In 3 days, the much awaited third episode of Survivor: Philippines is set to air. And for die-hard fans like me, the wait is brutal. What with such a crazy episode that transpired last week that saw Roxy going home, you can’t help but get excited and pumped for how things will change up. Is Lisa going to turn her breakdown around and join in on a huge move to vote out Skupin? Will Angie and Malcolm continue on with their showmance? Is Matsing doomed for another IC loss or will either Tandang or Kalabaw vote out one of their own? Will Carter finally speak?
Clearly, there’s tons of questions to be answered and we will go through each of them slowly but surely as we go along. For now, let us examine how castaways stack up within their tribe…
1. Malcolm – Malcolm was in the hot seat on episode 2 of Survivor: Philippines because of his overt canoodling with Angie on the shelter. However, it seemed to me like Malcolm had the situation more in control than what it is shown to be. While it might have some effect on his game, I don’t think it has put him in a shaky situation within the tribe. For one, he has established a tight alliance with Denise that I think will be his number one option (sorry Angie!). He is also the strongest physical asset for the tribe as far as challenges are concerned, and he does contribute much to the camp life. Coming into Episode 3, I think Malcolm is in a good spot but he and his tribe need to fight harder if they don’t want their numbers to dwindle even further, or else he’d have nowhere to hide.
2. Denise – Denise is a clear favorite for me, which is why I am happy with where she is currently standing in the tribe. She has a solid alliance with Malcolm and these two brains can work together in concocting an equally solid plan moving forward. I also have a clear understanding to Denise’s decision to get rid of Roxy instead of Angie on the previous TC. Keeping Roxy, who she can’t seem to have control of, is a dangerous move for her (personally) because she is on the outs and might team up with Russell. If that happens, she will be in a tight spot and her chances of staying in the tribe pre-merge will go down significantly.
3. Angie – Angie is expendable. This might not get her too far, especially during the individual competition, but this will keep her longer because any person on your alliance would mean additional numbers for you. Malcolm and Denise could use her as one more vote to their side. Plus, both Denise and Malcolm had expressed their desire to get rid of Russell whenever they can, which means Angie can have her ass saved unless she proves to be a real liability during the next challenge.
4. Russell – As frustrating as it might be for his much awaited return, Russell Swan’s days are up. The only way he can extend his time on the island is if and when Matsing manages to escape going to tribal council on Episode 3. But if they don’t (I hope not for the sake of Malcolm and Denise), he is in a bad shape. He needs to put out all stops to keep that from happening, and even then I am not sure if he can pull one.
The tribe dynamics at Tandang is pretty intriguing – they have a clear 4-person alliance, which turns out not be too strong after all as the two younger girls who formed it seem to have trust issues going on (well, most of it is just from Abi-Maria who I thought was acting like a clingy bitch last episode). For some reasons, I have a feeling that this core alliance won’t be as promising and tight as it initially appears.
1. Mike – Mike is playing the best game in Survivor: Philippines so far. All the positive factors are on his side: he’s part of the majority alliance within his tribe, he has shown tremendous value in challenges and within the camp, and he is part of a solid team that had been winning challenges. But what is most impressive about Skupin’s game is his ability to adapt to the game. It feels like he has made good use of his time while away from Survivor and seen how the game has evolved since the last time he played. Somehow, I don’t see him in danger of being voted off soon – he’s too valuable.
2. RC – On the first episode, I was torn about RC. I appreciate a player who is strategic and aggressive. But Survivor is a tricky game – you can’t be out there exposing yourself to all the other castaways because they, too, are playing the game. Surely, RC’s game isn’t one of subtlety. And it seems as though in episode 2 that had bitten her in the ass by sharing the immunity idol clue with Abi-Maria. But I do think that she is in a good position within the tribe entering episode 3 because she has got enough people on her side and is a valuable asset during the challenges.
3. Pete – We haven’t seen enough of Pete for me to make any valid assessment for his chance at the game, long-term speaking. But since he is a part of the core alliance at Tandang, I feel that would be his safety net for now. In the preview for this week’s episode, we see him talking to Lisa about possibly voting off Skupin. Again, we don’t know if this move was initiated by him or was a decision of the alliance as a group. We’ll see… but unless anything goes crazy, Pete is safe at least until next episode.
