Sandra Diaz-Twine talks Survivor David v Goliath Finale, Edge of Extinction, Australian Survivor and more


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Ryan chats with the great 2 time winner of Survivor Sandra Diaz-Twine

1:20 – The finale of Survivor David v Goliath

18:30 – Previewing Survivor 38 Edge of Extinction

25:00 – Her time on Survivor 34 Game Changers

36:00 – Thoughts on Australian Survivor (2018) Champions v Contenders

40:50 – Year wrap up with Ryan

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Survivor Game Changers | Finale Podcast


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6 Things to Learn From Survivor: Game Changers

Phew, what a season. Here’s a quick look back at Survivor: Game Changers:

Survivor Game Changers

In all seriousness, while this season hasn’t been the most entertaining or enjoyable or hard to guess.

Say winner 5 times fast.png
Can anyone say “Bulletproof Edit” three times fast?

Was Sarah’s win really in doubt since the merge? It couldn’t really have been beforehand because she was never in danger! She only attended two premerge tribals, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that and I for one don’t knock winners’ games for it. All in all Sarah played a very good game and when I add her to my winners rankings she’ll be in the top half for sure.


Enough about the winner though, this piece is all about how Survivor: Game Changers can really change the game for the better. Please keep in mind everything I say in here is entirely my opinion and I am not speaking for anyone else. If you disagree, let’s start a dialogue.

1: Idols and how they were hidden

Idols, though they were noticeably stacked all game thanks to a timely swap and Sia’s favourite gardener holding onto two most of the game, were exceptionally hidden this game. Having the idols hidden under a tribe insignia that could only be revealed with water is genius! I guarantee people heading out to future seasons will be splashing water on every panel of wood they find. Hiding an idol in a challenge was fantastic too.

The one that wasn’t so good was the one that came into play at the double tribal council. It was played perfectly at the tribal but something about how quickly it came around was… dodgy. Something about how quickly and easily Tai found it was unnerving. Plus it was a bit of a lame way to hide an idol.

This season was two steps forward and one step back, I hope the novelty of challenge idols becomes less of one and instead becomes the expected method. If it’s not at a challenge you can bet it’ll be hard to find. That is the standard of idol hiding that I hope is achieved soon.

2: Two tribes at one Tribal council


Big moves Jef
“What about the big moves though?”



This did not work in Aus Survivor. This did not work this season. This should never happen again. If you want to have two tribes vote someone out do the method from Palau, Heroes vs Villains and Nicaragua. Give one tribe a food reward and let them watch the losing tribe’s tribal council. Games can be won and lost off of a reward challenge this way but it’s not a game spiraling move like the joint tribal council was.

Joint tribal



3: The Legacy Advantage

The legacy advantage might not be a keeper. In two seasons it’s not been the bogeyman black mark that it could have been, nor has it been the game flipper it could have been. Instead this has been hidden from the majority of the cast both times only to magically appear, the idea is fantastic but it needs to get in the tank for a while. The legacy advantage is really something I love but it needs some work. Perhaps not as an idol, perhaps it needs to be something akin to the vote blocker/stopper present in Aus. Give it some time and thought.

4: 20 person seasons

This season proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that 20 people is far too much. The whole season felt a little rushed because there were so many people. 20 people also gives rise to way too many duds and “Really?” casting decisions. Think of a 20 person season, especially a returnee season, it’s not too difficult to think of someone who you think “why are they on my tv?” or “Why did they come back?”

21932-aSurvivor: Nicaragualucy-huang-survivor-millennials-vs-gen-x-episode-2-cbs_wup1oj SUgar.jpg

Double episodes tend to feel a bit like they’re running at a million miles an hour during postmerge and can lead to confusing situations like Michaela’s boot which left a lot of people up in arms, myself included. Hold onto the big 20 for season 40 Survivor, you owe it to everyone, including yourselves.

5: Cochran

I love Cochran. Jeff loves Cochran. Ryan the podcast master, loves Cochran. You’d be hard pressed to find much more than a handful of people who dislike him. One small problem: His cameo at the reunion was more than Tony got.


He’s lovely but unless he plays again I don’t think he should get much more spotlight. Love ya buddy but I’m kinda over you.

