Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette: JT Thomas

We are almost finished with 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: JT Thomas.

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. Alycia Swift was fortunate that there was still a great player left in the mix when it was her turn to pull the trigger.

JT was very hard to write about because he won Tocantins unanimously and blundered so badly in Heroes vs. Villains. I was never a fan of his the first time but I am excited to see him play again because he is one of the only legitimate Game Changers in the cast. For better or worse, he did not just think about making a move and not make it, which seems to be production’s minimum criteria to be a GC.

People are in one of two camps about JT’s win: they either think JT’s just amazing, or they think Stephen Fishbach was the brains of the outfit and JT only got to the end because of Stephen and then benefited from Stephen’s awful FTC performance. I saw a mean streak that first time in him, so I rooted for Stephen.

JT and Stephen ended up good friends. He was the country boy in his element. Stephen was the city boy out of his. JT was a great challenge competitor and provider. But more importantly, JT was so charming that others screwed up their game for him and wanted him to win. Other than Kim Spradlin’s One World sheep and Rob’s Zombies, when did this ever happen?

JT came to Heroes vs Villains with some things to prove — that he was strategic and that his first win was not a fluke. But JT made what some call one of the stupidest move ever (Editor’s note: Not me!). Others think it was fine because it could have worked (Editor’s note: Me!). He wrote a “love letter” to Russell Hantz and slipped Russell an idol at an immunity challenge because he mistakenly thought there was an all-female alliance after he saw Russell as the last man standing on the Villains’ tribe. He wanted to buy Russell’s loyalty by saving him. Russell was supposed to use the idol to oust Parvati. In theory, it could have worked.

In theory!

The problem was, JT did not have enough information. He did not know Russell and had not seen his season. He never had a conversation with the guy. Thus, he could not have known that Russell liked to control women and that Parvati was Russell’s closest alliance-mate. But the fact that the guy was on a tribe called Villains should have clued JT in that something was not kosher. (Editor’s note: This is probably only true if Stephen taught him what kosher meant.)

That move cost him his game. On the positive side, JT did show he had some strategic chops as he played the middle of two factions on his tribe before his big blunder. He engineered Cirie’s vote-out earlier that season. This time, JT comes to Game Changers hoping to prove the same thing as last time: that he can be a good strategic player as well as a social player. He’s older. The players are smarter and/or experienced and all have something to prove. No one is laying their game down for him. But not as many players seem to be outright gunning for JT, and some even want to work with him.


Best Case Scenario

JT holds himself back from trying to play the middle and gets ignored premerge because there are bigger fish to fry with Ozzy, Cirie, and Culpepper on his tribe. He will have a pass for the first few losses (if his tribe loses) because he is a young alpha Caucasian male that is perceived to be good at challenges.

JT will need to find someone like a Fishbach (maybe Cirie if they can get past their history, or Aubry after the swap or merge) to help him with strategy. After the merge, he has to Mike Holloway it to the end, which will be difficult unless other challenge beasts are gone. Then he has to give the same type of performance at FTC, but this time other players will be prepared.

Worst case scenario

His team goes to tribal first, the winners are targeted, and he goes early. But with Ozzy, Culpepper, Sarah, Sierra and himself on the team, how likely is that to happen? Getting voted out because he was a winner probably will not happen. There are more annoying players (Debbie), more dangerous players (Cirie), and more mysterious players (Zeke) on his tribe.

Most Likely scenario

JT will be the last winner standing and will get to the merge, possibly even near the end, but will be taken out when he does not win immunity and is not needed. No one wants to take their best competition to the end. They want goats (Editor’s note: not G.O.A.T.s). JT had one of the best FTC performances, so unless he’s against another silver tongue like Cirie or Sandra, he’s going to outshine them at FTC.

Bro-hug it out!

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