Survivor -- double time! There were two teams, two individual immunities, and two castaways voted off.
On Survivor Season 41 Episode 9, we said goodbye to two lovable fan favorites. It wasn't fair, but Survivor seldom is.
There was so much drama that tribal councils took up over half of the episode!
Deshawn and Shan can't seem to make up their minds about each other.
It's clear Deshawn and Shan know they need each other, and respect one another enough to keep doing the work to maintain their alliance, but it's wearing on both of them.
This is where the rubber hits the road.Deshawn
All Deshawn wants from Shan is for her to go along with one of his ideas, but the best she can do is hear him out and then tell him what she wants to do. She's hearing him, but she's not listening.
The foursome of Shan/Liana/Danny/Deshawn will likely split. They're going to have to turn on each other at some point, and it will likely be before final four, probably due to either Xander or Ricard winning immunity and thus calling the shots.
Survivor does human moments really well -- this episode had one courtesy of Ricard.
Ricard is deaf in his right ear, so he has to rely a lot on body language and lip-reading to get by. The fact that he leans into this being an asset is inspiring. In doing so, he makes a good point -- so much of what the castaways say is just lies, but most people are not used to lying with their bodies as well. In that regard, Ricard has an advantage.
There have only been two previous deaf or hard of hearing contestants on the show -- Christy Smith (Survivor: The Amazon) and Nina Poersch (Survivor: Worlds Apart). Both women struggled to find acceptance in their tribes and felt isolated due to their inability to hear well or at all.
That's why it's so awesome to see Ricard emboldened and empowered by his ability to tune out the B.S. and zero in on what's actually useful around the other castaways. That's called playing to your strengths!
I have the most high-maintenance alliance ever.Ricard
The conflict between Xander and Liana -- now the only two remaining members of the Yase tribe -- continues to grow to absurd levels. Liana seems to actively hate Xander to the point where she seems obsessed with him.
I hate his face. I could die.Liana
However, she's right to want him out. If Xander gets to the end, he could easily win. If Liana wants to have a semi-decent shot at the title of Sole Survivor, she can't be sitting beside Xander at the end. He's her white whale.
The funny thing is, she seems to be playing under the assumption that he has no idea what she's up to. She is acting under the pretense that they are still allies when Xander is fully aware that she has been after him for some time now.
Does she not remember the tribal council in Survivor Season 41 Episode 7 when she tried to steal his advantage, and he humiliated her by offering to give her his fake one? That's not something allies do!
Naseer and Heather have been at odds since Survivor Season 41 Episode 8. Or maybe earlier, it's hard to say since Heather has barely had any screen time. Both tried to throw each other under the bus, and they continue to do so here.
If you do something, own it.Naseer
Naseer seemed pretty aggressively opposed to Heather's actions, which would have seemed less hypocritical if he hadn't been gunning for her as well.
By the time the first tribal council arrived, the Heather vote was so blatantly telegraphed it seemed. Survivor often uses the bait-and-switch to keep things interesting -- so much so that most viewers can tell that if it looks obvious one player is going home, it can be almost be guaranteed they will live to play another day.
The constant talk that it was Heather's time was laid on so thick, Naseer's fate was virtually sealed.
In addition to Naseer, we lost the charming and entertaining Evvie Jagoda. They simply had nowhere to hide due to the unfortunate (totally random) team division. Danny, Liana, and Deshawn were a tight three -- though Xander tried to shake things up a bit by getting Liana to consider voting Deshawn, but he was likely just messing with her.
Surprisingly, Xander didn't use his idol to save Evvie. He and Evvie haven't always been the closest of allies, but in playing it on Evvie, he could have picked off his choice of Danny, Deshawn, or Liana.
He may not have many more opportunities to do that. His number of potential allies is dwindling.
I woke up on the bottom. Now, I'm prom king and everybody wants to take me aside and give me advice in the game.Xander
Xander's immunity win secured his next three days, but unless he keeps winning individual immunities, he's going to have to stop being so cocky and figure out a backup strategy. It's definitely not beyond him to just keep dominating in challenges, but it's an arduous and uncertain way to get to the finish line.
It felt unfair to lose two such enjoyable players in one episode. Both Naseer and Evvie deserved their own individual boot episodes.
But, this is high-stakes, all-in Survivor -- jam-packed and condensed to squeeze an entire season into 26 days. Though they had vastly different styles of gameplay, Naseer and Evvie both brought game-loving spirit to the show that brightened the screen whenever they appeared on it.
Hopefully, their participation will encourage others like them to apply, leading to more diverse and unique players in future seasons.
What did you think of this episode? Were you sadder about Naseer's boot or Evvie's? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.