It’s a new season, and I’m back with the Next Time On Survivor column where I attempt to make predictions and decode the previews for the next episode of Survivor.
The most prominent thread that runs through this week’s trailer and sneak previews is definitely the target on the returning players. Of course, in any part-newbie/part-returnee season, the returnees are going to be a constant threat. And especially so for a “captains” seasons in this era of Survivor, where a small number of them are surrounded by first-timers who are more often than not huge fans of the show.
Starting with the Kama tribe: We didn’t get as much about their tribe dynamics from the last episode as they didn’t go to Tribal Council. From what we have, it seems as if the two returning players, Joe and Aubry, are working together. We saw them have a small conversation about their position on Kama before the challenge, which they both felt good about, and a brief shot of them together in the preview trailer.
However, Aubry and Joe are far from being in a comfortable position on the tribe, despite their feelings to the contrary. During the premiere, we already saw Eric and Gavin as a pair, wanting to get one of the returnees out. In the preview of episode 2, we then have Ron, Julia and Victoria echoing the same sentiment, with Ron stating that “they’ve had their moment to shine. It’s our chance”. While we don’t exactly know if Julia and Victoria are on board with this, these five players together already make up a majority of the tribe. It wouldn’t be that difficult for them to eliminate one of the returnees if they so wish.
If Kama do end up heading to Tribal Council this week, I feel like Ron will try to make a move with his Advantage Menu, since it’s only valid for the first three tribal councils. From the pre-game interviews, Ron seems like someone who will play the game hard; I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts campaigning to get a returnee out on the next episode. If this is the case, I feel like Aubry would be targeted first, as they would want to keep Joe around to win challenges. Poor Aubry though, this might be a repeat of what happened on Game Changers, when she was singled out from the start because of her formidable reputation from Kaoh Rong.
As for the Manu tribe, David and Wentworth don’t seem to be working closely with one another. Although they voted together in the first Tribal split-vote plan against Reem and Wendy, it was essentially a big majority against two outlying players. Moving forward, I feel like the tribe is going to end up split with Wentworth and David on either side and perhaps this may be the story behind the next episode’s title: “One of Us Is Going to Win the War.”
After the last Tribal, it would seem that Wendy would be the logical next choice to go. She was the only one to vote alongside Reem, even after Wardog and David informed her of the sinking ship. If things continue at the status quo, Wendy would still be on the outs. But the dynamics of Survivor are far from stagnant. I don’t think Wendy will be targeted next – I can also see her being kept as an easy vote for later. In one of the previews, we see Wendy talking to Rick and David, imploring them to vote out Wentworth. And in a confessional, David reveals that he’s “all about blindsiding Wentworth.” I feel like there’ll be enough suspicion and nervous energy surrounding the former two-time Survivor as one of the more prolific players in recent times to warrant a move against her instead of an easy vote against Wendy.
From the premiere episode, it’s pretty clear – to us and the rest of the tribe – that Wentworth and Lauren are a solid pair. My speculation is that this is going to cost Lauren sooner or later. She came across to me as quite a starstruck player, which isn’t a good thing if she isn’t able to reign it in. If the rest of Manu does decide to blindside Wentworth, Lauren may even be targeted as collateral damage again in a vote split.
Usually, previewing the first few minutes of a challenge does little for me. However, this time we got some insight into Keith. The youngest player this season is seen struggling to swim, pulling back his team in the water challenge and getting called out by Probst for it. At this point, I’m sure everyone knows Keith isn’t the strongest of swimmers, so I think there’s definitely going to be some talk about voting Keith out for being a challenge liability. But on the flipside, I also wonder if this notable emphasis on his swimming abilities is setting Keith up for growth narrative over the course of the season.
I don’t have much to say about Extinction Island yet since we haven’t seen much of it. I predict that Reem will be sticking it out for a while, because she sounds like she really wants to take revenge on her tribe for voting her out, and I’m sure she was prepared to play Survivor for a much longer time. Overall, I think Kama will win immunity again, sending Manu to tribal council. I predict that Keith, Wentworth, Lauren, and Wendy’s names will be thrown around, but Keith will ultimately be eliminated.
Leave a comment with your predictions for episode 2!