Gus and Ali, a real-life couple and fans of Survivor, will be individually ranking the Survivor Season 38 castaways into two categories, Hot or Not, based on who they think has potential longevity in the game. Hots are indicative of castaways who we think played well this week or who are setting themselves up for success; Nots are indicative of castaways who we think didn’t and aren’t.
Go ahead, hit us with your best shot. We’re probably wrong anyway, but that’s why it’s fun!
WARNING: This segment uses content from the “Next Time On” preview. If you are someone who doesn’t like watching those segments prior to the show, do not read further. You’ve been warned.
GUS: DAN “WARDOG” DASILVA – NOT
Though I do think that Wardog is still playing a very good game, I also worry that he’s had too much power for too long. Over the last four votes, Wardog has been in a powerful position – either directly controlling the person going home, as with Kool-Aid Rick, or strongly influencing the direction of the vote as with Chris. With Rick out of the game, however, Wardog is no longer needed by the majority alliance – a 3 to 1 majority (as it may seem) leaves no room for a swing vote. It’s possible that Wentworth and Lauren, if Lesu finds itself at yet another Tribal, will swing around and take out Wardog for fear of his further strategizing in the post-merge phase of the game. It’s possible too that Kelley will decide that taking out David would risk a chain of returnee vote-outs, and choose to go after Wardog. My concerns at this point can be summed up as: thus far, everybody knows that Wardog is playing well, that he’s had power, and that he’s a force. That’s risky going into a merge, and though I am loathe to give Wardog a Not just because he’s playing too strongly, I feel that I have no other choice.
ALI: DAN “WARDOG” DASILVA – NOT
“I need a dance partner who can get Wardog closer to winning one million dollars.”
I was very nervous for The Wardog this week because often the swing vote can inadvertently bring the target upon themselves. All of those cuts of Wardog talking to multiple people, coupled with Kelley discussing how she cannot get a good read on him, made me fear that Wardog might be in for a blindside. When they were suddenly walking to tribal, I realized that my fears were not going to come to pass this time… Repeat, this time. I still feel Wardog is overplaying, and I think that he believes that Kelley is in his corner more than Lauren’s. In the “Next Time On,” Wardog is on the warpath to eliminate Lauren, and I don’t think Kelley’s going to let that happen. Once again, it appears that Wardog ignores the obvious target, David, in favor of eliminating someone else, Lauren. As opposed to his past plays, this time, Wardog is going to target an ally of Kelley’s, and I think that Kelley could easily unite with David to take out Wardog in response. Furthermore, I was cringing when Wardog was talking about calculating the odds of their specific tribe swap. I thought Wardog’s plan was to hide his intelligence, and in that moment, he wasn’t sticking to the plan. This moment was reminiscent of when Christian Hubicki talked about being a slide puzzle god or when Chrissy Hofbeck did some Jeff baited math. Showing one’s intelligence in the game encourages others to target that person, and that’s what Wardog may have inadvertently done.
GUS: LAUREN O’CONNELL – HOT
Lauren is holding tightly to her Hidden Immunity Idol, and she’s still tight with Kelley Wentworth. She’s not yet at a point where taking out Wentworth would benefit her (as far as we can tell), and her alliance seems to have the numbers. Honestly, the only thing that is currently working against Lauren is that she and Kelley are clearly in cahoots, which might a) alienate other players from wanting to work with her or b) set her up to be voted out as Wentworth’s lieutenant. However, I can’t see that happening in this week’s episode (at least not in the opening hour of this week’s episode), so for the time being Lauren is getting a Hot from me.
ALI: LAUREN O’CONNELL – NOT
“My life in this game is on the line… I’m a strong player and I don’t even think people know it.”
Lauren had a rough week. Unfortunately, her rice aversion has painted a target on her back when, on any other tribe, she might be safe. On top of that, Wardog is gunning for her in the “Next Time On.” Lauren has the idol to protect her, and it appears Kelley may go out of her way to protect her. Whatever the case, this week had a negative impact on her game, earning her a Not from me.
GUS: KELLEY WENTWORTH – HOT
This season is giving me whiplash with how often I’m switching people around. Thanks to the grace of Wardog, Kelley is in a good spot for the upcoming week. She’s highly unlikely to go home in the first hour because of her alliance with Lauren (and because of the possibility that Lauren will use her idol on Kelley if she finds Wardog and David whispering about Kelley). And she’s unlikely to go home in the second hour because she’s likely to have numerical supremacy over David and Wardog still. In short, Kelley is in a very good spot – at least until we encounter a further swap or the merge.
ALI: KELLEY WENTWORTH – HOT
“We are like the Cleveland Browns of tribes.”
Kelley is officially on top this week. Even though she’s on a losing tribe, there are a few targets that will come under fire before her. My only concern for Kelley is that David may find an idol and will use this opportunity to eliminate her. Though, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Kelley is in the majority, and that’s worth more than the possibility that David might find an idol.
GUS: DAVID WRIGHT – NOT
How violently the tables have turned. David was the victim of a really horrible swap this week; he found himself with Rick on his tribe (good), but then he also found himself with basically everybody he’d conspired against on his tribe (bad) and no Wendy around to absorb stray flak (really bad). It seems like voting out Chris – though it was the right move for David to make at the time – is not paying any dividends. Instead, David is wholly isolated, with nothing to hope for but either some fantastic immunity wins or some more overplaying from the Wardog (or the Lesu Hidden Immunity Idol).
ALI: DAVID WRIGHT – NOT
“I’m 100% convinced that Wentworth has the immunity idol.”
David’s heartfelt, shocked “sorry” during Devens’ elimination broke my heart. I was really hoping that Davens would have some longevity in the game, and I truly believe that Rick and David were screwed over by this swap. My fanfiction of the moment is that Rick will be the one to return from Extinction Island, and that’s why Rick got such a heartfelt sendoff. A girl can dream, can’t she? But I digress… I fear that David is easy pickings should Lesu lose again, and they probably will. I haven’t given up hope for David yet, as he’s been in tough scrapes before. There is an idol somewhere on Lesu beach, and if any man can find that darn thing, it’s David.
GUS: JOE ANGLIM – NOT
Joe is winning every single challenge, so he’s unlikely to end up at tribal, but if he somehow does find himself at there, he’s not gonna have a good time. His sole ally is Aurora, and he was made a laughingstock by Ron Clark in the process of attempting to work with Ron Clark – WHO HE RAN INTO STRATEGIZING AGAINST HIM JUST A WEEK AGO. I’m not sure why Joe thought that Ron was his best bet for a second newbie to ally with in light of all that. That aside, Joe is likely the first boot from New Kama if they go to tribal – with a merge looming, his tribemates have to know that he’s becoming too dangerous to hold onto for long.
ALI: JOE ANGLIM – NOT
“I’m really trying to build more strong, solid relationships.”
Joseph Amazing Anglim! What in the world are you doing?! Joe declaring that he intends to create solid relationships with the folks in his camp is a promising start. But then, he specifically ruins it by going to someone he knows is targeting him! Ron and Victoria did Joe a favor last week by accidentally revealing their true intentions in front of him, but Joe takes this information and decides that the thing to do is strategize with one of the people he knows is gunning for him.
GUS: AURORA MCCREARY – NOT
Sadly, Aurora decided to ally herself with the newbies as part of the tribe that decided to not ally with the newbies. If Aurora started the game on Manu, she’d be golden – as that’s the tribe which had a majority of players (or at least a decent chunk of them) opt to work with or manipulate its returnees. For Kama, though, Aurora is the ONLY person from her original tribe (and on her new tribe) working with a returning player – and it seems as though she doesn’t even know it.
ALI: AURORA MCCREARY – NOT
I really wish we were getting more of Aurora. Unfortunately for her, I was right when I was worried she would be on the outs for her eagerness to align with Joe. A visually symbolic moment for me this episode when it came to Aurora’s game was seeing her in the foreground of a shot tanning, while Julia was doing the same incredibly far away from her. Aurora hasn’t made inroads with her fellow newbies like I would hope. Aurora needs to distance herself from Joe before she gets taken out as his lieutenant.
