Friday, May 25, 2018

Survivor Ghost Island: Finale

It’s the finale & no one is more excited the Probst. It’s either because he’s completely in his element on live TV, or because he’s relieved this rather dull season is nearly over. The Ghost Island concept I think could’ve been a great one if it had been a cannier cast.

Wendell is probably the smartest person left on the island, and is coming into the finale as the favorite to win. But that also makes him the biggest target. Then Dom & Wendell start talking about how Sea Bass is the biggest threat left and I’m once again reminded of the inferiority of this season. Terrible judgment!!

The next immunity + reward challenge is a maze with what looks to be a tricky puzzle. Whoever wins this is getting themselves a hefty 10 points (or 20 points for a double stack), and it definitely feels like the Survivor Pool this season is closer than it's been in recent memory.

Wendell wins – woot! – and he takes the dregs with him to reward. Smart move, though I think it was craftier than how far Wendell thought it through. After all, keeping Donathan isolated from talking to the dregs is a pretty important decision.

Then we get to watch Angela be included in a strategic plan for the first time ever, and then we instantly get to see why folks never did so before now – because she can’t keep her mouth shut. Great editing, and a hilarious scene.

Tribal council is painful on a lot of levels… bro. The blitzkrieg of idols both real & fake was an obvious front to scare people away from voting out Dom. And sadly it totally worked. Such a n00b mistake, Sea Bass.

Next day & it’s a new challenge but with the same result – Wendell wins again. Then Dom makes one of the worst poker analogies in Survivor history by claiming that “a snap call is usually a bluff.” Yeah sure. Hopefully he’s at one of y’alls tables at the WSOP this year and he will snap call all his chips your way.

There was some grandstanding at tribal but nothing super interesting. Idols were played to no avail and Donathan was sent to the jury.

Dom ended up winning immunity & it was fun to see the respect between Dom & Wendell play out as they both knew long ago that they didn’t want to take the other one to final but had so much fun playing together that they just couldn’t help themselves.

Somehow looking at urns where past contestants messed up in the 11th hour inspired Dom to consider the unthinkable – give up his immunity idol to play for fire against Wendell. He claims it would make him a legend in a good way. I think it would have made him a legend more a la Eric.

Fortunately Dom’s not that stupid (though he was dumb enough to sacrifice Angela to a fire challenge). Even though the decisions were not well made, it feels like the 3 most deserving players (since Michael went home) have made it to the finals, so I can make my peace with that.

MVP of final tribal is far & away Michael. He would have CRUSHED IT arguing his own case if he hadn’t been voted out! Bring him back soon, Probst, I want to see that guy playing against the likes of Sarah, Parvati, Boston Rob, and Cochran. He could hold his own. I think Laurel did a good job of arguing her case and that Dom & Wendell both did a bad job of arguing their cases. And yet she got no votes!!

For the first time in Survivor history…. There’s a tie! Ultimately Wendell’s loyalty to Laurel pays off huge, and I feel a massive sense of vindication at picking the ultimate winner #1 overall. So many doubters out there, but it turns out I’m more than just a blogger. I actually know my stuff too. J


The Teams:

Michal & Ben: 203 points
  • Wendell (94 pts)
  • Jenna (19 pts)
  • Laurel (46pts)
  • Sebastian (32 pts)
  • Desiree (12 pts)
Bagginses: 193 points
  • Stephanie (-5 pts)
  • Wendell (94 pts)
  • Libby (26 pts)
  • Laurel (46 pts)
  • Donathan (32 pts)
Phil: 156 points
  • Brendan (-6 pts)
  • Dom (80 pts)
  • Dom (80 pts)
  • Bradley (1 pts)
  • Bradley (1 pts)
Eric: 150 points
  • Michael (32 pts)
  • Michael (32 pts)
  • Angela (37 pts)
  • Angela (37 pts)
  • Desiree (12 pts)
          SuperDreg: 118 points
          • Chelsea (33 pts)
          • Chris (26 pts)
          • Chelsea (33 pts)
          • Chris (26 pts)
          Doug & Bri: 87 points
          • Stephanie (-5 pts)
          • Sebastian (32 pts)
          • Donathan (32 pts)
          • Kellyn (22 pts)
          • James (6 pts)
          MoonBee: 67 points
          • Brendan (-6 pts)
          • Libby (26 pts)
          • Kellyn (22 pts)
          • Jenna (19 pts)
          • James (6 pts)

          Next Season:

          Next season’s theme of David v. Goliath looks almost as dumb as the new Kevin Hart show. The mixed metaphors of “all Goliaths have Achilles heels” is cringe-worthy as well. Fire that writer, Probst, s/he made you look like a fool!

          Friday, May 18, 2018

          Sruvivor: New Episode

          Whoa, I'm actually almost keeping up with Survivor? Hard to believe!!

          But it's Friday night & I can't think of anything better than to sit down with a solid beer (Left Hand Milk Stout) and "live" blog the latest episode of Survivor.

          There's 7 left, and Donathan's feelings are very similar to my own from my last blog. He's seriously contemplating ditching play-it-safe Laurel and trying to do something to boost his resume.

          In the meantime we have a reward challenge where the reward is being a Survivor Goodwill Ambassador & Kellyn clutches her heart throat in some kind of mimicry of being Mother Theresa rather than admitting that was she actually wants is the fried chicken. I'd probably be all for that if I was on Survivor. I recently learned that I make some seriously badass fried chicken myself (let me know if you want to try it sometime).

          They draw for "captains" and the choices are 100% unsurprising. Poor Angela. No one gives her a real chance, including me.

          This is the kind of challenge I'd be super pumped to participate in. Kind of mundane, but all about perfecting a process. That's my jam, yo. 33 days in, though, this is pretty grueling.

          All 3 teams make it to 4 spools, which was better than I expected. I love that they did this as a team challenge this time around. All about communication, strategy, and heart. Is this my fave challenge ever? Honestly, it might be. Which is well-timed, because I think Moon is right. This is generally a weak season.

          Dumbass Seabass & Kellyn are unsurprisingly the first team out, though kudos to them all for making it to 5 spools each. Laurel & Donathan bust immediately afterwards, and Wendell & Dom immediately choose Laurel to share their reward & Dumbass Seabass to go to Ghost Island. The lack of thought behind these choices (and the verbal announcement of the lack of thought) prove that these "masterminds" wouldn't stand a chance against the true geniuses of this show (Parvati, Boston Rob, Cochran, Yau Man, etc. just to name a few.... aaahhhh when are they going to have an All Star season again? I miss the Supreme Metagame!!) .

          Back from commercial and Seabass is suddenly some kind of Ghost Island Philosopher. He refers to himself as a... barnacle??... that attaches to a whale. I clearly didn't catch the whole thing, but the gist was spot on and shockingly insightful for someone who appeared to be perma-stoned up until this point. Cap'n Bass wins himself an advantage in the game and even more importantly a little respect from this here blogger.

          Now we move on to the "goodwill ambassador" part of the show, and it's mildly uncomfortable as it's borderline racist/classist/American-privilegist but thankfully they don't spend too much time dwelling on the black castaways being good at sports & the "adoring" looks the "brown children" are giving them while they show off their skills.

          Donathan's "Truth Bombs" are maybe not something I've been paying too much attention to until the last couple episodes?? He says they've been working for him, but I can't say I've noticed that much of them until recently. In any case, he manages to ostracize most of his primary alliance in about 10 minutes and I failed to see how that helped him in his game. But I'd be happy if Cap'n Bass wasn't the only one to pleasantly surprise me tonight, so fingers crossed there was more to Donathan's strategy than what we just witnessed. Because if he didn't think that through, he just put 2 guys on high alert who were the last 2 people on the island that they wanted to feel insecure.

          On to the immunity challenge, and Wendell & Cap'n Bass are going strong while everyone else seems to struggle. But Laurel catches up & in the end it's a weird finish where Wendell actually finishes first but Laurel calls it first & gets the credit. Well done Wendell for bowing out as gracefully as possible. I wonder if he would have done the same if it wasn't Laurel (or Dom) who was the winner.

          Back at camp there's an uncomfortable scramble where everyone wants Kellyn gone, but Donathan gets so paranoid that somehow his plans just make himself a giant target rather than help him in any way. Laurel is conspicuously absent throughout all these exchanges, though, and I'm wondering what that means. Is she usually the one that protects him, or reins him in? Then Kellyn refers to Donathan as someone who "pulls the plug on the grenade" and my indignation at Moon referring to me as Kellyn-like intensifies. Seriously man? I'd like to think you have more respect for me than that.

          There's some kind of scramble after that, but I'm not really paying attention other than to note that Angela isn't involved in pretty much any of this.

          Dom's cryptic speech at tribal was so sketchy that he vilifies himself immediately rather than salvaging the situation. But then Donathan returns fire by doing basically the exact same thing.

          Now the question really is, can Seabass use his extra vote when it's down to 5 or even 4 players left? If so, definitely hold on to that advantage -it's HUGE!!

          In the end it's a tie between Kellyn & Donathan and strangely it appears that Wendell & Dom didn't give Angela any info as to who she should vote for. Did they talk to the Cap'n either?

          Kellyn goes home & next week is the FINALE!!! What a good early birthday present. Kellyn is gone, and the finale is next week!



          The Teams:

          SuperDreg: 118 points
          • [Chelsea (33 pts)]
          • [Chris (26 pts)]
          • [Chelsea (33 pts)]
          • [Chris (26 pts)]
          Eric: 110 points
          • [Michael (32 pts)]
          • [Michael (32 pts)]
          • Angela (17 pts)
          • Angela (17 pts)
          • [Desiree (12 pts)]
          Michal & Ben: 99 points
          • Wendell (28 pts)
          • [Jenna (19 pts)]
          • Laurel (26 pts)
          • Sebastian (14 pts)
          • [Desiree (12 pts)]
          Bagginses: 90 points
          • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
          • Wendell (28 pts)
          • [Libby (26 pts)]
          • Laurel (26 pts)
          • Donathan (15 pts)
                  MoonBee: 67 points
                  • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                  • [Libby (26 pts)]
                  • [Kellyn (22 pts)]
                  • [Jenna (19 pts)]
                  • [James (6 pts)]
                  Phil: 54 points
                  • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                  • Dom (29 pts)
                  • Dom (29 pts)
                  • [Bradley (1 pts)]
                  • [Bradley (1 pts)]
                  Doug & Bri: 52 points
                  • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                  • Sebastian (14 pts)
                  • Donathan (15 pts)
                  • [Kellyn (22 pts)]
                  • [James (6 pts)]


                      Power Rankings:
                      1. Michal and Ben - Cap'n Bass proved he has a couple moves and Laurel & Wendell met point-earning expectations this episode. That was about as good an episode as we could have hoped for, though it would have been optimal if Donathan had actually gone home. Still, he's in the dog house now and that's better than I expected.
                      2. Bagginses - Voting out Kellyn rather than Donathan was probably the wrong choice. That being said, that's assuming that the version of Survivor that I'm watching more closely mirrors reality than the version of Survivor that Moon is watching. In that version Kellyn is smart, socially savvy, and maybe has real reasons for divorcing her husband other than a desire to go to grad school... don't get me started. Leaving Donathan in this game leaves a real threat. That dude is smart & has a good story to back it up. Plus his Truth Bombs give him more street cred than Laurel's more subtle (though in my opinion, superior) game play. 
                      3. Phil - Dom's still here which means Phil's still in this game. I do feel very strange giving a higher ranking to Phil than Eric, given the 50+ difference in their scores up until now. With that being said, Angela lost Eric points this episode, whereas Phil is moving in the right direction... This is clearly flawed logic, but I'm going to stick to my guns & say that Phil has a higher ceiling than Eric this season. 
                      4. Eric - Angela... what is there really to say? Your performance in the reward challenge was literally absent. Your performance in the immunity challenge was actually worse. 
                      5. SuperDregs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5J1mn_u0rM
                      6. Doug and Bri - There's nothing new really to say. the Cap'n over-performed, and Donathan under-performed. Kellyn met expectations. You won't have to add to the trophy, so that's a plus? Except that Doug is far superior to Moon at adding to the trophy, so really it feels like everyone is losing right now.
                      7. MoonBee - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy9_lfjQopU

                      Douche of the Week:

                      Donathan!

                      Tuesday, May 15, 2018

                      Survivor Ghost Island: Episodes Many

                      There's a lot to cover over the last few episodes, but the only thing I can really think about is how annoying Kellyn is. Her emotions are both overblown and feel really inauthentic. Her backstory is the most inexplicable of all the remaining castaways, and her determination to trust her gut has nearly led to disaster multiple times.

                      Before I spend far too much time dwelling on her, though, let's move on. Since the last blog we've seen the departure of Desiree, a woman who can lie so well it's just plain terrifying. (Also I didn't notice until she made the jury but her breasts are absolutely enormous. Those ladies are all I can see when she's in the frame these days.)

                      Next to go are Jenna and Michael. Jenna was so forgettable she's lucky I'm even giving her this sentence of space in the blog. But Michael was a blow. He played a really strong game, just ran into some bad luck along the way. Though to be honest someone that burly is always going to have a target on their back. Hopefully we'll see him again soon on an all-stars season!

                      Finally, Chelsea was the latest casualty in the season. Considering how often the castaways have talked about the men this season being the "strong" players, I'm happy to see that someone finally rightfully targeted the actual strongest player of the season. It was a given that Chelsea wasn't going to make it much longer considering her lack of air time. But her challenge prowess was impressive & I'm annoyed that she didn't get more respect for it.

                      And now here we sit. SuperDregs are in FIRST place. It's clearly temporary, and yet...



                      Next comes Eric, who has made an impressive run this season. But with zany Angela being his only leg to stand on, I think it's unlikely he'll make it into the end zone. Which gets us to my team & Baggins. With a slim 9 point lead and an eerily similar team, it really comes down to whether Seabass or Donathan will go the distance.

                      If I were any other player on the island, I'd definitely be taking Seabass with me to the finals. That dude has done nothing, and would be completely incapable of arguing his case at Final Tribal. Donathan has played a MUCH better game, and I'd love to see him make the finals (though not if it costs us the season).



                      The Teams:

                      SuperDreg: 118 points
                      • [Chelsea (33 pts)]
                      • [Chris (26 pts)]
                      • [Chelsea (33 pts)]
                      • [Chris (26 pts)]
                      Eric: 114 points
                      • [Michael (32 pts)]
                      • [Michael (32 pts)]
                      • Angela (19 pts)
                      • Angela (19 pts)
                      • [Desiree (12 pts)]
                      Michal & Ben: 90 points
                      • Wendell (26 pts)
                      • [Jenna (19 pts)]
                      • Laurel (19 pts)
                      • Sebastian (14 pts)
                      • [Desiree (12 pts)]
                      Bagginses: 81 points
                      • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                      • Wendell (26 pts)
                      • [Libby (26 pts)]
                      • Laurel (19 pts)
                      • Donathan (15 pts)
                      MoonBee: 52 points
                      • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                      • [Libby (26 pts)]
                      • Kellyn (7 pts)
                      • [Jenna (19 pts)]
                      • [James (6 pts)]
                      Phil: 50 points
                      • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                      • Dom (27 pts)
                      • Dom (27 pts)
                      • [Bradley (1 pts)]
                      • [Bradley (1 pts)]
                      Doug & Bri: 36 points
                      • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                      • Sebastian (14 pts)
                      • Donathan (14 pts)
                      • Kellyn (7 pts)
                      • [James (6 pts)]


                      Power Rankings:
                      1. Michal and Ben - I'm giving us the edge over Baggins due to the slight point advantage & because I think Seabass has a better shot of making the finals than Donathan. But it's basically a toss up.
                      2. Bagginses - I absolutely adore the Laurel/Donathan alliance. They have almost never actually agreed with each other in any strategic conversation and they probably have nothing in common at all. But they are both extremely loyal to each other & respect each others' opinions. I love the dynamic! With that being said, I think Donathan is doing well but is being held back by following Laurel's lead. Laurel is playing the best game for herself, but that means Donathan is missing out.
                      3. Phil - Dom's the dark horse in this pool. Phil's well behind in points but with a huge run giving him double the points, I cannot count this team out. A couple challenge wins, a properly played idol, and Phil is right in this thing.
                      4. Eric - Angela did better than expected this season, but I'm not expecting much more from her. Again, she'd be a great choice to take to finals, but I'm not sure that anyone with power can trust her enough to bring her along. 
                      5. SuperDregs - Easily the best Dreg team of Survivor Pool. Well played, dregs, well played. 
                      6. Doug and Bri - Doug & Bri have a decent number of players left, but they all are underperforming point-wise. Maybe with SuperChelsea gone, though, a window will open for some late point scoring?
                      7. MoonBee - This team is just sad. 


