Wednesday night the Season 36 finale of “Survivor” airs with six players still in the hunt to be named the sole survivor of “Ghost Island.” Domenick Abbate, Wendell Holland and Laurel Johnson have been in an unbreakable, albeit secret, alliance and friendship since the merge. Last week, their other ally, Donathan Hurley, turned against them, coming up short of the big move he needed to wrestle away control. On the periphery and sticking to the old school mentality of tribal loyalty are Sebastian Noel and Angela Perkins. With hidden idols, secret advantages, another trip to ghost island and at least two immunity challenges left, the million dollar prize is anyone’s to claim! Or is it?
Below I give my reasons why Domenick and Wendell are the only two left with an actual shot at winning and hypothesize what the other four need in order to have a chance. Agree or disagree with my assessment? Let me know down in the comments.
1. Domenick Abbate – 27/20 odds to win
2. Wendell Holland – 11/4 odds to win
One of the few questions remaining for me as we head into the finale is whether or not Domenick and Wendell are going to stick together all the way to the end or if one of them will turn on the other knowing that it would literally secure their own win. In the final tribal council together Domenick and Wendell will have a pretty tough time differentiating between their games–they both had hidden idols, they both joined a secret cross-tribe alliance, they both won challenges, etc. Are they really content to let it be a toss-up for the jury? Will it come down to which of the two does each jury member like more on a personal level? If that’s the case, maybe Wendell beats Domenick? A few episodes ago we did hear Domenick say that he’s open to the idea of taking Wendell out so perhaps he’ll make that move at final 6 or final 5, but I’m thinking he’s saving it for final 4 instead.
The problem with that is I think we’re getting a return of the fire-making challenge at final 4 again, where the immunity challenge winner chooses one person to join them in the finale and the remaining two battle to build a fire first to grab the third spot. In that scenario the decision to take Wendell out will be out of his control and he could wind up sitting next to him even though he planned not to. Honestly, at this point one of these two guys is going to win and it’s just a matter of seeing which one makes it to the end (if not both) and which one the jury prefers.
3. Donathan Hurley – 40/1 odds to win
But, (there’s always a but!) the one thing standing in Domenick and Wendell’s way is, of course, Donathan, the only player to take actual risks in the last few episodes. Donathan could, in theory, get Sebastian and Angela to vote with him against Domenick, Wendell or Laurel in the final 6. If they use Sebastian’s double vote then they’d have an easy majority. And if that works it will be a big move that Donathan likely orchestrated–something that would make him an undeniable winner should it lead him to the end with Sebastian and Angela.
That, however, is a huge case of wishful thinking because the reality is that Domenick and Wendell both have hidden immunity idols to be used at final 6. That means they’re both automatically safe for that vote and in a situation where one of them wins immunity they’ll have an extra one to gift to someone else (likely Laurel). So, in the likely event that Domenick, Wendell and Laurel all have immunity at final 6, Donathan’s only option for a vote will be against one of the two people he needs in order to make a move. After that, it’ll be near impossible to get to the end without at least one of Domenick or Wendell next to you and, well, that’s just the nail in the coffin.
4. Laurel Johnson – 3/1 odds to win
5. Sebastian Noel – 40/1 odds to win
6. Angela Perkins – 100/1 odds to win
At this point it’s not even the editors’ fault that Angela and Sebastian have absolutely no shot at winning. Last week’s top 7 episode was frustrating because the hope of a “big move” seemed to rely on Laurel’s decision when from an outside perspective Laurel seemed fairly unreliable. Laurel was never going to go against the boys and that’s why, as even she’s said to the camera, she won’t win. It was clear, on the other hand, that Donathan was ready to vote against Domenick and Wendell. Why then didn’t Angela and Sebastian (and Kellyn) work with Donathan to take out Domenick rather than voting him out? The only answer is that Angela and Sebastian are just as content as Laurel is at getting to the final three regardless of whether or not they have a shot at actually winning.
While there’s an argument to be made in favor of the strategy of knowing how to get to the end, at the end of the day these players are there to win (not be runner-up) so when they choose the safer path over taking risks knowing that they’ll lose to better players by doing so I just can’t get behind it. All three of these players have, in different ways, played that way. Of the three, I do think that Laurel has the best shot to win, but really only in the unlikely scenario that the three of them are sitting there together. Sebastian and Angela honestly have had no shot at winning for quite a few weeks now, but now that they’re in the final six and have literally no avenues available to them for a big move? Tragic.
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