It's Kind of a Funny Story - Dan Otsuki's Survivor: Game Changers recapss
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Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers analysis
Heroes, fodder, and everyone else

Heroes, fodder, and everyone else

 

Hello, dear readers. Thank you for coming back to my articles once again! Furthermore, thank you for giving me an excuse to procrastinate studying for the LSAT today. My thoughts on these people, much like their intro YouTube vids, are rather brief, but I wanted to get this out to y’all before LSAT stuff really gets down to crunch time and while I’m in the midst of a few days off!

 

Before we begin, however, a major disclaimer apart from the obvious: take my predictions with a grain of salt…unlike last season, we’ve obviously never seen any of these people play, and as such, their archetypes aren’t easy to guess. Please give me the benefit of the doubt here. Thank you!

 

Anyway, let’s just jump in.

 

Heroes - Levu

 

Alan Ball

Alan

 

Wait, CBS got another former professional athlete to be on the show? No way…and wait…he doesn’t want people to know he was once paid millions of dollars to play sports? Okay. I’ll stop. A lot of this man’s interview was how he doesn’t do well socially while hungry and how he’ll never understand other people’s walks of life (which, to be fair, I get what he means, but...), and you know what? That’s a villainous, explosive combo.

 

Prediction: Pre-Merge

 

Ashley Nolan

Ashley

 

Ashley, way to take life in your own hands, and quit your desk job to be a lifeguard. Hey, that’s super cool to me to have the confidence to just basically start over (granted, she’s almost as young as me). I saw something in this woman that made me think she’d good at adlibbing strategy, which is good, but also someone who sees losing as bad and taking direction as a form of losing… which is not good. Ashley, you seem like a warrior, but perhaps too head strong, making you just a fool. You could be first out or you could win… so let’s take the middle road, shall we?

 

Prediction: Early Jury

 

Ben Driebergen

Ben

 

Let’s put aside the obvious strength this man has by training as a Marine… I’m impressed by the dedication his man had to bring his fallen comrade’s dog tags to his mother. That’s what struck me most here. If there is an archetypal hero (putting aside the season’s title), I think it’s this man. He seems just like the sort of player Probst would root for fanatically, and this time, dearest readers, I might just have to agree.

 

Prediction: Mid Jury

 

Chrissy Hofbeck

Chrissy

 

Wow. I’m not sure I was impressed by anyone’s intro interview more than Chrissy’s. She came off as confident, perceptive, and a generally good person who, to me, appeared approachable. Yes, she’s one of the oldest people out there, and for ladies, that rarely bodes well for longevity, but there’s something about this woman that I think can stand the test of time as a heroic archetype, as a scholarly one, or maybe just…

 

Prediction: Preseason Winner Pick (may the Survivor spirit of Sarah Lacina guide you).

 

Note: I know Pitman put out his article that over forty is ostensibly too old to win Survivor, but here’s me taking a risk!

 

JP Hilsabeck

JP

 

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe this is unfair, but he seems like one of those people who displays “false humility.” By this I mean, if you describe yourself as “humble,” you probably aren’t. Still, he referenced playing the game in the middle ground, not just being in control or submissive, and if he means that, he’ll make it to the Merge and get a long, long stay at Ponderosa as he thinks back on what he, an Ozzy-like warrior, could’ve done differently.

 

Prediction: Early Jury

 

Katrina Radke

Katrina

 

Olympic swimmer; that’s good. College professor; that’s pretty swell, too. Intensity… dude, I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, this woman could do very well, even game winningly well (if she goes the Holly from Nicaragua route and evens out after a couple days). That being said, something tells me she’s not going to jive with her fellow Heroes, and looking at the tribe, she’s an easy odd person out should they follow in the footsteps of the OG Hero tribe and landslide into ruin. Heroic fodder, but an early casualty all the same.

 

Prediction: Early Boot

 


Healers - Soko

 

Cole Medders

Cole

 

Well. This guy is safe until the first tribal swap (the Healers just can’t survive challenges without him). My first impression of this dude was just another alpha-male-esque person who gets an early Jury boot. But after listening to him, how he wants the elemental struggles Survivor offers (mixed, of course, with the fact he’s an attractive, athletic, and charming person), and Cole could make a deep, deep run. A hero if there ever was one, and someone Jeff will fawn over if Ben doesn’t work out.

 

Prediction: Late Game

 

Desi Williams

Desi

 

A young professor. Swoon (and no, that’s not sarcasm). That being said, aside from noting flirting can be seen as dangerous, her interview seemed somewhat hollow to me. She’s wary of the elements and “creatures,” which is totally natural, but she seemed more tepid toward the experience than others, and as much as I want to root for this woman, a magician pulling at invisible strings, I could just as easily see her going sooner rather than later from being less enthusiastic to be there adding in the fact she’s attractive and obviously smart.

