Survivor: One World – Ranking the Final 10 Survivors (or, You’re Safe… Trust Me!)by Brian Towers -- 04/11/2011
For those of you joining the ride for the first time, briefly, here’s how this series of articles works. Using just the episodes themselves and other authentic web-posted material (including Reality News Online’s own exit interviews with dismissed players), I prognosticate each competitor’s chances for success in this game and rank them accordingly.
Now that the merge have come and gone, the focus of these rankings has shifted toward making the endgame, and then winning it all. One thing that does not change: NO SPOILERS!!
For the second week in a row, the Insider clips have been nearly useless, as far as these rankings are concerned. There were twenty clips (including a “Secret Scene” and two “Ponderosa” entries), with fully half about the reward challenge, the reward itself, or a certain numerically-named soft drink. Add to that the uninformative Ponderosa clips, Jay’s retelling of Tarzan’s attempts at breaking up the wall for firewood which added nothing new to the tale, and three clips about how hard the conditions are (which I totally believe, but provided nothing I’d use here)… the results are that maybe one-quarter of the Insider clips were pertinent.
I so dearly miss the days when Tribal Council Voting comments were part of the Insider clips! These days, I wonder why players even bother saying anything to the camera as they vote, since none of the comments are ever heard outside of the editing room.
At the reward challenge, not everyone was shown, but did you notice that several of the players (minimally, Kim, Kat, Sabrina, Alicia, and Leif) crossed their arms across their chest as they went down the slide? This was the manner Probst instructed them in the first episode, when no one jumped that way and Kourtney broke her wrist.
That’s enough chatter – let’s get to the rankings!
Tikiano (Black Buffs)
In a conversation held at the reward, Kim and Sabrina established that they wanted only girls to be competing at the end, and that Chelsea is their third wheel. I’m buying that for now, and therefore, these three top my rankings.
1: Kim (was 1st)
To answer the question I posed in my introduction… of course Kim is still number one, and would be even if she didn’t hold an idol. Kim had an impressive week!
Although Kim did her best to keep her two major options open, the time finally came when she felt she had to declare her true loyalties. As I had surmised back at merge time, a mere six days was not enough to overturn years of gender bonding, and the all-girls alliance came out on top.
I believe staying with the women was Kim’s main plan all along, as she would have a better chance at winning the late-game immunities against Alicia or Christina than the big boys. Kim merely feigned loyalty to the Salani alliance to insure she could gain the upper hand in the game. Well played!
To get to that point, Kim played Troy like a cheap, bewhiskered, vintage Steinway. When she told Troy how Mike feared that Troy was going to win, Troy became irate, and despite an earlier, more rational conversation with Jay to the contrary, Troy willingly supported the vote-out of another male. Mike admitted in his exit interview with us, “…she knew how to play him (Troy). [Troy] and I didn’t work well together …she knew we wouldn’t talk about that [plan].” Smart.
Kim also played Mike. In his “Secret Scene,” Mike said, “Kim is so level-headed. Things will be fine; we have a plan.” Alas, it was not the same plan! SO smart!
Kim was also clever at the reward. While everyone else was fully enamored with the food, Kim was able to call Sabrina over and freely talk strategy a mere ten metres away from her upcoming victims! Smarter!
But in what might be her smartest move to date, Kim cut off what threatened to become a massive spilling of ugly truths between Mike and Jay, by jumping in and authoritatively proffering Christina as the de facto voting target. It shut down the Jay-Mike conversation completely. An M.V.P. moment, that!
On the down side, at Tribal Council, Kim rather over-explained that some people might have multiple levels of alliances, and that some folks may not really be as protected as they think. It’s never good to explain to your upcoming victims that their position is tenuous.
But the bottom line is that pretty much every twist, every flip, every change in the game has seemed to work to Kim’s benefit. I wonder if she was thinking at this point, “I‘ve seen this game on TV… isn’t it supposed to be harder than this?”
2: Sabrina (was 5th)
Sabrina was also playing a smart game. In one of her three Insider clips, Sabrina mused about being in the final three and revealed that before, “I never wanted to sit beside Kim. She's America's Sweetheart out here.” Sabrina added, “I was looking around yesterday at who are my sure votes on the jury. It was a little more than I thought.” I’m not sure whom she thought was solidly in her camp, but Sabrina was in a good position in the primary alliance, and she was correct to be plotting a path right to the end.
3: Chelsea (was 3rd)
Chelsea made two major errors in this episode.
The first was discussing alliance-insider business with Jay while Alicia and Christina sat right there. Kim called the move “asinine.” To make it worse, when Jay wondered if voting out Mike meant he was next, Chelsea’s reply of “That’s not necessarily true” was a terrible response to an alleged ally, a job of lying, and her second big error.
In the clip “It Wasn't My Day,” Chelsea complained, “It's the puzzle that gets you every time,” and, “That’s what stinks about those challenges. It's not all athletic ability.” It’s clear that Chelsea doesn’t know the game well, as puzzles are integral to modern Survivor challenges. Might her lack of game experience become an anchor that Kim may have to cut loose?
Chelsea’s aggravation with Tarzan may have hit a new high when he brought up her boob job. But to her credit, she reacted correctly – there are bigger threats in the game than that big boob, Tarzan.
When Kim talked with her girls to decide which path to take, Sabrina was there, and Kat… but not Chelsea? Bad sign. I’m sure they had a separate conversation later, but this was portrayed as “the moment of decision,” so I think noting the attendees is important.
I wonder if I have her rated too high. Or, can Chelsea be dragged to the end as a strategy-challenged goat? Nonetheless, it will be a while before that will come to a head, and Chelsea is sure to survive the next few votes.
4: Kat (was 6th)
I noticed Kat’s team chose her to precede Chelsea in the reward challenge. Is Kat now considered the more physical of the two?
Strategically, Kat is doing nothing while Kim and others do the heavy lifting and get their hands dirty, yet Kat still rises up and up these rankings. Kat sits in an envious position.
If Chelsea keeps making mistakes, could Kat end up sitting in front of the jury instead of on it? And if she’s sitting with someone unpopular like Alicia or Tarzan, and Kim takes the heat for eliminating all her buddies, perhaps Kat could actually win? Holy Natalie 3.0! Scary thought… forget you read it….
5: Alicia (was 10th)
Readers, note: There is a big, big gap between the top four and the others.
Alicia jumps up because of gender, but just to the middle of the pack. Neither she nor Christina voted with the majority – were they possibly directed to do so, in case Mike produced an idol? More probably, they were lied to about whom the true voting target was. Was either of them clever enough to realize their places in the pecking order were just reaffirmed? Were they clever enough to do anything meaningful about it? At any rate, it might be the first time these two have agreed on anything all season!
It remains to be seen if she or Christina will eventually go first, although the other is sure to immediately follow.
6: Christina (was 8th)
Christina may still be terrible at most challenges, especially those involving physical strength, but no one can fault her effort levels. She zipped down that slide, getting sand in places I cannot mention in a family website, only to pop up (admittedly, not as niftily as Leif), free the crate, then hustled back to the mat to mount the puzzle and direct her tribe to the win. In clip “Through the Roof,” Leif confirmed, “Christina really helped pull it out for us.”
As to the immunity challenge – it seemed to me that the non-winners were right on the cusp, so I can’t criticize her here, either. But trying hard isn’t winning, and she’s going to have to win herself an immunity or two at some point that’s no terribly far away.
There still seemed to be a near-universal consensus that Christina is “annoying,” as per the voting discussion among the reward non-winners. Personally, unlike Alicia or the late and unlamented Colton, I don’t think we have seen much of Christina being abnormally annoying. But the thought is renewed with almost every episode, so I’m not sure how Christina can break through, because it seems no one wants her in their alliance.
7: Leif (was 11th)
Leif has moved up a couple of slots, but don’t get too encouraged. His position in the game was still hopeless.
Leif’s whole game can be summarized by the end of the reward challenge. Celebrating his first reward that tasted better than a tarp and screaming “Bar-B-Q” repeatedly was an act that got him cussed out by Chelsea. While I disagree with Chelsea doing that and coming across as a bitter loser, she is central in the prime alliance, and Leif had already made enough enemies to insure his chances of winning were nil.
8: Troyzan (was 2nd)
Troyzan, Troyzan, Troyzan! Bro, trust me, I understand why you believe everything that comes out of the mouth of the fetching Kim, but seriously, in all that Survivor you’ve allegedly watched over the last decade-plus, did you miss the thirty-four episodes wherein enchanting young femmes twisted normally-sane horndogs about their pinkie fingers? Whoops – I guess the new total is – ka-ching – thirty-five episodes!
When the others were on reward, those left at camp discussed the next vote. Troy and Jay both put forward the name of the generally disfavored Christina, only to learn later that even lesser lights like Alicia and Kat were closer to the true pulse of the action.
The women seemed to like Troy – why not, he was putty in their hands – so, he might be allowed the “honor” of being the last man standing. Or, maybe he can make clever use of his truly hidden idol (a rarity in recent seasons) to prolong his stay in the game?
It’s equally possible that after Jay, Troyzan will be identified as the biggest threat left and dispatched accordingly (that’s what I’d do.) Now, Kim has seen the previous seasons, and I bet she has taken careful notice of the lessons of Vanuatu’s Chris. I doubt that Troy will be allowed to reprise that scenario.
