20. Francesca Hogi
Francesca made the exact same mistakes as she did last time. She played way too hard right out the gate. I said in my pre-season assessment that if the favorites lost the first immunity challenge, she would be in a very disconcerting position. She should have approached the scenario with a calm and collected demeanour and tried to fly under the rader, a la Malcolm. Instead, she targeted Phillip, which was clearly a decision motivated by personal feelings. Moreover, she then began talking about splitting the votes in case Phillip has an idol. She should have approached the other favorites and told them, “I don’t know why they brought me back, this might as well be my first time playing, you know this game better than me, you call the shots and I’ll follow your lead”. Instead, She caused way too many waves for someone who was clearly on the chopping block. Essentially, her fear of being the first boot, was what caused her to be the first boot, yet again. Well, Francesca, I’m waiting…
Things are really looking bad for Allie, and I don’t think she knows it. Not only has she formed a minority alliance, but she’s now been getting involved in some “jungle love” with the tribe’s most alpha of alpha males, Reynold. She’s the least physically equipped of the entire ‘cool lunch table’/’mean girls’ alliance who are seemingly yet to comprehend basic arithmetic. Perhaps they believe they’re cool enough to get two votes? Unless Michael and Matt decide to swing to this alliance, Allie and Hope are sure to be picked off. Eddie and Reynold however, are arguably the tribe’s best physical competitors and would definitely be safe for some time. I don’t think Michael and Matt will align with the cool kids though because they would always be at the bottom of that alliance.
18. Brandon Hantz
(I will be talking about next episode’s preview in Brandon's ranking so read on at your own risk)
This man has no hope now that he’s on the wrong side of the numbers. He would never have gotten so far last time had he not lucked into a day 1 alliance. Considering how early it is in the game, and how malleable the current alliances appear to be, you would think Brandon has plenty of wiggle room to seed his way back into this game. However, if you saw the preview for the next episode, it appears Brandon has taken the single worst and most childish approach imaginable. As the tribe returns to camp after the vote, Brandon tells Erik how he’s feeling “a little revengeful” and how he feels like going “Russel Hantz style”. I’m not going to explain why this is a bad move, I don’t need to.
I felt as though Brenda was in a bad situation going into this season, and first impressions suggest no differently. She found herself on the wrong side of the numbers, and as far as I could tell, it seemed as though no one was interested in playing too closely to her. In her first season, she was a dangerous player, reminiscent of Parvati, and there isn’t much in the world of Survivor that is more dangerous than Parvati playing Fans versus Favorites. If Brenda can continue to play a smart low-key game, she’ll be able to outlast Brandon, and perhaps Cochran or Corinne, depending on how badly the favorites feel they need challenge strength. That may be long enough to survive the merge or a tribe switch. However, when there is a change in tribes, that target on her back isn’t going to magically disappear.
If Allie is the Fans’ first boot, expect Hope to follow right after. She may be able to save an extra vote based on her physical strength but frankly, I really don’t know who the weak links on the fans tribe are just yet. It is definitely in her best interest to not get too close to Eddie.
Shamar came out of the gates exactly the way I expected him to. He’s a real hot-head, far too honest and aggressive, and most importantly uncompromising. In Survivor you need to be willing to compromise, take a step back and observe for a moment. Shamar does none of this, he has no filter, and ultimately I can absolutely see this being his demise. However, if he can recover, and learn quickly, he may be able to make it far.
Of all the favorites in the minority alliance, Erik has the strongest chance to survive until a merge or tribe switch. Firstly, he’s not going to self-destruct like Brandon. Secondly, he’s more valuable in challenges than Brandon or Brenda. Thirdly, Erik has a lot of experience with being on the wrong side of a vote, and he has quite a talent for damage control.
So far, Eddie has shown very little knowledge of how survivor works. It seems he’s either naïve enough to believe this game is easy and he’ll just stroll his way to the end, or he’s not particularly concerned with how well he does and this is more of an adventure for him. Personally, I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter, which frustrates me to no end. I have no real quarrel with people who are bad at survivor, you can’t fault people on that, but I can’t stand people who don’t try their hardest when they’ve been given this opportunity. Eddie needs to realise this isn’t ‘The Real World’, this is ‘Survivor’.
Invisible player #1. I can’t really say much about Sherri, and that’s why she’s very much in the middle of the pack. She’s a very big fan, and she understands the game, but frankly I haven’t heard a word from her. All I know is that she’s begun to work an alliance with Julia, Laura, and Michael.
