Last night’s episode of “Survivor 41” saw not one, but two dramatic Tribal Councils, in which two players were sent to the jury. Naseer Muttalif and Evvie Jagoda were both well-loved by fans, and the “Survivor” community may still be reeling from an intensive night which saw two eliminations in the timespan of one. So where does that leave the rest of the remaining eight players? Fans and blogs in the “Survivor” community have been weighing in. Here’s everything you need to know in the aftermath of episode 9.
Xander Might Be A Frontrunner
There seems to be a relatively clear consensus on who are the main contenders for the $1 million prize, at least for now.
Despite the long-standing target on fan favorite Xander Hasting’s back, a combination of certain power rankings puts him at the #1 spot to win. As of episode 8, Survivor Fandom’s power ranking had Xander at #1 out of 10, with Distractify placing him at #3, and Surviving Tribal at #4, with Xander being the highest averaged player of all. Surviving Tribal in particular had him at #11 the previous week, and then shot him up to the top spot after episode 8.
The consensus seems to be that although Xander is intelligent, strategic, and an overall good player, everyone on the island knows that too. As a result he is very heavily targeted, as any person watching this season can see. Although he won immunity last night and still has several advantages – including an idol – in his pocket, he basically saw the last of his allies get voted off with Evvie’s elimination. Xander is now alone and vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the running. One thing is for sure, however: Xander’s problem lies in getting to the end. If he makes it to the final 3, his chances of winning increase exponentially. His likability, charm, and strategic prowess makes him hard to beat in the finals.
Anything can happen, and the game is never over until your torch is snuffed. Season 30’s Mike Holloway, for instance, seemed like he was dead in the water by episode 10; nonetheless, he went on an immunity and idol run all the way to the final 3, and won. For Xander, there is always hope.
Who Are the Other Strong Contenders
Other players who analysts have tapped for the win may not surprise viewers, given their position in the majority alliance. Deshawn Radden and Shan Smith are both ranked highly on Distractify – with Shan ranking #1 – and Surviving Tribal has Deshawn ranked the highest. They are both good players and in solid positions; Deshawn in particular was viewed as a tribe leader during his time on Luvu, and has contestant Danny McCray both as a shield an ally.
Shan, who is (seemingly) tightly aligned with Deshawn, is also in a solid position, leading her alliance through each Tribal vote, though her relationship with Deshawn is becoming fractured, and the last few episodes have shown a emotionally volatile side of the strategic player which might come back to bite her in the end. As Surviving Tribal puts it, “She had so much control on Ua and she can’t seem to let it go now that she doesn’t need to run everything. That puts her in a position where everyone is getting upset with her for being too controlling.” Despite that, she continues to have what some analysts and fans have called a “winner’s edit,” and she still has an idol to play if she needs it.
Though Xander, Deshawn, and Shan are the main contenders, at least for now, the winner could be anyone. Despite Heather Aldret’s brief, perhaps fleeting, surge in popularity last week – and her survival from yet another Tribal at which she was vulnerable – she is still being ranked at the bottom of the list on every major power ranking. The edit also didn’t give her much more limelight last night. Liana Wallace, Erika Casupanan, Ricard Foyé, and Danny are also still in the running, even if the odds aren’t particularly in their favor at the moment. Liana and Ricard in particular are being ridiculed for their unflattering strategic moments; Liana for asking Xander to give her his idol, and Ricard for asking Xander to (needlessly) play his idol in episode 8.
As mentioned, however, the game is constantly changing, and several unlikely contestants have won before. It would be unwise to count anyone out.
“Survivor 41” still has four more episodes, six more Tribal Councils, and five more players to be eliminated. Anything could happen to shake up the game, so stay tuned to see how things turn out in the coming weeks.
“Survivor 41” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.