Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 41 recaps
Conflict, faces, and showing power
By Brent Sullivan | Published: November 22, 2021
Survivor 41 Episode 9 Recap/ analysis

Conflict, faces, and showing power

Welcome to “Top Five Baby!” where after each episode of Survivor, Brent Sullivan will try to break apart and find the top five moments that made a lasting impact on the season or moments that could at least affect the next few episodes. Sometimes the moments are obvious and other times ... not so much, but after years of watching and analyzing this show to myself, I like to share the ones that I think stand out the most.

A double vote-out, a double tribal council episode that led to a lot of talk, but still more of the power alliance getting what they want. We say goodbye to Evvie and Naseer who were both really big characters this season and we lost an advantage and an idol.  One was used and the other one left the game in Naseer’s pocket.

Just like that, we are down to eight players left in the game with all original tribes still having at least two people fighting for the title of Sole Survivor. Not a ton to cover, since most of the episode revolved around the two different groups going to two different tribal councils. But let’s see what I can come up with on this week’s “Top Five Baby”!

1. Shan and Deshawn ... again

Shan and Deshawn ... again

Man, how much more are we going to see these two disagree? This has been pretty much a weekly feature over the last few episodes. They both want to get their way and they are both not happy unless they do. However, they keep wanting to work together and have the same end goal in mind. This is part of what makes this show so good. The fact that two people have the same goal in mind but disagree so much on how to get there.

Personally, I don’t think they will vote each other out until the very end. I don’t think it’s all show though, either. I think they are both really upset with each other, and they are trying to work through their differences to achieve a common goal. They are just going to keep having this issue until they get there.

The one advantage they have is a shortened season. In a normal season where they have to make it 39 days instead of 26, this may not work out so well. I'm not reading into what happens next week, but I don’t think it will be as bad as they are showing.

2. Ricard's edit

Ricard's edit

The editors have definitely changed how they show things over the last few seasons. I’ve even mentioned earlier in the year how I felt like some contestants were getting a fantastic edit, only to be voted out an episode later, so I don’t want to stick to this thought too much. Just noticing how Ricard’s edit has been pretty good most of the season (except for stealing the papaya bite of course).

But the scene where he was talking about his hearing was very well done and only elevated his edit to a higher level. I’m not saying that he is going to win based on this or anything, but he is in a real good position on the tribe, and he hasn’t been a threat to get voted out the entire game. Let’s see if this continues or if he goes home quickly and I feel like a fool.

3. Liana hates Xander's face

Liana hates Xander's face

We all know that there is a ton of footage that we don’t see every week. So I don’t know exactly where the Xander and Liana relationship went so wrong, but Liana definitely has it out for him, and matters are always made worse since she keeps getting stuck with him every time the tribe splits up for challenges and/or rewards.

They were by no means a super tight group over on Yase anyway, but she split away from them as fast as she possibly could and has been gunning for Xander ever since. Not that she is wrong, the dude is not only loaded with an idol and an extra vote, but he is going to be a threat in challenges moving forward as well. The problem that she has is she wants him out so bad, that it’s causing her to make mistakes (like trying to take his idol a few weeks back).

Not sure how this one is going to end, but one of them will end up taking out the other one before too long.

4. The power alliance has the power

The power alliance has the power

Man, it must be so nice to have so much power in the game that you can pretty much do whatever you want, whenever you want to. Shan, Deshawn, Danny, and Liana just boldly go off right in front of the other players to talk strategy. That is an extremely bold move with ten people still left in the game. Like Xander said, they must be so certain that the remaining five (since Ricard is basically in that group too) won’t get together and overthrow them.

Obviously, it worked again this week as two more people outside that alliance got voted out. Now with only eight people left, there is really nothing left in their way … except themselves. Will they be able to hold it together for three more votes?

Personally, I think they will. They have been trying to throw us off for weeks now that someone was going to break them up, but they keep sliding on through. So, I think the majority of group of Danny, Deshawn, Shan, Liana, and Ricard will be the final five this season.

5. Xander on his own

Xander on his own

Just a quick one here. With Evvie gone, there is now nobody left in the game that will want to work with Xander. Even Erika and Heather won’t be enough unless they can bring over one more. (But who would that be?)

Eventually, he will have to start playing his extra vote and/or idol and then he won’t have anything to keep himself safe. He is a threat to win more immunities and still has a chance to fight his way to the end. I think his only hope is if the power alliance turns on itself and he is able to slide through a few votes. I’m curious to see how it works out for him.

So, there you have it for this double elimination episode. What’s going to happen to the group who is in charge? Will they be able to make it to the end still together? Who are you rooting for out of the final eight to pull out a victory? I want to hear from you, let me know if I missed any moments or if you think I was correct in my thinking, the interaction is part of what makes this so fun!

Please catch more of me here next week where I will try to bring you more fun top five!


Brent Sullivan - Top Five, Baby!Brent Sullivan is a long-time fanatic of Survivor and has been writing about it for years. When he is not writing, talking about, or applying to be on the show, he spends his time with family, doing nerdy IT stuff, and watching movies. Follow him on twitter: @BSully_13