Jenn: (3) All hail Queen Jenn! It was damn satisfying to watch Jenn pull off that coup at the merge, but I think the biggest reason to think that Jenn will win is because the show seems to be encouraging the viewer to root for Jenn and her alliance. That said, I don’t think Jenn’s path will be smooth sailing.
Joe: (1) Joe dodged another bullet with his immunity win, but can he keep himself alive? Joe’s edit is telling us a few things, and I think a logical conclusion is that Joe is extremely unlikely to win (though not 0 percent). Why is this? Because the edit is telling us that everyone perceives him as the biggest threat left in the game. And looking at this week, where we saw alliances being made and lines being drawn, Joe had only one confessional. We haven’t seen anything from Joe recently that shows us he can build the sort of alliance that would overcome the fact that he scares everyone else. Of course there might be a reason why he wasn’t featured last week, because any work he would have done to convince others to join his alliance failed and the show might not have wanted to show its winner failing at convincing people. In my opinion, the story of Joe is the story of a guy who is gone once he loses immunity.
Tyler: (4) Tyler is now firmly in the swing vote position, and it’s a position that has served people in a three tribe season very well in the past. Malcolm and Denise rode it to the final 4 and a win respectively, and Kass rode it to final 3. Could Tyler and Carolyn mimic these successes? It certainly feels like it is possible. I honestly have a tough time reading his edit, because I just find him terribly boring. He does seem to get a lot of confessionals where he actually talks about his strategy. On the other hand, the show doesn’t shy away from showing him make the wrong decision. I think he is obviously a contender, but I just can’t judge how serious of a contender he is.
Hali: (2) Hali, like the rest of the No Collar alliance (Joe, Jenn and Shirin), did not have a lot of confessionals this past episode, but all four of them have had the spotlight in the past. I am not overly concerned with the relative lack of airtime they received this week, because any additional confessionals would have shown them making a pitch that people weren’t buying and that would reflect poorly on them. I also think that Hali dodged the biggest bullet she will be facing for a long time this week. Also, the show did take time to show how much Hali loves our Constitution! Door’s open, boys!
Hang in There, Baby:
Shirin continues to receive airtime, and I think we are seeing her bonding with the very people that all were initially annoyed by her (ok, not Tyler and Carolyn). I think Shirin is the ultimate long shot; she has to basically play the Sandra game and see everyone likable eliminated around her while dodging the acrimony that follows outright betrayal. She might be perceived as a goat in this situation, but Sandra was perceived as a goat by Russell Hantz in Heroes v. Villains. And remember, as betrayals begin to occur, others will likely take the blame for them in the weeks ahead.
The 1% Club:
Carolyn: (4) I’m torn on Carolyn. If a Wet Blanket is winning it’s probably Tyler, but Carolyn is right there with him in terms of edit. She has an idol, she is in multiple sub alliances, but I just can’t get past how damn joyless she is. I usually think that the winner is someone the show wants to portray in a positive light, but this isn’t always true. Sometimes the show dislikes the winner enough that while they will give them airtime, they won’t go out of their way to polish their rough sides. I’m thinking Carolyn has a long shot at being a winner who production just doesn’t like because she is a miserable person. So she stays here for now, as the longest of long shots.
Zero Percent Club
And that’s it. Everyone who I had in the club before stays there, with no new additions. I believe one of the above people is winning (or Mike, who I clearly made a mistake in lumping into this group):
Kelly: GONE! (I really want to gloat on this one, but I’ll refrain)
Will: (1) Will flipped on his original alliance and went to a new alliance where no one trusts him. I don’t think Will understands the game that well, and I don’t think he is getting jury votes. That is a tough combination to overcome.
Mike: (7) I clearly dropped the ball on Mike. I judged him on his two worst episodes when he has been pretty fantastic every other episode. Mike is probably the number 2 contender to win after Jenn. And by edit he received the most confessionals this episode (tied with Rodney). That said, I think Mike has a lot of the same problems Joe has. He is a big physical threat who is also likable and the clear leader of his faction. Once Joe is gone, all eyes will turn to Mike as the biggest threat left in the game, and I think he goes home. Hey Mike, how will you like being on the jury?
Dan: (2) Oh, Dan. I do love how every single episode has Dan being a jackass in his own very unique way. Unique at least in that it isn’t the same way Rodney is a jackass. Dan is basically a walking incarnation of the mansplaining meme, so i just googled the word and decided to put this picture up as a graphic representation of how I feel 90% of Dan interactions go.
Rodney: (7) I love the confused Rodney face. Let’s make Rodney Brown a thing this season, ok Survivor?
Sierra: (0) Sierra didn’t get a single confessional the entire episode. She was the only person to not get one. You want to know why she isn’t winning? That is why.
Matt is the founder and president of the Andrew Savage fan club, and remains amazed that Savage was never invited back on the show. Therefore, you should all vote for him for season 31/32. You can’t follow Matt on Twitter, because he doesn’t want you to.
Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan