Spoilers ahead for Survivor 41’s Nov. 8 episode!
It’s one of the golden rules of Survivor: don’t keep those with known immunity idols around. Yet in Survivor 41, the entire cast has known about Xander Hastings’ power since practically Day 1. In fact, he initially gave up his vote just for the potential idol to form for him – and his tribe didn’t take the shot even when he was vulnerable. Hastings also just happens to be a decent strategist and winner of at least one immunity challenge so far. So why has no one really tried to vote him out in all this time? Well, one of the castmates has some kind of explanation.
Former NFL player Danny McCray was voted out in the last tribal council, and it was pretty shocking to watch. I mean, the option of Xander Hastings was sitting right there, oblivious and ripe to be blindsided with an idol in his pocket. His fellow participants in the 3-tribe super idol advantage (Shan Smith and Naseer Muttalif) were sent home in this way. According to McCray in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he shared that both the jury and remaining players “did not respect” Hastings’ game in the moment. He continued,
This is interesting because it proves just how big the divide is between players and fans watching at home. On the outside, everyone just sees Xander Hastings’ accolades: managing to get this far with an idol, being a part of major vote-offs, strategizing, etc. But for actual Survivor 41 contestants, they believed that they allowed him and his idol to continue this far because it wouldn’t even matter in the end.
And that really is all it comes down to in Survivor: the perception of the group. If the Season 41 jury members really do see Xander Hastings as a “non-issue” as Danny McCray suggested, then in theory, whoever is next to him in the finals could actually beat him.
This is a scenario that might shock many fans – if whoever is next to Xander Hastings (besides Ricard Foye) is the one to ultimately win. Erika Casupanan and Heather Aldret have been a part of some major votes (same as Hastings), but they weren’t the ones steering the ship, so to speak. Deshawn Radden would make a close race for him, but then again, he is also much more of a wild card player and perhaps unlikeable because of it.
Only those five players are left, so it’s coming down to the wire on Survivor 41. Maybe Danny McCray is mistaken about the jury? In which case, the remaining players really should start thinking about Xander Hastings and his idol next. Unless it’s already too late. Catch the next episode on November 15 on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.
Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.