Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers – Thoughts After Episode 1

Survivor is back for the fall, with its 35th season already under way. This season they returned to the Fiji setting the show has been using for the past few seasons, and have come with another interesting theme: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. Initially when I heard about this theme I thought it was another clever way the producers could try to mold contestants into certain stereotypes that could induce some dramatic game-play, but it appears as if this cast isn’t biting on that so far. I enjoyed the first episode a lot, and I think the big reason why is because it seems like this cast is learning the game as they go, which is a refreshing contrast to last season’s robotic play. I do enjoy watching new players learn the game and learn the survival aspects as they go, and I feel really good about this season most because I can’t tell who the real contenders and pretenders are. That being said, I don’t think I can do a proper power rankings for this cast because I don’t have a good feel for how this game will play out, but I would like to give some initial thoughts and predictions on the players and the first 3 days of play.

  • Players who impressed me:
    • One of the cool things about this game so far is that the people who seem to be doing well are the underdog type characters, and I think that bodes well for the fluidity of the game. Ryan is one of my favorites early on because he seems to have a good grasp on the strategy without seeming too sneaky, and is making friends without really trying too hard. I loved that Ryan was able to grab that advantage during the melee of the marooning because it shows that he is keyed on the game even from the start, and his use of the advantage to give it to someone who’s clearly appeared to be on the bottom of their tribe shows even more that he’s ready to go. Besides Ryan, I think Mike and Ali are two players who have a shot at doing very well this season. Mike is a bit on the nerdy side, but he does seem to have good mental wherewithal despite his age/physical stature. I think he could be a key figure in swaying tribes and alliances as things progress because people will find him to be unassuming. As for Ali, I think she has the kind of social savvy that is going to make the producers very happy. The hustlers tribe name was kind of made for her, and she’s already showed, if only through confessionals, that she’s capable of understanding the game, and creating alliances with people. I may just be tricked by the edit, but Ali does seem like a player to focus on thus far, right? I think her tribe will go as she does at least, so I imagine she’ll be imperative in the pre-merge game at least.

 

  • Players who did not impress me:
    • This is the spot in this particular blog that I go off on all of the issues in the Heroes tribe. Alan’s paranoia from Day 2 on was poor game play from him, and it makes me question if he has the social chops for a crafty game like Survivor. Perhaps he was just hangry and needs a Snickers or something, but it’s indicative of someone who’s going to get themselves voted off eventually. Then there’s the combo of JP and Ashley, who put targets on their backs by being too close to each other. That just tells me they don’t understand how people perceive each other in the frame of the Survivor game. Perhaps they’re not as familiar with the game as some of the super fans are, but if that’s the case, then they’ll get eaten alive in the game for sure. Also, Joe from the Healers tribe seems to be a bit of a loose cannon to me, considering the way he chose to talk to people and the way he spoke in confessionals. It’s as if he thinks the Russell Hantz method of play has some methodology to it. You have to respect people on Survivor, especially early on, and I have my doubts that he’s particularly good at considering everyone’s opinions and feelings when strategizing. I think he won’t be long for the game.

 

  • Players who I’m on the fence or unsure about:
    • Devon is a nice wild card in this game. I can’t tell if he knows the game too well, but the fact that he seems to be open to alliances like the one he is seemingly building with Ryan is a good sign for him. Every Ryan in Survivor needs a Devon to help him win, so this pairing might be great going forward. Ben is someone I generally like and respect as a player, but it also seems like he’s surrounded by people who are not playing the game correctly. By himself, Ben could be a good player, but sometimes in Survivor allies can become albatrosses. Also, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t match a face to the name of any of the women on the Healers tribe so far, so I’m clearly on the fence about all of them until they have some memorable TV moments at least.

 

  • Players who can be ruled out of contention:
    • Simone from the Hustlers tribe got zero screen time on the first episode. Clearly she will not win this season unless the editors are completely messing with super fans everywhere. It’s still kind of annoying that Survivor wouldn’t at least make an attempt to add something from everyone to the opening episode of a season, but I guess that’s what will happen when they cut the air time down from 90-120 minute premieres to a standard single hour episode like they did this time. Also, I think Chrissy is someone to rule out too, she had a lose-lose situation going into the vote with the idol in her pocket, where she could either mess up the vote and look like a threat or keep it in her pocket and just hope to be dragged along for a little while. Unless she’s way craftier then I expect her to be, she appears to be psychologically boxed in to a point where she will not make enough waves to win the game.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with Survivor: HHH so far. I like that the cast doesn’t seem to be playing up to the stereotypes assigned to them by production. It is early so perhaps I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but I think the tribe divisions were just ridiculous enough to make the players kind of roll their eyes and really dig into the simple game play around camp, versus getting wrapped up in how they should play or be perceived. I hope the game progresses well without too many strange twists so we can get back to some true Survivor drama, like how to survive at camp, how and when to make alliances, and how to play as a team while trying to be the Sole Survivor at the same time. I think this has a chance to be a very traditional Survivor season, and if it ends up like that, I’ll be very satisfied by Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, despite its long-to-type name!

