“Survivor 43” Episode 9 Recap – Split Decision

“Survivor 43” (CBS)

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Last Week: Jeanine’s spectacular streak of bad luck ended up with her as the first member of the jury.

39 26 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor Blog

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Gaia Tribe (wearing green)

  • Cassidy, 26 – Designer
  • Cody, 35 – Elevator Sales
  • Gabler, 52 – Heart Valve Specialist
  • James, 37 – Event Planner
  • Jesse, 30 – Political Science, PhD
  • Karla, 28 – Educational Project Manager
  • Noelle, 25 – US Paralympian
  • Owen, 30 – College Admissions Director
  • Ryan, 25 – Warehouse Associate
  • Sami, 19 – Pet Cremator

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

The vote seemed like it was pretty straight-forward with Jeanine getting the boot, but Sami was desperately trying to corral the numbers necessary to get rid of someone higher in the pecking order.

Sami thinks Owen was left out of the vote again, so he takes Owen and Gabler aside to figure out what is what. Owen is rightfully upset with James who told him the wrong vote minutes before they left for Tribal. Hey, James lying to Owen is basically as reliable as the sun coming up these days.

Buuut…Gabler told Owen which way the vote was really going before Tribal.

James tries to approach Owen to chat, but Owen isn’t having any of it.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will hold onto a handle. If they release the pressure on their handle a ball will fall and they’ll be eliminated. The last person standing wins immunity.

Twist: The final ten will be split into two tribes of five. Each tribe will have an immunity winner and both tribes will vote someone out. The last person standing overall will win peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their tribe as well.

Quick Aside: One of the most underrated parts of being a parent is all of the PB&J remnants you get to eat.

Another Quick Aside: Before the challenge started, Probst tested out a new accent. I don’t understand why, but I also don’t hate it.

The Tribes: Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan, and Cody are on one side. Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla, and James are on the other.

Initial Thoughts: Bad news for Karla and James? Even though they have a dozen advantages? Also, I’m pretty sure Cassidy voted the wrong way last week, maybe she needs to win this challenge if she’s gonna stick around.

Results: Karla wins immunity first, but she can’t outlast the other tribe for reward. She did all of that with an injured hand, so good on her. It comes down to Ryan and Cody for immunity and the reward with Cody pulling off the win.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Sure enough, Cassidy is the early target with Gabler saying that her, Karla, and James are the three heads of the hydra. Ryan is all in on this plan, while Cody seems non-committal.

Cody carries this vibe into a conversation with Jesse and Cassidy and Cassidy seems very concerned that he isn’t making up his mind. However, she makes a solid point that their allies on the other side would not be sad to see Ryan get the boot. Wow, that’s a smart, roundabout way of reminding them that the rest of Coco might be upset to see her go.

Jesse and Cody debate their options between Cassidy and Ryan. They also take into account that they’ll get to see who the other tribe voted out. Their thoughts are that if Owen is gone, they should keep trust with James. And if James is gone, there’s no problem getting rid of Cassidy.

They decide to bring Gabler on board with this plan, which never, ever backfires.

At the old Vesi camp, the other tribe is leaning towards Owen.

James and Owen have another awkward exchange when James tells him he doesn’t know who he’s voting for. Owen calls him out, saying that he has done exactly what James has asked him to do.

This leads to a full blow up in front of the tribe, with James making the point that Owen had voted for him at two Tribal Councils. Owen, however, claims it was only one. Oh, just one? Then we’re good.

Later on, Noelle tells James that she’s going to steal Owen’s vote to make sure he goes home. But, this is all a ruse because she’s been trying to blindside James. However, for James and Karla to buy into it, she actually does need to steal Owen’s vote.

Loving the strategies tonight. We’ve got some 4-D chess going on.

Uh-oh…before we get to Tribal, Sami lets us know how important it is that he keeps Karla’s trust. So, he tells her what’s up in an effort to get her to join the plan to get rid of James.


He tries to make the case that James is calling all the shots and a potential winner and that nobody is afraid of Owen. Also, Noelle will lose her steal-a-vote. Yes, very important to get the all-powerful steal-a-vote out of circulation.

Tribal Time

We get a nice little recap of the argument that took place between Owen and James, while Sami is stealthily trying to get Karla to commit to a direction.

Noelle discusses how advantages need to be used between an alliance because they’re so well publicized these days.

Before we go to vote, Noelle steals Owen’s vote.

Owen sells it really well, pointing out that he and James were both with her when she got the advantage and they let her have it because she said she was in trouble. But, he ends it saying that they’ll see what happens. He should have been more dire than that. “I guess, I’m screwed. Jeff, can I still play my Shot in the Dark?”

Voting Time:  James vote for Owen, Noelle votes for James, and the rest of the votes are secret.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…nobody does. We’ve got one vote for Owen, two votes for James, and the ninth person voted out of “Survivor 43” and the second member of the jury is…James.

James…is…shocked. But, he takes it as a sign of respect. As he should.

And once again, the Knowledge is Power advantage doesn’t do much to help the holder.

Also, we didn’t see the votes, but I have to assume Karla voted against James because we only saw one Owen vote.

Tribal Time Part Deux

Everyone is shocked to see James on the jury.

And then vague vague vague…

Followed by more vague.

Voting Time Part Deux: Ryan votes for Cassidy, Cassidy votes for Ryan, and the rest of the votes are secret.

JPro tallies and returns yet again. Nobody plays an idol. We’ve got one vote for Ryan, one vote for Cassidy, one vote for Ryan, and the tenth person voted out of “Survivor 43” and the third member of the jury is…Ryan.

Verdict: Karla had all the tools necessary to save James, but decided against it. It’ll be interesting to hear the rationale behind that decision. As for Ryan…he seems like a wonderful guy, but he wasn’t taking home the title of Sole Survivor.

And let’s talk about how Noelle used her advantage! Steal-a-vote isn’t particularly powerful, but if it keeps someone from using a way more powerful advantage, that’s kind of awesome. Kudos to you, Noelle.

Anywho, hopefully this is the shake-up we needed.

  • Noelle, Sami, and Owen – This trio had to work together perfectly to pull this off, and they made it work. Well done.
  • Karla – It remains to be seen why she made this move, but sometimes you have to go the way the tide seems to be taking you.
  • Gabler – Gotta give some love to Gabler, he’s hung around long enough to make himself valuable.
  • Jesse and Cody – Ryan…is…a…”meh” vote in my eyes. If they’re hoping to keep Karla close, I have to wonder why that’s so important? They don’t know she has an idol.
  • Cassidy – I can’t go much higher considering how close she was to going home. I just wish I understood Cody and Jesse’s decision this week and Cassidy’s vote during last week’s episode a little better.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes