Survivor Game Changers Episode 7 “There’s A New Sheriff In Town” Recap, Edgic and Analysis

Following Survivor’s worst moment last week, it was always going to be hard for Survivor Game Changers to bounce back. But luckily for the show this two-hour merge episode titled “There’s a New Sheriff in Town” was absolutely on fire and brings a lot more promise for what this season could have in store. Let’s get right into the latest episode of Survivor Game Changers!

The Merge Has Come 

We all knew the merge was coming and so too did apparently all of the contestants. As they entered the scene with a table of food of all kinds set out before them, they immediately became distracted by what Jeff had underneath a covered blanket. If Jeff revealed what was underneath the blanket I must have missed it, but he did let all the contestants know that two contestants, one from each former tribe would be missing out on the feast. After not much deliberation at all, Brad and Tai volunteered. Zeke saw Brad’s move as being something to re-brand his image this season while Andrea spoke about how sweet of a human being Tai was. Nonetheless, it did give the two men a chance to reconnect and re-establish that solid relationship that they had over on the second incarnation of Mana.

While they bonded, not even ten feet away everyone else was enjoying the feast. Debbie pretended like she was drunk for no reason at all, so that was fun (completely unnecessary), while the only other noteworthy thing to happen around this time was Zeke revealing to everyone what had happened at the previous night’s vote with Varner and to the contestants that were unfamiliar, that he was transgender.

Michaela The Early Target 

Michaela Bradshaw Survivor 34

It seemed as though almost immediately after the fun of the feast ended, Brad was already preparing to go to war and started to make plans to take out Michaela. For whatever reason, Brad wasn’t able to connect with Michaela or Hali over at Mana and instead of trying to pull them in as numbers, he felt inclined to take them out. Sierra was also really overzealous about the idea of taking out Michaela, going as far as to bash Michaela’s facial expressions in a conversation with Zeke and then later laying in a hammock as the other contestants metaphorically fed her grapes.

But not everyone was on board with taking Michaela out, the other side led primarily by Zeke and Cirie, found it completely necessary that Michaela stayed, seeing her as a perfect number to pull in. Immediately it became clear that Brad might not have actually done well enough to lure Cirie and Aubry to his side over at Mana after all. Zeke shortly after the start of the merge was able to pull Cirie in while even the likes of Ozzy felt like he could trust her. Aubry too found herself working with this group for both votes on the night, something that few would have foreseen coming into the night.

A Scramble For Power and For The Votes

Sierra in her hammock

On the other end of the coin, Brad and Sierra may have lost Cirie and Aubry once the merge hit, but they immediately regained friends in the form of Tai and Debbie. Debbie quickly apologized to Brad for how things went on original Mana and again Brad did excellent in making sure she felt secure saying “I’m on your side”. This time, she actually listened. But the key to Debbie wanting to jump back over to Brad’s group once the merge hit, wasn’t Brad, it actually seemed to be Sierra. Whatever it was, the two just seemed to click this episode, combining together in pretty stealthy fashion on the second vote of the night.

Nonetheless, in a scramble for power for the first vote of the night, Hali and Michaela were seen as outcasts and Michaela only survived by the skin of her teeth thanks to some magic from Cirie.

Andrea Wins Immunity But Cirie Wins At Life 

After an immunity challenge in which the contestants had to balance blocks on their heads, Andrea Boehlke took home the immunity necklace, maintaining her solid record of doing excellently well in endurance challenges. But Andrea was always going to be safe for this vote. Someone who wasn’t even close to being safe was Michaela, who desperately needed the help of Cirie to stay alive.

Recognizing Michaela as a valuable tool in the game, Cirie instantly worked her magic to pull her in. The 4th place finisher from Survivor Panama told the Millennials vs. Gen X star to keep her emotions in check before using her magnetic bonding powers to get Michaela to trust not just her but an entire group of people.

