Let's Talk About Sarah Surprising the Hell out of Everyone on Survivor
When the cast of Survivor: Game Changers was announced, fans immediately started complaining about certain members of the cast: that some of the chosen players weren't strong enough and hadn't even proven that they were "game changers." Sarah Lacina was definitely part of that conversation. She finished 11th on Season 28 and was only the first member of the jury, and she was seen as a bit of a pushover.
As this season has revved up, Sarah has been flying pretty low under the radar. She told CBS before the game started, "I’m more cutthroat now. I’m not out there to make friends and I’m willing to go against my word," but we didn't really see any of that happening for the first 26 days on the island.
But now, watch out.
Last night's episode was called "A Line in the Concrete," but it should have been called "Sarah's Show." Not only did the small-town cop quietly organize a blindsiding of one of the most powerful people in the tribe, she also played the technical game well while winning emotional/social points with key players. Here are Sarah's three big accomplishments from the night.
She soared in likability
Sarah keeps her head down in camp, working hard and staying relatively quiet and drama-free. Last night, though, when her teammate Cirie began to struggle with physical exhaustion during the rewards challenge, Sarah quickly and decisively jumped into the water to help. Even after the team lost the challenge, Sarah stayed to help Cirie finish. It might not seem like gameplay at first, but later, when Sarah and Cirie start to strategize, you know that there is a strong personal bond there.
On top of that, Sarah looked good for her teammates. You can argue that likability doesn't matter a bit on Survivor, but it absolutely does. Michaela was almost voted out because of her personality, and no one argued that Debbie should be kept around for what she adds around the campfire. Being seen as a good, cooperative, helpful, brave player helps, and Sarah made major points.
She saw something no one else did
At the end of the rewards challenge, the winners jumped on a plane to a feast while the losers climbed into a boat to go back to shore. But as they were leaving, Sarah saw something on the bench beneath Michaela, the player who was sitting out the challenge. She jumped in the water, swam to it, and grabbed it: an advantage that gives her the ability to steal someone else's vote.
When asked about it by producers, Sarah explains that sharp observation is a talent she has as a cop — she even notices when cars have expired inspection stickers.
It's a tiny detail, but it's also an advantage that could absolutely save her neck down the road, even if she gets into pretty deep trouble.
She took down Debbie in style
Finally, in her crowning achievement, Sarah flipped from one alliance to the other, orchestrating a simple, beautiful power shift that ended with Debbie getting her torch extinguished at the end of the night, completely blindsided by what happened. At tribal council, Debbie said it took just 10 minutes for her alliance of six to decide that Angela was going to be voted off, and then, when asked if she was sure about the outcome of the vote, she said, "Is perception reality?"
Not on Survivor, it's not, Debbie.
Now Brad, Sierra, Troyzan and Tai are the only four remaining of the alliance of six, and one of them might be on the chopping block next week. Tai has two immunity idols to protect him, but the other three may have to play mighty hard to win the immunity challenge.
Even viewers who aren't huge fans of Sarah could get behind waving good-bye to Debbie.