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.


ANDREA
Gameplay: Andrea was swapped onto the Nuku tribe along with Ozzy, Sarah and Zeke from her alliance on Tavua. She joined Tai who she was previously on a tribe with on the original Nuku tribe as well as Jeff and Sandra who she had not been on a tribe with yet. Upon arriving on the beach, the Tavua alliance grouped together and decided that they should target Sandra. They also came up with a backup decoy plan to tell Sandra and Jeff that they wanted to vote out Tai. Because Sandra wasn’t convinced by the decoy plan, she approached the Tavua alliance and pitched that the three Kaoh Rong players (Debbie, Tai, Aubry) are a danger if they make it further together. While Sandra’s pitch didn’t change their minds, the Tavua alliance had a chat about how they agree with what Sandra was saying. Then, at tribal council, the Tavua alliance stuck together even after Tai made a public announcement that he wanted to target Ozzy and voted for Sandra and Sandra went home.

Narrative: Andrea’s story in this episode was a part of the Tavua foursome. While Zeke took the reins as the mouthpiece and narrator of the alliance, the four seemed to be very tight and consulted with each other at each stage of the episode: from deciding to target Sandra to planning a decoy boot in Tai to being pitched an alternative plan together by Sandra to all being annoyed by Tai spilling the beans to sticking together when Tai announced at tribal council that he wanted to vote for Tai. Andrea individually had a pretty quiet episode. She had a confessional where she told us that Tai made perfect sense as a decoy boot because he is dangerous, noting his sneakiness and his proclivity to find idols.


OZZY
Gameplay: Ozzy was swapped onto the Nuku tribe along with Andrea, Sarah and Zeke from his alliance on Tavua. He joined Tai who he was previously on a tribe with on the original Nuku tribe as well as Jeff and Sandra who she had not been on a tribe with yet. Upon arriving on the beach, the Tavua alliance grouped together and decided that they should target Sandra. They also came up with a backup decoy plan to tell Sandra and Jeff that they wanted to vote out Tai. Because Sandra wasn’t convinced by the decoy plan, she approached the Tavua alliance and pitched that the three Kaoh Rong players (Debbie, Tai, Aubry) are a danger if they make it further together. While Sandra’s pitch didn’t change their minds, the Tavua alliance had a chat about how they agree with what Sandra was saying. Then, at tribal council, the Tavua alliance stuck together even after Tai made a public announcement that he wanted to target Ozzy and voted for Sandra and Sandra went home.

Narrative: Ozzy’s story in this episode was being a member of the Tavua alliance on the Nuku tribe. While Zeke was the one doing most of the strategy and talking to Jeff and Sandra, the Tavua alliance seemed to be very close and were always seen together throughout the entire episode. They decided to target Sandra together. They planned Tai as a decoy boot together. They listened to Sandra’s pitch about the Kaoh Rong trio together. They discussed how Sandra’s pitch made sense together but agreed together that they should still vote for Sandra. They were all annoyed by Tai slipping up and telling Jeff the plan was to boot Sandra. Ozzy had a confessional where he scorned Tai spilling the beans, calling it stupid and unecessary and saying it didn’t make any sense. At tribal council, Tai felt nervous and took Sandra’s bait to give her a name to vote for; he said Ozzy. While Ozzy was momentarily in hot water, Sandra and Jeff tried to turn the plan around on Tai and send Tai home instead. The Tavua alliance and Tai stuck to their plan and voted out Sandra while Ozzy didn’t get any votes.


SARAH
Gameplay: Sarah was swapped onto the Nuku tribe along with Ozzy, Andrea and Zeke from her alliance on Tavua. She joined Tai who she was previously on a tribe with on the original Nuku tribe as well as Jeff and Sandra who she had not been on a tribe with yet. Upon arriving on the beach, the Tavua alliance grouped together and decided that they should target Sandra. They also came up with a backup decoy plan to tell Sandra and Jeff that they wanted to vote out Tai. Because Sandra wasn’t convinced by the decoy plan, she approached the Tavua alliance and pitched that the three Kaoh Rong players (Debbie, Tai, Aubry) are a danger if they make it further together. While Sandra’s pitch didn’t change their minds, the Tavua alliance had a chat about how they agree with what Sandra was saying. Then, at tribal council, the Tavua alliance stuck together even after Tai made a public announcement that he wanted to target Ozzy and voted for Sandra and Sandra went home.

