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Two Players on Survivor: Game Changers Just Proved Everyone Wrong

Sarah Aswell is a freelance humor writer who lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband and two kids. Her words have appeared in places like The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Hairpin, and more.

No one was impressed with Hali and Troyzan — until this week when they escaped the chopping block on Survivor

Before Survivor: Game Changers aired last week, there was a lot of talk about how some of the chosen cast members didn't deserve the title of "game-changer." Chief among the offensive casting decisions were Troy "Troyzan" Robertson from Survivor: One World and Hali Ford from Survivor: White, Blue, No Collar. Neither made it above the top eight and neither really showed acumen for strategy — basically, no one was impressed.

But wait! This week on Survivor, both were put in very tights spots due to a game-changing team mix-up in which a third tribe, Tavua, was added to the beach. While everyone plotted around them, both Troyzan and Hali held their own, using their own skills, despite being placed in extremely vulnerable and dangerous positions. Maybe both will prove to be game-changers after all!

The only entity that made a better escape this week was probably a cute baby goat, who Sandra Diaz-Twine would have made into a delicious, tender stew if not for the other tribe members. Let's break down all three storylines below.

More: Survivor: Game Changers Announces Questionable Season 34 Cast Choices

Hali pulls a Hail Mary

No one was impressed with Hali and Troyzan — until this week when they escaped the chopping block on Survivor
Image: CBS

After the tribes were shaken and stirred, the new Mana tribe consisted of Debbie, Hali, Sierra, Tai, Caleb and Brad. Caleb and Hali were the only two original Mana members, while Tai, Caleb and Debbie were all former cast members on team Kaoh Rong. After the team lost the episode's challenge, It seemed clear that Caleb and Hali were on the chopping block and that Hali was in much more danger because of Caleb's strength and kiss-level friendship with Tai.

As the episode developed, many of the tribe members were torn on who to jettison first: Caleb, who was medically evacuated during his season, was strong and good to have for challenges, but a little too buddy-buddy with the Kaoh Rong set. Hali wasn't as strong, but also wasn't as big a threat during the long game (or so many thought).

Hali, who since her last appearance on the show has become a criminal defense attorney, played the board well and subtly, even when back into a corner. With a huge assist from Brad, who convinced Tai that having Caleb around later might hurt his strategy, she will make it another week.

The moment that really stood out, though, was her argument at Tribal Council. She was eloquent and made super-strong points about why it wasn't her time. While the players might have already had their minds made up, it showed that she is in it to win it and scrappy enough to move forward. Also, we have to remember that flying under the radar as a non-threat has been a wonderful winning strategy in past seasons.

More: Who Seems to Be Rebranding Their Image on Survivor: Game Changers?

Troyzan finds a way through sheer will

No one was impressed with Hali and Troyzan — until this week when they escaped the chopping block on Survivor
Image: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment

Troyzan has never been a fan favorite. At best, viewers see him as an overly sincere, dad-like poor player, while at worst, people think he's obtuse and annoying. One thing almost everyone could agree on is that he was a weird choice for Game Changers — and perhaps just a producer pick because he causes a reaction in viewers. In any case, not a favorite to win.

This week on the "Jackpot" episode, Troyzan was also not treated well by the gods during the creation of the third team and the buffer swap. The professional photographer was placed on the newly created Tavua tribe as the only member of the Mana group, placing a very big target on his back.

The only way to truly protect himself was not through alliance-forming, but through finding an idol, and Troyzan got to work in his enthusiastic fashion (that yeah, we can admit can get a little annoying). Before we knew it, he found a bottle on the beach with a clue inside: he could find an idol under a platform at the upcoming challenge.

No one was impressed with Hali and Troyzan — until this week when they escaped the chopping block on Survivor
Image: CBS

Fast-forward to the challenge, where even people who don't like Troyzan were holding their breath as he causally made his way around the platform after the challenge and felt around blindly for the idol while no one was watching. A moment later, he shoved it down his pants unceremoniously. You have to admit, no matter your feelings on the contestant, you were on Troyzan's side there for a moment, and maybe even impressed that he was able to save himself in such a tight position.

More: An Analysis of Jeff Probst's Style on Survivor, Told Through His Cargo Shirts

Getting your goat

Perhaps the most vulnerable thing to survive this week's episode of Game Changers was a tiny, adorable baby goat. After trying to catch and eat goats for a while, the new Nuku team finally captured a mom and her new little baby. The baby was adorable, and of course Sandra immediately started talking about how they would slaughter it, clean the carcass and eat it for dinner. It was a tough moment for everyone, on both sides of the television screen, as the Nuku tribe members tried to talk Sandra into letting the animals go and as viewers watched Sandra try to wrap her head around a humane, altruistic act (and one that would leave her hungry).

First of all, I couldn't find a picture of the baby goat in question, but here is a picture of a similar baby goat: 

No one was impressed with Hali and Troyzan — until this week when they escaped the chopping block on Survivor
Image: CrazyFunnyStuffCFS/YouTube

Secondly, I think I would have cried if they had eaten the baby goat. Instead, though, they finally decided to let the animals go, proving that even the most vulnerable things on Survivor have a chance — it's just that their strengths may be hidden in their weaknesses.

C'mon, would you have slaughtered and eaten that baby goat? Tell me in the comments.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

No one was impressed with Hali and Troyzan — until this week when they escaped the chopping block on Survivor
Image: CBS
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