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Survivor: Game Changers Episode 3 Fantasy Recap

Survivor just continues to deliver in this, its 34th installment.  You know how on The Bachelor, Chris Harrison will announce all triumphantly to the group that we are going to see something “we’ve never seen before” on the episode and then it ends up being that someone ate their entrée with a salad fork or some other dumb shit?  Well, when Survivor switches things up they really deliver.  We’ve already seen a merge that split two tribes into three and on Survivor: Game Changers Episode 3 we saw a completely unprecedented and ultra-entertaining tribal council.

Survivor, it seems, is just getting warmed up.

Mana – Night 9

We begin the episode with the wretched and hideously overmatched and outgunned Mana Tribe.  Even Debbie’s training has not been able to help them yet.  The tribe comforts Tai after his boy toy (Caleb) was voted off earlier that night.  Tai says he appreciates how much trust there is in the group.

Mana – Day 10

Debbie and Hali are chatting and Hali, I guess in the spirit of the trust Tai had alluded to, tells Debbie if she were voting someone off, it would be TaiDebbie wholeheartedly agrees with Hali, but then she reminds us all covertly that this is her second time playing so she is just telling Hali what she wants to hear.  Due to her training, she is playing chess while poor Hali is stuck playing checkers or maybe even just one of those ball-in-a-cup games.  She defiantly declares that Hali has no options.  It seems like one big happy family.

Reward Challenge

We go right into our first real reward challenge of the season that hasn’t been tied to immunity.  Everyone murmurs about Caleb being voted off because that’s what they are supposed to do.

Only two members for each tribe will be running this.  A big theme of this challenge, as Jeff Probst gleefully tells us, will be “grasping a long pole” with a ball on the end.

The reward will be everything you need for coffee as well as some cookies—as far as a reward goes, I’ve seen a lot better.  Remember when they used to give cars away?  The second place team gets a pitcher of ice coffee to split amongst themselves.  The third place team gets nothing; I don’t even think they get to keep their long pole.

JT, Tai and Ozzy all firmly grasp their poles (with balls on top) to start the challenge and go through a series of obstacles.  Ozzy gets through the first part and then he gets to extend his pole.  He flies through the 2nd section, proving he is not just a wonder in the water.  He extends his pole again and starts the 3rd part.  Ozzy, an experienced adult film star (seriously), appears to be a pro at pole grasping.  JT is catching up and now so is Tai, and all of a sudden they both have fully extended poles.

Ozzy gets through first and hands off to Troyzan who will be throwing beanbags for Tavua.  Suddenly, JT finishes and Malcolm is throwing for Nuku and catches up to TroyzanTai is lagging way behind but eventually finishes and hands off to Brad who starts throwing for Mana.

Malcolm who is pretty much always clutch at stuff like this, finishes and wins reward for Nuku.  Troyzan, who had a massive lead, chokes and Brad catches up and passes him.  Nuku and Mana each get reward points (+1) for their whole team.  Brad, who was probably sad he was left out of the pole grasping part of the challenge, did a great job of coming from behind in the end.

Tavua – Day 10

Back at the loser Tavua Camp, Ozzy talks about how now they need him to survive so losing the reward was good for him.  He goes fishing and casually spears a huge ray like a boss (+2).

Nuku – Day 10

Nuku enjoys their coffee and cookies.  Sandra informs those of us watching at home that she is in control.  JT and Malcolm are talking and JT says Sandra is dangerous.  JT promises Malcolm he’ll play with him… hard.  You can almost hear the sound of Jeff Probst giggling on the wind as the sexual innuendos continue to fly fast and furious.

Immunity Challenge

This is the old “one person calls out instructions to groups of 2 on their team who are blindfolded and tied together” challenge. They have to go find some balls and then do one of those tilty balance mazes successfully 3 times to win.  Sandra and Troyzan sit out for their respective tribes to make it even.  Jeff Probst then tells us matter-of-factly that both losing tribes will be voting someone out which is an absolutely huge development.

Jeff Varner is calling for Nuku, Brad is calling for Mana, and Cirie is calling for Tuvua.  Mana is complaining the entire time that they can’t hear anything Brad is saying, which has to be hurting their production.  Nuku takes a huge lead and then hangs on to it, getting all 3 of their bags before anyone else has 2.

JT is first on the maze for Nuku.  Tavua follows but they are very far behind.  Eventually Mana gets their 3rd bag and rushes in to try and compete.

JT lands the first ball for Nuku right away, and although Ozzy follows suit for Tavua, the gap is still huge.  Members of Nuku can be heard yelling about how big and insurmountable their lead is in the background, which any loyal Survivor fan can tell you is total hubris.   Malcolm gets a 2nd ball in for Nuku and now Jeff Varner has the game in his hands for Nuku with a still giant lead.  So, he does what any experienced loser would do—he REALLY takes his sweet time.  Sarah gets a 2nd ball in for Tavua and suddenly Andrea steps up for Tavua—behind, but still in it.  (Meanwhile, there is not even any pretense that Mana could ever hope to compete in this or any other challenge.)  Andrea closes the gap but Varner can still put it away with one good move.  Instead, he completely blows it and drops the ball (literally), choking like a doofus.  Andrea finishes for Tavua, securing 3 fantasy points for each member of her team.

So now Mana and Nuku will be coming to tribal council… together.  Nuku suspects they will try to flip JT because they are up 6-5 if they don’t flip him and he is the obvious odd man out.  Sandra wants to vote out Sierra, but JT says to vote out TaiMalcolm and JT secretly communicate to vote out Sandra.

Mana – Day 11

Brad is rallying the troops to try to see who they are voting out.  He calls Hali “blue eyes” like a creep and asks if they are going to be 5 strong.  All of a sudden, Hali who was on the chopping block has an awful lot of potential power.  Brad thinks JT will be going after Sandra.

Tai goes out on a last ditch idol hunt and finds a clue in a tree (+1).  He follows the instructions and goes and starts digging and finds the idol (+3).  Tai comes back and immediately tells his tribe he has an idol (which I think is stupid).  But anyway, they are understandably happy.

Tribal Council – Night 11

Nuku and Mana file in; the mood is somber.  This should be interesting.  Sandra seems like she could be in huge trouble to me.  Jeff Probst starts stirring up trouble by asking loaded questions.  Brad says they are in a Mexican standoff.  Sandra says her group will all vote together and she is not worried.

Debbie says JT used to be close with them.  Sandra says yeah, used toBrad says there are more threats on Nuku (which is definitely true), and then he names Malcolm and Sandra specifically.  Sandra, channeling her inner cash-me-ousside girl, announces that she is not worried at all and “she’s not going home tonight, how ‘bout dat?”

Jeff Probst then does what everyone is hoping he will do and asks Debbie what she’s thinking—undoubtedly hoping she will reference her extensive training in some way.  In a a disappointingly normal answer, she says she’s wondering if JT will flip or if Hali will.  Brad, in a move that briefly exposes him as the idiotic meathead he’s been trying to pretend he’s not, essentially threatens Hali and says she’ll be public enemy #1 if she flips.  Sandra again reiterates they are comfortable with their strategy.

Hali then announces that she thinks at this point in the game they should be thinking of physical threats.  Sandra starts telling her team she thinks that is code for her wanting Brad gone.  Suddenly, everyone is whispering and absolute chaos ensues; it’s awesome.

Without warning, JT gets up, crosses tribal boundaries, and goes and talks to Brad.  He whispers to him they are voting Sierra out—it is unclear if he is doing this hoping they have an idol or if he is just breaking bad news to him because Nuku has the numbers.  Now everyone is frantically whispering again.  The tribes actually huddle up with each other.  This is completely crazy.  JT runs over to Brad again and secretly tells him to vote for Sandra.

This takes us to what is going to be a fascinating vote. While voting, Jeff Varner says of the person he is voting for, “if you pull out an idol, I will soil myself.” I hope he brought backup shorts.

After the vote, Tai pulls out his immunity idol (+3) and gives it to SierraJT having told Brad earlier in tribal council that Nuku was going to be voting her way.

Ultimately, Sierra gets like 6 votes and none of them count.  Although they don’t show it on camera, we can only assume that Varner soiled himself.  Who is going to get the votes and go home now?  Malcolm.  He looks sick to his stomach as 3 votes get read off against him (he got all 5, but 3 is all it took at that point). Sierra condescendingly kisses him on the cheek which I’ll bet pissed him off if he’s any sort of a competitor. JT looks like he is going to cry, although it could be acting.  As they are leaving, Michaela says to Varner that JT set them up, which is going to set up some nice drama for next week.

To add insult to injury for Malcolm’s fantasy owners, he cries in his after-show comments (-1).  Shit is getting real.

As an added bonus, we see clips from next week’s show and it looks like Debbie is going to go crazy.

Fantasy Scoring Breakdown

Andrea: 3 points (immunity)

Aubry: 1 point (reward)

Brad: 1 point (reward)

Cirie: 3 points (immunity)

Debbie: 1 point (reward)

Hali: 1 point (reward)

JT: 1 point (reward)

Jeff Varner: 1 point (reward)

Malcolm: -5 points (reward, crying, voted off)

Michaela: 1 point (reward)

Ozzy: 5 points (immunity, spearing a fish)

Sandra: 1 point (reward)

Sarah: 3 points (immunity)

Sierra: 1 point (reward)

Tai: 8 points (reward, idol clue, finding an idol, playing an idol)

Troyzan: 3 points (immunity)

Zeke: 3 points (immunity)

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