Survivor Game Changers Episode 4 Recap, Edgic and Analysis

Survivor Game Changers continues to deliver on all fronts! Episode 4, titled “Dirty Deed” was another enthralling hour of television with so much to investigate. So let’s get right into our investigation without any delay at all. Here is The Mastermind’s episode recap, for the fifth hour/fourth episode of the always entertaining Survivor Game Changers!

JT’s In Big Trouble 

The moment the previews came in for this episode of Survivor after Malcolm’s disappointing elimination from the game, I had the words of Amazing Race Canada’s Jillian MacLaughlin shouting “We’re in big trouble!” ringing through my ears. After accidentally sending his only option on Nuku out of the game, JT was certainly in big trouble. Sandra knew right away that Mana could not have just known that they were voting for Sierra unless somebody spilled it to them. But JT stuck to his morals and continued to deny that he had any role in the matter whatsoever. Still though, the Tocantins winner knew that he was on the bottom of the tribe and was going to be the next to go, so as soon as an opportunity arose, JT went searching for the idol. With relative ease, the Tocantins man found the idol clue in a nearly identical tree to the one that Tai Trang had found his the night before. While everyone else was in the water, the man from Alabama then quickly dug up the idol, giving him a whole lot more leverage to potentially use to his advantage on Mana.

Most Interesting Tribal Reward Challenge Ever? 

Normally reward challenges aren’t interesting at all, let alone in the tribal phase of the game. Caleb Reynolds’ med-evac in Survivor Kaoh Rong probably does enough to knock the hyperbole written above out of the ball park, but this was seriously an amazingly fun reward challenge with so much going on and so much intrigue. There were so many different components and so many different people with different roles, just making it so fascinating to watch. We also even got to see the pre-challenge strategizing for once but that was probably only because of the role the Debbie situation would play in the rest of the episode.

This tribal challenge involved so many different components – including hooking a rope onto a hanger, balancing balls, and at the end of it all a puzzle. While Debbie, after telling everyone how amazing her balancing was, struggled at the balance part of the challenge pictured above, Zeke and Tavua surged ahead. The Millennials vs. Gen X 9th place finisher lead the green tribe to another victory from a puzzle, continuing Tavua’s dominance in the game. The blue tribe, Nuku also had limited difficulty as Michaela’s digging habits got them quickly ahead before no one else had any major blunders and Sandra solved the puzzle.

Despite struggling so desperately bad at the challenge, you just knew that Debbie, with an ego the size of Mount Rushmore, was going to blame anyone but herself for Mana’s loss.

Debbie Goes Nuts 

As the three tribes strategized on what to do before the challenge, all taking very democratic approaches, Debbie stepped right on up and claimed she was amazing at balancing. She did after all have a background in gymnastics. So Brad, trying to be the democratic leader as he’s done all season, told Debbie, ‘sure you can go and balance’. Then when it actually came time for Debbie to do the balancing, she failed miserably, costing her tribe reward. But somehow it was anyone else’s fault other than her own. She first blamed Brad for being a dictator who “decides what everyone else does” and then Hali for “bleeping around for 10 minutes while she finished in thirty seconds!”. Debbie is just so convoluted and what followed next was even worse and so terribly uncomfortable to watch. I almost don’t want to talk about it because of how uncomfortable it was. If everything else in this incredible episode hadn’t been so intriguing, this could have easily ruined the episode for me.

When Mana got back to camp, Debbie immediately exploded at the rest of her group. She first exploded at the entire tribe for making her feel excluded, unbeknownst to them, and then when Sierra and Hali tried to comfort her, she immediately started yelling at the former Worlds Apart contestants. She just went absolutely insane and it was not fun to watch at all especially given the fact she was so misguided in everything she was saying and felt the need to shout and scream at every single one of her tribe-mates, the cameras and everything in sight.  But then after she was done screaming, she would burst out laughing as if someone had just told a why did the chicken cross the road joke! In Survivor Kaoh Rong, Debbie was quite a lovable figure. But this season she’s been anything but lovable and her in behaviour in this episode tipped me over the edge away from her forever.

Everyone else on Mana was absolutely superb at trying to comfort the crazy screaming woman. Each of them did their part in trying to calm the uncontrollable contestant down and Brad even apologized even though he did absolutely nothing wrong! He even later said at the challenge “I love you, I don’t know why you’re mad at me!”, just doing anything he could to calm down the insanity that Debbie was exhibiting. But no matter what anyone did the Kaoh Rong contestant just couldn’t get off her high horse for a single second and realize that she was actually the problem!  All and all, this was one of the worst if not the worst meltdown I’ve ever seen on Survivor. Contestants who have been medically evacuated from the game have been ten times as calm and collected after finding themselves in far worse situations.

Due to Debbie’s erratic behaviour, if I was Brad I would have purposefully thrown the next challenge just to get her out because I would know she’s no longer good for my game. Brad even said himself “The only predictability about Debbie is that she’s unpredictable”. If Mana had lost this challenge, Debbie would have been destined to go home and Drew Christy would no longer be remembered as the player to have the worst single-episode self destruction in Survivor. I cannot wait until Michaela says “Bye Felicia” while holding up Debbie’s name on a voting ballot.

Cruisin’ Tavua 

Tavua, the green tribe, is just cruising through this game right now. The six of them are just so fluid in everything they do and have done since their formation and even though Troyzan is on the outs, it seems as though everyone is bonding so well with each other. Beyond their talented caliber of challenge competitors, a big reason why they have been winning all of these challenges may be because there’s no drama between them. The other two tribes just have so much conflict going on but not Tavua, who just seem to all get along so well. Regardless of the swap that is going to come next week, Troyzan might be in good with this group for the long haul now that he’s survived such a lengthy run of safety on their side. This week we were also finally given a glimpse into an option that Troyzan might have for his future in the game in the form of one Sarah Lacina.

Sarah Needs Options 

Although the majority of Tavua seem inclined not to make any waves at the moment and instead just enjoy life out on the island, Sarah is less inclined to do so and is trying to use Troyzan as a tool to better her place in the game. Sarah is coming off as increasingly rational this season and absolutely nailed it with this Kim Spradlin-esque quote: “In the event that something crazy happens I need options”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying that Sarah’s gameplay is anything like that of the arguable greatest player of all time. The smooth criminal is nowhere near as stealthy or elegant as the One World winner, but she is playing a good game and given that Troyzan outlined her as the “only person he trusts”, that says to me that she’s the only one really thinking long-term for what could happen in the future of the game. You’d like to think that everyone would be well aware that another swap could be coming soon but Sarah is the only one who really seems to be planning ahead and not just getting lost in the numbers. If the swap works out next week with Sarah and Troyzan on the same tribe, expect them to work together.

Sandra Up To Her Old Tricks

Sandra Diaz-Twine is an incredible player of this game. Can we all just agree on that by now? With JT’s elimination this episode, she has now sent home both players who have come out of the gates gunning for her and both times she did so just so elegantly and excellently well.

Recognizing the current state of JT’s feelings toward Michaela being very negative, Sandra decided to amplify those feelings by taking away all the sugar. Sandra knew that JT would blame Michaela for it and get even more mad at her than he already was and to the delight of everyone, that’s exactly what ended up happening. Suddenly the Tocantins winner had completely forgotten about his main target of last episode and decided that Michaela should be the next to go instead! This was just classic shades of Sandra in Pearl Islands when she dumped Rupert’s fish that he had caught way and then blames Christa for it so that everyone would get mad at her. And this is one of the many reasons why we love Sandra. It’s big, bold gameplay and it’s also hilarious at the same time and so incredibly deceptive. This was the first step that Sandra took in brilliantly orchestrating JT’s demise but she wasn’t done there.

Jeff The Swing Vote & The Oscar Goes To Sandra 

After recognizing Aubry’s desire to keep the man from Alabama in the game, the goat slayer made sure that both Michaela and Jeff Varner were still on board with voting him out. Sure Michaela had as Jeff put it “an attitude problem” but JT was a winner of this game and a very good one as well. So Sandra desperately wanted him gone, especially as a form of vengeance for what happened to Malcolm in the previous vote. So that left Mr. Jeff Varner in the middle. As per usual Jeff gave us a great quote to work with when he said “Tonight I am in a perfect spot…I’d like to go both ways at the same time!” Jeff was willing to go with Aubry and take out Michaela but also willing to go with Sandra and take out JT and to his delight, it was entirely up to him. However, being so deeply attached to Sandra in the game and practically using her as a shield, Jeff was always likely to go with the two-time winner to take out JT and that is exactly what ended up happening.

But at tribal council, Aubry, Michaela and Jeff all acted like it was going to be the challenge beast in Michaela going home and that JT was completely safe. At one point Sandra even basically said that JT was safe, saying how much they needed him for challenges and how much his opinion mattered. So, thinking that he was completely secure in his place on Nuku, JT didn’t play the idol that he had found earlier that day and as a result was sent home! This shocked Aubry and Michaela got quite a good drink out of it all but Sandra once again came up as being the real mastermind of the season. Even if she is becoming an endangered species out on the island by the day, Sandra continues to amaze.

