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!
“Natalie, stay calm.”
A nice cooldown episode for Angelina, but with plenty of content. Angelina single-handedly won the challenge for her tribe after a huge come back. She’s one of the few athletic and young people on her tribe, and she’s the majority tribe going into the swap. There are so many targets ahead of her on this tribe that I find it hard to believe that she will be the next target. Goliaths are going to be aware that the gap between themselves and the Davids is shrinking thanks to Alec’s move. Therefore, they’re going to be loathe to get rid of another Goliath this week. Even if they do, the tribe needs Angelina for challenges. I predict she’s safe for at least another week.
Angelina is making inroads with the Ex-Davids on the Jabeni tribe, which is promising considering that Alec just blasted his tribe’s majority in the face. Her and Mike being willing (it seems) to eliminate Natalie in future episodes bodes well for them – it puts them in a bit of a “swing” position between eliminating Natalie and eliminating Lyrsa, which – if the Goliaths wind up the minority (or if they wind up dead even) – is a very good position for them to be in.
“It feels weird to have the Davids in my camp. I want them gone.”
Oof! This swap was a chance for Natalie to start over, and all she’s done is dig herself a deeper hole. I want so badly for Natalie to do well in this game, but it looks like she has a target on her back again. I think her only saving grace this episode was Natalia leaving the game because now the Goliaths are going to need to stay together if they want to have the numbers. However, Nick found a big Natalie sized crack, and he’s a sneaky enough player to use that to his advantage.Furthermore, I’ve been predicting for weeks Natalia would go right after Natalie. Perhaps it will be the other way around? Either way, Survivor set up that rivalry for a reason. Natalie came out the victor, but will it be for long? I doubt it.
While the side of Natalie that we saw this week was more ‘grating’ and less ‘unrepentantly bossy,’ it’s clear that most of her tribemates are exhausted of working with her. That, combined with her attitude towards Nick and Lyrsa, namely “I want them gone,” bodes ill for her in the long term. Last episode I posited that she might want to flip on the remaining Goliaths, as her former tribe had made it clear that she was a bit overbearing; alas, that does not seem to be the case. The implosion of the Goliath side of the Vuku tribe may help her if Mike and Angelina opt to keep the Goliath tribe as the majority; however, if she continues to abrade the Jabeni tribe, we may find it a game of individuals sooner rather than later.
“I feel like this new tribe is the Davids of the Davids of the Davids.”
Mike is right. His tribe will probably go to tribal at least once. However, it doesn’t look like he’ll be going if they do. He lost Jeremy last week and picked up Nick this week. Based on this episode, it looks like Mike has the potential to be in a swing position, and there are lots of targets shielding Mike this upcoming week.
For much the same logic as Angelina, I have Mike as a Hot. He’s made inroads with Nick (if not Lyrsa); however he seems to also be keeping those inroads at arm’s length. The “rockstars” alliance is real cute, and Mike seems almost to be playing off of Nick’s overzealousness to throw himself into alliances, which puts Mike firmly in the power position within this grouping.
“I know there’s no way a David’s going to win playing with only Davids.”
Alright! Alright! I’ll give Nick his first Hot from me. Yes, Nick is in the minority, but he’s also the only young man on the tribe, so they will probably need to keep him around for challenges. He’s making connections with people and found a (albeit glaringly obvious) crack. Should it come down to it, I don’t think Nick is leaving this week. However, I do worry that Angelina is going to see right through him to the threat at his core. That could be the thing that screws him over in the long run. I still think he’s way overplaying and now he has three named alliances: Mason-Dixon, Thoroughbreds, and Rockstars, oh my!
I gotta say, all season Ali has been trying to convince me that Nick is overplaying; this week he’s finally managed to do it. What is with all of the small two-person named alliances? Make a three-person named alliance, or even better, DON’T NAME YOUR ALLIANCES! I had assumed that two separate named alliances might be merged, but then Nick started playing them against one another which led me to believe that he was going to sever ties with one (his Thoroughbreds alliance) in favor of the other; having a third with Mike gives me the feeling that he’s hugely overplaying. It would have been one thing had Mike come to him seeking an alliance, but working the other way round – while positive play in the short term – could bite him in the long term.
