“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”
After 12 episodes and 39 days, the Survivor: Game Changers finale came, and wasn’t without drama and history. At the previous tribal council, things took a turn when Cirie tried to steal Sarah’s vote. However, even though Sarah handed Cirie the advantage, the advantage itself was non-transferable. Sarah was the only one able to use the advantage and she did that night to send Michaela to the jury.
At the first immunity challenge of the episode, Brad ultimately figured out the puzzle at the end of a long challenge to win immunity. He also won chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meat sauce, and garlic bread for back at camp. He chose to take Troyzan and Sarah with him, which would play a big role in the rest of the game.
Survivor History is Made
At tribal council, Survivor history was made. After the votes were cast and Jeff asked if anyone would be playing an immunity idol, the floodgates opened. Tai stood up first and played both of his idols. After playing the first one for himself, he played his second one for Aubry. Sarah followed and played her legacy advantage (which was her last chance to do so), which gave her immunity. Troyzan then played his immunity idol that he held onto for most of the game.
Unfortunately for Cirie, this marked the end of her journey in Survivor: Game Changers. Here’s why she was eliminated:
– Brad had immunity from winning the immunity challenge.
– Tai, Aubry, and Troyzan were immune because of immunity idols.
– Sarah was immune after playing her legacy advantage.
Because the other five castaways were immune, the only castaway who was able to receive any votes was Cirie. Although none of the votes were for her, Cirie was eliminated and sent to the jury by default. It marked the first time in all 34 seasons of Survivor that a castaway was eliminated simply because nobody else could be.
No More Idols
Following a historic tribal council, the castaways were down to the final five as they made their way to their next immunity challenge. This challenge involved navigating three balls through a series of obstacles on a table top. While most of the castaways had trouble navigating the obstacles, Brad figured things out and never looked back as he once again won individual immunity.
This time at tribal council, it was Aubry and Tai who found themselves on the chopping block. In an attempt to save themselves, Aubry and Tai tried to convince Sarah to vote out Troyzan. This would give the three of them a better chance to make it to the final three. Ultimately, Brad got his wish as Sarah and Tai joined Brad and Troyzan to send Aubry to the jury.
And Then There Were Four
Brad, Troyzan, Sarah, and Tai made it to the final four. The next day, they made their way to their final immunity challenge. In perhaps the most physical challenge of the game, the castaways had to navigate a series of obstacles, including a large staircase to a waterslide, to get keys to unlock the pieces of a lighthouse puzzle.
Sarah had a sizable lead for most of the challenge, but Brad caught up to her and took the lead. Brad was able to figure out the puzzle for another individual immunity win. The win was significant in two ways.
First, Brad joined Colby Donaldson, Tom Westman, Terry Deitz, Mike Holloway, and fellow Game Changers castaway Ozzy Lusth, as the only castaways to win five individual immunity challenges. Secondly, and perhaps more important to Brad, the win guaranteed his place in the final three.
The question was who will join him? Tai worked with Sarah on how to start a fire, as he was hoping the vote would be split to send it to a fire making tiebreaker. Ultimately, Brad, Troyzan, and Sarah voted out Tai and made him the final member of the jury.
The Moment of Truth
The final three (Brad, Troyzan, and Sarah) enjoyed a breakfast feast before heading to their final tribal council. The format was altered this season. Instead of each jury member coming forward and asking the castaways a question, it was more of a discussion between the jury and the final three moderated by Jeff Probst.
Sarah was praised for her game play by some of the jury. However, there were other members of the jury who called Sarah out for her gameplay, given that she turned on people and had a role in each jury member being in the jury. Brad was also praised for his gameplay while being called out for his faults and his demeanor near the end. Meanwhile, Troyzan was called out for not doing as much throughout the game as Brad and Sarah.
After the votes were cast, the castaways came together in CBS Studios in Los Angeles for the live finale where the votes were read. After the first six votes went back and forth for Sarah and Brad, Sarah was ultimate voted the Sole Survivor and awarded $1 Million in a 7-3 vote. Unfortunately for Troyzan, he didn’t receive a single vote.
Did the Right Person Win?
Of course, a question that is almost always asked at the Survivor finale is “Did the right person win?”. In this case, yes. The right person won. Personally, I picked Brad to win. However, both Brad and Sarah had more than legitimate cases to be the Sole Survivor. This is not to say Troyzan did not do anything, but at the end of the day he didn’t do as much as Brad and Sarah did to make it to the final three.
Brad was consistently a strong player in the game. Also, he won immunity challenge after immunity challenge when his back was against the wall and that was essentially the only way to stay in the game.
Sarah also proved to be one of the strongest players in the game. She had a say in every member of the jury being voted out. After Sierra told her she would will her legacy advantage to her, Sarah promptly did what she needed to do to get Sierra out of the game and get her the advantage.
Sarah also made a big move when she gave Cirie her secret advantage of stealing a vote. What Sarah knew that Cirie didn’t was that the advantage was non-transferable. Even though Cirie held it, Sarah was the only one who could use it.
Sarah wound up using it that night, and then used her legacy advantage to save herself at the next tribal council. Granted, she almost didn’t have a choice, as it was her last chance to play the legacy advantage. Still, the move saved her as she would have been voted out had she not played it.
Having said all that, if Brad been voted Sole Survivor, the answer to the question of “Did the right person win?” would have still been a solid “yes.”
Next Season on Survivor
Survivor will return to Fiji once again for its 35th season. This season will feature all new players that will be divided into three tribes – Heroes, Healers, and Hustlers – based on their best trait and occupation.
If the previews were any indication, it’s shaping up to be another great season. We’ll find out for sure when the season premieres in the fall.