This makes for a smidgen of doubt as we head to our first Tribal Council, but just a smidgen. Since Ciera is clearly a goner, let’s take a minute to appreciate the Tribal Council set. I got to check it out up close, and it is awesome. A very nifty nautical shipwreck theme with capsized and beaten-up boats all over the place, and a lighthouse for voting. I absolutely love it. But you know who doesn’t love it? Ciera, because she just became the 33rd recipient of the Sonja Christopher Golden Ukulele Award for the first person voted out of the game. Unfortunately, her ouster means we will see an immediate and significant reduction in the mentions of voting out one’s mom along with accusations of “nobody making any moves.”
Well, that’ll do it for me. And I was actually able to keep this under 4,000 words so that makes us all winners. I’ll see you next week with another scoop of… Wait, what? We have a whole other hour to go? This is just halftime? Is Lady Gaga going to come out to perform as the halftime entertainment and start squatting on her piano bench in a pose that suggests she is getting ready to play the keys with her crotch?
Let’s move on to hour No. 2 then, shall we? Let’s face it, the first Tribal was pretty uneventful. Why, even one of the contestants is feeling a bit restless, and I’ll give you exactly one guess as to whom. “I’m bored,” says Hurricane Vlachos. “I’m tried of just sitting back. I gotta jump into action. It’s time to make some moves.” This, of course, is fantastic news for us and terrible, terrible news for Tony, whose attempt to break the land speed record for Survivor play against returnees can only result in his immediate dismissal.
Tony forms a “threat alliance” including him, Aubry, Malcolm, Caleb, and Sandra — which is actually a very smart thing. They will protect each other and thereby ensure that they do not become targets. He seals the deal with Sandra with a talk at the water well. In fact, all of Tony’s talks seem to happen at the water well. He’s like the Fonz from Happy Days asking people to step into his office… only to find his “office” was actually a bathroom. And Tony’s is the water well. (Side note: Does this make Caleb Ralph Malph?) “As long as our interests line up there’s no end to the damage we can do together,” says Sandra, who probably should have added, “And as long as Tony does not go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”
The alliance lasts less than day. Early rap innovator and wide-brimmed-hat enthusiast Ecstasy from the 1980s act Whodini once opined that the freaks come out at night. Evidently that is when Tony Vlachos also unleashes his inner Mr. Hyde, because while the rest of the tribe is sleeping that evening, Tony decides to get back to work on his spy bunker (God, I wish I had talked him out of this). But unfortunately for Tony, company is on the way. Troyzan and Sandra work their way over to the water well to have their own chat, causing Tony to scurry down to the water frantically on his hands and knees like he is either taking part in some military basic training exercise or completing his audition reel for the return of Fox’s Boot Camp.
Okay, he’s just hiding so he doesn’t get caught building his nonsensical underground spy bunker. Nothing wrong with that… I mean, other than the fact that he never should have had an underground spy bunker to begin with. But then, instead of just spying on Troyzan and Sandra — which is precisely what he wanted the underground spy bunker for!!! — Tony aggressively confronts them about their nighttime chat. Now he’s done with Sandra, Sandra is done with him, and Jeff Varner is grabbing a tub of popcorn to sit back and watch the show.
And what a show it is. As Varner mentions, Sandra puts together a completely new alliance of 5 in 15 minutes, then revels to the camera about her power. “This is my game,” she tells us. “You know that saying where he says, ‘You’re only the king until the queen arrives’? I’m here.” What Sandra lacks in humility she makes up for by being a freakin’ BOSS!
[Congratulations! You found it! The super secret Survivor pre-game vote-off giveaway. Although, I’m putting this section in italics so it’s not THAT hard to find, but congratulations anyway. If for some reason you missed my whole explanation at the beginning, I am giving away all the original votes that the Game Changers cast before the game (that you can view on my Instagram feed). This week we have two votes to give away — from Ciera and Tony. Ciera voted for Sierra, incidentally, while Tony voted for Sandra — WHOOPS! Anyway, here’s how to win one of them. The question this week is: Whom did Becky defeat in the Cook Islands final 4 firemaking challenge in which neither player could light a fire so eventually were given matches — and then one person ran out of matches? Email your answer to email@example.com, along with your preference for either Tony or Ciera’s vote. Winners will be contacted directly. Good luck!!! Oh, and this is only open for those in the U.S. and Canada. Sorry, overseas readers! We now return you to your regularly scheduled Survivor recap, still in progress.]