Survivor: Ranking Nicaragua's Top 10 Finalists

Survivor is finally interesting! Now that the more pernicious contenders like Marty have been removed, we're left with a labyrinth of social dynamics and a mad scramble for power. Who's got control right now? Who's going home? We break it down with full rankings.

10. Dan

The castaways treat NaOnka like the show's buffoon, but Dan's the one who fails at missions, lurks like a lumpen bottom-feeder in the back of the tent, and once a week asks a random castmate who everyone agrees should be voted out and mutters, "Let me know." Not looking good for the old man.

9. Purple Kelly

Breaking: Purple Kelly spoke last episode, and she is reportedly "hungry." Otherwise, she has no discernible skills, advantages, or ideas. Actually, as far as I know, she is an animate-looking gingerbread man, because Survivor doesn't care to introduce us to her.

8. Benry

Benry's suffering from some Purple Kelly Syndrome himself, fading anonymously into compliant votes with more domineering castmates. We've yet to see him perform exceptionally or even memorably, and thus I fear his days in Nicaragua are numbered.

7. Holly

She's already somewhat of a survivor now that she's one of three remaining Espada tribe members -- but that also means she doesn't have a prayer of competing for the million.

6. Fabio

For a Survivor contestant, Fabio is disturbingly impressionable. While he's done the work of slipping under the radar for the entire competition, he's also voted unsuccessfully for Brenda and Jane. But I like that his allegiances seem to connect and disconnect freely, and I hope that makes him a subversive threat later on. Still, NaOnka has command at the moment, and she hates Fabio.

5. NaOnka

She may have stolen food and ranted ad nauseam at tribal council, but if NaOnka does survive until the bitter end, I believe she could use her cutthroat game-play to outlast some of her self-congratulatory colleagues. Scarily enough, she has a real handle on the group's dynamics, and that immunity idol is working wonders for her. Between you and me, there's something I almost admire about NaOnka, and I wouldn't hate it if she found a way to gang up on Brenda and Sash.

4. Jane

Since Marty spent his every surviving moment warning of Jane's winning edge, she has a target on her back. Alas, she's had that target for quite awhile. Her immunity challenge prowess can't be denied (even if she straggled in the last one), and thus I think she'll remain for awhile -- especially if she finally gains the sense to build an alliance against Brenda.

3. Chase

We've heard enough about Chase's background (particularly that emotional yarn he shared with NaOnka) that it simply feels like he's here for the long haul. Though Brenda mocked his poor decision-making, he also has a tendency of at least momentarily establishing himself in everyone's good graces. And he's a genuine competitor.

2. Sash

The proof of Sash and Brenda's supremacy is this: They voted out Marty. They vacillated between Jane and Marty last episode, but Marty was the only castaway who voiced a vehement desire to take control of the game away from the dynamic duo. Plus, an episode of Survivor: Nicaragua is never complete until another random combatant voices trust in Sash.

1. Brenda

Brenda is the game's greatest competitor, shrewdest politician, and most casual schemer. She plays the game that's in front of her, isolates each player's weaknesses, and chooses her targets deliberately. I also think she's a finer manipulator than Sash, whose blase relationships with everyone can't last forever. Plus, she's bad-ass, no? I like that in a millionaire.



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