Survivor 34, Episodes 1 & 2

Well, here we are!

Last night saw the premiere of another season of Survivor.  Jeff Probst started things off by mentioning that this was the 500th episode of Survivor!  Can you believe that?  It’s amazing that this show has not only lasted this long but it’s also managed to stay consistently entertaining and surprising.  Assuming the world doesn’t end over the next 17 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Survivor make it to a 1,000 episodes.

This season’s theme is Game Changers.  That players are returnees who, in the past, “changed the game.”  One thing about Jeff — no matter how silly the premise, he’s going to go out of his way to sell it.  He insisted that all of the players were game changers and he was so passionate about it that, while I was watching the show, I believed him.  It was only after the episode ended that it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure who a lot of these supposed game changers were.

I mean, I remembered the previous winners.  And, of course, I remembered players like Ozzy and Malcolm.  But then there were others who I struggled to recognize.  At the start of the episode, blonde Sierra (as opposed to brunette Ciera) found a legacy advantage that will give her automatic immunity from the 6th to the 13th tribal council.   That’s a big advantage and it’s good that she found it because I honestly don’t remember Sierra from her previous season.

Interestingly, some of the players who most changed the game are not playing this season.  There’s no Boston Rob.  No Richard Hatch.  No Russell Hantz.  Despite being one of the greatest players in Survivor history, Thailand’s Brain has never been asked to play a second time.

Here’s who did return:

Mana Tribe

Ciera (Previously on Blood vs. Water and Cambodia) — Ciera is truly one of my least favorite Survivor players of all time.  Ciera’s claim to fame is that she voted out her own mother on Blood vs. Water.  The main reason she’s famous for it is because she never shuts up about it.

Tony (Cayagan) — Hyper Tony.  He somehow won his previous season.  He started out Game Changers by shouting that he was going to look for an idol and then running into the woods.  Not smart, Tony.

Aubry (Kaoh Rong) — One of the most overrated players in Survivor history.  She lost what should have been an easy win, just because she couldn’t bring herself to socialize with the other members of her tribe.

Michaela (Millennials vs. Gen X) — Michaela, who is from my home state of Texas, was one of my favorite Survivors last year.  Hopefully, this year will end better for her.

Sandra (Pearl Island and Heroes Vs. Villains) — Still as outspoken as ever, Sandra is trying for a third win.

Hali (Worlds Apart) — Hali is one of those “game changers” that I can barely remember.

Malcolm (Philippines and Caramoan) — MALCOLM!  Malcolm is back and just as strong and nice to look at as ever.  Hopefully, he’s improved as a strategist.

Caleb (Koah Rong) — CALEB!  Listen, I’m really excited to have Caleb back but, again, I have to wonder if he’s really a game changer.  He was likable and it sucks that he had to be medically evacuated.  But did he really change the game?

Troyzan (One World) — I don’t have many thoughts on Troyzan.  If they had to bring back a guy from One World, I’m glad it was him and not Tarzan.

Jeff Varner (Australia and Cambodia) — I have no idea what Varner’s doing there.  Judging from how poorly he did in the challenges, I doubt he’ll be around for long.

Nuka Tribe

Andrea (Redemption Island and Caramoan) — I recognized Andrea but I can’t remember much about what she did during her previous two seasons.

Brad Culpepper (Blood vs. Water) — Was Brad really a game changer?  His wife was but, if I remember correctly, Brad was just kind of a goofball.

Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains) — Cirie is back!  Again.  This is Cirie’s fourth time.  If she doesn’t win this season, it’s time to move on to another reality show.  Still, I did enjoy the rebirth of the rivalry between her and Ozzy.  It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

Sarah (Cagayan) — I have no idea who Sara is.

Ozzy (Cook Islands, Micronesia, and South Pacific) — Ozzy!  I love Ozzy, even if he is definitely starting to age a little.  But again, this is his fourth time.  At this point, he should know that he needs to be careful about getting blind sided and that he needs to up his social game.  If he hasn’t learned that yet, he may need to look for a new show to try to win.

Zeke (Millennial vs. Gen X) — Eh.  Zeke’s back.  Who cares?

Sierra (Worlds Apart) — I’m not sure why Sierra is considered a game changer but she did find that legacy advantage.

J.T. (Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains) — J.T. is back and he appears to be just as likable as ever.

Tai (Koah Rong) — I know Tai is popular but I’m not sure he was ever really a game changer, unless you count convincing the tribe not to eat the chicken.

Debbie (Koah Rong) — Debbie managed to get through the first two episodes without having a paranoid episode or attempting to cast any hexes on anyone.  That’s progress.

As for the first two tribal councils, it was Mana both times and I was happy with the results of each tribal.  Ciera was voted out the first time.  Hyper Tony was voted out the second time.  As of right now, Sandra appears to be in charge of Mana.

So, what did everyone think of the premiere?  Also, it appears that they’ll be switching up tribes next episode!  No one should get too comfortable. 🙂

Lisa Marie 

Bye, Ciera

Bye, Tony.

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14 thoughts on “Survivor 34, Episodes 1 & 2

  1. Sunshine

    This group of people as a whole bores me more than any other. I’ll watch of course but my heart kinda sinks when I see people like Sierra, Ciera, Hali, Tai, Sarah, Andrea, Caleb, Troyzan, Cirie, Brad….I mean, these are not interesting people. I’m really not expecting much this season. Watching Crire’s closups last night was like drinking poison.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Karlla

    Lisa, totally agree with all your comments on each player! The blonde Sierra is whack…who wears 6 “diamond” earrings in the jungle?!? lol

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  3. luv2shootpics

    Was hoping they would vote out Sandra first, then Tony. I have one possible correction to the Legacy Advantage. I believe it only works when there are only 13 people and 6 people left in the game. I’m not sure what weeks those work out to being in the show.
    There seem to be a lot of wussies in the show who don’t want to take any chances or make any moves. Someone needs to grow some chest hair or Sandra will work her witchcraft on them.
    Time will tell. It may be a good season after all.

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  4. Keith E. Benton

    It was a quick 2 hours and the tribal council votes were good for me. I liked Ciera the first time she played, less the second time and this time didn’t bring anything to the table. Tony I just despise, so I’m glad he left early.

    The blonde who picked up the Legacy Advantage, I don’t remember her at all. I’m going to have to Google to see exactly what she did that was game changing

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  5. waxfairy

    Thanks for the recap, Lisa. I always look forward to seeing how you break it down.

    I vaguely remember blonde Sierra – wasn’t she on that three-way team season, with white collar vs blue collar vs no collar? If I remember correctly, she’s a barrel racer or something to do with rodeo.

    I was perfectly happy to see Ciera get first boot. Never liked that girl. I was glad to see Caleb, game changer or not, and its weird that I feel that way considering he was such a wackjob on Big Brother.

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  6. Dazzling Erin

    I was glad to see Tony go but I don’t know what they’re thinking not getting rid of Sandra when they had the chance. She’s won the game twice already!

    Also, count me as glad that they did NOT ask Russell or any other members of the Hantz Family back. Russell was a game changer but I think three seasons of him is enough.

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  7. tedstrutz

    Hi, LM! I agree about Probst doing the sell, he’s one of a kind and may be doing Survivor using a walker someday. Hope it goes on that long. Very few of this cast was a game changer, but they have to have a theme. Sandra and Tony certainly were, but as for the rest, maybe Ozzy or Malcolm a bit. Debbie sure as hell didn’t change anything, in spite of being a Captain (unpaid) in the Civilian Air Patrol with extensive military training. I had to google it to see if it still existed. I was sorry to see Ciera go, I liked her… I like her mom even more. And, hated to se such an entertaining goof like Tony go so soon. His shtick didn’t go down so good with this group.

    I wonder if they are doing the merge so soon because of how the game is going? I always hate to see one tribe lose every challenge.

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    1. tedstrutz

      In all fairness… they have to go with who they can get. Many don’t want to do it again or can’t for one reason or another. It is a big commitment. Jeff didn’t want Ozzy, but CBS insisted, and who knows who else they may have insisted on to fill a certain demographic. So, it’s not really the Survivor we really like, but fun enough to watch and enjoy.

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