Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

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  • The tribe swap feels like it comes early this season thanks to the double-length premiere episode, but the players must have been expecting it. Three tribes of six makes sense, after all, and it would help explain why the “keep the tribe strong” argument didn’t work out for Tony. Why keep it strong if it’s going to be dissolved the next day?
  • The new Mana tribe: Caleb and Tai reunited (and the kiss finally delivered), Culpepper, Debbie, Sierra, and Hali. The new Nuku: Michaela, Malcolm, Sandra, Varner, Aubry, and JT, making it 5-1 against JT. The third tribe is Tavua: Cirie, Andrea, Sarah, Zeke, Ozzy, and Troyzan, making it 5-1 against Tryozan. In other words, JT and Troyzan appear to be screwed by the swap…but we’ve seen this turn out differently in the past.
  • JT sees the position he’s in and comes up with a plan to strand everyone else on the raft while he “looks for the pliers” back at the beach. He’s not playing with novices, though, so the rest of the tribe figures it out pretty quickly.
  • Culpepper likes antiquing? Okay.
  • Tai may not be cut out for this game. He’s already trying to throw Debbie under the bus ahead of Caleb, who Culpepper wants gone.
  • Cirie and Ozzy alliance? I am all for it.
  • One thing I love about returning player seasons: someone you didn’t much care for the first time around ends up winning you over. That might be happening with Troyzan, who finds a crucial idol clue in a bottle.
  • Sandra cares about no goat, but the rest of the tribe votes to spare the mama and the baby. Could this be a Survivor metaphor?
  • Nuku leads the Immunity Challenge all the way through, and sure enough they come out on top. Second place is close, but Tavua pulls it out, leaving Mana to go to Tribal Council. Troyzan snags the idol, which makes me happier than I would have expected.
  • It’s not looking good for Hali, who is in the minority with Caleb.Sierra is scared of Caleb and Tai from their time on Kaoh Rong. Surprisingly, Debbie is also concerned about that, and Culpepper definitely wants to break up the Kaoh Rong three. As always, Tai is caught in the middle. It’s not one of the more heated Tribals, but Hali and Caleb both take some pretty good shots at each other. Caleb goes out on day nine again, at his first ever Tribal Council no less. That’s cold!
  • Wait, do I like both Troyzan and Culpepper now? What is happening to me?

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