‘Survivor’ Player Sabotages Challenge to Gain Control (RECAP)

Ryan and Geo in Survivor Season 43 Episode 4
Spoiler Alert
Robert Voets/CBS


Stop With All the Niceness

Season 43 • Episode 5

[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Survivor Season 43 Episode 5, “Stop With All the Niceness.”]

It’s hard to recall a recent tribe more ill-fitted to get along than Survivor 43’s Baka. Working well as a group in the challenges and having ample survival gear doesn’t seem to phase this group of five. They simply do not like each other. Their splitting hairs were made more clear at the top of Survivor Season 43 Episode 5, which saw Jeanine finding the bracelet-themed Beware Advantage early on.

Unlike Vesi’s Cody, who only let two teammates know about his bracelet task, and Coco’s Karla, who told no one, Jeanine’s secret was known by all within minutes. She found it while hunting with ally Elie, who had a major snafu when Owen arrived right as she said “let’s not tell Owen.” He heard, they spilled, and then Jeanine told Sami, but Sami is no fan of the women.

After he painstakingly watched Gabler give his bead (the final one needed for Jeanine’s vote-saving bracelet), Sami told Gabler what that action meant, sharing he didn’t have time to warn his actual ally in advance. And now, Gabler’s trust in her is broken, not that it was strong to begin with.

Heading into the challenge, Sami and Gabler were united, as were Jeanine and Elie, but Owen still needed to find his pack. He gave Jeanine his bead, making clear that his move to save her vote was his choice to trust her. We’ll see if that pays off down the line.

Owen and Elie in Survivor Season 43 Episode 5

Robert Voets/CBS

For the Immunity Challenge, four players were tied together and had to climb and crawl through a maze of obstacles. One then grabbed a bucket, filled it with water, and the foursome ascended over a giant, netted teeter-totter, and then transferred the water into a bucket. This would be repeated until the bucket sunk enough to lower a gate. When they reached the finish, the players rolled small balls up a ramp, landing them on a platform where they must remain.

The Immunity Challenge also came with a reward for the first two tribes to finish: tarps. Karla sat out for Coco and Gabler for Baka, leaving both of their fractured tribes (Cassidy and Geo are at odds after Lindsay’s elimination) to exhibit teamwork in the only place they seem capable of doing so. In their defense, Survivor isn’t always about getting along.

Vesi had a powerful comeback last week, winning their first challenge and the chance to steal Coco’s resources. Their solid teamwork was showcased in the netted teeter-totter section, when the four moved in unison to get over the hump. Keeping Noelle’s prosthetic leg from slipping through one of the net’s holes was key, and they worked together to make sure that didn’t happen. For her part, Noelle hopped on one leg down the teeter-totter with her teammates helping her balance, showing off her athleticism once more. Baka and Coco were scrambling more, but Coco ended up releasing their gate first, followed by Vesi and Baka.

Ryan rolled the balls for Coco, Dwight for Vesi, and Sami for Baka, and Dwight pulled through the first place win for his team. After Ryan knocked both of his two balls off the ramp completely, Sami landed his third ball, sending Coco to Tribal Council for the second week in a row. Only this time, Vesi didn’t help Baka secure Coco’s defeat like last week. Jeff Probst instructed Vesi to send one player from each team on a journey. They chose Coco’s Geo, Baka’s Jeanine, and Vesi’s Jesse.

In solo commentary, Ryan revealed he purposefully threw the game so he could send his team to Tribal Council. The goal was to get Cassidy out ASAP. Earlier in the episode, Cassidy, Karla, and James privately said Ryan and Geo were getting Survivor confident. When they got back to the beaches after the challenge, Ryan started campaigning for a Cassidy blindside, but James told her of the plan immediately. The plan was to convince Cassidy that Ryan was on the outs (he told Karla that nobody should talk strategy with him to keep up appearances), but he didn’t know the plan was already failing.

In talks with Cassidy, both played dumb. He told Cassidy she should vote for him so she would land on the “right side” of the vote and protect herself. But obviously, knowing Ryan’s plan, she was not falling for his fall-on-the-sword act. Cassidy initially wanted to get Geo out after he voted for her, but this conversation gave her pause.

Cassidy in Survivor Season 43 Episode 4

Robert Voets/CBS

Instead of the typical trek to the Summit Challenge, Jesse, Jeanine, and Geo had to row to theirs. The trio bonded as they paddled, but Geo “lied” about being on the bottom at Coco to drum up sympathy. He had no idea this very much was not a lie.

Jeanine wasn’t sure she bought the underdog story, and Jesse also wondered who to trust, so all three of these players chose to risk. Jesse and Jeanine lost their votes. In a rare show of teamwork, Jeanine told her tribe the truth (after first learning it in secret), but they all also know she has an Immunity Idol. Sami told the cameras she was a fool to tell the truth this time, because “as soon as somebody senses that you’re playing the game harder than anybody else, nobody will mind just getting rid of you.”

Back at Coco, Geo told the cameras he wouldn’t tell the truth about his choice in order to keep Cassidy in the dark. He and Ryan were still fully confident there were no kinks in their elimination plan. Geo said he saved his vote, telling only Karla (his fake ally) that he risked and earned the Knowledge is Power advantage. This would allow him to ask a player if they had an advantage or idol and steal it.

Karla worried who knew she has an idol. As Cassidy continued to worry about her name on the chopping block, James suggested to Karla that they vote Cassidy, using her paranoia against her like they did Lindsay last week. But viewers know it’s right to be wary in this game, and that was made clear in the votes.

Ryan continued to play the martyr in Tribal, but Cassidy called out the suspicious strategy. Geo played it cool as well, his confidence so strong, he didn’t play his advantage. The votes proved he should have: Geo became the fifth person voted out, proving once again that unchecked confidence is truly the Survivor Achilles heel. Will Ryan fall prey to it in next week’s merge?

Survivor, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS