Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 6

This week’s Survivor was very controversial, and has spawned a lot of conversation on social media. This will be a Tribal Council that Survivor fans will remember for a long, long time, and it’s not for the right reasons. I’m continuing on with my Power Rankings, but in the latter half of this blog I’m going to address my personal opinions on what happened and the conversations it’s spawned. It was a very different ending to an episode, so forgive me for changing my format just a little bit this time. Here are my power rankings for Episode 6:

  1. Debbie Wanner (+1)

– While I do believe having an extra vote could be a worthwhile thing on Survivor, it’s shown to be more of a problem than a help in the past. I believe in the wrong hands, an extra vote could backfire, and I imagine that will be the case for Debbie. I just don’t think she has to skill to make her game stick in the long run.

  1. Tai Trang (0)

– Tai has two idols so I imagine he’ll stick around for a little while, but I’m not super certain where he’s going to go when the alliances line start to get drawn. Does he go with Brad and Sierra or does he go with Ozzy and Zeke? I kind of wonder if they might blindside Tai if he stays in the middle of alliances, because he definitely wouldn’t see that coming at all. Sometimes the best vote is the swing vote, so let’s hope Tai picks a side.

  1. Michaela Bradshaw (0)

– Michaela’s alliance is basically completely gone, so I don’t know how she’s going to fare going forward. I imagine she’s not going to be targeted, but her abrasiveness will get on someone’s nerves eventually I imagine. I think Michaela has a real uphill battle if she wants to gain some traction or control over her destiny.

  1. Andrea Boehlke (0)

– Andrea is in a fantastic spot to survive, but I still can’t see her winning. Her majority alliance appears to be the strongest on paper, unless things change drastically once they merge, so we should hopefully be seeing more of Andrea on the screen for weeks to come.

  1. Troyzan Robertson (0)

– Troy is one of the people I’m most excited to watch going forward because I genuinely think he’s a dark horse in this group. His moves, and the way he uses his idol could have a serious impact on the vote-out order from the Merge on. I wonder if the relationships he’s built thus far will be able to pay off at Final Tribal council, but I do believe he can at least get there if he plays his cards right.

  1. Aubry Bracco (-1)

– Aubry is in a very similar spot going into the Merge as she was in during the Kaoh Rong season, and that gives me a lot of hope for her game. She knows how to work from the bottom, and she almost pulled it off t the tune of a million dollars before. I don’t think she’s a favorite right now, but Aubry cannot be counted out!

  1. Hali Ford (+1)

– Hali’s fine right now. She’s just waiting to see where the numbers go, pulling a Sandra letting everyone know she’s down to write down anyone but herself. The reason why I like Hali to win still is her arguing skills, I think she can play a game like Sandra and out-argue the others in the end to sway an opinion or two. I think if Hali plays like Sandra would, she can fulfill my lofty expectations for her!

  1. Zeke Smith (-1)

– It’s going to be tough for Zeke now after that shocking moment at Tribal Council. Like it or not, his entire alliance knows, in the back of their heads, that they don’t want t sit next to him at Final Tribal Council. I give Zeke a 1% chance of making the Final 3, but 100% chance of winning if he can make it all the way there.

  1. Ozzy Lusth (+1)

– I think Ozzy is really going to benefit from the alliance he’s in right now. I think he’s with a group of people who are playing hard or playing strategic, and those people may just be able to sway some of the attention off him, maybe enough so that Ozzy could end up deep in the game. I’m not sure about this though, I think he could easily be voted out next, but my gut tells me Ozzy is playing a great game right now.

  1. Cirie Fields (-1)

– I find it interesting that Cirie has been able to spend a good amount of time away from her old Tavua tribe. I think the luck of the draw has given Cirie some options to work through as the game progresses, and she may very well be in the best spot to control the game from where she’s at right now.

  1. Sarah Lacina (+1)

– Sarah is getting a great edit right now, and reading that for what it’s worth gives me high hopes that she’ll be in the mix to win. I loved her honest reaction at Tribal Council when all of the drama was going down; it shows that her heart and head are in the right place both in and out of the game. I think Sarah is in a great spot.

  1. Brad Culpepper (0)

– I think Brad can wrangle up the numbers to survive the first vote. It may very well be a 7-6 vote, but I have a feeling that he will be in the right spot when the chips fall in place. That’s just what my gut tells me.

