Category Archives: Survivor 43

Survivor 43.13 — Congratulations to Mike Gabler!


By now, I assume that everyone has watched last night’s Survivor finale and I can finally ask the question that is on almost everyone’s mind.

How did Mike Gabler win Survivor 43?

The most obvious answer is that Gabler won by building a better fire than Jesse.  If Gabler hadn’t won the firemaking challenge, Jesse would have gone to the final three and I think it was pretty clear that Jesse would have won.  The jury was fully prepared to vote for Jesse and I kind of got the feeling that they never really considered a scenario in which Jesse didn’t make it to the end.  Jesse played such a good game that he seemed inevitable, despite the fact that he never won individual immunity and apparently never really learned how to make fire either.

The final three was Gabler, Owen, and Cassidy.  Of the three, Cassidy could probably claim to be the most strategic player.  She was the one who was always plotting and getting involved in blindsides.  Owen was the player who impressed everyone just by making it to the end despite the fact that he was always being targeted.  Gabler, on the other hand, often seemed to spend the final days of the game laying low.  After he won the one immunity challenge, he kind of stayed out of the limelight.

And that turned out to be good strategy because Gabler won the jury’s vote and he won easily.  (Only one vote was cast for Cassidy.  The rest went to Gabler.)  And then he won almost everyone’s heart by announcing that he would be donating the money to charity.

How did Gabler win?

It may have been unexpected but all the signs of a Gabler victory was there.  Gabler handled himself well while asking questions from the jury.  He didn’t apologize for anything that he did but, at the same time, he didn’t gloat.  He was humble and he was honest and the jury reacted well to that.  Owen was well-liked by the jury but he couldn’t really point to any big moves that he had made, beyond winning immunity when he needed it.  Cassidy had quite a resume but, like Aubrey Bracco in Survivor 32, she didn’t really bother to build up the type of personal connections that Gabler had.  In the end, Gabler won because he was likable and he had just enough of a resume that he could claim that he had played a strategic game.  

So, Mike Gabler is our latest winner.  Congrats, Gabler!

Well, we’ve got a few months off now.  This blog will return when either Big Brother, Survivor, or the Amazing Race returns.  Until then, thanks for reading!  See you soon!


Survivor 43.12 “Telenovela”


Wow, that Jesse will just betray anyone!

Well, in all fairness to Jesse, betraying an ally is something that you sometimes have to do if you want to win Survivor.  I was surprised to see Jesse leading the effort to blindside Cody but I can understand his reasoning.  Cody was a challenge threat and Jesse obviously did the math and decided that it would be difficult to beat Cody in a final three situation.  Jesse may be right about that and, if Jesse does make it to the final three, he can now brag about how he managed to blindside the biggest threat in the game.  Jesse is the last strategic player left in the game and, if he can make it to the final three, he can make quite a case for himself.  Of course, I could just as easily imagine a bitter jury voting for anyone but Jesse.

With Cody gone, we are down to our final five players.

First off, there’s Jesse.  Jesse’s in a good spot but he’s going to have to hope that he can win that final immunity because I just don’t see anyone voluntarily taking Jesse to the final three.

Secondly, there’s Gabler.  Gabler talks a lot but it’s been a while since he’s really done anything big in the game.  He’s someone who I would want to take to the final three, if I was looking for someone who I could beat.

Third, there’s Owen.  Owen has survived, despite being a frequent target.  He may not be as strategic a player as Jesse but he’s also a bit more likable.  I could see Owen winning if the jury is angry at Jesse.

Fourth, there’s Karla.  Karla’s been on the outside on the majority of the votes and she’s been targeted several times but she’s always managed to survive.  Her immunity victory from two weeks ago will always be remembered, whether she wins the game or not.

Fifth, there’s Cassidy.  Cassidy’s main weakness is that she’s tight with Jesse.  If she and Jesse are in the final three, I imagine the jury will just dismiss her as just following his lead.

Who will win?  It’s hard to say because there’s really not a single one of them who isn’t capable of winning an immunity challenge and guaranteeing their spot in the final three.  This is a strong group and it should be a suspenseful finale.  I would say that Jesse’s the front runner but that’s also why I don’t think anyone’s going to voluntarily take him to the final three.

