Game changers, episode 9 recap!

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Ahoy, Pool Players! May the third be with you, it’s time again for Survivor! Previously on Survivor, the big alliance thought they had all the power until Officer Sarah threw a badge in their wheelbarrow. Debbie got sent packing instead, which put the former majority into the minority, or so we think. It’s 2017! Everything we thought we knew about majorities and minorities is all backwards! Anything can happen! Back at the beach, Brad was genuinely blindsided by the vote. You know you’ve done something right when you’ve gobsmacked Brad. There’s a lot of uncomfortable silence until Sarah owns up to being the flipper. Sticking true to the title of the show, there’s a lot of talk about how the move was game changing since they’re all game changers and this a season about -did you know- changing the game, etc etc. Michaela says that as long as their group of six sticks together, they’ll be solid. Oddly enough, this is exactly the same argument Michaela made last season immediately before she was voted out. Keep that in mind! Cirie says that they took control but all it takes is one wrong move and they’re on the jury, where they’ll have to listen to Debbie’s boring stories all over again.

Back from the break it’s already Reward Challenge time. Tai compliments the challenge design, and says that it’s beautiful. It’s a battleground, Tai! Summon your inner warrior. Forget about your inner gardener! He can have the day off! In this challenge two teams of five will race through some obstacles, get hoisted up on a chair, collect some tiles and then use those tiles to solve a lengthy word puzzle. The winners will be taken by chopper to an actual resort, where they’ll enjoy a fancy food spread and then get to sleep on an actual bed. I’m no aviation expert, but is there a difference between a chopper and a helicopter? Is a chopper just a helicopter who got in with the wrong crowd and now he’s smoking cigarettes behind the middle school? “This is not real life!” Sierra says when the reward is announced. No, Sierra, it’s reality television, which is usually close enough. These teams are actually fairly evenly divided, with both Michaela and Brad giving strong showings on their sides. At one point Sierra and Sarah are up against each other, which leads Jeff to say, “Sierra and Sarah are side by side,” which is sadly not followed by, “selling seashells by the seashore!” It comes down to the word puzzle, which is a doozy. The actual phrase is “Reinventing how this game is played” which may or may not be a sentence but let’s not pick hairs here. The real difficulty comes with “Reinventing” not being a word you hear in everyday conversation, unless you’re selling shampoo or laundry detergent to bored channel surfers during the middle of the afternoon. Everyone is stumped by this, which leads to a hilarious shot of Troyzan asking if “nutritional” is eleven letters. (It is!) After fifty minutes of bad Scrabble, Andrea happens upon “Reinventing” which sets Zeke in motion, putting the rest of the letters in place. The winners are Andrea, Zeke, Brad, Aubry, and Sarah. Jeff quickly whisks them away to the chopper. They’re not paying for it to stay on the ground!

Reward time! It’s too bad Debbie’s not here to bang on about another form of air transportation, but the chopper ride does give good shots of the Fiji islands. The resort is, like, an actual resort, with an infinity pool and a lazy susan (!) of sandwiches and a guy handing out drinks. Brad says that this is exactly the group he wanted to be on reward with, since he needs bonding time, and also, cheesecake. “Eggs!” Aubry says upon seeing some eggs. Between this and the coleslaw moment from last week, she’s really becoming the go-to for Survivor food reactions. Alas, the reward turns into the Brad and Zeke bonding session, as they geek out over college football and at one point Brad wears a robe, I don’t know. Their chattering upsets the rest of the group, including Andrea, who reminds us that she’s already on bad terms with Zeke. Have you ever been at a party where two people strike up a conversation about college football and you’re just, like, “I hope they’re not neglecting their studies!” and then you back away far enough that you fade into the wallpaper? That’s something that’s happened to everyone, right? The next morning at camp, Sierra is again complaining about hunger. Survivor is hard, y’all! Tai tells us that he’s worried about being on the bottom for the first time, which means I don’t think he’s seen his own season of Survivor. Back from the reward, everyone tells Brad that he looks like’s gained a few pounds. It’s time for the Debbie diet: first you yell it out and then you do ten angry pushups. The health benefits are minimal but the emotional release is fantastic! Aubry says that the reward was so lavish she felt like she was on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Even Robin Leach would be jealous! Andrea and Cirie get together and make a plan to vote out Zeke. Cirie knows it will only work if “Officer Sarah” is on board, so she makes the pitch. Sarah is close friends with Zeke and doesn’t want to vote him out. She wants to tell this to Cirie, so to gain Cirie’s trust she tells her about the vote steal. No, not the vote seal, the vote steal! You could say that Sarah gives Cirie the steal of approval. Sarah knows she needs to be careful with this plan, since revealing your advantage has never really worked out well in the past. At this rate Sarah will either seal the steal deal or she’ll crash and burn in spectacular fashion. There’s no in-between!

At camp, Zeke is nervous about the sudden calm. Nobody is talking so something is up! He decides to extend his bond with Brad to a bond with Brad and Troyzan. The boys are back in town! Zeke tells Brad and Troyzan that he can’t tell them who’s getting voted out next, but it isn’t one of them. I mean, that doesn’t leave open a huge door for guessing. All this drama takes us to the immunity challenge. First things first, it’s time for Troyzan to give back immunity. Jeff tells him to “spin and grin” which I think is the name of a website that’s not safe for work. In this immunity challenge the Survivors need to stack their dominos in such a way that they’ll fall and hit a gong. Tricky thing is the floor is connected to the contraption, so if you trip up, you’re out of luck. Everyone is pretty adept at this, and it’s only Brad who inadvertently sends his dominos tumbling. I know dominoes is like, an actual game, but it sure is more fun just to set them up and watch them fall. Andrea takes an early lead but she runs out of pins towards the end, causing some recalculations. Nobody can catch up to her, though, and she wins her second immunity. Time for the spin and grin!

Back at camp, Andrea tells Cirie that she definitely wants to vote for Zeke. They have this conversation at the waterhole, where they’re visited by both Sierra and Sarah. Sierra says she’ll do anything -anything!- to stay in the game. Anything? Anything! Sarah announces her arrival by mimicking a police siren, which is kind of amusing unless it’s what she does every time she enters a room. Is Sarah a real cop or does she just like the way sirens sound? Cirie tells the plan to Michaela, who isn’t entirely on-board. Michaela reminds us that if you start voting out your own alliance, it only takes one person to flip and then you’re back on the bottom again. Just as a reminder, this is the exact same situation that happened to Michaela when she was voted out, so she might know a thing or two about a thing or two. At Tribal Council, Sarah opens up about flipping to vote out Debbie, to which Debbie flips her the bird. Yes, Debbie is also an ornithologist, but only of the single-fingered variety. It seems like the vote should be an obvious six to four, but then there’s also some talk about setting aside your emotions when it’s time to send someone home. Michaela says you need to turn the heart down and turn the game up, unless you’re talking about the musical group Heart, in which case you should always keep them turned up, neighbors be darned! It’s time to vote and the heart loses this round, as Zeke is sent packing by his own alliance. Confusingly, even Tai got a couple of votes, which means that nobody on that side really knows what’s happening. Jeff Probst reminds us that Survivor is no longer a game about simple majorities. It’s also not a game about giving away cars or constructing bowling alleys in the sand, so I guess some things have changed!

Speaking of changing there were a lot of big leaps on the Leaderboards, so click on over to see where you stand. The Pool Princess fell asleep during the tornado warning and woke up telling us all about a crazy technicolor dream she had, but she’ll stop long enough to send out the next pool challenge. Next time on Survivor: it’s the loved ones challenge. I hope you’re all excited for the return of Monica Culpepper! You know she’ll be there! We will too, see you next week!

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