Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette: Malcolm Freberg

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: Malcolm Freberg.

Editor’s note: Since six entries didn’t feel like enough for this series, we invited some more regular contributors to the site and put them through the randomizer. Long time commenter Diego Armando volunteered for the assignment, and he hit the jackpot.

Prior to Philippines, Survivor was in a rough spot. It had aired Nicaragua, Redemption Island, South Pacific, and One World in succession; all of which could have an argument made for being the worst season ever (it was almost certainly Nicaragua, though). One of the biggest issues of these seasons was a lack of truly great characters and players. Sure, Cochran made his first appearance here, and we had strategically flawless gameplay from Boston Rob and Kim. But these seasons were dominated by awful people mistreating each other or generally acting like douchebags, with little to no satisfactory comeuppance.

Then Philippines arrived and brought with it the fun, drama, and excitement the previous four seasons lacked. It also introduced the biggest star Survivor had since Russell Hantz, a glorious golden god named Malcolm Freberg

What makes Malcolm special is the fact that he appeals to almost every type of Survivor fan. He is handsome, funny, a competent narrator, good at challenges, great at finding immunity idols, and, most importantly, an absolute blast to watch.

He may also have Jedi mind powers. Petebro gazed into Malcolm’s eyes and determined that despite being extremely evasive when asked about it, Malcolm did not have an immunity idol (he obviously did). And who can forget that Malcolm once voted for Reynold (the master of throwing things into things), convinced Reynold to give him his immunity idol with three timeless words, and continued to have an alliance with him afterwards? Mind control is the only explanation.

Or they might not have been the smartest players.

Malcolm followed up the immortal “Hold Up Bro” with the famous double idol declaration, in which he pulled out two immunity idols, gave one to BarK owner Eddie, and declared that he and the rest of the Three Amigos were voting for Phillip. Unfortunately, he was called on this bluff and forced to play both idols, which left him defenseless for the next vote.

Armchair quarterbacks and people who oppose the “make big moves!” mantra Probst has been pushing for the past four years are quick to point out the flaws in Malcolm’s dual idol play. They have some valid points, but I remind them of Cochran’s reaction to that move, which was along the lines of, “Regardless of what happens, moments like this are why I love Survivor.” Everyone playing safe and small gives us seasons like Redemption Island, South Pacific, and One World. People playing risky games with big, go-for-broke moves gives us Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, and Cambodia.

Malcolm is unafraid to take big risks and produce massively entertaining moments for the audience’s enjoyment. And that is why we should all be excited to see Malcolm back.

Best-case scenario

I am optimistic about Malcolm’s chances. His biggest strength has always been his social game. Here is a short list of players Malcolm and a temporary or permanent alliance with during Philippines and Caramoan: Denise, Penner, Petebro, Abi-Maria, Lisa, Name Redacted, Carter, Cookies! (Angie), Phillip, Cochran, Dawn, Corrine, Eddie, Reynold, & Andrea. That he was able to retain strong relationships with people across this bizarre spectrum of age, personality, competence, and sanity illustrates that he has a level of likability and social skills few are capable of matching. I am unsure if a there is a player combination he would be completely unable to work himself into.

He also falls into the same sweet spot that Jeremy Collins did on Cambodia of being very good at most aspects of the game, but not as distractingly good as other players. Malcolm is good at challenges, but not as physically gifted as Ozzy, JT, Caleb, or Brad. He is good at finding idols, but not as good as Tony. He is a solid strategist, but not as cunning as Cirie or Sandra.

This jack-of-all-trades position allows him to constantly have a meat shield he can pull out. I could easily see other players deciding to keep him around and justifying the decision with, “Malcolm is dangerous, but I like him more than dangerous player X, so let’s get rid of that X and get Malcolm next week.” Unfortunately for them, when they finally do try and oust Malcolm, he may have enough immunities and idols to get to the end. He then wins unanimously.

Worst-case scenario

Malcolm does not really have much in the way of weaknesses, but he has a few potential areas of concern. He struggles in challenges that require him to hold his hands still. And that challenge will likely return since it cost both him and Cirie their respective games. He also has a willingness to take huge gambles, which could lead to him taking an ill-advised risk that backfires horribly (like JT giving Russell his idol).

