By Mickie McLeod

Who watched Survivor: Game Changers this week?  What’d you think about it?  If you missed this week’s episode, you sure did miss some huge game changers!


Yes, once again, it wouldn’t be Survivor: Game Changers without another tribe swap.  This week the three tribes, Mana, Nuku, and Tavua were divided into the two original tribes of Mana and Nuku… and, well, Exile Island.

Exile is back!  If you’re a huge Survivor nerd like me, you’d know what Exile Island means.  Exile Island is a designated Island that was introduced in Survivor, over ten years ago.  Since then, the island is randomly introduced — sometimes not even introduced in an entire season of Survivor.

Exile Island is known to be a miserable time.  Exile Island doesn’t exist in every season of Survivor; therefore, having it back in Survivor: Game Changers is huge.  At Exile Island, one castaway is sent alone and is isolated from the game and the other castaways. Exile Island has been known to be a huge disadvantage.  While at Exile, the one particular castaway doesn’t get to compete in challenges or strategize with any other castaways.

At the Tribe swap, the castaways all randomly selected a buff.  The one person who received no buff would be sent to Exile and then be brought onto the tribe that loses the next Immunity Challenge.  The person who goes to Exile will be isolated from their tribe, however, are guaranteed not to be voted off this week.  That one person who did not receive a buff was the one and only, Debbie.  This meant she was sent to the awful place of “Exile Island.”

Exile Island

Exile Island: a place known to be just a plain old drag. Exile Island is a place where the castaway sleeps on the cold sand with no shelter, no food, and no time to make alliances.

Well, not in Survivor: Game Changers.

That’s right — this season of Survivor did a whole 180.  “Exile Island” is actually known as a yacht.  Exile Island this season is a yacht stocked with food, beverages, and of course, alcohol.  Debbie is actually given a vacation, (which was much needed considering her mental breakdown last week). As everyone thinks she’s cold and miserable, she’s actually living the good life on a hammock, while soaking up the sun on a beautiful boat.  This is a totally new “Game Changer” in Survivor history.

Could it get any better for Debbie? Well, yes… yes it does.

From a distance, another boat is heading towards Debbie.  Who is on the mysterious boat?  It’s a surprise return from a Survivor legend — Cochran.  John Cochran.

Once again… another GAME CHANGER.  Who is John Cochran you may be wondering?  John Cochran is a former two time player, and a legend of Survivor.  Cochran was a Survivor nerd who knew everything about the game of Survivor before he was even introduced as a castaway.  Since his first season, he’s returned during the 26th season and ultimately won the title of Sole Survivor.  Cochran was inducted into Xfinity’s Survivor “Hall of Fame,” and is known for being a master of the game.

When Debbie sees Cochran, she’s ecstatic.  Cochran is there to give valuable advice and guidance to her — pretty much like a Survivor genie.  Cochran appears and gives his wisdom, along with an advantage in the game.  Debbie’s Exile Island (or Exile yacht) experience in a nutshell: wisdom from a legend, an advantage of an extra vote in the game, and a whole lot of food and drinks.  Debbie’s game had flipped upside down.

The new Nuku

Sandra, Varner, Zeke, Ozzy, Sarah, Tai, and Andrea.

At the new Nuku, the tension is high! Sandra and Jeff Varner feel as if they’re on the bottom based on the majority of their other tribe member’s alliances.  These assumptions are indeed true, as Zeke is trying to make a move on getting “The Queen” (Sandra) off her thrown.  While Zeke and the majority want Sandra voted out next, Tai feels his first move on his new tribe should be doing what he does best; finding a Hidden Immunity Idol.

Tai has found not one, but two Hidden Immunity Idols already in the game this season.  His latest idol was found due to a clue directing him to dig next to his last camp’s (Mana Camp) mailbox.  Tai thinks if the last Idol he found was by the mailbox, why not look in the same place at his new camp?  Well, he was right.  Tai found his THIRD Idol in Survivor Game Changers, while only using one, which resulted to Malcolm being voted out.  This meant Tai now has two Hidden Immunity Idols to himself.  Tai seems to be in a good position.

The new Mana

Hali, Aubry, Culpepper, Cirie, Troyzan, Michaela and Sierra.

At Mana, not much is introduced.  Pretty much the only Mana information that is shown in this episode is that Troyzan and Culpepper want to align together because they’re the only males on their tribe.

Immunity Challenge

I was so exhausted watching this Immunity Challenge.  This week’s Immunity Challenge required a ton of physical activity.

The series of obstacles in the challenge contained monkey bars, swimming, retrieving giant puzzle pieces from the ocean, and pushing the pieces across a sand slope. The first tribe to finish their puzzle would be safe from Tribal Council.

This week, the result was the fastest puzzle finish in Survivor history.  Mana won this Immunity Challenge, which meant that the new Nuku tribe was sent to Tribal Council, while also receiving Debbie on their new tribe.

Tribal Council

Back at camp, it seemed that Sandra being voted out was the obvious thought from everyone, excluding Varner and Sandra herself.  Varner and Sandra knew they were on the bottom, but Varner was told by Zeke that Tai was the target this week.

Tai is known to be sneaky, along with being a “flipper” in the game.  Varner was convinced that Tai would be voted off this week, so he includes Sandra in on the gossip.  Sandra, on the other hand, was suspicious.

Because of Sandra’s suspicion, Sandra stirs up drama — as she always does, but this time, it was during Tribal Council.   Sandra; the only two-time winner of Survivor, attempts to pull off what could’ve been the best switch in Tribal Council history.

At Tribal Council, Sandra announces that it’s either her or Tai that could be voted off this week. Because of this, Tai started to freak out.  This resulted in Tai acting paranoid instantly.  Tai then tried to align with Sandra, and they end up throwing Ozzy’s name out there to be voted off.  Whispers are passed around during Tribal because of Tai’s outburst.

The vote could go anyway now because of Tai’s reaction.  Would the tribe vote out Ozzy?  Would Ozzy and the majority of the tribe switch their vote to Tai?  Did Sandra just get the target off her back? Was “The Queen” really that brilliant at this game?

In the end, “The Queen” Sandra, was dethroned.  She ALMOST pulled off a brilliant move, but no one switched their original plan.  In result, only Varner and Sandra were on the outs — voting Tai.  The rest of the tribe, including Tai, voted off Sandra.  Sandra, “The Queen” of Survivor will not be a three-time winner of Survivor, after all.

So… what’d you think of this episode?  This week had a ton of game changers, including Exile Island, Cochran, another Idol, and Sandra being voted off.  I’m so impressed with this season so far; each episode is truly living up to the “Game Changers” title.  Who do you see winning it all?  Is it too early to tell?  Tweet me @mick_cloudy with your predictions!

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!


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