Hello, friends. Let me first apologize for my not-so-regular postings this season. Unfortunately for all of us (more for me, I know), this has turned into an incredibly busy semester at work. You don’t care about the details, but let’s just say two new preps – that is teaching two classes I’ve never taught before – is eating into my time. And there are plenty of other seemingly endless needs this semester.
But, enough of me complaining of sorts. It’s that time again. If you came here looking for some fun mass comm theory about why Lyrsa is at Ponderosa with Natalie, I’m going to disappoint you. As readers of this column know, the eve of the merge is where I like to take a step back and reexamine the remaining castaways’ lots in the game.
In previous seasons, I ranked players during the preseason by putting them into four not-so-distinct categories: Likely Winners, Possible Winners, Unlikely Winners and Impossible Winners. I make those predictions without any real evidence and I usually turn out looking like a moron, so the merge provides an opportunity to revisit those predictions. But, this time I do so with a wee bit more data. And this season, I didn’t do a preseason preview, so I’m not going to look dumb … Oh, who am I kidding? When we look back at this column at the end of the season, I’ll still look like an idiot.
So, to make things clear, I’m going to rank the remaining castaways from 13 to 1, all while putting them into the aforementioned four categories. Just to be clear, though, this is not a prediction of who will be eliminated next, just a prediction of how likely folks are to win the whole shebang. Make sense?
OK, then, let’s do this thing. Here we go:
13. Alec: You know, honestly, one of the reasons I’m really digging this season is that I kind of think everyone can win … everyone is playing a decent game … at least on the surface. Now, with Alec, there are some extenuating circumstances. I didn’t before, but now I know about all the pre-season shenanigans he was involved in. So there’s that. But even without that bit of news, I just don’t believe physically strong but strategically mediocre men can win Survivor in 2018.
12. John: And that brings me to John. As I’ve written before, John totally surprised me this season. I just don’t think he can win. He’s going to be a huge target once this merge happens. Is there really anyway at all folks let him kind of float along and potentially win physical challenges? He also seems liked by all. I can’t imagine he’s allowed to win.
11. Angelina: I know we’ve talked about the Winner’s Edit™ before, but I can’t remember someone with such a clear Loser’s Edit™, at least someone who, on paper, could be in a good spot. In general, Angelina thinks way too highly of herself to win this game. She lacks any kind of self-awareness. Those folks never win Survivor.
10. Carl: Poor, poor Carl is another one not receiving the best edit. It seems like whenever he’s shown at camp, Carl is just laying around. He’s the kind of guy that could float along far in the game, but probably not win based on the perceptions of his fellow castaways. He just hasn’t really stood out in any way this season. With that said, I enjoy his confessionals, so I’m rooting for him a bit.
9. Kara: “I’m still trying to get a good read of Kara.” I wrote that the last time I wrote a column. But, in three episodes, literally nothing changed. I don’t know what to think about Kara. Occasionally, she’ll say something or do something that makes it clear she knows the game at least somewhat. And then other times, she’ll do things that make me cringe. I’ve got no idea. So I don’t think she wins.
8. Dan: Look, Dan’s played a great game so far. It might be even be an underrated great game. He’s made connections with a lot of people and, of course, he’s found two idols. But people on both tribes have casually mentioned him as a target too often for him to be a frontrunner. Folks will target him and I don’t think he’ll make a good play with an idol. We’ll see … since he’s my best hope in fantasy, I think.
7. Gabby: I would have higher hopes for Gabby if her edit treated her better. Producers could be positioning her as a comeback story: The woman who cried, got emotional and then took her game into her own hands. It’s totally possible. But everyone she’s aligned with seems in a better spot than her.
6. Mike: I just don’t think a famous person can win this game. I love Mike’s game so far and I think he’s going to stick around for a while. But he won’t win, unless he makes some huge, influential Big Moves™. And that’s totally possible.
5. Davie: This is another person who I struggle to figure out. And it’s another person on my fantasy team. But unlike Dan, Davie seems to be making good connections with folks from both original tribes and I don’t think he’ll be an immediate target post merge. And that means a really strategic player like Davie could put himself in a good position. I don’t think he’s a frontrunner because we haven’t seen enough, but he could definitely pull this out and make me look smart. Go Davie.
4. Elizabeth: I don’t know why, but I think Elizabeth will be one of those people nobody wants to sit next to at the end. I mean, I know why: She’s got an underdog story and works incredibly hard around camp and probably in life. But we haven’t seen people talking about that yet. However, I think they will. If they don’t, though, she could win this thing.
3. Nick: I thought Nick was done for after episode 1. I thought he played a crappy game and his antics would catch up to him. He got a second life with the elimination of Pat, though, and, man, he’s made the most of it. Nick is set up to go far in this game. Power players on both sides like him and he’s made good alliances with a whole lot of people. I like his chances.
2. Alison: This is another castaway who’s grown on me. I still think Alison says too many things that show lack of self-awareness – case in point, this week’s braggalicious quote about her being the most empathetic person in the world – but she’s playing a good game and I think the merge helps her. At this point, I’m kind of rooting for her.
1. Christian: Could anybody else fill this spot? Christian is clearly the narrator of the season. He’s clearly the person we’re supposed to root for all season. He’s clearly the kind of guy Probst wants to win. And he’s clearly playing the game well. Now, the only drawback? It looks like his name is tossed around next week. The reason he’s still ranked here, despite that? It looks like it’s Angelina throwing his name out there and she will not be able to force another vote through.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @PatFerrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.