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.
Gameplay: Andrea was swapped into the new Tavua tribe along with four allies and Troyzan. At one point, Troyzan approached Andrea and asked her if he had the plague, referencing how he feels he is on the outs. Andrea responded with a pageant, political answer and told Troy he doesn’t have the plague but she doesn’t know what the others are doing, to make him feel comfortable. Troyzan told us in confessional that he saw straight through her response and said that she is “not as clever as she thinks she is”. With an idol now in his pocket, that interaction could have swayed Troyzan to target Andrea over other Tavaus.
Narrative: Andrea’s story in this episode was basically that she was swapped into the new Tavua tribe and her interaction with Troyzan. Andrea was trying to give Troyzan the “right thing to say” but, in doing so, annoyed Troyzan. In One World, Troyzan was duped by Kim Spradlin and the other women. Troyzan could see flashbacks of Kim in Andrea that could cause him to try to nip that thorn in the bud before it bites him in the ass this time.
Gameplay: Cirie was swapped into the new Tavua tribe along with four former Nuku tribemates and Troyzan. Cirie, fully aware of her position at the bottom of the old Nuku tribe, decided to reach out to Ozzy once again to form an alliance. This time, Ozzy agreed and seems to mean it. Cirie also has Zeke and Sarah, both of whom Cirie approached in the previous episode for an alliance. Both players told Cirie they were with her but then in confessionals said they weren’t willing to blow up their game for Cirie. Without needing to show their hand last round, Sarah and Zeke should both be able to comfortably slide into Cirie’s alliance, putting Cirie in the prime position on this Tavau tribe.
Narrative: Cirie’s story in the previous two episodes was her rivalry with Ozzy and how Ozzy wanted to take her out and also that Cirie was on the bottom of her tribe with barely anyone – if anyone at all – willing to work with her. Here in episode 3, both of those things have flipped from negatives to positives for Cirie. Cirie and Ozzy have agreed to work together in this Tavau tribe, recognizing they need each other if they both want to survive this new, smaller tribe. Cirie also is reunited with Sarah and Zeke, both of whom showed interest in working with Cirie in episode 2 but were unwilling to risk their own games for Cirie. Now, in a new tribe, they can align with Cirie without risking their game.
Gameplay: Ozzy swapped onto the new Tavau tribe with four former Nuku tribemates and Troyzan. On the new tribe, Cirie approached Ozzy to once again try to bury the hatchet. This time, Ozzy recognized that having Cirie on his side can only be a good thing and that they might need each other. Ozzy also acknowledged that, as a veteran and jungle boy, he has a lot to offer to this tribe and that as long as he continues to provide for them, he will be invaluable to their survival and they will want to keep him longer.
Narrative: Ozzy’s story so far has revolved around Cirie and his rivalry with her. On Nuku, Ozzy gave an unenthusiastic “hell yeah” when Cirie asked if they were good and then went around trying to rally troops to get rid of Cirie. On this new tribe, it seems that both of them want to join forces and work together to both survive this stage of the game.
Gameplay: Sarah was swapped to the new Tavau tribe with four former Nuku tribemates and Troyzan. While we didn’t see Sarah much at all during the episode, we can use apply what we learned in episode 2 for Sarah’s gameplay. In episode 2, Cirie approached Sarah for an alliance and Sarah told Cirie she was good with it and then told us in confessional she was willing to vote Cirie out anyway. Because she never needed to betray Cirie, Cirie doesn’t know how willing Sarah was to vote her out. Now, Sarah can align with Cirie as if nothing had ever happened – because nothing ever happened.
Narrative: Sarah didn’t have very much airtime in this episode. Her story in episode 2 of being approached by Cirie and telling us in confessional that she is willing to turn on Cirie extends here to episode 3. While willing to betray Cirie, she never had to show her hand and so she is able to continue to work with Cirie oblivious to what Sarah is willing to do.
Gameplay: Like Sarah, we didn’t see much of Zeke in this episode. But, in episode 2, Zeke was shown to have been approached by Cirie to form an alliance. Zeke told Cirie he was in on the alliance but then told us in confessionals that he wasn’t willing to throw away his game for someone everyone is gunning for. Because the tribes have swapped, Cirie is no longer at the bottom and Zeke is now able to work with Cirie, oblivious to the fact that Zeke is not fully committed to working with her.
