Survivor: Heroes, Healers and Hustlers - Season Preview 2
Part 2 - The Healers
By Jim Van Nest
September 26, 2017
Jessica Johnston (29 - Nurse Practitioner) - Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. I don't know what to think about her. I know some are making her their winner pick, but I don't think I'm seeing it. She is a nurse practitioner and a HUGE fan of Survivor. We've seen many huge fans of the show come through lately and it's really been a mixed bag of results. Adam Klein wins a couple seasons ago and then Max Dawson and Shirin Oskooi flamed out big and bad. One thing that I think will help Jessica is that the Healers tribe seems to be the most well rounded tribe and I would wager that they do not lose a challenge prior to any swap in the game. And with a good draw there, it could actually be many days before Jessica and Co. even have to light their torches. If that's the case, I could see her building some decent bonds that will carry her deep into the game. I'm really going to be interested to see what happens with all of the "cute girls" in the cast. There's like 6 of them vying for that role and I wonder if they'll be able to put it aside and work with each other, or if the claws will come out. If so, Jessica could possibly be in some deep trouble. I feel confident she'll make the merge. After that, all the alpha males will become targets and you just never know, when all the dust settles, Jessica could be sitting in that final 3.
Joe Mena (34 - Probation Officer) - Do not be afraid. Do not adjust your screen. Tony Vlachos is NOT back on Survivor. This is probation officer Joe Mena. I realize he has the bald head, the tattoos and the New York/Jersey accent. But I swear, this is someone different. Ok, with that out of the way, let's talk about why Joe things he can win Survivor. As a probation officer, his job is to help these convicted felons after they are released from prison. He says that in his job, he hears every lie and excuse ever created, so this will give him a leg up on the competition by being able to tell when they're lying. Normally, I would chuckle at this and suggest that this is a game and is totally different. Of course, then Tony went out and won his season as did former cop Sarah Lacina, just last season. Maybe there's something to this. That being said, though, almost every person in the cast has made the Tony comparison. If he comes into this game loud, looking for idols or even close to acting like Tony, he's toast. I think he's smart enough to know this, but I worry that he's just too similar. He is considering this a business trip and is prepared to do whatever it takes to win. I think Joe has major "good TV" potential, I just worry that should the Healers hiccough in a challenge, he could be the first one gone. Overall, I don't have high hopes for Joe and I fear that he could be a pre-merge boot, depending on how long they go before the merge. By my count, if they merge at 12 - after 6 votes, he should be good. But he could very easily be dropped if they merge at 11. Sorry, Joe. I'm just not seeing it for ya.
Mike Zahalsky (43 - Urologist) - Dr. Mike. What to say about Dr. Mike. Well, he is a doctor. A urologist to be precise. He has a very successful practice that he has left behind to play Survivor and he's SUPER excited to be here. Mike is very smart, very funny and he very much knows who he is and what he brings to the table. He knows that on his tribe, if they falter and lose it will probably be his fault and he'll likely be the one to go home. Think David Wright from Millennials V Gen X mixed with Cochran and you have Dr. Mike. As I keep touting though, I don't see the Healers losing many challenges, which will only play into Mike's favor. He's a very likable guy and I think if he sticks around long enough, he'll be able to make a solid alliance that could carry him deep into the game. I'm not so sure Mike can win, but I think he'll definitely make it interesting. I wouldn't be surprised to see him be a final 4 or 5 boot with the caption, "too dangerous to leave in the game". The cast already has him pegged as a super smart super fan. Some are concerned about that. Some, like Cole, are very intrigued by that. Could we have the bro-mance of the season on Healers beach? Cole and Mike? Stranger things have happened.
Roark Luskin (27 - Social Worker) - Our final Healer is 27 year-old Roark Luskin, a therapist from California. Roark was an old school Survivor fan who gave up the show through college and has come back to it in recent seasons and renewed her obsession. Roark is a former department store buyer who spent weekends volunteering with an organization working with kids. It didn't take long before she had WAY more passion for her weekend hobby than her daily 9-5. So, she quit. And started working as a therapist. She is now working on a Masters of Social Work and plans to make helping people her life's ambition. Well, after Survivor, that is. Roark feels like she is in a perfect place to psychologically manipulate everyone else to propel herself to the win. Overall, the cast opinion of her ranges from pretty positive to thinking that she is very unsure of herself. She's really hard for me to predict a fate for as I don't feel like she's giving us a lot to work with. I have a feeling that if this tribe loses, it will come down to Roark v Joe for the first Healer to go home and I expect Joe to have made better relationships in the game. While she may well make the tribe swap, I think she's set up to be a pre-merge boot. But hey, I've been wrong before. Go prove me wrong, Roark!
And...that will do it for the Healers Tribe. I keep saying it, but overall, I fully expect the Healers to dominate in the early game. I also wouldn't be shocked to see the winner of the entire season come from this tribe. Everyone on this tribe comes off as pretty likable and even though I picked some of them as pre-merge boots, I could make an argument for why all 6 of them will go far in this game. Ultimately, I expect Cole and Desi to have the most winner upside on this Tribe, with Mike a dark horse to make a deep run. Jessica has potential, but I just haven't seen enough of her to make that kind of prediction for her. We'll probably know more after Episode 1.
Thanks so much for checking in with me for this Survivor Preview - be sure to check back tomorrow as it'll be time for the final tribe - the Hustlers! ‘Til then, take care!
Like the column? Hate it? Think you have a better handle on the Healers? Well don't just sit on it, give me a holla on the Tweet box: @vannestjc