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.
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!
JT will find the hidden immunity idol! Finally!
Grade: JT… needs to stop playing Survivor. But he did find that idol! I get an A! Finally!
Mana will win a reward challenge in which they get to decide between two rewards. One of these rewards is a “love” one, which Debbie will explicitly ask they take. The tribe will choose the other option, frustrating the heck out of Debbie. DEBBIE IS JUST REALLY BUMMED OUT ABOUT SANDWICHES.
Grade: YOU KNOW WHAT? I wasn’t totally wrong about this. Say what you will, but had Mana won those sandwiches, I highly doubt Debbie would have had her freak out at Brad. I won’t give myself top marks for this, but I’ll take a C+.
Also! Once you finish reading the blog, do yourself a favor and go read The Funny 115’s look at Brad Culpepper. It really helped me to understand the generally negative outlook on Brad from his first season. It frames him in a far more redo-deserving light and simultaneously makes me even more irritated with Debbie for lashing out at him for things he clearly wasn’t doing.
Tavua will lose the immunity challenge, and Sarah will be voted out next.
Grade: Last week was one of those “I see what’s going on here” episodes. The moment JT started complaining about Michaela’s sugar intake, I knew he was dead meat. Alas, the blog comes out before the episode. Therefore, I must take an F here. That said, I’m still concerned about Sarah’s place in the game going into this week’s episode.
Part Two: Too many buffs (too many buffs)
Another tribe swap is upon us! Let’s see what we can glean from the previews about who’s ending up where. The first thing we should try to figure out is how many tribes this switch-up will leave us with. We have two major hints regarding this: how many players are left, and the introduction of Exile Island.
If someone is going to Exile Island (and we will speculate on that in a bit), that most likely means that the number of players will not evenly divide into the number of tribes. We currently have three tribes and fifteen players left. Fifteen divided by three is a clean five. It would be odd to send someone to Exile Island when all the players could be evenly distributed into three tribes.
This is why I’m fairly confident that Probst is dissolving Tavua and bringing us back to the two-tribe format. We’ll have two teams of seven with an odd-one-out sent to Exile Island all by his/her lonesome.
Okay! Now, what do we know about who is ending up where?
Well… very little. Actually, pretty much nothing.
Every shot of the various players at challenges and at camp during the commercial spot shows them wearing the color buff they had at the beginning of the game. Is it completely outside the realm of possibility that Zeke, Tai, Brad, Ozzy, Cirie, and Andrea are returning to Nuku and that Michaela is returning to Mana? Technically, no! Is it highly unlikely for such a thing to happen? Yes!
All that said, I think certain plotlines and story elements of the season laid out in previous episodes will resume after the swap. For example, I believe Ozzy and Cirie will be on the same tribe again. I also think Troyzan will be separated from Sarah and stuck with Andrea. These theories don’t have much backing though. I do have one pretty solid theory about something else though…
Part Three: Exiled, but not alone
The most confusing, yet exciting aspect of the previews this past week have been the promise of a former player returning to the show for some unexplained reason. The theories I’ve seen around the web about who it is and why they’re returning have ranged from cute to catastrophic. Hell, some people think they’re just tossing Malcolm back in the ring for the sake of ratings.
And honestly? Before I read this week’s episode description, I genuinely thought they were actually going to insert a former player into the game. This is going to sound kind of crazy: I thought they were going to bring back Terry Dietz because of his reasons for leaving Second Chance. That theory didn’t last long.
If you read this week’s episode description, the question of why someone is returning gets a partial answer: “One castaway is left floating on Exile Island after a tribe switch, and the exiled castaway receives a surprise visit.”
This is a vital bit of information, and the bit that leads me to my prediction about who is going to Exile Island, and who is visiting them.
Your first instinct might be to start going through memorable Exile Island goers throughout Survivor history. Is Coach coming back to help the exiled castaway make his/her stay as epic as possible? Is Janu, the first ever contestant sent to Exile Island, returning to keep the stranded player company?
Your second instinct may be just to start rattling off famous “game changing” Survivor players who would come back for the sake of the theme and, again, ratings. Boston Rob? Richard Hatch? Rupert?!
Here’s the conclusion I came to: the surprise visit is from a loved one. And the only player currently in the game with a loved one who has also played is Brad, who was on the first Blood vs. Water with his wife, Monica.
Is it a little farfetched? Maybe! But if someone is going to get stuck on Exile Island for a few days, unsure of which tribe he will be filling the empty space of, I guess the least he deserves is a visit from his spouse. And really, it’s the only feasible answer I could come up with to the question of why a former player would return to the game for a visit.
Part Four: Post-swap blues
It’s pretty tough to make elimination predictions when you don’t even know who is going to be on which tribe. This prediction is going to be a tad baseless.
Last week, the only real insight we got into Tavua’s going-ons was with Sarah and Troyzan. Troyzan’s been relatively present in confessionals and such since the last swap, being on the outside of his tribe with his idol, but Sarah’s been near silent. And suddenly, last week, we got a whole unnecessary spiel about how she’s playing like a criminal and how she knows how to lie to her tribemates. I thought this signaled Sarah’s downfall last week, but now I think it might have been the prelude to her downfall this week.
The Sarah quote that keeps replaying in my head is “I know how to lie to these people.” These people. With the exception of Troyzan, Sarah has been with original Nuku castaways this entire game so far. My bet is on Sarah ending up on a new tribe without Troyzan and the trust she’d instilled in him, as well as with a majority of original Mana castaways. Without the bonds and pacts, she’s built over the first thirteen days, Sarah will be voted out due to falling into the minority of her new tribe.
Once again, this isn’t my most sturdy prediction ever, but it’s all I’ve got!
Part Five: Who’s gonna win, gonna win, gonna win?
After Malcolm’s elimination, I decided to start backing Hali as my new winner pick. I’m not going to change that just yet, but the whole “princess Hali” insanity that Debbie spewed all over last week’s episode doesn’t exactly paint the budding attorney in a great light. On top of that, I’m still in utter disbelief that Sandra is still doing as well as she is.
If she pulls this off… haha, oh man. Frankly, if Hali is voted out while Sandra is still in the game, I will make Sandra my new winner pick.
As for other players who look pretty good right now: I think Varner and Brad are both doing a great job with very different approaches to their games. We’ll see where the tribe swap lands them!
Part Six: Wrap-up!
Let’s break it down, yo.
The tribe switch will result in two tribes of seven.
The odd player out will be Brad, and he will be sent to Exile Island.
At Exile Island, Brad will be visited by his wife and former player, Monica.
Sarah will end up on a team with a majority of players who she hasn’t yet played with and will be voted out.
Hali will win Survivor: Game Changers.