6: Editing

Editing was a big point of contention this season. From the flawless edit for Sarah to the “Go fish” debacle, this was a sad time for all. Let’s speak firstly about Sarah’s edit and to do that we need to speak about “Edgic”


  1. Contraction of ‘Edit’ and ‘Logic’, describes a hobby about analysing the editing of a television reality show. “Wow, Sarah’s really looking good, she must be an Edgic front-runner”

Edgic is most often used in an attempt to determine the winner of a season before the end of the show. Edgic has its benefactors and its detractors but it serves a purpose in the viewing community of the show and pushes the show’s editing to new heights like we saw in Millenials vs Gen X.

I must stress that knowing about Edgic can and will ruin someone’s survivor experience so at this point I would like to say that if you do not want your survivor viewing experience changed forever you need to scroll down until you see the big black lines and not read anything until you see them. 

Edgic works off of the basic principle that you want your winner to be someone people root for and not hated or at least if they aren’t very nice, they’re shown to be in control. Therefore the logic piggybacks off of how people come across in the edit. This takes part in several kinds of situations and I’m going to run a bit of a thought experiment. I want you to take a piece of paper or open a note file on your phone or just use your excellent memory and take down who you think is the winner of the season in the following situations.

Situation 1:

It’s merge time and in Previously on Survivor we heard how Player A thinks he’s in control but Player B has put together an alliance. Player A speaks of his alliance as the tribes merge including Players B and C, however, Player C speaks directly afterwards and speaks of his own alliance including Player B but not Player A.

Who’s the winner of this season?


Situation 2:

It’s the final 6 and two players are in a bit of trouble Player A has just walked in on players B and C talking about alternate final 4 arrangements that don’t include either Player A or Player D. While Player D is preparing some food, Player A comes over and starts talking about how they’re really worried that B and C won’t take them to the final 4. Player D hears them out and is more or less nonchalant about the whole thing. During the exchange a confessional starts playing where Player D admits that the end game is harder than they thought it would be and how they feel as though they can’t change what’s now going to happen in the game.

Who’s the winner?


Situation 3:

It’s the premiere and our tribes are just getting to know each other, Player A trods on a stick that gets stuck in his foot as Player B has a confessional about how Player A is stupid. He is. More footage of of Player A getting hurt plays before Player B calls him a nickname. Player A then has a confessional ruminating on this nickname saying (this is paraphrased) “They can call me what they like, I don’t care, I’m going to win the million dollars.”

One of these players is the winner, who is it?



In Situation 1 the players were A: Aras Bakauskis, B: Tyson Apostol and C: Hayden Moss. The season was Season 27: Blood Vs Water and the winner was Tyson or Player B. This is a classic example of a winner getting the credit both directly and indirectly for a move. Firstly directly from “Last time on Survivor” and then again indirectly from Hayden laying out the alliance. This was a fun one because all three were winners in their own right, Aras having won S12: Panama – Exile Island and Hayden having won Big Brother S12 (That was a neat little coincidence I never realised until I put this article together)


In Situation 2 the players were A: Rob Mariano, B: Rupert Boneham, C: Jenna Lewis and D: Amber Brkich. The season was Season 8: All Stars and the winner was Amber or player D. This example shows that editors are willing to show that a winner doesn’t always have to be the one in direct control, sometimes they can be nonchalant. Amber talks about how it’s hard in the late game exhibiting humility and self awareness that will end up being the deciding factor later on, along with other factors I mention in my last piece.


In Situation 3 the players were A: Jud ‘Fabio’ Birza and B: Shannon Elkins. This is more of an example of setting two players up, one to win and one to fail. Fabio is being set up as a lovable goofball who has a smarter side that people don’t see. Fabio also gives the classic winner confessional. Here’s a hint: If someone says they’re going to win at the start of a season, they probably will. Whereas Shannon is being set up as a villain who puts his foot in his mouth, he calls Fabio 3 different insults in as many minutes and gives him the nickname.


What we can take from Edgic is that positive traits may not be the most obvious but they’re always there from the beginning, to the middle, til the end and hardcore edgic people will make charts and talk about edit types. I will be honest, they’re way too complex for a general understanding type but if an introduction to edgic happens they’ll be gone through in depth.

With all that said, Sarah’s edit in Game Changers had all the subtlety of being hit in the face by a snow shovel wielding child. Most all episodes had Sarah being portrayed so positively and in control the whole time it made it difficult to watch even for people who did not dabble in edgic as it became increasingly obvious and frustrating that Sarah was basically guaranteed the win, through her portrayal of control of every situation and her constant confessionals. Part of this is editing’s fault and part of this is that while Sarah does a great job of communicating, after all it is part of her job, she is not a very entertaining confessional giver.


In short, the edit wasn’t great and to explain why we’re now going to talk about how Survivor as a show is edited.

Survivor isn’t edited by 3 people who sit down and plan out the whole season in one go and put it all together, it’s edited an episode at a time with different teams working on different episodes. The most common practice is intervals of three so a team will edit episode 1, 4 and 7 etc. and another will edit episode 2, 5 and 8 etc. This means that editors don’t skew the storyline the producers want to push, all they get is the footage, notes on the game, who’s done what and anything else that’s noteworthy. The editors know who won and this is where trying to read an edit comes from, explained above. In Au, a similar system was in place as far as I know but the change in airing schedule put the editors so behind they were editing up until mere hours before airing, this is an example of treating your editors poorly and this most recent season seems to be the case as well so that will bring us to a mini point:

6a: Treat your editors well

Just do it, they work so much better when they get treated well and are given all of the information they need to tell a cohesive and interesting story.



While I may have been a little negative I do want to stress that experimentation is not a bad thing and the fact that Survivor is still willing to play with the formula 34 seasons in is what makes it the best thing on TV. This has just been a bit of food for thought and a bit of a wrap up for the season. I hope everyone has an excellent off season and please let me know who your favourite players from S35 are. I think we may have a doppelganger that we’ll want to do well
Ryan the podcast nerd

Ryan the Survivor player














You can find me on twitter @therihasspoken and I’ll see you all next week.

Survivor: Game Changers – The Case to Win for the Final 6

Survivor: Game Changers – The Case to Win

Survivor 34 has been turbulent to say the least, with some of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but regardless of your opinions on the boot order or those cast as ‘game changers’, you cannot deny that Survivor has offered us some incredible television so far in 2017 and with the dust settling on a chaotic season, we head into the finale with six strong players remaining. Each has a decent chance at taking home the million and the title of sole survivor. The aim today is to establish how they need to pitch themselves to the Jury on day 39  What is the course that each player should take in these final few days, and what argument should they pitch to the jury. For the purpose of this piece, I am choosing to ignore the edited show, and place myself in the minds of each player following the chaotic Day 34 Tribal Council which saw Michaela blindsided.

Aubry Bracco


Many say that Aubry should already be a Survivor winner based upon her impressive game in Kaoh Rong, but that is an argument for another day. The unfortunate reality for Aubry is that she has lacked control in this season. Her calling card in Survivor 32 was her ability to gain control in situations where she should have been a target, and that won’t work in a season where she has been on the wrong side of the vote almost every time. This could be advantageous to her, however, as she sits she remains an innocent figure in the eyes of the jury which could play to her advantage.

What she has

Friends on the jury: A close friendship with Andrea and strong working relationships with Zeke, Michaela and Hali already means that the jury is looking upon her favourably. She also has an Individual Immunity win to her name which should appeal to players like Ozzy who value the challenge and survival strength of an individual.

What she needs

Stability: A player like Aubry is already recognized as being a skillful strategist, so she doesn’t need to buy in to the ‘big moves’ hype. Instead, she just needs to be on the right side of the vote for these final three Tribal Councils. The jury’s biggest case against her is that she hasn’t been consistently in the majority, or really seemed to even know what’s going on a lot of the time. She still has time to correct this. Having said that, being the architect of the ousting of a player of Cirie’s calibre in these last few days would go a long way to showing that her game has still has strategic merit this season.

Aubry’s Pitch

Hand picked final 3: Aubry needs to sit next to two people that can generate anger or resentment from certain members of the jury. This could primarily involve Brad, who has clearly not gotten along with Michaela all season, and Tai, who showed in Kaoh Rong that he can fumble the ball under the pressure of Final Tribal Council. If she remains her articulate self and emphasises her viable control over the end of the game, she could very easily take home the prize.


Brad Culpepper

Brad Culpepper_S34_1

Coming into Game Changers, Brad was remembered predominantly due to his wife Monica and a certain four-word phrase coined by one Candice Cody at Redemption Island in Survivor: Blood vs Water. What was overlooked by much of the fan community, and clearly many of the players as well, was that Brad was able to establish a great deal of control within the Tadhana tribe in the pre-merge portion of the game, before he was usurped by the late Caleb Bankston. Brad has always been a strong physical player, but his unheralded leadership and a strong strategic acumen has taken him all the way to this seasons’ finale, and holds him in good stead as one of the frontrunners to win the game.