  1. Sierra Dawn Thomas (0)

– Final 13 is the moment where Sierra either makes or breaks this game. At least I think so, given her legacy advantage. Nothing really changed in the game for her tribe this week, so she stays up top of my rankings this week. These rankings are of course subject to some extreme changes next week if things go wrong, but I’ll go with my gut and keep her up top.


Thoughts After the Episode:

  • Let’s skip the superlatives and get right to the main talking point, shall we? I don’t think I’ve ever been so frightened for any contestants’ safety in a single moment than I was when I heard Jeff out Zeke as transgender during that heated Tribal Council scene. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been more surprised by something that’s come out of anyone’s mouth more than that moment in all my years of watching the show. And that shock is coming from somebody who actually already knew that secret about Zeke already (it was known on Survivor-related social media for a while now), so I can only imagine the pure shock and emotion from average Survivor fans around the country! In that one moment, Jeff Varner made a colossal error that put Zeke in a terrible spot, considering the questions and unwarranted attention he’s now going to receive from this airing, and also put himself in a horrible spot because of the vitriol that he would definitely receive from the airing of this scene. I didn’t have the slightest clue that this was how that Tribal Council was going to unfurl, but I was so appalled by Varner’s decision in that moment, and the thought processes that went into. He’s been one of my Survivor favorites for a while now, and I know enough of the guy to understand that he isn’t a bigot, and he’s not likely a malicious guy, but it’s so mind-boggling trying to figure out why he thought he could make an argument against Zeke’s character by revealing that kind of personal information. It’s as if Varner, in a moment of game-related insanity, thought that his tribe might think less of Zeke because of this deep secret, and that’s honestly the worst part of the whole situation. I must say though, I’m very proud of the rest of the tribe for their grace and reaction to the comments, backing Zeke and coming down harshly on Varner’s tactics in that moment. The whole scene was so emotional and so bizarre, but I think Zeke managed to handle it with an unbelievable amount of grace and courtesy, even choosing to be gracious towards Varner after he realized the gravity of his decisions. Zeke truly ended up making the most of what could have been a devastating personal moment, discussing how his outing could maybe create a dialogue that helps young viewers feel comfortable talking about LGBTQ rights and coming to terms with similar issues. I’ll add this too, and it’s not as an excuse for his behavior, but I feel bad for Jeff Varner too. He’s facing an incredible amount of negative publicity and vitriol for a terrible decision he made in a game of starvation and desperation. He’s going to relive this for the rest of his life, and that’s going to be such a burden for him to bear, even if he did it to himself. I would have strongly preferred that CBS edit around that situation if possible to avoid the repercussions that their television show would have on peoples’ real day-to-day lives, but it’s within their rights given the contracts the contestants sign to show anything and everything, and portray people and situations as they please. I think the show at least did a good job editing the reactions and Tribal discussions, and I also thought Jeff Probst did a remarkable job moderating that conversation in a professional manner. It was just a sad situation, and I feel terrible for all that were involved. I think it’s also worth listening to the reactions of Zeke and Varner after the airing to get the full perspective of what happened and how they will move forward, and you can hear those below:


Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 5

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 4

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 3

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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????

  1. Andrea Boehlke (0)

– Nothing from Andrea for another episode. She’s just here for the ride I guess.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts After Episode 2

Survivor: Game Changers continued to be a pretty fun show through the second episode. I found it funny that the producers didn’t even mess around with any camp life to lead into the episode, instead just leading off with the tribe swap scene. In a returning player season, the focus tends to be on strategy and cutthroat play, and that was certainly the case with the first scene being a swap, but I’ve been happy to see a lot of variety in the beach scenes thus far. It seems these players are playing with their cards close to their chest, but it’s actually made for a more well-rounded TV show thus far. I was very happy with episode 2, and with the outcome after my winner pick didn’t get voted out! It was a nail biter towards the end, but I think it could be leading to some interesting stories later on.


Power Rankings for Episode 2:

  1. Tai Trang (-4)

– Tai keeps finding himself in situations where people are talking him into things that are against his best interests. Essentially, he’s having the same issues he had in his original season, only now he’s trying to compensate a little by rolling over to everyone else’s wishes. Voting out Caleb was not something he should have done and not something he should have allowed to happen, yet it did and now he’s officially along for the ride.

