‘Survivor’ 43: 2 Tribes Join Forces to Send [Spoiler] to Tribal Council (RECAP)

Vesi in Survivor Season 43 Episode 4 reward challenge
Spoiler Alert
Robert Voets/CBS

[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Survivor Season 43 Episode 4, “Show No Mercy”.]

After Nneka’s elimination, Vesi’s Cody laid things out plain at the top of Survivor 43’s fourth episode: “We have no flint, no food, no fire, and we’ve lost two challenges in a row. We are in dead last.” It’s true that Vesi has not fared well in the game thus far. Eight days in, and they’re still struggling to get fire made. What the team does have that Baka doesn’t, however, is a general appreciation for its teammates.

Nneka and Jeff Probst in 'Survivor' Season 43 Episode 3

Robert Voets/CBS

Baka’s beach chatter proves that last week’s victorious tribe may be good at group challenges, but they are not bonding. “Gabler’s starting to rub me the wrong way,” Elie says of her eldest teammate on Day 8. “He’s becoming a detriment to potentially our game, but also to our camp life as well.” His crime? Picking palm fronds for his teammates to use as blankets. With their recent wins, it’s hard to imagine what Elie means by Gabler harming their game. But she established last week that she thinks Gabler is oblivious to the rules of the game when she tried to convince him his idol was no longer in play. He knows it is, as does Elie, but what she doesn’t know is the whole tribe knows she and Jeanine went through Gabler’s bag to get info about his advantage.

Playing dumb to her scheme, Gabler is trying to put on a nice front in Episode 4. But their big personalities clash when trying to get a fire started. “I don’t trust her at all,” he tells the cameras. “If we get too far with her, we will all regret it.”

The episode sends the players to the Reward Challenge of the day before we get a Coco check-in. In the game, one player throws handheld sandbags to topple over an elevated block pyramid. That same player then walks on two of the blocks to get the end of the course, where the remaining three players must each land one sandbag on one of the hanging discs. Their reward was winner-take-all: 10 fresh fish delivered to their camp, plus the right to go to one of the other camps and steal one item. Gasps abound among the tribes. James and Lindsay sat out for Coco, and Elie sat out for Baka.

Survivor Season 43 Episode 4 reward challenge

Robert Voets/CBS

Ryan from Coco, Sami from Baka, and Cody from Vesi took on the first leg of the race. “Cody is blistering this course right now,” Jeff Probst says as Cody shows no mercy, indeed, on the pyramid. He was the first to get the stack down, giving his team an early lead. Each time the players fell off the two blocks, they have to return to the start. Sami follows behind Cody as Ryan still struggles to get his blocks down.

“Could this be a turning point for Vesi?” Jeff asks. It seems so as Jesse and Noelle land their bags on their first tries. Dwight struggles with his, allowing Baka and Coco to catch up. But Dwight pulls in the win for his team, giving Vesi — who has only eaten coconut for eight days — a much needed turn of the tides.

After the win, Jeff explains the rules of this steal. Vesi can take any one item they want, except for flint. It can be an advantage, a pot, a machete, or anything else they can think of. Coco and Baka will not know which team is chosen and what item is taken until later.

After the two tribes leave, Noelle asks if they can swap their reward for a previous one. Jeff says tribes can always do this, and they opt to trade their 10 fish for the basket of fruit and fishing gear. Who they choose to send for the camp raid will be their next big decision.

All of the tribes debate over what the best move would be between getting something or inflicting something. Should Vesi deliberately weaken a tribe by taking something key, like a machete or pot? Or should they focus more on getting themselves something highly useful that simultaneously won’t piss off the other players? Cody is team inflict; Dwight votes the latter. But the group agrees to send Cody, who strongly believes they should “kick them in the shins” to balance the scales between their team of four, Baka’s five, and Coco’s untouched six.

“We’re sending a child off to school not knowing how he’s going to behave,” Dwight says as Cody leaves on his boat for… Coco. Cody tells the cameras he may shirk his tribe’s preference and make his own “executive decision” to “take out their Achilles heel.” He’s kind when he arrives, introducing himself to the other players. Cassidy realizes Cody is there to strike a hard blow because of their numbers, as opposed to taking from Baka’s bigger stash of fishing gear.

Coco in Survivor Season 43 Episode 4 immunity challenge

Robert Voets/CBS

Negotiations begin when Cody tells them he’s there to take their machete. They offer to send him back with enough food to feed them for two days. Clearly, Cody teased the machete to scare them into offering a better deal that would bring Vesi more sustenance. What he got in the end was their fishing gear and some food.

“Coco went right into my trap,” he tells the cameras. “I got more than what I went for.” Karla thinks they got played, despite keeping their machete.

Next was the Immunity Challenge. To start, players would knock heavy sandbags off a platform in search of a ring of keys tucked in between them. The keys unlock a net under which they must drag large, heavy puzzle pieces that must be assembled in a square. But it doesn’t end there. After completing the first square, they must disassemble it, carry the pieces one by one up a net to another platform and arrange the pieces into a triangle. First two teams to finish win immunity.

The tribes are neck and neck for most of the race. Coco falls behind on the first puzzle, but they staged an impressive comeback, catching up in the final puzzle. Baka’s tension got to them again, with Owen getting snappy at a suggestion. Vesi pulled through for their first Immunity Challenge win, and then Vesi started helping Baka, forcing a loss for Coco and sending them to Tribal Council for the first time. Clearly, Vesi’s goal this week was to severely weaken the undefeated team.

In one episode, Coco has lost their fishing gear, food supplies, flint, and a player. At their camp, Geo and Cassidy have the same idea to get each other out, but the tide starts to turn on Geo, as Karla says it’s “the easiest vote.” For no discernible reason, Lindsay convinces herself she’s being lied to by everyone and is on the chopping block. She assumes everyone agrees she’s a threat, but in reality, her name wasn’t considered at all.

In a classically fatal mistake, her paranoia makes Karla want to flip the vote to her. James urges Lindsay not to have such a lack of faith in their alliance on the very first vote, disappointed that she would make this mistake on their first trek to Tribal. Karla weighs the options of Lindsay and Geo with everyone, but seems to think Geo’s “power hungry” nature needs to be sent home first.

Lindsay shows some of her paranoia at Tribal, saying she expected people to approach her to talk strategy (to calm her unfounded nerves, it seems). But then, she admits she worried too much and unintentionally spread more nerves among the tribe. James says he chilled at camp to show he can be trusted, but Cassidy says trust is only shown through votes. With that, the voting begins.

The first vote went to Cassidy, the second to Geo, and then three in a row to Lindsay, making her Survivor 43’s fourth eliminated player. She may see it as confirmation bias, but as viewers know, she was never at risk in the first place, making her elimination a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Survivor, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS