Each week, friend and Survivor expert Scoofy will guest post his player recaps. In these recaps, Scoof will take a look at what we learned from the episode about each player through two different lenses: their gameplay and their narrative. Gameplay will focus specifically on moves they make (or didn’t make) while narrative will revolve around their place in the season’s story.
Here’s Episode 2.
Gameplay: Cirie was shown in this episode realizing that she might be on the bottom of the tribe and trying a few different tactics on a few different contestants to try and turn the tides. She first took Sarah aside and tried the “I won’t vote for you until I vote you to win” to which Sarah agreed. Then Cirie sat next to Zeke and complimented Zeke telling him she hopes he works with her, to which he says he would never turn on her. Then Cirie approached Debbie and told her that people are saying she’s talking to everyone and suggested to Debbie that they start a quiet revolution against the guys, to which Debbie seemed to agree. However in each case, each person has a confessional where they tell us at home that they are just telling Cirie what she wants to hear but they don’t intend to work with her.
Narrative: Cirie’s story in this episode is that she realizes she’s on the bottom of the tribe and on the outside of the alliances. She tries to pull Sarah aside but Sarah tells in confessional that she is willing to vote out Cirie if everyone else is. Then she pulls Zeke aside and Zeke says he’d never turn on Cirie but Zeke tells in confessional that it isn’t good for his game to align with someone that everyone else is gunning for. Then she pulls Debbie aside and tries to form a girls alliance against the men but Debbie tells in confessional that her BS detector is going off and she doesn’t believe what Cirie is saying and that Cirie is on the bottom. Cirie’s story is that she is clearly the first boot on the Mana tribe, should they lose the challenge.
Gameplay: Debbie has a small bit of gameplay shown in this episode where Cirie approaches her to tell her that people are saying that they noticed she (Debbie) is talking to everyone, which Debbie does not believe. Then Cirie tries to start up an underground girls alliance against the men. Debbie says in confessional that she doesn’t believe Cirie and points out that Cirie is on the bottom of the tribe which suggests that Debbie is at least in the know enough to know that Cirie is going home next.
Narrative: Debbie’s story this episode involves telling us in confessional that Tai protecting the chickens is sketchy and that soon those chickens will look like angus beef. Afterwards, Debbie has a moment where Cirie tries to give her advice, which Debbie calls “counterintelligence”, and tries to form an alliance with Debbie. Debbie is totally uninterested. While Cirie may be lying to Debbie, Debbie is being shown here to have a great deal of sticktoitiveness and stubbornness that her reads are the correct reads and everyone else’s is wrong.
Gameplay: JT tells Ozzy that he trusts him 100% and they agree that they don’t think they need to worry about going home anytime soon.
Narrative: JT’s short story in this episode is a brief moment where he forms an alliance with Ozzy where they agree that they trust each other and don’t feel like they are going home any time soon. This was shown as a moment to ignite Cirie’s awareness that she is on the bottom and that JT is in the majority with Ozzy and against Cirie.
Gameplay: Ozzy tells JT that he trusts him and they agree that they don’t think they need to worry about going home anytime soon.
Narrative: Ozzy’s story in this episode is pretty short as well. He is shown forming a pact with JT while Cirie in confessionals tells us that JT and Ozzy are very close, and that she realizes she has her work cut out for her if she wants to make it through this round, since Ozzy and JT appear to be in the majority.
Gameplay: Sarah is approached by Cirie for an alliance and says she won’t write Sarah’s name down. Sarah agrees to this alliance but then in confessional tells us that she is willing to vote Cirie out if that is what everyone is doing and that she is willing to lie in this game.
Narrative: Sarah’s story here is that she accepted an alliance with Cirie but then immediately in confessionals told her that she doesn’t care about making deals. She reminds us that in Cagayan, she refused to go back on her word and tells us that is no longer the case in this season, that her word is not bond anymore.
Gameplay: Tai is shown wanting to give more food to the chickens which annoys the other tribemates, most notably JT and Debbie.
Narrative: Tai’s narrative in episode 2 is that his role as the protector of animals and guardian of the chickens is not as accepted this time around. JT voices concern that they are eating less food each day than Tai is feeding the chickens and mentions that people are looking for a reason to send someone home, and this could be Tai’s reason. Debbie also chimes into mention that Tai is a bit sketchy with the chickens and that sooner or later, the chickens are going to look like angus beef and they won’t be willing to keep the chickens alive for Tai’s benefit.
Gameplay: Zeke in this episode had a small amount of gameplay when Cirie tried talking to him about their alliance. Zeke mentions that he won’t turn on Cirie but then says in confessionals that Cirie is a very strong player in the game and that he doesn’t think it is good for his game to align with someone that everyone else is gunning for. This suggests that Zeke is in the know enough to at least know that everyone is targeting Cirie.
