Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette: Michaela Bradshaw

We’re in the home stretch of 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: Michaela Bradshaw.

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. Other Scott had to take a break from championing bland-ass Survivors to cover the exact opposite.

I think Michaela Bradshaw might be the best casting find that Survivor has had since Tony Vlachos. I know that’s a big statement, but I think she deserves it. First off, she fills that African-American female demographic that Survivor has struggled with a lot, since many of the African-American women they cast get voted out very early (Editor’s note: Michaela was a pre-merge boot, as was every other woman of color in Millennials vs Gen X). She has an infectious personality and smile and a blunt physicality to make the audience fall in love with her, and her flaws are adorable rather than grating.

Let’s talk about those flaws, because Michaela has all the raw tools to do well at Survivor. She’s athletic, she’s intelligent, she’s resourceful, she’s a hard worker, she’s valuable around camp, and people get along with her pretty well as long as they don’t annoy her. But there are two things that could potentially be her undoing. The first is exactly what we said makes her one of the best casting choices Survivor has ever had: everything she thinks is written right on her face.

Requiring Michaela to lie and pretend to be close to someone she absolutely despises is a really tall order. That said, I don’t think that will be her undoing because I think that can be an advantage. It makes Michaela, from an alliance standpoint, a known commodity. No matter what, players will have a pretty good idea of where she stands with everyone. And in today’s Survivor, where fear of the unknown flipper reigns, the least valuable person is the one you can’t trust. If you’re allied with Michaela, you can trust Michaela. She’s not playing anyone; you can tell very clearly by how she acts with the people she wants nothing to do with that her lying capability is not very strong.

You don’t need strong lying capability to do well in Survivor. Did you see two-time finalist and near-winner Amanda Kimmel try to lie to Parvati in Heroes vs Villains? It was only a slight step above “the idol is definitely on the ground”.

Just to prove that point, what was the main source of Michaela’s ire in Millennials vs Gen X? Ah, yes, our favourite spurned lover Figgy. And did Figgy immediately want Michaela out for not being with her and being enemy number 1? No, because counter-intuitively, that made Michaela less of a threat to her than the real alliance being formed that wanted her out: Zeke, Mari and Hannah. Figgy may not have liked Michaela or wanted to work with her, but she knew where she stood and wasn’t the immediate threat.

What doomed Michaela was that she made herself too much of an obvious threat. She was the Joe Anglim of the season, and suffered the same fate Joe nearly suffered in Worlds Apart, and likely would have suffered if he had to go to tribal council on the third Bayon tribe in Cambodia. If she comes out firing on all cylinders in this season, it’s hard not to imagine that happening again.

There’s some history about men coming back to Survivor immediately for a returnee season without anyone having seen them at all previously. Most famously of course, is Russell Hantz. Had the players of Heroes vs. Villains seen even an episode of Samoa, they would have known they could not trust that man in the slightest. The slightly less interesting example is Malcolm, who was certainly a fan favourite, but fellow returnees not knowing who he was going in to Caramoan didn’t impact the game significantly.

Michaela is the first woman this truly applies to. The players in Micronesia didn’t really know who Amanda was, but they had seen a few episodes of China, so they knew she wasn’t going to be Russell Hantz, or really all that interesting or noteworthy at all. Michaela is not going to have a Russell-like appearance, where it would make a huge impact that the players don’t know who she is, but it will have an impact. The big advantage Michaela can have is if she can contain her competitive spirit and is only “fairly athletic” Michaela, the players won’t know what’s coming. She isn’t Joe Anglim-style screwed from the get-go because they haven’t seen how great at challenges she was in MvGX.

Best Case Scenario

Michaela makes some good relationships, uses her intelligence and game savvy to make smart alliances to get herself into a Final 6. Then, after containing herself for most of the pre-merge and early merge in the challenges, she beasts through the last 3 challenges and wins her way into the Final 3. The jury then gives her the win out of respect for her competitiveness and overall likability.

