In our new feature, Gus and Ali, a real-life couple and fans of Survivor, will be individually ranking the Survivor players into two categories, Hot or Not. The Hot list symbolizes anyone we feel has put themselves in a good position or exhibited good gameplay that week. Those people are individuals we think will not go home in the next episode. The Not list is people that we feel have had their Survivor stock take a significant hit that week. We will then share our rankings with one another and have a chance to trash talk each others’ analysis. Also, we encourage merciless teasing to anyone who has someone on their Hot list go home the following week.
Go ahead, hit us with your best shot. We’re probably wrong anyway, but that’s why it’s fun!
Disclaimer: Our article contains discussion centered around information revealed as part of the “next time on” preview segment. Should you wish to watch this coming week’s episode without any foreknowledge, don’t read this article!
Alison’s right, in the game of Survivor, you can’t save everyone. I thought it was wise that she allowed Alec to go without sinking with him. I also felt that it was telling that Gabby stuck her neck out to make sure that Alison did not go home (and to stick it to Carl, but I digress). Had Alison not made those connections with Gabby, she would certainly be sitting on the jury bench. This week opens up a pathway for Alison to make some moves with Gabby going forward. Her drastically changing position in the game earns her a Hot from me this week.
Alison’s connection to Gabby has begun to bear fruit – for Alison. Honestly, Alison should have gone home this week. The Davids finally had equal numbers and, frankly, should have been able to snipe another Goliath. However, Carl pissing Gabby off (and targeting Alison) resulted in Gabby’s flipping the game on its head and voting for Carl, effectively saving Alison. With social dynamics beginning to come into play in Alison’s favor, and her challenge performance being (generally) good, Alison looks to be in a pretty terrific spot.
This was a hard one! Her only tight ally in the game went home this week, so that probably earns her a Not? With all of the Goliaths available to target this week, the target was never Kara, and that’s quite the achievement? This has to speak a bit to Kara managing to build decent connections and keep her threat level low, so maybe a Hot? But we haven’t seen Kara making strong connections with any of the others on the beach, and perhaps the reason they don’t see her as threatening enough to eliminate is truly because she isn’t threatening? So maybe a Not? Kara was recruited to eliminate Carl, showing that there is at least some avenue for her game going forward, so shouldn’t that give her a Hot? In the end, I haven’t seen enough of Kara’s relationships with those still in the game to give her a Hot this week. Right now, her path to the end is dubious, and I’m going to need to see Kara making some inroads this upcoming week in order for me to be confident in her game’s future.
I think Ali might fight me on this one, but I’m really excited about Kara’s game. She’s lost two of her closest allies over the past couple of episodes in Dan and Alec, but she hasn’t let that faze her. Rather, she’s still keeping herself alive in the game and deepening connections with her fellow tribemates – even being on the right side of the Carl vote (which looked like a successful exploitation of Gabby’s dependence on Alison and Christian).
Angelina took far too long to realize that the Goliaths don’t care about her future in this game. Now, she’s finally switched, and she’s acting like she’s been a part of this alliance from the get-go. The Davids no longer need Angelina, and they are going to cut her as soon as it benefits them. Either that, or Angelina makes such an obvious goat that Sandra would suggest eating her, which might get her to the end, but not in the way she wants. Top that off with the fact that Angelina voted incorrectly this week, and she’s solidly landed herself a Not. Now, I feel for this girl, because there’s really not much room for her to play and that has to be frustrating. Honestly, kudos to her for trying to stay in the game any way she can. But something tells me that if this girl manages to make it to the end, she’ll have as much luck negotiating for jury votes as she did rice. She certainly couldn’t start any lower.
I think Angelina is playing too hard with her head. She’s overvaluing things such as resumé potential and “smart” gameplay, instead of focusing on relationships and interpersonal connections. Even her gambit to earn more rice from the tribe – something that I would imagine would hold very little sway at the Final Tribal Council – was apparently, in her view, a strategic coup. That’s not to say it’s not a good thing to do – but her overanalytical gameplay, combined with the incessant bluff-vote target she’s holding, all but guarantees that Angelina is going to fall short.
