Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 41 recaps
Looking to the endgame
By Brent Sullivan | Published: December 13, 2021
Survivor 41 Episode 12 Recap/ analysis

Looking to the endgame

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.

I can’t believe this season is almost over. We had to go without Survivor for such a long time, then when it finally came back it feels like it flew by!

Another surprising outcome this week. I thought for sure they would have kept Danny around over Deshawn. Not surprised that Ricard won immunity, he has a knack for winning those exactly when he needs to. With only five players left in the game, it makes my top five really easy this week. I will look at each player who is left in the game and try to figure out what their endgame looks like. To keep it fair, I will also go in alphabetical order.

So, let’s get right to it on “Top Five Baby”!

1. Deshawn


He is probably sitting in the most interesting position at this point. A few weeks ago, I would have had him as my winner pick, based on who I thought he would be sitting at the end with and the game he was playing. Now at this point, I am not sure.

The jury has at least two people on it that are not very happy with the way he is playing and what he did to them. Both Shan and Liana are still angry about him voting out Shan and Liana being collateral damage in the very next vote. Then, this week he opens his mouth at tribal council and tries to throw Erika under the bus. At this point, he would have to play a flawless game and be sitting at the end with the perfect matchup of people to pull off a victory.

I could see a couple of votes being tossed his way for making it that far while playing a wild game and I could also see Shan and Liana voting for him anyway based on their previous alliance and their desire to have a Black contestant win Survivor for the first time in a while. My prediction for Deshawn is that he loses the final four fire-making challenge and finishes the season in fourth place.

2. Erika


This really is the tale of two different games. She was extremely quiet when the game first started. We didn’t hear that much from her because Luvu was always winning. What little we did hear was about Luvu wanting to throw a challenge just to get rid of her. Instead, she survived, made a huge move at the merge by breaking the hourglass and changing the course of the game.

Since then, she has been an active player and has been the swing vote several times. I think she has come on real strong for the last few weeks for sure and I believe she is sitting in a good spot. Her best chance is to sit in the end against Heather, despite what she said this week about wanting to not have her around so there was no game to compare hers to. I am not sure she would be able to beat Ricard for sure, but maybe having Deshawn in that third spot instead of Xander would work out even better for her.

With that being said, I feel like she will be sitting in the final three after winning the final immunity. Then, she will choose to take Heather with her. I have a feeling that she may even be the winner. She has a very Natalie Anderson vibe to me, where the quiet beginning was setting up her ultimate victory!

3. Heather


I don’t think I’m alone when saying I believe that Heather is the ultimate longshot to win. Not only was she pretty much not shown for half the season, but the biggest moment we had from her was her failure to complete a reward challenge. By the time she was making some airtime, it was mostly playing second fiddle to someone else or making erratic moves like trying to change a vote right at the very end of tribal council.

Despite what Erika says about not wanting her around, anyone would be a fool not to want to sit next to her at the end. I’m glad she finally got her screentime, but I predict her to be sitting at the final three and receiving zero votes while she finishes third.

4. Ricard


Is there a bigger favorite to win the season at this point? No. Is there a bigger target than Ricard left in the game right now? Also no.

This guy is a huge threat to win the whole thing. He has been great at immunity challenges (he has won three already), he has been amazing at the social game, and everyone seems to really like him. He also has a huge cheerleader already on the jury. There is an absolutely zero chance that he doesn’t get voted out if he doesn’t win immunity next. He knows this and has been great at winning them right when he needs to.

My prediction for Ricard is after an amazing run, making big moves like getting Shan out, and winning challenges, his luck will run out. I think everyone will work very hard against him and he will fail to win the biggest challenge of the year. Plus, with Xander automatically being immune, they have a legit shot against him. So, the guy who has the biggest odds to win will finish the season in fifth place.

5. Xander


Finally, we get to Xander. I honestly have no clue how he survived to this point in the game. Everyone has known about his hidden immunity idol since the beginning of time it seems, but somehow, he was always able to not be the target vote. He has made a few enemies along the way with some people even hating his face (Liana anyone?)

Either by winning immunity or playing his hidden idol, he is guaranteed a spot in the final four. From there, I think he beats Deshawn and makes it to the final three where he finishes second behind Erika. I think Xander had a great run either way and will make it a close race for sole survivor!

So, there you have it for this week’s penultimate episode of Survivor 41! Only five players left and one more episode. Who is your pick to win? Who are you rooting to win? Did the tribe make the right decision in keeping Deshawn over Danny? 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