That was seriously one of the craziest things I’ve seen on Survivor. The tribal council that came from the twist of two tribes going to one tribal to vote one person out was astonishingly good, proving once more that after 34 seasons, we haven’t seen everything we could see yet on Survivor. I’m so torn about the ending of the episode, because on one hand it was riveting television, and I genuinely had no idea how that vote was going to play out considering the fluidity of the moment, but on the other hand that was an unprecedented move and seemed kind of unfair to the concept of the game. I hate that a losing tribe was able to skirt elimination due to a twist that changed the concept of eliminating a contestant because it took a step away from the central purpose of the game to a small extent. I might just be over-thinking things making a statement like that, but I also can’t help being a purist sometimes. Anyway, it’s clear that good TV moments are great for Survivor, and regardless of the results, that was a fantastic moment in the history of the game!
Power Rankings after Episode 3:
- JT Thomas (0)
– I have JT ranked as my top winner on my Winner Rankings list, and I did that in spite of being outplayed in his second season because I thought his winning season was an extraordinarily great game played. But now I’m started to wonder if his game play after winning calls for a demotion, even after the fact, because he really is losing this game for himself. JT’s surprise maneuver at the combined Tribal Council was a complete failure, and it’s left him in an untenable position where he has no trust and no one to work with at all. I don’t think JT has any shot left whatsoever now.
- Sandra Diaz-Twine (0)
– Sandra keeps looking bad in this game, so that’s not good for her prospects I imagine. And now Sandra is without a great ally and shield in Malcolm, so that’s a pretty bad twist in the road for her towards win #3. I was kind of hoping JT’s plan could work and Sandra would be voted out at this opportunity because that was the one move that could’ve benefitted all 10 of the other players. But I guess we’ll just have to wait for her ouster; it’s bound to come soon anyway, right? Right????
- Andrea Boehlke (0)
– Nothing from Andrea for another episode. She’s just here for the ride I guess.
- Tai Trang (+4)
– Tai found an idol, which was a crucial thing for his tribe, allowing them to pull the upset at Tribal Council despite being down in the numbers. That was a fantastic moment. The problem was when he played the idol, he had to look at Brad and ask who to play the idol for. Tai is playing the same game, and it could push him very far, but he’d just be a losing finalist again unless he takes some ownership of his game.
- Troyzan Robertson (-3)
– Troy has that idol in his back pocket, but he’s not performing well enough in the challenges for me to believe he’ll gain the kind of respect that will allow him to hang on to that idol for a long time. Still, as long as his team can find ways to win, he can make the merge and start anew with whatever line-up suits him best. But it’s all very iffy for him if he can’t perform well.
- Jeff Varner (-5)
– Aside from losing one of his numbers, Varner didn’t necessarily have any missteps this week that make him fall in my rankings. The reason why I’m starting to sour on him is the same thing I mentioned with Troyzan, performance. Varner is an older guy, much like Troy, and he just cannot perform at a high level in challenges. This makes him a bit more expendable for his tribe in the team portion of this contest. I’m not convinced Varner is in imminent trouble, but it would not surprise me if things turn on a dime and he’s sent packing soon.
- Hali Ford (0)
– Hali should be in trouble, but I don’t think she’s in a horrible position. Sure, she’s on the bottom of her tribe, but she’s bold, she’s opinionated, and she’s smart, and I imagine Brad and Sierra think they can work with her going forward, maybe moreso than Debbie or Tai. I’ve had a feeling that she’d do great this season, and regardless of bad luck, I see no reason to cast any doubts on her ability to play the game.
- Debbie Wanner (+4)
– The vote really worked out well for Debbie this week. She’s now in a good position with a very strong alliance. The only issue for Debbie is the teaser for next episode seems to indicate she might be blowing up big time next episode. My initial reaction was to think that was a misleading preview, but there have been indications online that this game may turn as ugly as every returning player’s season eventually does, so maybe Debbie will be in trouble after all.
- Sarah Lacina (-1)
– No problems so far for Sarah, mostly because her team never loses! I don’t think she’s going to win this game because we’re really not getting the kind of back-story on her to see that coming, but what do I know about the edit anyway! Malcolm was getting such a winner’s edit, and look what those crafty producers did by doing that. Maybe we don’t hear a damn thing from Sarah until the finale and she’s the shock winner.
- Cirie Fields (+5)
– Cirie is gaining traction in this game, and that is scary! We know she’s an amazing social player, and the fact that she’s now in a good, stable alliance of five bodes well for her prospects in this game. If I were playing this game, I would vote out Cirie before she could get a foothold in the game, but her team’s winning ways have made that impossible thus far. She’s still a threat, but Cirie is rising in my books!
- Ozzy Lusth (-1)
– Ozzy is officially playing the Rupert card this season, being the necessary provider for his tribe, trying to distract everyone from his physical strength by being more of a leader at camp. I don’t think this is a bad strategy for him, but time will tell whether or not it’s a winning strategy.
- Aubry Bracco (+3)
– Losing Malcolm as an ally is a big hit for Aubry. But, I genuinely think she has the best ability of anyone to move onto plan B or C or D without skipping a beat. She’s a new school player amongst a lot of old school types and Type A characters, so the more the game progresses, the better off Aubry is going to be in the grand scheme of things. She just needs to have some numbers left by the time they get to the merge.
- Michaela Bradshaw (+7)
– I still think Michaela is in a prime position to sneak up on people later in the game. She’s strong and smart, and the majority of the people out there on the island have no clue what to expect with her because they didn’t see her game. Even after the Tribal Council debacle, I still feel good about Michaela’s shot at winning right now.
- Zeke Smith (+1)
– We need to see more of Zeke to get a good idea of what kind of game he’s playing, but I go with my intuition when I watch the show, and my gut tells me Zeke is in a great spot. I think Cirie and Zeke might be the best pair to watch going forward, because they both have a good feel for playing the social strategy of Survivor and could use each others’ minds to bounce ideas off of. I’m still high on Zeke until proven otherwise.
- Sierra Dawn Thomas (0)
– Sierra got saved by strategy this week, but putting that aside, I think she has one of the best shots to win right now. Her alliance with Brad, Tai, and Debbie is strong, and even though her team is not winning challenges, she is doing great strategically. Having a strong alliance is a key part of the game, but also having other people around on the outside of your alliance can be a great help too, and Sierra seems to have Hali as a number to rely on at this point, and that could spell the difference later on.
- Brad Culpepper (+2)
– Brad continues to look like the guy in charge right now. He has his numbers, he has them in-line and thinking as a unit, and he is definitively the leader of the pack, just the way he wants things to be. The way he’s leading his alliance right now makes him look like the best player right now, but it’s way too early to be thinking things won’t change dramatically soon (and yes, I say that from experience).
Thoughts on the Episode:
- The player of the week honors go to Brad once again. He’s got everything falling his way so far, and that’s quite a task to accomplish in an all-returnee season. Brad is so in control that he had Tai looking at him as to who to play the immunity idol for, which really says everything you need to know about the game he’s playing…My favorite moment of the episode was definitely at Tribal Council when Probst said it’s time to vote and Hali piped in, declaring that she didn’t consent to voting yet. That was such a great moment to put on cherry ion top of that crazy Tribal Council scene. I love Hali’s audacity; it’s the reason why I’m so high on her game…I can’t believe I fell for the bait with Malcolm. They were presenting him like a winner and I bought that hook, line and sinker. I should’ve known the rug would get pulled out from under him, but how could anyone have seen all of that coming. I’m going to miss Malcolm, he had a really good shot and he got robbed by a questionable twist when he was actually playing a wonderful game. They really are trying to make this game very unpredictable for everyone because of the ‘Game Changers’ concept, which is amazing, but it unfortunately has cost a major player big time. You don’t win Survivor solely by being lucky, but you damn sure can lose it by being unlucky, and this is the prime example of that going forward.