Davie’s closest ally in the game went home and he was left out of the vote. Bad week for Davie…
Nothing like a blindside to kill your ranking. Davie’s loss of Carl and seeming relegation to the minority bodes ill for him in the game. And when combined with his lack of idols and advantages, Davie is relying purely on social capital and challenges to get himself through the game. I’m not sure whether the Fisher King can float through on old-school abilities such as these, especially after establishing himself as a decently flashy, threatening, cunning player over the past few weeks. With just Angelina and Nick working with him last tribal, I worry about Davie’s longevity.
Finally! Hallelujah! Choirs of angels! Princess Pascuzzi who was promised made a move and it worked. Gus has started panicking that Gabby is going to win the game and that he’s going to have a lot of explaining to do about his feelings about her. That means she definitely did well this week. However, I’m still worried about her for two reasons. One, that her behavior upon Carl’s elimination could be seen as a gloat, which isn’t the best note to leave someone on when you are trying to get their vote. Two, that Carl really seems to think Gabby is an emotional mess, which… as an emotional mess myself… he’s not wrong. But Carl is going to go right to Ponderosa and tell everyone all about how he feels about her gameplay, and I have a feeling it’s not going to be a great report. Ultimately, Gabby’s game is on the right track, and I hope she keeps the ball rolling.
Where did all of this come from?! Gabby’s vengeance against Carl was unbelievable – she definitely fulfilled the unfortunate accidental prophecy Mike laid out a couple weeks ago about her ability to lead. After this past episode, my fear for Gabby is that she is about to go full Icarus. She’s gotten a little taste of glory and power – with her looking to be set up to obliterate Christian next week; she might find herself flying too close to the sun. The other tricky point about Gabby’s game is that she’s relied solely on supporting relationships, or dependencies – things that we’ve seen bite people in the butt later on in the game. It’s one thing to be blindsided by somebody that you’ve been seeing as a strategic element, or even to be cut by a close ally at the last minute. It’s another thing entirely to see yourself – as Christian does – effectively just watching somebody’s back, or taking care of them for the game… only to be slaughtered by them out of the blue. But I’m really getting ahead of myself. For this episode, Gabby was driving the entire game. Kudos.
Theoretically, Mike is in a good swing position, but we’ve seen him throw away good positions before. It might be enough to count Mike as a Hot if it weren’t for Christian’s (correct) suspicions of him and his motives going forward. Mike’s confessionals about how he is in the swing position and therefore running the game set off alarm bells in my head. Who else had confessionals like that? Natalia, Natalie, Dan… And those are just a few examples this season. From a thematic standpoint, the characters showing hubris need to go home to fit the narrative of David vs. Goliath. It looks like Christian and Mike might be headed for a civil war, and at the moment, Christian has more connections in this game than Mike. As we’ve seen in Survivor history, rivalries often end in the elimination of both parties one right after the other. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike’s ultimate showdown with Christian leads to both of their demises. Lastly, there’s a power vacuum with Carl “the Godfather” Boudreaux gone, and Mike seems to think he can fill that void.
On the plus side, Mike was in a powerful position for this week’s second Tribal Council. On the negative side, Mike’s power position is most likely obsolete following the vote. With Gabby, Christian, Kara, Alison and Mike all having gunned for Carl, Mike is ostensibly in the majority; however, with this season being what it is, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the game get shaken up in a way that Mike becomes targeted for either being a “flipper” or for playing the middle. Additionally, Mike burned his Rockstars bond with Nick in order to keep Goliaths in the majority, and I’m not sure whether that will turn out to have been worth it in the long run. Long story short: in spite of a pretty decent episode of gameplay, Mike gets a Not from me due to his power position resulting more from circumstance than from anything that Mike actually worked for.
Much like Carl and Gabby, I feel like Mike and Christian are on a collision course themselves, as I stated above. Mike’s sentiments about Christian being a threat definitely haven’t changed, and others will match his as the game goes on. Especially because two people that Christian betrayed last episode know about Christian’s idol, and now have no reason to keep that secret. I tried telling him last week that this was a huge mistake, but none of these people ever seem to listen to me. I have long been predicting that Nick would be the one to turn on Christian, which could be why we were so teased about The Rockstars in the pre-merge. I think Christian leaving Nick out of the vote this week will be a fatal mistake. This week, Christian demonstrated that he will ultimately side with Gabby’s concerns and will leave Nick out of the loop, which, Nick is smart enough to recognize establishes a clear pecking order in his alliance. Couple that with Nick’s perfect voting record going out the window this week, Nick is going to be looking to make a big move in the jury’s eyes. I predict Nick is going to be coming for Christian soon, and he’s going to use his connections with Mike to make it happen.
A series of awful moves for Christian this week. In spite of clearly explaining why voting for Alec would be a horrible move, Christian proceeded to vote for Alec (although, to be fair, his vote was not about to make any difference). Following this, he blindly followed Gabby in her explosive elimination of Carl – once again dropping himself into at least some sort of minority. I’m not entirely sure what Christian’s endgame plan is at this point, but Gabby is looking far and far worse as a partner with her lashing out and unexpectedly aggressive strategy – and I’m worried that he’s soon to have run out of safe players to bring to Final 3.
Nick’s closest ally, Christian, left him out of the vote this week. That doesn’t look good. Nick’s Rockstar ally, Mike, also left him out of the vote this week. That looks worse. Perhaps the connections that Nick has formed on the island are not as strong as one would initially assume. On the other hand, Nick found the idol, so he does have a little security. But idols can only take you so far when your allies ally and you’re not part of that equation. Nick’s game is far from dead, but he’s hit a snag in his master plan. As I predicted above, I think this could be a start of Mike vs. Christian, with the scorned Nick serving as a key player in the ultimate outcome. With Christian’s idol on one potential side, and Nick’s idol on another. We may be in for a Clash of the Idols. Maybe that’s major fan fiction, but perhaps it’s the climax this season has been building toward. Regardless, I think Nick is a savvy enough player to come back from this week, but his game was rough enough that he’s earned his first Not of the merge.
It truly breaks my heart to give Nick a Not – and it’s something I really wrestled with this week. Sure, Nick found another idol – and good for him for that. But he also found himself against Christian at Tribal, something that Ali had correctly predicted weeks ago would come about as the result of a Gabby intervention. Nick is down in the numbers right now – but I think he might actually thrive as an underdog, just based on how we’ve seen him play so far. That being said, he has lost a LOT of strong alliances – Christian, Gabby, and Mike being the most significant. With just Davie on his side, I’m starting to worry that this David’s slingshot might just be running out of stones if he can’t sling an idol right between somebody else’s eyes – and very soon.
RETROSPECTIVE: ALEC MERLINO
This week, we said goodbye to the wonderful Alec. Gus and I loved watching his bold gameplay this season. He will be missed.
Over the course of the season, Alec received:
Five Hots and four Nots from Gus (+1°)
Five Hots and four Nots from Ali (+1°)
Culminating in a total of ten Hots and eight Nots (+2°)
-Ali and Gus agreed on their rankings for Alec every single episode.
-Alec is the third castaway that Ali and Gus have never disagreed upon, following Jeremy and Natalie.
RETROSPECTIVE: CARL BOUDREAUX
Ali hopes that Gus loves her as much as Carl loves beer. In seriousness though, this episode brought about the downfall of two great players this season. Next episode, we’ll pour one out for Carl “The Godfather” “Beer King” Boudreaux.
Over the course of the season, Carl received:
Five Hots and four Nots from Gus (+1°)
Five Hots and four Nots from Ali (+1°)
Culminating in a total of ten Hots and eight Nots (+2°)
-Ali and Gus agreed on Carl every single week.
-Carl is the fourth castaway that Ali and Gus have never disagreed upon.
TRASH TALK ZONE
Gus: AND WE HAVE A DISAGREEMENT! Kara is about to slay her way all the way to the end Michele style. She’s NEVER been a target and she’s ALWAYS got an in with somebody. Even though she’s lost two of her closest allies over the past three weeks, she’s STILL on the right side of the vote and she’s STILL getting what she wants.
Ali: She hasn’t been a target, but she easily could be this week.
Gus: But why would she? Nobody’s even considered targeting her before, except for Elizabeth waaaay back in the Vuku days. Christian, Gabby, Angelina, Mike are WAY easier targets at this point.
Ali: Sure, but I’m also thinking endgame wise. At this point, I haven’t seen her building enough concrete connections with people who want to take her to the end. She’s not close to any of the remaining Goliaths in the game. At this point, if she gets to the end, a win might be an uphill battle.
Gus: I dunno, man. She’s tight enough with Gabby that Gabby came to her about her plan to blindside Christian (according to the ‘Next Time On’). And if she’s at the end sitting next to any combination of Angelina, Mike, or Gabby, I think she’d win. Christian, no. Nick, no. Davie, maybe. Alison, maybe.
