Survivor Game Changers Premiere Liveblog: “The Stakes Have Been Raised”

Follow us on Twitter and Storify below for the premiere episode of Survivor: Game Changers and 500th episode of Survivor!


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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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1,051 thoughts on “Survivor Game Changers Premiere Liveblog: “The Stakes Have Been Raised”

  1. My first episode of Survivor without worrying about spoilers since 2001. I’m ready. Let’s do this.

  2. Debra, the better metaphor would be “the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, and the Tour de France.” You’re just describing a horse race.

        1. Already she’s blowing her previous performance out of the water! Can’t wait to see how she doesn’t use the advantage.

    1. I guess it’s slightly better than it was last season, in that you know what it is and can choose when to use it, but seriously, if you need emergency immunity at 13 you’re probably already boned.

      1. It could potentially be useful if there’s two factions at the merge and you manage to use the idol to save one of your alliance mates and get the numbers over the other alliance, rather than just using it on yourself

        1. I think we should assume a 13-person merge in 20-player seasons from now on. Part of the whole, ‘let’s not have a repeat of the Redemption Island through One World stretch of day one alliances running the game,’ initiative.

          1. Yeah, now it makes sense. But when it happened in Cambodia the players (and most of the viewers) were surprised. “Merging at 13? That’s too early!”

    2. Sierra’s gonna talk about using that advantage for the next six episodes.

      She will not use the advantage.

      1. She is 100% getting voted out with it in her pocket, after missing a change to change the game yet again

      2. No, she will follow in the tradition of the Advantage Curse:

        She will use the advantage.

        It will not matter.

      1. Oh crap. I have to make a conference call at 9:30 b/c I thought it was an hour and a half.

  3. I feel like Tony may troll this season a la Hatch in All-Stars, knowing he can’t really win so he’s just going to have fun

      1. He said in the pregame interviews he was going 80% Tony! 80%! And that Cagayan was only 60%! Full Tony might kill us all!

  4. “There’s too many goats over here” – the tribe with Troy, Sierra, Debbie, and Culpepper. Its too easy

  5. Thirteen would be about when the merge is, right? Depending on how they’ve been merging with big tribes these last couple of times. Six is about day 36 or so?

      1. It was barely deep enough to hide an idol in. My only hope is that it’s ALL misdirection and no one truly knows what’s going on. The bunker was never going to work, and I think Tony knew that.

        1. For the first vote at least, it might have worked. People saw it and assumed he found a clue, which all but guaranteed that they would need to enact some kind of split, upping the level of difficulty and buying him more time. I don’t think that was his intent, but I was thinking that it was savvy strategy. …Until the second vote.

      2. I was wondering “What if he builds it, covers himself with debris, and someone walks on him?” Hell of a way to get med evac’d.

  6. Ciera does seem to be playing hard early, but I’m not sure if she had much of a choice. As Malcolm kind of hinted at, all she needs to do is open her mouth to be targeted. I almost wonder if she, like Tony, is better off playing really intensely, since people kind of assume she will anyway.

      1. I feel like we’re getting a lot of good crazy Tony to counteract the lack of Varner craziness.

    1. Really all she did is point out the obvious, in a way that happens basically every season. But she’s seen as such a gamer. Plus, Malcolm clearly sees the Jeremy meat shield strategy as his way forward

        1. Yeah, she is now the kind of person everyone will assume has a scheme going beyond the apparent

  7. sorry if this has been covered, any way to get live stream to auto refresh? I have to reload page to see new posts in live stream… Obnoxious

    1. I do not know the best way to do this honestly, since I am always writing in it. Does anybody know a good way? If not, I’ll look into if there is a good way during the next week.

    2. If you open Storify, you can move between slides, and when you reload it stays on the same slide you reloaded on. That’s the best I’ve found.

      1. ok that sounds pretty good, and you can open the slideshow where it says open slideshow at the top right?

        1. Yeah, right under the picture is the link. You still have to reload that as its own tab to see updates, but at least it keeps you from needing to refresh the comments over and over. Also, it’s actually nice to see updates in individual slides.

  8. OK does this new rule mean that the person who actually wins immunity becomes vulnerable (or someone who has played an idol)?

    1. This is a terrible rule. It makes vote splitting harder, and the idol stronger, which I don’t think is necessary.

      1. What a perfect night to complain about the new rule making vote splitting to avoid an idol harder.

    1. Cannot work out why Hali swam rather than Malcolm or Caleb or Michaela. Is she that fast? Or just super eager to show some challenge strength early (in which case: maybe a decent play)?

        1. Actually I thought Hali did fine – she was not that far behind Ozzy at all. I was more amazed that the rest of the tribe let her do it.

          1. I thought it was a good decision on her part. Even if you lag behind Ozzy, they’ll say “anyone would lose to Ozzy” and still give you credit for trying. Then when the “weak link” shit comes up, you’re name isn’t on the table even though technically he beat you.

        1. Surfers are mostly paddling on the board though, aren’t they? It doesn’t necessarily translate to being a good swimmer? (disclaimer: I don’t know how to surf, though I did watch that Blake Lively movie, so I assume Hali also knows how to suture her own skin with her jewellery, and murder a shark)

          1. They can also skydive, rob banks, and feel secure in the knowledge that hanging out on a beach with Anthony Kiedis would be a waste of time.

            But they probably are good swimmers, I would think.

          2. I don’t think you learn to surf without doing a fair amount of swimming in rough water. (I also don’t surf though, so maybe not.)

          3. Surfers are good swimmer. “Paddling” is mostly like the upper body part of swimming, and build shoulder muscles which is important for swimming. Also, you are not on the board most of the time: you paddle towards the wave, surf, fall in the water, swim to you board, get back… and before becoming a good surfer, most of the time is spent into the water.

        2. Yes. And I read somewhere that she actually was considered the best challenge performer of the women on WA.

      1. Just looking at the people in the background because they did not seem excited sort of tempered it.

  9. Yay. Sandra got her claws in. Jeff survived and is playing ok. Aubry is in the majority. Tony survived.

    And Sandra is playing the old woman now – “I wear glasses now.”

  10. I am getting the feeling Varner and Aubry are going to do really well. They are calm. All of the bigger names seem to be nuts.

      1. The only thing I’m sure of now is that TOK715SDT will be standing at the end.

  11. Why did I pick Debbie in pick 4? I guess she got me a couple points before I drop her

    1. I hope that Debbie mispronouncing every other players’ name is this season’s version of her alternating chyrons in Kaoh Rong.

      1. That would be amazing. Especially since it would be part of a clown edit I’m desperately hoping for

    2. It did remind me that Shirin would have been a fun addition to the chain of similar women’s names, so…

  12. I missed Cirie and Sandra a lot. I didn’t even know it. And man is Tony insane. Like in your face insane, but in the most amazing way.

  13. edit so heavy on Tony/Sandra so early does not bode well for either of them. 😭😭😭

  14. Goddamn it, Troyzan! You’ve only done one thing and it’s to splinter the Sandra/Tony alliance BY FUCKING ACCIDENT! You pull Sandra aside to say “I’m not worried about Tony” and inadvertently ruin everything! EVERYTHING! Gah!

    1. It’s also basically just a dog whistle for “Hey, let’s vote out these women, bro.” And yet men freak out over the prospect of a women’s alliance.

      1. And also “let’s vote out Jeff Varner”. Who had to know that.

        Tony might be Caleb and Malcolm’s shield, but Sandra is most definitely Varner’s shield.

        1. That’s the thing- Varner was easily the biggest liability in that challenge, and instead they say they’ll target Sandra. Varner benefits from being male, even if he’s weak.

          1. 100% this. We’ve seen weak men survive “keep the tribe strong”. And we’ve seen averagely athletic young women be targeted under this veil.

            Chet. CHET.

        2. Yeah, it was a stupid thing to say in front of Varner. The other women on that tribe are Aubry, Michaela, and Hali. If they’re chopping challenge liabilities, he’s clearly next, so that drives him firmly to Sandra’s camp and probably takes a couple people with him

          1. When I thought about it again this morning, I realised there’s another reason for Jeff to stick with Sandra over Tony as well – he flipped on a known quantity last season in favour of keeping a ‘wildcard’ player around, and look how that worked out for him with Abi Maria.

            Same for Michaela in a way – last season she listened to the ‘don’t go with that alliance, go with this one’ pitch, and then got blindsided by the very guy making it. They already put an alliance together, and she wasn’t in it – there’s no reason for her to be their fifth when she has a shot at a better spot on the other side.