Zeke was also aware of Michaela’s value in the game and even went up to Sierra, who had gone full Cleopatra at this point, to disclose his confusion about the vote. Comprehending that it made no sense for less votes to go to Hali if they were afraid of Hali having an idol, Zeke tried to work in tandem with Cirie to make sure Hali had the votes coming her way and not Michaela. Sierra and Debbie laughed it off by saying “he just wants control” but what they failed to realize was that Zeke and Cirie had actually gained control.

Hali Speaks Up 

Image result for Survivor Game Changers Hali ford voted out

At tribal council, feeling the heat and the prospect of her impending elimination from the game, Hali spoke up about not having the hidden immunity idol, willing to “shake down” to prove it and also about how much of a non-threat she was in the game. Unfortunately, enough people just weren’t willing to listen. It seems as though Hali made a massive error in not managing to work her way into Brad’s alliance over at Mana. There must have been an opportunity for her to do so in that twelve day span because Aubry and Cirie accomplished the feat in six days. But for whatever reason she just couldn’t do it and paid the price, being eliminated by a vote of 7-4-2.

Why Hali Was Voted Out 

Image result for Hali Ford Survivor Game Changers

Hali had plenty of time to work herself into the group over at Mana but was just never able to. Aubry and Cirie both seemed to work their way into that group with ease. So why wasn’t Hali able to do the same? That is the question that has to be asked. In her post-game exit interviews, Hali has noted that she just simply didn’t want to work with Brad, Sierra and Debbie. That is a major shortcoming of her game this time around as sometimes you just have to roll with the people you get stuck with, especially if you have no other options available to you. Essentially it got down to a point where there was virtually no one else for her to work with but she still didn’t make an attempt to work with the only group that would have been willing to work with her.

It appears as though Sierra has been pretty hostile towards Hali this season. The quote at the very top even illustrates that for whatever reason the two of them just don’t have a good relationship. Why else would they both be so adamant against working with each other? But still, that doesn’t mean that she couldn’t have tried to make it work with Brad, Tai and Debbie. Brad seemed to be open enough to working with her and they kept her around at that first vote for a reason. So it is a little baffling that she made almost no attempt at all to try and work herself into that group despite having twelve days to do so. Ultimately, going into the merge Hali desperately needed allies to save her, but nobody was willing to stick their neck out on the line to save her. That suggests that she just did not do enough to win friends and assimilate into Brad and Sierra’s group when she was given the chance.

Read more -> Why Hali Ford Was Voted Out


So Hali’s elimination marked the end of the first hour of “There’s A New Sheriff In Town” but there was still another hour of the show to go and what was to come was equally entertaining. Let’s jump into all that happened in the second hour of this incredible episode.

The Re-Emergence of Cirie 

survivor-34-michaela-bradshaw-cirie-fields

This entire merge episode really saw the re-emergence of Survivor legend Cirie Fields. She hadn’t even needed to play until this episode but came out swinging when the merge hit, taking control of her own fate in the game. After doing excellently well to connect with Michaela and pull her in during the first hour, Cirie was beginning to take even more control in the second hour. Recognizing the dangerous power pair of Brad and Sierra and the powerful coalition that they were building, Cirie started to make plans to take out who she viewed as the head of the snake, Sierra. Andrea, completely falling out of trust with Debbie and Tai was also vehement in her desire to take Sierra out. However, the two of them were knocked back a peg when Andrea told Zeke the plan and he realized that he wasn’t where he wanted to be, in control.

Zeke Wants Control 

Image result for Zeke Smith survivor game changers

After realizing that Andrea and Cirie were the two in the best position and that he was slipping out of favour, Zeke started to gun for Andrea. I couldn’t even believe that he was considering this. Didn’t he learn not to take out his own close allies after taking out Chris in Millennials vs. Gen X proved to be such a terrible decision?

I love Zeke and I think he’s a very good player of this game. But he is just far too jumpy! He just needs to sit still! It’s final twelve so what is the point in making a move against one of your own strong allies at this point in the game? Zeke’s thinking basically revolved around the idea of who was a threat in his mind. To him, Brad and Sierra for whatever reason weren’t threats to him, but Andrea on the other hand (a close ally of his) was a big threat! So he wanted Andrea gone. But in reality, this move just made no sense and really had the potential to destroy his entire alliance if it had gone through. For that matter, it almost destroyed his own game as it immediately made him a bigger target. He started going around telling people like Debbie and Tai that he wanted Andrea out but no one was willing to take what he had to say at face-value. It even almost turned back around him when Debbie told Cirie what the New Yorker had said.

