Yeah, so this season is turning into a bit of a dramatic proceeding. I’m not sure how I feel about all of the yelling and fighting from a game perspective, but it’s really great television. We saw Debbie being Debbie, Sandra stirring the pot, Michaela acting up, and JT making me question his Survivor IQ just a bit. One thing is for certain, the game is staying very turbulent, and it’s very hard to predict just what the producers are going to try to throw at the contestants to shake things up. These are good things though; I don’t really have any big complaints so far. Here are the power rankings for the week:
- Tai Trang
– Tai’s game is just riddled with little issues, isn’t it? First he’s forced to play an idol for his alliance very early on, and now he’s caught in between Brad and Debbie as she’s melting down. The guy can’t catch a break, and he’s just not decisive enough t come out of the interpersonal squabbles looking good.
- Debbie Wanner
– Debbie is her own worst enemy. Her little breakdown was such a bad scene, and it was in no way strategic or smart to keep the animosity going as long as she did. I think we can count Debbie out as a winner; no one there is going to respect her game after seeing the way she’s played things so far.
- Michaela Bradshaw
– I don’t want to dislike Michaela, but, when she does things like pulling out the mug at tribal as the votes are being read, I just can’t help myself. I think her showmanship is bad for her game prospects because it can create animosity that will linger on. I hope Aubry remembers what she did there later on when it counts, because what goes around comes around.
- Sandra Diaz-Twine
– The longer this game goes on with Sandra still in power, the more nervous everyone should be getting. Sandra is the queen, as she likes to remind people, and she has an uncanny ability to get by vote-to-vote regardless of what kind of threat she possesses. There’s bound to be a moment later on when Sandra has finally run out of luck and people finally turn on her, but that time better come soon or she may just sneak under the radar yet again.
- Hali Ford
– The Debbie situation should be of some help to Hali, but she shouldn’t really feel safe just yet, especially given the numbers disadvantage her original tribe is mired in. I’m still very confident in Hali’s game because she has options these days, but without strong alliances she’s going to have to play extra hard to survive.
- Andrea Boehlke
– I can’t imagine why anyone would target Andrea right now in the game, so I feel a lot better for her as time goes on. She’s still not in the running for the title of Sole Survivor given her invisible edit, but she’s gonna get a chance to show something after the merge I imagine.
- Jeff Varner
– Jeff made the right decision going with Sandra on this vote. Making an enemy of Sandra is a bad idea for anyone, every time. Now Varner can count on an alliance with two people who are larger threats than him, who he could go to the end with and maybe win against if they keep playing aggressively. Once this game is down to an individual contest, Varner will be able to maneuver in the background, and I think he will be able to do well.
- Aubry Bracco
– Aubry has found herself in the minority all of the sudden, suffering from two very bad Tribal Councils in a row. Aubry’s only other saving grace would be having Tai and Debbie still in the game, but even teaming up with them doesn’t seem like the healthiest idea right now. I think Aubry is a great player, but she has her work cut out for her at this point. I still rate her high just because she’s very perceptive
- Troyzan Robertson
– The fact that Troy’s tribe keeps winning immunity is such a boost to his game. If he had to burn his idol early on, he might have been in a rough spot long-term, but now that he’s seemingly survived to another tribe swap (maybe???) everything is looking up for his game now. Troyzan’s idol is one of the big variables in this game right now, alongside Sierra’s legacy advantage, and I really can’t wait to see how he plays it.
- Sarah Lacina
– At first glance, I wasn’t very impressed with Sarah’s decision-making, regarding her talking with Troyzan, who was clearly at the bottom of the tribe. But, the more I think about it, the better of a move I think it could be. Those two can work together later on now that they’ve established a working relationship, and it’s always funny how one person can end up swinging a critical vote. She’s establishing options in a nuanced way, and I think her head’s in the right place so far.
- Ozzy Lusth
– Ozzy’s just going to keep winning immunity’s for his tribe, and provide them with fish, and that’s going to go a long way towards establishing him in a good alliance once they merge. I imagine he’s going to get picked off like Joe in Second Chance, but it would be amazing if he found a way to survive instead! I’m low-key rooting for Ozzy right now; fourth time should be a charm for him, right?
- Cirie Fields
– These fools let Cirie get comfortable in this game. Bad decision. On a side-note though, I’m really stoked to see her interact with Sandra at some point. I’m dying to know if they’d work together or work against each other. Hopefully we find out soon!
- Zeke Smith
– I still firmly believe that Zeke is in the best spot in his alliance because he is the least obvious person there. That and the fact that he, like Aubry, is super perceptive. But, I’m also not seeing too much from him either, so I really don’t know what to make of his chances. My heart tells me he’s a winner, but my brain is not so certain.
- Brad Culpepper
– Brad’s still playing a cerebral game, leading his tribe well and playing it cool. But now Debbie has become a real concern for him, and she’s acting to out him in a very similar (albeit crazier) way as Candice did in Blood vs. Water. I think Brad’s alright for now, but if he doesn’t rein in Debbie (or get rid of her), he’s not gonna make it 39 days.
- Sierra Dawn Thomas
– If there’s anyone at the Mana camp who’s OK with the craziness of Debbie, it’s gotta be Sierra. While Debbie is going after Brad and Hali, and Tai is looking on wishing he wasn’t tied to her strategically, Sierra can just get the popcorn ready and watch things carry on. The beauty of Sierra’s predicament is that she doesn’t even need the numbers at the merge; because of her legacy advantage and the immunity it could grant her if she chooses to use it. Sierra is in a sweet spot right now.
Thoughts After the Episode:
- Player of the week honors go to Sandra for this episode. She was the one who successfully stirred the pot causing conflict between Michaela and JT and made JT feel secure enough to not even bring his idol to Tribal Council. She’s playing a bit more aggressively than we’ve seen before, but she’s staying true to the game that’s gotten her two crowns already, so I have to give her some credit this week…My favorite moment of the episode was the entirety of the Debbie outburst scenes. It was truly amazing to watch her self-destruct over absolutely nothing, making ridiculous arguments, and just go generally berserk. Such good television…JT’s demise was disappointing to me, considering how high I was on his original winning game. I thought JT showed great charm and perceptiveness when he won Tocantins, outmaneuvering everyone in the social game, and showing great strengths in challenges and around camp. This season we only saw mistakes from JT, culminating with what could only be described as a colossal set-up. The show has been building up JT’s demise for a few episodes now, and the payout was pretty good. JT should’ve seen what was coming considering the numbers disadvantage, yet he was blinded by his own interests. JT found an immunity idol, which would’ve saved him, yet he didn’t even bring it to Tribal Council. It was infuriating watching him get duped because it seemed so obvious. For the second game in a row, JT got played badly, and it’s definitely going to hurt his Survivor legacy a bit…I’m genuinely scared to know who the former player coming into the game is. This seems like a ridiculous twist, regardless of what comes of this. I’m very sure that they’re not actually bringing someone in to play mid-game, but whatever Jeff Probst is pulling, it’s probably going to be ridiculous. On a more positive note, I’m pretty sure I heard Exile Island mentioned in the preview, and that makes me happy. It’s been way too long since they utilized Exile Island, and it could be a great way to throw some more interesting twists into the game.