In our new feature, Gus and Ali, a real-life couple and fans of Survivor, will be individually ranking the Survivor players into two categories, Hot or Not. The Hot list symbolizes anyone we feel has put themselves in a good position or exhibited good gameplay that week. Those people are individuals we think will not go home in the next episode. The Not list is people that we feel have had their Survivor stock take a significant hit that week. We will then share our rankings with one another and have a chance to trash talk each others’ analysis. Also, we encourage merciless teasing to anyone who has someone on their Hot list go home the following week.
Go ahead, hit us with your best shot. We’re probably wrong anyway, but that’s why it’s fun!
Disclaimer: Our article contains discussion centered around information revealed as part of the “next time on” preview segment. Should you wish to watch this coming week’s episode without any foreknowledge, don’t read this article!
Nick really couldn’t lose this week. If Christian went home, he was taking out a big target in the game; if Gabby went home, he was isolating Christian further and making Christian more dependent on him, or weakening him to the point where he could easily take him out down the line. If Alison went home, the Davids were taking back a numerical advantage and clearing a path for him to create his ideal final 3 (apparently the Jabenis, and, honestly, he’s right to want them there with him). AND SOMEHOW, HE’S STILL NOT A TARGET! I’m back to my original thinking that Nick will probably win – he’s been able to run a significant amount of the game from behind the scenes, and even when things don’t go the way he wants them to, he still manages to spin the disadvantages around to become advantages.
Gabby’s idea to get rid of Christian did not come to fruition, but Nick’s idea to have Gabby as a fallback target went perfectly. Nick was able to get revenge for his fellow Good Ol’ Boy, Carl, and got a significant amount of credit for Gabby’s blindside. Furthermore, Nick still maintains possession of his idol, so if the target really pinpoints him next week, he has the means to protect himself.
It breaks my heart to do this, but I just do not see a way for Christian to get to the end. He’s been the clear target since the merge. He’s survived so many attempts to get him out, and they just don’t stop coming. He’s got such a huge target on his back that people (Davids and Goliaths alike) have been voting for him at three out of the five post-merge tribals in which he was an eligible target. Nick is now against him, Gabby’s flipped and gone, and he’s played his idol. The only thing that Christian has going for him now is Davie’s desire to keep him around… and a lot of slide puzzle acumen. I would love to see Christian win. Really, I would. But unless he a) goes on an immunity run or b) develops a Ben Driebergen style idol radar, I don’t think there’s any way that he’s going to survive three more votes and a fire-making.
Sadly, Christian’s life in this game has been flickering for a while, and now he doesn’t have an idol as a safety net. He managed to survive this week, and that is admirable since everyone was gunning for him. However, I really don’t see how he can survive much longer unless he idols his way to the end like Ben. I don’t see a way for his torch to stay aflame long enough to see fire-making.
The weird thing about Alison is that she seems to be everyone’s target right after Christian, but they’re so focused on Christian that they always forget to bump her as the backup vote. This week was actually pretty good for her – Mike, Angelina and Nick were more focused on getting Christian (and Gabby) out than they were on Alison – but with Gabby gone, and Christian all alone, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the good Doctor fall to a stray bullet soon (or to be taken out if Christian were to win immunity, which, frankly, he very much could). That being said, if the new Goliath majority holds strong, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alison make it at least to Final 5.
Alison’s closest ally in the game got eliminated, and she was a potential target for this week. That’s a rough week for Alison. At the moment, she’s the most threatening Goliath. A target could easily find its way to her, and now she doesn’t have anyone campaigning for her to stay in the game. It’s unclear whether Alison knew about the way that the votes would fall. If she did, then she failed to pull a Davie and ensure that her ally in the game was safe. If she didn’t, then she is being left out of the vote, and she’s back on the bottom. Either way, things don’t look great for Alison right now.
Okay, I was wrong, with the exception of an immunity win, Kara did next to nothing this episode. She was informed of the Christian vote-out plan, and was pleased about it; and… that’s really about it. I don’t think we saw anything of her after she won her (to be fair, impressive) immunity. I don’t even know if she was in on the plan to throw back-up votes on Gabby. I think that Kara is still playing well, and has been ducking and diving behind cover well enough to merit her making it this far in the game, but… from a story or a resumé perspective, I’m not sure that she’s got enough to clinch her the million.
I said last week that I need to see more social connections from Kara. She started to look like she was developing an alliance with Gabby, which looked promising, but then Gabby was voted out. Like Alison, it’s unclear whether Kara knew about Gabby’s blindside. Either way, my feelings about Kara from last week remain the same because I have yet to see who is willing to take her all the way.
