Next Time is back! This is a blog all about decoding previews, commercials, and previous episodes in order to predict what’s coming next on Survivor.
Part One: Previously On… Survivor
Not bad, Jacob. Not bad.
No clue what the immunity challenge will be but Andrea is kicking butt, so let’s say she wins it.
Grade: F, but I’m not mad about it.
Brad wins the loved ones challenge and gets some sweet advice from his neat wife, Monica.
Grade: Lots of victories for Brad this episode. Of course, I was unaware that this reward challenge would be a team challenge, so I didn’t predict the full group. That said, I’m gonna give myself almost-full credit anyways. A-! And I was happy to see Monica again!
That semi-complicated scenario I laid out in part two comes true, and Sierra is voted out.
Grade: My crazy scenario didn’t come completely true, but elements of it did. Sarah’s knowledge of the Legacy Advantage helped lead to Sierra’s downfall. I just didn’t expect Michaela and Tai to be as vital to the vote. For getting the eliminated player right, as well as some of the reasons the vote went down like it did, I’ll give myself an A-. Generous? Maybe. But it’s my blog sooooo….
Even if Sierra isn’t voted out, this vote stealer advantage has gotten some hype from Sarah recently, so I’m expecting it to get played this week.
Grade: This, on the other hand, did not go as well. F.
Part Two: Looking forward to Advantagegeddon
Seven days, eight players, three idols, a vote stealer, the legacy advantage and a partridge in a pear tree are left in the game. I’m sure a lot of us are sitting around wondering when this stuff is going to get played. Will idols be spaced out through the next three tribal councils they’re eligible to be played at? Should we expect a “no votes” crisis situation at the final six like we saw in Cambodia?
Here’s what I’m thinking: I believe one idol will be played Wednesday night, and that’s all. I think the rest is being saved for “Advantagegeddon” at the final six tribal council. After this week’s double-boot, hopefully, we’ll have a clearer idea of how this advantage-filled nightmare is going to go down.
Part Three: That one idol
This week’s predictions were, admittedly, almost entirely based on edits and relevance to the season’s narrative. In fact, I’m sure there are plenty of you reading now who have already had the exact same thoughts for the exact same reasons. See, this week’s episode is to feature two tribal councils. Last season, Millennials vs. Gen X, also featured a double-boot episode right before the finale. In that episode, Sunday and Will were voted out back-to-back after a relatively minimal edit during the rest of the season. Until I started writing this week’s blog, I believed a similar scenario would come to fruition but with Aubry and Troyzan. This prediction changed a little bit though. We’ll get to that in a minute.
At the last vote, Brad and Troyzan got the short end of the stick, losing their ally Sierra. This post-merge has been pretty hot-and-cold with the concept of alliances, but as the numbers dwindle and the final tribal council nears, everyone will be scrambling for security. That’s why I’m fairly certain the six who voted for Sierra last week, Sarah, Aubry, Tai, Cirie, Michaela and Andrea, are going to vote together for the next two votes. They certainly all have plans within that six for how to survive to three when that time comes, but for now, they just want to make it to that finale.
Of course, I did just say I expect Aubry to be the first eliminated this week, so I expect things to go awry, but not that awry. Basically, the majority six probably wants to take Brad out because of the physical and social skills he’s put on display all season. Brad isn’t going to lay down and die though. The man has proven himself a challenge beast, so my bet is on him securing immunity during the first immunity challenge, if not both in the episode. With Brad immune, the tribe majority will probably decide to target Troyzan.
I don’t think it’s going to be a simple idol-out for Aubry though. I think we’re finally going to get some resolution from that random interaction we saw between Troyzan and Sarah back on Tavua so many weeks ago. I believe Troyzan will know he’s in trouble, tell Sarah about his idol, and she’ll direct him to use it and vote for Aubry, as she’s a somewhat expendable member of her alliance. Troyzan will see this as a possible way into the final six; taking Aubry’s spot, in a way.
