Survivor 43 — Episode 11 Reaction

Another episode in the books! We watched people drown themselves for jewelry. Riveting stuff! Let’s dive in.

The Advantage Hidden in Plain Sight, An Excellent Hiding Place

So with only seven remaining, Survivor introduces a twist to the equation, hidden on the island and waiting to be found. And when we say waiting to be found, I mean waiting to be found: it is pinned in plain sight on a tree in the middle of a clearing. What became the best part of the episode was the compilation of our remaining castaways literally breathing on the advantage and not finding it. Every player walked right by it but didn’t find it because they were looking too hard and thinking that it would be in the bushes or under some roots. It took Cody literally kissing the advantage to realize where it was “hidden”. Now I understand why Survivor doesn’t try so hard to hide advantages well anymore: because they can trick the castaways that way! The advantage ends up being a “choose your Champion” advantage where Cody can pick a second person to earn him immunity in the challenge today.

Owen and Karla Outlast the Tide

This episode made it clear that the immunity challenge is the main event, with the reintroduction of “Last Gasp” an easily recognisable classic challenge from the golden era of Survivor. The show brought out all the production stops to make the immunity competition cinematic. The challenge looked just as tough as it seems as fairly girthy waves sent contestants underwater for extended periods of time with minimal opportunities to breath. Survivor makes show history tonight by awarding both Karla and Owen immunity despite the fact that only one person was supposed to win, because the two went for long enough that the ocean water started to recede, making the challenge too easy to continue. It was a gritty performance for the two winners who would rather drown than lose, and Survivor chose to have no tiebreaker. I think we understand now why the challenge was retired, since history was made simply because the challenge has a game-ruining flaw of being completely dependent on water level. I feel like past iterations of the challenge were less “wave-y”, went for longer, and left the castaway completely underwater by the end of it with no option to get air under the cage. But the current Fiji setup didn’t allow for that I guess.

A Seemingly Complex Vote is A Simple Send-off for Sami

I thought the episode was very good until post-immunity, because we definitely did not see everything that happened to turn what looked like Cassidy’s exit to what was actually a unanimous Sami vote. Before the challenge even started Sami was putting himself in a hole with Karla by lying, then coming clean with his vote against her. But it looked Sami had found a way back in by telling Karla a lie that Cassidy started a plan to vote Karla out last time, which revealed to us that Karla is a little wary of Cassidy since she is the only one who knows of her idol (though we know that Jesse knows too). After the immunity challenge, Karla begins to set up a plan to vote Cassidy out (she tells the camera that she has to take out her #1), but Jesse wants to use that plan against Karla by voting out Sami without Karla’s knowledge. THat’s how we go into tribal council, but neither happened. That means that either Sami’s declaration that he is using shot in the dark (a fair play by him) made everyone who was voting Cassidy shift to vote him (unlikely), or Karla changed her mind and decided to stick with Cassidy. I understand that the show needs to stir up uncertainty for the dramatics, but I wish they just showed us what really happened. Did Karla change her mind on her own or was she convinced by Jesse or Cassidy? What was the point of Jesse’s counterplay if Karla just gets told what to do anyway before tribal council?


The L I V I N Award: Owen and Karla

I’d like to think if I were doing the Last Gasp challenge that I would drown before I gave up. That belief was tested tonight. It looked like literal torture. Karla and Owen proved that they would never snitch with their performance tonight.

The Playing With Fire Award: Karla

It seems that Karla really was prepared to cut out Cassidy based on what was shown tonight. It will be interesting if that is going to be used against her next episode. Karla’s game has been clean and non-intrusive, but now she has to get her hands dirty if she wants to separate herself from the rest of the pack.

The Tribal Council Metaphor of the Episode: Tides

Jeff really started tribal council with a god-knows-how-long monologue about how Survivor reminds him of the shifting tides in the challenge. Tribal council has fallen as far as to let Jeff Probst give cringeworthy speeches instead of talk about the actual game. There’s no way he actually wrote that, right?

MVP of the Episode: Cody

He found the advantage and used it successfully, even if he wasn’t at risk

Goat of the Episode: Sami

Despite what the edit showed us tonight, it seems Sami’s game was doomed, and his actions stemming from the previous tribal council was sloppy and only sealed his fate more.




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

7. Sami


6. Owen

There’s a silver lining for Owen today, as he was finally let in on a vote tonight after being out on the vote since day 1. But a Owen victory seems way out of reach. His likability with the jury is his one thing going for him, but the rest of the cast isn’t unlikable enough to make it matter.


5. Gabler

I thought Gabler might make a move this episode. He did not, and I’m not feeling confident that he can get one off the ground with so little time left. Yes, no one is targeting him right now, but I don’t think anyone sees him as worth targeting.

4. Cassidy

We learned this episode that Karla sees Cassidy as a disposable ally, not a vital ally. And without an idol to her name, that leaves Cassidy as the biggest threat (though I don’t think see is seen as a big threat) who is the easiest to vote out.

3. Karla

2. Cody

One of these two has to make something happen in the next episode if they want to beat Jesse right now. Cody and Karla have their idols: they need to use it successfully to bring their resume to Jesse’s level.


1. Jesse

He somehow concocted the plan to vote out Sami this episode without even needing to make a plan to do it. It seems so obvious to me that he is the favorite to win. If Jesse gets through this next vote without having to use Jeanine’s idol, then he has a very clear path to FTC as long as he knows fire well.


Three posts in one day? Wow! I am interested to see who goes home next because between the remaining castaways I am not sure who gets targeted. But for the season as a whole, I am comfortable calling Survivor 43 completely mediocre. I love Survivor though, so I will definitely be sticking around.



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

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