This is because I don’t see a world where Angelina is voted out next. Her fellow players still seem to think of her as kind of a wild-woman-slash-zany-goof, her biggest claim to fame this side of the merge is “I traded for rice”, and even though she was on the right side of the Gabby vote, there’s no way that Nick will allow her to take any credit for it. The only way I see Angelina not being in the Final 6 is if she goes completely bonkers next week and tries to flip the entire game over, which, honestly, could happen, but I don’t see how it will. I think Angelina is a credit to the idea that if you can survive enough dummy vote targets, eventually everyone else kind of forgets about you (and also that making it to the end does not necessarily mean you are playing well [watch her win now I’ve said that]).
So this surprised me this week. I was fully anticipating putting Angelina in the Not category once again. However, I have to think about how her position in the game has very clearly changed. Angelina was putting in work this week to make the connections she needs to get to the end. I was actually very impressed with the way she was using the family visit to her advantage. Even though she failed to convince Davie to work with her, she clearly did a good job maintaining her relationships with former tribe members Nick and Mike. I think that had the group had a different target or less of a clear fourth member, Davie would have been swayed to work with them. In addition, Nick approached Angelina about voting for Gabby in a plan that ultimately worked. Angelina was able to make headway in the game and got tight with people who are willing to work with her. It looks like that group is getting ready to take control of the game. I don’t see how she can possibly win this game, but I can’t deny that her position in this game has radically improved. I’m impressed.
Mike took back the numbers, was one of two people on the right side of the vote, and did both of those things in such a way that it didn’t make him look like a Boudreaux-style Godfather. Additionally, he has what appears to be a pretty solid Final 3 in Angelina and Nick. Would he win against either of them? I don’t think so. But for being the David of the Goliaths (and the only remaining member of team Hot Mess), Mike has managed a pretty impressive string of mid-level flippy survival plays and mediocre betrayals. I don’t think he’s handled this well enough to be a GC-Sarah Lacina, but he’s also not done it so badly that he’s a Cochran. Probably because he hasn’t really committed to any of his flips. I’ve strayed. Mike’s getting a Hot because he’s still there, he’s not going anywhere any time soon, and, though he’s probably not winning, I don’t think he could be doing anything much better at this point.
Mike made an alliance this week at the family visit, but that alliance failed to keep one of the members feeling comfortable. Unlike Angelina, Mike wasn’t shown playing an active role in any of the moves that were made. So, while I felt like Angelina did enough to strengthen her position in the game this week, I didn’t feel like Mike showed the same level of improvement. Instead, it looked like Mike sat back and relied on his relationships with Nick and Angelina to see him through this week. While one doesn’t have to be the spearhead of every move or even have BiG mOvEs, in order to win, you have to be able to show some level of gameplay. I’m not sure if Mike has enough to beat any of the remaining players in the game, except maybe Angelina and Kara. Ultimately, I think those two ladies have the edge on him. For me, Mike needs to start playing to win, rather than playing to make the finals.
The fisher king REALLY came to play this week. At this point, I think Davie is the only person who could actually beat Christian at Final Tribal – maybe – simply because Christian is only in the game because Davie saved him with his idol at the John boot… and now, Davie could compellingly argue that Christian is only still in the game because he tipped Christian off to this fledgling plan to get rid of him. Davie’s read about him being the next biggest threat after Christian is probably correct. We know that the other big target still in the game is “wonder woman” Alison, and with the Goliaths being, once again, up in the numbers (remember in like week 5 when I predicted that the David vs. Goliath dynamic was over? Haha that was wrong), it seems likely that, with Christian’s theoretical boot this past week, Davie might well have been the next to go. Let’s take a look at Davie’s potential Final 3s: he’s not committed to the Jabeni group, which is wise, but what are his other options? The Jabenis would want him out at 4 (fire-making twist notwithstanding) as he was not a Jabeni in the first place; Alison and Kara would likely take him over Christian, but I think it’s far more likely that they would bring Angelina along in his stead. Davie will have to move back into the spotlight and control his FTC for these last couple of episodes if he wants to wind up as the ultimate king of this game.
Davie was a huge reason the vote went the way that it did this week. This was no small feat because if you asked me last week, I would have said that Davie was on the bottom. Davie was able to play the middle and ensure that his shield, Christian, stayed in the game without overtly getting any blood on his hands. One of the people that blindsided him, Gabby, went home, and Davie’s game got a huge uptick. However, I’m concerned about Davie’s new position. Yes, he’s firmly in the middle, but the preview tells me that somehow Nick discovers Davie’s betrayal and has now set his sights on the Octopus King. I think Davie has the potential to play this position well, but at this stage in the game, there’s nowhere to hide. I also question the decision to go against the Jabenis. The other side has way more threats than the Jabeni group. Yes, Davie justified this by saying that he needs threats to stay in the game, but for how much longer? There isn’t a lot of game left, and I don’t feel like Davie wants to sit in the end next to Alison and Christian. I feel that Davie could have easily convinced Mike and Angelina to ultimately get rid of Nick and sit next to him. I think out of the four big threats in the game: Nick, Alison, Davie, and Christian; Davie is the most palatable to sit next to. All Davie would have to do is find a way to eliminate Kara and he would probably have the win. I think if there was ever a week where Davie could be in hot water, it’s now.
RETROSPECTIVE: GABBY PASCUZZI
Last week, Gabby went home and Gus, as a self-described “Gabby truther,” feels vindicated. When she got eliminated, he did a hilarious little dance that Ali filmed, but he won’t let her post the video because he thinks he looks dorky. Just imagine a lot of jumping and flailing arms. Ironically, Gus rated Gabby as a Hot last week, which he stands by because she played well last week. Ali also ranked Gabby as a Hot last week, but it’s less ironic.
Anyway, Ali and Gus were harsh toward Gabby this season, but they want to say that her social media presence has been on point and she seems like a really awesome person. She, much like the rest of the stellar jury, has been a great character and super fun to watch. There was never a dull moment when Gabby was onscreen, and she will be missed.
Over the course of the season, Gabby received:
Three Hots and seven Nots from Gus (-4°)
Six Hots and four Nots from Ali (+2°)
Culminating in a total of nine Hots and eleven Nots (-2°)
-Despite all of the strife surrounding her, Ali and Gus only disagreed about Gabby three times.
-Gus and Ali never disagreed on Gabby post-merge.
-Gabby is the second post-merge vote-out to be eliminated with a net negative temperature, after Dan (-12°).
TRASH TALK ZONE
ALI: Alright, Mike and Davie are the only people we disagree on this week. Let’s break it down.
GUS: Well, Mike isn’t winning, I can tell you that much right off the bat. But if you give Angelina a Hot, I think you have to give one to Mike, too.
ALI: Can I give my fan fiction version of what’s going to happen next week first?
GUS: You’d better.
ALI: So, in my view, we are in for a clash of titans. Christian vs. Nick once again. Christian is idolless, and Nick has an idol. Now, we see in the preview that a few names are going around. I think Nick finds out about Davie’s betrayal. He’s pissed. Hence, why Nick says that he wants Davie out. Davie and Christian boop ba doop over and pick up Wonder Woman (Alison) and Super Girl (Kara). Doc Oc (Davie) tells them about the family visit alliance that was made for a final four that doesn’t include them. By the way, I think Davie’s move was the right instinct in that instance. No way they keep him at the end. Okay, so then it’s those four versus Mike, Angelina, and Nick. They have the numbers advantage, and they want Nick gone. HOWEVER, Nick has an idol that no one knows about. He plays it next tribal and either Christian or Davie goes home. That’s my theory.
GUS: Ah. That is fan fiction.
ALI: It’s a reasonable deduction based on what we’ve seen so far.
GUS: Yeah. It also has a lot of moving parts. The game certainly could play out as such, but I think that, in this case, Davie would have the foresight to hold tight to Alison and Kara going forward. Alternatively, that would be the final downfall of David, and Mike/Alison/Kara/Angelina would throw Nick and Davie/Christian away right afterwards. Which, you know, they really should.
ALI: Ah, but you are forgetting one crucial detail, my dear. Angelina will never work with Kara or Alison again. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. They wrote down her name when John went home.
GUS: Right, but hasn’t, you know, every single person either written her name down or talked about using her as the decoy target? Angelina would have to be ridiculously short-sighted not to be able to look past that.
ALI: Anyway, we are getting off topic. But this all plays into why I think that I can’t give Davie a Hot this week, even though I think his move was solid. There’s an idol on the other side, and I don’t think it’s going to be a well-kept secret who let Christian know that he was the target. Davie is really playing with fire, and playing the middle is a really risky strategy that could come back to bite him.
GUS: Eehhhhhhhhhh I feel like you’re reaching, but maybe. I mean, the other option was for Davie to sit back and suck his thumb and let Christian go home and maybe put himself in a worse position for this episode. Sure, he could go home, but I think that Christian and/or Nick and/or Alison are significantly bigger targets for this week. I think you’re just scared to have another Lyrsa happen.
ALI: Okay, let’s think about it another way though. I think if Davie had stuck with that final four, he could have convinced Angelina and Mike to get rid of Nick over him because I think Nick has ultimately proved himself a bigger threat. I mean, you definitely need to get rid of the guy whose dad had to donate blood to buy the kids food. That guy is going to win. I don’t say that to be mean. I’m just being real about that. Like, if he plays well and he has a good story, who wouldn’t hand him the million?
GUS: Wait, now you’re talking about Nick being a big target. That’s a different thing entirely from Davie being on the chopping block. I mean, who’s to say that he can’t stick to the Jabenis? Is Christian going to go back to camp and shove Davie under an eighteen-wheeler? I don’t think so. Davie is the only thing approaching a real ally that Christian has. Davie’s got an in with Christian, he left his cards on the table with ex-Jabeni, and he could still hop over to Alison and Kara. And I don’t think any of them even know this. Again, Davie could get hit by a stray shot, but I just don’t think he’s in as much danger as you think he is.
ALI: You’re acting like me bringing up Nick was random, but it was relevant as a critique of Davie’s gameplay.
GUS: No, I’m arguing that using Nick as an argument is actually beneficial to Davie’s gameplay, as opposed to being detrimental. I could have structured my paragraph better. If Nick is a big target because of this, then Davie is far less likely to go home; with Davie still playing the middle, I don’t think that it’s out of the question that he could make said argument to Mike and Angelina still. He hasn’t completely betrayed the ex-Jabenis – he did vote against Christian. It’s a really fine line, but I feel like Davie can walk it.
ALI: We will see. My one last thought is that the Jabeni side has a lesser threat level than the other side. The other side has Alison and Christian. I even think Kara has potential to get some Brochacho votes if she’s up against the right people. Yes, it’s in Davie’s interests to keep threats around, but we are getting close to the end game, and there isn’t a lot of time to get rid of those people. I think Davie would have a sure thing going up against Mike and Angelina and I’m worried that if next week goes wrong, he could be burning a lot of bridges. We see Nick in the commercial for next episode saying that he wants Davie gone. Why would he say that unless he felt like somehow Davie was a threat to his game?
GUS: I just think Nick will come across as the bigger threat. But, hey, I could also be wrong. Forward to Mike?
ALI: I’m ready. Okay, so, I think Mike has a good shot of getting to the end, but at this point, I’m not feeling great about his chances of winning. His main thing this entire season has been “keep the Goliaths together” and “let’s get rid of Christian.” The Goliaths are fractured and Christian is still in the game after multiple attempts to get rid of him. I don’t feel like he can really point to a move and say, “that’s mine.”
GUS: Yeah, I completely agree. The Hot for him was really more of a participation Hot than anything.
ALI: This is the problem with Millennial Survivor. Participation Hots and drones fly milk to our house.
GUS: He’s doing his best. I think he really screwed himself early in the game and is more or less drawing dead – he couldn’t win in any Final 3, except maybe if it was him, Natalie and… I dunno, Jessica. Still, he really played well last episode. And for that, I’d give him a Survivor high-five.
ALI: See, I gave Angelina a Hot because I think, despite everything, there is a chance that she could pull this thing out after she played this week. She’s a huge dark horse, but she has a shot. Mike… eh. I would have to see some top-notch gameplay for the next few weeks. I don’t give participation Hots –
GUS: *hack cough* Lyrsa *cough*
ALI: You could say that I learn from my mistakes. To this day, I think that I was body snatched by aliens that week because I still can’t believe I gave her a Hot. I have amnesia about the entire experience and woke up when you were yelling jubilantly when she was voted out. I don’t identify as that woman that gave Lyrsa a Hot anymore. AND, last week, I gave Gabby a Hot against my better judgment, and look what happened. I will not have you Not-shame me. It’s called caution. And right now, I’m as covered in caution tape as a crime scene.
GUS: Okay, that’s completely fair.
ALI: Who do you think is safe this week?
GUS: Mike and Angelina. But that’s pretty much a safe bet.
ALI: That bet is covered in caution tape. But you can go with them… I want to say something slightly different. Let’s go with Kara and Nick. He’s got an idol and he knows when to use it.
GUS: OOoooooOOOooOOOoOOOOOoo good call. And who is voted out?
ALI: I have to go with my fan fiction. I think Davie or Christian are on their way out the door.
GUS: I’m saying Alison or Nick. And leaning very hard towards Alison.
ALI: Okay, now you need to get out of here or you are going to be late to work.
GUS: Oops. Gotta go!
ALI: Tune in next week to see who was right and who wrote great fan fiction!