By Mickie McLeod

Actions speak louder than words, especially in Survivor!  This week of Survivor: Game Changers was totally awesome.  Survivor revealed a new change and twist in this week’s episode – keeping the “Game Changers” title pretty accurate!

Reward Challenge

During this week’s episode of Survivor: Game Changers, we’re shown the first Reward Challenge of the season.  The first two tribes that finished the challenge were rewarded iced cold coffee and the first tribe to finish was also rewarded cookies.  On Survivor, winning rewards are crucial to receiving that extra energy and nutrients (well, sugar in this case) to boost the castaways for their next Immunity Challenge!

During a Reward Challenge, the pressure isn’t as high as it is during an Immunity Challenge.  During the Reward Challenge this week, two castaways of each tribe faced off through a course of balance beams as well as throwing sandbags.

Results and players of the Challenge:

NUKU Tribe – J.T / Malcolm – 1st

MANA Tribe – Tai / Culpepper – 2nd

TAVUA Tribe – Ozzy / Troyzan – Last

Immunity Challenge

The latest twist was revealed during the Immunity Challenge this episode!  Between the three tribes, only ONE tribe would be safe from Tribal Council.  Therefore, unlike usually, the TWO tribes that don’t finish first will BOTH be heading to Tribal Council.  What did this exactly mean, though?

Survivor seems to have a blindfolded challenge during every season.  These challenges are always rather humorous to watch too.  During the challenge, each tribe had a “caller” who conducted which way each of their tribe members would go, as they’re all blindfolded and couldn’t see anything.  It’s always fun to watch everyone as they get lost, all while the caller gets extremely frustrated.

At the Immunity Challenge, it was down to the wire between the NUKU tribe and TAVUA. Would it be Andrea from the TAVUA Tribe or Varner from NUKU to keep their tribe safe from Tribal Council?

In the end, it was Andrea who saved TAVUA from Tribal Council. BOTH the NUKU and MANA Tribe would be sent to Tribal Council this episode… but, does that necessarily mean two tribe members would be voted out?

Tribal Council – THE TWIST

If you missed this week’s episode of Survivor: Game Changers, you sure did miss one of the largest Tribal Council Showdowns in Survivor history!

This week, both tribes were sent to Tribal.  This is nothing new; we’ve seen this on Survivor… right?

This week on Survivor was something completely different.  During this week’s episode, BOTH Tribes would be sitting TOGETHER at Tribal, therefore, all members between NUKU and MANA would be voting out only ONE person between the tribes.  This has never happened before. This is huge!

So what went down?  The Tavua Tribe is pretty much out of the picture during this episode, since they’ve won Immunity.  Tribal Council was the highlight of this episode and was purely wild.

Before Tribal, NUKU wasn’t sure who they wanted to vote off the MANA Tribe.  The numbers were simply 6 to 5 members, (NUKU having 6).  With that being said, NUKU was confident that their vote would be the majority.  The main focus vote was on the strong MANA castaway, Sierra.  However, J.T and Malcolm had determined a possible alternative plan of siding with J.T’s already-developed alliance with Culpepper (who is on the MANA Tribe).

Before Tribal, MANA was convinced that Sandra was the biggest threat on NUKU.  With that being said, MANA tribe members were not very confident because of their lack of numbers on their tribe.  Because of this, Tai ran off into the jungle and searched for the Hidden Immunity Idol.  Conveniently, Tai found the idol and revealed to his tribe that he wants to use it at Tribal Council to save one of his tribe members.

Here comes the showdown…

Tribal Council was epic.  The two tribes merged at Tribal Council, as they would all write down someone’s name between the two tribes.  From the looks of it, it seemed to be either Sierra or Culpepper from the MANA Tribe or Sandra from NUKU who may be voted off.

As always, Tribal is always heated as host, Jeff Probst asks questions and discusses strategies between the castaways.  However, this episode literally had not only me, but even all of the Survivor castaways on the edge/out of their own seats!

For the first time probably ever in Survivor, Jeff Probst had lost control of Tribal.  Every single person in Tribal got out of their seat and whispered back and forth among the Tribes, including J.T and his former alliance with Brad Culpepper.

Who would be voted off? It was unknown as I was watching at home! Because J.T spoke to his “alliance” with Culpepper, I was almost certain that he and Malcolm were going to vote along with the MANA Tribe.  As viewers at home, it was unsure who MANA was voting for.  However, what did J.T and Culpepper discuss during their whispered conversation?

Well, it was a “hashtag wow” (#wow) moment on Survivor. (Survivor provided the hashtag the moment this happened).  During the reveal of the votes, Tai used his idol to save Sierra.  All votes towards Sierra would not count.  Why was the choice of saving Sierra so easy, though?  It was clear that J.T must have told Culpepper who his tribe was voting out.

With that being said, it was an ultimate blindside!  Because NUKU’s votes towards Sierra did not count, out of the clear blue, Malcolm was the fourth person voted off of Survivor: Game Changers.  J.T simply couldn’t keep his mouth shut from his “alliance” with Culpepper, which revealed to save Sierra with the Hidden Immunity Idol. Malcolm was shocked, pissed, and clearly upset.

Culpepper seemed to be the VIP during this episode.  He not only won a Reward Challenge, but he got the information of saving Sierra (courtesy of J.T’s big mouth) along with ditching his alliance with J.T to vote out a strong threat, Malcolm.

Jeff Probst truly said it all — “No matter how confident you are, this game can come back and smack you in the face.”  It sure did for Malcolm.

What were your reactions during this epic episode of Survivor: Game Changers?  I’m pretty bummed to see Malcolm leave so early.  Who do you see going far in this season?  Tweet me @mick_cloudy and let’s exchange thoughts!  This season is bringing new changes each episode – I’m thoroughly enjoying it all!  What are your predictions for next week?

You can watch this season of Survivor, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and don’t miss my recaps of Survivor Game Changers every Thursday morning on!

Mickie McLeod is a Livonia, MI native.  She’s majoring in Communication Studies at Wayne State University.  Mickie has been a Survivor fan since 2000.  Follow her @mick_cloudy for live tweeting about Survivor and look for her recaps every Thursday morning. 


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