By Mickie McLeod

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through the season — which only means one thing; the merge.

If you missed this week’s episode of Survivor Game Changers, you missed two full hours! Here’s all you need to know…


The Merge – MAKU MAKU

On Survivor, as tradition, the castaways celebrate the merge of the two tribes with a beautiful feast! However, this feast wasn’t for everyone. Jeff Probst throws a curve ball and announces that one person from each separate tribe must sit out. If two people cannot sacrifice their spot, then there will be no feast at all!

The two volunteers were Culpepper and Tai. The rest of the merged tribe got together, ate their smorgasbord, and even got a little drunk… well, pretended to at least. Debbie acted like she was drunk to her new tribe, (little did they even know) in order to fit in… though; she didn’t take one sip of alcohol. Was this a strategic move for Debbie? I suppose that time will tell us.

The merge is a time where the line is drawn. What alliances are together and who is on the outside, looking in? After the players are voted out, they’re sent to the “Jury” where the Jury are the ones who decide who to give the million dollar check to, as well as the title of Sole Survivor. The merge changes everything! This week, we’ve noticed a lot of voices being heard, prides being swallowed, and alliances being reconnected during the merge meet-up.

Highlights of the merge:
– Cirie keeping her eye out on major targets
– Culpepper and Debbie making up (since her emotional fit last time they were together)
– Michaela is the first one Sierra and Culpepper decide to try and take out first

Also in the first hour during the merge, Zeke tells the rest of the tribe about “The Varner Story.” Which makes us wonder why he labeled the incident as that? It was clear that Jeff Probst must’ve said something about Varner being “voted” out since last Tribal. If you missed last week’s episode, check out my previous recap!

Immunity Challenge – First Hour

The pressure was on for the first Individual Immunity Challenge! During the first hour, we’re shown the castaways competing in one of Survivor’s finest challenges. This challenge has been around for years, as each castaway balances on top of their toes, all while balancing a block on their head that’s also between a post. If someone either grabs onto their post or have their block fallen, they’re out. The last person to keep their block and themselves balanced will win Immunity.

In the end, it was between Tai and Andrea. It was a close finish, but it was Andrea who won the first Immunity Challenge, where only she would be safe from Tribal Council.

Tribal Council – First Hour

The first Tribal Council was up in the air, I wasn’t too sure who’d be voted out! Since the merge, Michaela was a big target towards some of the tribe members, including Sierra and Culpepper. With that being said, if you watched last season, you’d know Michaela would eventually find out about this. Michaela found out that her name was being tossed around, from her new alliance of Cirie. Cirie and Michaela had bonded, and she warned Michaela about her name being written down. Cirie told Michaela to act natural and that she’d take care of the situation and save her from the vote.

Meanwhile, Sierra was also pretty paranoid about her former castaway, Haili, who’s played with Sierra before in her last season. Sierra notices that Haili’s confidence has grown since her last season, so she assumes that Haili has a Hidden Immunity Idol. Because Sierra feels this way, she takes in the rest of her alliance and decides to plot against Haili as well. She decides it’s best to “split the vote” in order to flush an Idol, just in case Haili has one.

Because of the split vote, it was between Michaela and Haili being voted out. In the end, it was all thanks to Cirie being strategic of saving Michaela. Haili was voted out and is the first member of the Jury this season.


Reward Challenge – Second Hour

The Reward Challenges are always very significant after the merge hits! At Reward Challenges, the tribe is divided into two teams. The two teams get to compete for a great reward while also having the chance to sit and bond with other tribe members and strategize about the game.

This week, the reward was a pure luxury which included a steamy shower of coconut lathers, juicy beef burgers, warm apple pie, and Egyptian cotton towels…. and I’ll tell you, Egyptian cotton is AMAZING.

The winners of this relaxation day were Andrea, Ozzy, Troyzan, Zeke, Tai, and Debbie. This allowed them to relax, while also having the time to strategize about the game.

Immunity Challenge – Second Hour

The Individual Immunity Challenge during the second hour also consisted of a Survivor classic — literally just hanging onto a pole. The challenge consisted of hanging on a pole as long as you can, without dropping. These poles are very tall and have small ridges for the castaways to set their feet. I personally don’t think I could last 5 minutes.

ONE HOUR LATER… it was down to two people. The one and the only person who has competed in this challenge during previous seasons, and has WON BOTH of them was Ozzy. It was Ozzy and Tai who were the last two, competing to be safe. After well over an hour, Ozzy was dethroned from his record and Tai won this Immunity Challenge. Tai was safe from being voted out at Tribal Council.

Tribal Council – Second Hour

Man oh man, just like the first hour; I had no idea where the vote was going again. Earlier at camp, Zeke began to stir up some moves that may be too early on in the game. Zeke made this same mistake in his last season… however, would it be considered a mistake during Survivor Game Changers?

At this point in the merge, it seems that there are two sides; Cirie as a leader of one alliance, and Sierra as a leader of the other alliance. With that being said, Zeke shared information about Sierra being the vote off and exposed it to her, (the opposite alliance). In Zeke’s defense, he said he wanted to make big moves… but in Survivor, timing is everything. Zeke should know when to be the driver of an alliance and when to just be quiet, sit back, and be a passenger on this ride.

Zeke sharing Sierra information did not make Cirie’s alliance very pleased. Zeke’s name was on the chopping block because of this.

Another name on the chopping block was the legend, Ozzy, himself. The reason behind this was all credited to crazy Debbie. From hearing the drama of Zeke, it would seem that Zeke would be an easy vote out… however, Debbie wanted more excitement and to conduct a “blindside.” Debbie decided to run around camp and tell everyone to vote out Ozzy. She was ready for a move and she was going to make it!

I’ll say, I will not doubt Debbie’s capability. In the end, Debbie uses her extra vote that she received on Exile Island, and uses it to vote another time for Ozzy. All was said and done, thanks to Debbie’s convincing as well as her extra vote. It was Ozzy who was voted out and would be the second person on the Jury, joining Haili.

I am so bummed out! I thought that blindside Debbie made was so smart in her game, but I hate seeing Ozzy leave so soon. My favorites of both Malcolm and Ozzy are now gone… I was so certain they were going to make it to the end!

I love seeing these big moves this season… or should I say, Game Changers. Debbie is building herself a nice resume for her game. What do you think? Does she have a shot? Who knows what’ll happen during the rest of this season!

Tweet me your thoughts @mick_cloudy. I’d love to hear from you!

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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