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WARNING: Plenty of Sandra love ahead. Yes, the Queen of Survivor was voted out, but it was never going to be a simple task.

Firstly, other business…

TAI AND THOSE DAMN IDOLS

What is with this guy and finding idols?! I know Julian below mentions Tai finding idols with ease, but I guess it wasn’t the easiest to nab out in Kaoh Rong. This season Tai has been incredibly lucky with the way they’ve been hidden, the clues seem to be at his height level in trees; way to go, Survivor! Then finding not one, but two idols in the same episode? When the tribe swap happened, I did wonder if he would try and do the same thing – poor water on the boards etc at the new camp. Also, thanks cameraman for zooming into Tai’s crotch area.. O_O

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and be disappointed that they’d allow that to happen knowing a swap was coming. Nevertheless, Tai will be a huge asset for his alliance, namely Brad and Sierra and I see all three of them making it deep in the game. Sure, Tai outed Ozzy at tribal council, but he’s safe for at least 2 votes, he’s not going home anytime soon. He seems to know when to play idols as well as just finding them!

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Gardening has given Tai and upperhand at watering idols!

DEBBIE’S DATE WITH COCHRAN

Firstly, what the f*ck were they thinking bringing Cochran into this game?! Secondly, I LOVE that they brought Cochran back! Albeit, a little too long a scene for my liking, it was something different and kind of a breath of fresh air to what we’ve seen previously. Though, I would have loved to have seen Aubry there instead of Debbie (nerd party alert!!). I don’t feel as if Debbie would have soaked up all of Cochran’s wit and tips to get ahead in the game; I mean, she already lied about camp life being fine and dandy! I just hope Debbie did take Cochran’s comments on board, but really, this is Debbie and she just explodes with emotions. Debbie isn’t perceived a threat and if she just plays her cards right she’ll make it to the jury again. It will be interesting next episode to see if she tells her new Nuku tribe about her Exile experience!

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Most awkward, lingering hug in Survivor history.

WHO WILL MAKE IT TO THE END?

The merge is looking possible for the next couple of episodes, so who is most likely to make it to the end? It is really hard, based on what we’ve seen so far, to see Andrea, Cirie, Varner or Ozzy winning this game. There just hasn’t been enough airtime, and it probably doesn’t help with all the ‘big name’ players being voted out thus far. We have seen next to nothing of Andrea and Cirie, and very favourable edits for Culpepper, Troyzan and Sierra. Sarah is a wildcard for me, I’m unsure whether we will only now see her game play ensuring she makes it far, or if people are just talking her up because she’s someone who can just float on by. This next episode will be telling now that most of the big characters are gone. P.S. It’s time for Aubry to shine!!

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Potential Final 3?

SASSY SANDRA STEALS THE SHOW

Long live the Queen! If you don’t think Sandra deserves her title, get out! Sure, she probably started calling herself “the Queen”, and it caught on quickly, but can you blame her? She freakin’ won the show twice, something I highly doubt anyone will be able to do  (bar an All-Winners season). Let’s be honest, we pretty much all thought Sandra was going to be first boot, or at least the first booted off her tribe whenever that may be. Not only was she NOT first boot, she outlasted 5 other players, 1 tribe switch and 4 tribal councils. This was also the most outwardly aggressive game we have seen from Sandra, showing us that she really can play this game, with all odds against her. From Tony’s exit, to the end of JT’s run, Sandra was in control of the vote even when us viewers thought the others were CRAZY to align with her each tribal. We’ve always seen her as the subtle person in the background making her own small, but big impact, moves. Ozzy said it best this episode when he himself admitted he was almost sucked in by Sandra’s words because she’s so passive and motherly in the way she speaks. Even though Nuku targetted her, they still took on what she said about the Kaoh Rong 3. The Queen definitely knew she was going home tonight and tried a last attempt effort at tribal, and can you imagine if her magic on Tai worked?!

Unfortunately, we all knew Sandra wasn’t going to last the distance, but I think we were all surprised it would take 16 days. I can definitely see them bringing her back for a fourth season. Amazing effort by the Queen and major respect when she left tribal with such class, even Nuku applauded as she walked out. Now that is a true Survivor legend. Brava!!

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“The queen stays queen. Adios!”


SURVIVOR JULIAN’S THOUGHTS

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Follow Julian on Twitter and Instagram

Even though she was voted out, the Queen Lives On! It had to happen eventually. Not that she needed to do anything to cement her legacy, but Sandra did more this season to prove why she’s such a fantastic Survivor player than I could have thought possible. The fact she made it 16 days when she was persona non grata from day 1 really is a testament to her clever and persuasive game play. Ultimately, the move to vote her out after the switch was the right one – but it didn’t make it any easier to see her walk out of tribal, her torch snuffed for the first time.

What a fitting tribute then, that the Queen received a round of applause as she was voted out. I’m going to call it – Sandra is as iconic to Survivor as Richard Hatch is! How this season pans out going forward is anyone’s guess – only two real ‘Game Changers’ left in Cirie and Ozzy. I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see both of the above-mentioned voted out very soon as the season seems to be all about targeting the biggest names in the game.

One thing is bugging me about the season – the ease of finding immunity idols. Honestly, clues seem to be falling out of trees anywhere. While some players like Troyzan have to go to great risks to grab one, a player like Tai can nab two idols at separate camps, using the same method and very little effort. Definitely seems a little bit disproportionate, and I’d argue there are too many in play at one time. Speaking of advantages in the game, Debbie’s choice to choose the extra vote was a strange one – we’ve yet to see the extra vote played effectively as it’s so hard to place it in a way that changes the outcome of a tribal council vote. Still, we’re almost at the merge, which renders the tribe challenge advantage less useful. As for the fake idol kit – you could make your own at camp with a bit of craftiness. We saw it last season Jay falling for David’s fake immunity idol.

The whole Cochran visit was…. Interesting… Strange… Somewhat charming… But felt a little random. I wouldn’t mind if we never saw another former player return again in such odd circumstances. I do think it could be good for Debbie’s game, to speak to someone outside the game and get refocused much like players often are after the family visit. After her blow up last week, it will be interesting how she goes moving forward in the game. I can see her making it pretty far.

Presumably we have one more week until the merge, in that time it would be nice to see one of the original Nuku’s go home to somewhat re-balance what is fast becoming a Pagonging of the original Mana tribe. We’ve also hardly seen anything this season from Cirie and Andrea. Let’s hope for some more development of their story lines next week.


Article by Lynda Olson.

ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE COPYRIGHT CBS. THIS IS A PERSONAL BLOG AND ALL VIEWS ARE MY OWN.