Welcome to Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette, where the authors of this site are randomly assigned contestants from the upcoming season of Survivor: Game Changers and must give an honest assessment of what to expect from them. Next up: Sandra Diaz-Twine. The queen.
Editor’s note: Since six entries didn’t feel like enough for this series, we invited some more regular contributor’s to the site and put them through the randomizer. Kemper Boyd was lucky enough to get Sandra.
I was worried when I was asked to take a shot at Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette. There were so many chances I would write a thousand words where every other word was “delusional” or “douche-chills” but then the angels sang and told me I would be writing about the greatest Survivor player of all time Sandra. Diaz. Twine. Sandra Diaz Mother F-ing Twine.
This was like picking up the gun, pointing it at your head and dry firing 5 times in a row, then calmly handing it off to the poor schmuck next to you.
So what can you say about Sandra Diaz-Twine, the only two-time winner of Survivor? I suppose you need to start with the fact she isn’t on the island for fun and games. Sandra is there to make money for her family, Sandra is there on a business trip. She will cut her best friend for that extra 3 days and she did when she voted out Courtney in Heroes vs Villains. She plays in some ways the purest form of Survivor, the “anyone but me” strategy. When it comes down to it, Sandra does what it takes to survive.
But let’s not get it twisted, some people will argue she doesn’t do anything. Those people are wrong. Sandra makes small moves that keep her out of the line of fire: she will turn on an ally in a heartbeat, she puts ideas in people’s heads and creates paranoia to make sure people aren’t looking at her, and she almost always knows where the votes are going. In 78 days of playing Survivor and going to 23 tribal councils, she has voted for the person who didn’t go home only four times (and once was the Russell/Parvati vote split). Basically, Sandra is the Queen of Survivor.
Sandra is a joy to have on your TV screen. She’s cutting, she’s blunt, and she’s funny as hell. It’s not luck that she stars in the first episode of Pearl Islands, where she barters with locals for her tribe and nearly sells Trish to an amorous shopkeep as Trish thinks the woman is just being friendly.
During both of her previous games she went toe to toe with some of the biggest, baddest villains Survivor has to offer and made them both look like fools. If there is anyone in our corner of Survivor fandom who doesn’t love every moment of Sandra vs. Russell, I’d eat his already burnt hat.
Sandra is the star of so many iconic moments- her pronouncement of “Imma burn it” (Editor’s note: “it” being Russell’s hat, in case you’ve forgotten) to Parvarti and her follow-through on that threat being just one. Russell Hantz based his game on intimidating women into coming along with him or cutting them loose, but he met his match in Sandra. Who else but this fiery woman would straight up tell him, “I’m against you Russell”? Who else would yell in Jonny Fairplay’s face?
Sandra even single-handedly took down the opposing tribe’s tarp in Pearl Islands and capped it off with a cheerful “sleep tight” as she walked off to whispers of “What a bitch.” She is a bitch, and bitches get shit done.
I am so excited to have this woman back on my TV screen. I dream of her standing up to Troy and Culpepper and telling Ozzy he’s an entitled douche. I hope she and Michaela become a snarky duo cutting people down with their words. I wistfully think of all the new falling down gifs, the next hilarious challenge failure and most of all the annoyance of Jeff Probst when Sandra destroys his contention that to play Survivor well you have to make big moves.
We all know Sandra’s best case scenario. She finds the power players in her tribe on day one and becomes a loyal vote, she doesn’t argue who goes or why, there is no swap and Sandra gets herself to the merge. Then it’s anyone but me- if that means staying loyal to her original alliance like in Heroes vs Villains, fine. If it means finding the majority at each vote and being with them, then she’ll do that. Somehow on day 39 there is Sandra at final tribal council explaining why she’s a better player than Troy and Culpepper to a jury with a female majority, and boom! Sandra Diaz Twine: Three Time Survivor Winner is sitting at the reunion in a mink cape with a crown and a gold staff.
A second-best case scenario can be laid out. I call this the “Purplerock commenters best case scenario”. A tribe swap happens, Sandra and Cirie meet up and proceed to run the game with Varner and Michaela. Everyone is so entertained by this magnificent lot that Jeff turns up and declares them joint winners and they get $1 million each. YAY.
It’s no secret that Sandra is possibly the second-worst physical challenge competitor of all time (shout out to Scout- she’s still number one). Her worst case scenario is simple, her tribe loses the first immunity and they decide to get rid of the two time winner as the easy consensus pick.
Most likely scenario
I don’t see the worst case scenario happening honestly. Sandra is likable, she is a hard worker at camp and importantly I think she has good shot at bonding with her tribe with the breakdown the way it is (Editor’s note: We won’t be sharing the tribe breakdown, but you can find it at Inside Survivor). I think she will likely go pre-merge because these players should know Sandra shouldn’t be allowed to make the merge. So my best guess is my worst fears will be realised, and we will only have Sandra on our televisions for 3-4 weeks.
In summation, Sandra Diaz Twine is the best player to play Survivor. When the cast was announced, many of us were worried that Sandra would ruin her legacy by going out to the island and ending her win streak but…
Favourite seasons: HvV, Pearl Islands, Cook Islands, Micronesia, SJDS
Favourite players: Sandra, Kim, Courtney, Parvati, Yul, Nat Anderson