After three episodes of “Survivor 44,” 14 castaways remain standing in the 26-day adventure to claim the million dollar prize and the title of “Sole Survivor.” By now, all three of the original tribes (Ratu in orange, Soka in green, and Tika in purple) have gone to Tribal Council once, leaving us with a good impression of who is aligned with who and in whose pockets the idols and power rest.
At Soka, Danny Massa and Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt declared their allegiance to one another in episode 3, underscoring the fact that the two are leading their tribe together. How far will their partnership as each other’s number one take them? Let’s take a look at how they stack up against their tribe mates in our first power rankings of the season. Also check out the rankings for the Tika tribe and Ratu tribe.
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1. Danny Massa
While we do believe that Danny and Heidi are leading the Soka tribe together, Danny gets the edge for the “power” he has in his pocket. From all three tribes, Danny is the one that most capably found and claimed the Birdcage Idol then successfully planted the fake idol without anyone else knowing. Right now, Danny is probably playing the best stealth game that reminds us of two-time winner Tony Vlachos. While his tribe is content to sit back and chill, Danny is putting in the work it takes to find and claim power and then thinks two-steps ahead of everyone else in setting them (well, Matt) up for epic failure.
Even though Danny is out playing hard, Heidi took her seat on the throne at the Soka Tribal Council where she was very openly in the decision-making position. Claire Rafson knew that her fate was in the hands of Heidi and after it was an unanimous vote against Claire we knew that Heidi had exerted that power over Frannie and Danny as well. Remember, both Frannie and Danny told Heidi earlier in the episode that they would vote in whichever direction Heidi decided, wanting to ensure a unified vote. That they were so eager to show Heidi that they’re loyal to her goes to show the social capital that she has at her fingertips.
Her close friendship with Matt could very quickly, and at any moment, spell disaster for Frannie, but it’s sort of impressive that she managed to keep him off the chopping block at the tribe’s first vote. Claire was chomping at the bits to split the obvious pair up, but Frannie diverted attention toward Josh instead, which spun into a conversation about tribe strength that left Claire the odd player out. Still, now that the tribe only has five players, Josh could be seen as the swing vote that Danny and Heidi would need to gain the upper hand on Frannie and Matt. It’s unclear if Josh is aware that Frannie doesn’t trust him, but it’s bound to come up which will put Frannie in very hot water.
4. Josh Wilder
Even if Josh gets brought in to a three-person alliance with Danny and Heidi, it’s worrisome that both Frannie and Heidi already commented on how little trust they have in his loyalty. Heidi mentioned that she hasn’t talked game with Josh at all. If he’s not laying the groundwork for strong bonds in the first week of the game, he’s not going to have any protection when/if he finds himself on a larger merged tribe. If Soka manages to avoid Tribal Council until the merge, Josh is going to be at the bottom of a very loosely-aligned group of five, putting him in the unfavorable position that Ryan Medrano found himself in last season.
It’s almost comical how pathetic the edit is making Matt’s game out to be so early in the game. On one hand he remains at a huge strategic disadvantage with one more lost vote still to play out at his next Tribal Council and on the other hand he’s playing an incredibly bad social game with the visibility of his tight bond to Frannie. By all angles right now, Matt has absolutely no agency in a game that requires it. Furthermore, it appears that Frannie is less committed to Matt than he is to her so there is also the possibility that if their friendship takes on too much heat that Frannie will sacrifice him in order to save her own game. In a scenario where Matt and Frannie both make the merge, they could be seen as an appealing block of two votes, but it’s just as likely that a larger group of people use it as a reason to make an easy vote against them that everyone can agree on.
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