Narrative: Zeke didn’t have a lot of airtime in this episode aside from having two more “fanboy” moments where he enthusiastically yelled that the tribes were swapping and that he was letting “the gods” choose his buff for him. In addition, again like Sarah, while Zeke wasn’t explicitly shown to do this, we can extend his story from episode 2 as a setup here for episode 3. In episode 2, Cirie approached Zeke for an alliance where Zeke told Cirie he would work with her but then in confessional told us that, while he loves Cirie, he isn’t willing to throw away his game for her. Now he’s able to work with her without having had to show Cirie that he was lying to her face and willing to vote her out.
Gameplay: Troyzan was swapped onto the new Tavau as the lone former Mana along with five former Nuku. He realized he was on the outs and asked Andrea if he had the plague because no one was talking to him. Andrea gave him political answer to make him feel comfortable but Troyzan saw right through it. Realizing he was on the bottom with no chance of cracking the Nuku alliance, Troyzan set out to find the idol and found an idol clue with instructions of where to find the clue during the challenge. Troyzan then found the clue during the challenge.
Narrative: Troyzan’s story in this episode was being swapped onto a tribe with five people from the opposing tribe and how he plans to get out of it. Troyzan cited his age, experience and intuition as reasons why he knew he was on the outs and that people (specifically Andrea) were lying to him, and that he needed to find an idol to save himself. When Troy approached Andrea to ask her about his position in the tribe and if he “has the plague”, Andrea lied to him and gave him some political, pageant answer which Troyzan saw straight through. Troyzan then said that Andrea “thinks she is more clever than she really is”. This perception of Andrea is interesting because Troyzan played with and got duped by Kim in One World. Troyzan may have learned his lesson in One World that just because people are telling you that you are fine, does not mean that you are actually fine. Andrea thought she could pull one over on Troyzan to make him feel comfortable but, instead, she only probably reminded of Kim Spradlin and moves he wished he made in his previous season. Also, a teary-eyed Troyzan found an idol clue when he realizes that having the idol will keep him alive in this game. Troy then found the idol during the challenge.
Gameplay: JT was swapped to the Nuku tribe along with five former Mana. JT, realizing he needed a plan to give himself time to look for an idol, took the tribe out to sea on their raft. JT intentionally left his pliers back at camp so that he could have an excuse to leave them out at sea. When Malcolm bent the fishing spear, JT swam back to camp to “get the pliers” but instead spent a lot of time looking for an idol, to no avail. The rest of the tribe noticed JT’s extended absence and realized he’s probably looking for an idol. Also, JT stated that he thought Sandra was running the show among his new tribemates from Mana. When Sandra mentioned she wanted to eat some goat, JT set out to catch a goat to curry with Sandra. After catching two goats, the tribe decided it was best to let them go.
Narrative: JT’s story here in episode 3 revolved around how he was going to get himself out of this 5-1 rut, even having a confessional where he mentioned that the Survivor gods let him down. JT came up with a plan to bring the other tribemates out to sea to snorkel and then ditch them there so he could search for an idol. While he was able to unsuccessfully search for a while, the rest of the tribe caught on and realized what JT was doing. Later, Sandra wanted some goats. JT wanted to get in Sandra’s good graces so he and Malcolm went out to catch some goats. They managed to catch a baby and momma goat. After some deliberation, the tribe (minus Sandra) decided that they could not kill a baby goat nor that baby goat’s mother goat.
Gameplay: We didn’t see much of Aubry at all in this episode so this will just be an update of Aubry’s status in the new tribe. Aubry was swapped to the Nuku tribe along with four former Mana tribemates and JT. On her previous tribe, Aubry was the split-vote candidate and was thought to be on the outs due to being close to Tony. Being swapped along with Malcolm, Sandra, Michaela and Jeff, Aubry was shown to have a working relationship with only Malcolm so perhaps Aubry is on the bottom of the old Mana on new Nuku.
