Archive for March, 2017

‘Survivor’ Castaway JT: “It Was Sandra’s Way or the Highway”

March 31, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

 

Gordon Holmes: I’m sure you’ve gotten this a lot, but why didn’t you bring the idol to Tribal?
JT Thomas: I actually found it not long before Tribal. After going through “Heroes vs. Villains” being caught finding the idol, I knew I had to get it off my person. I only had my jeans and underwear, I ran up to this place we called “Lookout Mountain” that was a really hard-to-get-to spot. I knew the idol would be safe there. I buried it and came back down, but most of the rest of the afternoon before Tribal was spent with all of us talking. It was Aubry, myself, Jeff, and Sandra. And they did a good job of selling it. And Michaela was chilling out like she does all the time. To me it made no sense at all. And I knew if I went back it would be obvious and I’d have to explain where I was going. So, I really wish I had took it. And I didn’t wish I had it until right before the vote. I’m not sure I would’ve played it. It just made no sense to vote me out over Michaela at this point except for payback or revenge. That’s something you wouldn’t expect out of Sandra being the seasoned player that she is.

Holmes: One of the questions I get from everybody is; why are people letting Sandra run the show? Is she that good of a shield?
Thomas: Sandra is definitely leading the show on the tribe I was on. Varner’s on board to do whatever Sandra says. He wants a free ticket to the merge. And I don’t know Sandra personally, but I have played with her before. And she’s really playing out of character. She’s up on her high horse. It was obvious at camp that it was Sandra’s way or the highway. And I told her that I’d do whatever I could do to help them at the merge. The other option is Michaela who has no connections and nothing to offer. It just made all the sense in the world to stick with me.

Holmes: Did you find out about Sandra’s sugar stunt as you were leaving Tribal or did you find out last night?
Thomas: I didn’t know until last night. (Laughs) And then it made perfect sense. And Sandra kept instigating it and I never knew why. I guessed she just liked to hear me and Michaela go at it. Actually, it was her stirring it up more to prove that I was safe. That’s a lot of work to make a horrible move in my opinion. We were fixing to merge with people I’ve been camping with already. Who are they going to turn to for leniency? The former Mana tribe is going to be picked off like sitting ducks.

Holmes: The Tribal where Malcolm was voted out; did you mean tell them Sierra in the hopes that they’d idol Sandra out? Or, did you slip up and just mean to tell Brad that he was safe?
Thomas: I was hoping Sandra was going home, so I couldn’t own up to it at the time. And that’s only if they had an idol. I wasn’t sure. And if they didn’t, there was nothing I could do about it. That’s the reason why I still voted for Sierra. I didn’t want to out myself for no reason. And if they did have an idol, “I give you this knowledge, Brad. Your end of the deal is to vote out Sandra.” It was that simple. I had Malcolm and Aubry on-board with me. The only way they’d vote with me was if we had numbers. I had to get one person off of that tribe. It was a chance for me to get numbers.
Holmes: What was Malcolm’s reaction after you were voted out?
Thomas: My reaction was, “Dude, I hate it. I’m so sorry.” But he knows he was the last person I wanted to see go home. He played so hard. We were both upset about it. We hugged. I trusted the wrong person in Brad. I shot myself in the foot. And Malcolm and I together were probably the two toughest to beat at challenges.

Holmes: The original Nuku tribe never went to Tribal Council, so we don’t really know the dynamics. What was life like there? Who was on the outs?
Thomas: I went from the top of the best spot in the house, to the worst after the swap. I don’t want to say I was running the show, but I was definitely among those who were in charge. The most solid in-game alliance was Sarah, myself, Brad, and Ozzy. We were a tight four. Debbie and Tai were in that six, and then there was Zeke and Sierra. We had a good alliance, plenty of food, a nice home, and a pick-off order.
Holmes: Was that pick-off order Cirie first and then Andrea?
Thomas: Yeah, that’s correct. It wasn’t always that way. I wanted to work with Cirie. Everyone’s expecting us to have our differences. Immediately I went to Cirie and said, “We can work together and nobody will ever see it coming. We can take it to the end, you and I. I owe you one.” I didn’t get a good vibe at all. I felt like it was me or her. And Ozzy felt the same way. It’s not what I came into the game wanting to do, but I felt like I’d better get rid of Cirie. Then, Andrea actually told Cirie that I was gunning for her. Sarah let me know about it.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Zeke.
Thomas: Very intelligent. Strong competitor. A huge threat.
Holmes: Culpepper?
Thomas: Physical threat. Very untrustworthy.
Holmes: Sarah?
Thomas: Great person. Strong ally.
Holmes: Cirie?
Thomas: Huge threat in the game. Great person.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Thomas: Solid guy. Dependable.
Holmes: Tai?
Thomas: Good guy, but can’t hold his words.
Holmes: Andrea?
Thomas: Sneaky.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Thomas: Solid. Genuine, good athletic guy.
Holmes: Sandra?
Thomas: Great person, but on her high horse.
Holmes: Varner?
Thomas: Lacks self-confidence.
Holmes: Debbie?
Thomas: (Laughs) Very smart. Doesn’t fit in socially…socially awkward.
Holmes: Sierra?
Thomas: Sweet girl but a pawn in this game.
Holmes: Aubry?
Thomas: Very smart. Great person. Strong ally.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Michaela.
Thomas: Chip on her shoulder. Very immature. A lot to learn.

Holmes: One of the big moments from last night was the Debbie/Brad Culpepper explosion. And the thing that stuck with me is she kept saying how Hali took longer to do the balancing portion. Do you remember their part of the challenge? What didn’t we see?
Thomas: I have to say, to Debbie’s point, it was a really hard challenge. It’d take the whole episode to show the whole thing. The bow part was really hard. I was the third person on my tribe to try it. Aubry tried it, then Varner. Maybe Michaela even tried it. And it took me a while to do it. It did take Debbie a long time on the handle part, but it took Hali just as long on the bow. But, the bow, in my opinion was harder. I get where Debbie is coming from, it did take Hali a long time. But, it took all of us a long time. So, it didn’t make Hali look so bad.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Episode 4 Recap: Unbalanced?

March 29, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Last Week: Malcolm was voted out and apparently I’m contractually obligated to continue writing about this heartbreaking show.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog…

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Mana Tribe (wearing orangey-red)
Brad, 47
Debbie, 51
Hali, 26
Sierra, 29
Tai, 52

The Nuku Tribe (wearing blue)
Aubry, 30
JT, 31
Jeff, 50
Michaela, 25
Sandra, 41

The Tavua Tribe (wearing green)
Andrea, 27
Cirie, 45
Ozzy, 34
Sarah, 32
Troyzan, 54
Zeke, 28

We kick things off at Nuku Beach where JT’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. He swears up and down that he didn’t tip Mana off. I guess they can’t prove it until 6 months later.

Sandra knows she can’t prove anything, but she wants revenge. She doesn’t mention if she’s still the queen. Probably safe to assume she is.

The next morning, JT goes on an idol hunt. And…he’s successful. He finds a clue that is very similar to the one Tai found. When everyone is away from camp, he has a chance to retrieve it. Well done, JT. But how are you going to get it to Russell?

Reward Challenge Time: The tribes will use a grappling hook to retrieve a bow. They’ll then dig up a bag with a ball. One player will balance the ball on the bow and walk over a balancing beam. They’ll then do the same with a handle. Once both balls are at the end, one member from each team will have to complete a slide puzzle. The first tribe to complete the puzzle will win peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with all the fixins. The second place tribe receives sandwiches that are fixin’less.

Before the challenge, Andrea’s reaction to seeing a Malcolm-less Nuka would put Eliza Orlins to shame.

During the pre-challenge strategy talk, Debbie talks about how good she is at balancing. Brad, because he’s a logical person, thinks this means she should do one of the balance portions.

Troyzan will sit out for Tavua.

We start off and things are pretty even until Debbie gets to the balance beam portion. It…is…a…trainwreck. She just can’t do it.

As she struggles, Zeke picks up the win for Tavua and Sandra takes second place for Nuku.

Before we head off to commercial, Debbie lets us know that they lost because Brad is a dictator who tells people what to do.

FLASHBACK: Debbie telling everyone she has a really good sense of balance.

Wait, is this what she’s so upset over?

Later on, we learn that that’s exactly what she’s upset over. Debbie immediately tells the other four that they can give her clothing to Hali after they vote her out.

It’s so weird and abrupt that Brad honestly asks if she’s acting.

Debbie tells us that Brad has a total lack of respect for her. She even tells Hali that he has his head so far up her (tush) that his eyeballs are sticking out of her mouth. Well, that’s graphic.

Then, she says that Hali took ten minutes to do the balance beam while she zipped across it. Which…is…not…at…all…what…happened. At first, I wondered if this was an editing trick, but Tai backs it up saying Hali was way better with the agility.

I guess it’s alright though, because Debbie tells us she doesn’t explode in anger.

CUT TO: Debbie screaming in Brad’s face as he tries to apologize.

Quick Aside: I’ve been doing this gig since Gabon.  In my experience, either Brad is a jerk and they aren’t showing it because they want us to like him. Or, Debbie is reading into things. Either way…yikes.