      2. Because a group of men with no women is the societal default, a group of women with no men is a THREAT TO MEN.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I’d send Malcolm out and let Michaela toss the rings, but the opposite would also have been better.

      1. To be fair, he’s on the only tribe of focus, and *stifles laugh* you’re not going to put Troyzan on TV

        1. I mean, what kind of ridiculous show would do that? His lack of airtime makes me all kinds of happy

      2. Caleb wants to get rid of the weak link – which is not Sandra in this case. Varner was.

        1. Right. But one must keep Caleb’s, uh, misogynistic tendencies in mind. Plus his apparent friendship/pre-game conversations with Russell

      1. They usually show it when it’s found, you can guarantee Tony is looking his ass off

          1. or if the payoff is that there is a big hunt and everybody sees everybody else looking

          2. No it hasn’t but she should make it part of her MO in this case. I’m just so nervous for her.

    1. I guarantee 100% Tony has been looking for it like a mad man. They just won’t show you much unless someone actually finds it. Also, who knows how they’re hiding them this season. Tony could be barking up the wrong tree.

    1. I’ve got the opposite – YAY SANDRA!
      But I did cringe at the exchange afterwards.

      Well at least it might take the target off Aubry.

      1. It definitely did not help her. The first one, eesh. The second volley; unnecessary.

          1. I feel like part of Sandra’s persona is being the person just unlikable enough that no one thinks she can win.

          1. Right. But you have to believe that at least Aubry and Malcolm know what she’s about. And with a swap coming, it may help that memory fade quickly.

          2. Except what she’s normally about is letting other people form alliances and adding her vote to theirs, while being incredibly savvy about what other plans are out there. She is decidedly not, as Malcolm suggested, normally the organizer — if anything, she *failed* to create a dominant alliance in HvV, but survived anyway.

          3. That’s what I meant. Tony won’t care. He’s probably dealt with worst than that as a cop.

  15. Wow. I honestly can’t believe that vote just happened, especially at the second tribal. It just goes to show that they done changed the game. The game changers. I mean, it’s a shot they were going to have to take eventually, but they jumped on it at the first opportunity. And I think to some degree, it can be argued that this was a move to secure a spot at Final Tribal. And speaking of securing spots, let me talk to you about the PRP Fantasy Baseball League. We’re currently at ten, but we’re looking to reach 12 players and are actively recruiting. Now some of you may be thinking, “I’m new to this community, and I’ve barely commented at all here. It’s not my place to take a spot in this league.” But not so! Emma has had plenty of opportunities to join, and she refuses to have fun. So we’re moving on without her and others. Plus, to quote Lilo & Stitch, “When you’re here, you’re family.” I think that’s right, don’t @ me on it. But if you’re here on this site reading this (and have gotten this far into this post), then I can guarantee that you deserve a spot in this league. And because you’re watching the East Coast broadcast, you have a leg up on the West Coast viewers who won’t see this for another three hours. Take advantage of this opportunity by calling now because these open spots will not last. Operator is standing by, so act fast before these two spots get claimed!

    1. @ ing you. Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. When you’re here at Olive Garden though, you’re family.

          1. I’m not saying I want to drown, but if I had to, I’d like it to be in Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi soup.

        1. I don’t think you’ve done the Never Ending Pasta Bowl correctly if this isn’t the outcome.

          1. I did the never-ending showed up already drunk because seriously why do I have shitty friends who go to the Olive Garden for their birthday bowl.

  16. I was convinced Sandra was going home because she deviated from her “ABBM” strategy. It just seemed too poetic.

    But the queen is the queen indeed.

    1. Yeah she seems to be taking a more active leadership role than previous seasons. I guess it worked out for her, but I’m a little nervous going forward

    1. I’m glad Barbara brought you in. We think alike.

      I’d never have the guts to say the things she did.

          1. I think he and Hali are sitting pretty right in the middle of that tribe right now though. There’s a lot of big personalities in there (enough that Troy has mostly shut the fuck up), so just being relatively quiet and relatively competent (apart from on balance beams) is enough.

          2. I’m only in for this if Hali and Sierra Dawn Thomas are on the same tribe and immediately commence a fight to the death.

          3. That is how I’d feel if Sandra was gone over Tony, so I feel for you, but I can’t be mad right now.

          4. To each their own, I’m team Cirie, *shrug emoticon* this season is much poorer for lack of Tony antics

    2. I was team Tony during this feud, but I can’t be disappointed by the fact that Sandra won. She’s great.

      1. Watching I was like…has Tony ever actually seen Sandra play? Even Tony must realise that Sandra is not going to react well to that sort of confrontation, right?

        1. Yeah, one the one hand, “We were just looking at the tide” is a pretty lame lie…on the other hand, I’m not sure what Tony was hoping to achieve by confronting them like that

          1. Especially since he’s just as “guilty” of doing something since he was building a spy bunker.

        2. Tony studied his own game to prepare. Maybe he should have taken a break from rewatching Cagayan to watch HvV. Not even because of Sandra, Cirie, and JT, but because HvV is just that great.

        3. He might not have. As they joke about here, his Survivor knowledge about things other than Tony isn’t the best.

  17. I suppose the Sandra Tony duel was destined to burn so hot and bright, it could only last a short while.

        1. Fucking Troy, everything was going great, but he just had to ruin it all.

          This is why nobody likes you, Troy!

          1. May your whole team succumb to the choking hazard that are the points finagled by the unworthy one from the intestines of our rightful King (TV)!

            Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!

      1. I was so close to considering the possibility that there might be a god of some sort. But nope, still an atheist.

          1. I’m so primed to see Teen Girl Squad references here that I read this in Strongbad voice.

      1. I think it was a combination there of Troy being unsteady on the beam, and Hali in front of him not being strong/heavy enough to manage the weight of the snake with the added movement he was causing.

  18. I appreciate at the beginning when Jeff mentioned that “some of you made big moves that failed” and the camera lingered lovingly on Ozzy’s face.

  19. Random thoughts:

    “We’ve all changed this game …” And Brad lies with his very first sentence.

    FFSDT gets the SECRET ADVANTAGE. Winner’s edit!!!

    “Is that your real name?” And Michaela endears herself to the audience again.

    So it looks like Production realized that waiting until the last episode to get to use the Legacy Advantage was a bit of a tease.


    It didn’t take long for Tai to forget to keep his mouth shut.

    The first challenge involves digging in the sand? Someone keep an eye on Caleb!

    The idol is a diving helmet???

    Is Michaela going to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory? What are you doing???

    That tribal set is pretty nice.

    Wait, the voting urn is a lantern? What is the theme of this season???

    Tony and Sandra survived the first vote!

    No final words from Ciera?


    I didn’t realize how much I missed Tony until I saw him crawl out of his Spy Bunker and crawl along the ground.

    So much for the Tony/Sandra alliance.

    Who the hell is “Shirie”?

    Varner is out of strength already?

    Mana starts to make a comeback in the challenge with Cirie on the sidelines thinking “No! I’ll be voted out if we lose!”

    No one is talking about a possible tribe-swap. They’re sure these are the tribes and they have to keep them strong.

    Wow, Troyzan has not been practicing how to give tribal answers that don’t give away who the target is.

    “I’m calm, I’m calm … WHAT’S IN MY HAIR???”

    Yeah, Sandra has a great social game.

    1. You’d think that production would correct Debbie on the pronunciation of “Cirie” but maybe they thought it was funnier to let it slide

      1. Could be a Francesqua situation. They might have corrected Debbie, but she might not have cared.

  20. The problem with these returnee seasons is high probability of having your heart smashed in the first episode. 😔

      1. Oh man I remember watching that for the first time and being devastated when yau-man went home. Returnee seasons can be cruel early on

        1. I was more referring to Fairplay, but that works as well.

          I was devastated with Varner in Cambodia, but that was episode 4 and he got a 1 episode stay of execution.

  21. Tony and Sandra on the same tribe went down pretty much exactly the way everyone thought it would, but that was still glorious.

    Also, I own that same sports bra Andrea is wearing. This will be an interesting test case for what will happen if I ever decide not to change my clothes for a full month.

    1. Oh, so you’re just assuming Andrea will be there for 30 days?

      I mean, you should be, just checking.

      1. I was assuming, but also I can’t remember if Andrea even spoke this episode apart from Probst asking her a question before the challenge, so maybe that is not the best sign for her.

