Next Time On… Survivor is a little blog I’m doing here on Inside Survivor, predicting the events of the next episode based on hints from the previous one as well as the preview trailers and commercials.
100-percent spoiler free speculation! Let’s do it!
Part 1: Previously on… Survivor
1. Aubry, Joe, and Cydney will vote together for Michele, and Michele and Tai will vote together for Aubry. Tai will keep his idol and play it for himself, resulting in Michele’s elimination.
Grade: Being that I didn’t take potential evacuations into account, I’m going to put a big N/A here.
2. Cydney will win immunity.
3. At least two players cry.
Part 2: Three Tribal Councils
The commercial spot for the upcoming finale tells us to expect three tribal councils and one “epic twist.” Based off nothing but numbers and what seems conceivable, I thought the big twist is a final two, which works in tangent with the “three tribal councils.”
But then this sneak preview of the final immunity challenge was released on the Survivor YouTube channel. Whelp.
And then it all came together. Inside Survivor has reported on a potential twist that has not come up yet, and the episode description does mention an unknown advantage.
This all confirms a final three at the Final Tribal Council, as well as a tribal council where a jury member will lose their ability to cast a vote for the winner. Personally, I am not in love with this “Survivor first” because the whole purpose of sitting on the jury tribal after tribal is to be able to make an educated decision when the time comes to choose the winner. It feels dirty, and I somewhat doubt the removal of one jury vote will affect the outcome of the season. But of course, we’ll have to wait and see.
Part 3: Player-by-Player
“Aubry has lost her closest ally for the second time this season… and must scramble to find a new one.”
I will be completely honest; I thought Aubry was going to be our final medevac. The season preview has a clip of Aubry being checked on by a doctor, and her meltdown from the first episode of the season never fit her overall narrative for me. Throughout the season she has been a strong strategic player and a thoughtful narrator. She made meticulous decisions and appeared to work hard to build reliable relationships. She consistently weighed her options from an intellectual perspective rather than an emotional one.
With all this in mind, I inferred that the focus on her breakdown at the beginning of the season was foreshadowing some sort of disaster to come. That said, no further, certain indications of an Aubry medevac ever came, so my personal prediction never came to fruition, and I am very happy about that.
Going into the finale, Aubry is in a tight spot. Tai appears to have made amends with her, but he and the rest of the tribe must know she is a jury threat. I would be shocked if she didn’t have Debbie, Joe, Scot, Jason and Neal on her side over at Ponderosa. Each of them either worked with her closely or at least held her in high regard.
Out of the four remaining players, I believe Aubry will be the hardest to beat at Final Tribal Council, and I think everyone knows that. If she is immunity-free at the next tribal, Aubry will be voted out in 4th place. If I am wrong, Aubry will likely win the whole thing.
“Michele has played a game centered around loyalty… but now struggles to find someone she can trust. She will have to fight her way to the end.”
Behind Jason and Scot, Michele may have accidentally become one of the most polarizing players this season. So many people have been ready to declare her the winner for weeks now, and an equal number of people just don’t understand the hype. This situation has led to plenty of arguments about edits versus gameplay and whether Michele was actually being built up as such a clear winner.
For a period, I saw Michele’s path to victory. Sometime around final seven or eight, Michele appeared to have a hundred ways she could go; she had options out the wazoo and not an enemy in sight. I believe if she had managed to get to the end with the likes of Julia and Jason, she would have it in the bag. Instead, no matter whom Michele is against at the final tribal (if she makes it), she will have the weaker résumé. Maybe she’ll be better liked, but she has not actively controlled or changed the game to the degree of her remaining tribe mates.
All four of the remaining players have had plenty of screen time. But I think Michele received so many less-than-important confessionals simply to bring her up to par with the rest of the final four. I believe we will see Michele in the final tribal council, but I do not believe she will win the million dollars.
“Cydney is playing with fire with competing alliances. Will they carry her to the end or blow up in her face?”
I think the preview is purposely deceptive in this one way – this is an individual game now. Competing alliances? Look, Cydney is definitely in good with Michele and Aubry, but really, this is an individual game. Each of the four remaining players will be discussing every option with each other. Neither alliance will “carry” Cydney to the end. In the end, if she has people who want to go to the end with her, those people are far more likely to go after each other than turn on Cydney.
I think Cydney is our winner. Sans a bitter Scot or Jason, I think everyone respects her game and likes her. She zigged and zagged at all the right times and refused to let other people play her game for her. The entire way she has been playing hard to stay in the game. She survived three tribal councils on the Brawn tribe and was at serious risk in episode nine when Debbie was eliminated. Had Debbie and Joe voted for Cydney, she would have been out.
She has proven resilient and powerful, commanding change when necessary, and the only thing standing in her way is a brainy girl with moxie.
“Tai is without an advantage or an idol. For the first time in the game, he is vulnerable. Without a solid alliance, Tai may have to draw on new resources.”
During the pre-season, I made Tai my runner-up pick. My reasoning?
Tsk tsk… I’m disappointed in you, Jacob from the past.
My reasoning was wrong, but my prediction stays true: I think Tai is our runner-up. All season it felt like Tai was this indestructible, unbeatable, god-like character. Then he started screwing up left and right out of nowhere. He kept himself in the game, but not with the players he could beat in the end. Yes, Tai has played super hard, but so have Cydney, Aubry, and Michele, and each of the women has maintained better personal relationships with the members of the jury than Tai.
Look, Tai is going to go down as one of the most interesting, dynamic players in Survivor history. He went from the adorable, foreign tree-hugger to a relentless blindsider and fire-douser in the span of the season. At the end of the day, Tai is still incredibly lovable and a fantastic human being who I am sure we will all follow on Twitter for years. He just relied too heavily on his emotional responses when he should have been using that big brain of his.
If the final three is what I expect it to be – Michele, Tai, and Cydney – Tai will come in second place behind Cydney after working with those two to take out Aubry at four.
Part 4: Wrap-up
First off, let me thank everyone who has kept up with the blog this season. The tweets and comments I get from readers are the reason I keep up with this thing even when I am in the middle of finals week at my university. Whether you are an occasional reader, or you check in every week, I greatly appreciate it. Feel free to let me know whom you think is going to take the title this season by tweeting at me (@JacobDerwin) or commenting below. I love getting other people’s insights.
Anyways, this has been a super fun season of the show, and I can only hope that next season will have as great a cast and cast dynamic.
1. The final three will be Tai, Cydney, and Michele.
2. Tai will win the final immunity challenge.
3. Cydney will win the million dollars, but Mark the chicken is the true Sole Survivor.