Survivor: David vs. Goliath cast assessment: Dan Rengering will bloom or wilter

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

While Jeff Probst wants to see a David become a Goliath this Survivor season, Dan Rengering might have made that evolution over the past few years.

Cops have had a pretty great track record on Survivor as of late. Both members of the Cops R Us alliance from Cagayan have gone on to win the show in their two seasons, and their skill set is perfectly balanced for the rigors of 39 days on an island with 19 other strangers. The only problem for newcomers is that you almost have to hide being a cop; people put cops on their radar immediately.

I’m not sure Dan Rengering adheres to that mentality, as episode 1 press photos show him arriving on the beach wearing a SWAT police shirt. It seems like a lot of the Goliath tribe members are embracing their status as titans of industry, but it wasn’t always like that for Dan. As indicated in his CBS bio, he’s had to work hard to lose a lot of weight, turning his life around and joining his SWAT team as one of the squad’s youngest.

Though it may seem as though the Florida Hot Cop is an obvious recruit with little knowledge of the game, he does name-drop Malcolm Freberg not for his time on Game Changers, but during “Season 25,” listing the number of a season that happened more than half a decade ago while breaking down his ability to get people to like him and find him agreeable while climbing out from a deep hole.

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He also has a bit of a nerdy side to him, which is a genuinely strong bonus for him when it comes to this season’s format. Typically, though there are pecking orders in fandoms and appreciation, having that realm of knowledge will help bridge the gap when the Goliaths eventually cross over to the Davids. Additionally, it plays into his ability to approach anybody; a key part of a good social game.

You don’t have to look far on social media to see the Hot Cop following, as he enters the game with a bit of a public recognition after going viral about a year ago today. It’s helped him parlay a side gig of modeling, as it’s not hard to stroll down a Barnes & Noble romance section without stumbling across him on one of the covers.

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His ability to charm others might come naturally after working hard to earn his keep, and I think that Dan Rengering is long for this game. He seems to not step too far out of bounds with his dialogue, which may serve him well as he finds an alliance early and work his way through to the merge.

Jeff Probst seems to think he’s a Goliath in bloom, and when it comes to becoming an outgoing television character, I tend to agree. He seems a bit reserved, which works well as a contestant but not much as a viewer. That said, Sarah Lacina is one of my favorite modern season winners, as she let her gameplay do the talking.

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If the Goliaths don’t plant a target on Dan Rengering early for being a SWAT cop, I think he’s poised for a long run in Survivor: David vs. Goliath, if not all the way to finale night. He’s got the social skills, the strength, the determination and secret smarts of the game as a fan necessary to go far.