Further, she gives some fantastic quotes along the way and at least two more epic Survivor moments to go along with her boot tribal council in MvGX, establishing herself along with Parvati, Rupert and Cirie as one of the most beloved Survivors of all time. Seeing Michaela for the third time becomes pretty much assured.

Worst Case Scenario

Michaela is not able to contain her competitiveness and really shows her athletic prowess in 2 or 3 pre-merge challenges. That, combined with making some of the wrong enemies, puts her in a bad swap situation where she once again gets picked off shortly before the merge, once again denying us the wonders that would be the Michaela-as-jury-member.

Most Likely Scenario

Michaela gets to the merge, wins a couple challenges, loses at Final 6 or thereabouts because everyone sees her as both a jury threat and a competition threat down the stretch.

Read the rest!

Other Game Changers preseason contestant content:

Other Scott

Other Scott

Other Scott started watching Survivor while Cagayan was airing. He and his schedule often regret that decision.
Favourite Seasons: Heroes vs Villains, Samoa, Palau, Amazon, Cagayan
Favourite Players: Jon Misch, Aubry Bracco, Woo Hwang, Ian Rosenberger, Monica Culpepper (you know, the regulars)
Other Scott

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159 thoughts on “Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette: Michaela Bradshaw

  1. If I were Zeke I’d tell everyone Michaela made it to the finals by challenge beasting her way through the post-merge. Lie or not, once they see how well she performs people will believe it, and then there’s an easy “other than me” target to get rid of later.

    1. Great strategy. And the key would be to get your lie out there first, because once she denies it, that’s when you counter with “Well of course you don’t want everyone knowing you’ve already won!”

      1. Absolutely, and I actually think Zeke is clever enough to think of this himself. His benefit is that (a) Michaela is too forthright to lie about him and (b) her instant anger might make people think she’s angry about having the beans be spilled rather than him lying.

        1. Though it may or may not help that they’re not on the same tribe. Zeke can say this Day 1, and it’ll fester while Michaela is beasting in challenges. But over that same period, Zeke has plenty to time to be perceived as a liar and a schemer whose word really can’t be trusted. That perception might even develop Day 1. And if it does, then you believe the exact opposite of whatever Zeke tells you, which is to Michaela’s benefit.

          1. There’s also the threat that Jeff might completely blow that strategy out of the water at any time by being like “Michaela, what’s it like to make jury for the first time?” in a tribal council or something to that effect.

          2. Jeff is usually pretty good at avoiding revealing information which would mess with people’s lies or strategies. If he had said anything about the Super Idol, Tony would have been screwed. Or in Philippines, he could have easily revealed that Lisa is an actress, but he avoided that all together.

          3. This is part of why I’m driving the Probst bandwagon now. He knows he’s a part of the game, and he’ll let you use him as necessary if it makes for good TV.

          4. I can see both sides of this. He’ll actively not want to blow people’s secrets, but he also wants to push the “second chance / game change” stories, and it will be hard to do without talking about their previous game. If production tips him into the lie then he would roll with it.

          5. I’d love it if Zeke does this, Jeff finds out, and decides to play along: “Michaela, how does it feel to have a chance at winning back-to-back seasons?” Michaela’s reaction alone would make that episode a top-5 all-time episode.

          6. I’d love it if Zeke does this, Jeff finds out, and decides to play along: “Michaela, how does it feel to have a chance at winning back-to-back seasons?” Michaela’s reaction alone would make that a top-5 all-time episode.

          7. You mean when she brains Probst with the nearest blunt object? Probably be the all-time best

          8. Jeff will only blow it if he has no idea that that is a lie going around. He loves to let stuff play out.

          9. What Probst seems to like to do which I like is float vague questions to give the opportunity to say something without revealing the secret/lie i.e. “Michaela, compare your game last time to this time” if he’s hoping for comment in this hypothetical

          10. And he’ll do it that way so he can know what she’s told others so that he doesn’t step on that narrative. He’s not intentionally going to squash your lie.

          11. That said, I wonder if Probst has blown up someone’s strategy before with stuff like that and the show just didn’t show it because they didn’t want to make him look bad.

