Shawn Swaney takes over the Next Time on Survivor feature for Episode 6 of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.
Jacob is off on a whirlwind adventure through Europe (or maybe he’s just in hiding after last week’s comments!), so I will be pulling double duty this week! I’ll follow up on his previous predictions (and try to write this in the same manner of the previous segments) while dropping some truth bombs of my own.
As always, I have no inside information about what is to come, so this article and anything I write is 100% spoiler free.
Part 1: Previously on… Survivor
Given that I write a strategy blog and not an analysis of the teaser segments, I don’t have much room to go off of for my personal predictions. Luckily, Jacob left me with some great guesses to dissect and critique.
1. A Brain, namely Neal, will find the idol.
After incorrectly guessing that Peter would find the idol, a ton of stock was put into the short segment that showed Neal looking up into a tree – the place where viewers know that the idols are hidden. This prediction was 100% spot on! No cover up here, Neal successfully retrieved the idol at Brains beach, while seemingly remaining undetected. At this point in time, all three hidden immunity idols are accounted for. Jason has the Brawn idol, Tai has the Beauty idol, and Neal has the Brains idol. We’re still left wondering if this is the event that is prompting Neal’s ‘sneaky character edit’, but we do know that idols are great at breeding paranoia.
2. There will be a tribe swap, but in the format of a schoolyard pick.
I’m pretty sure that someone with the same mental capacity as Forrest Gump could have correctly interpreted that there would be some sort of tribal mix-up this week. This was correct, but the “twist” mentioned in the teaser segment was a lot harder to predict. While Jacob was spot on in guessing that an exile island would play host to the odd (wo)man out, the schoolyard pick prediction fell short.
Schoolyard picks, when they happen throughout Survivor’s history, are one of my favorite things. But I think that this season’s alternative handled the swap very well while retaining a true sense of an impartial mixing of the tribes. It was a bit of a stretch to guess that Tai, or anyone for that matter, would be the one exiled, but the female life-doppelganger of your regular author, sorority girl Julia Sokolowski, drew the Totang buff and was exiled through the rest of the episode until the next reward challenge.
3. Cydney is the only person on the original Brawn tribe with a chance of winning.
While I am ecstatic that Jacob and the rest of the Survivor fanbase are starting to come around to my multiple personality champion (see my winner pick in the Inside Survivor preseason cast assessment) Cydney, I think that both Scot and Jason had an incredibly great, yet subtle, week. Each of the three remaining OG Brawn members were highly coveted as swing votes and alliance members, while each used that position to seemingly cement themselves in a great position. Jason and Cydney quickly, thanks to a natural pull up bar and the ever so energetic Debbie, buddied up to the Brains, while Scot played both sides brilliantly. It seems to me that Cydney is still the likeliest of candidates from the Brawn tribe to win, but Scot and Jason hold a fighting chance.
Oh, you were wondering if I was going to go near the “Alecia vs. Scot/Jason debate” and all of the comments on this article and throughout the Survivor fanbase? Hell to the naw. This debate has been very drawn out and useless, while I will choose to spend my energy thinking about other more important, equally scandalous situations (e.g. does Debbie actually have the hots for Nearly Purple Nick?)
4. Someone from the Beauty tribe (Anna) will be voted out.
Give this man a cookie. As predicted, the well-proportioned poker player from Brooklyn joins the pre-jury. While many thought that Anna’s overly analytical nature would be her downfall, it turned out to be Scot Pollard, who discouraged Tai from using the idol. In the end, Anna’s excellent social standing turned out to be her downfall.
On the whole, I give Jacob an “A” for his efforts and mostly correct predictions.
Part 2: Next Time on… Survivor.
With last week’s teasers focusing on the tribe swap, this week’s edition strays away from strategy and targets the not so star-crossed lovers, Nearly Purple Nick and Debbie, and the brewing tension directed at Dr. Peter from Joe.
In the segment directly following the episode, we are introduced to the additional layer of Debbie W(i)nner’s strategy – flirtation. Debbie strictly mentions, “one of my strategies is not to be a flirt, but I think Nick looks like a Greek god.” The most interesting part of this, to me, is why Debbie would be buddying up with Nick, despite a seemingly solid 2+2 alliance of Brawn + Brains.
This spells two different avenues to me: 1) Debbie is shoring up a backup plan and friends for the merge or 2) Debbie is so overly confident in her current situation that she is just fawning over Nick for fun. It’s clear that Debbie is playing this game hard, so I find it hard to believe that she would be toying with people. Debbie’s trying to get close to Nick tells me that she’s trying to gain friends and potential jury votes – an act that could easily be perceived as overly “scheme-y” and manipulative. Debbie has played a strong game so far, but moves like this are why I believe that Debbie will be an early/mid-merge boot that will fall victim to a massive blindside.
Joe, on the other hand, has played a far less strategic and social game compared to Debbie. This is why Joe’s outburst at Peter is even more surprising. Now put on your tin foil hats, because here comes a wild prediction. I think that Joe’s outburst at Peter is directly caused by Peter suggesting that they throw the next immunity challenge in order to keep the pressure on Beauty and vote out Julia. Joe’s position and trust in the majority are both strong, but his background, an FBI agent, does not lean well towards below the table acts and turning on others. In this case, Peter’s logic makes total sense, but I don’t think it will be well received.
If you pause the segment at the correct moment, you will notice that the beginning of Joe’s outburst, when he angrily says “Are you trying to take me out?”, you can see the bottom half of a female body with a blue swimsuit and blue shoes – Aubry. Aubry’s presence in direct earshot of Joe’s outburst signals to me that Joe feels entirely comfortable with the Brains. So, while Joe is angry at Peter, this signifies that the Brains tribe, in the eyes of Joe, is a unified force and not individual members of the original pairings. In the end, this blowup will not mean anything and Joe’s outburst will do more damage to him than anyone else.
Part 3: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall…
Split up between Chanloh, Gondol, Exile Island, and a Cambodian Hospital, the six members of the original Beauty tribe, after remaining undefeated and tight-knit, are more fractionated than Cydney’s supposed multiple alter egos. With Julia taking Anna’s spot at Gondol, we, once again, return to a 3 vs 2 vs 1 breakdown. With the OG Beauties on the ropes, I see Scot (and by association, Tai) remaining with the Brains plurality in order to focus on crippling the Beauties for the merge.
So far this season, Julia has not presented herself as a strategic individual with the chops to overturn a situation like this. If Julia hopes to remain in the game, she must hope for either an immunity challenge win or for enough paranoia surrounding Tai to force Scot to turn on him, despite his holding an idol.
Part 4: Two halves make a whole
Right before Tribal Council, Scot convinced Tai to not play his idol, thus ensuring that he is the only person in the game that knows about both the idol twist and where two idols are. This is an absolutely brilliant move by Scot, in that it massively benefits him while remaining in great social standing.
Terry Dietz, Yul Kwon, and Tony Vlachos all possessed idols with special powers, but never actually got to prove why they were so coveted. Unlike these situations, I do believe that the statements by Scot in the most recent episode foreshadow the combination of two idols into one super idol.
Part 5: Wrap-Up
In summation, here are my predictions for this upcoming episode:
1. Debbie is trying very hard to make friends, but in doing so will put a target on her back.
2. Joe will get mad at Peter for suggesting that they throw the immunity challenge.
3. Julia is the next one voted out and the Beauties will be quickly Pagonged.
4. At some point, a super idol will be “created”, likely with Scot championing the idea.
Like what I have to say and want to hear more? Think I’m crazy? Sound off in the comments below, tweet me at @ShawnSwaney, or check out my weekly article, the Swaney Strategy Blog, where I breakdown the strategy of the previous episode, strategy to come, and present the State of the Survivor Union.