Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers
has not been the best season of the long-running franchise. There's been a certain, almost unquantifiable, element missing from the show that has made season 35 feel like a little bit of a letdown compared to the previous two installments. Yet in the recent merge episode there was the hope that Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers
might pick up the pace with accusations of big threats running wild and an insane twist at Tribal Council.
Throughout all the twists and turns, one player remained where they've been for the entire game, at the very top of the heap. That player is none other than Chrissy. Chrissy is, without a doubt, the most dangerous player in Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.
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The Real (Secret) Power
There's no lack of players vying for control in season 35. There are several enormous personalities in the game, all of whom believe themselves to be the real mastermind of the season. Yet most of these self-proclaimed top dogs are actually terrible at the game of Survivor.
Joe wants to be viewed as a strategic mastermind, but he runs his mouth constantly, often inserting his foot right into it. Cole has been a frequently featured player this season but often for his own stupidity. Lastly, Ryan has gotten the closest to the image he wants to project but he's made a series of very foolish and risky moves.
Throughout all this madness, Chrissy has emerged as a dominant force in the game. Chrissy hasn't been that adept at challenges but with the exception of the first vote (when she was at the very bottom) Chrissy has been controlling every other aspect of the game. Chrissy never needs to win a single challenge on Survivor because she's been dominant in both the social and strategic elements of the game.
Chrissy is just as much out for herself as anyone on Survivor. Yet she's managed to pull together an alliance of people who trust and want to work with her. Unlike a lot of other players, Chrissy has managed to play under the radar but still from a seat of power. The genius of Chrissy's game has been her ability to deflect and lie to put the target on other people's backs, which she's done consistently. It happened in the first vote when she turned against her "ally" Katrina and has been kept up as recently as the merge vote, when she organized a vote against Jessica. Chrissy clearly had a goal and a game plan when going into Survivor and she's been executing to near perfection.
How to Play Survivor (and Win)
Chrissy's game has been built on a simple concept. She wants to play the game of Survivor but only from the backseat. No matter what move Chrissy has made she's always ensured that a bigger and louder threat is left in the game. She did it on her first tribe by keeping Alan and JP's conflict in play. She did it on her second tribe with Ryan and now she's continuing the trend on her third and final tribe with Joe and Cole.
Getting rid of Jessica at post-merge wouldn't be most players' ideal move but it is for Chrissy. Jessica wasn't a threat by any means, she's been in Cole's clueless pocket for way too long. Yet getting rid of Jessica advances Chrissy's game because it keeps the bigger targets in play and allows Chrissy to keep sliding under the radar. It's a move that most wouldn't make but Chrissy did because she sees the benefits.
Chrissy isn't playing a perfect game. There's a chance that her house of cards will tumble at any second. She was the other alliance's target in the first post-merge vote, which suggests that at least someone suspects she's a stronger player than she seems. Yet in a season with so many bragging and arrogant players, Chrissy has managed to become the biggest threat without tooting her own horn (mostly.) Chrissy might not win Survivor and she might not even be among the most likable castaways this season but she's almost certainly playing the best game so far.
What do you think? Does Chrissy have a real shot at winning the game? Who do you think is playing the best game this season? Who are you rooting for to win right now?
(Image courtesy of CBS)