Welcome to Season 45’s Next Time On Survivor weekly feature on the Inside Survivor site! If you’re new around here, I’m Steph from sunny, tropical, humid Singapore. This is a tiny space where I give my best attempts at understanding preview trailers and make my predictions for the show’s next episodes.
Episode 9’s NTOS trailer begins with Bruce reflecting, “My closest ally is gone, now it’s becoming scary.” Indeed, things don’t look great for the lone returnee. At the last tribal council, Kellie was voted out, blindsiding most Belo players left in the game. Bruce’s next closest ally, Jake, has pretty much embraced his position at the bottom of the tribe, Katurah flipped on the original Belo tribe during the Sifu vote, and Kendra seems to be closer to the women than Belo at this point.
Bruce is probably right to be scared, as it doesn’t look like he has secure numbers to be safe at this juncture. With Emily working with Reba, they have the majority of five out of the nine remaining players in the game. I think Bruce’s days are numbered, as I don’t see anyone besides Jake willing to prioritise working with him.
Nonetheless, there are bigger things incoming for Bruce to be scared about. The tribe receives tree mail previewing the upcoming challenge and is tasked to divide the tribe into thirds — three teams of three players each will compete in the immunity challenge, but only one person will earn immunity. Later on at the challenge, Jeff announces that “all three will lose their vote,” likely meaning that the losing team of three will not be able to vote at tribal council.
From the trailers, we see the players lined up: Drew, Jake, & Dee, Kendra, Bruce, & Julie, and Emily, Katurah, & Austin. Though this may just be random and not how the players will be split for the immunity challenge. In any case, this twist means that there’ll only be six votes happening in the next episode, which allows players to more easily orchestrate moves with fewer votes.
In another part of the NTOS trailer, Emily tells Austin, “If Dee is in the final 3, Dee wins.” So far, the Reba players — Dee, Austin, Julie, Drew —have been Emily’s alliance, so this would be quite a big shake-up. From what we can see over the past episodes, Dee seems to be in a good position to win. She has a strong core alliance and good relationships with the rest, with a potential all-women’s alliance. She’s also good at challenges and has been portrayed as a rather strategic player with a good grasp of the social relationships. Emily’s judgement about Dee is probably right, but her telling Austin may not be.
In a confessional, Austin reveals, “I can’t blindside Dee. I love talking with her; I love hanging out with her.” This honestly sounds like a budding showmance confessional, but it does speak of and emphasises the tight Reba alliance. Even though past tribals didn’t see the Belo players voting together, I think they may recognise the threat of Reba and the necessity to weaken their numbers before it’s too late. If Emily pitches to the right people, she could get enough votes on board to blindside Dee.
However, it all depends on who has voting power in the next episode. My prediction is that we’re continuing down a rather strict Reba vs. Belo path. If there are more available Reba votes, I think it’s Bruce going home as people will want to get rid of his idol. There have also been discussions hinting at a total blindside so he won’t be spooked to play his idol.
If there are more available Belo votes, I could see Julie going home as collateral damage for Dee again. I predict that Katurah and Kendra will end up with the deciding power, as they sit fluidly willing and able to work with the other players, not in the solid core of any existing alliance.
What do you think is going to happen in Episode 9? Leave your predictions in the comments!