Survivor: Nicaragua

Yes, it's that time of year again. No, we're not talking about the holiday season — we're talking about the big merge on Survivor. After originally splitting the teams by age, castaways were divided again after the elder competitors failed to match their youthful counterparts. Now, with just four individuals left on the Espada tribe, the two sides merge on Wednesday's episode and it's every competitor for themselves. Who's on their way out to Ponderosa and who has a shot at making it to the final Tribal Council?  With 12 castaways left in Nicaragua, we pick six to watch.

Watch full episodes of Survivor: Nicaragua

Brenda Lowe
Working for her: Brenda has proven to be one of the smartest players in the game, thanks to a number of strong alliances and insightful game play. Host Jeff Probst has even compared her to Survivor legend Parvati Shallow.
Working against her: Brenda's manipulative ways could also earn her some enemies as the numbers get smaller. Depending on how aggressive she gets, she may also be a hard sell for the title of sole Survivor.

Fabio Birza
Working for him: Fabio may play dumb quite well, but his cluelessness could simply be a façade to seem less threatening to his teammates. Plus, he's proven himself a strong physical competitor.
Working against him: After he hesitated to vote for Marty over Kelly B., Fabio's alliance with Brenda, Sash and company may soon unravel.

Survivor's Jill calls Jane's game play "vindictive" and "nasty"

Jane Bright
Working for her: Jane is perhaps the game's strongest player over 40 and has proven she deserves her spot. Her food gathering abilities in the sparse Nicaragua jungles could help her gain some powerful allies (if she ever decides to share her fish, that is).
Working against her: Brenda, Sasha and the rest of her alliance basically used her to outnumber Marty and Jill. Will they still need her voting power after the merge?

Ben "Benry" Henry
Working for him: His physical prowess combined with his early allegiance with Brenda, Chase and NaOnka only means good things. Plus, he's been able to stay out of the drama and keep a low profile, which should work to his advantage when things get cutthroat.
Working against him: If he's been as quiet as the show has made him seem, then he may not have strong enough bonds with his fellow castaways to stick around.

NaOnka Mixon
Working for her: NaOnka has managed to offend and anger fans week after week, but her fiery passion and strong determination have made her a formidable physical player nonetheless. Her close ties with Brenda also don't hurt.
Working against her: Even if she makes it to the final Tribal Council, who in their right mind would vote for her to get the $1 million prize after she said she wanted to put Kelly B.'s artificial leg in the fire?

Sash Lenahan
Working for him: Anyone who can talk a teammate into giving up their hidden immunity idol the same day as Tribal Council was obviously born to play this game. His close bond with the equally manipulative Brenda makes their partnership the one to beat.
Working against him: After getting Marty's idol, Sash could get cocky and make increasingly bold moves that he may not be able to back up in immunity challenges, especially if he and Brenda can't stick together.

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.