This is a blog all about decoding previews, commercials, and previous episodes in order to predict what’s coming next on Survivor.
As always, this blog is 100% spoiler free speculation, and I look forward to reading your predictions as well. Comment below or tweet at me @JacobDerwin!
Part One: Previously On… Survivor
Let’s see how I did last week.
1. A three-tribe switch-up is incoming, and the new Nuku has the coolest group of people ever.
Grade: Nothing surprising here. A.
2. The new Nuku tribe will catch, but not kill a goat. This, in tangent with JT’s “abandon ship” plan to find an idol, will put him in hot water with the tribe.
Grade: Yeah, I don’t think anyone really expected them to slaughter a goat. Though, when someone on that tribe is voted out, I look forward to the interview where they tell us the details of what went down. And JT is absolutely in trouble. A.
3. Whoever finds the clue to the immunity challenge hidden idol will absolutely go and grab it during the challenge.
Grade: Congrats to Troyzan! For a second there, I thought he was gonna miss it. But because this is the Internet, I’m gonna go ahead and give me a B+ instead of an A. Technically, Troyzan nabbed the idol after the challenge was over, not during it. You can stop typing that comment now.
4. It’s hard to predict who will be going home as we don’t know the new alignments for two tribes, nor did we see what anyone outside of Nuku was doing. Based solely on the previews, I would guess that JT will be voted out, but that feels like too obvious a pick.
Grade: I didn’t expect to get this one right, honestly. JT was an easy prediction to make with all the focus put on him in the previews. That said, I wouldn’t have guessed Caleb in my first ten tries. Even if you had shown me the roster for the new Mana tribe and told me they were going to lose the challenge, I would have put my money on Tai to go home. I’ll give myself an F, but in my heart, I know I don’t deserve it.
Part Two: JT’s uprising
Two things are established about this week’s episode in the previews: a double tribal council is coming, and JT is trying to take out the Queen.
Well I mean, he might be? Literally, all we get is a shot of JT walking and talking with Malcolm, where JT says, “Sandra’s dangerous,” with a cut to a shot of Sandra in the hammock. JT then tells the camera, “I can definitely change the course of this game.”
A quick edit like this could imply that he’s just going through options that aren’t him with Malcolm. For all I know, the rest of the scene goes like this, for example: “Sandra’s dangerous. But Varner is useless in challenges. And I don’t trust Michaela at all.”
The point is, JT looks like he’s doing the exact thing he should be. He needs to keep his options open and make it clear to the rest of the tribe that he’s willing to take out anyone perceived as threatening or untrustworthy. On top of that, I feel like players getting airtime using phrases like “change the course of this game” are being set up for success in a season called Game Changers. It would be a tad ironic for JT to get a confessional literally about changing the game before getting voted out of this season, of all seasons.
I’m gonna go ahead and declare my expectation of JT’s safety next week. In fact, I’m betting that Nuku is the one tribe left out of next week’s twist.
Part Three: A twist! A twist!
With the small exception of JT’s five seconds in the “next time” teaser, pretty much the entirety of the preview materials for this week’s episode revolve around the upcoming double tribal council. Or in Probst’s words, how “both losers” of the next immunity challenge are to “go to tribal council.”
In both the teaser and commercial, we get a shot of a Tai confessional where he says “there’s gonna be fireworks tonight.” We also get a slo-mo shot of Tai running in the woods all by his lonesome, probably searching for an idol to protect him during this crazy twisty tribal. And in the commercial spot, if you pause the video around the 22-second mark, there’s a shot of a seemingly exhausted, or maybe frustrated Ozzy balled up on the Tavua mat. It’s these two bits of the previews that make me think it’s Mana and Tavua going to tribal council this week. Of course, I’m assuming that this shot of Ozzy is from the immunity challenge, but after a few minutes of analyzing the commercial, I’m willing to make that assumption.
But, like, hold on a second. I mean, both losing tribes going to tribal council is technically a twist, as it is a difference in the format of the game presented so far. But is it enough to make Aubry exclaim “this twist is insane” in a confessional as we see in the commercial? Is it sufficient to warrant an entire 30-second commercial spot? And to make Probst do this?
I’ve made this prediction before, but this seems like the time to try it again: both tribes will attend the double tribal council, vote someone out, and then the two players voted out will actually switch tribes instead of going home. And yes, this twist has happened before, but it was in the first season of the new Australian Survivor. As for which players I expect to get switched around? This feels like an opportunity for each tribe to unload a physical liability. For Mana, I could see them getting rid of Hali, and for Tavua, I could see them getting rid of Cirie.
On a personal note, this season is starting to feel like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Between the secret advantage, hidden idol, tribe swap and now this, it’s almost like the producers came up with an advantage or twist for every episode. My hope is that after this week, we get at least a week or two of consistency so we can see the current tribal arrangements play out without getting moved around. Of course, this is me assuming that my prediction is correct and that more players are getting rearranged.
If this is not the twist being added on top of the double tribal council, or if I simply misread the previews and the double tribal council is the only twist, I’ll still be very interested to see how it plays out. That said, the other twists I could see happening involve each tribe voting for a player on the other tribe. For example, both tribes vote for a player on the other tribe to steal, or both tribes vote for a player on the other tribe to eliminate.
UPDATE: Since CBS decided to go ahead and tell everyone what the twist is a day in advance, I’m gonna try and predict who’s getting voted out. For those unaware of the coming twist, check out the official Survivor Twitter or CBS website, or stop reading now and remain unspoiled.
So far, every vote has been essentially unanimous, so we can’t expect the vote to come down to players who have dissented from majority opinions over the past three episodes. It doesn’t seem like any jilted former tribe mates are going to make the final decision. My guess is that the players in trouble at the upcoming vote will be ones who have worked with the fewest other players between the two losing tribes. But, in a situation where everybody is pretty familiar with everybody, it may come down to reputation.
I still think the two losing tribes will be Mana and Tavua. This is bad news for Hali. Out of the eleven players they have between them, nine are former Nuku and only two, Hali and Troyzan are former Mana. Not only could Troyzan idol his way to safety, but Tavua has six players while Mana only has five. This major event could end up being a semi-expectable 6-5 vote with poor Hali getting stuck in too many minorities at once.
But then I go back to that look on Probst’s face during the previews. Could something insane really go down? Could some legend be eliminated just because everyone’s afraid of them?
Eh, I don’t really think so.
If I’m right about the two tribes, I think it should be expected for a member of the tribe with fewer players left to be eliminated. Basically, as long as Mana goes to tribal – and I’m fairly certain they will – someone from Mana will go home. Tavua or Nuku could even decide that they want to keep Mana weak and take out Brad because dem abs.
No matter what, I’m sure tribal will be manic tomorrow night. But as for a final prediction about who’s getting voted out: Hali has more paths to elimination than anyone else in this scenario as far as I can tell.
Part Four: Who’s Gonna Win, Gonna Win, Gonna Win?
For this season’s blog, I’m deciding to add a new section dedicated to winner picks and final tribal council predictions. There’s a lot of speculation about these things, often using the power of Edgic or looking for editor hints. I’m not gonna do any of that. I’m simply looking at the cast and determining who I think has the best shot of making it to the end based on their strategic, social and physical chops, and how they prove those chops during the season. Maybe with a dash of how the show is presenting them.
As I wrote in the first blog of the season, Malcolm is my winner pick. For now, I’m standing by that. Despite being an all-around threat, it looks like more people are interested in working with him rather than against him.
As for other players, I’m keeping my eye on: Brad really showed his skills last week and has had a continually positive edit thus far. I mean, who doesn’t like some nice interior (exterior?) designing around camp? We’ll see if his strong, positive showing persists. And for the sake of her still being there, I’m keeping Sandra in my sights. I just can’t believe she’s still there. At this rate, I can see her taking it a third time. Amazing.
Part Five: Wrap up!
The big twist will take place during the double tribal council. Each tribe will vote someone out, and those two players will switch tribes. My bets are on Cirie and Hali getting switched.
If this is not the case, and this is just a straight-up double elimination, I think Hali is still in trouble, but Tavua will try to vote out Troyzan, who will protect himself with an idol and take out Ozzy in order to remain a necessary asset to the tribe for challenges.
To clarify, I think Nuku is going to win immunity. And, what the heck, let’s say Tavua will win reward because it looks like we’re getting two separate challenges.
JT gets the heat off him and manages to focus it elsewhere. I think Michaela is going to dig her own grave.
Malcolm will win Survivor: Game Changers.