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 Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
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The Rules: Each week our two combatants 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 Tyson is voted out this week, Malcolm will receive 8 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. Also, each player will pick the players they think will win at Redemption Island. They’ll receive a bonus point for each correct pick. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.
NOTE: If a current player decides to swap places with their loved one at Redemption Island, they’ll also swap places in the rankings. For example, if Gervase swaps places with Marissa, Marissa will take the 5th spot in Malcolm’s rankings and the 4th spot in Gordon’s rankings.
Last Week: Malcolm had Colton in spot 14, I had him in spot 16. Malcolm had John in spot 12, I had him in spot 11. Malcolm earned one Redemption Island bonus point for guessing Candice correctly, I earned two for guessing both winners. So, the current score is Team Malcolm 41, Team Gordon 42.
Before we get into this week’s festivities, let’s check in with the two combatants…
Gordon Holmes: Malcolm, thanks again for participating this season. What’ve you been up to since we saw you last?
Malcolm Freberg: As much as you want me to say I’ve been studying Power Rankings strategies all summer, fact is I am just putting the finishing touches on a memoir of the year I spent as a teacher in the Marshall Islands. I also launched a self-help website, www.whiskeyandninjaturtles.com, with week-daily updates.
Holmes: How are you liking the season so far?
Freberg: Really good so far. The addition of family members adds an element of emotion to what had evolved into a really strategic, Machiavellian experiment. The new layer of complexity from the twist throws a wrench in all the hardcore viewers’ preconceived notions of how the game should play out. Also, I will never be a ‘fan’ of the Redemption Island twist for reasons too long to list here, but I’ll admit that, if it HAS to be done, the family members season was the time to do it.
Holmes: Since I would obviously be your loved one, what strategies would we have discussed going into this season?
Freberg: Obviously you would sacrifice yourself for me whenever I asked. Duh.
Holmes: That’s not very loving. Alright, we’re going to be doing a weekly wager here to spice things up. We’ve put a variety of topics into a hat. The loser of this week’s ranking will have to incorporate the topic into next week’s picks. And, it looks like the topic will be…’80s Cartoon Characters.
Freberg: Not ‘80s, I’m not that old.
Holmes: Fine, then just cartoon characters. However, I’m going to point out that the Ninja Turtles did start in the ‘80s.
Malcolm’s Current Score: 41
Any advice for Malcolm? Drop him a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW
Gordon’s Current Score: 42
Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
| 1. Aras – Most of the action at Galang was Colton- and Tyson-centric, so the status quo hasn’t changed. I suspect Aras has used all this free time to construct an open-air bamboo yoga studio complete with a wheatgrass bar and wind chimes.
|| 1. Aras – My exit interview with Colton shed a lot of light on the politics around Galang and apparently it’s an Aras lovefest. Between that and the way he spoke openly and honestly with Colton before Redemption Island, it’s apparent that Aras is playing the exact game he wants to be playing.
| 2. Tina – When she’s not signing up non-alliance members for pre-merge trial memberships at the Galang Hot Yoga, she’s calmly telling quitters to shove it and continuing to embarrass her child on national television. It’s actually been really impressive so far.
|| 2. Hayden – Sending John to Redemption Island made Hayden 100 times more valuable to Brad and the tribe as a whole. Best of all, Hayden doesn’t have any blood on his hands.
| 3. Hayden – He’s now proved that he’s a vicious killer of Mormon’s dreams and is probably not safe in the state of Utah anytime soon, but he’s in good shape on Tadhana’s beach. He’s a strong guy on a bad tribe that’s involved in the strategy discussions but not sticking out for being a threat yet.
|| 3. Tina – This wasn’t on purpose, but I’ve got all of the former champs at the top of my list. Tina’s golden right now. She’s the least threatening member of the dominant alliance in the dominant tribe. She’s also smart enough to know that the only time it’s safe to trash talk someone is when they’re in the process of quitting the game.
| 4. Vytas – If Aras runs a yoga studio, Vytas is the sensei of Cobra Kai. I support the taking advantage of a merciful enemy, but don’t get beat doing so or you create a hero out of your opponent – which, in this case, is the guy you already hate for being a hero. Ouch. Good things he’s still safe pulling the strings of Tadhana with Hayden.
||4. Gervase – Good for Gervase for being the cooler head at last week’s Redemption Island. It looks like he’s safe and sound in Galang’s old school alliance. Which considering how disastrously he performed in the premiere is a miracle. If Gervase makes the merge, and at this point I can’t imagine him not making the merge, he’s going to be a threat to win this thing.|
| 5. Gervase – Still not in love with the guy, but he’s safe working under Aras and Tina as loudmouth lightning rod/studio security. He’d be placed at the bottom of this list if murder was an allowable way to eliminate a castaway because Brad wouldn’t hesitate.
|| 5. Vytas – Brad booting John really opened the door for a lot of options at Tadhana beach. Could Vytas take the lead and send Brad packing? Absolutely. Is that the smartest move? Probably not. Best to let Brad keep on being Brad. As far as losing the immunity challenge to his younger sibling, that might turn out in his favor if they’re ever looking to get rid of the more-threatening brother.
| 6. Monica – I thought it was interesting that she sat the challenge, though I’m not sure how much to read into it. It may have just been that the moms asked to crush their daughters? Either way, Colton leaving clears away any doubt arising from her comments about possibly playing with him, so I think she’ll sit comfortably in the majority for a while.
