May 20, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: Don't Forget to Read the Fine Print

5/20/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 11

There's some rumblings that Sarah might've pandered to Sierra at the last Tribal Council and they're darn right: Sierra willed Sarah the Legacy Advantage. After Aubry totally kills and sets the new Survivor record for the domino/card stacking Immunity Challenge, the majority decides this would be a wise time to vote off Brad (but first, Michaela requests Brad go fishing). There's some consideration about voting off Sarah, but ultimately think this isn't the right time for her to go. And that's because the time is turning on Andrea, whose tight ally Cirie approaches Sarah to blindside her. Tribal Council time! Aubry says after the last vote there's a more solid "we" than before and Sarah agrees with the ol' "if it's not broken, don't fix it." There's discussion about a lack of scrambling on the beach which is both good and bad, according to Andrea. Conversation turns to the jury and while there's hope the jury will reward good gameplay on day 39, there's also real emotions in play and betrayal stings. The tribe votes and blindsides Andrea, whose alliance sends the social and challenge threat to the jury. But not before she gives Cirie a tickle on the way out (not kidding).

Aubry is crushed to yet again lose her tightest ally and her Kaoh Rong friend Tai comforts her. Later, Aubry and Tai have a discussion and agree Sarah is running things and would be that big "resume making" move. Aubry relays this conversation to Cirie, who in turn tells Sarah. Sarah believes Aubry is lying and trusts Tai more, then offers Cirie her advantage as an extension of trust and faith in Tai. Cirie begins hatching a bigger plan to use the advantage to save Sarah, by taking away Sarah's votes and then saving her with the votes. Cirie's afraid Tai will play an idol, so she lets him in on the plan and says she's going to use the advantage to save him. This is all very confusing.

Tribal Council time! With Brad having immunity, Probst wonders what they dynamic at camp was like trying to decide who to vote out. Sarah says this time there was a lot more scheming and lying and this Tribal Council will show her the truth. Lots of talk of trust and moves, and then when it's time to vote Cirie decides to make her big move and play the advantage to steal Sarah's vote and expose "the rat." Sarah interjects! Turns out the vote steal advantage is non-transferable and Cirie didn't see the fine print until it was too late. And so begins Tribal Council chaos. Sarah gets up and whispers to Tai, then Cirie whispers to Sarah and Michaela jumps in. Soon everyone is up and whispering again like a super messy game of Telephone. Sarah opts to use her advantage and steals Tai's vote. Cirie votes for Aubry, Aubry/Michaela vote for Tai, and Sarah uses her two votes to join forces with Brad and Troyzan and votes Michaela out of the game. A big night of blindsides condensed into one hour.

[All images credited to CBS]

May 15, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: We Game or Me Game

5/15/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 10

This week's episode of Survivor must be the favorite of Vin Diesel cause it's all about FAMILY. Jeff Probst overnarrates the entrance of each family member to build up emotion, then reveals the tribes will compete in teams of three to win visits from their loved ones. Andrea, Aubry, and Brad smoke the challenge and get to spend time with their mother, sister, and neat lady Monica Culpepper, respectively. But Survivor has to amp up the drama and Probst allows the winners to select two others to join in on the fun, so they choose Cirie and her newly graduated son (the true GIF star of the episode) and Sarah and her husband. The winners head off to make Fijian memories with their family while the others return to camp life, with Michaela in particular seething.

Both feeling on the outs of their alliances, Michael and Tai begin buddying up and end up considering a big flip to work with Sierra, Troyzan, and Brad to vote out Andrea. It's the "Hail Mary" Sierra hoped for! In an earlier act of desperation to accrue a new ally, Sierra revealed to Sarah that she possesses the Legacy Advantage and offers to will it to her if she is voted out. Oof, that was the wrong part of the advantage to reveal. Since Sierra trusts Sarah, she also reveals Michaela plans to flip. And since Brad wins immunity (Sarah's initial target), Sarah uses all this new info to her advantage: as a tool to recruit Michaela back to her side and as a way to Sarah to acquire that Legacy Advantage for herself.

Tribal Council time! Probst asks about the Sophie's Choice of who to select to join on a loved one's visit, which leads to a discussion of consequences and the damage this can create. Sierra speaks up to say that while she's on the bottom, she's not the biggest threat: that's Andrea, two-time challenge winner. Andrea reminds the group that underdogs can skate by and win the whole game. As Aubry wisely points out: everyone has to target the kind of person that's a threat to their own game. Michaela talks about you stick with the "we" until it becomes time for "me" which makes Probst eventually throw up the most awkward hand gesture he's ever done. Like, Probst does a really bad attempt and what I'm guessing will be a new Survivor gang sign. Probst regains composure of his hands to reveal the votes and the tribe eliminates Sierra, blissfully unaware that her pal Sarah helped seal the fate of her demise. But hey, now Sarah possesses the Legacy Advantage. A total "me" game move.

[All images credited to CBS]

May 8, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: The Peak of Zeke

5/08/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , 1 comment
Week 9

Sarah admits to flipping and the six feel pretty decent about staying together and picking off the former majority alliance. That is until on a feast/sleepover Reward, when Andrea doesn't like that Zeke and Brad are getting chummy while bro-ing out over football. A helicopter ride and a Lazy Susan covered with chicken wraps, eggs, and cheesecake can't distract Andrea from this fraternization with two people she doesn't trust. Aubry also notices this new friendship and upon returning from the Reward, the whispers about targeting Zeke begin.

Sarah's still stuck in the middle of both sides and plans to vote wherever she thinks she'll get ahead. Sarah make a gesture of trust with Cirie to reveal her vote advantage, but Sarah is close to Zeke and hopes to keep him around. Zeke begins conversations with Brad and Troyzan to hopefully turn the tables. Tai feels most vulnerable and despite rockin' two Hidden Immunity Idols, he doesn't want to play them. And Sierra knows she's the next to go and approaches the other side to save her, willing to vote for whoever they want. But not Andrea again because she wins Immunity. Andrea and Cirie begin to hatch their plan to vote off Zeke, which Aubry agrees with, but Sarah isn't excited to lose her tight ally and Michaela doesn't like losing a number. What's an alliance to do?

Tribal Council time! Sarah tells Probst that she owned up to flipping last vote to take out Debbie. The four of Brad, Tai, Sierra, and Troyzan admit they feel very vulnerable without the numbers. There's questions of whether the six will stick together and lots of mixed messages are shared. Zeke explains the timing isn't right for a move at this time. While everyone can debate their value, it sounds like there's so way to actually sway the vote but they're willing to listen. This all leads to Probst's buzz word of the night about the heart being on or off. There's probably a mixed bag of heart powers in this week's vote as the alliance of six turns on their own and votes Zeke out of the game.

[All images credited to CBS]

May 1, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: Debbie Downer the Sequel

5/01/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 8

The survivors split into teams of two for a Reward Challenge which turns into this inspirational edit of Cirie crossing a balance beam, even after her tribe loses by a landslide. Meanwhile, Michaela is sitting on the sidelines because she wasn't chosen in the schoolyard pick. The good news: there's a big ol' Secret Advantage right by her feet. Bad news: she never notices the parchment. But Sarah definitely sees it and when the challenge is over, she swims on over and slickly hides the advantage in her shoe. The advantage is later revealed to be the return of the vote steal, which is non-transferable and can played until the final five.

Brad, Debbie, Sierra, Aubry, and Andrea take a plane to their delicious reward feast, which allows Aubry to indulge and callback to her famous coleslaw. As Andrea discusses the friction between her and Zeke, Sierra feels more confident than ever in her alliance of six. Back at camp, Cirie tries to show Sarah that being on the bottom of that six is a bad move and Brad/Sierra are calling the shots.  Sierra offers Sarah a final three with her and Debbie, but when Sarah has little say in the week's target, she wonders if this is the week to make her move. But a target naturally presents itself when Debbie approaches Aubry and throws Sarah under the bus in the process. Aubry totally sees through Debbie's move and quickly calls her alliance together to tell them the latest of Debbie's tales and arrogance. With this info in her mind, it's time to wonder: whose side will Sarah pick?

Tribal Council time! Probt opens the night by explaining that as the jury begins to build, every Tribal Council is the opportunity to make your case to win. Andrea knows she's vulnerable because she was so close to winning immunity but dropped her "IMMUNITY" blocks, allowing Troyzan to get the win. Zeke calls out the alliance of six that's running the game, and Debbie's cockiness is at a peak high about their "solid six". Sarah explains it's about being on the right side of the numbers and feeling confident in that group, which Debbie agrees and tops off with more of her trademark hubris. Michaela urges everyone to make a move while there are numbers or look dumb, then enjoys some coconut popcorn as the votes are read. It's a rude awakening for the six, I mean five, when Debbie is blindsided out of the game.

[All images credited to CBS]

April 24, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: Merges and Moves

4/24/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 7

The tribes convene and Probst announces it's time to merge, but explains in order for the group to get their merge feast two people will have to sit out. Tai and Brad self-sacrifice stuffing their faces with food and use the isolated time together to catch-up. Meanwhile, everyone else is gorging themselves and Debbie pretends to be drunk because... well she's Debbie. Donning yellow buffs, the merge tribe dubs themselves Maku Maku and get to work talking, strategizing, and recapping the Sandra/Varner votes. Who shall be the first target?

