Why I haven't written my weekly power rankings for the past three weeks
To anyone who’s wondering, for the past three weeks I’ve stopped writing my weekly power rankings for two reasons. Firstly, I began to feel as though writing these rankings weekly was somewhat pointless considering that for some many players, we’ll see very little of from week to week. Secondly, I recently returned to University for a new semester and for a few weeks, I was slack as I was adjusting to my new schedule. In summary, now that my favourite part of this game, the merge has finally come, I will return to writing my weekly power rankings. And now for the part that some people actually care about:
Player of the Week:
Gif of the Week:
Since the tribe swap, we’ve seen the feud between Corinne and Phillip reach fever pitch. It was clear that once the merge came, these two would be going after each other soon enough. Corinne did a fantastic job this week of getting herself voted out. She made two huge mistakes that sealed her fate. Firstly, she tried to convince Phillip not to split the vote between the big fish, Reynold and Eddie. She should have recognised it was possible some recruits of the “Brolliance” may have been playing both sides, and if “Stealth R Us” were to split their vote, the “Brolliance” would still have the numbers to get rid of Sherri. Secondly, she let Dawn in on the plan. She knows Dawn has a close bond with Cochran and she should have known that Dawn would repeat this information to her number 1 ally.
Eddie and Reynold have been attached at the hip this whole season. The two are more or less in the exact same position within the tribe’s social structure. The preview for this week’s episode is hinting at a showmance between Andrea and Eddie but the previews can be so misleading. Frankly, I wouldn’t really have paid any attention to it if Jeff hadn’t previously stated there’s a showmance within this season. If ‘Stealth R Us’ notice a budding romance, it could help Eddie get in their good graces, but it’s much more likely to just put a big ol’ bullseye on his back. Eddie, you have Rob & Amber to blame for that.
Reynold is your archetypal early merge boot. He’s a huge immunity threat, he’s on the wrong side of the numbers, and he’s a pot stirrer. He does have a few things going for him though. He has a hidden immunity idol, and he is very capable of winning individual immunity. However this merged group is one of the most physically capable ever to be seen I believe. Considering the size of this merged group and the competition he’s up against, an immunity run is near impossible. Reynold’s only real hope of making it deep is a polarizing rift within the majority alliance. Considering how fragile and malleable the majority alliance is, the mental state of Phillip, and the budding romance of Eddie and Andrea. There are a number of possible avenues for recovery but Reynold will have to be extremely perceptive if he is to capitalise on any of them.
Phillip’s in the majority alliance and simply should not be this low in my power rankings but I believe he’s the only person in the game who already has lost any chance of winning. Socially, he has played so poorly that I believe there is no final 3 or final 2 scenario where he can win. At this point, he has already made too many enemies and lost the respect of too many players to ever receive enough votes to win the game. Of course, we’ve seen enemies become great friends in this game, and people have regained respect from their tribemates in very short time spans, but Phillip’s idea of damage control leaves much to be desired, and I don’t believe he has any chance of navigating his way into a winning position.
Of the four members of the ‘Broliance’, Michael is perceived to be the least threatening because he’s the smallest physical threat and he’s the least ‘bro-ish’. Furthermore, with Corinne, Julia, and Matt now gone, he has no allies left and therefore no power left. For now, he is extremely unthreatening. I also believe he’ll be able to work his way into favour with a number of members of the majority alliance. His relationship with Sherri was always positive, he can appeal to Dawn and Andrea’s sensitive side, and he can appeal to Cochran, Brenda, and Phillip’s intellectual side. His biggest concern is how much Phillip, Cochran, and Dawn will take it to heart that he effectively flipped on them. I suspect that with enough time and damage control, Michael may be able to repair those relationships. In summary, Michael is the best situated of the minority alliance to be taken along for the ride.
If Malcolm’s plan had worked and his core had come out with the numbers, Malcolm would be sitting so clearly at number 1 in my rankings without any signs of anyone looking nearly as golden as him. But instead, he’s in a minority alliance and he’s lost his closest ally, Corinne. Malcolm could be targeted next if ‘Stealth R Us’ are feeling particularly vengeful and hurt by his betrayal, but I don’t suspect they will because he can place a great deal of the blame on Corinne and I don’t think they can deny he was on the outside of that alliance. I believe the majority alliance will target Reynold and Eddie before Malcolm simply because they know Malcolm better and would feel they have a better relationship and a better read on him. Combine this with his idol, his knowledge of Reynold’s idol, his social charm, and strategic acumen, and Malcolm may just be able to wheel and deal a new majority alliance with whatever cards are left in the game. Malcolm has a lot of recovering to do now, but I believe he’s the best suited to forge a comeback like this of anyone out there on the island.
Sherri was in a terrible position going into the tribe switch and she should consider herself very lucky to have been put on a switched tribe that was so strong at challenges. Now that the merge has come and she voted with the majority, we can suspect she’ll be safe for a few more weeks at least. However, I doubt she’s in anyone’s final 3 plans and she has no close ally within her new alliance. She has bought herself a little more time in the game now though and perhaps she’ll be able to weave her way a little closer into the fold.
5. Erik Reichenbach
Erik turned out to be a swing vote last night and I think he made what was probably the right decision for him personally. He had the opportunity to go with the other athletes but ultimately chose to stick with ‘Stealth R Us’. Though Erik may not have any strong alliances with anyone, I believe he’s well situated to go deep in this game. If they allow him to get anywhere near final 3, he has a very good chance to go on an immunity streak when his competitors include Cochran, two old ladies, an injured Brenda, and a tubby lunchbox.
Brenda recorded her seventh consecutive episode without a confessional this week, setting a Survivor record. The Survivor production crew have turned her into a non-entity out there and frankly, I don’t understand why at all. In Nicaragua, she was a total schemer with a great social game. Brenda is very perceptive and very intelligent. I’m certain she’s had a lot to say about the game so far, and I’m certain she’s been calculating and planning too, but for some reason, we haven’t seen any of it. In turn, I don’t really know where she stands and how people are perceiving her. I believe all the members of ‘Stealth R Us’ have some trust in her but to what degree, I have no idea.
Dawn’s is playing a subtly cut throat game this time. Everybody seems to feel they can trust her and give her just a little too much information, and then she goes behind your back and uses that information to get you booted out. We saw it first with Francesca, again with Julia who had only known Dawn for a few days, and now again with Corinne. Not to mention, the preview for next week seems to suggest that Malcolm may fall into the exact same trap. Dawn’s previous season, her motherly demeanour, and perceived mental weakness has left her in a great position socially. Almost everyone feels they can trust her and rely on her. I only wonder how long she can continue to have everyone’s trust.
So far, Andrea has done a great job straddling the fence and keeping herself in the middle which is where you ideally want to be in this game. As much as you want to be a threat to win the game, you never want to be the biggest threat, and as much as you want to be able to win immunity, you don’t want to be the best at winning immunity. This extends into almost every facet of the game. The great risk in playing the middle is that it might not be enough in the end to get you the win. Great examples of this are Amanda Kimmel and Stephen Fishbach. Both these players could have won this game had they flipped at the appropriate time. I suspect there will come a time (final 7 or 5) where Andrea will have an opportunity to flip and take out Cochran or Dawn or whoever’s left that may beat her in a final tribal council. For her sake, I hope she recognises this and makes what is the correct strategic decision.
Socially, no one could ever dream of being in a better position than Cochran right now. After winning individual immunity, he gloated and paraded around the kind of way that would get anyone else voted out the very next opportunity, but because he’s lovable unthreatening Cochran, everyone thought it was funny and was actually happy for him to win. We’re seeing a whole new Cochran this season. Ostensibly, he’s still the wide eyed self-deprecating kid that no one’s threatened by, but behind the scenes, he has this new found confidence that is absolutely vital to win this game. Last time, he was perceptive and very aware of the social dynamics around him but he never had that confidence or focus to act and take control. In South Pacific, he was still watching Survivor, in Caramoan, he’s finally playing.
Written by Robert Milner.