Game changers, episode 11 recap

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Ahoy, Pool Players! It’s a warm Wednesday night and time again for Survivor! Previously on Survivor, Sarah won the game. Congratulations, Sarah! Well, not actually, but with the amount of screen time she’s been given they might as well hand her the check right now. It would be too bad for fans of exclusives on CBS This Morning! Last week, Sarah was able to use the power of the Legacy Advantage against Sierra, even though Sierra thought they were close. Sarah aligned with the majority and voted out Sierra, and even acted shocked when the vote was read. Shocked! Her eyes were like dinner plates! Is that still a thing people say? I don’t know! Sarah now has the Legacy Advantage and the Vote Steal. Remember the Vote Steal? Trust me, you will! Back at camp, Aubry, Cirie, and Andrea bond over the weirdest Tribal Council ever. I mean, nobody removed their fake teeth, but it was pretty weird. Andrea is concerned that Sarah acted too shocked when Sierra was voted out, especially since she knew Sierra was going home. Cirie says that Sarah has been putting in the work, but that she might be easy to beat if they’re in the finals together. Don’t count your police officers before they hatch! Sarah reminds us of her dual advantages and says that she’s “shooting for the stars.” While I’m pretty sure such behavior will get you kicked out of the police force it sure makes for entertaining Survivor!

Hang onto your hats, folks, because it’s already Immunity Challenge time! Yes, this is a twofer of Survivor, with two Immunity Challenges and two Tribal Councils for the price of one! Nobody got lifted out of an helicopter so they’ve gotta do something to move this season along! “Parting is such sweet sorrow!” Brad laments as his previous immunity is removed. Did Monica bring him a book of bad poetry? In this challenge the Survivors need to both build and balance a house of cards so it reaches to the top. The last time a house of cards was used in an immunity challenge it was when I challenged myself to watch the Netflix original series House of Cards but I fell asleep on the couch instead. Also, while everyone says “cards” these are really just colorful tiles. They’re not recommended for competitive pinochle! Aubry and Andrea are both quick to build, while others struggle. As more and more Survivors drop their cards, Jeff says “this challenge is fast to change hands!” which I think might be a playing card pun but also maybe not? Aubry is the only one who doesn’t fumble, yet she’s in a bad place when she runs out of cards without reaching the top. She needs to readjust, which leaves the door open for someone else. Nobody can keep it together, though, and Aubry rearranges her stack and wins immunity. She is now the time record holder in this challenge, besting Cochran by a whopping eleven minutes. Congratulations, Aubry. Maybe someday you too will be asked to spend a night with Debbie alone on a boat int he middle of now– Aubry? Hey, Aubry, come back! Aubry! We need that immunity necklace for the next challenge!

Back at camp, Aubry thinks it’s time to vote out Brad or Troyzan, and she decides Brad is the best option. Michaela says she’ll distract Brad by telling him that he needs to fish for the tribe. She quite literally wants home to “go fish.” Playing card humor! Michaela finds Brad in the woods and tells him exactly this, complete with a #GOFISH. It is very silly. Andrea, meanwhile, is still nervous about keeping Sarah around. Andrea once again brings up that look! Andrea’s waffling riles up Cirie, who thinks now might be the time to finally turn on her ally and vote Andrea out. Cirie says she needs to decide between Andrea or Brad, and that timing is key. Turns out life is made up of two keys: timing and reading the fine print. Don’t worry – we’ll get there. At Tribal Council the royal “we” is invoked yet again, with the talk being about voting with the group or turning on your allies. Everyone seems to be concerned that it was oh so quiet back at camp, with nary a scramble in sight! Aubry says that getting voted out is inherently emotional, since Survivor is an emotional game. You can tell this from the way that Micheala cried when Zeke was voted out, or the way that Michaela kicked the puzzle when she lost the challenge, or the way that Micheala told Brad to #GOFISH. Sarah thinks that the jury will reward gameplay over emotions. Game changers, etc etc. Brad says that if they stick with their alliance, at five, somebody is going to “get got” or wish they had “got” somebody else. Brad using slang street language is about as natural as you may expect. He sounds like he’s reading a bad translation of a Jay-Z song. It’s time to vote and Andrea is given the boot, much to the surprise of her ally Aubry. Andrea says “Yoooouuu!” to Cirie when she is voted out, and is generally pleasant about the whole thing. Goodbye, Andrea. Turns out you may have been better at this game than you thought.

