There are way too many advantages and powers on Survivor 41. We’re only on the third episode and there have been many extra votes, hidden immunity idols, and now a steal-a-vote advantage. “My Million Dollar Mistake” further proved this is a new era of Survivor. However, the game is feeling more like Magic: The Gathering than the iconic reality show. It wouldn’t surprise me in the coming weeks if someone throws down a “Ghost Island Spirit Card” to Uno reverse the votes on them toward another castaway. Anything is possible in this game now—it’s very power-heavy.
Between the beware advantage and the hidden immunity idol, “My Million Dollar Mistake” had a lot to go through. Did anyone understand the rules for the beware game on the first go? It wasn’t until Brad, Tiffany, and Sydney started their conversations where the mini-game made any sense. And even then, the game was unfair and unbalanced. Why wouldn’t you take a risk to win the steal a vote power? The chances of all three choosing to take the tarp were so low that it was a moot point. All you needed to do was dig your heels in the ground and say you weren’t deviating from your position. If Sydney hadn’t come from the Luvu tribe, she wouldn’t have willingly been pushed into choosing tarp so the others could win. The dilemmas look great on screen, but they’re only complicating the game as is.
Having the advantages also hindered the castaways. For example, JD’s game could’ve completely blown up had he not given Shan his extra vote twist. JD not mentioning the twist to Ricard and Shan wasn’t the problem; he made the right move because you can never tell how people will react to you having powers. If he had said something earlier, there’s no telling if his allies would’ve stayed allies the following week.
The problem, however, was that he didn’t hide his power better. He should’ve strategically placed that paper in his shorts so it wouldn’t be obvious! He’s lucky both Shan and Ricard still wanted to be on his side; giving away the power secured his spot in the game another week, but if it had happened to anyone else on the tribe, they would be cut.
Case in point: Brad. It’s one thing to tell Genie about finding the hidden immunity; she’s his biggest ally and she happened to be around when he found it. But he didn’t need to tell Shan about the power too. Also, he didn’t need to tell the others about finding the beware advantage. Brad made himself look more like a bigger threat than he realized. Genie was definitely on his side, but Shan had shown in the previous rounds that she was a bigger JD and Ricard ally. After losing Sara at the second Tribal Council, he was clearly on the bottom of the tribe. Why give away more ammunition for the others to vote you out? Brad played this round poorly.
Survivor 41 has made a bad decision that has affected the game and could negatively affect future seasons to come. The new rule about hidden immunity idols not being activated until the other tribes have found theirs has hindered any tension and strategy in the game. What incentive will players have for wanting to find hidden idols if it takes away their vote? And if the players can’t find the idols (seriously, where is the Luvu idol?!), the advantage only hurts a player’s spot. Idols will be kept lost on the island as future players (or current ones this season) value having a vote at Tribal Council instead of immunity that might never work.
Plus, Brad’s recent elimination now throws a loophole into the mechanics of this twist. He and Xander said their secret phrase, but since Luvu hasn’t found their idol, both men still can’t vote. Brad’s eliminated, so most likely his idol will be hidden again. Does Xander now have to wait again for both the Ua and Luvu idols to be found by new people? We could be in a situation where Xander won’t get to vote for many weeks. This twist was not properly planned and hurt the game more than it helped. It’s like the Final 4 fire-making challenge at Tribal Council–throw it all away, that fire-making challenge and this joint immunity activation are terrible twists.
The immunity challenge looked simple at first, but it was an interesting game that would be fun to play. Sometimes all Survivor needs is a small obstacle course and throwing bags. My favorite part of the challenge came from throwing the bean bags—having them land on the right spot required both precision and finesse. JD’s throws were terrible—it’s surprising his tribe didn’t consider him as an option after he wasted lots of time. For Luvu, there’s a high probability they’ll lose someone next after their winning streak. Once the tribe swap happens, they’ll become the first targets. It’s the best move for the others in the game as the tribe of six members would be a tough majority to break.
Either Sydney, Deshawn, or Naseer could be the first Luvu member to go. Deshawn because he’s a strong threat, and the promos for the fifth episode didn’t look good in his favor. Naser is the obvious target because he’s on the outside of his tribe, but the best guess could be Sydney. As we chatted about in the previous review, Sydney spilling all the secrets to the other tribe members only makes her look bad in the long run. Sure, it painted a bigger target on Naseer and he’ll most likely go before her. However, why would the others keep around someone who can’t keep a secret? Sydney destroyed her relationship with Naseer and ruined her chances of fostering a new alliance—it’s such a bad call on her part.
“My Million Dollar Mistake” wasn’t just a filler episode, it highlighted the negative aspects of Survivor’s new era. The castaways played poorly and the advantages are only hindering them from making any strategies. Survivor 41 needs to start pulling back or the series will be affected as a whole. This was a troubling sight for what could be the game to come.
Survivor airs new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.