Season 34: Episode 5 - Vote Early, Vote Often
Posted on Apr 5, 2017 11:00pm

The Nuku tribe returns to camp on night 13 from Tribal Council where JT was voted out. Aubry compliments the rest of her tribe for successfully blindsiding both her and JT. Aubry comments, “I’m constantly on the bottom and I feel like I’ve been trying really hard to build relationships with those people, but then it all blows up in my face.” Sandra explains to Aubry that JT had to go tonight, to pay for getting Malcolm voted out at the prior Tribal Council. Aubry admits, “Clearly Sandra is running the show and I feel like she’s cutting my legs out from under me like a slow death.” Aubry feels Sandra is the queen and hopes to learn something from her to help her own game.
Over at the Mana camp, Tai waits until his tribe mates are asleep to use the clue he found to search for a hidden immunity idol. The clue tells him to pour water on a board and it will reveal the location of the idol. Tai thinks about it and decides to start at the water well, since there are lots of boards there. He pours water over each of the boards around the water well. As he wets the final board the tribe symbol of a white anchor appears. Tai digs right below the board and uncovers the hidden immunity idol. He admits, “I’m the luckiest guy. I found the idol. The second within three days.” Tai changed the game when he played his first idol and got Malcolm out of the game. He comments, “I’m the game changer and I couldn’t be any happier.”
The next day, Jeff Probst, the host greets the Tavua, Mana and Nuku tribes on their mats. Brad is surprised to see that JT was voted out by Nuku. Jeff takes the immunity idols and tells the tribes that they won’t need them today. He then surprises everyone when he tells them to drop their buffs. Jeff then lets everyone pick a wrapped package from a tray that he passes around. Everyone then opens their package to reveal a Mana orange or a Nuku blue buff, except for Debbie. Her package does not contain a buff. Jeff tells Debbie that with no buff, she is without a tribe. Everyone else is greeting their new tribe mates, while Debbie stands alone. The new Mana tribe is made up of Troyzan, Michaela, Sierra, Hali, Aubry, Cirie and Brad. The new Nuku tribe consists of Sandra, Varner, Tai, Ozzy, Andrea, Zeke and Sarah. Jeff points out how quickly the game can change. Sandra and Varner went from the being in the majority on their old tribe to being in the minority on their new Nuku tribe. Sandra says, “I’m optimistic. I hope they get to meet me first before they decide if something goes left that I end up right.” Jeff then informs Debbie that she is going to Exile Island to live alone. She will return to the game at the next Tribal Council, where she will join the tribe that loses a member. The good news is that she can’t be voted out at the next Tribal Council. The bad news is that she will be by herself, so she cannot bond with anyone. Debbie says, “I’ll be okay alone and I’ll be optimistic about who I wind up with.” The new Mana and Nuku tribes head to their camps, while Debbie heads to the boat that will take her to Exile Island.
The new Mana tribe arrives at camp and everyone greets one another. Troyzan is happy to no longer be in the minority like he was on Tavua. He comments, “Being 5 to 1 on Tavua was tough even though I’ve got an idol. I’ve just been sweating bullets all those days.” Hali tells everyone that they have been living on coconuts and not much else. Brad admits, “Jeff has thrown us some curve balls this season and this is another one.” His only has one person that he can count on in the new Mana tribe, which is Sierra. The others Brad has never played with before or he does not have a strong bond with them. In addition, Brad feels vulnerable, since he is one of only two guys on the Mana tribe of seven people. He hopes that he can make a connection with Troyzan, since Troyzan played with his wife Monica on a prior season. Brad and Troyzan go out looking for food, which gives them a chance to talk. Brad encourages Troyzan to align with him and Sierra. Troyzan is pleased that Brad wants to work with him, since he too feels outnumbered by the women on Mana. He reveals, “This takes me right back to my season of ONE WORLD. The last thing I want to do is get bamboozled by women again.” After talking things out, Brad and Troyzan agree to work together. Brad comments, “I feel good with Sierra. I feel good with Troy, but that’s only three and I need a majority of four. So, I’ve got some more work to do.”
