Tag Archives: Survivor Game Changers

Survivor 36.12 “Always Be Moving”

Strange episode last night.

For about ten minutes, I was convinced that Laurel was finally going to go through with her oft-stated threat to turn on Dom and Wendell.  When Wendell lost immunity despite being the first to finish his puzzle (he finished first but Laurel was the first to call out Jeff’s name), I thought it was the set up for one of those perfectly ironic Survivor blindsides that we all know and love.

Instead, the opposite happened.  Laurel suddenly decided that it wouldn’t be fair to vote out Wendell, seeing as how he actually did finish his puzzle before she did.  That nice of Laurel, I guess.  But it also shows that she lacks the killer instinct to win this game.

There was a little bit of drama, due to Donathan.  Donathan saw Dom handing Wendell a piece of paper that Wendell was planning to use to make a fake idol.  Donathan, being Donathan, immediately had to know what Dom was handing Wendell and then he had to run around the camp and let everyone know what he saw.  As a result, the target briefly shifted from Kellyn to Donathan.

It was a strange tribal council.  I’m assuming that everyone went there planning to vote out Kellyn but, as soon as Donathan started shooting his mouth off about how everyone needed him, it was obvious that some people started to reconsider that plan.  The first vote was:

Angela, Sebastian, and Kellyn all voted for Donathan.

Dom, Wendell, and Laurel all voted for Kellyn.

Donathan voted for Dom.

This led to a tie between Donathan and Kellyn so there was a revote.  Kellyn and Donathan could not vote.  Everyone else had to vote for either Donathan or Kellyn.  The first vote that was read was Sebastian’s vote for Donathan.  Donathan immediately stood up as if he was preparing to leave.  However, the second vote was for Kellyn.  Donathan promptly sat back down.  All the other votes were for Kellyn and just like that, Kellyn’s reign of whiny terror was over.  Of course, Kellyn being Kellyn, she had to attempt to give a monologue before leaving.

On the one hand, I’m glad that I won’t have to listen to Kellyn give a final speech to the jury because you know that would have gone on forever.  On the other hand, I really do have to wonder why the rest of the survivors don’t seem to understand that Dom and Wendell are huge threats to win the game.

So, the finale is next week!  We down to six finalists.  We’ve got:

Donathan, who does not have a chance of winning but who could be dragged to the end just because he’d be easy to beat

Sebastian, who hasn’t really done much but at least appears to be having fun

Angela, who I always forget is on the show

Laurel, who has had so many chances to shake up the game but who has wimped out every time

Dom, who seems to be in a good position but who might have upset some people on the jury


Wendell, who seems to be the front runner to win.

Going into the home stretch, Dom and Wendell have immunity idols while Sebastian now how an extra vote.

My prediction for the finale is:

The final three will be Dom, Wendell, and (assuming that they repeat last season’s twist of determining the final member of the final three through a firemaking challenge), Sebastian.  Out of those three, I think Wendell would win.

We’ll see if I’m right!

Lisa Marie


Survivor 36.11 “A Giant Game of Bumper Cars”

(Sorry, everyone!  I’ve been sick for the past two weeks, due to allergies and asthma and stuff.  So, I’m a little bit late in posting this recap.,..)

I feel so bad for Chelsea!

It’s not just that Chelsea was voted out last night.  Actually, that really didn’t surprise me.  Chelsea has been a strong in challenges and, the more a threat you are to win immunity, the more likely it is that you’ll be voted out as soon as you don’t have it.  I feel bad for Chelsea because, even after 11 episodes and several impressive challenge performances, I’m still not sure who she was.  We never really found out much about Chelsea.  Last night, she got her first confessional of the season and then she was promptly voted out.

That feels a bit unfair to me.  Post-merge, this season has pretty much been edited so that every episode revolves around Dom, Wendell, Kellyn, and, to a lesser extent, Laurel and Donathan.  Last night who was shocked to be reminded that Angela is still on the show?  How much do we really know about Sebastian, another person who is strong in challenges but who rarely gets a chance to show much personality?  Look at some of the people on the jury.  We never found out much about Desi, Libby or Jenna but everyone sure was determined to vote them out.  Obviously, Dom and Wendell are controlling the game right now so it makes sense that they’ll be at the center of many episodes but still, it seems like the editors could have made a little bit of an effort to let us know who the other players are.

As for what happened last night, I actually think it would have been smart to break up Wendell and Dom but, at the same time, I’m not shocked that the plan didn’t work.  The main problem is that it was a Kellyn plan and any plan that Kellyn comes up with is doomed to failure.  Maybe that’s the cure of Ghost Island.

The reason why Kellyn failed this week is because she failed to understand just how loyal both Laurel and Donathan are to Dom and Wendell.  Kellyn assumed that Donathan would want to work with an all-girl’s alliance but both Donathan and Laurel are a bit more ruthless than Kellyn gave them credit for.

That said, I don’t blame Kellyn for being angry about what happened during last night’s reward challenge.  By picking the four guys to go on the reward with him and then asking if any of them wanted to go to Ghost Island, Sebastian left it as no secret that the remaining women are considered to be at the bottom of the tribe.  He should have realized that, by not sending either Kellyn or Laurel to Ghost Island, he was practically inviting the four women to form their own alliance.  Sebastian, though, is not a particularly smart player.

Anyway, here’s who is left:

Domenick is in a strong position to win.  He currently has a strong alliance with Wendell and he also has an immunity idol.

Kellyn was in a good position until last night.  Now, she’s on the bottom of the tribe.

Wendell is in an even stronger position than Domenick but he has to be careful because not many people feel like they could beat him in a final 3 situation.  Wendell has an idol.

Donathan is coming on strong but he’s also betrayed a lot of people.  They jury is probably not going to love Donathan.

Laurel has the same problem as Donathan.  She’s betrayed the majority of the jury.

Sebastian has a fun stoner vibe going on.  I could see him making it to the final three and getting zero votes.

Angela is just kinda there.

Finally, there’s a fake idol out there, one which Dom knows about but apparently no one else has found.

There are two weeks left!  We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

Chelsea, the latest member of the jury

Survivor 34 Episode 12 “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Well, as far as Survivor goes, that’s a wrap!

The season ended tonight and, in the post below, I’m going to be revealing who was in the final three and who won.  It should go without saying that, if you haven’t watched the finale yet, this post is a huge spoiler so don’t read any further unless you’re okay with finding out who won.

As you may remember, I predicted that our final three would be Aubry, Tai, and Troyzan.  I thought there was no way that Brad would be able to win enough immunity challenges to avoid being voted out.  I was sure Cirie would be targeted and voted out.  I thought there was no way that anyone would be stupid enough to take Sarah to the end.  I figured that Troyzan, being the most likable of my projected final three, would win by default.

Well, I was right that Troyzan would make it to the final three but otherwise, I was totally wrong.  Brad won all three of tonight’s immunity challenges, guaranteeing himself a place in the final three.

At the first tribal on the night, Tai used one immunity idol on himself and the other on Aubry.  Sarah revealed that she had a legacy advantage, which meant she had immunity.  Troyzan played his idol.  Culpepper already had immunity from winning the challenge.  That meant that Cirie was the only person who didn’t have immunity and, as a result, she was voted out of the tribe despite the fact that no one had voted her.

The vote, by the way, was three for Sarah, two for Tai, and one for Aubry.  If Tai had not used his other idol on Aubry, she would have been voted out by one vote. Instead, Ciririe was voted out despite getting no votes.

(Incidentally, that seems amazingly unfair and I imagine the rules will change in the future.)

That was pretty much the most exciting part of the finale.  The rest, other than Culpepper’s challenge streak, was predictable.  Aubry was voted out at the next tribal.  After that, Tai was voted out because Culpepper wanted revenge for all the times that he felt Tai had betrayed him.

(Culpepper appeared to be obsessed with not only voting out Tai but humiliating him as well.  It was not pleasant to listen to.)

The final tribal council was different for what I’m used to and I’m not sure I cared much for the new format.  Now, instead of the jurors asking questions, the jurors discussed who had best lived up to the Survivor motto of “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.”  The final three get to take part in the discussion and each got to make a final statement.  It felt a little silly, to be honest but then again, the juror questions were rarely that interesting either.

Anyway, the jurors agreed that Brad had played a good physical game but that Sarah played an all-around better social and strategic game.  I thought that Troyzan might win some votes based on his being more likable than either Brad or Sarah but it didn’t happen that way.  (Troyzan, it must be said, figured out early that he wasn’t going to get any votes and he handled it far better than most third place finishers.)  Sarah won by a 7-3 vote.

During the reunion, it was revealed that, if Brad had brought Tai into the final three, he would have actually won.  The jury would have voted 5-5, at which point Troyzan — having the least number of votes — would have become a juror and he would have cast his vote for Brad.

As for the rest of the reunion, it was okay.  Sarah is not exactly the most likable person to ever win Survivor so it was hard to get too excited over her victory.  I do prefer her winning over Brad, if just because Brad had a tendency to be a bully and that really got on my nerves.  Jeff Probst perhaps realized this because he spent most of the reunion talking to Cirie and Zeke.  He also talked to Jeff Varner, who came across as being just as smarmy as ever.

And so, another season of Survivor comes to a close!  What did everyone think of the finale?  Who would you have preferred to have won?

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 11 “Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow”

I’ve just finished rewatching tonight’s episode of Survivor and I have to admit that I’m still a little bit confused as to why everything happened the way that it did.

There were two tribal councils tonight.  The first one, which led to Andrea being sent to the jury, was pretty straight forward.  Brad seemed like the obvious target but Cirie and Sarah decided to get rid of Andrea instead.  Obviously, they felt that Andrea was bigger threat and the only people who were really surprised by this turn of events was Andrea and Aubry.

(For all her talk about playing with logic and understanding that she needs to “build a resume” before she goes in front of the jury, no one ever really seems to care much about what Aubry wants.  Any time Aubry comes up with a plan, it seems pretty certain that everyone else is going to ignore it.)

The second tribal was where things got complicated.  Since Brad had won immunity and, since Troyzan is so skillful at flying under the radar that the tribe seems to have forgotten about him, the majority alliance turned on each other.  Cirie, Aubry, Sarah, and Michaela all seemed to be going after Tai, while Tai was thinking of going after Sarah.  Sarah gave Cirie her “steal a vote” advantage with the understanding that Cirie would not play it at tribal.  Cirie, however, then tried to do just that.  This led to perhaps the greatest moment of the season as Jeff revealed that, under the rules of the advantage, only Sarah could use it.

This led to everyone running around tribal and whispering to each other.  I would have loved to have known what everyone said because somehow, it led to Andrea “stealing” Tai’s vote and then voting, with Brad and Troyzan, to get rid of Michaela.  Michaela and Aubry voted for Tai while Cirie voted for Aubry.  Tai did not play his immunity idol, so he obviously knew what was going to happen.

I wish this episode hadn’t featured two tribal councils.  It led to the whole episode feeling rushed and, obviously, the viewers were not shown a lot of the strategizing that went on before that second tribal.

Oh well!

Next week is the finale and we have six players left.  They are:

Tai, who hasn’t played much of a game but who does have two idols, which means that he’s guaranteed to make it to the final four.

Troyzan, who has flown under the radar so successfully that it’s easy to forget that he’s there.  Considering that he still has the third idol and that there are still bigger threats in the game, he also has a very good chance of making it to at least the final four.

Sarah still has the legacy advantage, which she will have to use during the next challenge.  At this point, Sarah should be everyone’s target so she’s going to either need to win immunity or make some brilliant deals if she’s going to avoid being sent to the jury.

Up until tonight, Cirie was playing a perfect game.  The way she screwed up her attempt to use Sarah’s “steal a vote” advantage would seem to indicate that she’s slipping a little.  And now, she’s lost her strongest ally.  Cirie should have a big target on her back at this point.

Brad Culpepper is seen as being a stronger player than he actually is.  For the most part, he’s survived this long through a combination of being good at challenges and just having good luck.  But he’s not much of a strategist and his social game doesn’t appear to be that strong either.  If I was picking someone to sit next to me in the finale, I might very well pick Culpepper.

And finally, Aubry.  Aubry is another player who has a reputation for being strong than she actually is.  Aubry has, to her credit, been for less whiny this season than she was during her previous season but, for the most part, she’s gotten this far by flying under the radar.  The few times that she has tried to step up and play mastermind, it’s blown up in her face.

So, here’s my final three prediction:




And Troyzan will shock everyone by winning, largely because he’s the only person to get through the entire season without annoying anyone on the jury.

We’ll see what happens next Wednesday!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 10 “It Is Not A High Without A Low”

Hi, everyone!

Sorry, I’m running a little late with this Survivor update.  I actually missed the first 15 minutes of the show tonight, because I was outside trying to stop a cat fight before it happened!  It gets even worse — I actually forgot to set the DVR to record the show!  I think that’s like the first time, in at least four years, that I’ve forgotten to set it.

Anyway, despite all of that drama, I am now officially caught up on what happened tonight.  So, here’s a few thoughts.

Tonight was the family reunion episode.  During the first few seasons of Survivor, the family reunion episodes always made me cry but, lately, I’ve gotten pretty cynical about them.  As a lot of you pointed out in the comments last week, the castaways always act as if they’ve been away from home for years or as if they’ve just been released from captivity.  In truth, it’s only been a few weeks.

Add to that, the Survivor producers always go a bit overboard trying to use the reunion episode to create drama.  Whenever Jeff says, “You can pick one person to go with you,” I cringe.  If I was ever on Survivor, I would probably specifically try to lose the loved ones challenge because it really isn’t worth the trouble that it always seems to lead to.

This season, the castaways competed in teams to see who would get to spend time with their loved ones.  The team of Culpepper, Aubry, and Andrea won.  Over on the losing team, Michaela kicked a box in frustration and was sharply reprimanded with her mother.  That’s one reason why I like Michaela.  She may not be the strongest player but she never holds back on how she’s feeling.  The winning team then decided to take Sarah and Cirie with them on their reward.  Tai, Troyzan, Sierra, and Michaela went back to camp alone.

Up until this point, I thought that the reward challenge might lead to some people flipping on their alliances.  Michaela certainly did seem upset when she was not selected to go on the reward.  Culpepper’s wife, Monica, even said that she thought Michaela might flip.

(A big deal was made about the fact that Monica had played the game before and would be advising Culpepper.  I’ve always thought that Monica was an overrated player and her advise to Brad was nothing that he shouldn’t have been able to come up with on his own.  It kinda reminded of how, on Big Brother, it’s always assumed that returning housesguests are somehow experts on how to play the game when, actually, they seem to be as clueless as everyone else.)

But, for all the talk of people flipping, no one did.  Despite Zeke being blindsided last week, Culpepper’s alliance is still in the minority.  When Culpepper won the immunity challenge, the target was taken off of him and redirected onto his closest ally, Sierra.  It wasn’t even a close vote.  Sierra got 6 votes while she, Culpepper, and Troyzan all voted for Andrea.  Sierra gave her legacy advantage to Sarah.

To be honest, I’m not really surprised.  It felt like Sierra’s time to go.  She was in the minority alliance and she’s been playing the game hard.  She was never really as strong a player as she thought she was but, still, she was dangerous enough that it makes total sense that no one would betray their alliance to keep her around.

Plus, now that Sierra’s gone, I won’t keep getting her mixed up with Andrea.  That’ll make it a lot easier to write these recaps!

All in all, this really wasn’t a very dramatic episode.  But next week looks good!

Til then,

Lisa Marie


Survivor 34 Episode 9 “Reinventing How This Game Is Played”

As some of you have probably already noticed, the above picture, of Zeke being voted off the island, is not from tonight’s episode.

Instead, it’s from the previous season.  During Millennials vs. Gen X, Zeke was eliminated on Day 33 and he was the 11th person to voted out of the game.  This season, Zeke was the 9th person voted out of the game and he left on Day 29.  Zeke competed in two back-to-back seasons and he was eliminated at roughly the same point during each one of them.  Both times, he was also eliminated for roughly the same reason.

During both of his seasons, Zeke emerged as a strong player and a genuine threat to win.  He was good at making alliances.  He was a good strategist.  He’s a good social player, though perhaps not as good as he thinks he is.  (During both seasons, his fellow castaways either loved Zeke or totally distrusted him.)  Twice, Zeke’s downfall has been his ego.  During both this season and the last, Zeke ended up getting cocky and, twice, this self-described master strategist was blind-sided.

To be honest, this was kind of a confusing episode.  For most of the episode, I suspected that Zeke was going to be voted out.  He was too strong of a player and even the majority of his alliance didn’t seem to really trust him.  I knew that if Zeke didn’t go tonight, he would probably go next week.  But, with all that in mind, it was still hard to keep track of what led to the votes coming down the way that they did.

The final tally was 5 votes for Zeke, 3 votes for Tai, and 2 votes for Sierra.  Andrea, who was really the mastermind of the whole plot to get rid of Zeke, did a very good job of keeping both Zeke and the other alliance from finding out about her plan.  As far as I can, it appears that Brad, Sierra, Troyzan, Tai, and Zeke all believed that 1) the target was Sierra and that 2) the plan was to split the vote between Sierra and Tai.  That’s the only way that I can explain those 3 votes for Tai.  Just imagine if all five of those non-Zeke votes had been cast for either Tai or Sierra.  It would have led to a tie.  The final vote was either the result of brilliant strategy or dumb luck.

(Hopefully, next week’s episode will fill us in on why Brad, Sierra, and Troyzan all voted for Tai.)

As for the rest of tonight’s episode, I enjoyed the reward challenge.  I liked the fact that Jeff Probst’s endless monologue actually contained the solution to the puzzle.  I know if I was on Survivor, I would probably tune out Jeff during any of the challenges but tonight’s episode showed why that would probably be a mistake.

I’ll admit that I yelled at the TV when Sarah told Cirie about her special advantage.  Sarah’s putting a lot of trust in Cirie and I’m not sure that’s a great idea.

Speaking of yelling, was anyone else briefly excited at the idea of Tai being the first player to get voted out with not just one but two immunity idols on him?  If that had happened, it would be a legendary moment in Survivor history.

Finally, I’m not sure that tonight was the right moment to vote out Zeke.  I would have gotten rid of all the members of Brad’s alliance before turning on one of my own allies.  Next week, I imagine that we’re going to see two new alliances form.  Cirie is in a position of power right now but so far, all of the power players have been getting blind-sided.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 8 “A Line Drawn in Concrete”

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

To be honest, that’s the same thing that I said the last time that Debbie was voted out of the game.  A part of me feels that may be unfair on my part.  Debbie, after all, is just trying to win a game and it’s always been totally possible that she’s either been the victim of a bad edit or that she was deliberately playing crazy just to get more screen time.  She could be a perfectly normal and reasonable person outside of Survivor.  I kinda doubt it but stranger things turned out to be true.

That said, though, there’s only so much Debbie that you can take in a season.  Every season of Survivor needs a crazy person but, at the same time, every season of Survivor needs for that crazy person to be voted out at some point.  My concern was that Debbie would get taken to the final three, just because everyone would assume that they could easily beat her.

But no, Debbie was voted out tonight.  She was blindsided.  Really, she should have seen it coming.  First off, she put way too much faith in the idea that her six person alliance was rock solid.  The closer a tribe is divided, the more likely that someone is going to flip and betray their alliance.  Secondly, Debbie made the mistake of trying to talk about Sarah behind her back.  When Aubry told Sarah about what Debbie had been saying, there was a little doubt that Sarah would flip on her alliance.

After spending most of this season in the background, Sarah was pretty active tonight.  In fact, this episode basically was the Sarah Show.  First off, at the end of the reward challenge, she was the one who not only found the extra advantage but managed to grab it without anyone noticing.  This time, the advantage was the power to steal one person’s vote.  That’s a good advantage, assuming that Sarah plays it correctly.

Then, back at camp, Sarah’s alliance — Brad, Sierra, Tai, Troyzan, and Debbie — made the mistake of deciding to target Andrea without even talking to Sarah about it.  Cirie, meanwhile, told Sarah that she needed to make a big move if she was going to have any hope at winning the game.  And so, Sarah made that move.

At Tribal, Troyzan had immunity.  The Debbie/Brad alliance targeted Andrea.  The Cirie/Zeke alliance targeted Debbie.  Sarah was the deciding vote and, when she flipped and switched sides, the final vote was 6-5 in favor of sending Debbie to the jury.

And, just like that, the power has shifted.  Brad, Troyzan, and Sierra are now at the bottom of the tribe.  Tai would be in trouble, except for the fact that he has two immunity idols and, assuming he’s smart enough to 1) keep them for himself and 2) realize if he’s being targeted so that he’ll know when to play them, those idols should keep him safe long enough for him to make a new alliance.  For now, Cirie is the most powerful player in the game, though you have to wonder how long it will be before she and Zeke turn on each other.

And finally, who is Sarah going to side with next week?  Is she going to permanently become an ally of the Cirie/Zeke alliance?  Is she going to go back to the Brad alliance?  Or is she going to remain in the middle?

We’ll find out next week!

Lisa Marie