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J.T. wants Sandra out. This makes him like a lot of other players who want no part in going against the self-proclaimed Queen of Survivor. When he heard the Mana folks talking, he thought they were targeting Sandra, and this was music to his ears. “Should I talk to Brad?” he asked Malcolm, and then went over and did exactly that. Think about what an extraordinary move this was: a guy from one tribe walking all the way over to the other side to have a private conversation with someone from the opposing tribe.
“I love you, brother, but they’re voting Sierra out,” J.T. told him. After J.T. went back and sat down, Brad asked for confirmation. “You swear?” he asked. “I swear,” came the response. “It’s on you, buddy,” Brad said. Then, later, J.T. told Brad to vote for Sandra, which clearly did not happen. So the bottom line is this: J.T.’s plan was to take out a threat from his own tribe and hope like hell he could then make it to the merge and reunite with his besties. I can’t say I’m in love with that plan. Nor am I in love with giving all that intel to the enemy knowing that the entire thing falls apart if I cannot trust them back.
And that has been J.T.’s biggest problem in Survivor. On one hand, I love that J.T. makes HUGE moves like giving a hidden immunity idol to someone from the opposition tribe in Heroes vs. Villains and now leaking voting intel to the opposition tribe here on Game Changers. I love it because it shows a willingness to take risks, to go for the glory, to be — yes — a GAME CHANGER! But the problem with both those moves is they involved implicitly trusting the person on the other side. And both times that misplaced trust did him in.
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Because J.T. told Brad where the votes were going, now he has lost his biggest ally on his current tribe in Malcolm, and the rest of Nuku most likely wants nothing to do with him. Imagine walking back to his beach right now and having to deal with the aftermath of this. We saw Michaela tell Varner that J.T. set them up, and poor Malcolm has even taken J.T. off his Christmas card list! (As if Malcolm has ever sent a Christmas card in his life.) Again, had he just told his tribemates to vote for Hali it would be all good in the hood now. Original Mana would have lost a member, the original Nuku on current Mana would not be too upset at him since Hali was not part of their alliance anyway, and current Nuku would consider J.T. a hero because he kept them all safe with his savvy move to target the one person Tai would not have given an idol to. Win. Win. Win.
Except it turned into a loss. For the second week in a row, we have to give major props to Brad Culpepper. He got the info he needed from J.T., saved a key alliance partner in the process, and may have possibly just won over Hali by agreeing to vote out the physical threat she was never close to in Malcolm. Not bad.
Although it was all-bad for Malcolm, who looked like he had been hypnotized by Catherine Keener in Get Out on his way to get his torch snuffed. And the guy still appeared utterly devastated as he relayed his final words, delivered on the verge of tears. I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible, seeing as how Malcolm was my pre-game pick to win it all. That brings the official Dalton Curse up to 19 seasons straight and counting! Shows you what a genius I am.
Wow, are you as exhausted as I am trying to figure that all out? Of course, the irony is, none of it is figured out! This is all educated guesswork, and not that educated at that. Well, I just spent 2,500 words on a single Tribal Council, which has to be some sort of record — a pathetic record, mind you, but a record nonetheless — and I didn’t even really get into Brad imploring Tai to play the idol, Sierra playing said idol, Malcolm chatting about vomit, or any of the talk about “Tribal Council consent,” which isn’t as gross as it sounds
But, believe it or not, there were some other things that happened in this episode, so let’s get to those super quick before we wrap up, But first, CONGRATULATIONS! You have found this week’s super secret Survivor quiz question. In case you’re new here, I am giving away all the original votes (that you can view on my Instagram feed) that the Game Changers cast before the game for whom they wanted out first. To enter for a chance to win Malcolm’s vote for Cirie, just answer the following question: Who is my favorite player from Survivor: Panama — Exile Island? The past few weeks were pretty easy factual exercises, but this week will reward longtime readers who have paid attention — and trust me, you didn’t have to pay that close attention when it comes to my affinity for this particular player. Email your answer to email@example.com. Winners will be contacted directly. Okay, let’s get back to it.