Later at Tavua, Sarah starts talking to Troyzan. She tells him that she’s willing to work with him. He’s happy about this, but he doesn’t trust her enough to tell her about his idol.

At Nuku, Michaela requests a cup of coffee that is seven drops of coffee and a scoop of sugar. This infuriates JT because he doesn’t like the rate at which Michaela is consuming the sugar. Or he’s some kind of coffee purist.

Sandra sees this as an opportunity to rile everyone up and eats the rest of the sugar. Varner, knowing that JT and Michaela are the only ones who consume the sugar, finds this hilarious. I agree.

Sure enough, JT sees an empty sugar jar and flips out.

Back at Mana, Tai decides to get away from his crazy camp and go on an idol hunt. He finds an idol clue that seems to be hinting at the water source. But, he doesn’t have time to follow up on it.

Immunity Challenge Time: The tribes will race up and over a wall. They’ll then roll a wooden cube to a post and retrieve a key. They’ll use the key to open a chest full of beanbags. From there, they have to carry all of the beanbags over a balance beam. When all of the bags are transported, they’ll use a slingshot to launch them at targets. The first two tribes to hit all five of their targets will win immunity.

Cirie will sit out for Tavua.

Before the challenge, Brad proposes that Tai should do the balance beam portion. Debbie does not approve. Then…it…gets…ugly. Once again she claims that it took Hali way longer to complete the previous balance beam portion. After some bickering, she decides that she doesn’t want to do the balance beam.

The Survivors are ready…and they go.

Debbie is the first one over the wall and makes a point of making sure that everyone knows it. Man, people who brag about their challenge prowess are annoying. #nineinarow

Mana is the first tribe to get to the chest, but their lead is tiny.

Tai and Hali are the balance beam team for Mana. Andrea and Ozzy go for Tavua, and Varner and Michaela go for Nuku.

Tai wipes out at one point and Debbie lets him have it, saying that she’s glad they didn’t pick the gymnast for this challenge.

Quick Aside: Is it possible that Debbie and Brad cooked up a fake feud so they can work opposite sides after the merge?

Tavua is the first tribe to get to the slingshot portion. Mana and Nuku eventually catch up.

Sierra hits the first two targets quickly, then Brad takes out the rest. Mana wins immunity.

Ozzy and JT battle back and forth with Ozzy eventually taking the win for Tavua.

Back at camp, Aubry and JT want to target Michaela. It seems like Varner and Sandra are on-board as well.

Later on, Sandra tells us that she wants to get vengeance for Malcolm. I can dig that. She plans to get Michaela and Varner on her side and send JT home.

That night at Tribal, Sandra claims to not know who leaked Sierra’s name to Tai.

Michaela is annoyed because JT thinks he’s running the show.

JT says he’s never been so excited to be at Tribal Council because he can’t wait to get rid of Michaela.

Sandra claims they’re going to keep the strongest player in the game and with HIM they’re going to move forward.

JT is tired of babysitting. He doesn’t think Michaela does anything around the camp.

Michaela begs to differ, pointing out several occasions where she’s done things.

Aubry tried to work with Michaela, but she’s tired of it.

JT wraps it up by saying that some people aren’t game changers, they’re just taking up space.

Voting Time: JT votes for Michaela, Michaela votes for JT, Aubry votes for Michaela, Sandra votes for JT, and the rest are secret.

Probst tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol…and nobody does.

We’ve got one vote for Michaela, one vote for JT, one vote for Michaela, one vote for JT, and the fifth person voted out of “Survivor: Game Changers” is…JT.

…and his idol.

On the way out, Michaela tells JT to tell Malcolm that he sent him out of the game. A defeated JT says he will.

And finally, Sandra admits to being the sugar thief. I’m not sure that was smart, but it was funny.

Verdict: Sandra has been to the first five Tribals and hasn’t received a single vote. (Edit: Oops…four of the first five.) That’s amazing. Also, there’s only one winner left in the game.

The Debbie thing? That’s just hard to watch.

That said, I’m ready to see Tavua take a trip to Tribal.

Power Rankings Results: Adam Klein had JT in spot fifteen. I had him in spot sixteen. The current score is now Team Adam 38, Team Gordon 36.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Power Rankings Round 3: Won’t-You-Fly-Freberg-Yeah Edition

March 28, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive three points and Gordon will receive seven points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Adam had Malcolm in spot five, while Gordon him in spot four. The current score is now Team Adam 23, Team Gordon 20.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 23

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 20

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Sierra: Took a big hit last week with Malcolm, but I was right in thinking that the unknown twist could mess everything up. Malcolm never would have gone home if his own tribe voted, and my rankings this week are taking into account that last week was an anomaly. I anticipate that the tribes will go back to their previous status quo for the most part. Sierra is in a very comfortable position with a strong alliance on Mana, and is the only person in her alliance not being yelled at by Debbie in the preview. Safe. 1. Troyzan: Welp…I’d like to thank Malcolm for making it so I’ll never look at Troyzan the same way. Add an idol to that and it’s clear that some guys have all the luck.
2. Troyzan: Even in secret scenes, Tavua players are still talking about Troyzan like he’s an easy vote. They clearly have no idea he has an idol, so I imagine they are going to clearly telegraph to Troyzan if he does end up needing to play it. He could also share it to create some new allies. 2. Tai: I don’t think it was worth burning an idol to keep someone safe so early in the game. But, between Hali being on the outs and this odd Debbie/Brad blowup, nobody is going to be targeting you. Except for me. Because you took Malcolm from me. You are lucky that they don’t give random middle-aged journalists a jury vote. Because I swear, on everything that I believe in, that I would never, EVER vote for you. From this day until the day the Sun above burns out…that’s how long I can hold a grudge. From now on, every time I sink my teeth into a chicken sandwich or a buffalo wing, I’ll consider that a tiny measure of revenge for what you did to me. Consider me the opposite of Sia.
3. Michaela: Malcolm talked about how he wanted Michaela gone next from Nuku in exit press, but he made it sound like he was never going to get his way on that. And now, with Malcolm gone, Michaela seems even safer than before. 3. Sierra: Boy, did you dodge a close one last week. If JT doesn’t spill the beans, Tai has a one-in-five shot at making the right call. And with those odds, he might not have done it at all.
4. Brad: The Brad, Sierra, Debbie, Tai quad sure seems like the strongest alliance in the game. But what is going on with Debbie in the preview?! Even if Debbie turns on Brad (or vice versa) she doesn’t have the numbers to send him home. 4. Zeke: How much is Zeke loving life right now? His tribe is dominating, he’s not a target, and he can listen to Cirie and Ozzy tell classic “Survivor” stories.
5. Varner: With JT in hot water, Sandra a perpetual target, and Aubry still without a strong foothold within Nuku, Varner should be relatively low on the kill list. His consistently underwhelming challenge performance is the only thing that could get him into trouble. 5. Sarah: Jefferson Starship once told a differently spelled Sara that “no time is a good time for goodbye.” This is a lie. There will come a time where you need to say goodbye to this classic Nuku alliance. The question is, “When?”
6. Zeke: In a secret scene, Cirie worried that a big fan like Zeke might want to live up to the ‘Game Changer’ title and take her out down the line. That could be a reason for her to gun for Zeke, but for now he seems to be in a really good position on Tavua. (Side note: Zeke also talked about not giving a “rat’s-patootie” about winning reward challenges, and as someone who didn’t get a food reward until day 26, I can confirm that neither food nor coffee wins you the game.) 6. Varner: Ah…Jeff. You coughed up a huge lead in the challenge that sent Nuku to the nightmare Tribal. But, there are much bigger fish to fry right now.
7. Sandra: Queen Sandra still has a massive target on her back, but I still have faith in her relationships on Nuku to carry her through. JT just doesn’t have the numbers to get rid of her. Only way she goes out, I think, is if JT finds and plays an idol. 7. Michaela: Is Michaela clicking with anyone out there? That’s going to cost her later in the game, but right now she should be OK. Especially in a tribe that just lost one of their best challenge performers.
8. Cirie: What happened to Cirie vs. Ozzy? Are they beyond that now? Cirie seems well integrated on Tavua but I have to imagine that at some point the story with Ozzy will lead us somewhere. 8. Brad: After last week’s miracle, I’d imagine your alliance would be clicking on all cylinders. But, Debbie’s mega-freakout has me a little concerned. What could you have possible done in-between Tribals to upset someone so much?
9. Ozzy: The closer we get to the merge, the more likely Ozzy will be to go home. I still think it’s too soon, though, and both Cirie and Ozzy will keep their knives in their pockets for the time being.  9. Cirie: Of everyone at Tavua, Cirie seems like the most likely to reach out to Troyzan. That could land her in trouble…but she’s also reaching out to a guy with an idol.
10. Tai: TAI!!! What an idol find and play. How much can one guy do to prove his loyalty? He voted out his buddy that wasn’t in the alliance, and now he saved an alliance member with his idol. He should be rock solid now with Brad, Sierra, and Debbie, but Debbie going off on him is clearly concerning. 10. Debbie: Your blow-up in the trailer was so big and dramatic. Is it a ploy to throw someone off another plan? And if so, why continue it during an interview? Something doesn’t add up.
11. Sarah: Sarah said she was the “silent assassin” in the premiere and now in the preview she says she’s “playing this game like a criminal.” We’ve seen the silent, so it seems like now is the time for the assassin. This episode will either be her epic flameout or her coming out party, and I would guess the latter. Could she align with Troyzan to turn on one of her own? 11. Sandra: You’re never, ever safe. Ever.
12. Aubry: It seems like Aubry is always surviving by the skin of her teeth, but has yet to ever be target #1. She needs to hang on a little longer until her situation changes, but as long as Sandra is on her tribe she won’t be safe. 12. Ozzy: I don’t think you’re going home this week, but I wouldn’t put it past Troyzan to make you the victim of an idol play. I also wouldn’t put a preemptive strike past Cirie. 
13. Debbie: I actually have no idea what Debbie’s freak out could possibly be about. Tai’s idol play? No, she knew about the idol. The Malcolm vote? No, she was in on that. Could she stumble upon the others finding an idol and not telling her? Or are they turning on her to save Hali for some reason, and she finds out? That all seems pretty implausible but whatever it is, it’s likely to put her in hot water. 13. Aubry: I didn’t know Aubry and Sandra weren’t getting along until my Malcolm exit interview. If Sandra wants to keep the tribe strong, Aubry could be in for a long night.
14. Andrea: We didn’t see much of Tavua, so the best I can go on is that if they lose, they vote for Troyzan and he idols out Andrea, since she’s the only one he has negatively referenced. Sarah’s preview confessional is telling, though, that there could be a major switch up. 14. Andrea: We don’t get to spend much time with Tavua, so Andrea is still my pick for the most likely to get idoled out.
15. JT: I would not want to be poor JT coming back to camp after that Tribal Council. He lost his only potential ally and his whole tribe blames him for Malcolm’s elimination. He better win immunity or find an idol, because I don’t see a path out of this otherwise. 15. Hali: If you were Sierra, would you protect your Dirty 30 sister who kinda tried to throw your alliance under the bus or the gardener who just coughed up an idol to keep you safe?
16. Hali: Hali was clearly uncomfortable with the status quo as they headed to a vote, and was vocal against Brad at tribal council, even plotting with Nuku to vote him out. You would think she would be a clear target if they lose, given how much loyalty the other four have shown to each other. Could be it that simple? I’m thinking that yes, it could be, and Debbie’s explosion is momentary and a red herring. 16. JT: Remember when you gave an idol to Russell Hantz? I don’t think that was a stupid move, it was a big gamble. Remember when you told Brad who to play an idol for? Yeah, that was probably a stupid move.


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Castaway Malcolm: “JT Was Trying to Screw Us, 100%”

March 23, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Malcolm Freberg: I love/hate you right now.
Gordon Holmes: You love/hate me?! What did I do?
Freberg: You picked me to win, you jackaloon!
Holmes: YOU TOLD ME TO!
Freberg: I need the adults in my life to save me from myself sometimes, you should have known better.
Holmes: Let me paint a picture for you; a sweaty me in the jungles of Fiji and you with your gorgeous mane of hair saying, “Oh no, we’re going to do this together. Pick me to win and we’re gonna take this whole thing.” My only crime is believing in you.
Freberg: You’re not allowed to put blame on me today. I’m very tender and fragile and I just want to be spooned. So really, you can’t be mean to me today.
Holmes: We’re all hurting today.

Holmes: Alright, I stayed up last night coming up with the perfect opening question when I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But, I’m a professional, so here’s what I came up with; what the (expletive deleted), man?
Freberg: (Laughs) I’m feeling the exact same way. Months and months later, I’m going to try to help you out and explain what happened, but there’s going to be some guesswork involved.

Holmes: JT goes up to Brad and says you’re targeting Sierra. Do you think he was screwing you guys or was he trying to trick them?
Freberg: JT was trying to screw us 100%. He goes over there and says, “They’re voting for Sierra.” And he didn’t do that for idol purposes. I don’t know if JT knew about their idol. But, he was trying to tell Brad he was safe because that was JT’s closest ally at the time. And, he wanted them to vote for Sandra. I think had JT felt that it was going to go that way, if he felt the other tribe was going to listen to him, he would’ve voted for Sandra instead of Sierra. The biggest thing that wasn’t really shown was JT freaking out before the vote because he got the feeling that they weren’t going to vote for Sandra.
Holmes: Do you think there was a point where he told them to vote for Sandra?
Freberg: Oh yeah, absolutely. Didn’t they show that?
Holmes: I don’t think so, it’s a blur.
Freberg: He absolutely told them to vote for Sandra. I think three-quarters of the way through Tribal, and they only showed half a dozen of those huddles, but there were at least twenty. We were standing up and moving around. And at one point he looked terrified. I think he knew they weren’t going to go for Sandra, but he didn’t want to tell us what had happened.

Holmes: Was the plan always to vote for Sierra?
Freberg: Yeah, it seemed pretty straight forward. It was six on five. Our thought was that she’d never find an idol. I love her in real life, we’re friends outside the show. She’s a rodeo girl, but she hates getting her fingernails dirty on “Survivor.” The consensus was that’d she’d be the last person to find an idol. And the idea that someone would hand it off, like Tai did, didn’t cross our minds. It was a huge move so early in the game. You’d have to be 100% sure to give up your own safety in a blind, pre-merge vote. Obviously JT made it a lot easier on them. And even if he flips, we could probably pull in Hali.

Holmes: Hali told Sandra to vote for Brad. The way it worked out, it would’ve saved you. Do you think this was a plan of hers to get rid of him while allowing her to vote for you and look like she had stuck to tribal lines?
Freberg: I like Hali. But, I can’t explain her thinking. She had a habit of saying things at Tribal that don’t make the most sense. With Hali though, we wanted to keep her safe. There was a feeling that the game was going to keep going along the original tribe lines. We couldn’t know that she was in such a terrible spot. We didn’t know what went on with the Caleb vote. So, we were trying to keep her safe. And we didn’t think we needed her vote because we thought JT was with us 100%.

Holmes: The original concept of the show was; you’re a community and every three days you’re going to vote someone off. Before anyone had ever thought of an alliance, you’d imagine someone would be voted off because they weren’t helping around camp or they weren’t getting along with everyone. You were voted off by a different community. Twists are twists and it’s weird to say something is unfair, but was last night unfair?
Freberg: Obviously I feel that way because I’m talking to you after a couple of episodes. (Laughs) It crossed my mind at the time. It doesn’t feel quite right. I think that the social aspect is the best part of my game. So, not even having a chance to talk or play with these other people before Tribal is sort of…well…it’s a first. It’s not like any vote before. At first I thought it was unfair to the other tribe. We were so confident going into that Tribal. I felt bad for the new Mana. And if a twist goes bad for you, you’re going to hate it. If they ever do it again you’re going to hear me screaming on Twitter. From a game perspective I’m a super traditionalist. Put one idol out there and do straight votes with no twists and I’m the happiest guy. But, it’s hard for me to knock it as a fan, because it was great TV. And whenever it’s something like that that’s so talked about, that’s why we get to do this seventeen years later. You can’t be mad at it.
Holmes: Oh, I can be mad at it.

Holmes: It looked like you and JT were targeting Sandra. How serious were you about that? Because she’s looking like the shield of shields at this point.
Freberg: JT and I got really close. Half an hour after the swap me and JT were bromancing hard on the beach. I was cheating on you.
Holmes: Yeah, how hard was this bromancing?
Freberg: (Laughs) You’d be sitting at the camp staring at us, twiddling your thumbs. So, we were tight. And my old tribe encouraged it because we needed to bring people to our side. But, Aubry and Sandra are feuding hard. Every time it comes up for discussion Sandra doesn’t like Aubry and Aubry doesn’t like Sandra. When JT starting throwing around the name Sandra, I was like “Sure, whatever.” But everyone’s name comes up. I couldn’t tell you who would’ve gone home if we’d gone to Tribal alone. I wanted Michaela gone, to be honest with you. And if it was a regular Tribal Council, Varner might’ve been in trouble because he blew a huge lead in that challenge. It was much worse than it looked.

Holmes: Sierra and Hali are acting like they’re not Dirty 30 buddies. Do you buy it?
Freberg: Yes and no. Me and Hali were on good terms on the first tribe. The game is playing out so divided along the tribe lines. It was just us vs. them. So, to see Sierra say what she said about Hali at Caleb’s Tribal Council, it’s like, “Holy (expletive deleted), Sierra.” It wasn’t surprising in the context of the way the game was playing.

Holmes: Was there any chance to look for the Nuku idol?
Freberg: Yeah, besides JT stranding us on the raft. Where we were like, “Good move, JT. This is hysterical. You’re toast if we go to Tribal.” After that, we had a group hunt before the last Tribal. We went out looking for it as a team. We were digging, and we came up empty. Early on I didn’t look much because it seemed like the game was moving so slow. Playing too hard put a target on people. I just sat on my hands and it was driving me crazy.