There is so much time to get out Andrea out. So why he felt like he needed to make this move now made no sense. If Zeke was to learn anything from his first season it should have been the Adam Klein lesson of just because other people are making more of the decisions in your alliance (Ken and David in Adam’s case) it doesn’t mean you can’t work with them right up until the very end. Adam was smart in waiting for the perfect moment to take out David when he needed to and Zeke should have been as patient in waiting to take out the threat that he saw in Andrea. To make matters worse it could have blown up in his face had Debbie not led a massive charge to get a different player voted out.

Debbie Switches The Vote 

Debbie Wanner Survivor

At an iconic Survivor challenge involving clinging onto poles high up above the ground, Tai Trang dethroned Ozzy Lusth, who had been undefeated in his two previous times participating in the challenge.

So that left Ozzy vulnerable at the vote and for very little reason other than the fact that Ozzy was supposedly “A big threat”, Debbie decided to flip around the vote. Sierra was instantly on board and when Debbie went around telling everyone else in her alliance of the plan (Tai, Brad, Sarah and Troyzan), the votes seemed to be locked up to send Ozzy home. Meanwhile, the other group was debating about flipping the vote back around on Zeke for what he had done earlier that day. But Debbie, adamant that Ozzy should go home, stood up at tribal council to use her extra vote advantage and ensured that the four-time contestant would be the one to be sent packing by a vote of 7-4-1-1.

Why Ozzy Was Voted Out

Image result for ozzy lusth Survivor game changers

This is actually probably the least strategic incarnation we have seen of Ozzy on the show. His edit this season solely revolved around his desire to get Cirie for little strategic merit before taking a turn to being one only about how he was catching fish and doing well in challenges. Unfortunately, that’s just not what this game is all about. For me, Ozzy was just far too laid back this season and got caught up in some strange doctrine that Survivor has never been about. In the process of this, he forgot what is required to make it to the end of the game. This wasn’t the Ozzy that was making fake immunity idols nor was it the Ozzy that would have been bold enough to vote himself out and go to Redemption Island. This was an Ozzy who more or less seemed to be doing his own thing and not really taking the time to think about what needed to be done to get himself to the end of the game.

I also think that the first time he went to tribal council, he made a poor decision in not trying to keep Sandra around. It’s hard to always have foresight in the game but surely he and the rest of that Nuku group should have been able to recognize that Debbie and Tai were likely going to flip back to Brad’s side. Sandra on the other hand had a real lack of options and was just desperate to work with Ozzy and his group. She could have been essential in pulling in Michaela (which they managed to do in the end anyway), but would have always been a bigger threat than the four-time player and could have been critical in helping aid Ozzy’s strategic game.

Read more -> Why Ozzy Was Voted Out.

Confessional Count 

With a back-to-back two hour episode of Survivor, the amount of confessionals that each player has accumulated this week is incredibly interesting to study. Some of the players were standout narrators in both episodes like Sierra, Zeke and Cirie while others, like Michaela and Andrea, only came alive for one of the two episodes when they were in danger of going home. So many contestants made an impact on this episode so let’s begin to dissect who said what and who stood out above the rest from a confessional giving standpoint.

