(Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the April 22nd airing of Survivor: Worlds Apart)
When Survivor fanatics check out the cast of a new season, it’s fairly easy to predict the early boots. Few expected Nina to last very long. The pre-game expectations start to look very silly by the time we reach the merge, however. Each RHAP blogger assessed the cast before the start of Worlds Apart and made a few more predictions before the tribe swap. Now it’s time to make us look foolish once again. Which blogger stands at the top of the heap? Who deserves ridicule for picking the wrong winner? I have a feeling that none of us will seem like experts after this exercise. The pre-game videos and bios gave us so little about how a player would act within the game. For example, I would have bet money that Dan and Rodney would be early boots. Instead, both have a possible road to the end.
How Are Our Picks Doing?
All of our winner picks survived the first four episodes, but they’ve been decimated since that point. Only one blogger’s choice remains on the board, and she has a tricky path to glory. If Shirin had proven to be more annoying than Max, I might be the wisest blogger! Instead, I’m wearing the dunce cap as the guy with the worst winner’s pick. Following the swap, our different winner picks battled it out and just kept falling. We also chose the final three and 11 players that would make the merge (they actually merged at 12). Let’s see how each of our pre-game predictions fared. As you can see by our failed picks, Survivor can be a surprising game!
Catherine: It was hard to argue with her pick of Joe, who seemed to have all the skills. Catherine noted that “His strategy is to lay low, work hard and be an asset to the tribe — and if he sticks to it, I really think Joe is a serious contender to the win.” Sadly, Joe was not able to play under the radar, and he paid the price last week. Her runners up were Nina and Jenn, and there’s a very slim chance one will be right. Catherine picked 5/11 for the merge but does have Mike within her group. Like many of us, she missed the effective Tyler/Carolyn combo.The bond with Rodney wasn’t enough to save Scott’s pick to win.[/caption]
Scott: If Rodney had his way, Scott’s pick Joaquin would still be chilling with his buddy at camp. Instead, he fell victim to Mike’s fear. Scott did give this caveat, “I’ve been historically awful in picking the winners on here, so you should probably read this and then go put your money on literally anybody else.” He did pick Carolyn for his final three, but her companion was So. He was the only blogger to include Carolyn in his merge picks but also ended up with just 5/11.
Michel: In his early picks, Michel was behind the No Collars and chose Joe as his winner. He talked about Joe’s likability, which was one of the reasons he was eliminated. Michel chose Hali and Jenn with Joe as the final three, so his chance of being partially right isn’t so good. Michel had 6/11 merge picks, but he was the only person to choose Rodney. That’s a notch in his cap above the rest of us.
Dan: To quote Jeff Probst, “Dan is wrong again!” After four episodes, I was feeling good about my Max pick. I even made this statement in our last update: “When I picked Max to win, I told him to ‘enjoy 16th place’ because of my bad predicting history. He’s already passed that spot and appears set to last for a while.” I should have remembered my poor history in picking winners. Sorry Max! I do have a chance with Shirin and Sierra as the rest of my final three. I’m also proud of selecting 8/11, though Hali and Joe were part of that group.
Sarah: Congratulations to the “knowingest blogger”! Sarah’s choice of Shirin looked pretty shaky in the early going, but that’s changed since the merge. She gambled on her “sentimental favorite”, and it’s paid off so far. Can Shirin keep playing well and prove Sarah right? On the other hand, Sarah’s final three included Vince and Jenn, so it was hardly a clean sweep. She equaled my 8/11, so I’ll give her the slight edge as the winning blogger. There’s still a long way to go, though!
To celebrate her victory to this point, Sarah has the following statement to the rest of us:
“As arbitrary a choice as Shirin was, she’s effectively taken out both Max and Joe. So I consider this my karmic retribution against Dan and Michel for our unofficial Survivor pool where I am still crawling around the bottom. In your face, guys!”
The Mid-Season Victims
Before I dig into our picks around the tribe swap, it’s time to include some wise pre-game observations about the departing players. Six players have left the game since the last update, and all made an impression. There were plenty of misses among our group, but a few of us recognized the limitations (or strengths) that played a role in their downfalls.
Catherine on Lindsey: “I think she’ll have a much better showing than some other tattooed/single Mom/hairdressers. This Lindsey will actually attempt to play the game. However, I still expect to see her as a pre-merge boot.”
Michel on Max: “Max may have a theoretical knowledge of the game and he does say all the right things in his introduction video, but I think he will have a hard time with the practical aspect of the game.”
Michel on Joaquin: “It’s funny that he sees similarities between himself and Tony but doesn’t think he will suffer from paranoia during the game. Tony’s game was based on paranoia and how to counter every possible move that could be made against him. After a good start, I think Joaquin’s game will come to a sudden and painful end.”
Scott on Kelly: “Kelly looks like someone that can get along with different types of people, and therefore if she can get with the right people you could see her making some noise in this game.”
Sarah on Hali: “Hali should be a ready-made ally for Joe and Jenn, the two players I’m confident will be safe.”
Dan on Joe: “Within the No Collar tribe, Joe is the youngest guy and has a chance to connect with girls like Hali and Jenn. They’re also outdoor enthusiasts and may like his approach to life. He’ll probably slide through for a while, but Joe’s chances within the individual game seem less certain.”
Tribe Swap Predictions
In the first update, we stuck our necks out further and made additional predictions based on what we’d seen so far. The results were not pretty. Here’s a quick summary of how each of us fared:
Scott: It’s hard to predict how the numbers will fall in a swap, so our thoughts may look silly. Scott thought Rodney would be screwed, and Joaquin would be saved. If we’re talking about the saving power of friendship, then the second choice was right. He chose Mike and Shirin as the next people to go and made this statement, “Mike’s quest to alienate himself with every single player reaches its end and once he pisses off the last player on his list, he will look lovingly at the pile of wood at camp and vanish up to Survivor Heaven like Patrick Swayze in Ghost.” It’s amazing to see how much Mike’s fate has changed.
Sarah: The picks of Will and Rodney as the next boots didn’t seem crazy at the time. Who knew they’d become solid allies within the majority? Sarah chose Rodney as losing due to the swap, but her reason does connect to their impending conflict. “Mike’s got him out to prove that nobody tells him what to do, and that’s going to backfire horribly in a new tribe, especially when blue collar are seen as a threat.” While Joaquin’s exit was more of a factor then work, they are heading for a reckoning.
Michel: The swap would doom plenty in Michel’s mind, including Rodney, Lindsey, and everyone on the White Collars. While Lindsey did exit the game, it happened before the swap. He also thought Mike would be saved by the swap, and it did confirm his spot. Michel joined the others in going 0/2 in picking the next ones to go. He chose Shirin and Will, which made sense at the time but isn’t likely very soon.
Dan: I can take solace in being the only person to choose Lindsey as one of the next to go. Of course, everything else that I said was wrong. I thought the swap would save Joaquin and doom Tyler. I also chose Will as the other boot. It all made so much sense at the time!
Catherine: It’s interesting to note that Catherine picked Joe as being destroyed by the tribe swap. He was her winner pick, so she may have been hedging her bets. She also chose Mike as being saved by the swap like Michel. They often think alike. Do they have an alliance? Her picks for the next to go were Dan and Joe, who both ended up on the dominant physical tribe. We did finally see Joe’s demise last week, but Catherine had clearly lost faith in her winner pick.
I hate to be too hard on the bloggers, who spend hours studying the intricacies of Survivor strategy. Here are some other examples where we got it right:
Catherine on Mike: “I can definitely see Mike, Dan and Kelly — who all have traditional blue collar roots and are the older members of the tribe — bonding and making the merge together.”
Scott on Jenn: “I am highly optimistic that Jenn will play the snarky narrator role all season long.”
Dan on Will: “He isn’t such an imposing physical threat, so the target won’t fall his way down the road.”
Michel on Dan: “This super fan knows the game but I don’t think he will be able to apply what he knows.”
Sarah on Joaquin: “For one thing, even if he is intent on being a villain, he’s not cartoonish enough to stand out in this cast.”
It’s time to put our cards on the table about where the game is heading. We may have failed in the past, but the information is all there. Can we make the right choices? I have my doubts that I’ll choose wisely.
Who makes the final five?
Catherine: Dan, Mike, Shirin, Sierra, Tyler
Dan: Carolyn, Jenn, Shirin, Sierra, Tyler
Michel: Dan, Mike, Shirin, Sierra, Tyler
Sarah: Dan, Jenn, Mike, Shirin, and Sierra
Scott: Carolyn, Jenn, Mike, Shirin, Tyler
What’s going to happen?
Catherine: I think that the twist has to come into play with the auction. My guess is that Mike, who has been the most aggressive player so far, will buy an advantage in the game, which will probably be extra votes. I think (unfortunately) that Mike will use this advantage to send Rodney home. I also think (or maybe hope) that Mike is headed for a fourth-place finish. The final immunity will be an epic slide puzzle. Dan will incorrectly complete it numerous times. Shirin will redeem herself and win the final immunity. Mike, the obvious threat to win the game, will be sent home unanimously. Shirin will win.
Dan: The Mike/Rodney conflict will dominate the next few episodes, with the advantage defeating one side. However, both will fall before the final five as players like Shirin, Jenn, and Tyler switch alliances multiple times. Will and Dan will exit as alternatives due to concerns with the idol. Carolyn will leave at the final five because she’s considered a threat to win the game. Tyler wins the final four immunity challenge and forces the others to turn on Jenn because she’s a threat to win the game. This leads to an unlikely final three of Shirin, Sierra, and Tyler in front of an unhappy jury.
Michel: Shirin should be the one patient enough to wait for the advantage during the auction. She uses it against either Carolyn or her new tormentor, Will. Either way, it spells the beginning of the end for Rodney’s game. Mike, Sierra, Dan, Shirin, and Jenn work together to get rid of Carolyn, Rodney and Will. Tyler stays until the final five.
Sarah: Now that Joe’s gone, the Pagonging will be abandoned, forcing Rodney’s group to make their move early… and lose. Between idols and game advantage, it’s going to be an odd few weeks where Mike and Dan never exactly lose control of the game but can never be sure of the vote.
Scott: Jenn will re-engage and join forces with Tyler and Carolyn, who will hopefully all start the implementation of the Blue Collar purge. Mike is the fragile leader of the Blue Collars; if they take him out soon, the game will completely turn into chaos. I want to believe that good gameplay will rule the day and Carolyn and Tyler will emerge to the finals.
Who is the Sole Survivor?
Catherine: I am desperately rooting against Mike at this point! If he wins, then I’m going to be disappointed with just how predictable this season is. I’m going to make my winner pick based more on what I want to see happen — and I want to see a final three of Dan, Sierra and Shirin where Shirin wins in a clean sweep.
Dan: I’m going against my better judgment with this pick. I have a feeling that Shirin could win if Mike doesn’t make the end. However, I don’t want all our opinions to be too similar. Picking Mike is also too obvious for me. Therefore, I’m going to choose Tyler as the surprise victor. He’ll reach the end with Shirin and Sierra and calmly convince the angry jury that he played a better game.
Michel: The final three will be Mike, Shirin, and Sierra (who gets no votes). Mike defeats Shirin to become the Sole Survivor.
Sarah: My heart says that Mike has this, but there is no way I am abandoning Shirin now. So let’s say Mike loses final immunity and Shirin sneaks through beating Dan in an F2 and Sierra in an F3. You go, girl.
Scott: It’s a tough call, but Tyler has the potential to be the silent assassin this season. He may get a human shield in Carolyn to protect him. It’s close, but I’m going with Tyler.
Which blogger is on the right track? What do you think is going to happen?