Next Time On… Survivor is a blog here on Inside Survivor all about previews and predictions, but with a new twist! Throughout the season I will be chatting with former contestants from other reality shows about Survivor for a feature on the site called Alternative Reality. Any parts of those interviews about predictions or winner picks will end up here! This week, we are especially excited to be joined by Australian Survivor’s Kat Dumont!
And as always: this blog is 100% spoiler free speculation. Let’s get into it!
Part One: Last Time On… Survivor
Let’s see how I did last week!
1. Taylor will shut up and be good at challenges for a few episodes while Adam tries to keep him as a potential option if things with Ken and Jessica go sour.
Grade: Well, they didn’t lose the challenge and Adam did try to mend that relationship a little, but it appears Jessica was a bit more upfront about considering Taylor as an ally than Adam was. I don’t know, C+?
2. There is some twist regarding tribal council and what will happen to the eliminated castaway.
Grade: Okay, the commercial spot genuinely fooled me. Here I am trying to figure out what this new twist hinted at in the commercial is, and there is none! They were just hyping up the Michaela blindside! Heck, I was going through twists from international versions of the show trying to find some twist available for borrowing. Sigh. F.
3. Ikabula loses immunity and Bret is voted out. This may mean he is sent to a different tribe instead of Ponderosa.
Grade: I’m ignoring the second half of this guess. I think most people were pretty ready to accept Bret’s fate here. All clear signs pointed towards him. Admittedly, there was one Michaela confessional after the reward challenge that made me question whether she’d make it through tribal, but it wasn’t enough to make me doubt my original predictions. The editors completely got us. F.
4. Zeke and David write a new comedy pilot for CBS about two nerds stranded on an island with the Hulk.
Part Two: Merrrrrrrgeeee!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble! Though we lost one of the more beloved characters of the season in Michaela last week, we still have a promising merge on the horizon… even if it is nearly entirely white and with a male-to-female ratio above 2-to-1. Oy.
Regardless, there are some very interesting tribal dynamics bound to come into play. Players like Jay, Taylor, Will, and Michelle are all back in the same place. David is reunited with Jessica and Ken. Adam and Zeke have both made connections with Gen Xers and now find themselves back amongst a Millennial majority. This is a big, thirteen person merge, so options are far from limited.
I always enjoy going through the press photos for the coming episodes. The most recent ones include several shots of a group of players sitting in the water just on the shoreline of their picturesque beach. These players are David, Bret, Sunday, Zeke, Hannah, Ken and Jessica. I think this shot shows a potentially strong core of a pretty big tribe. I would assume Adam would be in with this group as well, and I doubt Chris would align with folks like Will, Jay, Michelle and Taylor before Jessica and David at this point.
I think the majority of the Gen Xers and several of the Millennials don’t want to deal with a bunch of these young, strapping 20-somethings (and Will) when it comes to challenges. On top of that, Jay has demonstrated more cunning than was probably expected by his tribemates. If they feel like they can trust each other, and I think the majority of them can do for now, I absolutely expect the collective of David, Bret, Sunday, Zeke, Hannah, Ken, Jessica, Adam, and Chris to vote together. My guess is they target Jay for his arrangement of the Michaela blindside, and for his physique.
And for those of you thinking the Millennials will just vote with the Millennials because they are in the majority… c’mon now. There are clear divides between players on both sides of the generational gap, and no one wants to feel restricted to original tribal lines. Even the voiceover on the commercial narrates: “the generation gap is wiped out.” The generation gap was “wiped out” after the tribe swap if you ask me. I think this is just an indicator of the likelihood that the original tribal lines have been entirely eroded and left in the past.
I asked Australian Survivor’s Kat Dumont about who she thought was in trouble, and who she thought was looking good for the coming merge.
JD: Next time on Survivor: the merge! What kind of alliances do you think we’ll see form/re-form/break apart? Who is in a good position and who’s in trouble?
KD: It’s a tough one. I think the Gen Xers will try to stay together and the Millennials will be every man for themselves. I think Zeke may pull in Hannah for numbers with the Gen Xers…and that could be cool. But I think both Will and Jay might be in trouble.
JD: Who is your winner pick? Why? Who else are you rooting for?
KD: For some reason, I love Ken and Jessica. And I hope they go far. But Zeke is fun to watch too.
JD: Who’s going to be voted out next week?
KD: I hope it’s Bret. He’s boring as hell and offers NOTHING!
Continuing my scroll through the press photos, I found the new merged tribe’s name: Vinaka. Vinaka is a Fijian expression of gratitude according to my Google search. I find it a tad funny that the players basically named their tribe, “Thank You,” just like in Survivor: Cambodia!
Part Three: Buckets and coconuts
During the commercial spot, as well as in the press photos, we see a Survivor challenge classic: when it rains, it pours. It’s a simple challenge: you hold your hand(s) above your head. If you pull your hand(s) down, a bucket of water soaks you, and you’re out. It’s a great endurance challenge originating from Survivor: Africa. In the commercial spot, Ken is the only player we see an individual shot of from the challenge. He appears to be wincing and, knowing Ken’s strength, has likely been standing there for a while. This challenge tends to favor women though, so my bet is on Jessica or Michelle to win it.
The only thing I had questions about in terms of the upcoming challenges is whether we were getting both a reward and immunity challenge this week. Instinctually, since there’s a merge, I wouldn’t think a reward challenge would make the episode, but I was confused by the pictures of castaways appearing to bowl on the beach with painted coconuts. For a moment (okay, for like, ten minutes) I thought they received practice materials for a reward challenge unseen in press photos or previews. Then I realized it is a bit more likely that the tribe just took the extra paint they had from their tribe banner and color-coded the coconuts for games.
Gosh, I’m brilliant sometimes.
Part Four: Another. Advantage.
Wednesday’s episode description mentions two things we haven’t talked about yet: someone on the tribe hiding a stash of food for personal use like a good ol’ coconut bandit, and the discovery of another, brand new advantage.
Do I know who our new coconut bandit is going to be? Of course not! I’m going to guess Chris because a big guy like him needs his nutrients, but I have absolutely no idea beyond that very simple idea. The far more interesting part of this is that brand new advantage. The wording of the description implies a truly “all-new,” never-before-seen advantage, so speculate away, my friends! I nearly gave myself an aneurysm last week trying to guess a twist that didn’t happen, so I’m going to go a little easier on myself this week.
How does the ability to exile people sound? What if whoever obtains this advantage can banish someone to Exile Island at tribal council between now and the final four? This would allow a player to prevent another player from voting (because they would be on Exile Island) but could also save a player from elimination (because they would be on Exile Island). Yes, I know Exile Island is not a completely new idea, but the ability to banish someone like a one-off power when it most benefits you would be.
But remember, I pulled every word of that out of thin air, so it’s probably total nonsense. The thing I do know is where the advantage is and how the castaways can find out about it. I’m sure a lot of Survivor fans have already seen the clue and decoded it, but I don’t want to spoil the fun completely. Check out the note above and see if you can work it out!
As for who will get the advantage, my money is on David. Not only is he the only person featured in the press photos actually looking at the note, but he’s also proven to have a keen eye in general with his multiple idol finds. If not him, maybe one of our lawyers Jessica or Chris will figure it out.
Part Five: Wrap up!
Let’s break it down for the merge!
1. My bet is on David figuring out where the new advantage is. And sure, I’ll guess the said advantage allows a player to willfully exile another player.
2. Michelle wins the immunity challenge after an arduous battle with Ken and Jessica.
3. The generation gap has already been obliterated. No chance that any realistic alliance or voting bloc involves members from only one of the original two tribes.
4. Like Kat, I think Jay and Will are in the most trouble right now. Unless Jay makes some power moves with that idol of his, I think he’ll get eliminated with it in his pocket.