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Survivor: Edge of Extinction Hot or Not – Finale Edition


Who is Hot or Not heading into the season finale?

Photo: CBS

As this is the finale episode, rather than ranking the remaining players based on simply who is Hot and who is Not, we will be ranking them from Hottest to Nottest.

Go ahead, hit us with your best shot. We’re probably wrong anyway, but that’s why it’s fun!

WARNING: This segment uses content from the “Next Time On” preview. If you are someone who doesn’t like watching those segments prior to the show, do not read further. You’ve been warned.

VATA

GUS – HOTTER – LAUREN O’CONNELL

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As the only remaining Manu/Lesu member who didn’t either swear allegiance to or get suckered in by Kama, Lauren is playing a fantastic game. Her manipulating the vote to eliminate Aurora – a challenge threat and someone who certainly didn’t see it coming – was the latest in a string of good gameplay decisions. She’s still holding her idol, which she has managed to keep secret (although Wentworth informed everybody at the Edge, which means whoever comes back in will likely know and spill the beans, but I mean maybe s/he won’t), and that means she’s in the same boat as Rick when it comes to getting to the final 3 safely. Furthermore, nobody’s targeting her – she hasn’t had any votes cast against her since the early-merge circular firing squad.

Overall, Lauren has played a fantastic game this season, and from a purely gameplay perspective, she is still my winner pick. From a strong pre-merge performance among a dismal excuse for a tribe to dodging and weaving among competing alliances in the first chunk of the merge, to now properly taking the reins in rallying votes where she wants them to go, Lauren’s performance cannot be denied. At least, it cannot be denied by people who’ve actually been able to see it. My biggest concern for Lauren going into the finale is that she might fall victim to a Hannah Shapiro-style failure to communicate with the jury. Rick Devens has been openly claiming credit for moves that Lauren was behind while Lauren has been content to roll her eyes and shake her head at him (and occasionally say he’s a big threat). If Lauren were to lose in a final tribal to Rick – as it seems as though she would – I would be very disappointed.

ALI – HOTTER – RICK DEVENS

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*Ba ba da ba da* A man on the outs. One immunity idol in the hand is worth two in the trees. Will Rick Devens be able to edge out a win? Tune in Wednesday night at 8 to find out.

In all seriousness, Rick played wonderfully this past week. He has an enviable ability to pander to the jury in a way that doesn’t annoy everyone on the bench. I can’t help but admire how scrappy he is, and how he seems to take the game in stride at this point. Before, I said that Rick’s path to the end was dubious, and I’m eating my words this week. With yet another immunity win under his belt and an idol in his hands, Rick has eliminated a slew of obstacles from his path. He has guaranteed himself at least final five with his idol find, and Aurora leaving the game is yet another point in his favor, as she was one of the better challenge threats remaining in the game.

In addition, for some reason, Rick has players making arguments for his game right in front of the jury. Granted, perhaps said players figure they might as well acknowledge the elephant in the room rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. Still, it’s become a truth universally acknowledged that should Rick make it to the end then it will be a difficult case for anyone sitting next to him. Rick also has the advantage of being a physical representation of the jury members, as he has done what they themselves hope to do; win his way back into the game and play to the end. Often, when we identify with people, it causes us to root for them, even subconsciously. Rick won his way back in the game early enough that the argument that he hasn’t been able to really play is negated by all of the evidence of his gameplay throughout.

Now, let’s talk about Rick’s move this week. The newscaster did what so many people fail to do, and found an idol. But it’s what he accomplished with this idol that has given his game a whole new esteem. There’s a famous scene from Survivor: Caramoan in which the minority alliance, The Three Amigos, are all immune. They state that they will be going after the alliance leader, Philip, and encourage the others to flip and vote with them. The alliance decides to hold together and vote for one of the three on the chance that they do not play the idol. Philip is ultimately eliminated. The recurring critique of this otherwise exciting move is that by letting the other players in an alliance know the target, it gives the majority alliance members less of a reason to flip. They know that, regardless of their actions, they will not be the one eliminated at the end of the night. Rick made a similar move but played it flawlessly. He knew that if he instilled fear within the majority alliance, they would be more likely to flip. Then, Rick read the room correctly and elected not to play his idol for Julie. His gamble paid off, and he managed to hold onto an ally and an idol. Since Rick has gone out of his way to save Julie, he now has an ally that will be loyal to him. Even though it’s against Julie’s best interests to work with Rick, as she’s said, she doesn’t have many options left to her.

