Two legends of “Survivor” were sadly underused on Wednesday’s (April 5) episode… Although we’re definitely going to regret one much more than the other, and that one was definitely not the show’s fault.

But the first one definitely is the show’s fault. When Debbie’s “exiled” — we use the term “exiled” loosely, because it turns out to be an awesome reward for the odd woman out, after the tribes are reshuffled back into two groups — it turns out to be full of surprises.

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Debbie is whisked away to a fancy ship where she dines on a feast and is visited by Cochran, one of the biggest fan favorites of all time. Our hopes stoked that Cochran might be joining the game, it’s a letdown that he’s just there to give Debbie advice, in a fairly boring segment. So that’s strike one this week.

Strike two: Courtesy of the new Nuku tribe (Sandra, Sarah, Varner, Andrea, Tai, Zeke and Ozzy). Once together, Sandra and Varner find themselves in the minority against Andrea, Zeke, Ozzy and Sarah. Tai’s there too, but as it happens, his vote doesn’t matter. After some good posturing at Tribal, the votes are read, and the buildup feels a little false: The majority ends up sticking to their original plan, and voting out Sandra Diaz-Twine.

Honestly, we get it. We get why you’d take her out. She’s one of the smartest, sneakiest players to ever play the game and if you’re not careful, Sandra is the person who makes it to the end, and wins. As Zeke astutely said this week, “People always say you can get Sandra out of this game at any time. But do you know what’s happened to everyone who said that? They’ve lost the million dollars to Sandra Diaz-Twine!”

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Indeed. It’s still a shame, and kind of a waste on the tribe’s part. If it were us, we’d bring Sandra into the fold, to be our eyes and ears after the merge: She’d have to align somewhere, and she’s a great person for digging up information. As long as you don’t let your guard down and forget to vote her out at some point, she’s a perfect big target to keep around.

The smarter play right now would have been to target Tai, if they could keep it on the down low. Tai has not one but TWO Idols in his pocket, so if they could have sent him packing with that much of an advance, that would have been epic. And come merge time, he’s not nearly as big an asset as Sandra. But alas, Sandra finally got her torch snuffed after 94 total days of playing “Survivor” — the eighth-longest stint in the game. There are no hard feelings, which is nice.

Sandra’s very gracious — not so hard if you’ve pocketed $2 million in prize money — but it’s still a huge loss for the season overall. She was one of the most interesting characters and players, and we’re sad to see her go.

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."