Invisible player #2. Again, I really can’t say much about Julia for all the same reasons as Sherri. The only reason I’ve put her ahead of Sherri is because she seems physically stronger, and Sherri is the designated older lady for this tribe, though she does seem to be somewhat young at heart. Funnily enough, Julia strikes me as somewhat old at heart, which may be to her advantage seeing as she’s only 21 (20 at the time of filming).
Reynold is clearly a smart, likable, well-spoken, natural leader. He should be higher on this list, but I feel uneasy about him. I think he’s stepped too much into the leadership role too quickly. He’s putting a big target on his back for when the merge comes. Moreover, I think his ego is going to stop him from ever even seeing the danger he’s in. I suspect Reynold will be blindsided early in the merge, possibly even with an idol in his pocket.
Laura seems very perceptive and very aware of the social dynamics surrounding her. She also seems to be well spoken and likable enough. It’s hard to go into any great deal about how competent a player she is because she also recieved a somewhat invisible edit this first episode. Her biggest concern in the imminent future is her challenge competence. It’s still too soon to say how good she is in challenges but as long as she can avoid any woeful challenge performances, she should be able to go far.
I don’t see the votes Andrea received last night being too big an issue. She escaped the tight vote, and now she’s sitting in what seems to be quite a stable majority alliance. I really think Andrea has a much better head on her shoulders this season. She came in and immediately played strategically albeit a little too aggressively. Hopefully this scare in the first tribal council will remind her to play a little bit more poised.
I really don’t know what to say about Phillip. Some people say he played very well this first episode. I however, think he was playing way too hard to begin which was why Erik didn’t want to work with him. I really do feel his alliance would have flipped on him if he wasn’t the goat to end all goats. Nonetheless, since they have not flipped on him, he’s undeniably sitting in a good spot for now.
I was most thoroughly pleasantly surprised by Matt in the first episode. I’ll willingly admit I misread him based on his pre-game interviews and bio. It’s just when someone shows up on survivor covered in ink, claiming he looks up to Rupert, and has a rather phallic beard, I don’t get the best first impression. However, Matt has been most impressive. He’s proven to be a hard worker and he’s done a better job of connecting with his tribe mates than I expected. I thought he would have trouble bonding since he does come across as a bit of a misfit. Perhaps most impressive was how well he handled himself when Shamar was attacking him. I believe Matt and Michael could become a most unsuspecting force to be reckoned with.
He is the new kid on the block, shrouded by the stigma of Russel. Malcolm found himself in a very unique and precarious position heading into this season. I think he managed it absolutely perfectly though. For a big time player, he flew under the radar seamlessly, gave the tribe no additional reason to fear him, and showed just how valuable he was in the challenges. If he can keep cool and not Russel anyone’s jimmies, he should be golden for quite a while. I’ll see myself out now.
I expected Michael Snow to be most impressive of all the fans and thus far, he has not disappointed. Much like Laura, he’s very perceptive and aware. However, Michael seems to have his head a little more in the game so far. He’s seeing things from both sides and analysing the information. I expect him to lay low for some time, and then be willing to make that decisive move to put him in a very strong position. Timing is critical in Survivor and as a big fan, he seems to recognise this. I see a bright future for Michael. Am I the only person getting a Richard Hatch vibe from him?
So far, Corrine has been one of the most impressive returnees. The self-proclaimed bitch has been very friendly and personable early on. Along with Cochran, I think she may be one of the most well received players within the tribe. I think the dominatrix has fit herself most comfortably within the new STEALTH R US alliance. Her only concern is if the favorites continue to lose immunity, she’ll quickly become expendable.
(I will be talking about next episode’s preview in this ranking so read on at your own risk)
One half of what is currently the strongest alliance this season. It seems as though Dawn and Cochran are inseparable when it comes to survivor. The two found themselves wonderfully in between two alliances of 4 and ultimately decided to join Phillip, Corinne, Malcolm, and Andrea who now hold a 6-3 majority over Erik, Brenda, and Brandon. My only concern in regard to Dawn is that in preview for next episode, we see her crying and possibly having a breakdown. The preview was unclear as to the context of the event, but luckily for Dawn, it would appear she was crying in private. Never cry in public in Survivor. Never.
I never would have suspected, but Cochran has a little swagger this time around. Just a little though. Last time, Cochran’s biggest problem was his lack of confidence and insecurities. This time around he seems to be using his self-deprecating humour to his advantage. He’s appearing to be the same old jester who’s just along for the ride, but behind the scenes, he has his head in the game, and ultimately put that final nail in Francesca’s coffin. He has cemented himself very well within his alliance. He is Corinne’s and Dawn’s closest ally, and is definitely getting along favourably with the other members. Much like Corinne, Cochran has to hope his tribe can pull together for a few wins, otherwise, his tribe mates will quickly realise he’s the weak link.