Narrative: Aubry was barely present in this episode. Aside from being swapped along with four tribemates to the new Nuku tribe and having two brief appearances pointing out that JT was probably searching for the idol and trying to help catch the goat. During the episode, JT brought the whole tribe out to sea to snorkel and then left them there to search for the idol. Later, Aubry, along with her tribe, deliberated killing and eating the two goats that JT and Malcolm caught: a baby goat and a momma goat. While Sandra wanted to kill the goats to eat, the rest of the tribe ultimately decided that they were not willing to kill either of these two goats.
Gameplay: Jeff was swapped to the new Nuku tribe along with four former Mana tribemates and JT. After JT brought the tribe out to sea and left them to search for the idol, Jeff and the rest of the tribe realized that JT was probably looking for an idol. Jeff in confessional told us that he was impressed with the ingenuity behind JT’s plan to ditch them but also stated that it doesn’t matter because they have the majority 5-1 and JT is screwed. Later, when the tribe was deliberating eating goats, Jeff showed hesitance to be the one to stand out by making the call to not kill the goats but also showed great reluctance in wanting to kill them. Ultimately, the tribe decided not to kill the goats.
Narrative: Jeff had an interesting confessional worth noting where he said “whatever I’m dealt with, I’m going to make the best of it”. After Jeff was swapped to his new tribe on Nuku beach, he and Malcolm had a moment where they were in awe over the stark contrast between their new Nuku camp and their old Mana camp, mentioning how luxurious the new Nuku camp is. Their camplife observations could prove to be a metaphor for their games: on Mana, they lost twice and had a hectic last round with a war between Tony and Sandra; on Nuku, they have a 5-1 advantage so they can relax and be comfortable until they lose and need to vote out JT. Then, JT took the tribe out to sea to snorkel and left them there to search for the idol. Jeff pointed out that, while JT is gone, it feels like the Mana tribe had moved in and taken over the old Nuku’s camp, which again could foreshadow the future dynamic if JT is to be eliminated. Then, Jeff had a confessional where he noted the brilliance of JT leaving the tribe out at sea to look for the idol and mentioned that it’s not going to matter because they have a 5-1 majority and that JT is screwed. Later on the episode, after JT and Malcolm caught a baby goat and its momma goat, Jeff showed hesitance to be the one to stand out by making the call to not kill the goats but also showed great reluctance in wanting to kill them. Ultimately, the tribe decided not to kill the goats.
Gameplay: Malcolm was swapped onto the new Nuku tribe along with four former Mana members and JT. Out at sea after JT brought the tribe out snorkeling, Malcolm bent the spear which allowed JT to swim back to camp to “get pliers” and search for the idol. While he was gone, the rest of the tribe had the opportunity to bond out at sea and get used to what camplife would be like without JT, as well as to notice that JT was definitely out searching for an idol. Later on in the episode, Malcolm and JT were able to catch a baby goat and its momma goat because Sandra was hungry and she wanted them to catch a goat. Like the rest of the tribe, Malcolm showed hesitance in both killing the goats and also in being the one to tell Sandra that they didn’t want to eat the goats, fearing being put on Sandra’s blacklist for being the one to prevent her from eating goat meat.
Narrative: After Malcolm was swapped to his new tribe on Nuku beach, he and Jeff had a moment where they were in awe over the stark contrast between their new Nuku camp and their old Mana camp, mentioning how luxurious the new Nuku camp is. Their camplife observations could prove to be a metaphor for their games: on Mana, they lost twice and had a hectic last round with a war between Tony and Sandra; on Nuku, they have a 5-1 advantage so they can relax and be comfortable until after they lose and boot the easy vote JT out of the tribe. Later in the episode, Malcolm and JT caught a baby and a momma goat. During this scene, Malcolm had a couple of confessionals where he mentioned that he didn’t want to be the person on Survivor to kill a baby goat or abandon a baby goat by killing its mother goat. He also noted how Sandra doesn’t give a damn and wants to eat the goat, but stated that it was ultimately an easy decision because they have a heart and let the goats go.
Gameplay: There wasn’t much to mention for Michaela’s gameplay this episode aside from the fact that she swapped to the Nuku tribe along with four former Mana and JT. She was present on the raft when they realized JT was probably searching for the idol and she was present when the tribe was deciding whether or not to kill the goats which, while both could have an effect on Michaela’s game, didn’t leave much to speak of specifically for Michaela.
