Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 43 recaps
Episode 1: "LIVIN"
By Damnbueno | Published: September 22, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 1 recap/ analysis

Episode 1: LIVIN

Welcome to another season of Survivor and another season of Screaming at the Screen. As always, I’m looking forward to discussing/arguing over this season’s players, moves, and Producer meddling. Here’s to hoping all of them lead to an entertaining and strategic season of Survivor.

First off, I’ll do a couple of shameless plugs. During the off season, I wrote two, 2-part columns. The first was a look at Race in Survivor — an in-depth look at how minority players have performed over the first 42 seasons, along with speculative reasons for their success and/or failure (here’s a hint – it was mostly a casting issue). The second 2-parter was a comparison of subtle styles of play vs a “Big Moves” style. Give them a read and offer some feedback in the comments if you’d like.

I listened to and read a lot of interviews with this season’s players, and I’m glad I did. Its interesting to know they were able to watch some, but not all of Survivor 42. In pre-season interviews, many of them talked about how last season, Drea had been stockpiling Idols and Advantages, and they hoped to do the same. But apparently none of them saw how Drea got blindsided in part, BECAUSE so many players knew she had all these items. Will everyone break off immediately, searching for envelopes with “Beware” on them? Will they do this instead of prioritizing joining an alliance? Since they got on the plane before seeing Maryanne win, will they write off someone playing similarly to Erika and Maryanne, thinking Erika’s win was a fluke? And since they didn’t see Drea getting blindsided, they also didn’t see how she blew up Omar’s game on the way out, either. Will any of them recognize how strong a game he was playing, and why he should have protected himself better? And since Omar’s Idol Nullifier wasn’t even included in last season’s broadcast, will this season’s players know to keep an eye out for one of those?

This season’s players all seem to be aware there will be unpredictable twists thrown their way, which is of course, something they can’t really prepare for. But as Probst (thankfully) announced last week, the “Turn Back Time” hourglass, and “Do or Die” challenge will NOT be used this season…

(I’m waiting for the applause to die down)

…yes, those hated twists are gone, destined to take their place next to the Medallion of Power. But will this season’s contestants go in expecting to see them? Will they strategize around them still being part of the game? If so, will it help or hurt them? These are all intriguing questions to ponder.

I thought the Casting Dept. did an excellent job with the season 41 and 42 casts. This time around, it looks like we’ve got a few (Cody, Morriah, Sami) who don’t quite understand how Survivor works, and will be unpredictable. This is a good thing, because I like watching how socially-savvy players like Omar, Tommy, Kim and Cirie handle the unpredictable players like Tori, Noura, Kat and Shane. Often, it’s the difference between winning and wondering what went wrong.

No matter what happens, this column remains the same. These are my spontaneous, as-I’m-watching reactions and comments. Often my mind changes after I rewatch episodes, but in this column, its usually me screaming instructions at the screen, hoping the players are listening — six months ago, while they were playing.

And away we go ….

It’s a new era of Survivor alright. Black players got 3 of the first 4 confessionals. Morriah is there to make friends? She might make friends, but she probably won’t make the merge. Lindsay seems very prepared. Will she make two straight Lindsays (with an “A”) to make a deep run after every previous Lindsey (with an ‘E”) all flamed out? Cody reminds me of like Bud Bundy from Married With Children. Owen reminds me of DJ Steve Aoki.

Look at James giving my man Earl some love. He’s got good taste in Survivor players. I wonder if Noelle will suffer the same bias as previous amputee Survivor players Chad (Vanuatu) and Kelly B. (Nicaragua). Will others want her gone to prevent sympathy votes going her way in the finals? I hope people have evolved since then, but I doubt it. I think its bound to come up.

I fell asleep during Probst’s “Isn’t Survivor great?” speech. When he’s in hype mode, I can’t help but tune him out. But at the same time, I can’t imagine Survivor without him.

A tribe is called “Baka?” My Japanese wife says that translates to “stupid” in Japanese.”

Geo rolling his crate

Holy cow, I think this is an entirely new challenge! Geo is rolling his crate? And smiling while he does it?

That’s a bad look to me. It looks like he’s not taking it seriously. Parvati giggled through one challenge in her first season when she fell way behind, but that was deep into the merge. Then again, she got voted out right after she lost too.

It looks like these women are all pretty good athletes. Lindsay’s going for the key. That’s a spotlight role in this challenge. All eyes are on those getting a key. Everyone will remember how they performed. But everyone else’s performance blends into the background.

That's smart!

Read this next sentence like Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”: “Look at the big brain on Bud, I mean Cody! You a smart Mutha Fucka!” I see that as good for Dwight, and bad for Cody. Everyone could realize Cody can outsmart them. And Dwight just lost the pressure he put on himself for taking the spotlight role.

I’m in the middle of a Nicaragua rewatch. Cody is reminding me a lot of Fabio.

Good move by Owen in shutting down Sami after volunteering to do the digging. But something tells me Sami won’t forget it.

