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!
“He blindsided you.”
This was a quiet week for Carl after last week’s exciting nullifier hunt, but I think Carl is in a great spot. Carl has found himself back on the majority, and he has options. We saw Davie and Carl form a relationship on the David tribe, and I feel that this is a hint that this alliance could be significant going forward. The two of them have voted together, so there is a mutual trust that they’ve developed. They have the option of working with Elizabeth. They also have the potential to scoop up either Kara or Alec. There’s no danger of Elizabeth uniting the Goliath twins against them because after last week the odds of Kara and Alec trusting one another is slim.
I was freaking out at the top of the episode as Carl read the treemail to his tribe – I really thought he was just coming out and telling everybody about the idol nullifier. As he’s kept his advantage secret, however, Carl is in a terrific spot heading into the merge. He has a nice advantage, but he won’t be needing to play it soon. He has a good majority tribal alliance within his tribe, although he is light on strong alliance members who aren’t named Davie. If Carl knows what he’s doing, then he’ll fix things with Elizabeth so that he can head into a merge in a strong group.
“I’m ready to go, get my black ass out of here!”
Davie has an idol and a loyal ally. He’s sitting pretty on this tribe for the same reasons as Carl. He was also shown potentially forming a relationship with Kara, which I think could be a promising ally going forward. As many people have said, “you can’t move forward in this game playing with only Davids.”
Our Fisher King remains in a strong tribe with a strong crew of Davids and a Goliath who appears completely willing to cut her former teammate with zero provocation. He also has an idol that he’s kept entirely secret, meaning that were Carl (for some bizarre reason) want to vote Davie out, he’d not have any reason to use the idol nullifier against him. Davie needs a larger alliance base as we head towards a merge, but as it is, he’s not heading home any time soon.
“We need to be weighing loyalty. We need to be weighing numbers. We have the power to get rid of a Goliath.”
Elizabeth is the only former David I worry about on this tribe. Her sticking her neck out to save Lyrsa over Jessica might come back to bite her. Carl seems like a man who never forgets a slight, and if he wants revenge for Jessica he could easily get it next week. I didn’t see much of Elizabeth’s relationship with her fellow Davids this week, which makes me very nervous for her. Elizabeth’s only content was deciding that she wasn’t very interested in working with Kara. Meanwhile, we saw Carl talking to Kara in what seemed like a nothing scene, but it was Carl’s only real content, and it must have been there for a reason. No new information was shared there, so why show it? If the preview is any indication, next week could be rough for Elizabeth. I only hope that Elizabeth is as good at taking shots in the game as she is on that slingshot.
As always, I was pretty on the fence for Elizabeth. She’s a wonderful player – frankly, I think she’s playing one of the best games out there – but she’s not in the best position insofar as her tribe goes. With the Goliaths cannibalizing themselves, I worry that Carl and Davie just might decide to do some flipping of their own and cut Elizabeth due to her spinning things against Jessica back in Episode 2. If she doesn’t head home this week (and I really don’t think she will, but I do worry that she might), Elizabeth will need to do damage control with Carl and Davie to get them back on her side and form a nice alliance heading into the merge, as her teammate Lyrsa seems to not have done the necessary work over at Jabeni beach to get numbers together – and Gabby has done, if possible, less.
“I feel naked. I feel exposed. I feel this is not supposed to happen.”
Give me a B! Give me an A! Give me a D! What’s that spell? Bad! This week looks really bad for Kara. She is on the outs and she failed to convince Elizabeth to pick her over Alec going forward. Her only two saving graces I think are the two conversations that we saw with Carl and Davie. I’ve already looked at that conversation with Carl, but let’s dive into the other one. Davie said to Kara that he didn’t want to go into the merge with Alec.
Kara came back in a huge way from the six feet of dirt that Alec buried her under. Her simple honesty with respect to the Natalia elimination – clarifying that she was not part of it and distancing herself from the hashtag-big-moves game that Alec is playing – kind of turned her into a David of her own, and enamored her to the majority David group within her tribe. Should Kara find her way to the merge, I hope that she can link back up with Dan, and – if all goes well – soak up at least one of the idols he has in his pocket.
“My gut said, ‘just do it. Just do it.’ So I did it.”
If Alec doesn’t get axed by the tribe next week, he will have quite the comeuppance when he meets the other Goliaths. His explanation to Kara about his game move was pretty lackluster, and he burned her enough that it doesn’t seem like she wants to work with him going forward. Bartender? Give me a screwedriver please.
So, Alec is screwed. Kara has turned on him for his betrayal of Natalia. Davie and Elizabeth certainly don’t trust him for his betrayal of Natalia. All of the other Goliaths are bound to distrust him for his betrayal of Natalia. Alec hugely overplayed, and I fully expect to see him eliminated before too long – especially considering his success thus far in challenges, knowing we’re approaching the merge.
“Can I be the CEO?”
There wasn’t a ton of John this week, but he’s doing exactly what he needs to do. He’s focusing on building relationships, and he’s beasting through challenges. It looks like Goliaths might be in for a rough ride next week, but I have every reason to believe that John will escape unscathed.
John didn’t have a ton of content in this episode, but what we saw of him was good – he’s formed some nice connections with Christian (I did not think I would see a Hot Cop / Christian / Mayor of Slamtown named alliance in the course of this game, and I’m overjoyed about that) and it would take a lot for either of those two to turn on him. The only thing that I’m worried about in John’s game is that he’s targeted next as the “uh-oh, he’s really strong and we shouldn’t give him a ride to the merge” boot, but I would be very surprised were he to be sent home pre-merge.
“We’re all Davids today. That’s the Goliath.”
Christian has really impressed me during this swap. His charmpocalypse is clearly working since he is now firmly with the Brochachos. I do wonder how his new group and his alliance with Nick will interact. But Nick has been shown to be a pretty flexible player over the course of this game himself, and he’s been doing some wheeling and dealing of his own. Nick and Christian are going to go into the merge with a lot of options, but as I have predicted over the past few weeks, both of their threat levels are going to come out during the merge. Christian has made no secret of his puzzle prowess. When the snakes come out, I don’t know if Christian will handle them as deftly as he tackled that puzzle this week.
Christian found his way to being a “brochacho,” which I would imagine is not something that he would have predicted for himself at any point in his life, and I absolutely ADORE it. Even more than that, he has Nick making ties to Mike in the other tribe, and he has Gabby within Tiva to soak up the flak and the pre-merge elimination potential. I worry about his chances after the merge, considering his godlike puzzle skills; for the time being, though, Christian is in an excellent spot.
“I’m scared it could be taken away from me at any moment.”
The sky isn’t the only thing raining on Gabby’s parade. Gabby is a clear target on her tribe should they go to tribal. Christian hasn’t had any qualms about abandoning his Princess Peach if it suits his game, and I doubt he would stick his neck out for her too far. Side note: I was once in a theater production in which we played various video game characters and the guy who played Mario looked a weird amount like Christian. To do so would probably end up making himself a target. And Gabby herself clearly knows she’s in trouble. Why else would she thank Christian so profusely when he won the immunity challenge? However, it looks like next week could be a rallying cry for Princess Peach. Maybe it’s time for Princess Peach to save herself.
Gabby is in a similar boat to Alison. Should Gabby make it to the merge, I think that she’s safe for more or less the rest of the game; that being said, she might also be voted out should Tiva wind up at tribal. John and Dan specifically mentioned Gabby being isolated within Tiva, and that isolation, combined with David being numerically even with Goliath, might result in Gabby being taken out just ahead of the merge, so as to prevent the Goliath tribe from merging 6-7 [six Goliaths, seven Davids].
“This gives me another chance to get another idol that no one knows about, that could be a Game Changer™.”
Dan is playing a much clunkier game than his fellow cop in Game Changers. I almost laughed aloud when he said that an idol that no one knows about could be a game changer. But hey, at least he’s learning? An idol would usually be enough for Dan to earn a hot from me, but his threat level to his tribemates is still glaring. I’ve predicted for weeks that Dan’s idol will be quickly used as an excuse to target him, and it looks like next week those chips are going to get cashed in. I think Christian could easily flip on the Brochachos, because it does ultimately behoove him to keep loyal Gabby around over idol wielding Dan. In my view, Dan will survive next week, but his target is only going to get bigger. Idols can be a bulletproof vest, but I don’t know if Daniel will even think to put them on.
Hot Cop has two idols, and though everybody knows he’s got one, nobody yet knows he’s got the second. If he’s not blindsided next episode, I think he’ll be safe for a while – especially if he deliberately burns idol #1. Even more than that, Dan is on the last tribe that is still majority ex-Goliath, AND he has ties to both Davids and Goliaths in that tribe. Even if a Goliath were voted out (as every single other tribe thus far has opted to do), I don’t think that it would be Dan.
“It speaks to the crazy nature of this game. It is moving at a lightning fast speed and it’s up to us to keep up.”
Last week, I told Gus that I think Alison is playing an under the radar game, but the minute she finally says, “I’m here to play,” that’s the week she’s going home. There’s not a lot to base a rating on, so I’m forced to go with my gut and the preview for next week. It looks like Alison has finally decided to come out of her shell. However, I think it’s a little too late for her to start trying to build trust with Gabby and Christian. Ultimately, I think Christian will realize that having Gabby, John, and Dan in his corner will be superior to being loyal to Alison. The moment Alison decides not to be Goliath strong on that tribe, I predict that will spell her end. Gus claimed to me the other night that this is all a misdirect and that there is no reason for Alison to flip. I disagree. Like Lyrsa said this week, “we don’t know what’s going on on the other tribes.” What Alison is going to see next challenge is yet another surprise Goliath is going home. If I were her, that would lead me to believe that Goliath strong is dead and it is now an individual game. If that’s the case, I could easily see Alison wanting to flip on Dan. He has a huge pulsing target on his back and it would be tempting for Alison to take the (sling)shot. Ultimately, I don’t think this doctor has her finger on the pulse of this game, and the time of death of her game could be soon.
I don’t think the Tiva tribe would vote Dan out… because I think they would vote Alison out first. Far as we know, Alison doesn’t have a tight bond with any of her current tribemates – we’ve seen little to nothing of her. If the preview is to be believed, Alison will be making a play to Gabby next episode to get Dan out – and that is something that I really do not see working, especially considering that Christian, Dan and John seem to be such a solid group. With this game falling more and more to the individual, nontribal alliances, Alison is becoming more and more excluded – and more and more in danger of finding herself targeted for her isolation.
“There’s no wiggle room. There’s no room for error.”
And yet… there was a lot of error this week. Angelina was left on the outside of the vote. I read a few posts where Angelina apparently said she knew Natalie was going home, but she voted for Lyrsa to try and get Natalie’s jacket. I understand that it’s cold out there, but Survivor memory is as long as an elephant’s. I don’t think that Lyrsa is going to forget that Angelina wrote her name down, even if it was for a good cause. That’s not how one builds trust with another person, and now Mike is in a power position. We’ve never seen Angelina have any personal interactions with Mike, and I think that’s going to come back to haunt her going forward.
Angelina and Mike pretty much singlehandedly forced this season to the individual phase early, and I’m thrilled about it. I’m not so optimistic about Angelina’s chances in the future, however. Choosing to push for a Natalie elimination at this point, with the merge in sight and when the Goliath tribe was clinging to the barest of numerical advantages, was a questionable move. It almost feels as though Angelina is trying to make moves just for the sake of making moves (slash for a new jacket, which, I mean, Fiji is cold at night), which makes me concerned about her in the long run. Furthermore, if what happened with Alec serves as an example, it’s very possible that Nick and Lyrsa are not going to want to go deep with Angelina after such a move as that one.
Well, Mike, you spoke it into existence. She must have been really difficult on the island for Mike to give up a numbers advantage. However, none of this is great for his game going forward. Yes, he was on the bottom of the Goliath tribe, but now the Goliaths are going to be looking at him as a traitor. At this point, the Goliaths are imploding and it looks like they’re going to hand the Davids the W. I gave Alec a not last week for what was essentially the same move, and fair is fair. I don’t think Mike is going this week, but it feels like he isn’t so much playing the game as it is playing him.
Mike gets a Not, not because I think he’s overplaying, but because I think he’s very much not playing (ten points if you read that correctly the first time through). Everybody in the game knows that Mike is a successful, famous filmmaker – they know Mike’s made his millions. He just cut one of his best possible FTC partners – I think Natalie would have been one of his best chances at victory. Who does he have any chance of winning against at the end? Mike just comes across to me as playing the game for the fun of playing it, which is great for Monopoly, but awful for the game of Survivor.
“You could make a preacher cuss.”
Hilarious voting confessional aside, Nick played well this week. He managed to utilize the bond that he had with Mike to get Natalie out of the game and keep Lyrsa. I still definitely feel that he’s overplaying, but I don’t think it’s going to catch up to him in the coming week. I think the merge is going to be a make it or break it point for Nick because all of those alliances he made are going to all be together and they’ll all be able to share notes.
To be honest, Nick really didn’t need to do much of anything to save Lyrsa besides lie back and watch the Goliath tribe implode. That being said, my previous assumption regarding Mike’s attitude towards his and Nick’s Rockstars alliance turns out to have been incorrect – Mike is into this Kentuckian! If Nick can bring Mike with him back over to the Davids at the merge, and possibly get him involved with the other nerds (supposing Nick reunites with Gabby and Christian), Nick may be sitting in a terrific position for the long-term.
“You guys don’t know what’s going on on the other side.”
Lyrsa managed to stay in the game and I thought she was a goner for sure. However, the credit for her survival wasn’t so much in Lyrsa’s court as it was in Natalie’s. Had Natalie not pushed Mike to the edge, I think there’s no way that Lyrsa would have stayed in the game. In addition, Nick helping to save Lyrsa is not so much a symbol of their closeness as it is Nick’s instinct for self-preservation. Nick knew that if Lyrsa got the boot there wouldn’t be a lot of cushion left and he would probably be next. However, Lyrsa is still useful to Nick as a number going forward, which gives him an incentive to keep her in the game next week as well. Long term, I’m not sure what the future holds for Lyrsa, but I don’t see a path for her out of the game yet, so I am going to give her a hot this week.
Lyrsa also didn’t need to do much to save herself this week, and she didn’t. She let Angelina and Mike decide to kill their own former Goliath, and sat it out. However, if Jabeni winds up back at tribal before the merge, I just don’t see how she doesn’t get voted out – unless Nick pulls some crazy magic off and manages to convince Mike to get rid of Angelina, which I don’t think will happen. But with that being said, if Lyrsa does get to the merge, I expect her to go pretty far.
RETROSPECTIVE: NATALIE COLE
Last week, Gus and Ali both ranked Natalie as a Not. Natalie played an explosive, napalm-fueled game, but in the end, she was left sputtering for life until her torch was snuffed. We’re deeply disappointed in the loss of our first draft pick, but what a terrific mess that was! (side note: Gus has not stopped sobbing since Natalie was eliminated)
Over the course of the season, Natalie received…
Four Nots from Ali (-4)
Four Nots from Gus (-4)
Culminating in a total of eight Nots (-8)
Natalie is currently the leader for lowest cumulative performance with -8, followed by Gabby (-5 Gus, -1 Ali, -6 Total) and Dan (-1 Gus, -5 Ali, -6 Total).
Natalie is (and forever will be) the only player this season to be eliminated with zero Hots (excluding Pat, who didn’t receive any ranking at all).
TRASH TALK ZONE
Ali: Okay Schlanbusch, let’s do this.
Gus: KARA IS A HOT DAMN IT
Ali: You are crazy.
Gus: She actually found inroads into the Davids. Alec found none!
Ali: First, Kara is the minority on the tribe and failed to ingratiate herself with Elizabeth.
Gus: Who each of us called a not.
Ali: She failed to horse girl with the horse girl.
Gus: But Davie and Carl are happy to keep her around.
Ali: Give me one example of an inroad. I think you’re projecting.
Gus: She connected to both Davie and Carl with respect to eliminating Alec. Which they were both speaking to during confessionals.
Ali: I don’t remember her speaking to Carl about eliminating Alec. All Carl said was, basically, “you got screwed.” I do remember the conversation with Davie and I think she did well there. However, it doesn’t bode well for her that Elizabeth is still gunning for her.
Gus: Elizabeth is a minority within the tribe majority. Davie and Carl are way more likely to just get rid of Alec. Potentially. He’s a shotgun attached to a yo-yo.
Ali: But why would they show that Elizabeth confessional and not show Davie taking Kara’s words into consideration more?
Ali: It feels as though Elizabeth is being set up as a power player.
Gus: And I hope that Elizabeth does become a power player. She may prefer to take Kara out, but I would be shocked if she convinced both Carl and Davie to vote for her. I think they’re more likely to throw votes at Alec or potentially at Elizabeth. I’m just saying, if we each gave Elizabeth a Not, I don’t think we can reliably say that Elizabeth is in a position to flip a couple of the Hot players to vote for Kara.
Ali: I definitely think that Alec is in trouble next week, but it’s plausible that Kara could take the bullet instead and Alec was a decoy. Kara failed to convince Elizabeth of her loyalty when it shouldn’t be hard to convince her that Alec is a bigger threat. That alone earned her a not from me.
Gus: Elizabeth might flip them, but, I really doubt that she will. So, Lyrsa?
Ali: Okay. I think Mike is going to want to stick with Lyrsa and Nick.
Gus: Not an unreasonable forecast.
Ali: Angelina is a way bigger threat this week and I feel like Mike wants to make BiG mOvEs. I just don’t think she’s going yet.
Gus: But at the same time, he’s really erratic.
Ali: I wanted to take a gamble and not take all safe bets. I feel like Goliath is self-destructing. I think Angelina will be a much bigger target. Especially after her moves to get Jeremy. This might be her comeuppance.
Gus: While I do think Angelina is a far better target, I’m not sure whether or not Mike will want to take that swing yet. Being tied for the merge is tough. Being in the minority? That’s a tough call. Even though I do believe we’re at individual phase, I feel like Angelina will want to stick with SOME semblance of superior numbers.
Ali: I think the days of Goliath are done and it kind of looks like David is ready to turn on one another too. I think it’s about to get really individual, which I find very exciting!
Gus: Ugh I so hope that you’re right. So, Dan?
Ali: Dan is not the man. Alison is about to target him. Everyone knows about his idol. I predict he goes the way of James Clement. (I can do what I want, Schlanbusch. It’s called strategy. If I want to base my analysis off the Next Time On, I’m within my rights, so don’t even come at me.)
Gus: (Because the Next Time On always has been such a reliable source of correct information). Right, so Alison targets him. WHY would Christian flip? If Alison flipped to Dan, then Dan and John would flip against Alison.
Ali: Idols are dangerous in this game and flipping gives Davids the upper hand.
Gus: Christian should push to eliminate Alison by that argument. Does Alison know that Dan has an idol, by the way? I’m actually not sure.
Ali: I actually think Alison is going to lose in her ploy to get out Dan and it will ultimately result in her elimination should she go to tribal (I predicted the minute she does anything she’s gone. The edit demands it.) HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that Dan is in a good spot. Everyone knows about his idol and strong men go at the merge. I predict he’s gone soon and with those idols in his pocket.
Gus: If we HAVE gotten through tribe gameplay, shouldn’t John, Dan and Christian team up? Isn’t the ideal game move for Alison to flip and try to save Gabby, but then for Gabby to leak that info to Christian, followed by Christian leaking to his Brochachos and eliminating Alison? Because if he does that, he’s got Dan’s entire life in his hands. That’s no small thing!
Ali: But why would they keep around someone they know has an idol and will probably be good at challenges?
Gus: But I’m not completely sure they know that. And he’s been OK at challenges thus far.
Ali: I think Dan has lost a lot of power in this game and I don’t think he has enough game time left to fix all of his mistakes. Christian will probably do that next week, but I have a hard time believing that he will keep Dan for long. I also don’t think he has his finger on the pulse of the game enough to know when to play his idol correctly.
Gus: Nor do I. With that said, I do think that him holding multiple idols makes him in a better position this week than he was in holding only one.
Ali: I think he’ll make a fatal mistake and soon. I don’t think it’s next week, but I think come the merge that guy is screwed and I don’t see a way for him to recover his game.
Gus: We’ll see.
Ali: Sure! But secrets are the most powerful thing in this game, and the first idol has basically lost all of its power at this point.
Gus: Well, people don’t know that the second idol exists. So, that’s one secret. What he should do is just burn his first idol, then sit on his second.
Ali: I agree with you. Or very publically give it to someone else. I spelled publicly wrong.
Gus: I’m so keeping that.
Gus: Pubicly? Mike Zahalsky would like a word. With that over and done with, who are your two picks to be voted out in next week’s episode, and who are two people you feel are definitely safe?
Ali: Ughhhhhhh. You go first.
Gus: SAFE – Nick, Davie. OUT – Alec, Lyrsa. (My apologies to Tiva)
Ali: SAFE – John, Christian OUT – Alison, Alec. Okay! That’s it y’all! See you next week!
Gus: We’re off to watch the Haunting of Hill House. Thanks for reading!