If this season follows a traditional plot structure, my first thought after watching Episode 9’s trailer is that we’ve gotten through the rising action portion of establishing relationships and are well on our way to some plot twists and turns. The trailer includes a bunch of tense conversations, giving us insight to some potential relationship breakdowns.
The Next Time On Survivor preview begins with a confrontation between Naseer and Heather, with the former saying, “You throw my name under the bus.” This is most likely about the live Tribal fiasco that happened in the last episode, where Heather made her rounds asking players to vote for Naseer.
I feel like Heather will justify herself by saying that her plan was just to use Naseer’s name as a decoy and rebut that Naseer was okay with the pre-Tribal plan using Heather’s name as a decoy vote. I think that both parties will be more cautious when working together, but I don’t think it will necessarily spearhead any big shifts moving forward.
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What’s rather interesting is that we then see Xander eavesdropping on their conversation, and in a confessional immediately following, he says, “It’s perfect that they’re fighting with each other.” Xander has been portrayed as the underdog at the bottom of the tribe. Just last week, he received two votes and was the only one who voted for Naseer—proving that he’s still out of the loop.
However, I predict that Xander’s going to squirm his way, not into the majority alliance per se, but just enough to save himself from being the target. It’s also worth considering that Xander’s confessional here may be about other fights, apart from Naseer and Heather as edited.
This leads to the next portion of NTOS. Yet another tense conversation, this time involving Shan and Ricard. Shan, exasperated, talks of casting her extra vote, and Ricard replies in flabbergasted disagreement. The relationship between these two remaining Ua members has been strained for quite a while now, cumulating in the last episode when Shan got annoyed at Ricard for eating papaya after returning from a food reward.
At this point, Shan has been depicted as controlling and not a team player. It’s a significant disparity from the positive, strategic player we saw at the start of the season, and I think this signals her upcoming downfall.
This portrayal of Shan is doubled down in the next NTOS scene where Deshawn explicitly says, “Shan is starting to piss me off a lot,” and declares that he’s “looking for a new team.” This scene most definitely happens at night right after Episode 8’s Tribal Council, where they had a spat as well. It’s clear that Shan’s support is wavering, but I think it’s too obvious for her to leave this week.
In another trailer for Episode 8, we know that this week’s individual immunity challenge has a twist as Jeff announces, “two winners, two people going home.” In the Game within the Game strategy test, he also alludes to how the players are going to be split up “just for one challenge where you have to go to Tribal with that group, or it could be for two of three days.”
The most likely scenario, the episode will feature the same twist as in Ghost Island, where the remaining ten players will go to Tribal in two groups of five and vote out one player each.
So here are my predictions. I think the twist will be the catalyst for Deshawn “looking for a new team,” leaving the alliance he has with Liana, Shan, and Danny. He forms a new alliance with Xander and floats the possibility of taking out Shan. However, the five-person Tribal leads them to play relatively safe this week instead of orchestrating a big blindside.
Advantages will be played, like Shan and Xander’s extra votes and Naseer’s immunity idol. Ultimately, I think Heather gets voted out for being a wild card and Erika for being not as connected to both the majority alliance the Yase stragglers.
Leave a comment with your predictions for Episode 9!