“Survivor: Winners at War” Power Rankings Round 2 – Chaos Is a Ladder Edition

“Survivor: Winners at War” (CBS)

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The Rules: Each week Malcolm Freberg and Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn.  For example, if Denise is voted out, Malcolm will receive two points and Gordon will receive six. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be declared the “Survivor: Winners at War” champion.

Last Week: Malcolm had Danni in spot eight, while Gordon had her in spot six. So, the current score is Team Freberg 8, Team Holmes 6.

Quick Note: The Power Rankings place the players in order of how safe they are heading into the next episode, not how likely they are to win the entire game.

Team Freberg: 8 Team Holmes: 6

Any Questions? Drop Malcolm a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW

Any Questions? Drop Gordon a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes

1. Sophie: There’s no reason to drop her out of the top spot, especially now that she’s holding an idol half-sy. Obviously Sophie’s making connections with everyone on the beach, and she’s safe in the middle of the foursome alliance. The opening of her WaW game is like being dealt all ‘Draw 4’ cards in Uno. Flawless so far. 1. Sophie: How can you put anyone but Sophie in the top spot? She’s got the Second Timers alliance that’s working with the Game Changers. Tyson is desperate to weasel his way in there, and now Kim is trusting you with her idol fragment.
2. Denise: KHALEESI. IS. COMING. FOR. WESTEROS.

I don’t care if ranking her second is hyperbolic, I’ve been riding a wave of enthusiasm since Wednesday and am not stopping to be logical. Her and Adam are too good socially to misplay the idol. The fire token from Danni proves Denise is making bonds on the beach outside of Adam. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to return to the street corner with my “HONK IF U LOVE DENISE!” sign.

2. Sandra: I don’t know who’s going to Tribal this week. I don’t know if the Second Timers and the Game Changers can stick together. I don’t know if Cops R Us are planning to turn on their Queen. But, I do know that Sandra has an idol that expires this week.
3. Nick: Quiet for the second straight week. Nick’s either making an under-the-radar deep run in this game, or is a collateral damage boot pre-merge. 3. Jeremy: I’m telling you, it doesn’t sit right with me that Rob considers Jeremy to be on the bottom of the tribe. I’m thinking this is some kind of premeditated “Survivor” sleeper cell. At some poker table, they hatched a plan to pretend to hate each other. And, even if I’m wrong, Jeremy has the coupon for a free trip out of Tribal.
4. Wendell: Didn’t see a lot from him, but I’m convinced the construction guru didn’t help Tony with his ladder in an attempt to kill the overgrown child. He drops behind Nick for cruelly putting my boy in harm’s way. 4. Wendell: Three fourths of the Second Timers alliance didn’t have much to do last week other than break Tony’s fall. If Dakal goes to Tribal, there are going to be bigger fish to fry.
5. Sandra: One more week with an idol. Unless we get more strategy insight, she’s going to drop several places on this list next week, but the Queen is safe for now. 5. Nick:  My biggest worry for Nick was always going to be if he could survive the first couple of episodes. Welp…but my count, we’re three Tribals in and he doesn’t seem to be in that much danger. Well done, counselor.
6. Ethan: If I didn’t adore him beforehand, his mocking of Rob secured his place in my heart moving forward. An impending revolt against old-schoolers is worrying, but Ethan’s not necessarily lumped in with that group, and is smooth enough to land on the correct side of the numbers. 6. Denise: OK, on day two Denise and Parvati snuck away from camp and I followed them. It was hard to hear due to the ocean and how far away I had to stand due to the cameras, but they were discussing their connections on the other tribe, and when they were done, Parvati said, “I’ve got you.”  That’s probably why Denise wanted to offer the idol shard to Parv. My sex therapist is connected.
7. Yul: Ladder commentary aside, Yul was virtually invisible. There’s hints his foursome isn’t as untouchable as they appeared after the premiere: Kim and Sophie’s shared idol, and Tony and Sarah’s bond are outside of his influence. For now, I’m not dropping his alliance’s rankings, but the group might not stay on top for long. 7. Ethan: Ethan definitely didn’t suck last week.
8. Tony: Channeling his frenzied energy into an absurd ladder project was completely predictable, and signals that he’s still successfully checking his hustling, laying as low as a 230-pound Jersey cop possibly could. If he and Sarah make good on their alliance and keep it hush-hush, they could make a deep run together. 8. Adam: OK, you’ve got the Old School alliance. Denise is close with Parvati and Adam is close with Ethan. Adam is also pre-game buddies with Ben and Michele. What I’m saying is this duo has a ton of options. However, I wonder if Rob’s idol hunt has them freaked out.
9. Adam: Do y’all appreciate how wild Adam and Denise are as a pair?