After Aubry’s elimination, I expect the majority to go after Brad again. I think it’s a definite possibility for Brad to win both immunity challenges in the episode, as he’s a definitely challenge threat, but I don’t think it will matter much whether he wins or loses the second one. That’s because I expect that one idol to make a reappearance in the second half of the episode, and it’s going to stir things up.
Part Four: Blackmail and other means of power
In last week’s “next time” teaser, we get a clip of Brad asking Michaela, “you’re blackmailing me?” This follows a clip of a Michaela confessional where she tells us that she’s just trying to make sure Brad isn’t looking for an idol.
I don’t completely understand what Michaela is doing here, and how it might help her game. But we’re not looking at that aspect. We’re looking at what this says about what Brad is up to. I’m betting this scene takes place after the first tribal of the episode, after Troyzan has already played his idol and sent Aubry packing. Brad clearly knows he’s in trouble, so why wouldn’t he go out and look for the new idol? And you know what? I think he’ll find it.
When I realized there was a possibility for Brad to find the newly planted idol, my predictions changed massively.
Let’s say everyone is afraid of a new idol. Everyone’s first instinct would be to split the vote between Brad and Troyzan, right? Well, if the majority five split the vote between Brad and Troyzan, three votes on one of them and two votes on the other, all Brad and Troy would have to do is get a little bit lucky. If they vote together for any other player and then play the idol on whichever of them received one more vote than the other, they could force a rock draw where both of them would be safe. In another season, the tribe could simply re-vote and stack the votes that went to Brad on Troyzan or vice versa, but not this season. This season, you need a unanimous decision from all eligible voters, and that wouldn’t happen.
Remember that scene from the teaser of Cirie and Tai chatting on the beach? The first thing we hear her say is, “I’m never gonna be able to live with myself.” I believe this fear is coming from Cirie’s understanding of the possibility of the above scenario. Cirie, like everyone left in the game, would be devastated if she was taken out because of a rock draw. Afterward, we see her in a confessional, considering whether she can make a particular move.
This is why I believe Cirie, Tai, Andrea and Sarah are actually going to turn on Michaela and vote her out instead of putting any votes on Troyzan or Brad during the second tribal council. The move is to lure Brad into playing his idol and then take out a player who has caused concern over where her loyalties lie. This way, the numbers majority takes any potential power away from the numbers minority, not allowing Brad and Troyzan to force a rock draw, or any other shenanigans with an idol. And going into the final six, Cirie, Andrea, Sarah and Tai will still be in control. Who knows if they will, but they could simply take out Brad and Troyzan back-to-back leading up to the final four.
Of course, voting out Michaela will be tough for Cirie, who we’ve seen make a genuine connection with her. But it may be a sacrifice she has to make to guarantee her safety.
Part Five: Who’s gonna win?
Sigh. I’m still rooting Brad on (I don’t abandon my winner picks until their torches are snuffed!) but at this point, I’m not seeing a lot of paths to the end for him.
Even if all this craziness I’ve predicted for this week actually happens and Brad and Troyzan make it to the final six, I’d be shocked if they weren’t immediately targeted in the first two tribals of the finale. Brad certainly has a better shot than Troyzan, but he’s not in a great position by any means.
Next week I’ll lay out my finale predictions in full. But for now, I’ll say that I’m happy for Brad for having done so well this season. Even if he can’t take the million home, I think his Survivor legacy has been positively augmented. And if he doesn’t make it to the final tribal, I’m going to jump on the Survivor: Fargo bandwagon and back Sarah.
*Deep breath* We get all that? Good. Okay, let’s break it down.
Brad will win the first immunity challenge and… let’s say Andrea wins the second.
Troyzan will play his idol at the first tribal council and Aubry will be voted out because of it.
Brad will manage to find the newly planted idol after Troyzan plays his.
For fear of Brad and Troyzan controlling the vote (or causing a rock draw), Michaela will be voted out by Cirie, Sarah, Andrea, and Tai.
Brad will win Survivor: Game Changers