Narrative: Michaela story in this episode was pushed to the background of the Nuku tribe. JT got the main focus for being on the outs while Jeff and Malcolm got the narrator roles for this episode. Michaela was “just there” while they were out at sea on the raft while JT ditched them to look for an idol and she was “just there” during the contemplation over whether or not to kill the baby goats. Michaela did have an interesting confessional where she pointed out that Sandra doesn’t care about killing the goats and that the goats were just food in Sandra’s mind, and then reminding us at home that Sandra was a villain for a reason.
Gameplay: Sandra went into the tribe swap after having just successfully rallied troops to send Tony home. Fortunately for Sandra, she was swapped to a 5-1 advantage on new Nuku with four of her former Mana tribemates and JT. She was present on the raft when they realized JT was probably searching for the idol. Much ado was made about Sandra wanting to eat some of the goats. Because Sandra was seen as being the woman in charge, JT and Malcolm went out and caught two goats: a baby goat and a momma goat. While Sandra made it very known she wanted to eat the goats, the other tribemates agreed that they should let the two goats go. While Sandra was outspoken about her preferences, the rest of the tribe was nervous about letting their feelings known in fear that it would upset Sandra which is noteworthy.
Narrative: Sandra got the first episode of the episode where she mentioned that she was leading the sheep to slaughter in regard to the tribe dynamic on the Mana tribe pre-swap. This is an interesting quote because later in the episode, Sandra was very outspoken about her desire to kill and eat the goats that JT and Malcolm had caught. Sandra wanting to eat the goat also presented an opportunity for JT to try and get in her good graces which led to the goats being captured to begin with. While Sandra was being very vocal that she wanted to eat the goats and didn’t care that it was a baby or a mom goat, the rest of the tribe was apprehensive to kill them and also to make their apprehension known to Sandra in fear that she’d get mad at them. Sandra’s story in this episode revolved around her position in her old tribe, metaphorically leading the sheep to slaughter, and wanting to physically kill and eat some goat.
Gameplay: Brad was swapped onto the new Mana tribe along with three former Nuku members, as well as Caleb and Hali from the original Mana tribe. Brad was safely involved in a four-person alliance from the old Nuku tribe along with known-to-us ally Sierra, Debbie and Tai. Back at camp, Tai was trying to get his good buddy Caleb into the alliance and vote Hali out. Then Tai was trying to convince Brad that Caleb should fall later in the pecking order and should be voted out after Hali and Debbie. Later on in the episode, Brad realized that if Caleb, Debbie and Tai are aligned as a Kaoh Rong trio, and if Hali gets voted out, the KR-trio has a 3-2 majority over him and Sierra. Because of this, Brad wanted to make sure he was aligned closer to Tai and to Debbie than either of them were to each other, and to vote out Caleb to make sure Tai is with him and not with Caleb. However, to prevent himself from being seen as the chief decision maker, Brad approached Tai and planted a lot of seeds that it would be in his best interest long-term if Caleb weren’t around. Brad was able to convince Tai that it was the correct move and made Tai feel like it was his decision and that the decision wasn’t being made for him. In the end, Brad was able to get what he wanted with very little blood on his hands.
Narrative: Brad’s first confessional this episode was spent talking about how he likes antiquing and decorating the camp to feel like home and talking about how much fun he is having. This scene came shortly after Malcolm and Jeff complimented the old Nuku beach for being so well set up and decorated that it felt luxurious. Outside of that, Brad’s main story in this episode was his role in turning Tai against Caleb. At first, Brad was content to let Tai do the playing for the alliance. However, as time went on and as Tai was trying to push Caleb down the pecking order, now after Hali and after Debbie, Brad started to become concerned. Brad realized that if the Kaoh Rong trio had some sort of an alliance, and if Hali were voted out, the trio would have a 3-2 majority over him and Sierra and he could go home. To act on this, Brad wanted to be closer to Debbie and to Tai than they were together and he wanted Caleb out of the picture. However, Brad didn’t want to be seen as the chief decision maker on the tribe and he wanted Tai to feel like he was the one making the decision so they spent some time on the beach having a conversation where Brad subtly planted a lot of seeds, telling Tai that it would make more sense in the big picture and long-term for Caleb to not be around any longer. Brad was not only able to convince Tai to vote out his good ally and good friend Caleb but he was also able to convince Tai that it was his own decision and it had not been decided for him, something Tai was known to take issue with in Kaoh Rong.