Holmes: I’m going to blow your mind. I want to try a word association exercise.
Freberg: What’s that?!
Holmes: I know. It’s this crazy new thing I’m trying. Let’s start with Tony.
Freberg: Thoroughbred.
Holmes: Sandra?
Freberg: Honey pot.
Holmes: Hali?
Freberg: Loca.
Holmes: Aubry?
Freberg: That’s my girl.
Holmes: Caleb?
Freberg: Donkey Mode Cow-Weenie.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Freberg: Biggest penis I’ve ever seen on a man.
Holmes: Oh.
Freberg: Fun fact.
Holmes: Varner?
Freberg: Sassy pants.
Holmes: Michaela?
Freberg: Abi-Maria.
Holmes: Oh…I was going to ask why you were targeting her. Nevermind. Classic Ciera?
Freberg: (Laughs) My twin.
Holmes: Let’s finish with JT.
Freberg: Son-of-a-bitch, bastard idiot.
Holmes: (Laughs) Subtle. Actually, let’s do a few more since you were at a Tribal with them. Sierra?
Freberg: Giant.
Holmes: Tai?
Freberg: Manipulated.
Holmes: Debbie?
Freberg: What the (expletive deleted)?
Holmes: And Brad?
Freberg: Impressive.

Holmes: My heart and soul are bruised…but I think they will heal.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: You are the wind beneath my wings. You are sunshine on a cloudy day.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: (Expletive deleted) (Expletive deleted)
Freberg: I feel the same way. It’s going to be hard to do the rest of my interviews with this erection I just sprouted.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: Sprouted?
Freberg: And that’s how we end interviews.
Holmes: And scene.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Episode 3 Recap: Two Tribes, One Vote

March 22, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Last Week: A goat was spared because of its mother, Sierra disowned her Dirty 30 sister, and Tai voted out his Big Brother.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog…

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Mana Tribe (wearing orangey-red)
Brad, 47
Debbie, 51
Hali, 26
Sierra, 29
Tai, 52

The Nuku Tribe (wearing blue)
Aubry, 30
JT, 31
Jeff, 50
Malcolm, 29
Michaela, 25
Sandra, 41

The Tavua Tribe (wearing green)
Andrea, 27
Cirie, 45
Ozzy, 34
Sarah, 32
Troyzan, 54
Zeke, 28

The fun kicks off back at Mana Beach after Tribal Council. Tai is bummed that he had to vote out his buddy, but he did it for the good of his game. And, he got a bag of magic beans out of it. So, it was a pretty sound decision.

The next morning, Hali and Debbie agree that Tai should go home next. However, Debbie was just joshing, because she wants to keep things classic Nuku strong.

Reward Challenge Time: One player will race through an obstacle course while balancing a ball on a pole.  Once they have all the balls to the end, another tribe member will use sandbags to knock over pegs. The first tribe to knock over all their pegs will win comfort for their face in the form of chocolate and coffee. The second place tribe will win a thermos of ice coffee.

Quick Aside: “Survivor” production has amazing ice coffee. No joke.

JT and Malcolm will participate for Nuku, Ozzy and Troyzan will play for Tavua, Tai and Culpepper will suit up for Mana.

Another Quick Aside: Why a challenge for just two players at this stage?

Ozzy is the first one through the ball-balancing portion, but JT is right behind him.

Malcolm and Troyzan battle it out with Malcolm taking a lead. Tai finally makes it through the course and now Culpepper gets to join the fray.

Malcolm wins first place for Nuku. Culpepper and Troyzan go toe-to-toe with Brad amazingly pulling off the come-from-behind win.

Culpepper Bandwagon…Woo Woo!

Man, that was intense for a thermos of coffee.

Oooo…as we head to commercial, Cirie lets us know that Troyzan’s performance did not help his standing in the tribe. Well, yeah.

Back at Tavua Beach, Ozzy isn’t too heartbroken about losing, because it makes his fishing skills more valuable. He says he doesn’t mean to toot his own horn, but then he goes right on tooting it.

Ozzy proves his talent by bringing back a giant stingray. Nobody on Tavua seems to care if the stingray is a mother or not.

Meanwhile at Nuku, Sandra tells us that she’s the queen and nobody knows it. Dude, you say “Queen stays Queen” every three minutes. I think people might have figured it out.

CUT TO: Malcolm and JT talking about how dangerous Sandra is.

JT and Malcolm agree to work together and tip each off if either of their names is mentioned.

Immunity Challenge Time: One player from each tribe will stand on a tower and be a caller. They’ll direct their tribemates, who are blindfolded and tethered in pairs, through an obstacle course. The duos will have to retrieve three balls. Once all three balls are attained, the players can remove their blindfolds and maneuver the balls through a table maze. The first tribe to get all three balls to the end will win immunity. The other two tribes will go to Tribal Council.

Sandra will sit for Nuku while Troyzan will sit for Tavua.

Brad, Jeff, and Cirie are our callers. Oh, and all of the obstacles are at groin height. Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer is the devil.

Nuku is the first tribe to get all of their balls. They have a huge lead. Mana and Tavua eventually join them.

JT sinks the first ball, then Ozzy gets one.

Malcolm hits Nuku’s second one, Sarah gets Tavua’s second.

Varner…just…struggles…with the third one.

Culpepper gets Mana’s first, while Andrea gets Tavua’s third. Tavua wins immunity.

Wow…Varner blew a huge lead. He actually wept when it was all over.

Before Jeff sends the tribes off, he tells them that both tribes will vote out one person. Oh man…

Oh man…

These are not even tribes.

Back at Nuku, JT is psyched because his tribe clearly has a numbers advantage. The others realize that he is the most likely person to flip, seeing that he was a member of classic Nuku. But, he assures them that he’s solid.

JT and Malcolm wonder who Mana will target and agree that it will probably be Sandra. This makes JT contemplate voting for Sandra to help them along. Oh man, JT. Stick with the plan, buddy.

At Mana, Hali realizes that she doesn’t necessarily have to be on the bottom anymore. Brad tries to convince her that the bonds she’s forged on New Mana are stronger than the ones she had on Old Mana, but I’m not sure why exactly he believes that.

Everyone wants to vote for Sandra because they think that’s how JT will vote. However, Sierra wishes they could get rid of Malcolm.

Tai, however, has another plan. He goes out looking for an idol…and finds a clue. Huh…and it’s not at a challenge. It’s buried between four trees.

Note: Probst did say they’d use all kinds of methods for hiding the idol this season.

Sure enough, Tai finds it. He shares it with the tribe and earns a kiss from Sierra. Totally worth it.

That night at Tribal, JT finally gets to light his torch. That fire represents his life.

Malcolm admits that their time at camp was crazy because there were so many different angles to cover.

Brad calls it a “Mexican Standoff” because you’ve got two sides with their guns pointed at each other. But, they don’t know if there are traitors on either side.

Sandra assures him that all of their guns are pointed at Mana.

Debbie points out that JT used to be really close with them at Old Nuku.

JT thinks it’d be a shot in the dark for him to end up in the right place.

Sandra admits that she isn’t worried because she knows she isn’t going home.

Debbie wants to know if JT or Hali is going to flip. Brad even says Hali will be public enemy number one if she votes against them.

JT says he’s got to do what he’s got to do to stay alive.

Hali raises her hand and tells everyone that they should be focusing on physical threats.

Sandra takes this to mean that they want Culpepper gone.

Now everyone is whispering to each other.

Finally, JT approaches Brad and says, “I love you, brother. But they’re voting Sierra out.”

THEN Hali approaches Sandra and says, “You have to do Brad. It’s better for us. I promise.”

Everyone is wandering around whispering to each other. Both tribes split into huddles. Probst is loving it.

They finally settle down. That was insane. Jeff asks if they’re ready to vote and Hali tells him that she’s not ready. Sandra tells her that they’re good and they’re ready.

What the what?

Voting Time: No votes are shown.

During the voting, Michaela wondered why Hali didn’t tell them about an idol. Sandra assures her that none of them have an idol.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…Tai does.

And…he plays it for Sierra!

Alright, we’ve got six votes for Sierra, three votes for Malcolm…and the fourth person eliminated from “Survivor: Game Changers” is…Malcolm.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Verdict: That…was…a wild one. Too much going on to unpack during the brief period where it happened. Did JT betray his tribe? He told Culpepper they were targeting Sierra. Or, was he trying to misdirect them? Did Hali betray her tribe by telling them to vote for Brad? She could’ve voted for Malcolm knowing he’d be safe if Tai played the idol for Sierra and she wouldn’t have been in trouble because she voted the way she was supposed to.

And, was Malcolm targeted because they assumed an idols played would be played for Sandra?

Either way, that was intense.

