Survivor 43 — Episode 10 Reaction

Another episode of Survivor 43 is in the books! I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving break, however you chose to spend it. Let’s dive in!

This Final Eight Feels Like Anyone’s Game…

The tribe dynamics throughout the episode makes it feel like there is no true “one to beat” and no true “goat”, which gives us some excitement to the end of this season. The previous vote establishes that: James was sent home first which takes out the obvious player to send home (since James was playing a loud game). Ryan was sent home second which takes out the safety voteout since Ryan was strategically a goat in the game. The high level of social play means that remaining castaways have to juggle three or four plans in a given vote and deduce which one is the best.

…But Jesse is the Favorite to Win Right Now

This episode made one thing clear: Jesse is playing the strongest game right now. Jesse felt confident that his many social relationships put him in the best position to operate in the game, and that played out in the most recent vote. Jesse is in an incredible position where everyone else on the island is willing to follow his plan, independent of other variables. Jesse saw tonight as his best opportunity to get Noelle out, and he cleanly executed the blindside as Survivor production reveled in his clean execution. The winner of this season either will be Jesse or will have to send Jesse home, just like Omar last season.

Noelle Gets the Heroic Ending

The star of this episode was not Jesse though: it was Noelle. Her victory in the reward was nothing short of incredible. Noelle is slowed down on the balance beam because her artificial leg makes it difficult to navigate, but she fights past the obstacle and sticks the sandbag toss to win the challenge. It was really cool to see her fight so hard and be rewarded for it. I was also worried Jeff was going to make Noelle’s struggles into content a la Cirie in Game Changers, so I was relieved to see that Noelle succeeded.

Noelle’s season also ended right after that victory because she didn’t have a strong enough alliance to protect her. No one wanted to take the risk of letting Noelle sit in Final Tribal Council next to you, where her sheer likability will earn her a lot of votes. Beyond the surface level reason of an inspirational story as the driving factor to vote out Noelle now, Noelle had also proven to be a competent strategic thinker, even while coming off as a straight-forward and earnest personality and player. Everyone likes to toss around “Hero” and “Villain” tags to contestants every season, but I do think Noelle would fit right in on a heroes tribe. She would be a contestant from Survivor 43 I’d be down to see play again.

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The L I V I N Award: Noelle

They made the sandbag toss in that reward challenge incredibly difficult. And Noelle just stuck it like a boss.

The Surgical Hands Award: Cassidy

Shout out to Cassidy for not only winning an important immunity challenge to keep her safe and shut down any Karla/Cassidy split vote move, but also for winning what I believe is one of the toughest challenges in Survivor history. That house of cards scale balance challenge looks near impossible to me, so I immediately gain respect for castaways who can finish it.

The Dean Kolwalski “Home Stretch Heater” Award: Gabler

Is production tricking me? Or is Gabler about to go off in these last few episodes? After demanding the Elie vote he said he wanted to lay low and reemerge closer to the end of the game, and somehow he has done that to perfection. Now in the final eight, Gabler has options on alliances and an awareness of the power dynamics of the season. I can’t believe that Survivor would show us Gabler talking to people about how dangerous Jesse is if this isn’t going to come up in the next episode or two. Does Gabler lead the Jesse blindside? Or does everyone shut down Gabler due to liking Jesse more and send him home?

MVP of the Episode: Jesse

Survivor essentially published a how-to on blindsides using Jesse as the narrator this episode

Goat of the Episode: Sami

Did you catch that? People have put the flipper label on Sami. That is usually a death sentence for winning a Survivor season.

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PLAYER TIER LIST:

OUT OF THE GAME

18. Morriah (Participation Trophy Queen)

17. Justine

16. Nneka

15. Lindsay

14. Gio

13. Elie

12. Dwight

11. Jeanine

10. James

9. Ryan

8. Noelle

BOTTOM OF THE TOTEM POLE

7. Owen

Owen is just a floater in this game. He needs a lifeline from someone else to survive to the end of this season, and even more if he wants a real shot at winning

6. Sami

You can only sit on the fence for so long. In a season where trust is king, Sami is lacking that with his fellow tribemates

IN A SOLID SITUATION RIGHT NOW

5. Cody

He’s a #2 for Jesse, and I don’t feel like he will betray him. His current path guarantees him a voteless FTC while Jesse becomes a million dollars richer.

4. Karla

Karla is not doing anything bad. In fact, she’s had a really good season. However, I feel like her game has stagnated a bit strategically as she has played a very safe game. Taking out Jesse herself would be a gamechanger for her.

3. Gabler

Gabler comes alive in crunch time.

2. Cassidy

I might be turning into a Cassidy truther. However, I will NOT be calling her Chaos Cass. As Karla’s stock falls in my eyes, Cassidy’s goes up. Feels like a player who will not stand still if she feels she cannot win.

IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

1. Jesse

The end of this season goes through Jesse. Either he locks down the victory, giving Survivor 43 the most obvious winner’s edit maybe ever, or the winner sends him home.

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Only a few episodes left. How will this season end?

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jfish

Reality TV connoisseur writing about the shows I like, especially Survivor. I also watch the Challenge, the Bachelor, Love is Blind, and more.