My prediction, for what it’s worth:

The final three will be Jesse, Cassidy, and Gabler, with Jesse winning the jury vote.

We’ll see what happens next week!

Survivor 43.11 “Hiding In Plain Sight”


Well, so much for Sami.

When this game started, I had mixed feelings about Sami.  I was creeped out by his profession as a “pet cremator” and I thought that he was too cocky for his own good.  He liked to strategize but he wasn’t particularly subtle about it and he never gave anyone much of a reason to trust him.  I was honestly expecting Sami to be one of the first people voted out.

Instead, he survived and, for a while, he thrived.  Even though I don’t think anyone ever really trusted Sami, he still always managed to paint someone else as being a bigger target.  He made it through the merge.  He nearly made it to the end and I do think that, if he had ended up in the final three, he  would have had a decent shot at winning.

But, last night, his luck ran out.  First, he made the mistake of admitting that he voted for Karla and then he tried to make Karla believe that Cassidy was the one who targeted her.  What’s interesting is that Karla kind of believed him but his actions reminded everyone else in the tribe of just how untrustworthy and sneaky he could be.  In the end, Sami knew he was going to be targeted and he played his shot in the dark.  (Remember those?)  The shot in the dark failed, Sami lost his vote, and he was exiled to jury by a vote 6 to 0.

(After three seasons, no one has successfully played their shot in the dark.)

Along with Sami’s downfall, this episode will be remembered for the large number of people who were safe from the vote.  Cody found an advantage that allowed him to “bet” on who would win the immunity challenge.  If Cody bet on the right person, Cody would also be safe.  Cody decided to bet on Owen and that was a smart decision as Owen did win.

Of course, so did Karla.

The competition was a brutal one.  The castaways hung underneath a grated steel barricade in the ocean as the tide rose.  The longer they held, the more time they would spend underwater and the more difficult it would be to breathe!  This would be a challenge that I would immediately fail at, as I’m claustrophobic and I have a fear of drowning.  However, both Owen and Karla hung onto the grate for so long that they actually outlasted the tide and, as a result, they were both given immunity.  Cody won his bet. 

That meant that three of the seven castaways were safe at Tribal.  Personally, I think that was a bit too many but still, Owen and Karla definitely earned their safety.

With Sami gone, we are down to six castaways and two episodes!  Karla no longer trusts Cassidy so we’ll see if the two remaining women are going to waste their time targeting each other or if they’re eventually going to realize that Jesse and Cody have the strongest alliance on the beach.

We’ll see what happens!


Sami, the newest member of the jury

Survivor 43.10 “Get That Money, Baby”


Hi, everyone!

I apologize for being late in posting this week’s recap.  Thursday was not only Thanksgiving but it was also my sister’s birthday!  I’m only now getting a chance to sit down and write out a few words about this week’s episode of Survivor.

I’m not really surprised that Noelle ended up getting blindsided.  I am a little bit surprised that it took as long as it did.  Noelle is not only a Paralympian and a challenge threat but she also has an inspiring backstory so, to me, she would definitely not be someone who I would want to be sitting next to in a final three situation.  I figured that Noelle would automatically become a target post-merge but, instead, Gabler had to get his revenge on the girls who searched his bag and James was so obnoxious that Noelle was able to fly under the radar until last night.

Noelle won the reward challenge last night, which was both good and bad.  On the one hand, winning the reward challenge meant that she got to read letters from her family.  On the other hand, it also meant that she had to decide who else would get to read letters and who would go back to camp empty-handed.  While Noelle, Sami, Jesse, and Owen were reading their letters, Cassidy was back at camp and trying to convince Gabler and Cody to vote out Noelle.

Noelle’s fate was pretty much sealed as soon as she didn’t win immunity.  The show didn’t even pretend that there was a possibility that Noelle wouldn’t be blindsided.  Instead, most of the second half of the episode was taken up with scenes of Jesse orchestrating Noelle’s blindside.  Jesse convinced Noelle and her strongest allies (Owen, Sami, and Karla) to split their votes while he got the rest of the tribe on board with all voting for Noelle.  Even Jesse was shocked at both how easy it was and also at how no one appeared to be targeting him and Cody.

Of course, Jesse may be getting too cocky.  Before tribal council, Gabler approached Karla and told her about the upcoming blindside, and he also told her that Cody and Jesse were becoming a dangerous duo.  So, Jesse and Cody might not be as safe as they think they are.  We’ll find out next week!

For now, Noelle is the newest member of the jury.  The final vote was 5-2-1.  Sami received one vote (for Noelle) and Karla received two (from Owen and Sami).

I hope everyone’s had a good Thanksgiving!  Again, sorry for the late post!


Noelle, the fourth member of the jury

Survivor 43.9 — Two Tribal Councils For The Price Of One


Last night’s episode of Survivor gave us two tribal councils for the price of one.  

At the immunity challenge, Jeff announced that the tribe was going to be split into two groups, determined by random draw.  The castaways would then compete in an endurance comp, seeing who could keep a ball in place for the longest amount of time.  The longest-lasting castaway from each group would win immunity.  Since both groups would be going to tribal council, that meant that, along with two people having immunity, two people would also be sent to the jury.  Also, whichever castaway held out for the longest would not only win immunity but they would also win their group a reward of peanut butter sandwiches.  The sandwiches looked fairly nasty to me but whatever.  I guess you’ll eat anything after you’ve been stuck on a beach for several days.

Immunity was won by Karla and Cody.  Cody lasted the longest so his group won the rather boring reward.  They also won the right to be the second group to go to tribal so they would be able to see who the first group had voted out.  Jeff made this sound like a great advantage but I’ve noticed that Jeff tends to get excited easily nowadays.

Anyway, the first tribe to attend tribal consisted of Karla, James, Sami, Owen, and Noelle.  James and Owen had an argument after the immunity challenge, due to Owen being upset that James didn’t tell him that the tribe was targeting Jeanine and James just being a jerk in general.

James went into tribal confident that he had masterminded Owen’s downfall.  What James didn’t know was that Noelle and Sami had decided to blindside James.  Noelle used her steal-the-vote advantage to steal Owen’s vote.  James smirked when this happened.  However, when it came to vote, Noelle cast her two votes for James.  Even more surprisingly, so did Karla.  Karla was James’s biggest ally in the game but somehow, Sami convinced Karla to turn on him.  I’m not sure what Sami promised Karla or how he convinced her but Sami pulled it off.  Sami might be the most dangerous player in this game.

Anyway, the final vote was 4 votes for James and one vote for Owen.  (That vote came from James.)  James was stunned by the vote and loudly complained as Jeff snuffed his torch.  James added that everyone voted for him as a sign of how much they feared and respected him.  Noelle stifled a laugh.

As for the second tribal council, the group was made up of Cassidy, Ryan, Gabler, Jesse, and Cody.  Cassidy wanted to vote out Ryan.  Ryan wanted to vote out Cassidy.  In the end, the tribe decided to go with Cassidy and Ryan was voted out by a 4-1 margin.  Compared to the previous tribal council, it was a bit boring.  I guess Gabler has fallen off of everyone’s radar, especially now that Jeanine and Elie are no longer in the game.  And I also guess no one has noticed that Cody and Jesse have got the strongest bond of any of the players in the game.  There were definitely bigger targets in the group.

At this point, I’m going to predict that we’re going to get a final three of Sami, Cody, and Gabler and that Sami will win fairly easily.  We’ll see what happens!

Survivor 43.8 “Proposterous”


For all the talk of potential drama last night, I can’t say that I was surprised with what happened at tribal council.  Jeanine was the obvious target, especially with the previous two tribal councils taking out two of her allies.  Everyone knew that Jeanine no longer had her immunity idol.  As soon as Jeanine dropped out of the immunity challenge, I knew that Jeanine would be going home.

Of course, it didn’t help Jeanine that immunity was won by Owen.  James was considering going after Owen if he hadn’t won immunity, due to him being seen as being both personable and a challenge threat.  But that plan was abandoned after Owen proved to the last castaway standing at the immunity challenge.  (The challenge was a Survivor favorite, the one where the castaways had to balance a ball on top of a pole.)  Owen won and despite Sami and Cassidy suggesting that Ryan might be a bigger threat, the majority tribe ultimately made the easy decision of voting out Jeanine.  Cassidy and Jeanine voted for Ryan but the other 9 votes were all cast for Jeanine.

