Posts Tagged ‘adam klein’

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 11: Crime Pays or Cirie-Demption? Edition

May 23, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

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.”


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

Advertisements

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 10: Double Tribal Trouble Edition

May 16, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Andrea is voted out this episode, Adam will receive seven points and Gordon will receive eight 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 Sierra in spot eight, while Gordon Holmes had her in spot nine. The current score is Team Adam 104, Team Gordon 101.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 104

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 101

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Sarah: For the first time in many weeks, Troyzan drops off the top spot, for one reason, and one reason alone: visibility. Two people will go home in one hour this week, and this is the same penultimate episode that sent home Will and Sunday last season, the two people with the least screen time of the final 8. So I am looking towards those who have had season-long narratives to be safe this week.

Sarah has had the most visibility of anyone left in the game and I cannot possibly imagine anyone else playing her new Legacy Advantage, not to mention we still haven’t seen her ‘backup’ (the vote steal) come into play. But beyond that, she is somehow in a great position in the game, with a lot of friends and allies, despite having at some point blindsided every single person on the merge tribe. Sarah continued to display her dominant social game when, despite voting out her friend and ally Sierra, Sierra STILL trusted her enough to give her the Legacy Advantage. WOW.
1. Troyzan: I can’t think of a single reason to get rid of Troyzan. He doesn’t bother anyone. He isn’t winning immunities. A jury isn’t going to give him the win. Add an idol to that and it might as well be his island…cause he isn’t going anywhere.

Quick Aside: Why aren’t more people talking about how Troyzan could have totally blown up the game last week with his idol?! Dooooo something!

2. Michaela: Michaela has had pretty solid visibility all season, and is in a good spot in the game. She continues to be in a power position with room to move, and is somehow still under the radar as a physical threat. She is in a strong position to run the numbers, and the challenges, into the endgame. 2. Tai: He’s packing two idols and he’s quickly running out of time to play them. If he feels any heat, he’s going take that quick walk up to Jeff’s podium. And if there’s a way to play them so he can get to the end with Troyzan and Brad, all the better.
3. Brad: Brad’s positioning in the game does not look great, but his edit tells a different story. To me, only Sarah, Brad, and Cirie have potential winning season-long storylines, and I just cannot imagine that the editors would want to leave only two in the game before the finale. Brad got what he needed from the family visit, and that should be the extra juice he needs to make it a couple more days to reach the finale. His scene with Michaela about being ‘blackmailed’ doesn’t look great, but you don’t blackmail the person you are sending to jury. 3. Michaela: Have we seen anything to make us think that Michaela isn’t just one of Cirie’s votes? She buddied up with Tai last week, but the end result was her voting with Cirie yet again. Right now she feels like a finalist who isn’t going to get any votes.
4. Cirie:  I am pretty sure this is the highest I’ve ranked Cirie all season, and with just one episode before the finale it’s a pretty spectacular placement for someone who came into the game as one of the biggest legends of Survivor, ever. If Cirie goes in 8th or 7th, she will already have far surpassed what many (myself included) expected. She has one of the few ‘winnable’ edits, but she still has to survive 5 more votes, all of them without immunity most likely. My best guess is that the others think that she will be easy pickings at final 6 or final 5 because she is a well-known super-threat that is unlikely to win immunity. 4. Aubry: Oh hey, Aubry. I wonder if you’re one of the best players ever to get an invisible edit. We’re just not seeing enough of you to make me think you’re going to make a huge impression on this game.
5. Troyzan: Troyzan takes a big dip this week because of visibility, but we also haven’t been given any reasons why he would be targeted. As a member of the shrinking minority, he may be tempted to finally play his idol, but I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which Troyzan gets targeted and blindsided with the idol in his pocket. In a secret scene this week, Troyzan defends his relatively quiet strategic game by saying that his social game could win over a jury, and it almost sounds as if he’s being asked by the producer, “why aren’t you making a move?” Troyzan is playing a deliberate game, but it’s not the kind of game producers love, and they could be punishing him for it with an invisible edit. 5. Cirie: I know it’s unprofessional to have a rooting interest, but I want Cirie to win. But, it’s tricky when you have no challenge skills and everyone else has some kind of weird advantage. I’m really worried that Andrea’s going to win immunity and we’re going to have one of those split-up-the-power-couple votes.
6. Tai: Credit to Evan, my brother, for coming up with this possibility: could Tai tell Cirie about his idol(s) in the next episode, ask her to do something she doesn’t feel comfortable doing, and then she uses that info against him to blindside him? It certainly would be a devious move that would have her wondering “could I pull that off?” The reason I think this kind of thing is possible is that Tai isn’t getting the edit of a winner contender, and yet, if he is able to successfully play two more idols, you’d have to put him up there as a frontrunner. So what that tells me is that, somehow, the idol plays don’t go well for Tai. If Tai survives this episode with both idols, he has a guaranteed place in the final 4… but I just don’t see that happening. 6. Brad: I’m so torn about Brad right now. He’s a likable, challenge immunity threat who probably can’t win at the end. But, he did just got some sound advice from one of the best players to ever strap on a buff.
7. Andrea: For once, I am not putting Andrea on the bottom! And yet, two people are going home this episode, so I might as well be putting her in last. I feel like a broken record when it comes to Andrea at this point, so I’ll be brief: Physical. Social. Strategic. All around threat. Arrows flying everywhere. One bound to hit eventually. 7. Sarah: “Oh my God, you guys…why did Sierra get voted out? I’m so surprised.” Those facial expressions may have earned Sarah the legacy advantage, but I’m sure her alliance wasn’t crazy about them.
8. Aubry: I honestly have no idea how this happens, but somehow, Aubry is going home this week. She is one of the best narrators Survivor has, and yet they have relegated Aubry to reward reaction gifs all season long. If she makes the finale, we should all write and complain about how robbed we were of glorious Aubry snark for 14 episodes. The only explanation I can come up with for this edit is that she goes home unceremoniously in the double boot hour. The Sunday and Will airtime curse strikes again! 8. Andrea: I gambled by keeping you out of the bottom spot last week and it paid off. But, two cycles of voting is just too risky. There are way better people to take to the end and you’re always going to be a challenge threat.


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 9: Boehl-of-the-Ball Edition

May 9, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Sierra is voted out this episode, Adam will receive eight points and Gordon will receive nine 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 Zeke in spot nine, while Gordon Holmes had him in spot eight. The current score is Team Adam 96, Team Gordon 92.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 96

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 92

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: It should not surprise anyone that Troyzan is, once again, at the top of my power rankings. His idol has not come up at all pretty much since he found it. Does that mean it won’t matter? It sure seems like absolutely no one is coming after Troy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he went all the way to final 5 without needing to play it. In secret scenes, Sierra talked about how the next person to go would be one of herself, Brad, or Tai, leaving out Troyzan. In Tai’s secret scene, he said the same and went further to say that it looked to him like Troyzan was with the majority. And in Troyzan’s secret scene, he talked once again about intentionally playing under the radar. The one thing that is confusing me is that I’ve been saying that Troyzan is likely to idol out Andrea, but if he never gets targeted and plays the idol, how does that happen? 1. Troyzan: I don’t remember the last person who has lived at the top of my rankings for soooooo loooooong. I guess that’s what happens when you’re packing…an idol. And when nobody is afraid to take you to the end.
2. Aubry: I think I’ve figured out what’s going to happen to Aubry. We have been seeing so little of her, but we know she gives great confessionals. So what gives? Last season, the penultimate episode got rid of both Will and Sunday in a one-hour episode, and both of them got little focus/content throughout the season. Based on the number of people left and episodes left, the same thing will happen in the same episode, and it would not surprise me at all to see Aubry go then. For now, she is well protected by Andrea and Cirie as bigger targets on one side, and Sierra and Brad on the other. 2. Michaela: Michaela isn’t making any moves, Michaela isn’t winning any challenges, and Michaela seems to be rubbing jurors the wrong way. There’s no reason to get rid of her.
3. Michaela: This week looks good for Michaela. Like Aubry, she is shielded by other bigger targets. But on top of that, she is shown in the preview making an alliance with Sierra, Tai, and Troyzan. She is still under the radar physically with great potential to win immunities down the line, so with options on both sides, Michaela could go far. 3. Aubry: Hey Aubry, you have the numbers, but your numbers are jam-packed with people who will probably beat you at a final Tribal Council. This odd-numbered vote might be your time to make a move.
4. Tai: With two idols and with Michaela potentially flipping to his side, Tai theoretically looks poised to take control of this game. And yet, his underwhelming edit makes me think that Tai will never really fulfill that potential. My only worry for Tai in the immediate future is that Michaela makes him think that she is flipping, but then sticks with the numbers and he goes home with the idols in his pocket. 4. Tai: It blew my mind that Tai didn’t play one of his forty idols last week. He must feel very safe. But, why? Is he secretly working with CirAndrea? And what does he do now that his alliance voted for him last week? I’m betting one of those idols makes its way into Jeff Probst’s hands this week.
5. Sarah: Sarah flipped on her alliance once to vote out Ozzy, then she flipped again to take out Debbie, then she voted out her closest friend and ally in the game. And yet, somehow, people still want to work with her! Sierra is even going to tell her about the legacy advantage!!! What that tells me is Sarah has to be playing one of the best social games in Survivor history. There is no sign whatsoever of any of the other players recognizing Sarah for the threat that she is, or even being angry for flipping. Sarah has blindsided every single person left in the game, so if they wake up to her maneuvering and control over the game, she’ll be seen as a threat and taken out. But I just don’t see that happening. 5. Cirie: Notice the way they made sure to show us that Cirie was the person who best knew how to pitch ideas to Sarah? Cirie is next-level good and everyone should be scared to death to go to the end with her. If the tide turns and Andrea wins immunity, Cirie could be a big target.
6. Cirie: Cirie is playing an incredible game. She entered Game Changers as one of the most threatening social and strategic players in Survivor history, and yet, she has still not been even considered as a target. She now finds herself in a relatively strong 5-person alliance with the potential to make it to the end game. If Cirie makes it to the end, she wins. But can she get there? In a season where just about all of the other pre-game threats were taken out early, it would be a miraculous achievement and amazing television. 6. Brad: Oh man, we’ve got the loved ones visit this week, don’t we? If Monica advises Brad to be a “neat lady” I will die laughing. Anywho, people want to play with Brad. People want to take Brad to the end. But, I’m not sure there’s anyone Brad can beat at this point.
7. Brad: Brad was looking so good before the merge, but he really seems to be in a pickle now. He is down in the numbers, the only one of his minority to not be shown in the preview strategizing with Michaela, and if he goes home in the episode where he finally gets to ask Monica, in person, what she would do, it would seem a fitting end for a man that has been all about family all season long. 7. Sarah: I really didn’t think Sarah was going to turn on Zeke last week. I wonder if she’s going to start to get a reputation of being too much of a flip-flopper.
8. Sierra: Now that the Zeke/Andrea rift has been decisively settled, the majority’s sights will be set right back onto the minority, and the ‘sheriff’ of that minority is likely to be the first to be targeted. There are some signs of hope, however. In Andrea’s secret scene, she talked about potentially letting Sierra in on the last vote, which suggests some degree of trust. Also, in Sierra’s secret scene, she says she is close with Cirie, Aubry, Sarah, and Andrea. Basically, everyone in the minority except for Michaela. So why, then, is she making a deal with Michaela in the next episode? If Michaela and Sierra truly don’t get along as we have been led to believe, I could see a scenario in which Michaela lulls Sierra into a false sense of security.

Finally, and importantly, is the revelation that Sierra will reveal the legacy advantage to Sarah. This could go one of two ways: it could solidify trust with Sarah, or it could make Sarah want to target Sierra to get the power out of her hands. The former seems more likely to me, which is why, one again…
8. Andrea: Alright, Boehlke. I’ve had you in the bottom for a while and you keep managing to stick around. All of your pre-season talk about not being a challenge threat was a joke. I still think you’re a goner if you lose immunity. But, nobody else seems to be stepping up.
9. Andrea: For the 4th (and probably not final) time, Andrea rounds out my power rankings. She is doing everything right. She is winning immunities, getting out her rivals, and building a strong resume to win this game. And as a result, she is continuing to elevate her threat level in the game. Sooner or later, someone is going to take a shot. If it happens now, it opens the game back up for Brad, Sierra, Tai, and Troyzan, and if it happens in a few votes, Sarah or Cirie could cruise to a win. The timing of this move will be paramount for the others, but I am still confident that at some point, the move will happen. If I am wrong again and again and Andrea ends up winning I am going to look like such a fool… But it would be amazing!  9. Sierra: Of all of the members of the minority alliance, you’re the last one I’d want to take to the end. You’re likable, you’ve played a much stronger game this time around, and you can probably dunk over me.. Aaaaand, you told Sarah that no matter what, you’ll get immunity at final six. I don’t think you’re going to make it that far.


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 8: Balance Beaming Edition

May 2, 2017

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Sierra is voted out this episode, Adam will receive eight points and Gordon will receive nine 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 Debbie in spot three, Gordon Holmes had her in spot four. The current score is Team Adam 87, Team Gordon 84.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 87

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 84

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: Didn’t get a chance to watch secret scenes this week so let’s just say that I am giving away my edge on purpose to give Gordon a chance to make up that 3-point deficit! Strangely, even though last week’s vote was a huge blow to my power rankings and a huge shake up in the game, my overall rankings haven’t changed all that much. I should be worried for Troyzan’s side, but it seems like that side has most of the narrative focus for this season, minus Cirie. I can compare it to my season, when even though my side was in the minority after the rock draw, most viewers could tell that somehow we would get back in power, since our edits were way more fleshed out than Sunday’s, Will’s, and Bret’s on the other side, and it wouldn’t have made sense to the story if they became the final four.

Troyzan keeps the top spot once again. He is laying low, has solid relationships, and isn’t anyone’s biggest threat. It also helps that Troyzan and his crew have all of the idols in the game, and so even if the numbers don’t switch up this week, they would likely put one of those idols to good use.
1. Troyzan: Man, Troyzan has lived at the top of these rankings ever since he found that immunity idol. The question now is; how can he win? Who should he be trying to get to sit with him at the end? Resume-wise, he can’t hold a candle to most of the remaining players. Everyone seems to like him, but nobody else is super hated. He’s going to need to up his profile soon if he’s going to take this thing.
2. Tai: Tai did well to lay relatively low in the last episode and I now think he goes from being the most likely of the (former) six to be targeted to now relatively safe. Sierra seems to be the biggest threat in the eyes of the other side, and then if Sierra wins immunity they would probably try to take out her right hand, which the edit is saying is Brad. Ironically, I actually think being on the bottom is a safer place for Tai in terms of not being blindsided with idols in his pocket. Now that he is in the minority, he should rightly be concerned about being voted out, and will be far more likely to plan an idol to keep himself safe. 2. Tai: After last week’s shake-up, everyone who was in trouble last week is still in trouble. (I’m looking at you Andrea, Zeke, and Cirie.) And, some people who felt safe last week are now in trouble. (Yup, that’s you Brad, Sierra, and Sarah.) Oddly enough, that leaves the guys who are packing idols on the outside. There’s no reason to target them at all.
3. Sarah: Sarah, despite flipping away from the six, has seemingly escaped the narrative that normally goes along with a ‘flipper’ such as Kass in Cagayan or Cochran in South Pacific. In those cases, the people that were flipped on were PISSED, and never willing to work with the ‘flipper’ again. And yet, somehow, through a superb social game, Sarah has both sides still wanting to work with her, as least according to what we’ve seen so far. She is keeping herself in a crucial ‘swing vote’ position, almost playing the game Will Wahl intended to play with his ‘pendulum strategy’ last season.

The main reason, though, why I still have Sarah so high is that after finding the vote steal advantage, she emphatically claimed that she would play it correctly. Whether or not it will be true, I have to imagine she will at least play it. So until she does, she most likely will be safe. Then again, Debbie was my number three last week, so what do I know!
3. Aubry: Finally, a little bit of luck for Aubry. Two factions are going to be jockeying for position and you’re not an obvious target for either one. Buuuut…you’re in that Troyzan boat where you don’t have any significant moments on your resume. You’ve gotta be looking for a chance to make yourself heard.
4. Aubry: This shakeup was huge for Aubry. It might just be the opening she needs to get back into the game, and it’s easily the highest I have ever ranked her this season. Maybe, just maybe, people will finally be willing to hitch their wagon to Aubry. What she needs to do is focus all her efforts on keeping the peace between Andrea and Zeke, because if they go at each other again before they take out someone else from the other side, all hell could break lose, as it did when Dave and Zeke went at it at the final 10 last season. With shields in Cirie as the biggest strategic threat and Andrea as the biggest physical threat, even if her side gets hit this week, Aubry should be safe. 4. MichaelaThe people who don’t like Michaela think of her as more of a nuisance than a threat. After last week’s blow-up, threats will be the most popular thing on the menu.
5. Brad: Since the merge, Brad’s edit has shifted, from being the man in charge to being Sierra’s second-in-command. As long as Sierra is in the game, she will likely be targeted first over Brad, unless of course she wins immunity. Brad still seems to have a lot of connections in the game and it will be interesting to see if he can pull anyone over to his side, as I don’t see him or anyone on his side turning on each other just yet. 5. Cirie: That was awesome when Jeff Probst was so supportive of Cirie during last week’s reward challenge. When I struggle in a challenge, all Probst says to me is, “I can’t believe your wife dedicated the rest of her life to a loser like you.” Anywho…I’d really like to see Cirie win this whole thing. I’m just not sure how it’ll happen. People have to know she’s risky to take to the end and it’s doubtful she could go on any kind of challenge run.
6. Michaela: Like Aubry, this shake up is huge for Michaela’s game. It gives her room to move and a chance to play from the top, where she will feel more comfortable both strategically and socially. And still, Michaela is doing a great job of hiding how physically capable she really is. I just hope she lasts long enough to see her go all out and beast some of these individual immunities. 6. Sarah: Welcome to the game, Sarah. You waited for your shot and you took it. I’m still not exactly sure why you targeted Debbie, she seems like one of the people you could have definitely beaten in the end. Now, how do you get to the end with people you can win against? And avoid the target that you’ve just placed on your back? I think you’ll have some room to maneuver these next few votes. You should take this time to start working toward your endgame.
7. Cirie: Cirie is back on top and, somehow, both from an in-game perspective and an edit perspective, actually has a shot to win this game. And yet, the chances that even her own group will allow Cirie to get to the very end of this game are so unfortunately low. She is a massive threat, playing a superb game, with an incredible story, who has now had an inspirational moment to boot. The only thing keeping her from being target number 1 is that others have other issues to see to first, whether it’s going after someone who is coming after you (Zeke/Andrea), someone who is likely to win individual immunities (Andrea), or needing to take out the leader of the other side (Sierra). 7. Brad: Brad is going to reach into the “What Would Monica Do?” gamebook and come out empty handed when he tries to find the “The Dominant Alliance I Was in Charge of Is Now on the Bottom” page. Monica never had to deal with that. Fortunately for Brad, he was kind co-in-charge with Sierra. Maybe it’s time to nudge her under the bus.
8. Sierra: If someone from the current minority is going to go home, it’s almost certain to be Sierra unless she wins immunity. Andrea/Cirie’s side see her as the biggest threat in that group, and even the edit has shown her to be the ‘sheriff’ calling the shots. If nothing changes and the most recent majority stays together, why wouldn’t they target the ringleader? The good news for Sierra is that it’s unclear whether Andrea and Zeke can continue to play nice, and she is tightly aligned with two people that have idols that could use it on her to even out the numbers. 8. Zeke: If I’m part of this season and I know that Zeke and Andrea have been tight since day one, and he turns on her without a really good reason, why would I want to work with him? It feels like this move would have been appreciated in the very strategy-centric “Millennials vs. Gen-X” season, but not in a returnee outing. And for that reason, as long as Andrea is around, Zeke will never be safe.
9. Zeke: Zeke and Andrea need to make up, and quick. At this same point last season, Zeke decided that he could no longer trust his ally Dave anymore, and they immediately went to war, resulting in a rock draw and a massive target on Zeke’s (and Dave’s) backs. Zeke needs to learn from that and be able to smooth things over with members of his (former) alliance. It is too soon to try to turn on your own, and if Zeke goes after Andrea again, he will start a civil war that may just be the end of his side’s chances. Unfortunately for Zeke, almost no one is really watching his back at this point with the exception of Sarah, so he could be a target for either side.  9. Sierra: When you said, “Sierra Dawn Thomas” before this season, the popular response was, “How is she a Game Changer?” Or simply, “Who?” Well, kudos to her for coming out swinging in her second go-around. Now that she’s on the bottom, she’s got to work that Zeke/Andrea rift like it’s her job. She’s got to wrestle it to the ground and tie it up with a rope and then stand with one foot on it. (That’s what rodeo people do, right?)
10. Andrea: Andrea is perennially near the bottom of my power rankings (and in the last spot for the 3rd time), and impressively has managed to survive time and time again. With Zeke and Sarah potentially in the driver’s seat, however, and with the other side interested in knocking out their biggest immunity threat, Andrea is still in hot water. She also has the bottom spot because I still have that scene in the back of my mind where Troyzan talked about not trusting Andrea when they were on Tavua. I feel like that has to matter at some point, unless it’s just like the summit from my season where something happens but there’s no real point. So even if the new majority stays strong, Andrea could still be idoled out. 10. Andrea: Andrea doesn’t have that end-game presence that a lot of “Survivor” legends have, but it’s time for her to start entering that conversation. She has challenge prowess, strategic chops, and a strong social game. The only reason she’s on the bottom of the list is because everyone is scared to death of her.


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 7: Whose-Line-Is-It-Anyway? Edition

April 25, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Sierra is voted out this episode, Adam will receive five point and Gordon will receive six 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 Hali in spot seven, Gordon had her in spot three. They both had Ozzy in spot thirteen. The current score is Team Adam 84, Team Gordon 80.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 84

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 80

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: Presumably, this week should be the easiest for power rankings of the season so far. There are 11 people left, and 6 of them voted together in the last episode. The episode title is literally “A Line Drawn in Concrete.” Importantly, according to secret scenes, the six mostly seem to think they each have a path to the end. For example, Zeke says, “Nobody knows that they are on the bottom of the alliance.” They need to get out at least two out of the five of Zeke, Cirie, Michaela, Andrea, and Aubry before they can pick off one of their own without losing their majority.

Troyzan is the safest of the bunch as he not only still has an idol, but he is laying super low, and intentionally so, according to a secret scene. He knows that becoming too likable, or telling a moving story, or beasting the challenges is going to prevent you from reaching day 39. So whoever has the inspiring moment at the challenge as teased in the commercial, I’ll put $10 on it not being Troyzan.
1. Troyzan: Nothing to see here, folks. Just an innocent bikini photographer, enjoying nature, not bothering anyone. Right now he’s got to be crunching the numbers, trying to figure out how he can use his idol to get to the end with the two least liked players on the island. Maybe…Michaela and Debbie? Either way, he’s not going to be a target as long as Sierra, Debbie, and Brad are around.
2. Sarah: Sarah has connections to just about everyone on the tribe. Theoretically, people could be pissed that Sarah ‘turned’ on the Andrea/Cirie side in the last vote, but in practice, that side still needs Sarah. Zeke, as well, claims to have “an indestructably tight bond with Sarah,” and that “Sarah and I have absolute trust with each other. I believe that Sarah will be loyal to me to the end.” So my take on the scene shown in the preview with Sarah and Zeke in the hammock is that Sarah is pulling Zeke into the next vote with her side, not that she is going to flip on her alliance. 2. Tai: When it comes to standing still in an immunity challenge, Tai is a champ. Unfortunately for him, it looks like this week’s event has some movement involved. But, there are bigger fish to fry at this point and Tai still has his double-idol security blanket.
3. Debbie: Debbie is actually in a fantastic spot right now. She was shown to lead the charge against Ozzy, has solidified a solid alliance that could take her to the finale, and then from there I think a lot of people might want to sit next to Debbie at the end. And even then, if she continues leading the charge, she could have an argument at FTC. 3. Sarah: Oh, Sarah…you are dying to make that big move. And, we all know that it’s best to make your big move during odd-numbered votes. So, do you do it now or wait two weeks? Without a solid resume, you’d be hard pressed to beat higher-profile players like Sierra. But, if you make the move now you’ll have to work with people the jury might like. Tough call.
4. Brad: Brad went from looking like he was in charge throughout the premerge to all of a sudden being talked about in the edit as if he is dumb and just going along with Sierra. It’s an abrupt shift in tone to be sure, but I know what it’s like for the edit to trash you at the merge, and this wasn’t all that bad. Even so, if there is some perception that Brad isn’t calling the shots right now, that’s a perfect position for Brad to be in. If he can sit tight with this group, he could be sitting at the end with people he can beat. 4. Debbie: Extra votes are so tricky. You played yours last week and can probably claim credit for kicking a Hall of Famer out of the game. Buuuuut…by playing that vote the Hall of Famer knows exactly who to blame.
5. Sierra: I called her side Team Sierra in last week’s power ranking, and sure enough, that is how the show began to present it as well. As the figurehead for her side, Sierra is going to be reaping the credit for the next few boots if they stay solid, but that will also continue to heighten her threat level within her group. Immunity with the Legacy Advantage at final six may just be perfect timing for Sierra. 5. Brad: Back when the season started, if I had told you that a cunning Sierra and a charming Brad would be running the show, would you have believed me? Game changer!
6. Tai: HOT TAKE ALERT: Despite what I think is a very unfair edit, I think you can make the argument that Tai is playing the best game of the season so far. It came out in Ozzy’s exit interviews that the whole deal with Tai trying to vote out Ozzy when Sandra went home was staged in advance, and Tai pulled it off so well that it convinced the viewers at home! Zeke recognizes this in a secret scene, saying, “Tai is a linchpin in the Nuku alliance to make everyone feel like they are not on the bottom.” Tai has played an idol successfully, beat out Ozzy for individual immunity, been on the right side of every vote, is in a strong majority alliance, and still has two idols!

Even so, I think he is the most likely of ‘The Six’ to be targeted. After very impressively winning the last immunity challenge and having already successfully played an idol, his threat level is rising. Once he plays two more, it will shoot through the roof. Tai needs to lay low, allow others to underestimate him, and then strike quickly and forcefully right near the end to snag the win and prove all the haters wrong.
6. Sierra: Sheriff Sierra has clearly learned from her past mistakes and seems to be in a great position this week. The only downside to the game she’s playing is if Sarah decides it’s time to make her Big Move(TM), Sierra is an obvious target.
7. Zeke: Despite becoming wholly untrustworthy to his (former) alliance with Andrea and Cirie, Zeke did still manage to vote with the majority, in the sense that he did what they asked him to do in voting for Aubry. As a result of that, I think he is the closest to the periphery of The Six, and likely to be brought in for a vote or two, especially by Sarah. Even if that happens, Zeke doesn’t seem to have a path to the end. Almost no one seems to want to work with him, despite his best efforts to make a big move happen. Zeke’s best bet is to sit quiet and let Sarah take him farther, but it’s really not in Zeke’s nature to do that. 7. Aubry: For being so unlucky, Aubry doesn’t find herself in a terrible position this week. Of all the people on the outside of majority alliance, she’s the one that seems the least threatening. If she can hang on until final seven, she might have a lot of options.
8. Michaela: Despite being a major challenge champion in the tribal portion of the game, Michaela has not stuck out so far as an individual immunity threat. I’m not sure this group knows how physically strong Michaela is as much as we recognized it on “Millennials vs. Gen X.” This is GREAT news for Michaela, because her side is lining up for the firing squad, and any reason that you might be a threat is going to get you shot down. Honestly, at this point, I would recommend that Michaela look as weak as possible and even throw immunity challenges. But… it’s really not in Michaela’s nature to do that. 8. Zeke: Oh, Zeke. Zeke, Zeke, Zeke, Zeke, Zeke. Ya gotta read the room, dude. This isn’t “Millennials vs. Gen-X” where everyone was best buddies and will overlook an attempted blindside. Andrea is a third-time player who is not yet on that Ozzy/Cirie/Boston Rob level that is probably going to get a fourth. If she can survive this week, she’s going to come for you.
9. Aubry: Aubry truly cannot catch any breaks on this season. She was on the outs on original Mana. She was on the outs on Nuku. She was on the outs again back at Mana, but gradually built up a relationship with Brad. Now, Brad is on the other side of the ‘Concrete Line’ staring down the barrel of a gun pointed in her direction. Ironically, her greatest strength in the game now is her lack of connections. When considering who on the other side is the biggest threat, is it really going to be the girl with literally no one left from her original tribe that she has ever worked with?  9. Michaela: So, everyone hates Michaela except for Cirie. (But, we haven’t been shown Michaela doing anything particularly annoying.) So, how long until that hatred makes Michaela a good person to consider taking to the end? I’ll put her in the same boat as Aubry as someone who has a real shot if she can survive the next few votes.
10. Cirie: Cirie has been shown to be connected to Brad, which may be the lifeline that she needs to stay alive another vote. She still is a massive threat in the game, and her chances of reaching the end have all but evaporated with Ozzy out of the game. If Cirie is seen as leading the resistance, she could easily be the next to go. 10. Andrea: I’m thinking this week’s vote will come down to Andrea’s A- strategy and A challenge prowess vs. Cirie’s A+ strategy and C- challenge prowess. Fortunately for Andrea, I don’t think they’ll take a straight average. I think with Ozzy gone, Cirie is the scariest player left in the game.
11. Andrea: First, I will let Andrea speak for herself: “By winning this immunity, it actually kind of maybe dooms me for the rest of the game. People won’t forget that I won the first individual immunity challenge.”