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Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Thoughts After the Season Finale

Survivor: Game Changers has finally come to a conclusion, with an interesting finale that saw a few new twists, some great moments in Survivor history, and the crowning of a new Sole Survivor. While there were some really fun moments along the way, Survivor: Game Changers ultimately fell pretty flat for me, mostly because the game never evolved in a way that I personally found riveting. Some of the most interesting characters in the game were gone far too early in the season, and the ultimate victor of the season gave far too little to the camera for anyone to really buy into her as the hero of the season. I’ll try to break down my thoughts on the finale, the season as a whole, and look forward to the next season of Survivor below:

  • We did get the advantage-geddon that I was hoping for at the final 6 tribal council, and to be honest, that moment made up for everything negative that came with the finale for me. I didn’t like how the game went, but I was so overjoyed that we finally got a moment where every single person played an idol or an advantage at the same time. I was kind of shocked with the set up for the moment, considering that Tai seemed to be OK voting in bloc with Brad and Troyzan, but once Tai stood up at Tribal Council to play an idol for Aubry, it became clear what was going down. With Sarah already shocking the crowd by playing the legacy advantage, Troyzan basically had no choice but to play his idol to ensure his own safety, and that just left one person out in the cold. The look of defeat on Cirie’s face was so sad when it became clear that she was the only person left to vote out, but wow, that was a historic moment for the show. It was really nice for Jeff to stop and talk the whole thing over in the way he did, offering up a lot of nice comments for Cirie since she truly didn’t get voted out, nor did she do anything wrong, other than be completely unlucky. I was anticipating that Tribal Council because of that moment, and not only did it happen, but it was actually better than I could have ever imagined it going. Fantastic Survivor moment overall.

 

  • Sarah’s performance to win Survivor: Game Changers was impressive, but her lackluster game-play left so much to be desired, and it totally killed the season for me. Sarah reminds me a bit of Kim Spradlin in the sense that she dominated the social game and controlled the way the votes went down, but did so in such a quiet fashion that it became uninteresting and boring. I try to be objective about Survivor, but I can’t help but be letdown when I don’t feel entertained. Sarah did nothing along the way to entertain me with her game-play, and you could tell from the editing that CBS tried their best to do something with the footage she gave them, but not a lot could be done to make her a likeable, heroic Survivor winner. I do appreciate Sarah’s ability to make everyone like and trust her, and the way she made Brad and Troyzan think she was more of a non-factor in the final vote than she would be was truly magical. On paper, Sarah played a brilliant game, and she deserved to win the title of Sole Survivor. I just didn’t enjoy watching it, that’s all.

 

  • I think the more fascinating narrative of the finale than how Sarah won the game was how Brad Culpepper’s ugly side finally shone through and cost him a chance at winning. Coming into this season, Brad was notorious as the early game villain of Blood vs. Water, who had f-bombs hurled at him left and right from Redemption Island. Brad’s early season was a stark contrast to what we had seen before, as he managed to stay cool and lead his tribe steadily (despite one hiccup with Debbie of course). It seemed like Brad had figured out that his alpha male mentality was his worst trait and corrected his game accordingly, but that all went down the drain after 36 days when the strain of the game got too much for him. Brad went on a crazy immunity streak towards the end of the game, and let that streak lead him to be over-confident and boisterous with people, as we saw with his interactions with Tai. His bullying of Tai really had a damaging effect to his image, and it damaged his relationships in the game too. His anger towards Tai blinded him into missing that fact that Sarah was the true risk to win the game in the end, and that blind rage clearly cost him the game in the end. I think Brad’s game-play is an excellent example of what could go wrong after playing over a month of Survivor; when you get tired, and hungry, and desperate, your worst flaws can take over and ruin your social game. Survivor is a game that lasts 39 days, and while it’s a tough game to deal with, you have to maintain your poise and character throughout if you want to stand any chance of winning in the end. Sarah Lacina won the game fair and square, I’m not taking that away from her, but you can clearly see how Brad Culpepper also lost the game by his own failures.

 

  • I have to give a special mention to the third and fourth place finishers who I really enjoyed watching this season. Tai really impressed me in the finale with his ability to overcome Brad’s aggressions towards him and make some clear, decisive moves on his own. While I thought it would’ve been beneficial for him to work with Brad and Troyzan to the end, he stood up for his pride and moved against Brad, which must not have been easy for him to do. Tai has always been fun to watch on the show, but he’s been pushed around a bit over his two seasons, so seeing him come through for himself, even in a losing battle, was a really great ending to his two season story arc. I also really want to throw some praise towards Troyzan, who happened to be one of my favorite returning cast of this season. I’ve heard a lot of ambivalent or negative remarks about his play this season, but I think he played admirably when you remember his entire game as a whole. At the first tribe swap, Troyzan managed to pull the short straw, getting stuck on a tribe where he was down in the numbers 5-1. From there on he had to play a quiet reserved game to blend in and survive vote to vote, and managed to pull off a really sly move to get an idol at a challenge. His move was just as cool as the one Sarah made to get her advantage, yet for some reason because her move was more recent and decisive she gets praise and he gets nothing (you all can tell I’m salty about this season at this point right?) Troy might have been a bit of a non-factor because he set his mind on just surviving, but I thought he handled the Final Tribal Council remarkably well, and his final arguments were some of the best I’ve heard from anyone in a losing situation. Troyzan might be one of the most gracious losers in Survivor history, and that speaks volumes about his character.

 

  • I’m already looking forward to next season, as the reveal of Season 35’s theme has got me kind of intrigued. It must be hard for the producers to keep coming up with abstract personal traits to separate tribes into for Survivor seasons, yet they’ve managed to do that and keep it interesting. The theme for the fall season will be Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, and the potential is there for a really tense game. Unlike similar seasons, these particular divisions seem much more personal, and have the potential to influence each person’s game play in a big way. I think the casting for a season like this has the potential to be pretty dynamic too, and after having another all-returnee season fall flat, I’m looking forward to some energetic rookies again!
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 11

There was a nice little bounce back in the action this week on Survivor: Game Changers, with a fairly shocking double elimination that really had me excited again. I’ve been going back and forth, week-to-week about how I feel about this season, and just as soon as I was out on the season, I’m feeling a little better after that crazy turnaround Tribal council. The last thing I was expecting going into that vote was the numbers to turn around on Michaela of all people, yet that was the end result after Cirie failed to read the fine print of Sarah’s advantage. Not only was that situation tense, suspenseful, and exciting, but it’s a great lead-in to the finale, knowing that some of the old bonds have been broken. I think the game has opened up for a lot of people now, and there are many different ways I could see these last few votes going down. I’m actually really looking forward to this finale now, knowing there’s some hope for an interesting finish from here on out. Here are this week’s Survivor Power rankings:

 

  1. Tai Trang

– I’ve believed for weeks now that Tai has very little shot of winning the game, but will still play a big part in who eventually does win this season. I think my prediction will come true in the finale as he’ll have to decide between Brad and Sarah who he wants to play with more and who scares him more in the end. I think the success or failure of the finale episode will all hinge on how Tai performs, and whether or not he makes interesting decisions or lets others play him. I don’t see Tai winning, but I’m still hoping that he can make a splash and influence the final result.

  1. Troyzan Robertson

– Troy probably doesn’t stand a chance to win either, simply based on how little of his game we’ve seen, but I am excited to see if he can use his idol to make a big move at the next Tribal Council. If Brad is going to come out on top this season, it will be thanks to Troyzan’s loyalty to him for sure.

  1. Aubry Bracco

– Aubry has become such a fascinating anomaly in Survivor history. More than anyone else I can think of, Aubry has an uncanny penchant for being blindsided, but not voted out. In both of her seasons played, Aubry’s greatest allies have either been removed for injury or blindsided in a crazy fashion, and that stayed true to form this week with the Michaela vote. Aubry is so unlucky playing Survivor, and it’s a shame because she really understands the game about as well as anyone, and has played a great strategic game twice now. I don’t think it was meant to be for Aubry, luck is not on her side.

  1. Cirie Fields

– Cirie made a terrible blunder this week not reading the fine print of the legacy advantage. It was a swing for the fences moment for her game, as she tried to one-up Sarah in front of the jury, and struck out big time doing so. I think this definitely will hurt Cirie’s chances of winning the game, and it’s a shame because I thought she was doing really well until then. She could still recover going forward, but she’s going to have to beat Sarah fair and square to do so.