          12. I feel like we would have heard of instances like this if they happened, instead we only hear former players gushing about how good he is at what he does.

            That said, I still wouldn’t trust him or production to not accidentally screw me if I’m out there and thinking about implementing a ruse like that.
            Maybe after making absolutely clear to production about what I’m going for, but even then the reward would have to greatly outweigh the risk of someone else messing things up for me.

          13. Yeah I gave a bad example, I think if he knows that’s something Zeke’s doing he’ll let it go, but he may do something before he becomes aware that it’s a strategy.

          14. Agreed. I could definitely see him bringing it up, maybe even at the beginning of the show (when he will also mention that Ciera VOTED OUT HER MOM), but I don’t think he will mention a thing if Michaela or Zeke are using their unknown-ness as a strategic point.

          15. And if that’s the perception from day 1, I think more so than Russel he can thank Colton for that, who was the last major contestant (Sorry, Bryce!) who looks and sounds as gay as he does iirc, and who didn’t do that character type any favors.

          16. I don’t know that his being gay would elicit that perception so much as his mustache. “British cartoon villain” indeed…

          17. Hard to say. It is a shifty look, but somewhere (probably D&C) I heard the argument that his funny looks could help establish a reason for why he was brought back to the players who can’t know him yet. Imagine Zeke without the colorful shirts and his mustache, then people would get really uneasy thinking about why he’s there with them.

      2. All things being equal I can’t see anyone ever believing Zeke over Michaela in a situation like this.

        But of course it often is about telling people what they want to believe, so Michaela’s honest straight-shooter-persona might not help her if people are already worried about her potential and just looking for a reason to strike.

        In totally unrelated business, could you please, at a time of convenience for you, change the name of our fantasy league (currently named “bigleaguely”) to ” A League of Its Own”? Thaaaank youuuu!

    2. Apparently, Jeff told the cast that Michaela and Zeke did not win their season. That’s it.

      1. New twist then. Zeke tells everyone he made it to the finals but lost. He can’t hide being sneaky, but if people think he’s a loser then he may seem less threatening. Or that Michaela was nixed Dietz-style at F4, which is in many ways even more threatening than her making the finals.

        The bottom line is that we have, for the first time, two returnees with unknown pasts. If at least one of them doesn’t create a lie about the other then I’ll be disappointed.

        1. Parts of China had aired before Micronesia though. The cast knew who James was, just not how he finished.

        1. He said that’s what he’s always done. Although, I still wonder about HvV… that would be spoiling the result for Russell too.

    3. James and Amanda were obviously never going to do that to each other, and Bobby Jon probably didn’t think of it, but I’m honestly surprised Stephanie didn’t do that. Maybe she wanted to wait a few weeks before squandering her America’s Survivor Sweetheart title.

      I’m sure Zeke thought about it, but would only actually do it in one specific situation: He and Michaela are swapped onto the same tribe, and the other four zero in on them as the unknown quantities.

      1. I think all of Palau had aired before Guatemala did. Or at the very least, all of Bobby Jon and Stephanie’s arcs.

    4. Brilliant. If I didn’t love Michaela so much, I’d advocate we start making sacrifices to the survivor gods immediately…

    1. Please note that in the article I indirectly called Michaela a better casting choice than Jon Misch.

      So take that, people who think I’m hopelessly biased.

      1. Has Scott posted an article here before? This is the first time he’s had a PR avatar with a Favorite Players list, so it’s the first time I’ve seen the list.

        1. Scott’s infatuation with Jon Misch has become basic Purple Rock lore, like how Barbara knows all the gossip or John is lazy.

          1. I know about the other things but Scott’s Jon Misch hero worship is news to me. Must have skimmed his comments where he mentioned it.

  2. Michaela is such an entertaining character. Even among greats, she stands out as someone who I want to see on television week to week. Her facial expressions alone are Hall of Fame worthy.