But Malcolm’s biggest flaw is that he is a fairly obvious threat to win. I could see the other players realizing how awesome Malcolm is and refusing to offer him any sort of alliance out of fear that he will beat them. They would likely try to take him out at the merge. Or they think he is the guy that won all those challenges in Cambodia and vote him out immediately out of fear.

Joe <<<<<< Malcolm

Most likely scenario

Of all of the big names brought back this season (Sandra, Tony, JT, Cirie, Ciera, Ozzy), I think Malcolm is the one who is most likely to win. I think those other players, with the possible exception of JT, will all be targeted pre-merge. Malcolm is too physically useful and socially strong to be a pre-merge boot. The first few merge votes will be dicey, but he will likely be able to find some players who will either want to work with him or need his vote.

There will come a point where he will need to be immune to stay in the game, but he is capable of finding idols and/or winning immunity. Malcolm in the finale is a likelihood we should be both hoping for and expecting.

Diego Armando

Diego Armando

Diego Armando has been an avid fan of Survivor since Amazon. He has been pointing out factual mistakes on Survivor posts since Gabon. Feel free to ask him about Survivor, animals or video games.

Favorite Seasons: Cambodia, Philippines, Tocantins, Cook Islands, Heroes vs. Villains

Favorite Players: Sandra, Boston Rob, Yul, Earl, Cirie
Diego Armando

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  • PurpleTally

    I came so close to putting Malcolm on my fantasy team, but based on pre-season interviews, 2017 is shaping up to be The Year of the Goat and Malcolm is not even remotely a goat. I will be surprised if he doesn’t at least make the merge, but I see him being out pre-finale.

    • I thought 2016 was the Year of the Goat.

      • PurpleTally

        Just in terms of Survivor. 2016 was the year of the monkey. 2015 was goat.
        (2017 is really the year of the Rooster, so that means super cocky Troy would win.)

        • I sense a future article that you could write for the website.

    • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

      Malcolm isn’t a goat, Malcolm is the GOAT (aside from Sandra and Tony and Cirie, but who’s counting?)

      • PurpleTally

        Right–which is why I don’t quite see him making it to the end.

  • Mike Hirsch

    I feel like Troy in particular will gun for Malcolm. Out of jealousy.
    I’d like to see Malcolm go far. But the most dangerous time for him would be just prior to merge and the merge vote. If the bigger names are already gone by then, he will be an appealing target.

    • I forgot about the whole “Troy lost out on Caramoan because of Malcolm” angle. That could be interesting.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Oh? I didn’t actually know about that, I was just going off of Troy sucking at life. But that is kind of awesome!

        • Yeah, according to sources (cough Troy cough), he was cut at the last minute for Malcolm, which is for the best because the Favorites in Caramoan did not need more conflict/drama/”craziness”.

          • Mike Hirsch

            I’m sure that according to Troy, Troy is wanted back for every season. I mean, he has weirdly been sought after at least twice that we know of, so maybe he’s not far off. A quick poetic justice comeuppance is the best I can hope for with him.

          • Since Casting and Lynne Spillman is really high on One World, I could see them going after the cast hard (which we saw in BvW).

          • Mike Hirsch

            It’s so bewildering!!

          • purplerockandy

            The biggest confusion about it is none of the three returnees paid off at all.

          • purplerockandy

            Like, I can understand if they felt like they had some untapped talent that got boxed out by a singularly talented winner. But… we’ve seen evidence that there’s no there there.

          • Black Dynamite

            I would see Sabrina play again but that’s absolutely the only one besides Kim.

          • Alkanarra

            Eh, I’ve said before that Chelsea wasn’t a total idiot. She thought people would be angry at Kim for backstabbing them, and because she didn’t make tight emotional bonds with the other contestants, they wouldn’t feel betrayed but still give her credit for being part of the strategy.

            Her problems were:
            1) Kim is perfect
            2) Her failure to make emotional bonds led everyone to say “I don’t even know you, why should I vote for you?”

            I think it’s a good lesson to learn from and she could be better on her second time. On the other hand, I’d still probably just see a new player.

