Well, it’s that time again. If you came here looking for an insightful application of mass communication theory to explain why Bradley got the boot, you came to the wrong place for once. 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 my pre-season cast assessment, I like to rank players 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 besides a CBS bio, and I usually turn out not right, so the merge provides an opportunity to revisit those predictions. But, this time I do so with a wee bit more data.
So that’s what we’re going to do right now. Just to make things explicit, I’m going to rank the remaining castaways from 13 to 1, all while putting them into the aforementioned four categories (I’ll put in parenthesis the category I put them in during the pre-season.). 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. Chris (Preseason = Unlikely)
Come on, do really think editors would portray a winner in this horrible of a light? I can’t remember such a successful player being trolled by editing this much. In reality, it’s hilarious how clueless and full of ego Chris looks. On the other hand, if he wasn’t such a clear-cut easy vote-off, I think he’d be gone already. Castaways would have ditched such an amazing challenge beast with any strategy whatsoever a long-ass time ago. In this case, I really do think he’s next to go.
12. Jenna (Unlikely)
We haven’t seen anything really negative about Jenna, and she will probably hang around a little while longer. But, man, no way she wins. We’ve gotten basically nothing from her, and we’ve seen literally no evidence that would show she’s up for the strategic and social obstacles that await her later in the game. Jenna and her RBF will not be smiling with a $1 million check.
11. Angela (Impossible)
I almost wanted to put Angela in the “Unlikely” category rather than impossible, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. In recent episodes, she’s shown some skill and an ability to do some social finessing. But, when it comes down to it, we know that Angela is just a pawn. Even if she makes final tribal, it will be as a clear goat and not a potential winner.
10. Sebastian (Unlikely)
Oh, of course now that SeaBass made the merge there is a possibility he could go on some kind of individual immunity run. But I doubt it. We’ve seen so little of Sebastian. And when he talks, I can barely understand a word. Nothing tells me this dude can out strategize most of the other players in the game.
9. Chelsea (Unlikely)
Hey, Chelsea received more screen time this week! Wow. She speaks. And a lot. But we know she’s not calling any shots for her alliances. I’m thinking we’ll be seeing the last of her in the next two episodes. I could be wrong and she might end up an end-game goat, but I doubt it.
8. Donathan (Impossible)
This is a tough one because, obviously, Donathan is playing a far better game than I ever expected. He’s done well socially and in challenges. He also seems to be well liked by most others. But, all that said, he doesn’t have it him, I don’t think, to be ruthless enough to win this game. He could be the well-liked dude who makes the end, but he’ll be sitting next to someone from his alliance that can probably point to far more Big Moves™.
7. Libby (Unlikely)
As I mentioned last week, editing is clearly foreshadowing some kind of Big Move™ from Libby. And let me give credit where credit is due: Libby is playing a really good game so far. But now she’s definitely in the minority no matter how her alliances shake up. And many don’t trust her. That’s a bad recipe. Her real path to the end is to blend in over the next couple votes and then blindside some folks. It’s possible.
6. Desiree (Unlikely)
I think Desiree is still hardest to read for me. She could be gone next or she could win the whole thing. That’s why I have her here. I really don’t know what to think. My guess is she comes in seventh or something similar. She has a little run left in her, but she won’t be on our screen for the finale, except for when the jury is on screen.
5. Domenick (Impossible)
The next two folks are clearly the ones I was most wrong about during the preseason. I honestly thought Domenick could have been the first one out. And, I guess, I could have been right if his tribe lost the first challenge. But they didn’t, and Domenick definitely made some moves since. He’s still owns an idol and it looks like a lot of faithful alliance members. But… but… and I can’t get past this: He played too fast too soon, and now everyone knows he needs to be gone sooner rather than later. Nobody wants to go to the end with this dude.
4. Michael (Impossible)
I was so rooting for Michael to find that idol, not because I’m rooting for him, but because I wanted the Pagonging to end. And it would have been so much fun if his tribe went to tribal. But, alas, we didn’t get to see that and now Michael enters the merge as a target, but maybe not the biggest one. And, of course, he still has a dumb-looking idol in his possession.
3. Laurel (Likely)
My Winner Pick™ continues playing a stellar game. Even the way the camera lingers on her at times makes me optimistic that she might just be the best pick I’ve made since I began making (bad) picks. We know she’s good at challenges, made allies on both tribes and will enter the merge without any kind of target on her. That’s a good combination and I’m looking forward to rooting for her.
2. Kellyn (Possible)
So now she’s got an advantage. And I’m thinking she’s going to be good at the puzzle/balancing challenges that will surely pop up frequently over the next couple episodes. She’s in a majority alliance with allies on all sides. The one issue that could pop up for her? Now that she’s talking to Angela, she might end up on the wrong side of the upcoming Domenick vs. Chris showdown. We’ll have to see; it’ll sure be interesting.
1. Wendell (Possible)
He’s received a great edit, he’s got a rather large idol in his possession, he’s clearly smart, he’s made tons of connections and he’s certainly not a target. What more could you want? I think he wins. We’ll see.
Well, that’s enough for this week. Let’s talk some theory again next week, OK? Enjoy the merge.
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.