Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 41 recaps
Broken trust, broken votes, and shifting fortunes
By Brent Sullivan | Published: October 11, 2021
Survivor 41 Episode 3 Recap/ analysis

Broken trust, broken votes, and shifting fortunes

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.

Man, this was really a Brad-heavy episode. He was involved in all the main storyline taking place on Ua. He was also one of the three to find the Beware Advantage and had to sneak out of camp in the middle of the night to meet Tiffany and Sydney. By the way … how funny was that scene where he made a fake Brad, like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

With Brad getting so much of the screen time and still being sent home, I had to look a little deeper at this week’s episode. So, let’s not act like little broccoli trees and get to this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. Liana's moment

Liana's moment

Right out of the gate this week, we get a nice moment down on the beach with Liana. She is definitely having a hard time with the previous vote. We saw last week that she wanted Xander gone, but seemingly both she and Evvie went with Voce because that’s what Tiffany wanted to do. She is wanting to play the game hard, and she is wanting to make moves. She is having such a tough time that she even overlooks the Beware Advantage clue that is right next to the fire she is messing with.

This may end up being nothing, since this season is being shot somewhat different from past seasons. We have had a lot more of these touching and heartfelt moments of the players' past and it may just be a way for us to get to know them better, but they are normally done at tribal or other times in the game, where conversations are being had. This one seemed different to me since they opened the show with it. Like I said, this may end up being nothing, but then again, who knows?

2. Naseer is back down again

Naseer is down again

What is the deal with Naseer? First this guy is target number one because he catches Danny and Deshawn looking for idols instead of doing the challenge. When he tells on them, it back-fires on him. Then last week, he was amazing, and they couldn’t possibly survive without him. Now this week, he is back to being the guy they don’t want around. It appears that he went up to Sydney in the middle of the night and tried to throw Danny’s name out as someone to vote out ... now they want him gone again. I really don’t know what to expect from him moving forward.

If Luvu ever loses a challenge (which is doubtful at this point) he may be the first one voted off that tribe. But the way his edit is going this season, he may bounce back again and become the swing vote or go-to-guy. At this point, it could go either way, but I have a feeling that his days are probably numbered. From what we have seen, he doesn’t appear to be in any of the big conversations nor does he appear to have a clear alliance with anyone there.

3. Will Xander ever vote?

Will Xander ever vote?

Three weeks into this season and I’m not sure if the Beware Advantage that Xander found on Yase beach first is paying off like Survivor wanted it to. Xander hasn’t been able to vote for quite some time now and with Brad finding the Ua advantage and then getting voted off, it’s going to be even longer now. Plus no one on the Luvu tribe has found their version of the advantage.

It is funny to see him have to keep saying the same phrase to try and activate the idol. I imagine that they will re-hide the Ua Beware Advantage now, otherwise Xander is blocked from voting until they merge. Maybe next episode we will finally get some Luvu coverage, and someone will find theirs. If that happens, I hope they also re-hide the one on Ua as well and someone finds it too. I really want to see what happens when all three phases are said at the same challenge.

4. JD is busted

JD is busted

JD is a big fan of this game and I (as a big fan myself) can understand how he is overplaying his hand at times and trying too hard in challenges or around camp. But what in the world was he thinking about when we came back to camp with that extra vote sticking out of his pants? Not only was he busted, but both Ricard and Shan are pissed at him for lying to them. I almost thought he got caught on purpose. Seeing the half-smile on his face while they were talking to him really made him look guilty and relieved at the same time.

The problem here is that technically, he isn’t wrong. You really shouldn’t tell others about your advantages in the game, but the way he was handling things makes him look really untrustworthy.

In my opinion, he was lucky to have not been voted out. Shan had his extra vote and could have very easily used it against him this week. Brad was going to be very loyal to Shan where JD was still in hot water with her and Ricard. There must have been some footage we didn’t see. Something about their relationship that made her keep him over Brad.

Let’s see what happens with them next? Will she give back the extra vote? Will JD stay loyal to them now? Where does Genie fit into all of this?

5. Advantage update

Advantage update

Ok, so we are three weeks into the show and four castaways are now gone. Let’s get a quick update on who has what advantage and what it could mean moving forward:

A. Xander has and extra vote and a potential idol. At the rate this season his going, he may never get the idol activated. Until it is activated, or they merge, he can’t vote either, so his extra vote means nothing right now. He’s probably pretty low on the threat level because of that. He has some future level threat if he can make it past the merge, but in the short game, he is being blocked at the moment.

B. JD has an extra vote ... well technically I guess Shan has an extra vote. This could do more damage in the short term since he is able to cast a vote (assuming he gets it back) or if Shan uses it. Going into a Tribal council with four players is a perfect time to whip out that extra vote.

C. Deshawn has an extra vote. Although we haven’t actually seen him receive it yet since they only get them when they go to vote. Luvu hasn’t been to Tribal, so he hasn’t gotten his yet. Without knowing much about the tribe dynamics, we really don’t know how this could impact him yet.

D. With Brad going home with 2 of them in his pocket, that is really it for now.

Tiffany, Sydney, Evvie, and Danny have all had chances but chose a different path. We are likely to see lots more come into play over the next couple of episodes since they have been really light so far this season. I am curious to see who will end up with the next one, and who will be the first to play one successfully!

So, there you have it for the third week of Survivor. But I want to hear from you as well, 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