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Michaela’s Tea-Sipping, Hair-Flip Shade on Survivor Was Glorious

We started this week’s episode of Survivor: Game Changers still reeling from the mess that was Tribal Council last week. As the dust settled, we found Malcolm gone, J.T. in hot water over his loose tongue (and his half-baked attempt to boot Sandra) and Debbie finally cracking under the apparent dictatorship of Brad Culpepper. We also had a bit of a tea-and-sugar theme going, which ended in a familiar sight: Sandra coming out on top and Michaela throwing next-level shade.

Let’s take a look at our four major plot points, through the lens of GIFs.

More: We Aren’t Sure Exactly What Happened on Survivor, But Let’s Talk About It Anyway

Debbie joins some sort of alternate balance beam reality

Debbie has never been super-sane and sensical, but she took her whacky worldview to the next level last night after her team lost the initial challenge. After having to see the two winning teams walk away with cartoonishly huge peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Debbie had a break with reality, ranting and raving to anyone who would listen, which was mostly no one. Just when you thought she was done, we would get another clip of it. Why was she so upset? Here are the two versions of what went down.

What Debbie claimed happened: Not all of Debbie’s shouting was a cohesive argument about anything, but from piecing together her raves, it seems like Deb was upset that Brad is ordering everyone around and that he didn’t listen to Debbie’s suggestions, which lost the team the challenge. She said, and we quote: “I zipped across the balance beam in 30 seconds.”

What we actually saw happen with our own two eyes: Debbie tells Brad before the challenge that she has great balance, and she is selected by her tribe to participate in the balance beam portion of the challenge along with Hali. Hali does great, but Debbie struggles so much that she is in large part responsible for the team’s loss.

Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. How can you be so upset over something that didn’t happen? We are only armchair psychologists, but our best bet is that you felt so bad that you failed at something you said you could do that you had some sort of mental collapse and had to alter your memory of the challenge in order to preserve your sense of self-worth.

Michaela sips tea at Tribal Council and becomes national meme hero

J.T. and Michaela continued to butt heads this episode, both in terms of gameplay and personality. J.T. seemed to get personally offended by Michaela’s quirky coffee and sugar consumption and also peeved by her worth ethic. On the other hand, it was pretty clear that Michaela knew that J.T. is the one who flubbed Tribal Council last week and that she knew she kicked ass in the challenge to the point that Jeff Probst seemed super-impressed.

Sandra stepped in to increase friction between the two by finishing off the tribe’s sugar jar and telling J.T. that Michaela was the culprit. It seemed like a simple bit of gameplay, but it absolutely made a difference, while taking the spotlight off of the two-time winner.

All of this led up to Tribal Council, where J.T. was so sure he wasn’t going home that he left his idol at the beach, and where Michaela was so sure J.T. was going home that she poured herself some “tea” into a mug and drank from it as the conversation flew around her. It was an historic moment of hair-tossing and shade, and we salute her.

More: Two Players on Survivor: Game Changers Just Proved Everyone Wrong

J.T. makes a game-ending fumble, like whoa

In an alternate reality, in which J.T. stops and thinks for a half-second, Michaela might have been spitting out her “tea” and getting her torch extinguished.

At the very beginning of the episode, J.T. knew he was in trouble because of his gigantic misstep at the last Tribal Council. The result was a tear through the jungle to find an idol, which he accomplished with surprising speed. However, for some reason we can’t exactly figure out, he was so sure he was safe that he not only didn’t play the idol, he also didn’t even bring it with him to the meeting. It was a million-dollar mistake.

We sure can agree that J.T. was and is a game-changer, but he also proved to be a game-ender for himself. His poor strategy doesn’t take away his legacy, but it does add weight to the theory that he only won in the past because of Stephen Fishbach, who was the brains of the two-man team.

Sandra once again shows that her past wins are no fluke

It should now officially be against the law to say that Sandra won Survivor twice just because she is lucky. This week, the master strategist and possible psychopath (Just kidding, Sandra! We don’t mean it! Please don’t eat the baby goat!) finished off the second former champion, all within a few episodes and all without getting her name written down once. She also seems to be well-positioned to continue to dominate for at least a few more episodes if there aren’t any major shake-ups (har, har, har).

Sandra’s gameplay is both in-your-face and subtle, both strong and sly. And she won’t let anyone forget that every single person who has ever tried to cross her has gone packing. It’s all summed up in the GIF, and yes, the GIF is just a little scary.

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

What was your favorite moment from this week’s Survivor? Share in the comments.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

Survivor Game Changers cast slideshow
Image: CBS

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