Note: Running a week behind because of work. Think of this as mostly here for my own records.
Had a bit of a wild one last week, so I wasn’t able to post my initial thoughts on the episode. Though, if you watched it, you can probably guess that I was extremely giddy when Tai didn’t play the idol and loved Aubry’s sly manipulation of both Tai and the jury. This has been some of the most exciting Survivor television (in entertainment value, not in strategy) in recent memory, which makes it really fun to cover week-to-week. Heck, even villains like Scot and Jason are fun to hate. Now that you know my general feelings on the episode, let’s dive in and take a look at this week’s rankings.
8) Scot Pollard (-1)
Strategy: 3 Challenge: 3 Entertainment: 6 Total: 12
I love, love, love Scot the villain. He is so arrogant and so full of himself, that the editor’s job is almost too easy. This guy’s downfall was obviously coming soon and seeing it happen in that manner was incredible. Like, you can’t write a more perfect ending for this guy.
That isn’t to say his game tape is all bad. I loved what I saw from him when he got away from Jason after the swap. He was kind and seemed to excel at manipulating social situations. His strategy was never that great and he didn’t appear to be a legitimate threat in any individual challenge we’ve seen this season.
All that said, I really liked Scot on the show. He was a fun guy to root against, but he wasn’t so completely slimy that you just wanted him off of your television. That’s about all I can ask for in my Survivor villains.
7) Joseph Del Campo (+1)
Strategy: 6 Challenge: 1 Entertainment: 5 Total: 12
Joseph is playing that Dan Lembo game really hard right now. He is atrocious at every single challenge they put him in and I can’t remember the last time he had a meaningful confessional. His one redeeming quality is that he’s a great loyal soldier who will vote for whoever you tell him to. That makes him a key piece in someone else’s eventual victory.. And, even though he’s losing himself the game, you have to admire his ability to “stick to the plan.”
6)Michele Fitzgerald (-1)
Strategy: 5 Challenge: 7 Entertainment: 5 Total: 17
Michele is getting the weirdest edit of the season. She has been extremely visible in almost every post-merge episode. She gets confessional after confessional, but is never involved in the strategy of the season in a meaningful way. What does this tell us about her role to play in the rest of the season? I think it’s time to start really considering that we might be staring down a final two between Michele and Jason, with Michele winning to a bitter jury. What other reason would there be for Michele’s continued placement in storylines she doesn’t really have a part of? Are the editors trying to throw us off or are they trying to give us a reason to like a player who is bland and, to be honest, boring? Obviously, I have no insider info, but I believe this might just be the path we’re looking down.
5) Cydney Gillon (-4)
Strategy: 6 Challenge: 6 Entertainment: 6 Total: 18
Cydney’s game wasn’t quite as good this week, as she took a backseat to the domination of Aubry. However, she’s allied with Aubry and, after getting rid of Scot, looks to be in a much better position than she was last week. If Cydney can keep the girls and Joseph strong, she should have a chance to win this whole thing.
Once Jason is gone, Cydney has to be the favorite in most challenges and I think Aubry values her enough to keep her around. Cydney’s real challenge might be finding a way to get Aubry out of the game because, at this point, if Aubry makes Final Tribal Council, she’s winning this game.
4) Julia Sokolowski (-2)
Strategy: 7 Challenge: 4 Entertainment: 7 Total: 18
Without knowing exactly what the Super Idol could do, I thought Julia played her situation well this week. She was trying to force Tai to play his idol, while her ally (Scot) got to keep his. On paper, that’s a good move; however, it was never going to happen. Julia’s biggest problem is that she’s been so obvious in playing both sides that Aubry and Cydney refuse to actually work with her. Aubry knew she had to take a shot at the idols last week, but I would not be surprised if she turns her sights on Julia. People who play the middle are dangerous and getting rid of a floater might be more helpful than getting rid of someone you know is against you (read: Scot). Julia’s in dangerous waters this Wednesday.
3) Kyle Jason (+1)
Strategy: 4 Challenge: 9 Entertainment: 8 Total: 21
Jason’s challenge performance was pretty great and solidifies him as the de facto physical threat going forward. Of course, his strategy has been terrible since the merge and his arrogance around camp has made it almost impossible to imagine a scenario where he can win this game.
With that said, I actually like his spot right now. He’s not going to win the game, but I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine him winning second place. Think about it. He is absolutely not a threat to anyone for at least two weeks. If he keeps his head down and lets the majority alliance cannibalize himself, then he gets down to final five. Depending on how the numbers play out, he might be the biggest immunity threat and could easily win a few in a row to get himself to the finals.
At that point, he probably loses to almost anyone left in the game (he might beat Joseph), but at least he can say he played the villain role to the T and got all the way to second place. He’s always saying how much he loved Russell Hantz’s game. Maybe it’s fitting if he follows in his footsteps all the way to the end.
2) Tai Trang (+4)
Strategy: 7 Challenge: 7 Entertainment: 10 Total: 24
From a pure entertainment standpoint, there isn’t anyone doing more for the show than Tai Trang. His performance this week was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on television (scripted or otherwise) and he’s been a joy to watch all season. On the strategic side of the things, I’m still a little concerned that he may have made the wrong decision this weekend, but I think it’s still up for debate. On one hand, he loses two allies that he could’ve beat in the end and loses his power over the Super Idol. On the other hand, he now has the only Idol in the game and has an extra vote at one of the next few Tribal Councils. Is that swing enough to make this move look positive? That’s hard to say. In any case, Tai continues to be must-watch TV and I really hope he comes back sooner, rather than later.
1) Aubry Bracco (+2)
Strategy: 8 Challenge: 9 Entertainment: 8 Total: 25
Aubry’s playing the best game of the season, and I don’t really see how you can argue it. She’s driving almost all of the strategy this season and has gone from an obvious position of disadvantage two weeks ago to being in the majority in the Scot vote. That’s a quick turnaround and really speaks to Aubry’s ability to subtly steer a person’s opinion. Her intentionality in conversation is fun to watch. Everything she says and does has a purpose and always furthers her game without making her look like too big of a threat. Plus, she’s shown a real aptitude for Survivor challenges. Going into the season, I assumed she’d be one of the first out in almost every challenge, but she sure has proven me wrong. Consider me fully on the Aubry bandwagon.
Without Scot to shield her, I think Julia might be in the most trouble this week. She’s a known floater and it might be safer to cut off the person in the middle than to attack someone like Jason. I think Aubry has good control over both Cydney and Joseph, while Tai can’t really go anywhere else. That gives her a 4-3 advantage and lets her mostly dictate who goes. Obviously, anything could come up and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Aubry or Tai targeted, but I think Julia is the safer bet.