To back her up, enter Sarah: “When you win individual immunity and beat out 12 other people, it puts a huge target on your back that hey, boom, Andrea is an immunity threat.”
If you’re still not sure, enter Sierra: “Her being the first to win it absolutely puts a target on her back.”

Now, let’s consider that Sarah approaches Zeke in the preview and says: “We can make a move.” Zeke then excitedly announces to the camera: “Hell yeah I want to make a move!” Who would Zeke be excited about making a move on? Probably the person raking him over the coals back at camp after the last tribal council, who happens to be the same person he talks about in a secret scene, saying: “Andrea will turn on me in a heartbeat.” Andrea has fallen on the wrong side of the numbers, is a strategic threat, a challenge threat, and a social threat. And there’s still that random scene about Troyzan not trusting Andrea. If I had to bet on Andrea going vs. The Field, I would bet on Andrea.
11. Cirie: I loved watching Cirie mentoring Michaela last week. Talk about someone I’d place on the top of the list to teach a master class in “Survivor.” It hurts my heart to type this, but I think Cirie’s time has finally come. However, I will take solace in the fact that this season has really shown a new generation of fans why Cirie and Sandra are so special.


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 6: Merge Edition

April 18, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Sierra is voted out this episode, Adam will receive one points and Gordon will receive seven 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 Jeff in spot fourteen. I had him in spot thirteen. The current score is now Team Adam 64, Team Gordon 64.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 64

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 64

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Sierra: Whew. What a week. There is so much about real life to unpack from the last episode that is almost seems frivolous to do this ranking this week. At the same time, this is how this crazy game goes. Zeke doesn’t get to pause the game despite being outed in front of millions. There is no time to decompress, no loved ones to call home to. And so, we carry on.

Sierra has the option to play the legacy advantage this week if she feels any danger. She has been playing a rock solid game so far and if the preview is any indication, she seems to be involved in almost every conversation on the beach.
(This is too much info for most but for those who don’t freeze frame every shot of the preview and are curious, the groups shown are: 1. Sierra + Sarah + Andrea, 2. Brad + Troyzan + Ozzy – more on this later, 3. All women minus Sarah, Andrea, and Aubry, and 4. Sierra and Debbie).
1. Troyzan: I always try to figure out who the big players are going to be as we hit the merge. They tend to be the first targets. Brad’s got his people, Ozzy has his people, Sarah wants to make a move, Debbie has a bridge to mend. People like Troyzan have time to float. And float they should. As I always say, you can’t win the game early, but you can sure lose it. Add an idol to that and you have the safest person in the game.
2. Troyzan: So let’s try to figure out how this all plays out. Since the merge is 9 original Nuku and only 4 original Mana, the Nuku split is likely to happen almost immediately after the merge, and the Manas are likely to be used as numbers for the time being. I see two main sides forming. Since I believe the edit has been underplaying both of their impacts in their respective alliances, let’s call one side Team Sierra and one side Team Andrea.

Team Sierra: Sierra, Brad, Troyzan, Aubry, Tai
Team Andrea: Andrea, Ozzy, Zeke, Sarah, Debbie
Swings: Hali, Cirie, Michaela
When I get to each of the swings I will discuss where they are most likely to fall. For now, Troyzan gets the 2nd spot as he not only has an idol, but at least Zeke, according to his secret scene, thinks that he can swing him to his side. We know from the edit how unlikely that is, but Zeke and Co. do not. It’s always good if people think they can work with you down the line.
2. Tai: The man with two idols should sooper safe, but as Tai himself said, he’s bad at Tribal. Ozzy knows you’re gunning for him. And he knows that you possibly could have been swayed if Varner didn’t set the world on fire last week. I’m thinking this drives you back into the welcoming arms of Camp Culpepper.
3. Tai: If there was ever the time to play an idol with any hint of danger, it’s at the merge. Tai should find himself courted by both sides, as his old Mana 2.0 crew of Brad and Sierra will want him back, and his current tribe has signaled that they trusted him at least more than Varner. Based on the fact that he clearly doesn’t trust Ozzy, he played an idol for Sierra, and he is tight with Brad, I see Tai flipping back to Team Sierra. 3. Hali: Miss Merican! Lost in all of the terribleness of last week’s episode was Hali’s performance (and salute) in the immunity challenge. Adorable. Most of the original Mana tribe is gone, so I doubt the Nuku-strong vibe will last long.
4. Sarah: 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.” But in reality, we have seen Sarah support her tribe mates and stick to her original alliance. I’m putting Sarah up this high because we still haven’t seen the Big Move™ that has been teased for 7 episodes now. If this is the night it happens, it would make sense that it would be to turn on Ozzy, as she suggested doing in the last episode. 4. Michaela: Varner’s gone, Sandra’s gone, and Aubry is too smart to hold a grudge, that makes Michaela a free agent. There’s plenty of time for her to figure out which way the wind is blowing and decide which way to play it.
5. Andrea: I think Andrea is one of the least likely targets on her side, although idol fears could always screw that up. Ozzy is a much bigger physical threat and Zeke is now likely considered an end-game threat. One scene from the preview that has me puzzled is: why are Sierra, Andrea, and Sarah talking? If even Andrea is willing to flip on Ozzy than we may have a merge vote with an overwhelming majority like the first few boots of the season, but I don’t see how that would benefit her. In a secret scene, Andrea talked about how her group could pull in Cirie and Brad at the merge. Cirie I could see, but if she plans on trying to flip Brad, she’ll be ignoring others that are far more likely to join her side. 5. Aubry: “Survivor’s” unluckiest player has made the merge! And, she finally seems to have a foothold in an alliance. Surely that means Brad will be med-evaced this week.
6. Cirie: My next three are my three swing votes so I think these are the most important. I think Cirie will have options. In a secret scene, she talked about the Nukus on the other tribe as “my Nuku people,” and “my Nuku family.” But she also said, “reconnecting with Brad has turned out to be good,” and importantly, her renewed relationship was highlighted on the show. Equally as important is remembering her early content, which was all focused on her tenuous-at-best relationship with Ozzy. That storyline took a back-seat when they were separated at the 2nd swap, but it would make sense for it to come back now. Another editorial sign pointing to an Ozzy vote. 6. Andrea: Kudos to Andrea last week. While Sarah looked ready to tear the game apart, Andrea was the one who kept a cool head. That should serve her well once the merge feast leftovers are gone.
7. Hali: I’m not sure why anyone would target Hali right now except to avoid an idol play. I have no idea who she will go with. Logically, it would make sense that if she is on the bottom of the Sierra group, that she would attempt to find a new home with Andrea’s group. I think that makes the most sense for her. But she also doesn’t know them at all, and may decide that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Regardless, she should be safe. 7. Sierra: Your comment about being the new sheriff in town has me nervous for two reasons. One, “Survivor” loves to strike down people who make big claims. And two, are you referring to Sarah? Both of you should be hanging back and letting the targets have at it.
8. Michaela: Michaela, like Hali, is a woman without a home. She was once in a strong position on the Mana tribe surrounded by allies, but now pretty much all of those allies have been voted out, and we have no sense from the show, nor from secret scenes, of what she plans to do next or who she is looking to align with. The only hint, and it is minor, is the disinterest she was shown to have when Brad and others were connecting over their shared experience of returning home from Survivor. To be fair, Michaela has only been home from Survivor for 2 weeks, and has not yet seen herself on TV, so the disconnect is not all that surprising, but it could also be a subtle editorial hint that she will side with the Andrea group and turn on Brad. 8. Cirie: Oh good, Cirie finally gets to see what the Tribal Council set looks like. It’s cool. Take a minute to go to the top of the lighthouse and check out the view. I for one am psyched that Cirie made the merge. This is where she shines. If she can play the big dogs against each other, she can take this thing. But, she has to be careful not to show too much of the magic that makes people fear her.
9. Debbie: I’m guessing based on her blowup with Brad and the way she was welcomed into her new tribe that Debbie will stick with Team Andrea. Her problem is that she doesn’t seem to be in the core of either of the two groups, but there is good news. At least one person, Sarah, wants to take her to the end, according to Sarah’s secret scene this week, and I doubt she is the only one. If Team Andrea wins out, and frankly, even if they don’t, I can easily imagine Debbie in the final 3.  9. Brad: So, right now it looks like Brad has Troyzan, Sierra, Hali, Cirie, and Aubry on his side. Aaand…he has the potential to pull Tai and Debbie back into the fold. Aaand…it seems like he and Ozzy were close at the original Nuku. He has a lot of options. But, that power will also make him an early target.
10. Aubry: Aubry is in an interesting spot. She also doesn’t seem to have a real home, but at the same time, the edit highlighted her relationship with Brad, and in her secret scene she talked about being a better position on new Mana because she was “forming new bonds” and “mending old ones.” To me, that signals that she will stay with Team Sierra, but it would not be totally surprising for her to flip either. She is lucky that a couple of the people that were after her, Varner and Sandra, are now gone, and so I think the only person left that she probably doesn’t have the best strategic relationship with is Michaela. She will have to work quickly to establish lasting bonds, though, or she will quickly find herself alone and unprotected. Debbie said in a secret scene that she “wants to extend an olive branch to Aubry if the chance arises,” so there is a glimmer of hope. 10. Debbie: Was Cochran’s Mr. Miyagi speech too little, too late to help Debbie-San? Probably not. But, she is on thin ice if she wants to get back on the Culpepper train. If I were her, I’d make peace with him quickly, but then keep my eyes and ears open for other opportunities.
11. Brad: Brad has to be target #1 for Team Andrea. Or that’s at least what looks obvious to the viewers. The problem for Team Andrea is they don’t seem to realize that Brad isn’t on their side, and how well connected he really is. People that talked about working with Brad in secret scenes this week include Andrea, Cirie, and Aubry. On the show, you can add in Troyzan, Sierra, and Tai. That’s a lot of people that want to work with Brad. Brad also discussed in his secret scene about having an alliance early on with Ozzy, so presumably Ozzy might trust him as well. However, if he loses Michaela and Hali, which is very possible, and Andrea and Ozzy realize that he is not with them, Brad could be our surprise merge boot for this season. 11. Zeke: I can see the fallout from last episode’s disaster going one of two ways. Either the tribemates who rushed to his aid will feel closer to him and more likely to trust him. Or…they realize that going to the end with Zeke is a ticket to a second-place finish. I’m betting on the latter.

Also, guess which dummy thought it would be a good idea to break the ice with Varner during his exit interview by leading off with, “In the first Tribal, why did you target Ciera?” This guy. It did not go over well.

12. Zeke: Zeke had one of the most incredibly powerful moments ever seen on reality television, and he will rightfully be celebrated by many, both on his season and at home. The problem for Zeke, in the context of the game, is that he just had what I like to call a “Dave moment.” What I am referencing is the scene in my season at a reward challenge where Dave offered to sit out, and had a beautiful moment about what his Survivor experience meant to him. It was truly touching and brought many of us to tears, but it was also the moment I decided that there was no way I could go to the end with Dave. In addition to outing Zeke to the public and changing his personal life forever, Varner dealt a potentially fatal blow to Zeke’s game. I cannot imagine this group letting Zeke get anywhere close to the final 3, and the reason for that is truly heartbreaking. 12. Sarah: If I were a mad “Survivor” scientist and I tried to make the perfect person to win this game, my creation would come out a lot like Sarah. But…apparently during the process I may have accidentally knocked over a beaker of “Feels the Need to Make Big Moves at Times When They Are Unnecessary” into the mix. If she’d just relax, she’d be in a great spot to pick and choose her allies. Instead, I’m worried she’s gonna do something risky just to fulfill her “Play like a criminal” philosophy.
13. Ozzy: Ozzy is a master at getting to the merge (4 for 4!), but the modern post-merge game is simply too long for someone like Ozzy to stand a real chance of getting to the end unless they are someone that everyone knows they can win a jury vote against. Ozzy is not that guy. And all signs point to this being his swan song. Tai has targeted him, Cirie has voiced concern over his presence in the game, Sarah considered turning on him already, Zeke talked about only needing Ozzy for “a couple votes” in a secret scene, and most clearly of all, in another secret scene, Brad, a former ally, explicitly states all of the following: “Ozzy’s too good.” “No way I’m getting back with Ozzy.” “He’s going to be target #1.” “I’m not connected to him. I’m all for getting him out early.” In the preview, he is shown talking to Brad and Troyzan, two people he likely thinks he will be able to trust, but that he most certainly should not. If Ozzy is able to turn this around and win this game, it will be one of, if not the most incredible win of all time. 13. Ozzy: Welp…it’s merge time. Which means there’s never a bad time to send Ozzy packing. Fortunately for him, a lot of the big challenge threats are long gone. Unfortunately for him, the individual challenges rarely reward speed and strength. Add to that the fact that he has to survive two episodes this week, and I just don’t see it happening.


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 5: Long-Live-the-Queen Edition

April 11, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive eleven points and Gordon will receive eight 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 Sandra in spot twelve. I had her in spot fifteen. The current score is now Team Adam 50, Team Gordon 51.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 50

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 51

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: As the merge nears, I am going to not only evaluate who is likely to go home in this episode, but also what the edit is telling us about who are key players to watch out for post-merge.

Troyzan’s idol keeps him on the top of my list, but more important is what happened in the last episode. While we had a great ‘swan song’ exit episode for Queen Sandra over on Nuku, literally the only piece of content we got from Mana was the budding alliance of Troyzan and Brad. According to the producers and editors, that is the only storyline that was important enough to follow on that tribe. Also, in the preview and in the commercial, all of the strategic content is focused on Mana. No one has been named as a potential target on Nuku, so my bet is on all of Nuku remaining safe into the merge.

1. Troyzan: Ah…Tavua…we hardly knew ya. (Sorry about that.) And thumbs up to Troyzan for managing to weather that storm with his idol in his pocket. Add that to the fact that he won’t be the main target if New-New-Mana goes to Tribal and you have any easy pick for the top of this list.
2. Brad: The Troyzan/Brad scene was seriously hitting us over the head with the fact that they want to work with each other. They both had multiple confessionals about it. Why? This is a pair that matters. With original Nuku in the vast majority, Brad seems like he’s in a great position to slaughter Sandra’s army and run all the way to the finish line. 2. Zeke: Queenslayer! I am bummed that Tony, Malcolm, and Sandra are gone. But, kudos to Zeke for getting rid of one of the most dangerous players in the history of the game. That being said, I’m not sure if he can continue to play the happy-go-lucky super fan card anymore.
3. Sierra: It’s clear that Sierra is in just as good with Troy and Brad as either of them are with each other, but this story isn’t been told from her perspective, as the Troy/Brad scene indicates. With only 4 confessionals so far in 6 episodes (despite having the legacy advantage and getting an idol played on her), Sierra is a supporting character for Brad as far as the edit is concerned. 3. Brad: Bro, you want to be my bro, bro?  Fist bump.
4. Andrea: Andrea jumps up massively in my rankings after the last episode. The only hint at her exit was from Troyzan, and now that they are separated, my fears of Troyzan idoling her out have been (at least for the moment) put on hold. She also finds herself solidly in the majority on Nuku and no one has any reason to come after her. However, like Sierra, Andrea has had only 4 confessionals, less than anyone else, and doesn’t appear to be a key character in the story of the season. 4. Sierra: Looks like we’re in for another round of the Sierra and Brad Show. My question is; who would you rather sit next to at the end? The loud guy who has a history of rubbing people the wrong way or the subtle woman who has the doesn’t-actually-do-anything reputation?
5. Sarah: “Silent assassin.” “Playing this game like a criminal.” “I know how to lie to these people.” Now she’s “irate.” So far, Sarah has been allowed by the edit to talk a big game, without us actually having the chance to see it. They have been teasing us for weeks that Sarah’s big move is coming – could this finally be the week? Possibly. But until we see something big from Sarah, she should be safe. 5. Andrea: Tai bringing up Ozzy’s name at Tribal is not something Ozzy is going to forget anytime soon. That’s good for you. If your alliance does split, you’ll get to decide which way to go.
6. Debbie: Debbie lucked into an advantage, safety from Tribal Council, a chance to work through her game with a former winner, a feast, a break from the stress of the game, and finally a tribe filled with her former tribe mates with bigger fish to fry. Debbie is supposed to be great at balance, but it sure seems like she’s either the ultimate champion or the ultimate victim. This week, the scales tip in her favor. 6. Sarah: I feel like you are just itching to do something right now and there is no need. You’ve got a case of Tony-itis. You have a super-clear path to the merge. Just keep your social game up and wait for your chance to make the move that gets you to the end with the people you want.
7. Zeke: Zeke was given editorial credit for playing Sandra and Varner and taking out the best player in the history of the game. That’s no small feat. This was exactly the kind of episode that Zeke needed in order to have a shot at the title, but it also puts his neck out as a bigger target moving forward. If Varner is going to blame anyone for Sandra’s exit, it’s probably Zeke. Still, it seems that Ozzy is a bigger alternative target according to the preview, so he should be able to make the merge. 7. Debbie: An all-expenses-paid dinner date with Cochran? Instead of “Exile” they should have just called it “Heaven.” Seriously though, John is right. (I’ve known him long enough to call him “John.”) You need to mend that fence with Culpepper ASAP. That whole affair was ugly and may have soured that entire tribe against you.
8. Tai: I have seen so much hate on Tai’s gameplay this season, but the results speak for themselves. The man has survived three Tribal Councils, found three idols, played one successfully, and solidified a solid alliance with Brad, Sierra, and Debbie. He got heat for his actions at the last tribal, but he had good reasons to be worried, and correctly felt like his former tribe mates were throwing his name around. At home most of us were thinking Tai needed to play an idol, but he knew better. His tribe does seem to suspect that he has an idol, so they will be hesitant to go after him until they can split the votes. Long term, I am worried about the perception of Tai from both the players and the audience. I know what that’s like. But my game (and my edit) showed that a player like Tai, who looks paranoid on the edit but is actually playing a solid game, can benefit from low expectations. 8. Michaela: I just have a hunch that the Old-Nuku, New-One-Worlds-Apart alliance is going to pick Michaela over Aubry or Cirie.
9. Cirie: Cirie is a huge question mark moving forward for me. She hasn’t had to go to Tribal Council yet, so it would be helpful to know what she’s thinking, but we didn’t get her take on her new tribe. Not a great sign. While she hasn’t received enough focus to make a Cirie win a real possibility, I think her potential swing position on this tribe will allow her to at least make the jury. But with fewer and fewer original Mana left in the game, Cirie will be forced back into a dynamic of mostly original Nuku, which left her feeling on the outs early on.  9. Hali: I do not care how much you deny it; I think you and Sierra are still a thing. Fortunately for you, the people she’s currently working with need numbers.
10. Hali: According to secret scenes, Hali did a decent job of at least giving her previous Mana tribe some indication that she might stick with them, although the relationship is tenuous at best. Brad described it as “cat and mouse” and although he didn’t love that this was the case, he called Hali his “number 2” when first looking at the new Mana. Hali herself says she’s in good with both her original Mana members as well as Brad and Sierra, so she should be able to play both sides long enough to last until the merge. 10. Tai: People with thirty idols should be on the top of this list, Tai! I’m sorry, but you’re game is too erratic. I wouldn’t be surprised if you traded those idols for a handful of magic beans.
11. Michaela: We have no idea who would have been on the chopping block from the edit had Mana lost, but my guess is that it may have been Michaela, in order to weaken Sandra. Now that Sandra is out, Michaela’s threat level diminishes somewhat. At the same time, there seem to be fewer and fewer people around that are connected to Michaela, so she is going to need to move quickly to create new and strong relationships when the merge hits. 11. Ozzy: Aligning with Tai is like carrying a coffee cup that is filled to the brim. You know it’s a bad idea, but you convince yourself that if you’re slow and steady enough you can make it work. At this point, Ozzy should be scared to death of how close he came to getting burned last week.
12. Aubry: Poor Aubry just cannot seem to find her footing in these tribes. She could not keep the peace between Tony and Sandra at original Mana, was kept in the dark by her original tribe mates when they voted out JT, and now seems to be on a tribe where no one needs her vote. I’m sure she would be happy to flip on Mana, but Brad and Sierra seem to be more likely to use the votes of others, like Troyzan, Hali, and/or Cirie. If Mana does go to tribal council, I don’t see anyone going to bat to save Aubry just before the merge. 12. Aubry: Aubry needed that tribe swap the most. There was no way Michaela, Varner, and Sandra were going to turn on each other at that point. But now, you’ve got Brad and Troyzan as an alliance with Sierra…and possibly Hali. It seems like a mess. Maybe there will be a third swap…
13. Ozzy: There are a couple ways Ozzy could end up going home. One way is that Varner could join the others in targeting Tai, and Tai could idol out Ozzy, but that seems unlikely because they seem to suspect that Tai has an idol and would be very wary of targeting him. The other possibility is that Sarah could flip to Varner with Tai and someone else (Zeke has expressed interest in working with Varner and Sarah can be seen talking to Andrea in the preview), finally making the Big Move(™) that has been teased for weeks. The previews could also just be a red herring, as Ozzy seems pretty well insulated on Nuku, but regardless, there is no question that the target on his back is getting bigger and bigger as the merge approaches. 13. Varner: Whatever went down at last week’s Tribal was bad news for Varner. Tai was comfortable enough to not play one of his thirty idols. Which means, Varner is the low man on the totem pole. His best bet is to encourage another Debbie meltdown.
14. Varner: This game has been all about numbers: original Mana vs. original Nuku, and I don’t see that changing right before the merge. No one on original Nuku seems to want to strike first blood, so they just continue to cripple original Mana. Varner’s only real hope is that others want to take out Ozzy before he reaches the merge and can start taking down individual immunities. 14. Cirie: Has Cirie had a solid alliance yet? It’s hard to know seeing as she’s never been to Tribal Council. She was safe at Tavua because Ozzy needed her. But, I don’t think anyone needs her right now. She’s better hope for more challenge puzzle miracles.