9: “Tarzan” (was 9th)
To clear something up… Tarzan did have a chance of winning reward; he got to pick the side he thought would win, and he would have joined them on reward had they been successful. But, he guessed wrong. Probst said that footage was cut from the show because of time constraints. Gosh, I’m glad we got to see all eleven idiots walk to the voting booth and fumble about without an audible word spoken or a single vote being revealed to us (I timed the whole parade at 62 seconds); that was (sarcasm alert) so much more important.
You know who Tarzan reminds me of? Annoying Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Both have opinions on every topic, both assume they are always right, and both have no patience when others don’t immediately agree with them.
When Tarzan surgically removed a support from the side of the shelter and defended himself so vociferously over it, he just might have jumped to the top of the exit queue. And if that didn’t do it, embarrassing Chelsea over her boob job may have done the trick.
Now, dear readers, inspect carefully if you must – I certainly did – but I am pleased to report that clearly, Chelsea has no reason to hate her plastic surgeon. Trust me! I have screen-cap evidence!
I think the women are making a big mistake if they don’t taken out Jay next, but if Jay wins immunity, none would care if Tarzan went instead. Tarzan had a potential role as a goat at Final Tribal Council, but that seems very remote now, for two reasons. One, unlike Secret Agent Phillip who accepted his role as a finalist, I don’t think Tarzan would be as willing to step aside and let everyone else drive the bus. And two, anyone making the effort to drag Tarzan all the way to the end would lose the respect of several jurors, who would believe Tarzan had their spot. This could hand the win to whoever happened to be in the third seat. Like, for example, Kat.
10: Jay (was 4th)
Jay had premonitions he was on trouble. Suddenly, HE is the most physical dude in the game, and the females control the vote. Bro, it isn’t paranoia if the danger is real! Jay is the last (original) rooster standing. Do you know what happens to roosters in this game? Somebody like Chelsea finds you in the woods, holds you upside down by your legs, and wrings your neck!
I was bemused when Jay complained, “I hate puzzles,” and then a couple of minutes later, he solved arguably one of the most difficult ones ever.
After Jay won immunity, he told us he still felt it was right to vote out Christina. The next shot was of sleeping bats. Now, I’m not on top of all that “animal imagery” stuff, but I can’t imagine that being called “asleep” or “bats” by the editors was any kind of a good sign!
Jay’s only hope would be if Tarzan’s annoyance factor kicks up another notch, and the ladies decide that for three more days, they’d rather ogle Jay’s pecs than some insane elder guys poopy underoos. Sounds like a toss-up to me!
Juror 2: Mike (was 7th)
I’ve been saying the others have to get the big guy out of the game for a while now… so, the week I decide they can’t hear me through my space/time tunnel and I move him up in the rankings… that’s the week they take him out! Figures!
Mike told us that the gameplay got to him. He said, “Even if they tell you the truth, you feel like they're lying. After a while you don't want to talk to anybody.” He added, “In the game, there was not one point in the game where I felt like I was me, the way I usually am,” and, “Nobody truly wants to hang out with you. There's always a motive.”
Mike’s also a bit deluded. He said, “I was open and honest the entire game.” I guess that his stealing of supplies the women had unloaded off the truck in Episode 1 meant that “honest” has a different definition in Washington state (as versus, having no meaning in D.C.)? Even in his interview with us, Mike showed no remorse over his thefts.
Michael represented a serious physical threat in challenges that are not related to his balls on a platter. Michael had to be voted out.
I could be wrong (and often, I am), but if the women have truly taken control of the game as we are being led to believe, then the next few boots seem obvious, even if they may surprise us with the exact sequence. Jay-Troy-Tarzan-Leif seems obvious, but these people haven’t been eating and sleeping properly, so, anything’s possible.
Troyzan’s truly-hidden idol remains the wildcard. If Troy plays his idol on Jay’s behalf next week, they can reduce the female’s advantage to one, but the men still need an ill-considered defection (or, another idol find) to get back on even footing. I remain doubtful, but let’s go a single step further.
Such an idol play should knock out one of the higher-rated females. Troy has worked well with Kim (well, until this week) – will he take her out as a revenge move, or will he go after another strong player, a Kim ally with whom he has had less of a personal connection, such as Sabrina or Chelsea? Food for thought!
What do you think, folks? Do you agree with my most recent cut at these rankings? Let me know at the address below, and I’ll answer you back. There’s one rule, though: THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE SERIES! Please do not send me spoilers!
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Brian has seen every episode of Survivor and wishes he could fill the “old, useless geezer” role for even three days. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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