‘Survivor 43’ Top 6 power rankings: It’s a game of idols for Jesse Lopez, Karla Cruz Godoy, Cody Assenmacher

With only two weeks and six players left in “Survivor 43,” it’s time we dole out our final power rankings of the season. Left in the game are Karla Cruz Godoy and Cassidy Clark from original Coco, Jesse Lopez and Cody Assenmacher from original Vesi, and Owen Knight and Mike Gabler from original Baka. One of these six will be named “sole Survivor” on the season finale airing Wednesday, December 14.

In an era of “Survivor” where Jeff Probst has added more advantages into the game than ever, it’s hard to not take the extra powers into account when analyzing a player’s potential to win. Last season, Maryanne Oketch argued in her final tribal council speech that she kept a hidden immunity idol secret from everyone and was so well positioned in the game that she never had to use it. She won. Three idols are still floating around in the game, but only Jesse’s is secret. Can he pull a Maryanne and surprise the jury into awarding him the win? Anything is possible — let’s break it down in our “Survivor 43” Top 6 power rankings.

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1. Jesse Lopez

It’s hard to envision a scenario where Jesse doesn’t make it at least to the final four. Because he hasn’t been on the elimination radar yet leads one to assume he won’t be on the radar at final six, leaving him comfortable enough to not use his idol until his last chance to at final five. Jesse has been really in-tune to what direction votes are going each week, so it’s also possible that he does pull off what Maryanne did and never have to disclose the possession of his idol until final tribal council. If he accomplishes that, it’ll be the cherry on top of a near-perfect game that he and Cody controlled post-merge.

2. Karla Cruz Godoy

That Karla has been in hot water for the last few weeks makes predicting her fate in the game really difficult. The previews for the next episode allude to Cassidy possibly turning on Karla, which could prompt use of her idol at final six and leave her vulnerable at final five. But if Karla manages to get to the finale despite this much heat on her this late in the game, she is going to have one really powerful story to tell the jury. Karla has been a thoughtful and cunning player all season so it would be a shame to not get to see her plead her case for the million.

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3. Cody Assenmacher

Cody is probably the most intriguing player to consider at this stage for a number of reasons. Namely, it’s shocking that he’s managed to stay off the target list for this long and that no one has pushed the agenda of flushing out his idol. That speaks to how much power he and Jesse have actually wielded in playing the fence. The biggest threat to Cody’s game at this point is probably Gabler, who was a few weeks ago brought under the wing of Cody and Jesse’s alliance and also put the feeler out to Karla that the two of them are running the game. Can Gabler stage a late-game move against Jesse and Cody? With idols in the game, it’s hard to tell how that would even play out and we suspect it falls in Cody’s favor.

4. Mike Gabler

Our guess is that Gabler is going to have the biggest impact on how the rest of the season plays out. At final six, he will make a choice between advancing with Cody and Jesse or trying to pull in Owen, Cassidy and possibly Karla to make a move against the guys. In either scenario, he’s the one playing the fence and should be safe. The scary part for him will be final five when the potential is there that three idols get played and a possible fourth person is immune from a challenge win. Could Gabler or someone else (Owen or Cassidy) get idoled out just like Cirie Fields did in Game Changers? Sadly, yes. We’re predicting the more likely scenario that Gabler gets dragged to the final three and takes third place.

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5. Cassidy Clark

The biggest downfall for Cassidy’s game will be the dissolution of her alliance with Karla that began at final seven. If the other players succeed in turning her against Karla, the vote at final six could very well be a showdown between the two of them which Cassidy is unlikely to come out on top from. Cassidy’s smarter play would be to fool the men into thinking she’ll go against Karla and for them to devise a plot to take out someone like Cody or Jesse instead. And yet, for this to happen it will be a notch in Karla’s belt, not Cassidy’s and only add to Karla’s already strong story, leaving Cassidy looking for a second place finish at best.

6. Owen Knight

It’s unclear what Owen’s strategy is to get to the end of the game and where he would be able to pull numbers from. He is, by all accounts, the player least likely to spearhead any of the remaining decisions, just as he has failed to do at any of the previous tribal councils. If he makes it to the end, it will be a decision that other players make, whether that’s to string him along as a player unlikely to beat them in front of the jury or as a number needed for Gabler and/or Cassidy to make a big move. One possible outcome is that this jury is bitter in a way we haven’t seen in a long time and they are so mad at the other two finalists that votes are thrown to Owen for sheer likability and as the underdog. That would be a rare jury in the modern era though, and one we aren’t anticipating.

SEE exclusive predictions: Who will win ‘Survivor’?

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