The most interesting development last night was that, though Jeanine thought that Dwight had left the game with her idol, it turns out that Jeanine was wrong.  Before going to tribal, Dwight actually gave the idol to Jesse.  So, Jeanine’s idol is still in the game but it’s now Jesse’s idol.  And Jesse is keeping that a secret from the rest of the tribe.  Good for Jesse!  I’m not sure why this season’s castaways have such a hard time keeping things a secret but it’s good to see that Jesse has figured out that you don’t have to blab about every advantage to the rest of the tribe.

Next week: two people will be joining Jeanine on the jury!

Til then….


Jeanine, the first member of the jury

Survivor 43.7 “Bull In A China Shop”


For all the drama over who would be voted out, last night’s episode of Survivor really was the story of two players.  One of the players is currently on a hot streak.  Everything that they need to happen is happening.  As for the other player, nothing is going right for her.

As of right now, Gabler has every reason to feel confident about things.  Not only was he able to get Elie out at the last tribal council but, in a truly epic Survivor immunity challenge, he became the first of the castaways to win individual immunity.  That couldn’t have come at a better time for Gabler because, before the challenge, a lot of people were viewing him as being a potential target.  Owen was plotting to stab him in the back at tribal.  When Gabler won immunity, it not only took the target off his back but it gave him some breathing room.  Hopefully, he can build (or repair) some alliances between now and the next tribal.  Personally, I think he would be unstoppable if he teamed up with Cody but I think both men have too big of an ego to work together.

Meanwhile, Jeanine is struggling.  The episode started with her discovering that Elie had been voted out of the game.  Jeanine was smart enough to pretend as if she wasn’t as close to Elie as it may have appeared but she’s still struggling to find a good alliance.  While Jeanine was not targeted at tribal, she still lost her immunity idol when she foolishly gave it to Dwight before tribal council.  (Because James had the Knowledge is Power advantage, which allows him to ask someone if they have an advantage, Jeanine gave her idol to Dwight and Noelle gave her steal-a-vote to Owen.)  When Dwight was blind-sided at Tribal, he left with Jeanine’s immunity idol in his pocket!  So now, Jeanine has not only lost two allies but she’s also lost her immunity idol.

As for tribal, it was a bit confusing.  It’s still hard to figure out who is working with who and it seems like the biggest mistake that you can make is coming across like you’re trying too hard to win.  The minute it becomes apparent that anyone is strategizing, they and the people close to them automatically become targets.  Dwight was voted out not because he viewed as a huge threat but because he was viewed as being an ally of Noelle, who is viewed as being a threat.  Cody was the one who got the majority on board with voting out Dwight, though random votes were cast for Ryan (targeted because he was a physical threat) and James (targeted because of his social game).  In the end, it broke down like this:

Gabler, Jeanine, and Owen voted for Ryan.

Noelle and Dwight voted for James.

Everyone else (Cassidy, Cody, James, Jesse, Karla, Ryan, and Sami) voted for Dwight.  

Despite the fact that the teams are merged, jury selection has not selected yet so Dwight is going home.  Hopefully, next week, castaways will start heading for jury and we’ll get some clarity as to who is working with who.

Til then….

Survivor 43.6 “Mergatory”


Gabler got his revenge!

Ever since this season’s second episode, I have been waiting for Gabler to get his revenge on Elie and Jeanine for searching his bag to find out when his idol expired.  And last night, the merge finally gave him his chance.  Of course, Elie helped him out by frantically making deal after deal with all of the castaways.  Once people started talking, it made it easy to see that Elie couldn’t be trusted.  By a vote of 7-2-2-1, Elie was voted out.

For the record, the votes of the newly merged tribe broke down as follows:

Jeanine and Jesse both lost their votes when they went to the summit last week so they did not vote in this tribal.  Jeanine did not play her idol for Elie, which is perhaps the first smart thing that Jeanine has done in this game.

Cassidy, Cody, Dwight, Gabler, James, Ryan, and Sami all voted for Elie.

Elie and Owen both voted for James.

Karla voted for Owen and Noelle voted for Cassidy.

Along with Elie getting voted out, the big news from last night’s episode is that the three tribes are now merged into one big tribe and, from the point on, everyone will be competing for individual immunity.  Thankfully, we did not get any elaborate twists with this merge, beyond having the merged tribe divide into two randomly-selected groups that then competed for immunity.  There was no hourglass to break or any of that nonsense.  I’m going to guess Survivor learned a lesson from the extreme negative backlash that greeted the hourglass twist over the last two seasons.

