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Survivor 43: a challenge thrown, egos stroked, mistakes made

Survivor 43: a challenge thrown, egos stroked, mistakes made
Jeff Probst at the Survivor 43, episode 5 combined reward/immunity challenge (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

“I might played a little too hard, but that’s fine, because if you don’t come to Survivor and play hard, there’s no point of coming to Survivor—it’s pointless,” Geo said after being blindsided and voted out of Survivor 43 episode five.

I appreciate his good-natured exit, and an old-fashioned petard-hoisting. But I think there’s a difference between playing hard and playing smart, and just being overconfident, or cocky, or ridiculous.

Karla accurately summarized the theme of this episode: “I want their egos to be strokes and their heads to be big, because that’s when people make mistakes.”

Geo and Ryan definitely made a series of mistakes—starting with Ryan’s decision to throw the challenge in order to throw Cassidy out. But there were others who made mistakes, too.

Jeanine and Elie walk on the beach during Survivor 43 episode 5, during which Jeanine found the Beware Advantage and turned it into an idol
Jeanine and Elie walk on the beach during Survivor 43 episode 5, during which Jeanine found the Beware Advantage and turned it into an idol (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

The only other tribe to get any significant screen time this week was Baka, where Jeanine and Elie went out idol-hunting, and Jeanine found an ant-covered Beware Advantage.

First, dear ants, I do not appreciate you giving Jeff Probst ideas about how to make the advantages even more of a risk.

Second, I don’t understand why everyone keeps accepting these risks if they’re not actually at risk. Perhaps they’re planning for the future! But knowing that I’d lose my vote unless some ludicrous task is performed would be enough for me to hurl that thing into the woods—especially if it was covered in ants, which seems like an omen. But maybe I’m just too risk-averse?

Because sharing knowledge of an advantage always works in a player’s favor on Survivor, Jeanine immediately told Elie, who then told Owen, and later Sami, leaving Gabler as they only person who didn’t know—until Sami told him, of course.

But it was too late: First, all four of them helped Jeanine make her immunity idol, though Gabler didn’t at first want to give up the bead Jeanine needed.

“It went from being a much simpler game to a very complicated game by me handing a bead to my friend. She got me,” Gabler said. I might point out that your other friend, Sami, didn’t just let this happen, he participated before even giving you a heads-up!

Later, having almost lost her vote in a tribe of five because of Gabler’s desire to do something nice for his daughter, Jeanine decided to risk her vote yet again—and this time, she lost it.

Geo Bustamante during Survivor 43, episode 4, because there are no photos of him in episode 5
Geo Bustamante during Survivor 43, episode 4, because there are no photos of him in episode 5. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

Jeanine was sent on the post-challenge “journey” along with Geo and Jesse. They took a boat to, uh, take another boat. (Did the tide prevent them from being able to walk to the sandspit?)

Geo, Jeanine, and Jesse all decided to risk their votes, despite Geo’s (poor) attempt to convince them not to so he could have the best chance.

“If I do get an advantage, that’d be crazy, huh?” Geo asked. It would—but what would would be crazier is going home right after receiving Steal-a-Vote 2.0.

Yes, Geo won the Knowledge is Power advantage (here’s its full text) and then was voted out with it in his pocket. If anything, I’m glad to see an advantage flushed so fast, though I’m sure it’ll be back soon.

The episode opened by setting up this stumble and fall. We dipped into the post-Tribal Council camp discussion, where Cassidy was ready for “revenge” against Ryan and Geo for, uh, giving her one vote. As she went on to explain, it was really because of her (correct!) suspicion they’d go after her next.

She had a chat with Geo during which he casually blamed Ryan for the vote against Cassidy, and then wanted to know who voted for him, leading to Cassidy saying, with a deliciously annoyed tone, “Do you think Lindsay voted for herself?”

Despite his “clueless” nature, Geo remained confident: “There isn’t much Cassidy can do unless we hit a merge,” he told us. “She’s on the outs.” Famous last words.

Jeff Probst at the Survivor 43, episode 5 immunity challenge
Jeff Probst at the Survivor 43, episode 5 immunity challenge (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

There was no reward challenge this week, but a combined reward/immunity challenge, for both immunity and a tarp.

The challenge was some familiar elements in new form, with an ending that was not a puzzle, apparently because the puzzle was being used by The Amazing Race.

Tied together, the players had to navigate through a nest of wood, and then climb over gates. After filling a small container with water, they together climbed onto a giant net teeter-totter, and then dumped their water into a vessel attached to a gate. Once the gate dropped, they could go through, where one player had to roll three balls up a ramp and get them to stop at the end.

I appreciated the production design, and in particular the camera placed on the teeter-totters so we could see the players as they tried to flip their net down while not spilling any water.

I haven’t given Jeff Probst shit lately for his challenge commentary, perhaps because it was less-noticeable after TJ Lavin’s “yeah nah yeah” on The Challenge: USA.

But I did laugh at the moment when Probst’s need to say every single thing out loud backfired on him: “Dwight! With a second…” ball rolls away “…will it stay?” ball rolls off “NO!”

Ryan Medrano during Survivor 43, episode 4, because CBS does not yet have any photos available of his acting in episode 5
Ryan Medrano during Survivor 43, episode 4, because CBS does not yet have any photos available of his acting in episode 5. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

Vesi/red won immunity thanks to Dwight’s rolling, and Baka/yellow came in second. For Coco/blue, Ryan was just one ball away, but knocked all three balls off, losing immunity.

But TWIST: “It looked like I was really trying,” Ryan said. But he knocked all three off on purpose: “We can go to Tribal and throw Cassidy out.”

Ryan’s genius plan didn’t stop there. He wanted everyone to act like they were voting for him—telling James to avoid him, and Karla to not talk strategy. He was so committed to his role he broke character to yell at people who were not playing their roles.

“He is so full of shit,” Cassidy told Karla, seeing right through this.

Geo, returning from his boat ride and boat ride with his advantage, told us, “Tonight is gonna be pretty easy,” as he’d join Ryan, James, and Karla in voting Cassidy out.

But really, Karla, James, and Cassidy joined together to vote him out, becoming the first man out this season.

At Tribal Council, Ryan’s “woe is me, I’m going home” was so bad that Cassidy mentioned it: “that’s just not normally the type of game that you see,” she said.

Earlier, Ryan said in a confessional, “If this plays out, I’m definitely going to have some Ink on my Survivor resume.” But all he has now is a stain. And next week is the merge-not-a-merge, and he’s on the outside of a tight alliance of three.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion

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Happy discussing!

Antonio

Friday 21st of October 2022

I like the picture of Ryan cause it looks like he's giving us the finger.

Melissa

Thursday 20th of October 2022

I liked Geo, but he played a very dumb game.