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Survivor – Older Women Unite!


I think Sandy did quite a bit of vindication on tonight’s Survivor, not just for herself, but for all the older women that are kicked off first, as people think they’re not going to be useful. Granted, sometimes the assumption is correct, lest we forget Gillian and her elephant dung, but other times the older women can prove they have the mettle to really play this game.

Of course the one woman who came to mind the most throughout tonight’s show was Wanda Shirk from Pulau. The tribes were being picked after they spent a few days together, and the last two that weren’t picked, Wanda and Jonathan, were sent packing. Their games were done that quickly, without even getting to play a challenge.

No one had a chance to suffer being chosen last in a pick’em game tonight, as the tribes were already pre-set. However, each tribe was asked to vote on the one person that wouldn’t even make “the first adventure,” walking four hours to their camp. While one team chose a young woman who appeared sickly, and was as she was on antibiotics, the other team chose the oldest woman in the group. Since they didn’t know names at the time, she was nearly always identified as “the older lady.”

The “older lady” was Sandy, a 53-year-old bus driver from Louisville. She was quite honest with Jeff Probst, telling him she was pissed. She then celebrated perhaps too much when he told them he never said they were leaving the game, just that they wouldn’t be participating in the first adventure. Instead of a four-mile hike, they were flown to their camp in a helicopter, getting there hours ahead of the others.

While Sandy didn’t do much to fix her social game, taking many trips alone to look for the immunity idol, what she did do right was show her tribe she could and would play the game with everything she had, which is the only way to prove yourself in the game of Survivor. It’s the only thing that really matters at this stage of the game. There was no way they were going to put her in as a runner, but they had her building the puzzle steps along with Taj, and they beat out the other tribe during this part. The others won anyway, but it was lost after Sandy and Taj had done their part.

After the challenge, instead of pleading or resigning herself to leaving, she bathed in the lake with the rest of her tribe and stood by as Taj addressed Carolina for being bossy, getting on them about cleaning up the island right after the challenge. It all wasn’t lost on the youngest on the tribe, 19-year-old Spencer. He recognized Sandy for what she was, a hard worker, and didn’t want to lose that. The others agreed.

Sandy picked up on something, and even though she wasn’t included in on the others’ decision on who to vote for, she took a gamble and voted out Carolina, as did every other member of her tribe. Sandy was saved, and Carolina was blindsided. Sandy vindicated herself in that challenge, as well as every other “older lady” to play the game, including Wanda. She proved you can’t judge people all that quickly, especially older women. As I say this, it’s with full realization that Sandy is only 9 years older than me.

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For more on Survivor: Tocantins, read Carrie’s recap, and check back in later with the main Reality Shack site for more commentary, also see SirLinksalot: Survivor.