Survivor Game Changers

What a difference a day makes. One minute you are on top of the world and running the show, the next you find yourself fighting for dear life. Another unpredictable Tribal Council led to the latest exit on Survivor, and it left Jeff Probst with a huge grin on his face…always a good sign the show’s going well.

Caution, as spoilers from this week’s episode are to follow! Turn back now! If you want to get caught up, be sure to check out the Episode 5 Recap here.

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The Stakes Have Been Raised

She is a Survivor Legend, a first-ballot Survivor Hall of Famer, and the only person to have ever won Survivor twice. Yet this season, Sandra Diaz-Twine will just be known as the sixth person voted out of the game. She came in guns a-blazin’ this season and ready to kick some ass, and her strategy of playing a “louder” game than her two previous seasons elevated her from villain to super villain in a flash.

Clearly the biggest target in the game, she began this season going toe-to-toe with fellow Survivor Winner Tony Vlachos – known as one of the best recent winners – and she came out on top. She was calling the shots at her tribe no matter how it got shifted or shaken-up, and when she wanted someone to go home, they went home. Another previous winner, JT Thomas, also got in her way, and guess what he ended up holding? You guessed it, an unlit torch.

Yes the self-proclaimed “Queen” of the game knew she was going to be a huge target this season, so her plan was to be a bit more abrasive than in the past. Maybe someone would want to take her along, use her as a shield and whatnot. Surely nobody would let Sandra win this game a third time, right?

It seemed improbable that she could win again – impossible – until we actually saw her play this season and were reminded that her previous wins were no flukes. Aubry called her “the best player here…I need to learn a few things or two from her.” Many regarded her as larger-than-life in the game. Even with the odds stacked against her tonight and with a tribe aligning to get rid of her, she nearly was able to convince Ozzy and Sarah of her perspective. But in a season of game-changers, Sandra would not go unnoticed for too long. Her powers of persuasion were not enough to keep her alive in the game, despite sitting through another chaotic Tribal Council where it looked like – for a brief minute – Sandra may have worked her magic yet again.

Vote Early, Vote Often

But it was not to be this time around. Sandra was finally sent home when Ozzy, Andrea, Zeke, Sarah, and Tai were able to stick to their original plan. Still, Sandra lasted a record 94 straight days in the game of Survivor without having her torch snuffed. As her torch was snuffed for the very first time, her tribe gave her a round of applause. Now tell me, who gets a round of applause after getting voted out of Survivor? Sandra does, that’s who.

I had the chance to speak with Sandra earlier today, the day after her final episode aired. You can listen to the full audio of the interview and podcast below, but here were some highlights from the interview (as a bonus, be sure to listen to an Archived Podcast interview that I had with Sandra from a few years back, which you can find below).

SANDRA INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

On last night’s Tribal Council:

Sandra Diaz-Twine: I had a conversation with Ozzy way before we got out there, and I was like Ozzy, I want to work with you, but you have to protect me first, because it will pay dividends for you once the merge comes. I’ll do whatever you say, you just say the world and it’s a done deal. So he agreed to it and I thought that me and Ozzy would work together moving forward. So I thought I was with him, they told me it was Tai and not to worry…once we got out there, Tai was constantly grabbing at his pocket at what looked like a rock, a shell, or an Immunity Idol, which we now know that Tai had two of them. When I did my interview right after I got voted out, I said that I didn’t know what happened, I thought I was with Ozzy, I thought Tai was going home, I think Ozzy got scared, and I think what happened was, Tai kept grabbing his pocket. But until I saw it on TV, I didn’t even know that these people were coming after me the way that they were, like from minute one of when I landed on that tribe.

Vote Early, Vote Often

On if she thought she was over-confident or cocky at all this season:

Not one bit. The only reason I’m voted off now and I’m doing these interviews is that I grabbed the wrong buff. Had I gone to Exile or had I gone to Mana, you wouldn’t be talking to me right now. So it’s not about being cocky, I’m one of those people. Like, I’m the nicest person you’ll ever meet, but if you screw me, now you’re going to get the other Sandra. I’m not a mean-spirited person 24/7, I have a heart, I talk to everyone on a personal level, I try to get to know these people… sometimes I get frustrated and I speak my mind, and that’s what you see on TV…but that’s not the every day Sandra.

Vote Early, Vote Often

On her Survivor Legacy:

Everybody keeps on asking me if I tarnished my legacy and I don’t think I did. At the end of the day, there is still not another two-time winner out there, and that’s never going to change. I could play 20 times and lose 20 more times and it’s never going to change that I’m the Queen of Survivor. Point blank.

For much more from Sandra, including my full interview, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – and on Facebook, for all of the latest Survivor coverage, interviews, and movie reviews.

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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment

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