        1. She got one confessional, like half of her tribe who didn’t go to the first two tribals. (note: Troyzan went to both and also got only one)

          1. Could that be because Caramoan (the previous season) was the only season she had ever seen?

          2. Thought it was 2? One in the kind of opening and one after they got to camp. I wasn’t really counting though so I may be wrong

        2. She had a confessional where she said something about “Game Changers”. But so did Sierra, so who the fuck knows.

  22. Matt, I appreciate the hard work on the Simpsons memes.
    A so-so first hour, and a pretty stellar second hour. That “second” episode had EVERYTHING. They really should have cut Nuku out of it entirely.
    I like Calm, Cool, Collected Varner. Still a delight, even if he’s a bit muted. Michaela and Malcolm are both also hugely entertaining.
    I’ve missed Sandra so much. And while Tony may have met an untimely demise, he absolutely made the most of his screen-time

      1. And knowing how happy we will be that Cirie dodges the bullet with a swap (or has a chance to)

        1. As upset as I am about Tony, I’m much more confident about Sandra (and, to a lesser extent, Cirie). Once she starts laying low and other people start doing things that make them target-worthy, no one is going after her (especially if the prospect of another swap makes tribe strength irrelevant). I’m not saying she will win, but I think it’s much more likely than I thought it was two hours ago.

          1. I think Sandra has a much better chance of going far in this game than Tony did. so on that basis I am happy

      2. I’m fine with it, but I’d have taken another ten minutes at Camp That Escalated Quickly and not even cared that it was telegraphing which tribe lost.

          1. She had that before the last time she played – it was on the chyron, chiron, whatever.

        1. Debbie is playing just like the start of her season. She has always been fairly perceptive, and makes a lot out of the fact that people underestimate her. Unfortunately, she’s insane and not very self-aware socially. It’s why I didn’t peg her as a first boot, but expect her to go home at almost the same point she did last time.

          1. Her BS detector was right because Cirie was trying to convince her people were trying to take Debbie out. Debbie correctly perceived that she was not being targeted, but Cirie was trying to pull her in by feeding her BS.

          2. Neither do I! She offends me as a scientist and annoys the hell out of me as a human being. But as a Survivor player, there is a tiny kernel of cleverness inside a giant ball of shit.

      1. Meanwhile, Sandra is playing like she’s Avon Barksdale, and Tony came in like a freaking moose like Denise Fleming in Can’t Hardly Wait, all “errrherrrrerrrr.”

        1. I was going to make the Avon vs Stringer comparison on Twitter, because that’s what it felt like. The faux alliance while you look for ways to take each other out? Wire-esque.

          1. Alternately, Tai is Wallace or D’angelo, in that he’s good-natured enough, winds up dealing in dirt and it costing him big time.

          2. All of you guys’ The Wire references are spot on!

            Ah, who am I kidding. I never watched The Wire. Had to bluff my way through so many conversations.

      1. Is it weird that, while I really like both Tony and Malcolm individually, the thought of an alliance between Tony, Malcolm and Caleb immediately gave me really bad vibes?

        1. I never watched Big Brother. Had no problem with him on KR but since I heard he’s been tutored by Russel and seeing how he acted a bit tonight (like he did not have a thought of his own and was parroting Russel), I have bad vibes too.

          1. I don’t think it’s necessarily even Caleb, really. I think it’s that Caleb and Malcolm both work better for me when they have an alliance partner who can soften their more bro-y instincts. Like how Scot Pollard and Kyle Jason were both sort of palatable alone, but the combination was so, so much less than the sum of its parts.

  23. So there’s probably an idol hidden in that lighthouse where the voting booth is, right?

    1. That’s been my thought since I saw Wigler’s Twitter avatar. It’s gotta be on that table or on a shelf.

    2. That would be great. I love the idea of fucking around with the locations of idols and clues.

    3. At the very least there’s the best tribal council set since the one-two punch of Cook Islands and China hidden around that lighthouse. God I love this shipwreck theme so fucking much.

        1. I was waiting for something when I saw the immunity idol was a diving helmet, but this way surpasses what I expected. It’s one of the best pieces of set design they’ve ever pulled off.

    4. The fact that there’s a window on the side of it and we saw quite a few shots through it while people were voting leads me to think they want to use that camera angle if anyone ever needs to search in there for an idol.

  24. The ‘consensus’ strategy on Mana so far is interesting – I guess nobody wants to risk being definitively on the outside.

    It helps that we know there’s a swap coming next week, but even so, between Tony and Sandra they probably made the right choice. Sandra is weaker in the challenges, but hasn’t actually affected them yet. And the real difference between Tony and Sandra is that they’re both incredibly dangerous players, but Sandra is dangerous in a way that is predictable, and Tony is dangerous in a way that is unpredictable. I would bank on being able to remove Sandra from play later, but I’d never be certain that given a few more days, Tony wouldn’t manage to come up with something.

    1. Damn that is gonna be a fun tribe too. I wonder if Sandra wants to knock out winner after winner (before settling her Cirie beef)

      1. Went back and checked. Blue tribe is Aubry, JT, Malcolm, Varner, Sandra….and Michaela. Yeap, blue tribe is the favorite tribe. But that also explains why JT sent all of them out snorkeling so he could find the idol.

          1. But if we swap into tribes of six, that might not matter if he can find the idol (given the new rules on ties)

        1. Alright, so as long as that tribe is undefeated and Cirie runs her next tribe we are golden.

        2. I wonder if this was planned. The 5 most entertaining players from one tribe swap together, while the rest (Hali, Troyzan, Caleb) swap into the minority.

        3. The worst thing that can happen to that is that they lose the first immunity challenge and don’t vote Varner who has proven again to be a huge challenge liability for anyone. And I say that as someone who loves Varner but if they go down one with both Sandra and him on the same tribe, I think that they will keep on back to tribal council. Once they lose once I don’t think they recover in this way.

          1. I have a weird hunch that Varner is next especially after he was highlighted for being the screw-up in both challenges (the locks with the puzzle and the snake dilemma).

          2. Or he could be the player that keeps on making his tribe lose which keeps on getting players we really love voted out.

          3. I find it hard to blame someone for messing up part of a challenge which is unlocking locks. It’s not like someone is strong for the physical part or good at puzzle for the puzzle part. For unlocking locks it’s really just luck (and the ability to unlock a lock with a key, which hopefully most adults are able to do). Since you’re given multiple keys for multiple locks, it’s really just random chance if you pick the right key each time.

          4. I should be clearer here: the edit is highlighting Varner’s weaknesses. Why would you include the backfighting between Varner and Probst in the same two-hour block where you are going to show Varner massively failing in the snake carrying portion.

          5. Not just the snake-carrying portion – he massively failed at the crawling-over-a-wooden-cage-wall portion. At first I thought he was being smart and staying on the wall so that he could get a bird’s eye view and direct everyone, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. Then when he could barely get back over the wall and couldn’t help with the snake I knew it was because he was spent.

  25. I had all kinds of thoughts as I was watching the episode, but now all I can say is… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Ciera: Tony seems sneaky, but he could have an idol. Let’s split the votes and get him out.

    Everyone Else: Ciera is playing too hard. Blindside her.

    ***3 days later***

    Sandra: Tony seems sneaky, but he could have an idol. Let’s split the votes and get him out.

    Everyone Else: *is Sandra’s bitch*

    You better believe Ciera is at home rolling her eyes right now.

      1. One part of me thinks with being first boot and having all this baggage that we’ll never see her again. The other part assumes she’ll be back in 3-4 seasons because that just seems to be what they’re doing with her.

        1. Survivor is not above going against what the fans want and bringing back people because they want them back.

          Case in point – the viewers voted not to bring back Troyzan and Brad in Cambodia. So the show decided “The hell with what the viewers want – we’re bringing them back later anyway!”

  27. “I’d like to be the first to say welcome to the Red Lobster team, Debbie!”
    “Thank you, sir. By the way, you never told me how much I’d be making.”
    “We’ll be paying you in free waitstaff training!”

    1. I’d like to know exactly what kind of counter-intelligence training is involved in the air corps thing she was talking about. I’m pretty sure it’s just flying planes around from base to base. Who are they supposed to be worried about, zie Germans?

      1. It was a sexual harassment seminar they told her was counter-intelligence training in order to shut her up.

  28. I am going to broach a controversial topic: who got mentioned and brought out on stage at the MvGX reunion.
    So far two of them have been the first two boots. Meanwhile, Sandra and Cirie seem to be in trouble, Tai and Michaela is murky while Caleb and Ozzy is sitting pretty. What does this all mean?

        1. Survivor Facebook users do love suggesting a season with all returning medically evacuated players.

          1. Well they do not have enough of them for that. I read somewhere there were 14 overall. And I think 12 were male. There were players that were injured but not evacuated (like Missy).

        2. They needed to hype him as a mega player to counteract the fact that they almost killed him.

    1. It means that they wanted us to all get excited and then disappointed when the final 3 are Troy, Brad, and FFSDT.

        1. You’re right. Should have said Sarah instead of FFSDT. That would be better for my fantasy team.

  29. “You see this? This the queen. She smart, she fast. She move any way she want, as far as she want. And she is the go-get-shit-done piece.” -D’Angelo Barksdale, THE WIRE.

  30. Man, I was super worried in the second half when it was Tony vs. Sandra. The editors like playing with us. I was so scared it was Sandra, because all of those little things they show right before someone goes home were there. But not only did Sandra not go home, no one voted against her. Not even Tony! It was so surprising to see that even he didn’t vote against Sandra, especially when he seemed so adamant about getting her out. Sad as I am that Tony is gone so soon, this is why I love Sandra. She makes damn sure that she isn’t going home.

    1. Yeah, so, since it was a split vote plan, and Tony wound up partaking in the split vote, does he get a VTEP point for his own boot?

    2. The editors were obviously making false drama there. They do that a lot, and I’m sure it’s even easier on returnee seasons because everyone is playing so much harder. But it seems pretty obvious that the original idea carried the day and the rest was a red herring.

      1. I think it wasn’t until tribal council when, ironically, Sandra was talking about how she was worried that it was her that I thought, “Okay, maybe she’s safe.” Still, I wasn’t entirely convinced that she wasn’t going home. But that’s just me worrying about Sandra in general.

        1. I feel like on a vote that lopsided, things were decided well ahead of time. Surely, Tony put up a fight to put the target on Sandra, but since she didn’t get a single vote, it was a huge failure.

          1. It looks like once the tides had firmly turned against Tony, the others all decided it was better to fall in line than risk being obviously on the wrong side of the vote. Psychologically, probably the right decision – it means they don’t officially cross the line into being ‘the enemy’, so there’s still room to manuoevre.

          2. Good for everyone but Aubry! She’s one of my favorites and now I’m really worried about her.

          3. I think she’ll be fine. Sandra’s only real beef with her was that she was aligned with Tony, and now that he’s gone I don’t feel like Aubry stays as the main target. Especially with the swap about to happen.

          4. Except, I don’t know if that’s true.
            One thing that really surprised me was that Sandra put the target on Aubry saying that she was always going off with Tony. I would have thought it would have been Caleb, or even Malcolm before Aubry, so I have to wonder if this wasn’t a two birds with one stone type of play. Get out Tony, but if not get out strategic threat and Koah-Rong-4 Aubry. I think she might be in danger

          5. Yeah, that’s true. I guess the thing that had me leaning towards ‘Sandra has nothing against Aubry’ is that she apologised to her during her voting confessional, but it really could go either way. Maybe I’m just hoping Aubry’s safe because I want her to be able to play longer

          6. It looked like Tony realized that he didn’t have the votes to get out Sandra, and someone (maybe Michaela?) told him Sandra’s alliance were splitting the votes between him and Aubry. So he told his alliance (what was left of them), minus Aubry, to vote for Aubry, hoping to get Aubry voted out, or maybe force a tie?

  31. My favorite Sandra moment was how smoothly she avoided saying anything to the group in the first episode until she got a read on the situation. Tony asked her point blank at the well who she wanted to vote for, and she managed to get them to reveal what they knew about everyone’s plans before giving a firm answer.

    1. what was funny was how everyone else was going to let her slide at first and Tony tried to insist because he is good enough to try and nail her down and he still couldn’t

      1. The thing about Sandra that people who dismiss her tend to overlook is that she is *really* good at committing to her lies, and also able to tell you to your face that she doesn’t trust you in a way that gets you to trust her. No one is as good as she is at doing that.


  32. I don’t know how y’all keep up with this chat. This is like when all of my 4th graders are talking at the same time. (But with less talk about Minecraft.)
    Also, I don’t feel like we’re giving enough love to Michaela for asking Troy “Is that your real name?” Because that was beautiful.

      1. It’s 3.48 in the morning for me.

        Luckily I’d booked tomorrow off work before I even realised it was the Survivor premiere.

        1. Smart move. My students are taking a practice test all day tomorrow, so all I have to do is sit around and grade papers. That doesn’t require a ton of energy.

          1. The Buffy Cross and Stake, back in the days of the Voy forums. We all liked each other so much we actually all went on vacations together, to Vegas, London, Philadelphia, etc. The board is dead, but a lot of us still keep in touch. But we used to be posting on there every day and night, and any time there was a new episode, you’d stay up until 3am discussing it.

          2. Oh man, this is making me nostalgic for the days of the Official Coldpay forum (no, I wasn’t a Coldplay fan, it’s a complicated story) except I haven’t talked to any of them in a couple of years.

          3. I wish I was an internet board nerd back then! Although I was like 14 so probably not the best for me to be meeting adults like that.

          4. Yeah, I was going to say “we hung out with lots of 16 year olds” but that makes it sound bad. But there were a few that were like 7 years younger than me at the time that wound up becoming some of my best friends from the board.

          1. Oh boy! I can’t wait to read Matt’s gleeful posts about me being stuck with just Debbie in Outcasts League. This is gonna be worse than having Rodney in WA.

          2. I snagged Troy and Debbie in Champions League. You’ll all be weeping when Sandra beats them at FTC and I’m the ultimate victor.

          3. That was SNP’s plan in Outcasts until I scooped up Troyzan before he could. No really. That’s how the Outcasts draft went.

          4. When Probst tossed her the flint, I really wanted her to say, “Thanks, but we don’t need fire. I looked at the water and it’s totally safe.”

          5. Tony. And if Debbie had gone home instead I could have comforted myself with the fact that if I only had one person left it would be the one that could still get me the win. Not so much now.

            I hope Debbie has a shitty birthday.

    1. You will always get upvotes for shitting on Troy. As far as keeping up with the chat, it’s gotten much less manageable since AVClub shut down regular reviews. It takes a lot of effort now, and you’re guaranteed to miss a lot.

      1. Yeah, sorry about that. Although it’s certainly a better problem to have than a comments section filled with crickets.

        I’d be interested in switching to a more manageable commenting system, but I haven’t seen one.

        1. For the most part, I don’t HATE disqus. It’s just when it’s buggy it’s REALLY buggy. Still the best one I’ve encountered.

    2. Well I’m getting no work done tonight – that’s how I’m keeping up. Doing the chat, watching the Expanse and Major Crimes.

        1. Wednesday seems to be the night that a lot is on: Survivor, The Expanse, Major Crimes, the 100 and I just saw the tivo recording Ripper Street. Its the one night I try to leave work on time. (And I know the 100 is not great. I like it.)

    3. Do you want us to talk more about Minecraft? It’s um… got blocks in it and shit? I think it’s like Stardew Valley for people who arent yet weeping for when they were children and life was simple?

      1. Haha. I swear I spend 10% of my day saying “Minecraft is not related to the American Revolution.”
        I don’t know much about it, but it’s kind of like virtual Lego.

        1. I’d rather my daughter play Minecraft than obsess over the stupid plastic pieces of crap that are Shopkins…

        2. Have you tried just flipping that. I’m sure somebody is doing war reenactments in Minecraft and posting them to youtube.

          We’re doing a program to help students who are behind at a school that’s struggling right now, and the other day one of my colleagues was getting her students to understand inertia by watching clips from Gravity.

          1. There possibly are. There are Lego reenactments, too, but none of them are spectacular. I’m student teaching right now, and I know my Cooperating Teacher wouldn’t be into it. But definitely when I have my own class.

    4. You just accept you’ll miss stuff. You might write something that’s already being discussed way downthread and you try your best to stay up to date on disqus.

    5. It’s kind of exploded in the last few times. It used to be easy to hang in every discussion, now it just moves so fast.

  33. I have mostly wiped the entirety of One World from my brain, so with that in mind…I found Troy unobjectionable this episode.

    I’m sorry.

      1. Maybe I should wait a couple days, but Tony is the reason Tony and Sandra went after each other. I’m fine blaming Troy though.

      2. I’m not so sure. I think they were so fundamentally incompatible that pretty much anything could and would have been the tipping point.

          1. “Tony, there’s a horse in the ocean that farts out idols. That’s how idols are hidden this season.”

    1. Reminding yourself that this is a grown man who wants people to call him TROYZAN helps considerably.

          1. Fortunately, it’s spring.

            (Except in Florida, where it’s pretty much always summer. Other than like two glorious months when it’s “chilly summer”.)

