Survivor 44 Recap: New Tribe, Who Dis? — Another Journey Unleashes New Idols and One Game-Changing Twist

·5 min read

It may not have been a full-on tribe swap, but Survivor‘s l’il shake-up Wednesday was enough to turn the game on its head.

After this week’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reward challenge (seriously, what was up with that editing?), three players head out on a journey that very quickly threw everyone’s plans into disarray. When Jaime, Carson and Josh arrive to the island, there’s no prisoner’s dilemma or bag of tricks. They each receive a free idol, as if they’ve passed GO and simply collected a valuable potential life-saver. But there is a catch, and it has nothing to do with losing one’s vote. Instead, each player found him- and herself returning to a brand new tribe!

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Jaime heads over to Soka and Carson lands at Ratu, leaving Josh to set sail for Tika. But with alliances already solidified, do these three odd men (and woman) out have any chance at surviving? (Armed with an idol each, the answer is a resounding “yes,” but more on that below.) Keep in mind: Jaime now has a real idol and a fake idol… but of course, she’s none the wiser. Can you imagine if she plays the fake idol before the real one and gets the boot because of it? It would certainly be a crushing blow (for her), but I’m nearly salivating for that amazing TV.

X DOESN’T MARK THE SPOT | Elsewhere in idol news, Carolyn is still looking to dupe someone with her fake idol. When her tribe wakes up one morning, they realize two pieces of wood are sticking through the birdcage in the form of an X, all the handiwork of — you guessed it — the Minnesotan drug counselor. Carolyn then sticks the fake idol with the original note inside their bench log, and places another “X” right underneath it. Sarah’s the unlucky soul to find it. She’s enthused and totally believes it’s the real-deal. (Go on. Admit it. You underestimated Carolyn and probably still are. It’s OK. It happens to the best of us!)

Survivor Yam Yam
Survivor Yam Yam

IMMUNITY IS BACK UP FOR GRABS | In this week’s challenge, players must leap off a tower to grab a key, traverse a floating balance beam, get to their mat, then complete a manta ray puzzle. Tika can’t get the job done, which puts former Soka member Josh in a really tough spot when his tribe heads back to camp to strategize.

Despite wanting to stick together, Carolyn, Sarah and Yam Yam show concerns (and rightly so) that Josh may have an idol or advantage up his sleeve. But after Yam Yam tells Carolyn that “they think I’m a threat and you’re not,” she’s clearly peeved. And it’s not the first time he’s said that to her, which seems like more salt in a fairly fresh wound. (Her irritation makes it seem like we haven’t seen everything. Wasn’t the edit trying to sell us on their friendship just last week?)

The gloves come off as Yam Yam, wanting to make Josh feel comfortable, plays up the fact that he and Carolyn don’t get along, and serves her up as a potential vote-out. Sarah even assures Josh they want to play with him. They’re a couple of liars, which in Survivor is fair game… if only they didn’t suck at it. Josh not only shows Carolyn his idol, but says he’ll play it for her, too! (He can’t be that dumb, right?) But with Carolyn’s trust (or so he thinks), Josh seems to be feeling pretty OK heading into Tribal. Carolyn knows she runs the risk of losing Yam Yam’s trust, but notes that he and Sarah don’t do much to make her feel like she’s truly with them. “So why would I have any loyalty to them?” she asks. In a tribe of only four, you’ve got to protect yourself, and thus far, Carolyn’s been pretty adaptable. (Yes, the line for the Carolyn fan club starts right behind me, thankyouverymuch.)

Survivor 44 Episode 4
Survivor 44 Episode 4


Jeff asks Josh all about starting over in a new tribe, while Yam Yam says he doesn’t want to be school friends with Felicia anymore, which sure, must make some sort of sense in his head. It’s hard to tell whether this “drama” between Carolyn and Yam Yam is performative or real… maybe it’s a mix of both? (Carolyn does seem stressed out though. What do you think? World’s best actress or is she actually feeling attacked?)

When it comes time to vote, Josh does play his idol, but he smartly and correctly plays it on himself. Two votes for Josh are voided out, while the remaining two votes (Carolyn’s included) are all it takes to send Sarah outta there. In her final words, she still thinks she’s joined “a special club of sad, sad people” who all went home with an idol in their pocket. Boy, is she in for a surprise! (Read our Q&A with Sarah here.)

Did you like the journey twist and tribe shake-up? Will Carolyn and Yam Yam be able to patch things up? Drop every last one of your thoughts in the comments below!

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