Because of the editing this episode, we’re aware that Rick was not the true author of Aurora’s elimination. Lauren came to the conclusion that Aurora would be the best target and convinced her alliance to follow her lead. However, his showmanship throughout gave him credit for this move, just as it did for Ron’s vote out. Even when Rick isn’t in on the plan, he looks good in front of the jury because he’s able to play to the crowd and stand out. As I have said before (stolen from Fishbach), in Survivor, perception is reality.

GUS – HOT – RICK DEVENS

Rick

Credit where credit is due, Rick pulled off a hell of a stunt last episode. Between winning a clutch immunity and finding an immunity idol, he’s setting himself up well for a run to the finish. At this point, all he has to do is win one immunity or find another idol, win the fire-making challenge, and then he’s in the final three, where he will likely win the game due in no small part to everybody else left in the game constantly inflating him with hype. I’m really not sure why they are doing this.

Another point in Rick’s favor is that he voted correctly this week for the third time since the merge. And though he almost definitely wasn’t the impetus for nor contribute din any meaningful way to Aurora’s vote-out (evidence since the airing of the episode heavily suggests that Lauren, Victoria and Gavin were intent on voting Aurora out from the get-go), he sure seems to have convinced 1) Aurora and 2) the jury that he was the brains of the operation.

How the EoE returnee chooses to work with or against Rick will have a big effect on his finale performance. If they decide to ally with him, 1) they’re doing the wrong thing and 2) it will give him even numbers in terms of getting to the end. If they choose to work against him, he’ll need to Mike/Ben his way through another three tribal councils. He’s still not playing the finest game of anyone in the season – I think his successes are by and large accidental or handed to him by his allies – but he’s in a strong spot simply because of how he is perceived amongst the other players.
I think I pretty much explained the rest of my thoughts about Devens’ season-long gameplay in the novel that I put together on him last week, so if you’re interested in further analysis on his playstyle from me, I invite you to check that out.

ALI – HOT – LAUREN O’CONNELL

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Lauren looked out for Lauren this week, and it paid off. I was a little concerned that during the conversation between Victoria and Gavin that they might decide to come together to eliminate Lauren. But this didn’t pan out the way that I feared, and I think it’s because Lauren has been able to build such a strong alliance with Victoria & Gavin in a relatively short period. I have praised Lauren’s ability to remain flexible in this game, and have stated that this will be the reason why she will win. This episode, Lauren wasn’t flexible, but her lack of flexibility was at the opportune moment. It was a waste to get rid of the obvious vote, Julie. Julie and Lauren are working together, and to burn that bridge would be unnecessary and potentially detrimental to Lauren in the long term.

On the other hand, Aurora has always been more with Victoria and Gavin than Lauren. Aurora’s challenge ability alone makes her a far bigger threat than Julie. Also, Lauren’s targeting of Aurora allowed her to dodge potential elimination at Rick’s theatrical idol play. Rick could have easily played the idol for Julie and sent Lauren packing as a result. Lauren’s move put the decision back in her hands. When someone comes back from The Edge, I have a hard time believing that they will choose to work with Rick and Julie over the other three. Rick is a threat no matter what way you look at it. So unless the returnee has a bigger threat level than Rick at this point, they have zero reasons to seek an alliance with Rick (unless I suppose you’re Aurora or Ron). Regardless, this is a good gamble to make.

