In our new feature, Gus and Ali, a real-life couple and fans of Survivor, will be individually ranking the Survivor players into two categories, Hot or Not. The Hot list symbolizes anyone we feel has put themselves in a good position or exhibited good gameplay that week. Those people are individuals we think will not go home in the next episode. The Not list is people that we feel have had their Survivor stock take a significant hit that week. We will then share our rankings with one another and have a chance to trash talk each others’ analysis. Also, we encourage merciless teasing to anyone who has someone on their Hot list go home the following week.
Go ahead, hit us with your best shot. We’re probably wrong anyway, but that’s why it’s fun!
Disclaimer: Our article contains discussion centered around information revealed as part of the “next time on” preview segment. Should you wish to watch this coming week’s episode without any foreknowledge, don’t read this article!
In a week where Alison is talking about Survivor resume, it becomes important to look at players that have built up their Survivor resumes. An episode or so ago, Mike made a snide comment about Carl and Davie’s ability to lead an insurrection. This spells bad news for those two when it comes to jury perception. In Survivor, perception is reality, so if people are dismissing those two so obviously, that means that their chances of winning take a huge dip. Carl was in desperate need of making some moves. Carl definitely did his bit to make himself look like a player in the eyes of the jury this week. He correctly played the very first idol nullifier, sending Dan home, looking good in front of the jury, and helping the Davids become the majority for the first time. The only question is, will Carl’s “bing!” feel a little too much like gloating for this jury?
BING! Carl came out of the woodwork with his idol nullifier and blasted his way into the spotlight (or headlights?) this episode. I don’t think I would give all of the credit for the snipe to him – it seems more likely that it was a group consensus decision – but him extremely visibly owning his play at tribal council served only to promote his resume from virtually nonexistent to “hey, I know this advantage is brand new, but I’m just gonna play it perfectly, mmkay?” Combined with the tight bonding that Davie and Carl are finally doing with Nick, Gabby and Christian on the beach (the advantage celebration party), Carl looks to be in a good spot with some nice gameplay history behind him.
“It really is in our better interests to look out for each other.”
One of the big discussions this week is peoples’ resumes, so I’m feeling like I have to pay attention to who has a good resume in the eyes of the jury right now. This is going to get increasingly important as the game continues because ultimately every move becomes a pitch to the jury to vote for you. Last week, Davie made a move and saved an ally from getting voted out. He has a solid move on his resume, and he’s now in the majority alliance. He’s done well to make solid relationships with Carl and Nick, and so I think he is in a good position going into next week. My only hesitation going forward is that he really hasn’t made an effort to connect with the Goliaths. Now, this is largely the fault of the Goliaths, but that hasn’t stopped Nick, Christian, or Gabby from making those connections. These relationships are going to count for something going forward, so I hope that Davie can find it within himself soon to start branching out. It’s a Hot for this week because I don’t think that the Davids are going to want to lose their majority right now. However, I’m going to need to start seeing some more solid connection building from Davie to feel good about his chances going forward.
Angelina must be furious that Davie inherited such a nice jacket (has that joke been played out yet?). Davie cooled his heels a little bit this episode, taking his feet off the pedals for a few days after his excellent idol play last week. Frankly, that’s a good thing. The Goliaths decided to keep Christian in their crosshairs this past week, but if Davie had continued to throw the game on its head, he might have found himself in danger before too long. As it is, taking a little bit more of an easy-going approach this week ought to serve him well in the long run.
“I had a feeling that I was going to have to cut ties with him at some point… It sucks, but it has to be done. I have to separate myself from him if I’m going to win this game.”
I’m struggling with where to put Kara this week. Kara was right; Dan was dragging her game down. He was emotional and unpredictable, and, quite frankly, she’s a better player than him. I was saying from day one that the biggest threat to her game was Dan. Now that Dan’s out of the way, Kara is free to play her game on her own terms. The only problem is now Kara is in the minority alliance. However, Kara has been willing to flip on her alliance, even throwing Dan under the bus. In addition, unlike Alison and Alec, she hasn’t made any promises to anyone. She doesn’t look as bad as the other Goliaths. On the other hand, Kara also hasn’t made many friends on the other side, which might make her an easy target. I’m going to hope that Kara is able to find some cracks going forward because Mike, Angelina, and even Alec and Alison might have made themselves bigger targets. I’m going to give Kara a Hot this week because ultimately, she wanted Dan gone and she got her way. It’s a huge risk because there is certainly a chance that she will be a target because she’s a threat who doesn’t have connections to sustain her. But hey, what’s Survivor without a little risk?