Ali: Oh, so now we’re allowed to use the Next Time On. When I did it, you got annoyed.
Gus: I mean, when in Rome.
Ali: Okay, but overall, we are getting closer and closer to the endgame, like I’ve said. We have to start thinking about the jury and what they’re looking for. It’s why I gave Gabby a Not last week, and it’s why I’m giving Kara a Not now. Granted, there’s a possibility that she could win just because so many Goliaths are on the jury, but I feel like they are too much of gameplayers to let that happen and none of them have seemed too bitter.
Gus: I suppose. But I think it’s just as likely that the Davids are going to eat one another in the next couple of weeks and leave the Goliaths to traipse their way to FTC as brand-new Davids. And, let’s look at Kara’s story: she’s been an underdog for practically the entire game, even when she was in the majority tribe. She survived being Dan’s shield, she survived her way through the Vuku massacre, and she survived all through the merge.
Ali: In my opinion, there might be one Goliath at most in the final 3. Kara has a good shot, but she’s the second most threatening Goliath there. Why would anyone take her over Mike or Angelina?
Gus: Nick, Christian and Gabby are about to implode all over one another, and who is the only remaining David that Kara had a relationship with in the pre-merge? Davie. If Kara can get Davie on her side, via the guise of ‘protecting him’ from the Davids’ strife, who’s to say she couldn’t get a F3 of herself, Angelina and Davie? Nick and Christian are likely going to be hurling idols all over the place in the next couple of weeks, so there’s no reason that Kara couldn’t idol her way to the end from, say, F5 if that were necessary. And it would provide a nice little payoff to Alison and Angelina’s pre-merge discussion about women never being able to get idols. Plus, who are the perceived “threats” at this point? 1) Christian 2) Alison 3) Davie/Nick. If Gabby tries to kill Christian, I would fully expect to see her rise into these ranks of “oh crap, vote that one out.” Kara is primed to float by on social guise alone.
Ali: But who would take her to the end? I mean, Kara has relationships with the jury that could clinch her the win, but she’d have to get there. And you are writing a lot of fan fiction about how that could happen, but I need to see a couple more things before I start crowning her the winner. If this week with Gabby works out as teased, I will one hundred percent flip on my opinions, but I need to see her with some tight allies before I can label her a Hot. I have to see her path to the end, and it isn’t clear to me yet.
Gus: What is it with that phrase? You adore that phrase. And it’s NOT fan fiction! It’s a reasonable forecast based upon what we’ve heard and seen from the players thus far. Gabby’s about to explode, and Nick is unhappy with Christian. I suppose my Davie stuff and the Idol stuff is all fan fiction, but still – if we’re discussing ways that Kara would make FTC, that’s an option. Besides, I think it’s possible that the players still remaining in the game are overvaluing strategic play and undervaluing relationships. Angelina, Davie, and Nick, in particular, seem to have started to lean heavily on resume building and big moves – things that we’ve seen not always pan out in recent seasons. Dom built a stronger resume than Wendell, but Wendell won.
Ali: If we’re talking about things that could happen. I think, based on that scene with Angelina, the person most likely to find an idol might be Alison. But we’ve seen both Kara and Alison look for idols, so I guess it could be Kara? But I just feel like they’ve focused more on Alison physically looking. It could also be Angelina that finds the idol. Or, even Gabby. Though then I think your head would explode.
Gus: Sounds right. So, who’s going home this week? Pick your two.
Ali: Christian or Mike.
Gus: Sounds good. I think Christian or Nick. Or Gabby. I very much think it will be a David.
Ali: I thought we were supposed to pick two?
Gus: Gah. Fine. Nick/Christian.
Ali: Nicky isn’t going anywhere. Winner of Survivor David vs. Goliath: Nicky Dixon/Thoroughbred/Rockstar esquire.
Gus: Yeah I hope so, but I’m scared. My two remaining winner choices are Nick and Kara, but we shouldn’t fight more about Kara because you might throw your tea at me.
Ali: My winner picks are Nick (again) and… GABBY! Be afraid, Schlanbusch! Be very afraid!
Gus: If she earns it, but I don’t think she will.
Ali: There’s still a lot of game left… Alright, everyone, Gus is already late to work, so he’s got to jet. Tune in next week! Bye!