By Mickie McLeod

Happy 500th Episode of Survivor!  This two-hour season premiere of Survivor: Game Changers was intense.  If you missed the season premiere — I’ve got you covered.

Where do we begin?  This season of Survivor consists of legendary past castaways who have all changed the games they’ve played.  These “game changers” are battling to Outwit, Outplay and Outlast one another for another chance at $1 million and the title of “Sole Survivor.”

Right away the premiere starts off on a ship, creating a “shipwreck” theme this season around.  Two tribes are divided – MANA (orange/red tribe) and NUKU (blue tribe).  Castaways are ready to arrive at camp as they follow the tradition of Survivor, collecting useful survival items off of the ship before heading to their separate beaches.


At the Mana Tribe, the castaways seem relaxed and comfortable as they all meet one another… well, besides Tony.  Tony makes me laugh.  Instantly, Tony (Cagayan Winner and creator of the “Spy Shack”) runs off into the woods announcing that he is off to find a Hidden Immunity Idol, leaving the rest of the tribe behind confused, but also not surprised.

Tony is off to having one of the highest spirits on the tribe as he is driven to get ahead right away.  Tony also finds himself upgrading the former “Spy Shack” into a “Spy Bunker” and instantly starts digging a hole.  Because of his high energy and strong initiative to find the Hidden Immunity Idol — Tony not only creates a huge target on his back among the tribe but also creates pure entertainment for us watching at home. He cracks me up.


On the Nuku Tribe, the game instantly begins.  Sierra (Survivor Worlds Apart) finds a “Secret Advantage” while on the ship.  Sierra doesn’t share with anyone that she’s found an advantage. The advantage is called a “Legacy Advantage” which was first introduced last season on Survivor Millennials vs. Gen. X.  The Legacy Advantage must be opened and used either when there are 13 people (around the merge) or when there are six people left in the game.

Meanwhile also at Nuku is Cirie stirring up some drama.  Cirie is on edge right away because she isn’t sure how her and Ozzy’s relationship is since Survivor Micronesia.  Due to their past history, Cirie is doubtful about Ozzy because he has been known as a major threat in the game of Survivor.  Then again, so has she.

Immunity Challenge

At the Immunity Challenge, Host, Jeff Probst announced a new rule for Tribal Council.  If there is a tie at Tribal Council, there will now be no such thing as a “revote” and will instantly result into a tie breaker.  The change of “re-voting” is now gone which makes the method of “splitting the vote” very dangerous in this season of Survivor.

At the challenge, the two tribes are battling it out not only for the first Immunity but as well as flint — an essential in the game of Survivor.

The Immunity Challenges always keeps me at the edge of my seat.  During this first Immunity Challenge, the challenge had consisted of classic Survivor water obstacles and a one of a kind crazy looking puzzle, which in this challenge, was a ship steering wheel.

The competition was close, but it was NUKU (Blue Tribe) who had won the Immunity Challenge.  This means that the MANA Tribe will be the first to visit Tribal Council of the season and one castaway on the tribe will be voted off.

Tribal Council

At Tribal, it was down to two main people on the chopping block — Ciera (Blood vs. Water, Cambodia) and Michaela (Millennials vs. Gen. X).

Ciera was on the chopping block at Tribal because most of the tribe found her strong decision making and voice as a threat right away.  Ciera also was considered because she didn’t do very well in the Immunity Challenge.

Michaela’s name was thrown out there initially to distract Ciera from knowing she was getting her name written down.  However, after Michaela found out that her name was used to distract Ciera from knowing the truth, Michaela reacted strongly like she has in her past season.  Because of this, Michaela was then considerably a real candidate in voting out.

In the end, it was the first instinct and Ciera was the first to be voted off of Survivor Game Changers.  No matter what season, “Blind Sides never go out of style” – Jeff Probst.

Second Half of Season Premiere


The NUKU Tribe seems to be all getting along with each other overall.  Tai (former chicken enthusiast on his last season) continues his legacy of loving animals and begins naming the chickens once again.  This season we have Gloria and Monica the chickens.

Cirie, still being on edge with Ozzy, begins manipulating and attempting to form alliances with Sarah, Zeke, and even Debbie (who is one of the most strategic players known).  Because of this, Cirie is shown as insecure in her game, as well as a big threat.  No one seems to trust her.


At Mana, things are more heated.  Originally, Tony (Winner of Survivor Cagayan) and Sandra (Winner of both Survivor Pearl Islands and Survivor Heroes vs. Villains) pair up and start working together.  These two former winners of Survivor decide that they only want the strongest players in their alliance.

However, this alliance between Tony and Sandra did not last long.  Because of Tony’s paranoia, Tony destroys his trust with Sandra.  This happened as Tony was using his “Spy Bunker” (attempting to use it at least) as he was ease dropping on Troyzan and Sandra’s late night conversation, (which created more humorous entertainment for us at home).  Tony’s act of being paranoid turned Sandra away from their alliance and Sandra talking to Troyzan made Tony not trust Sandra anymore either.  As a result, this awesome power alliance that would’ve been epic — was cut off and ended completely.

Immunity Challenge

The Immunity Challenge consisted of two 400 lbs snakes — yes that’s correct, 400 lbs! Okay, so maybe the snake was made out of weighted rings and fabric, but the challenge was still crazy to watch.

The two tribes competed for Immunity as well as fishing gear and a raft.  The two tribes had to make their way into the ocean and release a 400 lbs snake from under the water and carry it over and through a set of obstacles.  Just watching this challenge made me tired.

It was NUKU who was in the lead almost the entire way.  At the very end of the challenge, Malcolm from the MANA tribe ties up the game, making it such a close finish.

By just one toss of a ring, it was NUKU who won the Immunity Challenge and once again, sending the MANA Tribe to Tribal Council.

Tribal Council

Tribal Council is easily the best part of this show (in my opinion) because anything can happen!

The war between Tony and Sandra had expanded.  Who was on whose side?  The tribe seemed to be divided overall.  For the most part, it was down to who was a better leader.  As Sandra put it, “You’re only a King until the Queen arrives… I’m here.”

At Tribal, it was unclear who was going to be voted off.   Although Tony was paranoid and had a target on his back from the beginning, it sure seemed that he had formed some sort of alliance to keep him safe another day.  However, it was the Queen herself who tricked him after all, and basically everyone voted him off.  The “Queen” was safe, which meant Tony, the “King” was the second person voted off of Survivor Game Changers.  Although Tony’s game is over, I wonder if the “Spy Bunker” will see another day.

What did you think of the premiere of Survivor: Game Changers?  In Survivor, anything can happen.  I was a big fan of Tony– but maybe only because of his invention of the Spy Shack/Bunker.  I’m curious to see how the legends of both Ozzy and Malcolm play in this season.  How long do you think Cirie will last? Do you think Sandra has a chance at winning ANOTHER season of Survivor?

I’m full of questions and I want to talk to you! Tweet me @mick_cloudy and don’t miss my recaps on CBS Detroit every Thursday morning!

You can watch this season of Survivor, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.


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