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

‘Survivor’ Power Rankings Round 3: Won’t-You-Fly-Freberg-Yeah Edition

March 28, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive three points and Gordon will receive seven 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 had Malcolm in spot five, while Gordon him in spot four. The current score is now Team Adam 23, Team Gordon 20.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 23

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 20

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Sierra: Took a big hit last week with Malcolm, but I was right in thinking that the unknown twist could mess everything up. Malcolm never would have gone home if his own tribe voted, and my rankings this week are taking into account that last week was an anomaly. I anticipate that the tribes will go back to their previous status quo for the most part. Sierra is in a very comfortable position with a strong alliance on Mana, and is the only person in her alliance not being yelled at by Debbie in the preview. Safe. 1. Troyzan: Welp…I’d like to thank Malcolm for making it so I’ll never look at Troyzan the same way. Add an idol to that and it’s clear that some guys have all the luck.
2. Troyzan: Even in secret scenes, Tavua players are still talking about Troyzan like he’s an easy vote. They clearly have no idea he has an idol, so I imagine they are going to clearly telegraph to Troyzan if he does end up needing to play it. He could also share it to create some new allies. 2. Tai: I don’t think it was worth burning an idol to keep someone safe so early in the game. But, between Hali being on the outs and this odd Debbie/Brad blowup, nobody is going to be targeting you. Except for me. Because you took Malcolm from me. You are lucky that they don’t give random middle-aged journalists a jury vote. Because I swear, on everything that I believe in, that I would never, EVER vote for you. From this day until the day the Sun above burns out…that’s how long I can hold a grudge. From now on, every time I sink my teeth into a chicken sandwich or a buffalo wing, I’ll consider that a tiny measure of revenge for what you did to me. Consider me the opposite of Sia.
3. Michaela: Malcolm talked about how he wanted Michaela gone next from Nuku in exit press, but he made it sound like he was never going to get his way on that. And now, with Malcolm gone, Michaela seems even safer than before. 3. Sierra: Boy, did you dodge a close one last week. If JT doesn’t spill the beans, Tai has a one-in-five shot at making the right call. And with those odds, he might not have done it at all.
4. Brad: The Brad, Sierra, Debbie, Tai quad sure seems like the strongest alliance in the game. But what is going on with Debbie in the preview?! Even if Debbie turns on Brad (or vice versa) she doesn’t have the numbers to send him home. 4. Zeke: How much is Zeke loving life right now? His tribe is dominating, he’s not a target, and he can listen to Cirie and Ozzy tell classic “Survivor” stories.
5. Varner: With JT in hot water, Sandra a perpetual target, and Aubry still without a strong foothold within Nuku, Varner should be relatively low on the kill list. His consistently underwhelming challenge performance is the only thing that could get him into trouble. 5. Sarah: Jefferson Starship once told a differently spelled Sara that “no time is a good time for goodbye.” This is a lie. There will come a time where you need to say goodbye to this classic Nuku alliance. The question is, “When?”
6. Zeke: In a secret scene, Cirie worried that a big fan like Zeke might want to live up to the ‘Game Changer’ title and take her out down the line. That could be a reason for her to gun for Zeke, but for now he seems to be in a really good position on Tavua. (Side note: Zeke also talked about not giving a “rat’s-patootie” about winning reward challenges, and as someone who didn’t get a food reward until day 26, I can confirm that neither food nor coffee wins you the game.) 6. Varner: Ah…Jeff. You coughed up a huge lead in the challenge that sent Nuku to the nightmare Tribal. But, there are much bigger fish to fry right now.
7. Sandra: Queen Sandra still has a massive target on her back, but I still have faith in her relationships on Nuku to carry her through. JT just doesn’t have the numbers to get rid of her. Only way she goes out, I think, is if JT finds and plays an idol. 7. Michaela: Is Michaela clicking with anyone out there? That’s going to cost her later in the game, but right now she should be OK. Especially in a tribe that just lost one of their best challenge performers.
8. Cirie: What happened to Cirie vs. Ozzy? Are they beyond that now? Cirie seems well integrated on Tavua but I have to imagine that at some point the story with Ozzy will lead us somewhere. 8. Brad: After last week’s miracle, I’d imagine your alliance would be clicking on all cylinders. But, Debbie’s mega-freakout has me a little concerned. What could you have possible done in-between Tribals to upset someone so much?
9. Ozzy: The closer we get to the merge, the more likely Ozzy will be to go home. I still think it’s too soon, though, and both Cirie and Ozzy will keep their knives in their pockets for the time being.  9. Cirie: Of everyone at Tavua, Cirie seems like the most likely to reach out to Troyzan. That could land her in trouble…but she’s also reaching out to a guy with an idol.
10. Tai: TAI!!! What an idol find and play. How much can one guy do to prove his loyalty? He voted out his buddy that wasn’t in the alliance, and now he saved an alliance member with his idol. He should be rock solid now with Brad, Sierra, and Debbie, but Debbie going off on him is clearly concerning. 10. Debbie: Your blow-up in the trailer was so big and dramatic. Is it a ploy to throw someone off another plan? And if so, why continue it during an interview? Something doesn’t add up.
11. Sarah: Sarah said she was the “silent assassin” in the premiere and now in the preview she says she’s “playing this game like a criminal.” We’ve seen the silent, so it seems like now is the time for the assassin. This episode will either be her epic flameout or her coming out party, and I would guess the latter. Could she align with Troyzan to turn on one of her own? 11. Sandra: You’re never, ever safe. Ever.
12. Aubry: It seems like Aubry is always surviving by the skin of her teeth, but has yet to ever be target #1. She needs to hang on a little longer until her situation changes, but as long as Sandra is on her tribe she won’t be safe. 12. Ozzy: I don’t think you’re going home this week, but I wouldn’t put it past Troyzan to make you the victim of an idol play. I also wouldn’t put a preemptive strike past Cirie. 
13. Debbie: I actually have no idea what Debbie’s freak out could possibly be about. Tai’s idol play? No, she knew about the idol. The Malcolm vote? No, she was in on that. Could she stumble upon the others finding an idol and not telling her? Or are they turning on her to save Hali for some reason, and she finds out? That all seems pretty implausible but whatever it is, it’s likely to put her in hot water. 13. Aubry: I didn’t know Aubry and Sandra weren’t getting along until my Malcolm exit interview. If Sandra wants to keep the tribe strong, Aubry could be in for a long night.
14. Andrea: We didn’t see much of Tavua, so the best I can go on is that if they lose, they vote for Troyzan and he idols out Andrea, since she’s the only one he has negatively referenced. Sarah’s preview confessional is telling, though, that there could be a major switch up. 14. Andrea: We don’t get to spend much time with Tavua, so Andrea is still my pick for the most likely to get idoled out.
15. JT: I would not want to be poor JT coming back to camp after that Tribal Council. He lost his only potential ally and his whole tribe blames him for Malcolm’s elimination. He better win immunity or find an idol, because I don’t see a path out of this otherwise. 15. Hali: If you were Sierra, would you protect your Dirty 30 sister who kinda tried to throw your alliance under the bus or the gardener who just coughed up an idol to keep you safe?
16. Hali: Hali was clearly uncomfortable with the status quo as they headed to a vote, and was vocal against Brad at tribal council, even plotting with Nuku to vote him out. You would think she would be a clear target if they lose, given how much loyalty the other four have shown to each other. Could be it that simple? I’m thinking that yes, it could be, and Debbie’s explosion is momentary and a red herring. 16. JT: Remember when you gave an idol to Russell Hantz? I don’t think that was a stupid move, it was a big gamble. Remember when you told Brad who to play an idol for? Yeah, that was probably a stupid move.


