'Survivor' Season 45 | CBS/Paramount Plus

The 3 Best and 3 Worst Players on ‘Survivor 45’

Season 45 of Survivor is making moves as one of the most exciting casts of the new era. After three tragic Tribal Councils for the Lulu Tribe, Survivor 45 is almost at the merge. Like any season, we have favorite players that we’re rooting for, and there are some players we wouldn’t mind seeing go home. While the New Era is all about casting likable groups of people, the casting department decided to take some risks in Season 45. Some of those risks have paid off with some great television, but sadly, there are still some castaways who just weren’t meant to play the game.

Best: Emily Flippen

In the premiere episode, viewers and players were all vehemently anti-Emily. But Emily had one of the best two-episode arcs in the history of the game. After Hannah essentially self-eliminated, Kaleb brought Emily under his wing and the two formed a secret alliance that could dominate the game going forward. Emily is also a breath of fresh-air from multiple seasons of happy-go-lucky folks who are just happy to be there! On Day 1, Emily said that she’s only there to win. She’s straightforward and says exactly what she feels. She’s clearly cunning, and when it comes to Kaleb, she’s loyal as can be.

Worst: Hannah Rose

Sorry, Hannah! We love her as a human and her willingness to listen to what her body needs, but that doesn’t stop her from being one of the most disappointing players of Season 45. In the premiere, she quits the game, which proves how hard it is and how little she yearned to win. She got the experience of going in, got to meet different players (and even host Jeff Probst), and quit before she could even get past the first difficult hump. Survivor is a game of conquering adversity, and she didn’t show her chops to the world.

Best: Kendra McQuarrie

Kendra is smart, likable, and a Libra! On Day 1, she forms an alliance with her September girlies (even though Katurah lied about her age). Her down-to-earth personality makes her a fun character to watch off the bat. Instead of finishing college, she went on to build Earthships in the middle of the desert. She does what she wants, but not at the expense of others. As someone who flies by the seat of her pants in life, we can’t wait to see how her adaptability plays out in the game. Plus, her mothering of Jake O’Kane after his fainting spell was one of the sweetest moments of the season thus far.

Survivor 45
Survivor 45 | CBS/Paramount Plus

Worst: “Sifu” Alsup

Hopefully, Sifu’s arc gets better as the game goes on. Right now, all he’s done is get caught sneaking up on his tribe. One of the first rules in modern-day Survivor is to never go off alone. Not only did Sifu venture out on his own early on in the game, but he was caught eavesdropping on his tribemates. He tried to pull a Tony, but instead, he was just a phony. He’s still a likable guy, so we’re just crossing our fingers that he finds more connections at a tribe swap or merge.

Best: “Dee” Valladares

She may be tiny, but she is fierce. Dee has spunk and social skills, so she’s definitely one to watch out for. When she and mama Julie caught Drew and Austin looking for an idol, Dee was unafraid to call them out. And when they lied to her, Dee could tell that they weren’t being wholly truthful. She seems to have her finger on the pulse of the game and her tribe, so despite Drew and Austin’s bag of tricks, Dee is our Reba winner pick.

Worst: Brandon Donlon

We really didn’t want to put Brandon on our “worst” list, but who else could we put? So far, the cast is a bunch of lovable goofs, and Brandon was probably the worst challenge performer in the history of Survivor. He’s a great guy, and we bet his social game could’ve been really fun to watch. However, he flailed so hard in the challenges. Watching Brandon was like driving past a traffic accident—we wanted to look away but we just couldn’t. He may have been eliminated from the season, but his positive energy amidst his tragic performance will never be eliminated from our hearts.

About the author

Jamie Lerner

Jamie Lerner is a writer, comedian, and musician who’s been writing about television and movies since she reviewed Mean Girls for her fifth-grade school newspaper.