          • Mike Hirsch

            Soon to be four…

          • Um…I think you are forgetting about the fact that without Monica, there would be no Brad Culpepper in Game Changers.

          • Diego Armando

            And Kat did bring in Hayden, who forced a rock draw… WAIT, WHY DIDN’T THEY BRING BACK HAYDEN INSTEAD OF TROY OR BRAD?

          • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

            I think we’re more likely to see Davonne or Victor Arroyo first and I sincerely hope that it’s not Victor.

          • I think Production must secretly not like Hayden or something. Also, they probably don’t want two former Big Brother players on an All Star season. Finally, it’s hard to give Ciera credit for the rock draw when the person who really did the bulk of the work is on the other tribe.

          • Diego Armando

            It’s not liked they grabbed Sabrina or Chelsea, the only non-Kim people who could actually play Survivor. They grabbed clueless people.

          • I mean, looking at them as characters, I can see why. You have a lot of personality in this cast. The problem is that having a lot of personality does not always equal having a lot of aptitude for the strategy.

          • Mike Hirsch

            One World really felt the closest to an old school Survivor season that they’ve had in a long time. But like, one of the lesser old school seasons. Your Thailands or Vanuatus. Where there was far less scheming and more, people sitting around being bored and boring.

          • Hornacek

            I hardly think that the player whose “This is MY island!” is a top-10 Survivor moment would lie about being asked back.

  • Dearest Diego,
    First of all, love the article. I agree with everything you said about Malcolm. I do think there is a bit of growing sentiment amongst the Survivor community that Malcolm is a bit of a sleazeball but he has some good social game connections. Don’t forget that he basically became a member of the Dirty 30 thanks to dating So.

    But…
    I get to your bio and I see that CAMBODIA is your favorite season. If I was a witch, I would be confused by your witchcraft here.

    However, I cannot quit you because you gave me quite honestly my favorite nickname (which almost made the cut for my bio, but I couldn’t fit it in).

    XOXO
    Everyone’s favorite Fantasy League Khaleesi

    • Diego Armando

      Dearest Khaleesi,

      I know little of Malcolm outside of his games, but think that he has the fewest flaws of any of the returnees. I think Aubry will win, mostly due to having some Koah Rong allies around, but should she fail, Malcolm is my pick.

      My thought after finishing Cambodia was “This may have been their best season”. My top 5 really were not in any particular order since they are good for different reasons, depending on the day one of the others might take my 1 spot (and Palua is fighting for a spot). Witchcraft played only a small role in my decision.

      Yours truly,
      Diego the Unbroken.

      • Is the Unbroken a Game of Thrones reference? It sounds familiar, but I wanted to make sure.

        • Diego Armando

          No, I made that up for myself since both my players survived the season. It sounds fitting though.

  • gouis

    bae

  • purplerockandy

    I’m so psyched for Malcolm. With each passing interview, it becomes more likely that he’ll be my favourite going into the season.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Though Varner’s recent interview made me slightly doubt that

      • purplerockandy

        LOVE Varner. But Malcolm’s brand of self-aware, arrogant meta-snark is so perfectly tuned to meet my needs.

    • gouis

      I kind of think it’s crazy that people aren’t going out there saying he’s their #1 target.

      • Roswulf

        This is a side point, but I think it’s insane to have anyone but Tony as your #1 target.

        Tony is an incredibly dangerous enemy, and Tony is completely unreliable and therefore useless as an ally. And he has the social skills to win, so you can’t treat him as a goat like other nuts. The only reason to keep Tony around is if you recognize that you are very bad at Survivor, and therefore just want a lot of crazy shit to happen. And you don’t make it to All-Star seasons if you are bad at Survivor and have self-awareness (well, maybe Tai).

        • gouis

          Shhhh

          • Roswulf

            Good point. When I said Tony, I meant Troy.

            TROY should be everyone’s number one target, because it is his island.

          • Hornacek

            How likely is it that we will have an episode title “This Is Still My Island” this season?

          • Black Dynamite

            Only if it’s his boot episode would I approve of this. Preferably with him getting embarrassed on his way out.

          • the sky is falling

            Not as likely as an episode titled “Return of the Spy Shack”

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          Agreed. And unfortunately for us as viewers, I think Tony’s first boot potential is incredibly high :/

        • sharculese

          Meh. I actually Tony is gonna end up completely neutered. Like Coach in HvV, I question whether his brand of bullshit works on returnees.

          • the sky is falling

            A big part of Tony’s success was due to his super-powered secret idol. Whether Tony succeeds or fails will depend a lot on how quickly he can find an idol.

          • Max_Jets

            It’s hard to tell if he needed the idol, but he probably needs to find a Trish (Aubry?)

          • Roswulf

            I don’t see the comp at all. Coach in HvV was defined by his ability to be controlled by his desperation to be liked, and therefore how easy he was to control for people who knew the right buttons to push. That’s not Tony’s primary motivation at all (see Tony’s CBS video, where Tony promises to be more hyperactive and aggressive than ever before).

            I’d say the better comp for Tony is one of the OTHER Tocantins players on HvV- JT. A winner whose response to coming back with a higher level of competition was to GO FULL TILT. Like Coach, JT’s brand of bullshit failed to work on HvV returnees (and how!). But in the process of failing spectacularly, JT flipped on and knocked out the two strongest players on the Heroes tribe (Cirie and Tom)…and then fatally sabotaged the rest of the heroes at the merge.

            I think Tony has a chance to win, but the reason to vote him out is the near certainty that he does something crazy. And crazy in your tribe is bad, whether it works or not.

      • the sky is falling

        Counterpoint they are

    • He’s top 5 baby for sure for me…which means that he will be out incredibly early.

    • Diego Armando

      He is my number 2 pick to win everything.

    • Mike Hirsch

      Malcolm’s interview with ET Canada is great. I would be immediately enamored with someone like that if I had to share island space with them.

  • Black Dynamite

    If I was designing the ideal Survivor male competitor from scratch, he would most resemble Malcolm. He’s great for all the reasons Diego stated. I think he does extremely well this season.

    My Prediction: Final Boot.

    Previous Predictions
    Varner: Post Merge Boot
    Andrea: Winner
    Tai: Pre Merge Boot
    Caleb: Pre Merge Boot
    Sandra: Pre Merge Boot
    Cirie: Post Merge Boot
    Troy: Post Merge Boot
    Zeke: Finalist
    Sarah: Post Merge Boot

    • Purplerockmatt

      I really think there is a great chance that the final immunity challenge is the same one that both he and Cirie lost as a final challenge. If so he is boned (unless Cirie is also there)

      • Kinda like how in Cambodia, the FIC was the one from Tocantins that Stephen lost. I hope that becomes a trend in returnee seasons, because that is a really wonderful and funny thing to do to people who are already in their head about losing their first season.

        • Purplerockmatt

          Every challenge in Cambodia was based on a previous challenge from the season that the players were from I think

          • The only one that I can think of that wasn’t from another season was the “Tasha drowning challenge” but that was the unchosen puzzle from Worlds Apart’s second chance.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Cirie came second in that challege Malcolm came 4th… Cirie is an OR nurse she does hold stuff still for her job, she just came up against or of the best closing challenge players of all time in Amanda.

        • Purplerockmatt

          I meant he needs Cirie there so if she doesnt win they can target someone else that is threatening

          • Kemper Boyd

            Ahhhhh. I think they target Malc first.

      • Diego Armando

        Very high chance for that. It is either that or challenge that booted Ozzy in South Pacific.

        The giant puzzle staircase will also make an appearance since it booted Andrea twice.

    • Kemper Boyd

      But without the douchey facial hair though right?

      • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

        I would have argued that his facial hair wins him Island Hot points, but he keeps it that way in real life.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Not island hit then…

      • Black Dynamite

        Of course

    • Violina23

      Before the premiere, are you going to run down your entire prediction of boots, episode by episode? I’d LOVE to read that. Perhaps as a post. *cough cough*

      • Black Dynamite

        Episode by episode would extremely hard, mostly because of not knowing who will end up in Tribal Council.

        • Violina23

          But it would still be fun!

          • Black Dynamite

            This is true. I’ll think about it.

  • HBO CEO of Tits

    Love me some Malcolm.

  • Oh and I realized that you didn’t mention an important element to Malcolm’s game. A key often overlooked move that Malcolm does in Philippines, which is how he handles the Lisa bomb at the Jeff Kent vote. He could have (and probably should) have went home there but he plays Lisa beautifully, reveals his own idol and gets Abi to reveal her own idol, all the while staying safe and not getting a single vote at that Tribal. How? Because he’s that good…that’s how.

    • Purplerockmatt

      There is also the tribal when he pulls out his idol knowing no one will vote for him because he has just promised to play it and then saves it for the next time.

      • What tribal is that?

        • Purplerockmatt

          it might actually be the same one actually. My philippines memory is a bit hazy

          • I was about ready to say that sounds like the Jeff Kent one but sometimes, the Abi vs. Denise tribals blur together real well.

    • Max_Jets

      I kind of credit Malcolm for the way newer Survivor seasons feature more “live tribals” where the vote is still up in the air at tribal council. That episode is where it begins, and then it continues in Caramoan with his idol plays. Then we get a tribal council or more like that from every season after. I don’t remember getting anything like it before Philippines and now it’s my favorite part of the show.

      • I think the closest you get to live tribals is when people give up immunity like Erik or Brandon.

        • Max_Jets

          Yeah, Erik’s was the closest thing I could think of and both of those are definitely up there for best pre-Malcolm tribals.

  • Purple Rock Emma

    Lol I thought the redacted name was Jeff Kent before I figured out who it was. I need baseball back.

    • I completely missed that little Easter Egg. I don’t know if it is better or worse than the Easter Egg in the Zeke article, but it’s pretty funny.

      • Diego Armando

        Thanks, I was proud of that.

    • sharculese

      I wouldnt mind seeing Jeff Kent play again.

      • Hornacek

        Penner would mind.

        • sharculese

          Penner isnt wrong that Jeff Kent is a terrible person. Lots of interesting players are awful irl. Jeff was a capable leader who had some good ideas but wasnt quite flexible enough. Id like to see if he can fix that on try 2 (I dont think he can, but Id like to see him try.)

          • Hornacek

            But Penner said that Jeff Kent was awful in the game, not IRL.

          • sharculese

            If you mean terrible as a person – that didnt stop him from constantly trying to work with him.

            If you mean terrible as a player, I bow to no one in my love of Penner, but that doesnt mean I trust his opinion on whos good at Survivor. Because hes Penner.

          • Hornacek

            Penner said “Jeff Kent wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.”

          • Not being into pissing on someone seems like a good thing to me. Not gonna judge your preferences, though. To each their own.

          • Hornacek

            As you know, this wouldn’t be the first time one player has pissed on another.

          • sharculese

            And yet he kept trying to work with Jeff Kent right up to the point where he accidentally voted him out.

            Im genuinely unsure what youre trying to prove here.

          • Hornacek

            Penner didn’t say that Kent wasn’t a good player – he said that he was miserable to be around and was only thinking about himself.

            So what I’m trying to prove here is that Penner wouldn’t be happy with Kent playing again. I mean, as soon as Rob mentioned his name during last (?) season’s live KIA, he instantly recoiled and said “Jeff Kent … fuck Jeff Kent!”

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Jeff Kent has been retired for eight years. On the other hand, the Dodgers currently don’t have a real second baseman….

        • sharculese

          This comment means nothing to me. If you want me to understand your baseball related comments, please phrase them in the form of references to Major League 1 and 2 or Rookie of the Year.

          Edit: The Sandlot is also acceptable, although in retrospect that whole pool sequence is real real not great.

        • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

          You don’t think Logan Forsythe is a real second baseman? I really hope this Purple Rock fantasy league gets formed. It might be the only PR league I can win.

    • Diego Armando

      I knew I was forgetting someone!

      Sad week for the Tigers. RIP Mike Ilitch.

  • Kemper Boyd

    It’s spelled Reynolds.

