Previously on Survivor, with Joe voted out, Mike became the immediate target and his strategic response was to stuff things up and then keep digging himself deeper. Meanwhile, Jenn showed her “the hell with it” attitude by spending her Survivor auction money on the world’s largest rum punch. After Mike won immunity, Jenn was voted out and immediately listed everyone in the game that she hated. Dan, Will, Sierra, Mama C... basically everyone still left in the game. Have a great time at Ponderosa, Jenn.
Survivor: Worlds Apart - Power Rankings
By Ben Willoughby
April 29, 2015
The power rankings are more challenging than usual this week. First, every player believes they have a strategy to make it to the end and a great argument to win the game. Secondly, every single player is a plausible goat to be taken to the ritual slaughter of the final Tribal Council. Who people like is going to be more important that usual in determining the winner, and with this group that's pretty tough to figure out.
Rodney led the shift to vote out Mike immediately after Joe was gone, because all of a sudden Jenn and Shirin weren’t threats. While the initial response from his group was to table the Mike vote for later discussion, it was basically a done deal after Mike’s Survivor auction shenanigans, even though the alliance controlled only four out of nine votes and everyone else in the game (but Dan) seemed to realize it.
Rodney has put himself in a similar situation to pre-target Mike, in that he is in the biggest alliance, and is the first one to say who should be voted out next so is nominally in charge, but he also can’t trust half his alliance members to stick with him until the end. If Mike gets voted out, Rodney will have succeeded in becoming the guy who most urgently needs to go.
Looking further ahead, if Rodney actually makes it to the end he may actually have a good case to present at the final tribal Council. Whatever we think of Rodney’s strategy, there’s no doubting that he has played the game and made some successful moves. We’ve seen him successfully argue by ignoring points made against him and vigorously counter-attacking. And after they got to know him, players like Jenn and Hali actually seem to like him. It's actually plausible that Rodney could win, which would mean I'd have to buy a new TV because my current TV would be all smashed and broken.
Carolyn continues to play a game that’s so understated, we’re not really sure what it is. We know she is in Rodney’s alliance, we know she has an immunity idol and we know she is playing to win. She'd better do something quickly, or she's going to be stumped when the jury asks "why are you up there and I'm down here?"
Tyler is Carolyn’s strategic soul-mate. Tyler actually did something this week – he told Will that Mike, Jenn and Shirin had been discussing whether Will was holding out on food, which started the whole Will tirade. Being able to start Survivor fights like this is an art, and it creates divisions and solidifies votes against people. The downside is that you can’t really claim it as part of your strategy (“Ha ha, I treated you like a chump”), so you come off looking like you haven’t played the game at all.
Once again, we saw Sierra do nothing last episode. That’s good enough to get in the #4 position. It’s not clear whether she is actually in with Rodney’s alliance, or just voting with them out of convenience. It’s not even clear whether she still plans on burning all of the other Blue Collars.
I’d like to know what Dan was thinking last episode. I suppose that Jenn (being a no collar and an outsider) was an easy vote to rationalize, and that if Mike had not won immunity, Dan’s decision would have been a lot harder. Knowing that he had an extra vote to use at a later Tribal Council probably helped make up his mind.
Dan showed again that he doesn’t really get Survivor by saying that he didn’t want to be the swing vote in last week’s episode. “It’s my worst nightmare,” endquote. I understand that no one really likes the pressure of being the swing vote, but it’s also exactly where you want to be. “I make my own destiny. No one dictates my future,” he told Carolyn – in exactly the wrong way to inform Carolyn – later that episode. Which is why you want to be the swing vote, Dan. Even your stupid hat could have told you that.
Mike did a great job in breaking up his alliance last week. His tactic of sneaking around to eavesdrop on conversations was a good one, but I think the confirmation that four people on his alliance were out to get him messed with his head. So he panicked and made that scumbag move at the Survivor auction. “Why would I displace trust?” Mike said just before displacing trust. Even Dan got upset with Mike. “It broke my heart” Dan said, which is quite the role-reversal. Everyone knows Dan is the Fredo.
And it was definitely a scumbag move. The idea behind Survivor is to make it to the end and get enough votes to win. One of the perversions of the Survivor system is that people who have shown they are willing to do anything, absolutely anything, to get an advantage in the game are punished. So when you’re faking out everyone – your enemies and allies alike – right to their faces, no one is going to make a golf clap and cheer “Oh, well played!” You’re going to get some sort of comeuppance. If Mike wanted the advantage over the letter, he would have been better off to not get up off his seat. And if he had thought about it more, he should have trusted his alliance and getting Jenn and Shirin on-side instead of a desperate scramble to get an advantage.
Mike still has moves to make. Shirin is with him. Dan and his extra vote probably will be when he hears Tyler has gone through his stuff (which you know he will). Sierra’s feelings are unknown, but she can count to four. He has a hidden immunity idol that no one knows about. And if all else fails, he can distract his enemies with his happy dance. It worked for Chris Pratt.
Will’s 150,000% explosion (though totally not verbal abuse! Telling someone “nobody loves you” is just calling them out) at Shirin was the drama of the week. I wonder if he would have done the same to Mike or Jenn. And of course everyone just stood around and let it happen. If you’re playing the game, you want awkward moments like this that split other people and don’t involve you, and if you do get involved you know it’s going to blow back on you somehow. It’s dreadful calculation, but that’s the way arguments work on Survivor.
Also, Will apparently has the ability to tell whether someone has a soul or not. I look forward to his next YouTube series, Will Sims: Undead Hunter. It’s good that he has career options other than “future Survivor winner.” (Nobody loves you Will. See? Totally not abuse!)
Shirin is completely playing up her weakness, declaring that she didn’t want to bid for an advantage. It’s still the only play she has, and it’s not going to get her anywhere.
Those are the power rankings this week. Next Time On Survivor, Tyler finally does something, but it’s going through Dan’s bag – a Survivor no-no in my book – to learn what Dan’s advantage is. And Mike is now everyone’s target, so Shirin should be safe for another week. Tune in tonight and then come back later to read the recap. I’ll be filling in for Jim, but I’m slow so it probably won’t be up before the weekend.