A quiet episode for Lyrsa this week once again. Like Mike said, she’s on the “Davids of the Davids of the Davids” tribe, and I don’t think Mike is wrong in speculating that they’ll probably go to tribal council at some point. The Goliaths on the other tribes are going to be hard-pressed to stay Goliath strong if they want to keep the numbers, so they are going to be looking at the Davids. I feel like Lyrsa might be sent packing. She’s already on the minority and Nick has been making moves bonding with the majority. In addition, the tribe will probably feel they need to keep Nick for challenges. If Lyrsa can’t find a way to endear herself to her tribemates, I fear she may be gone.
Not a lot of new things to say about Lyrsa. I feel like Nick wouldn’t have any trouble throwing her to the wolves in the event of a unified Goliath front. Nick’s also made the most connections to the Goliath tribe, so it seems most likely that they would vote to eliminate Lyrsa. If Jabeni heads to tribal, I fully expect Lyrsa or Natalie to be snuffed.
“I really need sort of like charm nuclear warfare. So, time to bring about the charmpocalypse.”
Christian figured out exactly what he needed to do this week to stay safe. I feel that if it comes down to him or Gabby, the tech writer will probably get the boot. Christian also finds himself on a tribe that will probably have an idol hidden somewhere, and he has the brains to seek it. I still think his gameplay last week left a little to be desired, but since he and Gabby are the only two Davids on the tribe, the news of Christian’s betrayal won’t reach Gabby’s ears any time soon.
My joy at seeing a John/Christian relationship is boundless. Christian has made connections with Dan and John in no time, and unless either or both of them think of him as a major puzzle challenge threat (which, in the tribe phase, would be a very foolish viewpoint indeed), Christian is riding easy for the time being. That, in combination with his being on a stacked tribe, all but promises him total safety til merge time.
“I feel like I’m in a desperate position because I’m scared of going home.”
As someone with terrible social anxiety, I just want to first state how much I felt for Gabby during this episode. I have been in her shoes a hundred times, and I have no doubt that if I went out and played Survivor that I’d have at least one similar episode. So it’s with a heavy heart that I give her another Not. Much like with Lyrsa, it looks like Gabby is in the most danger of going home should her tribe go to tribal. However, I feel like Gabby does have a couple things going for her that make me hopeful. First, she’s much more likable than she thinks she is, and I don’t think that John, Alison, and Dan were super tight on the Goliath tribe. Alison looked like she was on the outs in that group, so there’s a chance that Gabby could endear herself to her tribe. Second, there’s an idol out there for Gabby to find. Third, I feel like the edit is setting Gabby up for some kind of growth arc? It would be a bit of a let down to have her go when she’s right in the middle of that arc.
I hope that I’m wrong about Gabby, but everything we saw from her this past week just solidified for me that her game is in a death spiral (not like I’d really be handling myself any better, but, y’know).The enormous overdependence on reassurance from Christian combined with the insecurity displayed at Christian’s forming relationships with the rest of his tribe makes me worry that she’s an easy first vote should the Tiva tribe make its way to tribal.
“Sometimes in smaller groups like this, I do get a little bit awkward. I run out of things to say.”
John just gets more endearing every episode. Everyone seemingly wants to work with him, he’s a provider around camp, and he’s a challenge asset. The only thing that worries me is his separation from his ally Angelina, but I think he’s fitting in just fine on Tiva. I’ve said before that I worry about his position once the merge hits, but for now he’s sitting pretty.
I would be absolutely shocked if John left pre-merge. He’s socially adept, fantastic in challenges, and incredibly useful around camp. In combination with his friendship with Christian, which – hopefully – may expand to Gabby should everybody on Tiva get to the merge (which would not surprise me), he’s sitting pretty for some time yet. I’ll start to feel worried about John when merge time approaches, as he easily could be targeted as a huge physical threat; until then, I don’t see John going anywhere.
“The most disappointing part for me was watching Kara open hers.”
Daniel, I swear, if you talk about Kara one more time I’m putting you in time out. Mike spilled the beans about the idol to Nick, which means that very soon Christian will know, if not Elizabeth. And if Nick tells Christian and Elizabeth, then soon Lyrsa and Gabby will probably know. Just like that, the Survivor game of telephone will commence, and that phone has just enough cord to strangle yourself with. He probably won’t go next, but I predict a king of Ponderosa.
While Dan has been doing well in the confines of the Tiva tribe, the fact that Mike had no bones about revealing his idol to Nick shows me that he’s likely to be seen as an easy target down the line. The former Goliaths in the Tiva tribe haven’t informed the former Davids that he has an idol, so I think he should be safe for some time (especially considering the little bromance that he, John and Christian are building), but I have concerns for Dan as we approach our merge.
