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Survivor: David vs. Goliath Give Me Five! Season Recap


Brent Sullivan looks back at his top five predictions of the season.

Photo: CBS

Welcome to Give Me Five! Each week, Brent Sullivan will look at the top five impactful moments from the latest episode that could influence the rest of the season.

This week is always a little different. Like in past seasons, I am going to go back and pick out five big moments that I got correct from this season plus one bonus one that I completely missed the mark on:

1. Episode 1 – So Many Alliances!

“Wow, there was certainly a lot of deals being made this week and most of them on the David tribe. If I list them all, one of them is bound to be right, so I can say that I picked it right at the end of the season. Let’s start off with Nick. He was the biggest offender. Not only was he trying to make deals with everyone around him, he even wanted to name the alliances. We were treated to an especially fun one between him and Elizabeth where at one point he decides to call them The Thoroughbreds. His plan seems a little too ambitious if you ask me, but at least he has a plan. We also saw Elizabeth and Lyrsa bonding in the woods about how no one will expect them to work together since they are so different. Carl wanted to take Jessica under his wing because she reminds him of his daughters. But by far my favorite pairing so far is Gabby and Christian. It just seems like the two of them were made to play this game together. I hope that this one lasts because I would love to see where it goes. Also, Davie and Carl, Dan and Kara and Natalia… did I miss any?”

The reason I list this one first is because I specifically call out the Gabby and Christian alliance. The two of them did indeed play the game together and very well for the most part. They were on the same tribe for their entire time playing together and had each other’s back until Gabby went for Christian at the final eight. It was a joy to watch them play the game together… and not just in the sand!

2. Episode 3 – Angelina is a driving force.

“I found this incredibly fascinating. There is absolutely no reason that Natalie shouldn’t have been voted out. In any other season, someone like her would have pushed too many buttons to allow it not to happen. But Angelina put on clinic explaining why it should be Jeremy over Natalie. Even though a few of her tribemates, like Natalia and Mike, seemed locked in with a Natalie vote, everyone voted for Jeremy and he went home 9-1. At least from what we saw, I can’t believe that one person was able to pull over that many people to the other side and that a few people didn’t even stick to their guns and vote for Natalie anyway. This show of gameplay elevated Angelina in my opinion to one of the top players of the season so far. It was even more fun to watch the second time around because I knew what the end result was going to be and yet I was still enjoying watching her work. Angelina, you have definitely made an impact on this early season!”

Angelina did this the entire game. Now, it didn’t always work out for her, and she may not have always gotten her way, but she was definitely a driving force all the way through. Like we have all heard, she sat out an immunity challenge to get rice for the tribe, and she was the only woman this season to find an idol. She was super entertaining the whole season and she kept her foot on the pedal all the way through.

3. Episode 4 – Carl gets an advantage.

“During the tribe swap, Carl drew the short straw, or blank buff if you will, and had to go to Exile Island. Obviously, it wasn’t really a short straw, because unlike him, we all knew that there was going to be an advantage there. So, after a fun montage of him sorting through a batch of floating coconuts, he found the “marked” one with an advantage inside. I’ve been curious about this all season, and now we finally get to see the idol nullifier. I ‘m glad that it has to be played before the vote so that it isn’t too powerful. Also, nothing against Carl, but I don’t really see this being used correctly on it’s first time out. However, this may still be very impactful if I’m wrong about that. Can you imagine someone playing an idol, everyone freaking out, just to have them go home anyway? I think that would make an extremely exciting tribal council. However, I hope that they only have one per season. I don’t want every idol found to be nullified. Let’s see if Carl can figure out how to play this correctly!”

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I wouldn’t be doing this right if I didn’t explain it anyway. Carl did indeed figure out how to play his Idol Nullifier correctly. Not only did he do that, but he was able to take down an original Goliath with the move to help even out the numbers. He might have been a little bit cocky after the move, which eventually led to his demise, but he always has this Survivor first move to put on his mantle.

4. Episode 7 – The Strike Force.

“Another alliance, another alliance name. Alec, Alison, Nick, Mike, Christian, and Gabby seem like they have a good plan. They are going to take out a couple of Davids to not arouse suspicion among the Goliaths, then start picking off everyone else in the game. This seems like a really good idea, and after one vote, they have stuck to the plan. However, there are still 12 players left in the game and keeping six people together at this point will be tricky. Everyone always wants to make moves and shake things up, and this is a long time to stick together until the end. Not only do two players still have idols to play, but the Goliaths are going to have a huge numbers advantage, and that may be too attractive to turn away from. I personally like the team of six, but it would be tough for them to stay loyal for the long haul. Let’s see if they can even make it one more vote!”

Sure enough, this didn’t even last one full vote. On paper, this seemed like a really good idea, but I questioned whether or not it could make it that long. There were so many alliances made this season, it was really hard to keep track of them all. Since most of them barely lasted anytime at all, it probably wasn’t hard to predict this really, but you don’t really know until it happens.

5. Episode 12 – Short-lived numbers advantage.

“When I first wrote this down, I thought that it might be a bit of a stretch, but the more I think about it, as soon as the original Goliaths realize that they have the numbers back, I don’t think that it is too hard to imagine them reuniting and taking out the remaining three Davids. Most of them say that the tribal lines are gone, and that does get tricky with Angelina in the picture still, but Alison and Kara have worked together in the past, and Mike has been on both sides. Angelina has to know that if Davie, Christian, or Nick makes it to the end against her that she doesn’t stand a chance. That may be just the boost she needs to get them out. If she is at the end with two Goliaths, she may actually have a shot. Regardless of how this goes, it should make for an exciting end to this impressive season.”

I think that it is safe to say that after Gabby and Christian were gone, Davie and Nick’s days were numbered. We saw that come true when Mike made the move to get Davie out instead of Alison, and I think we all know (or assume) that Nick would probably have also been voted out had he not won three immunity challenges in a row.

Now for the one that I believe that I missed the mark on the most, from episodes 10 and 11:

“Alison is finally playing Survivor. We have seen Alison week after week making cross-tribal alliances, deals and promises, and every week she holds tight to her original Goliath tribe. Finally (now that her back is against the wall) she is making true and working with some of the David tribe. She and Gabby have slowly become close allies ever since their days together at Tiva. So much so that Carl and his group didn’t even want to include Gabby in the plan to vote out Alison. After all of the dust settled from these two hours, Christian and Gabby decided to stick with Alison and vote off Carl, so for the first time in a while, things went right for Alison, and she may have a pretty good three-way alliance with Christian and Gabby, at least for the short term. No matter how it plays out for her, it was good to see Alison finally start making some bolder moves and I am curious to see the immediate impact next episode.”

So this really never panned out into anything. Alison kept showing chances of making moves but didn’t ever do much for the entire game. I feel sort of bad for her because she was almost voted out several times and always seemed to be playing from the bottom.

There you go! Congrats to Nick on not only being the last David standing but also winning this amazing season! It has been an absolute pleasure to watch and write about. Once again, I want to thank everyone who spent the time to read and/or comment on my article this season. I not only do this because I love it, but also because people enjoy reading it. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on Edge of Extinction in the Spring.


Brent is a 39-year-old Survivor super fan from Muncie, IN. He is married with two kids and does IT work at a local non-profit organization. He has been running in-person and online Survivor contests since season 7.