Gameplay: Debbie was swapped to the Mana tribe along with three former Nuku tribemates as well as Caleb and Hali from original Mana. Throughout this episode, Debbie was steadfast in her belief that the four former Nuku – herself, Brad, Sierra and Tai – were solid and would vote out one of Caleb or Hali. While Brad was concerned that Debbie, Caleb and Tai would form an alliance and take over the majority 3-2 over himself and Sierra, Debbie showed no interest in aligning with Caleb nor any reluctance to vote him out. Instead, Debbie also showed concern about Tai and Caleb’s relationship and how that would affect Tai’s status within her alliance.
Narrative: Debbie’s story in this episode was her hypothetical involvement in a Kaoh Rong trio alliance. Brad and Sierra were concerned that if Hali goes home, Debbie, Tai and Caleb could unite as a trio that played in the same team together and take over the majority of the tribe and potentially send Brad home. Debbie, however, told us in confessional that she has no interest in breaking apart from her alliance which she believes to be very strong and instead showed similar concerns with Brad and Sierra about how close Tai is to Caleb, and mentioned that previous relationships are something only a fool would discount. This is interesting because it shows she is concerned about Tai and Caleb but at the same time does not seem to be concerned about Sierra and Hali. In the end, Debbie’s alliance took the route that keeps Tai strong with them which was to vote out Caleb, despite Caleb being strong in challenges and Debbie’s infatuation with physical strength.
Gameplay: Sierra was swapped to the new Mana tribe along with Brad, Debbie and Tai from former Nuku along with Caleb and Hali from old Mana. We saw in a previous episode that Brad and Sierra were in an alliance so it is no surprise that they were once again in an alliance here in the Mana tribe. Sierra made it clear that she and Hali don’t have any sort of lasting relationship from their game in Worlds Apart. While she didn’t mind sending Hali home, Sierra was concerned at the strong relationship between Caleb and Tai. However, like Brad said, if they vote off Hali and the Kaoh Rong 3 become the majority, it is him and Sierra that are on the outs and on the chopping block.
Narrative: Sierra didn’t have much airtime in this episode. In what little airtime she did have, she mentioned that she and Hali have no relationship from Worlds Apart, disconnecting her from Hali. While she showed some concern herself, Sierra’s story in this episode is being Brad’s ally who will be on the outs should the Kaoh Rong trio of Caleb, Tai and Debbie get together if Hali is voted out.
Gameplay: Tai was swapped onto the Mana tribe with three former tribemates from Nuku as well as Hali and his good friend Caleb. Coming to a new tribe with a majority and a new friend, Tai was determined to ingratiate Caleb into his alliance with Brad, Sierra and Debbie. Tai was doing all that he could to push Caleb further down the pecking order as he could, to the degree that he would be voted off after Hali and after Debbie. However, Brad became concerned about the possible threat of the 3 Kaoh Rong players on the tribe uniting after Hali gets booted to form a 3-2 majority against him and Sierra. To account for this, Brad subtly planted a lot of seeds in Tai’s mind that perhaps it is better to get rid of Caleb in this round, rather than try convince him and make his motives transparent. Tai agreed with the points Brad was raising and, while Brad’s mind was already made up, made the official call that they would boot Caleb in this round.
