Survivor: David vs. Goliath

Episode 8 – Hot Or Not

Who is Hot or Not after Week 8?

Photo: CBS

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!

Ali: Carl

CarlHOT“You can tell a person ‘trust me’ all day long. But I trust you more after I see the votes read, versus just sitting here talking.”

Carl laughing during the vote off had us screaming. I thought for sure the guy was a goner this week, and he managed to survive. There wasn’t even a target on him! We saw him putting in some work with Nick, and then Nick went and told him that he got the vote steal before he told anyone else. I thought that was interesting. Perhaps he went and told Christian, but it certainly didn’t seem like that during the episode. Maybe there’s more to Nick’s relationship with Carl than previously thought. And, unlike with Dan, I don’t think it was a bad move for Carl to tell Christian about the idol nullifier because it was information in exchange for information. I think both of those advantages will come into play next week, and they will need both in order to ensure the Davids survive another week. It’s a risk, but I really think that a Goliath is toast next episode. Every David is getting a Hot from me this week.


Gus: Carl

CarlHOTCarl did gently spill some beans about his Idol nullifier, but I feel like that was the right move (as opposed to a Dan-style information overload). In also being privy to information about Nick’s shiny new vote steal, this truck driver has found himself a lot closer to the drivers’ seat than he has been up until this point. Maybe he’s not there yet, maybe he’s only gotten into the cab, but he’s no longer simply cargo (I’m going to drop this metaphor). Carl played well this week. He’s back in a strong position in the game, and he should be safe at least for another few weeks. He’s still got fewer alliances than most (and he’s found his way into the Wilson Web), but regardless, he’s in a nice spot.


Ali: Davie

DavieHOT“We out here starting from the bottom, now we’re here, baby!”

Man, do I love Davie. I think his move this week to play the idol for Christian was brilliant. An idol can only protect you for one vote. Alliances are what get you through the game. First, Davie and Nick forged a bond by searching together for an advantage in the jungle (How adorable was Davie and his “distraction”?). Then, Davie decided to build trust with Christian by playing his idol, reuniting all the Davids on one side. With Christian and Nick come Gabby, and Carl is already with Davie, so that’s a solid alliance of five right there with two people that Davie could totally beat at this point.


Gus: Davie

DavieHOTWelcome back! Davie KILLED this week. From his The Walking Dead Morgan-style stick-play distraction, to the incredible idol play, to being literally the only person who knew about every one of the advantages (at first), Davie certainly has made his mark in this game. My concerns about Davie are that this may turn out to have been too much clear visibility too early; if he doesn’t have some time in the next couple of episodes to cool down, I could see him being targeted as a big winner threat.


Ali: Kara

KaraNOT“We can’t lose what we never had in the first place, right?

The feminist in me absolutely adored watching Kara during the reward challenge. Here all these dudes are struggling and she’s holding her arms in the air with the same amount of bags like a beast. That being said, this week wasn’t good for her game. An ally of hers went home. The other side has advantages that they could easily use to take her out next week. Her main ally in the game is not as powerful as she thinks she is. It looks like next week she might finally give Dan the boot, but will it be too late to strike out on her own? I’m dying for Kara to come out and kick butt and flip her way over the competition, but I’m worried for her.


Gus: Kara

KaraNOTNot a lot to say about Kara this week. She’s remained tight with the Goliaths, and that’s about all there is to say. She did not vote the right way at Tribal (although, to be fair, almost nobody did), she was fully blindsided by losing her ally, and if Nick and Carl play their hands correctly, she may be next to go – or at the least in a very unexpected minority.


Ali: Alec

AlecHot“I don’t want Nick to feel blindsided by this vote. Nick and I have a good relationship. I don’t want to lose his trust.”

In my opinion, Alec is tied for the second best position in the game. He was in a tough spot, but I think that he managed to skirt the line and not outright betray either side. He had to vote with the Goliaths, lest he infuriate the majority alliance. On the other hand, Alec recognized that this move had the potential to lock him into working with Goliaths, and they could easily pick him off down the road. Unlike Mike, Alec realizes how important options are, and so he went to Nick and let him know about the Goliath’s plan. Alec formed a good enough bond with Nick in a matter of days that he knew he could trust Nick not to alert the Goliaths of his betrayal and Nick believed him. Throughout his conversation with Nick, Alec strongly hinted that he would prefer that Christian not go home, but made it clear that he still had to appear loyal to the Goliaths. I feel that in doing so, Alec was able to prove that he is trustworthy to Nick. I strongly believe that we are going to see Goliaths get picked off in the coming weeks, but I don’t think Alec will be among them.


Gus: Alec

AlecHotI was on the fence about Alec’s gameplay this week. He certainly didn’t make things easier for himself in the short term, and he also may not have made things easier for himself in the long term… so… I mean, he’s getting a Hot because he’s… look, I like the guy. He’s making this season an absolute joy, and his plan to stick with the Strike Force in spite of Mike’s insane about-face bodes well in my eyes. He’ll need to bring another few Goliaths onboard lest he risk being the de facto boot at fourth place (supposing that Christian, Gabby and Nick are still his alliance partners, I’d expect him to be kicked at fourth or maybe fifth), but if he can play this skillfully, he may find himself in a good position down the line. That combined with his truly subtle trickery of his tribemates in feeding Mike’s dumb plan right to Nick, Alec is certainly playing aggressively.


Ali: Christian

ChristianHOT“You never want to be too much of a threat in this game. And what did I do? I came out and basically announced myself, ‘Hello, my name’s threat,’ in the first ten minutes.”

Whew! That was a stressful week. I was almost convinced that Christian would be out the door and Gus would be rubbing yet another boot in my face. But huzzah! Christian puzzled out a way to stay. Now, he knows who is truly on his side, and who is willing to turn on him at a moment’s notice. It’s a good sign that so many people were willing to go out of their way to save Christian: Nick, Davie, even Alec… Christian has some people in his corner who’ve realized that he’s a good shield to keep in front of him. His ability to sidestep such a glaring target and rely on his social connections to save him earns him a Hot this week. However, going forward, Christian is going to have to work hard to minimize his threat level. I did say in the first episode that coming out and announcing himself as the puzzle king would come back to bite Christian. Looks like even Christian acknowledges that this is true. Bonus points for self-awareness, but is there enough time to change the perception of him? I think for the next few weeks there are going to be some Goliaths to slay, but I think he will probably be the first pick of the Davids once they turn on each other. It’s a Hot this week, but I think it could be the last.


Gus: Christian

ChristianHOTI was also on the fence about Christian this week. I don’t think this week was good for him in the long run: he’s an identified vote target for every single Goliath, he had to rely on his allies to save him – and he reinforced his perception as a big threat in Tribal. If Christian can win a handful of challenges, or find an advantage of his own, or pull off a move of his own, I’ll think about joining the “Christian is going to win” train, but as it is he’s just a very likable player without too much game to show for it. That’s not to say that that playstyle doesn’t sometimes win – it certainly does – but my worry is that Christian will ride that playstyle until he’s cut by a more cunning ally (such as Nick). I’ve strayed. Christian gets a Hot because he is set up to be in a strong position in the coming weeks. I’m concerned about him in the long run, but I think he’s good for at least another… eh, call it three episodes.


Ali: Gabby

GabbyHOT“I chose the dream team! You’ve got this!”

Gabby found herself on the right side of the vote this week and everything is coming up David. Plus, she got pizza! This was a quiet week for Gabby, but what’s going on is only good for her game. My only worry is how derisively Mike spoke about her. On the one hand, Gabby is not on anyone’s radar, which is a major positive. On the other hand, that sentiment seemed to be routinely echoed throughout camp. If Gabby continues to be written off, she’s going to have a hard time getting anyone to write her name down at the end. For this week, it’s a Hot, but Gabby needs to start coming into her own.


Gus: Gabby

GabbyHOTI mean, Gabby played all right. She ended the episode in a better position than she started it in, although this wasn’t really from her doing (as a matter of fact, the only reason that Mike decided to turn the tables at all was because of Gabby’s crying during last week’s episode). I don’t think that Gabby is playing well, or really building any sort of resume of note, and I certainly don’t foresee her winning… but she’s also not getting eliminated next week. Of course, you could say the same about, say, Dawn in Caramoan, and look at where that got her.


Ali: Alison

AlisonNot“I am not for one minute buying that lie.”

Oof. Like a lemming, Alison followed Mike and the Goliaths right off a cliff. She was in such a great spot last week, but writing Christian’s name down might eliminate her options with the Davids going forward. Her one saving grace might be that she has forged a relationship with Gabby. But so far, she’s done a lot of talking the talk and no walking the walk. Votes are telling, and this week, Alison might have signed her own death certificate.


Gus: Alison

AlisonNotThis is really just Mike’s fault, but Alison was on the wrong side of this episode’s vote, she’s apparently lost her Strike Force teammates (I think), and she looks like she could be down in the numbers in a couple of episodes. I’ve really loved the big uptick in content from Alison over the past several weeks, and I very much hope that it continues… but at this point, I’m worried for her game.


Ali: Dan

DanNOT“As far as I’m concerned, the first opportunity I get, she’s gone.”

Hey Dan, you know who didn’t win the game? Brad Culpepper. He got very aggressive with Tai toward the end of Game Changers, and it came back to bite him. So, maybe learn from his mistakes and ease up a little. I learned about this delightful concept from the Bachelor subreddit (feel free to shame me for that) called a “b*tch eating crackers.” A “b*tch eating crackers” is someone that you hate so much that everything they do seems offensive. For example, “look at this b*tch eating crackers like she owns the place.” I have three people in my life who qualify. Gus has two. Angelina has become Dan’s island b*tch eating crackers. Everything she does, he has a comment about how much that irks him. Don’t get me wrong, this is entirely earned, but it’s ultimately another showcase of Dan’s emotional gameplay.

Dan hesitated way too long to give Angelina that idol, letting her know that she’s firmly at the bottom and he seriously considered for a moment allowing her to leave the game. If you’re going to view someone as disposable, then it would behoove you to actually dispose of them. Either that or don’t force said person to beg you to save them. Dan played this moment quite sloppily. Not only that, he wasted one of his idols and all to save his b*tch eating crackers. With the other side possessing the idol nullifier and Dan’s inability to sit on a single secret, Dan’s power in the game is dwindling. To make matters worse, Angelina lives to annoy him another day. Hopefully, she’ll win the next reward and the prize will be a nice box of Saltines.


Gus: Dan

DanNOTI don’t know what I’d do without Dan. Dan is such a riot. He’s not playing well, but he’s not playing atrociously-abominably-unbelievably-terribly the worst game of all time. He’s playing poorly. He burned one of his idols; he revealed his other one to Kara (sure it was last week, but regardless); he screwed his tribe out of delicious pizza. I’ll be surprised if he’s in the game past final nine.


Ali: Nick

NickHOT“I’m so under the radar right now. Nobody’s looking to vote me out. I’ve got some decisions to make, and if I screw up, it could be my downfall in this game.”

A brilliant week for Nick. Like he said, Nick isn’t on anyone’s radar, but the Goliaths didn’t dismiss him in the same way that they did Davie, Carl, and Gabby. The relationship work that Nick put in with Alec caused Alec to give him a heads up about the upcoming vote, giving Nick the ability to save his closest ally. Now there are five Davids and six Goliaths, and Nick has a vote steal. Carl has an idol nullifier. And the Goliaths are fracturing right and left! Nick is a good enough player that they could absolutely use those advantages correctly. They don’t even need a Goliath to flip to get their way going forward. However, Nick also has enough social connections with Goliaths that he’s not locked into working with the Davids. I think that Nick might be tied for the best spot in the game. If Nick cuts Christian at the right time, I think he has the ability to beat any of the Davids. I doubted him. I said his overplay would catch up to him. But wow, color me impressed. At this point, I feel like we could be looking at a winner.