There are more aspects in Lauren’s favor than the remaining players in the game. For one, as a member of Lesu, she’s been able to play with almost everyone on the jury at some point. Her former allies, Kelley, Wardog, and David, will most likely be inclined to vote for her should Rick be eliminated because they identify with her. They’ve been able to see her cards far more than with the former Kama members, and will likely be campaigning for her on The Edge. Second, Lauren’s idol gives her an extra level of security going forward. And if Lauren manages to make it to the end without playing her idol, despite being on the minority alliance at the beginning of the merge, that’s a story that is likely to impress the jury.

Lauren was willing to faint in a challenge rather than quit, so the jury members know that she’s in the game to play hard. Out of everyone who isn’t Rick, Lauren has the best story. She started from the bottom, and now she’s here. She truly beat the odds, and unlike Rick, she didn’t need a twist to get back in the game. Instead, she fought her way through the game, built great inroads with other players, and found places to make her mark on the game. If Rick weren’t such a clear threat to win, I would even think that Lauren had an argument to beat Rick.

GUS– LUKEWARM – VICTORIA BAAMONDE

S38 Victoria

I was waffling on all three of my top spots for this write-up because I think both Lauren and Victoria have played fantastic games and I think Rick is being sold as the most likely to win. Victoria has the benefit of still being in the majority starting tribe (something that I am likely giving too much weight, but which I feel can still matter even this far into the game), she’s got a couple of moves to point to, and she’s been targeted all of never. But if Lauren’s game has been a quiet one, Victoria’s has been a susurrus. Apart from the Aubry vote – truly impressive in and of itself – Victoria’s game has consisted mostly of making sure she’s on the right side, being a major contributing factor to a number of big moves, and managing her sub-alliances. While this is good gameplay – really good and admirable gameplay – it’s not flashy, and the way the game has evolved (and specifically how this season has played out) all but demands flashy gameplay.

Victoria feels like a Sophie Clarke to me, and that’s a big part of why I was considering both her and Lauren for the top spot (Rick was always going to be no. 2). I think she’s got a real chance to win, but it’ll be a hard sell for her in the endgame.

ALI – LUKEWARM – VICTORIA BAAMONDE

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Victoria has been playing a smart, strategic game, but it’s been a quiet game. Other players have been able to make flashier moves, and it may be hard to convince the jury to vote for her if she’s sitting next to more obvious players. In a podcast, Elizabeth Olson once stated that it isn’t enough to try and convince the jury of one’s gameplay at the final tribal. Jurors are reluctant to change their opinions at the final tribal. They have to see evidence of one’s gameplay throughout the game. This has been used as an argument for why Devon might not have won HvHvH after all. No one saw his game. I fear that the same may be said for Victoria. I think that her style of under the radar gameplay is horrifically underrated by the Survivor community. There’s a chance it will be underrated yet again this season. I also fear that there are many on The Edge who have reason to be bitter toward Victoria (especially Aubry, Ron, Julia, Eric, and Aurora). Victoria often spoke about her ability to stab people in the back throughout the game, but that may come back to bite her when the jury finally has their say.

Overall, I think Victoria has a good shot to win against anyone in the game except for Rick, but in a season of a lot of flash, will Victoria get lost in the shadows?

GUS – NOT – GAVIN WHITSON

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I was wrong about Gavin last week, and I want to be upfront about that. I was too hard on him, and I’m not sure why. As I’ve reflected further on Gavin’s overall gameplay, I’ve realized that he’s actually been doing the right thing most of the time – between getting rid of Aubry, eliminating Joe, getting rid of Eric/Ron… Gavin has been in a terrific spot throughout the whole of the game. With his and Vic’s and Lauren’s move to eliminate Aurora, he’s proven to me that not only is he a really good player, but that he’s a consistent player – something that is not to be underestimated, especially in this season.