We saw Kara actively try to turn against the Goliaths this week, and argue against switching the target back to Christian at the eleventh hour. Ultimately, she did – technically – follow through on that plan, though it did require Nick’s extra vote to prompt her to do so. That being said, Kara appeared to be the most invested in the plan to take out Dan from the get-go, or at the very least the most enthusiastic about switching things around against her fellow Goliath tribemates, which makes me believe that she’s also likely to be the most sympathetic player for the Davids as the game progresses. Through the entire game so far we have seen Kara being able to put on masks and throw off convincing fronts – from going along with the “showmance” that Dan introduced, to the Alec-wrought disaster that ravaged Tiva beach where she jumped right in with Carl and Davie, to the merge where she flipped right back to the Goliath majority, Kara seems to be one of the strongest under-the-radar social game players left on the beach. If she makes her way to Final Tribal – which I would not be surprised to see – she just might take this game.
“I think for us, we’ve been Goliath-strong for too long.”
On the twenty-fifth day of Survivor, Jeff Probst gave to me, one lord a leaping! Nice job on that Immunity win, Alec. As for everything else, much like with the Davids, you gave us a lot of empty promises and then… *crickets*. Honestly, sticking with the Goliaths at this point probably was the right move intellectually, but the more he leads the Davids on, the worse he looks. And the Goliaths are doing themselves no favors congregating everywhere on the beach. And, unlike the Davids, the Goliaths don’t have any more advantages. Alec’s only saving grace at the moment is his relationship with Nick, which might give him a bit of an advantage over the Goliaths. Perhaps Alec will be able to find a crack somewhere, but the fact that Nick didn’t share the Davids’ plan with Alec certainly hurts him. What frustrates me about Alec is that he has such great game instincts, but he allows himself to be held back by weaker players like Mike. Maybe he’ll find a way to cut himself loose from the Golaiths’ sinking ship, but I’m worried that they’re just going to drag him down.
Alec’s fun because he plays a topsy-turvy wackadoodle game right up until the point where he actually SHOULD try to flip things around, and then he decides to play really conservatively and keep things safe and try to just ride out the numbers advantage. NO! ALEC! NO! Commit to your strike force! Why would you ever listen to Mike White?! You have Alison and Kara willing to take part – or at least Kara – just play the middle! Aaaagh!
I’m sort of frustrated; though Alec has given us some tremendous gameplay thus far (and he also has continued to just massacre immunity and reward challenges), his plans this week were foolish. I fear Alec was starting to feel a bit more comfortable than he should have been in his numerical superiority.
“At some point, I’m going to tell the Davids about the idol.”
Oh Christian, honey, did you learn nothing from Dan?! Keep that stuff to yourself!!! Just this episode, Alec was berating Dan for telling one person about the idol, and then we see Christian turn around and tell an entire group of people about his idol. And Christian didn’t need to do this! Nick had already told him about the vote steal, which pretty much guarantees that Christian would be fine that week. And if Christian had waited a little longer, Carl would have spilled the beans on the idol nullifier, and Christian would have known that he was going to be safe that week regardless! I think that Christian made a huge error because that idol is only going to increase his threat level, and it’s not in his best interests to stick with the Davids forever. Couple that with his never-ending target from the Goliaths, and eventually one of the Davids is going to realize that they need to blindside him.
Christian is also still the Goliaths number one target, so it isn’t going to take a lot to convince people that he needs to go. From day one, Christian’s biggest problem has been keeping information to himself. Look at how he reacted when Jeff commented on his puzzle prowess; he told everyone that he wrote algorithms for slide puzzles. Therefore, pretty much once they hit the merge beach, he became a target because he couldn’t hide how smart he is. Now, he can’t hide that he has an idol, even though he’s really going to need that idol down the line. Mike once said that information is the most valuable thing in this game, and I think Christian’s move this week was short-term thinking. They’ve been teasing the intermingling of Davids and Goliaths for weeks, and eventually, something has to give. I think Christian has been cut a lot of slack for his inability to keep secrets because he’s smart, endearing, and a great character. However, he’s as bad at keeping secrets as Dan, and look where that got him. Two brochachos are gone, will Christian follow them out the door so they can bro down at Ponderosa?
