Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 41 recaps
Looking ahead when one tribe can't lose and another can't win
By Brent Sullivan | Published: October 18, 2021
Survivor 41 Episode 4 Recap/ analysis

Looking ahead when one tribe can't lose and another can't win

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.

Well, JD thought he was playing a good game, but he was definitely outplayed by Shan during his short stint on the season. It always makes me a little sad when big fans of the game go out early by making silly mistakes. You could tell that he was really excited and happy to be there, and I think it just got too overwhelming for him.

On the other hand though, we got to see what resembled an old school episode of Survivor this week. We got a reward challenge and an immunity challenge. No idols or advantages were found or played, other than JD giving his to Shan. Plus we got a good old-fashioned blindside at tribal council. The weird part was we got so little from Yase since they won, I got used to seeing them on my screen every week, so it was weird to only get the one segment.

Overall, this was a fun episode and there are several small moments that I would like to discuss on this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. What will Genie do?

What will Genie do?

I have to admit, I really thought Genie was being voted out this week. Ua is on a bit of a losing streak, so it’s only natural to see more of them on the weeks when they have to go to tribal council, but I feel like we were seeing a lot of her on this episode, so I really thought she was going to go.

She starts out the episode being rather upset at the other three for the way the vote went. She was upset to be left out of the vote and to lose her biggest ally in the game. They had some words and she vowed to only catch food for herself now and not for everyone else. She would no longer help them do anything, they were on their own and she would do her own thing. By the end of the episode, everything seemed to be great with the three that were left to the point Genie was even upset about having to vote one of them off.

So I have to wonder what route will she take moving forward? We have no idea when a merge or swap will be coming, but I seriously doubt she stays with Shan and Ricard after that. She may be an easy free agent to pick up for one of the other tribes. Especially for a vote or two.

2. Did Ua learn anything?

Did Ua learn anything?

It is always fun to see the experts show up to camp and show the castaways how to gather food, cook food, catch fish, and everything in-between. I enjoyed seeing Nathan climb that tree like it was nothing and then showed them all kinds of ways to catch and cook food.

I was trying to rack my brain and think about past seasons. Whenever there was someone that came to camp to show them how to live off the land better … did it ever come back up in a later episode? Is the stuff they learned really helping them? Will we get to see any of the players use any of this knowledge at any point for the rest of the season?

Like I said, this is always a really neat reward and I enjoy seeing it, but does it really have an impact on what happens between now and the end? Ua lost the immunity challenge, so the answer is no for the short-term for sure.

3. They hate her 'cause they ain't her

They hate her 'cause they ain't her

Oh, Sydney. She is awfully full of herself, isn’t she? She tells us why she is such a threat in so many ways after she finds out that Erika was talking about her with Deshawn. This is the main problem with one tribe always winning, we don’t get to see a lot of the camp life to know exactly what is going on.

Sydney has been at the center of a lot of conversations. Naseer coming to her in the middle of the night just during the last episode, so this has been going on. The problem I have is I wonder if she is being too cocky?

Being that sure of yourself on this show never ends up very well and the fact that none of the Luvu members have had to face a tribal council probably just intensifies all of that. I am curious to see how she does come a merge, swap, or after her first tribal council..

4. A challenge throw attempt

A challenge throw attempt

To throw or not to throw, that is always the question when this is brought up. Danny, Deshawn, and Sydney decide they want to throw the challenge to get Erika out of the game. When Sydney had to sit out of the immunity challenge, that task fell on the shoulders of Danny and Deshawn.

Personally, I felt like Deshawn was doing a better job at this than Danny did. I’m sure Danny wasn’t giving his full 100%, but you could tell he was still putting in an effort, whereas Deshawn was literally tying extra knots in the net holding the blocks. Moving forward, I feel like the pressure is going to be on them to do this again. I don’t know why their agenda would change when the same people are still involved.

I think it will be enjoyable to see them try to do it again and if they succeed, what will the fallout be?

5. Shan shows off her powers

Shan shows off her powers

Is it just me, or is Shan playing the best game this season so far? Somehow, she has everyone in her tribe thinking they are her number one. Obviously with only three of them left now, that doesn’t mean quite as much, but at one point, Sara, Brad, Ricard, and JD were all ready to go to the end of the game with her.

This week was a double down on Shan’s powers as not only did she convince JD to once again give her his extra vote, but somehow made Genie feel comfortable enough not to play her “Shot in the Dark” die. Using her powers, she got JD out of the game, got his extra vote, and still has Ricard as a number one ally.

With Ua’s current losing streak, they may be in a good position come merge time if they can stay hidden while the bigger tribes pick each other off. I am also curious to see Shan work her magic on some other new players with whom she hasn’t played yet.

*On a side note. I don’t register Heather’s moment during the challenge as one of my top five moments of the week, since I feel like Jeff Probst just likes these and uses them as a real life moment to look into a person’s life beyond Survivor.

So, there you have it for another episode of Survivor. What is everyone thinking about the season so far? Do you think Shan is playing the best game so far? Will Genie stay loyal to Ua?  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