I hate to give Gavin a Not this episode, because I honestly do think he deserves more (if only to make up for what I’ve put him through in all of our previous write-ups), but I can’t see him winning at this point, and that’s where his game falls apart for me. I think Gavin’s ideal Final 3 is Lauren, Victoria and himself, and I don’t think he would get the win in that situation. His other best bet would be to take Julie and whoever returns, assuming it’s a player who is unassuming and inoffensive, but even then it’s a big risk. I don’t see Gavin being able to rally enough votes, and that’s why I have to give him a Not.

ALI – NOT – GAVIN WHITSON

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Similarly to Victoria, Gavin has played a pretty quiet game. There have been moments where his strategic ability has emerged, but there have also been glaringly obvious strategic errors on his part (such as the conversation with Wardog and the Eric blindside). One advantage Gavin may have over Victoria is that he has been able to win multiple challenges. On the other hand, I see Victoria receiving far more credit for the moves that she makes than Gavin. Victoria has also cultivated more clear relationships with fellow players than Gavin (besides Eric, but Gavin stabbed him in the back pretty early on). Of the two, I think Victoria will be viewed as the greater strategic player, and on a returnee season, I feel that will carry more weight than challenge ability.

Another consideration is that Gavin may have a better story than Victoria when it comes time to face the jury. Gavin cares so much about this game that he moved up his wedding in order to come and play. He’s a young newlywed, which may be compelling to some of the older players on the jury (of which there are many). Gavin’s story makes him more relatable than the other players with less life experience. But Gavin shared this story during the family visit episode, and I think that this may come back to haunt him. The other players are astute enough to realize the inherent threat of Gavin’s story. There’s a world in which, should Rick be immune, the other players might come together to eliminate Gavin.

GUS – NOTTER – JULIE ROSENBERG

Julie

My last remaining draft pick. Julie, I’m glad to have had you on my roster through this season, even if I was fairly sure from shortly after the merge that you weren’t going to win.

Julie has been a great presence this season, from her pre-merge conversations about having to pee and her joy at being in a position of power to her combustion at the Julia boot to her current status of “AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH HELP ME”… but I can’t see her winning. She hasn’t accomplished much of anything since the Joe boot and has just been surviving by merit of not actually posing any sort of threat. Despite her being an obvious boot this past week, she didn’t get any votes besides that of Aurora, which doesn’t really count. In fact, Aurora’s vote is the only vote that Julie has ever gotten. And unlike Lauren’s string of not receiving any votes for a long time, I can’t help but feel that Julie’s dearth of votes is due less to her working her way through a scrappy game and more because of her perceived status as a nice goat to take to the end. Even Devens has begun treating her as such, something she’s transparently OK with. I wonder whether Vic, Gavin and Lauren made some attempt to sway Julie to their side in the Aurora blindside, and I doubt they did – that’s how irrelevant it seems that Julie has become to the overall progression of the game. None of this is to say that she’s been anything but a delight on the show, by the way.

ALI – NOTTER – JULIE ROSENBERG

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Julie herself admitted that she has no choice but to work with Rick. Being forced to work with a man that you cannot beat in the end is a tough spot. Luckily for Julie, her alliance with Lauren paid off in that she was not eliminated when she was an easy target. Unfortunately for Julie, everyone views her as an emotional player. Julie’s only path to the end at the moment is with Rick and Lauren, two players with more jury clout. She’s been subject to a few embarrassing blindsides in front of the jury, which is a terrible look. Couple that with the fact that Julie has had a complete meltdown in front of the jury, and I’m just not sure how she can pull out a win.

Extinguished

For the finale, Ali & Gus ranked the Extinguished players from 1-11 in terms of most likely to least likely to return.

GUS – DAVID WRIGHT – 1

I think David does have a chance at getting back (I was dumb last week and said he didn’t) and I feel like were he to get back in he’d have a good shot at getting the win. He gets a kindled.

ALI – KELLEY WENTWORTH – 1

Wentworth has received enough focus both in and out of the game, that I think her return would be warranted. If she gets back in the game, I think she’ll probably immediately be sent packing. However, her challenge prowess alone makes me feel pretty confident that she could be our returnee.

GUS – AUBRY BRACCO – 2

Aubry has a realistic shot at making it back to the game. Nobody else has practiced at this challenge. She’s also wily and charismatic enough that I could see her getting some votes come FTC.

ALI – AURORA MCCREARY – 2

Aurora hasn’t had to endure much of the hardships of The Edge, so she’ll be in a pretty good position to make her way back into the game. Like Kelley, Aurora is no slouch in challenges, and that prowess has been emphasized throughout the game.

GUS – KELLEY WENTWORTH – 3

Ditto what I said about David.

ALI – AUBRY BRACCO – 3

She has an advantage in the challenge, which puts her above most others, in my opinion. However, Aubry isn’t exactly a challenge beast, so I have a hard time imagining her beating out some of these more physically gifted players. Though, if anyone could do it, it would be Aubry.

GUS – AURORA MCCREARY – 4

Aurora is scrappy and tough. She could get back in, and a turnaround as brief as that would both serve as a truly impressive negation of her vote out and provide her with good fuel for an FTC.

ALI – JOE ANGLIM – 4

Typically, I would think Joe is a shoo-in for getting back from The Edge. The joke this entire season has been that the Edge of Extinction was made so that Joe would win this season. However, I’m concerned about the lack of focus on Joe recently. The narrative isn’t indicating to me that Joe will be long for this game. However, to place Joe any lower would be just irresponsible.

GUS – CHRIS UNDERWOOD – 5

As I’ve said all along (mostly), Chris has a shot of beating the rest of the crew in getting back in. I don’t think he’s got a prayer in terms of winning the season (for Monica or otherwise), but I can see him getting back in.

ALI – CHRIS UNDERWOOD – 5

I found it a little ridiculous that the players were asked to “read letters from themselves,” especially considering that they were clearly expecting something having to do with them getting back in the game. Had it been me, I wouldn’t have been able to contain my eye rolls. However, I couldn’t help but notice that Chris had a lot to say during this portion of the episode. That exposure, coupled with the fact that Chris is a physical threat made me think that perhaps he manages to pull out a win. However, considering Chris’s narrative thus far has been “I need to be less focused on perfection,” I think we could also be setting him up for ultimate failure. Only time will tell.

GUS – JOE ANGLIM – 6

Survivor: Joe of Joestinction has been incredibly short of actual Joe content, with Joe having had one more confessional throughout the entire season than Rick got in the most recent episode by itself (that’s not a joke), but he’s still Mr. Amazing and he could get back into the game and make it to the end. I don’t think he could win, but still.

ALI – DAVID WRIGHT – 6

David had a lot of focus during the show itself, and certainly got a lot of content during the hilarious “read letters from yourself moment.” I had been wondering if David died so that Rick may live, but there’s certainly a chance that David manages to make his way back into the game. I can’t help but remember David saying to Rick that Rick “can cut me at final four.” At the time, I thought that this moment might be an augur of things to come.

GUS – ERIC HAFEMANN – 7

Copypaste what I wrote about Chris but with less TV personality (not his fault) and a more humiliating blindside. I wish we’d gotten more from Eric this season, as it seems like he’s a pretty cool person – but with four buff dudes in this season (five if you count Rick), Eric appears to have faded into the meaty background. Could he get back? In theory. Do I think he will? No. Would he win if he did? No.

ALI – JULIA CARTER – 7

Julia was pretty invisible during the game (until her epic implosion at her last tribal). She also hasn’t exactly been a standout challenge beast. However, something about her edit this episode made me think that there’s some hope for our invisible med student. There was a lot of focus on her in an episode where the editors should be reminding us about players we should invest in going into the finale. Julia shot up in the rankings on this past episode alone.

GUS – DAN “WARDOG” DASILVA – 8

I’m really sorry about this, Wardog. Even though Wardog was my favorite post-merge player outside of Lauren, I cannot see him making it back in.