What he has

At the risk of sounding like my 19-year old counterpart Will Wahl, Brad has the resumé of a Survivor winner. Being the leader of a strong alliance pre-merge is impressive, and is made doubly so when you take into account the diverse range of personalities that Brad was able to hold together. He also has two Individual Immunity wins, including the Final 7, where his back was well and truly against the wall.

What he needs

Immunity, basically. Brad kind of needs to Mike Holloway these last few challenges, because he’s far too obvious a target to leave on the board if he’s an option. The most paramount of these necessary wins is at Final 6, where Sarah, Tai and Troyzan could all potentially be immune through the legacy Advantage and Hidden Immunity Idols. If he were to ensure his safety as well, it could ensure a huge strategic threat in Cirie or Aubry exits the game, and allows him to potentially “bro down” with Tai and Troyzan all the way to Final 3.

Brad’s pitch

Metamorphosis: It was the buzzword of the pre-merge and Brad is the player who embodies this term the best. In the eyes of the other players, Brad has taken his game to another level this season, and if he can make it to the end with the right people, he should be able to mount a convincing case. He’s a lawyer by trade, so establishing a credible argument should come naturally to him, and would appear doubly impressive next to Tai, who has proven to choke under the pressure of final tribal council before.


Cirie Fields


Oh Cirie. Cirie, Cirie, Cirie. Ever since the merge, you’ve carried the collective weight of a great deal of the Survivor fandom upon your shoulders, and for the most part you’ve done them proud, but the Final 7 Tribal Council is a huge stumble in your claim to the throne. For a player like Cirie, her astute strategic mind is what she will rely on to impress the jury, but failing to read the fine print of Sarah’s vote steal advantage places a huge question mark over her head as to whether she’s as good as her legacy claims she is.

What she has

Status. In a season where a great deal of the big names were taken out early, Cirie is the lone survivor of the ‘legends’ category to make it to the finale. However, this game through the great fortune of being on the winning tribe at every immunity challenge pre-merge, and it is unlikely she can take much credit for this in the eyes of the jury, given how much she has struggled in Individual Challenges this season. However, certain jury members such as Zeke are likely to vote for her should she make the Final Tribal Council based on legacy alone, and Michaela is a guaranteed vote should she make it to the end.

What she needs

A Final 6 immunity challenge that is solely a bunch of puzzles. This next tribal is so dangerous for Cirie, with the Legacy Advantage and three idols still in the game, none of which are in her possession, but, let’s face it, she hasn’t looked like much of a threat in these Individual Immunities. If she could somehow be safe at Final 6, it would allow her to play more ambitiously strategically, and potentially win back the jury after her stumble at the Final 7.

Cirie’s pitch

Legacy: Cirie isn’t just any player. This would be Cirie pitching her case for the first time, after getting so close twice before. If she can get to the end, she’s got a great shot. It’s just getting there that’s the problem.


Sarah Lacina


After being the winner pick for so many people in Cagayan (myself included) and bombing out quite spectacularly at the merge, expectations were low on Sarah heading into the game. However, she has surpassed these greatly, as she has been the driving force in the game since the merge, and as such is seen by many as the frontrunner coming into the finale.

What she has

Sarah’s fingerprints are all over this jury. Aside from the Hali vote, Sarah has voted with the majority at every tribal council she’s attended, and many of these votes have been of her strategic making. Her ability to read fine print is also in the forefront of the jury’s mind, as her ability to quash Cirie’s ambitious move at the Final 7, and the subsequent blindside of Cirie’s closest ally Michaela, proves that she is the strategic force she will claim to be. She also has the Legacy Advantage coming into the most dangerous tribal council of the season, so she’s guaranteed at least final 5.

What she needs

An immunity win in these last few days would really bolster her already impressive résumé. Aside from that, Sarah has two great goats to get to the end with in Tai and Troyzan, she just needs to make sure that one of these two don’t become collateral damage should advantages and idols become a factor.

Sarah’s pitch

Game Changer: Sarah has emphasised the seasons’ moniker at the last few Tribal Councils. If she can find her way to Final 3, she can easily make the case that she played the most aggressive strategic game and as such she should be rewarded.



Tai Trang


Tai’s such a unique Survivor player, as for some reason, he never seems to be a target. Whether it’s through his relationship with other players or just his natural demeanour, Tai seems to illicit trust from everyone he speaks to, to the point where a betrayal by Tai seems to sting a bit more than a betrayal from anybody else. However, he has changed his game since Kaoh Rong, as evidenced by his willingness to cut Caleb back in the pre-merge.

What he has

Idols. Plural. Somehow Tai found Idols on Day 14 and 15 respectively, and still has them both in his possession on day 36. In a season filled with chaotic tribal councils, this is a testament to how well he has been able to read the actions of the players around him. Unless something goes seriously wrong, such as handing an Idol off to somebody else, Tai’s guaranteed Final 4.

What he needs

A Final 4 Endurance Immunity Challenge. If it’s an Endurance, nobody left in the game is beating Tai. If he can be immune all the way from Final 6 to 3, that’s a seriously impressive feat in the eyes of the jury, and while he may not have excelled in the strategic portion, he could argue that his relationships with everybody else leading into the Final 6 meant that he didn’t have to.

Tai’s pitch:

Resourcefulness: Coming into the season, Tai must have recognized that the strategic portion of the game wasn’t his strong suit because instead of biting off more than he could chew, he’s played to his strengths: finding idols and making relationships. His final hurdle will come in articulating this to the jury.



Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson


It’s been a big change in game styles for Troyzan this season. Whilst he was incredibly vocal during One World, he’s played a very under the radar game this season. That doesn’t mean that his gameplay has been bad by any means, he just needs to find a away to explain his apparent lack of action to the jurors.

What he has

The Green Monster and a Hidden Immunity Idol. If advantage-geddon goes down at the Final 6, like it seems it will, Troyzan should at least be safe until the Final 5. From there, he stands to be one of the biggest chances to win Individual Immunity in these last few days, potentially enabling him to win out if Brad doesn’t first.

What he needs

A move. I don’t like to buy in to the ‘big moves’ mindset of Survivor, but in Troyzan’s case, he needs to. If he can somehow become a strategic force in these last few days, and become instrumental in either blindsiding a player of Cirie’s stature, or taking out his ally in Brad, he suddenly can make the case that he was just biding his time.

Troyzan’s pitch

Stability: In a season that’s been so chaotic, Troyzan has been a constant figure. He’s stayed true to his allies, but hasn’t burned any bridges. If he could capitalise on a feeling of resentment or betrayal from some members of the jury towards a Sarah or a Brad, he might be able to snag enough votes to stand a chance.

There’s three sleeps to go until we find ourselves the winner of Survivor: Game Changers. So who’s it gonna be?

Sunday Burquest recaps Survivor Game Changers Week 11/Episode 13

Sunday Burquest recaps Survivor Game Changers Week 11/Episode 13

MANA ISLAND – MAY 1: “I’m the Kingpin” – Sunday Burquest on the eighth episode of SURVIVOR: Millennials vs. Gen. X, airing Wednesday, Nov. 9 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)


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Survivor Catch-Up with Des Quilty | New Zealand Week 1 & Game Changers Final 8


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Survivor Game Changers: Week 10 Episode 12 Recap – Exploring Fields

Exploring Fields – Game Changers Week 10 Recap

by Jonathan Sloan – Find me on Twitter and Instagram

Here’s a quick question: If you had a secret advantage that only you knew about, and the only way that it could benefit someone else was if you were to suddenly disappear from the game, what would you do?

  1.  Hold onto your cards and use your smarts and social ability to sway someone to your side?
  2. Pretend it’s an idol?
  3. Give someone an objectively good move in taking you out and promise them your advantage even when your alliance of 3 are the only people not to vote for you

Fan Favourite Sierra Dawn Thomas. Guess which one she picked, here’s a hint: It’s half of six.

Returning from last week’s blindside of Zeke, a strong core of five has emerged, headed by Andrea with Cirie, Aubry, Michaela and Sarah in toe.

Our protagonist Sierra remained on the outside looking in, after her core of Brad and Troyzan had been fooled into voting for Tai. Sierra has shown this season she is willing to fight, with a resilient spirit and determination that allowed her to change her game so immensely compared to last season. Luckily for her, public enemy #1 is Brad Culpepper. Sierra has made it clear: she will write down whoever’s name she is told. Remind you of anyone?

The Queen Stays Queen

Continue reading “Survivor Game Changers: Week 10 Episode 12 Recap – Exploring Fields”

Survivor Game Changers: Week 10 Episode 12 Recap Podcast


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