SURVIVOR NICARAGUA Recap: The Queen Has No Head

By: Josh Wigler

We’ve officially reached the point on SURVIVOR where we finally know the names and faces of every single person still left in the game. When a season starts out with 20 competitors, it takes a while to get to this point — but with only nine players left, we’ve got a good idea of who’s still in the running for the million bucks.

To that end, instead of just giving a straight recap of this week’s episode, I figured now would be a nice opportunity to look at each of the remaining players and their current standing in the Nicaragua jungles. Needless to say, spoilers for last night’s episode abound!

Holly: After some very shaky moments at the outset of the season, Holly has found herself in one of the best positions in the game. She’s observant, she’s well-connected and she’s not considered a threat — but someone might want to reassess her position now that she’s proven herself capable of dethroning the reigning queen of the SURVIVOR scene. Holly is cutthroat in an endearing “you betcha” sort of way, so even if she lies, cheats and steals her way to the end, there’s a strong chance that she’ll charm the jury in her favor.

Jane: That’s only if Holly doesn’t go up against Jane in the finals, of course, as the North Carolina dog trainer has proven herself the most dangerous player in the game by leaps and bounds. A friendly presence without losing some roughness to her edges, Jane is not only a great social player, but a strong challenge competitor. Marty was absolutely right when he said that Jane getting to the end is disastrous for everybody else — if she isn’t stopped soon, the game is hers to lose.

Fabio: I never would have imagined that Fabio could make it this deep into the game, certainly not in the position he seems to be in. Physically strong where he’s mentally deficient, Fabio has actually played a strong game, keeping his head below water but just high enough that people want to include him in their plans. I think he has a real shot at making it to the end, but his chances for victory depend on who he’s sitting next to and how well he can articulate why he deserves to win — and knowing Fabio, he’s probably not capable of a winning argument.

Kelly Purple: Everything that needs to be said about Kelly Purple can be summarized by her brief conversation with Chase. During the reward challenge, Chase comments: “You never talk, do you?” Kelly replies: “I know, it’s kind of funny, right?” Chase concludes: “It’s kind of weird.” Even during tribal council, when Probst turned to Kelly with a line of questioning, she gave such a baffling answer that you have to wonder if she’s even really playing this game. Kelly Purple is the classic boring, pretty girl that makes it too far into the game. Sometimes these players win, other times they’re voted out without too much fanfare. Kelly certainly doesn’t deserve to win this game, but with her position so far beneath the radar, she could seriously pull this off.

Dan: You know, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due. Dan should not be in this game right now — he’s quite possibly the physically weakest man I’ve ever seen make it this far in the game — but despite the fact that he should have gone home early, he’s still around. That’s only because Dan isn’t a threat; sure, he’s likable enough, but unless he breaks out on an immunity run — fat chance of that happening — the other players can just pick him off whenever they want. Dan’s days are almost definitely numbered, but if by some chance he makes it to the final three, jurors might award him the million simply out of amazement.

Benry: Ben is what some might describe as a triple threat: physically strong, mentally tough and willing to sell his tribemates down the river if it leads to his own advancement. The problem is, Benry doesn’t exactly disguise these attributes very well, which is exactly why Chase was gunning for him last night. Ben’s advantage is that he’s currently with a majority alliance right now, but loyalty is a very flexible thing on SURVIVOR — if other contestants start to smell what Chase is smelling, Benry could be out the door very soon.

Sash: With Brenda out of the picture, Sash has the proud distinction of being the coldest mother-frakker out there in Nicaragua. He’s got his hands on an immunity necklace, which will certainly save him one round, but he esteemed that temporary protection as more important than protecting an ally in Brenda. Truthfully, it was the right move — Brenda very likely would have gone home at the next council anyway — but it completely unmasks Sash as a ruthless son of a gun willing to do anything and stab anyone to get to the top. With that kind of attitude, Sash just might be able to pull it off, but only if he can snag some immunity wins and convince the other players that there are bigger fish to fry than him.

Chase: After revealing his alliance’s plan to oust Brenda to Brenda, then consequently being unable to rescue her from the vote, it’s clear that the only thing that can protect Chase at this point is an immunity run. He’s too wishy-washy to trust, too much of a liability, and he’s insulted the majority alliance by betraying their secrets. Still, Chase is arguably the strongest physical threat out there, and if he can tap into those strengths, he could make it to the end.

NaOnka: Just because she was able to organize Brenda’s ousting doesn’t mean she’s sitting pretty. Nay remains in one of the most unusual positions I’ve ever seen on SURVIVOR: if she makes it to the finals, she has no chance of winning, which is exactly why she should make it to the finals — any contestant would be out of their mind to not want her sitting next to them at the end. The real problem is how insufferable she is. If she can’t stop lying and grating on the nerves of everybody around her — which, judging by previews for next week’s episode, doesn’t seem likely — then her obvious worth as a third place player won’t be enough to save her from the vote.

Brenda: A quick post-mortem for Brenda, because she absolutely deserves it. Without a doubt, Brenda was the best player out there in Nicaragua, except for one fatal flaw: raw, unfiltered arrogance. Brenda had a cocky swagger about her that she practically wore as a badge of honor, and it’s not surprising that her fellow competitors took notice of it and sunk their spears into her. Brenda was so arrogant that she wasn’t even willing to scramble to save her own neck — she admitted that it was beneath her — and instead relied on Sash to do the right thing and give her his idol. Well, he didn’t, and as a result, Brenda’s gone. As Holly pointed out, Brenda should have scrambled — had she just the smallest measure of humility, she might still be in this game.

Josh is an entertainment reporter based out of New York City. He is commanded with ruthless efficiency by his office manager, Pardo the cat, and writes regularly for MTV News, Comic Book Resources, Spinoff Online and more. He’s a SURVIVOR fanatic and hates admitting that he kind of misses Marty right around now. (Don’t tell anyone, okay? That’s just our secret.) Follow him on Twitter: @roundhoward.

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