          2. I live in San Antonio. It’s summer until January. And I’m getting really good at these hashtags!

          3. It’s always fucking warm in Florida. I own jeans that I haven’t worn in 3 years because it’s never cool enough outside to wear anything but shorts.

  34. Is everybody ready for all the people online who are going to say that Sandra doesn’t have a strategic bone in her body still? LOLZ. She could literally win again, and there will be people who don’t give her credit.

    Long live the fucking Queen.

    But I do want to extend some love to those grieving Tony, who weren’t ready to see him get voted out. I know there are people who feel the way about Tony the way that I feel about Sandra. I’m sorry.

    1. Seriously. Even if Sandra is out next week, she has already defended her title. First she stays out of it and votes with the tribe and gets into a safe alliance. Then when Tony gets paranoid, rather than try to stick it out and win him back, she immediately realizes things went sour and, as Varner said, puts together an alliance in “15 minutes” to save herself. One of the largest challenge liabilities organized a vote split when Malcolm, Caleb, Tony, and Michaela were all saying they should get rid of the weaker physical players. It’s just unreal to think about.

      1. It really was masterful. And it showed that “anybody but me” is a simplification of her. She’s so much more.

        And I think you’re right – no matter what, she’s already defended the title. She got through the first two votes without a single one against, masterminded a vote (with a split, no less), and got rid of one of the best players of all time who was ready to target her.

      2. Not only did she do all that, she did something really well that we didn’t see I think, because I was expecting a 4-3-2 split at that tribal with Malcolm, Caleb, Tony, and Aubry voting together. She must have been damn sure to split that vote

        1. I think when it came down to it, no one wanted to tank their game for Tony. Sure, they might have wanted to work with him for a time, but he’s not in anyone’s endgame plans. It wasn’t worth the fight.

          Malcolm may actually be the biggest beneficiary of this. With Tony gone, I figure he inherits Caleb.

          1. Probably true. Still early enough that as long as there is a name out there that isn’t yours, you just roll with it (MICHAELA)
            Malcolm definitely gets Caleb, Caleb is all about the bro-down alliances

          2. While this is likely true, it’s funny that his biggest alliance in Survivor before this was with Tai – the ultimate bro!

    2. I honestly was kind’ve hoping she’d talk all season long about getting rid of Tony, then not get rid of him, then win against him in the finals. I’d love how it would break all the brains of the haters.

    3. I’m so worried about her. She was so fucking enjoyable. But she showed so much of her ability and I think only Malcolm had spotted her true ability before but if the rest don’t know that she’s very dangerous then they are even stupider than I thought before.

        1. Well no not really, because tony voted for Ciera, so that person did not match the immortal Bassmanxvi

    1. Holy shit, you’re right!

      But the all-time Champions League low of zero points was not matched. This will easily be the second-lowest score ever, though.

    2. monitorman’s team is exactly why I stopped picking players I like. That’s the kind of team I would’ve picked before the Costanza strategy. I may not win with my current team, but I won’t be dead last!

        1. I picked her in Cambodia, because I have terrible judgement.

          Edit: Also picked Varner and Vytas

          1. I was predicting Ciera as the first boot long before you recorded. In fact I remember going public with it in the staff chat to make sure I wouldn’t get accused of copying!

          2. The great thing about arguments like this is you both can basically just make up facts about the past because neither of you will remember.

        2. Yup. though I picked Tony to avoid her in my league (and let Troy fall), so its not like it worked out much better

  35. Oh, hey I just remembered! Another reason for people to hate on Debbie: Unless I’m deaf (which could be a possibility), I am pretty sure she was pronouncing Cirie’s name as ‘Shiree’. It bugged the hell out of me.

      1. If only.

        Actually, no. I don’t think I could take it. It’s already hard enough with Tony vs. Sandra and Cirie vs. Sandra.

        1. The most appropriate way for this season to go is that Sandra just takes out all the other favorites. She’s the Littlefinger of Survivor. She’ll burn the whole thing to the ground if she can rule over the ashes.

    1. I assume the only reason Debbie is back is because Coach said no.

      (Really CBS, if you want a Coach-like character on your “Game Changers” season, just get Coach.)

  36. “I figured Michaela would be cool.”

    I’m still laughing at the fact anyone could say that with a straight face.

  37. Reminder/announcement: Tomorrow night at 9:15 Eastern, Emma and Kelley Wentworth will be doing a LIVE podcast. You’ll (hopefully) be able to submit questions live, but you can also do so beforehand if you’d prefer.

    1. Emma, please make Kelley pick all her favorite songs off Deja Entendu. If she hasn’t listened to it before, make her listen to if before tomorrow.

    2. I think I now how you and Andy would respond, so I’d like to hear it from a former player: Aside from the easy “Kim in One World” answer, which winner/season combo has the greatest disparity in quality? Wentworth might be political and dodge this question, but I think the answer from a different perspective would be insightful.

    3. Could you ask her if she had a chance to play with returnees, who she would choose for the season?

      Her answer probably won’t be as good as Ozzy saying Cao Boi, but it’d still be interesting to hear.

        1. You just know Ozzy has already asked Tai if he ever does any ‘special’ gardening. Like five times.

  38. They are setting Debbie up for humiliation, right? They showed her mangling Cirie’s name and claiming that no one can outsmart her. This has to be the start of Drewchebag level stuff, right?

    1. On top of that, the longest scene with Debbie is her filling water bottles, just to remind us that she a horrible person who falsified water tests.

  39. Unintentionally funniest line of the night: Sarah: “I have a great social game”.

    I could not stop thinking about the time she went power mad with being the swing vote.

    1. How about when she said that she played a 100% loyal game last time? Apparently she forgot about the time she flipped on Tony and got herself voted out because Tony flipped Kass.

        1. “What are you talking about? Trish didn’t flip me, I flipped all on my own! No one changed my mind, I did it all by myself.”

          1. That could be true of course but it could also be just one more opinion. I go by what I actually saw on the show.

          1. Who knows. That’s a he said, she said game and I just go by what I see from my couch.

            But if it is true, it is another example (I’ve heard but don’t recall others) of how the editing downplayed Jefra’s effectiveness.

      1. In Sarah’s defense, Tony flipped on her with the “Top Five!” outburst. Whether you believe that Tony meant it or not when he said it, as far as Sarah was concerned, Tony had flipped on her.

    2. She actually said that she has a “phenomenal” social game. Since phenomenal is generally at least three rungs above great it’s even funnier.

      1. My husband, the casual viewer, turned to me and said, “So, she’s getting voted off?”

  40. “Queen Stays Queen” is my new favorite tautology.

    I…don’t think I’ve ever watched a Sandra season! So this was fun, like watching live pyromania.

    As you all know, I have terrible taste in men. Caleb is perfect. That is all.

        1. Here’s what it is:

          1 person chooses between 6 people to date. (Wait, don’t leave! It gets better!)
          The decision is made by revealing the naked bodies of the potential dates: first the lower half, then the torso, then the face, and finally the voice. The decision-maker must eliminate someone at every round. When it is down to just two potential dates remaining, the person picking gets naked.

          And though the show may be British, it is not remotely Victorian. You see *everything*. Like close-ups. It’s insane.

          1. You watch like the first 5 minutes, then you just can’t look away! They do critiques of penises and butts and pubes as if they’re at a grocery store selecting produce! (Wait, that sounds like I’m saying produce has pubes…)

          2. Oh jesus, where can this trainwreck be found? *knowing full well I will watch every episode*

          1. Thirded. I decided to watch the first little part of the first episode just to see what it was like and ended up promptly binging the entire season

  41. I love how costuming was like “Hey Aubry, you got any more sweaters with weird fractal patterns on them,” and she was like “well, as a matter of fact…”

    1. I doubt this is intentional, but her wacky demeanor actually makes her seem less threatening. I’ve never been as wrong about a player in the preseason as I was about Aubry (and I’ve never been as right as I was about Ken).

          1. I mean, I upvoted it, but you’re right. It’s not fair to Woo because he isn’t nearly as much of a smug douche as Ken.

          2. Oh, the heady days of early MvX, when I was pointing out how Ken was obviously a complete douche and nobody would listen to me.

      1. I may have upset my roommate tonight because she asked which one was Aubry and I said, “the one who kind of looks like you.”

      2. It is 100% on purpose. Everyone is in an out for like their first. You think Ozzy at 34 owns a camouflage tshirt?

          1. Come on, a man doesn’t continue to wear camouflage t-shirts after dating Lindsey Lohan!

          2. How else is he gonna hide from Lindsey Lohan? I mean, you could wear a sandwichboard that says “I don’t have any cocaine,” I guess?

        1. I seem to recall Stephen saying after Cambodia that for the most part they were all told to wear something similar to their first time playing, except for a few like him who were allowed to change to show growth/change. So I imagine its similar here, except in cases like Varner and Ozzy, its their most recent time

        2. 1.) Yeah, seriously, it’s still Ozzy.

          2.) They didn’t know the theme, but the HvV cast figured out the tribe divisions before the season because you could ask people what colors costuming was asking them to use in their submissions. The ‘dress like you did your first time’ instruction fixes that.

          1. Ummm have you seen this season? they clearly had the tribes split up before Nat Anderson pulled out as everyone is in red or blue and then Malcolm and Aubry are both in all blue on the orange tribe and Brad and Tai are in orange on the blue tribe!

  42. It’s interesting to me to see Sandra in such a dominant role on her tribe. It’s also interesting to note that this is the first time that she’s on a tribe that’s down in numbers (though that may change with the impending switch). I wonder if having to go to tribal council so quickly has pushed her into ‘offense’ mode this early. In Pearl Islands and Heroes vs. Villains, she was on the dominant tribe with more alphas trying to run the show, so aside from cussing at everyone, she was invisible. As long as they were winning, she never had to worry about being labelled the weakest link. Here, people know what she’s capable of, and she can’t just rest on the laurels of her tribe’s dominance. I’m curious to see what she’ll do when the switch happens, because she’s never been on a season with a switch. I hope she pulls through, but I shall wait and see.

  43. Dan Fienberg, THR, bringing it in one perfect sentence: “If you thought of Sandra as being a viper prone to expertly stabbing people in the back, her coordination of the vote against Tony was done in plain sight, so blatant and in-control that she could practically have been sitting on his chest, knife in the air yelling, ‘I’m stabbing you in the front.'”

  44. Hot take: I was worried after the first hour, because I was SO bored. But man, the Tony vs. Sandra war was fun. While I don’t think either are long for this world, if they’re half as entertaining as that, I can’t wait. Go Sandra!

    Was anyone else a stand out? I think I fell asleep during some confessionals. Malcolm seems to be an early narrator, Sierra got the Meh-gacy Advantage (come ON, Andrea), and Ozzy still sucks at strategy. But really, why bother making tribe dynamics interesting when it’s getting remixed next week? Kind of killed the show’s momentum.

    1. I fully agree with this. That first hour was kinda awful (I bet that is part of the reason why they made it a two-hour, two boot episode). But it also felt like a lot of people who needed the shine early like Sarah, SDT, Troy, and Hali were almost after thoughts, especially in that first episode.

      1. Yeah, they certainly didn’t step up the content on the WTF casting choices, which makes me feel good about how this is going to go generally

        1. The only one who got some substance in regards to confessionals was Sarah, but it wasn’t a lot. Hali got some good island scenes as she is sorta set up to be Sandra’s number 2 or 3, which is not good for her in the swap.

          1. Yeah, Sarah is the only one who got “player” confessionals. Hali, like you said, looks like an anonymous swap boot – either as Sandra’s number or just ends up in a bad place

    2. Sierra getting a mediocre advantage by chance is like a joke about her being a pale shadow of Wentworth.

  45. My favorite part about all this is that despite all the chaos, Sandra and Tony voted for the Same. Person. Just so beautifully absurd.

    I’m really sad to lose Tony so soon, but if we had to lose him, this was the only acceptable way.

  46. Whelp, I got TOTALLY played by the edit on that second vote.

    I am deliriously happy (and I love Tony).

  47. I watched this three hours ago, and I’m honestly still shook. I don’t think it’s too far out there to say that we’re in for a great season. This may possibly top Cambodia, though to hear Barbara Anderson say it, Cambodia is the Mendoza Line of Survivor seasons. Then again, to hear me talk about Cambodia, I probably sound like Hawk Harrelson, claiming that the greatest batting practice there ever was happened on July 7th, 1968, at Fenway Park, held by Reggie Smith. And Stoney, Reggie was not a particularly large player—and that’s strike one—he topped out about six feet. And he wasn’t particularly built either, not like the Big Hurt Frank Thomas. But lemme tell you, Stoney, Reggie could hit them like Frank. Yes, he could. He’d be spraying them every which way, and on this batting practice—the count’s now two-and-one—Reggie started left-handed, he always started left-handed, and he was just hitting balls clear over the Monster. Because he could. He had that strength. And the sound of the bat? Crisper than a Sarasota morning in July. I think he rattled off seven of those, and then he switched to batting right-handed because he was a switch-hitter, Stoney, you don’t see many of those nowadays. You’ve got Melky. Carlos Beltran, he’s good. Victor Martinez, he just absolutely kills us. Every time he faces one of our guys, the at-bat usually ends in his favor. But you don’t see many others. Anyway—and the last at-bat was a single for Tyler, Yolmer now at 0 and 2—not a lot of switch-hitters. The last great one was Chipper Jones, he could hit. A first-ballot Hall-of-Famer if there ever was one. And, um, wait this post was supposed to go somewhere. That’s right, the PRP Fantasy Baseball League! We’re trying to reach 12 players, and this may end up being the last night we recruit. Even if this is the first PRP post you’ve read or commented in, we’re asking you to consider joining. I think it’s worth mentioning that we’ve got some of the coolest PRP regulars in @BlackDynamite and @KemperBoyd and one of the podcast’s founders in @PurpleRockAndy. But that shouldn’t even matter because if you made it through that entire post, then this league is for you. So comment below before the league fills because we’re cutting off at 12. This may be your last chance; don’t wait to claim a spot.

      1. I mean, define regular. If you mean scoring, that’s yet to be decided. But it’ll be hosted on Yahoo, if that matters to regularity.

    1. Needs more Yaz for real Hawk Harrelson-ness. My God, you must have watched as much White Sox baseball as I have.

      1. But that would be disingenuous because Reggie Smith had the best batting practice, and not, as you would expect, the great Carl Yastrzemski. But Yaz, he had, I swear, the best batting eye in all my fifty years of baseball. You couldn’t best it. There was one time he was at the plate, it was a full count–and now the count is 1-and-2–and there bases were loaded. Changeup just outside, but he’s Carl Yastrzemski, and he’s tracking it–and a slider down and away, 2-and-2–he knows it’s a changeup all the way, and being Yaz, he could have easily dropped that in left field and drove in a run. But what does he do? He takes and walks in the run! And now Yolmer’s struck out, back to the top of the order with Timmy, Tyler still at first. But the pitcher, Stan Williams, from out on the mound, he’s sure it’s a strike. So he’s barking at the umpire like a pit bull at a squirrel, and Yaz knows what he saw, so he just drops the bat and saunters on over to first.

      1. Then you just claimed the last spot. Can you dm me your email on Twitter at @BradleyDer?

  48. Tonight was a good test in me figuring out which of the amazing Survivor players I’m most rooting for this season. While I was bothered by Tony and Sandra being potential targets, the mere mention of Aubry being involved in a vote split caused me to freak out. I can’t bear to see Aubry ever go.

    1. True. Aubry>Michaela>Cirie>Malcolm/Sandra seems to be my current hierarchy of interest right now. Aubry and Michaela might swap though, since we have seen so little of Michaela.

    2. I had the same experience- my emotional reaction to this episode crystallized my season fandom.

      Personally my top-tier ranking shook out as Sandra>Cirie>Michaela>Tony. I spent most of the second episode DEVASTATED that Sandra was going to lose her power struggle with Tony. And then there’s a less clearly defined second tier for me of roughly Aubry>Zeke>Malcolm>Varner.

      I also discovered a list of who I’m really routing against consisting of Debbie < Ozzie . It turns out I want Ozzie to suffer more than expected.

      Bear in mind I have never seen Brad or Troyzan before, or they would likely make my bottom list. But as of right now, they inspire no emotion in me.

  49. That second hour was so awesome and painful but mainly awesome. Damn you Troyzan for ruining something beautiful because the idea of Sandra + Aubry + Tony was heaven to me. Well I guess Tony really ruined it for himself. Very satisfying to watch Sandra run shit without breaking a sweat. She’s the best villain ever. I loved how she had to say that “I really do not care about who gets voted off” TWICE, just in case any viewers mistakenly thought she was trying to be funny or ironic.

    Also painful but not at all awesome was watching Cirie strike out with Sarah (ugh), Zeke, and Debbie. Thank the sweet Lord that there is a swap. I would love it if she recreated a Panama type alliance by bringing together a solid team of emotional misfits and one golden boy and then ran things behind the scenes. Troyzan, Tai, Michaela, Malcolm… bring them all together Cirie! But who knows what she’ll do and if she’ll get out of trouble. She can play a nimble game and has played from the bottom before and succeeded, so I have a little hope.

