Survivor 42

Episode 9 – Hot or Not

Who is Hot or Not after Episode 9?

Photo: CBS

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.

Ali – Drea – HOT

Here’s the deal, Survivor is a microcosm of the things going on in the larger world. Like it or not, Black people have larger hurdles to overcome in our society, and that has ripple effects in and out of the game. I applaud and appreciate Drea and Maryanne for standing up for themselves because, intentional or not, Survivor has a well-documented issue with having minorities getting eliminated early on. There is an unconscious bias problem within this game, and I’m thrilled that this is finally being called out on the show. Certain moments on the show do, by necessity, have to be bigger than the individual game. Thank you to Drea and Maryanne for allowing us all access to that important conversation. I hope that the community I’ve come to love takes some time to reflect on unconscious bias and uplift these brave women for being vulnerable and speaking out against a real-world issue.

From a game perspective, I think playing the idol actually will do a lot for Drea’s game. She still has plenty of advantages up her sleeve but was able to get rid of one of the ones people knew about, thus lessening her threat level. It’s a Hot for me since she felt where the winds were blowing and did what was necessary to protect herself.

Gus – Drea – HOT

Media exists within the world it is produced and consumed in. This is something that is true both for fiction as well as for “reality” television such as Survivor. If anything, it’s more true for Survivor, as Survivor is meant to be a microcosm of the world it’s created in. It’s not my place to provide commentary on lived experiences that are not my own. However, I want to uplift and applaud Drea and Maryanne for the poise and deftness they showed in addressing stark reality during a game that can at times feel like fantasy and for doing all of the right things in the moment.

To comment briefly on strategy, though it was not why Drea played her idol, I’m obligated to mention that it’s good for her down the line to have one fewer Survivor advantage.

Ali – Maryanne – HOT

Sweet Maryanne, I want to thank her so much for sharing her lived experiences with us. It’s so unfair that, in wanting to play a game, there are so many things that factor into a person’s strategy that transcend the show. And that’s the world that we live in, a world we have to strive to make better. But that can only begin to happen when we take the time to listen to what people like Maryanne are saying and truly examine our unconscious bias. This is a conversation about this game that has needed to happen for a long time. And, on a game level, I think that Maryanne may have decreased her threat level by playing the idol that everyone knew about.

Gus – Maryanne – HOT

Everything I said for Drea applies to Maryanne as well. She, too, was faced with a perilous moment and was forced to maneuver a difficult conversation on national television. And both she and Drea couldn’t have navigated the situation better. It is unfortunate that the reality of the situation was that both Maryanne and Drea had to play their idols to diminish accusations that they were weaponizing their race, and it’s even more unfortunate that such accusations persisted regardless.

Ali – Mike – NOT

Mike tried to start an all-male alliance with Rocksroy, and we all saw how that worked out. Did he get roped into the Rocksroy vote? Sure. But I’m not seeing him in a power position right now, which makes me worry about the future.

Gus – Mike – NOT

Mike didn’t get his way this week, but it looks like it won’t be blowing back on him too much, either. He lost an… I hesitate to say an “ally” because his closeness with Rocksroy was pretty recent… but he lost a potential strategic partner in Rocksroy for the sake of Omar’s closeness with Romeo. I doubt whether the long-term effects of this will be as significant as he fears, but considering that he didn’t get his way and had his fears realized, he’s getting a Not this week.

Ali – Jonathan – NOT

Oof. I don’t really know where to start with Jonathan. If you’re finding yourself getting defensive when Black women are speaking about issues that directly impact them, my advice is to sit down, close your mouth, and listen to what they have to say. The moment you can separate yourself and your ego from conversations about race, the better you’ll be at true allyship. Everyone has implicit biases ingrained into them by society, and part of the work all of us have to do as human beings is to acknowledge and work through those ingrained tendencies. We’ve seen a few times now that Jonathan isn’t able to listen, not just to Maryanne and Drea but also to Lindsay. I have nothing against Jonathan as a person, but I feel he may have some growing to do in how he comports himself around other people, especially women and minorities.

Gus – Jonathan – NOT

I was disappointed that Jonathan’s knee-jerk reaction to Maryanne and Drea’s bringing up a very real issue at tribal was to immediately disavow himself of willing or unwilling complicity therewith. Whatever explicit or implicit bias Jonathan may have was never the point of the conversation. The simple fact of the matter is that this conversation—and this issue as a whole—wasn’t about him. Yet he felt the need to inject himself into it regardless, apparently for fear that he was on trial. Jonathan himself was not on trial: society was. The best thing for him to have done in that situation would have been to take the example of Tori and Lindsay—sit back, listen, and learn, all three of which it seems to me he has yet to do in this context.

Ali – Lindsay – NOT

I’ve become convinced that Lindsay is the brains behind her duo with Jonathan. Her big issue is that Jonathan won’t listen to her ideas. Lindsay has all the abilities to become a great player, but she’s stuck dealing with these bigger personalities who won’t give her the freedom of movement. A lot of the responsibility in that regard rests on Jonathan, but Omar has been able to find his way through the game and make his own moves. Lindsay has struggled in that area. Now, this could, in part, be due to the fact that Lindsay is a woman and Omar isn’t, but the problem still remains that Lindsay is going to have to start playing her own game. If Jonathan won’t let her do that, then she needs to get rid of him and fast. However, I was living for her dragging him, and I would like to see more of that.

Gus – Lindsay – NOT

Unfortunately, Lindsay continues to just kind of be there throughout the course of each episode. I don’t really know what she wants or what she’s trying to do, and though she remains in a good position game-wise, that’s not enough to merit a Hot from me.

Ali – Romeo – NOT

I’m really unclear why the hinky vote to Hai was necessary. It just made Romeo a target this week. Romeo got lucky that Rocksroy’s been blowing up his game pretty much since day one. Otherwise, he would have been sitting next to Chanelle on the jury bench. Not to mention, Romeo is also getting blamed by the jury for the Rocksroy vote, which doesn’t bode well for how he’s received down the line.

Gus – Romeo – NOT

Romeo was saved from elimination this week only by the grace of Omar’s being closer with him than with Rocksroy. I don’t see this as much more than a momentary stay of execution. Hopefully he can do something with this added time, but I’m not banking on it.

Ali – Hai – NOT

I’m getting pretty nervous for Hai. He’s been on the back foot since Lydia’s elimination. Now, he’s got Romeo throwing hinky votes his way, which visibly shook him and led to an argument. Hai was able to see that the men’s alliance wasn’t going to be great for his game, and what is nice about his game is that he has the ability to weigh his options. I applaud him on his immunity win, but I’m concerned because it felt like that immunity win might have kept his name off the chopping block. I have a bad feeling that this won’t be the last skirmish Hai gets into with Romeo. I’m struggling with how Hai will navigate his way forward, and I think he might be struggling as well. Not to mention, we saw Hai and Romeo, not Omar, getting blamed by the jury for the Rocksroy vote. If the jury blames Hai for moves, the jury won’t vote for Hai in the end.

Gus – Hai – NOT

Hai’s story this post-merge is “wanting one thing and then being talked into another thing and going along with it,” and, speaking broadly, that does not a winner make. He’s still having strategic conversations and making pushes for things to happen, but those things are not happening. For his inability to inhabit the driver’s seat, he’s got to get another Not from me.

Ali – Omar – HOT

I’ve been liking Omar more and more as this game goes on. I’ve said from the beginning that I think we have a winner on our hands, and this episode solidified my belief. Omar wasn’t down for this “men’s alliance” and was able to navigate himself into a power position, uniting two potential enemies in Hai and Romeo so that his agenda could move forward. That’s a great play on Omar’s part, and he was able to do so without burning Rocksroy as much as the other players. I’m not ready to declare Omar the winner quite yet, but he’s got strong winner upside for me right now.

Gus – Omar – HOT

Omar managed to swing the vote around from Romeo, an easy vote out and popular target, to Rocksroy, a guy who had been spearheading a new alliance, purely through strength of speech. This is the second time we’ve seen him do this after the Lydia vote a couple weeks ago. And the fact that he’s been able to get his way time and time again and the fact that nobody can tell that he’s tight with almost everybody (except apparently Rocksroy) reinforces my belief that Omar is secretly set up for an enormous amount of success.

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.

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