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 2: Double Tribal Trouble Edition

March 21, 2017

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive four points and Gordon will receive eight 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 had Caleb in spot eighteen while Gordon had him in spot sixteen. So, the current score is Team Adam 18, Team Gordon 16.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 18

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 16

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: This is another tough week to rank with two tribes going to tribal council and an additional undisclosed twist (mentioned by Probst in an interview) that could shake things up. That said, I have a hard time imagining anyone in my top 8-9 going home this week. Troyzan shoots up to the top of my list with guaranteed protection stuffed into his crotch. As the lone ex-Mana member, Troyzan should remember to pull out his protection if he senses any danger. If he does, the question becomes: who takes the fall? 1. Troyzan: You’re alone and you’ve got an idol. You’d be a fool not to play it at the next Tribal if you’re in danger.
2. Sierra: Sierra has the legacy advantage, a tight alliance, and Hali on the side as another option. She seems to be sitting very, very pretty. 2. Brad: He interior (exterior) decorates and he’s smart enough to make it seem like Tai is making the decisions? He’s got a new Brad-ittude!
3. Brad: Brad was able to pull Tai cleanly onto his side (along with Sierra and Debbie), and seems to be in a great position on his tribe and in the game. Monica (and Martha Stewart) would be proud of not only his game so far, but also his home decorating. 3. Sarah: You can’t win “Survivor” before the merge, but you can sure lose it. Sarah is playing the perfect game for someone who is underestimated and trusted. She’ll have plenty of opportunities after the merge.
4. Michaela: Like I said last week, Michaela is an important challenge contributor and in a majority alliance. No worries. If she can continue to solidify trust with her old Mana teammates, she could be in a really good spot moving forward. 4. Malcolm: It looks like JT is going to try to take Sandra’s place as Malcolm’s shield. I think that’s the wrong play. Targeting Jeff or Aubry and offering Malcolm TWO shields seems much better.
5. Malcolm: Same boat as Michaela. I was worried about Malcolm’s ego, but there was no indication of it causing him any trouble in the last episode. He seems to be having fun and laying relatively low, which is exactly what he needs to do. 5. Tai: I couldn’t play with Tai. It seems like whoever gets his ear last gets his vote. So, while his chickens are allowed to run around leashless, if I were Brad and Debbie, I wouldn’t afford Tai the same luxury.
6. Jeff: I was worried that Varner would overplay the pre-merge again, but he seems to have done well with this swap and seems to feel good with the other former Manas on Nuku. 6. Zeke: The big question this week is going to be; if Tavua goes to Tribal, who will Troyzan idol out? I doubt he has any reason to target lovable Zeke at this point.
7. Zeke: According to a secret scene, Zeke is in an alliance with Cirie, Sarah, and Andrea, and believes that Ozzy trusts him more than anyone. That’s a great setup for him if his read of the situation is accurate. The only problem is he thinks Troyzan is an easy boot, but Troyzan has an idol. Luckily for Zeke, I don’t see him as Troyzan’s most likely target. 7. Varner: Holy cow! Look who won his first immunity challenge in sixteen years! I’m betting he’ll see his first merge since then pretty soon too.
8. Sarah: We haven’t heard too much from Sarah, but she seems to be in a solid majority, and isn’t being targeted by anyone. Should be safe for now. 8. Michaela: The swap really worked out for Michaela. The JTs and the Sandras of the world can duke it out while she improves on her challenge resume.
9. Debbie: Debbie seems to be working really well with Brad and Sierra, and seems to be pretty well trusted on her tribe. I don’t see anyone gunning for her next.  9. Cirie: Hopefully all of that Cirie vs. Ozzy chatter will calm down now that they need each other. I wouldn’t mind them pairing up as kind of a Micronesia-Renaissance-Brains-and-Brawn kinda duo.
10. Cirie: I think the show is making Cirie seem like she is in more danger than she really is. Zeke claims to be in an alliance with her (and Sarah and Andrea) in a new secret scene, and we see the two of them enthusiastically assuring each other after the swap, but we were led to believe that Cirie was on the outs at Nuku. Everyone loves an underdog, but I’m not sure Cirie really is one at this point. 10. Debbie: The Debbie/Brad pre-season alliance is in full force. What started as scribbling in a book is now a mighty force to be reckoned with. Their next challenge is; do you trust loose lips Tai or do you hope that Sierra is telling the truth when she says she has no ties to Hali? Tough call.
11. Sandra: JT was shown saying in the preview that “Sandra is dangerous,” but I think it’s a red herring. JT doesn’t have the pull to turn this group against Sandra, I don’t think. If JT is able to find that idol, I could see how Sandra might be in trouble, but the smarter move for JT would be to use the idol to get Sandra on his side. They would be much stronger together than against each other. 11. Aubry: Sandra wanted Aubry out in the first vote. Sandra voted for Aubry in the second vote. You might be tempted to work with JT, but this might be a better time to form something more concrete with Sandra.
12. Ozzy: Ozzy seemed to be doing well at Nuku, but if Zeke’s secret scene confessional is to be believed, he’s not as well-trusted as it looks like he is on the show. To me, it seems too early to get rid of Ozzy, but I’ve changed my mind about who might win out if the Cirie vs. Ozzy battle intensifies. 12. Sandra: One of Sandra’s greatest gifts is her ability to deflect attention away from herself. That’s why it was amazing that she couldn’t read the room better when goat-gate was going down. Fortunately though, I think too many people are invested in her survival at this point for her to go home.
13. Tai: In the commercial and preview, Tai can be seen running around the beach and talking about “fireworks tonight.” That could be a good thing and mean Tai will find an idol, or it could mean Tai is overplaying and going to get himself into trouble. 13. Ozzy: If an idol is played and Ozzy goes home, Tavua will be in big trouble at challenges. Then they’d need to consider keeping Troyzan around longer.
14. Aubry: In a secret scene, Aubry confesses to feeling like the odd one out amongst the former Mana members on Nuku. I am never going to feel like Aubry is safe as long as Sandra, who cast a vote against her already, is on her tribe. If there is any worry that JT has an idol, Aubry will likely take the fall. 14. JT: Your little boat stratagem would have been the stuff of “Survivor” legend if it had worked. And, goat-gate might’ve changed the way Sandra’s alliance feels about her. But, I’m betting you’re the most likely victim of the buff swap.
15. JT: I was hoping JT would find an idol in the last episode, but without one he seems to be in very serious danger. He wasn’t able to improve his position within his tribe at all, and he is still idol-less. I don’t think that JT’s “uprising” as teased in the preview will work, so I think it’s idol or bust. 15. Sierra: You claim that you aren’t close with your former Dirty 30 buddy but a pair of matching tattoos tells a different story. If you try to protect Hali too much you could find yourself Worlds Apart from the million.
16. Hali: Hali should probably be scrambling for an idol at this point. She has to realize that she is in deep danger of going home next if Mana loses again. Brad, Sierra, and Debbie seem tight, and now Tai has proven his loyalty to them by voting out Caleb. It wouldn’t make for brilliantly exciting television, but Hali is the most likely Mana member to leave the game. 16. Andrea: So, Troyzan has found an idol on his new island. Aaaand…the only person he seems to have beef with is you…
17. Andrea: Andrea should not be all the way down here. She should be right up there with Zeke and Sarah. In a secret scene, Andrea confirms that she is in a strong position and that there is no reason to include Troyzan in her plans. She calls him a “really easy vote off.” Unfortunately for Andrea, Troyzan now has an idol, and there was a scene with Troyzan in the last episode that heavily hinted at problems for Andrea in the near future. Andrea was the only person on the tribe that Troyzan has said anything negative about, so if the former Nukus stick together and vote for Troyzan, it is likely that he would send Andrea home with his idol. Combine that with low visibility in the first two episodes and Andrea seems to be in real deep trouble. 17. Hali: You were pretty lucky to survive last week’s vote. Caleb is probably the strongest person in the game and even if they wanted to break up the Tai and Caleb showmance it could’ve waited a while. The question now is; will Sierra have your back this time around, or will she stick with the former Nukuians?


