The Top 10 Moments of Survivor: Game Changers

Before we put this season to bed (no matter how happy we are to do so), let’s take one last look at the top moments of the season. Note: “top” does not mean “best”. That’ll be really important to remember as this list whittles its way down.

10. Tony Goes for a Run

Episode 1 – “The Stakes Have Been Raised”

Those of us that had been hoping for Tony to come back were treated to exactly the sort of thing we were hoping for in the very first episode of his return – Tony hitting the beach, seeing his tribe gathered, and then immediately saying “You all play nice-nice, I’m gonna go look for the idol” before sprinting off into the woods like a maniac. There is no such thing as a dialed-down Tony, so Tony simply leaned into his established reputation, went on offense first, and let everyone else react to him. 

Alas, #TeamTV got just two episodes of these antics before Tony was sent home by a fellow Survivor Hall of Famer. But this moment gave us just a sample of what this season might have been. [John]

9. The Final Tribal Council Game is Changed

Episode 13 – “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Let’s just admit it. Final tribal had gotten stale. Jurors would stand up, give a speech and sit down. The final 3 rarely got a chance to speak anymore, and worse the speeches had turned into bad performance art, obscuring the decision-making process rather than enlightening it. And after the winner-that-shall-not-be-named, Probst vowed changes. Now usually, when this show vows changes, I get worried. I remember Redemption Island; I remember the Medallion of Power; I know how twists can go wrong. But I also forget how often they get twists right! And this is a format change that I think the show nailed.

So why do I think this is a great change? Because having the jury talk to each other in conversation not only adds an element of drama to the proceedings that had been missing, but it also explains why people are voting the way they are. And when a jury has strong partisans of two people it turns it into a debate! An actual discussion of the different merits of not just the finalists, but also the style of play. It also forces jurors to not just sit there and rehearse their speech in their heads, but instead engage in what the other jurors are thinking and what the finalists are saying (but definitely the former more than the latter).

I also can’t help but think about how this format would have made my least favorite ending to a season better. Think about Kaoh Rong! Yes, Scott and Jason would have still been dicks, but I’d love to hear Cydney explain what she was thinking and react to what the people who treated her so terribly in Ponderosa were thinking and voting. And with this format, would the result have been as stunning? I don’t think so.

Now was it perfect? No. The artificial structure Probst imposed on it was silly, and you can easily foresee a scenario where the jury is going to go to someone 10-0 and it just becomes a boring discussion of either that player’s greatness or the other player’s flaws. But those instances are boring final tribal councils anyway. And compared to what jury speeches have become, I think this format is a massive improvement. [Matt]

8. Advantagegeddon

Episode 13 – “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Screencap courtesy of True Dork Times.

The key to any good thriller movie is tension. That moment where you’re waiting for the killer to enter the house or the monster to be revealed. All throughout the post-merge of Survivor: Game Changers, weeks went by when players held onto immunity idols and advantages. After a certain point, you knew the shark was circling the boat. It’s just a matter of when.

Enter the first tribal council of the finale. Tai played both of his idols. Sarah played her legacy advantage. Troy played his big green idol. Brad won a challenge. But with only six people left, that meant someone was getting the short end of the stick. And like a horror movie for longtime fans, Cirie was the victim.

Everyone’s moves were technically sound, and I certainly wouldn’t want fewer idols in the game in the future. But the entire tribal council was rendered moot by its outcome, even though Cirie got a legend’s sendoff. This moment was more memorable for what we lost: not just the best player left, but a possible winner. Remember: if the votes were read, Sarah was going home. The whole game could have really changed then. Not all Survivor firsts are exciting milestones, but this is a game that runs on two parts strategy, one part luck. Let’s remember that we viewers were the lucky ones to have Cirie on screen for all 13 episodes. [Mark]

7. This Advantage is Non-Transferrable

Episode 12 – “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow”

Look, we all make mistakes, right? Like you’ve never misread something before. Of course, we now know Cirie did not in fact get a chance to read Sarah’s advantage before she attempted to play it. Not to mention that it’s very likely that production never actually intended the controversial non-transferable rule to have the consequences it ended up having. But naturally, Sarah knows exactly how to enforce the letter of the law and make sure the advantage ultimately stayed with her.

This moment accomplishes two things:

  1. It highlights how well Sarah played, charisma or not. She was able to ensure trust without actually risking anything valuable, and she managed to make Cirie Fields, Cirie mother fucking “greatest to never win” Fields, look foolish in front of the jury.
  2. Game Changers giveth, Game Changers taketh away. “Wow what a great cast!” Most of the highlights are voted out pre-merge. “The fun characters have the numbers!” They imploded because they don’t trust each other. “Cirie has Sarah’s advantage and is going to do one of her patented Gangster in an Oprah Suit moves!” She didn’t read the fine print. Every time we thought we might have hope, the season yanked it away from us. But at least the winner played well, despite… you know, that other stuff. [Emma]

6. Two Tribes, One Vote

Episode 4 – “The Tables Have Turned”

Those of us that watched Malcolm’s first two seasons were fairly convinced that Malcolm would always face an uphill battle as a returning player. He’s such an easy target – reasonably athletic, impossibly charming, a clever strategist, and so pretty. He’s basically Boy Parvati.

So it shocked all of us here when we looked at this cast, saw Malcolm, and began to ask, “Could Malcolm actually win this season?” It somehow seemed like the show may have stumbled across the right combination of players that would give Malcolm a shot at a win; Malcolm wouldn’t be the biggest challenge beast, the biggest star, or the biggest strategic threat. He was a common draft pick in our fantasy leagues and was our readers’ preseason winner pick.

Early on, things seemed to be going well for him. He worked his way into comfortable spots in his alliances and was doing well for his tribe in challenges (even when they weren’t winning). So even when his tribe was forced to go to a two-tribe tribal council, he seemed well-positioned – his tribe was coming in with a numbers advantage.

And then, as Tai handed the immunity idol to Sierra, the entire season flips. Malcolm goes home, and his weakened tribe loses the next challenge and votes out JT. Imagine a world where Sierra had gone home here – maybe Troy’s tribe loses the next challenge, and Troy somehow gets sent home with an idol in his pocket. The idol play was a great move by Tai, Brad, and Sierra, but it was also a sign that the pregame favorites might be doomed. [John]

5. Cirie and Michaela Talk About “Fitting In”

Episode 8 – “There’s a New Sheriff in Town”

Screencap courtesy of True Dork Times.

“Their perception is reality.” These are profound words spoken by Cirie Fields, a four-time Survivor player and one of greatest minds the game has seen, to Michaela Bradshaw, the young, smart, energetic superstar-in-the-making. The intelligent veteran offering sage advice to the up-and-comer full of potential greatness is nothing new on television. It’s pretty much a sports cliché at this point. It’s probably happened on Survivor before. The conversation between Cirie and Michaela felt different though. The viewers were treated to something special the night of the merge and it was absolutely because we were witnessing two black women navigating through the game together.

At this point in the game, Michaela was not a popular figure among her tribemates. She was being targeted as a vote out option and described by Sierra, in this episode, as someone who was shifty and very blunt, a person she did not want around. Michaela’s story has been filled with negative opinions of her, including the idea that she was ready to explode and ignorant. I couldn’t help but feel tinges of uncomfortable feelings when language like this is used. I have heard it in my own life as a black man and was left wondering if this criticism is warranted or is there something else going on here. Not to say that Sierra or anyone in this season is a racist. It is more so that society has been taught to see black as different and in many cases as lesser. So ingrained into the subconscious that people don’t even realize that they are holding people of color to different, near unrealistic expectations. We have little room for failure, little room to grow as humans. It’s a shitty feeling. A feeling that Michaela knows and one Cirie notices because she knows so well with her vast life experience.

Cirie takes this opportunity to speak to Michaela. She walks through with Michaela how she should act in this grand social experiment so she can be able to move on and continue to succeed. Ideas like always being pleasant around the others, making sure that others are comfortable around them. Don’t let others see you be mad, don’t let them see you be down. There are many takeaways I got from this scene. Yeah, there is frustration that the conversation is even necessary. But mostly there is a feeling of pride. Finally, in a game where people of color, especially women, have a tough time in Survivor, we had two black women excel and make the merge. We have them working together to get further. We have them prominently featured to be able to tell their story, a story that needs to be told. We get a funny, powerful poignant conversation between two strong, badass, entertaining ladies. You get what I consider to be the best moment of the season because even if you strip away the cameras, Fiji, and the carnival games, you still get the experience of people’s struggle, truth, power, and life. [Blurry Denzel]

4. Sarah Learns About the Legacy Advantage

Episode 12 – “It’s Not a High Without a Low”

I’m an admitted critic of the Legacy Advantage from its inception until now. So it’s odd to be simultaneously calling for its elimination AND recognize that its existence was instrumental in helping the season’s best player win it all. But frankly, while this moment is probably the BEST example of how thoroughly Sarah manipulated practically every player on the season, remove it and there’s probably several other examples to chose from and other paths she could’ve taken to survive the final six. So we probably don’t need this twist. But since we DID have it… can you believe what she pulled off?

Sarah had developed such a close relationship that a scrambling Sierra Dawn Thomas decided to share her most important secret with her in a moment of weakness. A secret that can only MOTIVATE someone to vote you out (and to answer the question that a few Sierra defenders had at the time: Sarah has confirmed multiple times that she did, in fact, vote Sierra out to get that advantage). And why was Sierra scrambling and so in desperate need of a trusted ally to keep her in the game? BECAUSE SARAH HAD VOTED AGAINST HER TWO TRIBALS PREVIOUS. So not even being solely responsible for the complete destruction of Sheriff Sierra’s unbreakable six was enough to dampen the bond Sierra assumed she had. I mean, what?

From one perspective, this scene is a slow motion car wreck if you’re invested in Sierra and dumbfounded that she is indeed doing what she is doing. So… basically if you are in her immediate family or were on a previous season with her*. For the rest of us, it was the moment that Sarah’s quiet control over the entire game was highlighted and underlined. [Andy]

*Some restrictions may apply

3. The Sugar Incident (Non-Heroes vs Villains Edition)

Episode 5 – “Dirty Deed”

I just love Sandra you guys. I mean look Sandra is a great player, yadda yadda, but when she is this entertaining, who cares what she actually does in the game? When Tony won, we talked about he might be the greatest combination of character and game player, but Sandra has to be right up there with him. But screw talking about her game play, I want to talk about how much I enjoy Sandra the character.

Before I break down what happened – just look at that damn photo above! She is mugging for the camera harder than Jim Halpert ever did. She knows this is a tv show and she is giving us what we want.

So how does it start? It starts with her tribe winning reward! Well, actually, it really starts with JT stabbing them in the back the night before and getting his good buddy Malcolm voted out. And having Malcolm out causes Sandra to vow revenge. And JT and Michaela getting into a petty squabble over eating sugar is the opening Sandra sees to enact her revenge. So Sandra eats the sugar. All the goddamn sugar.

First, she tells Varner exactly what she is going to do so that someone, anyone, can appreciate this on the same level she is. And then she starts mugging for the camera, making sure that everyone at home knows just how badly she is about to own JT. And, boy, JT hasn’t gotten this burned up about Sugar since Heroes vs Villains. He falls for it hook, line, and sinker. Not only is he immediately convinced that Michaela ate the sugar, but he starts making snide comments to everyone about it. He is talking to Varner and it is all Varner can do not to keep from laughing. And then, hearing that he is doing this, Sandra steps in and acts all clueless about it and eggs him on. All the while, enjoying seeing him get worked up about something so meaningless and seeing him be so wrong.

There was a strategic benefit to this move as well. JT’s outrage over the sugar incident and Sandra and Varner egging him on because of it made JT think that everyone was on board with booting Michaela. And that complacency made JT sit on his idol. And it had a secondary benefit for Sandra, it moved JT’s target off Sandra and to Michaela, which would have benefited her if he did play his idol. Even when Sandra is clowning someone, she can’t help but reveal layers of great strategic thought. [Matt]

2. Sippin’ Tea with Michaela B

Episode 5 – “Dirty Deed”

When the bios for Millennials vs. Gen X were released, Michaela was largely considered the most un-millennial millennial, largely because she worked hard and paid off her student debt. This is largely due to the fact that a lot of the worst millennial think pieces only think about rich white people, but that’s another story. We only had Michaela at two tribal councils in her first season, but on Game Changers she showed the world that there is more to millennials than entitlement: they also like memes.

A great way to tell who understood what Michaela was doing at the tribal council where JT was voted out is by seeing how they described her beverage. Was it coffee? No. Was it water? Well, technically yes, but we denizens of the internet knew that Michaela was sipping tea. The great thing is that it even would have worked if she was getting voted out, in a “y’all are making a mistake, but that’s not of my business” kind of way. But instead, she made JT look the second-most foolish he’s ever looked on Survivor, and that’s a tall order. After he gave her crap all day over some sugar, she made sure he knew what was up on the way out the door. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but tea is best served hot. [Emma]

1. Zeke is Outed by a Fellow Contestant

Episode 7 – “What Happened on Exile, Stays on Exile”

Sadly, there’s no getting around this. This is easily one of the most significant things to have ever happened on Survivor, even if we’re all more than tired of discussing it. This will be a top of mind part of this season whenever Game Changers is brought up, even if no one will want to bring the incident up. And frankly, you can divide the “fun” part of the season and the “other” part of this season with this moment. It never fully recovered.

You know who did recover though? Zeke. Both in the moment and in the time that has passed since the moment. And while we should never forget that none of this should have ever happened and that this was as ugly a moment as you’ll find on this show, we must also remember how Zeke managed it. How he was able to show his attacker that he couldn’t hurt him. How he was able to turn the situation and himself into a positive representation of transgender people for millions of viewers. And how when the chips were down, six other people (Sarah, Andrea, Tai, Debbie, Ozzy, and Probst) had his back without hesitation. That was important. In a world where transgender people are frequently under attack for being their true selves, this show we love showed instant, unflinching support for Zeke and immediate, unreserved repudiation for the attack.

So when you’re thinking back on this season and unavoidably thinking about this moment, think about that. Think about how Zeke went from victim to hero within the span of minutes. Think about what a positive advocate he’s been and continues to be, even though he was under no obligation to be. Let this be his moment. Because he’s the one that deserves it. [Andy]

Previous: The Top 10 Moments of Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X

  • Super duper fan

    I agree with this list for the most part, and the only thing I would change is swapping the Sugar Incident 2.0. with Tea with Michaela B.

    Zeke incident was by far the biggest moment of the season, whether we like it or not. I don’t think that the season was weaker after that CAUSE of it, but there wasn’t any especially ‘great’ moment to wash off the bad taste. But even if for example there was the rock draw from season 33 after it, it would still be the biggest moment by a long stretch, but at the very least, we would have an excuse to forget it in our minds. At the very least, thanks to Zeke’s incredible bravery, this moment feels secluded from the rest of the season, aside from some subconsious things.

    • purplerockandy

      I listed Sugar and Tea in the order they were for chronological reasons. Figured it would read better with one after the other.

      • Super duper fan

        Good point.

      • Diego Armando

        Yeah, the only definitive ranked entry is 1.

        • purplerockandy

          Yeah, as a little insight on my methodology when making lists like this for posts (I should add that the order was agreed upon by the staff, but I proposed it after discussions with them): I do try to put them in a range of what makes sense. But I also try and think about what’s the best balance as a piece of written content when sequencing.

          So if some items are interchangeable, I’ll move them around to keep it from being repetitive. Because we’re not just making a list; we’re making a post of essays.

    • I think the MvGX rock draw is such a weird moment because it is the rock draw that shouldn’t have happened and it is edited as such.

      • Super duper fan

        It really was the perfect storm of everything coming together to make this thing happen. If we will remove just one component of the whole situation after the Chris boot, causes it to be removed from existrnce, and that’s why it’s so great – no one knew how that night would end.

  • Max_Jets

    4 moments are bad (or mixed bags, at the very least), while another one of them might not even make the top 20 on the average season. Classic Game Changers.

  • Maritimer

    On the new jury format, you guys have touched on it a few times, in this article and elsewhere, but I really feel like it makes the jury members more accountable for their vote. It puts more pressure on them to articulate their reason and stump for their candidate or ask good questions, and I think that’s a positive effect. Jury members can’t vote out of spite anymore and not really own it.

    • purplerockandy

      Another reason why I think this format should work for awhile: it’s an extension of the same thing they’ve been doing all season: speaking as a group in discussions at Tribal Council. It doesn’t require them to suddenly become good public speakers or accomplished litigators. And, sure. Some people will be overshadowed as a result. The same people who get overshadowed every week at tribal.

      Those people do not matter.

      • Maritimer

        Not to mention anyone in particular *cough*Sierra*cough*

      • Super duper fan

        I think I also pointed out another positive of this format in the comments some time ago which also ties in what you just said: it shifts the focus from JURORS to FINALISTS. FTC was supposed to from the very beginning be about who deserves to win more from the finalists, but over time the focus has shifted to jurors for some last minute air-time grabbing. Do we REALLY need another version of Sue’s, Reed’s, Kelly’s, Shirib’s, Dan’s, Erik’s, Brenda’s, Corinne’s, David’s, Chris’s, Ozzy’s , Penner’s speech? While it doesn’t eliminate the problem completely, it is a massive step forward and another reason why I think the new format is great.

        • Maritimer

          I really has been about the jurors for a long damn time. It was their last little bit of airtime to make their pitch to be remembered and/or come back and so many took it that way. Television Without Pity has a great piece on it from a while ago, outlining the various questions jurors asked, which boil down to things like: “My question is I WANT AN APOLOGY” “My question is YOU SUCK” and “my question is “I SHOULD HAVE WON”.

          I agree with you that this format helps prevent that shit too

          • Don’t forget “HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW ME?” Although I did like how Michaela spun that question into proving that Brad’s social game was fairly nonexistent.

          • Maritimer

            Yeah, that question is pretty popular too, though its much more fair than the other questions, because it actually goes to the social game, if asked the right way

          • What are some examples of the wrong way?

          • Maritimer

            I can’t come up with any off the top of my head. Honestly, the only other time I can think of it being asked is by Cirie in Micro, where it was also legit. I think the wrong way would be if there was no legitimate reason for the other person to know and you were asking them to embarrass them rather than comment on their social game (I understand that could be a mighty fine line)

          • I think Eliza has mentioned that her Micro jury question was more like this, but definitely meant to embarrass these F2.

          • Maritimer

            Even that was kind of fair, since she was excluded from the Cool Kids Club. My issue is that it probably doesn’t really inform her vote, which is the purpose of these questions which we seem to have wandered from

          • I believe she has said that she did a mini version of the “Fallen Comrades” challenge and they both fail miserably. But that’s the problem, she asked both of them.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Like, if you were never on a tribe with that person until the merge and then were the merge boot and had a grand total of 2-3 days to get to know them? That’s the only time I can see it being a not entirely fair question. Especially if the person booted was also in a “cool kids” alliance that never tried to get to know any of the others.

          • Maritimer

            Yeah, that would be one. The other that kind of comes to mind now is intentionally telling somebody something obscure about yourself (like security question obscure – childhood pet’s name or the like) and not telling anyone else/a specific person with the purpose of embarrassing them at FTC

            Basically, I can’t think of many likely examples, but we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of jurors to be dicks at FTC

          • Mike Hirsch

            It is definitely a good idea to never underestimate the ability of someone to be a dick at FTC.

  • Mike Hirsch

    I want Survivor Game Changers to go right up to the point where Tony runs off into the woods going “woo hoo, woo hoo hoo!” and then the screen awkwardly freezes and a scroll rolls up and we also get a voiceover saying “Tony found the idol and won the season. All the rest of the season’s footage was destroyed in a warehouse fire.” A total “Poochie died on the way to his home planet” moment.

    • Diego Armando

      Or Tony was beaten by Sandra in a final tribal. Cirie placed 3rd. Malcolm, Aubry and Michaela were the last 3 jurors.

  • Man, reading this list and then going to the MvGX list is major mood whiplash.

    • purplerockandy

      Just compare the number ones.

      • Yeap.

      • Diego Armando

        Both feature Zeke’s personal life prominently.

    • Alycia Swift

      I don’t think I’ve read the Mvgx list. Must have missed it. I was looking for it but did not find it under Mvgx, Can u tell me where it is!

      Edit: found it. Under lists. Duh!

    • Wow yeah I just did that and oh boy…

      • It made me want to reattach mvgx.

        • MvGX is so hard for me to grade. It had a lot of things I like to see in any Survivor season – a good, likeable cast, people who came to play, different kinds of play, and a low percentage of bitterness (which always leaves a sour taste in my mouth even if it comes after the season is over). Maybe it lacked that standout/HoF caliber player/move but if we got the things I listed above every season I’d be happy. MvGX could be seen as a solid middle of the road season and that would be that.

          Where it gets difficult is that MvGX was sooooo emotional (primarily because of Adam’s story but there were plenty of other things too) that it felt different than other season of Survivor I’ve watched. If Micronesia is the “funny” season of Survivor than MvGX is the “feels” season of Survivor. I think you can write off a lot of Survivor’s attempts to provoke emotion but if MvGX didn’t hit you at some point then you’re made of stone.

          • I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I think the weakness of MvGX is the pre-swap, but everyone who makes that swap (minus maybe CeCe) is a good character.
            They may not HoF, but they are a bunch of characters.

          • Max_Jets

            The theme pushing is also so hard to reconcile with the quality of the rest of the season. It’s embarrassing in a way Survivor rarely is.

          • Ugh totally. MvGX is a perfect example of them pushing a theme too hard, they kept trying to shove that narrative down our throats but the season was about something else entirely. I really hope they lay off a bit with HvHvH next season. If the theme is a thing then let it be a thing, but if not then lay off of it as the season goes on, please.

          • How do you feel about this now?

          • Oh boy… Well, the show itself hasn’t pushed the theme too hard. A few of the players mention it (Ryan in particular) buy it hasn’t been obnoxious. The problem is that as the season has progressed and we get to know these players better it’s become pretty clear what a sham these categories were in the first place. I’m down on this theme overall.

          • I forget about the theme pushing, but I think it gets slightly downplayed at the swap, returns briefly at the early merge, and then disappears for the most part.

          • Hornacek

            I loved the recent Zeke seasons-recap RHAP episode where he said that *everyone* was tired of Jeff pushing the Millennials vs GenX theme at every tribal council.

          • Super duper fan

            While I understand the criticism, these types of things are always pretty much meaningless in a larger scale of things to me. Excluding the name, the theme isn’t really that bad (the same can be said about HvHvH), but unfortunately, Probst really wants to be the spokesman of ‘social issues’ in the society, and differences between people from other generation, other types of job, and traits coming with them, which as a topic is good, great even, but Jeff isn’t the right person to talk about them, cause he many times doesn’t understand them itself. While he’s great host, and we should ALL thank him for keeping this show we love on air after all these years, but as we all know, Probst may be really awkward parts of his job, and thanks to that we can make fun of him all we want, and we all love him for it.

            Plus, the ‘you/u’ spelling, and trying to marry Figgy and Taylor at tribal were so bad, that they were came right around to being good..

          • Dutch

            Pearl Islands had the perfect “theme” season. I’m not just saying that because it’s easily a top 5 season in anyone’s list. It actually incorporated elements of pirates/pirate living into its season without having everyone talk about it every 5 minutes. The looting, the variation in challenges, even the Outcast twist made this theme season work perfectly! I would not be disappointed if they decide to bring this theme back some time.

          • jersey_luck

            It easy for me to grade: solid B. While some of characters were worthless (CeCe, Sunday, Chris) others were shockingly great (Jay, David, Ken). It had weak premege but had a good post merge with some great moments (rock draw, the talk between Bret and Zeke, etc.). The story of season of the season was told alright but it would be hard to tell it any other way. There were enough funny moments (Taylor, Micheala confessionals, Taylor, Bret, Jeff Probst getting hit by a wave, and most importantly Taylor) and decent gameplay to get through the dull parts.

        • Super duper fan

          Maybe it is because it was my first season when I watched live (excluding the Australian Survivor), but I just love MvGx SO much, and is for sure in my top 10. I just liked all the characters in it, except maybe Taylor and Ken, but they were just slight annoyances more than anything for me. Everything post-swap is fantastic, Millenials are in my short list for a favourite newbie tribe in terms of characters, and I’m KINDA obsessed in Adam, if the username wasn’t a big enough clue*. I just don’t have enough good things to say about it. I hope season 35 will also be at least somewhat comparable to it.

          *not in a sexual way, of course**

          **totally in a sexual way.

    • Diego Armando

      Going back 1 year ago, if you told me Millenials vs. GenX would be better than Game Changers, I would have laughed in your face. Now here we are.

      • I mean, I was not hyped on either season, but I still thought Game Changers would get the push up.

    • sharculese

      Here’s a depressing thing: I was talking to my mom earlier and my parent’s friend who’s really into Survivor thinks this is the best season of all time. Not just a good season. The best season.

  • Shout out to @disqus_3Sm0bOf1sj:disqus for his beautiful write-up!

    • Blurry Denzel

      Thanks, BJ. The scene had a massive effect on me. I so happy to get to share my thoughts on it.

  • StormofCuteness

    Maybe it’s just watching Cirie and Michaela’s games, but I clearly didn’t dislike this game as much as most. Which is also why I dig this list.

  • jersey_luck

    Well this is a season of Survivor that happened. There were some good moments (the goat scene, the sugar scene), some random moments (Debbie on Exile Yacht will always be something to look forward too) and some awful moment (that two tribes tribal council, the Zeke outing and more). However at beginning of the season you said that Jeff Probst really got what made Survivor great. I think it this season shows that why sometimes a cast can make season worst this season is the number one example of what the producers can do.

    Now onwards, towards awesome alliterative season Survivor that is on our tides.

    • purplerockandy

      FYI, the other scenes you mentioned were in contention to make this list. Just missed the cut.

      • jersey_luck

        Honestly I find Debbie yacht’s outing so much better than Sierra telling Sarah about her advantage. This mainly because if Brad had not won immunity he would have gone home instead. It was about breaking up a pair.

        • purplerockandy

          Except that Brad would’ve gotten the advantage instead of her.

        • Max_Jets

          But we still wouldn’t have had Sarah’s delightful acting!

  • Roswulf

    A very solid list.

    I think my main personal change would be to get rid of the Legacy Advantage moment, and sub in the goat scene. And that encapsulates how I watched the season. A dramatic moment of pivotal social play that fed directly into a masterful win (although…if Brad has the Legacy advantage Advantageageddon probably still goes down with Cirie left in the cold) was much less interesting to me than a comedy sketch about Sandra wanting to murder goat babies.

    This was a season with some great gameplay and some of the best characters in the history of Survivor. But unfortunately, at least after the JT boot, the great gameplay wasn’t coming from the great characters.

    Or alternately, just dump Tony being funny about idols for Sandra being funny about goats. Come on, the goat sequence (deceptively edited or not) was comedy gold, taking full advantage of the murderers row of talkers that was that tribe.

    • purplerockandy

      The IRL post-script of the goat scene made it hard to write about. Or at least we imagined it would have.

    • Hey, remember when we were excited about new Nuku being the greatest tribe of all time? Those were the days.

      • Roswulf

        Retrospectively diluting my love for new Nuku is yet another reason to resent Varner.

        • Honestly, the editors should have diluted Varner’s presence on Nuku anyway.

          • Roswulf

            I agree- redistribute his time to Aubrey, a person who can give almost-as-charming confessionals, who made the final episode, and who ISN’T SCUM.

          • But keep Varner’s reaction to Sandra eating the sugar because that was good

      • jersey_luck

        They still are one of great tribes in my book. However, by the time the merge hit they were either all gone or could not win (Aubry and Micheala) this season which makes it hard to show one great tribes and all their members in the glory they deserved.

        • Right, but they still got a lot of glory…and I am okay with that. However, that came up with really hurting the tribe with the most end-gamers, which was the green tribe.

          • jersey_luck

            That is 100% correct. The story of the season needed more Andrea along with her relationships with Zeke and Cirie for the endgame to have any impact.

          • Maybe they could have done a webseries of Nuku Nonsense.

  • Diego Armando

    Great list. I predicted 8 of these.

  • indescribable hat

    It’s kind of a bummer how many of these are great or semi-great.

    Also I’m in Canada right now and felt like I should share that with you all.

    • Hornacek

      Andy and I welcome you to our country. Have some poutine and maple syrup.

      • indescribable hat


        Ahem. Thank you. I have some strange identity issues with my homeland that are not your fault or Canada’s. I am enjoying the colorful money and slightly diminished sense of dread.

        • Hornacek

          Oh, the United States makes maple syrup too. That’s precious.

          Just don’t say anything bad about our beer:

          • indescribable hat

            Quebec can have all the credit it wants, but I am in Ontario which produces only 28% more maple syrup than New York: I bet I went to way more sugaring themed birthday parties back in the day than, say, some kid from Toronto. FIIIIIIGHT MEEEEEE

            Um, I’m sure the beer is perfectly good. I never liked fizzy drinks and now have celiac, so it’s not really my area of expertise.

            I’m dying to get my hands on some gluten free butter tarts before I go home though.

          • hardcöre umlaut

            Yo some US Maple Syrup is legit. My grandfather would make syrup each year from the trees on his farm and it was great.

            You DEF have us beat on the plastic money front, though. I carry a Canadian $5 in my wallet and show it off to my fellow Americans and exclaim “YOU CAN PUT IT THROUGH THE WASH!!!” all the time.

          • Hornacek

            We held a referendum on our currency and “ability to survive going through the wash” was the number one concern.