Survivor: David vs. Goliath cast assessment: Alison Raybould is a self-aware Goliath

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

In a sea of Goliath tribe players deemed as privileged, Alison Raybould enters Survivor with a bit of self-awareness and appreciation for the game.

Goliaths come in many different stripes, but as Jeff Probst puts it, they all come from a place of having advantages in their life to get them to their standing in prominence. You wouldn’t think Alison Raybould was handed a lot in life based on her profession, as she’s one of the few practicing physicians to give up her patients for a shot at a million dollars, working hard to earn her medical degree.

More important from an entertainment perspective, Alison Raybould looks like she will enter the game with a bit of silliness, a bit of flair and a level of self-awareness you could expect from a geekier David player. Her CBS bio makes a ton of references to pop culture, often including a sarcastic bite that may fly by to the untrained eye.

For example, who would honestly attribute getting to the bottom of bottomless breadsticks at Olive Garden as a hobby? Who would have the guts to make fun of the show she’s attempting to get on by describing herself as a hero, healer and hustler with her three-word limit? Who else would list getting fifth place in her grade school spelling bee as their claim to fame when becoming a doctor?

It’s when you look beyond her bio to see where she got several opportunities others might not have gotten to accomplish her dream. She mentions in her introduction video that her parents paid for her undergraduate degree. She’s also the niece of the Democratic candidate for the Nebraskan senate seat up for election at the mid-terms this year.

That said, she’s worked hard in coordination with her advantages to become the person who she is, and she seems perfectly fit for the game of Survivor. She has a background in athletics from college, she has the smarts of a doctor, and she seems aware of the game’s mechanics and is a fan of the game. That’s a triple threat that could be in hiding in a Goliath tribe filled with bigger presences.

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In fact, Alison seems key to be a dynamic force in the game, offering to be a witch in a witch’s coven or a strong player in a “keep the tribe strong” alliance. Being a doctor, her skills with bedside manners as a young physician might be a secret weapon akin to Kellyn Bechtold using empathy. Hopefully, she won’t keep the “purple tribe strong” mentality!

Jeff Probst has the same take on Alison; she’s a doctor who wants to prove they can be a fun, outgoing, quirky individual. If the Goliaths don’t check their egos at the door, I believe that Alison can wait until the big targets (strong players with big egos) take each other out before gathering the women together to form a dynamic, bloc-voting group to get far in the game.

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She doesn’t seem as cunning or cruel as someone ready to pull the trigger on a blindside, and I do believe that in her heart, she will find it difficult to cut someone close to her in the game to advance. However, if she can bottle those feelings and push through, she might have a legit shot at winning Survivor: David vs. Goliath.