  1. JT Thomas (-11)

– JT really picked the short straw in terms of the tribe swap. It really could not have gone any worse for him than it did, but he actually managed to bury himself a little further with his actions after the fact. Instead of staying calm and trying to make social inroads, JT decided to bring his entire tribe out to sea, then abandon them to hunt for an idol. Don’t get me wrong now, that was one of the funniest stories from the episode, but from a game-play perspective, that was way too obvious. JT looks like a goner if something doesn’t turn around quickly for him.

  1. Sandra Diaz-Twine (0)

– Sandra looked really bad during that whole gat debacle. She just wanted to eat poor Bambi-goat while all the others just didn’t have the heart for it in that moment. Michaela had a great remark about her, saying that’s why she’s the villain, and she’s on the money about that one. The negative opinions of Sandra can only really hurt her game I imagine, so I’m having a hard time picturing her lasting 39 days.

  1. Andrea Boehlke (+3)

– Andrea has been so invisible so far, and I hate it. She’s energetic and bubbly on screen usually, so either she’s being coy or she’s just not giving them great material so far. I’m not sure what it is, but we need more Andrea in the future guys!

  1. Debbie Wanner (+1)

– There’s a thought in my head that Debbie could be in trouble if they try to target Kaoh Rong people. That’s my only thought on Debbie this week because, other than that, she seems to be doing OK and assimilating well with that group.

  1. Cirie Fields (+6)

– Cirie is doing great now that her tribe has a new target to focus on. Now that they have a 5-1 advantage over Troyzan, the 5 of them can bond together and solidify something going forward, and with Ozzy on board, I imagine they won’t lose too much. Cirie just needs a foot in the door with an alliance and she’d probably be fine. The problem of course is that no one is bound to forget her game for too long, so she’s going to need to play a flawless game in order to win. But, I do feel much better about her prospects this week than I did last week.

  1. Michaela Bradshaw (-1)

– It’s dawned on me that Michaela might very well be the youngest person out there in the game. That could seriously be advantages for her if she lays back and lets the older people start telling her what to do. If she can wait out some of the pre-merge fireworks that are about to go down then she could find herself in an optimal position to play a strong game later on.

  1. Hali Ford (-6)

– That was a really close call for my winner pick in this week’s episode. I was not looking forward to having to explain my lack of foresight in this blog, but luckily I don’t have to! Hali was very diplomatic in discussing her usefulness to the tribe, and even though Caleb was likely always the target, I think she did a good job to save herself. My hopes for Hali haven’t changed despite her tough post-swap predicament because I still think she has the smarts to maneuver this game.

  1. Troyzan Robertson (+7)

– Troyzan looked to be in the worst spot of anyone after the swap, being down 5-1 in the numbers, but he was able to find a immunity idol clue and successfully procure the idol at an immunity challenge. That was a tough grab for Troyzan because he had to be careful about people seeing him do what he was doing, but his acting was amazing and no one noticed what happened. Troyzan is not in a powerful position and I’m excited to see how he’ll use the idol he found!

  1. Aubry Bracco (+3)

– Aubry knows not to overplay the game and I think that will serve her very well in this ‘Game Changers’ season. Plus, I think if she can stay by Malcolm’s side until like the final 6 or 7 she’ll be in a superb spot.

  1. Sarah Lacina (0)

– We don’t see much from Sarah, but I have a gut feeling she’s in an OK spot, compared to Andrea who has gotten a similar lack of TV time. Sarah’s also probably the one person who could benefit from Tony not being in the game, because people will likely forget about Cagayan, focusing instead on the dozen other people who have playing partners from their earlier seasons still in the game. Sarah’s OK for now, but she will have to start building a resume pretty soon.

  1. Jeff Varner (-3)

– Varner appears to be doing well in the game so far, but there are little editing points that make me wonder about him. The guy always gives snarky confessionals; it’s really a big part of his charm in all 3 of the seasons he’s been on, but the fact that he’s so confident that JT will be the first one out of his tribe gives me some reason to pause. Overconfidence in an edit can sometimes be a bad omen, so while I think Jeff is playing alright, I won’t be surprised if that changes quickly.

  1. Ozzy Lusth (+7)

– I think Ozzy is going to stay in this game for a long time. With the smaller tribes, he’s going to be relied on a lot more, and I also think that he’s going to be overlooked from a strategic standpoint. I don’t think people will target Ozzy as much as people might think because he’s not a strategic guy. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ozzy stays around for a long time and then goes on a huge immunity run towards the end.

