Welcome to Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette, where the authors of this site are randomly assigned contestants from the upcoming season of Survivor: Game Changers and must give an honest assessment of what to expect from them. Next up: Andrea Boehlke.
Editor’s note: The idea for this series was suggested to us by commenter/sometimes contributor Sharculese. So we thought it only fair to invite him to join in on the fun. (We also hoped he would draw somebody terrible. But he didn’t. Lucky bastard.)
When the guys asked me to join them for my idea, my first reaction was “please let me get Troyzan, please let me get Troyzan.” (Editor’s note: This is the exact opposite of my reaction.) What I had planned for Troyzan was literally epic. And I don’t mean figuratively literally; I mean literally literally. But hey, instead I got Andrea, and I can’t complain because I’m just so stoked to see Andrea back on Survivor because Andrea is an absolute delight.
Can you guys tell how much I love Andrea, yet? I adore Andrea. She is the little sister who has never tried to stab me and has never gotten banned from a pool hall for grifting I’ve always wanted. (Note: I love both of my actual sisters). She is the friend you call to tell you things will get better when it’s been a shitty week at work. When she smiles, a rainbow seethes with envy.
This cast needs Andrea. Looking at the list, I see a lot of people who are probably coming in feeling like they have something to prove. You know who I doubt feels like she has something to prove? The woman last seen beaming with glee that her allies so expertly blindsided her. In a season I’m expecting to be brutal slugfest from day 1, I’m counting on Andrea to just have fun being out there and to let us have fun with her.
But I’m probably also supposed to talk about Andrea as a Survivor player, so let’s get to that. She’s not a great. She’s not even in the Parvati/Cochran mold where the germ of greatness is there waiting to bloom. I think the Andrea we saw in Caramoan is approximately the cap on her ability, but that still puts her in the pretty to very good range.
Andrea came into Survivor under basically the hardest conditions possible to make a name for yourself as a player. That said, of the people who were at all suspicious of just following Boston Rob, she was the only one who made anything of it. She didn’t make the mistake of openly defying him like Kristina and Francesca, and, when Rob sent Matt to redemption island, she smartly fell in line. Then Matt came back, and she had a chance to do something. She played the merge about as well as she could, it just so happened that Matt was too dumb to do what she needed of him. And when things didn’t work, she fell in line again. It didn’t help, and once there were no more Zapateras to get rid of she was Rob’s first target, but that’s kind of a compliment.
Two years later she’s back for Caramoan. We don’t need to talk about the Caramoan pre-merge right? There was never a point where Andrea had to do much of anything there (there’s the Francesca vote, but I think she would have had to try real hard to turn herself into a target at that point). In the post-merge, she stayed savvy, kept avenues open, and did fun stuff like the whole routine with following Malcolm so he couldn’t find the idol. Then, when the majority was running out of targets and clipping her seemed like the best move, she didn’t see it coming and paid the price. A lot of good Survivor players have gone out that way. Hopefully she’s learned from it.
So how do I think Andrea does now? Pretty good. I’d place her chances of making the merge at 80%. I don’t see a scenario where it makes sense to target Andrea for being Andrea. She’s a hard worker around camp, she’s competent in challenges, and she’s just basically pleasant. Plus, I’m predicting a dynamic this season where the degree to which you buy into the “game changers” theme is directly proportional to the probability that you make a hilarious pratfall. And, to Andrea’s advantage, I don’t see her buying into that narrative at all.
Post-merge… it’s the same problem as Caramoan. Around 7 or so it starts making more and more sense to target Andrea for being Andrea. She’s likeable, can articulate her strategy, and is probably gonna have less blood on her hands than others do. At some point she’s probably going to have to prick up her ears to a threat and be ready and able to move against it. Maybe more than once. It’s gonna be a rocky late game for her, but if she can make her way through it she has a great story to tell at FTC.
Best case scenario
Andrea gets in good with the majority, is in a safe position for most of the game, then catches on when she’s about to get the ax. She manages to bob and weave to the end, has an impressive story, and wows the jury. Not a unanimous vote, but somewhere in the range of 6-8.
Worst case scenario
Like I said, I’d say it’s overwhelmingly likely Andrea makes the merge. But it’s not certain, so here are the 3 situations I see her going out pre-merge: 1.) for some reason, the leader of Andrea’s alliance can’t be targeted, so she gets clipped in a proxy battle; 2.) there’s a vote split to flush an idol, the other person plays it, and Andrea catches the blowback; 3.) rocks.
Most likely scenario
Not that different from Caramoan. I’d bet she’ll have a little better awareness of the possibility that she’s a target. I can see that plus some smart maneuvering buying her a round or two. But the argument for getting rid of her only gets stronger the more she keeps that up. She’ll be Mike Holloway without the stupid good challenge powers. I think she goes far, but I’m gonna say she’s done somewhere between 6 and 4. So that’s Andrea. A pretty good player with some common blindspots. Let’s be brutally honest here: she keeps getting asked back in part because even returnee seasons need their pretty blonde girl quota. But you can do a hell of a lot worse than satisfying that quota with Andrea Boehlke, and I’m happy to see her on TV again.