    As for the game, I worry about the quick turnaround for her between seasons. Survivor is such a physically and mentally draining game that coming back so soon has to be a disadvantage. Her strength was such a huge part of her game. I don’t worry about her being an unknown quantity to other players. I worry more about when they do get to know her. While she is awesome for us, her bluntness may make enemies. She may have tribemates worried about her as an alliance member. I hope I’m wrong but I can see an early exit after the merge.

    My Prediction: Post Merge Boot

    Previous Predictions
    Pre Merge Boot
    Debbie (why is she even here)

    Post Merge Boot

    Final Boot



    1. I do think, for Michaela, a quick turnaround could be a good thing. If she isn’t as strong she might not be as great as she was for challenges in MvGX. That will help her avoid becoming a big target, and based upon Michaela’s attitude, may be the only way to limit her competitive spirit. Essentially, a weak Michaela may be a better player.

      But I agree, her bluntness is the biggest obstacle. She needs to hold power in the game and keep things under her control, otherwise she will have to play a sneakier game and tell some good lies to what could be some of the best lie-detectors Survivor has seen.

      A challenge, to be sure, but compared to some other players, I think Michaela has enough strengths that her season will be defined by how she steps up to the plate, rather than being defined by her weaknesses as a player.

      1. Her problem is she needs to be a strong team competitor without coming off as a big threat. If she’s weaker for going back-to-back then the tribes might cut her because at the end of the day they still need to win in order to avoid tribal.

        That being said I think she’ll still be very strong. She wasn’t on the season *that* long, and was naturally athletic enough that I can’t imagine it all dissipated.

        1. Oh I don’t think there’s a worry that she’ll be so weak she’s actually a liability instead. Yes she only had 2 weeks off, but she had another 3 weeks between when she went out and when the season ended, and she was only out there for what, like 18 days?

          1. Yeah, even though i think she could play better if a bit weakened, i think she will come out strong as hell, maybe stronger because she’s motivated by her first loss to get things right.

            It would take a lot for Michaela to become a liability and thus a boot due to that. Even if she’s not as physically ready, she would have to get on the beach DRAINED in order for her many strengths to not help pull her through.

          2. Especially since her tribe has Sandra, Ciera and Varner. Michaela will not be a liability.

    2. While I’d like to see her go far (she’s in my pick-4, after all), I’d be okay with her being an early jury member, if only because her Jury Face would be one for the ages (and we’d get to see it all the time).

      1. Her and Sarah can team up and then it will just be facial expressions for days. Can you imagine all the contrasting photos we would have of their reactions!

        Her making the merge will slightly lessen my distraught-ness of her getting a boot.

        1. Ciera will orchestrate her own vote out so she can continue rolling her eyes like a pro from the jury.

          1. We have such a high potential for amazing jurors with amazing facial expressions. My hope is all the pre-merge boots are based on lack of jury entertainment value, that way our jury is a party of expressions.

          2. Survivor: Jury Face

            Bitabeti Tribe: Sue Hawk, Abi-Maria Gomes, Michaela Bradshaw, Lex van den Berghe, Andrew Savage, Judd Sergeant

            Stundana Tribe: Heidi Stroebel, Sarah Lacina, Jessica Lewis, Shane Powers, Marty Piombo, Alec Christy

            Lamao Tribe: Eliza Orlins, Courtney Yates, Ciera Eastin, James Clement, Randy Bailey, Nick from Australian Survivor

      1. Maybe they *think* they’ve voted out Tony, but then several episodes after the merge it is revealed that Tony has killed and skinned Troy and has been running around in a Troy skin-suit for a week or so.

        That would make this season a top 10 season for sure for me.

          1. Also, granted, I have not figured out how, exactly, Tony would manage to create a “fake Tony” that would be booted pre-merge, but TONY WILL FIND A WAY.

          2. In my head I’m picturing a really awful scarecrow Tony makes up mostly of palm fronds and him thinking, “Yeah, this is going to work,” and then Ozzy has a twenty minute conversation with it, completely buying it.

