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Survivor: China, Ranking the Survivors – The Top 13by Asher Streets -- 10/08/2007
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Zhan Hu’s challenge wins have halted an Ulonging. Fei Long’s decision to oust the potential defector and weak challenge player was the right one to make. Tribe loyalty and challenge wins are still more important at this stage. I want to clarify – my rankings for Survivor are based on predicted outcomes of how the players will fare in the overall game, not how well they do week to week. For a poker analogy, it’s based on overall chip count, not who won the last hand.
1. Aaron (3): Although it appeared as though Aaron was separating from his alliance, I think he was actually solidifying to it. Aaron proved his worth to them by insisting that Leslie go instead of Jean-Robert. More than Todmanda and Courtney, he was thinking strategically instead of emotionally. Aaron dislikes Jean-Robert as much as the rest of them… so much so that he’s called Jean-Robert out publicly for his laziness. Now that Aaron knows he can trust Todmanda to vote with him, he can offer up Jean-Robert as their tribal sacrifice next time. Only James may be left out of that vote.
2. Amanda (2): Although Todmanda didn’t get to vote for their first target, I don’t think they ceded power. Their third alliance partner strategically showed them the reason to go after Leslie and they stuck to their commitment with Aaron despite strong negative feelings toward Jean-Robert and positive, nurtured feelings toward Leslie. Todmanda did not vote with emotions, but with strategy. I believe Amanda may be closer to Aaron than Todd is, and strengthening this alliance needs to be a primary focus. Amanda didn’t seem to do well in the wrestling challenge, but she did a great job in the immunity challenge. She’s seen as an asset to her team and she’s making all the right strategic moves.
3. Todd (1): I almost kept Todd’s ranking at number one, but he made a few mistakes this week. Todd seemed to bring Courtney into his circle, which is good for his long-term game. But if the vote was going another way, he should have informed her. His push for Jean-Robert didn’t work, which shows how much power Aaron really does have. Todd set Aaron up as a puppet, but now he’s broken the strings. Todd is actually fortunate that he allied with someone who is thinking so clearly. Knowing that Leslie had an immunity idol clue and that her bonds with Zhan Hu were already stronger than Fei Long, Todd should have vied for Leslie’s ouster immediately after their loss. Todd should work on solidifying his core alliance with Aaron and fueling the fire against both James and Jean-Robert. Talking to Denise seems like a good idea too.
4. Courtney (8): The fourth Fei Long alliance member is hard to nail. Previously, I thought it would wind up being Denise, but now I think Courtney will take the spot. Todmanda seemed to embrace Courtney as their fourth, yet she cast her vote astray. I don’t know whether Todd informed Courtney of the change or not, but I don’t think this is a fatal blow for her. Todmanda needs her, and Aaron owes all of them a vote. I expect Fei Long to resume their winning streak and carry Courtney’s weak little body along. If they lose along the way, Jean-Robert should be the next target. Once they hit the merge, there is no reason to target Courtney any longer. Her weakness will morph into an asset soon, if she can make the merge. Here’s another little plug for Courtney: if Fei Long wins the next reward challenge, they will likely capture Jaime. Jaime may surmise that Courtney is their weakest player and give her the clue. With three clues, Courtney could very well find the idol, which would give her some much-needed power.
5. Jaime (6): Jaime is well-liked by all and had significant influence in bringing over Leslie after Zhan Hu’s reward challenge win. She has two clues to the idol, but I don’t think it’s enough. I expect her to be taken every time Fei Long wins a reward challenge, which means she may create some bonds that will help her down the road.
6. Erik (7): Erik showed his mettle in the reward challenge. He’s a strong competitor, but not as threatening as others. He seems to have allied with Jaime and Sherea, but there has not really been proof of strategic thinking from them yet. Did anyone else love Erik’s look when he was standing next to naked Dave for the reward challenge? He just shook his head in disbelief, wondering how he got stuck with such a pathetic “leader.”
7. James (5): James lost a lot of my respect this week for his ignorant comments about Christians, lewdness toward women, and arrogance. But his biggest mistake was openly aligning with Jean-Robert and talking about strategy in the earshot of Courtney and Todd. He should keep alliances secret, because he’s digging his own grave. (Expect nearly every writer about this show to use that phrase at some point.) James is not part of Fei Long’s core alliance, but will be kept for his muscles. I expect his vote will be important for a little while, but the threat of winning individual immunities is too high to keep him around for long.
8. Sherea (10): I think Sherea will usher in a new era of leadership at Zhan Hu. Nobody is happy with Dave, and unlike Ashley, Sherea seems to speak for the masses. I’m looking forward to her tirade. Sherea is safe until the merge, and may last longer than expected in this game.
9. Frosti (9): Frosti is Zhan Hu’s greatest challenge asset for races, but in physical match-ups, he’s not even in the running. Frosti seems to lean toward voting whichever way the Christians want, but he needs to cement his place with them. I think Fei Long will enter the merge with numbers on their side and pick off Frosti first.
10. Denise (4): To tell the truth, I have no idea where to put Denise. I thought she could be brought in as the fourth member to Todmanda and Aaron’s alliance, and perhaps she still could. If Fei Long returns to winning, she will ascend yet again, but if they lose twice, Denise or Courtney are the likely second targets. We haven’t seen Denise bond with anyone, so it’s hard to say what she’s doing. She seems to fit with her tribe, which may bode well for her. She seems to be an “anyone but me” kind of voter. Hopefully we’ll hear her talk one of these episodes.
11. Peih-Gee (13): Peih-Gee continues to improve her standing. She seems to have abandoned her bossiness, but it may return after Dave is dethroned. Peih-Gee did very well at the challenges, but if they lose again after Dave is gone, I can’t imagine the vote going any other way.
12. Jean-Robert (12): Jean-Robert crossed a line in their sleeping arrangements, violating all the mulletless women on the tribe. “Getting warm” is an unconvincing euphemism for molestation. This guy is an idiot who is not long for the game.
13. Dave (14): What a pair of bottom-feeders we have here! Dave is lucky Courtney is a terrible lumberjill, because otherwise he’d be gone. I have an interesting philosophy on Dave’s behavior. If there were no camera crew and producers, would he really be that abrasive to his tribe? When he got the rock to steady the pot on the fire, his speech was derisive of everyone, as though he were trying to get the other people on site to see how dumb they were. His confessional later seemed like just an extension of that harangue. If he didn’t have confidants, I think he’d curtail his emotions better. But, that’s the way Survivor works, and Dave continues to spiral downward.
Asher Streets is a food engineer and musician who lives in Madison, WI. He has a love for all things Italian, most especially gelato, wine, espresso, and cheese. Asher appreciates your opinions too and can be reached via email: email@example.com.
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