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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Survivor: Game Changers finally calms down with a tame double episode

Zeke Smith, Sarah Lacina (Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment)
Zeke Smith, Sarah Lacina (Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment)

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Survivor rightly immediately focuses on Zeke’s reaction to being outed as transgender in last week’s episode, and it’s nice to get an unfiltered confessional from him on how he feels about the situation. Granted, it’s a very short segment, but it is predominantly Zeke focused in a way that last week’s Tribal definitely was not, and that’s a good thing.
  • Forcing two people to volunteer to sit out the merge feast feels really, really cruel. The “twists” this season are far meaner than actually interesting and worthwhile.
  • Post-merge game talk immediately points to everyone teaming up to get Michaela out as an “easy” vote. The highlight of this sequence is Cirie giving Michaela advice on how to handle playing the game when you are the target without losing your head. More Cirie, please!
  • Sierra thinks she’s in charge and decides that splitting the vote between Michaela and Hali is the best plan to flush out potential idols, with Michaela ultimately going home. The catch? Cirie isn’t so on board with this plan, and wants to find a way to save Michaela since Michaela is on her side. Cirie finds a way to make this happen and also somehow ends up having her whole alliance actually vote for Michaela. I honestly don’t understand how any of that worked, but this was still one of the more entertaining post-challenge gameplay sequences of the season.
  • Zeke decides it’s time to get rid of Andrea, so his alliance with her and Cirie seems pretty much done. This is cemented when Sierra tells Cirie Zeke’s plan, and his whole alliance finds out he’s secretly working against them. The only thing that bails Zeke out is Sierra and Debbie hatching a last-minute plan to blindside Ozzy instead.
  • Ozzy going out by saying “good luck eating” shows that he simply doesn’t understand how the game of Survivor has evolved. Every time he’s played (that I’ve seen, at least) he’s slotted himself into the “provider” role, and while that gets you plenty of smiles in camp, it doesn’t much affect your place in the game. Especially once you get to the merge and individual immunity comes into play.
  • Debbie’s extra vote ultimately wasn’t needed, but she didn’t know that (due to Cirie’s wildcard vote for Sierra and Sarah’s vote for Ozzy instead of Zeke) so I’m not convinced it was a wasted vote.
  • Cirie’s wildcard vote for Sierra, by the way, was my favorite thing that happened in either of these episodes. These were a strong two episodes for her, after being largely a background player previously in the season.
  • It seems likely that they decided to air this episode in a two-hour block because both hours were both fairly tame outings, especially in comparison to the more shocking and exciting episodes that have come before it. The one thing both episodes had in common was that the final votes didn’t necessarily make much sense, based on the editing that came before it. Stretching these two episodes over two weeks would definitely be a momentum suck on the season, not to mention seem pretty repetitive when it comes to the final outcome.