Welcome to Season 43’s Next Time On Survivor feature on the Inside Survivor site! It’s a tiny space on the internet where I look at episode preview trailers, attempt to decipher them, and give my thoughts on what I think may happen in the upcoming episode.
This week’s preview begins with Coco and Vesi arriving at Baka’s camp. There’s lots of welcoming, introductions, excitement — scenes and confessionals all pointing towards a merge. However, Jeff announces at the challenge that there’s “one final twist.” Of course, making the merge isn’t going to be so straightforward, especially after the last two seasons.
In a confessional, Sami says, “Somebody’s dream is going to end,” followed by Cassidy adding, “There’s nowhere to hide right now.” My first thoughts are that these are generic soundbites that could be taken from any point of the episode or any point of the season for that matter. But if I were to ignore this impulse, I’m wondering if the twist will see only a portion of the remaining players going to tribal council, lending credence to Cassidy’s confessional if there’ll be fewer players up for elimination.
Next, in the scene showing the players at the challenge location, we briefly see two mats and a sit-out bench by the side. With 13 players left, the logical setup would be to split into two teams of six, with one player sitting out of the challenge. From pre-season press, it was shared that Season 43 won’t be featuring the controversial hourglass twist, but there’ll still be an element of earning your position on the merged tribe.
I predict that the winning challenge team will receive immunity, leaving the losing team vulnerable to being voted out. Perhaps the solo player sitting out of the challenge gets to bet on a team to win — if they choose the winning team, they’ll also receive immunity and vice versa. We’ve seen this arrangement happen before for reward challenges, where the sit-out gets to go on reward or go back to camp empty-handed, depending on which team they choose to back. If this arrangement plays out, we’ll potentially see a 13-player tribal council with only 6 or 7 players eligible to get votes.
In any case, this merge with a twist will definitely shake up the tribe dynamics. For starters, I believe the Beware Advantage idols are going to become public knowledge. As of Episode 5, all five players on Baka know about the mechanics involving the beads. I think Sami and Gabler, who aren’t playing with Jeanine and Elie, could sniff out where the other two starting tribes’ idols are.
This is really to the detriment of Cody and Karla — not only will their immunity idols be revealed, but they may also be exposed as untrustworthy or deceitful for manipulating their tribe. It’s pretty unfortunate for Karla, especially, who managed to navigate obtaining the beads alone without drawing suspicion to herself.
Other advantages and information may also be spotlighted. In the journey taken by James, Owen, and Noelle in Episode 3, the two guys transparently allowed Noelle to be the only one who risked her vote to get the advantage. Although they don’t know it’s the Vote Steal, I think this connection will certainly affect how alliances are made. I could see the three of them bringing together their closest allies to form a bigger bloc to tide through this important vote.
There are way too many unknown factors to determine where everyone leans, so my predictions will be based on my overall impressions of players. Jeanine and Cody stand out as potential targets for the next vote. In the last episode, Jeanine was deemed to be playing too hard by Sami and has been presented as over-confident with her ally Elie. With Baka (and probably the other tribes) shortly knowing that she’s lost her vote, I think Jeanine will be a possible choice to vote out.
Since the Nneka vote in Episode 3, I’ve seen Cody as on the outs of his tribe. We have not seen him make any more strong relationships; though, to be fair, we haven’t seen as much strategy from Vesi since they’ve been winning challenges. Without solid alliances, I think Cody will be a player that others can forego.
What’s the big twist that’s going to happen next episode? Who’s going to be in trouble? Leave your predictions in the comments below!