Gus: Nick

NickHOTHonestly, Nick was the one who devised this whole thing. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been led to believe. Nick’s got the strongest and widest varied connections in-game; he’s got so many alliances (both named and unnamed) that I frankly have lost track. This might burn him eventually. I hope it doesn’t. Nick is, in my eyes, playing the best game – but is everybody else aware of it (or should I say, are they in a position to find out about it ahead of the Final Tribal)?


Ali: Angelina

AngelinaNOT“I’m having flashbacks to all those times that me or another woman threw out an idea and a few minutes later a man throws out that same idea and everyone’s like ‘that’s a great idea, let’s do that!’”

Except… this was a really bad idea, so who cares who gets credit for it? I feel for Angelina in this situation. I too have sat in a room and had my ideas ignored by men. But Angelina didn’t just become a woman yesterday, and the real world doesn’t end in Fiji. We all saw what happened when Natalie tried to force her will on people.

My mom made partner at her law firm and then went on to found her own law firm. She’s the epitome of a strong woman. Growing up, she always told me that as a woman, if you want your ideas to be heard, you have to bring the velvet hammer. A mantra that she would always tell me when I’m trying to get a point across is, “speak slower, lower, and less.” What my mom means by that is women have to learn how to take the restrictions in front of them and work them to their advantage. Women can’t muscle their will into being like a man can. It’s an unfair limitation that society puts on women. That doesn’t mean “shut up little girl and let the men do the talking.” It means present your ideas in such a manner that it makes people listen to you. Game the system and use it to your advantage. Hammer that nail so gently it barely has time to realize it’s being hammered and then, boom, it’s in and you’ve gotten your way.

Angelina went full hammer when she wanted Christian out last week. It went badly for her, as it has gone for every woman who has ever tried to muscle an idea in the boardroom. People just shut down when you approach them like that. Slower, lower, and less. Mike gets the idea of the velvet hammer perfectly. He presented his ideas in such a way that they were not confrontational, people were allowed to digest and discuss it, and ultimately decide it was the right idea. Even though Mike’s play this week was poor, his presentation of his ideas was actually pretty impressive in that it wasn’t forced. Nothing good ever comes from trying to force people to bend to your will, especially for young women. Also, sweet Angelina, it’s far easier to convince people to do what you want them to when they actually like you. Sadly, these people don’t like you. Velvet hammer.

Angelina, when people are allowing your name to get thrown out, they don’t care what happens to you. They’re not your allies. You’re on the bottom. Stop crying about how they didn’t listen to you, grow some ovaries, and flip the script. There are plenty of people on the island who could use an ally like you. You still have options within this game, but now you know that it’s not with the Goliaths. Look how much begging it took for your frenemy, Dan, to decide to save you. When your friends suck, go get some new friends. But please, when you approach the Davids, make sure you are listening to them as much as you’re expecting them to listen to you. Slower. Lower. Less.

Unfortunately, in our society, women have to deal with obstacles in front of them that men just don’t. It sucks, but that’s the objective reality. However, I’m an artist, and I hold fast to the idea that restrictions are a breeding ground for creativity. When systems are working against you, you have to learn how to play them to your advantage. That’s the mark of a great Survivor player. Look how many mothers have won this game! That’s because they know that in order to get a child to eat their beets, it’s easier to bake them into pancakes than force it down their throats. Velvet. Hammer.


Gus: Angelina

AngelinaNOTPoor Angelina’s game has started circling the drain. Her own ex-Goliath tribe members thought about letting her go; she had to talk Dan into wasting his idol for her, and the Davids know that she’s a weak link within ex-Goliath. Angelina has very few options remaining to her that can salvage her game, and I don’t expect much from her (except if she manages to be a sole Goliath sitting next to a couple of Davids in FTC, but that probably isn’t going to happen).


Ali: Mike

MikeNOT“I’m starting to realize that if I go with the six, there’s a risk that the Davids could pull a fast one on me, take control of the game, and screw me over. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Our draft picks have seriously become “Team Hot Mess.” We have Carl getting drunk and spilling his irrational hatred of Elizabeth to the other side. We have Dan who has been a dead man walking since he first opened his mouth. Our only hope left was Mike White joining the Strike Force. This week, I feel like Tyra Banks. “Mike! We were rooting for you! How dare you?!” Mike’s paranoia took him from a solid position with the Strike Force, to betraying allies he had been planning on working with mere days before. Gus said this a few weeks ago, but I agree. Mike isn’t necessarily here to play the game well. Mike is here to pick off a Survivor checklist. It makes for amazing television, but Mike went from a potential final six to a potential next boot. Don’t get me wrong, moves against Christian had to happen eventually. But this was too much too soon! This week’s move was as poor a plot as the Emoji movie.


Gus: Mike

MikeNOTMike, never blindside your minority alliance. That’s really stupid. What were you thinking? Just take out Davie, or take out Carl! You’d still have insurmountable numbers with your smaller alliance as a separate plan! Ugh.Look, Mike has been on a rollercoaster for most of this season. (Not, Not, Not, Hot, Not, Hot, Hot, Not, Not). The only thing about Mike that is at all consistent is that his temperature is yet to go above freezing. I feel like he really shot himself in the foot this week, and I honestly can’t imagine how he gets any sort of power back in the game.



Last week, Ali and Gus both ranked John as a Not. What an exciting episode! Looks like the Mayor of Slamtown got slammed and it was a TKO.

Over the course of the season, John received:

Six Hots and one Not from Gus (5)
Three Hots and four Nots from Ali (-1)
Resulting in a total of nine Hots and five Nots (4)

-John is the second consecutive person to be eliminated with a positive temperature from Gus, after Elizabeth last week.
-Gus’ first Not for John’s was last week (and not a second too soon).
-Ali and Gus’ rankings for John (-1, 5) differ exactly as much as their rankings for Lyrsa (1, -3).
-Both players eliminated p-merge have been eliminated with a net positive temperature (Elizabeth 2, John 4).
-Ali and Gus only disagreed about John three times.


Gus: Wow. We agree on literally all of the players.

Ali: This will go one of two ways. Either someone goes home and we’re both happy, or someone goes home and we both look stupid. Fate being the way it is, I think it’s the latter.

Gus: Well, we might both wind up looking stupid, but only one of us decided to give Lyrsa a hot the week before she went home.

Ali: My love. Shut your face.

Gus: Duly shut.

Ali: I told you John Hennigan was going to be an early merge boot from day one.

Gus: Didn’t I give him a Not? And, he was idoled out from a majority alliance. And he was their second choice following Hot Cop. I stand by all six of the Hots that I gave him.

Photo: CBS

Ali: Fine. Who do you think is going to win?

Gus: Well, my head says Nick, but my gut says… I don’t really know. I don’t know if Nick is getting the credit he really deserves. And you?

Ali: Lyrsa.

Gus: Makes sense.

Ali: But seriously. I think it’s Nick, or maybe Kara. But I think it’ll be a David.

Gus: I’d love to see Kara make it deep. Who do you think is out next?

Ali: Dan the Man.

Gus: I concur. Wait. No. We can’t keep agreeing.

Ali: What a week.

Gus: You know what? I’m about to go full Merlino. I think Mike is out next.

Ali: Oh, that’s definitely a possibility.


Ali: The point of our entire article is that we disagree!

Gus: This week’s just a wash, then.

Ali: I will attribute all of this to the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Gus: Fair enough. Have a terrific holiday, y’all!

Ali: See ya! Happy Thanksgiving!


Written by

Alexandra Shields

Alexandra “Ali” Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018. Ali writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with her fiancé Gus.

Gus Schlanbusch

Gus is a Chicago-based theater artist and Survivor fan. He and his fiancée Ali also co-run a small theater company and produce a podcast about The Wheel of Time called “Wheel Takes.” When he’s not busy with all of that, he’s probably playing board games. Gus writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with Ali.

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