When you first think about Sierra Dawn Thomas as a part of Survivor: Game Changers, it’s fairly clear that there are going to be questions. How could there not be? She’s not a person who received a ton of airtime on her original season, and while she seems like a cool person, she wasn’t thought of as much of a character.
Now that we’ve said all of that … we’re glad she’s on this season. She is someone who, while out there in the game, could become a rather imposing player. She was one of the bigger threats to defeat Mike Holloway down the stretch on her season, and if she can transfer some of her social game into a strategic game, she could be like a person she initially reminded us of upon our first impression in Kim Spradlin.
Past performance – 5th place (Survivor: Worlds Apart)
Historical perspective – She’s almost a Game Changer in how she temporarily brought the game back to season 1. She had opportunities to flip from the Blue Collar alliance during the game, but opted not to just so that she could continue to ensure that she was at the end with people she thought she could beat. Unfortunately, she didn’t consider the possibility of Mike running the table. Had she gotten rid of him, there was a good chance that she could’ve actually gotten some votes with the other people that were left … but we still think she would’ve lost. Sierra’s optimal move would’ve been to go to the end with Dan Foley and Will Sims II.
One interesting historical note on Sierra is that as discussed, she was a last-minute replace to the cast after Natalie Anderson of San Juan del Sur backed out at the last minute.
Strengths – As a professional barrel racer, she’s very athletic and she’s a workhorse in the competitions. She’s also a hard worker around camp. She’s one of those constant, quiet contributors who you know is going to get the job done.
Also, you probably know or at least assume from her first season that she is someone who will do whatever necessary to be loyal and move further into the game. The perception of loyalty is important, and she enters this season with some evidence that she is someone you can trust and work with. That’s a rarity for people out there.
Weaknesses – The biggest thing we saw last time was some indecisiveness on her part over whether or not she wanted to flip before the merge, and then a failure to step up and make the power-moves when she needed to. She was fine staying pat with an alliance, even though in doing so didn’t allow her to perceive other moves that were being made. She needs to be a little more proactive and willing to take risks out there in the game. Kim at the end of her season made clear moves as to who to cut to keep herself safe. She had plans. Sierra needed to have a different plan at the final six.
Sierra is the sort of person who really could do some damage in the game with the right people. Think back to Amber on All-Stars. We don’t think anyone assumed that she’d one day be a winner of the game, but she managed to find herself in the circumstances to make that happen. It’s reasonable to think that Sierra, with the right allies around her, could figure out a way in which to get herself to the end. We also get the feeling that she’s eager to prove herself and circumvent expectations.
There are three different ways this could go for her this season: She doesn’t change enough and gets either voted out or gets a vote or two at the end, she changes too much and gets voted far earlier than we think, or she finds the right balance and is a major threat. She’s a huge wild card this season, and her skill set on paper intrigues us.
Before you go, we invite you to check out all of our other spotlights when it comes to the season. (Photo: CBS.)
What is your take on Sierra going into this season? Share in the comments.