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    Ah Malc… I loved him as the underdog in Philippines and loved him less but was still amused by his antics in Caramoan.
    BUT I found him to be weirdly smarmy and smug in his bio video on CBS for this season. Nevertheless, I actually agree that he is a top winner pick this time around. If he can play it cool for a few votes early on, I see no reason that he will be on the chopping block until the merge comes around, at which point he hopefully has the skill to keep himself alive in the game for a good while. He’s by no means the person I will be naturally rooting for in my heart, but that person (coughSandracough) will have a much tougher road to the win, if one even exists at all.
    So, I guess Malcolm is my rather begrudging winner pick (with Andrea a close second). I wouldn’t be mad at a Malcolm win by any means and I’m sure if it happens it will be a fun ride.

    • purplerockandy

      Smarmy and smug is my jam.

    • the sky is falling

      Yes! I was wondering this myself. In all the pregame stuff and interviews I’ve seen so far, Malcom seems much more arrogant smarmy and smug than I remember. Was he a dick in his first two outings and my memory is just flawed?

      I was previously a huge fan, but am a bit put off by his demeanor so far.

      • I think he probably gave them plenty of arrogant/smug material, but they chose to not air it because they knew they could sell him as a golden boy if they left it out.

        • the sky is falling

          I could agree with that. It just took me aback, cause I generally recall him as being more snarky/clever then snarky/arrogant.

          He is definitely good tv though. Until he votes out Tony, at which point i will root for him to get eaten by a shark.

  • Kemper Boyd

    Off topic. There are 5 players who could solidify an argument for being in the Parvati, Sandra, Boston Rob pantheon of great players with a win and Malcolm is one of them.
    Tony, Cirie, Aubry and Malcolm that’s my list. Sandra becomes so golden the title of the winner will have to become Sole Sandra.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Sole Sandra <3 <3 <3

      • Kemper Boyd

        In fact. Sole Sandvivor.

    • Who’s the fifth? You mention Tony, Cirie, Aubry, and Malcolm.

      • Alkanarra

        Culpepper obvs.

        • (I thought it was Troy)

          • Alkanarra

            Well, Troy is already light years ahead of the greats, so a win this season would just be another drop in the bucket. We’re talking about the mortal players here.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I can’t count

        • That’s fine. I just wanted to make sure.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I was going to add Sandra but realised a 3rd win is beyond belief amazing. Sole Sandvivor.

      • HBO CEO of Tits

        I would say JT, if he’s not already up there. His Tocantins game was incredible.

        • If JT turns in a decent game here, I think he should reenter the conversation (because I think a lot of people still discount his HvV game, which they shouldn’t. He was able to play an entirely different game and get away with it until the merge).

    • Mike Hirsch

      I kind of feel like Tony is already in the pantheon of great players.

      • Black Dynamite

        I feel that way about Cirie. I’m interested how Tony does. Going far with such a huge target would say a lot about where he belongs among the greats.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I reserbe that level for winners with multiple FTC appearances.

      • purplerockandy

        Same.

        • gouis

          GOAT

    • Black Dynamite

      I feel like Cirie is already in that pantheon but I understand the case is a little harder to make without the win.

      • Kemper Boyd

        She’s a great but she’s never sat an FTC. Parvati, Rob M and Sandra have sat at 2 and won at least 1. That’s an amazing feat.

        • Alkanarra

          Somewhere out there Amanda Kimmel is kicking at some rocks and breathing out a deep, tired sigh.

          • Kemper Boyd

            She’s a much better Russell Hantz

          • Alkanarra

            In Russel’s defense, very few people could do what he did even if they wanted to; he did have a certain force of character that is somewhat admirable. He’s good enough to be above average, even with his awful social game.

            That being said, Amanda could have won twice and played the pre-merge of HvV very well, so yeah, she’s a better Russel Hantz.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Amanda did the exact thing he did, make FTC in back to backk seasons. She should have been able to win though.

          • As I was told a couple of days ago, she plays a pretty good to great 38 days. Day 39 is where it all goes to flames. If you think about it, Amanda also starts strong in HvV, but her “going down in flames” moment is the interaction with Parvati at the merge.

          • Kemper Boyd

            WATCH MICRONESIA

          • It’s on my list.

          • gouis

            That presumes that votes are live at FTC and I feel like that has kind of been debunked. Unless it was more so in the previous eras.