To be honest, I’m very worried about Christian’s game. He’s an obvious and clear target for most of the remaining players; his social bonds have held strong, but he’s still being voted for almost every single tribal council. He found an idol, and then he told his entire tribe. I don’t know if Christian has a realistic path to the end – Nick would almost definitely cut him, none of the former Goliaths would take him, and I doubt whether either Davie or Carl wants to be sitting with him in the end. That leaves him with, honestly, just Gabby as a final tribal ride-or-die; and even Gabby may ultimately wise up to his incredible social threat level. Alternatively, having hidden from the bullets for so many tribals running, perhaps people will start forgetting that Christian is still this huge threat? I don’t know. All I know is, we’d better pray for slide puzzles and smartly played idols in the next few weeks.
“Come to the Davids! Come to the good side!”
Gabby, Gabby, Gabby… Every week, I think that this is her week to come out of her shell and really start making moves in this game, and every week I see her doing small gestures that ultimately don’t move the game forward. Gabby has been building a connection with Alison, and she has said she wants to work with her, but she’s still looking at the game as two sides, rather than as individual players. Many others in the game have predicted the eventual breakup of the two sides, so her holding onto this viewpoint of us versus them may ultimately come back to bite her. And this week, we are taking the time to look at the game from the jury’s perspective. We already know that Gabby hasn’t been viewed all too favorably, just listen to how much of the Goliaths have dismissed her each week. They make up the majority of the jury at this point, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to stop any time soon.
When it comes to resume, Gabby reads the weakest out of all of the Davids. Carl, Davie, and Nick have all had flashy advantage plays. Christian has long been viewed as a threat and now has an idol of his own to play. Christian and Nick have both made multiple friendship overtures to the Goliaths, and even went so far as to forge a secret alliance with them (granted, it included Gabby, but she wasn’t given as much credit for it). Carl and Davie have both spoken negatively about Gabby after the Jessica vote and even plotted to eliminate her once upon a time. Nick and Christian have no qualms about throwing her under the bus. Every week, I think that Gabby is going to come into her own and show people what she’s made of, and every week it doesn’t seem like it’s happening. After Gabby failed to convince Alison to work with her this week, when it’s the only move that she was shown trying to make, I just can’t give her a Hot. I really, really hope that next week she gives me something that justifies why I’ve been so high on her this season.
Honestly, I wanted to give Gabby a chance, but she continues to do nothing. I mean, she has a tight bond to Alison, apparently, although it didn’t look tight enough to get Alison to hold true to her alliance. Gabby is the only David who hasn’t found an advantage, has zero significant gameplay resume, and isn’t being looked at as threatening to anyone else’s game. I would be amazed were she to not make it all the way to Final Tribal, because, I mean, who is going to want to vote her out? With that being said, Gabby gets a Not because you know who else made it all the way to final tribal? Troyzan.
“I wish I could do a cross-tribal alliance, but I’m nervous that all the Goliaths are lying to my face again.”
Much like Carl building his resume, Nick’s resume has some impressive new entries. Nick’s vote steal is the reason why Dan went home, and Nick was able to get up in front of everyone and essentially end Dan’s game. Dan was a powerful player, and Nick gets a huge amount of the credit for snuffing his torch. In addition, now Christian is indebted to Nick for saving him, which decreases Christians overinflated stock and puts it snugly with Nick. However, Christian remains the bigger threat, so if anyone is going to be targeted, most likely it will continue to be Christian. My only worry about Nick is that his central alliance of Davids has two tight duos: Christian/Gabby and Carl/Davie, which could leave Nick on the outs. However, Christian has shown a willingness to side with Nick against Gabby, specifically after the Jessica vote. Therefore, it’s quite possible that Christian would ultimately choose to work with Nick over Gabby. In addition, Nick has the tightest relationships with the remaining Goliaths, so he has the most wiggle room of any of the Davids should he wish to flip the script on his allies. I think for all of this talk of flipping, Nick will be the one actually to have that come to fruition.
Should Nick have played his advantage on Alison? I don’t think so. The plus side is, it may have scared Kara and Alec into voting for Angelina. The downside is, it seems to have alienated Alison. Was robbing Alison of a vote just an extended plan to sow strife amongst the Goliaths, forcing her to confess to the split-vote plan later on when speaking with Angelina?? I don’t think so. That’s metagaming to a ridiculous degree. Honestly, I think Nick may have just overthought a little bit. His plan to play the advantage against Alison could have put Dan at ease, but with the idol nullifier, Dan could frankly be directly told “you will be voted out this evening” and he’d still just have to take it, so… I honestly am not sure what Nick’s master plan was. That isn’t enough to net him a Not from me, though. The guy still commands the most sharing of information and has the strongest of the games on the beach.
“We’ve been promising them to roll with them for two votes. If we don’t do it now, we’re going to miss the boat.”
This week’s theme was all about what a mistake it was for the Goliaths to stick together. Alison and Alec were constantly harping on whether they should switch and join the Davids. Everyone’s ‘dated’ that person who acts like they want to be with you in private, but when it’s time to get introduced to their friends and meet their parents, the dude just won’t give up the goods. Alison and Alec are fine to flirt with the Davids, but when push comes to shove, the Davids are going to the spring fling alone. Since this week’s theme was basically screaming at the Goliaths to flip, Alison comes out looking just awful. She even said at the beginning of the episode that her not flipping like she promised to might be a reason for the Davids to target her. Now that the Davids have the numbers, they’re not going to hesitate to go to for the jugular. It looks like Alison tried to avoid the Davids’ ire by voting for Angelina, but all that does is fracture the Goliath alliance even further. That’s not a vote that’s going to buy trust. It was a throwaway vote designed to make Alison and Alec look good, and it was a pretty clumsy effort. Alison’s game might be heading for a flatline.
Sometimes it’s a good idea just to sit back and let the game flow by you for a bit. Sadly for Alison, she picked very much the wrong time to do it. I think she even said, ‘hey, we need to be careful – a magic advantage might help the Davids out if we don’t watch out!’… only she chose to let said advantage ruin her numbers, and crush her fledgling cross-tribal game. Indicating to Kara and Alec that actually I think we need to stick to our Angelina/Dan vote split plan was far too little too late for my liking; I don’t think that Alison will be able to recover.
“You never anticipate how physically hard this game is on your system and then when you add all of the emotional stuff on top of it – it feels like you’re being hit by a thousand waves at once.”
Good news for Angelina, her game rival is gone. Bad news for Angelina, she wasn’t involved in sending him home, and her alliance had no trouble writing her name down. Where can she turn now for safety? Angelina is starting to look like the perfect goat, and it’s going to take a lot of work for her to find an endgame that doesn’t include her as a zero vote finalist. I think Angelina will stick around for a while, but that’s only because no one is going to take her seriously. Those waves hit Angelina, and the tide pushed her game out of her grasp. She’s going to have to doggy paddle like hell to get it back.
Angelina was a decoy boot yet again this week. She’s been the decoy boot for I don’t know how long. Pretty much none of the remaining players seem to be trying to work with her. I’m not sure if there’s much more that I can say; her game’s not going at all well.
“If we split up and go with those guys, we basically forfeit any chance of winning. We need to play better, like true f****** Goliaths. We can’t be little bitches. I know we all hate each other, but let’s get through that.”
This bizarre rallying cry is less Braveheart and more mean assistant coach. Mike got the blame from Alec this week for holding Alison and Alec back from flipping the script, so his play immediately looks bad. Where was the Mike from a few weeks ago who was in such a good position? Where’s the Mike who could gently sway everyone to his side? Now, he’s sitting on a log calling everyone bitches. Mike has not only voted against the Davids three votes in a row, but he’s specifically betrayed Nick, Christian, and Gabby. Mike needs to implement some of those Hollywood networking skills, or he’s going to be benched.
What’s up with Mike? He’s just flying all over the place like a frizzy-haired ping-pong ball. As soon as he comes up with an exciting game plan, he runs from it full speed. Sure, trying to remain in the numerical majority with your former Goliaths is a great idea, but… only because you’ve alienated the whole David tribe. Mike is not in a good position for the remaining chunk of the game, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him back at Ponderosa before much longer.