  1. Zeke Smith (+4)

– Zeke is playing the same kind of game as we saw in episode 1; quiet and steady. As long as he keeps that up, it should be smooth sailing!

  1. Brad Culpepper (+6)

– So far, Brad looks like the most improved player out here in the game. Brad is not playing aggressively, but he is finding ways to influence the results. He masterminded the Caleb vote, but made it seem like Tai was the one coming to terms with it. I think Brad is playing the type of game that not only suits his personality but also lets him survive without the target on his back.

  1. Sierra Dawn Thomas (+4)

– I’m really high on Sierra right now. First she got the legacy advantage, and now she’s getting some good screen time in crucial moments. As far as I can tell, there really aren’t too many insignificant moments on Survivor, so I have to believe that the multiple mentions of Sierra and Hali not having a strong bond from their season are being mentioned to set something up. I think we are going to see Sierra and Hali work together despite what they’re calling a lacking relationship. If there’s a story to tell, Survivor will tell it, and my read of the editing is that Sierra and Hali’s relationship is worth focusing on going forward.

  1. Malcolm Freberg (0)

– Malcolm still feels like the golden child so far, and his tribe situation is favorable for this image. He seems in control, has a clear nemesis around him, and is working with a villain who will receive votes before he does. Everything is fantastic in Malcolm-land through two episodes, so he’ll stay atop my rankings for now.


Thoughts after the Episode:

  • My player of the week honors will go to Brad Culpepper for this episode. He’s doing everything right this season and correcting the mistakes he made from his last time, and the results are showing. Brad was able to eliminate a target of his without putting his neck on the line, and he appears to have the ear of his tribemates without any really resent showing through. I’m pleasantly surprised with Brad’s social skills so far, so he’s gets a tip of the hat from me this week…My favorite moment of the episode was when the Nuku tribe, on a raft out at sea fishing, slowly realized that JT had left them behind to look for an idol. It was such a funny moment to put on the show, not necessarily a strategic triumph, but a hilarious moment nonetheless…I’m surprised they decided to go to 3 tribes this early in the season again, especially after we saw this exact same set-up done in Cambodia. It was a predictable thing and a lot of contestants could have bet their strategy on a shake-up by not making strong alliances at first. I think the show should try to do a tribe swap with odd numbers and bring back Exile Island, just because people won’t anticipate or expect that these days. The show needs to keep unpredictability central to the tribe swap concepts in the future…The goat storyline from this episode were really a very interesting moment regarding survival ethics. For the entire run of the show, Survivor has often had a backburner storyline about eating the animals at camp, and this one in particular had some great ethical debating involved. While they ended up catching the goats, JT and Malcolm were quick to identify that it was a mother and child goat, and 5 of the 6 felt very bad about eating the goats, given the situation. Sandra, on the other hand, was the one dissenting opinion on her tribe, and her stance on eating the goats ended up making her seem like a ruthless player to some on her tribe. It was a very different story for the show, and it went on to show once again how important it is to balance personal and team ethics when playing Survivor.

The Man in the High Castle Season 2 Review


The Man in the High Castle is back streaming on Amazon Prime for its second season, and the story keeps getting crazier for Juliana, Joe, Frank, and the rest of them in their Nazi dystopia. While the show has been back for a few months, I’ve just now finished up the second season, and I must say that I like this season just as much, if not maybe even more than the first season. Sure, there are a few crazy storylines that confuse the timeline of the show, but overall there is a great deal of time and energy committed to fleshing out some of the major characters as individuals through these 10 episodes, and fans of the first season should find a lot to love in the way the story continues to unfold. Here are some of my thoughts on season 2, some of my wishes for the show as it continues on its story for seasons to come:

Favorite Character: Juliana

  • I think Juliana really blossomed under the pressure she was under during the events of season 2. I was blown away by the way she was able to assimilate to life in the Greater Nazi Reich after she was able to escape the Pacific States. She was able to blend in, make friends with the women in and around John Smith’s life, and still be a kickass spy, fighting to do the right thing in a world that’s all wrong. Juliana is a remarkable figure, one that fans can relate to and respect because you can tell she’s scared, but she never wavers, she never becomes something she’s not, and she never does what she thinks is wrong, regardless of how powerful her enemies are. Juliana, and her portrayal by Alexa Davalos, is one of the main reasons why The Man in the High Castle is such a strong series.