Narrative: This episode for Sarah was one that mainly showed us that Sarah is included in the Tavua alliance that seemed very close in this episode. The alliance acted together throughout the episode, deciding on their plan to target Sandra and their decoy plan to tell Sandra and Jeff they are voting Tai. They were even approached by Sandra as a group, where Sandra pitched the threat of the Kaoh Rong three to the Tavua four. Sarah had a very savvy confessional where she aptly described Sandra’s gameplay as calmly talking to them as if she was grooming them, as she works to reel them in. Sarah and the rest of the Tavua alliance were annoyed at Tai spilling the beans to Jeff that Sandra was the target. At tribal council, Sarah and the rest of the Tavua alliance stuck together despite Tai’s paranoia-induced antics and Sandra trying to flip the script and voted Sandra out.


ZEKE
Gameplay: Zeke was swapped onto the Nuku tribe along with Andrea, Sarah and Ozzy from his alliance on Tavua. He joined Tai who he was previously on a tribe with on the original Nuku tribe as well as Jeff and Sandra who she had not been on a tribe with yet. Zeke acted as sort of the mouthpiece and figurehead of the Tavua alliance. He was shown as the first one to suggest that they need to vote out Sandra. A little later on, Zeke has a conversation with Varner down by the beach where Zeke told Jeff the (decoy) plan to vote out Tai. Zeke was present with the rest of the alliance when Sandra made her pitch against the Kaoh Rong three, when the alliance discussed that Sandra’s pitch had a lot of merit and when the alliance shared their annoyance at Tai spilling the beans to Jeff that Sandra was the target. At tribal council, Zeke called out Tai after Tai made his proclamation that he wanted to target Ozzy. Zeke, Tai and the rest of the Tavua alliance remained sturdy in their plans and they voted out Sandra.

Narrative: Zeke in this episode was shown as the figure head and narrator of the Tavua alliance on the newly swapped Nuku tribe. Zeke had a few confessionals where he told us that they have to take this chance to strike on Sandra, that many people have said they can let Sandra slip by and then they lose to Sandra. Zeke also told us about how precarious their decoy plan was because of Tai’s history of being quick to flip. Later, Zeke had a confessional where he mentions how, despite how he has to lie to Jeff now, he sees Jeff as a potential ally once Sandra is gone. Zeke then proceeded to lie to Jeff about how the Tavua alliance wanted to target Tai, leading Jeff to feel confident about no longer being on the bottom. After Jeff relayed this information to Sandra, Sandra didn’t believe that the Tavua alliance would target Tai over her or Jeff and made a pitch to the Tavua alliance against the Kaoh Rong trio of Tai, Aubry and Debbie. Zeke told us in confessional that he was feeling confident in his plan, and then Tai spilled the beans to Jeff that Sandra was the target. Zeke, along with the rest of the Tavua alliance, was annoyed at Tai for ruining their plans. At tribal council, after Tai offered to vote Ozzy with Sandra and Jeff, Zeke called Tai out on his loyalties and that he would always go out looking for idols. Despite the charade, Zeke, Tai and the rest of the Tavua alliance successfully completed their plan to vote Sandra out.