GUS: RON CLARK – HOT
That entire well conversation was stupendous. Ron looks to have accidentally duped Joe into thinking that he (Ron) wants to work with him, when in fact Ron was working alongside someone who I think they referred to as Julia (is she part of the crew?) to search through Joe’s stuff for advantages. Ron is in the majority within his own tribe, and it’s a decently strong tribe; I’m confident that he will be around for a good bit.
ALI: RON CLARK – HOT
“I told Julia twenty minutes ago to go through Joe’s bag.”
Ron Clark was on fire this episode. From his facial expressions to demanding that Julia riffle through Joey Amazing’s bag, Ron delivered non-stop entertainment. Make no mistake, Ron Clark knows how to play the game, and he’s willing to prosper by any means necessary, even if it means riffling through the golden boy’s bag in search of an idol. There was once a time when this kind of behavior would have caused fans to have a complete conniption, and now such actions have become par for the course. Truly, Joe failing to keep an eye on his things reflect poorly on his game. Ron is the leader of the majority alliance on a tribe that won’t lose with a minority that has no way to defend themselves. Ron can dance like the whole world is watching because he isn’t going anywhere.
GUS: JULIA CARTER – HOT
I just want to point out that while Julia talked to Ron, even though Julia was the one communicating all of the important info, the camera was just fixated on Ron’s head for the entire thing, and I think that is both hilarious and deeply unfair to poor Julia, who is entering her fifth straight episode without a confessional.
ALI: JULIA CARTER – HOT
“I don’t think he has it.”
My feelings when we actually got to hear Julia’s voice…
The whole scene where Ron instructs her to dig through Joe’s bag in search of an idol was hilarious, but that isn’t the only reason I decided to give Julia a Hot this week. Julia is in the majority alliance on a tribe who won’t lose, and there is no way for Joe or Aurora to find the immunity idol. In all likelihood, Julia will live to be invisible another day.
GUS: JULIE ROSENBERG – HOT
Majority within the Kama tribe; unlikely to be targeted; she talked about pee again and it was funny. I like her very much. Thumbs up for Julie.
ALI: JULIE ROSENBERG – HOT
“I’m going to pee my pants.”
I love the fact that half of Julie’s content is about her peeing. Purple Julia? More like Yellow Julie. Julie has evolved from a day one reluctance to pee in the woods to peeing right in front of everyone in the midst of a swap. Talk about a growth edit. For real though, Julie has made inroads with the majority alliance and has successfully stayed under the radar. For the reasons listed above for Ron and Julia, Julie gets a Hot from me.
GUS: WENDY DIAZ – NOT
So Wendy gets up late at night, releases the chickens, revels in her glory at being very sneaky, and then actively roots against looking for the chickens. Her teammates clearly suspect (or know) that she let them out, and her steadfast refusal to play against that narrative only buries her further. That being said, it seems that Wendy is en route to Philip Sheppard levels of FTC goat-ness. There seems to be nobody left in the game who would even consider voting for her, as she’s 1) burned bridges with (or had bridges burned by) every member of old Manu, and 2) just recently pissed off half of Kama by throwing the chickens out. If that’s her plan, then I guess it’s working… but I don’t see how it could lead to her winning.
ALI: WENDY DIAZ – NOT
“I feel like if I just go with the flow, things will work out.”
Oh Wendy… What a special chick… First of all, I want to know of one instance in which Wendy has gone with the flow. Name one… A part of me wonders if Wendy is simply too pure for the game of Survivor. Another part of me wonders if she’s all there. A third part of me wonders if she wants air time, and that’s why she’s looking to ruffle (rustle) feathers. Regardless, I’m enjoying watching the other players have to navigate what to do with the Wendigo (I like my made up nickname better than Big Wendy). Wendy is certainly not playing well, but I can’t help but root for this clucking nut.
GUS: AUBRY BRACCO – HOT
With an idol in her pocket and Wendy around to soak up the attention, Aubry suddenly finds herself in a halfway decent spot within this tribe of newbies. It remains to be seen if Aubry is the target again (it’s very possible that she will be), but I feel like her months of Survivor experience should allow her to gain foresight of any impending votes being pointed at her and that her Idol will save her if she is targeted.
ALI: AUBRY BRACCO – HOT
“I am really excited about the tribe swap.”
The tribe swap could not have come at a better time for Aubry. She went from being on the bottom of the totem pole to sitting pretty comfortably on Manu. Plus, worst case scenario, Aubry has an idol to keep her safe. On a side note, I wanted to say how much I love that Aubry always finds a way to bond with what I am going to affectionately call the chicken weirdos. Her relationship with Wendy is starting to remind me of her relationship with Tai, and I’m here for it. Tackling challenging castaways like Wendy separates the good players from the bad, and smart contestants like Aubry will be able to use Wendy’s outcast status to their advantage. It looks like Aubry might be able to get some traction next episode, but regardless of whether that is a red herring or not, I think my girl Aubry is safe for the time being.
GUS: VICTORIA BAAMONDE – NOT
So this is tough. Victoria is in a spot where it seems like she’ll be first targeted by Aubry if Aubry has power. Aubry should know (via last week’s episode, from Joe) that Victoria sees Aubry and Joe as part of a two, which should imply to Aubry that Victoria may be looking at her as a potential target. I’m not sure whether that’s still the case. It remains to be seen… for the time being, I’m more worried about Victoria than I am about Aubry, but I’m also hopeful that Victoria will make herself a little bit scarce if Manu loses an immunity or Aubry starts to gun for her. Her risks currently outweigh her potential benefits, however, so I’m ranking Victoria “Not.”
ALI: VICTORIA BAAMONDE – NOT
“That’s someone you vote out.”
I went back and forth with what to say about Victoria this week. On the one hand, she’s sitting pretty on this tribe as a part of the majority alliance. On the other, the way she reacted to Wendy this week showed a lack of flexibility that sent up a red flag. Granted, I would have lost my damn mind is someone had separated me from my chicken, so I don’t hold this against her. Victoria did not keep her frustration to her confessionals, as she made comments about eating Wendy around camp. I also have to pay attention to the story being told about her, and so far she has been very obvious about her intentions against Aubry. Aubry isn’t a fool; she’s already locking in on Wendy as an asset, where the weaker players view her as expendable. Furthermore, Aubry has that idol in her pocket. Should Aubry be the target for the vote going forward, she has the means to save herself, which means that one of the big time players from Kama will be on the chopping block. Who knows? Maybe the story being told also indicates that Aubry may attempt to save Wendy from elimination as well, and she has the means to do so. Gus is probably going to call these theories fan fiction, but the narrative so far has painted targets on Aubry and Wendy, while also indicating that Aubry wishes to work with Wendy going forward. Perhaps Aubry and Wendy are about to become a duo. Though, we’ve been disappointed in the past with the idea of duos: David and Devens, Lyrsa and Elizabeth… Hence, my dilemma.
Should the idol be played, I fear for Eric and Victoria. Victoria has been the most obvious in her ill-will toward Aubry, and Eric is a bigger challenge asset/shield than Victoria. When push comes to shove, I think Victoria could be in some serious trouble. In the “Next Time On,” we see Victoria approaching Aubry about taking out Eric, so perhaps Victoria is ready to shake things up. Typically though, the target in the “Next Time On”s tend to stay in the game… I believe David Bloomberg refers to this as Hubicki’s Law, due to Christian’s constant presence in the previews as the target, and then his ultimate elimination on the week when he’s mysteriously absent from that week’s sneak peek. I believe that Eric’s target is a red herring, possibly invented by Victoria in order to throw Aubry off the scent. Aubry is not one to be fooled so easily, and I think this may backfire for Victoria.
GUS: ERIC HAFEMANN – HOT
Eric is playing well enough. He’s upset with Wendy about the chickens, and… well, that’s really it. I don’t know enough against him to make him a Not, although I also barely know enough about him to make him a Hot. I think he’s going to go way harder to get Aubry out than Wendy or Victoria are going to. That could be a mark against him.
ALI: ERIC HAFEMANN – NOT
“If I catch one, it’s not going back in the coop; it’s going under the machete.”
Bless Eric, he tried so hard to keep his malice toward Wendy under wraps, but threatening the chickens in front of her was a bad idea. It’s possible that his taunting the chickens was what ultimately led Wendy to finally release the chickens. Unfortunately, it’s hard to account for Wendy’s specific level of quirkiness, but it was clear that she didn’t keep her feelings about killing the chickens a secret. Therefore, Eric’s mocking the chickens was poor form, and it seems he failed to read the room on this one. This has some negative implications about his social game when he’s on top of the heap. Add Eric’s questionable social game to his fixation on eliminating a player with an idol, and I fear for him going forward.
I think Eric’s saving grace is his athleticism, which would encourage fellow players to keep him around going forward. Nevertheless, it appears that players this season have been disregarding challenge ability in the interest of eliminating perceived threats, and this trend may cause Eric’s elimination where he would be safe on any other season. Couple these factors with his newfound target on “Next Time On,” and I’m thinking this fireman may be hosed.
GUS: GAVIN WHITSON – HOT
By the exact same course of logic that I applied to Eric, Gavin gets a Hot.
ALI: GAVIN WHITSON – HOT
“The chickens seem to be doing good.”
Jeff really tried to blow up Gavin’s spot by calling him out as a super fan. Immediately, I grew very concerned about Gavin’s threat level. But, Gus has been telling me I can’t hedge my bets so much (limiting me to giving a minimum of half minus one Hots), so I have to make a judgment call about one of the people I’m nervous about. Because we’ve seen the least negative content for Gavin during this pre-merge out of the other Kama players, I think he may be safe this week. We didn’t get to see how Gavin reacted to the Chicken Run, and something leads me to believe this plot line is going to get wrapped up one way or another this week. Because of this, I think one of the more vocal people about the scandal (Wendy, Victoria, or Eric) is going to lose their heads, leaving Gavin to slide under the radar. Plus, I think Gavin deserves a Hot this week because, despite Jeff’s attempts to out him as a superfan, it looks like he’s been able to keep a target off his back.
GUS: REEM DALY – KINDLED
Ate a delish fish dish.
ALI: REEM DALY – ASHEN
“You’re not going to come in here with open arms. Sorry, it’s the edge of extinction.”
I still feel that Reem is staying largely for Keith, especially based on her reaction toward Chris. I don’t think that additional people (especially Rick) are going to serve as a comfort to her out there. I think as soon as Keith is gone, Reem will likely follow.
GUS: KEITH SOWELL – ASHEN
Ate a delish fish dish, but will probably quit if Chris stops feeding him.
ALI: KEITH SOWELL – ASHEN
“That mast is everything. So right now, my mind is like my freaking best friend and my worst enemy.
He was getting ready to quit this week until Chris brought him fish. If that’s what it takes for Keith to stay in the game, if I were Chris, I’d withhold that food.
GUS: CHRIS UNDERWOOD – KINDLED
Is providing some delish fish dishes.
ALI: CHRIS UNDERWOOD – KINDLED
“I failed. It got me voted out. This idea of playing a perfect game is completely shot. Coming to terms with that, maybe it’s a part of this journey too.”
Chris is making this survival thing look easy, and his chances of being the one who returns to the game are high. Personally, I might have let Reem and Keith starve if they treated me like Chris, but I’m seeing a little of Chris’s social game coming into play, and that may help him down the road.
GUS: RICK DEVENS – KINDLED
ALI: RICK DEVENS – KINDLED
“This may be my last report.”
First, I just wanted to say that I am devastated that Rick is gone. Second, I feel Rick is too much a fan of this game to quit.
TRASH TALK ZONE
ALI: First, I would like to give a huge shout out to Kim from Texas for pointing out that I did not adequately roast Gus last week for being “so incredibly wrong” about Chris. Kim, you are so right, I can’t believe that I missed such a choice opportunity to rag on Gus. I will more than make it up to you in a moment. For this week, Kim earns an honorary Hot from me.
GUS: Yeah, I was very, very wrong about that.
ALI: Now for the roast…
GUS: Oh no.
ALI: Gus, you thought me ranking Lyrsa as a Hot was bad that one week? Well, let’s chat, my friend. This was you, two weeks ago: “His target didn’t go home this week, but Chris managed to roll with the punches and place himself in a highly desirable position for the future. I think Chris is in good shape for the coming few weeks.”When I tried to point out that this indicated that things looked bad for Chris because it became clear that Wardog’s voice held more weight than Chris’s.
Then, the following week, what happens? Chris gets sent home because Wardog’s voice holds more weight. If Chris had been able to keep Keith around, he would have had the majority that week, and there’s no way that he would have gone home. They probably would have been able to eliminate Kelley with those numbers, and then Rick would have been safe this week! It’s all a domino that started with Chris eliminating Keith.
Also, I was right, Wardog is overplaying. What is with you and these like hyper-masculine dudes? You loved Hennigan (though he’s a different breed from Wardog, he’s still in a similar beefcake role).
GUS: Hey, Hennigan played well. You can’t fault him for that. He just went a little bit too hard with the Goliath Strong thing.
ALI: And you were starry-eyed over Ken pre-merge in MvGX.
GUS: Well, so were you, if you’ll recall.
ALI: The guy is beautiful.
GUS: Look, I agree with you that Wardog is overplaying. That’s why I gave him a Not this week. But I do think he has/had been playing decently well in the first couple of weeks. Plus, his Reddit presence is hilarious.
ALI: Nice to see you coming around to my point of view. I’m being harsh, but #JusticeForLyrsa. Also, Kim from Texas demands it, and I officially love Kim. But Kim, you see how reasonable he is? It’s hard to stay righteous in his presence when he’s so agreeable. And yet…
Let’s talk about Aurora. I was particularly proud of how right I was about her even though we saw almost nothing of her relationships at camp. The minute that they started talking about how Aurora was on the outs in that episode, Gus threw up his hands and said: “you were right.” The sweetest words in the English language, “you were right.”
GUS: I say that a lot. You’re usually right, except about Lyrsa. I think the tricky thing about the aforementioned errors was that I jumped to conclusions from too little evidence. I’ll have to be more thoughtful in future.
ALI: Alright, I hope that “Reeming” was to Kim’s satisfaction… Now, it looks like this week we only disagree about Lauren (you gave her a Hot, I gave her a Not) and Eric (same deal)… Good Lord, Gus, you are wrong once again on both counts.
GUS: Lauren may be in trouble, but I don’t see her going home this week. Sure, the food thing and the emotional wear and tear may be getting to her a little harder than it’s getting to the other folks, but she’s not giving up, and she’s still tearing up all of the challenges. She practically carried her team for the first half of this past week’s Immunity Challenge until everything fell apart in the second half. And, more than that, for her to go home, Wentworth would have to be on board, and I just do not see Wentworth voting out her most loyal ally for fear of Challenge Performance. I think it’s much more likely that, in the event of Lesu ending up back at Tribal Council, David or Wardog is sent home, and if (somehow) they lose AGAIN, then the other being sent home (or, I guess to the Edge of Extinction) right after. Beyond all of this, Lauren still has an Idol – and correctly playing an Idol in a tribe of three or four is MUCH easier than pulling a Wentworth and taking out Savage. I really don’t see Lauren going home this week.
ALI: Wardog’s voice so far has held weight in every tribal he’s gone to, and now it looks like he’s set his sights on Lauren. There’s a double episode this week, and it could easily be Lesu going to tribal both times (though I hope that’s not the case). I’m starting to believe that Wardog may be closer to Kelley than Lauren, or at the very least that Kelley is going to have to make a choice sometime soon between them. While I think Wardog is overplaying, I think his instincts to split up all the pairs so that he is the closest ally with both returnees is a smart strategy, and I think he might be successful in that endeavor or go home. Yes, Lauren has the idol, and she could use it to save herself, but that would rely on her being able to see the votes coming for her, and she’s on a tribe of very sneaky players. In the very least, she had a target on her back because of a perceived weakness this week. Granted, I don’t feel that this label was fair, because I agree she carried her tribe during that challenge, but in Survivor, perception is reality. If the other players see her as a liability and she keeps crying, which it looks like she will, this will be bad news bears for her. She has an idol, but I’m nervous for her in a double elimination episode. I’m especially worried because David is a great idol hunter and there’s definitely an idol hanging out somewhere on Lesu. All he has to do is find it.
Lastly, I don’t think it’s enough to save yourself to earn a Hot. Lauren got a target on her back this week, and it doesn’t look like she did anything to keep it off her next week.
GUS: Lauren came out of this week in a better place than she started. She could easily have gone home, but she didn’t, and though you are right about perception being reality and about Wardog holding sway, I feel like both of those points pale in comparison to the mathematical reality of Lauren’s situation. Lauren is Kelley’s number one ally (it would seem). Wardog has a reputation for being sneaky and aggressive. As we move towards a merge (eventually), I feel like Kelley will want to keep that loyalty over Wardog’s gamesmanship, and I doubt whether Wardog’s voice will continue to hold as much sway as it has thus far now that he’s not really needed to be a swing vote.
ALI: There was a secret scene that showed that Kelley doesn’t want to target returnees. Apparently, David’s name was floated (which makes sense), but Kelley shot it down. I think she fears that if a returnee goes, that it will be a straw that breaks the camel’s back. We haven’t seen much of her opinions of David on the show, but I wonder how comfortable she will really be ousting David from the game. That could come back to bite her, and so she might see Lauren as a viable sacrifice…
Also, we’ve seen Wardog be loyal to Kelley. He warned her that Chris was coming for her and orchestrated his vote out to protect her. Wardog is more of a shield for Kelley than Lauren is, and they’ve developed a bond as well. It’s possible that, if he makes her choose, Kelley may ultimately choose him over Lauren, especially if Lauren keeps crying and not eating. Lastly, the only reason Lauren is still in the game is by the grace of Wardog. And, based on what we’ve been shown, Wardog only voted with them because he’s close with Kelley. I wouldn’t exactly call that Hot gameplay.
GUS: All good points.
ALI: Shall we discuss Eric?
GUS: Yeah. Eric’s one that I could have gone Hot or Not with. I mean, apart from his growing dislike of Wendy, and his increasing love of chicken (not Morris) I feel like I don’t have a ton to go on. In hindsight, I probably should have made Eric a Not – especially if the preview scene showing Victoria, Aubry and Big Wendy allying is to be trusted – but I feel like… yeah, honestly I’m not sure why I didn’t do that. Distrust of previews, I suppose.
ALI: I feel similarly actually. We did see him in potential trouble next week, but there’s a big part of me that thinks Victoria was bulls****ing Aubry. On the other hand, with the merge coming up, players like Wendy become more desirable to keep around, whereas players like Eric become big targets. Unlike a lot of the big players still left in the game, it doesn’t behoove Victoria at this point to keep threats around, so she may be thinking long term on this one. On the other hand, does it benefit her to work with Aubry? She’s said a lot of negative things about Aubry and has still been pretty adamant about getting rid of returnees. BUT, I think Aubry and Wendy might work together, and Aubry has the idol in her pocket. I also think she’s a smart enough player to see through Victoria, and I think Eric could easily be a casualty if Aubry plays the idol. I think we might be in for a showdown.
GUS: Yeah. Completely possible. I think the thing about Eric is that all of his potential outcomes hinge more on what other people do than on what he is doing. He’s kind of a non-entity gameplay wise in terms of forecasting because of that (based solely on what we’re seeing in the show). I see scenarios wherein he’s the next boot because Victoria wants to work with Aubry and Wendy, but I also see scenarios where he rolls through to the merge by dint of just kinda being there.
ALI: Yeah, but then once he’s there, I don’t know if he’s long for the game. I hope I’m wrong, because he’s on my draft team. Gameplay wise, I think the six Kama newbies have made it really obvious to Joe and Aubry that they’re on the outs, which I don’t think is great strategy since the tribe hasn’t lost and there are already cracks. I think Eric has been trying to go for Aubry since day one, so I can only assume based on what we’ve shown that he’s been the one to instigate ostracizing her (even if it was unintentional). Then, this week, even though he knew Wendy was into those chickens, he mocked them right in front of her (which, hey, you can’t plan for someone to release the chickens in the middle of the night… but I think his words probably played some contributing role in Wendy’s decision).
GUS: Very true, all of that. I think if Eric realizes what’s going on he’ll be okay, but as it is, he seems oblivious to the game’s undercurrents. He’s able to ride them pretty well just accidentally, but there’s an undertow that might snag him and drag him down.
ALI: Oh, we also disagree about Reem. Let’s talk really quickly about her. It looks like Keith may be going soon, and I don’t think Reem is going to want to stick around with Chris and Rick.
GUS: Eh, I think Reem’s staying or going depends on 1) her rage level and 2) how much fish she eats. If Chris cuts her off and Keith leaves, she’s out, but as it is I think she’s sufficiently angry to propel her through to the merge – especially if the EoE castaways have any sort of glimmer of hope about how or when they’re going to be getting back into the game.
ALI: I have a hard time seeing her winning her way back into the game, and if she does, I don’t think she’s got a shot of winning. If she treats everyone back at camp the way she’s treating people on Extinction, she’s not long for the game once she’s back. She’s a fun character, but I think she’s toast.
GUS: Oh, Reem isn’t winning. I see no way that she wins. But I think she isn’t quitting soon either. That’s why I have her as one of the Kindled. I think that if she DOESN’T win the challenge back into the game she’ll quit. I think a bunch of people are going to quit if they don’t win that challenge. To have that level of hope crushed after, what, 18 days of deprivation, to see the goalposts moved WAY WAY WAY OFF into the distance again, will really shake a lot of people.
ALI: True. But all of this could be as soon as this week, given the merge is coming up soon.
GUS: Entirely possible. But too dependent on uncertain variables for me to count it against Reem as of yet.
ALI: She also doesn’t look great in the commercials.
GUS: No. But I feel like she’s sufficiently fueled by her snark and rage to be out yet. She needs to stab someone first.
GUS: By the by, I saw this great post on Reddit the other day ranking the castaways by their propensity to stab people, from Wendy at “would never stab anyone ever” all the way up to Reem, the top, at “would stab as a warning.”
ALI: So accurate!
GUS: It’s that kind of stabby energy that makes me feel like Reem just might have a chance.
ALI: You have a point. We’ll find out soon! Alright, for each tribe. Who do we think is definitely safe this week? For me, it’s…
MANU – Aubry
KAMA – Ron Clark
LESU – Kelley
GUS: I’m saying that our Safe folks are:
MANU – Wendy (HOT TAKE?)
KAMA – Julie (NOT A HOT TAKE?)
LESU – Lauren (FIGHT ME IRL ALI)
ALI: KIM FROM TEXAS AND I ARE GOING TO STAB YOU AS A WARNING!!!! (Also, Wendy is an interesting choice)
As for people going home…
MANU – Victoria
KAMA – Joe
LESU – Lauren (FIGHT ME)
GUS: Players who could go home:
MANU – Eric
KAMA – Aurora
LESU – Wardog
I think that pretty much wraps this week up! Enjoy the double episode, everybody!
ALI: Join us next week when we’ve found out…
GUS: Oh, people might not know about that. That was the second preview, right? Apparently, there’s a great big box that’s being delivered to the Edge of Extinction. Should be good.