Matt Liguori ranks the players each week with his own guest in RHAP’s Survivor Power Rankings. This week Matt is joined by the robotic host of The Taran Show and all things Big Brother / American Ninja Warrior over on Reality TV RHAPups, Taran Armstrong!
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RHAP Survivor Power Rankings Week 7 with Taran Armstrong
There’s nothing like the LIVE Survivor Know-It-Alls week to make any episode automatically the most exciting episode of a season. Watching in a packed movie theatre full of other Survivor fans is such an awesome time, and luckily we had a great episode to take in with some equally great (well, even greater) company… hey Cirie!
This week we lost Jessica, our nurse practitioner and dream girl of Cole Medders. Jessica was a preseason favorite of many; even Rob had chosen her as his winner pick. What I said about her pre-season was: “She seems like a sweet girl who will fit right in with a group and do well in challenges, but once the merge hits and the end game is in sight, it’ll be hard to find reasons to keep her around as the players begin identifying jury threats” — I think I basically nailed it? I don’t think she was voted out because she’s a jury threat, but she’s a smart/likable girl, half of a power couple, and in the minority alliance… so as the merge arrived, there was no reason to keep her any longer.
Looking ahead, the game seems relatively open. There may be another week or two of boring Healer vote-offs, but those Healers aren’t going down without a fight and the Heroes and Hustlers all have their own agendas that should make these next few weeks a lot of fun.
I’m joined this week by another good friend of mine, whom I spent my entire summer listening to (and a little talking to) about a very bad season of Big Brother, Taran Armstrong! If you’re not caught up on Taran’s current work on RHAP, you’re doing something wrong. Make sure you’ve been checking out his weekly episodes of The Taran Show over on Reality TV RHAPups in his final slow weeks before Big Brother Celebrity and eventually BBCAN6 get underway. Follow Taran (@ArmstrongTaran) and myself (@mattliguori) on Twitter, tweet us what you think and leave a comment below!
- How did you enjoy the LIVE Survivor Know-It-Alls this past week? If someone told you 5 years ago that someday you’d be watching Survivor in a giant movie theatre in New York City with over 500 people, would you have believed them?
- The Know-It-Alls was great! It’s always really fun meeting new people that are fans of the show and the podcast, and any excuse to hang out with all the friends I’ve already made in the community is great. And that doesn’t even mention watching Survivor in a huge theater and getting to meet Cirie.
- How surprised were you to see Jessica voted out in this spot? Does it feel like she paid the price for mistakes made in her own game or is this just the evolution of Survivor where the intelligent under-the-radar woman is the new typical merge boot?
- I think Jessica just got unlucky. Her failure wasn’t really any worse than any of the rest of the Healers. She had two targets ahead of her but they were obvious targets and couldn’t be gone after with idols in play. Then with Desi winning immunity, the choice was between just Mike & Jess where Jess is the obvious pick. So to answer the question, I don’t necessarily think it’s either.
- As a robot yourself, who in this season needs a major reprogramming on their Survivor game?
- I think Joe needs some reprogramming. He doesn’t appear to have much of a social game, so he’s trying to run his way to the end on strategy alone. The problem is that his strategy leaves something to be desired as well. But with some minor changes, I think he could go far.
- It turns out Jessica didn’t make the jury and was added the the roster of Katrina, Simone, Patrick, Alan, Roark, and Ali for the pre-jury trip. Anyone in there you’d really like to see get a second chance?
- I’d like to see Jessica or Alan get another shot. Of everyone that left, they were the ones who really just got unlucky. I think Jess without Cole there to distract her could be very good, and Alan will always be fun to watch. I think we’ll be seeing Ali come back though.
- Suppose CBS allowed you access to one player still in the game to interview for this week’s episode of The Taran Show, who are you picking and why?
- I’d want to interview Ben or Chrissy. They both have a wealth of experience that would make for fantastic interviews.
- Last week I had Jordan Parhar on, and he told me if the LFC were in the finale of a Survivor season, you’d win. This week, I got to see the Taran Armstrong strategic game in action during a long day of “Secret Hitler” at Podcast House. So my question is… what are you waiting for? Get in that house (or out on that island) already and bring back a win!
- Well, as I was always just a loyal member of the liberal team, I think I’d be a valuable member of any Survivor alliance if I ever have the chance to play.
- It seems highly unlikely (to me) that a Survivor player would be cast on the upcoming Big Brother Celebrity, but is there anybody on this season of Survivor (or any season) that you’d like to see get a shot in the Big Brother house?
- There are plenty of Survivor players that I’d love to see play Big Brother, but the aforementioned Cirie might top my list.
Ryan’s in a great spot. He has allies that trust him and “enemies” that aren’t talking much about him (as far as we’ve seen). With missiles flying all around the beach, it seems like Ryan is wisely staying out of the crossfire while there’s no reason for him to jump directly into things.
Ben had a bit of a rough episode at the merge, but he came away from that vote in a crushing spot. Being in the majority alliance with ties to strong players on both sides (Chrissy & Mike), as well as having a better connection to Lauren than Ryan & Devon places Ben in the position with the most amount of maneuverability. In the hands of a lesser player, that can spell disaster, but I think Ben has proven himself to be capable.
Apart from the mistake with Ali, I’ve been very impressed with Ryan. His play on the Hustler tribe was excellent, and he managed to be on the winning side of the vote at the merge without having to emerge as a power player. If he continues to play at the level he has been, he’ll be unstoppable.
I don’t envy Lauren’s position coming into the merge one bit. It seems like despite all of the Lauren and Cole drama at Yawa, Lauren actually developed a tight bond with Jessica and wanted the five of them to stick together. Who’s to say that group wouldn’t have been her better path than the Heroes and Hustlers route? But as the numbers leaned away from her desired alliance, she had no other choice besides letting go of somebody who was potentially a very valuable asset.
Chrissy has been playing phenomenally as well, but my concern about her is how visible a target she is after the merge vote. She’s played very well thus far, but there’s so much game left to be played and when you’re so far ahead of the pack, it’s difficult to avoid getting stabbed in the back.
It felt save to assume that Mike wouldn’t be in too much trouble early on in this battle against the Healers, and that assumption turned out just fine. He’s incredibly well liked by Ben and Lauren and isn’t some obvious immunity threat. The only other person in the game who knew he had an idol is now gone, so Mike is free to play that however and whenever he’d like to.
Ashley is in an interesting position. She’s not up there with the power players, but she has a lot of potential to sweep up after the inevitable bloodbath. If JP & Devon remain as loyal as they seem, I think the Ryans & Chrissys of the world will be disappointed if they think she’s an easy mark.
I’m really not sure what Ben’s endgame is going to look like. I just find myself thinking it won’t be a win. He’s been identified as a threat a couple of times. While Chrissy ensured him that he’s her #1, I still don’t feel great about that relationship being enough to carry him to a final 3 seat. I’m just afraid in a few votes down the line, someone like Ryan or Ashley will wake Chrissy up and convince her they don’t need Ben anymore.
Slow!! Down!! Chrissy is making everybody nervous and stands out enough that an entire alliance used their votes to try to take her out in the first post-merge vote. Only three previous times in Survivor history has the “older” woman/Mom player received so many votes at the merge. Gretchen (s1) and Kass (s31) were both voted out, while Sherri (s26) was a zero vote finalist. (If I missed any, feel free to yell at me.) Chrissy following Sherri’s path, despite being a much stronger player, would not be surprising.
A merge is always filled with chaos. I wasn’t surprised to hear Devon’s name floated out there even though he was probably not in much actual danger, but I feel like going forward his name will be on the table just about every night; he perfectly fits the mold of a typical immunity threat. I still need more from Devon to show me why he can win this thing.
Devon is in an interesting position. It’s one of the best spots in the game. He’s protected by Ryan on one side and Ashley on the other, then he’s fully capable of winning a couple immunities down the stretch even if all else fails. However, he really showed his hand at the merge, and the target his physicality brings likely outweighs the benefit.
Joe is a huge target. Even though he’s played two idols, I don’t even trust that he can find a third given how difficult it was for him to find the first two. Without any idols, it’s hard to find a scenario where he survives the next few votes. But I never want to count out someone as scrappy as Joe; if anyone can weasel their way out of a bad spot, it’s him.
Things are not looking up for the Healers. With Jessica out of the game, Cole may have a rise in stock since he’s not seen as the smartest player and he’s now ridin’ solo. Desi is a “challenge threat” and Joe has the “immunity idols/strategic threat” thing going, which could give Cole some more time on the island before heading to Ponderosa.
Without seeing an idol in Joe’s possession, I find it impossible to rank him too high. One thing I feel certain about is not putting him last. He’s an active player, and while his antics at Tribal aren’t helping him make friends or stay off the radar, he’s in survival mode. Joe is definitely in trouble, but maybe he’ll find a way.
All it ever takes is one. One immunity win shows the rest of the tribe that you’re capable of taking home the necklace. Target, meet Desi. Desi, meet the new target on your back. Without Jessica around, it feels like Desi is just about completely alone out there. Other players would be wise to try and pull her in, but I think it’s more likely that she’s out pretty soon.
Matt’s Power Rankings By Week