  1. Sarah Lacina

– I may not be too high on Sarah as a character, but I give her a lot of credit for showing poise at Tribal Council, making a plan on the fly and putting a stamp on her game. I love the whole idea of telling Tai she was going to take his vote but then using it to help him by eliminating Michaela, one of Cirie’s most trusted numbers. It was great game play. I’m just really hoping that Sarah doesn’t win this game, she doesn’t bring any remarkable, root-able traits to the table, and her game so far has been boring. Survivor is a television show, and it’s really a shame when someone without an entertaining game or story ends up prevailing in the end.

  1. Brad Culpepper

– Brad is in it to win it. He is clearly the biggest immunity threat left in the game, has the strongest alliance left in the game with Troyzan, and has a comfortable working relationship with Tai that he could seriously cash in on. I would love to see Brad at Final tribal council talk about Monica and how he wants to win the game for her and for their family. I think it would be a great end to their family’s playing saga for Brad to triumph in the end, so this is how I’m choosing to believe things will pay out. I’m hoping Brad can save this season by winning decisively in the end.

Thoughts After the Episode:

  • My player of the week honors go to Sarah for this episode. She’s bad for TV, but she makes smart plays, and I can’t deny that she was the crucial instigator of the final vote. The Michaela vote is basically hers and hers alone, so there’s no way she doesn’t get the honors for best player this time. I just sincerely hope anyone else wins this game but her because I couldn’t be happy with a Sarah win…My favorite moment of the episode was that Tribal Council moment where Sarah went to Tai and whispered in his ear while Troyzan was running over trying to listen in on what Cirie, Aubry, and Michaela were talking about. Michaela’s reaction to Troyzan was priceless…So how’s it all going to go down on Wednesday? To be honest, it’s really hard to predict how the tides are going to turn in this game, considering how much backstabbing and lying has gone down towards the end. With the final seven happening so close to the end of the game, I think there won’t be any time for the wounds to really heal well, so I expect chaos and bitterness to take over very quickly, especially between Sarah and Cirie. If Brad and Troyzan can keep Tai on their side, I have a feeling that could be the final 3 of the season, and if it works out like that, I imagine the questions at Final Tribal Council may be interesting and pointed. I have a feeling Brad will win in the end, but it really could be anyone’s game with a strong finish in the last few days of the game. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 10

I think its official for me at this point; I’m out on this season. Of course I’ll continue to watch and blog about it through the finale, but I’m just not a big fan of how this game’s gone down. I’m finding that I’m just not that invested in the people left in the game, and I haven’t really been a fan of the strategic or personal decisions anyone has made thus far. I still wouldn’t mind seeing Cirie win, solely for her entire body of work as a Suvivor player, and I also am still keeping a small rooting interest in Troyzan, but there’s really no one else that I’m ecstatic about watching for the remainder of the show. The only thing I’m hoping for from this point on is we get the highly anticipated “advantage-geddon” where everyone’s advantages come into play at the same vote and total chaos ensues. That would be the happiest moment of this game, and probably the one thing that could salvage this season from monotony. The blog must go on though, so here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

  1. Andrea Boehlke (-1)

– I like Andrea, I really do, but this show is doing everything in it’s power to keep me from rooting for her. She’s probably not really a villain in this game, yet her edit suggest that she is so I don’t really know what to think at all. I’m stil of the opinion that she gets voted out in an epic fashion, and I’ll be waiting patiently for that moment, because her reaction to getting voted out is always fantastic.

  1. Tai Trang (+2)

– Tai’s new strategy of staying in the middle of two alliances is still not a winning strategy. He isn’t going to gain a great deal of respect from his peers if he plays a safe game from here on out. Instead, Tai should utilize those idols in his back pockets to make some bold, ‘game changing’ moves, and then maybe, just maybe, he’ll have some sort of a shot in the right final three scenarios.

  1. Troyzan Robertson (-)

– We are getting nothing from Troyzan, nothing at all. I’m not happy about it, he’s actually the last of the people I was rooting for pre-season left in the game, so his lack of an amazing edit is not helping my overall mood here.

  1. Michaela Bradshaw (+3)

– I’ve thought for some time that Michaela was kind of drawing dead because of her lack of a social game, but now I’m starting to see something there. I think she’s growing in this game just a bit, and while I don’t think she’ll be able to convince a majority of people in the game to vote for her in the end, I do believe that she has a growth argument to make. She’s played the whole game from the bottom, and has managed to stick around while staying true to herself and to her abilities. At this point in time, a surprise Michaela win would not be the worst imaginable ending to this season.

  1. Aubry Bracco (-)

– Aubry might be #4 on my list, but I don’t think she’s a viable winner this season. I think she has the capability of ending out the game in a great way, but she hasn’t been a focal point of the edit at all, so my opinion of her chances isn’t changing. I think I’ve narrowed down the field to 3 contenders at this point.

