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Survivor Season 41 Episode 5 Review: The Strategist Or The Loyalist

Survivor Season 41 Episode 5 Review: The Strategist Or The Loyalist

It’s getting hot in Fiji.

On Survivor Season 41 Episode 5, there are new alliances popping up — leading to new advantages.

Though the vote-out was not surprising, the journey getting there was filled with high-level gameplay.

The best moment of the episode comes courtesy of Luvu’s Naseer.

Having Naseer say the “Astroturf” line and THEN going back to a clip in which he found it was inspired. It gave his announcement so much more punch. It was amazing — and he delivered the line so well!

We were all cheering for Naseer at that moment, because not only did he find the advantage, but he activated it for everyone and no one on his tribe has any idea that he now has an idol. 

This is not to say that Survivor should always reveal idols/advantages until they are played, but it makes a very strong case for it. Unless there is drama in watching a will-they-or-won’t-they situation, the delight and surprise elicited from this scene is a great example of what’s possible in terms of how the show is edited.

It should be interesting to see if Xander, Naseer, and Shan conspire together once the tribes combine. The possibility of Shan, Xander, and Naseer working together with three idols is too delicious to consider. It probably won’t happen, but it’s fun to think about!

Things are still very much the same on Luvu. Naseer is just happy to be included, doing his thing and finding advantages. Sydney is being an awesome mermaid and providing fish for her tribe. 

I never saw myself as any different than men, but it is cool to get that accolade.


Deshawn and Danny are still trying to figure out how to get Erika out. Heather is virtually invisible. It’s disappointing that an older woman doesn’t seem to get much camera time unless she’s erratic or suffering. This show’s treatment of older women honestly needs a whole essay in and of itself! 

To that end, we are probably all guilty of underestimating Tiffany. We never thought she would be outsmarting Xander, but here we are! It took Tiffany a while to find her footing, but she’s got it now. She’s sharper than she lets on — maybe it’s a strategy? If so, kudos. 

Thanks for being so cool about me telling a lie.


Tiffany still feels like a wild-card. Her arc will no doubt be entertaining to watch as the game progresses. She’s suspicious, but then again she has every right to be. Xander lied to her face and she knew instantly. That is an extremely useful skill to have in this game.

The scene on the mountaintop between Liana and Shan was so moving. Of the two women, Shan is getting much more screen time, but Liana is a strong and competent player as well. Perhaps since Yase has been doing well in challenges, the focus has been more on the Ua tribe because they keep having to vote players out.

Shan’s story about her past, her faith, and her mother was another showcase of how Survivor is incorporating backstory in fresh new ways. It’s still slightly jarring, but actually getting to see Shan’s mother’s face, and Shan at work, is a great way to help us connect to the players. 

Liana and Shan feel like endgame. Shan essentially gave Liana an advantage. How it plays out remains to be seen. 

It’s not about who you trust in the game, it’s about who trusts you.


What connected between them should be able to withstand sixteen more days. However, they will need to be careful. Close pairs are always targeted. They will need to downplay their relationship. If Shan can have both Liana and Ricard as her close allies, 

How do you trust someone who you know is as good as you — someone who recognizes how good you are?

Ricard and Shan have their work cut out for them. There is mutual respect for gameplay there that makes it very hard for either of them to get a one-up on the other. They are both hyper-aware of the other’s strategy because they’ve both played a part in it. 

A three-person tribal council is so strange. They are extremely rare, especially since Final Three became the norm. It doesn’t leave much wiggle room, but it leaves only three possible outcomes.

The most obvious one won out, but every option seemed like it could be possible (though some seemed more likely than others). It would appear ego had a part to play in this vote out.

Is it worth your while to play with the best and how you defeat them, or to go with an easy victory with more manipulatable allies? Ricard and Shan chose the former, which will certainly keep the season interesting as long as they are both around. 

Ricard makes a good point about how they have a leg up on the other tribes (a point I made in my review of Survivor Season 41 Episode 4) because they’ve attended — and survived — more tribal councils. They are skilled at staying in the game. They can’t really avoid being targets for this, but at least they have advantages which should help them win favor or manipulate other players.

The thing is, Genie wasn’t necessarily a bad player.

Genie, she’s just a spare tire we’re about to put on the side of the road when we don’t need her anymore.


Her strategy was loyalty and hard work, which can get you far. She was also the one to find the Beware Advantage and she might have just gotten herself immunity, but she wasn’t counting on Shan actually opening it up behind her back.

All three of us are genuinely concerned and scared which means we’re all doing a really good job.


Even the best players are going to have their work cut out for them against the deadly combo of Shan and Ricard. 

Genie’s lifelong dream was cut short in this episode. She went with grace and dignity, with no ill words towards her tribemates. Like her ally Brad before her, she seems like a decent, genuine person. Her mark on the season will no doubt be how her playing affects Shan and Ricard.

There are hints that the middle game will be different than previous seasons. Will there finally be a merge — or something similar? What on earth does Jeff have in store?

Do you think Shan will stick with Ricard, drop him for Liana, or find some way to work with them both?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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