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!
Angelina is so fun to watch. She’s not playing very well, but she’s a riot to watch. My favorite thing is the aggressive hypocrisy she displayed in practically back-to-back scenes: she bullied her tribemates to vote for Christian. Her tribemates had a discussion wherein the concluded that Elizabeth would be the better vote (not the right choice, I would argue, but, eh). Then, when John comes to Angelina and informs her, offering to walk with her and explain the situation, she refuses, and we get several confessionals in which Angelina complains about being cut out of the decision making process. Hey, sorry, but didn’t you try to order your entire tribe to flip the vote around like two hours ago? When this is added to Elizabeth’s ill-planned inflammation of Angelina’s jury-pandering move from Tribal, Angelina’s game is looking awfully dicey.
“I don’t want to sit around and let the game come to me.”
Angelina, I warned you from week one that you were playing too hard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am so here for a woman who is ready to play. I’d much rather witness a woman who played hard and went out in a blaze of glory than a milquetoast little red riding hood who goes out like a wet fart. And, for the record, Angelina is right, Christian is a much bigger threat. I even predicted that Angelina would start gunning for Christian once the merge hit. But what Angelina failed to do was gauge how close Christian had become to so many Goliaths. Like with the Jeremy vote, Angelina tried to muscle her will into being, and this time it fell flat. Angelina didn’t learn from her friend Natalia; you can’t bully people into doing what you want. And it was a terrible look when, after she tried to force what she wanted, she accused Dan of being a bully. Not only that, but Angelina was caught red-handed trying to wrestle a jury vote from Elizabeth. Being jacket-less isn’t the only thing about her that’s exposed. Her saving grace may be that the Goliaths want to stick together for another vote. She might also be such an obvious boot at this point that she can ride the goat wave for a while as other targets get taken out. For however long she has left, Angelina won’t be begging for jackets anymore, she’ll be begging for votes to stay.
Well, the good news for Carl is that he got to get very drunk, and he got his main target (for whatever reason) out. The bad news is, he threw a target onto an ex-David and put himself even farther down in the numbers, while simultaneously forming almost zero additional game connections that we know of. Carl has… what, Davie? And that’s about it? I mean, he does have an idol nullifier too, but that won’t help him much when he’s so far behind in numbers.
“To me, the merge signifies that you really have to start playing strictly for yourself, so I’m gonna have to build some different relationships.”
I’m pretty confident that a David is going home again this week. It’s in the Strike Force’s interest to keep the Goliaths in the dark for as long as possible, and the Davids on the team have already been willing to get rid of fellow Davids. I think the members of the Strike Force are going to shield the David members, which leaves any non-Strike Force David as cannon fodder. Despite saying the above quote, the only real bond we see Carl have is with Davie. This might be enough to save Carl, since Davie has an idol, but I also see Davie wanting to keep that idol for himself. Plus, Carl’s drunken ranting alone was enough for me to put him as a Not. Carl needs to learn to keep his frustrations to himself. Overall, there’s a semi truck headed for Carl, and I don’t think he’s going to be able to roll out of the way.
Not just because of his near-invisibility this episode, Fisher King Davie also finds himself in the Not list this week. The only bond he is part of that’s solid is his connection with Carl, and Carl isn’t putting in the greatest showing this week. Davie should be safe for a while thanks to his Hidden Immunity Idol, but he was not showing off much exemplary gameplay this past week.
Davie is also certainly in trouble this week. However, he has an idol, which might be able to keep him safe. One thing that I’m not a fan of is that he seems to have been unable to really build any relationships with anyone other than Carl. That’s not going to serve him well going forward, and an idol can only keep you safe for one vote. I’m worried that Davie looks expendable to the Davids on the Strike Force and he could easily become a target as a result. But, if the Goliaths are as bad at keeping the boot this week secret as they were with Elizabeth, Davie might stand a chance.
Dude, stop announcing your damn idol finds. I know you and Kara are, you know, a thing, I guess. But just STOP. Oh, and also, take some deep breaths around camp. Unfortunately, Dan was not taking his potential vote-out well; he freaked out to a handful of people and fumed in confessionals. If Dan doesn’t get his emotions controlled and his lips locked up, he’ll be in Ponderosa before he’s realized he should play an idol.