Narrative: Zeke was shown to once again be a superfan of the game who is giddy to be with these big Survivor legends. While he told Cirie he would never turn on her, he stated in confessional that Cirie is one of the best and while he would love to work with her, he is not going to throw away his game to align with her while everyone else is targeting her. This suggests that Zeke is willing and eager to show that he isn’t just an awe-struck fanboy.
Gameplay: Aubry in this episode was approached by Tony to form an “all-threats” alliance along with Malcolm, Sandra and Caleb. She is on board with this plan until the plan goes haywire, where she then jumps ship and votes for Tony. In the meantime, however, Aubry is shown to have been close with Tony and was the split-vote option for the opposing alliance, even getting Aubry two votes against in the process.
Narrative: Aubry is shown in this episode as one of the threats that Tony wants to be in an alliance with. She is shown to be totally on board with the plan, mentioning the benefits of being in such an alliance. However, after Sandra and Tony have their confrontation, Aubry asks Tony if he and Sandra are still good and he says no. Afterwards, we don’t really see Aubry’s take on the game until we see that she has voted for Tony. We did however hear from Sandra that Aubry is the candidate to receive votes in a vote split because of how close she is with Tony, which nets her a vote from Sandra and a vote from Tony.
Gameplay: Caleb is included in Tony’s all-threats alliance along with Malcolm, Aubry and Sandra. He is shown throughout this episode to want to keep the tribe strong and is shown as being very pro-Tony. At one point, Caleb is campaigning on Tony’s behalf to Michaela and Jeff, suggesting that Sandra has not been good in challenges and if they want to win, they need to cut bait and move forward. He is also shown as having a close tie to Malcolm where they discussed the pros and cons of who to vote for, unlatching himself from Tony’s side and attaching himself to Malcolm’s hip. He eventually turns on Tony and votes him out.
Narrative: In the previous episode, it is suggested that Caleb is Tony’s right hand man to the point that Ciera suggests voting out Caleb if Tony has an idol. Caleb was included in the all-threats alliance for being strong in challenges and shows throughout this episode how pro-challenge strength he is. Contrary to last episode, in this episode it seems like Caleb is actually Malcolm’s right hand man, abandoning ship on the sinking Team Tony.
Gameplay: Hali is shown in this episode to being the first person outside of the all-threats alliance that Sandra blows the alliance up to. Hali later tries to flip Caleb to their side after Sandra suggests they need two more votes so they can safely split the vote. Because Caleb and Malcolm ultimately voted Tony out, Hali may have been the one to convince them that their efforts are futile and they should stick with the numbers on this one.
Narrative: Hali doesn’t really have much of a story in this episode outside of gameplay. She learns that Tony wants an alliance that doesn’t include her which puts her into the counter-alliance. She becomes a cog in the machine as she tries to persuade Caleb to abandon his alliance with Tony to join their alliance.
Gameplay: Jeff learns that he is not part of the all-threats alliance from Sandra and as a result becomes a part of the counter-alliance. However, later in the episodewhen Caleb tries to pull Michaela over to his side, Jeff is there as well and gives a confessional mentioning how they (he and whoever he is voting with) get to sit back and let the two winners battle it out and how they get to choose which one to side with. This suggests that Jeff has positioned himself in the middle of the tribe, able to work with whoever he wants.
Narrative: Jeff’s story this episode includes a very odd and terrible performance in the challenge. He also learned that there is a proposed majority alliance that he is not a part of. These two things combined with an immunity challenge loss would normally be a death sentence. However, during the Sandra versus Tony battle, while Jeff was brought into the counter-alliance by Sandra, he has a confessional where he mentions they are able to sit back and watch the two winners fight it out and choose which one to go with.
Gameplay: Malcolm was brought into the all-threats alliance along with Sandra, Tony, Caleb and Aubry. After things are broken down among the alliance, Malcolm sides with Tony and expresses his concerns about Sandra to both Tony and then later to Caleb. It’s shown in this episode that Caleb has replaced detached himself from Tony and attached himself to Malcolm. While Malcolm stresses the importance of challenge strength, he ultimately caves and sticks with the numbers to boot out Tony.
Narrative: Malcolm in this episode was shown as being part of the all-threats alliance. After the alliance falls apart, Malcolm is shown as the voice of reason both telling us in confessionals and stressing to Tony and Caleb the importance of challenge strength which is especially pertinent after Malcolm carried the tribe and almost brought them back from sure defeat. Ultimately, Malcolm and his new sidekick Caleb sided with the numbers and booted Tony.
Gameplay: Michaela was made aware of the all-threats alliance and as a result was brought into the counter-alliance. However, due to her single-minded stance that they should focus on challenge strength above all else, she became a swing vote between the two alliances. Despite this, Michaela ultimately joined the rest of the alliance in voting out Tony.
Narrative: Michaela’s story in this episode is that she hates losing and will do whatever it takes to avoid losing – except for joining the alliance that wants to vote out someone who is weak in challenges in order to help them win.