Narrative: Tai’s story in this episode revolves around his relationship with Caleb and balancing that with the alliances and relationships he formed with the tribemates from Nuku that swapped with him to the new Mana tribe. The relationship between Caleb and Tai was very well-known among the cast. When the tribes were swapped and when Probst realized Tai and Caleb were on the same tribe, he called out their relationship in front of everyone. The two shared a sweet moment but that sweet moment proved to be threatening as no one wanted to allow someone to have such a public strong ally in the game. When they returned to Mana beach, Tai was already trying to reel Caleb into the alliance he had with Brad, Debbie and Sierra. Then, with Brad, Tai was trying to push Caleb down the pecking order to where he would be booted after Hali and after Debbie. However, despite Tai’s efforts, Brad became nervous about Caleb and Tai’s relationship and the potential relationship they had with Debbie where the Kaoh Rong trio would have the majority 3-2 over he and Sierra. Because of this, and because Brad didn’t want to appear to be the chief decision maker, Brad subtly convinced Tai that it was in their best interest to get rid of Caleb at this stage of the game, despite Caleb’s loyalty to Tai and Caleb’s strength in challenges. Tai’s story also extends back to Kaoh Rong where he was seen as wishy washy and prone to being convinced to do things he probably should not be doing. Once again, Tai was talked out of keeping a strong ally, this time Caleb, because someone else wanted to vote that person off.
Gameplay: Caleb was swapped into the Mana tribe with former tribemate Hali along with four new tribemates from the old Nuku tribe, immediately putting Caleb and Hali on the outs. However, Caleb was swapped on to a tribe with Tai, a strong ally and friend from when they played together in Kaoh Rong. Caleb didn’t do much in terms of gameplay, it was mostly Tai campaigning on his behalf. While Tai originally wanted Caleb to stay due to his loyalty, his friendship/relationship with Tai and his strength in challenges, Brad convinced Tai that his relationship with Caleb will turn Tai into a threat later in the game, and so Tai turned on Caleb and voted him out. In reality, Brad was afraid of the threat that having three former Kaoh Rong members – Caleb, Tai and Debbie – could pose to him and Sierra should they vote out Hali and give up the numbers majority to the KR3.
Narrative: Caleb’s story in this episode was how, while he and Hali were at a numerical disadvantage in this new tribe, he was reunited with his old buddy from Kaoh Rong, Tai, for the first time since Caleb was medevaced off the island. When they hit the mats of their new tribe, the two shared a moment in public where everyone could see that the two of them were very close. Upon returning to the Mana beach, Tai took the reins of making sure Caleb was integrated into this new Mana tribe. At first, Tai was doing a good job of pushing Caleb’s further down the pecking order. It was not until later that Brad had become concerned that Tai, Caleb and Debbie could form a majority against he and Sierra that would put the two of them on the outs, which meant they could not get rid of Hali and had to get rid of Caleb. Brad convinced Tai that it was a good idea to get rid of Caleb now, despite their friendship, because having Caleb around would make Tai a bigger threat down the line. Unfortunately for Caleb, Day 9 was also the day he was medevaced in Kaoh Rong and so he was eliminated from Survivor on Day 9 in both of his appearances.
Gameplay: Hali was swapped onto the new Mana tribe along with former tribemate Caleb and four former Nuku members. While Hali and Caleb were both on the outs together in a 4-2 numerical disadvantage, Caleb’s relationship with Tai and his strength in challenges made Hali the probable boot. However, when Brad realized that, if Hali is booted out, the Kaoh Rong trio of Caleb, Tai and Debbie could unite to form a 4-2 majority over him and Sierra. While Caleb and Tai had a publicly strong relationship, Hali and Sierra claimed to have no relationship between the two of them despite playing on the same season together. With Brad’s concerns about the KR-trio and Hali not shooting herself in the foot and saying the right thing at times, Caleb was voted out.
Narrative: Despite there being a very real possibility that Hali could have been booted – to the point that Hali said in confessional that she would need a miracle to survive this round – there wasn’t much screentime for Hali. Instead, the story of the Mana tribe revolved around Tai’s relationship with Caleb and Brad’s paranoia about a Kaoh Rong trio alliance. Hali’s biggest advantage in this round was that she and Sierra were able to successfully convince everyone that there is no relationship between the two of them despite playing on the same season – regardless of if there is actually a relationship between the two of them or not. Hali’s second biggest advantage was that Tai is malleable and easily influenced and that Brad was paranoid about a potential Kaoh Rong trio alliance. While it wasn’t necessarily a miracle, Hali needed a few things to happen for her to survive and, fortunately for her, they all happened and she survived.