Tribe swaps can make or break a person’s future in the game of Survivor. Someone could be riding high and controlling the game one minute, but after a surprising announcement by Jeff Probst, they could be switched to another group with no hope of winning. We’ve seen this time and time again every season. Usually these twists happen after a few people have been voted out. But in Survivor: Game Changers, we got it in the second episode.
I love a good tribe swap. It shakes things up and keeps these players on their toes to think strategically and about their futures in the game. During Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, it caused the once powerful group in the Millennials tribe to be splintered and gave hope to the Gen X-ers. This time around it merely helped some castaways make new connections, and helped one group who were suffering during the challenges. Even though it’s only the second episode of the season, this twist was already needed. And having the castaways split into three tribes is a good touch for opening up the possibilities of new alliances.
The three tribes twist began in Survivor: Pearl Islands when the former voted out castaways came back for a chance at returning to the game. They were pissed off, they were angry, and they wanted revenge! Suffice it say, they got it. It added some much needed drama to the first third of the season. The problem this time, however, is that fate threw a cold cruel hand to the castaways. The balance of castaways on each tribe doesn’t add up for a successful shift. Each of the three new tribes consists with a majority of players from one tribe, while one or two of the other castaways were picked from a second tribe. To put this into perspective: the numbers are 4 vs. 2, 5 vs. 1, and 5 vs. 1. The odds don’t look great for those odd numbers out.
It’s almost expected that the majority alliances within each tribe will turn against the others. Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, however, went against this rule and shifted back-and-forth by targeting outsiders and former tribe members based on who they needed to get out. I love when Survivor does that! We as viewers want to be kept at the edge of our seats and not knowing where the vote will go is one of those ways. Fate determines how the season will play out, and we will only have to wait to see if these big alliances will start to turn against each other.
The segment featuring the Nuku tribe debating whether to kill the goat mama/baby was a great scene. Kudos to the Survivor editors for throwing this in! It showed the mindset of the players on that tribe. While most people (like Malcolm or J.T.) couldn’t bring themselves to kill the goats, Sandra wanted to get it done to eat her food. This is why Sandra is a two-time winner and a major threat – she doesn’t care; she will do whatever she wants to get whatever she wants. While J.T. is a winner, he has compassion and it’s why he got blindsided by Russell in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. I’m not saying compassion is bad; in fact, I side with J.T. (I could never kill the goat). But as a winner, he needs to get back into the cutthroat mindset if he even wants a shot at winning the game.
This week’s challenge followed the same Survivor rule of obstacle course and puzzle. It’s no different from what we’ve seen before. On the other hand, the three players being tied together for the first part of the challenge was a fun new addition. Having the hidden immunity idol located at the challenge is a great twist. Finding these idols shouldn’t be too easy or simply; I like that it’s a risk for the castaways and they have to have an internal struggle if they want to risk reaching for it or not. Though, it can pay off. (Just ask Kelly Wentworth.)
As mentioned above with the tribe swap, the imbalance of tribe numbers led the discussion for who would go home this week at Tribal Council. Am I surprised Caleb was the one to go? Yes. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a HUGE physical threat and his friendship with Tai could’ve been a problem later on. However, we’re only in the third round here (second episode overall) and the tribe challenge will determine who goes to Tribal Council. I would’ve guessed they would go with keeping a physical player instead. I was wrong.
Though, bravo to Hali! Even though the majority alliance determined who would go, she eloquently proved why she should stay over Caleb. She wasn’t loud, obnoxious or kept hammering it in why she should stay. She debated in a calm manner and made her point effortlessly. My gut is still telling me that she won’t win the game, but she did win me over a bit. I hope she at least makes it to jury.
The second episode of Survivor: Game Changers didn’t offer too many surprises. It shook up the game by making these players switch tribes (which we’ve come to expect) and it gave us a deeper look into these new groups. I feel like this may be the calm before the storm; this was the resting phase after last week’s drama-filled season premiere. Though, would it be wrong for me to already hope that someone betrays their old alliance or another tribe swap happens? A guy can dream…