Least Favorite Character: George Dixon

  • The strangest thing about season 2, and season 1 to a certain extent as well, is how hardened and unlikable The Resistance can be for the viewers. These people are, on paper, fighting the good fight, but they act reprehensively at times, even downright malicious when it isn’t needed. Nobody encompasses the coldness of The Resistance better than George Dixon. George, who is revealed to be Juliana’s sister’s biological father, is a Resistance fighter who treats Juliana with a great deal of disdain, all the while telling her he’s taking care of her because she’s Trudy’s sister. The guy comes off so bad in all of his scenes, and the way he turns on Juliana towards the end is almost heartbreaking because it started to seem like there may have been some decency in him after all. George embodies the emptiness that underlies the show and adds to its tension, because he is just one of many people in positions of power who are jaded beyond compassion in their new world.

Best Character Development: Frank Frink

  • Of all the characters in this show, I think Frank improved the most from season 1 to season 2. I thought he lacked the gumption needed to match up with Juliana and Joe in season 1, but in season 2 he finaly was able to embrace his reality, and fight not only for himself and the family he lost, but for justice and the way things should be. The way Frank stood up for himself with the Resistance fighters were just as admirable as Juliana’s action in New York, and his ability to stay cool under pressure and muster up the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice in the end was a bittersweet story to watch unfold. I’m sad that Frank’s life had to come to an end in such a way, but I’m glad the producers went to great lengths to redeem his character and allow him to blossom into a hero.

Best Storyline: Thomas’ illness and the cover-up

  • This storyline was amazing for so many reasons, but above all, it’s special because it has the chance to sway the tides of history in this universe. Nazi eugenics are the law of the land in the Greater Nazi Reich, and one of its highest leaders, John Smith, has been forced to turn against this central mentality and defy the law to save his son Thomas from being put down. This story has made Helen Smith a central figure in the show too, and lead to some really powerful scenes with John and Helen, and with Juliana and Helen as she accidentally gets roped into the conspiracy that has been unfolding. The show is digging in really deep into the heart of the characters as they begin to face the true ugliness of their political system, and this story is truly the lynchpin for the changes that could come. I’m also glad it had a tragic end, even though it was a heartbreaking moment when they held Helen back as Thomas was taken away. I think this tragedy will become a catalyst for action for seasons to come!

Most Confusing Storyline: Tagomi’s dream sequence

  • The part where season 2 started to get a little bit weird was when Tagomi found himself in his own alternate reality where his family was living in a free United States instead of in the Japanese Pacific States. It was a really strange sequence, and while it was a wonderful story being told, I didn’t understand the what, the when, the how, or the why of the whole situation. I guess the show is experimenting with delving into alternate reality more, but I would’ve preferred if the show could’ve found a way to transition into that story in a less confusing manner. I enjoyed watching the scenes, but I hated them at the same time knowing it was all just a fantasy.

Favorite Moments:

  • John’s confrontation with Heydrich in the basement
    • It was nice to see some resolution to the final scenes of episode 1, and I’m glad the show decided to reveal Heydrich in the basement in such an intense moment in the action, while the world was teetering on destruction. The back and forth between the two was just as good in this scene as it was in the season 1 finale, and it allowed us to see John as the intelligent, fearless manipulator he can be. John might be a Nazi, but he is very much a hero in this story, even when he’s diabolical.
  • The Hallucinogenic Party
    • The last thing I expected to see in the story with Joe in Berlin was a hallucinogen-fueled party scene, but that was just what we got when Joe ran into a young Berlin woman who brought him on an interesting journey of self-reflection and promise. The sequence was so well-produced, and featured a brilliant scene where Joe hallucinated that Juliana was there. His desperation to see her when he was tripping was a small, but crucial moment in the episode, in my opinion.
  • Frank’s last moments
    • There was something so vindicating about how Frank was able to look Kido in the eyes before the bomb blew him and most f the other people in that building to Kingdom Come. Rupert Evans was masterful in his portrayal as Frank this season, and I think in that one instance he was truly able to convey the essence of his character with one look. Frank went down as a hero and was able to look the man who had his family murdered in the eyes while doing it. Not only was that a fantastic ending for Frank, I have some hopes that it will be a new beginning for Kido after he saw the machine that he has helped build become a force beyond his control. One can only hope at least!
  • Joe learns the truth about his existence
    • The scenes at Lebensborn were some of the better ones of the season, half because of the eerie scenery, and half because of the bombshell that Joe’s father drops on him; that he was born and bred in a Nazi experimental program. We got to witness the quickest cycle of grief ever from Joe, as he went through this vast whirlwind of emotions, feeling betrayal, denial, grief, and so much more in just a manner of minutes. Joe’s entire storyline this series focused on one important thing; his need to find purpose and understanding in life. While it was a great series of scenes seeing Joe comes to grips with and accept his father, it actually ended up hindering Joe’s path to finding himself.