It was a quiet week for Alison, but she’s in the majority on her tribe, so I am pretty confident she’s not going anywhere next week.
While watching the chunk of the episode that was covering new dynamics within the Tiva tribe, I completely forgot that Alison was part of that tribe. That’s not so good. I would be surprised to see her eliminated anytime soon, but I also would be completely shocked were Alison to win.
“This is exactly like surfing. If you’re paddling for a wave and you’re not fully committed, you’ll probably just go over the falls.”
Seems like this episode, Alec just said: “f**k it.” This past episode was amazing television, but amazing television does not necessarily mean amazing gameplay. Alec was sitting pretty in a potential alliance of six in a tribe that easily had the majority. We were led to believe that he and Natalia had a close relationship. This week, Alec managed to alienate his former allies for people that he’s known for a couple of days. And for what? It’s not like the Davids could promise him anything, and even if they did, nothing is stopping them this week from voting him out. And make no mistake, it’s in his tribe’s best interest to lose this week to prevent any backlash against other Davids. There are two expendable members on Alec’s tribe, and he’s one of them now. Once other players see how quickly Alec’s gut causes him to switch alliances, no one else is going to want to keep him around either. But again, that was amazing television.
I know this was a controversial move, but – in the short term, at least – I think Alec made a colossal mistake. You’ve put yourself down in the numbers, you’ve alienated the only other ex-Goliath in your team, and you’ve done it for… what? For late-game capital? This was a very risky move, and I fear it will not pay off. I would not expect to see Vuku pull off an intentional Matsing, but I also would not be that surprised were they to lose a challenge in the next couple of episodes. Were that to happen, Kara or Alec would be heading to Ponderosa. (Oh, and FYI, Ali and I got in a fight over who could use the “f*** it” joke. She won.)
“We have a foolproof plan and screwing this up would be dumb.”
I gave Kara my first Hot last week because I thought she was in a really good spot. She was! Now, she’s in a really bad spot. An ally of hers went home, and she wasn’t in on it. Now, the Goliaths have lost the majority, and she looks like an easy target. However, there are two pieces of good news. One, she doesn’t have Dan around, which could only be good for her game. Two, she’s incredibly charming and has already had a decent relationship with Elizabeth going. Granted, she showed she was willing to potentially see Elizabeth go home, but maybe there’s a way she can salvage it. Like Christian said, “bring about the charmpocalypse.” She’s in a tough spot, but things weren’t crack free on the David tribe. There’s hope for her.
Welp, here we are again. Kara’s found her way to the Not list, and, once more, it’s not her fault. Alec’s blindside hurts Kara even more than it does himself – she is the only remaining member of Vuku to have voted for an ex-David, so there is no reason for the Davids to keep Kara around. If Vuku winds up back at Tribal, Kara is my pick to be sent home.
“I’m the black person that white people love to approach.”
Davie had some nice plays this week. He managed to see both himself and Elizabeth survive without having to use his idol. Now, the Davids are in the majority, and he has good relationships with Alec, Carl, and maybe even Elizabeth after this past week. And it seems like even if the worst had happened, he would have been safe anyway. Regardless of how the axe may fall, it seems as though Davie will live to fight another day.
Davie played the middle well this week, ensuring his own safety and finding some ties with the ex-Goliaths in his tribe. While he ultimately was left out of the whispered conversations during Tribal, Davie’s willingness to make scrappy moves and keep himself out of the hot seat, combined with the David idol that he’s holding and a David majority in Vuku, bring me confidence that he’s not leaving any time soon.
“It’s time to turn this game on its head.”
Elizabeth’s argument to Alec this week impressed me. She had some really valid points, especially when she said, “With Goliath, you’re going to have a lot of muscle and brains to go through.” She played right into Alec’s insecurities about his position with the remainder of the tribe, while talking him up about how smart he is and his game prowess. She made herself look like a great person to align with. Half the words that came out of her mouth were about her loyalty. Who wouldn’t want to snap that up? I think every word that came out of her mouth was chosen carefully and in an effort to get Alec to work with her, and ultimately it worked. Elizabeth has shown that she can get out of bad spots, and she showed it again this week. Excellent gameplay. The only thing that could hurt her is that she’s been at odds with Carl and Davie in the past, but she wasn’t ultimately blamed for the way the vote went. When in doubt, she should keep harping on her loyalty and playing up her southern charm.
Again we see Elizabeth not receiving the credit that she deserves for a move. It appeared to me that Elizabeth was pulling most of the weight in this episode, winding Alec around her finger and sweet-talking the former Goliath into eliminating Natalia. Her comments during Tribal Council with respect to making early Big Moves in a game of Survivor did seem to be what ultimately got Alec to flip; yet, we saw relatively little of her this episode, with much of the blame for Alec’s flip being shifted to Natalia or credited to Davie. I’m thrilled to see Elizabeth doing so well this episode. Unless Davie and Carl are still upset about Elizabeth voting out Jessica, she should be sitting pretty for another few tribals.
“So, when the time comes, I’m going to use this nullifier just like the sling that shot Goliath between the eyes and took him out.”
Carl has me bursting with joy this episode. Not only is he going onto a tribe where Davids are in the majority, but he’s also reunited with his friend, Davie! To top it all off, Carl is the historic player who first held the idol nullifier. Can I just say how much I loved that scene? The intensity of wondering if Carl was too late to get the right coconut had me completely transfixed. What a difference a week makes.
WELCOME BACK TO THE TOP, CARL! I’m ecstatic that the Texas Trucker has found his way back into a majority, and with a shiny, brand-new advantage as well! Let’s hope that Carl keeps his nullifier close to the vest, lest Davie be spooked. If he can bridge the gap with Elizabeth and re-form a strong alliance with Davie, I’m very optimistic about what Carl can pull off in the long-term of the game.
RETROSPECTIVE: BI NGUYEN
Last week, Gus and Ali both ranked Bi as a Not. Hooray! In seriousness though, we were sorry to see her leave due to a MediQuit. It’s not a fun way to see anyone go out, and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Over the course of the season, Bi received:
Two Nots and one Hot from Gus (-1)
Two Nots and one Hot from Ali (-1)
Culminating in a total of four Nots and two Hots (-2)
Ali and Gus had the same ranking for Bi in every single episode!
RETROSPECTIVE: NATALIA AZOQA
Last week, Gus and Ali both ranked Natalia as a Not. Double hooray! Also, how much schadenfreude do we feel about the fact that Natalia left before her longtime target Natalie? Quite a lot. Don’t get us wrong, both of us think that she’d be awesome to hang out with in real life. But man, that was unexpected.
Over the course of the season, Natalia received:
Two Nots and one Hot from Gus (-1)
Three Nots from Ali (-3)
Culminating in a total of five Nots and one Hot (-4)
Ali and Gus only differed in their ranking for Natalia in Episode 2 (Gus gave her a Hot)!
TRASH TALK ZONE
Ali: I want to talk about a few things 1) Nick. Duh. 2) Since we agree on most things, let’s talk a little bit about who we think has longevity vs. who we don’t think has longevity. 3) Our boot prediction for next week.
Gus: Perfect. To start, Nick. How is Nick no longer overplaying?! He seems like he’s actually playing even *harder*.
Ali: Oh, this was very much a temporary Hot. I very much expect this to all blow up in his face. This is a Hot in the sense that he’s the youngest and fittest male on his team, so they won’t be getting rid of him next vote.
Gus: But then isn’t that more along the lines of a Not?
Ali: No, it’s a Hot for the same reason we gave Alec a Hot week after week. He isn’t going anywhere.
Gus: Sure, I mean, that’s true. But I feel like his actions in this episode are very much negatively affecting his longevity. I also don’t expect to see Alec leaving next week, but I also don’t think that he’s going to be around for a long time.
Ali: He’s not playing great at all, but Mike trusts him enough to spill valuable game info to him.
Gus: Wasn’t that more of a black mark against Dan than it was a note in Nick’s favor, though? I read that much more as a “Dan is not valued in the Goliath tribe” than I did as a “Nick is extremely trustworthy.” Mike seemed pretty halfhearted insofar as his Rockstars alliance went, which suggested to me that he could be somewhat playing Nick.
Ali: First, I think it’s really funny that we’ve been trying to convince each other of opposite things about Nick, and the one week that minds are changed, both of us flipped. Okay, now I have a few things to say in response to you.First, Dan isn’t on the tribe with them, so what would be the point of sharing the info if it’s not an immediate game thing? To me, it shows that in some way, Mike might be thinking long-term when it comes to allying with Nick. Dan’s idol would be an obstacle to them in the future. In addition, it builds some trust with Nick by sharing information. Mike himself said that information is important, so we have to watch carefully what information he shares and with whom. That could potentially be a storyline that’s been planted.
Mike seemed half-hearted, but a part of me wonders if that’s just Mike? He doesn’t exactly have a forceful vibe to him. I think he’s interested in working with Nick, but he probably is also open to seeing where things go. Ultimately, he isn’t close to anyone else that was from Goliath who is on the tribe with him, so Nick reaching out to him is really good for Nick. Nick might now have three people who are reluctant to get rid of him. He’s way overplaying and it will come back to bite him. I expect following weeks to reflect that. But for today, I think he made a decent move trying to bond with the majority.
Gus: Or three people who are very willing to cut him upon learning that they’re one of three.
Ali: And that’ll happen, I think. But not yet. For now, because he’s only made promises to Mike, he’s safe. I think, long-term, his stock should plummet, but not this week. This week, on this tribe, he’s king of the hill.
Gus: Alright, I think that’s fair.
Ali: He’s the youngest, fittest male. He’s fine.
Gus: He’s safe for the time being, but I gave him a Not because I think all of his actions from this week will ultimately harm his game. In the long run. Do you want to push ahead to longevity?
Gus: Here are the people I think are reaching the merge:
1) John (his tribe is amazing, and he’s strong as heck)
2) Angelina (Lyrsa and Natalie are FAR better targets)
3) Davie (Majority with an idol)
4) Carl (Majority with the nullifier)
5) Christian (The puzzle king for Tiva)
6) Mike (Majority, Lyrsa and Natalie are way bigger targets)
Here are the people I think are *probably* going to make the merge:
1) Elizabeth (She might get flipped against by Davie and Carl)
2) Alison (I could see her leaving ahead of Christian)
3) Dan (People are wise to the idol)
4) Nick (He may overplay)
Here are the people that I feel doubts about:
1) Lyrsa (easy vote, doesn’t appear to be in with the ex-goliaths)
2) Natalie (I don’t need to explain)
3) Gabby (Not enough connection to her tribe)
4) Kara (Screwed by Alec)
5) Alec (Screwed by Alec)
Ali: Making Merge:
1) John (challenge beast in majority)
2) Davie (has an idol, majority of majority in alliance with Carl)
3) Carl (has an idol nullifier, majority of majority in alliance with Davie)
Probably Making Merge:
1) Christian (edit suggests he makes it far, will not go before Gabby on this tribe)
2) Nick (fittest and youngest male on his tribe, could get in trouble next week with Natalie and I think Angelina is going to see through his shenanigans eventually, but I think he will make the merge because this tribe needs him. I don’t expect him to stick around long though.)
3) Elizabeth (The only thing I could see is her getting in trouble because she didn’t work with Carl and Davie earlier, but I think they need her at this point and she’s shown she’s a good player.)
4) Dan (I just don’t see his tribe losing, and if they do, I don’t see them getting rid of him.)
5) Angelina (The only thing against her is if Mike flips she could be a victim, but I doubt it.)
6) Alison (The only thing that could bite her is that she hasn’t been shown building relationships with many people. Part of me wonders if we’re in for this scenario, Alison plays under the radar pre-merge, she hits the merge and says, “time to play.” She goes home that episode.)
7) Mike (Only thing that could bite him is that he’s older and weaker. Could be a victim of “keep the tribe strong,” but I doubt it.)
Potentially in Trouble:
1) Lyrsa (Minority position, people already perceive her as weak and she certainly looks it next to Nick.)
2) Natalie (When is she not in trouble?)
3) Kara (Only one on the outs. Her only saving grace could be her relationship with Elizabeth)
4) Alec (He might have outlived his usefulness)
5) Gabby (They’ll get rid of her before Christian, but I don’t think that tribe is going to tribal, and I’m secretly hoping she gets the idol next week.)
My Next Two Boot Predictions:
BUT these are my predictions of next boots on each tribe:
Tiva – Gabby
Vuku – Alec
Jabeni – Lyrsa
Gus: My predictions are:
Jabeni – Lyrsa
Tiva – Gabby
Vuku – Kara
Oooooh it’s DiSpArItY!
Ali: I think that edit wise, us seeing Kara bonding with Elizabeth could be significant. I don’t know.
Gus: Fantastic. So, have we anything else to address?
Gus: Terrific. Great! Thanks for reading, folks.
Ali: Let’s go watch Big Brother reruns and make spaghetti
Gus: Yeah, I’m slowly becoming indoctrinated to BB. It’s a lot of fun. Have a super week!
Ali: Thanks for reading!