Archive for May, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Castaway Cirie: “(Sarah) Is a Gangsta in a Cop Suit”

May 26, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: We’ll have interviews with all six of the “Survivor: Game Changers” finalists. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: Aw man…
Cirie Fields: (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m sitting there…I’ve got my popcorn and my soda…I’m having a good ol’ time. And about forty minutes into it…just…damnit…and four idols later you’re gone. Why do we do this? Why do we bother?
Fields: (Laughs) You know what? It’s an amazing journey, Gordon. And you love it like you love it. That’s why we do it.
Holmes: I don’t love it when my Malcolms and my Ciries leave the game for weird reasons.
Fields: It’s just crazy. We could have never thought of this! I could have never imagined in all my years of watching. I never would have come up with this scenario. So, to have it unfold, and to have it unfold against me? It was just…wow!
Holmes: As you’re sitting there and the dominoes keep falling.
Fields: (Laughs)
Holmes: Sarah’s like, “I’ve got one.” And Troyzan’s like, “That’s funny because…blam!” What’re you thinking at that moment?
Fields: Uh oh. (Laughs) I’m thinking “What the hell is going on? Wow, did he just? Did they just?” That was literally what was going on in my head. I felt like when I was watching it I came out of my body and I was saying, “Oh my God, what is happening on ‘Survivor!’” And then I came back into my body and I thought, “Damn, I’m out!”
Holmes: This has never happened before and I was fuzzy on the rules. So, when Jeff said, “There are no votes for Cirie,” I thought, “Wait…isn’t that a tie? Don’t we go to rocks?!” But…no.
Fields: For whatever reason, I knew it meant I was out. But I was so caught up in the can’t-believe-this-is-happening fan moment that I didn’t think of any other rules. I just knew I was out. It was a crazy feeling of elation…and excitement.

Holmes: Another big moment was Brad choosing Sarah over Tai. Based on what I’ve seen, which is only an hour of every three days, that seemed like a huge mistake. As someone who was out there, did you appreciate what a big threat Sarah was?
Fields: We did and we should give Brad a pass because Brad still could have won. The night that Aubry went home, we all talked. We knew that Brad would be thinking old-school style. He’s old-school…so am I…but that’s the thing, you have to evolve with the game. But we knew Brad would be thinking, “Everyone’s pissed at Sarah. Troyzan hasn’t really played. They’re going to be too angry to see the forest for the trees so they’re going to give it to me because everyone’s mad.” So, we all planned to give Sarah a dirty look so Brad would take Sarah. And he did, so that was his fatal flaw. This game was not about people’s feelings. It was almost like a professional poker game. You don’t care about how people feel. The only thing you care about is who made the better plays. As a group, that’s what we were looking at.

Holmes: When Sarah took out Michaela, at the time it didn’t make sense to me. But, when she said she did it because Michaela was your right hand, I was blown away. That’s some next-level thinking there.
Fields: That was gangsta. I knew they were aiming for me. I knew any chance they’d get they’d get rid of Michaela because they weren’t really worried about me winning the challenges. And they knew if Michaela won a challenge that we could go for one of them. And, Sarah didn’t want anybody close to anybody she thought she was in with. I think it was a great move. That’s why most of us awarded Sarah the win. We respected her gameplay.

Holmes: If you could do one thing differently, what would it have been?
Field: Oh boy…
Holmes: Gotcha.
Fields: That’s a good one. I probably would not have tried to save Sarah with her advantage. I would have let things play out. Or, I would have went over and got the Michaela advantage instead of crying. (Laughs) I would have wiped the tears out of my eyes and been more aware of my surroundings. I could have done that too when I stepped over the advantage Sierra picked up.

Holmes: Was there anything you did out there that we didn’t see that you wished they would have shown?
Fields: I liked it just how it was. The good, the bad, the ugly…I wouldn’t change a thing. The only thing I would have changed was if I could be in the final three and win the whole thing.

Holmes: It seemed like there was a little feud brewing between you and Sandra before the game started, but you never ended up on the same tribe. What did you think of her gameplay this season?
Fields: I’ve got to give a little nod to the queen. But, I don’t know about this feud. It didn’t really include me. And when I talked to Sandra afterwards, I think there was a misinterpretation of an interview I did. I let her know how I felt. There was never any personal attack towards her. I had comments on the seasons she won. I think it was more of a fan-based feud. I don’t know how Sandra feels. But we might’ve been feuding if we were on the same tribe.
Holmes: That’d be something to see.
Fields: Yes, sir! (Laughs)

Holmes: Before the vote-steal fiasco, would you have taken Sarah to the end?
Fields: I would’ve went to the end with Sarah.
Holmes: What argument would you have used against her?
Fields: I shouldn’t have been there at all. You don’t see anybody else who’s played the games as many times as I have still sitting here. Secondly, I was responsible for Michaela staying, I was responsible for a lot of the votes. But, not aggressively and overtly because I couldn’t do that. Had I done that? If I pick up a leaf everyone’s thinking, “Oh, she’s scheming!” I had to make myself very small and very non-threatening. She did all of this, she flipped, but I did a lot too behind the scenes that most of you know about but didn’t realize that I was doing it with your help.

Holmes: Alright, word association time.
Fields: (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) I know. It’s brand new! Let’s start off with JT.
Fields: Hater.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Fields: Nice guy.
Holmes: Brad?
Fields: (Laughs) Gordon, you’re trying to make me be bad!
Holmes: I am. Give in!
Fields: (Laughs) Culpepper is…self-centered.
Holmes: Zeke?
Fields: Amazing.
Holmes: Andrea?
Fields: Cinderella! That’s what I called her.
Holmes: Debbie?
Fields: Eccentric. And I use that in lieu of another term.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Fields: He’s everybody’s friend.
Holmes: Tai?
Fields: He’s like a little doll. I want to pick him up so bad, but I’m old enough to know that you shouldn’t walk around picking up grown men. Tai is wonderful.
Holmes: Sierra?
Fields: She’s a tall drink of water. Cowgirl.
Holmes: Hali?
Fields: Unimpactful.
Holems: Michaela?
Fields: Little sis.
Holmes: Aubry?
Fields: Aubry is village cool.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Officer Sarah.
Fields: She’s a gangsta in a cop suit.

Holmes: Where does this rank on your list of heartbreaking eliminations, because you never go out in a dull manner.
Fields: That’s the thing, you’re right! I’m usually fully heartbroken. This one was number one, but not because of heartbreaking, but the manner in which I exited. I think that’s why I didn’t feel so bad. This is my fourth time playing, of course I wanted to win. But if I had to go out, Gordon? I can’t think of a better way to go out. If this was anybody else I’d feel the same way. I know it’s bad, you didn’t want to go, you wanted to win. However, look at what happened! This will be forever in the history of “Survivor.” It added to the journey and made it special.
Holmes: You’re making me feel a little bit better about this.
Fields: (Laughs) I’m glad I could make you feel better.
Holmes: I know that was your top priority today.
Fields: (Laughs) Of course.

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

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‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Finalists Brad and Troyzan: “(We Did Not Know) That This Jury Was Not Going to Be Bitter”

May 26, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: We’ll have interviews with all six of the “Survivor: Game Changers” finalists. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: There’s nothing quite like having one of the biggest nights of your life and then having to get up at the crack of dawn the next morning to talk to the press.
Troyzan Robertson: Yeah, and some of those people I’ve blocked. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) I think I’m one of them!
Robertson: I just want you to know that I know that water is wet.
Holmes: (Laughs) Noted. Well, I hope you forgive me someday.
Robertson: You might get the unblock someday.

Holmes: With “One World” you were this big aggressive player and you didn’t get to the end. This time around you’re more subtle, you’re making moves behind the scenes and you did get to the end but you weren’t rewarded for it.
Robertson: In “One World” I had my back up against the wall. And if I’m backed up I’m going to get more aggressive. Normal-day Troyzan is the one you saw this year. I had to play a little bit under the radar. I saw big targets going home, especially men, and I thought, “I can’t do that.” I’m going to have to volunteer to sit out challenges. I’m going to act like I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m the old guy…I’ll follow along. Then, I’ll make my moves subtly. I just had to be a lot more careful. I saw so many people make a big move or a medium move and then they’d go home at the next Tribal. And I knew I had to get to day 39 to give myself a chance. If you only get to day 38 you have zero chance.

Holmes: Brad, when the call was made to take Sarah to the end, was it a case of not knowing all she had done or did you think the jury was upset with her?
Brad Culpepper: I think it was a combination of a couple things. When you’re on the island you’re not privy to a lot of the conversations. I think Troyzan and I both thought that Cirie and Andrea were the drivers of a lot of the decisions that were being made. When you watch it on television you see that Sarah is doing a lot more of it. Also, Tai was universally liked. He was a provider, he was good in challenges, and he’s a great guy. We knew he didn’t have a lot of blood on his hands. And I don’t think Troy or I knew that this jury was not going to be bitter at all. I think it was the opposite. Blood was a medal. We’d never seen Zeke play before, so we thought he’d be angry at Sarah. So, as soon as he stood up and said, “Congratulations, you’ve got my support,” immediately it was like…”Ooo…that was a bad call by Troy and I.”
Robertson: (Laughs) Yeah.