          3. TBF to Ozzy, Tony has been studying ventriloquism and was 3 feet away in the spy-bunker.

      2. I did mean to have him in Post Merge. I feel like leaving it because it’s fun to pretend that Troy doesn’t exist in Survivor.

  3. Great Michaela analysis! The gifs are on point, too 🙂
    I agree that her big upside for coming back for Game Changers is that she is likely to become a Survivor superstar and thus a lock to play at least a third time. My big fear for Michaela is that she learned the wrong lesson from her blindside in MvGX and she will over correct in the wrong direction by becoming paranoid and/or going hard after people who weren’t even gunning for her yet. I could also see her getting into a feud with with a power player and getting cut early for making unnecessary waves.
    I would love to see Michaela do well and unlike some other first time returnees on this season I really see a glimmer of a chance at a win for her. I think she needs to get into a strong alliance with someone like an Aubry or a Malcolm – other players about her age with a solid head on their shoulders, who won’t be intimidated by her challenge abilities. A Michaela/Aubry/Malcolm/Andrea final four is about the best outcome I can hope for (short of a Cirie/Sandra battle to the end, which I fear is dreaming way too big).

  4. As noted, Michaela is my Bae. Something about everything about her makes me all in. I will revel in every new episode we get to enjoy with her in it. I will grumble about every new episode we don’t get to enjoy her in it. I will be very distraught if she gets the boot, and i’ll be one happy camper to see her win. Michaela forever Bae.

  5. In the Worst Case Scenario gif, I had never noticed Brett’s “If I’m a frozen statue looking into the middle distance they won’t remember they can vote me out” look.

    Now I can’t stop looking at it.

    But yeah, I’m in the Michaela mainstream. Want her on TV as much as possible, don’t have a great sense of what she’ll do game-wise (overreact by becoming a follower? Overreact by becoming paranoid? Not change a thing because she goddamned Michaela?) but excited to find out.

      1. It’s just such a beautifully framed shot, with everyone turning their heads towards the central point with varying levels of drama.

        And then there’s Brett.

    1. If they look at him they’ll figure out he’s a cop. Can’t have that, because apparently Survivor hates cops.

      1. And as everyone knows, cops are required by law to turn their heads when something awesome happens.

  6. Michaela has all the hallmarks of a final boot to me. This is not new to this season, she had that aspect to her last season as well. Doesn’t mean she’ll get there, but I do think she’ll go further (farther?) this time around. Your most likely scenario feels pretty on the nose. But so do your other two scenarios. I don’t know. This is hard, and I’m cold and there are wolves after me.

    1. I have written down two mock-bootlists (one before, one after watching the first 7min) and almost ended up with Michaela in fourth place in both. In the end I decided to switch it up and swapped her and JT’s position in the second, for a Michaela win. (that’s not to say I can see only one way of this season playing out – if I’d keep creating bootlists, I could see almost everyone on the cast taking the win in one at some point).

      Also, what’s the matter with the wolves-stuff? I thought I saw you mention not wanting people to think of you or call you by the last name, but then you have to casually bring up being tracked by wolves!
      You’re not exactly making it easy for us.

  7. Yo, @otherscott:disqus, as a Monica Culpepper fan, does that appreciation carry over to her husband too? Or is it neat ladies only?

    1. It does! I think Brad Culpepper is a terrible player but I think he gets a bad rap as a person. Monica gets a bad rap as a player when really she was in a no win situation near the end of that season and did well to get to second.

      1. That’s fair about Monica. Her options were pretty bad: flip to Ciera/Hayden/Katie, be seen as untrustyworthy, and then likely get voted out by that group, or stick with the majority where Redemption Island kinda screws you because you don’t get a chance to take out Tyson with Tina coming back. Also the whole “The Mom” thing didn’t help.

