Survivor Game Changers Episode 5 Recap, Edgic and Analysis

This episode of Survivor Game Changers was absolutely amazing. Although it led to the elimination of one of the game’s greatest legends, it was still a whole lot of fun to watch and will definitely go down as one of the best episodes of the season thus far. So let’s get right into all the action and discuss this new episode of Survivor titled “Vote Early, Vote Often” starting with all that went on at the latest tribe swap.

Tribe Swap 

As teased to us in the previous episode’s Next Time On Survivor segment, episode five started off with the second tribe swap of the season. The first swap of the season worked out so well in favour of Sandra Diaz-Twine and Jeff Varner but unfortunately with their tribe being so down in the numbers, they were always going to find themselves in a hard position after any swap that was going to occur. Michaela and Aubry went one way and Sandra and Jeff went the other, somehow finding themselves with every member of the core group of old Tavua. Here is how the tribe swap worked out.

Mana: Troyzan, Aubry, Cirie, Michaela, Hali and Brad.
Nuku: Sandra, Jeff V, Zeke, Ozzy, Sarah, Andrea and Tai.
Tribe-less: Debbie

In order to make for two even tribes, Debbie was left tribe-less, sent away to exile island, which turned out to instead be exile paradise and a date with the one and only Jon Cochran, winner of Survivor Caramoan.

Debbie’s Exile Island Experience 

Traditionally, exile island has never been a good thing. The only people who have ever really wanted to go to exile island have been people scrambling to look for idols or in the case of Tocantins’ Brendan and Taj, two people trying to form a cross-tribe alliance. So when Debbie came out of the swap without a tribe, her initial reaction was that it would be an experience centering around doom and gloom. But that fear was quickly wiped away when exile island turned into exile cruise – a party for one that later became two. Debbie had all the food and wine that she wanted and after barely even having time to settle in, Cochran, winner of Survivor Caramoan appeared out of nowhere and said “Hope it’s okay if I join you!”. Cochran was not only on the show tonight for moral support but also to give Debbie some advice. The South-Pacific and Caramoan competitor was actually really brilliant on the show tonight. He was just so eager to give Debbie advice and Debbie really took to his presence. Of course, the Koah Rong 9th placer is so unaware of how she comes across that she was never going to really take any advice Cochran would give at face value, but to her credit she seemed to be grateful for the experience nonetheless.

Being on exile island also gave Debbie the chance to choose her own adventure when Cochran pulled out an advantage card for her. The Kaoh Rong contestant got the choice of having an extra vote, the tools to make a fake immunity idol, or a tribe challenge advantage. Without hesitation, she chose to go with the extra vote. I personally would have gone with the fake immunity idol as I would have loved to Tony Vlachos it up and wear it around my neck claiming it had special powers. But Debbie had other ideas and decided to follow in the footsteps of Dan Foley, Stephen Fishbach and Tai Trang and go with the extra vote. You know, because it worked out so well for all three of them! Either way, with Debbie being such a loose cannon and unpredictable element in the game, her having an extra vote will certainly be something to keep an eye on.

Zeke’s Got The Power 

Image result for Zeke Smith Survivor Game Changers

After losing the immunity challenge, Nuku was sent to tribal council with Zeke beginning to make plans to get Sandra voted out. Sandra on the other hand tried to play the Kaoh Rong card, reminding everyone that whoever was going to go home would be replaced by Debbie and if Tai were to stay that that would only give more power to what she described as “The Kaoh Rong trio”.

After kind of hiding in the shadows of other players on Tavua, Zeke re-emerged this episode and gave us all a reminder as to why he is such a good game-player. Zeke had every right to be afraid of Sandra in the game and from the edit and the story we were given, he was the one who was leading the charge to eliminate the two-time winner. Zeke hasn’t been totally out in the open this season about his strategy but he was absolutely on fire confessional-wise this episode and did not want to give Sandra a chance at staying in the game. It seemed to be the Millennials vs. Gen X star who brought the idea up in the first place and it was also him who brought up and narrated the idea of using Tai as a decoy vote. On the surface, Ozzy may seem like the leader of that core group from Tavua now on Nuku, but as evidenced by tonight’s vote, Zeke has a lot more power than what has been shown.

Sandra tried her best to turn the vote around on Tai and in typical Sandra fashion managed to make such a reasonable argument to the core alliance that they for a second were really considering going with it. She argued that Debbie’s re-arrival back into the game would give the Kaoh Rong trio far too much power while also throwing Tai under the bus for his flimsy game-play in his season. Although this didn’t work in the end it was just one more piece of evidence to outline how good Sandra-Diaz Twine is at this game.

Why Sandra Was Voted Out 

It is clear for all to see that above all else, Sandra was voted out due to her past reputation as a two-time winner. If no one was even talking to her about the vote, then there was clearly hardly anything else she could do! Sandra did all that she could do to try and stay in the game as she always does and at one point it almost looked like it was going to happen. But Zeke and Ozzy weren’t about to be bamboozled by Sandra like so many others have before. The Millennials vs. Gen X contestant even dubbed the two-time winner as “the most dangerous player in the history of Survivor”. With that kind of reputation there was never any reason to vote off anyone else.

Unfortunately, Sandra is a victim of her own amazing play in both Survivor Heroes vs. Villains and in Survivor Pearl Islands and that played the influential role in her elimination from Survivor Game Changers.

Read more -> Why Sandra Was Voted Out

At least the Tavua group finally lost right?

Confessional Count

Image result for Survivor Game Changers


Player # of Confessionals Running Total


Sandra Diaz-Twine 5 22
2nd Debbie Wanner 5



Tai Trang 5 15


Jeff Varner 4 16


Zeke Smith



6th Jon Cochran 4


7th Brad Culpepper 2


8th Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson 2



Ozzy Lusth 1 5

Sarah Lacina



11th Aubry Bracco



12th Andrea Boehlke 1


13th Michaela Bradshaw 0



Hali Ford 0 6
15th Cirie Fields 0


16th Sierra Dawn-Thomas 0


One of the nicest things to occur this episode was the re-emerge of Zeke Smith who had a fantastic episode in his quest to eliminate Sandra from the game. He may not top the charts this week but he was certainly one of Episode 5’s biggest characters and prime narrators.

Sandra Diaz-Twine tied for most confessionals on her elimination episode along with the idol-finding Tai Trang and exiled Debbie Wanner. Jeff Varner also played a big role securing 4 confessionals this week and by proxy propelled himself up to becoming the player still left in the game with the most confessionals.

The interesting thing to note certainly has to be the fact that every single character with a high number of confessionals this season has gone home early. It is very possible the people with the least amount of confessionals, for perhaps the first time ever, will actually be the people that go the farthest. Usually it’s completely the other way around but it truly does seem that the people who are the most well-positioned like Sarah, Hali, Zeke, Ozzy, etc., are also the people with the least amount of air time in front of the camera.

Even Debbie and Tai who have 15 confessionals each are really looking in trouble. Tai may have two idols and Debbie may have her advantage but if you’re betting on two more people to go home before the merge, the Kaoh Rong duo would certainly be towards the top of the list.

Quickly, Hali, Michaela, Sierra and Cirie were the players to receive 0 confessionals this week. All four were not involved in the vote so that is A-okay from an editing standpoint. Sierra however is still stuck on 3 confessionals through six eliminations which practically rules her out of being the eventual winner of this season.

Oh and by the way, Jon Cochran has more confessionals this season than Sierrra does, despite the Carmoan winner only appearing for ten minutes on the show.



Edgic Visibility


Sandra Diaz-Twine

CP 5

Debbie Wanner

CP 5


Tai Trang 

OTT 5 Negative

Jeff Varner

CP 5

Zeke Smith

CP 5
Jon Cochran MOR 4

Brad Culpepper CP 3

Ozzy Lusth CP 3

Sarah Lacina


Aubry Bracco


Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson


Andrea Boehlke

Cirie Fields INV 1

Sierra Dawn-Thomas INV 1

Michaela Bradshaw INV 1

Hali Ford INV 1

Cirie, Hali, Sierra and Michaela all went invisible this week but as discussed above were all not involved in the vote while Andrea Boehlke, although involved in the vote, was hardly shown once again and continues to fly under the radar. I am really just waiting for the emergence of Andrea this season and I really hope it happens. I’d rather her not be the Joe Del Campo of the season that just floats to final five/final six without hardly saying a word, especially not since she is actually such a capable player. Andrea is also joined in that category by Troyzan who only had 1 confessional about his desire to not be bamboozled by women and possibly work with Brad, as well as Aubry Bracco who also only had 1 confessional, which unfortunately for her centered around how great Sandra was at the game.I can’t remember a Survivor episode this early on in a season where so many characters were presented to us as complex individuals and not just narrators or under the radar. Sandra, Debbie, Jeff Varner, Zeke, Brad and Ozzy all went CP this episode and all of the above were incredibly visible. Even Tai could be argued to have been at times very level headed and complex, giving confessionals not just about his game but the games of others as well. Unfortunately for Tai, he was shown to be quite over the top by the other players in the game which is what really brings him over the edge and swings him in that direction this time around. At tribal council in particular, Tai was just made out to be an extremely irrational player and it appears as though just like his first time out, other players are beginning to have a very hard time trusting him in the game.

After a string of under-edited episodes over at Tavua, Sarah Lacina was pretty visible for the second week in a row and this time also pretty heavily involved throughout the episode extending all the way up to tribal council. But like Aubry, her only confessional in the episode was about how good Sandra was at the game rather than her own specific strengths and strategies.  Cochran also went MOR for being the primary narrator in the exile island scene with Debbie…not that it matters…while Zeke who was integral to Sandra’s elimination finally achieved the CP5 rating that he managed so many times last season.

But what does all of this mean? Can we use this information from this episode and previous one’s to determine who might be the winner of the season? Read on to find out!

The Winner’s Edit 

Image result for SArah Lacina game changers

Is The Mastermind still predicting Hali to be the winner of this season? Is Brad back on the up-swing? Or has someone new emerged! Well let’s find out!

Only two people received confessionals on Mana this week: Brad and Troyzan. They both talked about their need to make an alliance with each other and in the words of Troyzan “not get bamboozled by the women again”. So if Hali were to be the eventual winner of this season, at least they aren’t making it blatantly obvious like they were with Michele. But that does make me wonder, was Brad being shown to us because his story-line was the only one with particular interest or was Brad being shown as a way of helping to form his Winner’s Edit and keep him involved in the action even when he’s not going to tribal council. Talking strictly from an editing perspective, Brad Culpepper and Nuku’s Sarah Lacina for my mind have the two strongest Winner’s Edits this season.

Sarah has been just so level-headed this season and every time she appears on the screen, it’s almost like everything just calms down and relaxes for a second or two. The editors are working hard to make Sarah look like a really rational player, particularly one that isn’t jumping around or rushing into making big moves, which is definitely an effective way to win this game and looks to be a viable way of how to ironically win the season called Game Changers. With all the big targets just constantly going after each other Sarah could easily just float her way to the end and if she can make one or two nifty moves to secure her spot in the finale, she might be able to take the win!

But I still don’t know if I really see either of them making it to the end. I think Sarah gets a little too paranoid and isn’t quite as deeply rooted in that Tavua group as she may think she is, especially judging by her need to feel like she had to pull in Troyzan. Meanwhile, Brad has to be the biggest target left in the game, especially with the way he’s been playing and when the merge hits, it’s hard to see how he’s not one of the primary threats. So maybe that could mean that Hali Ford slips through the cracks and becomes the winner of Survivor Game Changers. Or maybe Sarah will stay that level-headed player that we have been shown and come out on top. At this point it is truthfully very hard to say! Nonetheless, I am ready to make my pick. The edit suggests Brad, but this time, I will ignore what the edit wants us to believe, I will go against what I said last week about Hali and instead I will read in between the lines Natalie White style, and declare Sarah Lacina to have the Winner’s Edit!

Quote of the Week

Sandra Survivor Game Changers

“If they think I’m not going to take control of the situation they don’t know the queen” – Sandra Diaz-Twine before she almost turned it all around on Tai.

Player of the Week 

Zeke Smith Survivor Game Changers

Zeke Smith had every right to be afraid of Sandra in the game and from the edit and the story we were given, he was the one who was leading the charge to eliminate the two-time winner. Zeke hasn’t been totally out in the open this season about his strategy but he was absolutely on fire confessional-wise this episode and did not want to give Sandra a chance at staying in the game. It seemed to be the Millennials vs. Gen X star who brought the idea up in the first place and it was also him who brought up and narrated the idea of using Tai as a decoy vote. On the surface, Ozzy may seem like the leader of that core group from Tavua now on Nuku, but as evidenced by tonight’s vote, Zeke has a lot more power than what has been shown. He was shown bonding with Jeff Varner, he never alienated Sandra, he always kept his options open and he managed to convince all of his allies of something that he really wanted to do. Zeke Smith has just done what so many who have come before him have failed to do and that is vote out the one and only two time winner, Sandra-Diaz Twine, who now finally has a blemish on her record.

Next Time On Survivor 

Next time on Survivor, “Mana reaches their breaking point” Jeff Probst declares as shots of both Aubry and Brad tearing up appear on our television screens. But more importantly, “It might be time to cut Ozzy’s throat” – Sarah declares. With Tai now having two idols in his back pocket and seemingly being ready to target Ozzy that could be exactly where we are headed next episode. But with the wildcard that is Debbie entering the scene and “Mana reaching their breaking point” next episode looks set to be an absolute flyer once again and an Ozzy elimination might be just another red herring. Either way we cannot wait for the next episode of Survivor Game Changers!


“Vote Early, Vote Often” was an incredible episode of Survivor Game Changers. It was a little bit too much Debbie for my liking but it also gave us a whole lot of Sandra and as you probably have figured out by now, I cannot ever get enough of Sandra Diaz-Twine. The show will truly not be the same without her and I am so sad to see her eliminated from this season. At the same time, I am so happy with the way she played the game this time around and I know that the prospects of her winning were always very, very slim. Despite Tony, Malcolm, JT, and now Sandra all being gone from the game, I am still optimistic about the direction this season is heading in. Having said that, there is only one Sandra Diaz-Twine and Survivor Game Changers will not be quite as fun without her.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s episode? Comment below to share your thoughts! Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to see you next time!

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