QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
The Rules: The rules for the finale episode are a little bit different. The rankers have listed the last six players in the order in which they think they will finish. The first person who is voted out will be in sixth place and the winner will be in first. Each correct placement is worth two points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.
Last Week: Adam Klein had Andrea in spot seven and Michaela in spot two, while Gordon Holmes had Andrea in spot eight and Michaela in spot three. The current score is Team Adam 113, Team Gordon 112.
Adam’s Score = 113
Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein
Gordon’s Score = 112
Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
|1. Sarah: For my final power ranking for Sarah, I want to harken back to what I said about her at the merge:
“I’m so confused by Sarah’s edit! I thought Sarah was supposed to be the villain of the season? But she’s the hero!! The way she stood by Zeke and called out her own ‘metamorphoses’ was moving and inspirational. She’s been shown talking like someone who would shake up the game with quotes like “silent assassin,” “playing this game like a criminal,” “I know how to lie to these people,” and now “I’m ready to prove why I’m a game changer.”
Well, the mystery has been solved. Somehow, Sarah is both the villain and the hero, and the last few episodes have finally proven the quotes that felt empty early on in the season. Everything she said was true, she just slyly waited for the right time to show it. Sarah has played an incredible game, both strategic and socially. Her strategic sense allowed her to carry out some massive blindsides, and her social prowess allowed her to maintain favor and trust even after numerous betrayals, a la Tony Vlachos in Cagayan. The only question that remains for Sarah is if she gets to the end, does her in-game social mastery hold up once the people she betrayed reach the jury? Some jury members, like Andrea and Sierra, feel a bit icky about the way she has lied, but almost all of them (except Debbie, notably) recognize the control she has had over the game. I predict Sarah to win in something like a 7-3-0 or 8-2-0 vote.
|1. Cirie: Oh…am I going to get heat for this one. Is it possible I’m ranking with my heart instead of my head? Absolutely. But, my love for Cirie is non-transferable!
Here’s what I’m thinking; Sarah has to be the most dangerous player left in the game. I’m not even sure Cirie could beat her in front of a jury. And after last week’s vote-steal fiasco, Sarah is looking a lot better than Cirie. You know Sarah is going to announce the legacy advantage at final six. Even if she doesn’t use it, she’ll want people to know she had it to pad her resume. But, her resume is already impressive. It’ll just put heat on her. This is where Cirie can go to work. And after final six, Sarah has no protection. She’ll have to win immunities. (Which, she could totally do.)
And, if Cirie gets to the final three without Sarah, she’ll win it easily.
|2. Brad: Brad has played a very respectable game all around. He was solidly shielded by people that wanted to work with him all game long. Before the season started, even, he was my winner pick because countless players talked about wanting to go to the end with him, while underestimating him as a player because of how he was inaccurately villainized in Blood vs. Water. It seems people still want to go to the end with him, as he has been protected despite being in the minority since Debbie went home. He is well liked by the jury and has many people rooting for him to succeed, including Debbie, Sierra, and Zeke. Brad’s problem at the end is that he hasn’t controlled the game since Sarah flipped on Debbie, and has recently been at the mercy of others. Even Zeke has emphatically stated that he would vote for Sarah over anyone, including Brad. If he reaches the end, though, he has at least one guaranteed vote in Debbie, who is pulling for him all the way.
Ultimately, this season for Brad has been about understanding what his wife went through on Survivor, and answering the question: What would Monica do? The answer is now in front of us: come in a respectable 2nd place.
|2. Brad: Before the season started, Brad was everyone’s dream final-three partner. Even if you love the guy, it’s hard to look past the fact that he’s already loaded. I think the best he can hope for is one more final Tribal vote than Monica.|
|3. Troyzan: Based on editing alone, Sarah and Brad seem like obvious choices for the final 3. The less obvious pick is 3rd place. In order to pick this placement, I have to consider who might lose to both Sarah and Brad based on the juries comments in their bonus scenes. Cirie and Aubry have both been lauded by the jury, would likely do very well at final tribal, and have huge targets on them. So between Troyzan and Tai, I think Troyzan is more likely make it to the end. Tai, especially if he uses his idols correctly, will have a real resume that could be threatening, and Troyzan has a better relationship with Brad and Sarah than I believe Tai does.
