Well, in theory... Pat Ferrucci's S34 recaps

It's time for the semi-annual (post-) merge Power Rankings!


So I don’t want to brag or anything, but it seems like I might have a lot of power. Like really powerful power.


What do I mean? Do we really think it’s a coincidence that once I wrote my column about how bad this season is, it immediately got better?


Now, do I think this season is all of a sudden good? No. I don’t. I really don’t. For all the people telling me on Twitter that this season rocks, please try to articulate what literally anyone on the show’s strategy is for winning … I’m waiting.


Essentially, what I’m arguing is that while the last two weeks bought some much-needed fun and suspense into this game (and a great Aubry blindside), we still know really none of these people. Even folks like Kelley or David, why the heck did they do what they did this week? We have no idea. Strategy surely exists, but producers are simply not giving it to us.


And that sucks.


But I digress. I apologize for not writing last week, but I had a whole bunch of deadlines on April 1, and my spring break consisted of sitting in my office and writing for about 10 hours a day. Good times. You don’t care about that, though. What you care about is the missing Merge Power Rankings I deliver each season.


Earlier this season, I ranked players during the preseason by putting them into four not-so-distinct “winner” categories: Likely, Possible, Unlikely and Impossible. I make those predictions without any real evidence and I usually turn out looking like an idiot, so the merge provides an opportunity to revisit those predictions with a little more data.


I’m a week late this time, so I actually have a lot more data since I think the merge episode is pivotal as it provides a window into how alliances might shake out. But, as noted above, I have no idea of any strategy, so take these predictions with a grain of salt.


Before getting to this, let me remind everyone of one caveat: This is not a list based on who I think will go home next. It is just about who I think will win.


OK, then, let’s do this thing. Here we go:



Likely: Victoria and Eric


  • Victoria: Who knew before a couple weeks ago that Victoria was more than a woman in a beanie? Her manipulation of Aubry was a sight to behold. She played so damn well. Plus, in the Wendy boot episode, we learned Victoria might not be as tight with her allies as they believe. I think this bodes well for Victoria to really be the last Kama standing.

  • Eric: My Winner Pick™ is the other Kama 6 member who I think could actually win the game. I don’t like his chances as much as I do Victoria’s, and I’m totally biased, but I think he’s playing a hell of a game blending in as a physically superior player. Although, that’s the first reason you’ll read about in this column concerning why I think eliminating Joe was a bad move. Eric is losing meat shields and will become a target. The good thing is I don’t think anybody sees him as a leader. Either way, good on Eric.



Possible: Julie, Devens, et al.


  • Devens: My highest-ranked non-Kama is receiving a killer edit, lucked into an idol, is arguably the best social player out there and is probably not a target this episode. I think if he gets to the end, he wins.

  • Julie: I loved Julie’s game this week. I think she clearly played the best merge game. But she didn’t get her way with Kelley and that was absolutely the best move. While I obviously think she can win, I don’t know her path. We really don’t even know if she has a tight Kama ally.

  • Gavin: They must not be showing Gavin as much because he’s been crying behind a tree, missing the soothing sounds and motions of Fortnite. I feel for him and having to deal with withdrawals. Seriously, Gavin seems to be in a good spot, but the edit makes me doubt his position in the game.

  • Edge of Extinction members: I guess we have to list them here. I do think Joe can make his way back into this game and win the whole thing. I don’t think he will, but he certainly can. I don’t think any of others there can do the same thing, but maybe Reem will win the thing? Don’t you think this would become the Best Season Ever™ if Reem beats all the other dudes out here, says “bro” a lot at final tribal and secures herself a spot in whatever Season 40 looks like? Well, a boy can dream, right?



Unlikely: Kelley, et al.


  • Ron: I really like Ron’s game so far, but I think he’s one of the first people targeted by a new group of six or when the Kama 6 inevitably turn on each other. I think he’s trying to steer the ship too much and getting his way with Joe will come back to bite him in the ass, I think. Kama needed to work with Joe (and Aurora, by proxy) for one more vote, at least.

  • Julia: We still know very little about Julia, but she seems to consider Ron her biggest ally. I think that’s a problem. She’s also really good at challenges, which, as Joe noted, could make her target. Plus, let’s be serious, her edit makes it clear she ain’t winning.

  • David: I’m sticking with my no returnee winner thing, but of all of them, I think only Joe can win. Maybe David can, but I see his only path to the end featuring Devens, and in that case, Devens wins. The Kama 6 will make up a good portion of the jury, and they aren’t voting for David over Devens.

  • Kelley: I really hope, when the season’s over, we can hear from Kelley about her strategy this season. I honestly don’t get it at all. I said this before the season: I think Kelley gets a little overrated as a player due to flashy moves, but she’s never actually sitting in a good position in this game. You really can’t win when you’re constantly on the outs. Again, I love watching her on TV, so I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it happening for Kelley this season.

  • Aurora: I want to root for Aurora. She came across hilarious in the pregame and she’s on my fantasy team. But ... but ... it’s not happening. She’s barely a player this season. We literally know nothing about her except she loves Joe. She could become a major component of alliances moving forward and could end up sitting at final tribal at the end, but it’ll be as goat, not a potential winner.

  • Lauren: This is a weird call. Lauren owns an idol and destroys challenges, but I think she is getting a crappy edit. She whines, they show her acting lazy, Kama fooled her badly this week ... it all adds up to someone who really can’t win. I hope I’m wrong.

  • The Wardog: Two weeks ago, Wardog received an edit that just destroyed him. He’s not doing so well physically, so individual immunity ain’t happening (more than likely). Finding idols is not his thing. More importantly, his main alliance members will throw him under a bus in a split second. And it’s not like he could flip and be a good little soldier with Kama. He’ll try to take charge and it won’t work. I just don’t see a path to victory for the Wardog, who, as I mentioned last column, is playing way better than I expected ... just not good enough.


Pat Ferrucci Survivor 36 recapsPat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @PatFerrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.