5 Things I Would Like to See Happen in Season 3:

  • A deep and intense story between John and Helen
    • After he finds out about what happened to Thomas, there’s going to be a great amount of pain for John to cope with. I really hope the show doesn’t hold any punches in exploring the pain of the Smith family situation, especially between Helen and John. We got to see a sneak peak of the problems between the two of them at the end of the finale, and I’m really hoping we see more brutal honesty in the storytelling for season 3. For this show to reach the kind of conclusion fans would want, John Smith is going t have to be profoundly moved by what happened.


  • Joe finding his true nature again
    • Watching Joe come to get a grip on who his father is and accept him was another one of many bittersweet storylines from this season. On one hand it was nice to see him fill that hole in his life that was left when he grew up without his father, yet it was terrible to figure out in the end that his father was just as bad as any of the other Nazi higher-ups. I think Joe will need to finally put the brokenness of his past to rest, kind of like what Juliana and Frank were able to do this season, and discover who he wants to be in this world. I think Joe has the potential to be a transformative figure in the events of this show, but to really live up to his potential he’s going to have to take some time and decide what kind of future he sees for himself.


  • Kido becoming a better leader for his people
    • When the Japanese embassy blew up and Kido was left in charge due to the deaths of all the others in the blast, something seemed to change in him. I’d like to think it has something to do with that glance he shared with Frank, but in all honesty, I think he’s starting to come to terms with how out of hand this Japan/Germany feud has gotten and how close it’s coming to ending humanity. I’ve been reticent about giving Kido a chance because I haven’t seen much growth in his character, but right at the end of episode 9 it started to feel like he may be turning a corner. I loved the scenes with Smith and Kido during the finale, and I hope that kind of teamwork is what we can expect from these characters going forward.


  • Tagomi finding some peace in his life
    • If there was anything that the alternate reality showed us viewers, it’s that Tagomi is unsettled, and filled with regrets. He envisions a different life for himself and for his family, one that they never got to see in they’re time. I hope next season we get to see Tagomi able to reconcile his existence a little better, especially after getting to see a different version of life than his own. Maybe he can surprise us all and be the catalyst of change, the one who can affect the likes of Kido or maybe even Smith and bring some peace to the Americas. Either way, I hope Tagomi stays a prominent character and we get to peek even further into his mind.


  • An amazing Joe and Juliana reunion
    • After having such an electric chemistry in season 1, it was slightly disappointing to see Joe and Juliana separated for the entirety of season 2. While it’s understandable given the stories being told that they wouldn’t be in each other’s orbits, I think they are going to need to cross paths again because they’re story really could be amazing if they were together. This reunion is a must for season 3!
Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Game Changers – Power Rankings and Thoughts on Episode 1

Here it is guys; Survivor is back with season 34, Survivor: Game Changers! We’ve got another season with a full cast of returning players, and it’s a very exciting, and very random group of former players. I think we’re in for a fun show if the premiere episode is any indication, and in the spirit of Game Changers I’ve decided I’m going to change some things up myself on the blog. My favorite blog for any season is always the one where I get to do my power rankings, so I’ve decided to make blogging a little more fun for myself by centering my weekly recap around the Power Rankings. I like breaking down the game player by player more so than recapping the action anyway, so I hope you all like the concept I have here and continuing checking in as I break down the season week by week, player by player! Here’s my Game Changers Power Rankings for episode 1:

  1. Cirie Fields

– Cirie already has people targeting her from every side, so she has to be in the worst spot right now. Luckily for her, a swap might help stabilize her spot in the game, but I imagine it would only be temporary. She can’t be seen as much of a physical player, so she’ll be considered a liability in challenges, plus her penchant for playing a devious social game will cause concern from every angle. It will take a miracle for Cirie to get to the merge, but if she does, her dds will increase dramatically.

