“Are You Blackmailing Me?” Survivor: Game Changers May 17, 2017 Recap

21 May

We are down to eight people left in the game. At the end of the prior episode, we saw Sarah putting on a “shocked and confused” face as Sierra left the game, all to make sure Sierra didn’t suspect Sarah voted against her so she would bequeath the Legacy Advantage to Sarah. But at the time we saw Andrea observing Sarah’s expression and looking a bit confused herself. At the start of this episode, Andrea discusses this with Aubry, who saw Sarah’s face too. Was Sarah pandering to the jury, or what?

Cirie tells us that she would like to go to the end with Sarah, since the policewoman had a hand in voting out most of the people who are on the jury. Sarah meanwhile wants Andrea gone: “I cannot stand the girl.”

There is no reward challenge this episode, instead we go straight to an immunity challenge: build a house of (wooden) cards with one hand while holding a balancing board with the other hand. Jeff Probst tells us this was last won by John Cochran, so it presumably took place in the Fans vs. Favorites II season. Aubry emerges as the winner and gives Probst a big hug.

Andrea tells us that Brad and Troy have both voted for her twice. Still, she thinks this might be the time to take out Sarah. In other words, she has the opposite opinion from Cirie regarding Sarah’s chances with the jury.

Aubry, meanwhile, is more in favor of voting out Brad. Michaela wants Brad gone too, and since she doesn’t know where he is, she suspects he’s off looking for a hidden immunity idol. She wants to go find him and suggest he go fishing, after all he’s not going to find an idol out on the water. But the way she puts it to Brad comes off as bullying, or a threat. “Are you blackmailing me?” Brad asks her. And he tells us “I’m not going to sit here and kowtow to some diva’s demands.”

Andrea wants to push her Sarah plan but Aubry is not up for it, and neither is Cirie. In fact, Cirie promptly goes to Sarah and says they need to take out Andrea, because she and Aubry are trying to “do something slick.”

Tribal council, is fairly uneventful, and alas it ends with “my girlfriend” Andrea being voted out, though she looks darn good doing it. Andrea makes sure to pass by Cirie on her way and give her a playful poke, having figured out that Cirie must have orchestrated her demise. There were just two votes for Brad: Andrea and Aubry.

We’re just halfway through the show at this point, so it looks like two votes will be happening in the space of one hour. I assume the fact that this season had no medical evacuations and nobody quitting left the producers with one too many people.

So now we’re down to the final seven, and right away Cirie tells us she’s after Aubry, who puts on a brave face but tears up when she’s alone talking to the camera. Tai consoles Aubry, which makes Cirie wonder where Tai’s loyalties lie.

And as I’ve been saying for about four weeks now: why is not one player pointing at Cirie as the number one threat? It’s crazy.

We’re soon at another immunity challenge, and like so many of them this one ends with a puzzle. Michaela thinks she has solved it, but Probst yells “not right!” and a few seconds later he adds that Michaela “kicks the puzzle, which always helps.” Typical Michaela.

Brad wins the challenge and celebrates quite hard, so much so that Troyzan says “whoa.” Troy is the last one who should be shocked; I seem to remember that on Survivor One World he did the same thing at least once, loudly proclaiming “This is my island,” etc. At any rate, Troy reminds us viewers that he has an idol, and with Brad being immune from being voted out, Troy might need to use it.

Tai and Aubry confer: both of them are lacking a big move on their respective resumes. But they agree on what a great move would be now: voting out Sarah. However, after the conversation Aubry decides that an even better move would be … voting out Tai! So Aubry tells Cirie that Tai is gunning for Sarah, hoping to get more votes against Tai.

Cirie alerts Sarah of the Tai threat, bit Sarah tells Cirie she shouldn’t believe Aubry. Sarah trusts Tai much more than Aubry. In fact, Sarah is so confident she won’t be voted out that she will give Cirie the vote-steal advantage (which she told her about last episode) for safekeeping. Cirie swears she is just the trustee and will give it back after the vote.

Here’s what I think Cirie thinks will happen: Aubry and Tai will get Troy and Brad to vote along with them against Sarah, and 4 votes would be enough against Sarah, Cirie, and Michaela.  So Cirie thinks she needs to actually use the vote-stealer she is supposedly just holding onto, to get that fourth vote against Tai. And she thinks she needs to do this to save Sarah, but in doing so she risks making Sarah mad!

And there’s another problem with the plan: the vote stealer has to be played right before it’s time to vote. In other words, an immunity idol can still be played after the votes are read. So Cirie needs to find a way to convince Tai not to use his idol. Summoning up fake tears, she tells Tai that she is going to use the vote steal advantage at Tribal Council … to save him. Tai freaks out. He certainly considers the possibility Cirie might be lying, but can’t figure out why she would make up such a crazy story.

At Tribal Council everyone seems to agree that there are several lies being told, by someone. Finally Probst says it’s time to vote. Cirie speaks up and says she is holding a vote-steal advantage and that she is going to use it … to steal Sarah’s vote! She assures Sarah this is for her own good.

Sarah replies: actually that’s my advantage. Read the text, it says it is non-transferable and cannot be stolen.

The jury is going nuts over all of this. Cirie reads out the text and sure enough the part Sarah mentions is in there. Probst says the key word is non-transferable, and that Cirie can’t use the advantage. Sarah says “can I have that?” and takes the advantage back. Then she goes over to whisper something to Tai.

This kicks off a whole round of whispering like the one we had an an earlier tribal council this season. Various people whisper things to various other people. At one point Troyzan decides to stick his head into a huddle among Michaela, Cirie, and Sarah, and Michaela tries to push him out.

When all of that has subsided, Sarah says “you know what Jeff, I’m gonna use my advantage,” and the vote she wants to steal is Tai’s. Surely there can be no clearer signal to Tai that he needs to play one of his idols. But when Jeff Probst asks if anyone wants to play an idol, Tai  shockingly does nothing!

The votes are read, and the person voted out is…. Michaela! She grumbles something at Sarah and wishes everyone but Sarah luck as she troops out. There were also two votes for Tai and one for Aubry. Brad gets Tai’s attention and points twice, saying “She and she voted for you!” Presumably he was pointing at Aubry and Cirie.

When we see the votes after the credits, we see Brad was wrong: one Tai vote came from Aubry, but the other was from the departed Michaela. The Aubry vote came from Cirie. And the Michaela votes were from Brad, Troyzan, and two from Sarah. In other words, if Sarah had put her two votes against Tai or Aubry, it would have been enough to send either of them home. So now let’s revisit Sarah’s vow that  she would be the first player ever to use the vote-steal advantage correctly. Sorry Sarah. Your own vote already made it three against Michaela, which by itself would have been enough to vote her out, since Tai obviously wouldn’t vote against himself.

Two things about this episode remain mysteries:

  • Why did Cirie want to use the vote stealer to steal Sarah’s vote? Why not try to steal the vote of Aubry, Tai, Troy, or Brad who were all presumably voting against Sarah and Cirie?
  • Why did Brad, Troy, and Sarah vote against Michaela, who had no chance to win the game, instead of Cirie?

Cirie’s attempted “big move” was really a major misstep. Instead of a potential final three of her, Michaela and Sarah, which would have meant a blowout win if not a shutout win, Michaela is gone and Sarah is now her enemy.

After much deliberation I am bumping Cirie down to #2 in my contender rankings. She finally has people who want her out of the game in Sarah and also Aubry (whom Cirie voted for). I think Brad wins if he makes the finals, though he will probably have to win 1 or 2 immunity challenges to do that. I think Sarah might well run afoul of a bitter jury even if she makes it to the end. Aubry and Troy need to hope for a final three of the two of them plus Tai.

contenders: 1. Brad, 2. Cirie, 3. Sarah, 4. Aubry, 5. Troyzan

no chance: Tai

jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Hali (no idea), Ozzy (Cirie), Debbie (Troyzan), Zeke (Brad), Sierra (Brad), Andrea (Cirie), Michaela (Cirie)



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