Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon will create separate Power Rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Brenda is voted out this week, Michael will receive 3 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!
Last Week: Michael and Gordon both called it by having Malcolm in spot nine. So, the current score is Team Skupin 122, Team Lightning Punch 139.
Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…
Gordon Holmes: So I guess Malcolm isn’t so tough when he doesn’t have forty idols.
Michael Skupin: I’m not an expert at “Survivor” trivia but it seems like it’s raining idols. On S25, there were only three total idols in play. There are five now. It almost seems like it’s raining idols.
Holmes: We’re starting to get down to the nitty-gritty. How does the game change from a physical aspect after you’ve been out there for a month?
Skupin: Food is becoming a factor. Keep an eye on who wins reward challenges as they’ll have a distinct advantage in the immunity challenges both physically and mentally. And speaking of challenges, where are the puzzles? We saw so many on S25, maybe a record number? It appears the opposite is true on this season.
Holmes: My understanding is that “Entertainment Weekly’s” Dalton Ross has been pushing for less puzzles for years. I won’t give him grief, though. I’ve been pushing for more “Eat Gross Things” challenges and I finally got my wish a few weeks ago.
Skupin: Were you thinking that Malcolm should have tried to cut a deal with Andrea when she confronted him digging in the sandbox for what she cleverly guessed was an idol? If he would have tried, they would have shown it and Andrea would have coyly listened.
Holmes: Absolutely. Anything other than the old fake idol trick.
Skupin: The back-to-back seasons may be too much for even a beast like Malcolm to maneuver.
Holmes: Speaking of your former Tandang buddy, any parting words for Malcolm?
Skupin: Goodbye, Malcolm… Ughhhh, early jury, 9th place… not the spot anyone picked you to finish. If this were an NCAA Final Four bracket, you’d have wrecked all our chances of placing. I was thinking there’s no way for you to crawl out of the hole you dug yourself into but “Survivor” often offers a twist. You were handed not only a twist but a familiar twist: THE FOOD AUCTION!! What an advantage you have, you played this game just a few weeks ago on S25 and watched Abi buy a game-saving clue. No one else there saw the S25 food auction except you. This is your time to shine. All you have to do is save ALL your money and buy the advantage in the next immunity challenge and you’re virtually guaranteed another three days. You can still win this season! Whoops, you spent $20 before Probst could say “less filling” on a bottle of beer. Somehow, as if forgetting the game was afoot, the remaining contestants with $500 still let you by it. Crud, you guessed wrong and bought the information NOT the advantage. Wrong clue. The game threw in a twist that we didn’t see on S25, we were both surprised. After you made the big move at the merge to go against your alliance with the favorites and align with the fans your guessing instincts began to fail you. You guessed wrong that Corinne had more power than she did, you guessed wrong that Dawn was at the bottom of her alliance, you guessed wrong that Phillip was the head of the snake, and lastly you guessed wrong that you “had Sherri.” Heck, even Eddie ended up voting against you? One wrong guess can cause a flame to flicker, five wrong guesses cause the flame to be extinguished and we saw Probst do just that. Regardless of what anyone says, luck is a factor in this game and it was not on your side this time. The part that confuses me a little is that it appears that you gave up looking for the idol and that goes against everything I learned about you in the 38 days I played with you or there’s another part of me that says you did find that idol and thought your move with Sherri and Erik to overthrow the favorites was going to work and you went home with it. In either case, you’re leaving as a player we’ll remember for bold gameplay. Now you get to have that drink you said you needed on the way out, as many as you’d like.
Michael’s Current Score: 122
Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin
Gordon’s Current Score: 139
Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
| 1. Cochran: Although it may have an asterisk* attached to it, you pulled out another immunity win. Hats off to the challenge underdog and this was even a physical one! The win came with a bravado that we’ve not seen before. Your coy sarcasm was endearing, let’s hope your boastful bravado stays in the confessionals. You still are sitting in the front of the bus.
|| 1. Dawn: The biggest threat to a Cochran win is also his closest ally. If Dawn is doing her Power Ranking exercises out there (I like to imagine her drawing a list in the sand) she knows that Cochran probably has more votes on the jury. The question is, is Dawn 2.0 cutthroat enough to send her bestest buddy home?
| 2. Dawn: Now this is a twist that was refreshing; you comforting Brenda when she broke down. If that’s not evidence on how tough this game is. In their defense, we’ve all felt like that. Everyone’s out to get you. This new Dawn/Brenda love may have a serious outcome on this game in short order.
||2. Cochran: Strategic thinker, master storyteller, and now challenge terror! Is there anything John Cochran can’t do? He’s like Ozzy Lusth in a sweater vest. He’s like “Boston” Rob Mariano with a law degree. His biggest concern now is to make sure that it isn’t super obvious that he’s going to be the toughest person to beat in front of the jury.|
| 3. Brenda: This game can take anyone down to such a raw emotional state. Many can hide it but often it bursts. You were there for Dawn two weeks ago and it looks like she returned the favor. Bonding over tears, a game few if any men can play. I’m not suggesting it’s strategy, it’s actually beautiful in its sadness. Although the food auction threw the non-pork eating cheerleader a freshly scooped skull of pig brains, it ended with peanut butter and you even got to keep your suit on.
|| 3. Andrea: Notice anything awesome about the top three people on my list? All three are former competitors in the XFINITY “Survivor” Power Rankings Challenge. If Andrea, Cochran, and Dawn are our final three, they, along with Coach, will prove that participating in the Power Rankings makes you a lock to get to the end of the game. I should start taking bribes from future players to let them compete.
| 4. Sherri: I didn’t think you’d fall for Malcolm’s last attempt and admission of you being his ‘only’ option left. $500 in round one of the food auction and it wasn’t even up for bid, BRILLIANT!! As a first-time player to call out Probst like that is ballsy! Carbs, protein, taste, volume; the pizza had it all. You’re recharged nutritionally. The food auction saved me on S25, it may have saved you too! I think it’s premature to say (in your best Troyzan) that this is “your island” but you’re definitely gaining again.
||4. Brenda: Eddie and Reynold’s days are numbered. Nobody wants to keep those two challenge threats. But then what? Sherri seems like an obvious boot because she was a late add to the alliance. Then we’re down to five…and that probably puts Brenda and Erik on the wrong side of the numbers. (Heh… “Brenda and Erik were the popular steadies and the king and the queen of the prom…”) It’s time for those two to make a move.|
| 5. Erik: Somehow you still think there’s a “bro” alliance and the “bros” are leaving one-by-one. The floater strategy is working for you but I don’t think it will win the game. I’d love to know why you voted for Phillip and if that will become a factor as this game gets tighter. You look as fit as you were your first time out but your challenge performance isn’t likely to offer you the “win out” option to get into the final three. So, if you want to be a millionaire you’re going to have to create it.
|| 5. Erik: Erik was my day-one pick, but I was basing that on his ability to blend and my belief that people would forget that he was a challenge machine toward the end of Micronesia. Well, the first part has played out well, but where’s the challenge prowess? Is he downplaying it? That’s not a bad strategy, but what about his jury management? Phillip and Malcolm probably don’t think highly of his game and will cast their votes elsewhere.
| 6. Andrea: “I love the smell of fresh dirt.” You’re as adorable as a newborn. You’re camping adventure on the tree stump, assuring Malcolm’s information to a hidden clue was wasted was priceless. “Same time tomorrow morning?” was not only the quote of the season but may be the quote of the entire game, all seasons. You get this game like few others. If you make it to final three you’re a serious threat to win it all.
||6. Sherri: Is Sherri playing a good game? I dunno. We don’t get to see much of her. But, I do know she’s in some serious trouble this week. Now, let’s assume that the first person going home is going to be either Eddie or Reynold (depending on who wins immunity.) After that, what if Eddie or Reynold wins immunity? Then Stealth R Us Too (or whatever they prefer to be called these days) has to turn on each other a week early. As the last person brought in during Phillip’s recruitment drive, the target will be on Sherri’s back.|
| 7. Eddie: You either forgot all the previous seasons you watched or need some Ginko. Remember the food auction offers advantages in this game which you so desperately need. This one offered two!!! You had all $500 left when the advantages presented themselves. Drooling over Andrea, I mean pizza, may have been your downfall. I believe you’ll last three more days than Reynold.
|| 7. Eddie: OK, pop quiz; you and your bromigos are way down in the numbers. An auction takes place where you can win an advantage in the next immunity challenge. The advantage comes up and you still have all of your money. Every penny of it. There’s no possible way you can be outbid. What do you do? Alright, pop quiz over…everyone who’s playing to win BIDS FOR THE ADVANTAGE!
| 8. Reynold: If the head of the snake is Cochran, you weren’t able to eliminate it but you sure offended it. “I don’t trust you, Cochran” was certainly not an alliance strengthening or value added proposition. At Tribal, you all but gave away your last stab at staying in the game when you answered Probst and alerted the other players to exactly what your remaining strategy was “Jeff, I don’t believe it’s 6-3 anymore.” You may get by in life with smooth talk and good looks but “Survivor” is an in-depth, strategic game that only by playing or watching a lot can you truly develop a strategy that will carry you far into this game. Your athleticism and entertainment were excellent. Your game play, not as much. Watch all 26 seasons, develop a strategy and you’re a gamer.
|| 8. Reynold: Cochran gives you advice on a stupid guessing game and you call him out by saying you don’t trust him? Why? What was the point? It’s hard to get through this game without rubbing some people the wrong way, but if you have to do it, make sure it helps your game. What did that do for you except annoy the most powerful dude in the dominant alliance?