          • I think China and Micro had a few votes up in the air. Keep in mind, Amanda only needed one person in Micro to change his/her mind and she was golden.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think a truly awful or a truly spectacular performce can change votes and Amanda is truly awful. China had live votes at FTC and Micronesia had Eliza who could have caused a tie and Jason who I think could have been swayed by a little ego stroking from someone telling him the blindside was because he was basically Ozzy. That’s the swing.

            Not all seasons have live votes but Amanda was always at FTC with her closest ally and no goats and she got destroyed in one to a point that Courtney came second and was so poor in the other it makes Parvati’s performce look good which it was not. China was won/lost at FTC

          • giorgos

            Micronesia was also won/lost at FTC. James, Ozzy and his lapdog Erik were locked for Amanda. Natalie-Alexis were locked for Parvati. Cirie was heavily leaning to Parv but I don’t think she was that set in stone if Amanda was good or great at FTC. Jason and Eliza though, were totally up in the air. I’m pretty sure both Parv and Amanda talked to Jason 2 times each at most in the entirety of the season according to the edit. And Eliza view Parvati as the evil Mean Girl to her plucky underdog the entire season, she had more reasons to vote for Amanda. So basically Amanda walked into a FTC with three locked votes, her competition got more heat than her and had an average FTC performance, there were 2 to 3 votes up for grabs and she managed to lost all of them.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yep. She’s an elite 38 day player. An appalling day 39 player.

          • Eliza has said that both of them botched her question (which was edited for time from FTC) that basically was rapid fire Fallen Comrades. According to her, they couldn’t name one of Cirie’s sons or her dog. Luckily for them, Eliza gave them the hint that her dog shares a name of a jury member, Oscar.

            Of course, Eliza’s logic is flawed because the jury has to vote for one of them regardless of how well the finalists knew the jury.

          • Super duper fan

            While, yeah of course the jury has to vote one for them reagrdless how they did, it’s still a really bad look for them cause this question would really give an emotional incentive to vote for them (especially cause two people about whom were the questions: Cirie and if I remember correctly Alexis, were part of their alliance). In the end it didn’t matter cause both didn’t knew the answers, but they really should’ve known better cause a lot of jurors vote based on personal relationships and could’ve not vote for them if the other finalist(s) knew them better.

          • Good point.

          • Purplerockmatt

            I think a lot of people in that China jury went into it up in the air between Amanda and Todd and they all went Todd

          • purplerockandy

            I think some of Amanda’s votes went to Courtney.

          • Purplerockmatt

            at least 1 did for sure!

  • Super duper fan

    Malcolm is definetely one of the top contenders to win this season. He has a great social game, and also fantastic strategic game unlike other ”golden boys” like Joe and Ozzy. And also he isn’t really targeted by anyone based on pregame interviews. It’s no wonder that he is the most picked on this website…..Which basically means he will be the second person voted out based on last two seasons.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Ah man, I always think I’m being so original with my fantasy league picks and then it turns out I have the same picks as everyone else 😛

      Also, semi related to your post – I rewatched all of the CBS bio videos the other day and was surprised at how few players identified Cirie as a major threat. Maybe they just figured it was assumed, but she just ~might~ end up squeaking through the first round of “we need to eliminate threats” votes along with the likes of Malcolm and maybe Andrea if we’re really lucky

      • Super duper fan

        Yeah, I also didn’t expect her to have such a low target compared to others (for example Ciera, MvsGX duo, Kaoh Rong four and of course Tony and Sandra) and the people who were saying about targeting her (Malcolm and Sandra) are on the other tribe. I think if she will be able to be UTR premerge, not push her targets as hard as in Micronesia and Heroes vs. Villains (Yau-Man and Tom) and compromise with others she can absolutely make the merge and from there she has to use her charm and her brain to get to the FTC or make the top 5 (hopefully the former). But even without that I will be absolutely rooting for her this season and I hope she will have a few aces in her sleave on her 4th go round.

  • sharculese

    Malkolm. Hes full of vitamin R.

  • Off topic: I’m currently looking into whether our fantasy scoring favors certain types of players. If anyone is interested in entering scoring data (by looking up past seasons on the Survivor Wiki), let me know.

    • PurpleTally

      Perhaps, post-merge, getting picked to share a reward should be worth 1 point? That might benefit players who are ishy at challenges but have a stronger social game.