Confessional Count


Player # of Confessionals Running Total


  James ‘JT’ Thomas 5 14


Sandra Diaz-Twine 4 17
3rd Tai Trang 3



Debbie Wanner 3 10


Michaela Bradshaw 3 8
6th Jeff Varner 2



Sarah Lacina 2 4
8th Brad Culpepper 1


9th Hali Ford 1


10th Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson 1



Aubry Bracco 1 4


Cirie Fields 0 6
13th Ozzy Lusth 0


14th Andrea Boehlke 0


15th Sierra Dawn-Thomas 0


16th Zeke Smith 0


JT went out with a bang this week, leading the confessional charts with 5 this episode. Most of these centered around his distaste for Michaela which really became his story-line this episode, but nonetheless, he still managed to end the season on a high to finish with 14 confessionals in just 4 episodes. Over-The-Top Sandra Diaz Twine disappeared and became CP again as she re-emerged with 4 complex confessionals while Tai, Debbie and Micahela were the other primary speakers this time around.

Sarah Lacina’s confessional-less streak finally came to an end as she leap-frogged Sierra, Andrea and Zeke in the running total column while Cirie and Ozzy both went without a confessional for the first time this season. Aubry Bracco continues to be significantly under-edited this season but at least she has been given some time to shine unlike Zeke and Andrea who have been practically anonymous across the board.

Brad Culpepper’s time in front of the camera was cut down this week with his only confessional being about how unpredictable Debbie Wanner was while Jeff Varner surged into third place in the running total column out of players still left in the game.

All of this is nice and all, but what does it mean? How do we take these statistics to determine who could possibly win this season, who could go home next, who could go far and/or who won’t go far? Well let’s get right into our discussion of Edgic and find out!


* What is edgic? Check out the Edgic section of our Game Changers Premiere Recap for all the information!

It’s Edgic time! Let’s not dilly-dally, let’s open up that crate and uncover everyone’s Edgic scores for Episode 4.


Edgic Visibility Tone

James ‘JT’ Thomas  

MOR 5 Negative

Sandra Diaz-Twine

CP 5 Positive

Debbie Wanner



Brad Culpepper MOR 5

Michaela Bradshaw CP 5


Tai Trang 

CP 4

Jeff Varner

CP 4 Positive

Hali Ford

Sarah Lacina CP 3

Aubry Bracco UTR 3

Sierra Dawn-Thomas


Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson

Andrea Boehlke INV 1

Cirie Fields INV 1

Ozzy Lusth INV 1

Zeke Smith INV 1

This week’s complex personnel’s included Sandra Diaz Twine, Michaela Bradshaw, Tai Trang, Sarah Lacina and Jeff Varner. Four of the five have already been talked about in great detail on this recap but we haven’t paid dividends quite as much to Tai Trang who beyond all belief found another hidden immunity idol. Step aside Russell Hantz; step aside Tony Vlachos; there’s a new idol sheriff in town and his name is Tai Trang. Tai is playing a really interesting game this time around and cozying up closely to Brad, someone he clearly trusts dearly, has been actually really great for his game. On two occasions now he’s shown his desire to fight for his place in the game by going and looking for idols despite being in no danger of ever going home, which is something fans worldwide will respect. Beyond the positive and prominent edit he’s been given so far this season, Tai is very likely to go far and should he make it to the end of the game, perhaps this time around he wouldn’t be a zero vote finalist!

Among the other complex personality’s this episode, and we can exclude Sarah from this because she’s already been given her very own section above, they have all been featured so heavily in every single episode. But that is probably solely based on how many times they have had to go to tribal council. Their importance to this season so far may not necessarily be an indication that they will play a major role in the post-merge part of the game. It instead may just be all about the fact that they have been shown because it has been that trio of players involved in four of the five eliminations. Sandra is an interesting one to watch while we have to hope that Jeff Varner finally makes it to the jury, but unless some kind of Matsing situation happens next week, you really get the feeling that all three Nuku members could be in severe trouble down the road.

Debbie was unquestionably Over-The-Top with an extremely negative tone and we don’t need to say anything else about that while JT, despite receiving more confessionals than anyone else, had a story-line that solely centered around a) describing how he had to defend what he had done at the previous vote and b) his desire to eliminate Michaela. ‘JT’ this episode wasn’t giving his thoughts about how he was going to advance in the game; but we were instead given an almost one-dimensional JT who had tunnel vision for the sugar eating thief that he was making Michaela out to be.

Hali and Brad are our other two MOR contestants for episode four despite both only receiving one confessional. Brad perhaps controversially earns a visibility score of 5 for how many times he was mentioned by Debbie and had to speak up for himself in all that was going on with her explosiveness. Hali was also a primary figure in Debbie’s rage and gets a visibility score of 3.

I think we can all agree that Troyzan, Aubry and Sierra all went under the radar but what is perhaps a bit more surprising is that four, 1/4 of the contestants, went invisible tonight – all of them being Tavua tribe members. That includes Zeke and Andrea who have been severely under-edited all season long but also unexpectedly fan favourites Ozzy and Cirie who both went their first confessional-less episodes perhaps even ever! That was a real shame for Ozzy given that he broke a record tonight (see below) and for Andrea and Zeke it is still puzzling what kind of a role they will have on this season. Tavua have won so many challenges that you’d like to think the two of them will both make it to the merge with relative ease; but once they get there neither have a clear story-line as to where they are going to go in the game other than sticking with Tavua’s numbers. This is also a bit of a shame as I was definitely excited to see both of them back and see how they were going to change their games from the last time they played. Unfortunately, it looks as though nothing really noteworthy has happened for them so far and with both of them being so invisible this season it really calls into doubt how much of an impact they are going to have on the rest of the season.

So with all that being said, who has the winner’s edit?!?

The Winner’s Edit 

I am so lost at this point as to who could possibly be the winner of this season. Beyond Malcolm, I don’t think we’ve seen a viable candidate. Last week I proclaimed it to be Brad Culpepper with the winner’s edit, but I seriously do wonder about his chances at actually making it all the way to the end and avoiding being the main target now with JT, Malcolm and Tony all out of the way. I think Sarah could be a contender and I have liked what we’ve seen from Ozzy so far but I really am still clueless as to who could possibly have the winner’s edit. It’s almost embarrassing that I am proposing this name, not because she’s done anything wrong but instead because for once I am really struggling to really come up with a feasible candidate. But maybe just maybe, the eventual winner of this season is Worlds Apart’s 10th place finisher Hali Ford. She’s had a really awesome start to this game and to every single person she’s come across in Fiji, she’s easily managed to get along with them. Hali seems to be just about the most flexible person on the island at the moment and beyond receiving a positive edit, she looks set to survive for a while just because she’s never the biggest target and always has the ability to get along with everyone she meets.

Hali’s done almost magically well at assimilating into Mana, but she hasn’t gotten so bogged down in any alliances with them that they would really feel betrayed if she were to move on. I think Hali has a lot of different options she can go in this game whereas I feel like many other players are becoming too attached to one another and are going to pay the price for it, like Sierra to Brad for example. It may be hard for her to get votes at the end and really convince everyone why she’s played the best game but I could easily see Hali Ford winning this season all of a sudden. She’s been a prominent figure in every episode, has never come across looking bad, has already had to overcome some adversity and is looking more and more like a candidate to win by the episode. So, with less certainty than ever before I at this moment in time am going to proclaim Hali Ford to be the winner of this season of Survivor!

Quote of the Week 

“The only predictability about Debbie is that she’s unpredictable” – Brad Culpepper brilliantly summing up the insanity and erratic behaviour of Debbie Wanner.

Player of the Week 

I thought about giving it to Sarah for her willingness to keep Troyzan as an option. I thought about giving it to Troyzan for his complete and utter kindness towards Tavua despite them all but showing him the door. I even thought about giving it to Brad Culpepper for the third week in a row for his complete composure while having Debbie Wanner scream in his face like a lunatic. But truthfully, there was no better player this week than Sandra Diaz-Twine. The sugar scene was hilariously fun but she also played a magnificent role in getting JT voted out by at tribal council completely bluffing and completely convincing the Tocantins man that he was totally safe! The only reason that JT didn’t play his idol was because of how brilliantly Sandra was at tribal council in making him feel like he was secure and on top of that, it was her yet again who rallied to send JT, a player that was gunning for her, out of the game. The two-time winner wanted vengeance on the Tocantins winner for what happened to Malcolm last episode and vengeance was what she got. Sandra Diaz-Twine is this week’s Player of the Week!

Next Time On Survivor 

Next time on Survivor the twists keep on coming and the tribes go from three tribes back down to two with one left out Julia Sokolowski styled, banished to exile island alone from the rest. That actually by the way isn’t the worst position to be in as it usually means safety.

BUT THEN Jeff says “A former Survivor makes a surprise return!”…..WHAT THE HELL!?! Besides the Pearl Islands outcast twist, nothing like this has ever been done and at least that was with people that had been voted out of that specific game. So who could it be? Is it Natalie Anderson? Russell Hantz? Rob Mariano? Jonny Fairplay??? Is it someone from this season? WHO KNOWS?

Have your say on twitter right here @raadesmo to vote for who you think is coming back. Whoever it is and whatever it is, it will definitely be intriguing to see and The Mastermind will be back once again to break it all down for you next week!


Beyond Debbie’s explosive behaviour, this episode was absolutely amazing to watch and my eyes were glued to the TV screen the entire time. By the way, this episode also witnessed a bit of history…..

In terms of the episode as a whole, Sandra has now eliminated both of the other winners of the game which might leave her in a precarious position if she wasn’t such a capable player. But again, with the tribes shaking things up next episode things could definitely get ugly and interesting and there are so many cracks in so many different places that you can guarantee that next episode’s vote will be absolutely full of entertainment once again. Thanks for reading, don’t forget to follow by email or on Twitter and I cannot wait to see you again sometime very soon!

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