Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette: Hali Ford

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: Hali Ford.

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. Alkanarra volunteered, and perhaps learned a lesson about being careful what you wish for? (That lesson? WISHING IS AWESOME!)

These are trying times for Purple Rock’s American readers. The heated political divide between liberal and conservative continues to widen, leaks run rampant, and we actually have to have a discussion about the possibility that the President of America might be a Russian spy. If only there were some kind of top-secret agent who could infiltrate our government and set it all straight.

But America, this era of strife and uncertainty is soon to come to be at an end – or, rather, to be temporarily dismissed for a 60-minute reprieve every Wednesday – for the Greatest Patriot in American History is about to make her return to our lives and set everything right again.

Detractors will say that Hali G. Ford has no strategic credit to her name, and they would be correct. I re-watched as much of World’s Apart as I could tolerate for this assignment, and aside from being delightful at Ponderosa, Hali didn’t do much. The No Collar trio clicked together naturally, and their pre-merge game mostly involved getting rid of people who didn’t fit in rather employ any notable strategy. (Jenn, Joe, and Hali are still angry at Emma for not recognizing their coolness.) At the tribe swap, Max and Shirin’s wackiness hurt the White Collar duo’s chances more than anything Hali or Jenn did. Then the merge came and the No Collars got picked apart, one exciting idol play notwithstanding.

Because of this, a lot of people have been wondering what the hell Hali is doing on Season 34, and I say to these people in the No Collarest of fashion: “Chill out, bro.” Even Hali has admitted she has no idea why she was invited back. (Spoiler: it’s ‘cause she’s attractive.)


In a court of law, this is what is known as “evidence”.

You see, the anti-Hali constituency’s greatest failing is in caring about her credentials. Her most game-changing moves were getting drunk enough at the merge to support a tribe name that would make our Founding Fathers proud and then giving an off-kilter, pro-American tribal speech. They claim she has no strategy, and they are absolutely right. Hali isn’t strategic, but she doesn’t need to be.

So why be excited by Hali coming into season 34? Because like our bleak political landscape, Hali offers something this season will desperately need: positivity. We’ve seen All-Star seasons bring out hyper competitive streaks. These players are going for more than money: they want a chance to prove themselves and establish a show-based legacy (Editor’s note: …but mostly money). Survivor will need lightheartedness to fall back on, and Hali offers that in spades.

As for as her odds, Hali’s biggest advantage is that she is no one’s target and never should be. There are more strategic threats, more physical threats, and, perhaps most importantly, there are players with legacies that their competitors will want to quash. So long as she can keep from playing too hard and making herself a target, Hali could survive for a long time with little effort. In a nutshell: no one cares about Hali Ford. And, to her credit, this is something she recognizes in her entrance interview:

“I think I have it pretty easy. I don’t think people are expecting a lot from me. So what I need to make sure is that I don’t, um, get too confident people don’t have their eye on me, but as far as I can tell, I’m more under the radar than most of the people out here. So I intend to stay that way, while slowly leading them to their death.”

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

Best-case scenario

All that being said, Hali’s odds of actually winning are low. Likability is one thing, but respectability is another, and that free-spirited energy that got her cast in Worlds Apart also makes her appear as though she isn’t a serious contender. Her competitors will think that she shouldn’t be there, and with such large egos I can see that keeping them from voting for her at the end.

Her ceiling is making it to final tribal council, and it’s not unrealistic. From my purely academic perusal of her cast photos, she looks ripped as hell and should avoid the “cut the dead weight” early phase, if that even happens on a returnee season. For Hali, it’s all a matter of sitting back and going with the flow since she should never be a target. Winning will require her making some unexpected moves at the end and relying on her strong social game, but more realistically, I see her maybe getting a vote or two at final tribal. She’ll be the runner-up next to a more active player (or a sexist jury that just votes for the man).

Worst-case scenario

She tries to play the game too fast and talks to the wrong people. No one wants to come out as a power player too early, and because they don’t think she deserves to be there, her tribe makes her the safe vote. She’s blindsided in episode three after having given only one confessional all season. We already know how she’ll react.

TFW you’re on a season with Dan, Rodney, Carolyn, and Will.

Most likely scenario

Post-merge, her competitors will realize that nobody dislikes her. She won’t have pissed anyone off, and that will make her dangerous. I imagine a savvier player will use her name as bait to keep themselves alive for a vote. It will be one of those out-of-left-field episodes where in the middle of a grudge match between two alliances, they both inexplicably target her and the show doesn’t even try to hide the result prior to tribal. AV Club will re-institute grading just to give it a C-.

As a closing argument, I’d like to add this extremely low-quality rap video that Hali made. It covers Constitutional search and seizure rights. Malcolm is in it for some reason. It’s both terrible and brilliant. If that doesn’t win this crowd over to Hali Ford then I don’t know what will.

Read the rest!

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