“So I actually told her that I found a second idol. I planned on keeping that all to myself, but I was just so excited to see her. I can’t help it.”
Can I just say a pet peeve of mine? It really bugs me when people on Survivor get offended because their name is being thrown around. Ummm hello? It’s Survivor! Everyone’s names are being thrown around! Dan is fine talking about which Davids should go home, but the second things get real, he flips out. And, as Kara said, he’s sitting pretty on two idols and in the majority alliance. Freaking out is only going to bring attention to yourself and make your alliance question why you’re so nervous. Even Kara commented on how irrational Dan was being. When your boo thinks you’re being a hot mess, then you’re not looking pretty. Dan, if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the jungle.
Furthermore, this dude can’t keep a secret to save his life. He said he was going to keep that idol a secret and that goes out the window the minute his “blanket” is back. And then, he spends two hours flirting with Kara in the middle of camp while everyone is sleeping, and he still can’t figure out why everyone is looking at him. This dude can’t sit pretty on two idols and a majority alliance, but he will be sitting pretty on the jury bench, and I bet he’ll still be scratching his head and wondering why his name was written down.
Kara’s game picked up some negatives and some positives this week. She reconnected with Dan (eh?), she learned about his backup Hidden Immunity Idol (positive), she had her option of a target go home (positive), and she eliminated Elizabeth, one of the only Davids that she’s been on a tribe with (negative). It’s a shame that she didn’t make more bonds with the ex-Davids that lasted, considering that she opted to kill Elizabeth right out. I feel like the move in Survivor is to stay true to your tribe, but just if you can be sure that’s what literally all of the other players are doing. The second one person cuts and makes a group that contains folks from the other tribe (like the Strike Force), tribal unity shatters to an extent. Of course, Kara couldn’t have known about this, but her unwillingness to hold tight to any Davids is concerning at the least.
“We’ve got the golden ticket to keep this going, just don’t mess this up.”
Man, this quote is ominous. My ears definitely pricked up here thinking that maybe it was a sign of things to come. Kara is smart, and her reads on the game are spot on, so it hurts my heart to rank her as a not. Kara’s like that friend in middle school that starts dating a guy and everything goes out the window. She has such natural abilities in this game, but natural abilities don’t count for anything if you don’t put in the work to back it up. We’re in the merge now, and she’s whispering with Dan in the middle of camp until the wee hours. We haven’t seen her form any kind of meaningful bonds with any Davids, and every clue this week indicated that that’s going to make the difference between the middle of the pack and endgame players. Kara’s due for a blindside, maybe not next week, but the week after. If she can focus on building relationships with anyone who isn’t Goliath, she might be fine. She’s a cheerleader, so she’s used to rooting for one team, but she needs to learn that teamwork does not last in Survivor.
Frankly, I’m surprised too. Not that Gabby is playing well, but that I have finally given her a Hot. What next, John getting a Not? Gabby seems to be making a strategy of her “cry a lot and complain and try to make people feel bad for you” strategy, which, if it works, will take her far into the game. Furthermore, she wandered into a sub-alliance (the Strike Force) and managed a pretty incredible performance at Tribal. Is she winning David vs. Goliath? I certainly do not think so. Will she be in the finale? I would be surprised were she not.
“It’s so infuriating to feel like an underdog this whole game and have to just sit there in the shelter and hope that it’s not you.”
Yeah, I felt the same way during dodgeball. My last name is Shields, so people would hold me in front of them to shield themselves from the balls because they said: “that’s your job.” I know that Gus and I are going to argue about her yet again this week, so let me say a few things as to why I think she’s hot. Yes, her plan that she pitched Elizabeth didn’t pan out per se, but I think that what Gabby was doing was what Angelina was trying to do. Gabby was making Elizabeth feel like they were on the same side before Elizabeth went out the door. Gabby tried to help Elizabeth, even though she knew for certain that Elizabeth’s name was getting written down. Gabby is a big fan of Survivor, so I’m sure that she knows that last minute tribal pitches aren’t the way to go. But, she did manage to throw a big spotlight onto Angelina and create a little bit of chaos with that move, which will take some of the heat off of the Davids. In addition, Gabby was able to get cozy in the Strike Force, and she didn’t force her way in. Alec came to her. That wouldn’t have happened if Gabby hadn’t presented herself as a good person to work with, and if she hadn’t built up such solid relationships with Alison and Christian. The Strike Force is going to protect Gabby this week, and Gabby has a lot of shields to hold in front of her when the balls start flying. Maybe Gabby can give us nerd girls a little sweet justice.
Ugh I don’t want to talk about it. This was hard. I love John, but, similar to what I’ve written about Kara, he didn’t connect to the Davids. In fact, he openly thought about eliminating Christian – his sole David ally. Look, if the Strike Force weren’t a thing, this would be the ideal strategy; however, with its existence, John looks a bit out of the loop. If he doesn’t wise up to the next level of in-game strategy, I fear that he’ll be out of the game before too long.
“We stay Goliath strong, cause the numbers are seven to six. And start whittling away at the old Davids. And then we do battle like gentlemen and ladies at the end.”
Oof, John’s confessionals indicated to me that he is far too comfortable right now. Many confessionals this week stressed the importance of branching out to other tribes, which makes it seem like that’s going to come into play moving forward. John’s reluctance to do so could result in a full-scale slamming. The merge isn’t a tea party; it’s a bloodbath. John has created a relationship with Christian, which might be his saving grace, but if he’s content to rest on his laurels, then it’s not looking good for him. I know that John has said that he’s more than a wrestler, but we need a little more Slamtown John and a little less Geology John.
I’m overjoyed to be seeing so much more from Dr. Alison. She was a key player in a number of big tactical conversations and decisions that took place in this week’s episode, and she’s part of Alec’s Strike Force. Perhaps the subtle gameplay that didn’t quite make it to air ahead of the merge will rear its gorgeous head over the next few weeks, and Alison will come forth as a strong, dominant player. Or, you know, she could also get eliminated in the next episode.
“I needed a new piece of jewelry.”
The doctor is finally in the house! First, she secured herself immunity for this week without looking like a major threat. Then, she found herself in the Strike Force because she’s a good enough player to realize that you don’t get to the end with just your starting tribe. She’s formed good enough bonds that people want to work with her, and I think the story that’s being told indicates that the Strike Force is going to be a long-term arrangement. Alison’s game has a pulse!
The most David of the Goliaths has teamed up with the most Goliath of the Davids (I think that’s what Christian is becoming?), the most David of the Davids (Gabby, at least at this point in the game), and… uh, Nick, Alec, and Alison. What a glorious team he’s found himself on. Mike’s fate in Survivor is tied to the well-being of his new Strike Force; if he can keep it a six-strong, under-the-radar group, then he’s bound to be golden. If he has another “ugh get rid of Miss Natalie” freakout… I’m not sure.
“We know that the Goliaths are going to fall apart eventually. And I want to make sure that I have a solid six so that we can monopolize the game.”
Mike has made the merge and from now on no one will look at him, provided he plays his cards right. He’s managed to create a solid enough relationship with Alec, Alison and Nick that he was invited into the Strike Force. I’m really proud of him. He’s managed to go from the very bottom of the Goliaths to a major contributor in a secret alliance of six. This takes a certain social finesse that spells a good player. Smiling emojis only.
Yet another difficult decision with respect to the Comptroller this week. The good news is, he’s part of a sub-alliance (the Strike Force), he’s still got all of the tight social bonds that I applauded him for last week, and he’s continuing to be a social threat to the point that Angelina went out of her way to strongarm all of her tribemates to vote him out. The bad news is, Angelina went out of her way to strongarm all of her tribemates to vote him out, and a little bit of negative coverage goes a long way to forcing pen to parchment in Survivor. Christian was lucky that the target last week wound up being one of the handful of people with whom he did not have a concrete bond. However, with people starting to float his name and with the Strike Force still down in the numbers, I worry that our Comptroller may just wind up recalled to Ponderosa next week.
