Matt Liguori ranks the players each week with a new guest in RHAP’s Survivor Power Rankings. This week Matt is joined by Survivor Historians’ Paul Asleson!
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Survivor: Ghost Island Week 1 Power Rankings
I’m a big fan of the two-hour premieres. We all are, right? Last season felt like such a slow start when we only had an hour. Even if it’s two separate episodes back-to-back, it’s much better than only one hour where one-third of the cast doesn’t get to speak. Having a story arc as great as Jacob’s play out over the course of two hours is the perfect way to kick off a season, and I can’t wait for Jacob’s Funny 115 entry when the time comes.
Jacob came into the game as a superfan who admittedly has struggled throughout his life with social skills. He thought he may have a leg up because he’s spent so many years learning how to overcome that, but that seemingly wasn’t the case. I don’t buy that the idol search is the reason he was targeted, but I’m sure it didn’t help. Like I said last week, every season needs its flameouts to balance out the great gamers.
We also lost Stephanie Gonzalez, who became the season’s #FirstOneOut (obviously because Stephanie Johnson wanted to be the only Survivor Stephanie on Ghost Island). If you follow me on twitter, you know I really don’t want to talk about this first boot. Please. Don’t make me. BUT I did like Gonzalez and I think she would’ve been fun if she had more time in the game. She for sure could’ve avoided being first out if Jacob hasn’t been off at Ghost Island, but it is what it is, and I agree with Rob that she would place relatively high on the first boot rankings.
I’m joined for this first week of the Survivor regular season by a new guest to the Power Rankings, Paul Asleson! You know Paul mainly from his work on the Survivor Historians podcasts as well as from the RHAP B&B, where he makes occasional appearances. Follow Paul (@paulasleson) and myself (@mattliguori) on Twitter, tweet us what you think and leave a comment below!
Gotta give the top spot to the man with the idol. This does feel particularly risky, opening with a guy who is the #1 target of another player in the game, because you never know where the votes are going to fall. But with that other player being Chris Noble, and with DoomeyNick having found an idol, I’m happy to place him up here.
Although the task of ranking the Survivors right after the premiere and right before a tribe shuffle next week is super challenging, selecting my number one pick was not hard to do; Stephanie owned the two-hour episode. She’s strategic, diplomatic, and even manipulative with no apparent backlash. Hopefully her calm confidence and ability to find the majority alliance carries over to her new tribe.
It’s tough to say exactly how the members of Naviti will fare, since we haven’t seen them go to Tribal Council, but I have high hopes for Wendell. He seems to have established himself as a trusting, useful tribe member and he handled Sebastian’s targeting of his ally Domenick flawlessly. Jeff Probst and Matt Van Wagenen may have been onto something with Wendell…
Look at you go, getting advantages handed to you already! Morgan was worried she has a hard time keeping her mouth closed, which means she’s absolutely going to tell someone about this advantage even though she knows she shouldn’t. Hopefully that doesn’t screw her over, but as of now she’s flying high and off the radar.
This may be a gamble putting Morgan this high up, but she got a decent amount of airtime (all of which was positive), performed well at the challenges, and picked up the legacy advantage. I don’t think she’s the Kim Spradlin 2.0 we were teased with, but I see a very long run/swim in store for the marine animal trainer.
… 2018’s Boston Rob ends up on a tribe with Brendan. We got so much Domenick this week ranging from his personal story back home to his real idol finding and fake idol creating. He’s a definite contender to flame out early, but he also could go the distance–especially if he is continues to alter his gameplay as he goes along.
First boot? More like strategic alliance leader! Didn’t see that one coming. Seems like Stephanie is sociable and strategic, and isn’t having a hard time connecting with anybody like many of us anticipated. She was able to connect with Jacob, which tells me she’ll be able to connect with literally anybody else out there in this tribe swap.
Through two hours of Survivor, all we know is that Jenna is close with Stephanie. It’s a lot more than we know about some other players, so I shouldn’t complain. But I’ve got no clue whether or not the rest of the tribe like her or finds her valuable in challenges. My gut says she’s fine for now.
Hear me out before bailing on this blog. I didn’t notice her much on my first watch, and I had her pegged as a likely Purple Edit contestant in the preseason, however, she really stuck out in the rewatch. She has attached herself to my #1 pick Stephanie, and that could take her far. She spoke up a couple times at Tribal and came off as the voice of reason. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but Jenna was my most pleasant surprise this week.
My thoughts on Brendan preseason were that he wouldn’t try to be a leader early on. That prediction flopped hard. Turns out, he actually was the leader of his alliance (and his tribe, for that first challenge). It’s going to be pretty hard for him to get rid of that leader title, but I imagine he’ll be useful for challenge strength and avoid the chopping block for a little while longer.
I would have placed her much higher had we not learned that she’s on the outskirts of the main alliance. With that being said, she avoided being targeted in two Tribal Councils, proved some puzzle prowess, and handled herself well in social situations (e.g. slightly awkward Donathan asking her about being married).
Michael doesn’t seem to be viewed as the leader of the alliance on Malolo, but he is correctly viewed as a strong player who will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Truthfully, the second tribal would’ve been a great place to take him out if they anticipated a tribe swap. He can thank Jacob for a few more days, but he’s got to find a way to use them well.
Totally bombed that challenge, but I didn’t think there was ever a real chance of James going home. Votes being tossed his way does indicate that he’s seen as expendable by his tribemates, but he’s about to get new tribemates and I think his social game will be good enough to help him find some better footing.
10. Sea Bass
I’m surprised to find out that the majority alliance was formed without Laurel involved. I’m not sure how she got pushed to the bottom, but she told us that’s where she is. Sounds like she’s somebody who will really benefit from this tribe swap. Lay low and get to the merge, I think you can do it.
I had to put the four people we know nothing about the bottom. If the show doesn’t care enough about them to give us a pity confessional within the first two hours, I wouldn’t bet on any of these four to win. Bradley is at the top of the Purples because we heard him say like six words between the two scenes of him sitting in the water.
16. Sea Bass
“It’s like best friends in a candy shop, picking out what kind of gummies each other wants.” Well I’m glad Sebastian is making connections, but connecting with the biggest wildcard in the game is really not the optimal way to start off. When he passed off information to Wendell, the group agreed he wasn’t the one making the calls but instead having plans whispered in his ear. That’s actually good for him for now, because he likely wouldn’t have been targeted first. Time to get new friends though, Sea Bass.
Not a great start, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an expected start. Donathan has told us about the struggles he faced early on in life and it seems like some of those issues of not fitting in were making their way to the island. He’s very likable (to the players and the fans), but he’s been a clear outsider and I think he’s in plenty of danger the next time he’s at Tribal.
I would be extremely surprised if Chris isn’t at the bottom of my ranking each week until he’s voted out. As expected, Chris hit the beach running, loud and proud about who he wants out of the game. I expected to see Chris flame out early on and he’s well on his way to delivering a wildfire of an exit. Thank you casting, for finding the most Drew Christy-like trainwreck since, well, Drew Christy.