        1. (I don’t know how to mark this as a spoiler with blocking, but like, BvW spoilers below)

          I recently finished BvW, and Monica’s game was both frustrating and understandable. The last 3 votes she was the swing vote with every chance to flip the script and see what happened. On one hand, yeah, the smooth and steady route she played was safer and got her to final 3. But as Ciera would point out, she didn’t have any BMs. On the other hand, if she flips at 5 or 4, she puts that on her resume. It is less safe, but without those BMs, she didn’t stand much of a chance at FTC. Sure, Tyson won the last 2 immunity challenges, but things could have gone differently.

          My big takeaway from this was that Monica didn’t really recognize the ‘performance’ element of tribal councils. This is something Tony understood SO well, he’s always explaining his BMs for the council, which starts to paint the picture of Sole Survivor Tony long before he’s standing at FTC. Monica had 3 tribal councils where the narrative was 100% ‘will Monica flip.’ She should have recognized that if she chose not to flip after all that, the council would walk away feeling like she didn’t do anything and also bitter that she didn’t work with them. Tyson is thus able to claim responsibility for orchestrating everyone’s boot without being the target of bitterness for not working with them. And the final Jury votes reflect this pretty well…

          1. Man this is such a good point. At some point if everyone is asking you to flip and you won’t flip it becomes entirely about you in front of the jury not doing what everyone on the jury has asked you to do. I think this also played into Hannah’s and Ken’s game recently (only when they did flip they didn’t get credit for it!)

          2. It’s worse than that–the jury is full of people who think they would have made it to the end if you had only listened to reason.

            I’m not going to bother spoiler tagging anything about Australian Survivor anymore but this was one of the big storylines of that season’s endgame.

          3. Exactly. The lesson here by the way, is that you cannot publicly and repeatedly hold yourself out there as the swing vote. Because by doing so you are robbing everyone on the jury of their chance to go to the end with you. You can be a swing vote, but you cannot be seen as one who never swings

          4. I agree. People are always so excited to be the swing vote and i’m like NO, it’s a death seat. You swing and then no one trusts you anymore, including the people you swung to, you don’t swing, and everyone is mad at your for not swinging and playing with them, and most of the time those people are the ones on the Tribal.

            I would love to see the data on players success after being a ‘swing vote.’ I feel like it’s got to be pretty telling, but no idea.

          5. Also also, Hannah was SO clearly frazzled and out of it at her tribal councils across the entire season. Again, tribal councils are performances, and she had 10 appearances as ‘I’m anxious, i don’t know what’s going on, GAH’ and then at FTC was like ‘I was always in control of what’s going on’ Nah, that ain’t how it works Hannah my dear…

          6. It was weird watching that FTC with my roommate. She hasn’t seen a lot of Survivor and, by her own admission, will always go in for something that can be crafted as a Girl Power narrative. She thought Hannah was killing it at FTC, to the point where I was genuinely curious what she was watching, because it was so obvious Adam was running away with things.

          7. I do think Hannah had a really good FTC performance, and if the jury was only there for THAT single council, than she might have had a better shot. But, with all the other tribal councils to consider, Adam was the clear choice, particularly with Ken making the regularly dismissed “I played true to myself, i have integrity” argument.

          8. Guys can we please just kill the abbreviating ‘big moves’ to “BMs” thing now? ‘Cause I’m not too proud to say that I can’t hold it together when I see that.

          9. “BMs” not only make typing about Ciera (semi-official BM QUEEN) a lot easier, but also make me unnecessarily happy every time. I’m going to keep using it till it’s tacky and out of style…

          10. It’s without the spaces, but the general rule is that, if it’s a season that’s already aired, no tags necessary. We only spoiler tag for cast leaks and The Adventure Zone.*

            *It should go without saying that leaks of the boot order are just not welcome here.

      2. Co-sign about Brad. I didn’t rewatch BvW past Brad’s boot episode, so I can’t really comment on based on a rewatch of Monica’s game, but the way the season was structured (blood vs. water season with a Redemption Island where everybody watched the truels), meant that anybody who orchestrated the early boots was going to catch a lot of hell.