Holmes: Troyzan, when you said you could beat anyone at final three, was it because you were expecting a bitter jury and you didn’t have any blood on your hands?
Robertson: Part of it was that. The jury would come in and they’d give us these looks. I was thinking these guys are pissed off. I don’t think they’re pissed off at me. I’m an old-school player and a lot of times a bitter jury will like a person like me. But, I also felt like if someone’s going to ask me if I think I’m going to win, I’m not going to say no. The jury would hopefully see that and think, “He’s pretty confident. I like that.” And I thought they liked me already. It was a little bit of a bluff as well.
Culpepper: And I’ll tell you this, Gordon…I was surprised that Troy was ignored at the final Tribal Council. I thought there was a lot of love for Troy. I wasn’t completely comfortable taking Troy to the end either. I was thinking, “Golly, he hasn’t stepped on any toes. He’s so nice around camp. He’s got a lot of friends. He’s a provider.” It was bad jury management on my part, obviously.

Holmes: Brad, I know you felt really bad about what they showed between you and Tai last night. And I know a lot of people had a negative impression of you coming into this game based on “Blood vs. Water.” We’ve spoken on several occasions. I think you’re a nice guy. Most of this cast thinks you’re a nice guy. How important was it for you to clear the air on those moments?
Culpepper: Jeff asked me some kind of question and I had to say, “Before I answer what you asked me, I need everyone to know that I love Tai.” We had a very complicated relationship and they caught the tail end of my frustration. Tai and I were together for a long time and then we were split up because everyone was scrambling. He was instructed to vote for Sierra and I was instructed to vote Tai. We’re both trying to get a lifeline. After that vote, I went back to Tai and I said I had nothing against him and I still wanted to play with him. He agreed, but he still went against me. I was really trying to repair our relationship. He told me he had two idols, I said, “Let me hold onto one and if I win immunity I’ll give it back.” And I would’ve. I would not have voted him out. Then he goes away to think about it. And he’d say, “Let’s do it.” Then he’d say, “No, I can’t.” So, that was back and forth for three hours. So, by the end I was tired of him being wishy-washy that I said, “Tai, do this, we can build a relationship.” And that’s what they aired, they caught the tail end of my frustration. I’m not saying I was right, I was hungry, I was sleepy, maybe I need a Snickers. Even the comment I made to Troy about “Even if he gives me that thing, I’ll use it to vote him out.” That really wasn’t my intention, that was frustration. Tai and I watched it together. We were holding hands. And it looked awful, but we know how we are.

Holmes: Troyzan, Sarah had some really nice things to say about you. But…she also requested that I get some clarification on this whole “Green Monster” situation.
Robertson: (Laughs)
Holmes: I apologize in advance. But at this point I don’t think I’d be doing my job if I didn’t ask.
Robertson: It is a never-ending story. I don’t know how it started. I decided to get these Under Armour, green, they’re not even underwear, they’re compression shorts. I’m thinking, it’ll be great if I can get away with wearing these things because they’ll be great for my thighs. It’ll be good in water challenges so I can swim. But, I didn’t realize how green they were on TV. It started with Tony in Mana, I was standing behind him, he whipped around and says, “Jesus Christ, those things are so bright.” And then Aubry was the one who came up with the name “The Green Monsters,” and then somehow that turned into “The Green Monster.” Then Malcolm made your exit interview crazy comment. You know what? I just roll with it. They were hoping it would get a hashtag.
Holmes: There are worse things to be known for Troyzan.
Robertson: (Laughs) Yeah! But then it got to the point that people were asking, “Why is it green? Is something infected?” I wish I would have worn purple so I would’ve had a purple monster.

Holmes: Brad, what’s the conversation like with Monica when you come home with two more jury votes than she got?
Culpepper: Monica is the best “Survivor” player in the house. That is not an argument. She may argue the other way around. But I 100% believe that. She’s never going to play again, but if she did she would win. I’m never going to play again, but if I did I could never win. She’s a much better player than me.
Holmes: Where do you guys rank amongst the “Survivor” married couples?
Culpepper: How are you rating us? If you’re rating who loves each other the most, we win. Rob and Amber would be #1 as far as players. So, maybe we’d be below them.
Robertson: Do I get a vote? Cause I’d vote for the Culpeppers.
Culpepper: (Laughs) That’s why I brought him to the end.

Holmes: Troyzan you played with Monica in “One World,” but you two didn’t have much of a relationship before this. What’s the relationship like now?
Robertson: Brad has become like a brother.
Culpepper: 100%
Robertson: You get super close out there and I knew Brad going in. But when you start playing, I felt like I was playing “Blood vs. Water” with my brother. He’s the only person in my “Survivor” career that I trusted 100%. That’s rare. I’d never trust someone that much in the game. I wouldn’t even have to talk to him. I’d just give him a look. It was that easy.
Culpepper: If you said to me you could go to the end and win without Troyzan or go to the end with Troyzan and maybe not win? I’d choose the latter. We had a great time out there.
Robertson: And believe me, Brad could join the monster clan with his striped monster. (Laughs)
Culpepper: (Laughs) Monster junior.
Holmes: (Laughs) This is my job.

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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Winner Sarah: ‘(Brad) Thought I Made a Lot of People Mad’

May 25, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: We’ll have interviews with all six of the “Survivor: Game Changers” finalists. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: This is always the best interview to do all season.
Sarah Lacina: Aww…it is?
Holmes: The winner is always in such a good mood.
Lacina: I thought it was because it was me!
Holmes: It’s 99% because it’s you. 1% because you won.
Lacina: (Laughs)
Holmes: And, you were my second pick to win and I only picked Malcolm because he told me to, so I think this counts as a win for both of us.
Lacina: (Laughs) I’ll give you the win.

Holmes: So, Brad’s making this call between you and Tai. It’s got to be frustrating to play this amazing game and have it be in someone’s else’s hands.
Lacina: Right. First of all, I couldn’t believe when I was watching Tribal and they’re saying, “Sarah, you decide. Are they going to make fire?” I’m not the one with immunity. How am I not on the chopping block. I think that speaks volumes for how good of a game I really played. I think he thought I made a lot of people mad. Or, he thought he could beat anyone, so it didn’t matter. We’d made a deal and he’s an honorable guy. I think he’s like, “No, I told Sarah that me, her and Troyzan would go to the end. Tai stabbed me in the back so now he’s going to pay for it.” But Brad was the one who paid for it.

Holmes: Ozzy and Debbie took things personally. Sierra compared you to a cheating boyfriend. Have you had a chance to mend fences with them?
Lacina: Sierra and I are great. I love her. I think I’m good with everybody. Debbie and I talked yesterday. She said the game was the game and we’re cool. Her daughters congratulated me. Ozzy said, “After watching, I’m really impressed with how you played.” It was really nice to hear all of that.” Luckily I won, because if I heard that after the fact and would have lost I would have been really upset.

Holmes: I want to give you an over-the-phone high five because I’ve been screaming about this forever; you lie in the game and then confess at Tribal. Do you think that tactic earned you any votes or were people set before final Tribal started?
Lacina: I think Hali’s vote was up for grabs. Maybe Andrea’s? Cirie…but what other option do you have at that point. I was proud of how I played. I was proud of the moves I made. These are returning players and to play that dominant of the game, it was my chance to say, “I did it, and I’m really proud of myself. Let’s reward the gameplay.” I used it as a chance to showcase how I played and explain that it wasn’t personal on my part.

Holmes: When you got to final Tribal and Jeff said, “We’re gonna do things differently,” what went through your mind?
Lacina: Nerves. I was thinking I’ll have to answer seven questions because everyone might not ask me something. This created an open forum, it was a free-for-all. But what I loved about it was it allowed discussion and sparked ideas. You may not have had that opportunity before. And, it lets you butt in. When Brad says, “I won five immunities,” which is huge, I was thinking, “OK, you’ve got to shut this down.”

Holmes: You had a reputation of being a straight shooter. Did you find that people trusted you based on what they saw in Cagayan?
Lacina: 100%. Coming in, people were thinking that’s how I was going to play. And most people don’t change much. They are who they are. You see other people play the same way. Cirie and I got together on day one and she would’ve stayed with me. She wasn’t trying to screw me over. That’s Cirie. She sticks with the people she makes deals with on day one. Look at Ozzy, he played the exact same way. Caleb…I wanted to partner with him because I figured he’d be super loyal. So, that really helped me.

Holmes: When you’re watching this at home and you see Tony digging a spy bunker…what is your reaction?
Lacina: (Laughs) I know Tony a lot better than a lot of people. We talk all the time. But that’s Tony. He would do that. You can’t help but laugh. And he’s not doing it to be funny. He’s really doing this. He wasn’t playing it up. He thought it was going to work. After the game he told me what he was doing and how great it was going to be.
Holmes: During pre-game he was all excited. He was like, “Hey Gordon, I’ve got this idea, I’m going to dig this hole…”
Lacina: (Laughs) I know! He was so serious about it.
Holmes: It is a crime that we didn’t get to see the full potential of the spy bunker.
Lacina: I would have loved to play with him. He’s such a great guy. He really does care about people. And I know people wanted to see more of him.

Holmes: You made a ton of big moves. Was there anything we didn’t see that you wish we would have?
Lacina: Early on in the season, we weren’t getting a lot of strategy shown. My foundation started on day one. You didn’t get to see the relationships I built with people until after the merge. But, it would have been more obvious that I was going to win. I really was close with everyone.

Holmes: Were you going to play the legacy advantage no matter what?
Lacina: No. I felt confident going in that they weren’t targeting me. And I think it’s a good thing that I never won an immunity or had an idol. That sense of safety, your game backs down. You’re not on. I realized at that point, I would have gone home had I not played it. When I played it, I said, “I’m probably not going to need this, but…” I literally said that. And, that’s how I felt. I don’t know if I wasn’t playing close enough attention because I knew I was going to be safe. Idols can be a curse. You feel safe and you don’t have to play as hard.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with JT.
Lacina: Amazing.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Lacina: Free spirit.
Holmes: Brad?
Lacina: He has a good heart.
Holmes: Zeke?
Lacina: He is one of the most wonderful people. Kind, caring, giving, thoughtful, just all-around great person. I’m so thankful to have met him.
Holmes: Andrea?
Lacina: Sister.
Holmes: Debbie?
Lacina: Misunderstood.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Lacina: (Laughs) You know what I’m going to say! The green monster! You have to get him to tell the story. He’s my true friend out of this whole thing. We talk almost daily.
Holmes: Cirie?
Lacina: Legend.
Holmes: Tai?
Lacina: Sweet guy.
Holmes: Sierra?
Lacina: Cowgirl.
Holmes: Hali?
Lacina: Free spirit. She’s the same as Ozzy except she’s a girl.
Holmes: Michaela?
Lacina: Fun, energetic, beast.
Holmes: Sandra?
Lacina: Queen!
Holmes: Varner?
Lacina: I didn’t spend a lot of time with him.
Holmes: Aubry?
Lacina: Sister, friend, she’s great.

Holmes: You’ve spent your life upholding the law. You spend 39 days as a criminal and you come out a million dollars richer. I guess my question is; what crime are you going to commit next?
Lacina: (Laughs) None! I’m going to pay my taxes. None! None! Playing that way is not fun. Trust me. Watching it back, it breaks my heart. I hurt people and it’s not fun. But, it was what it required of me to win. I had to play that way. That’s how Tony played and I saw how successful it was for him. Not that you have to backstab a bunch of people, but that you can separate real life from the game.

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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Finale Recap: Pepper vs. Copper

May 24, 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: The Boehl tolled for Andrea, the cop knew the letter of the law, and Michaela was found guilty by association.

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

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Maku Maku Tribe (wearing yellow)
Aubry, 30
Brad, 47
Cirie, 45
Sarah, 32
Tai, 52
Troyzan, 54

Let’s do this!

We kick things off after last week’s doozy of a Tribal Council and Sarah wants to know who the rat is and Cirie wants to know why Michaela was targeted. Sarah really lays into Cirie for making her burn her vote-steal advantage.

When pushed, Cirie says that she was worried that Tai was targeting Sarah. Tai, of course, denies this…for about two minutes. This does not go well for Tai.

He tells us that because it’s Game Changers, he wants to play a little bit. That’s exactly how I’d describe Tai’s game.

Sarah also lets us know that she targeted Michaela as a way to get back at Cirie. Wow…very shrewd.

Later on, Tai tries to bring Brad on board by telling him about both of his idols. Oh Tai, telling Brad about one idol would have sufficed.

Brad hasn’t truly trusted Tai since the Sierra vote, but he could use him as a number.

Quick Aside: Is it time to add Brad Culpepper to the much-better-the-second-time-around list with John Cochran and Parvati Shallow?

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will race through a maze while collecting puzzle pieces. The first person to finish their puzzle wins immunity and an Italian dinner.

Another Quick Aside: Garlic bread?! I’d turn on any alliance for garlic bread.

Yet Another Quick Aside: This maze is epic.

The Survivors are ready…and they go. There isn’t much to describe except for wanderin’ and retrievin’. Actually, that a lie. There are some good wipe-outs.

Brad and Aubry are the first ones to the end with their bags, but nobody is really that far behind.

It comes down to Brad and Sarah…with Culpepper claiming the win.

Brad is allowed to share his meal with two people and he chooses Troyzan and Sarah.

During the meal, Sarah tells us that she doesn’t trust Cirie and Tai anymore and that she needs to consider working with Brad and Troyzan. During a strategy discussion, they decide to target Aubry.

Later, Brad approaches Tai with a plan. They’re going to vote for Aubry. He wants Tai to play his idol for himself and then let Brad hold onto the other one. Huh…

This bums Tai out because he feels like he’s not in control of his destiny. Brad gets really intense with Tai, which is what got Debbie in trouble in Kaoh Rong.

Afterwards, Brad tells Troyzan that he’ll vote out Tai next and keep the idol for himself. Ooo…

Tai shares Brad’s plan with Aubry, but he makes a point of not telling Cirie. Cirie pitches her, Aubry, and Tai targeting Sarah or Troyzan.

All of this is too much for poor Tai. He breaks down in tears.

Before we head to Tribal, Troyzan tells Sarah about Tai’s idols.

So…we could conceivably see four idols played at one Tribal. Yikes.

That night, Tai is annoyed that he got heat for lying when everyone has been lying.

Sarah thinks it’s because he doesn’t own up to the lies. She also thinks that nobody is on the same page with Tai.

Troyzan doesn’t believe Tai can recover from what happened.

Cirie has seen people crawl out of worse holes than Tai.

Tai isn’t sure his number is up because people were still willing to work with him. And, the only thing he knows for sure is his own vote.

Voting Time: No votes are shown.

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

Oh…and he plays the other one for Aubry.

Oh! And Sarah chooses to play the legacy advantage for herself!

OH!!! And Troyzan plays his idol for himself!

Oh no…Cirie…

Oh wait! Probst tells us that none of the votes are for Cirie! So…it’s a zero-vote tie and we go to rocks…right?

Right?!

Nope…it doesn’t matter because everyone else has immunity.

The fifteenth person eliminated from “Survivor: Game Changers” and the eighth member of the jury is…Cirie.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

And…it looks like Sarah would have gone home if no idols were played. She got votes from Tai, Aubry, and Cirie.

So…now I have to wonder what would have happened if Tai hadn’t played that second idol. If he holds back, does Troyzan wait to use his idol?

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will use paddles to maneuver a ball through a series of obstacles. The first person to transfer three balls to the end will win immunity.

The Survivors are ready and they go.

Ugh…that Cirie thing really took the wind out of my sails. What a terrible way to go.

Anywho…Culpepper smokes everyone, claiming his fourth immunity.

As Brad is accepting the necklace, he informs us that it was for Monica. Well…she already won a few of her own, so…

Back at camp, Brad tells Troyzan and Sarah that voting out Aubry is the easiest vote ever.

C’mon Brad, you don’t think you can take Sarah to the end, right?

Aubry, however, pitches getting rid of Troyzan to Sarah and Tai because he’s so close with Brad and Brad’s on an immunity run.

Sarah’s interested, but she’s worried about trusting Tai. Seriously? He’s only turned on like every alliance he’s ever had.

They sit down to work things out and Sarah claims that Tai is the one person she cared about the most. Tai tells her that he wants to get rid of Aubry.

Dude, you JUST SAVED HER!

Later on, Brad tries to pressure Tai again, telling him that he needs to vote with him. Once again, Tai isn’t loving Brad’s aggressive approach.

That night at Tribal, Troyzan is a little bummed because he used to be a challenge beast. This used to be my island…this used to be my pride and joy…

Aubry knows she’s on the chopping block. She also says that Brad and Troyzan will be in the final three if one of them wins immunity.

Tai’s taking Aubry’s argument into consideration.

Troyzan doesn’t think he’s as close with Brad as everyone seems to think.

Brad wonders if he has to win immunity to get to the final three.

Probst asks everyone if they think they can beat everyone at final three. Troyzan is the only one who thinks he can beat everyone.

Oh Troyzan… You’re so pretty.

Voting Time: Aubry votes for Troyzan, Troyzan votes for Aubry, and the rest are lost to the magic of editing.

Probst tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Aubry, one vote for Troyzan, one vote for Aubry, and the sixteenth person voted out of the game and the ninth member of the jury is…Aubry.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race through an obstacle course while gathering puzzle pieces. They’ll slide down a water slide (Awesome!) then complete a puzzle. First person to complete the puzzle gets an automatic spot in the final three.

The Survivors are ready…and they go.

Sarah is the first one to retrieve a bag, but the others aren’t far behind her.

Culpepper manages to take the lead and is the first person to start the puzzle. Tai makes it close…but not close enough. Brad wins his record-tying fifth individual immunity.

As we head to commercial, Brad tells us how he can beat anyone, but he wants to get rid of Tai because he betrayed him.

This is a mistake. It does not matter who betrayed you at this point. And, Sarah can totally beat you.

ALSO! Why vote someone out for spite who is going to the jury? Vote out Sarah and tell her it’s because you don’t think you can beat her.

Brad seems to think his immunity wins will help with the jury. In a season of Game Changers?! They’re going to respect big moves!

Quick Aside: In case you can’t tell, I’m not loving Brad’s line of thinking.

Sigh…anywho…Tai tells Sarah that he wants to vote for Troyzan and force Troyzan to do the fire-making tie-breaker.

That night at Tribal, Sarah admits that she feels like she’s on the outs.

Tai agrees, but if they work together they can force a tie. Or a Tai.

Troyzan is not a fan of this idea.

Voting Time: Troyzan votes for Tai, Tai votes for Troyzan, and the rest of the votes are a mystery.