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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round One: Queen’s Greatest Hits Edition

March 14, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

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.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

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 players will earn. For example, if Michaela is voted out this episode, Adam will receive one point and Gordon will receive twelve points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Donate to the #LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

Adam’s Score = 0

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 0

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Michaela: This is a tough week for Power Rankings, since we only know one of the tribes from the preview. That tribe is the Nuku tribe, consisting of 5 old Mana members (Sandra, Aubry, Michaela, Varner, and Malcolm) and one old Nuku member (JT). To me, the safest person on this tribe is Michaela, as she is solidly in the majority of the majority and will be needed for her strength in challenges. According to Tony’s exit interviews, Michaela was never really a target on Mana, and so the danger she was in seems to have been artificially inflated by the edit. 1. Sarah: Seriously? A swap right before the first round of Power Rankings? Probst is messing with me. And I just made these graphics! Urgh… Alright, one of the benefits of being an original Nukunian is the fact that you never went to Tribal and thus, never had to show your hand. Someone like Sarah who’s viewed as loyal and a challenge asset should have no problems.
2. Malcolm: Malcolm, like Michaela, will be in a strong position on new Nuku, as he is also in the majority and an asset for challenges. The only thing that I could see going wrong for him right now is if Michaela continues to be frustrated by having to play second fiddle to Malcolm as the challenge closer. 2. Brad: It doesn’t matter if they swap the tribes 40 times. Brad is still this season’s dream final three companion.
3. Brad: Without much else to go on for the other tribes, I am going to assume that old Nuku has the majority on both of the other tribes. At best, if Caleb, Troyzan, and Hali are on the same tribe, they will have a split tribe, but it’s more likely that two of them are on one tribe and one is left alone on the third. So I am looking towards the people who looked most solid on old Nuku to continue to be safe in their new tribes. So far so good for Brad, who has laid low early and started to rack up allies. 3. Sierra: You got a legacy advantage? Awesome. You can only use it when there or 13 or 6 people left in the game? That’s so weirdly specific. Do you have to give it to Probst with your left hand while repeating the alphabet?
4. Sarah: I can’t imagine the ‘silent assassin’ going home in the 3rd episode before we get to see her in action. She should be in a solid position in a majority, and her early quotes in the premiere suggest longevity and maybe a villainous rise for Sarah down the line. 4. Malcolm: After dropping the first two immunity challenges, you can bet the former Manaians are going to have no problem cutting a former Nukuian loose. This might also give Malcolm a chance to fulfill his pregame wish and start a strong alliance with Aubry.
5. Sierra: With the legacy advantage in hand, we have no reason to believe Sierra is in any kind of immediate danger. Like Brad and Sarah, she is laying low and collecting allies (and advantages!). I don’t think anyone is looking at Sierra as someone to take out of the game soon. 5. Andrea: We get to hear about Zeke bathing in blood. We get to hear about Debbie having the tenacity of a squid. But, we barely get to hear from Andrea?! Booooo…
6. Andrea: We didn’t get to see much of Andrea in the premiere. Not sure what that means for her chances long-term, but for now, she seems safe. 6. Ozzy: Ozzy’s still a challenge champ and it looks like he’s getting along with everybody. The only mistake he’s made so far is trusting Tai with anything ever. He should be good till the merge.
7. Zeke: Zeke is an excitable superfan in a game changer candy store, and you have to imagine the others love hearing how much Zeke adores them. He seems well integrated and in no immediate danger. 7. Troyzan: Troyzan’s transformation from loud, arrogant island owner to lovable surf watcher is almost complete. As long as he keeps smiling and being useful around camp, he’ll be fine. Much bigger fish to fry.
8. Ozzy: Ozzy did well in the premiere, trying to let old grudges go and focusing on tribe strength and making good connections. His challenge strength should keep him safe in a small tribe, as long as Cirie doesn’t go after him and create the 2nd iteration of Sandra v. Tony. 8. Zeke: Zeke’s starstruck “Survivor” fan gimmick is gold. The Ciries, Malcolms, Ozzys, and JTs of the world deal with those folks all the time and they’re not intimidated by them. Unfortunately for them, Zeke is a shark in fan’s floral-print clothing.
9. Jeff: Varner got a great tribe draw. He is locked into the majority of the tribe surrounded by bigger threats (Sandra, JT, Aubry). If Varner sits tight he should be just fine, as long as he doesn’t become a significant challenge liability.  9. Hali: Hali went toe-to-toe (fin-to-fin?) with one of the most impressive swimmers in “Survivor” history and did a fantastic job. My only worry about her is Ciera saying that she’s pushy around camp. Lay low and let the big dogs battle it out.
10. Debbie: Debbie got an intro confessional, laid low, and should be in a solid Nuku majority. Her wild antics are sure to come up again, but the Debbie story doesn’t seem to be close to over just yet. 10. Debbie: This feels like a season that is going to slow down a bit. The big players aren’t going to want to end up like Tony. If I were Debbie, I’d hang back and start making friends.
11. Sandra: Sandra got a great draw as well. She has another winner on her tribe to take the heat if people come for more trophies, as well as a solid group of allies that seem to want her on their side, at least for now. (Some, as Troyzan admitted in a secret scene, even want to take her to the final 3!!). #TheQueenStaysQueen at least for another round. 11. Jeff: The Varner we saw in “Second Chance” was destined to burn out quickly. The Varner we saw last week can go a long way. 
12. Troyzan: There is nothing to indicate that we should be worried about Troyzan, but he will most likely be in a minority on his new tribe. So far, he seems to be doing a good job of building a group of allies and no one would have any specific reason to gun for him. 12. Michaela: Michaela is at her best when she’s proving her worth in a challenge. Hopefully this swap will give her the fresh slate she needs and the next challenge will be something she can knock out of the park.
13. Hali: Hali is in the same boat as Troyzan. Nothing in particular that should put her in danger, besides being in a minority. If old tribe loyalties hold, then Hali will be in trouble, but otherwise there is plenty of time for the “cobra” to strike. 13. Cirie: Nobody needed a swap more that Cirie did. And the good news is; all that work she did when she felt like she was on the bottom should help her out when she ends up on her new tribe.
14. Cirie: While Cirie will likely be with majority Nuku, she doesn’t seem to have solidified herself within the core of that group. If she is with Ozzy, the brewing tension could come to a head, and I think Cirie would lose that battle at this point. In a small tribe with a long way to go until the merge, few would get rid of a challenge legend like Ozzy over the strategic mastermind Cirie. I have faith, of course, that Cirie will work her way out of this jam. 14. Aubry: Ooof…it can’t feel good to be the idol alternate. Especially when the person capable of playing that idol is Tony Vlachos. But, tomorrow is a new day and you’re getting a new tribe. Time to mend fences and regroup.
15. JT: JT is in a rough position. He already has a huge target on his back as a winner, and now he is the lone member of his old tribe in post-swap Nuku. It would seem easy for them to pick off JT, but JT isn’t going to make it easy for them. He’ll be idol hunting, maneuvering, and hopefully finding a way out of a really tough spot. 15. JT: Whaaaaat is going on in next week’s trailer? You let your fellow castmates drift off to sea? And we thought Tony had weird strategies. I think you’re in trouble this week if you’re surrounded by former Manaians. Hopefully your challenge prowess or your castaway stratagem will buy you some time.
16. Aubry: Aubry is still in hot water. If the JT focus in the previews is a red herring, as it often is, and Sandra and JT decide to team up as the only winners left in the game, Aubry could take the hit. Sandra has to be worried that Aubry will never trust her after putting two votes on her and playing with her life in the game, and Sandra won’t like to leave any ‘liabilities’ in the game. 16. Caleb: As Tony’s former “right-hand man,” I’m betting you’re the person the former Manaians trust the least.
17. Tai: If anyone from old Nuku is going to go, I think it might be Tai. Patience from his own old tribe members seemed to be wearing thin early, with Tai’s antics with the chickens being heavily criticized (Zeke in a secret scene called it ‘pageantry’), as well as seemingly getting caught up in the Cirie/Ozzy battle. If people consider him a solid ally he could go far, but so far I am nervous about people’s perceptions of Tai. 17. Sandra: Sandra is a legend. She’s a pleasure to watch. She’s the queen. She’s “literally a wizard.” But, she’s also never going to be safe. Tales of her domination of Tony will be spun around all three campfires. And for that reason she will never get too high in my Power Rankings.
18. Caleb: To me, the editing of the premiere did everything it could to set up the downfall of Caleb. He was emphasized to be Tony’s right-hand man, and now without Tony, who is going to (literally) pick him up off the rocks when he falls? He is likely to be in a minority on a new tribe, possibly with someone he was not closely aligned with on Mana (Hali or Troyzan). His challenge strength should get him through on a small tribe, but something about Caleb’s edit in the premiere reeked of impending doom.  18. Tai: Oh man…again with the chickens! It’s one thing to not let me eat a chicken. It’s quite another to take food that I would put in my face and give it to a chicken. And again with the loose lips! Cirie played you like a fiddle. She’s was like Tai-chaikovsky. I love me some Tai as a TV character. But, I’m not sure why anyone would keep him around at this point.


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


%d bloggers like this: