“Survivor: Game Changers” included many twists to the show’s regular game play, with idols, advantages and a format change to the final tribal council. This has prompted a discussion among “Survivor” fans, debating whether these new advantages bring new levels of excitement and unpredictability to the show or whether there are now too many twists in the game. So which twists should come back in the next season, “Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers”? Below, we break down each twist from “Game Changers” and assess its effectiveness.
“Survivor” mostly relied on the same format through its first 10 seasons, with castaways being voted out every three days without much ability to change their fate. Then, the hidden immunity idol was introduced in Season 11, “Survivor: Guatemala,” with other big twists to follow, including boosting the Final 2 to a Final 3, multiple tribe swaps and early merges. Some of the show’s most recent seasons have included special advantages, like the vote steal, the extra vote and the legacy advantage.
Tiebreaker Change — “Survivor” host Jeff Probst announced in the “Game Changers” premiere that there would be no re-votes should there be a tie at tribal council. The tribe would then have to come to a unanimous decision to vote off one of the castaways or else those involved in the tie would be safe and everyone else would draw rocks, leaving it up to random chance. This did not come into play this season, though it did prevent castaways from splitting the vote and therefore forced them to risk more.
Joint Tribal Council — Many “Survivor” fans were upset when the popular Malcolm Freberg was voted out due to this one-time-only twist. Two tribes went to tribal council in one of the earliest tribal council of the season and were tasked with voting only one person out. This caused unprecedented huddling at tribal council as each side tried to protect their own. The risk with this twist is that strong players and leaders are likely to be targeted, and could very easily result in a fan favorite going home.
Legacy Advantage — The legacy advantage was introduced in “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X” but due to the nature of the filming schedule, the only players who knew about it in “Game Changers” were Michaela Bradshaw and Zeke Smith. Sierra Dawn Thomas found the advantage in the premiere, giving her the ability to use it as an idol at Final 13 or Final 6, though she would have to will it someone else in the event she was voted out. She told Sarah Lacina about her advantage at Final 9 in the hope of giving it to her should she be voted out, only to see her plan backfire as Sarah used this info against her and helped boot her from the game. Sarah got the advantage and successfully played it at Final 6, where she would have been voted out otherwise.
Extra Vote — Debbie Wanner became the first “Survivor” castaway to successfully use the extra vote to her advantage, with Dan Foley being idoled out in “Survivor: Worlds Apart” and Tai Trang not voting in the majority in “Survivor: Kaoh Rong.” Debbie voted twice for Ozzy Lusth and while he would have been voted out anyway, the move did at least give her a flashy moment at tribal council.
Vote Steal — Very similar to the extra vote is the vote steal, which Sarah snatched at the Final 9 reward challenge. This allowed her to take a vote away from a player at tribal council and vote twice, previously attempted by Stephen Fishbach in “Survivor: Cambodia” only to be voted out in the same tribal council. The vote steal caused some controversy when Sarah gave it to Cirie Fields, while knowing the rules stated it was non-transferable. Cirie tried to use the vote steal against Sarah, at which point Sarah stated the rules and turned the tables by using the steal to vote out Cirie’s closest ally, Michaela.
Final Tribal Council Open Forum — Probst announced one last twist at final tribal council, revealing that there would be no individual jury speeches. Instead, the 10 jurors had an open forum where they go to discuss the merits of the Final 3 and ask questions as a group, as split into the criteria of outwit, outplay and outlast. The jurors got to advocate for certain finalists and interact with each other, making for a more fluid experience, though there weren’t as many big “moments” like we’ve seen in classic jury speeches.
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