    Michaela was my favorite from last season but as someone else has said, she just seems outclassed here. She’s still wonderful though. What a fun personality and very easy on the eyes.

    There is something hypnotic about Aubry. I just like watching her think.

    “Chickens will get Tai in trouble” was some very bizarre foreshadowing, maybe? I don’t think I’ve seen a survivor’s fate be tied to chicken care before.

    It is so hard for me to even look at Ozzy. Oh and good riddance to completely overrated Ciera.

    For some reason I found it endearing that JT and Sandra and Tony all put on the pounds before coming out to survivor island. Life must be treating them well! Adding in Cirie and Varner, that’s a lot of chub this season. Which makes me happy because I am strongly against having to watch Caleb type bodies all the time.

    I’m so glad to be back on this blog! Now I have a bunch of articles to catch up on. That Sandra vs. Cirie one looks very tantalizing.

    1. I think Sandra ruined it first by underestimating just how paranoid and impulsive Tony is. Once she got caught talking to Troy and made those TERRIBLE [unnecessary] lies, it was all over. She had to get Tony out, or it would have been her.

      That said, I don’t know if she can recover from appearing so aggressive so early, when she doesn’t have the physical game to back herself up.

      1. Well, there is the fact that Tony is a paranoid mess and was literally scurrying around like a bug on his hands and knees so he could sneak around and listen to people. For a winner, I’m surprised he didn’t realize that smart players will listen to other players tossing around names and at least let them think they are making a solid point. Confronting Sandra in front of Troy didn’t even allow her to explain things to him rationally, so she had to make a quick and unfortunately stupid lie. Because Tony was a paranoid mess! If I’m going to call anything terrible or unnecessary, it would be all of Toni’s actions.

        1. I agree. But I’m in the weird position of both liking Tony and feeling that I’d have been pissed off if he HADN’T gone home, because getting rid of Tony is clearly the most sensible play for pretty much everyone. It’s like David last season – the best TV is rarely the same as the best play.

          1. I feel like the same way. Tony is one of my favorites. But that said, it played out beautifully and in the end I was rooting for Sandra and against him.

    1. Jeff would be a really bad player. He’s got no instinct for what players are interested in and afraid of. Ciera always comes across as though she’s thinking too much and when you couple it with her reputation it freaks people out. If Hali had said what Ciera did in episode 1 they wouldn’t have voted her out but Ciera also doesn’t learn that the perception of her is dangerous and she needs to calm down for the first 10 days.

      1. Totally agree. He’s looking at the game as a producer, not someone calculating their best chance at winning $1,000,000. You do have to make some moves to win the game, but not always (*cough* Michele *cough*). Jeff’s biggest issue is that he, like Russell, doesn’t understand the jury portion of the game. He is constantly trying to manipulate the jury, but humans are unpredictable. Someone who is able to make it to the end and play a game correctly prediction what will be rewarded by the jury is the person who will and should win every season. Ciera making #BigMoves makes her good TV; not a good Survivor player.

        1. Some players have to win first time and I think Ciera is one of them. She’s not a bad player but she plays a way you can’t with a reputation.

          1. That’s a really good point. I think Russell is another one of those players, though he had a unique second chance with HvV. Tony is one who I think could only win his first time, and luckily for him, he did. Now I’m going to be thinking of other players that fit in this category all day.

          2. Cirie somehow got a second shot but after Micronesia I think she’s in a lot of trouble every time she plays. I think Aubry could be in the same boat.

          3. There’s obviously not a big enough sample size of two-time winners but logically it has to help if your first win can be interpreted as lucky or unearned. Fabio or Michele wouldn’t be targeted the way Kim or Boston Rob would.

          4. You can also apply this to people who didn’t win. Like their style of play won’t work a second time after everyone knows their deal.

  50. Sandra calling out to Tony after he was voted out was one of her worst move on Survivor. She needs to use that against people who are hated and still around not make a huge pronouncement of how good she is.

    1. I agree. I don’t think she’s used to having this much power. I mean, it’s only one vote and things can shift so quickly. Tony is hugely respected so I think comments like that are pretty foolish on her part. I guess you could argue that the target on her back can’t really get any larger so it might not be a big deal. Sometimes it’s the little comments that can twist perceptions though.

      I love Sandra and would take her any day over Tony but she was testing me a bit tonight with the constant “I’m the queen” talk. She was still my favourite thing about the second episode and her aggressive gameplay was amazing to watch but if she’s like this in every confessional from now on I’m going to get a bit sick of it. I like her a lot more as an underdog.

      1. People forget she was in power for much of her game in Pearl Islands. We was in the numbers for all of the pre-merge and worked her way there in the post-merge. The issue is she never showed she had any power.
        How on earth could you get sick of this Sandra in confessional? This is what I love, snarky, funny and right!
        After the tribe switch she needs to move back into the middle of an alliance not out front in one.

        1. Hmm true, that’s a good point – this is the first time she’s really used her power to actively campaign against someone. I guess a complete 180 on her usual strategy isn’t a terrible idea, because she probably has to change something up to go for the win, but I mean it’s still such early days and everyone else is so passive so it’s dangerous territory. Yeah, I hope she blends back into the shadows after the switch. I hope the damage hasn’t already been done though.

          Aha, I love the snark and the constant digs at everyone else, they’re hilarious and she’s great, but I feel like her use of the word queen was slightly excessive tonight and I really hope her ego doesn’t get the best of her. It wasn’t a HUGE problem, I’m just saying if she repeats that she’s the queen in all of her future confessionals I might begin to start rolling my eyes a bit.

          1. You can see in the way a lot of her snark is laughed at at tribal that she is really well liked. She’s not kidding when she says “Jeff, everyone loves me”. It’s a great part of her game, she entertains at camp and remember it’s a lot of sitting around doing nothing.
            The Queen thing needs toning down but she’s right, she’s the Queen of Survivor. I don’t think there will be another 2 time winner until a winners season but I’d never count out there being a 3 time winner in a couple of months time.

          2. I’m with you on her trying to push her catchphrase. It made air three times – I doubt those are the only three times she used it. I hope she feels like she got her money’s worth and will tone it down now.

            I’m here for the arrogance. Not for the repetition.

          3. Sandra: It’s my job to be repetitive. My job. My job. Repetitiveness is my job! I am going to go on Survivor and give the best performance of my life.
            Viewers: The best performance of your life?
            Sandra: The best performance of my life.

    2. One of the key reasons she won HvV was how the jury was able to see her as being against Russell, unlike Parvati. I can see that playing into her strategy with calling out Tony.

      1. Except he’s gone. It’s not worth it in episode 2. What worked for her is going against Russell and Fairplay as those guys went far and pissed off the jury.

  51. I just woke up and realized…. if Tony had finished his ridiculous spy bunker, he actually would have been close enough to hear their conversation and wouldn’t have had a reason to get paranoid.

      1. Troy mentioned Tony was a threat and Sandra was in the process of shutting him down I think

        1. Actually I think Troy was saying that he didn’t think Tony was something they had to worry about, but Tony only heard Troy say “Tony”

          1. So either way, the premise was basically “we aren’t voting for Tony”, all he heard was Tony, then he blew it up and got himself voted out

          2. Well he confronted them and they were obviously lying so he thought “they have to be talking about me” which frankly was a good assumption

    1. Tony was never going to finish that thing. It wasn’t a bunker it was just a weird fucking hole he made next to the well. It’s really hard to make a secret hiding spot when, less than an hour after you start it, the tribe starts talking about the big hole you just made.

      1. The spy bunker was particularly unimpressive coming the day after the season premiere of The Americans.

      2. I just wanted one scene with Tony in the Spy Bunker, covered with dirt and debris, with his nose poking out, and the rest of the tribe standing at the well looking at him, knowing that he’s there, but they just talk about boring stuff to see how long he’ll lie there.

  52. I had a realisation during this episode. Hali’s voice is crazy annoying. I really do not get Andy’s thing about her.

    1. THIS. I can’t stand the sound of her voice! There’s something about it that drives me up a wall. She talks like she’s partially deaf.

      1. I could deal with it if she were partially deaf but as she played with Nina that she isn’t.

    2. First of all: Did anyone else notice the awkward subtitling under her first confessional?
      Secondly: She has a weird Southern accent mixed with a Valley girl thing, which is not a good combo.