Rank

Player # of Confessionals Running Total

1st

Cirie Fields 13 21

2nd

Zeke Smith 11 19

3rd

Sierra Dawn-Thomas 7 11

4th

Michaela Bradshaw 5 13

5th

Debbie Wanner 4 21

6th

Brad Culpepper 4

16

7th Andrea Boehlke 4

8

8th Sarah Lacina 3

12

9th Hali Ford 3

9

10th Aubry Bracco 2

9

11th Ozzy Lusth 2

8

12th Tai Trang 1

17

13th Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson 0

7

Many contestants saw a resurgence of confessionals this episode, including Andrea, Sierra and most notably Cirie. Cirie took her previous tally of 8 confessionals all the way up to 21, just dominating this episode particularly in the first half. Meanwhile, Zeke and Andrea doubled their previous tallies and Sierra almost trippled her previous tally of 4 all the way up to 11. It was really interesting specifically to see the emergence of Cirie and Sierra. Although it was nice to have Andrea back on the show as a prominent figure, she was only needed from a story-telling perspective when she started to see the wrath of Zeke. But seeing a reminder as to why Cirie is one of the best social players in the history of this game and then to hear her articulate everything that she was doing with Michaela so wonderfully well was awesome to watch. Sierra’s emergence was also very interesting. She had been practically anonymous in the first six episodes but then came alive this time around to suddenly be the one with the most power. She actually spoke pretty elegantly well about what she was doing in the game and who she wanted to take out, something that I think only Zeke and Cirie matched this episode.

Michaela ends up fourth for this episode with five confessionals, while Debbie and Brad were influential in the game yet again and were each given a good amount of opportunities to showcase their thoughts. Sarah was a little bit more anonymous this week compared to last but still attained three confessionals while the aforementioned Andrea had her best night of the season in terms of airtime with 4 confessionals.

Towards the bottom end of the table, Hali Ford will end this season with 9 confessionals, 1 more than Survivor legend Ozzy Lusth. Interestingly despite being decently involved, the Cook Islands runner-up accumulated his lowest ever tally by quite some distance, 8 confessionals, a number that he needed just two episodes in South Pacific to reach. Aubry also continues her trend of being under-edited as just two of her interviews were disclosed, while Tai Trang and Troyzan Robertson were barely shown at all. Troyzan missed out altogether, garnering 0 confessionals across the two hours while Tai didn’t do much better, only being given the chance to talk about why he would get naked on Survivor.

If the trend of the players to receive the most amount of airtime being the primary contenders to go home next continues, Cirie and Zeke are in danger. In other news, Jeff Varner (24) and Sandra Diaz-Twine (22) are still our confessional leaders; although that looks likely to change soon by the way the two mentioned above are going at the moment.

Edgic 

It’s Edgic time! What is Edgic? Check out the Edgic section of our Premiere Recap for a full debrief! Here is what The Mastermind has to say about Edgic for this week in Survivor.

Player

Edgic Visibility Tone

Cirie Fields

CP 5 Positive

Zeke Smith

CP 5 Mixed
Sierra Dawn-Thomas OTT 5

Mixed

Michaela Bradshaw CP

4

Debbie Wanner MOR 4

Hali Ford

MOR 4

Andrea Boehlke

MOR 4

Brad Culpepper

UTR 3 Positive

Sarah Lacina

CP 3
Aubry Bracco UTR

2

Ozzy Lusth UTR 2

Tai Trang UTR 2

Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson INV 1

Troyzan is our only invisible character this week as he was not given a single confessional across the entire two hour episode. Tai Trang, Aubry Bracco and Ozzy Lusth also went severely under the radar this week without any of them really being given a chance to showcase their thoughts at all. This is particularly unfortunate for Ozzy who wasn’t even given a chance to share who he wanted to go home in his very own boot episode! All he spoke about was the fact that he didn’t win immunity and the fact that he needed Cirie on his side…that’s it! By the way if tonight had only been one episode, Ozzy would have earned himself an Invisible rating, as he seemed to completely disappear off the face of the island for the first three days!

Brad Culpepper was pretty generic when he spoke and could have easily been given the MOR category, but this week instead earns himself the distinction of being one of the Under the Radar contestants as well. This is because in allowing for the emergence of Sierra, Brad completely took a backseat. It seemed as though the editors were deliberately hiding Brad this week. They were intentionally picking and choosing specific statements to have Brad say this week, all of which revolved around the same theme – the future of the game rather than the present. Sarah meanwhile was also given a fairly limited amount of airtime but was still pretty complex when she was given the chance to speak. Her confessionals ranged from talking about how deeply connected she felt to Zeke to recognizing the importance of being on the right side of the vote.