Power Rankings Results: Adam Klein had Malcolm in spot five. I had him in spot four. The current score is now Team Adam 23, Team Gordon 20.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 2: Double Tribal Trouble Edition

March 21, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive four points and Gordon will receive eight points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Adam had Caleb in spot eighteen while Gordon had him in spot sixteen. So, the current score is Team Adam 18, Team Gordon 16.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 18

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 16

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: This is another tough week to rank with two tribes going to tribal council and an additional undisclosed twist (mentioned by Probst in an interview) that could shake things up. That said, I have a hard time imagining anyone in my top 8-9 going home this week. Troyzan shoots up to the top of my list with guaranteed protection stuffed into his crotch. As the lone ex-Mana member, Troyzan should remember to pull out his protection if he senses any danger. If he does, the question becomes: who takes the fall? 1. Troyzan: You’re alone and you’ve got an idol. You’d be a fool not to play it at the next Tribal if you’re in danger.
2. Sierra: Sierra has the legacy advantage, a tight alliance, and Hali on the side as another option. She seems to be sitting very, very pretty. 2. Brad: He interior (exterior) decorates and he’s smart enough to make it seem like Tai is making the decisions? He’s got a new Brad-ittude!
3. Brad: Brad was able to pull Tai cleanly onto his side (along with Sierra and Debbie), and seems to be in a great position on his tribe and in the game. Monica (and Martha Stewart) would be proud of not only his game so far, but also his home decorating. 3. Sarah: You can’t win “Survivor” before the merge, but you can sure lose it. Sarah is playing the perfect game for someone who is underestimated and trusted. She’ll have plenty of opportunities after the merge.
4. Michaela: Like I said last week, Michaela is an important challenge contributor and in a majority alliance. No worries. If she can continue to solidify trust with her old Mana teammates, she could be in a really good spot moving forward. 4. Malcolm: It looks like JT is going to try to take Sandra’s place as Malcolm’s shield. I think that’s the wrong play. Targeting Jeff or Aubry and offering Malcolm TWO shields seems much better.
5. Malcolm: Same boat as Michaela. I was worried about Malcolm’s ego, but there was no indication of it causing him any trouble in the last episode. He seems to be having fun and laying relatively low, which is exactly what he needs to do. 5. Tai: I couldn’t play with Tai. It seems like whoever gets his ear last gets his vote. So, while his chickens are allowed to run around leashless, if I were Brad and Debbie, I wouldn’t afford Tai the same luxury.
6. Jeff: I was worried that Varner would overplay the pre-merge again, but he seems to have done well with this swap and seems to feel good with the other former Manas on Nuku. 6. Zeke: The big question this week is going to be; if Tavua goes to Tribal, who will Troyzan idol out? I doubt he has any reason to target lovable Zeke at this point.
7. Zeke: According to a secret scene, Zeke is in an alliance with Cirie, Sarah, and Andrea, and believes that Ozzy trusts him more than anyone. That’s a great setup for him if his read of the situation is accurate. The only problem is he thinks Troyzan is an easy boot, but Troyzan has an idol. Luckily for Zeke, I don’t see him as Troyzan’s most likely target. 7. Varner: Holy cow! Look who won his first immunity challenge in sixteen years! I’m betting he’ll see his first merge since then pretty soon too.
8. Sarah: We haven’t heard too much from Sarah, but she seems to be in a solid majority, and isn’t being targeted by anyone. Should be safe for now. 8. Michaela: The swap really worked out for Michaela. The JTs and the Sandras of the world can duke it out while she improves on her challenge resume.
9. Debbie: Debbie seems to be working really well with Brad and Sierra, and seems to be pretty well trusted on her tribe. I don’t see anyone gunning for her next.  9. Cirie: Hopefully all of that Cirie vs. Ozzy chatter will calm down now that they need each other. I wouldn’t mind them pairing up as kind of a Micronesia-Renaissance-Brains-and-Brawn kinda duo.
10. Cirie: I think the show is making Cirie seem like she is in more danger than she really is. Zeke claims to be in an alliance with her (and Sarah and Andrea) in a new secret scene, and we see the two of them enthusiastically assuring each other after the swap, but we were led to believe that Cirie was on the outs at Nuku. Everyone loves an underdog, but I’m not sure Cirie really is one at this point. 10. Debbie: The Debbie/Brad pre-season alliance is in full force. What started as scribbling in a book is now a mighty force to be reckoned with. Their next challenge is; do you trust loose lips Tai or do you hope that Sierra is telling the truth when she says she has no ties to Hali? Tough call.
11. Sandra: JT was shown saying in the preview that “Sandra is dangerous,” but I think it’s a red herring. JT doesn’t have the pull to turn this group against Sandra, I don’t think. If JT is able to find that idol, I could see how Sandra might be in trouble, but the smarter move for JT would be to use the idol to get Sandra on his side. They would be much stronger together than against each other. 11. Aubry: Sandra wanted Aubry out in the first vote. Sandra voted for Aubry in the second vote. You might be tempted to work with JT, but this might be a better time to form something more concrete with Sandra.
12. Ozzy: Ozzy seemed to be doing well at Nuku, but if Zeke’s secret scene confessional is to be believed, he’s not as well-trusted as it looks like he is on the show. To me, it seems too early to get rid of Ozzy, but I’ve changed my mind about who might win out if the Cirie vs. Ozzy battle intensifies. 12. Sandra: One of Sandra’s greatest gifts is her ability to deflect attention away from herself. That’s why it was amazing that she couldn’t read the room better when goat-gate was going down. Fortunately though, I think too many people are invested in her survival at this point for her to go home.
13. Tai: In the commercial and preview, Tai can be seen running around the beach and talking about “fireworks tonight.” That could be a good thing and mean Tai will find an idol, or it could mean Tai is overplaying and going to get himself into trouble. 13. Ozzy: If an idol is played and Ozzy goes home, Tavua will be in big trouble at challenges. Then they’d need to consider keeping Troyzan around longer.
14. Aubry: In a secret scene, Aubry confesses to feeling like the odd one out amongst the former Mana members on Nuku. I am never going to feel like Aubry is safe as long as Sandra, who cast a vote against her already, is on her tribe. If there is any worry that JT has an idol, Aubry will likely take the fall. 14. JT: Your little boat stratagem would have been the stuff of “Survivor” legend if it had worked. And, goat-gate might’ve changed the way Sandra’s alliance feels about her. But, I’m betting you’re the most likely victim of the buff swap.
15. JT: I was hoping JT would find an idol in the last episode, but without one he seems to be in very serious danger. He wasn’t able to improve his position within his tribe at all, and he is still idol-less. I don’t think that JT’s “uprising” as teased in the preview will work, so I think it’s idol or bust. 15. Sierra: You claim that you aren’t close with your former Dirty 30 buddy but a pair of matching tattoos tells a different story. If you try to protect Hali too much you could find yourself Worlds Apart from the million.
16. Hali: Hali should probably be scrambling for an idol at this point. She has to realize that she is in deep danger of going home next if Mana loses again. Brad, Sierra, and Debbie seem tight, and now Tai has proven his loyalty to them by voting out Caleb. It wouldn’t make for brilliantly exciting television, but Hali is the most likely Mana member to leave the game. 16. Andrea: So, Troyzan has found an idol on his new island. Aaaand…the only person he seems to have beef with is you…
17. Andrea: Andrea should not be all the way down here. She should be right up there with Zeke and Sarah. In a secret scene, Andrea confirms that she is in a strong position and that there is no reason to include Troyzan in her plans. She calls him a “really easy vote off.” Unfortunately for Andrea, Troyzan now has an idol, and there was a scene with Troyzan in the last episode that heavily hinted at problems for Andrea in the near future. Andrea was the only person on the tribe that Troyzan has said anything negative about, so if the former Nukus stick together and vote for Troyzan, it is likely that he would send Andrea home with his idol. Combine that with low visibility in the first two episodes and Andrea seems to be in real deep trouble. 17. Hali: You were pretty lucky to survive last week’s vote. Caleb is probably the strongest person in the game and even if they wanted to break up the Tai and Caleb showmance it could’ve waited a while. The question now is; will Sierra have your back this time around, or will she stick with the former Nukuians?


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Castaway Caleb: “Hali Sucks at Everything”

March 16, 2017

Caleb Reynolds (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: What was the mood like before Tribal last night?
Caleb Reynolds: I was about 75% sure that I was going home. Tai was being very odd with me before we left. None of the other people were talking to me. When you’re going to go home, people just leave you alone.
Holmes: How was Tai being odd?
Reynolds: I went up to him and said, “Hey man, how’s it looking?” And he said, “Yeah man, you’re going to stay. I think you’re overthinking it.” He said, “You’re a strong player, you’re going to help us win and no one wants to get rid of you.” Going into it, I had a feeling there was something fishy because normally when Tai talks to you he looks at you. And that time, he was looking away and fidgeting and stuff. On my way to Tribal I took everything with me. That’s how not-safe I felt. I honestly felt like I was going home. I was hoping there was some type of catch that Hali might go home. It wasn’t a blindside. Especially after Tribal started and people started talking.

Holmes: Tai and I talked before the game and he said that you and he had agreed to do what’s best for your game and to not be upset about it afterwards. But, he said your wife could be upset.
Reynolds: (Laughs) Ashley’s take on it is she’s not happy with Tai due to the fact that he did say he was going to keep me safe. He did promise that he wouldn’t write my name down. He did all these things, but she also says that he has to do what’s best for his game. At first she was like, “Ugh…why did Tai do that?” But it wasn’t an anger thing and more of a “Gosh, you were supposed to be his friend.” She knows it’s a game and he has to do what’s best for his game. Although, she could see him doing it at final five or final four. Then yeah, get rid of me. But that early in the game? She was like, “I can’t believe he did it so early. With all you guys talked about and him being at the wedding.”

Holmes: At Mana, you were viewed as Tony’s right-hand man. Was there ever a chance to use that to your advantage and say, “Look, my alliance was voted out. Hali’s buddies with all of the former Mana players.”
Reynolds: A lot of people were thinking Tony was crazy, Tony’s looking for idols. And nobody was talking to Tony, so I thought this was a chance to get on his good side. I didn’t think they’d send him home so early. I figured I could shield myself with Tony because he’s such a big target. And I did trust Tony. I trusted Tony with my life in that game. But, when people started going, “Tony and Caleb are hanging around. We’ve got to split them up.” I started to distance myself. So, when Tony would say, “Hey Caleb, you want to go down here and crab hunt.” (Editor’s Note: Caleb does a pretty solid Tony impression.) I’d say, “No man, I’m tired. I don’t feel like getting up.” He’d come back five minutes later and I’d be climbing up coconut trees. So, I really tried to distance myself from him.

Holmes: Sierra and Hali claim that they have no relationship outside of the game. Is everyone buying that or is there some suspicion?
Reynolds: They never said that there’s no relationship between the two, they just made it seem like their relationship was so long ago that it was irrelevant that I made the statement. Sierra would say, “Tai was just at your wedding several months ago. Why would we want you two to play together?” And I’d say, “You and Hali have matching tattoos from the time that you played. Why would we want you two to play together?” I used her line against her. Her response was, “Oh my gosh, Caleb. That was so three years ago.” I wish they showed things like that at Tribal Council. I know they have their story, but there’s so much they left out.

Holmes: What was your relationship like with Sierra?
Reynolds: I called her Judge Judy. She came up to me and said, “Aren’t you going to plead your case to me?” And I said, “I don’t have to plead my case to you, Sierra. You’re just another girl out here on this island that’s playing the same game as all of us.” She said, “You’re in jeopardy of going home, aren’t you going to talk to people?” I said, “I have talked to people. I haven’t talked to you. You know why I should be here. I shouldn’t have to plead my case to you. Hali sucks at everything. It’s evident. She sucked at the first two challenges. She’s the reason we lost dang near all of them. If you want to win, and you want to be strong and you want some loyalty, you’ll keep me.” And that was it. She walked off. At Tribal I said, “Jeff, this woman comes up to me and says, ‘plead your case to me.’ Who is she? She ain’t Judge Judy?” Everybody was laughing. Production was rolling. They didn’t show any of that, they wanted to show Tai stab his best friend in the back. I tried to plant seeds, but Brad Culpepper had everybody doing whatever he wanted. And he wanted to be the alpha male.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Brad.
Reynolds: Manipulative.
Holmes: Debbie?
Reynolds: Who is she?
Holmes: Malcolm?
Reynolds: Outgoing.
Holmes: Varner?
Reynolds: Amazing.
Holmes: Sandra?
Reynolds: Vibrant.
Holmes: Hali?
Reynolds: Know it all.
Holmes: Tony?
Reynolds: Funny.
Holmes: Sierra?
Reynolds: A follower.
Holmes: Ciera?
Reynolds: Fun.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Reynolds: Mysterious.
Holmes: Aubry?
Reynolds: She was smart.
Holmes: Michaela?
Reynolds: Firecracker.
Holmes: Tai?
Reynolds: Goofy.

Holmes: I want you to know I told Jeff Probst he was a sick man for having digging in the first challenge.
Reynolds: (Laughs) What did he say?
Holmes: He claimed that didn’t even occur to him.
Reynolds: You noticed I found the bag, and then I gave someone else a shot.
Holmes: Smart.
Reynolds: I did my part. It’s someone else’s turn.

Holmes: Are you prepared to finally admit that “Survivor” is better than “Big Brother”?
Reynolds: Um…you know what? I don’t believe I’ll ever admit that one is better…I have goods and bads for both. I’d say I enjoy “Survivor” much more. It’s more my thing. You know what? I guess “Survivor” is better than “Big Brother.”
Holmes: Aha!
Reynolds: (Laughs)
Holmes: We’re finally on the same page.

Holmes: Did it make you feel better to learn that Tai’s chickens were going to be dinner that night?
Reynolds: (Laughs) Yes, it does make me feel better.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Episode 2 Recap: Goats, Boats and Votes

March 15, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Last Week: Sandra proved she’s the queen, Sierra found an advantage just by loo-king, and Tony and Ciera said “Good knight.”

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog…

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Mana Tribe (wearing orangey-red)
Aubry, 30
Caleb, 28
Hali, 26
Jeff, 50
Malcolm, 29
Michaela, 25
Sandra, 41
Troyzan, 54

The Nuku Tribe (wearing blue)
Andrea, 27
Brad, 47
Cirie, 45
Debbie, 51
JT, 31
Ozzy, 34
Sarah, 32
Sierra, 29
Tai, 52
Zeke, 28

We kick things off immediately with both tribes being invited to, “Come in, guys.” Sarah is shocked to see that her former Cops R Us buddy has been sent packing.

Probst asks the players if they know what’s going on, and they’re smart enough to know that it’s time for the ol’ buff exchange. Let’s look at these new tribes, shall we?

The Mana Tribe (wearing orangey-red)
Brad, 47
Caleb, 28
Debbie, 51
Hali, 26
Sierra, 29
Tai, 52

The Nuku Tribe (wearing blue)
Aubry, 30
JT, 31
Jeff, 50
Malcolm, 29
Michaela, 25
Sandra, 41

The Tavua Tribe (wearing green)
Andrea, 27
Cirie, 45
Ozzy, 34
Sarah, 32
Troyzan, 54
Zeke, 28

Tai is super psyched to be back on a tribe with his beauty buddy, Caleb. He is finally able to give Caleb the peck on the cheek he wanted to give him. Adorbs.

JT isn’t concerned that he’s alone on Nuku. Troyzan tries to play it off too, but he doesn’t do as good of a job. If only he had a “Boston” Rob capable of saying, “Take care of him.”

Oof…also Tavua will have to start from scratch. That seems extremely unfair considering how much food the tribes got during the marooning.

Over at New Nuku, the former Manaians are blown away that their new camp includes trained chickens and interior decorations. (Er…exterior decorations?) Wait, what? Who’s doing the interior decorating? Zeke? Andrea?

CUT TO: Brad Culpepper hanging up decorations at Mana Beach. Hilarious.

Back at Nuku, JT hatches a plan to take everyone out fishing and then strand them out there while he goes idol hunting. Malcolm gives JT the perfect opportunity to enact this plan when he bends the fishing spear. JT selflessly agrees to swim back to camp to get a pair pliers for a quick repair job. The problem with this plan is JT takes waaaaay too long to retrieve those pliers. Everyone knows what’s up. And what’s worse is that it’s all for naught as JT ends up empty handed.

Politicking starts up immediately at Mana beach with the former Nukians wanting to target Caleb or Hali. During a chat, Tai tells Brad that he’d rather keep Caleb over Debbie. Cool your jets, dude. We’re talking Hali vs. Caleb right now.

Brad lets us know that he’s very wary of a “Kaoh Rong” alliance and he’d like to see Caleb go home first. That’s also a good way to show that Brad isn’t interested in a bro-down.

From there, we finally get our first look at Tavua beach. I think I liked it better how they split the tribes into three during “Millennials vs. Gen-X” where at least the new tribe was given one more person.

With their reduced numbers, both Cirie and Ozzy realize that they need each other and that Troyzan is an easy first boot. Troyzan, appreciating that as well, goes on a mad idol hunt. He locates a message in a bottle (“Sending out an S…O…S”) that tells him that the idol will be hidden at the next challenge.

Later on, the Nuku tribe manages to chase down a mother goat and a baby goat. This sparks a huge philosophical debate. Sandra wants to cook them up and everyone else feels terrible about turning the cutest baby goat in the world into an orphan.

Personal Note: I have no problem eating meat. Chickens, cows, pigs, seafood; I eat these things all the time. And I wouldn’t have a problem assisting in their slaughter and preparation. But, to see that baby goat and its mother? I couldn’t do it. And the weird thing is; if you’d asked me a few hours ago, I probably would have said I’m OK with it. I guess you never know until you’re faced with it.

Another Personal Note: Take into account the fact that I’m not starving as I’m writing this.

The tribe votes and decides to free the goats and eat a chicken instead. If only those chickens had an idol.

Seriously, Nuku could gain a huge psychological edge over Tai by bringing a handful of feathers to the challenge.

Immunity Challenge Time: Three players from each tribe will be tethered together and run through an obstacle course. They’ll retrieve a bucket and use it to fill up a larger bucket. Once that bucket is heavy enough, it’ll raise a gate. Once the gate is raised, one member of each team will have to untie puzzle pieces. The first tribe to complete the puzzle will win immunity, a tarp, and their choice of comfort goods or spices. The second place tribe will win immunity and the reward the first place tribe didn’t choose.

Michaela, Malcolm, and JT run for Nuku, Caleb, Tai, and Debbie will run for Mana, and Andrea, Ozzy, and Sarah will run for Tavua.

The Survivor are ready…and they totally go.

Nuku is the first tribe to get to the puzzle portion, but not before Michaela takes a nasty spill on the teeter-totter portion. Mana and Tavua aren’t far behind them.

Varner and Sandra manage to maintain that lead and win immunity for their tribe. Varner wins his first immunity since 2000!

It seems super close between Hali and Culpepper and Cirie and Zeke, with Cirie and Zeke taking home the win for Tavua.

During the celebration, Troyzan is able to nab the idol without anyone noticing. Well done.

Nuku chooses the comfort rewards.

Also, the secondary immunity idol is the weird stand that the original immunity idol sat on. Enjoy your immunity stump, Tavua.

At Mana Beach, Caleb is a little worried that he might be sent home on the ninth day again. Well, better to go out with a snuffed torch than a snuffed life, dude.

Hali doesn’t like her chances because Caleb is a challenge stallion.

Brad, on the other hand, doesn’t love the idea of being on a tribe that has a “Kaoh Rong” majority. But, he doesn’t want to be the one to push to send Caleb home.

He approaches Tai and tells him that it might look bad if he and Caleb get to the merge together.

Quick Aside: Tai is rubbing sand all over himself during this exchange, What’s the purpose of that? Skin exfoliation? Tai does have a wonderful glow.

That night at Tribal, Probst says something about fire and life. It was pretty deep.

Caleb doesn’t think that his friendship with Tai will come into play because Tai spent seven days away from him. He’s got a point. If my friends don’t like any of my tweets after seven days, I totally write them off.

Sierra is very worried about Caleb and Tai, but people shouldn’t be worried about her and Hali because she hates Hali’s dumb face.*

*I may have made up that last part.

Hali thinks the Kaoh Rong connection gives Caleb more angles to work.

Caleb follows up with this gem where he says he’s good in challenges and loyal while Hali is easier to manipulate and easier to take along.

Caleb…Caleb, Caleb, Caleb.

Hali jumps on this and points out that Caleb is going to be tougher to work with.

Brad gets the line of the night, saying that Hali is a “Budding attorney” and that she’s doing really well.

Another Quick Aside: Is it too late to jump on the Brad Culpepper bandwagon? Oh wait, it’s empty? I get to drive! Who’s riding shotgun with me?! Who’s going to help me host the CulPep Rallies?

Tai lets us know that he’s playing the long game. Or, he’s going to follow the last person who talked to him before Tribal.

Caleb points out that Hali has more connections at the merge.

Hali disagrees and says she wants to play with her current tribe.

Voting Time: Hali votes for Caleb, Caleb votes for Hali, and Tai takes a half an hour to vote. Maybe his Spidey senses were telling him that at that moment Nuku was killing one of his chickens.

Probst tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Caleb, one vote for Hali, two votes for Caleb, and the third person voted out of “Survivor: Game Changers” is…Caleb.

Verdict: Super glad to see the return of the idol hidden in the challenge. And, it’s nice to see some non-strategy segments like Goat-gate. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to come to terms with my new feelings of admiration for Brad.

Power Rankings Results: Adam Klein had Caleb in spot eighteen while I had him in spot sixteen. So, the current score is Team Adam 18, Team Gordon 16.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round One: Queen’s Greatest Hits Edition

March 14, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive one point and Gordon will receive twelve points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 0

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 0

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Michaela: This is a tough week for Power Rankings, since we only know one of the tribes from the preview. That tribe is the Nuku tribe, consisting of 5 old Mana members (Sandra, Aubry, Michaela, Varner, and Malcolm) and one old Nuku member (JT). To me, the safest person on this tribe is Michaela, as she is solidly in the majority of the majority and will be needed for her strength in challenges. According to Tony’s exit interviews, Michaela was never really a target on Mana, and so the danger she was in seems to have been artificially inflated by the edit. 1. Sarah: Seriously? A swap right before the first round of Power Rankings? Probst is messing with me. And I just made these graphics! Urgh… Alright, one of the benefits of being an original Nukunian is the fact that you never went to Tribal and thus, never had to show your hand. Someone like Sarah who’s viewed as loyal and a challenge asset should have no problems.
2. Malcolm: Malcolm, like Michaela, will be in a strong position on new Nuku, as he is also in the majority and an asset for challenges. The only thing that I could see going wrong for him right now is if Michaela continues to be frustrated by having to play second fiddle to Malcolm as the challenge closer. 2. Brad: It doesn’t matter if they swap the tribes 40 times. Brad is still this season’s dream final three companion.
3. Brad: Without much else to go on for the other tribes, I am going to assume that old Nuku has the majority on both of the other tribes. At best, if Caleb, Troyzan, and Hali are on the same tribe, they will have a split tribe, but it’s more likely that two of them are on one tribe and one is left alone on the third. So I am looking towards the people who looked most solid on old Nuku to continue to be safe in their new tribes. So far so good for Brad, who has laid low early and started to rack up allies. 3. Sierra: You got a legacy advantage? Awesome. You can only use it when there or 13 or 6 people left in the game? That’s so weirdly specific. Do you have to give it to Probst with your left hand while repeating the alphabet?
4. Sarah: I can’t imagine the ‘silent assassin’ going home in the 3rd episode before we get to see her in action. She should be in a solid position in a majority, and her early quotes in the premiere suggest longevity and maybe a villainous rise for Sarah down the line. 4. Malcolm: After dropping the first two immunity challenges, you can bet the former Manaians are going to have no problem cutting a former Nukuian loose. This might also give Malcolm a chance to fulfill his pregame wish and start a strong alliance with Aubry.
5. Sierra: With the legacy advantage in hand, we have no reason to believe Sierra is in any kind of immediate danger. Like Brad and Sarah, she is laying low and collecting allies (and advantages!). I don’t think anyone is looking at Sierra as someone to take out of the game soon. 5. Andrea: We get to hear about Zeke bathing in blood. We get to hear about Debbie having the tenacity of a squid. But, we barely get to hear from Andrea?! Booooo…
6. Andrea: We didn’t get to see much of Andrea in the premiere. Not sure what that means for her chances long-term, but for now, she seems safe. 6. Ozzy: Ozzy’s still a challenge champ and it looks like he’s getting along with everybody. The only mistake he’s made so far is trusting Tai with anything ever. He should be good till the merge.
7. Zeke: Zeke is an excitable superfan in a game changer candy store, and you have to imagine the others love hearing how much Zeke adores them. He seems well integrated and in no immediate danger. 7. Troyzan: Troyzan’s transformation from loud, arrogant island owner to lovable surf watcher is almost complete. As long as he keeps smiling and being useful around camp, he’ll be fine. Much bigger fish to fry.
8. Ozzy: Ozzy did well in the premiere, trying to let old grudges go and focusing on tribe strength and making good connections. His challenge strength should keep him safe in a small tribe, as long as Cirie doesn’t go after him and create the 2nd iteration of Sandra v. Tony. 8. Zeke: Zeke’s starstruck “Survivor” fan gimmick is gold. The Ciries, Malcolms, Ozzys, and JTs of the world deal with those folks all the time and they’re not intimidated by them. Unfortunately for them, Zeke is a shark in fan’s floral-print clothing.
9. Jeff: Varner got a great tribe draw. He is locked into the majority of the tribe surrounded by bigger threats (Sandra, JT, Aubry). If Varner sits tight he should be just fine, as long as he doesn’t become a significant challenge liability.  9. Hali: Hali went toe-to-toe (fin-to-fin?) with one of the most impressive swimmers in “Survivor” history and did a fantastic job. My only worry about her is Ciera saying that she’s pushy around camp. Lay low and let the big dogs battle it out.
10. Debbie: Debbie got an intro confessional, laid low, and should be in a solid Nuku majority. Her wild antics are sure to come up again, but the Debbie story doesn’t seem to be close to over just yet. 10. Debbie: This feels like a season that is going to slow down a bit. The big players aren’t going to want to end up like Tony. If I were Debbie, I’d hang back and start making friends.
11. Sandra: Sandra got a great draw as well. She has another winner on her tribe to take the heat if people come for more trophies, as well as a solid group of allies that seem to want her on their side, at least for now. (Some, as Troyzan admitted in a secret scene, even want to take her to the final 3!!). #TheQueenStaysQueen at least for another round. 11. Jeff: The Varner we saw in “Second Chance” was destined to burn out quickly. The Varner we saw last week can go a long way. 
12. Troyzan: There is nothing to indicate that we should be worried about Troyzan, but he will most likely be in a minority on his new tribe. So far, he seems to be doing a good job of building a group of allies and no one would have any specific reason to gun for him. 12. Michaela: Michaela is at her best when she’s proving her worth in a challenge. Hopefully this swap will give her the fresh slate she needs and the next challenge will be something she can knock out of the park.
13. Hali: Hali is in the same boat as Troyzan. Nothing in particular that should put her in danger, besides being in a minority. If old tribe loyalties hold, then Hali will be in trouble, but otherwise there is plenty of time for the “cobra” to strike. 13. Cirie: Nobody needed a swap more that Cirie did. And the good news is; all that work she did when she felt like she was on the bottom should help her out when she ends up on her new tribe.
14. Cirie: While Cirie will likely be with majority Nuku, she doesn’t seem to have solidified herself within the core of that group. If she is with Ozzy, the brewing tension could come to a head, and I think Cirie would lose that battle at this point. In a small tribe with a long way to go until the merge, few would get rid of a challenge legend like Ozzy over the strategic mastermind Cirie. I have faith, of course, that Cirie will work her way out of this jam. 14. Aubry: Ooof…it can’t feel good to be the idol alternate. Especially when the person capable of playing that idol is Tony Vlachos. But, tomorrow is a new day and you’re getting a new tribe. Time to mend fences and regroup.
15. JT: JT is in a rough position. He already has a huge target on his back as a winner, and now he is the lone member of his old tribe in post-swap Nuku. It would seem easy for them to pick off JT, but JT isn’t going to make it easy for them. He’ll be idol hunting, maneuvering, and hopefully finding a way out of a really tough spot. 15. JT: Whaaaaat is going on in next week’s trailer? You let your fellow castmates drift off to sea? And we thought Tony had weird strategies. I think you’re in trouble this week if you’re surrounded by former Manaians. Hopefully your challenge prowess or your castaway stratagem will buy you some time.
16. Aubry: Aubry is still in hot water. If the JT focus in the previews is a red herring, as it often is, and Sandra and JT decide to team up as the only winners left in the game, Aubry could take the hit. Sandra has to be worried that Aubry will never trust her after putting two votes on her and playing with her life in the game, and Sandra won’t like to leave any ‘liabilities’ in the game. 16. Caleb: As Tony’s former “right-hand man,” I’m betting you’re the person the former Manaians trust the least.
17. Tai: If anyone from old Nuku is going to go, I think it might be Tai. Patience from his own old tribe members seemed to be wearing thin early, with Tai’s antics with the chickens being heavily criticized (Zeke in a secret scene called it ‘pageantry’), as well as seemingly getting caught up in the Cirie/Ozzy battle. If people consider him a solid ally he could go far, but so far I am nervous about people’s perceptions of Tai. 17. Sandra: Sandra is a legend. She’s a pleasure to watch. She’s the queen. She’s “literally a wizard.” But, she’s also never going to be safe. Tales of her domination of Tony will be spun around all three campfires. And for that reason she will never get too high in my Power Rankings.
18. Caleb: To me, the editing of the premiere did everything it could to set up the downfall of Caleb. He was emphasized to be Tony’s right-hand man, and now without Tony, who is going to (literally) pick him up off the rocks when he falls? He is likely to be in a minority on a new tribe, possibly with someone he was not closely aligned with on Mana (Hali or Troyzan). His challenge strength should get him through on a small tribe, but something about Caleb’s edit in the premiere reeked of impending doom.  18. Tai: Oh man…again with the chickens! It’s one thing to not let me eat a chicken. It’s quite another to take food that I would put in my face and give it to a chicken. And again with the loose lips! Cirie played you like a fiddle. She’s was like Tai-chaikovsky. I love me some Tai as a TV character. But, I’m not sure why anyone would keep him around at this point.