Probsty tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Tai, one vote for Troyzan, one vote for Tai, and the seventeenth person eliminated from “Survivor: Game Changers” and the tenth and final member of the jury is…Tai.

Welp…enjoy that million, Sarah.

Also, do you think Woo has a support group that Brad can join?

Back at camp, Troyzan tells us how being the sole Survivor has been a sixteen-year dream. Yeah…it’s going to be a bit longer than that, buddy.

Sarah says that she worked her butt off and made moves that other people were afraid to make. And, she says she going to be honest with the jury.

Finally, Brad tells us that he brought the people he wanted to bring to the end and he’s going to use his lawyer skills to win over the jury. Cause people love lawyers…

That night at Tribal, Probst breaks down some impressive stats about the season including Ozzy being the new total-days leader.

Before the jury is allowed to talk, Probst tells them that they will break down the conversation into sections; outwit, outplay, and outlast.

Huh….

Outwit – The Social Game

Zeke kicks off this section. He points out that Sarah continues to wear the jacket he gave her even after she voted him out. He thinks that’s a bad-ass move. He tells her that he’s going to be her advocate.

Andrea is torn because Sarah made brilliant game moves, but she feels gross because she stabbed people in the back after making personal relationships.

Sarah says her personal relationships were 100% real. This causes several members of the jury to laugh.

Ozzy thinks you can play the game without going as low as Sarah went.

Sarah counters by saying she was willing to do whatever it took.

Ozzy respects Brad for winning out. Ozzy then says he’ll be Brad’s champion. Or his…Brad-vocate?

Cirie wasn’t impressed with Brad’s strategy and voted Sierra out because she was the brains of Brad’s alliance.

Brad claims that he worked with a lot of people. And he thinks the Game Changing move of the season was when he got JT to tell him who he was voting for during the double-tribe Tribal.

Michaela wants to know how much Brad knows about her. Brad rattles off a couple of facts.

Tai thought his relationship with Sarah was real.

Sarah tells them that she played the way she really is last time and lost.

Aubry doesn’t think she can just say “This is real Sarah,” and “This is game Sarah.”

Sarah compares it to her undercover work.

Debbie has zero respect for Sarah because she’ll win at all costs. She then says that she’ll be a Brad advocate too.

Michaela does not understand why people are upset with Sarah. She doesn’t think any of the game is personal. That’s a very “Millennials vs. Gen-X” attitude. They didn’t take anything personally.

Michaela then asks Troyzan what he did in the game.

Oh yeah…Troyzan.

He says he had personal relationships with everyone.

Ozzy thinks Troyzan was a passenger instead of a driver. Solid burn.

Andrea liked Brad’s social game. But, he never tried to work with people on the bottom. He admits that he and Michaela never clicked. He then owns up to trying to make Tai uncomfortable so he’d give him an idol or play both of them.

Zeke thinks Sarah was driving the ship and always led the votes.

Hali is also there.

Outplay – The Surviving and Challenge Game

Ozzy points out that Brad never stopped working and would have been voted out if he lost immunity.

Debbie thinks “Survivor” is “Lord of the Flies” and the other players wouldn’t be in the final three without Brad.

Sarah points out that Brad is a professional athlete. Brad counters that he’s in his forties and had to complete puzzles.

Sarah then calls out the move where she was able to vote Sierra out and claim the legacy advantage. She then tells everyone about Michaela missing the hidden advantage.

Michaela thinks Sarah finding the advantage and using it against her was bad-ass. Agreed.

Quick Aside: This is much better than the classic, everyone-asks-one-question format.

Outlast – Jury Management

Each player is given a chance to sway the jury…

Culpepper doesn’t think you have to deceive and lie to everyone to win.

Sarah thinks you have to strike first to win. Everyone she voted out, she voted out because she thought that person could beat her. She also points out that she was involved in every vote.

Troyzan has a good idea where he stands with the jury. He just thanks everyone for playing the game with him. He even finishes by saying, “I’m out.”

Voting Time: Michaela votes for Sarah, Ozzy votes for Brad, Zeke votes for Sarah, Debbie votes for Brad, and the rest of the votes will have to wait until Probst gets to Los Angeles.

Alright, here we go. We’ve got one vote for Sarah, one vote for Brad, one vote for Sarah, two votes for Brad, three votes for Sarah, and the winner of “Survivor: Game Changers” is…Sarah.

Verdict: Well, I think the right person won. Sarah was in charge for the second half of this season and did it in a fashion that Brad didn’t find threatening.

And, this season had everything you’d want; big moves, blindsides, drama, comedy, the whole she-bang.

But, for some reason it never clicked for me. I don’t know if it was the Varner moment or the way Malcolm was bounced, but I never fully got caught up in all of it.

Here’s looking forward to a season of all-new players.

Power Rankings Results: Adam Klein had Tai in fourth place, Troyzan in third place, Brad in second place and Sarah as the winner which is more than enough to give him the win. Congratulations, Adam on being the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Champion!

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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 11: Crime Pays or Cirie-Demption? Edition

May 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”

The Rules: The rules for the finale episode are a little bit different. The rankers have listed the last six players in the order in which they think they will finish.  The first person who is voted out will be in sixth place and the winner will be in first. Each correct placement is worth two 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 Klein had Andrea in spot seven and Michaela in spot two, while Gordon Holmes had Andrea in spot eight and Michaela in spot three. The current score is Team Adam 113, Team Gordon 112.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 113

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

Gordon’s Score = 112

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

1. Sarah: For my final power ranking for Sarah, I want to harken back to what I said about her at the merge:

“I’m so confused by Sarah’s edit! I thought Sarah was supposed to be the villain of the season? But she’s the hero!! The way she stood by Zeke and called out her own ‘metamorphoses’ was moving and inspirational. She’s been shown talking like someone who would shake up the game with quotes like “silent assassin,” “playing this game like a criminal,” “I know how to lie to these people,” and now “I’m ready to prove why I’m a game changer.”
Well, the mystery has been solved. Somehow, Sarah is both the villain and the hero, and the last few episodes have finally proven the quotes that felt empty early on in the season. Everything she said was true, she just slyly waited for the right time to show it. Sarah has played an incredible game, both strategic and socially. Her strategic sense allowed her to carry out some massive blindsides, and her social prowess allowed her to maintain favor and trust even after numerous betrayals, a la Tony Vlachos in Cagayan. The only question that remains for Sarah is if she gets to the end, does her in-game social mastery hold up once the people she betrayed reach the jury? Some jury members, like Andrea and Sierra, feel a bit icky about the way she has lied, but almost all of them (except Debbie, notably) recognize the control she has had over the game. I predict Sarah to win in something like a 7-3-0 or 8-2-0 vote.
1. Cirie: Oh…am I going to get heat for this one. Is it possible I’m ranking with my heart instead of my head? Absolutely. But, my love for Cirie is non-transferable!

Here’s what I’m thinking; Sarah has to be the most dangerous player left in the game. I’m not even sure Cirie could beat her in front of a jury. And after last week’s vote-steal fiasco, Sarah is looking a lot better than Cirie. You know Sarah is going to announce the legacy advantage at final six. Even if she doesn’t use it, she’ll want people to know she had it to pad her resume. But, her resume is already impressive. It’ll just put heat on her. This is where Cirie can go to work. And after final six, Sarah has no protection. She’ll have to win immunities. (Which, she could totally do.)

And, if Cirie gets to the final three without Sarah, she’ll win it easily.

2. Brad: Brad has played a very respectable game all around. He was solidly shielded by people that wanted to work with him all game long. Before the season started, even, he was my winner pick because countless players talked about wanting to go to the end with him, while underestimating him as a player because of how he was inaccurately villainized in Blood vs. Water. It seems people still want to go to the end with him, as he has been protected despite being in the minority since Debbie went home. He is well liked by the jury and has many people rooting for him to succeed, including Debbie, Sierra, and Zeke. Brad’s problem at the end is that he hasn’t controlled the game since Sarah flipped on Debbie, and has recently been at the mercy of others. Even Zeke has emphatically stated that he would vote for Sarah over anyone, including Brad. If he reaches the end, though, he has at least one guaranteed vote in Debbie, who is pulling for him all the way.

Ultimately, this season for Brad has been about understanding what his wife went through on Survivor, and answering the question: What would Monica do? The answer is now in front of us: come in a respectable 2nd place.
2. Brad: Before the season started, Brad was everyone’s dream final-three partner. Even if you love the guy, it’s hard to look past the fact that he’s already loaded. I think the best he can hope for is one more final Tribal vote than Monica.
3. Troyzan: Based on editing alone, Sarah and Brad seem like obvious choices for the final 3. The less obvious pick is 3rd place. In order to pick this placement, I have to consider who might lose to both Sarah and Brad based on the juries comments in their bonus scenes. Cirie and Aubry have both been lauded by the jury, would likely do very well at final tribal, and have huge targets on them. So between Troyzan and Tai, I think Troyzan is more likely make it to the end. Tai, especially if he uses his idols correctly, will have a real resume that could be threatening, and Troyzan has a better relationship with Brad and Sarah than I believe Tai does.

Troyzan has been playing smart and intentionally to get to the end by not causing waves and underplaying his abilities, but final tribal council is where those strengths of laying low become a liability, especially in a season filled with ‘Big Moves’ and entitled ‘Game Changers.’ Unfortunately, I don’t think that Troyzan has done enough to show the jury how his strategy has paid dividends.
3. Troyzan: What’s Troyzan’s resume at this point? Sure, he survived being the odd man out on Tavua, but they never even went to Tribal Council. He has one immunity win, one immunity idol, and no interesting moments. The irony in all of this is he has played the exact opposite game he played in “One World.” At least that loud “One World” game led to a return invitation.
4. Tai: Theoretically, Tai is guaranteed final 4 if he plays his idols for himself in successive tribal councils. Based on the preview, though, it looks like one of his idols might go to Brad, leaving him vulnerable for at least two votes in the finale barring immunity wins. I have maintained all season long that Tai is playing a very strong game, and has voted someone out in 8 out of 10 votes he cast this season, a better record than everyone except Sarah. He has also won immunity, and after playing three idols, will be seen as a threat at the final 4.

However, even if Tai does get to the final 3, the jury does not seem to recognize this game at all, and it seems have written him off as a possible winner. One of the major pieces of Tai’s game that the jury is missing is that he not only has two idols, but he has had balls of steel in consistently, and correctly, holding on to them despite being under routine fire. In the last vote, he literally had his vote stolen from him and STILL didn’t play an idol! And yet, the jury can’t marvel at this like we can as viewers, until it’s too late to change the perception of Tai as someone playing from the sidelines, not the front line.
4. Sarah: Fun Fact: Gordon Holmes has never picked the winner of a “Survivor” season during his pre-season rankings.

Buuuuut… I did have Sarah Lacina in second place. And the only reason she wasn’t first is because Malcolm Freberg made me pick him. So, if Sarah wins, which she very well could, I will never forgive Malcolm.

Alright, with that out of the way; everyone has to appreciate that Sarah is just too good to take to the end. The blindsides, the advantages, the clever vote-theft stratagem. She’s just gotta go. Cause if she steps in front of the jury, this cop is going home with a million bucks.

5. Cirie: Cirie has proven beyond a doubt that she is one of the best Survivor players of all time, and has solidified her title as the ‘Best to Never Win.’ Of course, she still has a chance to change that, but her road to the final 3 and a win still seems impossibly challenging. Sarah, Brad, and Troyzan voted together on the last vote, may all be immune at the next, and are loosely tied to Tai, who was just betrayed by Cirie. And to top it off, Cirie voted for Aubry at the last vote, potentially alienating her last ally. If Cirie were a strong challenge competitor, she would have a real shot, but the odds of her winning out are very unlikely.

The good news for Cirie, though, is that because she is unlikely to win immunity, she will likely be spared at least one round, unless Aubry is also immune. Letting her get to 4, though, will likely feel too close for comfort, so I think the others will cut Cirie at 5, devastating hordes of fans who have been waiting for a Cirie win for over 10 years. The other good news? I would not be surprised at all to see Cirie become the first player to play Survivor 5 times – if she’s up for it.
5. Tai: Boy, those idol shenanigans from the finale preview have me really worried about Tai. I’m thinking Brad and Troyzan know they aren’t as likable as Tai and his ability to find 40 idols this season would look too good in front of the jury.
6. Aubry: I’m honestly blown away that Aubry is still in the game on finale night. She has never been able to really find her footing this season, and has been blindsided at 5 out of 11 tribal council she’s attended. Her edit has also been confounding. She is arguably the most popular player from last year, has been a plucky underdog all season long, is one of the show’s best narrators, and yet we have barely heard anything from her (or Troyzan) all season long. I just cannot imagine that Aubry comes in anything better than 5th and gets an edit like she has received.

At the next vote, I think it will likely be between Cirie and Aubry, and it’s possible that all of the others will be immune. Aubry’s best hope is to win immunity, which would amazingly send Cirie home automatically if all idols are played. If she does not, I think she will be seen as the bigger immediate threat, as they will assume that they can still get Cirie out at 5. Aubry has weaved, bobbed, and ducked since day 1 and should be proud to have scraped her way to the end, but I think this is where the rubber finally meets the road.
6. Aubry: I love me some Aubry, but this is just not her season. She’s been blindsided left and right…and then left again. And even when it seemed like she was in charge of the game, she was doing it as someone else’s right hand. She’ll go home early this episode, but here’s hoping she gets an invite for “Survivor: The Third Time Is Lucky.”


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 10: Double Tribal Trouble Edition

May 16, 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 Andrea is voted out this episode, Adam will receive seven 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 Klein had Sierra in spot eight, while Gordon Holmes had her in spot nine. The current score is Team Adam 104, Team Gordon 101.

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 = 104

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

Gordon’s Score = 101

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

1. Sarah: For the first time in many weeks, Troyzan drops off the top spot, for one reason, and one reason alone: visibility. Two people will go home in one hour this week, and this is the same penultimate episode that sent home Will and Sunday last season, the two people with the least screen time of the final 8. So I am looking towards those who have had season-long narratives to be safe this week.

Sarah has had the most visibility of anyone left in the game and I cannot possibly imagine anyone else playing her new Legacy Advantage, not to mention we still haven’t seen her ‘backup’ (the vote steal) come into play. But beyond that, she is somehow in a great position in the game, with a lot of friends and allies, despite having at some point blindsided every single person on the merge tribe. Sarah continued to display her dominant social game when, despite voting out her friend and ally Sierra, Sierra STILL trusted her enough to give her the Legacy Advantage. WOW.
1. Troyzan: I can’t think of a single reason to get rid of Troyzan. He doesn’t bother anyone. He isn’t winning immunities. A jury isn’t going to give him the win. Add an idol to that and it might as well be his island…cause he isn’t going anywhere.

Quick Aside: Why aren’t more people talking about how Troyzan could have totally blown up the game last week with his idol?! Dooooo something!

2. Michaela: Michaela has had pretty solid visibility all season, and is in a good spot in the game. She continues to be in a power position with room to move, and is somehow still under the radar as a physical threat. She is in a strong position to run the numbers, and the challenges, into the endgame. 2. Tai: He’s packing two idols and he’s quickly running out of time to play them. If he feels any heat, he’s going take that quick walk up to Jeff’s podium. And if there’s a way to play them so he can get to the end with Troyzan and Brad, all the better.
3. Brad: Brad’s positioning in the game does not look great, but his edit tells a different story. To me, only Sarah, Brad, and Cirie have potential winning season-long storylines, and I just cannot imagine that the editors would want to leave only two in the game before the finale. Brad got what he needed from the family visit, and that should be the extra juice he needs to make it a couple more days to reach the finale. His scene with Michaela about being ‘blackmailed’ doesn’t look great, but you don’t blackmail the person you are sending to jury. 3. Michaela: Have we seen anything to make us think that Michaela isn’t just one of Cirie’s votes? She buddied up with Tai last week, but the end result was her voting with Cirie yet again. Right now she feels like a finalist who isn’t going to get any votes.
4. Cirie:  I am pretty sure this is the highest I’ve ranked Cirie all season, and with just one episode before the finale it’s a pretty spectacular placement for someone who came into the game as one of the biggest legends of Survivor, ever. If Cirie goes in 8th or 7th, she will already have far surpassed what many (myself included) expected. She has one of the few ‘winnable’ edits, but she still has to survive 5 more votes, all of them without immunity most likely. My best guess is that the others think that she will be easy pickings at final 6 or final 5 because she is a well-known super-threat that is unlikely to win immunity. 4. Aubry: Oh hey, Aubry. I wonder if you’re one of the best players ever to get an invisible edit. We’re just not seeing enough of you to make me think you’re going to make a huge impression on this game.
5. Troyzan: Troyzan takes a big dip this week because of visibility, but we also haven’t been given any reasons why he would be targeted. As a member of the shrinking minority, he may be tempted to finally play his idol, but I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which Troyzan gets targeted and blindsided with the idol in his pocket. In a secret scene this week, Troyzan defends his relatively quiet strategic game by saying that his social game could win over a jury, and it almost sounds as if he’s being asked by the producer, “why aren’t you making a move?” Troyzan is playing a deliberate game, but it’s not the kind of game producers love, and they could be punishing him for it with an invisible edit. 5. Cirie: I know it’s unprofessional to have a rooting interest, but I want Cirie to win. But, it’s tricky when you have no challenge skills and everyone else has some kind of weird advantage. I’m really worried that Andrea’s going to win immunity and we’re going to have one of those split-up-the-power-couple votes.
6. Tai: Credit to Evan, my brother, for coming up with this possibility: could Tai tell Cirie about his idol(s) in the next episode, ask her to do something she doesn’t feel comfortable doing, and then she uses that info against him to blindside him? It certainly would be a devious move that would have her wondering “could I pull that off?” The reason I think this kind of thing is possible is that Tai isn’t getting the edit of a winner contender, and yet, if he is able to successfully play two more idols, you’d have to put him up there as a frontrunner. So what that tells me is that, somehow, the idol plays don’t go well for Tai. If Tai survives this episode with both idols, he has a guaranteed place in the final 4… but I just don’t see that happening. 6. Brad: I’m so torn about Brad right now. He’s a likable, challenge immunity threat who probably can’t win at the end. But, he did just got some sound advice from one of the best players to ever strap on a buff.
7. Andrea: For once, I am not putting Andrea on the bottom! And yet, two people are going home this episode, so I might as well be putting her in last. I feel like a broken record when it comes to Andrea at this point, so I’ll be brief: Physical. Social. Strategic. All around threat. Arrows flying everywhere. One bound to hit eventually. 7. Sarah: “Oh my God, you guys…why did Sierra get voted out? I’m so surprised.” Those facial expressions may have earned Sarah the legacy advantage, but I’m sure her alliance wasn’t crazy about them.
8. Aubry: I honestly have no idea how this happens, but somehow, Aubry is going home this week. She is one of the best narrators Survivor has, and yet they have relegated Aubry to reward reaction gifs all season long. If she makes the finale, we should all write and complain about how robbed we were of glorious Aubry snark for 14 episodes. The only explanation I can come up with for this edit is that she goes home unceremoniously in the double boot hour. The Sunday and Will airtime curse strikes again! 8. Andrea: I gambled by keeping you out of the bottom spot last week and it paid off. But, two cycles of voting is just too risky. There are way better people to take to the end and you’re always going to be a challenge threat.


