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 worry for Chanelle if Vati goes back to tribal. Daniel may be the obvious boot, but Hai and Lydia may also feel obligated to protect him for a while after his fiasco of a flip. And in that case, I fear that Chanelle is the next obvious boot. Daniel threw as much shade as he possibly could onto her following the Jenny vote, and some of it may have stuck. Besides this, Mike and Daniel have legitimate cause to be frustrated with her for risking her vote and effectively dooming Jenny on a bet.
ALI – Chanelle – NOT
Chanelle’s not isn’t her fault, but Daniel completely blew up her game. It’s going to take a pretty darn adept player to come back from a blow like that. Luckily, I do think that Chanelle has the chops to pull that off. On the other hand, is Daniel going to continue to pull her down with him? I think absolutely. The other players will likely also assess that she’s a bigger threat than Daniel at this point, so she is likely the target next vote unless she can pull off a big Hail Mary.
GUS – Daniel – NOT
I just can’t stop thinking about how poorly Daniel handled Tribal Council at the Jenny vote. I mean, this guy has to just be praying for the merge because he’s cornered himself seven ways from Sunday. The entirety of Daniel’s game plan right now is ‘hope that Lydia and Hai save me”, and that’s not a great thing to bank on. Could he claw his way back? Sure. Will it take a while? Absolutely.
ALI – Daniel – NOT
This man cannot resist burying himself deeper and deeper. He’s like his own personal quicksand. Not only did he throw his closest ally, Chanelle, under the bus at Tribal for really dubious reasons, but Chanelle revealed that Daniel was spilling Mike’s secrets. Daniel doesn’t really have a lot of bridges he hasn’t burned. And it looks like Hai is definitely looking at Daniel as a target. If this group goes to Tribal, no one’s going to fight for Daniel to stay.
GUS – Hai – HOT
Hai is probably the best-positioned member within his tribe right now, despite scrapping his way back from the minority. Daniel is pretty clearly everyone’s number one target and is entirely dependent on Hai and Lydia if he wants to stay. Lydia will almost certainly remain loyal to him because he was willing to go to rocks for her. And Mike has no vote. He’s also still got that advantage from day one (though that hasn’t come up at all in the intervening episodes, so we’ll see if/when that comes into play), and he’s set up decently well for post-merge alliances. Hai is riding high right now (ha).
ALI – Hai – HOT
Hai managed to take a brutal situation and finagle it into a deal between himself and Mike. I’ve been consistently impressed by Hai’s ability to assess the appropriate response to situations under extreme pressure.
GUS – Mike – HOT
Despite everything, I can’t help but give Mike a Hot. He’s certainly not in an excellent position; he still lacks voting power, and he lost a prime ally in Daniel. But he appears more than willing to roll with the punches and work with whomever he has to work with. We saw several moments of him and Hai making up (including one during a challenge) that made me feel like Mike came out of the chaos of the Jenny vote relatively unscathed. I firmly believe Mike has what it takes to go deep in the game.
ALI – Mike – HOT
Mike took a pretty big hit in his game last week. In that moment, a lot of players shut down or get desperate. Mike realized that the appropriate thing to do in this situation is cut ties, not go down with the ship, and be the first to approach the tight alliance, trying to get in as early as possible. While I think that the decision to reveal the idol to Daniel will continuously be a thorn in Mike’s side, I’m encouraged by his ability to pivot in a disastrous moment when the other members of the fractured alliance haven’t.
GUS – Lydia – NOT
Again, I really want to give Lydia a Hot, because I think she’s neat and fun (and I feel like she’s the kind of person who would roast the heck out of me on Twitter for giving her a bunch of Nots). But we’ve not seen her do much to further her position in the game besides being close with the right people on her tribe.
ALI – Lydia – HOT
Now, this is a tricky one for me because I don’t think Lydia got here based on her own gameplay. Rather, Hai really pulled her out of a certain elimination into the majority of the tribe. But I have to give Lydia props for keeping calm under pressure at the last Tribal (unlike someone I could mention), making her a viable person to work with going forward. Plus, she picked a great ally in Hai, who has now put himself in the power position. Lydia’s game has had a pretty big turnaround, and once she hits the merge, I think Hai will make a great shield for her.
GUS – Jonathan – NOT
This breaks my heart, and I’m not sure what else Jonathan could be doing except what he’s doing now, but his challenge prowess is legendary. Too legendary. This guy has a long-term target on his back the size of Australia. And his blundering into admitting that the Taku Four are a tight group sure isn’t gonna help matters.
Do I think he’s in an excellent alliance? Of course. Do I think he’s doing a phenomenal job in literally carrying his team in challenges? Of course. Does it seem like he’s a likable, nice person who is easy to get along with? Definitely! And do I think he will be public enemy number one once the merge hits? Unfortunately, yes. I just don’t see any way Jonathan gets to the end of the game—unless he wins every single immunity challenge, and despite what players tend to fear, individual immunity challenges often skew away from pure physical strength.
ALI – Jonathan – NOT
Here’s my thing… I really like Jonathan, and it’s so entertaining watching him barrel through these challenges, carrying the tribe on his back. The thing that gives me pause is the other tribes’ reactions to him. He’s not a popular guy on the other teams because he’s been humiliating them challenge after challenge. Not to mention his huge blunder in claiming that the Taku tribe is this super tight four. Misery loves company, and these two tribes who keep feeling the sting of defeat in Jonathan’s wake now have something in common. Furthermore, Jonathan’s now given them zero reason to want to work with the other tribe. If he’s not one of the first to go at the merge, I’ll be floored.
GUS – Lindsay – NOT
My rankings for “Taku members who are not Jonathan” are a little muddled because, honestly, that whole tribe right now is just “Jonathan and the other ones.” I can’t help but feel that, based on Jonathan’s blundered confession at the challenge, the other members of his tribe will be targeted posthaste come the merge. And so I’m basing these rankings less on anything these players are doing and more on how well I think these players will do post-merge (since I think it’s unlikely that Taku will be losing any challenges any time soon). In Lindsay’s case, I worry about her being targeted by Hai and Drea on account of her day-one advantage, so she gets a Not.
ALI – Lindsay – HOT
Lindsay’s in a pretty great spot. She’s close with Jonathan, so she’s not going anywhere. Not to mention, she’s under the radar enough that I don’t think people will be looking at her when they’re picking off the Taku four at the merge. My worry for Lindsay is, eventually, she’s going to have to start playing a slightly bigger game to gain respect. But in the pre-merge, she’s doing a great job of letting the game come to her.
GUS – Maryanne – HOT
Maryanne gets a Hot because as far as we know, nobody on any other tribe has it in for her, and she’s still in a solid position within Taku. I could see her being the boot in the very unlikely happenstance that Taku goes to Tribal before the merge (just because there’s been some commentary about her high energy rubbing people the wrong way). But I just don’t think that’s likely.
ALI – Maryanne – NOT
Maryanne’s definitely on the bottom of this four whether she sees it or not. Couple that with potentially getting in a fight with Jonathan next week… well, it doesn’t look great for her game. In the unlikely event Jonathan loses a challenge, I’m afraid she’s on the chopping block (literally based on the Next Time On footage.)
GUS – Omar – HOT
Omar is in a good position within Taku, and he’s shielded well by Jonathan, who likes him. This might bode ill for him come merge time if everyone knows that Omar is Jonathan’s number one (if, in fact, he is). But regardless, I feel like he’s in a good position for a while.
ALI – Omar – HOT
Omar’s got a great meat shield in Jonathan. Their close relationship means he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. However, he will have a tricky task once the merge hits in keeping that shield around as long as possible, and Jonathan just made that way harder for him. Hopefully, he can keep Jonathan in check as the game progresses. Even more importantly, when the time comes, he will need to figure out how to step out of Jonathan’s enormous shadow.
GUS – Rocksroy – NOT
Interesting that Rocksroy chose to stand by Swati in the face of an otherwise unified tribe against her. I’m not sure whether he knew she was the target or not (I suspect he did) or if he was banking on her Shot In The Dark succeeding. But his choice to publicly align himself against the rest of his tribe was a curious one. Regardless, most of what we’re seeing with Rocksroy is more of the same—well-intentioned ‘parental’ guidance coming across as micro-managerial bossiness and pretension. I don’t think he’s on the cusp of being sent home, but I certainly don’t see him winning, either.
ALI – Rocksroy – NOT
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Rocksroy had a pretty slam dunk easy vote this episode and yet made the baffling decision to vote for Tori. Swati was going home, period, so why stick his neck out for her? All he did was alienate himself from Tori going forward, and for what?
GUS – Romeo – HOT
Romeo gets a Hot by dint of being in a good position within his tribe. He’s still pretty under-the-radar, so I’m not feeling awesome about his chances of winning the game right now, but the alliance that he’s not in fell apart entirely, which can only be good for him.
ALI – Romeo – HOT
Romeo and Drea are now in the power positions in this tribe, and we’ve seen that when the chips are down, Drea’s willing to follow Romeo’s lead on who goes. The next vote for this tribe may be the opportunity Drea has been looking for to oust the wild card that is Rocksroy. Or, they could axe the loose end that is Tori. Either way, it looks like Romeo may be in the driver’s seat on that decision since Drea may want to lay low after this week’s drama. Romeo’s become a major player without increasing his threat level, and Drea will be a fabulous shield for himself.
GUS – Tori – NOT
Tori did a good job maneuvering herself out from under the microscope and off of the chopping block (that she put herself on), and for that, I applaud her. But I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the initial misgivings that led her to be an initial boot target have been fully assuaged, and because of that, I have to bet against our draft pick. More than that, her initial “young” alliance has utterly collapsed; she’s now at the mercy of a tribe made up of people she did not align with early on. On the one hand, this may allow her to be a free agent, but on the other (more likely) hand, the three “older” Ikas may choose to simply cut her loose before the merge.
ALI – Tori – NOT
Tori did exactly what people on the bottom need to do, sew chaos and throw other people under the bus. Her gameplay this week was honestly a master class in how to let other players go down. She said exactly what she needed to in order to change the target to Swati without bringing attention back onto herself. We can’t count Tori out as a player going forward because, time and time again, she’s been able to crawl her way back from the bottom. That being said, she will have to pull off some pretty major work to get into a power position. Since her situation is still precarious, I’m not ready to give her a Hot yet. However, I have to say I respect her play this week. Nice work, Tori.
GUS – Drea – HOT
With the utter implosion of the “young” alliance on Ika, Drea suddenly finds herself in an excellent spot. Rocksroy and Romeo appear to have no desire to cut her, and most of the Ikas who wanted her gone have found their torches extinguished.
ALI – Drea – HOT
I have to hand it to Drea; I thought she was absolutely doomed once she revealed her extra vote to Swati. Her ability to bounce back from what could have been two career-ending reveals (the girl’s alliance and the extra vote) speaks volumes, not just about her own savvy but also in the relationship she was able to build with Romeo. I’m feeling great about Drea’s game, but I worry that extra vote may come back to haunt her as her threat level continues to rise.
Ali: Right away, how in the world is Maryanne a Hot for you this week? I’m absolutely baffled by this decision. Even more baffled than I was at Daniel’s tribal performance last week.
Gus: What did she do that was poorly done? She was just kinda vibing this episode; she’s hidden behind the world’s biggest meat shield in Jonathan. And she’s still getting along just fine with the rest of her tribe. What about that merits Not?
Ali: This feels like an appeal to ignorance argument. The lack of bad behavior doesn’t necessarily demand a Hot. I could just as easily say that she hasn’t done anything super impactful, so she hasn’t earned a Hot. But my particular qualm with Maryanne is twofold. First, she is clearly at the bottom of the tribe. Second, it looks like she’s going to be getting into a fight with Jonathan next week. In a conflict between the two of them, no one’s going to take Maryanne’s side over the beefy boi of the season. King Beef, if you will.
Gus: Ah, yes, the “next time on” segment. Famous for being a completely accurate representation of what’s coming up in the episode and never being footage and soundbites taken out of context to paint a misleading, titillating picture of strife to get viewers to tune in. But, you’re right about the first part. I went back and forth on Maryanne.
Ali: But, dearest, did you see what’s notably absent from the “next time on”?
Gus: Enlighten me.
Ali: The merge. So we can say for some certainty that there will not be a merge event next episode. Therefore, we have to judge folks based on the tribe that they’re on and where they fall in the pecking order. If I were purely basing all of my assumptions on the “next time on,” then go ahead and drag me since that would be dumb. But my point about Maryanne still stands. She’s on the bottom of her tribe, a tribe that she is going to continue to be on next episode, a tribe that will vote her out if they go to tribal.
Do I think they’re going to tribal? No, Jonathan’s a human cheat code. But if they do, Maryanne’s the vote. And she’ll continue to be at the bottom of that alliance come the merge, and it doesn’t look like she recognizes it.
Gus: I’m just not picking up on this strong anti-Maryanne sentiment you seem to be getting. I dunno. I think she might be on the bottom. She’s been pointed out as rubbing people the wrong way a couple of times—but that might also be a red herring. I could see it going either way. But, I’m thinking in terms of longevity too, and Maryanne has nobody coming for her head in the long run, whereas Lindsay still has her day-one advantage that you wisely pointed out means that, come merge, Drea and Hai may be coming for her throat. And even if the merge isn’t this week, it’s bound to be soon—we’re down to 13 players.
Ali: Lindsay has expressed annoyance with her more than once. Jonathan has explicitly said he is closest with Omar and Lindsay but that he wants to work with Maryanne. Omar doesn’t seem particularly close with her. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, or maybe I’m picking up on some groundwork being laid for a Maryanne slaughter-fest. We’ll see.
Let’s bring that around to Lindsay. I get giving Jonathan a Not, but what has Lindsay done to deserve this?
Gus: She has that thing that means she might be doomed come the merge. I forgot what they’re calling it. The Amulet? Yeah. She has an Amulet. Listen, I was really confused about what to do with the rest of Taku. I think they’re safe until the merge, and I just wanted to forecast. Lindsay’s paths to the end are fewer than Maryanne’s in my eyes, that’s all.
Ali: Because you think that the other folks will perceive Lindsay as more entrenched with the four than Maryanne? I suppose I can kind of see that as she will have at least one person on the other tribes that she knows thanks to her going out to the advantage island.
Gus: Yeah, and because I think Hai and Drea will target her to strengthen their amulets. But what about Lydia? Where are we landing on her? I think she’s great, but I just don’t see her improving her game situation very much.
Ali: Ah, I didn’t think about the amulets. That’s a good point. I think this week improved Lydia’s situation, but largely because Hai was fully able to take advantage of the tribal fracture and get himself in with Mike. If Mike’s serious about wanting to work with Hai, and he struck me as very genuine in that moment, then he’s going to be on board with working with Lydia. That gives them a majority over the rest of the tribe. Lydia’s in a good spot, but it was largely due to Hai’s machinations. So I can see why it would be tricky to figure out where to put her since she wasn’t the active mover and shaker in her game.
Gus: That’s a great point. She did find herself in an improved position, but she didn’t put herself in that improved situation. For me, because we’ve had several weeks in a row now where she’s merely found herself in an improved situation but hasn’t done anything about it herself, she merited another Not. I do understand your point, however. Anyway, I think that’s it for this week.
Ali: Join us next week to see if Gus and I are shocked by another Swati-style sinking. Toodles!