Brad's recommend first target is Michaela who is good at challenges, not trusted, and overall annoys her tribemates. Everyone seems pretty on-board with the plan except for Hali and Cirie. Cirie pulls Michaela aside for a heart-to-heart, telling her to relax and hide her real emotions in this game. Michaela points out she's never seen a two black women sitting together at the end of this game. It seems the trust has been built and Cirie makes it her mission to save Michaela this week. After Andrea wins Individual Immunity, the majority of Maku Maku plan to put the majority of votes on Michaela and some on Hali in case an idol is played. Cirie doesn't want Michaela gone and begins a plan to save her, explaining that this could all possibly be a move to get Hali on Brad/Sierra's side. Cirie tells Michaela that she's the target but to trust her, vote for Zeke (the fake decoy vote), and never speak a word that this machination to save Michaela is a Cirie original plan.

Tribal Council time! Discussion begins withtalk of the merge dynamic and the alliances that will dictate the game. Hali vocalizes her fear of the night with no idea what is going to happen, with Michaela agreeing with this sentiment. Idols come up and that unknown element that could totally throw off plans and you always hope to flush an idol. Probst then asks if there are any people that would be willing to strip down to their birthday suit to say, "Hey guys, no idol here!" I can't decide if this is a question or a request from Jeff Probst, but his eyes light up when Hali offers to do such a thing to save herself. Hali says a target should be eliminated from the game, not a free agent. The tribe votes and Hali is eliminated from the game, not Michaela.

But wait, there's more! It's a two hour episode.

After the vote that ultimately saved Michaela, the tribe seems to be divided into two separate alliances. Cirie and Andrea both vocalize it would be smart to target leaders of the other side, Sierra and Brad. But Zeke isn't sure if this is the move he wants to make and after winning the Marshall's Lounge reward, he tries to recruit Debbie and Tai to his bigger plans to go after Cirie and Andrea. But there's bad news ahead for Zeke because the other side thinks he's a double agent and his actual alliance gets word of his betrayal. The war Zeke hoped to start ends up backfiring and suddenly he's the top target. But alas, there's more moves in play. When Ozzy fails to win Immunity in the hold-the-pole challenge he previously won two times, Debbie recommends they make a big move and blindside the challenge king. Plus she's secretly got the advantage with an extra vote in case they need another number.

Tribal Council time! There's talk about how the game has gotten much more cutthroat since the merge occurred with true alliances being blurred. Ozzy explains it's about trust and value, and his value is catching fish, which is similar to the Ozzy motto we've known since the first time he played. He is basically a merman. Zeke talks about the jury and how to convince others they could beat him so they could go to the end while putting people on the jury that will vote for him. Cirie explains her vote for the night will be based on trust. After the tribe initially votes, Debbie stands up and declares she'd like to use her Exile Island advantage to cast an extra vote. Then the votes are unveiled: Zeke's alliance turns on him, but it's Ozzy who is ultimately voted out of the game.

[All images credited to CBS]

April 17, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: Metamorphosis Moment

4/17/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 6

After ousting Sandra at last week's Tribal Council, Nuku wins at the Reward Challenge which allows the tribe to bond over the most disgusting looking pizza. But when you're hungry, you're hungry. Varner's hungriest to stay in the game, trying to throw the target on Ozzy. Mana bonds in a different way, with emotional outpourings from Sierra, Aubry, and Brad about how the game of Survivor changes you. Being vulnerable helps bring Brad closer to Aubry and Cirie, which means Brad has a group of five he can roll with.

Nuku loses their second consecutive Immunity Challenge with Mana able to solve the "Metamorphosis" word puzzle first. Varner knows he's likely going home and requests one-on-one time with everyone. However the tribe is conflicted because Ozzy is a threat and they're not sure he'll be loyal to their group. Zeke in particular likes Varner, but has worked closely with Ozzy and considers him a good shield. Zeke is very candid with Varner that there's a 50% chance Varner is leaving and says he'll try to save him. Realizing that Ozzy and Zeke might be working together, Varner tells this to Sarah and Andrea. Varner goes on about not going quietly and unfortunately, he's correct.

Tribal Council time. Varner acknowledges he's going home and pleads one last time for the divided tribe to vote off Ozzy. After ranting about "deception," Varner turns to Zeke and asks, "Why haven't you told everyone you're transgender?" The tribe is shocked and appalled at Varner's behavior, quickly defending Zeke. I could go on explaining as Varner tries to defend his actions and apologize, but you've seen it and can understand the magnitude of Varner's remarks. After Zeke has time to think and compose himself, he's able to speak about his life and wanting to be known as Zeke, and not defined as the transgender Survivor player. But Zeke has changed because of Survivor and become a better man, acknowledging his own personal "metamorphosis." Sarah gives an emotional speech condemning Varner's actions and talks about being glad to know Zeke for who he is, given her own conservative background. The tribe does not have to vote and each agree to eliminate Jeff Varner from the game. Zeke and Varner shake hands and hug, and Varner's torch is snuffed. This Tribal Council was so hard to watch but at the end of it all, we can all see that Zeke Smith is a class act and an amazing man.

[All images credited to CBS]