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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Sierra: ‘I Feel Like I Was Cheated on by a Long-Term Boyfriend’

May 11, 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: Oh, Sierra…
Sierra Dawn Thomas: (Laughs) I’m so mad at myself, trust me. It still eats me alive. I let myself down. And watching it again was just salt on an open wound. Literally, watching it, I feel like I was cheated on by a long-term boyfriend. It’s a weird feeling. I was trying so hard this season and for a moment I slipped up.
Holmes: You didn’t mean to tell Sarah about the legacy advantage?
Thomas: I didn’t mean to tell anyone. Her and I were having this conversation and she was crying to me about home. It was weird. And all this word vomit came out. And you see me regretting it as I’m saying it. I see the true fear in my eyes that I shouldn’t be saying it.
Holmes: “Survivor” is a game. You had an advantage, she tricked you, now she has an advantage. So, do you sit there and think, “Good move”? Or, did she go too personal with the “love” talk?
Thomas: I hate to say it, but it got a little too personal. Seeing my dad brought out all those emotions and I lost where I was in the game. I let my emotions get the best of me.

Holmes: Speaking of, your dad is adorable.
Thomas: Isn’t he the sweetest thing ever? I do not deserve that man. He is so kind and loving.
Holmes: He said he was so proud of you because you were facing such strong competition. Was that a shot at Dan Foley?
Thomas: (Laughs) I don’t think so! (Laughs) That’s funny. I think he was just saying that all of these people who’ve played three or four times and here’s his little girl playing with them. He was just super proud of me.
Holmes: How tall is he?
Thomas: I think he’s like 6’3, 6’4.
Holmes: They grow those Thomases big.
Thomas: My uncle is seven feet. We’re a tall bunch over here.

Holmes: How confident were you that last night’s vote was going to go your way and Andrea was going home?
Thomas: Probably 50/50…maybe even a little more confident. What was scary is when I said the people who talked to me today, that’s who I’m voting with. Cirie didn’t say one word to me, Andrea didn’t. I knew they were going to be writing my name down. But, I thought I had the other half of them.
Holmes: When did you learn that Sarah had voted for you?
Thomas: At Ponderosa.

Holmes: Earlier you had said you that wanted your final three to be Debbie and Sarah. Where does Brad fit into that?
Thomas: Ooo…it was either Sarah or Brad. But I always wanted to go to the end with Miss Debbie.

Holmes: You voted for Tai last week, and he saved you during the Malcolm vote…which I’m still mad about.
Thomas: (Laughs) I’m sorry.
Holmes: Too late for that, Thomas.
Thomas: (Laughs) That’s funny.
Holmes: Was last week’s vote a pure, as-long-as-it’s-not-me situation or were you not that close with Tai?
Thomas: It was survival mode. You want me to prove I’ll do whatever you say? I’ll vote for Tai and put a little heart above my I so you know it’s me. I was trying to make it another day.

Holmes: Is it frustrating to know that Troyzan had an idol and could have bailed you guys out and taken the numbers back?
Thomas: 100%! I feel like the best idol plays are when you play them for someone else. It gives you a better case in the end. I gave this to this person. And he could have easily changed the numbers. Knowing that he has that makes me sick because I was close with him. We could’ve taken over the game.

Holmes: It had to feel good to be the last Sierra/Ciera standing.
Thomas: That was on my mind. Just making it as far as I did, I got to see my dad. There were a million things I was grateful for. But, that’s one I pat myself on the back for.

Holmes: Zeke thought nobody wanted to take him to the end after the Varner incident because he’d have a story to tell the jury. Was it that, were people afraid of his game play? He certainly wasn’t afraid to make moves.
Thomas: Zeke is an amazing “Survivor” player as far as being knowledgeable and strategic. He’s very personable. So, I think taking Zeke to the end, there are a million reasons why he could have won. He’s great at challenges. He’s great at puzzles. He’s great with people.

Holmes: Last night you alluded that Michaela was prone to losing her cool. We saw a little of that after she lost the reward challenge, but we haven’t seen much of it. What was she doing that we didn’t see that gave people that impression of her?
Thomas: She’s a funny girl. When she’s in a good mood, you want to be around her. But, when she gets frustrated, she really struggles…especially on “Survivor,” you can’t fly off the handle. Everybody is watching all the time. And it was a daily thing where there was a moment where if things didn’t go her way or she was hungry, or tired, or irritable, she couldn’t control her emotions and would act out.

Holmes: We’re going to try something new here. I’ll give you the name of someone on your tribe and you give me a couple of words about them.
Thomas: (Laughs)
Holmes: It’s brand new. Let’s start with Aubry.
Thomas: Nerdy, but I love her.
Holmes: Zeke?
Thomas: Strong.
Holmes: Brad?
Thomas: My BFF.
Holmes: Cirie?
Thomas: Sneaky.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Thomas: Provider.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Thomas: (Laughs) Green monster.
Holmes: Debbie?
Thomas: My girl.
Holmes: Andrea?
Thomas: Gorgeous.
Holmes: Sarah?
Thomas: Scary.
Holmes: Caleb?
Thomas: (Laughs) I might regret this, but wannabe Beast Mode Cowboy.
Holmes: JT?
Thomas: My man! I love JT.
Holmes: Hali?
Thomas: Could never get on the same page.
Holmes: Michaela?
Thomas: Funny. She’s witty and funny.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Tai.
Thomas: Very loving.

Holmes: You are the fourth person to bring up Troyzan’s…gifts.
Thomas: (Laughs)
Holmes: I have a theory that you and your Game Changing buddies are punking me and trying to get me to ask him about it during his exit interview.
Thomas: (Laughs)
Holmes: I have news for you; unless he trips on it during an immunity challenge, it’s not going to happen.
Thomas: (Laughs) That’s amazing. It is what it is. When you think of Troyzan’s…it’s just the green monster. I feel like it’s in my face right now…just the greenness.
Holmes: This is a family site, Sierra.
Thomas: I’m sorry!

Holmes: Now, I love me some Sierra Dawn Thomas, but I did not think you were a Game Changer when I first saw the cast list. Having said that, I’m ready to give you the Kelley Wentworth – Didn’t Do Much Her First Season and Came Back and Kicked Butt Her Second Time Award.
Thomas: Thank you! I have a very big smile on my face. That means a lot. I wasn’t super proud of my first season. And when I got the call to go back, I was where you were. I thought, “I don’t deserve to go back there.” But if you give me this opportunity, I’m going to give it everything I have. I’m going to do things that make me uncomfortable. I kept reminding myself, “You’re out here and you’re going to have to do big things so you can have a case at the end of the game.” I was taking chances. I’m proud of myself. I’m a little upset about what happened with Sarah, but I am proud of myself.
Holmes: Before the game I asked if your Worlds Apart buddies had given you any advice. In the future, you should be the one giving advice.
Thomas: (Laughs) I love that! I’m going to hang that over their heads forever.

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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Episode 10 Recap: Tai-m for a Change?

May 10, 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: Eleven letters took several hours, Sarah revealed her vote-theft powers, and the eliminated player wore lots of flowers.

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

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Maku Maku Tribe (wearing yellow)

Andrea, 27
Aubry, 30
Brad, 47
Cirie, 45
Michaela, 25
Sarah, 32
Sierra, 29
Tai, 52
Troyzan, 54

Tai is looking for answers after his name popped up on a few votes, but Andrea and the rest aren’t providing any answers. Brad and Sierra, however, fess up to the betrayal. That can’t be awesome to think you’re about be Clemented and go home with two idols in your pocket.

Cirie sees this as an opportunity to bring Tai on board and break up the Sierra/Brad couple.

Sierra refers to Sarah as her closest friend in the game and even though she worked against her in the last vote, she hopes to get her back on her side. She tells Sarah about her legacy advantage and promises to will it to her if she is voted out.

“Hey…person who I’m not really voting with…if I get voted out of the game, you’ll be safe at the final six Tribal Council.”

What could possibly go wrong?

Reward Challenge Time: The tribe will be divided into three teams of three. They’ll be tethered together and race through an obstacle course. They’ll release a key from a table maze, then use that key to retrieve sandbags. The first team to use the sand bags to knock blocks off of a table will win a barbecue with their loves ones.

Oh boy…here we go. It’s loved ones time. Immediately Sarah breaks down…as in…curled up in the fetal position and bawling.

(Not gonna cry, not gonna cry, not gonna cry…)

Sarah’s partner Wyatt is the first one out. He tells her that their son is doing well.

Andrea’s mother is out next. As they’re talking, she mentions that Andrea lost her sister when she was growing up. I did not know that. And, there go my tears. Two people in and I’m already reaching for the tissues.

Aubry’s sister joins us. Then we get to meet Sierra’s father who is taller than she is. He is so proud that she’s competing against a high level of competition. Wait, is that a shot at Dan Foley?

Michaela’s mom hits the beach and she’s shocked to see her daughter cry. Ha! We all are.

From there we meet Troyzan’s brother and Tai’s partner Mark. Unfortunately, it’s Mark the real guy, not Mark the chicken from Kaoh Rong. That aside, those two are so friggin’ cute.

Culpepper’s wife Monica is brought out next. She looks familiar.

And finally, Cirie’s son Jared comes out. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping for H.B.

The teams are Brad, Aubry, and Andrea vs. Cirie, Troyzan, and Sierra vs. Tai, Sarah, and Michaela.

The Survivors are ready…and they go.

Brad, Andrea, and Aubry are the first through the course and the puzzle. The other teams are waaaay behind. Culpepper destroys the sandbag portion to take the win easily.

Oooo…and Michaela freaks out a little bit. But it’s nothing too major. I’d give it a 3 on the 10-point Ozzy scale.

The winners are allowed to invite two people to join them. Everyone begs for it to be them. This is tough to watch.

They ultimately decide on Cirie and Sarah. Michaela is not pleased, but Andrea is sure she’ll get over it.

Famous last words?

Monica and Brad talk strategy at the barbecue. She smartly points out that Michaela’s reaction to the challenge snub might mean that she’s ready to flip. She also tells him to not trust Colton.

Back at camp, Tai and Michaela bond over what happened at the challenge. They agree to work together.

Meanwhile, Troyzan and Sierra plot to get Tai back into their good graces and Michaela on their side.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will stand on a perch while using two handles to hold a ball up in the air. The last person standing will win immunity.

Aubry is the first one out, she’s followed by Sierra, Andrea, and Sarah.

Cirie is the next to go, then Troyzan.

We’re down to Michaela, Brad, and Tai. They battle it out with Brad eventually claiming the win. What a neat guy!

Back at camp, Andrea is frustrated that Brad won immunity because he was the most likely target. But, Sierra is a nice back up.

Meanwhile, Troyzan, Sierra, and Brad want to target Andrea.

It looks like Michaela and Tai are the swing votes.

Or…maybe they aren’t, because they immediately tell Sierra that her name is on the chopping block. This worries Sierra because Andrea is the biggest threat. Yeah, but you’re the tallest threat.

Sierra scrambles, and Sarah assures her that they’re partners. Buuuuut…she does want Sierra to go home so she can get the legacy advantage. So, Sarah shares that info with Michaela.

That night at Tribal, Sierra points out that the people who didn’t get to spend time with their loves ones are the same people who didn’t go on the last reward.

Culpepper considers his immunity win to be his first big win on the show, but it doesn’t protect all of his people.

Sierra didn’t care who won if it wasn’t her. She also thinks there are bigger threats than her…you know…like Andrea.

Andrea gets it, but she makes an excellent point that if any of the underdogs makes a comeback, they’ll look really good in front of the jury.

Sarah thinks they have a solid group and she hopes they all stick together.

Michaela says that the people who claim to have a solid group are the people who feel like they’re on the top of that group.

Sierra is sticking to the people who talked to her that day. Andrea thinks the same people talked to her.

Voting Time: Andrea votes for Sierra, Sierra votes for Andrea, and the rest of the votes are secret.

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

We’ve got one vote for Sierra, one vote for Andrea, one vote for Sierra, two votes for Andrea, two votes for Sierra, and the twelfth person voted out of “Survivor: Game Changers” and the fifth member of the jury is…Sierra.

During her exit interview, Sierra wills her advantage to Sarah. Doh…

Verdict: Very interesting that Tai voted out someone that he saved earlier in the season.

That aside, I’m getting kind of bored. I don’t know what it is, but the second half of this season hasn’t been clicking for me. It’s like all the air was sucked out during the Varner/Zeke Tribal.

Hopefully it’ll pick up when folks are betrayed and idols be played.

Power Rankings Results: Adam Klein had Sierra in spot eight, while I had her in spot nine. The current score is Team Adam 104, Team Gordon 101.

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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 9: Boehl-of-the-Ball Edition

May 9, 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 Sierra is voted out this episode, Adam will receive eight points and Gordon will receive nine 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 Klein had Zeke in spot nine, while Gordon Holmes had him in spot eight. The current score is Team Adam 96, Team Gordon 92.

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 = 96

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

Gordon’s Score = 92

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

1. Troyzan: It should not surprise anyone that Troyzan is, once again, at the top of my power rankings. His idol has not come up at all pretty much since he found it. Does that mean it won’t matter? It sure seems like absolutely no one is coming after Troy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he went all the way to final 5 without needing to play it. In secret scenes, Sierra talked about how the next person to go would be one of herself, Brad, or Tai, leaving out Troyzan. In Tai’s secret scene, he said the same and went further to say that it looked to him like Troyzan was with the majority. And in Troyzan’s secret scene, he talked once again about intentionally playing under the radar. The one thing that is confusing me is that I’ve been saying that Troyzan is likely to idol out Andrea, but if he never gets targeted and plays the idol, how does that happen? 1. Troyzan: I don’t remember the last person who has lived at the top of my rankings for soooooo loooooong. I guess that’s what happens when you’re packing…an idol. And when nobody is afraid to take you to the end.
2. Aubry: I think I’ve figured out what’s going to happen to Aubry. We have been seeing so little of her, but we know she gives great confessionals. So what gives? Last season, the penultimate episode got rid of both Will and Sunday in a one-hour episode, and both of them got little focus/content throughout the season. Based on the number of people left and episodes left, the same thing will happen in the same episode, and it would not surprise me at all to see Aubry go then. For now, she is well protected by Andrea and Cirie as bigger targets on one side, and Sierra and Brad on the other. 2. Michaela: Michaela isn’t making any moves, Michaela isn’t winning any challenges, and Michaela seems to be rubbing jurors the wrong way. There’s no reason to get rid of her.
3. Michaela: This week looks good for Michaela. Like Aubry, she is shielded by other bigger targets. But on top of that, she is shown in the preview making an alliance with Sierra, Tai, and Troyzan. She is still under the radar physically with great potential to win immunities down the line, so with options on both sides, Michaela could go far. 3. Aubry: Hey Aubry, you have the numbers, but your numbers are jam-packed with people who will probably beat you at a final Tribal Council. This odd-numbered vote might be your time to make a move.
4. Tai: With two idols and with Michaela potentially flipping to his side, Tai theoretically looks poised to take control of this game. And yet, his underwhelming edit makes me think that Tai will never really fulfill that potential. My only worry for Tai in the immediate future is that Michaela makes him think that she is flipping, but then sticks with the numbers and he goes home with the idols in his pocket. 4. Tai: It blew my mind that Tai didn’t play one of his forty idols last week. He must feel very safe. But, why? Is he secretly working with CirAndrea? And what does he do now that his alliance voted for him last week? I’m betting one of those idols makes its way into Jeff Probst’s hands this week.
5. Sarah: Sarah flipped on her alliance once to vote out Ozzy, then she flipped again to take out Debbie, then she voted out her closest friend and ally in the game. And yet, somehow, people still want to work with her! Sierra is even going to tell her about the legacy advantage!!! What that tells me is Sarah has to be playing one of the best social games in Survivor history. There is no sign whatsoever of any of the other players recognizing Sarah for the threat that she is, or even being angry for flipping. Sarah has blindsided every single person left in the game, so if they wake up to her maneuvering and control over the game, she’ll be seen as a threat and taken out. But I just don’t see that happening. 5. Cirie: Notice the way they made sure to show us that Cirie was the person who best knew how to pitch ideas to Sarah? Cirie is next-level good and everyone should be scared to death to go to the end with her. If the tide turns and Andrea wins immunity, Cirie could be a big target.
6. Cirie: Cirie is playing an incredible game. She entered Game Changers as one of the most threatening social and strategic players in Survivor history, and yet, she has still not been even considered as a target. She now finds herself in a relatively strong 5-person alliance with the potential to make it to the end game. If Cirie makes it to the end, she wins. But can she get there? In a season where just about all of the other pre-game threats were taken out early, it would be a miraculous achievement and amazing television. 6. Brad: Oh man, we’ve got the loved ones visit this week, don’t we? If Monica advises Brad to be a “neat lady” I will die laughing. Anywho, people want to play with Brad. People want to take Brad to the end. But, I’m not sure there’s anyone Brad can beat at this point.
7. Brad: Brad was looking so good before the merge, but he really seems to be in a pickle now. He is down in the numbers, the only one of his minority to not be shown in the preview strategizing with Michaela, and if he goes home in the episode where he finally gets to ask Monica, in person, what she would do, it would seem a fitting end for a man that has been all about family all season long. 7. Sarah: I really didn’t think Sarah was going to turn on Zeke last week. I wonder if she’s going to start to get a reputation of being too much of a flip-flopper.
8. Sierra: Now that the Zeke/Andrea rift has been decisively settled, the majority’s sights will be set right back onto the minority, and the ‘sheriff’ of that minority is likely to be the first to be targeted. There are some signs of hope, however. In Andrea’s secret scene, she talked about potentially letting Sierra in on the last vote, which suggests some degree of trust. Also, in Sierra’s secret scene, she says she is close with Cirie, Aubry, Sarah, and Andrea. Basically, everyone in the minority except for Michaela. So why, then, is she making a deal with Michaela in the next episode? If Michaela and Sierra truly don’t get along as we have been led to believe, I could see a scenario in which Michaela lulls Sierra into a false sense of security.

