Next Time On… Survivor is a blog here on Inside Survivor all about previews and predictions! And as always: this blog is 100% spoiler free speculation.
Before we get into it, I want to thank everyone who read the blog throughout the season, and heck, the whole year! Whether it was once in awhile or every week, every pair of eyes on this little weekly blog makes writing it worthwhile. I also want to send my dearest thanks to everyone who chatted with me for Alternative Reality, my other blog, throughout the season. To Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop, Bea Hennington, Audrey Middleton, Terry Cosentino and Tom Rock (congratulations on the wedding!), Kat Dumont, Brook Roberts, Randy Rice and Ian Terry (whose interview went up this week): thank you very much for lending me your time!
Let’s finish strong!
Part One: Previously On… Survivor
1. Will is unsuccessful at calling the shots but survives the shot at him via Jay’s idol. (Or, a variant: Will wins immunity and Jay plays his idol on himself for the same effect.)
Grade: I’m still a little surprised this didn’t happen. Jay ended up losing his ally and burning his idol. He’s still in the game, but I was very wrong about the idol play. F.
2. Ken is voted out at the first tribal council. David is voted out at the second. (Additionally, Ken gives the legacy advantage to David, and David gives it to Hannah.)
Grade: Nope, this was the episode equivalent of a goat slaughterhouse instead. F.
3. Adam wins an immunity challenge, and so does Jay.
Grade: Jay won one! And Adam helped Ken win one! That kind of counts for something, right? Shut up. I’ll take a B-.
4. Two new hidden immunity idols are planted with two days remaining to use them.
Grade: This was a joke BUT WAIT, WAIT! LOOK AT THIS:
Part Two: Advantages! Advantages everywhere!
Martin did me a solid and grabbed me a vital screenshot from the “next time” preview at the end of the last episode. It appears to be a rock with the tribe symbol painted on, and you know what that means! One more idol (at least)!
Or… David is really, really crafty. There’s a scene in the preview of him making a fake hidden idol around a campfire and wearing it around his neck. I don’t know what that exact play would be, but David going as far as to replicate the exact setup of the previous idol locations would be just stunning.
Or both things will happen! Perhaps there is another real hidden idol out there, as well as a Wright original on top of whatever the legacy advantage in Ken’s envelope is, on top of the reward stealer currently in Jay’s pocket. *Deep breath*
The rest of this blog is going to be a one-by-one analysis of the remaining players in the game, and predictions on where I think they will land in the finale, but before we get to that, I want to do one more bit of speculation about the legacy advantage.
I’ve heard theories about this thing for months now. Some believe it’s a simple challenge advantage, and some believe it’s a free pass to the final tribal. Others think it’s an old advantage like an extra vote or a juror removal with new decoration. Are there any clues to hint at what Ken will obtain when he opens up that envelope the morning of day 36?
Right off the bat, our biggest clue is the day Ken gets to open it. Not day 38, the day right before final tribal, but day 36, with six players still left in the game. Originally, I thought the free pass to the final tribal council idea seemed like a decent theory, but there are just too many players left for that to be the case. That would be safety at three tribal councils, which is just too powerful. And a simple advantage at the day 36 immunity challenge seems anticlimactic for something that players have had to hold onto for weeks.
It has to be something worth passing down from player to player post-elimination, something worth keeping secret for the entirety of the game, and something immensely useful at a final six with only three days remaining. On top of that, after re-reading the specifications of the legacy advantage, it came to my attention that it doesn’t specify when the advantage can be used, just that it can only be accessed on the morning of day 36. That means it’s probably a massive one-time burst of power that Ken can use on any day between 36 and 38.
For a moment, I determined that this advantage must be the most powerful one in Survivor history and that Ken would gain the ability to straight-up eliminate another player with one vote. The next three days of the game will each have their own tribal council if we are to get down to three players for day 39. I thought a “kiss of death” would be a way to ease out this triathlon of tribals. But, honestly, that’s just too much power.
Instead, I have come to different conclusion. My final guess for what the legacy advantage is: I believe Ken will gain the ability to steal the immunity necklace one time from whoever has it at tribal council. He would have to decide when to use it, between day 36 and 38. This would give the advantage flexibility and substantial power. It could basically mean insta-death for another player at risk who managed to salvage immunity. It could be a free pass to final tribal if used on day 38 or simply act as a safety net if Ken is feeling uncertain.
The only question bigger than the contents of the legacy advantage is whether Ken will even use it. Character and integrity and all that might make him resist using his power. In the commercial spot, we see a confessional from Ken where he says, “fight like men and see who comes out on top,” as a shot of a concerned-looking David rolls over his voice. Putting aside the fact that this could imply Hannah’s elimination early in the finale (or that Ken is just in a feud with his male foes), this quote is that of an honorable man proving his honor in spite of the dark whispers in his ear.
We’ll see what happens! And now, to the player predictions!
Part Three: Just the six of us
From sixth place to first place, my predictions:
During the preseason, I hated on Jay hard. I believe the last line of my first impression of Jay was, “I bet he has a Tinder photo with a lion.” I expected him to be a self-isolating, cocky, abrasive and foolish early boot. And where his early game didn’t convince me otherwise, the longer he has lasted, the more he has impressed me. Not just because he has survived this long into the game, but also because he has played with such stellar intuition, charisma, and skill. I still regard his decision to not play his idol during “Million Dollar Gamble (Part 1)” as one of the best plays of the season.
Jay isn’t going to be eliminated first in the finale because he’s played poorly. Quite the opposite; Jay, unfortunately, fumbled with his idol play at the last tribal, and everyone knows they need to get rid of him. With Sunday, Will, Michelle, Taylor and maybe even Chris in the right scenario, Jay clearly has the most support on the jury as of now. On top of that, Jay has proven to be a real competitor in the challenges this season. As long as Jay doesn’t win the next immunity challenge, it should be an undoubted decision by the rest of the tribe.
But on a personal note: I’m happy to have been wrong about you, Jay. Good game.
Like many, I was fairly sure Hannah would be our third place finisher for the last several weeks. I changed my mind recently. Hannah hasn’t been a fantastic ally to players like David and Adam. When you hit the final five, you need to be certain about where every vote is going to fall. Hannah’s antics get in the way of other players understanding just that.
I got a lot of things right about Hannah during the pre-season. The “indoor kids alliance” between her and David happened, though they never used that exact name of course. Her most clear-cut alliances were with those from similar northeast backgrounds, as well as comedy backgrounds. I expected her to make it to the mid-to-late merge. The reason she won’t get any further is simply that she hasn’t been able to keep herself in check, and people won’t trust her to stick with them as the final five tribal council approaches.
In some ways, Hannah is a goat, but there are other players left in this game who I believe are equally non-threatening, and more reliable for the final vote before the jury speaks. On top of that, I bet all four of the other remaining players below believe Hannah would vote for them at the final tribal.
David has been my personal winner pick for a very long time. He has been a central character since the first episode, avoided major catastrophe on several occasions, led a lot of major plays and has had a definite character arc. Unfortunately, I doubt any of the other remaining players at the final four want to see David join them at final tribal council, and with players like Ken and Adam still around in this scenario, I don’t see David winning the final immunity challenge.
I got a couple things right about Mr. Wright in the pre-season. I had guessed that he would align with “Hannah, Adam, Will and Zeke for sure.” Obviously, a lot of those alliances have been temporary, but I’ll give myself a pat on the back whenever I can. David is just a very affable guy, and his approachability and cleverness have won him weeks upon weeks in this game. It’s also earned him a massive target on his back that every other player can see from space.
If this prediction is wrong, I expect David to win the season. Regardless, David has been what I expected he would be from the start: “He’s every single one of us geeks sitting in our living rooms dying to get out and play Survivor with absolutely none of the basic “survival” credentials.” If I ever get out there to play, I hope to play a game similar to David’s.
Bret is a great personality who just happens to go quiet now and then. When he shows up, he can be funny, intense, heartfelt, harsh and wonderfully charming. He has been a truly multi-dimensional character despite having less screen time than many of his fellow finalists. And despite being on the wrong side of several votes, Bret has adapted and maneuvered through more than a few different configurations of alliance setups within the tribe. Heck, the man’s only received two votes against him the entire game, and that happened during the Michaela vote before the merge even happened.
During the pre-season, I made Bret one of my picks to make it to the final tribal council. I don’t think he can win the season, I only see him receiving votes from, at best, Chris and Sunday (the latter of whom I’m not sure about), but Bret can absolutely be the number three at final tribal. I believe Adam and Ken will be aware enough to realize that taking Bret with them to the final three is a lot more sensible than going up against David, and I’m sure Bret will be on board with the plan.
He might be a slightly more intimidating presence at the final tribal than Hannah, most people’s predicted third-placer, but I think Bret is a little more desperate to work with whomever and do whatever is necessary to make it to the end. I think Hannah is going to test her options a tad too much than she should, and that’s what will land her in fifth and Bret in third.
Ken absolutely could have won this whole game if not for his unwillingness to play the game. During the pre-season, I had a pretty good read on how he would end up doing: “If he is capable of making those around him comfortable while supporting the cause in challenges and working around camp, he is absolutely going to make it far in the game. His ability to understand the strategic game is what will determine his fate when push comes to shove.”
Ken has been nothing if not consistent. He voted alongside his allies, backing up David, Adam, Hannah and Jessica along the way. He was emotional support when his tribe mates needed it, a provider and a dominant physical competitor who has won two individual immunity challenges up to this point. But the situation with Will in “About To Have a Rumble,” put Ken’s hubris on display for all to see, and any strategic points he could have received from the jury were tossed into the sea like a Gabon idol.
The votes Ken will inevitably receive from the jury will be in result of the friendships individual jurors have developed with him, or in spite of the other finalists, rather than the merit of his gameplay. In the jury scenario I have built here, I expect Ken to receive votes from Jessica, David and maybe Taylor (the latter of whom I am not sure about).
I fully expect Ken to return for the second iteration of Heroes vs. Villains, whenever that happens. He’s clearly a good dude, and was an important asset to some of the more strategic players of the season. Unfortunately for him, I don’t believe that will be enough to take home the million dollars.
Will it be the most heartbreaking victory and story arc in the history of Survivor, if not reality television? Yeah, probably.
During the pre-season, Shawn and I predicted Adam would be out before the merge for being too likable. Martin and Alice predicted he would be out in the early merge for the same reasons. I think all of us are pretty pumped to see him still in the running going into the finale. And I personally believe Adam is in a great position to win the whole thing.
Adam has shown respect for even his greatest foes, best illustrated by his Lost-esque relationship with Jay. He has strong bonds with all his allies, and just about everyone out there thinks he’s a great kid. On top of that, his plea to the jury is bound to overshadow anything Bret or Ken or anyone else could say to convince them to vote differently. I expect Adam to receive votes from Jay, Hannah, Zeke, Michelle, Will and possibly even Sunday and Taylor (both of whom I’m still not sure about, as stated earlier).
We have received quite a bit of emotional, character-building material about Adam throughout the season. He’s been a reliable narrator, a savvy player and a present personality from beginning to end. His showing in “About To Have a Rumble” solidified his place as the guy to beat this season over David who had previously held that status in my opinion. Between his amount of screen time, his decision to not play his reward stealer at the loved ones reward, and then giving it to Jay as a “thank you,” and his idol play that overshadowed Will during the Zeke vote-out – Adam essentially declared to the viewers at home, “this is my game.”
But, as always, I have no real clue about what’s going to go down on Wednesday night. It’s been a very interesting season with a pretty solid cast and plenty to talk about. We’ll see what happens!
Part Four: Wrap up
1. The legacy advantage allows Ken to steal the immunity necklace at one of the tribal councils between day 36 and 38.
2. The rankings of the final six:
3. Neil Patrick Harris shows up at the reunion show and gives his favorite player a wad of cash!
Once again, thank you so much for reading my blogs here throughout the season. Tweet at me, @JacobDerwin, to tell me if you agree with my predictions for the finale! I’d love to hear (read) your thoughts. Until next time!