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Survivor 41: two friends resigned to their fate, and a likely winner safe again

Survivor 41: two friends resigned to their fate, and a likely winner safe again
Survivor 41's final six—Erika Casupanan, Heather Aldret, Deshawn Radden, Ricard Foye, Xander Hastings, and Danny McCray—choosing teams at the reward challenge. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

Survivor 41’s penultimate episode took us from six to five with no twists, two regular challenges, and a tie vote that came down to Danny versus Deshawn.

The vote was such a foregone conclusion that both Danny and Deshawn were resigned to the fact that one of them was leaving, and that they’d have to vote for each other, which they did. Think about that: The last two remaining members of a four-person alliance didn’t even try to throw votes toward anyone else, they just voted for each other with a smile.

Danny and Deshawn were so convinced one of them was leaving that Danny confessed to Deshawn that he used to play for the NFL. On his way out of Tribal Council, Danny said, “Go Cowboys.”

Deshawn Radden and Danny McCray bond while completing the punishment for Luvu losing the opening challenge on day one of Survivor 41
Deshawn Radden and Danny McCray bond while completing the punishment for Luvu losing the opening challenge on day one of Survivor 41. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

Earlier, after the reward challenge, Danny went looking for an idol, and it appeared that he found one, with the camera showing us some burlap stuffed in a crevice. But then the editing cut away. When he returned to camp, he appeared more jovial to Heather and Ricard, and Ricard guessed he’d found an idol.

“My search paid off because people assume that I have found something,” Danny told us—and he did create paranoia, with Ricard directly asking Danny (“You know I wouldn’t be able to tell you,” Danny said) and later searching through Danny’s bag. But Danny actually found nothing, as the editing revealed to us.

The other three players—Deshawn, Xander, and Erika—were enjoying their reward: chicken and broccoli, which was sold as “chicken and veggies,” and that seems like a scandal to me, because even multiple pieces of broccoli still just count as a single vegetable!

They actually had a choice between that and cake, cookies, and candy, which is kind of like the choice Erika had earlier in the season: reverse the challenge results and make yourself immune, or be vulnerable. Eat protein and fiber or shock your gut with a bunch of sugar and spend the rest of the episode puking or pooping.

While eating, they formed a shaky alliance. Xander seems to have realized they really did miss their opportunity to vote out Ricard. “Everyone at home would be like, what the hell are you doing not voting out Ricard?” Yes, indeed we are!

The group of three made sense to them because, as Deshawn said, “we didn’t play the game the same,” so they’d actually all have semi-even chances at the win. That’d be a remarkable change from the usual situation, which is a goat sitting in the third seat and receiving zero votes, a chair that currently seems to be reserved for Heather.

They really did seem ready to vote out Ricard—and then, of course, Ricard won individual immunity again. Is there any doubt that Ricard will win Survivor 41 if he wins the remaining immunity challenges and makes it to the final three? He has a wildly impressive strategic and challenge resume, plus strong jury relationships, especially compared to the other five.

With Ricard immune, it became Deshawn versus Danny. Deshawn explained to us that he’d worked hard to “create that social capital that you can use down the line” and added, “so now I’m trying to cash in on that capital.”

He even said: “my asset in the game is my social ability.”

And then, once again, he proceeded to sabotage that by blowing up his social connections. Deshawn tells Evvie he’ll never writer her name down—and then writes her name down. Deshawn forms a tight bond with Liana, Danny, and Shan, and they all decide to stick together, and then he turned on Shan.

This time, Deshawn tried to blow up his own game again by breaking up the Heather/Erika pair, by dropping an information bomb. Actually, he announced he was going to do that, prompting Jeff Probst to interrupt and then survey everyone about how worried they were. That’s the way to create tension.

Deshawn’s big revelation: telling Heather that Erika said she wouldn’t take her to the final three. That didn’t change the vote—but based on the preview, it will change his relationship with Erika going forward. (“You’re welcome, friend,” she told him after the revote, with a bit of sarcasm, perhaps.)

I don’t understand why Xander wasn’t at least floated target, especially after Xander literally told Deshawn that Ricard is “the only one who everyone wants out before.” That’s some good intel, and also, Xander is a potential challenge threat, though he’s only won one to Ricard’s three.

Maybe it was just crystal clear that, as Deshawn said, “the four of them are voting together.”

Next week is the finale of Survivor 41, and the first twist arrived at the end of the episode: the final five will go to a “new island where you will once again start over.” The preview showed them scrambling, looking for something (MORE ADVANTAGES?!?).

Also back next week, he said: “one fire-making tie-breaker.” Oh yay, everyone’s favorite twist, back again.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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Thursday 9th of December 2021

I'm so sad Danny was voted out! And disappointed that Heather made it to the end, even though I know she's the classic person you want to sit next to at the end, because she's not getting any votes.


Thursday 9th of December 2021

@Melissa, yup, I predicted that about Heather last week.