ALI – RON CLARK – 8

Ron was invisible last episode, even though they spent a ton of time on The Edge this week. I feel like in the week before people return to the game, the producers would want to remind us who the player is who makes their way back in the game. Based on what we saw of Ron this week, I don’t think he’s coming back. Even if he did, the chances are that he would go right back out.

GUS – RON CLARK – 9

I don’t see Ron getting back in, and I don’t see Ron winning if he were to get back in.

ALI – ERIC HAFEMAN – 9

Physically, Eric has a great shot of making it back into the game. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen enough of him for me to feel that he has a shot of making it back.

GUS – REEM DALY – 10

It has been such a pleasure having Reem as a part of this season, and if she were to win her way back into the game and make it to the end, I’d want her to win the million. I just really don’t think that’s going to happen.

ALI – DAN “WARDOG” DASILVA – 10

Based on what we’ve seen of his challenge ability, The Wardog isn’t making his way back into the game.

GUS – JULIA CARTER – 11

Julia went from doing nothing for the pre-merge to doing one thing in the merge to getting a really humiliating vote out. She won’t be getting back in the game, and she isn’t going to win in the event that she does.

ALI – REEM DALY – 11

I have nothing but respect for Reem’s ability to last on The Edge. Certainly, no one would have blamed her for giving up, but she’s lasted there longer than anyone. What an amazing break out player. That being said, I don’t think she’s going to beat these physically dominant people to win her spot back in the game. But god, I look forward to hearing her jury questions.

TrashTalkZOne

ALI: Woo! Season finale!

GUS: This season has seemed to go by so quickly and take so long at the same time. We’ve had so much to think about and so much to juggle. I mean, there are still 16 people left in the game. Sixteen people! How crazy is that?

ALI: This season more than any before has been difficult to predict. All two seasons that we’ve had to predict.

GUS: It’s been more difficult to predict who’s going home, yeah. I think edit-wise it’s been tremendously predictable to pick a winner. But we’re not here to discuss the edit; we’re here to discuss the gameplay.

ALI: Okay, but, in all likelihood, Rick is winning.

GUS: Yeah, I think he’s got the best chance, but I don’t think he’s playing the best game by most metrics. I know the jury can pick whomever they want, and the jury is always right, but I’m looking at this from a season-long perspective of what we’ve been shown, and I think there are players remaining who have played better games and are in less danger than Rick – at least by most standards.

ALI: I would agree with you. I heard an interesting thing on a podcast the other day, and I sadly can’t remember which one. I think it was RHAP. But there was a theory floated that the reason the editing has been so strange this season is because the winner came from The Edge and so they have no way to show their gameplay because they haven’t played the game.

GUS: So our second returnee could win? I would enjoy that, just from a “what the hell is happening” perspective. And, depending on who it is, I think there are legitimate arguments for their deserving it. Or do you mean Devens?

ALI: I mean the second returnee.

GUS: Well, do you want to start there? Discussing our divergent placements in our EoE rankings? Or should we begin with Devens and Lauren?

Photo: CBS

ALI: I just can’t believe you have David so high. He’s no challenge beast.

GUS: He’s way better than he was in MvGX, and I think of all the players on the Edge, he has the best chance of actually winning the season if he makes it in. That’s why I ranked him so high. He’s not a challenge beast, but I think if you look at it as an aggregate score of his challenge ability and his potential to win, I feel like it balances out. I mean, yeah, I honestly should have made one or two people higher than him, but I don’t regret that decision.

ALI: Oh, that is certainly true. Though I think enough people, other than Reem, probably like Kelley that I think she has a shot also.

GUS: Sure. That’s fair, and that’s why I put Kelley in the no. 3 spot. Honestly, the top 3 are more or less interchangeable as far as my rankings go.

ALI: That’s fair. Alright. Rick. Let’s discuss. If he gets to the end, he’s winning. Lauren could theoretically lose to Victoria. In my view, Gavin is going out in the #6 spot.

