwill that I’m sure would make a winning game.

      1. I think Brad’s point was that the people in the “we” alliance shouldn’t vote him and his buddies out so that they could use them for vote #7.

        1. I’m still hoping Tai plays an idol for Brad and the votes are for him. “Culpepper, does not count …”

        1. “So they wanted to give you five years for this. The good news? I talked them down to seven!”

    2. Aubry’s response to Probst should’ve been much more direct: “THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT!!! Apparently, I was 100% wrong.”

    3. I’ll go tally the votes.” Commercial break. What the hell?

      “Tune in May 24th for the Survivor Game Changers finale when these six remaining players…”

      1. Absolutely. I was just thinking about Troy(zan)’s awkward attempt at hugging Probst when he won immunity and how Probst wasn’t into it.

    4. Cirie does not know about the Legacy advantage just the vampire vote. Micheala knew about the latter.

      1. I was thinking that Michaela would think that Cirie was talking about the Legacy Advantage because Michaela knows that Sarah has it, but does Michaela know that? Sarah told her that FFSDT had it but she didn’t tell her that FFSDT would will it to her, just that she wanted to get rid of it. So maybe I’m wrong about that; when Cirie says “Sarah’s advantage” Michaela has no reason to think “Oh, the Legacy Advantage” (although she should be asking herself “Why is it called the ‘legacy’ advantage?”).

  30. In weekly Buffy talk, this reminds of that episode where Buffy loses because of a typo.

  31. It really was not that confusing… The only reason there was no explanation of incoming Michaela boot is Sarah obviously changed the game plan after Cirie’s error.

    1. I agree. Expect there to Sarah confessional at the start of next episode explaining that she turned on Cirie after she tried to steal her vote.

        1. Cirie won’t win immunity.

          Also, she maybe felt she could work more with scorned Cirie than scorned Michaela.

        2. Because it final 6 and as much as we joked about Cirie the challenge beast she is not winning the last three immunities. Michaela might be able to run the gauntlet

          1. I’m all for it, so long as she doesn’t bump Jay or David from a second try.

          2. She hasn’t won anything, but she’s been CLOSER than Cirie. (Like, she was the first to get Jeff to come to her puzzle at that challenge, but was off a square. She kept stacking high and then collapsing. Was in the top three in the challenge last week).

            Whereas Cirie… is Cirie. We’ve been impressed that people have been overlooking her and thus improving her chances. It turns out, they might just be properly evaluating her.

        3. I think it’s possible she’s not sure if she believes Cirie and wants to maybe keep her as an ally but can’t trust her right now at this vote. Michaela is a snap choice that a lot of people could get behind who isn’t close to her? Did she tell Cirie to vote for Aubry?

          1. I like that last part. Testing Cirie’s loyalty by making her vote out her lieutenant.

          2. Yeah, I kinda think (/hope) that Sarah might have sort-of believed/trusted that Cirie had good intentions, but decided to take the opportunity to weaken Cirie (by voting out Michaela) so that she’d be reliant on her (Sarah) in the future and neutered into nothing more than Sarah’s pawn.

      1. It all made sense to me. Only thing I wondered is why Sarah played vote steal and didn’t just get Tai to vote with her. Perhaps she couldn’t trust him so I guess she made sure she had the numbers with just Brad and Troy.

        1. she probably thought he had an idol and if she stole his vote he’d play it.

          1. Also if the vote steal has been outed, it makes sense to get rid of it immediately before anyone can come after you for having it.

          2. That makes sense too. I think she was protecting herself as well. Making sure she had numbers for sure with Brad/Troy.

    2. This is my assumption too, but it’s confusing because why not just target Cirie then? My guess is that Sarah wants to keep Cirie around as a bigger target than herself, knowing she won’t win any immunity challenges, but Michaela is a big immunity threat and Cirie’s most reliable ally. If so, that’s pretty smart. With Michaela gone, Cirie can be a shield and can easily be voted out at four. Even if she slipped through to the end somehow, Sarah would still have a chance against her because Sarah made her look stupid with the fine print of that advantage.

      But again, these are all assumptions, since the show isn’t making it clear at all.

  32. Does all this “fine print” talk remind anyone of the final battle scene from “Aladdin?”

    UNLIMITED COSMIC POWER!……. itty bitty living space

  33. Anyone else not really care who wins this one? I am so out. hoping at the very least that Emma goes to finale.

    1. I was supposed to try to go with my mom but she’s not even sure if she wants to go. I’ll see if I can get in, but if not…whatever.

      1. If you do go I don’t want you to go along with the crowd and cheer no matter who wins. Boo loudly.

  34. Let us never forget the best part of this episode–everyone telling Troy to go away during the second tribal.

  35. Funny thing according to Troy ‘s twitter it is his fault that Cirie could not make the great move. He suggest to Probst to make Cirie read the advantage to make sure that she could use it. So another game changing move by Troy there.

        1. Though adorable, is it heresy to suggest that this meme is slightly overused at this point?

          What’s that? I’m to be burned at the stake? Okay, I’ll show myself out.

    1. I’m not sure I believe Troy. Sarah pretty much nailed it, and that was actually shown on camera. I mean, Sarah kind of sucks, but she’s no dummy.

      1. I believe he said it, but I also believe that Sarah was completely aware of what she was doing and fully capable of escalating it if nobody else stepped in.

          1. Maybe, but I think that was a clever way to totally pull the rug out from under Cirie, and entertaining to watch. However, it was also a good way to lower the odds that she gets Cirie’s vote….

          2. I mean, that would be pretty hypocritical of someone who thinks Russell should have won Heroes vs Villains

        1. Am I going Troy-blind? I missed that so completely, it’s amazing. Now I wish I hadn’t already deleted my DVR recording.

          1. No it was off the cutting room but I decided to share this from Troy’s twitter because I think we should all know another reason why Troy sucks.

          2. I meant I don’t tend to think he’s lying, not that he said it during the episode as it aired. It is just the kind of self-important thing Troy would do, and I’m glad they didn’t show it (assuming it happened)

          3. Thanks for the clarification. I was starting to think I was taking crazy pills!!!!

          4. I think that what probably happened is that Sarah said it is non-transferrable, and then Troy maybe said “hey Cirie should read it!”

    2. Ha! I either missed this when I posted the tweet or I thought I read it on reddit. Woops.

    3. Why would Troy even know she might not be able to use it?

      ETA: Never mind, what Matt says makes sense.

    4. Troy has blocked so many people that he might as well be DMing people these thoughts.

    5. Even if that’s true, Jeff knows what the vampire-vote is. He knows that Sarah found it so whether he knows or doesn’t know that she gave it to Cirie (put the “how much does Jeff know about what’s going on at camp at tribal” argument aside) he knows that Cirie can’t use it. Since it’s a specified rule in the instructions, I’m guessing he would eventually say that she couldn’t use it (despite how often Jeff says he will allow things to happen if it makes good TV, he also says he will allow something as long as it’s not against the rules, and the rules say it’s non-transferable).

  36. Guys, we should have known Michaela was going to get voted out. She didn’t bring any props with her.

  37. I just want to say that, having seen it happen again this season, I don’t approve of the private convos at Tribal. I think Tribal needs to be a public forum for both TV purposes, and for strategy purposes. One exception in a bizarre circumstance, I was kind of OK with it, but no more.

    1. I however, we’ve seen people lean over and whisper to the people next to them. That’s been going on since before this season. Is the getting up out of your chair what crosses the line here?

        1. That’s fair, though I wonder if that would’ve helped here. Why was Tai’s vote the one that was stolen? Why did Cirie vote for Aubry? I have guesses, but I’m not sure that those conversations necessarily illuminate those answers.

          1. One piece of info that I am suspecting even though we didn’t see it is that Sarah must have been in on some pre-tribal conversations with the Brad/Troy side of things about voting out Michaela. Otherwise, I don’t see how they could have coordinated their votes. I need to watch that tribal again, but I don’t think there was ever any whispering between those three.

      1. I could accept that as ‘the line’. Also, maybe more harassment from Jeff? “What are you two whispering about? Do you think this is something that the rest of tribe should worry about? Let me ask everyone what they think about this secret pow-wow”

          1. “Maximum Chaos” would be Jeff’s online pseudonym, like Weiner’s “Carlos Danger”.

      2. I think if they start passing notes, Jeff should make them read it to the whole class tribe

        1. “Michaela, I see that you’re eating coconut at tribal. I hope you brought enough for the whole tribe.”

  38. I paused halfway after the Andrea boot because I just don’t care anymore, and now my roommates are home and watching a nature doc about elephants that I shit you not features a conflict between a brash young bull elephant named Spencer and a tougher, older bull named Ozzy.

      1. Tumblr. Just WAIT til they realise that beneath their differences, they are really just the same deep down. Then they fall in love.

    1. Just like the time he was fishing for a hashtag, this is a clear case of

      Production: “We don’t care. Fuck you, Troy”

      1. If only they had that response when he said he wanted to come back on the show.

      2. But Production obviously does care. They put him in the running for Second Chances. And even when America said “no”, they brought him back for Game Changers.

    2. You know, I didn’t remember Troyzan being as bad as you all were saying he was.

      Holy hell, he is the worst…

      1. Like being white, male, or christian, the giant cock can lead to an increased sense of entitlement, therefore actually increasing whiny-ness. It’s paradoxical, but often true.

          1. For fun scroll through and read all of DrVanNostrand’s comments in that voice!

          2. “And now, as the sun sets, the Floridian Lothario must begin its usual nightly ritual. It must first engorge its member with bloodflow, causing it to swell in size. Then it scurries to the nearest smartphone to take a picture, using a bottle of shampoo as a prop to emphasize its size. This crude digital photograph plays a crucial part of its mating ritual; it will be sent unsolicited to numerous potential mates. They will of course block the Lothario, but through months and months of struggle and toil the creature will eventually find one so weakened by hunger that it will relent and acquiesce to his advance ….”

      2. Norm MacDonald: Hey… have you seen Hank’s tape? Man, it’s unbelievable. The guy’s got a huge cock on him.

        Henry Winkler: [pause] Then why is he so upset?

  39. Final comment of night: This season could be summed up in Cirie vote steal plan. It should work, it should be amazing,and the parts of the whole were entraining while they lasted; but then he game because of players in the games or production ruin it at the last possible second leading towards a disappointing conclusion.

    1. This is perfect. This season truly has been a perfect example of “less than the sum of it’s parts”.

  40. Michaela suggesting Brad go fishing was HILARIOUS, but not good game-play. I love how she just kept repeating herself and made sure to specify at low tide just in case Brad might get himself and her fish swept away with the tide by accident.

    Aubry existing and being an actual person on the show was sad. At least she beat Cochran’s record 🙁

    The anticipation of watching Troyzan drop his entire stack was glorious.

    Jeff: Will the jury reward gameplay? What about you r.obbed g.oddess Aubry? What do you think?

    Love that they brought back the Kas challenge and the puzzle was interesting too

    No one playing an idol (especially Tai) at that Tribal was crazy, although I guess they felt confident in whispering. I still don’t know what happened

    Cirie is amazing. Her tears when talking to Tai, her ovaries when trying to use Sarah’s advantage against/for her. If only it had worked! Also good on Sarah for “giving” her advantage to Cirie as a symbol of trust when she couldn’t actually use it.

    I’m gunning for Sarah to win, but thinking it might be Brad. Although my worst fear at this point is that Aubry wins Michelle-style thus hammering in the last nail of the coffin of a terrible season.

    Also FUCK YOU, TROY BIGDONG, slide to the side asshole!

    1. Jeff: Will the jury reward gameplay? What about you r.obbed g.oddess Aubry? What do you think?

      My favorite comment of the night.

  41. Cirie noooooooooooooo what were you thinking??? I live in the mountain time zone so I don’t get to comment live with you guys in the liveblog, but I’d like to go on the record and say that as soon as Cirie started talking about her vote steal plan I was shaking my head and saying it’s a bad idea (subpoena the memos if you don’t believe me……….too soon?)

    1. It would’ve been a great idea… if it weren’t explicitly forbidden in the advantage. This is why nurses don’t practice law.

      1. Ehn… I’m still not convinced it would’ve been a great idea. A little too cute.

        1. That’s why we want Cirie here. We want her to do those awesome vote manipulations.

        2. When she said “take Sarah’s” vote. I was like “Cirie please. Take one of the guys you ate sure is voting for her. Don’t alienate her”.

          1. Brad was the easiest play: he can’t play an idol to save himself because, you know, he’s already immune. So choosing him tips off nothing.

            Troy would have also worked if the target is still Tai. Because the BEST case scenario is if Troy has an idol (which he does!), he plays it unnecessarily, while Tai thinks the vote is for Troy.

            But I think she wanted to do something splashier. She wanted to one up the Reichenbach maneuver.

            Also, with both votes this week, I think we seen that Cirie is STILL underestimating everyone she went into the season underestimating (Sarah, Troy, Brad). Which is a flaw that most of the players have had this season.

          2. She hugely underestimating Sarah. Sarah is not dumb. If she had half of Cirie’s personality she’d be a fan favourite with her play.

  42. Here’s a fun thought: Maybe the reason Troyzan is getting so little screen time is because he wins. Maybe the editors are cutting out all the stuff that makes him unlikable.

    1. when you cut all the stuff that makes him unlikable this is what you are left with

    2. He did have that moment with Cirie. They’ll just show that on a loop at reunion.

      1. Does Jeff talk to Troy(zan) at the reunion? Assuming he does nothing interesting in the finale.

        1. If Jeff finds a child whose favourite player is Troy, I’m never watching another reunion again.

          1. Jeff, bring back the kid that designed the challenge that hobbled Missy and get him to design a challenge for Troy(zan)!

          2. “First, everyone must step over a series of obstacles at upper thigh height.”

          3. How did the male tribe win that challenge in One World where everyone was standing side-by-side on the plank and each player had to pass by them, involving a lot of close-body contact? (the is the one where Kat kept jumping in the water when she didn’t need to) You’d think that every time one of the guys tried to get past Troy(zan) he would have accidentally knocked them into the water.

  43. I was not a big fan of this episode *siiiiiiiiiiiiigh*
    A lot of it felt really rushed, and then after the second immunity challenge I felt like I was watching Cirie’s game crash and burn in slow motion. I should have enjoyed the scrambling at tribal more, but I didn’t like seeing Cirie on the ropes and I pretty much couldn’t tell what was happening at all. I just don’t think using the vote steal (even if she’d been allowed to) was ever going to be a good idea. Let’s say Sarah did get voted out – then Cirie has the vote steal in her possession to actually use later, and there’s one more person on the jury who got there with no bitterness toward Cirie. I have always thought that Cirie’s main fault in this game is overplaying, and she was doing so well at avoiding that up until this point! If she could have just kept her game in check maybe she could have made it all the way to the end this time? (Eh, probably not). As it is, I think she’s in big trouble at the next vote.

    And again Tai gambles on not playing his idols and comes out on top. He either has nerves of steel or has no idea what’s going on (probably the latter).
    You guys, what if Tai and Aubry are FTC losers together AGAIN??


      (Edit: I will not *actually* murder the jury)

    2. He gets beaten down a lot, on the show and in the fan community, but I think Tai has played the strongest game this season, of all the players eliminated and still left in the game. I count one mistake (when he blew up his game at tribal) versus not playing his idols correctly on multiple occasions, playing it correctly once, switching when he needed to, and winning one challenge. He has a strong resume if he’s able to articulate it convincingly. Not that I’m a fan of the whole resume concept. But I am a fan of point systems to determine effective gameplay!

      Of course there’s still the last episode where he can throw all of that way, sigh.

      1. “He has a strong resume if he’s able to articulate it convincingly.”

        You have put your finger on what I believe is the problem there.

    3. You guys, what if Tai and Aubry are FTC losers together AGAIN??

      The evil part of me couldn’t help but to laugh.

      1. Oh god. Who do people hate the most? If that person could beat Tai and Aubry at FTC I could probably live of the profits of that salt mind for the rest of my life.

        1. If Troy wins against Tai and Aubry at FTC I would honestly change my rankings of this season from one of the worst to a top 5 one, simply due to that next-level trolling.

    4. Well, he does have nerves of steel: if he got voted out tonight, that would most likely be the biggest mistake in Survivor history: to be voted out with two idols, having only two tribals left where he could play them.

          1. But if Tai had gotten voted out in Michaela’s spot… that would be final seven.m I misunderstanding your point?

          2. No, I’m just being stupid. For some reason I thought that Tai only had 2 chances left to use his idols, but of course he can still use them at F6 and F5.

  44. OK. I don’t think the odds are good and I feel bad even saying it, but does anyone else kind of feel like there’s a slim possibility that Cirie wins? She hasn’t been featured in the way we’d all like, but she’s been out of her low-visibility streak for quite a while now. Around the merge I would have said she had little chance of making the finale based on edit. There’s some reason they’re not selling her aggressively as a winner possibility and I’m desperately hoping it’s not a FTC loss.

    1. I’m a believer! But much as my belief in God, it is only based on hopeful feelings rather than logic. Unfortunately I’m sure my belief will be shattered because we live in a godless world where Cirie, my favorite player of all time, never wins Survivor. *Whimper*

    2. There’s hope! About 86% wishful thinking, but she can still do it. I think the darkest timeline is that she takes Sarah to the end as planned and then Sarah wins…

  45. I am legitimately baffled by the Michaela vote out. I guessed she would go home second as an attempt to Jynx the prediction site, but at no point thought that was a possibility. I don’t know why they targeted her instead of Cirie?

    1. Someone below mentioned challenges. Cirie is less of a danger to win one than Michaela.

        1. I guess that’s why they included the awkward scene between Brad and Michaela RE: fishing in the first part of the episode? Seemed pointless and out of place, but maybe it was there to remind us that people don’t like Michaela? Still it doesn’t explain how Sarah knew to vote for her…

          1. Why didn’t they push that to the second half? That also doesn’t explain why Sarah was down for this.

          2. Brad had immunity, so you couldn’t try to get him to fish immediately before voting him out in the second half.

          3. I get it, but that really was not much of a set up. Even for other shock votes like Jeremy (SJDS), Malcolm (GC), or Hali (WA) there was a scene of someone suggesting they should maybe consider voting for that person. Here all we saw was Brad being frustrated with her, with no mention of votes.

          4. Great (ish) minds think alike! I just made the Jeremy non-comparison a few seconds ago.

          5. Yeah this episode was sort of a mess. If it weren’t so rushed, maybe they could have at least included a quick scene of Brad and Troy talking about voting Michaela?

          6. Yeah, I agree. I’m not usually one to overthink editing choices, outside of looking at how they edit certain character types to win or to lose. And I usually don’t mind viewer blindsides either. Except there has to be something, SOMETHING, to show me why someone was targeted unexpectedly. Even one of the most memorable viewer blindsides to me, Jeremy’s in his first season, was ever so slightly telegraphed in the editing. Not the case with this episode. Some scene between Michaela bullying Brad (which I loved seeing btw) about fish does not even slightly help in my understanding of why Sarah targeted her.

            Maybe I’m just overly sensitive here because I really appreciate and love Michaela’s character this season, but despite this being an exciting episode, it was the first to leave a sour taste. I’ve finally caught up with the rest of Purple Rock, I guess.

          7. I just don’t think they had any footage to show. It seems like Michaela came up right at tribal during the whispering spree.

          8. Could be. But if it’s that the case, at least give me some subtitles to at least one of those whispered conversations that targeted Michaela!

          9. The whispering was too quiet for those who would be subtitling to even know what they are saying. The producers aren’t omniscient sadly.

          10. Yeah I see that now, after thinking about it for a bit and watching various videos. Sarah’s apparently on-the-spot decision also makes a lot more sense.

    2. I have Michaela in my pick-four, but did the fun girl we fell in love with her first season even show up this time?
      It seems like she’s had a chip on her shoulder since day one.

  46. Aubry is our Avatar. Full of hope at the start, then that hope was beaten out leaving a shambling husk. Occasionally that hope is restored, but it will always be crushed like our innocence under Troy’s enormous wang.

    1. No thanks. I don’t want my joy to be tied to Aubry. Joy dies at Aubry’s feet.

      1. Joy dies at Aubry’s feet.

        Not according to Mike Hirsch’s tweet.

  47. I know everybody here hates Troy … why i’m stiill not sure, but him cockblocking the girls trying to talk in the tribal was hilarious

    1. He’s an incompetent dullard who has the gall to think he’s a match for Survivor Goddess Kim Spradlin.

      1. Also, “Troyzan” is not his birth name, shockingly. That’s almost reason enough.

  48. Also I think this episode proved that Sarah isn’t winning jack shit, all hail our new Culpepper overlord

    1. Yes, after this episode I can’t grasp how people might still think that Sarah is winning. Every single time they showed the jury (or someone going to the jury), they made sure they threw shade at her. Hell, they had a double boot episode, and they still managed to find time to show not one, but two people saying that there is no way she is getting any jury votes, even though it wasn’t directly related to the plot of the episode.

        1. Like how they tried to convince us that everyone hated ADAM, and it turned out he was actually besties with everyone and having long private chats on the beach with pretty much the entire jury.

          On one of their podcasts Dom and Colin mentioned that Brad is having quite a similar edit to Ken as well – an entire pre-merge about how great they are, before they kind of disappear at the merge.

          1. I don’t think they were trying to convince us that people hated Adam. They did show us multiple episodes where players (including his own allies) were commenting on how he was playing terribly. And they showed him being outsmarted by Taylor.

    1. There are worse scenarios than Culps winning.

      There’s the scenario where people who jack off to edgic charts are right.

      1. you kidding, Brad’s been my day one winner pic I’d love for him to win … also he’s not Sarah, Sarah is awful

        1. Survivor has successfully rehabbed Brad’s image. He’s still boring, but if he wins this boring season it will be… fine.

          1. It’s what this season deserves and it will annoy the Edgicers, so go Br… I lost interest.

  49. Given where I thought this was going after Cirie read the advantage text, I figured I’d be really happy if she somehow made it out alive. Now, I almost think it would’ve been better if Cirie had gone home tonight, since now I have some slim hope that she manages to pull this off, even though I know that’s not going to happen and I’m going to be upset.

    Like the rest of this season, that episode was exciting and fun in the moment, but dominated by a sense of inevitable doom. At least next week, the inevitable will finally be realized and I don’t have to maintain any more false hope.

  50. Back to watching the episode. The thing I like about all the challenges is that they’re an excuse to not really pay attention.

  51. “Cirie is bad at challenges so let’s clap for her when she tries” is far and away the worst storyline of this season.

      1. And it’s an equalizer puzzle. The odds are that she does not benefit from the extra 10 seconds.

        …. Man, Michaela almost had it. If she’d had that immunity necklace, such a different second tribal.

        1. What’s your hypothetical for if she had immunity?

          Pile on Brad? Out Aubry? Go for Tai, who plays his idol?
          I’m thinking possibly the latter. Though Cirie wouldn’t have voted for Tai, I don’t think, because that potentially screws her with the Jury.

    1. Cirie crouched on a post in the ocean asking, “Why do I keep doing this?” was a good moment though.

    2. I thought the worst storyline was “Here are all your favorites screwing up (Tony, Cirie, Zeke, Varner, JT) or being ousted by bad swaps/twists (Malcolm, Sandra), so enjoy some Sierra Dawn Thomas!”

    3. I’m still gonna go with the “formerly beloved contestant forcibly outs another contestant” as my worst.

      1. I was limiting it to crafted stories, but yes, there was also a much more terrible thing.

        1. The host of Australian Survivor was quoted as saying it was a great TC or something to that effect.

  52. God fuck the basic premise of Young Sheldon. I don’t even hate The Big Bang Theory, but this is a garbage idea.

    1. I thought it was a flashback episode but when I realized it was a new show I nearly puked.

    2. The actress playing his mother looks a lot like a young Laurie Metcalf. Though you are right, the show is a garbage idea.

  53. I think the most frustrating part of all of this is that it feels like the entire end game might be based around Cirie not reading an advantage fully, rather than anyone’s good gameplay.

    1. TBF, it was fantastic gameplay by Sarah, and I say that kind of unwillingly

      But it does make the decision to make Cirie so invisible earlier in the season that much more baffling. Maybe she gets idoled out in sixth place (don’t want to think about that too hard), but for better or worse she’s had a huge role in the end game.

      1. Was it? Was she actually intending for Cirie not to read the advantage and try to play it? That would make me feel better about it, but it seems like a stretch.

        1. If Cirie plays it, it blows up in her face. If Cirie doesn’t play it, Sarah looks like she’s gone way out on a limb to demonstrate loyalty, when she really didn’t. Really the only risk is that Cirie cuts Sarah without using the vulture vote. That’s certainly a risk, but it would require Cirie to pull in Tai’s vote (Cirie, Aubry, Michaela, Tai) without Officer Sarah getting wind of it.

          1. If Sarah thought she might try to play it (which I still am unsure of), then full credit. I still think it’s less interesting than what we would have gotten, but at least it makes the game more logical and easier to appreciate. & that’d be two killer moves from her in a row and if she can pull out some more Natalie Anderson type magic in the finale, I’m here for it.

          2. I mean it’s less that she thought Cirie would try to play it and more that she gave it to Cirie knowing there was ultimately no risk to herself because it couldn’t be used against her even if Cirie wanted to.

        2. In Michaela’s RHAP exit interview, she says that Sarah didn’t give Cirie the advantage until less-than 1/2 hour before tribal. She deliberately gave it to her when she wouldn’t have time to read through all the instructions.

          So unfortunately, Sarah knew exactly what she was doing.

  54. I just watched Michaela’s Ponderosa video and it is a treat! Why couldn’t we have that Michaela in the edit? I was fairly indifferent to her as a character but wow! She is wonderful! It’s sad that it took bonus boot footage to win me over but that woman is now in my top ten favorites. If she never comes back, I wish her nothing but the best. If she does come back, I hope she WINS!

    She also may or may not be “BAE”. I’m not exactly sure what that means.

    1. Michaela’s Ponderosa made me wish the Ponderosa was aired on tv and the game itself was the internet add-on.

    2. Michaela reenacting the immunity challenge for Zeke was hilarious. She seems like such a fun person, it’s a real shame we didn’t get to see more of that in the actual show.

    1. The good news… Just keep it off the podcast. If you do it in print she’ll never know about it.

    2. Im’ma ignore the part where you’re doing this solely to troll for a moment and aim for at least some sort of internal consistency: Cirie is generally a more subtle player than this, but I do think that when presented with the opportunity to potentially do something flashy at tribal council, she was unable to resist. Had it worked, she might have managed to take control of the game at just about the right time; I think it’s more likely she’d have reminded everyone of what a threat she was and ended up going out round about where we’d expected her to anyway though.

      Done ignoring the trolling now. As women have been saying since the dawn of time…it’s less about the size, more about timing and skill of execution.

      1. I mean, Sarah *gave* her the advantage. How could she not think about using it? (but I wish she had read all the instructions twice)

        1. No, but she’s always stuck to pretty much the same playbook – subtle moves, alliance building, flipping on an ally in tandem with another trusted partner or two, then something flashier towards the end-game (Courtney at 6, Erik at 5, this attempt at 7).

          I think this was actually the first time she’s attempted to make a big move purely by herself, without an Aras or a Parvati or an Amanda buying into it alongside her. (Or does Michaela count this time around?) Generally when she sticks her head above the parapet, she doesn’t do it alone, and she doesn’t try to look like the leader of that effort…she looks for consensus.

          1. Who was involved in the 3-2-1 vote split? I legitimately can’t remember if that was all Cirie or if someone helped her.

          2. It was Cirie’s idea, but she brought Aras and Danielle on board with it in advance – she didn’t blindside any member of her core alliance. I think that’s the distinction I want to make – there are big moves that are big moves not just for you but your ALLIANCE, and then there are BigMovezTM where players go off-piste and do their own thing. Tony did a lot of that; most other people we think of as great players tend to go for the alliance consensus approach.

            Natalie Anderson is an interesting case – she went rogue when she ‘accidentally’ voted off Alec, and with ‘Jaclyn, did you vote for who I told you to vote for?’, but the move which really won her the game was the final 6 vote to get rid of Jon, which was an alliance consensus move (with help from Baylor).

          3. It sounds right that Cirie brought in Aras and Danielle for that 3/2/1, but if I recall, they weren’t involved with coming up with the idea, were they? Didn’t Cirie come up with the entire plan and they just agreed to vote with her, and she was the one who went around and convinced the other 3 to vote how she told them to?

            I’ve been listening to old RHAP episodes to catch up to when I started listening (Second Chances) and the last season I finished was SJdS. I loved the episodes right after Natalie “accidentally” voted for the wrong person – Rob and Stephen were sure that Natalie’s game was over. I think one of them even said “Even if she tries to act like she voted for the wrong person, these people aren’t dumb enough to fall for that.” Oops.

        2. Ozzy blindside, Erik giving up immunity, 3 2 1 vote. Those were all GREAT for her positioning in the game, regardless of how big of a move it was. I think this move is different than those, but the “BigMovezTM” club isn’t complaining about ANY big move that is made. “I need to make a big move just to impress the jury” is what people complain about. I agree that it gets thrown around way too much as a criticism (Ciera comes to mind), but big moves can get annoying when they are illogical.

          1. When they’re making big moves just so they can say they made big moves at the end, without thinking about how that big move will affect their immediate future.

      1. God honest truth, almost all of the Cirie buzz is blaming her for not reading the fine print, blaming production for Cirie-screwing shenanigans, and congratulating her on being the first player to make three finales. So, @purplerockandy:disqus … There’s also this post (, though it was posted before the broadcast and doesn’t target Cirie specifically.

        The allegations of shenanigans basically amounts to that production should have told Cirie she couldn’t use the advantage since they knew it was non-transferrable. And after all, they have her in a confessional discussing her plans to use it.

        There was also another good (though unrelated) point: getting up and talking to other players at Tribal is almost no different from talking on the bus to set. Which isn’t allowed. I don’t know if I necessarily agree, but I think it’s a good argument.

        1. It’s similar, except that the purpose of the bus rule is that they want this shit on camera. They can’t film on the bus because that breaks the illusion. Seeing people deliberate and whisper at TC is a televised moment (although last night shows the limits of it as a storytelling device. All we see is that chaos is happening. We can’t hope to follow along).

        2. Cool.

          But I’M the asshole for suggesting that Big MovezTM are only an issue when they’re done by unpopular people against popular people.

  55. Guys did you see Sierra on the jury? She looks so tall and gross and I heard she kisses horses. Eww. She’s such a slut! Also look at all the guys she was sitting next to, I bet she hooked up with all of them.

    R.I.P Cirie and Michaela. I am sad.

    Also, did anyone miss angry Brad? Angry Brad is the best.

    1. He sounded so pissed when he won immunity. I loved Aubry’s facial reaction to his comments.

  56. I can’t believe production forced Sierra to sit on a normal sized bench with everybody else on the jury, cruelly exposing her height to the masses. I hope she’s set up a support group with Heidi + Jenna.

    This season may be tanking, but if just one person can realize how difficult it is for a beautiful person to play Survivor, then it might all be worth it.

  57. I am probably not watching this episode because quite frankly I do not care, but I have a few thoughts:
    1) Finding out that Troy has blocked Wigler and Gordon Holmes right before they will probably have to interview him is just so Troy it is not even funny.
    2) Whenever Sarah got the advantage and read the rules out loud for the first time, the editors made sure to include the line that the advantage was not transferable (which was something that I thought was odd to include but just shrugged it off) . So, yay, editing set up something for once this season.
    3) For at twist-laden as the pre-merge was, this post-merge has been relatively twist free (minus the whole two people sitting out the merge feast and the vampire vote). Now, I get why they did it, but I think you can’t go from having a twist in an episode to nothing. If you know you are going to a double boot, why not pull a Redemption Island/South Pacific and have everyone go to Tribal Council to vote somebody out, then do an Immunity Challenge at Tribal Council and vote someone else out immediately? That way, you can do a lot of camp life time and get a sense for strategy before having this twist thrown in their face.

    1. Man I don’t think Wigler has even been that mean to Troy. The old while male ego fragility know no boundaries.

        1. Don’t add the #SummerOfTroyzan hashtag! I’m trying to get him to use it!

          1. I didn’t. It’s ok, he bloked me. All I did was joke about the fact his username isn’t even @troyzan!

    2. 3. The “twists” are there. The players have them. They are just not using them … until last night.

    3. And the sitting out the merge feast did nothing. It had zero results for anything.

  58. This has nothing to do with the episode, but I’m discovering that the 1980s Beach Boys songs are actually pretty good if you’ve never listened to The Beach Boys or any other music before.

    1. I don’t know if this is a hot take, but the Beach Boys are literally my least favorite band of all time. I’ve never heard one of their songs that I didn’t hate.

      1. It seems like that’s a popular opinion, or that they’re one of the greatest bands ever. They’re one of my favorites, although they definitely had their terrible stretches. Especially in the 80s, where their most notable achievements were Kokomo, multiple Full House appearances, and drowning.

        1. Well, probably. I couldn’t sing it so I’d have to listen to it to see if I hate it. The problem is that to do that I’d have to listen to the Beach Boys on purpose.

          1. It was the opening credits song for “Big Love,” if that helps you to identify it.

  59. This season is convincing me that one of the reasons that HvV is the best returnees season is that it doesn’t have any swaps – there’s already a lot of complex dynamics in returnee seasons (pre-game alliances, past relationships etc.) and this season has done a horrible job of telling any story that lasted more than a couple of episodes, partly because a lot of the tribes didn’t last much longer. Even Cambodia, which I really liked, found it tough to properly tell the story of the dynamics and I really think that with returnees, it’s okay for production to do a lot less: they’ll bring the drama and the moves!

    This episode has defeated my positivity slightly because Michaela has gone in an abrupt/without props or proper fanfare and Cirie winning looks like a real long shot-now. But here are some silver linings:

    1. Cirie’s scheming was a joy to watch and I loved her scene with Tai.

    2. ‘Slide to the side.’ Glad that Michaela left as she entered, serving it to Troy.

    3. Aubry springing to life was good + I liked her doing confessional with immunity necklace and wild hair look.

    4. Liked the TC discussion of ‘this jury will probably reward gameplay/non-robotic behavior in my entirely objective, not-trying to sway things opinion.’

    5. I’m starting to find Sarah’s confessionals entertainingly bad, so I enjoyed her mock-surprise face, especially because it was similar to her actual being blindsided mouth-drop from Cagayan.

    6. Er…this season is nearly over. With Cirie and Aubry in the final. Yay?

    1. I think you might have a point that returnee seasons work better without swaps.

      Generally swaps are in place to avoid a pagonging, but the effect in returnee seasons seems to be that they continually destabilise ‘threatening’ players, increasing the opportunities to vote them out rather than giving them time to bed in and form alliances that might keep them safe later on.

      If you want to keep the more interesting players around (and I know Barbara Anderson is working on a theory that Survivor maybe doesn’t want to, for some reason) then maybe give them a chance to just play Survivor rather than continuing to push them onto the back foot via twists?

      1. This is a really good point. The three-tribe format was also instituted in part to prevent pagonings, but it has downsides as well (it lowers the stakes of the immunity challenge, tribes that don’t go to tribal tend to disappear, etc.). Maybe that’s also unnecessary in a returnee season.

        1. I think three tribes is the best format for newbies because newbie seasons calcify way too easily. but i can be convinced that no swaps and two tribes is best for returnees

          1. Four tribes is way too much.

            I wonder if we will see the effect of the deadlock breaker this season….

            Also is it too early to say they purples the purple rock. It has been a white rock the last few times

          2. Didn’t Jessica get a black rock? I remember the eBay ad she posted with a picture of the rock for sale and thought it was black.

      2. I think Probst has also stated that Production likes swaps because they keep the players on their toes. If it’s twists they’re after, not swapping could be a turn some returning players wouldn’t expect.

    2. “I’m starting to find Sarah’s confessionals entertainingly bad, so I enjoyed her mock-surprise face, especially because it was similar to her actual being blindsided mouth-drop from Cagayan.”

      Is it just me or was Sarah’s face in the end-credits where it showed her voting hilarious? Her eyes were really bugging out.

    3. I would agree with you about no swaps but Cambodia had multiple swaps and I think that ultimately created the “Voting Bloc” situation that made that season more exciting IMO.

      That being said I think Cambodia was the most “level” All Stars season in terms of who was a threat going in – it was way more even than this season, or even HvV or the original All Stars if only for the fact that Cambodia had no prior winners.

      So I guess my answer is “it depends on the cast” in terms of swaps. I do think this season would have been better without the swaps, which is a shame. They really should play it by ear on an All Stars season, don’t force swaps and advantages into the game if it’s already playing out in an exciting fashion.

      Side note on your point 6: If you had told me we were going to have a finale with both Aubry AND Cirie I would have been giddy, but considering the way this season has played out I’m just bracing myself for the gut punch of both of them losing right now…

  60. So I just finished this episode , and here are some quick thoughts: -It definetely left a sour taste on my mouth. While I don’t find this some great season, I’m still not AS down as many peple are (like really guys? This season is worse than All-Stars?). -I really hope that either Sarah or Cirie wins, cause I simply don’t want Brad to win, and it may very well sour my opinion of this season. And that’s basically all that I had to say, which weren’t talked about. While there isn’t much to really ‘salvage’ this season, I hope that the finale is somewhat entertaining, and to hype myself up with the next season which will hopefully be better.

  61. So many things to parse out after that episode. First, as much as I may get flamed here for saying it, I’m really starting to like Sarah. Her personality may leave much to be desired, but the cold-blooded way she handled Cirie (and I love Cirie!) was impressive. I 100% believe that Sarah knew it wasn’t transferable and played that whole scheme brilliantly. And c’mon Cirie, READ THE FINE PRINT.

    Also, Tai. HOW did he know not to play an idol there? I definitely wouldn’t have risked not playing it. I can’t tell if he has an amazing sixth sense or what.

    Really sad Michaela was the sacrifice of all that chaos. We got a lot out of her this season which made me happy, but hardly anything in her actual boot episode. This season’s editing, man.

    1. I’m not going to flame you. I agree with what you said. Sarah is playing in a way “like a criminal”. She’s doing a bit of what Tony did (not exactly what Tony did) but without being overly flamboyant. She did not have a target on her until tonight even though she has flipped. But she has no Trish to mop up her messes.

    2. Finally more people are hopping on Sarah train. She may not be the biggest personality, but she’s playing a great game. The only thing I worry about is that the jury may be scorned by her, but if she does win, I will be really happy.

    3. I never minded Sarah. In Cagayan she played badly, but this time she’s playing hard and getting herself to the end which is no small feat, even if she doesn’t get the votes.

    4. Sarah has been playing fine and would be a deserving winner. Win or lose she’ll come back and she’ll have her fans. I just wish when she rolled her character she didn’t use charisma as her dump stat.

    5. If you do think that Sarah has not been playing a good game, you are wrong. However, I admit to being to be Sarah hater because a character she is so boring. Some players make every scene they are in better (your Tonys, Sandras, Courtneys). Sarah is the exact opposite. Every scene were she is major part becomes a worst television.

      1. As we discussed on the podcast last week, if Sarah were better at selling her own game in an interesting way, I think more people would be enjoying what she’s doing. Unfortunately, she just doesn’t have that type of personality.

    6. Thank you! Sarah’s game is good and I’m fine with her personality. I’m actually enjoying watching her play, I just spend a lot of time being distracted by the doom edits some of our favorites who actually made it really far have gotten. Every week it’s like, doom must come now, right? So I’m just nervous and unhappy half the time.

    7. Let me tell you why I don’t think Sarah is playing a good game. (Although admittedly that is not why I don’t like her.) She is just playing a Russel game.

      Let’s take a look at the jury so far:
      – Ozzy: Sarah got him out by using her vote steal. Which was a nice move, but she sure as hell is not getting his vote. (-1)
      – Debbie: she flipped and blindsided Debbie, and Debbie is the definition of bitter jury. (-1)
      – Zeke: he was one of her closest allies, and she still voted him out. But I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, since she wasn’t in the forefront at the move (as in with Ozzy), and Zeke might be the kind of player to respect that move (as opposed to Debbie and Ozzy). (0)
      – Sierra: she voted Sierra out and got her Legacy advantage, making Sierra look really silly. She is definitely not getting her vote. (By the way, showing confusion at tribal was a really bad move: she got her alliance suspicious, and she couldn’t possibly hope that no one of the next five jury members would tell Sierra that she voted for her.) (-1)
      – Andrea: Sarah actually did participate in Andrea’s blindside, but I’ll give her the same allowances I gave in Zeke’s case. (0)
      – Michaela: Sarah voted Michaela out in a tribal where Michaela and Cirie were putting their necks on the line to save Sarah skin. She didn’t know that for sure, of course, but I seriously doubt that Michaela (or Cirie, for that matter) will be so forgiving. (-1)

      So out of 10 jury members, there are already 4 that definitely are not giving her the vote. That means she would need every single one of the others to win. She might be doing some flashy moves, but she is just horrible at jury management. (Or math.)

      1. – Ozzy: Sarah got him out by using her vote steal. Which was a nice move, but she sure as hell is not getting his vote. (-1)


        1. Yeah, I realize that I came off way more confident than I should be, especially considering that I chose not to watch none of those “inside the jury” segments. (I honestly believe they shouldn’t exist; for me they are at best spoilers, at worst misdirection.)

          I just wanted to make a counter-argument to why Sarah wouldn’t be playing a good game. And if everything turns out as it seems it will, I guess we will see next week how many votes she is getting.

    8. Yep I agree about Sarah. I’m rooting for her over everyone else just because she’s playing the best game even though she may not be that interesting.

    9. I know Sarah’s personality doesn’t make for thrilling TV (compared to the likes of Tony, Sandra, Cirie, etc.) but I actually really like serious, no nonsense women, so I’m on board with her in that respect. I also appreciate that most of what we’ve seen from her is that she thinks really hard and makes precise moves, which tend to work out successfully. Granted, this perception is probably heavily influenced by the edit and what they choose to show us, but it would be hard to argue that she’s not doing well, given how many times she has voted with the majority so far this season. All in all I’m pro-Sarah, and I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if she won this season (and I think she inevitably will).

      1. I think I would be enjoying her more if people hadn’t spoiled me about her being awful in real life. I can get past Trump supporter, but I can never get past red-piller.

          1. On an earlier thread on this site, people were talking about how much she sucked, and it came up that she was a red-piller. Red pillers are basically the worst people in the world. Their view on gender roles doesn’t idealize the 50’s like most modern conservatives, but something that more resembles the middle ages. It’s a crowd that’s mostly made up of the most contemptible MRAs and pickup artists, but surprisingly also includes a tiny amount of women.

          2. Ugh. That’s so confusing to me. Those kinds of women should be forced to live like those times they idealise for a fortnight.
            It’s also odd seeing Zeke still so close with her, knowing what we know. Though, according to someone on the AVC, Brad has said that most of the people out there were conservatives, and he’d sometimes have to take a walk on the beach so as not to get caught up in stuff with them.

          3. Brad? Had to take a walk on the beach so he wouldn’t get caught up in the conservative stuff?!? Well that makes me appreciate him a lot more.

        1. She is a red piller? What? I knew she was a Trump supporter so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that much, but, what?

          1. For the record, that is just something I read in a thread on this site. But red-piller women do exist, even if they are rare.

    1. There are still three idols in play, so production didn’t have an Opportunity to rehide them there. I’m guessing they will do this next season, but from the very beginning.

    2. Survivor got blindsided by the fact that it was Tai and Troy who found the idols. Those are two people who will also keep the idols until they are in trouble or hope to use them to have immunities towards the end.

      1. Except that Tai already played on earlier this season on someone else. And if the preview is to be believed, he may be doing the same next week.

    3. I was so sure it was and that the reason they added a window on the side of the booth was because that angle was optimal for showing someone finding the idol in there.

      1. You probably aren’t wrong on that theory. They just never got the chance to hide it because there are still idols in play.

        1. If those idols are good until F5, is it good, bad, or very, very bad if they hide another and announce it to everyone at F4 tribal?

      1. How did we not get an idol that was a stick with a face on it? Cambodia’s biggest crime.

  62. So, to paraphrase a famous YouTuber: “CBS, YOU DONE F***** IT UP!” (If it wasn’t obvious by this start, I’m going to go on a rant here.)

    I just can’t accept how they ruined this season by this lame editing. This week, there was the blindside of (who should be) the second main player of the season, and then a crazy tribal where we see (who should be) the main player of the season make a mistake and lose her best ally. (WHY was it non-transferable anyway?) Two of the most important and best moments in the season. And they shove it all together in a single episode.

    I don’t even get where they got that lame idea to hurry the final episodes like this. They are the end of the game, the most important parts! Especially the F8-F7, it has always been the moment where the most important moves are made, as people try to assure themselves a sit in the FTC.

    If you want to put 20 people on your season, then make double eliminations earlier. Don’t save them for the most important moment of the game! Why have 2 episodes cover 8 people left? In early seasons, that used to be almost the entire post-merge!! Hell, in Thailand they went to merge with 8 people!

    Another thing that bothers me a lot about this season is how hard/easy to predict boots is. On the one hand, it is *really* hard to predict what is going to happen based on gameplay and alliances. I mean, basically impossible. (I guess that this also contributes to the fact that the discussion here has been so focused on the edit; it is basically the only thing to talk about.) It is not great when the season is entirely predictable (ex: pagonging), but the opposite, like now, I would argue is at least just as bad.

    All decisions seem to come out of the blue this season. It just feels like in the beginning of each episode, one player throws a dice in his head and says: “This guy! I need to get him out!” It doesn’t matter if they were never shown to have any problems with each other, if they are in the same alliance or even shown to be great allies. They show no reason for it. They just decide, “What the heck, let’s go for it.” For the second tribal, I still have no idea why they went for Michaela right there. They just don’t bother with that. It is just chaos, Big Moves™, and no substance.

    On the other hand, it is really easy to predict boots, because of how lopsided the edit has been. The first half of the episode had no traction with me, because obviously Brad is not going home instead of Andrea here.

    I just don’t get many of the directions CBS has taken with Survivor recently. I am really starting to doubt whether I’ll even watch next season.

    1. I’m trying to figure out where else the double-boot could have gone and why it wasn’t that. The only two-tribal window I can find is Debbie-Zeke. Though I can’t figure out why that wasn’t the double boot.

      1. I was just now trying to do the same thing. Debbie-Zeke would have meant two double-boot episodes in a row. Plus given the events earlier in the season, it would have been weird to rush Zeke’s boot episode.

        They would have a lot more flexibility if they got rid of the loved ones episode hint hint.

        1. I just figured out another reason why. Debbie’s boot episode had Cirie overcoming the challenge, and there was no way Probst was leaving any of that on the cutting room floor.

      2. Double boot should have happened pre-merge, when there were three tribes. Only one gets immunity.

        1. Story-wise, that’s preferable, but it defeats the purpose of them doing it as a buffer against medevacs and quits.

          1. The thing is they already have a double buffer. They have the double boot episode plus the 6 person finale. If you get a medevac post merge just go to a 5 person finale. It’ll be fine!

          2. I think if someone had quit or gotten medevac’d earlier then this episode would have just been one tribal (and they would have rearranged the schedule so it wasn’t just one day) and left the finale as-is. They seem to like the finale starting with 6 people.

            (although I’m sure if they’ve done it differently someone will point it out)

          3. Oh I agree completely. I’m just saying if they had a double boot earlier in the season and then had a medevac afterwards, they could still cut the finale down to 5 and I think it would still be a better option than a post merge double boot.

          4. If Kaoh Rong showed us anything, it’s that Survivor has no interest in ever doing a Final 2 again.

      3. Wasn’t this episode only 2 days – one day for the first challenge and Andrea voted out, and the second day for the second challenge and Michaela voted out? If so, then they *had* to do the double-boot for these two since they probably didn’t have enough footage to split these into separate episodes.

        Production *has* to assume they could have a quit/medevac. Once they get to the final 8, if there are no quits/medevacs then they know they have to do the next 2 in 1 day each and make it a single episode. If someone had quit/medevac’d earlier and they weren’t the only person who left on that episode, they would have spaced out the days to have a single episode for each of Andrea and Michaela.

        1. Also there weren’t any reward challenges during the time frame of the episode, either (unless there were and they just edited them out, which seems unlikely). My assumption is that this was planned into the schedule from the beginning, which actually makes it even more frustrating for me.

          1. According to the Andrew Savage Survivor Wiki, the episode started on Day 33, which was the day of the first immunity challenge and tribal, then the second immunity and tribal was on day 35. I usually don’t pay attention to the “DAY ##” titles onscreen, but it really felt like this episode was only 2 days. Sure didn’t seem like there was an entire day between the two challenges.

    2. Yeah it sucked, but to be fair, if I had to sit through a full episode only to watch Andrea get blindsided and then sit through another full episode only to (baffingly) watch Michaela get blindsided *and* Cirie look like a fool, I’d probably give up on the season. They knew these boots would suck, so might as well bundle them together and not hemorrhage viewers right before the finale.

    3. I get why they want to build in a buffer post-Kaoh Rong, but you’re absolutely right that it’s crazy to yada-yada the F8 and F7 votes. There’s just no alternative if you insist on having the loved ones visit in the third-to-last episode and nobody quits or gets medevaced. You’re also right that having 6 in the finale inevitably makes it seemed rushed. Although to be fair, “do everything the opposite of how we did it in Thailand” is a good heuristic.

      1. Maybe Probst has been trying repeatedly at challenges to get Cirie to wound herself so she’d get evac’d.

          1. Jeff wants to bring her back as one of the 3 medevac’d returnees for Survivor:
            Philippines 2

      1. Of course you’d say that. We say your tweet this week saying that you love @tocantins11:disqus .

    4. They must have been burned by that streak of quits and evacuations that resulted in truly horrid episodes, so somebody at the top said Never Again and now they always build in a buffer. If that’s the reason you pretty much have to wait until the end to dump your double eliminations, otherwise it misses the point.

      1. I agree completely, in that I think that was indeed their reason. But I would argue that they were horribly mistaken: while having a dud episode is bad, next week people already forgot about it and moved on. It is a bad episode. But having a bizarrely rushed endgame, in my view, ruins the entire season.

    5. It is super noticeable by the fact they had two tribes lose immunity and only vote out one person in a tribal council.

    6. I agree, but I do think part of the problem is the nature of some of the boots. How do you build up to Cirie’s fatal flaw of…not paying enough attention to what it says on the advantage. It’s impossible, because it has nothing to do with the rest of Cirie’s game. Michaela getting booted here IS non-sensical. She got the boot because, once again, Cirie didn’t read an advantage. How do you build up to the dumpster fire that is Malcolm’s boot? You can’t – he wasn’t really responsible for his own exit.

      I don’t think hope is lost though. Going down to 18 people will help, and I do think they try to work around player reputations in returnee seasons which can contribute to worse storylines. I know people have a problem with the way Michele’s game was shown in Kaoh Rong, but that’s almost the opposite of the problem this season is having (I think, we don’t know the winner yet). In Kaoh Rong, you could feel that almost all of the boots were responsible for their own demise and you could understand why. That was a very recent season that doesn’t really follow the trend you laid out. Hopefully they’ll be able to combine a satisfying winner’s arc with that kind of editing in the next round of seasons.

  63. I have had one if those work days that leaves you a zombie. I watched at lunch and frankly dont understand what happened. Someone explain. I understood the Andrea boot but thought it was dumb for Cirie and Michaela.

  64. I went back and looked at the boot orders for every season going back to Nicaragua. Here’s a list of people who made the finale and were as invisible as Aubry, Troyzan, and (until recently) Cirie:

    1. Cowboy Rick
    2. There is no #2

    You can make a case that Bret in MvGX and Michele (!) in KR were similarly invisible, but whatever. I’m not nearly as down on this season as a lot of PRPers are (it’s headed for the low teens in my ranking), but purpling players who make the finale is simply inexcusable. I don’t care if Aubry is exhausted and going through the motions, or if Troyzan is Troyzan.

    1. I think we can think of memorable moments and threads about Bret and Michele. There is nothing with Cowboy/Rancher Rick, Aubry, and Troy.

      I had been thinking about who has been purpled so much on a returnee season and gotten this far and the closest I got was Keith Nale (Kimmi at least had the Monica Padilla episode as well as coining Witches Coven).

        1. (whisper) I forgot about the tuk tuk. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I think actively disliking a not good season is taking away my love for Survivor as well as my memories of the good season that I actively dislike.

          1. I prescribe watching one of the several good seasons of Survivor that you haven’t watched. Cough, Palua!

          2. That one is one of the best of all time! I watched it years ago, and I can still remember almost everything about Coach’s “family” visit.

          3. I don’t want to overhype unseen episodes for @disqus_GpYJ355BVM:disqus, but the family visit still isn’t yet peak Coach.

          4. Also Keith is a bad example because Keith never knew what was going on around him. Makes it tricky to craft a story arc. He was too good at comic-relief to be purpled that much.

          5. I think Keith is best served as a comic obstacle to work around rather being a central character. He just happened to be a key component to why the endgame of San Juan del Sur works so well.

      1. I would say Keith’s edit is maybe close to Aubry’s or Troy’s but as Matt said, at least he had the tuk-tuk! Sadly, I don’t think Aubry is giving them much game to do more with though. It’s weird as there seems to be a fairly clear underdog story for Aubry – everybody she aligns with gets voted out! she’s finding this season tough! – but they’re only dipping into this every now and then, which is an odd, odd choice for an actual fan favourite.

        1. Maybe the reason they’re avoiding showing it is that it’s miserable – underdog stories are only inspiring if they overcome and win, and I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. Do we want to watch Aubry’s hopes and dreams get crushed over and over again, until her eventual elimination?

          1. That’s not totally true. Spencer’s underdog story in Cagayan worked even though he didn’t win. But also, losing to Tony is more fullfilling than losing to Brad and Sarah, I guess.

          2. True, but Survivor is really good at spinning underdog stories as inspiring ones, even if they don’t result in victory (Wentworth, David). I’d say a lot of the underdogs of the seasons don’t end up as winning, but they get to win through their journey/better game/whatever.

            I guess the problem is here, Aubry had such a dominant season that it’s hard to spin this. That said, I bet they could have shown her mere survival as a victory, given how many people had her as an initial target.

            I’ll be interested to hear Aubry’s exit interview – I haven’t watched any of her secret scenes so I have very little idea of what her strategy is and what story they might have told.

          3. I think you’ve put your finger on it – underdog stories can be inspiring without a win because they show some sort of personal growth or whatever.

            Aubry already had that storyline though, so there’s nowhere for her to go. Just weeping in the dark after tribal council 🙁

          4. I feel that people focus too much on avoiding stories to be “negative”. And I think that is a mistake. I much rather have a story of Aubry only losing, or a story of Andrea playing an awesome game but being blindsided (by Cirie!) at F8, than simply having no story of them at all.

            In fact, if I were to rewrite my rant below, I would add this to it. I feel that Survivor has tried too hard to avoid disappointing viewers by the stories the game itself provides (instead of by horrible editing, like in Koah Rong, which they indeed should avoid), which is incredibly self-defeating! Either you believe in the concept of Survivor or you don’t! Trying to hide people that have defeated story-lines (Aubry), or downplaying awesome players that eventually have a downfall (Andrea and Cirie) is just playing against your own show!

        2. Right and there is a big hunch as to why we are not getting much from Aubry: her boot is going to be a weird one. Every time there is someone who goes out due to “odd” reasons ie rocks or Kimmi, their edit becomes fairly small as to say “Don’t get attached to these guys”.

          1. Guys, guys–Aubry’s totally winning this season. She’s getting the Michele edit. It’s production’s little gift to us Survivor superfans. Aubry’s absolutely not going home in sixth because everybody else has immunity.

            No, you shut up! I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALALALALA

        3. Aubry’s face was that of someone who’s pretty much given up. I hope she gets another chance to play again.

        4. Keith had some nice stuff at the end of Cambodia. He had the Tuk Tuk, the family visit was a nice moment for him, and the reward with Spencer and Kelley.

          Plus he had a pretty awesome finale as well.

    2. It’s so shocking that Aubry is in the Cowboy Rick spot! I really wouldn’t call Cirie’s edit anywhere close to invisible though – she had a few quiet episodes, for sure, but it’s nothing compared to Aubry or Troy and she’s had a ton of focus post-merge.

      Aubry’s and Troy’s edits make it seem next to impossible to me that they’ll be FTC losers – surely they would have got more focus if so (though I guess there’s Sherri). Seems like the FTC is shaping up to be Tai losing versus some combo of Brad/Sarah/Cirie.

      1. Parts of Cirie’s pre-merge edit makes sense -she didn’t go to tribal at all-but the other part of it just doesn’t jive. We had no sense of her relationships besides the fact that no one wanted to work with her…wait does this prove that time is a flat circle?

        1. If we look at her relationships going into the finale – we saw parts of her relationships with Sarah, Tai, and Brad in the pre-merge. The only people we didn’t get much of a sense with in relation to Cirie were Aubry and Troy, and we have just hardly seen those two in general.

          1. I guess that is true…I just remember how the premiere is basically “No one besides Tai likes Cirie” and the finale is going to be like “No one besides Tai likes Cirie”.

          2. Sarah and Zeke also expressed interest in working with her on the show but said they weren’t going to sacrifice their games to make it happen. It was more that she couldn’t take the target off her back from other people in the game (JT, Ozzy, maybe Debbie) so she couldn’t get really find her footing.

        2. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.

          ….Sarah, I guess?

    3. Kimmi, Cambodia Keith, Erik in Caramoan.

      I know confessional count isn’t everything, but Cirie is TIED with Sarah for the MOST confessionals this season. Cirie is more visible than probably more than half of people who have ever made the finale. This idea that Cirie hasn’t been visible is a myth. Do you really feel like Brad has been on our TV screens a lot more than her? I know I have said something to this effect several times, but I will continue to call it out.

      1. Fair enough about Cambodia. There was griping about how Kimmi and Keith were obviously drawing dead. And I said “until recently” about Cirie. Maybe I’m misremembering, but it sure seems like she was being underutilized until the finishing the challenge moment (which seemed so out of place in part because we hadn’t seen much of Cirie until then). I think it had less to do with the absolute number of confessionals than their content.

        BTW, apparently Troyzan STILL hasn’t had as many confessionals as Tony!

        1. She had a strong premiere, but I felt that she really arrived in the two hour merge episode when it felt like she was all over our screens. The season feels like it has 3 parts to me. Part 1 – The Sandra Show. Part 2 – The ugly episode. Part 3 – The Cirie and Sarah show.

          I generally hate this type of under editing, but I am glad to not have to watch Troy very much and that Tony fact is pretty amazing.

      2. I haven’t clicked the confessional count link yet, but my sense is that Cirie went pretty invisible in the early game but then really emerged into the edit after the merge. I would say that Brad has almost had the exact opposite trajectory – super visible pre-merge, much quieter post-merge. I guess the tendency here is to notice and object Cirie’s “invisibility” more because we like Cirie (and dislike Brad).

      3. That is pretty impressive considering how invisible Cirie was for most of the pre-merge, and that we seemed to see Sarah in almost every episode.

        1. I think Cirie and Sarah were equally visible pre-merge. People seem to be forgetting that she received somewhat minor but still regular focus, nearly every episode, if only to keep her in viewers’ minds. Much like Sarah, except the focus on Cirie was more noticeable to me because it could have been skipped – as she never went to tribal pre-merge.

          1. I’d have to go back and rewatch those episodes (and this is a season I feel I would never want to rewatch) but I feel like Sarah was featured in every episode as either giving confessionals, being involved in strategy, or talking a lot. There were a few episodes pre-merge where Cirie was barely shown at all.

          2. It’s funny, I’d probably go back to watch pre-merge at least, if only to rewatch the Sandra episodes. But it will be many years before I get around to watching the rest, starting with the Varner boot (and I’m one of the few who even liked that episode).