    1. Also, guys, Brad got a confessional (and last name treatment) and Michaela was barely mentioned. EDGIC!

      1. She did get precious zoom-ins at crucial points of Jeff’s speech, though.

        And I’m not sure what to think of similiar moments with FFSDT or Brad’s short opening confessional, but I have to admit to be a little worried it could mean that they are of importance to the season, but of course it doesn’t have to mean all that much.

        Also, did you notice they subtitled JT at one point, and what he said? Very telling…

        1. But remember that Michele and Adam didn’t get any confessionals in the opening sequence, while people like Mari and Anna did.

          1. Yes, there is evidence both ways and I didn’t prematurely celebrate all of Cirie, Sandra, Malcolm and Tony making the merge because they got opening confessionals, just saying it was a little weird that they felt the need to add a split second of Brad to close the confessional round out.

            Of course it could just mean that production thinks as highly of Brad (in terms of viewer recognition) as of the other featured players, or that they thought there should be one middle-aged white guy who passes as a sane person in the mix.

          2. It seems they went the big, recognizable names route for opening confessionals so I’m not reading anything into it. And they seem to think (and maybe are right among casuals) that Brad is one of those

          3. Of course you could be right and there’s nothing to it, but I’m thinking long and hard about swapping Brad into my pick-4-quartet over here!

            (Not just for that scene, but it is a factor.)

    2. I’m just so happy Ciera and Sierra are both getting the first name treatment. I need them to be on a tribe together at the swap so ish can start getting confusing.

  8. In line with this now apparently being the Probst appreciation site: I watched the whole Jeff Probst assessment video and the with exception of Debbie and Ciera (did you know she voted out her mom?) and Troyzan, he’s not wrong.

    1. Yeah I think Probst has been killing it this pre-season. I was nodding along to almost his entire interview with Josh Wigler.

    2. I think a big help is that Probst hasn’t been reserving his praise for just the male alphas. He’s VERY pro-Sandra, Cirie, Ciera, Andrea, and Aubry. And Hali is is his darkhorse.

      1. I think his pro-Ciera bent is still overdone. Tricking Katie into admitting ahe didnt have the idol js great, but its one move against a not great player.

        But most of it I apent thinking, “yeah, that makes sense.”

        1. I think his Ciera love all comes down to her being all set to be the type who would anonymously go to the final four by playing it safe, then deciding to take a shot (even a late shot) at winning it instead. It perfectly matches Probst’s ethos (and, if we’re being honest, mine).

          1. The problem is, and this is a completely unanswerable question because we’ll never again see a Ciera who wasn’t influenced by how BvW went down – how much of that was innately Ciera and how much was pressure from Hayden and Caleb.

            The fact remains that, when presented with the idea that she should flip on Tyson/Gervase/Monica her initial reaction was to run and tattle, and it took a lot of work to make her realize she fucked that up.

          2. Who you want to assign credit to is kind of beside the point: ultimately, when presented with fairly incontrovertible proof about her status in the majority alliance, she decided to take a chance rather than standing pat. Which really isn’t that common a thing. Especially from her character type.

            A lot of players, in that situation, would’ve chosen the safety and just hoped that she could work with Gervase and Monica to get Tyson out later. Hell, there are players on this very upcoming season who decided to ride it out with alliances even when it was made clear that they were on the bottom of their alliance. One of them shares a name with her.

          3. You mean the Ken game, minus the challenge prowess? I don’t know, that doesn’t sound like modern (Big Moves) Ciera to me at all, nor like a blueprint that Jeff would like his favorites to follow.
            And sure, she only calls for big moves when she’s on the bottom, but she also has a way of getting there.

            She looks absolutely gorgeous in all the S34 material, though.

          4. Ken didn’t have a big moment to point to though. The other thing to remember about Probst is that he is highly influenced by things he experiences live – challenges and tribal council. Which makes a lot of sense.

          5. Yes he did, but after accounting for the jury perception, it wasn’t his move to own. (Controlling the perception of one’s moves and, more broadly, behaviour is of course a crucial part of a winning game, but to me, that shut-out vote comes down to a lazy jury, that didn’t make the effort to think what would be the best move from the active players’ POV and rather projected their own game and bases for decision making onto them. Not much you can do about that as a contestant, as the finalist closest to their line of thinking won overwhelmingly.)

            I don’t even know if and what Probst had to say about Ken and Hannah after the finale and even though I can’t think of, apart from the obvious ones, many examples of great tribal council theatrics induced by Ciera, that’s possibly just bad memory concerning S27 on my part.

            She’s no doubt better at that (TC-)game than Ken and Hannah, but I’m not sure that her contributions at tribal merit being held in such high esteem by the Jeffreynator.

          6. She induced a rock draw. The first one in 14 seasons. I’m guessing that made an impression.

          7. –>”apart from the obvious ones”

            And isn’t it conventional wisdom that she wouldn’t have had to do that if she had just listened to reason on the prior vote?

          8. We may be discussing two different things here. You guys are trying to re-litigate whether or not Ciera sucks. I’m explaining why Probst is so taken by her.

            Flipping at camp a vote before doesn’t make her a more memorable character worthy of praise by Probst. Doing it in front of his eyes in the most dramatic way does.

            Also, flipping the vote before has been WAY overblown by fans. I’m not sure flipping from the bottom of Tyson’s four person alliance to become the bottom of Hayden’s four person alliance moves the needle as much as everyone insists it does. Sure, it would’ve gotten rid of Tyson, but I’m not sure it helps Ciera.

          9. I get that what’s happening live in front of him makes a bigger impression, but it’s not like the rest of her footage is inaccesible to him. One or two good tribals doesn’t seem to be sufficient reason to put her on a pedestal with other Survivor greats like he does. Unless you consider that she also voted out her mom, so maybe he isn’t even that impressed but more banking on and hyping up a character that resonates with casuals for that reason?

            As for her position in the S27 post-merge, it’s very possible that you are right. My memory of BvW I is lacking and I wasn’t that into that season when I binged it a few years ago to begin with and was just going by what I perceived to be the generally accepted assessment of her game then.

    3. I agree with what John and Andy said in the preseason podcast. Jeff Probst is now such an integral part of Survivor, not just in hosting but in every part of it. Disliking him just seems silly. Even if i don’t agree with Jeff, I still appreciate him and respect his wrong opinions.

    4. I agree. We can make fun of Probst and his sometimes silly opinions but at the end of the day, this show wouldn’t have lasted 500 episodes without him and his willingness to try new things.

  9. I don’t have anything new to add about Michaela besides the fact that I’m hoping that she’ll get further than last time, cause she is awesome. And I do think it’s entirely possible that she gets to the top 5, if she manages to solve some of her problems she had in MvsGX (at least I have bigger hopes for her than Zeke who I can’t see getting past the merge).

  10. I think Michaela goes out somewhere in the middle of the season. She is too useful to boot early, but to physically threatening and an unknown quantity to take late into the game. Please be entertaining.

  11. It’s gonna get ugly around here if Michaela has anything to do with getting rid fan favorites Sandra/Tony/Aubry/Varner/or Cirie

    1. Nah, I’m actually cool with it if my favs end up going after each other. It’ll suck to lose the people I like, but I don’t want someone like Troy or Ozzy slaying my favs.

      1. If we had our way, our faves would get rid of the Troy’s and Ozzy’s of this season first and then go after each other only because there is no one else left.

    1. Yes, let’s bring in Amanda to defend herself!

      On second thought, let’s bring in literally anybody other than Amanda to defend her!

      1. From a viewer’s perspective, I think she probably played the best overall game…but I’m pretty certain that if I was actually on that jury I would have been bamboozled by Todd (and anti-bamboozled by Amanda).

        1. Todd played a better game. Amanda was only able to do any of the things she did in China because she had him holding that alliance together.

          1. This sounds apocryphal to me. Amanda and Todd are one of the best pairs for playing together.

          2. I would say the exact opposite Sharc. I think when it came down to it Courtney and Denise were loyal to Amanda, not Todd, and Peih-Gee was dependent on Amanda for help, not Todd either.

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