  1. Andrea Boehlke

– I feel like we got nothing from Andrea this episode, and that’s a real pity. Andrea is such an energetic, interesting player, and seeing little from her at first gets me a little bit concerned that she may not play a big part in the story of the season. But who knows, it’s hard to give 20 people screen time in an episode, maybe her best is yet to come!

  1. Troyzan Robertson

– I like Troyzan as a player, I think he’s smart, strong, and survival minded. He embodies the Survivor mantra in a lot of ways, but I imagine that throwing in with Sandra will be a problem for him. Aligning with the biggest threat in the game can go well, but it can also get you eliminated very early. We’ll have to see how things play out for Troy, but I’m not confident about his place in the tribe after one episode.

  1. Sandra Diaz-Twine

– Queen Sandra won the battle against Tony, but might she have lost the war at the same time? Sandra has one twice by blending in, by paying an “Anyone but me” game, but she’s already gone off program by targeting Tony and letting her name get thrown around all over the beach. No one is underestimating her right now, and that does not bode well for her long-term prospects.

  1. Debbie Wanner

– I really liked the scene Debbie had with Cirie when she was questioning the strategy points Cirie was trying to tell her. It showed me that Debbie’s head was very clearly in the game and her heads were on point. My concern with Debbie is not whether she could play the game well, rather it’s whether or not others think she can play well. My guess is that she may have trouble making moves because people won’t go with her.

  1. Tai Trang

– Does Tai always need to “tie” himself to the chickens? We already saw another player, JT, make a point of saying Tai might be a problem when it comes to getting close to the chickens. We also saw Tai fail to assuage Cirie in a scene earlier in the episode, basically confirming his lacking social game. I don’t see Tai doing well on this season, but at the very least he’s a cool character to have around. On a side-note, I’d love to see Caleb and him on the same tribe again.

  1. Ozzy Lusth

– I think Ozzy is actually playing really well through the first two votes. Luckily for him he didn’t have to go to either Tribal Council, but even if he did I imagine he would’ve been perfectly safe. In the team portion of this game, Ozzy will stay essential, and I think that should give him plenty of time to make the necessary alliances to go far. I love seeing Ozzy back on Survivor, so I hope he can get past his status as a threat and go deep in the game.

  1. Aubry Bracco

– Aubry is a difficult player to figure out through one episode. I get the feeling that she’s respected by her tribe, yet she’s been given a bit of a negative tone so far on camera. It’s just a little thing I’ve picked up on watching what’s going on, but it makes me question whether or not she’s going to do well here. Considering her season just aired before they went out on location, she has to be fresh in peoples’ minds, and that will definitely play against her. Aubry will have to combat that quickly if she wants to win the game.

  1. Michaela Bradshaw

– It was a quick turnaround for Michaela to play season 33 and 34, but even still, it seems like she didn’t learn from her mistakes. She was getting upset and pouting all over the beach prior to the first vote when she should’ve just kept the poker face strong. Luckily, Michaela is safe through two votes and she can gain control of the game still. Michaela is an aggressive player, but if she wants to win I think she’ll need to add a little bit of finesse to her repertoire. Let’s hope she does, she’s great TV!

  1. Brad Culpepper

– WWMD? That’s the question Brad is asking, and it’s probably a plan he should keep for the long haul. In Blood vs. Water, it was Monica Culpepper who was able to make friends and prosper, while Brad made enemies and was voted out quickly. This time, Brad seems a little less interested in forcing the action, and that’s really his best chance at survival. If he doesn’t make waves, he will be fine.

  1. Zeke Smith

– Zeke played well out of the gates on Game Changers. I felt like he was approaching the game with a certain eagerness that everyone could appreciate and admire. He wasn’t being too gamey, choosing instead to make friends and feel people out. Zeke has an upper hand in this game because the rest of the cast don’t really know what kind of game he could play. I think Zeke can wait a little while to see how things play out before he ramps his game up, and being in the place to have that kind of luxury is nice.

  1. Sarah Lacina

– I love the way Sarah discussed her previous game on the show. She seemed to learn a thing or two from Tony as to how one goes about winning the game. You have to get your hands a little dirty to play the game of Survivor, and Sarah seems resigned to do whatever she needs to do given the situation. If Sarah is able to be malleable like that, I think she could do very well this season.

  1. Sierra Dawn Thomas

– Look at Sierra go! She’s probably the most criticized selection of the whole cast because she doesn’t seem to be a “Game Changer” per se, but right off the bat she managed to find the Legacy Advantage, and now has a leg up on her competition. I really like the choice component to the Legacy Advantage this year, and I think Sierra is smart enough to use the advantage as a ploy to make some alliances. I’m really excited to watch Sierra now that she has this advantage now, and who knows, maybe she’ll be the Kelley Wentworth of this season!

  1. JT Thomas

– How can a former winner seem so unassuming in a game of “Game Changers?” When he’s good, that’s when. I ranked JT as the best winner in my winner’s ranking for a reason, because he has a way of making people like him. So far we haven’t seen much of JT, but I imagine that’s perfectly OK. He’s not going to play a flashy game, but people aren’t going to be lining up to get rid of JT any time soon. As he said on the boat before the game, Sandra might not be the only two-time winner by the end of 39 days!

  1. Hali Ford

– You can tell from listening to her confessionals that Hali is ready to play. I love her spirit, and her mind, and I think she really is the cobra in a field of snakes here. Hali will be able to adapt to whatever group she goes with, and I think being able to play without the “No Collar” baggage is going to free her mentally to be a bit more fluid with her strategic game. I’m excited to see her play; I think she’s going to slay the competition!

  1. Jeff Varner

– I think Jeff Varner is playing a much more controlled game this time around, compared to how he played in Cambodia. Jeff was all over the place in his second chance season, and I think a lot of that was probably just nerves and adrenaline taking over. He sounds poised from what we’ve seen so far, and that’s an extremely good sign for him. If there’s one thing we know about Varner it’s that he’s a good talker, and I think as long as he stays calm and stays present, he’s going to talk himself into the right alliances at the right time.

  1. Caleb Reynolds

– I was extremely impressed with Caleb in the premiere; he really has a good mind for the game right now. We saw him at the center of attention for a lot of the episode, whether it is the Ciera vote or the Tony vs. Sandra war and it’s really awesome to see given how horribly his game ended last time. I think in a sense, Caleb is in one of the best spots of anyone in the game solely because everyone wants to use him for their own ends. As long as people want Caleb around to provide some muscle at camp, or to win challenges, or just be a good, loyal team member, Caleb may just find himself very deep in the game with a real shot at running the table for a surprise win.

  1. Malcolm Freberg

– Malcolm feels like the narrator right now, which makes him the favorite for the time being. We got to see Malcolm make the decisions this week without feeling like the alpha male or the leader, which is a sign that his game is honestly going quite well. Malcolm got to spearhead the Ciera vote and he got to make the decision to turn on Tony when he did and I only realized he did that after I was done watching the episode. So far so good for Malcolm, he’s playing as good a game as anyone through the first week on the beach, but it is early so anything could change!


Thoughts on the episode:

  • My player of the week honors are going to Malcolm for episode 1. I think Malcolm is comfortably in the middle of all of the action without sticking his neck on the line. Judging from the way he’s been talking, he seems eager to play well and confident in his ability to win, so I think of everyone on his tribe, he is probably in the best position to anticipate the flow of the game and stay in the numbers, without having to be the leader or make the move himself. I really like what Malcolm’s doing so far, his poise will bring him far…My favorite moment of the episode probably was when Tony, only minutes into the game, decided he was going to run off into the forest saying he’s looking for an idol. That had to be the funniest moment from the episode, and such a classic Tony Vlachos move. I hate the fact that we’re not going to get to see him play more, but I’m happy we got a full episode of his insane antics…This season has a really fun feel to it compared to a lot of other all-returnee seasons, and I’m really enjoying the nature of the game so far. I think the Game Changers theme has actually been helpful for the game because it evens the playing field a bit. The producers haven’t pigeonholed people into themes they feel they have to live up to, and in doing so, have let the players be 100% themselves without any pushes in any direction. I think we might be looking at the most organic returnees’ game ever, and that would be great to watch…I’m being bold for this season and making a winner pick early, because I really like going with my instincts when I watch this show. So here it is, I think Hali Ford will be the winner out of this group. My chances of being wrong are great, but there’s something about her wits, and her dark horse position amongst this group that makes me think she will go far and be able to out maneuver the big names towards to end to win. I think she has a leg up with the jury because she’s studied law, plus I think people will severely underestimate her knowledge of the game because she was a “No Collar” when she played. Look for Hali this season, she’s my pick to go all the way!