With the merge now official, it’s going to be a whole new game.  And finally, we’re going to get a chance to actually know these castaways.  Pre-merge, it’s always a struggle to keep up with who is who.  But it’s after the merge that the true good players start to emerge.

We’ll see what happens!


Elie Scott, the 6th person voted out of Survivor 43

Survivor 43.5 “Stop With All The Niceness”


For the second week in a row, Coco was sent to tribal council.  Geo was the fifth person voted out of Survivor!


I have to be honest and say that Geo made next to no impression on me before this episode.  It took a few minutes for me to remember that he was the one who said he was excited about going to Tribal Council last week.  That right there was a sure sign that he was doomed because anyone who knows how to play Survivor would never be excited about going to tribal council.

Actually, anyone who has ever watched this game would know better than to blurt out that they had gotten an advantage while on the post-immunity challenge “journey” but that’s exactly what Geo did, telling Karla that he had the “Knowledge is Power” advantage.  Apparently, it didn’t occur to Geo that Karla is friends with Cassidy who was already upset about Geo voting for her at the previous tribal council.  As soon as Geo let Karla know that he had the power, Karla let the rest of the tribe know and the end result was that Geo was blind-sided by a vote of 3-2.

Also shocked by the results was Ryan.  Ryan actually threw the immunity challenge because he thought he had the votes to get Cassidy voted off the island.  If Ryan was as smart as he thinks he is, he would have lined up the votes before throwing the challenge.  It turned out that Ryan did not have the votes and now, Ryan’s main ally has been voted out of the game.

In other news, Jeanine found the final Beware Advantage and she was able to get all the beads from her tribemates so she now has a special immunity idol.  Of course, she made the mistake of telling both Elie and Owen and then Elie told Sami and then, after Jeanine made the idol, Sami told Gabler.  So, it’s not a secret immunity idol at all.  That means, that there are three immunity idols floating around the game, along with Gabler’s immunity advantage, which he has for his next tribal council.  Personally, I think that’s a bit too much.

Next week: The merge finally happens!  Are they doing to do that stupid thing with the hourglass again?  We’ll find out!


Geo, the 5th person voted out of Survivor 43

Survivor 43.4 “Show No Mercy”


One of my main objections to the three-tribe format on Survivor is that always seems to lead to a situation where one tribe loses almost all of its members before the tribal while another tribe enters the merge at full strength.  It always seems to lead to a lopsided merge and it also keeps the players from really getting to know each other in the days leading up to the merge.

Last night, though, Vesi and Baka finally did something that I’m surprised no one has done before.  They teamed up at the immunity challenge so that they could send Coco, the one tribe that had yet to lose immunity, to tribal council.  After Vesi solved their puzzle, they helped Baka complete their puzzle.  The end result was that Vesi and Baka both won immunity and Coco finally went to tribal.  It was a moment of surprisingly smart strategizing on the part of the Vesi tribe.

In fact, Vesi pretty much dominated last night’s episode.  After two tribals in a row, they came back with a determination to start winning.  Not only did Vesi win the immunity challenge but they also won the reward challenge and with it, the chance to steal something from another tribe.  Though his tribemates wanted to take Baka’s fishing gear, Cody insisted on weakening the Coco tribe by taking some of their food.  It was a good move, though it’s obvious that Cody’s take charge personality is starting to rub his tribemates the wrong way.

As for tribal council, Lindsay basically talked herself out of the game.  At first, it seemed like Geo was going to be the target but then Lindsay got paranoid that everyone was going to vote for her.  And she spent so much time asking people if she was the target that eventually, she did become the target.  If Lindsay had kept quiet and just trusted the members of her tribe, she would have been fine.  Instead, by a vote of 4-1-1, Lindsay became the fourth person voted out of Survivor 43.


Lindsay, the 4th person voted out of Survivor 43

We are four episodes in and not a single man has been voted out yet, which is unusual for Survivor.  I do think that Cody and Gabler need to be careful because it’s obvious that their tribemates are getting a little tired of being bossed around.

We’ll see what happens next week!