|| 6. Tyson – Lost in all of the craziness of last episode was Tyson’s shoulder injury. Hopefully it isn’t too bad, because he has been tearing up the challenges so far. Also, when you see how Tyson treats Rachel, there’s no possible way he belongs on a “Villains” tribe ever again.
| 7. Caleb – His handling of Colton wanting to go home was perfect. Now he’s freed from that loud, pink polo-sporting burden and can quietly maneuver his way through the game. Oddly, we’re never hearing his take on all the chaos on Tadhana, which is worrisome for his odds of ever becoming an end-game force, but also means he’s not putting a target on his back early like some are.
||7. Monica – Welp…it looks like Monica is doing everything she should be at Galang. She seems to be well-liked and is in good with the cool kids. But how many times do her alliance-mates need to see their loved ones chewing out Brad before it starts to get to them?|
| 8. Tyson – Never let Rachel go. She should be awarded girlfriend of the year for telling her proven challenge-beast boyfriend to sit tight and trying to make a go of RI alone. Now, Tyson’s safe in his alliance and I really don’t think he’s in any trouble, but if that shoulder doesn’t get better quickly he may become a liability. But I hear some light stretching and breathing exercises may do great things for your recovery, speak to Tina for more details.
|| 8. Laura M. – There appears to be a five-person alliance in Galang, and Laura isn’t in it. Fortunately, there are a few more obvious cuts before they get to her. And the way things are going, it’s possible Galang might never lose immunity. If Laura can get to the merge, everyone had better watch out. She’s done well in the immunity challenges so far and she was a significant force in Samoa.
| 9. Laura M. – I knew those hesitations at the challenge were just for show — you couldn’t wait to run over dear old daughter. The moms are having their way with their daughters and it’s hysterical. A whole lot of silence in regards to the drama this week, so no real change in opinion.
||9. Caleb – So, Colton claims he quit because he knew he’d be voted out and Caleb would insist on taking this place at Tribal Council. That’s very sweet. But it makes me wonder if Caleb is going to be willing to make the cutthroat moves that are usually necessary to win this game.|
| 10. Laura B. – I’ve decided Rupert was never that good of a competitor, but that tie-dye imbues one with superhuman strength. She looked good in the challenge, but, just like her similarly named tribe mate, we didn’t hear much else, so this spot looks good I guess…
|| 10. Laura B. – Hey, I remember her! That may seem like a knock, but Laura is doing exactly what she needs to be doing. She’s being useful around camp, and she’s staying out of the drama. Once they hit the merge she’ll be able to coast and weigh her options.
|11. Katie – So the girls aren’t out of the woods by any means on Tadhana, but Katie gets a bump up because her loss to her mom was marginally less embarrassing than Ciera’s loss to hers, and Brad is doing everything in his power to get booted ASAP.|| 11. Katie – Well, the guys laid it out pretty clearly with last week’s vote. Katie and Ciera both did poorly in the challenge, but Katie helps around camp and Ciera doesn’t. The question is; is being the 2nd boot enough for Katie, or does she try to rally the guys against the now untrustworthy Brad?
| 12. Kat – She’s so stealth mode you don’t even know she’s still at Galang until she appears in the challenge just long enough to one-shot one-kill Ciera. Her problem is Galang doesn’t need physical competitors — they haven’t struggled in challenges. And, outside Colton, she’s the only name we’ve heard kicked around by the majority alliance. Lieutenant Corporal Sniper Edorsson looks like the first boot of Galang.
|| 12. Brad – OK Brad, you’re taking all of the bullets at Redemption Island. That sucks, but it’s something your tribe mates probably appreciate. But then you decide to weaken your floundering tribe by getting rid of John? Then you suggest Tadhana all stab John in the back while you get to keep your hands clean? You’re playing too hard, too early and now I’m doubting you’ll make the merge.
| 13. Brad – The Grand Poo-Poo of Tadhana is catching all the flak at RI and at camp for the decisions he’s making and the graceless way he defends them. Usually I’d insert something about not necessarily deserving it, but it’s starting to look like he deserves all of it and more. He’s the nail that’s sticking out the farthest, and he’s going to get knocked down sooner rather than later.
|| 13. Kat – There’s an older alliance at Galang and Kat just doesn’t fit in. Which is a shame, because she’s nice enough and has pulled her weight in challenges. Maybe she could use the Brad ill-will to turn people against Monica?
| 14. Ciera – Because Tadhana won’t sacrifice more muscle if they lose again. Because she was the girl Brad threw a vote at instead of Katie. Because she left her pulse at camp during the last challenge. And finally, because I think I cursed her by putting her #1 preseason. I’m sorry, Ciera, I’M SORRY.
|| 14. Ciera – Your number is up on a tribe that isn’t winning immunities and just booted one of its strongest competitors. Brad did you a favor by turning on John. Now you should return the favor by getting everyone else to turn on Brad. An obvious angle you can take is, “He can’t be trusted after turning on his buddy.” But, you could also try “I saw Brad with the idol.”
| Redemption Island Picks: Candice and John – I don’t mean to constantly doubt Marissa – I mean I guess I do since I keep doing it — but she’s not exactly getting through these challenges in grand fashion. Also, Candice has proven to be the RI monster, and now she’s going to be able to help out hubby dearest once she’s done with the challenge three hours before the other two.
|| Redemption Island Picks: Candice and Marissa – My first instinct was Team Cody all the way, but Marissa has proven she’s got some skills. I think I’m going to stick with this duo until they lose. Either way, I hope Candice wins the clue and then tosses it in the urn.
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