Gus and Ali, a real-life couple and fans of Survivor, will be individually ranking the Survivor 42 castaways into two categories, Hot or Not, based on who they think has potential longevity in the game. Hots are indicative of castaways who we think played well this week or who are setting themselves up for success; Nots are indicative of castaways who we think didn’t and aren’t.
GUS – Chanelle – NOT
I just knew she was going to throw her vote away. I just knew it, and I knew she shouldn’t. For all I’m about to go off about Daniel, Chanelle was really the one who tanked her alliance’s chances this week. A poorly calculated coinflip of a move, made in the spur of the moment, obliterated her four-person alliance’s entire cohesion. She’s fortunate that Daniel had such a public meltdown later on in the episode, or else most of the blowback from this vote would likely have landed on her.
ALI – Chanelle – NOT
Oh Chanelle, this round was not the time to risk that vote. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. Now, Chanelle has Daniel thinking, for some erroneous reason, that she turned on him. Not to mention, Daniel was quick to throw Chanelle right under the bus and leave her high and dry on the bottom of the tribe with Mike. I think Mike’s definitely going to be the target considering his idol, but Chanelle may not be too far behind.
GUS – Daniel – NOT
What on earth was this guy doing this week? On the one hand, I was excited at Daniel’s high-energy, cover-all-the-bases gameplay. On the other hand, dude! Slow down!! From losing his shoes to losing Mike’s idol to losing his head and abandoning all of his existing alliances at tribal council—Daniel played a bad game this week. As far as I can tell, this was entirely because he was scared of a rock draw, which is something I can get behind to an extent, but at the cost of your entire alliance?
Daniel secured himself some degree of a path forward here. It’s unlikely Hai and Lydia will turn around and vote him right out after he sacrificed everything for their alliance. But he’ll need to tread carefully until the merge should Mike activate his idol or another member of Vati gain an extra vote.
ALI – Daniel – NOT
Wow. Just… wow. That whole episode was Daniel’s crashing and burning moment. Mike wasn’t kidding when he called Daniel “squirrely.” I think Daniel may have given every single member of his tribe a reason to want to vote him out this episode when he was sitting in such a great spot at the top. This may be one of the biggest crashes and burns in the history of the show, but at least Daniel will definitely be remembered!
GUS – Hai – HOT
Hai made all the right calls at Tribal Council. Flipping on Lydia would have all but guaranteed that he would go home next time Vati found itself at tribal, and staring down Daniel’s frantic attempts at rational conversation must have taken serious gumption. More than that, Daniel is likely going to be frantic for allies, and that should keep Hai out of the limelight for a good long while.
ALI – Hai – HOT
Hai played this perfectly and did so in the moment. There was zero reason for Hai to turn on his ally, Lydia, because he would have been at the bottom of the tribe going back to camp and definitely the next one out. Meanwhile, if they went to rocks, Hai would only have a one in four chance of being eliminated, and his ally would be safe. By sticking by his ally, Hai solidified a strong relationship in the game, rarities in such a cutthroat environment. In the process, he fractured the big alliance on the tribe. Overall, a masterful play.
GUS – Mike – NOT
Through little fault of his own (save perhaps his choice of whom to trust), Mike finds himself once again diminished in the game. He’s got no votes, he’s lost (for all intents and purposes) two allies, and his plans to ride out the pre-merge without trying to activate his idol look to be fraught considering his bad game placement. Mike’s going to have to change things up soon if he wants to make it through to the late-game.
ALI – Mike – NOT
Mike’s closest ally went home this week, and erratic Daniel knows everything about his idol. Yeah… it’s not looking awesome for Mike.
GUS – Lydia – NOT
Lydia did fine this week, but it was only by the grace of poor decision-making on Chanelle’s part that she didn’t go home… that and happening to be mission-critical to Hai’s game. I thought about giving her a Hot for escaping the knife, but I just don’t feel like “she didn’t go home” is enough.
ALI – Lydia – NOT
Lydia was on the chopping block this time, which typically doesn’t indicate “Hot” gameplay. I think her relationship with Hai is going to be her saving grace going forward, but we’ll see what happens when the tribe swap comes and she’s forced to play on her own.
GUS – Jonathan – HOT
I’ve heard of “carrying the tribe” and “carrying a challenge,” but I’ve never actually seen that happen. Good golly. Jonathan just demolished one of the more fraught challenges I’ve seen in some time, and that’s enough to earn a Hot from me. Admittedly, yes, it bodes ill for him come the merge (because nobody’s gonna want to go up against that in anything physical), but, come on, I can’t not reward that.
ALI – Jonathan – HOT
Jonathan single-handedly carried his tribe through that challenge. It was a truly impressive display, and he’s likely not going anywhere during the pre-merge. Come the merge, however, the guy is as dead in the water as the immunity challenge.
GUS – Lindsay – HOT
Honestly, Lindsay is only getting a Hot because she didn’t actively hurt her game this week, unlike roughly half of her tribe.
ALI – Lindsay – HOT
Jonathan has said he’s close with Lindsay, so I’m thinking she’ll be fine for now.
GUS – Maryanne – NOT
Maryanne’s got an extra vote, but as far as I can read it, that extra vote is no good unless she activates her idol—without which she can’t vote at all. Until that time, she’s got no power outside of what she can wield with her voice and influence. Combine that with a four-person tribe where, in all likelihood, the only people who will be able to vote next time they go to tribal will be Lindsay and Jonathan, and the future is looking bleak for poor Maryanne.
Of course, she could also activate her idol and drop a train on her tribe next tribal, but I need to go with my gut here (as Daniel meandered around saying) and play the odds.
ALI – Maryanne – NOT
Where do I start with Maryanne? She told everyone about her extra vote, which is not awesome. However, she found an idol, which will move her game in a positive direction. But she can’t use it at the moment, and she’s on the outs on the tribe. If this tribe goes to tribal, my money’s on her to go.
GUS – Omar – NOT
Omar appears to be pretty well-established within his tribe, which is encouraging in the long run. I don’t see him going home in the immediate future. But his mistake on the journey costing him his vote doesn’t bode well for the next time he goes to tribal, neither for him nor for his ally Jonathan.
ALI – Omar – HOT
Omar went on the journey to the island and lost his vote, but I don’t think that’s going to impact him nearly as much as Chanelle, since he’s in the majority. So, he’s still a Hot for me.
GUS – Rocksroy – NOT
Rocksroy was basically invisible (apart from sort of yelling during the challenge, but I don’t really blame him for that), so he’s gotta get a Not.
ALI – Rocksroy – NOT
We really didn’t get to see a lot of Ika this episode, so I’m pretty much keeping everyone here where they were last episode. Couple of highlights for Rocksroy is that he hilariously lost his cool in the challenge (rightly so) and got to play the hero at the end. However, I don’t think that’s enough for me to change my placement of him last episode, so I’m giving him a Not (especially looking at the Next Time On.)
GUS – Romeo – NOT
Romeo was all but invisible, so he’s gotta get a Not.
ALI – Romeo – NOT
Not much of Romeo this episode, so I’m going with my previous placement on him.
GUS – Swati – HOT
Swati was all but invisible, but she did well last week, so she’s just sort of carrying that Hot through to this week.
ALI – Swati – HOT
Not much of Swati this episode, so I’m going with my previous placement on her.
GUS – Tori – HOT
My thoughts on Tori echo my thoughts on Swati; she did well enough last week, so she’s carrying that through to this week.
ALI – Tori – HOT
Not much of Tori this episode, so I’m going with my previous placement on her.
GUS – Drea – HOT
We saw Ika do exactly one thing this week, and that was win a challenge, and Drea was the one who clinched that victory, so Drea’s getting a hot.
ALI – Drea – NOT
Drea got a hero moment in the immunity challenge, which is great for her, but I don’t think that will be enough for Swati to halt her desire to go for Drea. So, I’m keeping her where she was last episode.
Ali: I have to tell you, I didn’t see the Jenny vote coming. I really thought that was going to end up being a solid four. And, in my defense… it SHOULD have been. I didn’t foresee Chanelle and Daniel actively tanking their own games. Just goes to show how you can know this game inside and out, but there’s no accounting for humanity’s ability to seriously err.
Gus: Yeah, it’s funny how sometimes you can have the numbers and have the better alliance and know for a fact that the other side doesn’t have any advantages and still get absolutely obliterated by your alliance-mates’ bad decisions. I mean, it was incredible to watch that entire tribe collapse, but it was painful, too.
Ali: It’s such a bummer for Jenny because she didn’t do anything wrong. Her game up until this point has been really solid. But the rest of her tribe did the absolute most to mess up her gameplay. What should have been an easy vote became a whole kerfuffle through no fault of her own. Again, I want to praise Hai for how he handled the whole situation. It’s not easy to keep cool under that kind of pressure, and I think he did a marvelous job recognizing that he was the one in the power position in this moment.
Unnatural pivot, but let’s chat about Omar.
Gus: Yeah, I mean, I understand why you gave him a Hot. He’s still in a fine position within his tribe, but I can’t just overlook his losing his vote. As I see it, if his tribe goes back to Tribal Council, there’s a solid chance that Jonathan and Lindsay will be the only votes. And if Lindsay decides it’s time for Omar to go, will Jonathan take that 50/50 risk of being voted out? Or, let’s say his tribe escapes Tribal until the merge… he finds himself powerless at the merge vote. Not great either way!
Ali: I totally see that. But there was a lot of emphasis on Lindsay’s annoyance with Maryanne two episodes ago, and Jonathan specifically mentioned that he’s close with her. So I don’t necessarily see her siding with Maryanne on that one. The thing that I can see, though, that I didn’t even think about until just now, is that Omar doesn’t have a vote, and Maryanne has an extra vote. There could be another 50/50 split if Maryanne gets wind that they’re gunning for her and she uses the extra vote with Lindsay and Jonathan voting Maryanne and Maryanne voting for whoever she wants. If we’re trying to figure out what Omar’s annoyed at Jonathan for when it comes to spilling the beans, it could be either Omar’s lack of a vote or that they’re going for Maryanne at tribal?
Gus: Don’t forget, though, that Maryanne cannot vote period until her idol is activated. That adds a whole other dimension to the calculus!
Ali: Oh, that’s right! Okay, then I stand by Omar being a Hot. I don’t think, based on what we know about the tribe dynamics, that Lindsay will flip on them. She’s not a Maryanne stan. Plus, Maryanne’s going to be quite threatening if she gets her hands on that idol. I think they’re going to try and keep that from happening. Plus, then it’ll get rehidden and they can find it as a group.
Gus: I can see that! Let’s touch on Drea for about as long as we got to see her this week. I understand why you made her a Not, but, I mean, she did win the challenge, if nothing else. Purely within this week’s episode, I mean… she wasn’t bad.
Ali: Yeah, Drea was definitely impressive and had a hero moment during the challenge. The problem is that she’s still got Swati and Tori thinking about going for her with all of the ammunition to make that a reality (since she was clearly willing to flip on Romeo and Rocksroy and told them about the extra vote.) So, while she did a great job this week, she didn’t do enough for me to pull her out of the Not spot.
Gus: Fair enough. I just wanted to acknowledge that someone on that tribe had done something this week.
Ali: Can’t wait to see where we go from here!