      • How good are you with data entry in a spreadsheet?

        • PurpleTally

          Pretty solid. I just might need some help on judgment calls with some of the weirder tribals/idols stuff.

          • Ok, here’s your mission. For every season from China to Caramoan, do the following:

            1. Enter the player’s sex (M/F)

            2. Enter the player’s finish (e.g. use a 1 if the person won the season, 2 for second place, etc. If there was a second place tie, both players get a 2.)

            3. Enter the player’s name.

            4. There is a column for each episode, and in those columns you’ll write the names of the players that won reward, immunity, found an idol, got a VTEP, etc.

            Here’s the spreadsheet. Thanks for any data you enter, and feel free to do as much or as little as you’d like. Any questions, just ask:
            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17bqEJNEypRcw1rvnIZP6wtb2ePxi59J74euqec8Lil8/edit?usp=sharing

          • Alkanarra

            The only thing I can see is that if you pick a player who simply survives without doing anything flashy (idols, immunity, etc), they’ll get almost no points. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up to perspective, but one way to counter it is to give players 1 extra point simply for surviving the episode, though that will likely throw the math way off.

            I’ll try to pitch in with this if I can, mostly because I’m curious how someone like Denise – who got no “tribe wins” points – faired. The counter to that is even if your tribe doesn’t win, you can still get points for voting correctly to balance this out, which she did. Denise seems like a good baseline as well since she had no idol plays. I think if her point total looks good then I’d think the system would be sound.

          • That’s precisely the type of stuff we’re trying to determine. Feel free to score other seasons at that link. I locked the recent seasons that I’d already scored with the current scoring system.

          • PurpleTally

            Got it. I’ll see how much I can get done this afternoon.

          • I don’t know if it was just you that did it or if you had any help, but thanks to anyone and everyone that helped do this. Hopefully we’ll have results soon.

          • Alkanarra

            How does VTEP work with idol plays again? Specifically the crazy Jeff Kent vote in Philippines? Are points attributed on the initial vote or the revote?

          • Using Cambodia as an example, Wentworth and crew would get VTEP for voting out Savage after Wentworth played the idol.

          • Alkanarra

            So no points for Malcolm’s slick idol fakeout? Shame.

            I’ll do what I can depending on time. Philippines is done, but FYI the new seasons are all pointing to the “Score tester” table still for the name field. They’ll need to be updated before the math will work out.

          • Yeah, I can handle that. It was hastily pushed to Google Sheets so I could get the data entered.

    • HBO CEO of Tits

      I did some math and it favors players that find idols, win immunities, and get a lot of votes at FTC.

      • Gonna need to have this reviewed by a fellow scholar before I can accept it as gospel.

        • gouis

          Can verify.

          • After carefully weighing the evidence before me, I’ve determined that science seems fake and have chosen to disregard your “theory” (which isn’t the same as fact).

    • Violina23

      Unfortunately I do not have the bandwidth to help (kidlets are off from school) but I love the nerdiness of this endeavor. Good luck!

  • Violina23

    “Reynold (the master of throwing things into things)”

    He is also a master of throwing things ONTO things. Important distinction.

    Back on topic, an all returning player season is absolutely Malcolm’s only shot. I am guessing post-merge, but not long, depending on how successful the other players were at getting rid of Tony/Sandra, etc. pre-merge.

  • Anthony DePaul

    So I am Jinxed. I’m from Philadelphia which means my rooting interests don’t win that often. 2008 is a rare exception to the rule. As a wayward Survivor fan who came back home, my way back to the light was Philippines. It was the season that made me fall back in love with Survivor. As a result, I have had a deep love for Malcom and Denise (and Penner because he also made a cameo in Arrested Development, another great love). I went to two straight NFC championship games and saw loses. I refuse to go to Games anymore because I went 0-11 watching the Eagles in person. My high school called me that jinx and blamed me for the Eagles losing. My fandom for Malcom will not carry such Jinxes. I wish to root for him unencumbered. Thus he will not be on my fantasy team. But I do think he has 3rd game Tyson potential. I just refuse to put my hex on it.

  • Anthony DePaul

    three amigos for life ya’ll