Matt Liguori ranks the players each week with a new guest in RHAP’s Survivor Power Rankings. This week Matt is joined by the hosts of the RHAP BnB, Mike Bloom and Liana Boraas!
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Survivor: Ghost Island Finale Week Power Rankings
I don’t know if it’s just me, but no matter how enjoyable a season is, the hype on finale week is always there. We’ve got two clear contenders to win the whole thing, with one or two underdogs right behind. This season had its highs and lows, and although some of the lows were… pretty Malolo-low… I’m excited to see how everything plays out.
I wouldn’t rank this season too high, which I don’t think is any surprise. Some episodes were more thrilling than others: the premiere, the merge, and the Desiree episode stand out as some of the highlights. Personally, I just can’t get over half of the merged tribe players being so under-edited, which made for a lot of boring vote-outs. But I really like everyone in the tight four (Dom, Wendell, Laurel, and Donathan) who have been the major story of these past few weeks, and I’m happy to see them all make it to finale night!
My guests this week are no strangers to these power rankings; for the second season in a row I’ve brought on RHAP BnB hosts Mike Bloom and Liana Boraas to rank the players heading into the Survivor season finale! Mike and Liana have been killing it all season long with the RHAP BnB and their coverage of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so if you missed out on any of that it’s your loss, but I’m glad you’re here to see our finale rankings. Follow all of us on Twitter: @AMikeBloomType, @LianaBoraas, and @mattliguori; tweet us to let us know what you think and/or leave a comment below!
I want to give a giant thank you to all of my guests from this season (and the guests from Big Brother Canada 6 rankings!) for taking the time to participate in this silly activity. Whether it was their first time, second, or even third joining me for rankings, they all killed it and I’m excited to have them all back in the future!
Another big thank you to all of you who have checked out any of these blogs at any point this season. Especially to anyone who checks in every single week, if there’s any of you out there… you guys are the real MVPs!
And an especially big thank you to Christine and Saif for their help and patience with the graphics! This would all be just be a big ol’ boring wall of text without your help and it’s always appreciated.
Note: This week’s rankings are a little different than normal. We’ve decided to rank the contestants based on the order we think they’ll finish this season in.
This past week felt like a set up for Donathan to be the final remaining force attempting to take on Domenick and Wendell. He told us he was ready to play on his own if he has to, but taking out those two power players won’t a solo talk. I have a hard time not seeing Domenick and Wendell immune at final 6 (you know, idols) and they’ll have control over who goes home. I’d be surprised if they let Donathan get any further, but nobody will be able to say he didn’t at least try.
Angela, despite what we’ve seen, could be a legitimate jury threat. She’s friends with a lot of people hanging out at Ponderosa. Angela has spent the entire season grasping for anything she can latch onto, but things never seem to work out in her favor. If you’re confused about how such an under-edited player made it this far… it’s really not that uncommon. (Look at Aubry in Game Changers for a recent example.) Sometimes you get those quick, easy votes during a finale sandwiched between all of the excitement; that’ll be Angela.
It could’ve been just to add some uncertainty, but I can’t get over Wendell telling us how committed he is to Domenick, while Domenick told us he would cut Wendell if and when the time was right. Domenick is here for the win… for him and his family. If he has any say in it, I don’t think he’ll bring Wendell with him to the final 3.
The way I see it, Domenick and Wendell can’t both get to the final 3. I just don’t think we’ve seen anything as to why either player are playing better or worse than the other. I think, especially with this final 4 fire challenge, Wendell will go down as someone who could’ve had a serious shot to win the whole thing if he made final 3. He’s a fan-favorite, similar to fellow fourth place finishers Kelley Wentworth or Devon Pinto, and he will absolutely get a second chance some day.
3. Sea Bass
At this point, why not just drag Sebastian all the way to the end? It seems pretty clear that nobody has been worried about him all game long… rightfully so. He’s the least threatening out of the final 6 to win a jury vote, and I’m getting major Troyzan vibes in terms of him getting to the final 3 and being completely ignored during jury questioning while two people who actually played the game fight it out for the win.
I think there’s something to the Domenick-Sea Bass relationship; we saw a bit of it in episode 1 when Domenick gave him the Sea Bass nickname, and there’s been some more of it recently. Dom wins the final immunity and brings along the goat, leaving his two closest allies to fight it out for the final spot.
It’s no secret that Laurel’s journey in this last portion of the game has been pretty rocky. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the choices she’s made, this is where we’re at now and prediction time… no, I do not think Laurel is in a winnable position. Would she have a better shot had she been with the Naviti women in this final 6? It’s possible, but you have to imagine they would’ve taken her out the first chance she’s not immune. That path would’ve led to her having to win out in order to get a final 3 seat. You can’t argue your case to a jury if you’re not in the final 3, and the way things sit now, Laurel seems pretty likely to get to the final 3.
I’ve been feeling good about Domenick being our winner for a few weeks. Early on, it seemed like he was so blinded by the Chris feud that he’d never be able to see straight. Since Chris has been gone, (followed by Libby who also seemed to bother Domenick in terms of gameplay,) Domenick really hasn’t had much to worry about. His social game secured him loyal allies Wendell, Laurel, and Donathan. He’s been protected with an idol in his pocket, and a couple fakes to help him out along the way. He’s won some key immunities to bolster up his resume and ensure his safety in tricky spots (like that five-person Tribal). All in all, he’s got a very good case to plead to the jury; I think he’ll find a way there and ultimately get rewarded, even with the vote of one Chris Noble.
6. Sea Bass
Angela was left out of yet another Sea Bass vote and, with any thoughts of a rebellion being quelled, the power players realize there’s potential in a sleeper agent who hasn’t voted out many people on the jury making it to the end. Angela will choke on an Immunity Challenge after nearly choking her way to a win prior. Though Donathan continues to throw bombs around to no avail, the bombardier serves as less of a jury threat than the veteran, and she’s given her marching orders.
This is what that extended hero moment in the second episode’s Immunity Challenge has been building to: becoming our eventual fallen angel (diving angel?). Though he’s been in the side of the power couple for the past few days, they keep him in, knowing the less time he’s on the jury, the lesser chance he can turn them against them. We will get an authentic taste of suspense when Laurel wins the final IC. She could pit the partners against each other, but worrying that Donathan could end up stealing anti-Wendell/Dom/Laurel votes, she decides to shun her long-time ally and send him to fire. Despite spitting fire for nearly a week, that doesn’t carry over to the kindle, sending Donathan out in such a rage that the subtitles will be filled with blanks every other word.
That “Wendell and Dom will split the votes, and I’ll rake up the rest” plan? Yeah, that goes up in smoke pretty quickly when unfortunately Laurel gets the Ryan Ulrich treatment of being shrugged off from the beginning of the final TC. She attempts to earn some good favor by running some laps around the Tribal Council set, but the only that impresses is James Lim from the CBS green room. Either way, it’s been a couple of rough weeks for her, and no matter what, I’ll be sure to give Laurel a hearty handshake on the red carpet.
It finally comes down to the nailbiter of all nailbiters. From what we’ve been shown, Wendell has been the more social of the two players, the Gus Fring to Dom’s Mike Ehrmantraut. But the face-off at Tribal Council can show the double-edged sword of relationship management on Survivor. Chris challenges him to a rap battle after watching the tapes back of his diss track, while Sebastian makes him eat the shell that he brought him on Yanuya. But, as a consolation prize, I bring him in person a trophy he’ll win for “Best Voting Confessional” in the 15th off-season podcast Rob and I do, and he’ll display it in a trophy case he built.
It’s crazy to think the guy who spent the first couple of days vocally undermining somebody and creating fake idols would become a Survivor winner. But stranger things have happened. While his upfront way of approaching relations may have grated on some people, he’ll wear it as a badge of honor, denying any duplicity that his partner may have enforced. The ace up his sleeve comes out when he ominously says, “Jury, look under your seats.” Would you believe it, ten hidden immunity idols, one for each of them! The crowd goes absolutely wild, and the group of superfans is ecstatic to have a relic in their hands. Now, he didn’t explicitly say they were real idols, but that’s something, like Michael’s age, they need not find out until everything is said and done.
Note from Liana: In line with our B&B preseason predictions, I’ve decided to write my predictions while on a combination of flakka and bath salts.
6. Sea Bass
After rolling along for much of the season, Sea Bass finally realizes what planet he’s on and decides to try and play Survivor! He wins the final six reward challenge by outlasting his fellow competitors in a endurance style competition inside a very hot box on the beach. After munching on the very delicious and edible brownies provided for reward, truly a feast fit for twenty, Angela, Donathan, and Sea Bass plan their next move. They quickly realize, however, they need Laurel to grind out this plan. Unfortunately, Laurel was very blunt with Sea Bass, stating she would stay loyal to Wendell and Domenick because alliances are all about a give and take and that his plan was only a pipe dream.
The voting urn/bowl was packed with votes for Sea Bass and he was eliminated in a true blaze of glory. In his final words, Sea Bass lamented that he was unable to smoke out the competition but emphasized that his fellow tribemates were all super dope. After lighting up the mood this season he hightailed it to ponderosa to enjoy the kushy accommodations at jury after feeling burnt out in the game.
In the penultimate episode we saw Angela making fire! Foreshadowing! Based on this 0.5 second scene, the logic of Domenick and Wendell must have gone as follows:
“Who should we get rid of next because we are so clearly running the show?”
“Donathan is a crazy man so we should get rid of him.”
“Yeah but Angela can make fire.”
“True. She’s a threat at the final four fire making challenge that now exists so Ben could win HvHvH.”
“Okay, let’s vote off Angela.”
Everyone votes of Angela. THE END.
Angela had some touching character moments this season like when Probst couldn’t stop crying at her family visit, when she emotionally discussed her time serving this country, and the one thing she’ll always be remembered for, “Angela, shoves an entire slug down her mouth, WOW!” – Jeff Probst.
Despite Dom and Wendell thinking Donathan to be a crazy man (see the Angela prediction), they keep him around for a few more votes as he isn’t an immunity threat. “Donathan tossing that rope” in the final immunity challenge but sadly “Donathan goes down hard” and he is sent to make fire in the final four fire making challenge against Wendell. During fire making, “Donathan AMAZES himself” but it’s not enough to beat the elite furniture maker as Wendell builds a stylized wood pile the likes of which can now be found in the new IKEA catalogue. With a final fire making push, “there goes Donathan, can he get there?” The answer is no and Donathan is sent to Ponderosa where “[he] clearly wanted no part of this and now he’s forced to”. At least he is finally able to enjoy some “Cinnamon Rolls! Cinnamon Rolls!” – Donathan.
*Quotes provided by Jeff Probst unless otherwise indicated
Laurel predicted that Dom and Wendell would split the vote at the final Tribal Council; lo and behold they did! The only problem for Laurel is they split the votes 6-4 with none for Laurel Johnson. Bye. While Laurel tried to argue that she…. hmmm … that she… nope, I’ve got nothing. I don’t know how she is planning on convincing the jury to vote for her. Perhaps that Domenick and Wendell are jerks who cast aside their own family or maybe Laurel has the all important skill to call over Jeff Probst when she finishes a slide puzzle.
Either way, I think it will be fun to watch Laurel’s personal struggle of choosing when to turn on Dom and Wendell which she ultimately decides is during the final jury questioning. After the season finishes we find that Laurel was actually part of a gambling ring to help Survivor fans win their average placement draft and 3rd place gets you a handful of sweet, sweet points.
Honestly, the path to the final three for Domenick and Wendell (oh and Laurel, I guess) is pretty smooth. They are a well organized group and it’s a crime that no one was able to challenge them. Once in the final three, the final jury questioning really comes down to Domenick vs. Wendell and it’s a close fought battle between two heads of the family.
The vote was really up in the air until Domenick tried some intimidation tactics that shifted the vote to Wendell. For example, Sea Bass was going to vote for Domenick until he heard that if he voted for Wendell he would be sleeping with the fishes and got excited for the sleepover. Sea Bass casts the deciding vote for Wendell to win the game so he could learn more about this new breed of “loan” shark that Domenick told him about. The only thing I can say is that I hope the rest of the jury purchased some insurance because you never know when bad things can happen to good people.
Wendell had one of the best social games all season long and is probably feelin’ like a boss as he’s island-hoppin’. From him saving the shell for Sea Bass to his tight alliances with Laurel and Domenick he really swung for the fences this season (we call it Sammy Sosa). None of the jury members could say that “Wendell mighta ghost ya” because he was always there building metaphorical friendship bridges.
At the final jury questioning, Chris gives Wendell credit for saying “Naviti Strong” but changing with the high tide causing Chris to check his back from that blindside. These types of power moves give Wendell a strong case with the jury despite Probst leading the final questioning causing the final three to feel the burn when he hosts them. Wendell solidifies his win with his final statements to the jury emphasizing that he always had Survivor on his mind and that’s why he ponder-osa. Congratulations Wendell! I hope you finally get to lock the door to freedom like your Florida Key and always remember what happens on the island stays in Fiji, Vanaka.