GUS: Yeah, Rick wins if he gets to the end, probably, but I still really don’t know why apart from that “he is a threat.” Kind of tautological, honestly, which I think is my issue with his gameplay thus far. I know, you’re right, perception is reality… Nonetheless: Gavin goes out in 6th? I think either the Edge returnee or Rick goes out 6th. From there, things get interesting.

ALI: I think if Rick is safe, that Gavin becomes a target. I think he’s more of a threat than we’ve seen and he has a lot of challenge wins. The fact is that if the returnee is a veteran player, then they’re a big threat, but if the returnee is a newbie who has been a non-entity? They may be a goat. What argument would Eric have at the end, for example?

GUS: True. I suppose it depends on the returnee. If they’re a pre-merge player, they’ve got familiarity with the jury (a la Rick); if they’re a post-merge boot they’ve got all of their gameplay (e.g. Wardog); I think the only people that have almost no legs to stand on are Julia, Eric… maybe Chris?

ALI: And I think, just physically, there’s a decent chance that the returnee could be one of those people.

GUS: Not Julia. Maybe Eric, maybe Chris. But I think there are more people it could be who have a better shot. Like Joe, who is Joe, or Aubry, who got to practice, or even Kelley or possibly even Ron. Or Aurora! I think a solid half of the people remaining at EoE could win over those guys.

ALI: That could be. And there’s no telling how physically they’re exhausted because of Extinction.

S38Ep14

GUS: Anyway. You say Gavin is out in 6th place. I say someone else has a higher likelihood. But I can buy Gavin going 5th, if not Vic or Lauren. I worry that they’re going to turn on one or the other of them. Again, though, the most part of our forecasting depends heavily on who the returnee is, and what they opt to do in terms of alliances. If they decide getting buddy-buddy with Rick is their best chance, then Rick basically walks to the end with Julie + the returnee. If it’s somebody who’s not into Rick, then I feel like things might get shaken up some more.

ALI: It’s so hard to say! But I think that you’re right. In all likelihood, the returnee goes right back out. I think Gavin follows closely behind. Then Rick crushes the other two in the final tribal. I think Lauren has a small chance, and that’s only if Rick gets voted out. Rick’s path to the end is an immunity win, an idol play, and a fire making challenge. I think that he could very well do it.

GUS: Wait, you’re missing one. The returnee goes out, Gavin goes out, then we’re at 4; who loses the fire-making? I don’t think it’ll be Lauren, even though the show has been all but drowning us.

ALI: See, I think that Lauren wins against Victoria.

GUS: Ooh, that would be good. So Rick takes Julie (I’m assuming he wins the immunity in this scenario, as Julie would have to be incredibly foolish to bring him to the end) then Lauren and Vic have to duke it out?

ALI: I think either Rick wins immunity and takes Julie (why wouldn’t he?), and considering that there isn’t really a rival challenge threat, I think it’s likely that he wins the immunity. OR, Julie wins immunity and takes Victoria because she thinks she can beat her, leaving Lauren and Rick to fight it out in fire-making and Lauren goes then. What’s your theory?

GUS: I think Rick wins immunity and brings Julie, honestly. If anybody chooses to bring Rick to the end, I’ll be severely disappointed. If Lauren or Vic win immunity, they should take Julie. If Julie wins immunity, I think she brings Lauren, because Vic betrayed her and Lauren ostensibly hasn’t as much.

ALI: No one would willingly bring Rick to the end. That would be the dumbest player of all time. Woo would be shaken.

GUS: I hope not. Though I could see the person from the Edge going “WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER” if they’re a fool. Which, hey, we’ll find out.

ALI: Alright! Good luck to everyone involved in the finale! It’s going to be a heck of a race to the finish.

GUS: Tune in next week for our season retrospective!


Alexandra "Ali" Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and cracked.com. Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018. Gus Schlanbusch is a Chicago-based playwright, theatre director and Survivor fan. His plays have been produced in Chicago, Detroit and Boston. He is a relatively new survivor superfan, his first live season having been Season 33, but Ali has caught him up pretty thoroughly on what he missed before then.