                      Douche of the Week:

                      I guess I'll just throw all my DoW votes from the last few weeks at Kellyn. 

                      Tuesday, April 24, 2018

                      Survivor Ghost Island: Episode 9

                      We're post merge and post Chris so this show blew wide open for potential storylines beyond the super dull civil war that was happening between Dom & Chris. Dom must have read my mind... or I guess last week's blog, because he basically stated what I did, which was that he blew a lot of resources to get rid of his nemesis. His laying low strategy seemed to kind of work, even, in that all eyes were on Wendell rather than Dom this episode.

                      Wendell is playing the game well, including not playing his idol at the past 2 tribal councils where I was convinced both times that he would go home if he didn't play it. Thanks for giving me a few extra gray hairs on those ones, Wendell! But Laurel is a gamer too & her reasons for not trusting him seem pretty valid to me.

                      Laurel & Wendell look like they will be the titans of both the physical challenges & potentially also the strategy. They won the guac reward challenge basically single-handedly. They're both reading the other players well & at least Laurel seems to be weighing all her decisions carefully. Wendell could be in trouble if he just assumes his final 4 is locked in & solid... but he does seem to be working hard to maintain those relationships.

                      Then, in the second half of the episode, Angela comes out of nowhere and decides to hurtle Eric's team into 2nd place in the standings. Her "disrupter" role was played to perfection. Not one person suspected her of throwing Michael under the bus, and my respect for her grew & grew until we reached the immunity challenge. Then she started acting like a crazy person, and despite winning immunity, I think her prancing around may have a negative effect on her other tribemates ability to take her too seriously.

                      Michael saves himself with a clutch idol play, and in the end it's Libby who goes home. I'm not sure she still knows why. And quite frankly, I'm not sure I know why either. Was she really that strong of a player? Or did that female alliance just see an easy target?


                      The Teams:

                      Bagginses: 81 points
                      • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                      • Wendell (25 pts)
                      • [Libby (26 pts)]
                      • Laurel (19 pts)
                      • Donathan (16 pts)
                      Eric: 75 points
                      • Michael (17 pts)
                      • Michael (17 pts)
                      • Angela (20 pts)
                      • Angela (20 pts)
                      • Desiree (1 pts)
                      SuperDreg: 60 points
                      • Chelsea (4 pts)
                      • [Chris (26 pts)]
                      • Chelsea (4 pts)
                      • [Chris (26 pts)]
                      Michal & Ben: 58 points
                      • Wendell (25 pts)
                      • Jenna (5 pts)
                      • Laurel (19 pts)
                      • Sebastian (8 pts)
                      • Desiree (1 pts)
                      MoonBee: 38 points
                      • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                      • [Libby (26 pts)]
                      • Kellyn (7 pts)
                      • Jenna (5 pts)
                      • [James (6 pts)]
                      Doug & Bri: 30 points
                      • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                      • Sebastian (8 pts)
                      • Donathan (14 pts)
                      • Kellyn (7 pts)
                      • [James (6 pts)]
                      Phil: 24 points
                      • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                      • Dom (14 pts)
                      • Dom (14 pts)
                      • [Bradley (1 pts)]
                      • [Bradley (1 pts)]


                      Power Rankings:
                      1. Michal and Ben - I'm sticking with my girl Laurel to win this whole thing, so I'm keeping us in 1st place for now. Jenna & Seabass are looking like dead weight, but hopefully that means they rack up points going deep as coattail riders...
                      2. Bagginses - Baggins is down 1 player but could have 3 of the "final 4" if Wendell's plan actually happens. Is that a long shot to happen? Probably. But it's the only "final 4" that we know of now which I think lends it a little extra importance this season. 
                      3. Eric - Wow, Eric, nice run this episode! Really strong play from your team this episode. Now the question is if they can follow it up with another solid episode. Michael needs to get the target off his back ASAP for this team to have a legit chance. On the plus side, I think he's capable of pulling that off.
                      4. Doug and Bri - Doug & Bri are leading in the 2nd tier of teams, but things really aren't looking great for any of this group. I see the most potential with this team though.
                      5. Phil - Dom's solid reflection on his situation gives this team some hope. If he can pull out some idol plays, immunity challenge wins, etc. the double point value could put this team back in contention. But there is a LOT of ground to make up, so he needs to get on that fast.
                      6. MoonBee - With only Kellyn & Jenna on this team, MoonBee is pretty much toast this season. 
                      7. SuperDregs - Chelsea is sticking around which means each player voted out ahead of her will continue to be docked 1 point until she goes home. Which will inevitably happen in some kind of collateral damage scenario. 


                      Douche of the Week:

                      There were a few good options, but I'm going to give it to Wendell for not even trying at the immunity challenge.

                      Tuesday, April 17, 2018

                      Survivor Ghost Island: Episode 7

                      Many thanks to Moon for keeping this pool running while I was off gallivanting in the Pacific! I'm back now, and caught up on the greatest reality show in TV history, so here I go, banging on my keyboard to spew out highly biased but somewhat legitimate opinions about the show, the pool, and the castaways themselves.

                      Note: I've done some updating on points due to forgotten rules (e.g. the dreg rule where you lose points if your player gets voted out before a dreg) -- more of that may come soon.

                      Episode 7 was a fun one to watch as I did so with our house guest, one Adam Friedman. Adam, a wily, smart & opinionated professional poker player, is confident that he would do well on the show of Survivor. With that being said, he also can't understand how Evil Russell never won this show, so I pointed out that he might have to work on his social game.

                      The merge! The merge! And it's Dom-Chris Death Match 2. Dom prevails, but at what price? He used up a lot of his resources to nix his nemesis. Does he have what it takes to power through, maybe find another idol to make up for spending his legacy idol?

                      Chris finds an idol but loses his vote that week while extending his ability to use it one more week. Worth it? Not so much? Adam & I discussed this ad nauseum, including his decision not to play the idol in one of his only chances to do so. And gnight Chris.


                      The Teams:

                      Bagginses: 63 points
                      • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                      • Wendell (23 pts)
                      • Libby (14 pts)
                      • Laurel (17 pts)
                      • Donathan (14 pts)
                      SuperDreg: 56 points
                      • Chelsea (2 pts)
                      • [Chris (26 pts)]
                      • Chelsea (2 pts)
                      • [Chris (26 pts)]
                      Michal & Ben: 55 points
                      • Wendell (23 pts)
                      • Jenna (6 pts)
                      • Laurel (17 pts)
                      • Sebastian (8 pts)
                      • Desiree (1 pts)
                      Eric: 39 points
                      • Michael (7 pts)
                      • Michael (7 pts)
                      • Angela (12 pts)
                      • Angela (12 pts)
                      • Desiree (1 pts)
                      Doug & Bri: 30 points
                      • [Stephanie (-5 pts)]
                      • Sebastian (8 pts)
                      • Donathan (14 pts)
                      • Kellyn (7 pts)
                      • [James (6 pts)]
                      MoonBee: 27 points
                      • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                      • Libby (14 pts)
                      • Kellyn (7 pts)
                      • Jenna (6 pts)
                      • [James (6 pts)]
                      Phil: 24 points
                      • [Brendan (-6 pts)]
                      • Dom (14 pts)
                      • Dom (14 pts)
                      • [Bradley (1 pts)]
                      • [Bradley (1 pts)]


                      Power Rankings:
                      1. Michal and Ben - All 5 players made the merge which is a powerful position to be in. Would be interesting to see the win rate of teams that bring all their players into the merge - I expect it's pretty high. Wendell is doing a solid job - great non-play of the idol this last week. However, my top ranked player right now is Laurel. She's doing the quiet crush right now but I think she's holding back & is going to blow people away pretty soon. Good decision not to his the NOS button too early though.
                      2. Bagginses - Donathan > Sebastian + Desiree. But I don't think that will be enough for this team to overtake us with the overlay, unless Libby starts taking off. We'll see how she reacts to having her name written down last week.
                      3. Eric - Michael made the merge and he could be a powerful competitor, ally, and swing vote now. Angela I find a very intriguing player as well, though she's unlikely to rack up big points in a post-merge universe. This double stack mctwisty team could make a huge run; so even though they're 20 points back now, we can't count them out, especially with 2 players that could easily have a deep run.
                      4. Doug and Bri - Unlike Moon, I really don't like Kellyn. She's smart, I'll give her that, but she's too emotional to win this game. Also appears to be really bad at math based on the insanely exuberant celebration of getting an advantage in a challenge she was 67% likely to win. Sebastian as a 2nd round pick may have been the worst draft decision of the night, despite the criticism of a Wendell #1 overall pick.
                      5. MoonBee - Moon's fondness for Kellyn may be based on a desperate hope that she will salvage this team. Libby & Jenna can't win it for them - they're also owned by higher-scoring teams. So it's Kellyn or bust!
                      6. SuperDregs - Chris really shouldn't have been a double dreg in the first place. But that happened, and now SuperDregs could beat a legit real team.
                      7. Phil - Dom didn't go home last week which would have been hilarious. But despite looking like a potential power couple with Wendell, Dom misplayed his legacy idol, wore that dumb fake idol around his neck at Tribal, made a huge fuss about hating Chris, and basically is setting himself up to be voted out soon. 


                      Douche of the Week:

                      Chris. So long and thanks for all the reasons to give you this vote. 

                      Saturday, April 7, 2018

                      Survivor Ghost Island: Episode 6


                      Last week we did individual player rankings. This week we'll do team power rankings.

                      Power Rankings:

                      1) Michal & Ben: 52 points
                      • Wendell (22 pts)
                      • Jenna (6 pts)
                      • Laurel (16 pts)
                      • Sebastian (7 pts)
                      • Desiree (1 pt)
                      No one in this group has faced much adversity yet. Wendell distinguished himself in the last episode singing Happy Birthday for his girlfriend and finding an idol. It's possible the merge could toss some of these castaways into stormier waters, but they're all comfortable currently.


                      2) A to Z: 62 points
                      • Stephanie (-4 pts)
                      • Wendell (22 pts)
                      • Libby (14 pts)
                      • Laurel (16 pts)
                      • Donathan (14 pts)
                      This team is playing Libby and Donathan -10 pts against the Greenbergs' Jenna, Sebastian and Desiree. There is plenty of screen time of Libby walking on the beach in a bikini while others talk about how dangerous she is, but little of her talking to the camera one-on-one, so she may be packing her bags shortly.


                      3) Eric: 39 points
                      • Michael (7 pts)
                      • Michael (7 pts)
                      • Angela (12 pts)
                      • Angela (12 pts)
                      • Desiree (1 pt)
                      It's been a harrowing journey for Michael to the merge, but he made it. He's gotten the strongest edit of the remaining players, has no enemies, plays hard, has an idol no one knows about, and could win challenges down the stretch. However, he doesn't have people he can trust and will have to find some semblance of an alliance at some point.


                      4) SuperDreg: 38 points
                      • Chelsea (2 pts)
                      • Chris (17 pts)
                      • Chelsea (2 pts)
                      • Chris (17 pts)
                      Multiple teams may lose to the two-player SuperDreg. This shows the power of stacking, the power of an athletic player on an athletic tribe, and just how unpredictable Survivor is. It will be interesting to see which castaways recognize Chris as the dream ally and seek to take him deep. Or maybe he will lose his war with Dom and go home this week.


                      5) Doug & Bri: 25 points
                      • Stephanie (-4 pts)
                      • Sebastian (7 pts)
                      • Donathan (14 pts)
                      • Kellyn (1 pt)
                      • James (7 pts)
                      All things considered, Kellyn looks like the favorite heading into the merge. She has the acumen and determination necessary. She's shown she can make difficult decisions while displaying empathy and self-awareness - which should appeal to the jury if she gets there.


                      6) MoonBee: 23 points
                      • Brendan (-5 pts)
                      • Libby (14 pts)
                      • Kellyn (1 pt)
                      • Jenna (6 pts)
                      • James (7 pts)
                      Our remaining players are all capable of sitting at Final Tribal, but even if they do, they have a lot of points to make up on teams who have more players. Weak as this team is, we won't be adding to the trophy unless Dom outlasts our players.



                      7) Phil: 27 points
                      • Brendan (-5 pts)
                      • Dom (14 pts)
                      • Dom (14 pts)
                      • Bradley (2 pts)
                      • Bradley (2 pts)
                      Bradley pushed the barriers of acceptable dickheadedness as far as they could be pushed and ultimately they snapped. Personally I would have kept him around cause that's the kind of guy you want to go to Final Tribal with, or you can dispatch him later. But I don't have to be around the guy all day. Melissa and I wonder if he will undergo some personal growth from watching these episodes or dismiss it as a fake news edit. If Dom goes out in a do-or-die battle with Chris next week, this could finish as one of the worst teams in pool history. 

