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Why Survivor 41's Latest Ousted Competitor Revealed All His Advantages To Shan Smith

screenshot brad keese
(Image credit: CBS)

Warning: Spoilers from Survivor 41’s Oct. 6 episode forthcoming!

A big part of Survivor this season is the new advantages. Contestants can gamble their vote for safety live at tribal council, aptly called the Shot in the Dark, or conversely gamble for extra votes at the summit meeting. Then there's a (not-so-secret) secret three-part communal super idol – and it's as complicated as it sounds. Nevertheless, the golden rule of Survivor is to never reveal an advantage (unless you're 100% certain of someone). So why did Survivor 41's latest ousted competitor talk about his shiny new advantages to tribemate Shan Smith before the vote? Well, apparently, Brad Keese wanted to gamble some more.

In the October 6 episode of Survivor 41, the Ua tribe lost the immunity challenge and were set to go to tribal council. But prior to, Brad Keese surprisingly told Shan Smith about his three-part idol clue and about his summit meeting. He broke the cardinal rule – and he was promptly voted out for it. Reese has his reasoning, though. He told Entertainment Weekly:

I definitely am second-guessing it, but I wrestled with that for at least an hour laying on my bed, going through it. Because I had Genie, and I knew Genie was with me. She was with me when I found the idol — Genie was a hundred percent — and I'm like, ‘Genie, I don't have a stinking vote here. We need more people. We can't do this alone.’ Because it didn't have any power. And so I said, ‘I need Shan, and I've got to just open up to her and at least give her the shot to say, 'Whoa, Brad has a lot of power and I can go with them. Or Brad has a lot of power. We need to cut his throat.'

This goes some way toward explaining the confusing events in this week’s Survivor episode. Thanks in large part to the new changes and advantages taking up a lot of screentime this season, it appeared as though Brad Keese and Shan Smith had forged some kind of bond that viewers haven't been shown (and that's why he showed all the eggs in his basket). But apparently not, because he knew he was on the outs and actually wanted to buy favor with Smith.

Brad Keese’s maneuver on Survivor 41 was practically destined to not pay off, however, because his advantages were more like Catch-22s. Unknowingly, he lost his vote as a consequence of getting in on the three-part immunity idol (and he wouldn’t regain it until the super idol was entirely formed). Then ironically, he gained an extra vote at the summit, but it couldn't be used until he had his regular vote back that he lost in the first place. So what he was offering Shan Smith was not so much power to play with, but power for the both of them to wait for. Keese realizes this now, saying,

So it was a calculated risk. Maybe my only regret is not telling Shan that I was helpless. I would've just said, ‘I found this idol. Look, Shan, I got the idol, man. This is good. It's for all of us. And I'm not going home tonight because I got an idol.’ Maybe that would have turned her to say, ‘Oh, maybe Brad has enough power. I've got to just go with him.’

Yesssss, now we're talking, Brad Keese! If you're going to move the dial, then you need to play hard ball. On the opposing tribe in Survivor 41, Evvie Jagoda is likewise doing the same. Paradoxically, though, her tribe decided to keep around the contestant who they knew had all the advantages.

Risk, in all its forms, is evidently the underlying theme for Survivor 41. Hopefully these advantages will someday, somehow prove actually advantageous for someone. As of right now, they seem more like portents of doom. Catch new episodes of Survivor on CBS on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. EST!

Lauren Vanderveen

I am a vegan feminist. I'm fascinated by all things space/stars. I love film history, reality television, and my cat Bubbe.