Matt Liguori analyzes the Survivor: David vs Goliath cast each week to pick out his top three players, his bottom two, and one player we should be keeping an eye on, this week with a special twist to preview the season finale.
Survivor 3•2•1 — David vs Goliath Week 12
What. A. Season.
I could not be happier to be here ahead of the David vs Goliath finale delivering my highest possible praise towards the past twelve weeks of television. It’s no secret that some fans have been down on Survivor coming out of the past few seasons. But here we are with a season many are debating how high up in their top 5 seasons to place it, something I certainly didn’t see coming. There’s no doubt it’s up there alongside Cagayan as one of the best all-newbie seasons ever. So thank you to the cast, producers, editors, everybody who made it so much fun!
Here we are heading into the finale with six players who have all played hard in their own ways since day one. Christian going home last week wasn’t surprising given we expected him to be out as soon as there were no idols or immunities keeping him in the game. It was surprising given he was barely in the episode, but I get it.. his Survivor story was told and there’s a brand new story with this final 6 they needed to start telling. While losing Christian was heartbreaking for all, it’s easier to sleep knowing he will surely find his way back on our screens in a future season.
As always, thank you all for stopping by here throughout the season! I took a little risk switching things up from the Power Rankings to this new 3-2-1 format and according to most of feedback I’ve seen, it was a success. I’m happy to keep it going for future seasons assuming you’ll all stick with me!
Thoughts? Comments? Agreements? Disagreements? Reach out on twitter @mattliguori or leave a comment below!
NOTE: For this final week of the season, the 3-2-1 is coming at you in reverse! Today I’ll be breaking down THREE players I think are out of contention, TWO players in it with a shot, and my ONE pick to win.
3 – Better luck next time!
I’m sad to kick things off here with a fan-favorite, but I do not believe Dr. Alison will be our winner. Following her game throughout the season was often difficult. Early on, all we knew is that she was outside of the Goliath tribe’s majority alliance. We barely heard from her pre-merge until she connected with Gabby. The Strike Force was tried and failed and now with Gabby now out of the picture, where is Alison going to find a strong enough ally to help get her to the end? It seems like she’s been barely keeping her head above water to stay in the game. Barring three immunity wins in a row, Alison isn’t likely to land a seat in the final 3.
Overall it’s not the strongest game of the remaining players, but she does gain a lot of credit from everybody’s claims about her threat level. If she did sneak in, you could see some votes going her way from the connections she made along the way with Alec and Gabby… I just can’t count up enough votes for the win. Most of the jury didn’t ever actually connect with Alison during the game (at least from what we saw).
Mike was one of the biggest characters early on, but with bigger players all around him post-merge he’s faded into the background. I’ve wanted to hear Mike tell us what his gameplan is and how he’s executing it, but all I’ve heard is a bunch of “Christian’s a big threat… he’s gotta go!” It feels like his only goal was to get to the end of the game, and all along he really underestimated his competition which caused it to take five votes to get Christian out after Mike initially formed that first plan to do so.
I see Mike landing in the final Tribal Council earning zero votes. The idea of this jury awarding a successful Hollywood writer $1 million seems unlikely, but that isn’t the only problem. Although he hasn’t been insignificant in the gameplay, there aren’t any major moves you could point to that advanced his game forward. He tried to pull together the Strike Force and then tore it apart declaring war on Gabby and Christian one vote later. The lack of game moves would be less of a problem if his connections to the jury were as great as someone like Kara or Davie’s. Who has he connected with besides Nick and select Goliaths (most of whom are still in the game)? He went to work every day to get the Davids out and march his way to the end, while Kara, Angelina, and Alison all attempted to work with them or extend some kind of olive branch and show “I see you as more than just my enemy/opponent in this game.”
Angelina can’t be considered a serious threat to win this game, can she? While I’ve got to say that I don’t see it myself.. shoutout to any Angelina truthers out there keeping hope alive. Angelina told us early on this season that she’s often able to get what she wants. Her track record on that claim hasn’t been great, but getting the million-dollar check would make up for everything else. If she’s able to ask the jury for their votes and walk away successful… for sure this is the Best. Season. Ever.
Angelina has been an important character all season long. She’s the gift that keeps on giving! While she hasn’t been the smoothest operator, she finds a way each round to hang in there. It seems like Angelina has never been taken seriously by the other players. If she does get a chance to plead to the jury, I think she’ll have a hard time avoiding a few laughs coming her way as she explains how she stuck her neck out to win the rice (and then explains it again ten minutes later incase anybody forgot.)
My prediction is Angelina will get blindsided (at 6/5) or go out in fire. Maybe that’s just the hipster in me not letting me follow the consensus prediction of Angelina being in final 3? (Considering I’m also thinking Alison won’t make the final 3.. Alison and Angelina going to Ponderosa back-to-back would be a Hollywood written finish for these two foes.) The casuals will cheer, fully satisfied as the villainess’s torch is snuffed. Then we’ll move into the jury questioning where Angelina will lay out some iconic speech or discussion point that will steal the show and close out her run with a bang.
2 – Contenders
There’s no doubt about it… Nick played a strong game. For a guy who wasn’t supposed to make it past his first Tribal, he exceeded expectations on a journey to win or die trying. Before the last round, nobody had brought Nick up as a target since those scary hours on day 3. Keeping himself off the radar while having a hand in most Tribal Councils gives him some solid selling points if he finds himself in front of the jury.
My question: does Nick have the relationships needed to secure enough votes, or will he be fully relying on his resume to win the votes? Looking at the jury, there aren’t as many connections between Nick and other players as I thought there might’ve been. The only votes I see as locks in his favor are Carl and Christian (along with Davie and Mike if either of them are voted out along the way). Either way, I commend him for his effort all season because he certainly worked hard to form those bonds through the many named alliances. It’s a strategy rarely seen on Survivor, but it works!
Heading into the finale, it seems like Nick will have an uphill battle to secure himself a seat in the final 3. He’ll need immunity wins or an idol to get through and that’s far from impossible at this stage in the game with so much less competition and his experience finding prior idols. As far as a winner pick, it’s tough to be in his corner when you imagine the second he has no protection, he’ll be out. But if he does get there, he’s got a great shot at the win.
Davie in the final 3 would sweep the jury vote, would he not? Everybody loves Davie, but that’s the problem here. With Christian out of the picture, Davie is now the one person you have to imagine nobody wants to sit next to due to his sheer likability. Just like Nick and Alison, it feels like immunity wins or another idol find is essential each of the next two votes in order for Davie to make final 4 (and then have two shots to secure his spot in final 3).
Davie’s been a really fun character and a low-key solid player. There aren’t many flaws in his game to point to and say “should’ve zagged there!” His main role in this season seems to have been the idol/advantage guy. He’s Devilish Davie! He stirs the pot, causes some havoc, and keeps the biggest smile on his face while doing it. So while Davie may have a tough road to get to the end, if he can somehow find his way there I’ve got to imagine his shot at the win is better than almost anybody else in this group of six.
1 to Win!
If my flag wasn’t already planted (…it was), here it is. I’ve been all in on Kara since right before the merge and I’m not backing down now. This has been a crazy season and there’s no denying that a lot of the action has had nothing to do with Kara, but along the way she’s maintained good relationships while sitting back and letting the bigger players blow up their own (and each other’s) games. When the dust is settled, I see the jury votes landing in her lap.
Since the start, Kara has been touted as a charming player who picks up information from anybody who falls into her trap. It started with Dan, it worked on Elizabeth, it worked on Carl, and it seems to be working on Davie. Nobody ever has a bad word to say about her and that tells you all you need to know about how effective her social game has been.
Kara’s biggest story of the season was with Dan. Early on, Jeremy identified that Dan was in a showmance and Kara was in a strategy. You may be sick of hearing about that but it was a very important line that told us despite Dan growing overconfident and comfortable, Kara was always aware that Dan was not her ticket to the end and she was going to use him as long as she needed to. Her breakout game move came when she pulled the plug on Dan and decided in order for her to have a chance a winning the game, he had to go. You could argue that it wasn’t her move (the Davids were the votes), but she was very much involved in the planning all while sharing the information of Dan’s idol.
Ever since, Kara hasn’t been targeted once. She’s been laying low while the Davids self-implode.. being included in the Tribal Council plans each round. With big targets all around her still (Nick, Davie, Alison) it shouldn’t be hard for Kara to get to final 4, which is saying a lot given most of these other players need immunity or idols to get themselves that far. It may not be the most exciting finish to the season, I get it. Personally, I hope it happens because I like being right. But for the record, I haven’t been right about a winner since I started blogging; I took a wild shot with Dr. Mike (don’t ask), then picked Domenick last season, so I could easily go 0-3 as much as I’d love to add a tally to the win column!