The next day, Aubry says that Survivor is a game of really high highs and really low lows, sometimes in the same afternoon! Aubry is pretty wrecked about the vote and Tai consoles her. Cirie wonders if this is a strategic move, but it’s really just Tai being a nice dude. He did name a chicken after his life partner, after all. Strap down those seatbelt because it’s time for the second Immunity challenge. This time the Survivors need to stand on a perch, lower a bucket into the water, use that bucket to get a key, use that key to unlock some puzzle pieces and then solve a complicated compass puzzle. Ah, yes, the lesser known sequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Bucket, the Key and the Puzzle. Everyone seems to be pretty good with the first part of the challenge, aside from Cirie, whose bucket is stuck. Stuck bucket, stuck stuck bucket! It comes down to the puzzle, which is a real humdinger. Jeff helpfully reminds us that it’s a hard puzzle, and it’s even harder after 35 days of Survivor. I can also imagine having a loud host yell about how hard the puzzle is doesn’t make it any easier. Michaela thinks she has the solution but she’s wrong, which causes her to kick her puzzle in frustration. “Michaela kicks her puzzle, which always helps!” says an equally helpful Jeff. Eventually Brad figures it out and wins individual immunity. Not pictured is the scene where Aubry yells “This guy! It should have been this guy!” while Brad collects yet another immunity win.

Troyzan is pretty happy that Brad won, and reminds us that he has an idol. Remember when Troyzan found that idol? Me neither! Tai and Aubry talk on the beach. Tai thinks he might need to start making big moves, starting with going after Sarah. Tai says that it’s “scary time big boy time.” You can tell Tai is nervous about making a big move since he calls it, “scary time big boy time.” There’s no scenario in which someone saying “scary time big boy time” leads to a positive outcome! Aubry tells Cirie about Tai’s plan, and Cirie promptly tells Sarah. Here, folks, is where things go south: Sarah doesn’t believe Cirie even though we know Cirie is telling the truth. Sarah still thinks that Tai is with her. To prove it, she decides to give Cirie her vote steal. Never one to turn down an advantage, Cirie decides that she’s definitely going to use the vote steal against Sarah to prove to her that Tai wanted to vote her out. This isn’t actually a bad plan, but it’s perhaps a hair too deceptive and strategic for what’s actually going on here: Tai wants to vote Sarah out and she doesn’t believe him. That’s it! There’s nothing scary time or big boy time about this! Paranoia is the theme of Tribal Council tonight, with everyone discussing how they’re basing their votes on lies and fear. (Feel free to insert your own political parallels here). It’s time to vote but before we can get to that, Cirie announces she wants to use to the vote steal against Sarah. Sarah reveals that it’s actually her advantage, not Cirie’s, and the advantage is -are you sitting down- non-transferable. Jeff has Cirie read the fine print out loud which confirms this fact. The last time there was this much drama involving the fine print, I found out I had a tub of yogurt that expired the next day. Cirie’s inability to read the fine print sets off a whirlwind of activity. Cirie desperately tries to explain to Sarah that she was only using the vote steal to prove her loyalty. Michaela can prove this since she knew about the plan. There’s a lot of hushed conversations and people getting up and moving around and finally Sarah is ready to vote. She decides to use the steal against Tai. The votes are read, and in a rug-pulled-out twist, Michaela is sent home. Why Michaela? Were they nervous about Cirie and Michaela’s bond? Were Troyzan and Brad just going to vote for Micheala anyway? Was that puzzle mad that Michaela kicked it? Michaela couldn’t have ever actually won, right? It’s a disappointing end to a real head-scratcher of a Tribal Council. It makes you long for simpler times, like when Andrea was voted out with a 6-2 majority. Ah, 8:30 PM. The good old days!

Speaking of the good old days, it’s time to click on over to the Leaderboards to see where you stand. The Pool Princess has announced she’s been appointed to be a special prosecutor in something called “mouse court” but she promises to stop investigating long enough to send out the final pool point opportunity. Yes, folks, this is it! After many weeks of Survivor and several changes in the weather, it’s finally time to see who wins. So, you know, congratulations Sarah! We’ll see you next week.

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