 

Prediction: Pre-Merge

 

Jessica Johnston

Jessica

 

Woah! A bubbly blonde gal on Survivor? Thanks, CBS, for giving us a new sort of person. Also, she “stalks” people at the gym and talks too much… ? I’m not sure she has the ability to hack it, even on the tribe I see as the… least strong all around. She could be the sacrificial archetype… maybe a villager or a lover, but one way or another, I don’t think she’ll be a major player. Still, she’s less volatile seeming than Desi or Roark, so if she can get in with the right folks to carry her…

 

Prediction: Mid Jury

 

Joe Mena

Joe

 

A man who’s worked with narcissists. Wow. That actually could be huge in this game. Perhaps that’ll make up for the fact he just learned how to swim. I could see this man manipulating his way into the long, over-arching villain role this season. Someone who is smart, though tragically cold when he gets down to it. Because of this, I could very well see him being Hantz-y (the good one, of course): a worthy final three player, but in a cast saturated with good-hearted folks, he ain’t gonna win.

 

Prediction: Late Game…that being said, I could also see him getting the boot much earlier for being too slimy.

 

Mike Zahalsky

Mike

 

What. A. Person. This man could be a scholar/sage archetype, or even something a little more heroic (think David from MvGX), but that all depends on him overcoming his nerdy aura and surviving a few votes—not an easy task for the oldest male in the game. While I like many of the healers more than other tribes, I think they might be in store for a few early Tribals. Unfortunately, strength is of paramount concern in a six-person tribe format, and so as much as I’d love to see Mike make a deep run based on pure Survivor fandom…

 

Prediction: Pre-Merge

 

Roark Luskin

Roark

 

Oh, you think you’re doing people a favor by correcting them? Do you? Do you really? Look, the women on the Healer tribe are going to clash, and they’re going to clash a lot. If she can win the likely battle over Desi, she’ll buy herself a few days, but only a few, I think. That being said, I think she’s fodder. A pre-merge antagonist at best.

 

Prediction: Pre-Merge

 


Hustlers - Yawa

 

Ali Elliott

Ali

 

She’s easily my favorite person on the Hustler tribe. Noting how her background of dealing with people, paired with noting being the “hero” often times gets one booted, I think his gal could make a good, honest run at the end as a magician or even a hero, of some sort. I think she’ll ultimately fall due to lack of life experience, but maybe, just maybe, she’ll find herself a seat before the Jury. That might be all it takes.

 

Prediction: Late Game

 

Devon Pinto

Devon

 

He surfs and teaches people to surf, but he does other things, too! Anyone else’s minds snap to Derick Zoolander? Pretty. In shape. Not the brightest crayon in the proverbial box. Yes, you have a college degree, but I don’t necessarily think any college graduate is smart any more than I think anyone who didn’t go to or graduate from college is dumb. Bro, homie, dude, man… you might make it far, but it’ll be on someone’s leash as a follower, a pet challenge-beast-warrior, and not a champion.

 

Prediction: Mid Jury (though, to be honest, I could see just before the Merge as well)

 

Lauren Rimmer

Lauren

 

I want to root for this single mother, but being the notably oldest person on her tribe matched with the fact that she said others would have to be flexible if they were going to work with her…this woman is death fodder to me, a villager waiting for some greater threat to carve her up. Sorry.

 

Prediction: Early Boot

 

Patrick Bolton

Patrick

 

Beige. Well, I mean, obviously ginger, but beige, beige, beige. A villager, or potentially a warrior (since the dude looks pretty in shape), but little else. I will say, because he seems so nonconfrontational and laid back, he probably won’t rustle any feathers, and will skate to the Merge under the radar. Oh, then he’ll be seen as a threat and will land on the Jury before viewers have a real chance to remember his name.

 

Prediction: Early Jury

 

Ryan Ulrich

Ryan

 

The term “wide-eyed,” comes to mind. I feel I could relate to this given, if I’m ever lucky enough to play, I’d be brimming with the exact same excitement. Does this necessarily correlate to Ryan being a successful player? Well… no. Not really. I can very much appreciate, however, his admission that he’s “average” in basically every way. This man could play one of many roles: the tragic hero, the villager, the fool… only time will tell. But I must admit, I thought this man was going to annoy the shit out of me... and he didn't. Last time I had my opinion changed that radically… Spencer Bledsoe got fourth place in Cagayan.

 

Prediction: Wow…tough one…let’s give this guy the benefit of the doubt here… Late Game.

 

Simone Nguyen

Simone

 

“Constructive confrontation.” Dude… no. This woman seems pretty smart, and I respect the hell out of her job, but Survivor is rarely a game of confrontation as much as it’s one of subtle manipulation. She seems like she wants to be a Parvati-esque villain, which is great in theory, but charming is not an adjective I’d use to describe this gal. Also, there have been two seasons where tribes have been divided into brains, brawn, and beauty. That is not usual, my friend, and if you’re not super well versed in Survivor, I’m not holding my breath you’re going to last.

 

Prediction: Late Pre-Merge, if only because I think she can help in challenges

 

So, in summation…

 

Pre-merge

Katrina

Lauren

Mike

Desi

Alan

Lauren

Simone

 

Merge

JP

Ashley

Patrick

Devon

Jessica

Ben

 

Late Game

Ali

Cole

Ryan

Joe

Chrissy (winner)

 

Alrighty, folks! Let’s hope this season lives beyond its name (which a whole summer away hasn’t made me like any more than I did). I think there’s some hope sprinkled in there, but only time will tell.

 

Cheers.

 

DZO

 

Dan Otsuki - It's Kind of a Funny StoryDan Otsuki has been watching Survivor religiously since season two, and is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, where he double majored in English and Religious Studies. He's also applied to play on the show every time he's been able to do so.

Follow him on twitter: @DanOtsuki

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