Game Changers: episode 7 recap

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Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s a hot Sunday and time again for Survivor. Previously on Survivor, Nuku went to Tribal Council and things got intense. Feeling pressured to make a big move, Jeff Varner outed Zeke as transgendered, a catastrophically terrible move. Varner was given the boot via popular vote, and everyone left shaken, rattled, and more than a little disturbed. Back at the beach, Sarah tells Tai that she did not and will not forgive Varner. Sarah says that even though she was raised conservatively, she’s only known Zeke as Zeke, and she’s still upset over what happened. Tai gets emotional and starts to cry, which isn’t all that out of the ordinary. In an interview, Zeke tells us that he just wants to be seen as himself in the game. This is unlike his tribe-mate Debbie, who just wants to be seen as, like, six or seven different people. Zeke says that he’s here to win, so let’s get back to it! It’s time for seven or eight more twists as the Survivors all converge on the beach where a merge feast awaits them. Everyone can participate in the feast but only if one volunteer from each tribe decides to step up and sit out. Those volunteers will get to dine on whatever is under the secret cloth, which turns out to be iced tea and cheese and crackers, which sounds like a pretty good afternoon to me. Who will abandon the food for their tribe? High suspense! Drama! Crackers!
Back from the break, Brad pretty much immediately decides to take one for his team. He said he does this because it’s what Monica would have done. What would Monica not do? (“Win Survivor” as it turns out).  On the Nuku tribe, Tai decides to sit out. Look at these two nice dudes doing nice things for their tribe! Tai and Brad go to sit down on the hungry bench of shame while everyone else runs to the merge feast like they’re grabbing the cheese wheel on Supermarket Sweep. The merge has Sierra feeling like a, “whole new woman” which is good since I wasn’t too familiar with the first incarnation. Hey, remember the Legacy Advantage? Sierra still has it and it can only be used at the next vote or when there are six Survivors left. So, keep that in mind, I guess! While everyone chows down, Brad and Tai get to have a nice guy chat. Brad confides in Tai, which, given Tai’s propensity for loose lips, probably isn’t the greatest move. “We have a lot of things in common!” exclaims Tai about Brad, not naming a single one. Over at the merge feast, Debbie has gotten drunk off of table wine and is, ahem, twerking for the merge. “I think the alcohol was just an excuse for Debbie to be Debbie,” says Sierra, as if Debbie has EVER needed an excuse to just be Debbie. Despite all of Debbie’s drunken antics, she says that it was all a goof, and that she didn’t have a sip of alcohol. “If I have to twerk to survive I will!” says Debbie, thus setting up the plot for the remake of The Running Man called The Twerking Debbie.
We are merged! First things first, Debbie apologizes to Brad for yelling at him, and everyone else, during her epic explosion a few weeks ago. “We kissed and made up!” says Debbie, who lives in a world where kisses are legally binding. Everyone sits around in a circle so that Zeke can tell “the Jeff story” on Zeke’s own terms. Zeke comes out to the group as transgendered, nobody has anything to say about it, and we’ve finally moved on. “I have more respect for Zeke than I do twenty of these jokers!” says Aubry. I just checked with the judges and we will accept “jokers,” but we would have preferred “yahoos,” “numbskulls,” or “buckaroos.” Meanwhile, Troyzan, Ozzy and Brad stand around looking like an aging boyband. They decide to work together because: men! Brad doesn’t trust Michaela, and wants to start a movement to vote her out. This word spreads around to everyone, in a classic game of Survivor telephone. Unfortunately for the line, Michaela has a habit of crashing other people’s conversations, and she creeps up on Zeke and Sierra on the beach like she’s the haunted entity from It Follows. Meanwhile, nobody is really talking to Hali, who realizes she’s on the bottom. Hali thinks she might be able to work with Michaela to vote out Cirie. This leads to Cirie and Michaela having a truly great conversation on the beach, where Cirie gives Michaela some advice like, “Don’t give people the stank face,” and “be as regular as you possibly can.” The two of them decide it would be great if two black women made it to the end together, and you know what, it would! Cirie says she’ll do what she can to protect Michael, but she can’t be too obvious about it since they’re both big targets.
It’s time for the first Individual Immunity Challenge! Say goodbye to the cheap-looking plastic helmet, and hello to a cheap-looking rope necklace! Seriously, wouldn’t that thing chafe? “It’s funky looking” says Troyzan, and if noted fashion icon Troyzan says something is funky, you should listen. This is the old block-on-a-head challenge, where the Survivors need to stand on their toes with, uh, a block on their head. “This is a challenge where you cannot drift!” says Jeff Probst, and I’m pretty sure you can’t Tokyo Drift, either. Hali, Troyzan and Zeke all fall quickly, and then Debbie drops out laughing. Still not drunk, guys! Still totally sober! It’s down to the unlikely threesome of Sarah, Andrea, and Tai. Of these three Andrea manages to last the longest, giving her the first Individual Immunity win. Jeff Probst notes that Andrea is the first woman to win this challenge. So many firsts this episode!
After the challenge we learn that Sierra is running the show. More like Brad Who-pepper? Sierra knows that Hali and Michaela are on the bottom, and she wants to split the votes in case Hali has an idol. Now, look, I know we are very observant Survivor viewers, but what makes Sierra think that Hali (of all people!) has an idol? Sierra lounges in the hammock of deception and tells Michaela that they’re voting for Zeke. Meanwhile, Cirie and Zeke want the vote to go entirely for Hali. Zeke confronts Sierra about this, who simply respond, “There’s a new sheriff in town” and then makes finger guns. There’s really nothing funnier than an adult making finger guns to prove a point. Cirie goes to Micheala and tells her she’ll be safe, but only if she votes for Zeke like she was told to do. Cahoots! At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst asks if tonight’s vote is like musical chairs. Debbie responds that it’s not, and she should know, as reigning Musical Chairs Champion (Women’s Division Age 50+). Hali complains about being in the dark, and says she knows that either her or Michaela is, “going to get shot.” I mean, with a finger gun, but still. Jeff Probst asks if idols are in play, and then if anyone is wiling to expose that they don’t have an idol by, uh, exposing themselves. Jeff Probst is really shooting for the moon in these Tribal Councils, huh. Hali takes the bait and say’s she’ll empty out her bag and reveal she doesn’t have an idol if someone asks her to. Hali says this with a hefty case of the crazy eye, so you know she’s serious. It’s time to vote and the flipping worked, as Hali doesn’t play an idol and promptly gets voted out. Adios, Hali. It’s been two seasons and we barely knew ye!
It’s bad news for fans of Criminal Minds since this episode of Survivor is TWO hours long. You’ve barely got time to grab some snacks before the second episode revs up. Back at the beach, Michaela and Cirie vow to work together. Cirie tells us that she has her own game that she wants to play and it’s time to “Let the dragon loose!” Now would be the time to do so, since there isn’t a Dragon Slayer in sight! Zeke says that it might be time to flip on the power alliance of Sierra and Brad. He explains this plan to Aubry, who tells us the she feels like she’s in the middle of, “a big Italian brawl, and Cirie is like a black Italian aunt.” I don’t remember the black Italian aunt character from The Godfather, but you know somewhere Tyler Perry just got a great idea. Still not satisfied with stirring the pot, Zeke says that Andrea and Cirie might be the bigger threats, and he’d be wiling to work with Sierra on voting them out. Make up your mind, Zeke! You can’t play every alliance against each other! That’s what gets you thrown off the board in Risk!
Reward Challenge time! In this challenge the Survivors will compete in two teams of six, just like, uh, regular tribes. They need to first swim out and untie a bunch of wooden fish. After they carry the fish to the finish, they’ll need to solve a fish puzzle. The winning team will receive a day of luxury at the “Marshall’s Lounge.” When I first heard Jeff Probst say this, I thought it was funny that a fancy resort would have the same name as a budget department store. Little did I know! they’ll have a shower with soaps and shampoos, towels, and designer robes. What makes a robe designer? Will they be monogrammed? To top it off, they’ll chow down on “spa burgers and apple pie.” This may seem like a light reward, but taking a shower and having a piece of pie sounds like a pretty great time to me. Turns out the wooden fish are actually pretty hard to wrangle and both teams have difficulty getting them all on the beach. It comes down to the puzzle and it’s a victory for Zeke, Debbie, Troyzan, Tai, Andrea and Ozzy. Spa buddies!
Back at the beach, the losers are all on the edge of breaking down. Cirie says that Survivor takes you to the deepest places, like not being able to provide for your family. I mean, it’s also a reality television game show, too. Why don’t we take a break from this bummer and check in with the challenge winners at the Marshall’s lounge. Hey, it turns out it IS like the store! This is a classic Survivor reward, where they dress up a cheap-looking set with a cheap-looking product-placement sign and call it a spa. Bless this silly show. Andrea is overwhelmed by all of the smells. Everyone takes a shower which prompts Tai to get naked and streak around since, “I heard about streaking in the 80s!” Also, “My ex-boyfriend always talked about streaking in Arkansas!” Little known fact: Streaking in Arkansas was the rejected title of Bill Clinton’s memoir. On the reward, Zeke wants to take control to vote out Andrea. He explains this plan to Debbie and Tai, which is a real meeting of the Survivor minds. Debbie doesn’t believe Zeke that Andrea is a threat, even though he’s telling the truth? Debbie’s concept of logic, much like her concepts of soberness and reality, seems to be a little out of whack.
Immunity time! It’s the old hanging on a pole challenge, which you may remember from Ozzy winning it twice. Ozzy is undefeated in this challenge since he spends most of his time on Survivor climbing up trees except now he’s being rewarded for it. Debbie is first out, which means we now know of at least one occupation that’s not on her resume. One by one they all drop out, leaving Tai and Ozzy as the last dudes standing. They’re up there for so long that Sierra actually FALLS ASLEEP on the bench. Tai and Ozzy last a whopping hour and thirty-five minutes before one of them finally drops out. Shock of shocks, it’s Ozzy who drops first, giving living legend Tai his first Immunity win.
Hey, did you know that Zeke wants to vote out Andrea? Well, he does, and he’ll tell you all about it! He explains this plan to a hammock-bound Sierra, who in turn tells Cirie, who in turn tells Andrea. Whoops. Andrea feels betrayed by her Brooklyn buddy, and vows to vote out Zeke. Back in the hammock, Debbie floats a new idea to Sierra that now might be the time to vote out Ozzy. He doesn’t have immunity, he’s a long-term threat and he’s, uh, never won this game. Debbie explains this plan as if it’s already happened, and then she goes to EVERYONE on the beach and simply tells them to vote for Ozzy. New plan, folks! At Tribal Council Ozzy says that there os, “espionage behind every coconut tree.” Oh no, did he discover the #SPYBUNKER? Sarah says that after the merge, they’re all like a bunch of single people waiting to hook up. No, Sarah, that’s a very different reality show. Zeke says that there are layers to the votes now, as you’re trying to figure out if the person you’re voting out knows that you know that they know that you can beat them. Before you start parsing through the logic of that, Debbie invokes her time in the Air Force Auxillary. Is that a real thing? I’m not looking it up. It’s time to vote but before the votes are read, Debbie uses her extra vote, saying it was the one bright spot form her hardship at Exile Island. The only thing true about that statement is the use of “ship.” It’s time to read the votes and Ozzy gets the majority. Turns out Debbie’s extra vote wasn’t needed, it was just insult to injury. Poor Ozzy has now played more Survivor than anyone else and he still hasn’t won the game. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be back another six or seven times. Also during this extra-long episode we learn that the new tribe name is “Maku Maku.” What does that mean? Did they misspell Waka Waka? Maku Maku, This Time for Africa? Maku Flocka Flame? Is this a Fozzie Bear reference? We’ll never know!
What we do know is what happened on the Leaderboards, so make sure to click on over to see where you stand. The Pool Princess is still tuckered out from her Earth Day celebrations, so make sure to send her your challenge picks soon. Next time on Survivor: Cirie releases the dragons! Fly, dragons, fly! We’ll see you next week.

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