Finally, and importantly, is the revelation that Sierra will reveal the legacy advantage to Sarah. This could go one of two ways: it could solidify trust with Sarah, or it could make Sarah want to target Sierra to get the power out of her hands. The former seems more likely to me, which is why, one again…
8. Andrea: Alright, Boehlke. I’ve had you in the bottom for a while and you keep managing to stick around. All of your pre-season talk about not being a challenge threat was a joke. I still think you’re a goner if you lose immunity. But, nobody else seems to be stepping up.
9. Andrea: For the 4th (and probably not final) time, Andrea rounds out my power rankings. She is doing everything right. She is winning immunities, getting out her rivals, and building a strong resume to win this game. And as a result, she is continuing to elevate her threat level in the game. Sooner or later, someone is going to take a shot. If it happens now, it opens the game back up for Brad, Sierra, Tai, and Troyzan, and if it happens in a few votes, Sarah or Cirie could cruise to a win. The timing of this move will be paramount for the others, but I am still confident that at some point, the move will happen. If I am wrong again and again and Andrea ends up winning I am going to look like such a fool… But it would be amazing!  9. Sierra: Of all of the members of the minority alliance, you’re the last one I’d want to take to the end. You’re likable, you’ve played a much stronger game this time around, and you can probably dunk over me.. Aaaaand, you told Sarah that no matter what, you’ll get immunity at final six. I don’t think you’re going to make it that far.


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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Zeke: ‘The Day After the Varner Incident There Was a Seismic Shift in How I Was Viewed in the Game’

May 4, 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: My mom is upset.
Zeke Smith: Oh no, moms love me.
Holmes: I get a post “Survivor” email, and she doesn’t like most people, so she tends to be excited to see them go. But with you, the header was “Darn!” That’s pretty harsh language coming for her.
Smith: Let her know I’m doing OK. It was time for me to go.

Holmes: It seems like there were some parallels between your move against Andrea and your move against David in “Millennials vs. Gen-X.” Is there a desire to make big moves or you just want to get them before they got you?
Smith: I think we have to back-up a little bit and acknowledge the elephant in the room. I walked into the merge with no shot to win. The day after the Varner incident there was a seismic shift in how I was viewed in the game. People I had relationships with like Andrea and Cirie, it was so different.
Holmes: To clarify, they were concerned about going to the end with you because you had a compelling story to tell in front of a jury?
Smith: Yes. I don’t think anyone had a problem with me being trans. Not in the least. This terrible thing had happened to me and the next day nobody made any beans about me being the decoy vote against Michaela or Hali, and the reason why is because nobody wanted to sit next to me at the end. People stopped coming to me to have strategic conversations. If I wanted to get any information, I had to really hustle people to get them to talk to me. The exception was Sarah. She was always my closest ally. And the thing with the move against Andrea was it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Sarah was my closest ally and we both felt uneasy with Cirie and Andrea. They would go off and talk and then sort of deliver orders back to us. And we also had good relationships with Debbie and Tai and Sierra. I think Sarah had better relationships than I did.
Holmes: So, there was no future in an alliance with Andrea.
Smith: I felt very queasy about my position with Andrea and Cirie. I went to Sarah and Debbie and said, “Let’s make a move against one of them.” We agreed together on Andrea. I was told that the foundation had been laid for me to have a conversation with Sierra, that Debbie and Sarah had both primed her and I was just following up. That was not the case. It did not go well. But, I wasn’t the only person that turned on Andrea. Andrea, Sarah, and I had been playing together the entire game. And Sarah also turned on Andrea. I was not a part of that Ozzy vote. I was left out of that, but Sarah was not.

Holmes: Does anyone realize how close Cirie and Michaela are?
Smith: I did not. I didn’t know how close they were. I knew they were tight, but I also felt close with Michaela. We’d both been away from home for a very long time and both of us didn’t know what our lives looked like. There’s a general nastiness across the board on season 34. In 33, whether or not you were voting with someone, we were friendly and fun. Thirty four is a lot more divided. Michaela got the brunt end of that a little bit. She wasn’t tight in any social circle. But, we hung out and were friends. Michaela voted for me three of the four Tribal Councils we were together, so it’s not like we were on the same page. But, we were friendly.
Holmes: “Millennials vs. Gen-X” had such a different tone. Everyone seemed to get along, even if you voted against them. You come into this season and Andrea hopes to see you never. Was the different mood palpable?
Smith: Oh, 100%. Thirty three you had a lot of people who were big “Survivor” fans. Smart, good-hearted people. I think they loved playing “Survivor,” embraced the hardship, and knew that it’s not personal. And in 34, I think everyone’s relationship was different. I don’t think there was this love of “Survivor.” It was personal in a way that I didn’t quite understand. After the Varner incident, I didn’t like “Survivor.” It’s not that I didn’t like “Survivor,” but my experience was a little tainted. But every day of my 62 days, I loved being out there. And the people out there in 34 didn’t love it like I did. That bummed me out. It’s the greatest thing you’re ever going to do! Get excited about it.
Holmes: How do you feel about the game now?
Smith: My love for “Survivor” runs really deep. One of the things I was impressed by was how amazing the people who make “Survivor” are. From the cameramen who run backwards in the sun carrying 50 pounds of gear. To John Kirhoffer, the guy who designs all the challenges. The producers…”Survivor” is an incredible thing and I have the utmost respect for the people who make it.

Holmes: Last night you and Sarah were discussing a five-person alliance with Michaela, Brad, and Troyzan. Was that the real plan? And if so, where does it go from there?
Smith: I think I saw that Sarah was the one who was driving the action in the game. I think Andrea’s eyes were so colored with rage that she couldn’t see that I wasn’t doing anything. I’m sort of running around like an idiot trying to play, but I didn’t have any power. Sarah was making the decisions. And so, I don’t know if I would’ve taken Sarah to five. I’d have gotten rid of her at six or seven. My final three was Brad and Michaela. My biggest problem was that everyone thought the jury wouldn’t deny me because I had a compelling story. So, the best I could do was try to squander that good will. I just needed to piss everyone off so people would think I couldn’t win. And the only people I could beat would be Brad and Michaela. Even though Brad might have a better social game than me, the way he talks about his money and his status, I think it made people less willing to give him the money.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Hali.
Smith: Beautiful soul.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Smith: Green monster shlong.
Holmes: You’re the third person to bring that up. Ozzy?
Smith: Lives up to the hype.
Holmes: Sierra?
Smith: Cowgirl.
Holmes: Cirie?
Smith: Legend.
Holmes: Debbie?
Smith: Joy.
Holmes: Tai?
Smith: Inspiring.
Holmes: Brad?
Smith: Will leave Monica and elope with James Corden.
Holmes: Sarah?
Smith: My friend.
Holmes: Andrea?
Smith: The complete package.
Holmes: Hannah?
Smith: My fiancé!
Holmes: She’s on this season, right?
Smith: Exactly.
Holmes: JT?
Smith: Good man.
Holmes: Michaela?
Smith: Fiercely independent.
Holmes: Sandra?
Smith: Queen.
Holmes: Aubry?
Smith: Goddess.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Varner.
Smith: Growing.

Holmes: How old were you during “Survivor: The Australian Outback”?
Smith: I’d just turned 13 the day it premiered.
Holmes: Were you watching back then?
Smith: I watched the premiere after the Super Bowl. I remember watching it with my dad.
Holmes: We’re a part of this weird “Survivor” family. You watch it on TV and then years later I’m hanging out with Penner on a beach in the Philippines. It’s very surreal. I imagine you felt the same thing being out there with Ozzy and Cirie. And here’s this guy that you watched on TV as a teenager who is a part of your story now. Where are you two now? Have you forgiven him?
Smith: Let’s address the forgiveness first. I’m not saying that there haven’t been days where it’s been challenging over the past nine months. But, I’ve always thought to forgive him. And I think we should embrace people who show sincere regret like he has. That’s how we encourage people to change and turn adversaries into allies. And as far as us as people, it’s a work in progress. And I think it’s probably best to not play it out in the press.
Holmes: That episode was very difficult to watch, but you handled it like a champ, I think Varner showed genuine regret, and your tribemates’ reactions were inspiring. If you had to put a percentage to the public’s reaction, positive and negative, what would it be?
Smith: I’d say 98% positive. And that 2% is from the world at large, not the “Survivor” community.

Holmes: In “Survivor: Nicaragua,” people immediately targeted Kelly Bruno because they didn’t want to go to the end with an amputee. But as a juror, I feel like I’d vote for someone based on how they played the game not their outside-of-the-game story.
Smith: I think if I sat on my butt and didn’t do anything and did what people told me to, I could’ve gone further. I don’t think my story would have been enough for me to win. But nobody thought I was just going to sit on my butt. My buff said “Game Changer,” not “Butt Sitter.” I think I owed it to the people who gave me that buff to try to change the game.
Holmes: Somewhere Jeff Probst is stroking his chin and thinking, “Hmmm…’Survivor: Butt Sitters.’”
Smith: (Laughs) It’ll be “Survivor 72.”

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


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