The penultimate episodes of Survivor 41 have cannibalized on itself with two shocking eliminations. “Do or Die” and “Truth Kamikaze” added to the fire of the Liana/Shan/Deshawn/Danny foursome getting picked off one-by-one. It’s not the first time that a group turned on each other and got eliminated quickly—at this point, it’s a staple in the series. If only the group had made a few different decisions, they would’ve made it to the Final 5 instead of only one member fighting it out to the end. These two rounds were powerfully emotional episodes that added to the dialogue of real-life vs. Survivor and how a few bad decisions can ruin the potential of a promising alliance. Future players should look back at this for their strategies.
For example, “Do or Die” saw Liana go out after an impactful Tribal Council that discussed race and the balance of playing the game vs. real-world matters. Had the alliance not turned against Shan the round before, Liana/Danny/Deshawn would’ve had the votes to eliminate someone like Xander or Erika. The men of the alliance made the fatal Survivor error of turning against their allies too soon; the numbers were not on their side once they picked off Shan. They should’ve waited for one or two more rounds before turning on each other as that would’ve put the outsiders at a disadvantage with votes. Instead, the trio was left to fight for votes or continue turning against each other due to the fear of being the next target. Unfortunately, it’s the latter in this case.
We have to give kudos to both Ricard and Erika during these two rounds. Both players emerged as strong threats for controlling the game and leading the votes. Ricard has conquered many challenges and he’s not afraid to throw a strategic wrench into plans. Erika, on the other hand, has planted seeds to turn the voting tide and built a strong resume of pulling in voting blocs for her master plan. Either could make a powerful case to win Survivor 41 if they make it to the end. Erika’s strategic shift to get out Danny during “Truth Kamikaze” is a move she should flex in the coming rounds. Danny was the bigger threat and she accurately pinpointed that they needed to get her out. Could this be her understated winning story?
The big twist in “Do or Die” wasn’t that terrible compared to many of the baffling twists we’ve seen during Survivor 41. The rules were simple, the players were informed beforehand, and the players were given the power if they wanted to compete it or not—their outcome was completely up to their choice, which we love to see. Plus, “The Monty Hall Problem” is a classic gaming concept that is easy to explain and understand for people unfamiliar with the concept. I was at the edge of my seat to find out if Deshawn pick the wrong box and got himself eliminated. Survivor should bring this twist back in the future because it’s fun and doesn’t negatively impact the game.
Liana’s elimination was bound to happen eventually after Shan’s blindside. She was a good challenge competitor, she was strategic, and she could make alliances when needed. However, her Survivor resume had several bad moves along the way that lead her to a bad predicament. Let’s not forget that she turned against her former tribe and plotted their downfall. Liana didn’t have strong enough connections to protect her against the big target on her back. I’d love to see her play again because she does have a strategic mindset and focused mentality for the game. Plus, we need updates on the flirtation between her and Xander.
In the case of “Truth Kamikaze,” this continued the same narrative of “Do or Die.” The castaways were open about discussing race, their place in the game, and the strategic moves they felt they needed to make to push themselves further into Survivor 41. In particular, Deshawn was an interesting case about how he played this round. He repaired a bit of his “emotional” gameplay from how he talked at Tribal Council, but then he blew up his game by dropping truthbombs and turning the target on himself. He had wiggle room to maneuver out of trouble, but he further drove the wedge between him and Erika. Did he not want her vote? Why did he also ruin his chances with Heather too? It didn’t make any sense from a gameplay aspect by that point.
And what’s surprising is that Danny and Deshawn could’ve pushed harder earlier to take out Xander. With Ricard winning individual immunity, the next big challenge threat outside of the duo was Xander. The men could’ve made a pitch to Erika and Heather about needing to stick together as the original Luvu and taking the opportunity to vote out Xander. Xander had a hidden immunity idol, so now would’ve been the perfect chance to flush that idol. Turning against each other and going after Erika were bad calls that only blew up in their faces.
Danny’s elimination was sad, but it needed to happen for the others to prosper. Danny was great in challenges, he came across as the leader of his group/tribe, and he had good relationships with all the players. He seemed like a great candidate to win Survivor 41 across the board. If the others had any shot of winning, they needed to get him out. Plus, Erika was right in her pitch—Danny had won too much, and by comparison, Deshawn’s resume was weaker. Unless Danny had shifted the target to Xander or formed a new group, he was the more beneficial target.
“Do or Die” and “Truth Kamikaze” ramped up the energy in the penultimate episodes of Survivor 41. Granted, the Tribal Council votes only picked off members of the same alliance, but the strategy and twists thrown in added spice to the gameplay. We were never quite sure if they would be eliminated or if something would change last minute. Now with five castaways left in the game, anything could happen in the upcoming finale.
Survivor airs new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.