  1. Brad Culpepper (-)

– It was really great seeing Monica back on Survivor as Brad’s loved one visitor. It was a nice moment for him too, and you could tell having her there to talk a little strategy really helped him focus his energy and efforts in the game. I think that boost may be enough for him to launch an immunity run towards the end of the game, kind of like what Mike did in Worlds Apart. That might be Brad’s best chance to succeed, but I do think it would make for a cool end to the game.

  1. Sarah Lacina (-)

– Sarah’s played a smart game, but I don’t find her easy to root for. Her move to coax Sierra into giving her the Legacy Advantage was brilliant, but it was also very cruddy. None of the personal stories she’s shown in confessionals or within the game itself have done much to warm me up to her because she’s played a very cold, calculated game. If she wins the game, it’ll be a real emotional letdown.

  1. Cirie Fields (-)

– Unlike Sarah, if Cirie won the game I think there would be some great emotional response to her victory. Much like Boston Rob in Redemption Island, Cirie has come back for a fourth time in Game Changers after getting heartbreakingly close to winning on a few occasions. If she could pull out the victory, I think it would be a very popular moment in the history of the show. I think my rankings have gotten to the point of wishful thinking by now, but I do believe Cirie is crafty enough and smart enough to leverage her relationships and her lack of physical skill to sneak under the radar and get to the end of the game.

 

Thoughts After the Episode:

  • My player of the week honors go to Sarah for this episode because her deception of Sierra was really quite masterful. I can respect a good game play even if I’m not fond of the style or the character, and Sarah played Sierra like a fiddle, and it may work to her advantage long-term…My favorite moment of the episode was probably Cirie’s interactions with her son. Some of his reactions were truly GIF worthy, and it was nice to see one of her kids out there, since she’s mentioned them throughout her time on the show…I’m having the hardest time trying to figure out who’s going to exit the game next week. Advantage-geddon has to happen at final 6, and it definitely is happening to Andrea, so neither Sarah, Tai, Troyzan, nor Andrea are going to go this time. I also do expect Brad and Cirie to have a say in the ending of the season, so my bet is that Michaela and Aubry are probably the next two out. I’m assuming since there’s only two weeks ‘til the finale that we’ll probably get a double elimination somewhere in there, so we’ll have to see what kinds of tricks the producers have up their sleeves for this upcoming episode.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 9

Another fun episode of Survivor: Game Changers this week, despite the fact that for yet another week the person I wanted to succeed in the moment actually got voted out. This season keeps unfolding in ways opposite of what I’m wanting or expecting, with the exception of the Debbie vote of course. I was really hoping that Zeke could find some traction and actually make a late run in the show, despite having too good a story to get anywhere close to the final 3. My dream scenarios are just not meant to be this season, and honestly, it’s alright by me. I don’t hate this season at all, it’s interesting and they’re stacking up a bunch of advantages and idol opportunities that are actually being played (kept) well by the recipients, meaning we’re going to see big fireworks by the end of the game. Without any further ado, here’s this week’s power rankings:

  1. Tai Trang

– I got a little nervous watching Tribal Council this week when Tai received multiple votes despite not playing his idol. I figured Tai wouldn’t actually be voted out just based off of the edit, but the moment got me really concerned about his game awareness. I don’t really think Tai has a good grasp of the undercurrents of the game at this point, and I don’t think he’ll be able to make any kind of winning argument should he manage to get to the very end. I think Tai is drawing dead right now.

  1. Michaela Bradshaw

– Michaela has unfortunately just become a vote right now for Cirie’s alliance. She seemed visibly upset when Zeke was voted out, and that sort of made it clear to me that she’s not able to play the game the way she really wants to, at least not at this point in the contest. Unless Michaela finds some inroads to make her own moves, I think she’ll continue to be along for the ride without much of a chance to claim victory.

  1. Andrea Boehlke

– I guess Andrea can breathe a little better now that her strange battle with Zeke is finally behind her and the outcome went in her favor. But, there’s something strange about her portrayal on this season, and it has me very worried about her long-term success. She is getting a villainous edit, which doesn’t really seem in character for her based on how she’s been portrayed in previous seasons, and I have a hunch why that might be. I believe, at some point in the next few episodes, Andrea is going to get voted out in a spectacular fashion, likely with an idol play or an advantage play. That would explain why she’s been given a sour edit so far, so her grand exit can be seen as a glorious moment in the arc of the show. It’s just a guess of course, but don’t be shocked if it goes down like that.

  1. Troyzan Robertson

– Troyzan had one of the better little moments from the episode when he and Tai discussed how nice it would be if they could have an idol to play, while both of them were keeping secret the fact that they actually had idols. It was a funny thing to throw into the episode, but it keeps me anticipating when all of these idols and advantages that have piled up this season will come into play. I have a feeling there’s going to come a vote when every idol and advantage is going to get played all at once, kind of like Cambodia, and if it does end up being like that, it’s going to be a wild moment. Troyzan will need some luck to end up at the end, considering his alliance is outnumbered, but I don’t think he’s completely out of the running just yet.

  1. Sierra Dawn Thomas

– Sierra has played admirably so far, but I feel like her luck may be running low at this point. It seems like her only moves recently have been grasping at straws, offering herself up as a number and doing what everyone else wants. It might just be that the game strategy has finally moved away from her control, and when that happens there’s only so much you can do to survive. Sierra is in survival mode now, looking at final 6 as her only hope to make a big impact with her advantage.

  1. Aubry Bracco

– Aubry is playing a very similar game to the one she played last time; quiet, patient, smart, and social. She’s become a key player in what appears to be a successful alliance, and she’s made a few key moves behind the scenes to ensure the votes have gone as planned. I think Aubry just needs to stay on the same trajectory, and she could find herself sitting in another Final 3 with a good chance of winning.

  1. Brad Culpepper

– There’s something really compelling about Brad’s self-confidence as this game progresses. I thought Brad was arrogant his first time playing, but we’re seeing a much steadier, more grounded version of Brad this time, and I think he’s very capable of winning right now, simply because he seems to be in the right mindset.

  1. Sarah Lacina

– Sarah keeps playing well, there’s not much more to say than that. She’s a steady, smart player who is somehow managing to survive in the middle of alliances and stay successful. She is without question a candidate to win this season.

  1. Cirie Fields

– I still like Cirie as the favorite to win right now. It’s been my gut feeling all along that she could win if she got a chance to plant her roots, and after this vote it appears her roots are firmly planted, and the numbers are all on her on side. The only things that could derail her chances are all the idols and advantages in play, but if they do all blow up at once like I kind of expect the will, then she would just need to survive the foray to get to the end where she could plead an amazing case.

Thoughts After the Episode:

  • My player of the week honors go to Andrea for this episode. She squared herself up for a tough fight and she was victorious. I think she deserves some kudos for pushing her opinions during this voting cycle and getting the job done. Andrea is an underrated Survivor player, and I think she got some of the respect she’s always deserved this episode…My favorite moment of the episode was the Troyzan/Tai idol conversation I discussed earlier. I think it’s great how coy those guys are being considering they’re on the bottom of the numbers and at risk of being voted out. It’s also a nice tease because it’s basically suggesting that both of them have kept their idols secret so far. It’s not often that we get to see an authentically shocking idol play, but I think we may get one soon.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 8

I really enjoyed this particular episode of Game Changers, mostly because of the result of Tribal Council. I’m not going to miss watching Debbie play Survivor at all, she was such a ham actress on the show, and was such an annoyance on the show. I think the strategic game-play got ramped up a little bit this episode too, with a lot of players sort of waking up and trying to play a winning game gearing up to the end. Overall, I’m pleased with the direction after this episode, and I think I’m gonna be able to enjoy the next few episodes with all of the variables still in play and what not. Here’s this week’s power rankings:

 

  1. Michaela Bradshaw

– Well, at least Michaela was on the right side of the numbers this vote. I’m sure that counts for something. Unfortunately, I’m not getting the vibes that Michaela is liked or respected by her peers in this game, so her chances of winning remain very low in my opinion.

  1. Tai Trang

– This guy is still holding two idols and it’s getting very deep in the contest now. He has some room to maneuver and that should make things unpredictable going forward. I don’t see him winning, but Tai should be a key character going forward.

  1. Andrea Boehlke

– Andrea is having her name thrown around a lot in the early going of the merged game, but I think she’s playing decently in the face of adversity. She was very upset with how Zeke handled himself during the last voting cycle, yet was able to push those feelings aside for the sake of her best interests, which is something rookie players sometimes struggle with. I’m pleasantly surprised with Andrea so far, and I hope she continues to show her strongest side.

  1. Zeke Smith

– Zeke survived a tough spot thanks to the arrogance of the alliance of 6, and the previews for next week seem to indicate there might be some hope for him to sneak into some cracks in the alliances. Still, Zeke has lost a great amount of trust in the game so far, and that’s bound to be his undoing at some point.

  1. Aubry Bracco

– Aubry really showed her Survivor strategic skills this week, playing a key part in flipping Sarah from her alliance of 6 to vote out Debbie. It was the same kind of smooth talking that allowed her to develop alliances late in the game in Kaoh Rong, and it’s got me thinking that Aubry has some life in this contest now.

  1. Troyzan Robertson

– Troy won immunity this week, which was a cool moment in the show, but it always concerns me when the person who wins doesn’t get a lot of attention for that win. I would love it of the editors could at least try to fool me for a second and give some scenes that might indicate that Troyzan is doing some strategic work in his alliance. Either that or maybe the fact that they’re not fooling me is actually them fooling me? I don’t know, after last season I’m kind if done trying to read the edit too early on.

  1. Brad Culpepper

– I think Brad could really re-emerge in this game he finds a way to make a move against Sierra before she gets a chance to do the same to him. That would be one hell of a bold move, but I think it could be a winning move for him. That’s what I’m looking for next week, especially after seeing the snippets of conversation Troyzan and he had with Zeke. Brad is still in it to win it.

  1. Sierra Dawn Thomas

– The result of Tribal Council this week was undeniably a huge blow for Sierra’s game. Losing Debbie was not something she needed, especially because Debbie was unintentionally acting as a shield to keep the attention away from Sierra. Now that their plan has been busted, the alliance they had built up could easily fall apart completely. Sierra still has a trump card up her sleeve, but she will have to be shrewd trying to navigate through the waters to get to that point.

  1. Sarah Lacina

– Sarah is making a great case to win Game Changers. She’s playing smart, she’s making friends, and, most importantly, she’s making the kinds of big moves that get Jeff Probst all worked up. Sarah continues to be an impressive force in this game, and I think she’s managing to balance playing strong and playing humble, which should allow her to snake through to the end of the game without getting caught in the crosshairs of some alliances struggle for supremacy. Sarah looks like a potential winner at this point.

  1. Cirie Fields

– I’m gonna be a little bit shocked if Cirie doesn’t win at this point. She is getting such a triumphant edit, filled with unnecessary moments of personal struggle and achievement along the way. Her moment in the water obstacle where Jeff made sure to make a spectacle of her finishing the challenge is enough reason for me to believe she’s a likely winner, and we’ve been seeing scenes like that all season. Cirie is playing magnificently too, so if she gets to the end it will be because she’s a shrewd player, not because anyone has necessarily overlooked her skills.

Thoughts After Episode 8:

  • My player of the week honors go to Sarah Lacina for this particular episode. I think at the end of the day she made the right decision to get rid of a game nuisance in Debbie. It may have looked like Sarah was in a good spot in the majority alliance, but it’s far better not to play with a loose cannon then it is it to try to go the end with one, so I think she made a great long-term move opening up her options for jury votes by working with the entire tribe in a respectful manner…My favorite moment of the episode was the moment when that 11th vote was revealed. It was one of those tough votes for the viewers because you really just couldn’t tell who it was going to be, so the suspense was really high for that second or two. I was ecstatic when that sixth vote for Debbie was read because watching her play was probably the most annoying part of the show at this point. Her arrogance was horrible by the end of her game, and she really deserved the fall she got. I love Survivor justice…I alluded to it before, but I’m most excited to see what becomes of the Zeke Brad, Troy conversation we saw in the preview for next week. Zeke has nothing to lose right now, and Brad would probably really benefit from trashing his original alliance and starting over at this point, versus getting picked off one by one. Zeke played an aggressive game last time, and fortunately for him, no one else has seen that game, so his tricks have yet to be revealed. If those 3 can manage to flip the game on its head, that would be a very exciting outcome.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 7

I feel like this show is finally going off the rails this season. There were a lot of people I came into this season rooting for or at least interested to watch, and I feel like one by one most of them have been picked off. It’s all just a matter of personal preference I guess, but I genuinely feel like the Hali and Ozzy votes this week were not well thought out or advantageous to a lot of people. As the game merged, I think a lot of players in this game are mentally drained and just making moves vote to vote instead of thinking about their end games. In this respect, I think the game is starting to feel a bit weak, and a bit cold, just like most returning player seasons tend to be. It’s still interesting though, I’m excited about how unpredictable the game is staying, and the fact that a clear victor hasn’t emerged just yet. Here are this week’s power rankings:

 

  1. Michaela Bradshaw (0)

– I absolutely love the storyline where Cirie is taking Michaela under her wing, it has potential to be a great story for the end game. Unfortunately, the way the story is being framed makes me think Michaela isn’t a very likely winner of this show. She seems to be playing second fiddle in the story, and usually when that happens, you can just assume that person isn’t the victor.

  1. Aubry Bracco (-2)

– Aubry’s entire starting tribe of ten has been whittled down to 3, and I’m not convinced that she’s really working with either of them right now. I think Aubry has been a victim of circumstance this season, which happens all the time on this show, and because of her position in the tribe, I think she’s really just along for the ride at this point.

  1. Tai Trang (+3)

– The longer Tai can hold on to his idols, the better I’ll feel about his chances. Regardless of how well he can play this game of survival, I still can’t picture him being crafty or articulate enough to win this game

  1. Debbie Wanner (+5)

– Debbie came to play, I can’t disregard that fact anymore. Sure, she’s loopy and she’s going to lose respect from the jury for playing that way, but if she can articulate a winning game in the end and prove to everyone her acting and antics were part of her strategy, than she might just have an outside chance if everything goes well.

  1. Andrea Boehlke (+3)

– Andrea appears to be in a good spot besides Cirie and Sarah after the merge. Her name did get thrown around during one of the voting cycles, which may be a bad omen, but I’m not really down on her right now given her alliances and abilities in the social game of Survivor. I still don’t think it makes sense given what we’ve seen so far to think that Andrea could be the Sole Survivor of Game Changers, but I think she has a part t play in how the end game goes down.

  1. Zeke Smith (0)

– Zeke made a bad play by trying to over-play his alliance. Essentially, he just tried to mimic the game he played in Millennials vs. Gen X, but it was called out much quicker with returning players than first-timers could. Zeke is not out of the game just yet, but he is likely going to face an uphill battle to gain traction and trust after overplaying.

  1. Brad Culpepper (-3)

– Brad looked like the leader of his tribe in the pre-merge game, but he seemingly disappeared from the edit after they merged. I’m not sure what to make of that, but I d think he’s in a precarious spot regardless of the edit. I think people know that he has an alliance, and that he might be a good person to get people to rally around getting rid of. I’m taking a step off the Brad Culpepper bandwagon at this point; I don’t think his path to victory is simple anymore.

  1. Troyzan Robertson (+5)

– I think Troyzan is in a better spot than Brad right now simply because of his idol and his personality. Troy has had to play a quiet game thus far due to circumstance, but I genuinely believe his misfortune may have turned into fortune because he’s had to display more loyalty and patience then his first game. I think he’s going to continue staying under the radar for the time being, but once he gets in trouble, he will be able to use his idol to flip the game, hopefully with very few people left in the game. Troy is a dark horse in this game, and a personal favorite for me going forward!

  1. Sierra Dawn Thomas (-2)

– Sierra had the title quote this week, telling Debbie that she’s the new sheriff in town. It was hokey, and I’m not sure I buy it, but either way Sierra appears to have a lot of confidence in what she’s doing right now, so good for her I guess. And, on the plus side, she didn’t have to use her legacy advantage, so she’ll be in a great spot if she can just stick around until the vote at final 6. She’s no longer my favorite, but Sierra is silencing her haters well thus far

  1. Sarah Lacina (+1)

– Sarah just keeps climbing up my board of contenders every week. I like the way she comes across in her confessionals, and I like how she plays aggressively, but patiently. I think her style suits this particular game well, so I really have high hopes for her going forward.

  1. Cirie Fields (+3)

– Cirire is getting such a great edit right now, and I really think she might be the favorite right now. I said this from episode 1 on, she would be in trouble from the start because of her social/strategic reputation, but every vote she survives will make her harder to beat, and I think there’s some real truth to my prediction. She’s built a formidable bond with her alliance, and even though she’s a threat, I think she’s once again managed to disguise her intentions with honesty and humility. I think Cirie winning this game would be one of the best results out of all the possibilities left.

Thoughts After Episode:

  • Player of the week honors go to Cirie for this episode. I think her ability to build trust and respect between players in this game is remarkable, and that was on full display during the two voting cycles of this particular episode. I really think she has a chance to get that elusive win this time…My favorite moment of the episode was when Cirie pulled aside Michaela and had a real heart to heart with her. I’m getting to be a bit of a broken record here, I know, but I really loved this part of the edit, I think it was a really nice moment in what’s been a very cold, calculating game thus far, and I think the relationship that was built there is probably going to matter down the line…I was sad to see my winner pick Hali get voted out, but I guess I’m not terribly surprised either. I had a feeling she would be great at the game, but it didn’t seem like she connected with people as well as she should have. I just think she got a raw deal and no one really seemed very interested in working with her, which is more a testament to the way the game played out then the player.