A lot of people are surprised, even unhappy that Francesca Hogi is returning to play Survivor. After all, she was a first boot, how can she be a “Favorite”? How does she get to play again, when more “deserving” players don’t get that chance?
Well, disagree with all of that. Personally, I’m extremely happy to see her back, and I’m not even that surprised. In my opinion, she was the most interesting contestant in Redemption Island, and she completely got screwed by the fact she was here to actually play the game, contrarily to most of her tribe, and let’s face it, she got screwed by Boston Rob, plain and simple. Had there not been any returning player than season, Kristina and her would have dominated their tribe and gone very far into the game no doubt.
Also, the “she’s a first boot, she doesn’t deserve to come back” is not a valid argument to me. While, in the past, most first boots were first boots for a (good) reason, in recent seasons, we’ve had some first boots who got screwed because somebody perceived them as a threat and decided to get rid of them with the help of the usual useless people, instead of getting rid of the useless people first. Francesca is the perfect example of that (Marisa from Samoa comes to mind too, Russell saw she was not going to be a stupid follower and got rid of her right away).
So, yeah, she deserves to return.
Now, what are her chances this season?
Hard to tell really, while she has some experience compared to complete newbies, she’s a relative newbie compared to people who went far in the game (at least until the merge, as is the case with all of her tribesmates). She is at a big disadvantage with that. She’d better have a solid alliance from the get-go or if the returnees start losing challenges early in the game, people could think that she’s useless and she could be voted out early again.
On the other hand, she may be perceived as the least threatening member of the tribe (even the newbies may not perceive her a threat), so a lot of people in her tribe may want her in their alliance. Actually, pretty much everybody could think that having Francesca in their alliance is a good idea, except for Phillip obviously.
Because, yes, Phillip Sheppard will unfortunately be a factor in Francesca’s performance this season. I can easily imagine him want to lead a personal vendetta or something against her since day one, and that could be very dangerous for Francesca, as for the first vote, any excuse is a good excuse to get rid of someone. In other words, if Phillip decides to be adamant against Francesca since the beginning, one of the two of them could very well be the first boot from their tribe. I really don’t wish that to Francesca.