JEFF
Gameplay: Jeff remained on the Nuku tribe with Sandra after the tribe swap, along with several former Tavua members in Andrea, Ozzy, Sarah and Zeke, as well as Tai who was on the Mana tribe. Because Tai was on the original Nuku tribe with all of the former Tavua members on this Nuku tribe, Jeff and Sandra were at an obvious disadvantage. Despite this, while Jeff was bonding with Zeke, Zeke lied to Jeff and told Jeff that his alliance wants to target Tai. Feeling as though he and Sandra were on the bottom, Jeff was thrilled to hear this and relayed it back to Sandra who was not as convinced. Later, shortly before tribal council, Tai got paranoid and let it spill that the Tavua alliance was targeting Sandra, contrary information to what Zeke had told Jeff earlier in the episode. Knowing Sandra was in hot water during tribal council, Jeff and Sandra tried to get Tai to flip his vote by telling them they were willing to vote with him, and then immediately turned on Tai by trying to get the rest of the tribe to vote with him. Jeff and Sandra were the only two to vote for Tai. Jeff lost his best ally in the game as Sandra was voted out.

Narrative: In the previous episode, Jeff, Sandra and Michaela were the majority alliance on the Nuku tribe and were in a commanding 3-1 majority over Aubry after voting out JT. Soon after, the tribes swapped and Jeff and Sandra found themselves at a 5-2 disadvantage, as Jeff told us in confessional, he went from the top to the bottom in a New York minute. After swapping into a tribe with four Tavua members and Tai, it was clear that Jeff and Sandra were on the outs. Later in the episode, Jeff and Zeke lay down by the beach spending some time bonding where Zeke tells Jeff that the Tavua alliance wants to get rid of Tai and not Jeff or Sandra. Zeke tells us in confessional that he is lying to Jeff but sees Jeff as a potential ally in future rounds without Sandra around. Jeff tells us in confessional that he doesn’t fully buy it but that he has no choice but to trust it. Jeff tells Sandra and Sandra doesn’t buy it nearly as much as Jeff does. Later in the episode, Tai becomes paranoid and tells Jeff that they are voting Sandra out, which causes some commotion around camp and alerts Jeff that Zeke told him incorrect information. At tribal council, Tai was nervous that he might be the target, which allowed Sandra and Jeff and opportunity to make a move. After getting Tai to tell them their target, Jeff and Sandra tried to turn it around and send Tai home instead. It didn’t work and Sandra was sent home.


SANDRA
Gameplay: Sandra remained on the Nuku tribe with Jeff after the tribe swap, along with several former Tavua members in Andrea, Ozzy, Sarah and Zeke, as well as Tai who was on the Mana tribe. Because Tai was on the original Nuku tribe with all of the former Tavua members on this Nuku tribe, Jeff and Sandra were at an obvious disadvantage. Later in the episode, Zeke told Jeff that the Tavuas want to target Zeke, which Jeff relayed to Sandra. Sandra didn’t buy it and preferred to try to work her own magic. She talked to the Tavuas and pitched that the Kaoh Rong three (Tai, Aubry, Debbie) are going to be a dangerous trio at the merge but to no avail. The Tavuas remained sturdy in their pursuit to eliminate Sandra. During tribal council, after Tai let it slip that the Tavuas were targeting Sandra, Jeff and Sandra tried to get Tai to flip his vote by telling them they were willing to vote with him, and then immediately turned on Tai by trying to get the rest of the tribe to vote with him. Jeff and Sandra were the only two to vote for Tai. Sandra was voted out.

Narrative: In the previous episode, Jeff, Sandra and Michaela were the majority alliance on the Nuku tribe and were in a commanding 3-1 majority over Aubry after voting out JT. Soon after, the tribes swapped and Jeff and Sandra found themselves at a 5-2 disadvantage. Sandra acknowledged in her confessional that she and Jeff were in a bad spot but that she will remain calm and collected, and told us that once she gets her feet wet, she will turn it around and run the show. Meanwhile, the Tavua members were determined to vote out Sandra, referencing Sandra’s success in the game and how she has been able to evade eviction in previous seasons. The Tavuas made up a backup plan where they would tell Sandra and Jeff that they want to vote out Tai. Zeke told Jeff this and Jeff relayed it to Sandra. Sandra told us in confessional that she wasn’t buying it, that it wasn’t adding up because it would be stupid for them to not target either Jeff or herself. Later, Sandra tried to take matters into her own hands by holding court in front of the four Tavuas, pitching that the Kaoh Rong trio are going to be a big threat in the game. After Sandra’s pitch, Sarah gave a confessional where she mentioned that talking to Sandra feels like Sandra is grooming them to suck them in. The Tavuas talked about how Sandra made a compelling pitch but mentioned they need to get rid of Sandra while they had the chance. Right before tribal council, Tai let it slip that the Tavuas were targeting Sandra, which caused her to tell Probst at tribal council that she believes tonight will be the night she finally gets voted out. However, at tribal council, Tai was nervous that he might be the target, which allowed Sandra and Jeff and opportunity to make a move. After getting Tai to tell them their target, Jeff and Sandra tried to turn it around and send Tai home instead. It didn’t work and Sandra was sent home.


TAI
Gameplay: In the previous episode, Tai found a clue with instructions on how and where to find the hidden immunity idol. In this episode, Tai found that idol, his second of the game. It was good timing because soon after, the tribes swapped. Tai was swapped to the Nuku tribe, joining Jeff and Sandra who had been on Nuku and Ozzy, Andrea, Zeke and Sarah who had been on Tavua. Tai was previously on a tribe with the Tavuas on the original Nuku tribe which meant that Jeff and Sandra stuck out like a sore thumb. The Tavua alliance planned to go after Sandra but came up with a backup plan to tell Sandra and Jeff that they were targeting Tai. Tai was let in on the plan to target Sandra but he got paranoid and went to look for another idol. He found a second idol in the same way he found the first idol, by the water well. Tai got nervous that people weren’t talking to him much and blurted out that the Tavuas were targeting Sandra in front of Jeff which caused some commotion resulting in the Tavuas being annoyed at Tai. Then, at tribal council, Tai said he was feeling nervous. Sandra told Tai that she and Jeff would vote with him and Tai took the bait and whispered to Sandra to target Ozzy. While Tai was whispering to Jeff, Sandra told the rest of the Tavuas that Tai wanted Ozzy out. Tai later openly told the tribe he wanted to target Ozzy because he was a big threat in challenges. Jeff and Sandra tried to turn it around to get the Tavuas to vote for Tai but it didn’t work and Sandra went home.

Narrative: Tai has an interesting roller coaster of a story in this episode. In the previous episode, Tai found a clue to the hidden immunity idol. In this episode, Tai finds the idol soon and calls himself the luckiest guy in confessionals and tell us how he couldn’t be happier. Then, Tai is swapped away from his majority alliance and into a tribe with a different majority alliance that he is not a part of. Despite being told that Sandra was the target, Tai was paranoid that his flip-flopping and finding idols in Kaoh Rong would cause him to be seen as a threat in this season; he is right. Tai is the decoy boot the Tavua alliance uses to blindside Jeff and Sandra and the reasons they mentioned are reasons Tai are concerned he is a threat and why the decoy boot made some sense. Tai’s paranoia led him to search for another idol using the same method from his old clue and found a second idol this episode. Tai tells us in confessional that the Survivor gods must be looking out for him but also mentions that finding a second idol made him even more paranoid than he was before. The combination of Tai’s extra paranoia and Tai being the decoy boot caused Tai to feel left out of conversations, which caused his paranoia to grow even more. As a result, Tai slipped up and told Jeff that Sandra is the easy boot, revealing Tavua’s plans to blindside Sandra. Tai’s paranoia continued into tribal council where the Tavuas – particularly Sarah – would mention multiple names being tossed around instead of just one: Sandra. Sandra, trying to take advantage of the opportunity, asked Tai who he wanted to vote for and said she and Jeff would vote with him. Tai said he wanted to vote out Ozzy, and then Jeff and Sandra tried to convince the Tavuas to vote out Tai. Zeke had a moment in tribal council where he called out Tai and basically called him untrustworthy. Sandra and Jeff voted for Tai but the rest voted for Sandra. While Tai found two idols, Tai did a lot of damage to his relationships within the Tavua alliance with his paranoia-induced antics .


CIRIE
Gameplay: N/A

Narrative: Cirie was invisible in this episode. She was swapped to the Mana tribe from the Tavua tribe along with Troyzan. She reunited with Brad and Sierra from the original Nuku tribe, with whom she did not have any working relationship back when they were together. Also on her swapped tribe are Aubry, Michaela and Hali who are on a tribe with Cirie for the first time. It is worth noting that Cirie was not aligned with Troyzan on Tavua nor was she aligned with Brad or Sierra on the original Nuku tribe.


TROYZAN
Gameplay: Troyzan formed an alliance with Brad (and by extension, Sierra). As the only two men in a tribe otherwise filled with women, Brad and Troyzan formed an alliance and exchanged pledges of loyalty.

Narrative: Troyzan was swapped onto the new Mana tribe from the Tavua tribe along with Cirie. He is reunited with Aubry, Hali and Michaela who he was previously on a tribe with on the original Mana tribe. Troy was aligned with Hali and Michaela as part of Sandra’s counter alliance against Tony’s alliance, which may not have meant much in that early stage of the game. On the Tavua tribe with Cirie, Troyzan was on the outs for the entire time and was only saved because of consecutive challenge wins. He had a confessional telling us that how tough it was to be at a 5-1 minority even though he had an idol and how excited he was to have made it out of that tribe alive. He is on a tribe with Brad and Sierra for the first time and, almost as soon as he was swapped to the tribe, entered an alliance with the two of them. Brad and Troyzan had a chat where Troyzan discussed how he was alone in the game, which Brad saw as an opportunity to scoop Troyzan up as an ally, finding common ground in that they are both men in a tribe otherwise full of women and because Troyzan played with Brad’s wife during Survivor: One World. Speaking of One World, Troyzan had a confessional telling us that being on a tribe with so many women reminds him of his previous season and mentions that the last thing he wants to have happened is to be bamboozled by women again, which is an interesting clip that may be foreshadowing a similar bamboozling.


AUBRY
Gameplay: N/A

Narrative: In the previous episode, Aubry was left out of the plan to vote out JT by Jeff, Sandra and Michaela and was blindsided at tribal council. Afterward that tribal council, Aubry had a confessional where she told us how she was on the outs with the tribe and how she needs to learn from Sandra, who she declares as the best player in the game. Fortunately for Aubry, there was a tribe swap, bailing her out from her position on the bottom of that Nuku tribe. Aubry was swapped along with Michaela to the Mana tribe, where they reunited with Troyzan and Hali. Back on original Mana, Aubry was not aligned with any of these three players as they were members of Sandra’s counter alliance while Aubry was a member of Tony’s threats alliance. However, upon joining the new Mana tribe, Brad said that he, Troyzan and Sierra need a fourth ally to form a majority in the tribe and that vacancy may have a reservation for Aubry. Also, all of the members of Tony’s all-threats alliance are already out of the game except for Aubry. And, additionally, Brad and Sierra were key cogs in the blindsiding of her number one ally, Malcolm, during the joint tribal council.


MICHAELA
Gameplay: N/A

Narrative: Michaela was invisible on this episode. She was separated from her alliance with Jeff and Sandra in this episode, where she, along with Aubry, joined the Mana tribe during the swap. They reunited with Hali and Troyzan from the original Mana tribe and are joining a tribe with Brad, Sierra and Cirie for the first time. It is worth noting that in the previous episode, Michaela, Jeff and Sandra left Aubry out of their plans to boot JT and left Aubry to feel on the outs. Now, on a new tribe where Brad, Sierra and Troyzan are searching for a fourth member to form a majority alliance in the Mana tribe, Aubry and Michaela are unlikely to work together so one of them is likely to join Brad’s alliance. However, on the original Mana tribe, Michaela was aligned with both Hali and Troyzan as members of Sandra’s alliance that countered Tony’s all-threats alliance.


BRAD
Gameplay: After losing his position as the commander in chief of the Mana tribe after the tribe swap, Brad wasted little time approaching Troyzan for an alliance. The two bonded on the fact that they are the only two men on the Mana tribe and that Troyzan played with Brad’s wife, Monica, during his previous season.

Narrative: Prior to the swap, Brad was very comfortable on his tribe. Despite Debbie having outbursts and Hali being on the outs, Brad had Sierra and Tai, and with them, the numerical majority in the tribe. After the swap, Brad and Sierra were now alone with a bunch of newcomers, and Hali who remained on the Mana tribe with them. Joining the tribe was Troyzan, Michaela and Aubry from the original Mana tribe and Cirie from the original Nuku tribe. On the original Nuku tribe, Brad and Sierra were part of the majority of the tribe while Cirie was on the outs. During the next phase of the game, Brad and Sierra were part of the majority of the tribe while Hali was on the outs. Brad and Sierra played important role in blindsiding Malcolm, potentially straining any potential relationship between the two of them and Michaela or Aubry. Brad told us in confessional that he is tight with Sierra after having been on the same tribe as her the entire time, and Troyzan, who played with his wife, Monica. Brad also noted in confessional that with Troyzan now a member of his alliance, they still need a fourth to regain the majority of the Mana tribe.


SIERRA
Gameplay: N/A

Narrative: Quiet episode from Sierra. Sierra, along with Hali and Brad, remained on the Mana tribe in the tribe swap. She was reunited with Cirie who she was on a tribe with in the original Nuku tribe as well as Aubry, Michaela and Troyzan who she is on a tribe with for the first time. Sierra’s story was told through Brad in this episode where he told Troyzan and us in confessional that he is solid with Sierra and that the three of them are an alliance, and that they need a fourth person to claim majority of this new Nuku tribe. It is worth noting that Sierra played a key role in the blindside of Malcolm during the combined tribal council, perhaps there are some strained relationships between Sierra and Aubry and Michaela from the Mana tribe.


HALI
Gameplay: N/A

Narrative: Hali remained on the Mana tribe through the tribe swap, remaining on this same tribe for the entire game. She was swapped with Sierra and Brad from her previous tribe, reunited with Troyzan, Aubry and Michaela from the original Mana tribe and joined a tribe with Cirie for the first time. It was a quiet episode for Hali. We did confirm through Brad in this episode that Hali is not tight with the Brad/Sierra alliance, since Brad needs to find a 4th to join himself, Sierra and Troyzan and did not include Hali. Back on the original Mana tribe, Hali was shown as being close with Troyzan. As well, Hali, Michaela and Troyzan were members of Sandra’s counter alliance to Tony’s all-threats alliance in the first two episodes.


DEBBIE
Gameplay: Debbie was the (un)fortunate one to not draw a buff during this tribe swap. Instead, she went to Exile Island which ended up being a rewarding stay on a boat chock full of food and other amenities. Debbie also got the chance to speak with John Cochran, winner of Survivor: Caramoan, as part of her reward. With Cochran, Debbie was able to talk some strategy and use Cochran as a soundboard and rejuvenate her with some conversation with someone who is not competing against her for a million dollars. Debbie was presented with the option to choose an advantage, with her options being a fake idol kit, an advantage in the next tribal immunity challenge or an extra vote. Debbie chose the extra vote. After the Nuku tribe lost the challenge, Debbie will join the Nuku tribe in the next episode.

Narrative: Debbie was the odd man out during the tribe switch which resulted in her spending some time in luxury on a boat with lots of food and comfort items. She also got to spend some time with Cochran who gave her some strategy advice and some friendly companionship. Debbie was also offered an advantage in the game, able to choose between a fake idol kit, an advantage in the next tribal immunity challenge or an extra vote; she chose the extra vote. Debbie had a string of confessionals where she told us how downtrodden she was to learn she was going to Exile alone. Later, she told us that she is the luckiest girl in Survivor history to have such a wide array of unexpected comfort items where she is treated like a queen. She also raved about how much she appreciated her time with Cochran, which she called the biggest benefit of her entire Exile experience. Lastly, Debbie told us in confessional that she chose the extra vote because it was like having an ally you can count on to vote the way you want with certainty that they will vote that way.

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