Survivor 43 - Episode 9 Reaction

Another episode of Survivor 43 is in the books, and there’s things to talk about. Two people were voted out. Yeah. Let’s dive in.

James vs. Owen Reaches an Emotional High

I’m going to be honest, this was a pretty boring episode to me. The only real interesting part of this were the passive-aggressive arguments between Owen and James, as Owen is officially done with James playing “mafioso” and refusing to be straightforward with him. Owen knows James is gunning for him yet James chooses to play coy, repeatedly bringing up that Owen put his name down on the parchment two episodes ago which I guess in this condensed game was like two days ago, like it means anything. James is clearly drinking his own Kool-Aid and wants to hold together his politician game, when he could let loose a little bit and make some TV. And Owen clearly is frustrated because he has no power to do anything, but I do agree that James could just be straight with him. Given the focus on the rivalry, it was clear either Owen or James were going home tonight.

James vs. Owen is Over with James Blindsided

So tonight was a split tribal council, with the first group consisting of Noelle, James, Owen, Karla, and Sami. The first plan was to stick with the previous majority and vote out Owen. James is all in with the plan of course, and seems to have a majority. However, Noelle decides its time for a big move, and she brings Owen and Sami in on a plan where she set James up by using her steal a vote on Owen, and then votes out James 3–2. It’s a smart plan because she can cover it up with James saying that it avoids a possible shot in the dark play (and James isn’t thinking too clearly), and it blindsides Karla enough to avoid a possible advantage play. Sami weaponizes this however, and lets Karla in on the move without Noelle or Owen knowing. Sami wants things to happen on his terms; and blindsiding Karla with this vote is not on his terms. Karla decides that she is okay with letting James go home, and the blindside happens. James has to make an incredibly short and pissed off walk to the jury bench, as he reckons with how his strong early game and outward politicking left him primed for an exit.

Cody, Jesse and Gabler Choose Not to Screw Karla Over

The second tribal council consists of the other five castaways and is a simple one: it will be Ryan or Cassidy going home with Cody, Gabler, and Jesse holding all the power. On one hand, sending Ryan home would remove a strong challenge threat and not ruffle any feathers. On the other hand, Cassidy is a strategic threat and can make a move in the future, while Ryan is essentially a goat for others to use. The show made it clear that the vote would be primarily dependent on how the first tribal council went (since they will see who is going home), and since James was blindsided that means Ryan is the vote. Cody and Jesse had an opportunity to completely destroy Karla’s game tonight (and the edit was really implying that this is what they were planning on doing) by eliminating her number one Coco ally, but they chose not to rock the boat. We will see if that was a smart move or a million dollar mistake, because the two are solely focused on final three at this moment.


The L I V I N Award: Noelle

She tried to make a move, and it was a smart move! She just didn’t anticipate Sami actually being in Karla’s pocket.

The Turbo Camkiran “Pussy Chicken” Award: Sami

Challenge fans know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve never watch The Challenge go pull up the Turbo vs Jordan fight from WOTW2. Mr. “I Wanna Make a Big Move” chose that instead of riding with Noelle and being a part of a big move, he needed to almost ruin it by leaking the plan to Karla. He isn’t scared to rock the boat, but he needed Karla’s permission to do a blindside on James. Disappointed.

Sidenote: I should’ve watched Ride or Dies tonight instead of Survivor.

It’s Time to Have a Serious Conversation: Is This the Most Boring Cast Since Ghost Island?

We have to talk about it: our Survivor 43 cast seems to be playing a game within the game where the first person to say an interesting thing in a confessional loses. I was thinking this episode had to be the one to break the season wide open, and that did not happen. The level of play is decently high and saves this season from being a complete dud, but every word a castaway says seems to either be a dry game-heavy comment or a yawn-inducing positive statement. Survivor 43 has somehow turned a man with “L I V I N” tattooed on his ass into a gamebot. This is the world we live in. We sat through two sleep-inducing tribal councils, even with one of those were this close to having a full-blown fight. But people don’t want to fight or make some television: they want to play the game, and that means being cordial and having the charisma of a state senator, and that is what we got.

The Biggest Unanswerable Question: Will Survivor Somehow Slide the Knowledge is Power Advantage Back into the Game a Third Time?

Don’t doubt it… they really wanna see someone use it right. I would not be surprised if the next episode has a reward challenge and Knowledge is Power is hiding under the sitout bench.

MVP of the Episode: Cassidy

Sneakily, Cassidy’s game has broken wide open. All signs pointed to her going home but she has stuck around, and she can find her footing in the home stretch as the big dogs start taking shots at each other with only eight people left.

Goats of the Episode: James and Ryan

Our two eliminated contestants both acted like they were the main characters of the season, only to be told that the only thing that matters now is whose name they write on the parchment on day 26.




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

She just lost her only advantage because Sami outplayed her, and everyone will know she is actively playing the game now. I think most people remaining can agree to vote her out, if they don’t want to turn on each other quite yet.

7. Owen

Owen is in a better position with James out, but he is still a low priority ally for everyone in the game. He must hold hope that his Baka boys will want to ride with him.


6. Gabler

Gabler is with Cody and Jesse and has them believing that he will be a loyal soldier to them… but Gabler is prepped to start playing again with the days dwindling. Better yet, he isn’t clearly on the outside anymore.

5. Sami

4. Cassidy

3. Karla

These three have the best chance to shake up the game into their favor. Sami made a smart move with Karla to move up on the ally list and gain influence. Cassidy has the best chance to slide under the radar yet still get credit. Karla lost an ally in James but still has her idol. All three need a power-shifting move to guarantee a spot on the final episode.


2. Cody

1. Jesse

They have two idols, alliances to work with, and are solely thinking endgame at this point. If they can weather the storm and make it to the final four, they are in a great position to win.


Not the exciting episode I was hoping for. Hopefully the high stakes of the final third of the season will the dramatics of the season to an acceptable level.



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.