“I kind of call it a strike force… which as far as I’m concerned will be parachuted into some battlefield, somewhere, to deploy a vote and take out a target when we see fit.
Christian might be in the best position in the game if he can play this correctly. He’s got the Brochachos (Next Time On notwithstanding) and he has the Strike Force. These alliances will do their best to keep him safe going forward. If you think about it, Alison, Mike, Alec, John, Dan, Nick, Alison, and Gabby all have an interest in keeping Christian safe. That’s the majority right there. Even if the Brochachos break up like they were hinting in the preview, they still have an alliance of six. They only have to convince Carl and Davie to keep Christian around, and it’s definitely in their best interests to do so. It’s quite possible that we see the dissolution of the Goliaths as early as next week. I think, much like this week, Christian is a decoy this week.
Our fears for Nick originated from a concern that his web of alliances would wind up hurting him before long. In fact, it looks like at least one of them is paying off in a big way. As he himself put it, he took a walk along the beach and was pulled into a tight six-person alliance – an alliance that has even numbers of both Goliaths and Davids. If his Strike Force can stay a unified force, Nick ought to be sitting pretty as the game continues. Moreover, losing Elizabeth may have been a positive for him, as she was an alliance thread that was disconnected from what looks to be Nick’s new core alliance.
“When the Goliaths are ready to turn on each other, I’m going to have more power in the game.”
This week was great for Nick’s game. Earlier, I thought Nick might be playing too hard with all of the alliances that he formed. However, this week, Nick was able to connect two of his allies, and the one who was left out got the boot. Even better, Nick was able to get rid of Elizabeth in a unanimous vote, so he has the excuse that he couldn’t save her. He was able to dodge a bullet that I thought would totally bite him in the butt. And now, he’s got some Goliaths with an interest in keeping him around. Gus and I used to foster this cat who liked to contort his body to fit between the back of our desk and the wall. He was so squished in there that his eyes would bulge out of his head, but he loved it back there and he never got stuck. Nick is like that cat. If he can find a crack, he will contort his body and fit right in.
This dude is really surprising me. I thought he’d be toast at the merge, but he’s actually made some shockingly tight bonds for a guy who has such a seemingly cavalier attitude about so much. His new Strike Force looks set up to be a significant force within the game, and there’s no reason for the people within it to cut him any time soon. Combine that with decent challenge ability and Alec is, amazingly, looking awfully solid yet again.
“You’re naive to think, going into a merge, that things are going to stay David and Goliath. So, keep doing your thing, and think you’re Goliath strong. I’ll jump on board with the Davids. I’ll make those connections.”
I would like to first say that the way Alec was able to dodge heat for Natalia’s boot this week was masterful. I’m very impressed by his gameplay at the moment. He’s able to spot opportunities and gun for them in a way that doesn’t strike me as overplay. He was given credit as one of the driving forces for the Strike Force. This week, he looked like he had a great grasp of how to move forward in the game. And, unlike Dan, Alec is able to keep secrets in the game. I worried for a while that Alec is an emotional player who doesn’t have the strategic sense and the finesse to pull off big blindsides without getting caught in the crosshairs. I think this week, he proved me wrong and I toast him. The only thing that worries me going forward is that he is clearly the biggest physical threat in the Strike Force, so he might want to make sure he keeps some physical threats around so he doesn’t get struck himself.
RETROSPECTIVE: ELIZABETH OLSON
Last week, Ali and Gus both ranked Elizabeth as Not.
Over the course of the season, Elizabeth received:
2 Nots from Gus
3 Nots from Ali
3 Hots from Ali
4 Hot from Gus
Culminating in a total of 7 Hots and 5 Nots
-Elizabeth is the first player eliminated with a net positive temperature from Gus (+2).
-Elizabeth is the third player eliminated with a temperature of 0 from Ali (after Pat and Jeremy).
-Gus and Ali only differed in their ranking of Elizabeth once, for Episode 3 (after Jessica’s elimination; Ali gave her a Not, and Gus gave her a Hot).
