Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 41 recaps
Fractures, etiquette breaches, and other disasters
By Brent Sullivan | Published: November 15, 2021
Survivor 41 Episode 8 Recap/ analysis

Fractures, etiquette breaches, and other disasters

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.

So, it appears after seven episodes, there is someone named Heather on this season. Just kidding of course, but it was nice to see her step out a little this week. We also have a merge tribe name finally as well with the name Viakana being chosen. Also, another crazy tribal that I am certain we only saw just a minor portion of. Lots of scrambling, lots of people bouncing around different names and ultimately another vote-off that wasn’t that big of a surprise.

So, I guess some more kudos to the editors making these episodes seem super dramatic every week. There were easily more than five things to talk about this week, but let’s just pick out the best five on this week’s “Top Five Baby”!

1. A fractured Yase

A fractured Yase

What a difference a week can make, or in the case of the castaways, just one night. Here I thought Yase was going to be forced to work together and have this great bond that would last the rest of the season. But it wasn’t even one full day, and they were all scattered throughout seemingly playing for themselves.

Tiffany, Evvie, and Xander all three made their rounds pitching themselves to all the other players in the game. Very little communication actually took place between themselves too, which was surprising. Part of me wonders if maybe this was part of their plan, and we just didn’t see it. That line that Evvie said in tribal about how they didn’t play the idol did seem sort of rehearsed, but otherwise they did seem like it was every player for themselves.

Xander more so than the other two was playing really hard. He traded places with Erika, so she could compete for food in the reward challenge and stepped out of the immunity challenge so everyone else could have some rice for three days. Obviously with Tiffany being gone now, that just leaves Evvie and Xander and it appears that they will both continue to be big targets.

It looked fairly obvious that Evvie would have gone home with week if it wasn’t for an immunity challenge victory. Xander’s days of not playing his idol are also numbered I imagine. As the Yase numbers get smaller and smaller and Liana no longer with that group, he won’t be able to sit on that thing for much longer.

2. Don't touch the papaya

Don't touch the papaya

Food on Survivor is always such a topic of discussion. From all the way back to nearly the beginning with Kel’s beef jerky, to banana etiquette in Heroes vs. Villains, all the way to now with Ricard stealing a bite of papaya.

Even though Shan can come on a little strong at times, I 100% don’t blame her for being upset at him for taking that piece. The dude just came back from eating a sandwich and chips, reached over her to take a bite even though she hadn’t had any food rewards the whole season. Yes, it was a small piece, and yes, he didn’t mean any harm by doing it, but I was astounded by his lack of social awareness on the issue. He seems like he has watched the show before but couldn’t believe that was a thing.

I’m not saying that will necessarily get him voted out, but I can easily see Shan bringing that up against him if they are sitting in the final three next to each other. Remember, never mess with someone else’s food if they are starving!

3. To sit out, or not to sit out?

To sit out, or not to sit out

This is always a huge topic every time this happens, and most times nothing ever happens because of it. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least point this out. When Jeff offers to negotiate a number of players to sit out of the challenge in exchange for some rice, four players ended up taking the deal for the benefit of the tribe.

Shan was the first because we know how hungry she is. Naseer was second because he said as soon as he knew it was for the tribe, he just couldn't say no. Then the last two were Xander and Ricard. We know why Xander did it and it won’t help him (see above comments), but I’m assuming Ricard only did it because Shan did it? He never really said, so we are not sure. But they did and now the have some rice for three days.

The big question here is will this move come back to bite any of them. With Tiffany going home this week, it didn’t have an instant impact on the game, but who knows if any goodwill will follow Naseer, Shan, and Ricard for stepping down and allowing the whole tribe to eat.

4. Shan and Deshawn communication

Shan and Deshawn communication

So, what is going on with Shan and Deshawn here? Like I have mentioned before. Shan does come on a little strong at times and multiple people have said likewise. Her and Ricard have had their share of issues, now it seems that Deshawn is having some as well.

Two times during this episode, he felt like Shan was shutting down any plans but her own and he wasn’t being listened to. The other side of that coin is Shan is getting tired of having to handle him with care. The second time this happened was right in the middle of tribal council where everyone got to see the turmoil within the group.

Will the two of them be able to hold it together? Will they have more communication issues? If they do, that could hurt the alliance with Danny and Liana as well. We will keep a close eye on this one to see how it progresses..

5. Bad move by Heather

Bad move by Heather

I can almost guarantee that we didn’t get to see all that we needed to see during that tribal council madness that took place this week. For the final vote count to be that spread out, there was certainly something that we missed.

With that being said, what the hell was Heather thinking? I know her name was brought up as the decoy vote and nobody wants that, but her waiting until the very end of tribal to try and switch it up to Naseer didn’t make much sense to me. There was lots going on, including her name being thrown out as a target now.

The reason I think this was a bad move is I think this will likely get her voted out next. If Evvie or Xander win immunity and the majority alliance is scared about an idol being played on the other one, they could easily make Heather the target to knock out without much fuss. Now that she has shown to have some life in this game, this may be the perfect opportunity to take her out.

So, there you have it, another episode is in the books. Are you enjoying what’s been going down on the show each week? Was Tiffany the correct choice to make here? What’s going to happen between Shan and Deshawn? 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