Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 two players will earn. For example, if Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!
Last Week: Clearly Michael and Gordon are both psychic. How else could they have predicted that it was Brandon’s time to go home? They both had him in the bottom spot. The current score is Team Skupin 65, Team Lightning Punch 81.
Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…
Gordon Holmes: Well, last week was certainly…interesting.
Micheal Skupin: I’ve watched, read, blogged, listened, watched again, listened again, slept on it, discussed it, podcasted it, mulled it over, and I still can’t decide if that was good TV or if “Survivor” went too “Jersey Shore” on us.
Holmes: Any parting words for Mr. Hantz?
Skupin: Goodbye, B. Hantz. You may have not shed a single tear out there but your uncle Russell did when he was finally eliminated on his 3rd season. There’s no shame in loving this game that much. Phillip found Brandon’s buttons and very strategically never stopped pushing them. I do see what CBS sees in Brandon as a player. He’s good in challenges, well spoken, entertaining, unpredictable, and isn’t afraid to stir the pot. Being on such a small island confined to a 10 X 10 shelter (the size of the tarp), you need some pretty thick skin at times. The ability to “let go” is a huge weapon out there which Brandon never learned how to fire.
Holmes: Well, Brandon did let the rice and beans go all over the beach.
Skupin: I realize as much as anyone how different “Survivor” is from real life and it seems like the Achilles heel of so many fallen comrades is the fact the they don’t realize this until it’s too late. But, what is it about Brandon and Phillip’s real life that offers them the ability to speak of themselves in the 3rd person so often? Brandon’s mockery of Phillip’s nicknames ended so ironically as he mistakenly called out the name “exterior” as one of them. A few hours later, that became his view of the game as he was removed.
Skupin: I wonder if Brandon joins the fraternity of those that “quit” the game or does the proclamation of being the “author of his own fate” put him in a category of its own?
Holmes: I was thinking about that. I think he’s somewhere in between. His fate authoring didn’t take place until he knew Phillip was going to throw the challenge to get rid of him. It was a preemptive strike.
Skupin: Both Probst and Malcolm brought up three-time player Russell Hantz as if he had anything to do with what’s happening out there. His game is very, very different and he’d never walk from this game.
Holmes: No, he certainly wouldn’t.
Holmes: Will this give the fans a new lease on life?
Skupin: The favorites experience and advantage (sitting three at the challenge) gets clearer by the day as they covered their fire so they can cook in the rain. These tribes better swap or merge soon or it’s going to seem like another all-star season very quickly. The fans are really struggling in challenges, and no matter how many challenge-challenged fans they get rid of, it’s not getting better. I question their strategies and who they put in what positions, ie. Michael and Matt were put in the strength position in the reward challenge. (Where is “Shut up,” I mean Shamar when you need him?) I waited for Matt to wrap his beard around the rope when Probst wasn’t looking.
Michael’s Current Score: 65
Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin
Gordon’s Current Score: 81
Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
| 1. Brenda: Aside from the not-so-dynamic duo (Brandon & Phillip for those too busy watching “Cupcake Wars”), we really didn’t see much of anyone on the favorites team. I believe the pros of Brandon leaving equal the cons and since the vote was unanimous, the favorites are still in the exact same position from a “power perspective.” Brenda stays at number one.
||1. Malcolm: OK, Swaptown is just ahead. This is bad news. Bad news for the players and bad news for Power Rankers who have to try to make sense of so many different variables. Fortunately for my boy Malcolm, he has a few things working in his favor. First, his tribe is going into the swap up numbers so he’s likely to have some friendly faces wherever he ends up. Second, he’s got an idol that only Corinne knows about.|
| 2. Dawn: The mom tears surface once again as she choked out Brandon’s name during the game’s first-ever verbal Tribal Council voting. She has endurance and came to play. I like her chances of keeping it all together.
|| 2. Reynold: You’d better thank the “Survivor” gods that you found that idol, because tribe swaps are bad news for challenge studs on tribes that are down numbers.
|3. Cochran: His ultra non-confrontational approach seems to be working well for him.|| 3. Cochran: Why is it smart to be nice to people who aren’t in your alliance? Because those people become swing votes when you get to a tribe swap. Fortunately for Team Dawchran, it seems like that haven’t been rubbing anyone the wrong way.
| 4. Malcolm: Although it appears he’s still a member of the good ol’ boys club, a flaw in his game has emerged and that’s his alliance with the blue-eyed vixen (not the reindeer). Corinne’s game is slowly unraveling as it appears Brandon may have thrown her game off. Malcolm diversifying is his only chance.
||4. Dawn: What’d I say about “no more tears,” Dawn? It’s OK. I’ll give you a pass every time someone freaks out and sabotages your food supply. Hantzes gotta Hantz.|
| 5. Michael: Although he describes camp-life as a “long strand of hell,” he seems to be keeping it all together and not ruffling any feathers. The fans thought highly enough of his strength that they put him in the driver’s seat of the strength challenge and he was the last fan standing.