Sierra quickly became the queen of the castle this episode and unfortunately for her because of the way other players were talking about her in the context of the game, she is the only player to receive the dreaded OTT category this week. She was rarely ever shown outside of her hammock, which wasn’t a good look. You would have to imagine that she wasn’t just laying there for six days straight, but the editors specifically chose to showcase those specific moments where she was as if to say to us “Look, this is why Sierra is overconfident, this is why Sierra is not getting the respect of her fellow players and this is why she is going to lose this game”….or something along those lines 😉 .

Michaela despite coming close to being eliminated in the first hour was always very calm in confessional and had a good mix of things to say. Unfortunately for her, a lot of her airtime tonight revolved around how awesome Cirie was. For example the one quote that I have written down from her is “If I’m going to be team Cirie, that’s fine with me!”. It shows us that she’s thinking about the game in a complex enough way where she knows where she stands, you know, beyond more than just a “Hey look, Tai is running around without any pants!” but isn’t really complex enough to show us any indication that she is really thinking deeply about where she wants to be in the game, like a Zeke-styled confessional.

Speaking of Zeke, he comes up with a “Mixed” tone this week. He was talked about in the beginning as being an amazing person by Sarah Lacina and he came across very positively with his own words afterward speaking about how he just wanted to move on from what had happened and fight for the million. But then later on, when the whole situation with Andrea fell apart it seemed like after that no one was willing to work with him! Debbie had some not so nice things to say, Sierra didn’t believe it for a second and his own allies started to target him! It was the rise and fall of Zeke in less than two hours! This is a really worrying sign for Zeke heading into next week, who already has over 50% of the votes on our poll in the sidebar asking “Who Will Be Voted Out Next On Survivor Game Changers?”

Andrea was finally on the show tonight but will be given an MOR instead of a CP for having more confessionals about very generic things like saying “no vote is easy and everyone has ulterior motives” rather than her own intricate thoughts about where she was in the game and where she wanted to be. Hali Ford and Debbie Wanner also receive an MOR for the merge episode but could easily switch to CP instead as they both had confessionals that were kind of in between the lines of the two.

Finally, the re-emergence of Cirie on the show allowed her to pick up her first Complex Player score since the early days of the season when she was in trouble on Nuku. Cirie was so incredibly complex tonight and was brilliant in winning over Michaela as an ally. She was then even better in expressing her thoughts and her reasons for wanting to keep Michaela around to the audience. More on Cirie to come!

So that ends Edgic for this week. For previous Edgic articles, go here! But what does all of this mean? Can we use this information to predict who the winner of the season will be? See below to find out!

The Winner’s Edit 

Brad Culpepper Survivor GC

For the second week in a row I feel highly confident in my pick of Brad to be the person to win this season. So incredibly improved this season, Brad has practically managed to fly under the radar for the first couple of votes after the merge. When everyone thought it would be the point in the game where he’d take control, he’s instead been letting other members of his alliance take the wheel and drive the votes, a perfect place for him to be. And now that Sierra has firmly emerged as the alpha of their tight duo in the eyes of the other players, Brad is an even better position not just to survive but to win this game. Why’s that? Because Sierra isn’t earning all that much respect right now from the other players and she’s coming across a little too over-confident.

Beyond that and the fact that both votes have given Brad’s alliance control of the rest of the game, there were a few key hints tonight to suggest that Brad’s winner’s edit remains strong. The first was when Michaela was speaking at tribal council in the first vote. In a fight to save herself she said the words “Do you look at who is a threat?”, to which the cameras zoomed in on Ozzy. But then when she said “Do you look at who is a strategic player?” the cameras focused in on Brad. Above anyone else with historic strategists like Cirie and Aubry on this season, Brad was the one to be shown as the strategic one in the most simplest manner.