RETROSPECTIVE: DANIEL RENGERING
Last week, Ali and Gus both ranked Dan as a Not. RIP to our second lost draft pick. We have to say; we truly enjoyed watching Dan play this season. In a world in which the Survivor castaways are getting savvier and savvier, it’s refreshing to watch someone implode from the moment they step on the beach, but have them bumble their way into the merge anyway. We were tough on poor Dan, but he will be missed.
Over the course of the season, Dan received:
Six Nots and two Hots from Gus (-4°)
Eight Nots and zero Hots from Ali (-8°)
Culminating in a total of fourteen Nots and two Hots (-12°)
-(-12°) is our new lowest total temperature, beating Natalie Cole’s (-8°).
-Dan’s temperature never exceeded or equaled (0°) for Gus or for Ali. He is the second castaway this season for whom this is true (the first being Natalie)
-Dan is the third castaway this season to not receive a single hot from Ali, after Natalia and Natalie.
COOPERATIVE TALK ZONE
Gus: What is going on with us?!
Ali: I don’t know. I don’t like it.
Gus: We didn’t even talk about this week’s episode!
Ali: We were far too full of turkey! Although your mom really hates Alison.
Gus: I’m not really sure why that is. I think she’s pretty neat.
Ali: She hates Natalie more. Which I don’t understand.
Gus: Much as I love Natalie, I can understand why some people aren’t as high on her as you and I were. Anyway, enough discussion of my mother. She’s reading this.
Ali: Who do you think is going next?
Gus: Well, there are two boots in this coming episode, so are we going to predict it how we have done in past, or are we going with a three-fer? Or a four-fer?
Ali: Let’s go with two.
Gus: So, the same as always.
Ali: Mhm. But now it just matters more.
Gus: Got it. Uhhhh. Well. I think that Mike will go first. And I think… I think Alison follows him.
Ali: Damn it!
Ali: Those were who I was gonna say! So, I’ll say something different. Uh… I’m gonna hedge my bets, and I’m gonna say Kara goes next, and then Carl after her.
Gus: That’s my backup winner pick you’re throwing under the bus.
Ali: Who? Kara or Carl?
Gus: Pick four survivors who will not be eliminated.
Ali: Ohhh! Let’s go with… Nick, Christian, Gabby, and Davie.
Gus: Real brave.
Ali: Who are yours?
Gus: That was a burn, by the way.
Ali: I know. I am choosing not to respond to it.
Gus: Ahaha. Uhh. Nick, Kara, Angelina, and Gabby. You wanna hear some of our current rankings?
Gus: I’ve been tracking our hots and nots throughout the season, awarding everyone a degree if they’re a hot and taking a degree away if they’re a not. My highest ranked castaway at this point in the game is Nick. He’s been up and down, but he’s at (+5°). Guess who yours is?
Gus: Your score for Alec is (+1°).
Ali: Or Davie?
Gus: Mhm, Davie. You have him at (+7°). You only ranked him a Not in episode seven.
Ali: I stand by that.
Gus: The highest ranked player overall is also Davie, at a (+10°), and he’s being trailed by Nick, with (+8°). Conversely, my lowest ranked castaways are Angelina and Gabby. They’re each at (-5°). Which is the literal lowest I have ever had any player ranked. Dan never went under a (-4°) in my rankings.
Ali: I still maintain that I think you’re wrong about Gabby. We’ll see, but I’m sure you’ll rub it in my face again next week when Gabby does nothing.
Gus: Or maybe you’ll be the one doing the gloating.
Ali: Wouldn’t that be a nice change?
Gus: And who do you think is the lowest ranking castaway in your rankings?
Ali: At this point Mike?
Gus: Nope. He is second lowest. Your Mike is at (-1°).
Gus: Nick for you is (+3°). Actually your second highest.
Ali: Really? Who is it?
Gus: Not surprisingly, it’s Angelina.
Ali: Hah. That makes sense.
Gus: She’s a (-3).
Ali: Yeah, that checks out.
Gus: Overall, here are our total temperatures for the remaining castaways:
1st: Davie (+10°)
2nd: Nick (+8°)
3rd: Christian (+4°)
4th: Carl, Alec (+2°)
6th: Kara (0°)
7th: Mike, Alison, Gabby (-4°)
10th: Angelina (-10°)
Ali: That’s all for this week, y’all. As always, thanks for reading!