‘Survivor’ 43 Finale Preview: Frontrunner Jesse Falls Behind in Last Immunity Challenge (VIDEO)

Jesse became the indisputable frontrunner of Survivor Season 43 in last week’s penultimate episode after orchestrating one of the most thrilling blindsides in recent memory. While the jury may indeed choose Jesse as the winner if he makes it to the final three, he has to get there first. And in the TV Insider exclusive clip from Survivor Season 43 Episode 13, above, Jesse falls behind in the last Immunity Challenge of the season. Can he catch up and secure his spot to avoid the risky Fire Challenge?

In the two-hour Survivor Season 43 finale (kicking off at 8/7c on December 14 on CBS, immediately followed by the one-hour Reunion Show), the remaining five castaways must find the perfect balance in the Immunity Challenge to make it to the final four. It’s a water challenge, which we haven’t seen as much of this season, save for Owen and Karla’s record-breaking Last Gasp performance and some others.

In the clip above, Jesse, Owen, Karla, Cassidy, and Gabler race for their spot in the final four (and for a reward), the first step requiring them to maneuver a buoy through a series of obstacles. That buoy will “have to go wherever the rope goes,” Jeff Probst instructs as the survivors swim.

“Day 24, everybody exhausted, but you can feel the energy knowing that the end is in sight,” Jeff adds in the commentary. “That million dollars — you can almost reach it!”

First over the platformed ladder is Owen, who’s become increasingly good in the challenges of recent weeks, quickly followed by Cassidy (Episode 12’s immunity winner), then Gabler, and Karla. Jesse hasn’t even cleared the ladder by the time the other four players start to swim to the next leg of the race. But as Noelle showed viewers earlier this season, challenge comebacks are far from rare here.

Last week, Jesse blindsided his best friend in the game, Cody, to increase his chances of a win before the jury. The move had everyone’s jaws on the floor, and with an Idol still in play for him (the last remaining of the season), the game seemed to be Jesse’s game to lose. But the Fire Challenge is a great equalizer. All of the final five players will want to avoid that game of chance in Wednesday’s finale. And while Jesse’s game is incredibly strong, Karla, Owen, Cassidy, and Gabler could all make strong arguments for themselves as well.

Karla can accurately tell the jury she’s been one of the season-long contenders who kept an Idol secret up until Episode 12. Cassidy has won several individual Immunity Challenges, and her social game has kept her in majority alliances. Gabler successfully made himself a desirable free agent since the merge and won one individual Immunity Challenge. And Owen evolved from being at the bottom for most of the season to being a sought-out ally — and he’s one of the season’s best performers in challenges.

Who do you think should win Survivor 43? Sound off in the comments below.

Survivor Season 43, Three-Hour Finale, Wednesday, December 14, 8/7c, CBS