Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 41 recaps
The many moving parts of a big move
By Brent Sullivan | Published: November 29, 2021
Survivor 41 Episode 10 Recap/ analysis

The many moving parts of a big move

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.

Wow, what a shocking turn of events. I sort of wondered if Shan was going to be the winner this season, but would have thought she was going to be in the final episode at the very least. Ricard took his shot as soon as he saw an opening and took out his biggest threat … who was also his biggest ally.

The fallout from that vote out should be fun to watch next week. We are down to only seven players left in the game and there are still several things that could happen. Let’s find out what my thoughts are in this week’s “Top Five Baby”!

1. Deshawn gets emotional

Deshawn gets emotional

So, is Deshawn the front runner to bring home the title now? With Shan now out of the way, I’m not sure who the biggest threat is (other than Ricard). We get a nice emotional confessional from Deshawn early on in this episode. He is clearly conflicted by what to do. He has a real strong desire to stick with Danny, Liana, and Shan so the four of them can ride it out to the end like they planned a few weeks back. At the same time, he doesn’t trust Shan anymore. They have been having their issues anyway, but he is having serious doubts this time.

This sort of edit is making him look really good, and after a second watch of the episode really makes me think he is the one to beat now. The question moving forward for him is will both him and Danny be able to get Ricard out next? That means keeping other threats (like Xander) in the game a little longer. That could come back to bite them as well. As of now though, we will have to wait to see how he handles things.

2. Ricard's choices

Ricard's choices

Every season when this type of reward challenge pops up, I always think about how no one should want to win this. If you are the winner and you have to pick someone (or more) to go with you, it can always leave a big target on your back.

Ricard had some pretty good explanations on why he chose the people he did. Everyone knew he was going to pick Shan, then both Heather and Xander hadn’t had many, if any, rewards. Still, there are four people heading back to camp that you didn’t pick, and most of the time, they really don’t care why you didn’t pick them, they just know you didn’t.

Obviously, Ricard won immunity, so we don’t know what would have happened to him during this vote, but his name was definitely thrown out there and was probably going to be the target during tribal council. One of the people he picked, he ended up helping vote out and the other two are on the bottom of the group and wouldn’t be loyal to him unless it prevented them from being the one targeted.

Basically, the long and short of it is Ricard is a threat. People were starting to take notice and now with Shan gone and him trying to make moves by choosing those on the bottom, he will likely be enemy number one the next time we are getting ready for tribal. Unless he wins immunity again, of course.

3. Liana plays with her heart

Liana plays with her heart

I am not sure how popular this opinion is going to be but based on what we are seeing on our TV screens, I don’t think Liana is playing a very strategic game. I know her and Xander had their issues, but she turned her back on her original Yase tribe way too fast when her and Evvie were still pretty close. Then she was blindly following Shan after just one meeting away from their camps. After that we saw how she handled the Knowledge is Power advantage. Finally, this week she literally told Shan what was going on and didn’t care if it cost her the game.

Unfortunately, I have never played this game, so I can’t imagine the emotional toll it takes on you, as well as trying to do what you think is right while playing a game for one million dollars. But she just seems to be making move after move that is based solely on what she wants to do for her heart and not what is the best move for her in the game. She may be able to make it to the end with this thinking, but I can’t see anyone on the jury giving her a single vote if she gets there.

4. Swing votes

Swing vote

At this point in the season, it’s always fun to see what the swing votes will do in the coming weeks. This season, the late game swing votes are Danny and Deshawn. They had the power this week to decide between Shan or Erika going home.

I’m sure Liana is going to be quite upset at that move, so do they continue down that path and vote her off next or do they go back to her, explain what happened and try to work with her some more to take out a different threat? Liana is in a tough spot and may not have a choice but to work with them.

They can also team up with Heather and Erika and bring four Luvu members to the final four. Either way, they have some wiggle room, and I am excited to see which route they take.

5. Notes from Tribal

Notes from Tribal

Ok, so here are a few updates on where the game stands after this week’s events. Shan’s idol left the game without being played, so the only advantages left in the game now both belong to Xander. That is huge for him. He has been discussed as a potential vote-out multiple times and for him to not have played the idol or the extra vote is sort of surprising to me. The fact that he is still in the game and can easily be in the top five now is very surprising. I have a feeling that the immunity idol gets played during the next tribal that he isn’t already immune at, and the extra vote comes out at the final six where it can do the most damage.

Other things that happened are Liana is going to be so mad when they get back to camp. There is no way she will be able to keep her emotions in check and that will be bad for her already questionable gameplay.

Finally, with Shan out of the game, Ricard is now on his own. He always had her to bounce ideas off of, so he will have to figure that stuff out on his own or find someone else to work with over the last few days of the game.

So, there you have it, for this week’s thrilling episode. Are you surprised about how the vote went down? Is Deshawn the clear favorite to win now? Is Xander going to be able to save his idol 'til the final five? 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