Dang it! I was so bummed to see Zeke go last week, even though it was only a matter of time (I had him ranked No. 9 entering the episode). Unfortunately for Zeke, he was too good at the game AND had a compelling story, which made him a giant target.
So who’s next? Well, with the six-person voting alliance shrinking to five (Cirie, Andrea, Aubry, Michaela and Sarah) and possibly getting shaken up, the game seems wide open.
Here’s how the final nine players stack up, ranked by best chance to win:
1. Sarah (Last week: 1). It certainly seems like the Survivor story is being told from Sarah’s point of view, which means she’s controlling much of the action. Even last week, when her ride-or-die ally Zeke ended up going home, it was based around her decision not to fight it and make waves. So she’s still in a very good spot, and I love how she’s playing this year.
2. Cirie (Last week: 3). For as good as Cirie is, she’s still playing a bit under the radar. Is that even possible? Well, she’s quietly pulling all the strings and people are approaching her to see if they can make moves. And yet she’s not mentioned herself as a huge target! Until someone figures out how dangerous she is, she’ll stay in a power position. They’d be foolish to let her reach the end.
3. Andrea (Last week: 4). You have to hand it to Andrea: She knew Zeke was going to come for her — he said as much — so she got him out first. Well-played, Andrea. I don’t know about her long-term prospects of winning, but she’s in a good spot with the majority alliance for now. However, I think Sarah will turn on her and convince others to do the same.
4. Aubry (Last week: 2). I like Aubry’s game, but it feels like she’s more along for the ride than making moves herself. I’m not sure that will result in a winning strategy unless some of the more prominent players get the boot and she can really start playing. Sarah indicated she doesn’t trust Aubry, so where does that leave her in the big picture?
5. Troyzan (Last week: 6). He was clueless after the majority alliance voted Zeke out. His hope is that the group falls apart and he’s able to grab onto some of the pieces. I want to pull for him, but he doesn’t seem to be in a great spot. At least he’s still got the idol in his pocket.
6. Brad (last week: 7). He really needed that Zeke alliance to work out, and it didn’t. Zeke proposed a final five with Brad, Troyzan, Michaela and Sarah. Maybe Sarah can salvage it and pull something together that involves Brad and Troyzan. Otherwise, Brad might be in trouble.
7. Sierra (Last week: 5). Oof. Sierra told the main alliance she wanted to flip and would do whatever they wanted, and they told her to vote for…Tai! They left her out of the Zeke vote completely. That’s not a good sign, because they didn’t even care about building trust with her. At least she saved herself last week, but she’s a top candidate to get booted tonight.
8. Tai (Last week: 8). His own alliance — Brad, Troyzan and Sierra — all voted for him last week! People will gladly throw Tai under the bus, and he’d better play one of those two idols soon or he’ll go home with both of them. He still has a chance to make the final three, but he wouldn’t win if he got there.
9. Michaela (Last week: 10). Not going to happen. Her best chance is to stick by Cirie and Sarah, both of who want to work with her, and keep voting with the majority. But she’s not making big moves herself and people on the jury don’t seem to like her attitude enough to give her $1 million.