Survivor Power Rankings
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
May 15, 2011
Jim and his family leave for a well earned vacation in a few days, so they are out shopping for their trip this weekend. In his absence, we offer our power rankings for the Survivor finale. Stating the obvious, this is Boston Rob's game to lose. Also stating the obvious, the primary goal of all remaining players should be his elimination. So, the deck is stacked against him as he tries to stop being the Best Survivor Player Never to Win and become the second person in his marriage to win Survivor.
1) Rob Mariano
In the baseball vernacular, Rob Mariano is taking a perfect game into the ninth inning. He only needs to get three more outs to finish what would be the most dominant performance in the history of the game. Jim, Kim and I had a preseason discussion about our expectations for the upcoming Redemption Island. At the time, we had an extended debate.
The conversation focused upon whether a tribe would be smart to lose an early challenge in order to eliminate Russell/Rob. We agreed that doing so with the latter player would be a mistake. A savvy tribe would let Rob carry them on his back until such a moment as they were in complete control of the game. At that point, they would execute him, having maximized his usefulness to the tribe. We are…still waiting for that to happen.
At this point, Rob has two more votes to the final and he still has an immunity idol. He is so much in control of the game that we have started to wonder whether the first time his Ometepe tribemates found out he had an immunity idol was when they watched that episode when it aired. It’s no certainty that Rob plays the idol tonight since doing so could create currently absent mistrust among his peers. This statement in and of itself exemplifies how dominant Rob’s run has been. He may not even need to use a hidden immunity idol he has possessed since episode four/day nine. If Rob wins Survivor tonight, the other members of Ometepe will have a lot of explaining to do during the live program afterward. Either way, Rob has reaffirmed his status as one of the greatest competitors in the history of the game.
With regards to the other half of that debate, the complete extermination of Zapatera will stand indefinitely as a cautionary tale about the dangers of throwing a challenge. Russell’s dual extended runs were a total fluke anyway. Zapatera worried far too much about one player, and their obsession was to their detriment. We fully expect Russell to gloat about this during the post-game conversation, assuming they let the 16th place finisher speak much. Based on performance, he should get about 20 seconds of air time.
The person we have slotted in third place is trying harder to win the game, but Natalie has managed to make the final days of the season without alienating anyone. Part of this is because she’s so young and inexperienced that everyone else has naturally adopted a parental relationship with her, even Rob. What Natalie has going for her is that Grant will not hold his elimination against her the way that he will against Ashley or Rob. What she has going against her is that for the body of the season, she has been Interchangeable Ometepe Female #1, aka the pretty one. Rob had a plan from day one to make sure that nobody else did enough to threaten his status as the dominant player. That mission has been accomplished. The difference between Rob’s play this season versus everyone else’s is the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.