Over at the Nuku camp, Sandra informs the new tribe that they have coffee and three chickens left. Varner admits, “Sandra and I are on the outs over here. We showed up here the minority.” He feels this way, because Andrea, Zeke, Sarah and Ozzy were on the Tavua tribe together and Tai was on the old Nuku tribe with them. Sandra plans to stay calm and access the situation. She admits, “Give me a day or two and I’ll be running the show over here too. The queen stays queen.” Zeke takes a walk with Ozzy and suggests they target Sandra. He is afraid if she makes it to the merge, they won’t be able to get rid of her. Ozzy agrees. Zeke recommends that they make Sandra and Varner feel safe, so they can be blindsided. He admits, “No one has ever gotten out Sandra, so it’s going to be very tough.” Next, Zeke, Andrea and Sarah discuss the plan to get out Sandra. Andrea suggests they tell Sandra that they want Tai out next. She comments, “Tai is the perfect decoy, because Tai is dangerous in this game.” Next, Zeke talks to Tai about voting out Sandra next. Tai is happy to get rid of Sandra, because she is a big threat. Zeke does not inform Tai that they are telling Sandra and Varner to vote for him though. He hopes Tai does not find out and flip on them. Tai hopes that he can trust Zeke and the others to really vote for Sandra and not come after him instead. He comments, “There’s always a chance they might blindside me and get me out first. So, I want to look for another idol, just in case I’m the target.” Since he found an idol at the Mana camp by the water well, Tai decides to start his search there. He pours water on all the boards around the well and is delighted to see the Nuku tribe symbol appear and show him where another idol is located. Tai comments, “The SURVIVOR gods really look after me this season.” He feels good to have the power and flexibility that two idols provide him. At the same time, he is not sure exactly how to use all that power.
As a boat takes her to Exile Island, Debbie is worried about how the expected isolation and difficult conditions will affect her game. As the boat approaches a yacht, Debbie realizes that Exile may not be so bad after all. She comments, “It’s a gorgeous yacht and I’ve got it made. I’m the luckiest girl in SURVIVOR history.” Debbie finds a note that tells her that the yacht is fully stocked with food and beverages. She screams with joy and immediately makes herself a huge feast to enjoy. Next, Debbie stretches out on a hammock to take a rest. She hears a boat approaching and is shocked and delighted to see Cochran, a prior SURVIVOR winner approaching the yacht. She admits, “I’ve met Presidents, Prime Ministers and I’m not very often awe struck, but to meet one of my favorite SURVIVOR winners was an honor and a privilege.” Cochran explains that he is there to be a sounding board, who can provide an objective third party opinion. Debbie assures Cochran that she is doing fine and does not have any worries in the game. Cochran comments, “Upon first meeting Debbie, it was immediately obvious that one of her fatal flaws is overconfidence.” So, Cochran keeps talking to Debbie, hoping she will share more with him. Finally, she admits that there is tension between her and Brad. Cochran recommends that she talk to Brad and try to patch up things up, since positive relationship are key to success in SURVIVOR. Debbie listens to what Cochran has to say and agrees with him. She admits, “I could say anything to him and he truly had my back. It might have just been the biggest benefit of this whole experience.” Before he leaves, Cochran presents Debbie with a game changing twist. Debbie is so happy that she hugs him and starts crying. He assures her that she can come out of this in the best position of anyone in this game. He then shows her a box with three advantage options in it. She gets to choose one of them. Debbie can choose between a fake hidden immunity idol kit, extra vote to be used at Tribal Council or an immunity challenge advantage for her new tribe. She quickly decides to take the extra vote advantage. Debbie comments, “The extra vote is a certainty. It’s like having one completely reliable person who I know is voting X way.” Debbie gives Cochran a big hug and a big thanks for his guidance before he leaves. Cochran admits, “If Debbie actually takes the advice that we discussed to heart and moves forward with this new mindset, I think she actually has the potential to do well.”
Over at the Nuku tribe, Zeke and Varner are talking on the beach. Varner admits that he is worried about being in the minority on this tribe. He reveals to Zeke that he desperately wants to make the jury this season, since he has never done so in his prior two seasons. Zeke genuinely likes Varner and hopes they can work together after Sandra has been voted out. Zeke admits, “First I need to convince him that Tai is going home.” So, Zeke tells Varner that he is safe, since he and the rest of the tribe would like to vote out Tai. Varner is relieved to hear this and tells Zeke that he will vote with him against Tai. He admits, “Me and Sandra, we’re not on the bottom any more.” Varner hopes that he can trust Zeke. Next, Varner tells Sandra the good news that Tai is the next target. Although Sandra would like to believe this, she doesn’t understand why they would not vote out her or Varner before they vote out one of their own. Her goal is to have the tribe win the next Immunity Challenge, so no one will be voted out from Nuku. Sandra comments, “If they think I’m not going to take control of the situation, they don’t know the queen.”
The Nuku and Mana tribes arrive on their mats. Jeff Probst explains the rules of the challenge to them. They will dive into the water and then race through a series of monkey bars. They will then lift heavy puzzle pieces into a sled and pull the sled to shore. Once on shore, they will drag it to the finish. Three people from each tribe will then work together to solve a barrel puzzle. The first tribe to finish wins immunity and is safe from the vote. The losers will go to Tribal Council where someone will be the sixth person voted out of this game and their tribe will receive Debbie as a new tribe member.
