HOLLYWOOD—I have literally become the biggest “Survivor” fan since getting totally engrossed in “Survivor Cambodia: Second Chances.” It was the guilty pleasure that I just couldn’t miss people! This latest installment, “Survivor: Game Changers” have brought back some of the best players to play the game, um, let me re-phrase that: players who changed the game with their tactics. I would argue some definitely belong here, others not so much.
This season’s contenders include previous winners Tony Vlachos, Sandra Diaz-Twine and James J.T. Thomas Jr. Then we have contestants who in my opinion definitely stood out: Andrea Boehlke, Aubry Bracco, Cirie Fields, Ciera Eastin, Malcolm Freberg, Ozzy Lusth, Tai Trang, Jeff Varner, Michaela Bradshaw and Zeke Smith. Then we have the rest: Brad Culpepper, Hali Ford, Sarah Lacina, Caleb Reynolds, Sierra Dawn Thomas, Troy Robertson and Debbie Wanner.
There are some epic players here people (Tony and Sarah) and (Andrea and Malcolm) as notable enemies. Others who are well aware of the crazy tactics from players they have admired. I mean Ciera voted out her mother, Cirie got Erik to give up is immunity to other player only to be voted out. I feel like this season could be better than “Second Chances.” So we have two tribes: Mana and Nuku. Mana consists of Tony, Jeff, Troy, Caleb, Malcolm, Hali, Ciera, Sandra, Michaela and Aubry. Nuku consists of Andrea, Brad, Cirie, Sarah, Ozzy, Zeke, Sierra, J.T., Tai and Debbie. Per usual the game kicked off with an advantage allowing one tribe to take advantage of a tool kit in the water, which Ozzy managed to unearth.
What the hell, how did Andrea totally forget about grabbing that secret advantage that was starring right underneath her, which was an opportunity for Sierra! She obtained the legacy advantage allowing her immunity, but she could only use it when there were specific numbers of people left in the game. So it’s similar to what Jessica found last season. At Mana, Tony proved his antics will be more entertaining this time around than when he previously played. He rattled his teammates, but Sandra had her eyes on the prize. At Nuku, Zeke was thinking too far ahead too early if you ask me, and it looks like Cirie is a big target for Ozzy because of her previous tactics. Ozzy made it apparent that Cirie is a target and she needs to be taken out, but Tai may have ignited a war.
Tony swapped from the spy shack to the spy bunker to target his allies, but he was spotted by Troy. It’s apparent that Ciera is making the same mistake as before: playing way too fast, and as much as she wants Caleb and Tony out, Malcolm wants the same. Host Jeff Probst delivered a game-changer: no revote during a tie, if no unanimous vote is reached, rocks will be drawn and someone will be going home. Interesting cause that splitting the vote tactic will not work as effective as in the past.
The immunity challenge was a victory for Nuku thanks to Zeke and Cirie, which means Manu is headed to tribal council and cue the fireworks. The chaos emerged at the camp and Ciera found herself in trouble, but Michaela couldn’t keep her mouth shut raising concerns. Sandra made a very convincing argument as to why she should be taken to the end, I mean she has won TWICE, she is a perfect GOAT. I did not see Ciera being the first person taken out, but she still hasn’t learned from her mistakes: don’t play too hard too soon.
This was a loaded episode, so another Tribal Council was headed our way, and Tony was up to no good yet again, and decided to align with Tony and surround themselves with other threats to protect themselves; smart move. I love this alliance of Tony, Caleb, Aubry, Sandra and Malcolm. Tony back to his spy shack, and his paranoia got the best of him, as Sandra and Troy had a secret conversation at night. It’s clear the friction between Tony and Sandra is about to explode.
Back at Nuku, it seems Cirie has plenty of work to do to protect herself, but she needs to work harder to build trust, but she looked to be in major danger. Sandra was doing plenty of work and her social game was phenomenal. This second immunity challenge was indeed intense and a test of endurance. And it became a close battle between Malcolm and J.T. in a ring toss game, but J.T. pulled out the win.
Too much madness was taking place, Aubry, Sandra, Tony, who the hell is going to be voted out? If the second Tribal Council is ANY indicator of things to come, this season is going to be epic people. The biggest argument was strong competitors vs. weak competitors. Sandra made it clear that she was not going out without a fight, and accusations were thrown out. Tony owned up to his evil tactics, but the level of paranoia had me on edge. It’s clear a winner is going home, either Sandra or Tony. I can’t recall the last time I was this nervous about a vote. Sandra is indeed a dangerous player cause Tony saw his game come to an end, and I thought Tony was about to pull a major upset!
“Survivor: Game Changers” is a must-see for “Survivor” fanatics. New episodes air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.