Troyzan has been playing smart and intentionally to get to the end by not causing waves and underplaying his abilities, but final tribal council is where those strengths of laying low become a liability, especially in a season filled with ‘Big Moves’ and entitled ‘Game Changers.’ Unfortunately, I don’t think that Troyzan has done enough to show the jury how his strategy has paid dividends.
|3. Troyzan: What’s Troyzan’s resume at this point? Sure, he survived being the odd man out on Tavua, but they never even went to Tribal Council. He has one immunity win, one immunity idol, and no interesting moments. The irony in all of this is he has played the exact opposite game he played in “One World.” At least that loud “One World” game led to a return invitation.|
|4. Tai: Theoretically, Tai is guaranteed final 4 if he plays his idols for himself in successive tribal councils. Based on the preview, though, it looks like one of his idols might go to Brad, leaving him vulnerable for at least two votes in the finale barring immunity wins. I have maintained all season long that Tai is playing a very strong game, and has voted someone out in 8 out of 10 votes he cast this season, a better record than everyone except Sarah. He has also won immunity, and after playing three idols, will be seen as a threat at the final 4.
However, even if Tai does get to the final 3, the jury does not seem to recognize this game at all, and it seems have written him off as a possible winner. One of the major pieces of Tai’s game that the jury is missing is that he not only has two idols, but he has had balls of steel in consistently, and correctly, holding on to them despite being under routine fire. In the last vote, he literally had his vote stolen from him and STILL didn’t play an idol! And yet, the jury can’t marvel at this like we can as viewers, until it’s too late to change the perception of Tai as someone playing from the sidelines, not the front line.
|4. Sarah: Fun Fact: Gordon Holmes has never picked the winner of a “Survivor” season during his pre-season rankings.
Buuuuut… I did have Sarah Lacina in second place. And the only reason she wasn’t first is because Malcolm Freberg made me pick him. So, if Sarah wins, which she very well could, I will never forgive Malcolm.
Alright, with that out of the way; everyone has to appreciate that Sarah is just too good to take to the end. The blindsides, the advantages, the clever vote-theft stratagem. She’s just gotta go. Cause if she steps in front of the jury, this cop is going home with a million bucks.
|5. Cirie: Cirie has proven beyond a doubt that she is one of the best Survivor players of all time, and has solidified her title as the ‘Best to Never Win.’ Of course, she still has a chance to change that, but her road to the final 3 and a win still seems impossibly challenging. Sarah, Brad, and Troyzan voted together on the last vote, may all be immune at the next, and are loosely tied to Tai, who was just betrayed by Cirie. And to top it off, Cirie voted for Aubry at the last vote, potentially alienating her last ally. If Cirie were a strong challenge competitor, she would have a real shot, but the odds of her winning out are very unlikely.
The good news for Cirie, though, is that because she is unlikely to win immunity, she will likely be spared at least one round, unless Aubry is also immune. Letting her get to 4, though, will likely feel too close for comfort, so I think the others will cut Cirie at 5, devastating hordes of fans who have been waiting for a Cirie win for over 10 years. The other good news? I would not be surprised at all to see Cirie become the first player to play Survivor 5 times – if she’s up for it.
|5. Tai: Boy, those idol shenanigans from the finale preview have me really worried about Tai. I’m thinking Brad and Troyzan know they aren’t as likable as Tai and his ability to find 40 idols this season would look too good in front of the jury.|
|6. Aubry: I’m honestly blown away that Aubry is still in the game on finale night. She has never been able to really find her footing this season, and has been blindsided at 5 out of 11 tribal council she’s attended. Her edit has also been confounding. She is arguably the most popular player from last year, has been a plucky underdog all season long, is one of the show’s best narrators, and yet we have barely heard anything from her (or Troyzan) all season long. I just cannot imagine that Aubry comes in anything better than 5th and gets an edit like she has received.
At the next vote, I think it will likely be between Cirie and Aubry, and it’s possible that all of the others will be immune. Aubry’s best hope is to win immunity, which would amazingly send Cirie home automatically if all idols are played. If she does not, I think she will be seen as the bigger immediate threat, as they will assume that they can still get Cirie out at 5. Aubry has weaved, bobbed, and ducked since day 1 and should be proud to have scraped her way to the end, but I think this is where the rubber finally meets the road.
|6. Aubry: I love me some Aubry, but this is just not her season. She’s been blindsided left and right…and then left again. And even when it seemed like she was in charge of the game, she was doing it as someone else’s right hand. She’ll go home early this episode, but here’s hoping she gets an invite for “Survivor: The Third Time Is Lucky.”|