4. Abi-Maria – Wow, Abi Maria is quite the jealous type! Even when RC seemed to solidify their alliance by sharing the hidden immunity idol clue with her, Abi manages to get straight into RC’s face and threaten her in case a betrayal does happen. Stupid move. I don’t see how she can act based on impulse in a social game. She got lucky this happened after she’s officially become part of the four-person alliance at Tandang, or she’s in real big trouble. If she continues on with her attitude, she might as well be the crack that Artis and Lisa are looking to seep their way back into the majority.
5. Artis – Artis’ case within the Tandang tribe is rather shaky. He isn’t completely out of the tribal alliance but neither is he a part of it. He could possibly make his way in, but we don’t see any signs that he will. Despite being the oldest castaway for this season, he’s hanging in there, though. That would be plus points for him. But I’m not sure if Artis has got what it takes to make it to the long haul.
6. Lisa – In Episode 2, Lisa continues on the tradition of the middle-aged women breakdown in Survivor. I am not sure if it’s just her personality or she’s having a tough time personally (we’ve heard she just went through a divorce going into the game), but it’s never good gameplay to isolate yourself from the tribe. Stuck inside your shelter during a downpour is one of the best ways to bond with your tribe, but instead of using this opportunity to win over her tribe mates, Lisa goes off on her own yet again. Unless she can pull something off, her days on the island are numbered.
In my opinion, this tribe is probably the strongest as a unit. Not a single castaway stands out as favorite, except maybe for Jeff and Carter, but they work really well together as a tribe. But who’s in a safe spot and which ones are in trouble?
1. Jonathan – Last week, Jonathan was in a difficult spot within this tribe. But with his tireless effort to look for the hidden immunity idol, it certainly paid off this week as he unraveled the clue and got himself a lifeline in this game. The fact that Penner found the idol puts him back to power position in his tribe. Going into Episode 3, he is the safest in his tribe (unless of course they blindside him big time!) with the idol in his pocket. Now, he can go back and try to establish relationships with his tribe.
2. Carter – Carter has proven to be a potent competitor during challenges and it is an admirable quality about him. However, he hasn’t got enough air time just yet so it is difficult to assess just how good his strategic game is, or if he has one. But it’s the least of his concern right now. He is a valuable member of this tribe because of his skills at challenges and he doesn’t stir up drama.
3. Dawson – Sarah is a Survivor superfan but this girl has more substance to her than might appear right off the bat. She is higher in the power rankings than Jeff Kent within this tribe because she holds valuable information that nobody else knows about that could either win her a spot in an alliance or get switch numbers to her side later on.
4. Jeff -I am putting Jeff lower than Dawson because of her knowledge of his identity. It can potentially give her more power and control, depending on how well she uses that info to her advantage. He also places lower than Carter because he is perceived as the typical alpha male over the 20-something. And while he might be helping the team win challenges so far, his skills and athleticism can hurt him later on in the game when he's perceived as too strong a competitor and be voted out the moment he does not have the immunity around his necklace.
5. Katie -I don't know what to say about Katie's gameplay because she hasn't shown much. The fact that she's right in the middle of the pack puts her in a good spot because her name won't come up soon in terms of who to vote out, should Kalabaw be going to tribal council. And yet, her tribemates might question her worth to the tribe if she doesn't excel in future challenges. Her beauty queen rep won't be of help, too, as she might be perceived as prissy and not cut for this game.
6. Dana -Dana to Kalabaw is like Zane to Matsing. She will stand out because she is different. To some extent, her tribe doesn't even regard her with respect - for instance, during the second IC, no one was even paying attention to her give out instructions despite putting her in a position as caller. It depends on her how she could harness the fact that she is different in a positive way. But while Zane has done it almost effortlessly (although I must say that Zane aligning with everyone on the island came back to haunt him), I don't see Dana making efforts at building bonds just yet. She opened up about possibly aligning with Jeff Kent on episode one because of their Southern roots but we didn't see any of it play up just yet.
What about you? What's your take on the power rankings for each tribe? Share them in the comments below.