The challenge begins and both tribes jump in the water and race to get to the monkey bars. Mana jumps into the lead at the monkey bars. They are much faster at getting across them than Nuku. Nuku makes up some time, as they load their puzzle pieces into their sled very quickly, but Mana still has a slight lead in the overall challenge. Mana works together well to get their heavy sled up to the shore and over the sand to the finish line. So, Sarah, Cirie and Aubry get a head start on the puzzle for Mana. Finally, Nuku gets their sled to the finish line, so Ozzy, Zeke and Sandra can start working on their puzzle. In the end, Mana finishes their puzzle and wins immunity for their tribe. Varner comments, “Tai’s going home tonight, unless Tai pulls out an idol and I’m hoping that’s not the case.”
The Nuku tribe sits quietly back at camp stunned by their loss. Zeke reveals, “The only solace I can take is now we have an opportunity to get Sandra out of this game. She is the most dangerous player arguably in the history of SURVIVOR.” He feels things should go smoothly as long as Sandra and Varner are confident that Tai is going home. Varner does believe that Tai is the target tonight and is ready to vote for him. Sandra is not so sure though. She admits, “Of all three times I’ve played SURVIVOR, I think this is the first time I feel like something could go wrong.” Sandra gets to work talking to her tribe mates about why they really do need to vote out Tai tonight. She warns Ozzy, Andrea, Sarah and Zeke about how Tai, Debbie and Aubry have a special bond and are therefore dangerous, because they all played in the KAOH RONG season together. Sandra promises to protect them and let them know if she hears that anybody is targeting them. They all listen intently to Sandra and feel that she is right to be suspicious of the “Kaoh Rong Three.” Sarah comments, “I almost feel like the way Sandra talks to people that’s she’s grooming us.” She is amazed how easily Sandra sucks in her followers. Next, Ozzy meets with Sarah and Andrea to confirm they are still voting for Sandra tonight. They all agree to vote Sandra out and also to follow her advice and watch out for the “Kaoh Rong Three.” Tai starts to get paranoid when he sees so many people talking, but not including him in their conversations. He feels that many of his tribe mates are better schemers than he is, so he worries they may be voting him out tonight. Tai gets so nervous that he admits to Varner that the tribe is targeting Sandra tonight. Ozzy, Andrea, Sarah and Zeke are disappointed with Tai and they hope that Sandra does not have an idol to play tonight. Varner informs Sandra that she is in trouble. Sandra comments, “Tonight’s Tribal Council is all about making sure that Tai is enemy #1.”
Jeff Probst welcomes the Nuku tribe to Tribal Council. He instructs Zeke, Sandra, Ozzy and Andrea to light their torches, since this is their first time at Tribal Council this season. Jeff reminds them that this is part of the ritual of Tribal Council, because in this game fire represents their life. When their fire is gone, so are they. Jeff then brings in Debbie from Exile Island. She will join the Nuku tribe at the end of Tribal Council. Andrea feels the trend so far this season is to get rid of the big threats in the game. Jeff points out that everyone is a threat this season. Ozzy admits that he is constantly debating between voting out one person or another. Sandra says, “It’s been 16 great days Jeff, but I think this is it for me.” She tells him that no one in the tribe has talked strategy with her since the switch. Tai admits that Sandra is a big threat and should go home, but he is worried that his tribe is targeting him instead. Sarah admits that a few names have been tossed around and some people are still trying to make up their mind. Hearing anyone else besides Sandra was being considered is why Tai is nervous, since he has only heard Sandra’s name. Sandra tells Tai that she will vote with him tonight, if he wants to target someone else. Tai whispers to Sandra and Varner that they should vote for Ozzy instead. Sandra lets the rest of the tribe know that Tai is targeting Ozzy. Knowing that he needs another person, Tai decides to let everyone know that he would like Ozzy out tonight, since he is a huge challenge threat. Ozzy is shocked to see that Tai is throwing him under the bus. The rest of the tribe is trying to figure out what to do. They discuss whether to vote Tai out tonight instead of Sandra. Varner says he is ready to vote and the others agree. So, Jeff calls for the tribe to cast their votes. Before Jeff reveals the votes, he asks if anyone would like to play an immunity idol. No idol is played. Jeff reads the first six votes. Tai receives 2 votes. Sandra receives four votes, which is enough. So, Sandra Diaz-Twine from SURVIVOR: PEARL ISLANDS is the sixth person voted out of SURVIVOR: GAME CHANGERS. As Sandra’s torch is snuffed, the tribe claps for Sandra. She wishes them all well as she leaves the game.