Gameplay: Sandra was brought into the all-threats alliance with Tony, Aubry, Caleb and Malcolm. She had a chat with Tony where they discussed that the only way a winner was going to win again was if there was another winner with them at the end. She agreed that, along as their interests aligned, working together was beneficial. Later, she was having a 4AM chat with Troyzan when Tony overheard and barged in. Instead of being honest with Tony, she lied to him which caused him to doubt her which caused her to get tired of him. This resulted in the end of the all-threats alliance and the beginning of the Tony versus Sandra war. In response to now being against Tony, Sandra quickly rallied the counter-alliance – of Hali, Jeff, Troyzan and Michaela – to band together against Tony. Her alliance ultimately won out including bringing Malcolm, Caleb and Aubry aboard. Sandra voted for Aubry in case Tony played an idol which might be something to pay attention to.
Narrative: This whole episode revolved around Sandra and Tony. First they were working together. But then she had late night chat with Troyzan, got caught by Tony and lied to Tony about it which caused all of their plans to unravel. Sandra put herself in the swing position and turned things around by rallying the people on the outside of the alliance against Tony. While there was some question about whether to side with Tony and get rid of Sandra to focus on challenge strength, Sandra ultimately won out in the battle of the two winners and was able to bring aboard all members of the all-threats alliance except for Tony and escaped tribal council without even getting one vote against her. Despite this, Sandra’s efforts to get rid of Tony put herself on the radar and in the spotlight strategically, something she ordinarily tries to avoid.
Gameplay: After Ciera went home in a unanimous vote, Tony got anxious and tried to get ahead of the curve by creating an all-threats alliance with Aubry, Malcolm, Caleb and Sandra. Things were going well. He and Sandra both agreed that the only way a winner would win in the end was if they were with another winner. Things were still going well. Then Tony was out in his spy bunker doing Tony things when Sandra and Troyzan went out for a late night chat and mentioned Tony’s name. Tony overheard this, approached Sandra and Troyzan and they gave him crap lies. Being allied with Sandra, Tony expected Sandra to be honest with him. Because she lied, Tony became doubtful of Sandra. Meanwhile, because Tony confronted Sandra, Sandra lost trust in Tony. As a result, the all-threats alliance died. Sandra formed a counter-coalition with the outsiders against Tony. While he made attempts to keep the rest of the alliance together and to bring Michaela in, focusing on challenge strength and how good at the game Sandra is, it was not enough and Tony ultimately went home.
Narrative: Tony Vlachos cannot refrain from playing the game at 100 miles per hour, including at night time. He does not sleep, he just lingers around the camp until he decides to go elsewhere to work on one of his other projects. Tony’s game often has some good things and then he ruins them by doing something dumb. In this case, Tony was able to form an alliance with the strongest members of the tribe in an all-threats alliance that included Aubry, Malcolm, Caleb and Sandra. This was a majority of the tribe and would’ve brought them to a tribe swap and would have been formidable should they have lasted to the merge and joined back together. Tony and Sandra also agreed to work together since they both realized a winner won’t win again unless another winner is there at the end. This was all good. However, Tony being Tony, he had to go try out his spy bunker. While crawling around, Tony overheard Troyzan and Sandra having a late night chat that included his name. When he confronted them, they lied to him. Tony became suspicious of Sandra and Sandra didn’t like being confronted, causing the short-lived all-threats group and alliance with Sandra to both come to and end. As a result of both feeling disrespected and targeted, they both decided to target each other. Tony with his group of threats minus Sandra and Sandra with the rest. After trying to swing Michaela over to their side by pushing challenge strength, Michaela’s #1 most preferred trait in Survivor, Tony’s chances deflated when Malcolm, Aubry and Caleb switched sides. After catching wind of a split vote plan, Tony decided to throw crap at the wall hoping for a hail mary but it was not enough and he ended up going home.
Gameplay: Troyzan unwittingly played a key role in Tony’s demise as he and Sandra went out for a walk to talk game, which is when Tony barged in and asked what they were talking about. Instead of telling the truth, Troyzan and Sandra both lied to Tony which caused Tony to doubt Sandra which caused the all-threats alliance to crumble. Troyzan was later made aware of the all-threats alliance and as a result became a member of the counter-alliance. He was also seen joining Hali in trying to convince Caleb to switch sides.
Narrative: Troyzan’s story so far has basically been to destroy Tony – both intentionally and unintentionally, directly and indirectly. In episode 1, Troyzan catches Tony digging around in the dirt by the water well and tells everyone, causing people to become wary of Tony. In episode 2, Troyzan has a 4AM chat with Sandra near where Tony had been hiding and then, when confronted, lies to Tony about what they were talking about which caused a chain of events that included Tony becoming wary of Sandra and Sandra getting turned off Tony, the all-threats alliance crumbling, and Tony and Sandra targeting each other.