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Castaway Tony: “The Writing Was on the Wall and It Was in Plain English”

March 9, 2017

Tony Vlachos (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: I feel terrible.
Tony Vlachos: Oh…man!
Holmes: You broke my heart.
Vlachos: Oh, I’m sorry. I really am.
Holmes: This is going to hurt, but we’ve got to do this.
Vlachos: (Laughs) I know. I know.
Holmes: Did you know you were done for when you were heading into that Tribal?
Vlachos: I knew I was done. Right before Tribal I was trying to talk to Caleb. “Let’s do this. Let’s play this game.” But there was just a blank face. Malcolm, same thing. We were supposed to vote for Aubry, but Malcolm lied to me. He just walked away. Jeff Varner, he gave me the thumbs up from a mile away when I tried to talk to him. Troyzan said, “I’m just trying to have a zen moment on the beach, I don’t want to talk right now.” Aubry told me, “I’m going to let fate take its course.” Michaela says, “Tony, I’m on the bottom here. I’m going to do what they told me and that’s vote for Aubry.” The writing was on the wall and it was in plain English. I tried my best, Gordon. But, I really didn’t think Sandra would want to go against me. Why would she want to stay with non-threats like Hali, Varner and Troyzan? I was pitching that to her. “They’re not threatening enough to protect you. You need me, Caleb, Malcolm…”

Holmes: It seemed like you two were going to work together until that moment where Sandra and Troyan walked up while you were working on the Spy Bunker™.
Vlachos: What happened was, we moved our camp closer to the water well. Which made it harder for me to work on my Spy Bunker™. It was 50-75 feet away. So I didn’t have much of a chance to build my bunker that I desperately needed. Every chance I got I’d start digging on it. At night was my best chance. I’d wait for everyone to go to sleep. I’d watch them until they’d close their eyes. So, I see Sandra and Troyzan walking by and I said, “Oh snap.” I crawled away and was hiding when I heard my name. That’s not a good sign. It doesn’t matter what they said, but I heard my name at four in the morning. I bum rushed them, cause if they’re lying to me I’ll catch them off guard. That’s what I did. Troyzan tells me he’s looking at the tide. Sandra tells me she’s talking to Troyzan about a crate being too close to a fire. I thought, “I’m done. It’s over for me.”
Holmes: You couldn’t repair that rift after that moment?
Vlachos: No, that was it. Once they saw that, whatever they said didn’t matter. I thought they were gunning for me, maybe they weren’t at that point. But, Sandra got a little spooked by me. He can’t be looking me in the eyes and interrogating me. She started scrambling on her side, and I needed to get my troops together. And, she got the best of me.

Holmes: A lot of people don’t understand why Sandra has been so successful, but last night there was a moment where you pressed Sandra to join in a strategy conversation and she responded with something along the lines of, “You tell me who you’re thinking of targeting and I’ll give you my thoughts.” That’s next-level gameplay.
Vlachos: I always had respect for Sandra’s game. You can’t win a game like that two times unless you play a good game. I knew she was a good player. I asked her to tell me what she’s thinking and she avoided it. And we were clashing then already. But again, kudos to her. To pull Malcolm and Caleb away from me. We had three strong guys and we wanted to keep the tribe strong. She was still able to do it.

Holmes: There was a lot of animosity as you left. Was there any of that before the vote or did it start when you told people to be wary of her?
Vlachos: She looks like she takes things a lot more personal than I do. It’s a game. I don’t take things personal. I burned so many people in Cagayan and they didn’t take it personal with me. I knew my time was up. And I said, “Sheep being lead to the slaughter.” I was thinking, “C’mon, Malcolm. You’re going to let her lead you around? Caleb…Aubry? You’re going to let this lady manipulate you and vote off this big shield? Come merge time you’re going to need me.” They did it like it was nothing. I was very surprised. And Sandra started running her mouth, “That’s what you get. That’s what you get.” I give her the props. She’s the queen bee. I got stung by the queen bee.

Holmes: Were there any other cracks that you tried to exploit? Were there people who weren’t getting along?
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon? There was no malice. Nobody was gunning for anybody. Michaela and Aubry were on the bottom, but I couldn’t make it happen. I tried to get them to give me a chance.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Sandra.
Vlachos: Queen bee.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Vlachos: Thoroughbred.
Holmes: Ciera?
Vlachos: Sneaky.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Vlachos: Awesome dude.
Holmes: Caleb?
Vlachos: All American boy.
Holmes: Hali?
Vlachos: Invisible.
Holmes: Varner?
Vlachos: Smiley.
Holmes: Aubry?
Vlachos: I guess…laid back.
Holmes: Michaela?
Vlachos: Unknown.

Holmes: I wish I had told you this before the show started, but when you arrive on tribe beach, don’t go running into the woods screaming that you’re going to find an idol.
Vlachos: What was I supposed to do, man?! All eyes were on me, I couldn’t even go pee. I was like, “You know what? I’ll get in their face and make a joke of it.” And you know behind every joke lies the truth. Let me rewind; we took a field trip around the whole campsite. We saw where treemail was, we saw where the water was. And when we were walking together like a big happy family, I saw the mail had a lot of props there. I thought, “Wow, there’s got to be an idol there.” When we got back to camp I was itching. I wanted to look at the mail. And nobody was letting me walk nowhere. I said, “You guys play nice, I’m going looking for the idol.” And that’s exactly what I did. Nobody came behind me, so I took my time and looked everywhere. And I didn’t find anything. And because a typhoon had hit before we got there, every tree was knocked down, there were palm fronds everywhere. There were so many places to look. I was looking non-stop for six days.

Holmes: When we spoke before the game and you said if you lost you would never play again. That is absolutely unacceptable.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: Just because you said something in a pre-game interview does not make it legally binding.
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon man? I got voted off and I said, “I’ll never play this game again.” Two months later I said, “I want to go back for a third time.” Last night after I watched it I said, “I never want to play again.”
Holmes: Damnit, Vlachos!
Vlachos: I’m a roller coaster. You know that.
Holmes: I came into this interview fully prepared to spend all fifteen minutes of it begging you to come back.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: Word association be damned.
Vlachos: In another three months I’ll be calling Jeff begging him to come back.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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