|| 5. Andrea: Oh boy, I bet you were wishing on every unicorn in Care-A-Lot that Brandon wasn’t going to out your plan to get rid of Corinne. Fortunately for you, it seems like he didn’t. As someone who’s good at challenges and manages to stay out of trouble, you should have plenty of time to figure out a way to get to the merge and back to your Stealth R Us Too buddies.
| 6. Matt “The Beard”: Beard actually sarcastically cried out for his “mommy” when his wet feet endured a few days of rain…try sixteen, brother! Most of us on S25 ended up losing more toenails than we had left by the time it was over. If you’re in this for the long haul (and I believe you are) get used to a lot more torture where that came from. I hear there’s a pretty pissed-off whale shark out there that I head-butted and rumor has it he may go “Hantz” on you.
|| 6. Erik: Kudos to Erik and Brenda for making the best of a bad situation with their time on the Favorites tribe. You see Brandon, that’s why you don’t burn your camp down. You never know when Probst is going to wander out with fresh new buffs for everyone.
| 7. Sherri: Still strategically a threat as I believe she understands this game as well as anyone out there. She made a tactical error in allowing one of her closest allies (Laura) to go home last week. If she can keep from treating anyone like a 16-year-old Cinnabon snot (her words, not mine), she still can win this game.
||7. Brenda: See Erik.|
| 8. Phillip: Being a challenge beast will buy him a few extra days out there. Strategically, he’s making the same mistakes RC did on S25…always playing and always playing too hard. A mix of social vs. gameplay may be the best recipe to go deep in this game. He’s the first contestant to ever out-commentate Probst during a challenge. His unprecedented references to African-American embattled feature films provided Phillip with an inner strength to press on. His references included “Kunta Kinte” (Roots), “Django” (movie), “Miss Jane Pittman” (movie), “Mammy” (movie), “Amistad” (movie), and a “Ya Mon” for good measure at the end.
|| 8. Sherri: It’s time to stop being bummed about the loss of Shamar and Laura. With the swap coming, you have a chance to reinvent yourself. The challenge threats are going to be in immediate danger, so you’ll have a chance to weigh your options and hopefully create a new alliance.
| 9. Erik: I give Erik credit as he actually tried to take on Brandon as he littered the beach with camp rice and beans. He became the first contestant to actually encounter the other tribe when he hand delivered the immunity idol during Brandon’s non-torch snuffing eviction.
||9. Julia: Holy cow, Julia…if you’d be quiet for one second people could get to know you. If you keep running your mouth with your new tribe, they’re going to send you packing immediately.|
| 10. Reynold: This episode could have been named “Reynold has another bulge.” This is the first time he breaks into my top 10 simply because he found the hidden immunity idol without a clue once again. When he found it I yelled at the TV, “You learned your lesson, don’t tell anyone!” Yet he did. Then when he told Eddie, I yelled again, “Don’t fist-bump, it can be seen across the island and it only means one thing!” After 13 days he says in a confessional “I’m still not going to trust anyone fully.” It only took him 12 years, 25 seasons, countless blindsides, and 13 days out there to realize this.
|| 10. Michael: Yup, Brandon spilled the beans literally and figuratively last week. The fans know a lot of the favorites’ business. But, it won’t take long after the swap for Eddie and Reynold to let the faves know what was going on at Gota. Did they appreciate that you and Matt were the ones with the power? Could be trouble.
| 11. Andrea: Andrea was outted as telling Brandon about Phillip’s plan to throw the challenge. That caused an unprecedented upheaval at camp but a not-so-unprecedented betrayal of trust. It may appear Phillip is targeting Corinne to go home but I think Andrea is next on his radar.
|| 11. Matt: See Michael.
| 12. Eddie: Eddie caught a break at Brandon’s expense. Thirteen days in and now he wants to try and see how that “flint-thing” works?! He’s forgetting the “Survivor” fire building tie-breaker. Make fire as often as you can, people. It all matters so much.
|| 12. Phillip: It was a rough week for The Specialist. In his defense, it looked like he was being very diplomatic at Bikal beach. He didn’t seem to lose his cool until the challenge. However, his back and forth with the Conqueror is going to make it tough for him to get in good with any fans.
| 13. Corinne: I thought her interruption of Brandon when he was removing himself from the game was unnecessary. Her speech to throw the challenge was potentially costly. It marked her with the favorites and the fans. It looks like now you’re Phillip’s next target. It appears your game from the last time you played is emerging and they all know how to play against that.
|| 13. Corinne: Oh man, what’s going on in this week’s preview? You were doing such a good job of acting like you didn’t want to stab Phillip in the face. What happened? Here’s hoping you two don’t end up on the same tribe.
| 14. Julia: I think she’s still there. Without a real alliance and seen as possibly a liability in challenges, I think she has seen her last sunset from the beach.
|| 14. Eddie: Like I said, tribe swaps are bad news for challenge studs that are down numbers and don’t have immunity idols. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?!) Sadly, Eddie…that’s you.