                      Saturday, March 31, 2018

                      Survivor Ghost Island: Episodes 4 & 5


                       This has been a poor season thus far. An uninspiring cast, habitual buff drops, and the elimination of some of the season's more charismatic castaways have all served as snooze buttons to the meat of this season, which will be post-merge. At that point, unburdened by boringly strong tribal alliances, we will see the mettle of this season's cast revealed. This is Survivor, a foolproof formula, and the season will eventually pay off with plenty of legitimate drama. Empathetic characters are starting to overcome the narcissists, in game power and screen time.  My power rankings of the remaining castaways are mostly based on how I believe they will perform in the eventual post-merge world, tempered with consideration for the small tribe they're currently with.


                      Player Power Rankings:

                      1. Laurel is a talented athletic and social player. She’s cruising, and she landed on a tribe that seems perfect for her.
                      2. Jenna was desperate for a tribe swap and got it. Now she’s on a super-athletic tribe that could go on a run of challenge wins. 
                      3. Wendell was a strange choice for #1 overall, but he’s outlived his brethren first rounders and sits amongst the points leaders.  
                      4. Kellyn is playing an excellent social game, displaying empathy for those she’s assassinating. This isn’t the strongest strategic crew, so she might be able to play an Axis of Evil game with Bradley if she chooses. Kellyn’s problem is that she’s scored negative one points so far. 
                      5. Michael garnered heroism points with his idol giveaway right before the swap appeared to bail him out. But he landed in another bad spot and immediately lost the immunity challenge. Now he’s next on the chopping block. He’s a strong, hungry player with a lot of game, but has to be docked for his position and that he has yet to score a point.
                      6. Bradley showed some humility by quickly admitting he underestimated Michael. “I was dead wrong,” he said. Cocky, yes. Egomaniac, no.
                      7. Dom got a lot of attention early in his feud with Chris, but has since been less involved. That’s for the best for him – he needs to lay low and make his move late.
                      8. Donathan is making emotional connections with players. There’s not really much reason to vote him out, so he could last quite a while. He’s off to a nice start in points.
                      9. Libby is a dangerous player, but her reputation is that she’s a dangerous player, making her less dangerous.
                      10. Sebastian isn't bright or aggressive, but he doesn't attract negative attention and landed on the athletic tribe. 
                      11. Angela is viewed as a maniac, especially by Kellyn, but seems misperceived by her fellow castaways. She generally seems pretty calm and rational.
                      12. Chris is an impressive athlete. If he’s brought along by smart players who know no jury will vote for him, he could pile up a huge total through challenges. He should also win Douche of the Season.
                      13. Desiree survived an immunity challenge choke, but doesn’t appear to have many strong connections going.
                      14. Chelsea isn’t distinguishing herself. That doesn’t mean she can’t hang around for a while, but Final Tribal seems unlikely.


                      Standings:

                      A to Z: 46 points
                      • Stephanie (-4 pts)
                      • Wendell (13 pts)
                      • Libby (12 pts)
                      • Laurel (13 pts)
                      • Donathan (12 pts)
                      Michal & Ben: 31 points
                      • Wendell (13 pts)
                      • Jenna (3 pts)
                      • Laurel (13 pts)
                      • Sebastian (3 pts)
                      • Desiree (-1 pts)
                      SuperDreg: 28 points
                      • Chelsea (-1 pts)
                      • Chris (5 pts)
                      • Chelsea (-1 pts)
                      • Chris (5 pts)
                      Phil: 25 points
                      • Brendan (-5 pts)
                      • Dom (13 pts)
                      • Dom (13 pts)
                      • Bradley (2 pts)
                      • Bradley (2 pts)
                      Eric: 19 points
                      • Michael (0 pts)
                      • Michael (0 pts)
                      • Angela (10 pts)
                      • Angela (10 pts)
                      • Desiree (-1 pts)
                      Doug & Bri: 17 points
                      • Stephanie (-4 pts)
                      • Sebastian (3 pts)
                      • Donathan (12 pts)
                      • Kellyn (-1 pts)
                      • James (7 pts)
                      MoonBee: 16 points
                      • Brendan (-5 pts)
                      • Libby (12 pts)
                      • Kellyn (-1 pts)
                      • Jenna (3 pts)
                      • James (7 pts)