‘Survivor’ 43: [Spoiler] Becomes First Member of the Jury With Idol Still in Play (RECAP)

survivor 43
Spoiler Alert

Last week’s Tribal Council ended with the worst-case scenario for Jeanine: Dwight went home with her idol in his pocket. Or did he? At the beginning of Survivor Season 43 Episode 8, “Proposterous,” Jesse revealed that Dwight entrusted him with Jeanine’s idol in secret before Tribal. Jesse then proceeded to orchestrate Dwight’s elimination with Cody. But this reveal did nothing to further explain why Jesse and Cody wanted him out in the first place.

Jesse seems primed to throw Cody under the bus soon. “I already have Cody’s idol that he gave me, and he hasn’t asked for it back yet. In a way, I kind of have two idols here,” Jesse sneered to the confessional cameras. Did he flex those powers in the episode? Here’s how Episode 8 of Survivor 43 went down.

Owen was determined to turn his “bottom-dweller” status around this episode, bringing Jeanine and Noelle into the fold. They realized the three of them and Gabler were the only ones ignorant to the Dwight flip, but they’re not confident the seven-person majority — Cody, Jesse, Karla, Ryan, Sami, Cassidy, James — saw each other as the final seven. Naturally, Survivor editors cut to this group discussing being the final seven immediately after this.

Survivor Season 43 Episode 8


The quick themes of “Proposterous” were 1) to highlight the “underdogs” and show their strengths; and 2) to show how each person’s game is growing increasingly individual. Owen may think he’s been ineffective all season, but James currently sees him as his top threat after he voted for him two Tribals in a row. Gabler noted Ryan is the strongest physical competitor and the main reason they have food to eat. And while Ryan’s in the seven majority, he wonders how solid his place in it is. It just goes to show that your perception of your game is your own.

Within the seven, Sami ponders where he lands in their hierarchy. He’s currently the bridge between the seven and the four (three of which are former Bakas), so he could have that going for him. But Sami begins strengthening that bridge to make sure he could swing either way. With just 11 players left, the 19-year-old (still lying about his age) is already thinking about how his actions now could impress the jury later.

“I feel like the seven is sitting pretty on a sinking ship, but I need to act like I’m still with that group,” he says, later sharing this accurate analysis of where they’re at in the game: “This is where good players survive and great players thrive.”

To match with the tribe’s growing individuality, the Day 16 Immunity Challenge is a solo effort (last week, everyone was paired, but only one person could win). Their challenge is a balancing act: balance a ball on a pole and keep it there through every pole extension. The last player standing wins. Jeff Probst added a twist to the challenge forcing the competitors to play either for themselves or for the team. If five people sat out of the challenge, they’d earn five days worth of rice for Gaia. “Today is the only day it will cost you five players,” Jeff says. “Tomorrow it gets more expensive.”

Sami, Jesse, Karla, James, and Cassidy volunteer to sit out, and James seems to disapprove that Owen didn’t. But after a long, painstaking challenge, Owen won individual immunity. Sorry, James. No Owen on your vote slip tonight.

survivor 43

Robert Voets/CBS

Back at camp, Jeanine, Gabler, and Noelle know they need to appeal to the seven to save their skins. Ryan and Jeanine’s names are thrown around with James advocating for the latter. Cassidy finally calls out the fact that until Dwight, only women were voted off of the show all season long. She calls out James’ Jeanine idea, saying that wanting to keep only “big, strong men” around isn’t going to impress a jury. It seems James didn’t realize that’s how his strategy was coming across, but Cassidy’s argument is also motivated by her desire to get Ryan (her self-proclaimed biggest rival) out.

Cassidy says in confessional that she doesn’t think people are intentionally only voting out women, but it’s still frustrating to watch. (She notably doesn’t mention that only Black men were voted for last week, and for no apparent strategic reason. In fact, no reactions to that were shown in this episode. Did no one talk about it, or were those comments left on the cutting room floor?)

It was every player for themselves in Tribal Council, multiple players admitting their past strategies matter little now. More often than not, Survivor forces you to change plans on a dime. “Each day, a new line can be drawn,” James notes. Jeff calls Survivor societies “fluid,” the goalposts always changing.

Jeanine says you need to understand when those changes are happening and flow with them, adding that she wasn’t feeling comfortable in this Tribal. All she could do was trust that the relationships she built would be enough. But in the end, they weren’t.

The votes were split between Ryan and Jeanine, and Jeanine became the first member of the jury tonight having no idea her idol was very much still in play. Now, only three women and seven men remain in Survivor 43.

Survivor, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS