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 opens with a night scene of Owen heatedly telling Gabler and Sami, “James lied to my face.” This likely refers to how James told Owen he was safe right before the challenge when they were volunteering to sit out for rice. We knew — and probably at least Sami knew — that Owen was the target before he won immunity, making Owen’s distrust in James valid. I do think this speaks more of James’ mishandling of his relationships rather than boasting Owen as a super perceptive and discerning player, though.
For me, what stood out in this exchange is the Sami, Gabler, and Owen trio — three players originally from Baka who have been portrayed together consistently. I believe this three will stick together as they seem like one of the more established and regular alliances this season, compared to other relationships — such as Sami and the folks on Coco or Jesse and Cody — which aren’t as fleshed out.
Next, we see Noelle telling Karla, “I’m gonna use my steal-a-vote,” followed by a confessional from Noelle saying, “I woke up this morning wanting to make a big move.” For starters, it seems like Owen returns Noelle’s advantage to her. I think Owen is more concerned about getting out of the bottom and positioning himself as a trustworthy ally. As for Karla and Noelle, we haven’t really seen this pairing prior to this scene, but it does make sense for Noelle, who hasn’t developed many options.
To me, Karla leads with her willingness to consider everyone a possible ally, speaking of her strong social game, compared to others who seem less open to building relationships to work with people on the bottom. However, I don’t expect Karla to really be working with Noelle, as it does little to advance her position. I think she will align will Noelle for the moment just to direct the steal-a-vote in their favour but does not need to keep Noelle around in the long term.
Finally, the last portion of the preview shows Jeff announcing that there are two individual immunity necklaces to be won and that two people will be eliminated. With ten players left, the players will most likely be split into two groups of five to compete for individual immunity, like in past seasons. At the time of writing, I haven’t seen any previews revealing the makeup of the split, but since Noelle and Karla were discussing the vote, they are in all likelihood in the same group up against three others.
On to my predictions: there are a few stories left unconcluded that may cumulate into something this episode. One would be James and his Knowledge is Power advantage and him creating this swear-filled antagonist in Owen. I think James misplays his advantage, thinking he can better control the situation in a smaller tribal of five and gets voted out this week. He’s been presented as rather smug and perhaps even brash. If he’s in the same group as Owen, Cassidy, or Karla, I think they will best him in a blindside.
There’s also a Ryan versus Cassidy rivalry burgeoning — the latter is the only remaining player that voted for Ryan last tribal, hoping for revenge after receiving votes from him during their time together on Coco. I do feel that Cassidy will be the one emerging from this rivalry, as Ryan has been undermined throughout the season; he’s been portrayed as patronising and self-indulgent at times. I think it’ll be pretty anti-climactic for Cassidy to go before taking Ryan and some guys out. If they’re voting in the same group this week, I think Ryan will be going home.
As for my other lesser substantiated predictions. I think Noelle is an easy vote — she was on the bottom prior to last week’s near-unanimous vote and doesn’t seem to have many strong alliances. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was targeted as a safe choice because of the twist this week.
Which two players do you think are going home in the Episode 9? Leave your predictions in the comments below!