We are 4 weeks into the 34th season of Survivor and the theme of “Game Changers” does not disappoint thus far. Ciera was the unfortunate castaway to be the 1st one voted out due to her reputation of being a sly, sneaky strategist. We saw a brilliant showdown a couple weeks ago between former winners Sandra and Tony going head to head in their own tribe. The 2 time winner, Sandra, is still in this game (Queen stays Queen, adios) rallying the whole tribe to vote against Tony. After 6 days, the game of Survivor brought forward the original tribe shuffle but instead going from 2 tribes to 3. King of the jungle, Troyzan, found the hidden immunity idol at an immunity challenge with his tribe mates unaware. Poor Caleb was voted out by his island boyfriend Tai just after 9 days. Coincidently enough, Caleb was evacuated after 9 days the last time he played in Kaoh Rong.
So, it’s pretty obvious that the 20 now 16 castaways are out to be the very best in this season of Survivor. Already, 2 strong men in Caleb and Tony are out. 2 men that could potentially help the strength of the tribe but the castaways are more interested in themselves and long term plan than the numbers. However, last night’s episode, primarily the Tribal Council, was probably THE BEST Tribal Council I’ve ever seen, sending a survivor favorite home.
At the reward challenge, in another survivor twist, 2 members in each tribe competed for a beautiful coffee making set along with iced tea and cookies and the 2nd place finisher just got a thermos of iced coffee. Mana was in dead last but a rally from Brad Culpepper allowed his tribe to come in 2nd place. The immunity challenge was a different story. Probst announced another twist that there would be only 1 winner in the challenge and that the 2 losing tribes would go together at Tribal Council and vote out 1 player. WHAT!
The tricky part in this situation is that both tribes will target 1 person on the other, but who’s to say that someone might vote with the other tribe rather than against them? J.T., on the Nuku tribe, had his own plan to get rid of Sandra. Malcolm was definitely on board and J.T was wondering if he could get Brad, from Mana, to vote with him. At the Mana camp, Tai found the hidden immunity idol and in complete Survivor idiotic fashion, he told his tribemates about it. Nuku had a one person advantage over Mana. Now with the idol in their possession, Mana could potentially get rid of someone from Nuku if the idol is played for the correct person.
When everyone arrived at Tribal Council, it was just complete chaos. Literally, no one had no idea what was happening. Sandra was over confident like always snarling down at the Mana tribe. J.T. whispered to Brad that Nuku was after him and to vote for Sandra. Then, everyone got up and started whispering to each other. Probst and the rest of the world just sat back in shock seeing this crazy Tribal Council unfold. While everyone tried to get others to change their vote, both tribes stuck to the original plan. Nuku voted for Sierra, Mana voted for Malcom. Before the votes were read, Tai played his idol for Sierra, thus negating the votes for her, sending Malcolm home. You could see the shock and despair in Malcolm’s face. He loves the game of survivor and to be voted out this early in the game was not the plan for him. I sure hope to see him come back for his 4th go around.
After this episode, I only have 3 thoughts. 1, J.T. better watch his back. He made the complete, dumb decision to talk to Brad. He pretty much, unwillingly, told Brad his tribe’s plan to vote out Sierra. J.T may have won the 1st time around due to his good nature and capability to win challenges, but he is not a good strategist. He gave Russell the idol that was used against him in Heroes vs. Villains and he trusted Brad with information that caused his downfall this time. He took the chance but it didn’t work out. 2nd, Tai was foolish to play that idol. Tai admittedly stated that he wants to play with his head rather than his heart in this season. He definitely played with his heart in this episode. Sierra was going to be voted out, so what? That idol is so much valuable in the game of Survivor. If I found the idol on that island, I would only be playing that for myself and myself only. In this case though, Tai found value with his tribemates rather than himself. On a side note, it was funny seeing that Sandra thought that no one from Mana has no idol but Tai found it anyway. She looks real comfortable with her position in the game, I could see her being voted out in the next couple of episodes. The #1 thought I had is that when the dust settles, Brad Culpepper could be the last man standing. The week prior, he convinced Tai to vote out Caleb. It was a sly move but it definitely benefitted his game. With last night’s Tribal Council, you could practically feel that Culpepper was in charge. He has the numbers on his side and he’s doing a way too good of a job right now. Everyone knows that Culpepper’s a threat, it just a matter if he could maintain that power to the end.
Man, if that was only the first 4 weeks of Survivor, I can only imagine what the rest of the season will hold. Should be fun!