Welcome to Season 44’s Next Time On Survivor weekly feature on the Inside Survivor site! If you’re new around here, this is a tiny space where I give my best attempts at understanding preview trailers and make my predictions for the next episodes of the show. Let’s jump right in!
The final five players heading into the finale episode are Heidi, Carson, Yam Yam, Lauren, and Carolyn. As with the typical formula every season, the preview trailers mostly give us a peak into the final challenge, highlighting the effort and amount of grit it has taken the players to reach this stage so close to the end.
We get some soundbites from each player reflecting on their position in the game, but Carson’s stands out the most to me. He says, “Everyone here knows that I can beat them,” as he stands alone on an empty beach, looking around. Perhaps there’s a new hidden immunity idol or a final advantage at the new campsite the players are at. It certainly won’t be surprising, as this was the case for a few seasons already.
For me, Carson is the player to watch in the coming finale episode. As he rightly pointed out, the other players know he’s a threat to win the game and will certainly try to take him out before the final tribal council.
There’s not much else to unpack in the trailers, so I’ll just get to my predictions. I think Lauren will be the next to go. Having won two immunity challenges, it’s been suggested that she’s a challenge threat, and the players won’t want to risk her winning the last few immunities. With Jaime gone in the last episode, Lauren doesn’t seem to have tight connections with the remaining players and may also be seen as a jury threat as she has a couple of allies on the jury, there through no fault of hers, so they might still vote for her to win.
Next, I predict that Carson will get taken out at the final four fire-making challenge. I don’t see Carson winning despite the great game he’s been playing, as there are gaps in his story, and it pales in comparison to my winner prediction. I think he has the best shot at winning if he makes the final tribal council, though, so working backwards, I, unfortunately, don’t think he’s going to make it to that stage.
We’ve been seeing this repeated shot of fire in the reflection of Carson’s glasses and him standing by the camp’s fire in previous episodes, perhaps foreshadowing that he’ll be competing in the fire-making challenge in the finale.
Who do I think will be competing against Carson? Based on this single quick shot in the NTOS preview of Carolyn foregrounded by fire, I’m guessing it’ll be her. I don’t really have other clues or signals to base this prediction on. And many different things can happen in the episode, especially with the advantages that may be in play.
Finally, between Carolyn, Heidi, and Yam Yam at the final tribal council, my winner prediction is Yam Yam! It must be clear to the players that he’s been making strategic moves that prove to be successful. We’ve been reminded that everyone who has voted for him has been put on the jury, and I’m sure he’ll remind the jury of this fact again in his final tribal council speech.
Yam Yam is a charismatic player who has made the players on the jury, the remaining players in the game, Jeff, and us, the viewers, laugh countless times throughout the season. The jury will feel good voting for him to win, even if he’s been the cause of their elimination. The season’s storytelling has kept Yam Yam in focus, with a great underdog story of the three Tika players getting to the finale. I would be very surprised if one of them doesn’t win, and I’m quite certain that Yam Yam is the frontrunner who will seal the deal in the end.
It’s been an interesting season! Leave your finale predictions in the comments below.