      1. I assume that’s a consequence of growing up in Tennessee and then moving to the Bay Area.

          1. It’s certainly not confined to the San Fernando Valley. Uptalk is everywhere, and to be frank, I am not here for criticism of women’s voices (see: discussions of fry talk, whenever Sophie appears on RHAP, etc.)

  53. Credit to Sandra, she got her way. But I am not sure it is was right move for her at all –

    – Yes, it was Tony who pissed her off first by confronting her. But her and Troyzan’s lies were just so terrible that I don’t blame him for overreacting. Side story is that she and Troyzan are friends in real life (Yes, smoke on that John!) so it seems cert that they had an alliance going in. Anyway, after that episode, she was the one who started the Tony out movement first. Tony only responded in kind afterwards. Not sure why the departure from her usual game. Fairplay pissed her off a lot as well but we never saw her gunning for him in such an aggressive manner. She even did not come after Russell with such open aggression.

    – She is great TV but I am not sure I need her repeating the phrase “The queen stays the queen” every 5 minutes. She is hamming it up too much and playing a caricature of herself. I don’t think she expects to win this season. Shades of Richard Hatch from All Stars IMO.

    1. Hmm I initially wasn’t sure if it was the smartest move either, I would have liked to have seen Tony and Sandra stick together, but the more I think about it, would it have really worked out? I feel like if they went through with their original alliance the other players would have been savvy enough to form a counter alliance against them and vote them out at consecutive tribals.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks that re: your last point. She’s wonderful but it was a bit excessive tonight. It was fun then almost veered towards obnoxiousness. Hopefully she was just giving the editors what they wanted for this episode. It wasn’t a huge problem for me, but if she continues with it for all of her future confessionals it’s going to become a bit tiring.

      1. It is a weird assist from the editors though too. Was Sandra literally just saying nothing but “the queen stays the queen, adios” for hours on end so they had to include it in the premiere like 3 different times?

        1. Haha hmm yeah, you’d think they could mix it up a bit. I’m sure she had a lot of great content to choose from. I suppose maybe the editors were just trying way too hard to push the whole King vs Queen thing to make the vote as dramatic as possible.

      1. Sandra’s was plausible but not good. Troy’s not so much.

        Usually Sandra’s a good liar.

        1. I think what didn’t help the situation is that they were both telling different lies, which automatically proves you are both lying. So, once Troy said “we’re looking at the tide”, they were both screwed since Sandra has some common sense to know that Tony wouldn’t believe that.

  54. As much as I loved the Sandra Tony feud in second episode, the story telling of the boot was flat out terrible IMO. I think it was Carrie in AVClub reviews who often complained that just for a few moments of viewer suspense, survivor editors don’t tell a proper story of the boot. Same thing sort of happened here.

    You needed a key confessional from both Malcolm and Michaela as to why they went with Sandra’s numbers in the end. May be a word from Aubry too.

      1. Idol protection, I assume. However….

        If Tony has the idol and then votes for someone else – say Malcolm or Caleb – it’s now a 1-1 tie. He would get a vote in the revote and would 100% cause a stalemate and send everyone else to rocks, thus protecting 3/4 of his alliance from the random draw. So yeah, I’ve decided I love this new tiebreaker twist.

          1. I think either someone like Caleb or Malcolm talked to Tony at the last minute and confirmed that he was voting for Aubrey. It still a risk, though. Maybe a third person was supposed to vote Aubrey and screwed it up.

          2. I think Sandra thought he was voting for her, thus she voted for Aubry (her first boot choice) so that if it Tony used an idol it would be 1-1 and there is more chance that 7 people can’t be unanimous and it’s a rock draw and she’s safe.

          1. I probably shouldn’t have said “revote”. He’d get to be part of unanimous decision… and he’d absolutely love sending them to rocks.

      2. I was more confused about Tony’s vote for Aubry, but now I’m realizing it was probably a Shirin/Spencer situation.

      3. They discussed that in the episode. They wanted to split but still screwed it up I think. If tony plays idol and votes Sandra instead of aubry. It’s then tie between Sandra and Aubrey. Then tony can force them to either boot Sandra or pick rocks.

      4. All I want to know is if she gets Fantasy League points for VTEP since she was attempting a split with the possibility of Tony having an idol, especially considering that she explicitly stated that’s what she was doing in her voting confessional.

          1. Awesome…she says and then remembers Sandra isn’t even on her own fantasy team. Oops.

    1. I agree – I appreciated the surprise factor, but we’re definitely missing pieces about why the people we thought were in Tony’s alliance voted with the majority here. Hopefully at least a couple of them will address it at the beginning of next episode (Malcolm for sure, as he stepped up as a strong voice of narration in the first ep, I thought)

    2. I’ve often complained about this too, but I understand why they do it. They often have the confessional you’re asking for in the opening of the next episode.

      It’s kind of fun to rewatch tribal council knowing how people are really voting.

  55. I think I am in denial. I blacked out after that third Tony vote and am re-experiencing the trauma this morning.

  56. Something I just noticed: a lot of my favorite players wear glasses at some point on the show: Wentworth, Aubry, Michaela, Cochran. Sandra said she wears glasses now. I like people who can’t see good.

          1. I’d agree, although I will admit that at least part of that could be because it’s her only season in HD, and it’s hard to watch the non-HD seasons now.

  57. I’m so relieved Sandra made it through the first two tribals!! My fear now is that her game is looking a bit too much like Varner’s in Cambodia: She came out swinging and everyone noticed :/ My hope now is that she can get into a good swap and chill out a bit, but I’m sure that’s wishful thinking 🙂

    1. Sandra works well pre-merge on a big tribe. But going to a tribe of 6 next week, she might be in trouble. If she’s on a tribe that loses and they decide they have to keep the physically stronger players, she doesn’t have a lot of room to hide.

      1. Are they definitely going to 3 tribes? Or is that just the assumption we’re all going with

        1. They most likely are. CBS had multiple buff colors online, plus it makes sense with their love of three tribes and the numbers. This is Cambodia 2.0.

        2. It would be weird if after only 6 days, Jeff said “Drop your buffs!” so that they could give everyone new buffs with the same 2 colors.

          But as Sylvisual said, I think we’re going with this assumption because of Cambodia.

        3. I think Probst confirmed it in an interview preseason actually. They aren’t even hiding this

        4. In the preview for the next episode they show the blue tribe with 6 people all around a campfire. So I’m assuming 3 tribes of six.

          I’ve listed the members below for anyone who wants to know.


          Aubry, Sandra, Malcolm, Varner, Michaela, JT

          1. If that’s true, that’s some real bad luck for JT, being the only member of his tribe on the new tribe. Although on a tribe of 6, are they going to vote out JT, who is probably in the top half of their challenge performers? Plus Aubry and Malcolm were not originally on Sandra’s side for the Tony vote so in theory they could join up with JT and try again to persuade Michaela to keep the tribe strong, which would be a stronger argument in a tribe of 6

      2. Yeah if she’s on a tribe with, say, Ozzy she’d better hope Varner is there too, to counteract the “keep the tribe strong” strategy :/

  58. Non-Sandra (mostly) thoughts:
    I definitely need to rewatch these episodes, because I was so stressed about the outcomes that I don’t think I paid as much attention to the other players and the over all episode editing, etc.
    But over all impressions – I was surprised that Andrea had a pretty invisible edit this episode. I mean, the non-losing tribe didn’t get a ton of screen time in general, but I though Andrea was noticeably quiet. Hopefully that’s not a bad sign for my fantasy team 😮
    I also sort of felt like they were trying to set up FFSDT in the Wentworth role. Not really buying that one :/ But I’ll give her a chance.
    Ozzy, JT and Malcolm all got some attention but nothing felt winner-ish yet. I’m worried about Cirie – hopefully she’ll do better in the swap. LOVED Debbie continually calling her Cherie. Or maybe she thought she was talking to that super memorable Survivor legend Sharia? 😛

    1. Oops I meant Sherea. I guess she’s so memorable that I forgot how to spell it…

    2. I think it could be a good sign for Andrea actually — they are setting up the conflicts on that tribe, and she’s not at the forefront of any of them. She got some screentime and looked able & confident.

      1. True! I worried when they showed her missing the advantage note over and over at the marooning, but with no overtly negative attention in the premiere I think she’ll be okay, at least for a while.

        1. I didn’t even realize it was Andrea stepping on it. Just funny that it was right there and not being noticed. B

        2. I really don’t want to get the edgic ball rolling, but Andrea got one of the very first confessionals. That’s a good sign.

          1. the first first ones were the 4 biggest names on this season. Survivor has to give the fans what they want

          2. doesn’t mean you are wrong, just means that when i was watching last night i think i noticed him after debbie