Elizabeth’s last two weeks spelled the end for her game. She got back pain induced rage, which Ali would like to state is entirely fair. Sending Jessica home set up a precedent for her rivalry with Carl, which only got worse as the game went on. Lastly, her strategy to blow things up at tribal council was shortsighted. As Stephen Fishbach often says on Rob Has a Podcast, things rarely change during tribal council. The cowgirl tried to shut the stable door after the horse had bolted, and sadly she now reigns as the (rodeo) queen of Ponderosa.
TRASH TALK ZONE
Ali: Okay, let’s fight. Christian is our only disagreement this week. I think between the Brochachos and the Squad he’s fine. There’s enough people with an interest in keeping him that he’s going to be fine. You wait and see, at this point, I’m confident that the six are going to run the game and we will be seeing Christian going out as a heartbreak in the late merge. He’s a textbook decoy, just like he was last week.
Gus: Hey, this is going to be a VERY boring trash talk week, because I think you could very easily be right. My Not is really just because Christian didn’t do much in terms of self-campaigning or helping his game.
Ali: Don’t hedge your bets.
Gus: I’m not hedging my bets, I’m being honest. I think Christian is probably a decoy, but I also think that enough people have been bringing his name up that he’s bound for trouble as the game goes along.
Ali: I disagree. I think that he did a lot to help his game in the long term, so he didn’t have to do a lot of short term scrambling this week. He set himself up nicely with great alliances, and he’s going to go far with those people until anyone who has a bigger target is gone.
Gus: I mean, even if the Strike Force runs everything, I could see them eliminating him RIGHT before they start killing everybody else… Or letting him be the final sacrificial lamb.
Ali: Absolutely he’s in trouble down the road, but I think he has enough people wanting to protect him this week that I’m not worried about him in the immediate future.
Gus: So, I guess the actual strong gameplay of Christian this week was remaining unruffled and unbothered. A polar opposite from Hot Cop’s freakout.
Ali: What I think will happen is eventually Nick will turn on Christian and use Mike White to do it, right before the time where the six need to turn on each other, so Christian won’t see it coming. So maybe… final seven or eight?
Gus: Oh that would be heartbreaking.
Ali: That’s my wild theory. Then Gabby will go desert storm. I’m writing amazing fan fiction right now.
Gus: Well, in the long run, Christian’s way too happy. He’s way too… I mean, giddy. Like, Nick is conniving and really shady in a wonderful way. Christian is basically just Elmo but an adult. And I adore him for it. I think Nick WILL ultimately ruin Christian’s whole game, and that’s really part of why he got my Not.
Ali: I think in terms of winning, Christian has an uphill battle.
Gus: Yes. And he gets a Not for that. Gabby got a Hot because she actively helped her situation while doing it in a shockingly original way. Christian’s Not is from not showing me the deceptiveness which I think he’ll have to show in the long run. Nick showed it. Gabby almost showed it. Christian has AMAZING social networks, but that’s really it. So, slightly concerned for him.
Ali: I think his stock rose this week rather than plummeted. You don’t necessarily need to be deceptive. Ultimately, this is a game about being liked, and Christian is winning in that regard. Christian was a Not last week for me because he didn’t have nearly the connections he does this week. For his alliance building alone this week, he gets a Hot from me.
Gus: I think it’s either Dan or Carl next out. I feel like our safe folks are Alec and Gabby.
Ali: Carl or Angelina for me. Probably Carl. For me, safe is Alison and Mike.
Gus: Really? Why Angelina? Angelina is playing horribly, but I don’t see her being voted out very soon. She’s too clear of a target.
Ali: I just feel like the Davids might be able to convince them to get rid of her instead if they were inclined. I could also see Angelina simply burying herself.
Gus: I predict that Angelina is going to be the first boot following the rise of the Strike Force.
Ali: At this point, she’s easy pickings and they might be attracted to that.
Gus: So, around… 10. Next or the following week.
Ali: Exactly, and that’s possible that with Christian in trouble they might have to act as early as next week. And there she goes.
Gus: Ugh I hope. So, is that all we’ve got to say?
Ali: I think so! Tune in next week for more fighting!
Gus: See ya! I’m off to play some pubg.
Ali: I’m going to go watch British Bakeoff because I’m worth it.