I guess the queen doesn’t stay queen after all! For weeks I’ve been anticipating when Sandra’s unbeaten streak would finally come to an end, but this week that became a reality. Overall, it was a fantastic episode, with a really ridiculous exile twist, and a nail-biting Tribal Council where the editors really tried to make the results unpredictable until the very last minute. I thought this was another great episode; it had a little bit of everything and ended with an unforgettable moment! Without any further ado, here are this week’s power rankings:
- Debbie Wanner (0)
– Debbie got a cringeworthy reward this week when she was sent to Exile Island, only to be welcomed by a feast, a boat, and Cochran. While it was a strange moment in the history of Survivor, she did manage to garner an advantage in the game which could end up being very useful. Too little too late for Debbie though, I don’t think people are in her corner to any extent anymore after her blow-up last week.
- Jeff Varner (-4)
– Varner lost his best ally and lifeline in this game with Sandra being gone, and without her I think his game is kind of shot. Sure there seems to be a hope that he could work with Zeke going forward, but that’s not a certainty at all. I’m not sure if Varner has any traction to make the kind of game changing moves needed to win this contest.
- Tai Trang (+3)
– Tai is a freak when it comes to finding idols. It’s a huge risk to be constantly looking for idols, but when you have two in your pocket, you have a lot of room to maneuver. I still don’t think Tai has the social game to win, but he’s got time and lives to spend now, and you just never know how things can shake out. Tai might have some hope all of the sudden.
- Michaela Bradshaw (+2)
– As much as I think Varner is hurt by Sandra’s absence, I think it might help Michaela out a bit. She can now float around on her new tribe and make it clear that she’s an available number come merge time. Not only that, but Michaela seemed like more of a villain when she was aligned with Sandra, but without her I believe she could play whatever game works to her advantage best. I’m still not holding my breath that Michaela is going to behave well enough in a team environment to go deep in the game, but I think she’s smart enough to turn this thing around.
- Andrea Boehlke (0)
– Andrea’s still not getting much camera time, so I don’t know what to make of her game. She does have numbers, and she hasn’t pissed anyone off to our knowledge, but my expectations are rather low.
- Troyzan Robertson (-2)
– Troy seems to be lacking some confidence out there on the island, and that’s a bit worrisome I think. The history of Survivor is riddled with second place finishers who lost because they lacked the confidence to own their games, and it feels like Troyzan is getting in that territory tight now. He still has that idol so I’m excited to see how he plays, but I hope he plays boldly once it becomes an individual game.
- Hali Ford (+3)
– The tribe swap helped Hali keep her head above water, and now she’s in a really good position because she can start from scratch and develop whatever kind of alliance she wants to. I think if she’s able to stay strong with Brad and Sierra, she’s going to be just fine for a long time.
- Aubry Bracco (+1)
– Aubry was also saved by the swap, and is in a very similar position to Hali at this point, under the radar and able to find her way with whatever numbers work best for her. I don’t have a great read on Aubry’s game so far because her allies keep getting voted off, but I have a lot of faith in her as a player, so she’s going to stay high-ish on my rankings for now.
- Ozzy Lusth (-1)
– I really love the way Ozzy and his alliance handled the Sandra vote. They stayed firm to their plan to get out the only two-time winner in Survivor history, despite a crazy tribal council scene. It’s good to see Ozzy playing a sensible game right now, staying cool and staying as under the radar as he can.
- Zeke Smith (-2)
– Zeke is playing magnificently as well, making friends with Varner and gently reminding Tai to trust people when his intuition tells him to cause chaos. Zeke is a cerebral player, and, for me, it’s very exciting watching smart people play smart games like he has so far.
- Sarah Lacina (+2)
– I think Sarah may be the one who impressed me the most this week. Her confessional about Sandra’s behavior showed a very high game intellect, and it has me really thinking about her as a possible winner. Weeks into the game, Sarah is thinking and acting about as clearly as anyone in the game, and if that keeps up, I think she will stay in control of her own fate.
- Cirie Fields (+1)
– I think I’ve said it week after week, but I’ll keep being a broken record about it; the longer Cirie stays in the game, the better it gets for her. Cirie is not outwardly threatening, but she is smart, warm, and great for team morale. If anyone can play a perfect social game, of the remaining cast at least, it would be her.
- Brad Culpepper (0)
– It doesn’t seem like Brad is ever in a terrible position on this Game Changers season. His conversation with Troyzan re-affirmed my respect for the game he was playing after the whole Debbie incident because it shows how capable he is at making alliances and speaking his case. I think it will be fantastic to watch his alliance and Ozzy’s alliance go to battle once they merge just to see how the numbers end up.
- Sierra Dawn Thomas (0)
– I’m convinced that Sierra’s legacy advantage is going to put her in an amazing position when they merge at Final 13. She continues to lead my rankings because of that simple fact and because no one’s really going to think much about getting rid of her for the time being.
Thoughts after the Episode:
- My player of the week honors go to Sarah for this episode. It’s really kind of a tie between Sarah, Ozzy, Andrea and Zeke for sticking together and eliminating Sandra, but I’ll give some special preference to Sarah for her great character assessments so far…My favorite moment of the episode was Sandra getting her torch snuffed. It’s not even a malicious thing from my perspective; it was just such a wonderful TV moment to see this legendary player who had never lost before finally get her torch put out by Jeff. It was really just a special moment…The whole ‘Cochran is the reward’ scenario was a bit ridiculous if you ask me. Are we really supposed to buy the concept that listening to Cochran’s advice on how to play the game is an amazing advantage? From my recollection, I don’t think Survivor has brought on a former player in a guest spot like this, and I’d appreciate it they never did it again, because that was a real waste of screen time…I think the thing that’s making this season so good is the amount of twists and idols they’re making available to the contestants. It’s really helping the build-up of this season to see all of these twists piling up, knowing they’re all going to come to a head in an epic way once they merge. Just taking count for a second: Tai has two idols, Troyzan has one, Sierra has the legacy advantage, and now Debbie has an extra vote advantage. All of these extra variables are really helping to build excitement for Game Changers, and it seems pretty likely that this game is going to get even more exciting pretty soon, considering that all 4 of them have kept their advantages secret.