Survivor 41 Cast Impressions and Some Season Speculation
So The NEW ERA of Survivor is right around the corner from starting, and I plan to consume, analyze, and joke about everything going on in this new season weekly! Before the first episode starts on Wednesday, I wanted to write up a quick little article on what I think of the cast, and make some guesses on twists we may see this season that were teased in the trailers. I’m gonna take a look at the cast photos, subsequent video content published about them, and various trailers to speculate on who will go far, who will make a fool of themselves, and what twists and turns we might see in this new shortened format. Let’s go!
MAKING JUDGEMENTS ON EVERY PLAYER BASED OFF THEIR OFFICIAL CBS CAST BIO IN ONE SENTENCE
Brad — I don’t see how he will connect to the young castaways at all.
Danny — I see him being charismatic but heavily targeted the second people smell the merge because he screams stereotypical challenge beast.
David — Definitely will think he’s the smartest Survivor player on the beach.
Deshawn — I have high hopes for Deshawn as long as he can be content with being the follower sometimes since as he put he “deeply loathes being told what to do”.
Eric — He looks incredibly boring.
Erika — How many Canadians have played Survivor?
Evvie — She’s gonna try way too hard and find herself in everyone’s bad graces very early.
Genie — She’s either gonna go very far or be one of the first boots, no in between.
Heather — I can see her social game being her biggest strength.
Jairus — High potential player right here if he gets the right cards dealt to him early
Liana — I think she will be a likable personality this season.
Naseer — He’s got the story to cheer for, but I’m worried that he will be lacking in the strategy department compared to others here who sound more like super fans than him.
Ricard — How long will the blonde hair dye last?
Sara — I don’t really know where to place her to be honest.
Shantel — I feel like she might be an early boot depending on the success and personalities of her first tribe.
Sydney — Hmmm she wants to play like Samoa’s Natalie White?
Tiffany — I don’t see a strong social game here.
Xander — He looks like the nerdy freshman in college who’s desperately trying to fit into fraternity culture.
AFTER CONSUMING THE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY INTERVIEW CONTENT AND HEARING ALL THE CASTAWAYS SPEAK ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEIR GAME, HERE’S MY SPECULATIVE PRESEASON RANKINGS
18. Brad — He’s said he recently got into the show, he’s the only true “country guy” in the cast, and he’s in his 50s as one of the oldest in the cast. I feel he will be behind strategically and socially.
17. Tiffany — She’s clearly a fan of the show, but I’m unsure if she will make a good first impression on her fellow castaways and I see her being targeted early.
16. Derek — He played in the NFL so he’s clearly an athlete, but professional athletes are often targeted and after watching his interview answers I wasn’t sold that he has the charisma to protect himself from being viewed as a pre-merge comp beast target.
15. Naseer — He said his favorite player was Phillip Sheppard in his interview so that turns me off to him as a strategic threat. If he’s gonna last he’s gonna have to win people over with personality.
14. Sara — Right now I don’t think she has the Survivor killer instinct to get ahead of more lethal strategic players that are gonna rise up. She screams first or second jury member to me.
13. Genie — I’m worried that in a cast of Ivy Leaguers and medical students and doctors and seemingly accomplished people, our humble grocery store clerk won’t fit in.
12. Eric — He’s in the category of “average player” for me. I can see him being a competent Survivor player but someone who blends into the surroundings a bit.
11. Liana — I like Liana. Seems like someone you’d want to hang out with. But based on her interviews I feel she’ll be too reserved while playing the game which can come back to bite her.
10. Xander — I haven’t decided how good Xander will do yet. He wants to play outwardly dumb but secretly strategic but I’m sure yet if he can pull off that kind of scam without actually looking dumb or failing to keep the act in tact.
9. Heather — She mentioned Lisa Whelchel and Tina Wesson in her bio and that’s exactly the vibe I’m getting from her so far. I can totally see younger players forming the “Mom” bonds with her.
8. Evvie — She seems the biggest super fan on the show this year. Comes off as a smart person but the clear worry is that her personality will come off too strong to people. Will absolutely look to form a women’s alliance at some point in the game.
7. Erika — If there’s anyone that could pull off the under-the-radar this season I think it will be her. Her interviews make me see her as genuine and likeable with in-game social awareness.
6. Ricard — I really just get the vibe that he’ll be good. He carries himself in a way that I think will make players trust him easier.
5. Shantel (Shan) — I’m pinning her early as someone who’s going to kill her confessionals, regardless if she goes home early or goes far.
4. David — He definitely looks like the player who will play the hardest among the cast based on his interviews and his cast bio. I see it either going to near perfection or flaming out spectacularly.
3. Deshawn — He pretty much said in his interviews he will lean into the villain role on the show. I’m also seeing him as a three-tool (social, strategic, competitive) Survivor player that I think will get him far in the game, as long as he plays his cards right.
2. Sydney — Her interviews left me pleasantly surprised. She’s the rich girl out of Beverly Hills whose favorite player is Russell Hantz. I think she will absolutely make her mark this season when she gets the opportunity to.
1. Jairus (JD) — I think I’m already penning JD into the next returners cast. Seems smart, charming, and athletic. I want to see him succeed.
MAKING 5 GUESSES ABOUT WHAT COULD BE IN STORE FROM THIS SEASON
The Game will Require You To Make Moves to Progress Further, Which Will End The Concept of “Under the Radar” Gamestyle
A lot of talk in the promos this season have been about the “faster pace” and the “bigger twists” and most comically “THE MONSTER IN THE JUNGLE”. Survivor 41 has clearly been marketed towards big plays and taking risks, and I’m speculating that winning challenges, finding hidden idols, and aggressively making strategic plays and blindsides will actively be rewarded, while players trying to strategically stay away from the spotlight will be left behind under the weight of twists and advantages. Therefore, castaways will have to put themselves out there and get others before they get got, essentially punishing those who look to secure numbers in a tight “go to the end” alliance and rewarding the voting blocks concept of play.
Currency is Back, The Dice shown in the First Look Trailer is Proof of That
So full disclosure, I haven’t reached Winners at War yet in my rewatch (see my Journey through New School Survivor articles to see where I’m at in the series), so I haven’t seen how currency affects the game. I assume Survivor 41 will make currency look different, as I’m guessing there were flaws to how it was implemented in Season 40. The dice in the first look trailer seem to be the currency, and a skull and a torch logo were shown in conjunction with the dice. My guess is that players gain dice throughout the game and can use them for advantages, either by having the right logos on the dice or simply a certain number of them. It would be funny however, if you had to play a round of Survivor Yahtzee and roll the right number of a certain logo to play whatever advantage you are looking for. That’s what I want.
That Spinning Wheel From the First Look Trailer Will Come into Play A LOT This Season
This concept of a twist was super interesting to me. In the First Look Trailer we saw a ship captain’s wheel with words like Vote, Protect, and Risk Your (Safety?: it was cut off of course). If I had to guess, I think people who win rewards and immunity challenges once the merge occurs can choose either the reward/immunity necklace or a chance to spin the wheel, giving them some sort of advantage instead. I can see people giving up a necklace if they like where they stand in the game for an extra vote at a key tribal council, or giving up a reward for the chance to save an at-risk ally. With this concept that I am speculating on, there could be two wheel spins an episode, with plenty of opportunities to throw a wrench into the current state of the game.
Double Tribal Councils Are BACK (And Having Three Tribes Makes it Easier)
Many castaways were speculating this in one of the Entertainment Weekly Interviews, and with the shortened length of the game I also think this will be the case. You can fit in a tribal council every two days for the first twenty days, then a tribal every day up to Day 26 and have a final three tribal council at the end, but I’m worried that the social connections and formation of bonds will either be too rushed or never really happen. Double eliminations during the early game while three tribes are around can fix that pace problem among individual tribes, and the game can then ramp up more at the merge. Maybe the last place tribe at immunity will have a more conventional tribal council while the second place tribe has some sort of twist at theirs. Who can really know?
There will be no Redemption Island Style Mechanics This Season
This isn’t a cast of returners so if someone gets booted early I’m not really gonna be mourning them that much. I hope the producers realize that this type of twist never really works unless you can really invest in the people on the island. And not to mention, having so many twists in the main game makes someone coming back in after being voted out feel cheap and nullifying whatever twists you have already implemented.
Episode One is tomorrow night! Let’s see if any of these predictions come true…