Find idol: YAS DENISE
“Give it to Parv”: NO DENISE
“That’s stupid”: TY ADAM
Can’t find a hole: WTF ADAM
Tribal sleight of hand: GOD MODE ACTIVATED

Mini Me is playing great and should be safe this week. Only ranking him this far down to balance out my favoritism for his partner in crime.

9. Yul: Yul is only this low on my list because he’s doing so well. If there’s a leader of the dominant alliance, it’s him. He’s also super good at getting breadfruit with minimal risk to his life or limbs. I’m just worried someone is going to notice how well he’s playing.
10. Kim: I’m still workshopping a “Sophie’s Choice” joke. Obviously it’s concerning that Sophie mocked Kim for handing her an idol half, but all’s not lost. Sophie now has a vested interest in keeping Kim around, which could pay off in a dozen subtle ways, like Sophie nudging her primary alliance to another target to keep the idol alive. I cringed when I watched Kim’s move on TV, but it’s grown on me over the past several days. 10. Tony: I’m not sure which is more dangerous, Tony’s ladder of death or reuniting with Sarah. But, maybe since they’re both lacking options, it’ll hold them together.  Either way, I’m ready for “Cops R Us 3: Back in Training.”
11. Sarah:  She’s looking good so far, though it’s hard to gauge how long her buddy cop routine will last without imploding.Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea, but nothing about either Tony or Sarah screams “stealth” or “trustworthy.” And there remains an outside shot she’s the victim of a split vote against Sandra and her idol. 11. Kim: Yeah, I was screaming at the TV when Kim gave half of her idol to Sophie, but I’m sure she weighed her options before making that call. Maybe she was worried that Tyson would use that info to try to work his way into the Second Timers alliance.
12. Michele: Five of my bottom six picks wear blue buffs. They’ve been the opposite of good in challenges, their only win coming off Jeremy’s ability to granny toss frisbees. We didn’t get a lot of Michele last week — which I will continue to insist is a good thing for her long-term, especially considering what happened to Danni. Keep your head down, girl. Rooting for you. 12. Sarah: Can Sarah trust Tony? Does she have a choice? Does he have a choice?
13. Parvati: Gordon didn’t tell me that he had inside info about Parv and Denise getting along, and the fact that Denise (horribly) considered handing her half an idol confirms that they’re close, we’re just not seeing it on TV. That gives Parv some padding, though she could still fall victim to a new-school alliance getting cold feet about targeting Rob. 13. Michele: Hey buddy, I’m hoping you’re just biding your time and not being steamrolled. It’s hard to tell because we don’t get to see much of you.
14. Jeremy: I don’t remember why I’m worried for him (how’s that for professional “Survivor” insight?). Was there something in the “next episode” package? Did something get said at camp? Whatever. I saw or read something and got worried. That’s why he’s low, though I don’t think he’s going home unless he’s targeted for pushing for an old-school boot too hard at camp. 14. “Boston” Rob: My wife and I have been binging Rob and Amber’s first season of “The Amazing Race.” It’s fascinating to see Rob utilize one of his biggest strengths which is; thinking outside of the box.  He’s amazing at it. That idol search was genius. Anyone who didn’t go along with it would get a target on their back. However, I worry that it was so clever and somewhat demoralizing that it put a bigger target on Rob’s back.
15. Tyson: Idols shove him to the bottom of his tribe. It’s as simple as that. Outside the featured foursome, and aside from police officers who were on the correct side of their first vote, he’s the only person without protection. Bonus loser points for an inevitable swap on the horizon, and the threat that he could hook up with his poker buddies. I don’t think his tribe is losing the challenge, but Tyson’s in serious trouble if they do. 15. Parvati: I think Parv is safe…I mean…I hope Parv is safe. I adore Parv. The only reason she’s this low is to hedge my bets in case there is some kind of anti-Old Schooler sentiment floating around camp.
16. “Boston” Rob: When he dominated Redemption Island, we blamed the spinelessness and amateurism of his competition. Guys — he’s pulling the same tactics on a tribe of winners, and it’s working. He held court at the hook and ring game. He demanded his tribe turn out their bags, and 7 former Sole Survivors submitted. It’s incredible. He remains the obvious target if the tribe organizes against old-schoolers… but every week, it gets harder to dismiss his chances. 16. Ben: If Adam is potentially the most connected person at Sele Beach, eventually he’s going to need to cut one of those connections loose. And right now, Ben’s loose cannon reputation makes him seem like the most likely suspect.
17. Ben: Can you use fire tokens to buy a muzzle? Ben’s loose lips are comical when compared to his tribemates, who, to be fair, are some of the best to ever play. If Parv and Rob successfully deflect another vote, it’ll be by shifting the target to the loud cowboy — and Denise and Adam will support the play, as it tightens the circle of people who know about their idol. 17. Tyson:  Between Sandra’s connection with the Game Changers, her idol that’s good for one more Tribal, and the fact that everyone’s still nervous about your poker past, we might be seeing Sandra pull off her Buster Douglas impersonation.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes