Each week, Christine Pallon and Gia Worthy will round up the previous week of Survivor 41 as they list their top moments in various important categories. This includes the most essential information, the stand-out castaways, and the key moments from the week.
Here, Christine and Gia break down all the action from the tenth episode.
Top 3 Moments
Playing for “The Culture”
Gia: Anyone keeping up with Survivor 41 knows that within the game, Shan and Deshawn do not see eye to eye. They’ve been struggling to play together for a bigger cause, but they can both see that it’s coming at the expense of their own individual games. There has only been one other season, Island of the Idols, where four Black players made it to the merge. Now, in Survivor 41, Shan, Deshawn, Danny, and Liana wanted to take part in an opportunity that was rarely afforded to other Black players. Unfortunately, playing for the culture comes at a price, especially in such a selfish game. In the end, The Campout is officially fractured as Danny and Deshawn voted with the majority to take out Shan, and Liana was the only one on the outs. Whether any of them will be able to recover from this loss is yet to be seen…
Shan tries to save Ricard…
Christine: The Shan-Ricard relationship is without a doubt one of the more complex strategic partnerships we’ve seen on the show in recent years. It’s been a rocky road for these two all season between Ua’s losing streak and their strained joint custody agreement regarding the Extra Vote. After their discussion during the reward about their futures in the game and their inevitable need to turn on one another, Shan decided to tip Ricard off about a plan brewing against him before the immunity challenge and offer up her ally Deshawn instead. She knew she needed to turn on him eventually, but not quite yet, and wanted to do so on her own terms.
…and Ricard orchestrates her blindside
Christine: No good deed goes unpunished, though, and after Ricard won immunity, he decided to strike against Shan. Moves don’t get much more cold-blooded than taking out your ally with an idol in their pocket right after they stuck their neck out for you. For Erika, Heather, and Xander, going along with this move was a no-brainer: break up the majority and take out a major power player with an idol in her pocket. Kudos to Erika, too, for making sure the vote was split so she would be safe in case an idol was played. As for Ricard, Danny, and DeShawn, three players whose games were very much tied up in Shan’s to some degree, time will tell how good of a move this was for them in the long run.
Christine: Ricard’s bold, cold-blooded blindside against Shan firmly cements his status as this season’s main villain. On the one hand, this might have been a game-winning round for Ricard. With the majority fractured going into the Final 7, Ricard could find himself in an excellent free-agent position to navigate these next crucial votes. On the other hand, Shan was (as far as the edit has shown us, at least) the only person really looking out for Ricard in the game. With her gone, and Ricard appearing more and more like a challenge threat after winning both the reward AND immunity challenges this episode, he could just as easily be in trouble again as soon as he isn’t immune.
Gia: I almost gave this spot to Danny because between the two of them, I think Danny has more social capital with the other players. Ultimately, it was Deshawn’s confessional about struggling to play for himself that sealed the deal for me. It’s no secret to anyone that Deshawn and Shan have been at odds pretty much since they met. Both of them wanted to maintain their agency in the game, but often that meant their own wishes came at the expense of the others.
In this episode, Deshawn beautifully explained the dueling objectives everyone in “The Campout” is facing. He wants to play for himself in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. On the other hand, he also understands the importance of playing for the culture, meaning the Black community. It’s an impossible dilemma, one that there is no right answer to. With CBS’ new diversity initiatives fully in effect this season, I hope this is not a burden that other players of color will have to face in future seasons. Still, Deshawn did an excellent job of explaining why these changes are so important.
Gia: It only makes sense that the most dominant player of the season is voted out in such an emotional episode. Shan’s been nothing short of a force of nature this season, and while a blindside like this was to be expected, it didn’t make the outcome any less heartbreaking. Shan went out on a limb to save Ricard at Deshawn’s expense, but it all went up in flames when Ricard won immunity and decided now was the time to blindside Shan.
Throughout the episode, we saw how deep Shan’s relationships go in the game, particularly those with Ricard and Liana. While Shan’s game certainly had its flaws, it was also groundbreaking to see a Black woman unapologetically take the spotlight. Her presence changed what was possible for Black women in Survivor, and while I am very sad to see Shan go, her impact will extend far beyond Survivor 41.
Gia: With Shan voted out, that makes two episodes in a row where a player was blindsided with an idol in their pocket. Now, as Evvie pointed out, Xander is the only one left with an idol. I find it rather odd that no one seems to be concerned by this fact, especially with how close he came to winning this immunity challenge. My guess (based on nothing other than my opinion of the edit), is that the players left are not as threatened by Xander’s social and strategic game, so the idol doesn’t hold as much weight. We probably won’t get an answer to this until Xander is either voted off or in the final 3, but I believe this guess will not be completely disproven either way.
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Christine: Xander made it through yet another vote with not only the Yase idol still in his possession but also his Extra Vote. The further we get into the game, the more power that Extra Vote potentially has as the number of players continues to dwindle and the margin of one vote carries more weight. Will he use it defensively like Shan and Deshawn both used their Extra Votes, or try something flashier?