The second hint was that before tribal council we were given Brad’s opinion on how much the vote mattered not for right now but for the rest of this game. Brad denoted “It’s going to be a crazy tribal because it could very well dictate the rest of this season”. While everyone else was scrambling to play the game for the short-term, Brad was speaking about the game from a long-term perspective, something that only Sarah Lacina and Zeke Smith had in common with him this episode. While Zeke’s talk of the future state of the game still revolved around himself, Brad’s was very generic in just saying how key it was going to be in shaping how the season played out. This suggests that he is the one that is to benefit from this vote the most in the long-term. Sarah agreed with this sentiment by saying “A line will be drawn in the sand this vote”. Judging by the previews, she seems ready to flip over to Brad and Sierra’s side, recognizing that the direction of the game is heading Brad and Sierra’s way. So again the fact that Brad’s side has come out on both votes tonight and two different contestants were shown speaking of how important it was to come out on top of that second vote, suggests that Brad’s group is going to run the tables until the end of the game. To take it one step further, because Brad has been shown in the most positive light on that group throughout and has been given subtle hints along the way that he could be the winner, suggests to me that he has to be the winner of Survivor Game Changers.

Quote of the Week
Image result for cirie fields survivor game changers

There were plenty of great quotes tonight. From Zeke talking about amassing a group of snipers to Andrea’s pretty hilarious voting confessional directed back at Zeke, this episode had plenty of noteworthy words of wisdom. But I still love this one from Cirie the best.

“You can’t win the war unless you have a sufficient army and if Michaela goes home that’s one less person that I can count on” – Cirie before taking control of the game and saving Michaela.

Player of the Week 

Image result for cirie fields survivor game changers

For her amazing sociability and strategic awareness in bringing in Michaela as a number, Cirie Fields is this week’s Player of the Week! Sierra and Brad originally had the intent on sending Michaela home but wanted to split the vote between her and Hali. Somewhere along the line, things switched around and Hali became the primary target. This is evident by the fact that the four to vote for Michaela, were the four that were involved in the discussion to keep her, including Cirie herself. So how much of an impact Cirie had in actually changing the vote around is a bit unclear but regardless, her ability to recognize the Millennials vs. Gen X player as a number she could use in the game and then completely win her over to her side was amazing to watch. This was just classic Cirie and she completely won over Michaela in a way where the Texan is now only in her corner and nobody else’s. Michaela even said in the second hour “If I’m going to be on team Cirie, that’s fine with me!”. This highlights how excellent of a job Cirie did in pulling in what could be a very necessary tool for her in the game. Then in telling Michaela to vote for Zeke, she ensures that nobody knows that she was the one who changed things up. If she had told Michaela to vote for Hali, the other group would then be able to recognize that Michaela was given some kind of information by someone and has a friend in the game after all. Just all around brilliant play from Cirie and although she looks to be in a worse spot than she would have been had she just stuck with Brad’s group, Cirie Fields is this week’s Player of the Week!

Next Time On Survivor 

Next time on Survivor “The gloves are off and an alliance seems invisible”. It seems as though in winning this vote, Brad and Sierra might have won over Sarah Lacina in the process but the others may be slow to realize that. Meanwhile, Andrea leaves us with the quote “Will I ever trust Zeke again” calling into question whether that once so powerful Tavua group has any shot at ever being repaired again.

Brad proclaimed in this episode “It’s going to be a crazy tribal because it could very well dictate the rest of this season”. And now after winning two votes in a row, Brad’s group seems to be in a great position moving forward. Will this be the crazy tribal that decides the rest of the season? Quite possibly, it really could be. I cannot wait to see whether or not this statement from Brad turns true and continue to cover it all for you right here on The Mastermind.

Conclusion 

Tonight’s episode of Survivor Game Changers was absolutely on fire. Both votes had plenty of twists and turns and so many players emerged with complex strategies and interesting game moves that there really is just so much to dissect from this episode. It also brings great promise to what could be coming as the season enters its final stages and a lackluster pre-merge gets left behind. It was a whole lot of fun and I can’t wait to see how next episode plays out. Thanks for reading and I will see you next time!

Don’t forget to check out Why Hali Was Voted Out and Why Ozzy Lusth Was Voted OutSee you soon!

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2 thoughts on “Survivor Game Changers Episode 7 “There’s A New Sheriff In Town” Recap, Edgic and Analysis

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