‘Australian Survivor’ Red tribe power rankings (week 2): Sam Gash, Jesse Hansen take the driver’s seat from the middle

After two weeks (that’s six episodes) of “Australian Survivor: Blood V Water,” Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine is still in the game. For all you “Survivor” fans who aren’t able to watch, Gold Derby recapped this week’s episodes — Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6 — and we’ll be covering the show all throughout the season. To help keep you up to speed on what’s going down Down Under, we’ll also be providing weekly power rankings of the players still in the hunt to become Australia’s ninth “sole survivor.”

This season is modeled after the 27th and 29th editions of the main franchise in that it features pairs of players connected by blood, all in the hopes of answering the age-old question: Is blood truly thicker than water? On Day 1, host Jonathan LaPaglia split those pairs up between two tribes: the Red tribe representing blood and the Blue tribe representing water. And after six tribal councils and a tribe-jump for one ousted player, 19 players are left in the game.

Below is our assessment of Sandra’s Red tribe, which has only voted out two of its members so far. In week 2, Sandra’s name was being thrown around as the target to go, but she went to work to assemble a counter-alliance that flushed an idol and sent someone else home instead. Next week she may not be as fortunate as a full cast tribe swap could unsettle her from a comfortable position.

SEE Everything to know about ‘Australian Survivor: Blood V Water’

Check out our power rankings of the 9 remaining players on the Red tribe below. (Warning: this article contains spoilers for what has already aired!)

1. Samantha “Sam” Gash
2. Jesse Hansen

This week Sam and Jesse found themselves playing from the middle for two votes. In the first, Sam made the tough decision to side with Sandra’s plan via Amy and vote out Sophie Cachia because of her tightness with the alpha males. At the time, Sam and Sophie were very close in the game and the decision was hard for Sam, but she and Jesse decided that ultimately it was their best way to take the guys down a notch while keeping their tribe as strong for challenges as possible. Unfortunately Sophie wasn’t eliminated and instead was jumped to the Blue tribe where she still remains, but during a return visit to their camp, Sophie made waves and the guys no longer want to hold on to that alliance. In the second vote, Sam and Jesse joined in the effort to save Sandra by going after their other ally’s second in command, Jay Bruno. These decisions to prioritize themselves over people they’ve made promises to has put them in a really powerful position on the tribe and earned trust with the most dangerous player of all, Sandra.

3. Ben Watson
4. Michael “Croc” Crocker
5. Jordan Schmidt

Despite being blindsided by the entire tribe and left at the bottom during the Sophie vote, the three alpha males still provide a heap of value to the group for challenges. That was never more apparent than when Ben managed to literally carry the weight of the entire team in the episode 5 immunity challenge and earned them the win. It was a heroic effort that will be remembered by everyone until the point of the merge where he becomes a huge threat. Croc and Jordan are playing much more low key than Ben, but are still huge assets to their tribes and are running lock and step with Ben in the votes.

SEE How to watch ‘Australian Survivor: Blood V Water’

6. Sandra Diaz-Twine
7. Michelle Chiang

Michelle seems to be Sandra’s closest confidante in the game, which so far as worked in Michelle’s favor. Her under-the-radar play has left Sandra with all the heat (not that she didn’t already have heat), but is putting her in the position of being seen as riding coattails instead of making moves. Sandra’s ability to wiggle out of the episode 6 tribal council was masterful — she managed to get Amy’s idol flushed out while also convincing the rest of the tribe to split the votes to get Amy’s closest ally out instead. This is the level of play that is expected of Sandra and why she’s such a threat. Her biggest obstacle is going to be getting her feet settled in a new tribe after the swap, which is unfortunate now that she’s finally built something sturdy among this tribe.

8. Amy Ong
9. David Goodchild

The way that Sandra played Amy this week has put both Amy and David in a really tough position with the rest of the tribe. Amy was forced to openly admit to her own allies, David included, that she never disclosed to them that she had an idol. Even though the idol is now flushed, Amy will carry the weight of untrustworthy with her and will have a hard time rebuilding trust. David is still on the outside looking in on a tribe that has wanted him out since the beginning. That they now see him as non-threatening means he could coast for a while, but is unlikely to be held high enough in regard to broker any power moves of his own design.

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