Survivor 41

Episode 2 – Hot or Not

Who is Hot or Not after Week 2?

Photo: CBS

First, we just want to say that it’s amazing to be back. A lot has changed in the show’s absence. We got married, moved to a different state, changed jobs, and got our first dog together. But through all these amazing changes, we missed watching our favorite show. Second, our fantasy team this year is probably the roughest in history.

Anyway, onto the show…



Danny was there this week; we had almost no coverage of him and his gameplay, so I have to let last week’s actions dictate some of his rating this week. I’m concerned that there may still be lingering concern from Naseer about Danny and Deshawn’s day-one advantage/idol hunt. And Danny could get targeted as a long-term physical threat if Luvu were to lose a challenge… but I doubt it. With Deshawn having an extra vote, however, I could also see Danny being targeted to weaken Deshawn.


We didn’t see a ton of Danny this episode, but I’m thinking that he has recovered well from the idol hunting faux pas. Furthermore, the guy’s going to be an asset in challenges, so unless he really goes off the deep end, I think he’ll likely stick around a bit.


Deshawn got a free extra vote, which is good. He got a new potential future friend in Evvie, which is also good. Hard to fault him for a decently successful week.


Pro-tip for future Survivor players, machetes are for sale on Amazon if you need to practice fire-making. Boo boos aside, I really like Deshawn. His story’s inspiring and I believe him when he talks about his work ethic. My mother-in-law’s a doctor, so I know firsthand how hard physicians have to work. Plus, Deshawn has an extra vote in his pocket now, which is a big deal on a tribe as small as this. Deshawn’s got some nice tools in his arsenal and has the intelligence to know how to use them.


Player not found. I mean, she seems to have good relationships? She did well in the challenge? Yeah.


Who? I can’t rate what I don’t see. Plus, someone has to be on the bottom of this tribe.


Player not found. Older women usually do poorly early-game. I’m sorry, Heather. I really like you, and I hope I’m wrong.


Who? All I can really go with is that typically older women don’t fare well early in the game.


I was worried about Naseer last week. I thought he was overplaying, and I still do. However, his exceptional array of survival skills that were displayed this week look like they really will serve to keep him around for a little while. This is one of the most old-school reasons to keep someone around, and, honestly, I’m pretty happy that this element of the game is being played up a little more this year.


We didn’t see a ton of Naseer this episode, but he managed to turn the perception of him around. Last week, I thought he was a total goner because everyone seemed to be targeting him for throwing Danny and Deshawn under the bus. Now, though, everyone’s talking about how much they need him. Just goes to show how sometimes you just need to survive for one week because things change every day in this game.


Sydney hedged between the Deshawn/Danny Duo and Naseer last week; I think she’s still in a good spot this week.


Again, who? All I’ve seen her say so far is that she likes Naseer. I know next to nothing about her.



Brad was put in a bad situation last week by Ricard, and he handled it as best he could (admittedly, poorly). This week, he compensated for playing super old-school by channeling Tony Vlachos. While I would normally want to applaud this sort of frantic and frenetic energy, the way Brad pulled it off (or failed to) this week has me more than a little bit nervous.


WOOF! As Ricard says, Brad’s not amazing at this game. Whether it be telling someone to their face that they should go home to telling someone’s closest ally that you are spying on that person. Personally, I hope Brad stays around for a long time because he’s the harmless chaotic energy we need for an entertaining season. Bring on The Brad! But there’s no way I’m giving him a Hot this week.


Genie is flying pretty under the radar at this point. Not much to say here, but she doesn’t seem to be in imminent danger of going home, which at the top of the game is a pretty good thing. She’s got JD and Brad ahead of her in line to go home. Now that I’ve said that, though, she will definitely be next out.


From what I can tell, she’s Brad’s closest ally on the tribe. If they’re coming for Brad, in all likelihood, they’re coming for Genie as well.


JD overplayed early on, and barring Brad hurling himself into the hot seat in front of him, I certainly could see JD still being in a bad way in the coming weeks.


JD was rubbing people the wrong way last week. This week, he’s made Brad so paranoid that Brad started spying on him. If JD can’t get people on his side, there’s no way he’s going to win the game.


Ricard’s got a good thing going with Shan, I think? So that’s good.


I was really worried about Ricard after last week. It seemed like he was at the bottom of the tribe, but it seems like whatever tricky spot he was in is no more. Shantel is going to Ricard with information, which is a huge indicator about his place on the tribe. In addition, JD seems to want to work with Ricard even after how the vote went down last week. Ricard’s like a cat falling from a great height who managed to land on his feet like it was nothing. Sadly, the editing didn’t really display the complexities of how that went down, but I need to give Ricard credit regardless.


I really hope Shan’s little “nefariousness” theme from the first episode is a mainstay of this season because it’s so darn cute. Shan was more or less absent from this week’s episode, but she’s got a visible alliance with Ricard, so that’s a mark in her favor.


I thought Shan would have gotten into some hot water with Ricard based on her strange waffling last week, but apparently, she’s become Ricard’s closest ally. Not to mention she cemented herself in his estimation by telling on Brad. It seems like JD also trusts Shan, so it seems like, of everyone, Shan is sitting pretty at the center of the tribe.



I can’t fully blame Evvie for the move this week, considering that they were away from the tribe for pretty much the entirety of the strategizing. However, the net effect of the week’s play on them and their tribe is that they’re more likely to go home in the future, as Yase is more likely to continue losing challenges. At the same time, Evvie does have a new friend in Deshawn, so, that’s good down the line.


Is Evvie actively trying to recreate the Brains tribe from Cagayan or…? I mean, if you think about it, it fits pretty perfectly. Evvie is Kass. Liana is Tasha. Tiffany is J’Tia. And Xander is a jock Spencer. The hilarity of this tribe is that they’ve been voting against their own best interests. Is Evvie’s argument about women losing to men in the end valid? Absolutely. But this is putting the cart before the horse.

There’s no sense in thinking about the end in those terms right now because first you have to have a chance of making it to the end. Evvie is at the top of the tribe right now, but they backstabbed Xander in order to get there. If I were Xander and I had anything I could use to gun for someone, I’d for sure go for Evvier first for backstabbing me.


Normally, I’d be more in favor of prioritizing your alliance over just “keeping strong players.” However, the way Liana let Tiffany walk all over her and convince her to eliminate Voce, who was for all intents and purposes the tertiary target, was hard to watch. The strategy here appears to have been “pray for a swap/merge,” as the extent of their tribe’s physical, brawny strength appears to now be Xander, and that’s it.

If we do “drop the four” and press onward without any swaps, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yase as a whole wither away. Ironically, keeping Xander—while a risk—would likely have reduced Liana’s chances of going home in the future as, even if they lost another immunity challenge next week, the likelihood of Xander’s idol being active (and of him having a vote) would be, honestly, pretty small.


This is the only person on this tribe that I think has bettered her position in the game this week. If Tiffany had gone home and Evvie had solidified their position with Voce and Xander, that would have left Liana on the outs. Instead, Liana was able to find herself in the majority with likely both Tiffany and Xander on the bottom (Tiffany because she’s no challenge beast and Xander because he’s got the wrong chromosomes). Plus, Liana has Evvie in front of her for Xander to take a shot at if he should get that idol activated. All in all, Liana is the only one looking good on Yase. She might be the last person left on this tribe at the merge, but she’ll outlast the rest.


If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.


Listen, we’re not all blessed with challenge prowess, but there was a certain extent where it really looked like Tiffany gave up out there. Now, maybe I can forgive that. Maybe. But Tiffany took a gift horse and looked it right in the mouth by insisting everyone go after Voce for literally no reason. If Tiffany’s getting that paranoid this early on, she’s going to melt into a puddle by the end.

However, I’m assuming she’s not going to make it there because she’s become a bit of a liability. If I’d been Evvie and Liana, Tiffany’s antics would have convinced me to cut her. Luckily for Tiffany, I’m neither Evvie nor Liana. Honestly, Tiffany seems like a great woman and not a great player.


Bold commitment to the “drop the 4 keep the 1” theme notwithstanding, Xander is in a garbage position now. I had hoped that his earnestness and openness with his advantages and nascent idol would work in his favor, but, alas, that seems to not have been the case. That, combined with a tribe that, in my opinion, is badly overplaying, and the fact that HE CANNOT VOTE UNTIL A BILLION LITTLE TINY THINGS HAVE HAPPENED, means that he’s all but doomed in the short-term. That said, I can’t wait to hear how he sneaks that butterfly thing into every single challenge going forward.


Okay, let’s do a compliment first. Xander did a decent job of saying that ridiculous phrase at the immunity challenge. Otherwise, the game kind of blew up in his face this week. Xander was already a threat coming into the game as an athletic, likable guy. Then, he made it even worse by announcing to the world that he had two advantages. Granted, one of the advantages is… not an advantage? But it didn’t stop the other players from jumping on that to get rid of him. Xander’s now at the bottom of the tribe and will be in trouble if they have to go to Tribal again, which they likely will because the tribe’s not doing so hot in the challenges.


ALI: This week was… bizarre.

GUS: I feel like we saw almost none of anybody outside of Yase; and Yase was just an extended train wreck. We got about eight seconds with Ua for Brad to torpedo himself, ten seconds with Luvu for Naseer to redeem himself… and that’s it. I hate to say it, but this may be less “trash” talk and more “yeah, I dunno, I had a good/bad feeling” talk.

ALI: Yeah, the editors didn’t really give us all that many clues as to who a lot of the folks still around are. It’s put us a bit at a disadvantage, I’m afraid. I guess we can talk about Danny first? It seems like Sydney is with Danny and Deshawn based on her tattling on Naseer to them, so I think he actually might be in the majority.

GUS: Yeeeeaaaaahhh, but then Naseer redeemed himself in her eyes this week. I believe she was the one who did an abrupt about-face in confessional about keeping vs. jettisoning Naseer early, so I think that his original piping up about the Danny/Deshawn idol/advantage hunt might hold more water with her now than it did last week. And with them both being known to have gone to Advantage Island (or whatever you want to call it), I could see either of them being targeted sooner than later, and Danny is the one with no true advantage.

ALI: But Deshawn and Danny also commented that they liked Naseer this week. I think we’re getting a hint that they may be a group going forward. If that’s the case, then RIP Erika and Heather.

GUS: Which is a shame, but a probable shame. I probably should have given Erika a Not for that, but with that tribe as strong as it is, I dunno, I just wanna root for her.

ALI: That’s completely fair. There’s not a ton to go on. I guess this leads us to Erika.

GUS: Yeah, I mean, she’s probably not going to win, and she was invisible this week. Bbut she seems to have decent connections on her tribe from last week… maybe… I just think she’s neat.

ALI: I think she’s toast, through no fault of her own. My prediction is she doesn’t make merge. Shall we discuss Sydney?

GUS: See, she’s one who I think has positioned herself well. She’s got ties to Naseer; she’s got ties to Danny & Deshawn. I think she’s the linchpin.

ALI: Yeah, I’ve kind of talked myself out of Sydney being a Not to be honest.

GUS: We’re very conciliatory today, both of us. I don’t like it.

ALI: Here, I’ll fix it. You have silly, silly hogwash opinions.

Photo: CBS

GUS: Speaking of hogwash, you’re completely wrong about Liana. She made multiple tactical blunders and her tribe is in a garbage position for her 1) wanting to keep Tiffany and 2) declining to eliminate Xander.

ALI: Okay, look at it this way. I think she’s the only one who improved her position on the tribe. Evvie obviously torpedoed their position with Xander and Xander’s clearly in the gutter. Tiffany is…. Tiffany. But if Evvie had gone with Voce, Tiffany (Liana’s closest ally) would be gone and Liana would be on the bottom. By getting Evvie on her side, Liana is now firmly ahead of two people on the tribe, Xander and Tiffany. And Evvie is a likely target ahead of her should Xander resort to any funny business. Just tell me I’m right. You know I am.

GUS: Evvie was absent from like 94 percent of the strategizing. They got back and had time for about two conversations. Evvie did what Liana told them because what else were they supposed to do? Flip everything at the last minute? EVERYBODY is on Xander’s bad side now, and he has no power. As far as I’m concerned, barring a swap, all but one of those players is getting eliminated pre-merge. And I think Evvie has the least blood on their hands because, again, they weres gone from most of the strategizing.

This was no masterstroke by Liana, this was Liana’s day-25 gameplay showing up on day 5, where she decided to prioritize numbers and an alliance over short-term survival. The best way to not go home is to not go to Tribal Council. And by keeping Tiffany (when their tribe is already at a numbers deficit), Liana all but guaranteed that she would find herself facing elimination time and time again.

ALI: But Evvie had the relationship with Xander. Liana didn’t.

GUS: Evvie had almost nothing to do with the vote; they just went along with it. And it’s not like theye had a tight core alliance with Xander. Hell, they could even spin this as “I didn’t want you gone.”

ALI: But Evvie was the one who clued the women into what Xander had in his possession prior to the challenge. They were orchestrating that move long before they went to the island.

GUS: That’s a stretch to say that Evvie was orchestrating that move. And Xander has been very open about his advantages and idol chances with anyone who’ll listen. I don’t see this blowing back on Evvie at all, especially considering they had no qualms about it. Anyway, we both gave Evvie Nots, so I don’t know why I’m defending them. I think Evvie’s in a bad position too, I just think Liana is in an equally bad position.

ALI: Only time will tell. Shall we bring it home with Genie? I think her closest ally on the tribe is Brad, and if they’re coming for him, they’re coming for her.

GUS: How does she have an alliance with Brad? Have they had more than one conversation? I think she’s closer with Ricard.

ALI: Brad and Genie voted together on the last vote.

GUS: For Sara? Who went home? That’s a majority vote right there. That means nothing.

ALI: But the vote was divided and on a tribe this small, the majority really counts.

GUS: Sure, but I don’t think that “she voted with the majority” means that she’s Brad’s closest ally. That just means she went along with the plan.

ALI: And I can’t wait to laugh when you’re wrong. Whelp, I think that wraps us up for this week. Tune in next week to see if Gus and I were right or dead, dead wrong.

GUS: Ta ta!

Written by

Alexandra Shields

Alexandra “Ali” Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018. Ali writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with her fiancé Gus.

Gus Schlanbusch

Gus is a Chicago-based theater artist and Survivor fan. He and his fiancée Ali also co-run a small theater company and produce a podcast about The Wheel of Time called “Wheel Takes.” When he’s not busy with all of that, he’s probably playing board games. Gus writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with Ali.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.