            But I promise you, they were featured about equally. My Cirie-centered eyes have an eagle’s focus when it comes to her! She was featured positively in the first 3 episodes, had an under the radar edit for the three after, and then it has been back to her regular visibility since the merge. Sarah was somewhat featured about every other episode pre-merge, and then has received continual focus since the merge, much like Cirie. I think that impressions of Cirie’s perceived lack of focus from the edit compared to Sarah is due to the 3 episodes in a row of low visibility for Cirie, while those pre-merge episodes that didn’t feature Sarah were every other episode.

          3. Cirie wasn’t featured very positively in the early episodes. They showed her trying to form alliances with Debbie and Zeke, and make nice with Ozzy, but each time she was shown to be failing. They showed Debbie saying that she saw right through what Cirie was telling her – if they show Debbie outsmarting you, that is not good. Zeke told her that he would like to work with her but wasn’t sure if he’d be able to (or something like that). And her conversations with Ozzy went over so poorly that most people here were convinced that if her tribe went to tribal she would be voted out (with Ozzy leading the charge) – it wasn’t until she and Ozzy were on the first swap tribe that they seemed to temporarily make a truce to keep each other around.

            There’s a reason viewers thought that Cirie wasn’t going to do much after the merge – because she was barely shown pre-merge, and when she was shown, it either wasn’t positive or she wasn’t doing anything special.

          4. I think many people are REALLY misconstructing, what the edit was showing in The first week. This is for the record a very cocky claim that I’ trying to make, but they were what convinced me to change from Ciera to Cirie. The thing is they weren’t trying to paint Cirie as “oh, she’s trying to safe herself, how stupid she is”, but as “she’ trying really hard, but I can’t do it, even though I wouldn’t have mind to”, and the only person who showed kinda the first one was Debbie, who we all know that the edit isn’t taking her seriously at all times, and Ozzy was kinda in between, but Tai, Zeke and Sarah showed the second one. And I think many were mistaking her GAME position to her EDIT position. She was of course in a bad position in game, and many people thought that she was going next in her tribe, cause she WAS going next in her tribe. Plus, wouldn’t you feel that ” she found herself on the bottom of her tribe, she was trying to save herself, no one budged, and then she was voted out” kinda a bad constructed storyline, even if it wasn’t Cirie? And what eould made this worse is that, they were trying to show this from HER perspective, which also never happens, unless the target is cocky, which she wasn’t. Plus she received a confessional in which she said that her next step in her Survivor career is to win. I wasn’t really banking on her to win, but I thought she woild make it relatively close to the end, cause I thought it could be a ‘journey edit’ like David, Cirie in Panama, Kathy and Holly had.

          5. I am all aboard the Cirie train, but we weren’t shown much of her pre-merge, and what we were shown (except for her and Ozzy burying the hatchet) was either her trying to strategize and not succeeding, or just normal camp life stuff.

            When someone mentions how great a player Adam was I like to bring up that he got outsmarted by Taylor of all people. And what we saw in the first episode was Cirie trying to work Debbie, and Debbie (of all people) saw right through it and came out on top of that encounter. That’s not a good sign where Debbie outsmarts you.

          6. And who won last season? Cirie’s winner edit still going strong! But for real, I still think that you greatly overestimate that conversation. Yeah, Cirie tried to save herself and she tried to work with Debbie, and yeah, Debbie didn’t budge, but like I said, they weren’t trying to paint her as a villain, and Debbie as a hero, rather they painted her as an underdog, who simply couldn’t convince others to save herself from the bottom. Plus, if we are going to base our read of the edit on hearing someone’s thoughts on what’s going on in her game, she provided plenty of that in the first week, plus a little bit on her situation with Ozzy post-swap, and her lack of further screen-time could be blamed upon her not going to tribal council pre-merge. Plus, I could argue that in the premiere, they gave most of her most important relationships in the premiere: Zeke and Sarah would like to work with Cirie if they could, Debbie is not working with her, Ozzy at first also, but after the swap he decided to work with her, the only one that’s missing is Andrea, but it’s possible that they only decided to work together post-merge, and the Michaela stuff, probay also began to durface post-merge. And I,m not trying to say that Cirie WILL win, just that we shouldn’t totally count her out.

          7. “And who won last season?” Adam won last season because he got to the end with 2 people that the jury were never going to vote for as the winner. He definitely didn’t win because he played the best game – he’s just barely in the top half if you ranked all the players by how well they played the game. For every good move he made (and there weren’t a lot) he made a bad-to-terrible move (thinking that the reward steal was a good thing, being outsmarted by Taylor) that more than once had his own alliance saying that he was playing terribly.

            But enough about Adam – this is about Cirie.

            Agree to disagree, but I don’t think I greatly overestimated that conversation. I (and a lot of commenters) were worried for Cirie’s chances after seeing that episode, where we first thought “Oh, she’s working her magic on Cirie, this is good” but then quickly said “Debbie saw right through Cirie’s words and Cirie didn’t get anywhere with aligning with Debbie.” She wasn’t seen as an underdog, but more of a “dead man walking” that no one wanted to work with.

          8. Regarding the Adam thing, I was just mainly talking about the edit, not really trying to compare the two. And at least i think we can both agree that reading an edit is mainly subjective, and there isn’t any guide to ‘how to read the edi’. And even then, just because a lot of people are reading it a certain way, doesn’t mean that it’s right, for example last season many people here thought that Adam won’t win, and David will, which obviously turned out to not be true, or Tony even. I’m not saying that I AM right, just that I think it’s possible.

          9. She’s lasted this long; she’s far from “dead man walking”. That was the edit portraying her as an underdog. Just the fact that she’s lasted this long and has been able to make solid alliances and strategic decisions means that they were never showing her as a dead man walking, but as a person struggling to overcome certain odds. Come on!

          10. In the post-merge before this episode I would 100% agree with you. But in the pre-merge she was barely shown and when she was she couldn’t get anything going. Any other player, that’s fine, it’s hard to make alliances. But this is Cirie Fields. Her being shown unsuccessful pre-merge so often was not a good sign.

            And now she voted out Andrea instead of Brad, and then she embarrassed herself in front of everyone with the advantage. She made herself look foolish with the play, and then was seen going back to Sarah pleading with her, and everyone saw that Sarah wasn’t buying it. Sarah ran rings in front of Cirie. She could still pull of some magic in the finale, but at this point she (gulp) might be taken to the finals as a goat.

          11. Well said and I hope you’re right! Great point about Debbie.

            I still have a sinking feeling that hers is the total journey edit, which is nice in a way, but doesn’t bode well for her chances at winning.

            I’ve mentioned this before but I want to say it again, because I am fascinated and charmed by all things Cirie: she is the only returning player to my knowledge who has received a journey edit twice (if she doesn’t win). They save those edits for the non-winners who they love and who they want the audience to love too i.e. everyone you’ve mentioned. To think that she wasn’t featured as a major character throughout this season is just crazy to me.

          12. Eh, I don’t think trying and not getting ahead (temporarily) isn’t negative either, even if it isn’t overtly positive. She wasn’t ridiculed by the music or anything like that. She was portrayed as an underdog, which overall is a positive thing.

            She was not “barely shown pre-merge”. That description is more applicable to players like Hali than Cirie. Cirie has been featured.

          13. She wasn’t ridiculed pre-merge with any dodo-music, but she wasn’t shown being successful at anything (except her and Ozzy agreeing to work together in the first swap tribe, and I wouldn’t put that down as anything Cirie did, just both of them recognizing the situation) but she wasn’t shown being successful at just about anything.

            I’d say that Hali was probably shown more than Cirie pre-merge, especially given everything went on with Brad/Debbie Hali on their swap tribe, and how much Hali was involved at that two tribe tribal council. I can’t think of anything that big that Cirie did or was involved in pre-merge.

          14. Yeah, I clearly remember Sarah not receiving any confessional in the second week, and third if I remember correctly. I think that Cirie wasn’t really focused on at the end of the first tribe swap, and right after the second one. I think what seperates how many view Cirie’s and Sarah’s edit to be, is that many are overly sensitive when Cirie isn’t on the screen cause we all love her, and are overly sensitive when Sarah is on the screen, cause many don’t like her. I’m not trying to criticize everyone, but that’s how I’m seeing things.

          15. And they had a whole thing about Cirie and Ozzy making up and wanting to work together that was completely irrelevant EXCEPT IF SHE MAKES FTC AND HE VOTES FOR HER!!!!

    4. I’m not thrilled with the season and not down on it as many here are. The pre-merge was nerve-wracking but not in a good way because every week it was like “is this Sandra’s week to go?” The Zeke outing was horrible which lowers it in my estimation. In my ranking it would be mid-20s.

      But what about Bret in Samoa, not MvGX, or did he not make the actual finale (didn’t he go at 5?).

      1. He went at 4, but he did win those immunities in a row which helps. I also think that he and many cast members of Samoa got screwed because of the edit that Russell got.

        1. I genuinely think it’s a good cast. A lot of people from what we were shown were interesting, especially Galus. And even then Foa Foas had also some good choices like Betsy, Marisa, Natalie, Jaison and even Russell. Only Ben completely sucked. But unfortunately, cause of the edit, the only really noticeable people were Russell and Shambo.

      2. I only went back as far as Nicaragua. Samoa Bret certainly is an example of someone who made the finale and was purpled, but I’d say that a lot of normal editing was suspended that season.

    5. There was actually a good amount of Cirie featured pre-merge, especially when considering how she never went to tribal. As far as edits go, I think she has been featured as much as Sarah, Brad, and Michaela. I’d say all together they have been this season’s 4 leads.

    6. Kimmi Kappenberg was pretty close as well. Remember that a great deal of her content came in the finale.

  65. Hey, everybody! Remember how I said that somebody may have spoiled the winner during Week 2 on the Survivor Facebook page? Well….that person is in the Final 6. Thanks Survivor Facebook!

    1. That’s rough, but at this point, I honestly don’t know if being spoiled on the winner could make this season worse. I’m debating dm-ing you to ask.

        1. It better be a good one. Have we passed Year 50 yet? I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into a slog like the Suffering Game. (also, done in three episodes my ass)

          1. He actually thought it would happen in 2 episodes. Which was… unrealistic.

            I know I’m less down on Stolen Century than you are, but it really doesn’t have The Suffering Game’s biggest flaw, which is that for five episodes they were literally doing the same thing over and over. With this at least THB have the option to do pretty much whatever they want.

            But also yeah I’m kind of itching to get to the main event.

          2. Yep. Suffering Game was really repetitive. Looking back, so much of it has just run together in my mind.

          1. Adventure Zone publishes semiweekly because it takes a lot of time to make. Right Thursdays are the days new episodes go up.

          2. It’s a podcast where three grown-ass men play D&D with their dad, but also both funnier and more poignant than that idea sounds.

          3. I’m about to listen to it now. I think it was a brief discussion by you and Matt (Mark?) on this site that got me to try it out. I binged through the archives in about 2 months.

          4. I think a number of people have been saying that they’ve burned right through them, which is really unfortunate bc me and @sharculese:disqus had discussed a PRP group binge after this campaign is over, probably in a few months

          5. Eh. I mean you burned through them and you’re still down for the relisten. People burn through them because it’s so good, and I think a lot of people are gonna be down for a relisten to catch all the details we missed when we didn’t know the whole story.

          6. This is true, though I burned through them seven months ago. I do want to relisten nonetheless, though depending on who else joins, our discussion of world building/foreshadowing might have to be more cryptic.

    2. Every week I hoped I would see you post that the person you were spoiled with as the winner was the one just voted off. Sorry.

  66. That was an extremely stupid move from Cirie. As I said before she’s playing a mediocre game this season and is being completely overrated by fans of the show because of her past reputation. No one would be complaining about the non-transferrable rule if someone like J.T. had made that move.

    This season is horrible. The editing this episode was complete garbage, honestly this season might be in my Bottom 10 by the end of it.

    1. I think I get why she did that. (Although not thanks to the show.) They had a 4 people alliance (Cirie, Aubry, Sarah, and Michaela), against a 3 people alliance (Tai, Brad, and Troy). Sarah wanting to vote out Aubry was a really really dangerous move, as it puts both alliance at even numbers. (By the way, this is a potential huge flaw in Sarah’s gameplay that people haven’t been discussing.) So she wanted to get out Tai, even without Sarah’s help.

      And stealing Sarah’s vote, of all people, was kind of stupid. But it only backfired because of the small script: if the vote had gone on, Sarah would quickly see that Cirie was right (and she was!!) and had just saved her life in the game, against her wishes.

      The biggest flaw in my view of that move is that it just puts a huge target on her back. And even if it worked, she would probably be going out next. (I hope she didn’t expect Sarah to be grateful and protect her.) But again, she was probably going out next anyway, so she might as well secure that if by some miracle she makes it to FTC (it was never going to happen anyway), she would win it.

    2. I saw someone on reddit saying that people would be calling it a top tribal moment if ZEKE (who reddit has not been a fan of) had done it instead and I have to call bull. The non-transferrable rule sucks because it makes things less interesting and it really sucks in this case because the move was awesomely elaborate and it would have been great to see anyone pull it off (though obviously it being Cirie makes it sting more). I saw someone else on reddit compare it to Erik Reichenbach giving up immunity – all of the pieces are in place and against all odds the plan is working and then Jeff steps in and says Erik can’t give it up. That’s not what happened, because those weren’t the rules, but it’s less compelling from both a television entertainment standpoint and much less compelling from a game play standpoint. But yeah, it has to be her worst moment in her Survivor career, even if I think she has been playing great otherwise.

      This season is inching towards my bottom 10. I have a placeholder for it in my season rankings, and it’s tentatively 1 spot away.

      1. I think the most interesting hypothetical along these lines is how would we have felt if CIRIE had handed the advantage to SARAH with, say, Brad taking the fall rather than Michaela.

        And I do think we’d be cooing about Cirie’s cleverness in reassuring Sarah of the strenth of their bond while taking no risks, and we’d by taking a certain amount of glee in Sarah being so foolish as to not read the clue. Sarah’s the new Reichenbach! All hail Queen Cirie!

        But I also don’t think this is hypocrisy (at least on my part). What Sarah did *IS* impressive, and what Cirie did *IS* dumb. But it still makes me sad, whereas the reverse would have made me happy. Objectively impressive gameplay that makes me sad…still makes me sad.

        1. My hesitation was that it didn’t seem to be intentional from Sarah at all from what we were shown. Michaela said in her RHAP exit interview that Sarah intentionally waited until right before tribal to give Cirie her advantage. That’s great! I wish we had known that, because it makes Sarah look way more impressive AND it even makes Cirie look better too.

          1. Ooh, that’s interesting and smart. I figured it had to be intentional, since Sarah was so confident that the advantage was non-transferrable. I think she was authentically shocked that Cirie played it, but she knew she wasn’t giving Cirie anything of real value.

            II’m also assuming that if Cirie is doing the manipulating, she gives charming confessionals that make the cut where she explains what she is doing.

            Charming confessionals that explain the game are not really Sarah’s thing, alas.

          2. I at least liked Cirie’s voting confessional. “Always read the fine print. (giggles)”

      2. This may be bottom five that I’ve seen but to be fair, I haven’t watched some of the seasons widely to be considered to be among the show’s worst.

        If worth watching, I’m all ears!

    3. I love Cirie as a character, but I think she does legitimately have some flaws as a strategic player. In particular, I think she has a tendency to overthink things (maybe she gets bored or something?) Up to this point I actually thought she was doing pretty well this season because her play was more restrained and well thought out, but this move was back to the worst of her old reckless style and I was fully against it. In my opinion trying to use the vote steal was a bad idea all around. Even completely setting aside the “non-transferable” thing, I still think it would have been a bad idea. Even if it had worked perfectly and she had saved Sarah, what does she gain??

      1. And setting aside “non-transferable”, did she really think she could totally trust Tai not to play an idol? She took a chance on the person she claimed she wanted to save. Yes, it would not have been her going but grandstanding in front of the jury that you are saving someone and then sending the person there you are trying to save is not a good idea.

    4. Eh, she successfully protected Michaela and was key in eliminating Zeke and Andrea. Her game hasn’t been phenomenal, but I wouldn’t call it mediocre either. She’s done better than most players this season, except for Sarah, Brad, Tai, and Sandra. I think social skill is the most important part of the game, and she’s done well there, especially after having to deal with early challenges pre-merge.

  67. NTOS speculation: What the hell is around Brad’s neck? It looks like Wilma Flintsone’s necklace. It’s not the immunity necklace, and it’s not one of the three existing idols. Surely production wouldn’t spring another twist on us in the finale. Or would they….

      1. Speculation: Tai sees something out in the water. He swims out and it’s the Exile Boat (abandoned). He finds the fake idol kit left behind by Cochran and takes it.

        1. Cochran said on RHAP that the fake idol kit had enough material to make many fake idols. I really hope that gets used someday.

          1. I mean, if you know you’re not a creative person maybe you know that choosing that kit is not for you, but I really hope they bring that back. Can you imagine if someone with crafting experience (like jewelry maker Joey Amazing) got his hands on that?

          2. And when none have been played, no-one except Eliza can definitively say it’s fake.

          3. The fake idol kit though should only really work if it has a parchment that you could use to trick them into thinking it’s real, but then again people have been deceived by much, much less so I don’t even know why I’m trying to give people any sort of credit for being good observers of things.

          4. I was thinking the same thing when Debbie was choosing her advantage. Now that we’re down the contract-law rabbit hole with “non-transferable” and whatnot, the parchment should be the same as for a regular idol, but not call it an immunity idol or specify what it does.

    1. I notice that a lot of them are just wearing random necklaces and almost all of them were an original Nuku member. Maybe someone is an amateur jewelry maker?

          1. Maybe somebody gets sent to Exile in the finale and this time Peih-Gee is there.

  68. Remember when they posted the first 7 minutes of the season, and how much potential the season still seemed to have then, despite shots of Sierra actually being on the boat with the rest of them and rumors of her presence not just somebody’s idea of a bad joke? Happier times.

  69. Survivor dropped the ball big time by pushing these 2 tribals in one episode. The second boot especially needed its own episode, I have no idea how that Michaela boot materialised and we got little to no build up of Cirie’s crazy plan being hatched too. How is 15 minutes of the loved one visit last episode better use of time? They should have combined 2 out of Zeke, Debbie and Sierra vote offs in a single episode and let these 2 episodes breathe more.

    1. yadda yadda yadda … Production has to plan for possible medevacs/quits … yadda yadda yadda … can’t always get what you want …

    2. I agree. I wonder if it was preplanned and they were stuck with this arrangement because they intentionally skipped the reward challenges during these two voting cycles?

      1. I was wondering about that; did they skip them or did we just not see them? Maybe they were super basic.

  70. Michaela is another locked vote for Sarah. She even compared her to another winner, Tony.

    Michaela: “Sarah’s a great person. She had all of those people on the jury feeling like they were her best friend. The fact that Sierra gave her that advantage is proof that Sarah was playing those people. Think about this — Sarah, to this day, is wearing Zeke’s jacket. Every night! She turns up to Tribal Council in Zeke’s jacket, even though she put Zeke on the jury. It’s THAT type of stuff. She’s good. If Tony was her mentor, she learned well.”

    She does NOT like Brad.

    Michaela: “I didn’t really like Brad [enough to want him at the end], but I would’ve been able to articulate a case against Brad.”

        1. The amusing part of all of this, after seeing various videos, was that Michaela was actually trying to help Brad out! Her point was that people thought he was looking for immunity and his image back at camp would improve if he showed that he was just out catching fish, which would also make people happy. She communicated it poorly (but hilariously) and he totally missed her point and took it as a threat or her being a diva and demanding fish.

          1. From what we saw, he was right to miss her point. She should have told him something to build trust. Why should he trust her? I can’t believe I’m defending him. But people do not like to be given orders … especially from those half their age.

          2. Yeah I probably would have reacted the same. But that doesn’t change the fact of her intentions, despite her her lack of ability to communicate effectively with him. Her intentions were not what he thought. It’s hard for me to say “he was right to miss her point” when essentially he was not right, he was actually wrong. But it was her fault that he was wrong, of course.

          3. I meant though that he was right to miss the point because she was not telling him enough to be able to get the point. I would have reacted the same way myself. We’ve seen her communicate effectively before … she chose not to. Her intentions may have been good and may have been trying to help him but they have never been on the same side and no one is a mind-reader. There wasn’t enough there to even “read between the lines.”