Geo goes from bad to worse. First he shows he’s not very strong in the first challenge, then he volunteers to be separated from the majority. Then Ryan gets sucked in with him. Neither should be surprised to find themselves outside a majority alliance.'


I know this is bad because he had cerebral palsy, but whenever I hear Ryan speak, it reminds me of Eddie Murphy’s character in “Bowfinger” — Jiff Ramsey — the geeky lookalike to movie star Kit Ramsey (also played by Murphy) Jiff was the one with the braces and Mr. Magoo glasses. I can hear Ryan saying “Awesome” over and over.

Sami, if you don’t want people to know you’re smart, keep your mouth shut while everyone else is working on the puzzle. Oh well, so much for that. Now everybody knows how smart you are. Listen closely Sami. Do NOT take the spotlight role in the next challenge!

Cody is making a hat instead of building a shelter? Cody just doesn’t get it. Cody targeting Justine for being a salesperson is much like Ronnie targeting Elaine in Island of the Idols. I think its gonna backfire on him. Ronnie got voted out first.

Gabler! What’s wrong with you? When Owen says he’s got your back, you should immediately say “I’ve got yours too!” If you don’t, Owen will look for a different partner. And look at that! Owens searching for other partners.

Its great that the three Vesi women have bonded. But it’s a tribe of six. You need one more member here. Maybe they went to the Brad Culpepper school of math.

Cassidy wants to play a stealth game? Smart plan. Let’s see if she can actually make it work, and keep her cover. Lindsay has the same plan, but is already looking for a 4th. That’s an even smarter plan. And look at that! James has the exact same plan. I’d take credit for this, but I know they all left for Fiji before I even wrote my “Subtlety” column.

Morriah screamed “Fire” louder than the Ohio Players. Ok kids, that’s a reference to a 1970’s funk group. You’ve heard the song, now you know the group that made it.

Elie confessional

They’re not even trying to hide the green-screened confessionals. Look at how blurry the background is during Elie’s confessional.

Karla, if everyone is pitching an alliance with you, say “Yes,” then take the time to figure out which one you want to stick with. You’ll have the element of surprise on your side for at least one vote.

Jesse has an awesome background story. But if everyone knows it, they won’t want him anywhere near the finals.

Everyone groans when they see the boat coming. Yeah, these players watched Survivor 41 and part of 42. They know this is probably bad for whoever has to go on the boat. They’ll likely have a target on their back that they’ll have to remove.

Lindsay — “You have to make big moves to win.” No, I don’t think so. I’d like to show her a list of winners who never made a “big move.”

Dilemma Rock

This is an interesting twist on the “Risk Your Vote” deal from last season’s Shipwheel Island, but the fact remains that at least two other people will know you’ve got an Advantage. And that one person is likely to tell the rest of their tribe too. The more people who know you’ve got an Advantage, the weaker that Advantage becomes. Just ask Drea.

If Karla is smart, she’ll take her “No risk” card with her back to camp to prove to her tribemates she didn’t get an Advantage.

I don’t know what it is yet, but Justine, Karla, Owen and Jesse all give me good vibes. They all seem to have a good degree of humility most good winners have.

Gabler screams when he opens his pouch. Now his whole tribe knows he’s got an Advantage. And he foolishly told everybody what it is. And Dwight tells everyone he doesn’t have a vote. He just created a reason to vote him out first. He’s defenseless.

We’ve seen every part of this Immunity Challenge in prior seasons. The spotlight role in this one is whoever digs under the log. All eyes will be on that person. Bad move for Ryan, Cody and Jeanine. It’s a lose/lose. If you do well, everyone knows you’re an individual Immunity threat. If you suck, you could cause your tribe’s loss.

Jeanine missed the rope with half of her chops.

Ryan on the table maze

Ryan is also doing the table maze? He loves taking the spotlight role doesn’t he? Its bound to bite him in the butt. In pre-game, he said he wanted to play like Rupert. Mission accomplished. I’m sure several are plotting when to cut him loose, just like everyone did with Rupert too.

Sami constantly bitching at Gabler during the challenge is a bad look for Sami. And Sami, didn’t I tell you not to take a spotlight role?

I have no idea who is in trouble on Baka, and I love that. An unpredictable season is a good season.

Gabler says he’s taking his shot in the dark? And he’s holding an Idol? This guy doesn’t get it at all. Even if he stays, who would want to align with a guy who makes decisions like that? Don’t let his brain ruin your game.

Jeanine's chin

What’s up with that dark mark on Jeanine’s chin? Did she get a massive bruise in the challenge, or is nobody telling her she missed a muddy spot when washing up? I can’t stop looking at it.

Morriah – “We won because we didn’t give up.” That’s a nice optimistic statement, if not a realistic one. I like that Sami and Owen called her on it.

I think Jeanine got a little help from the Survivor makeup dept. Her chin isn’t purple anymore. I bet when we see her back at camp next week, it’ll be purple again. It might be like the disappearing/reappearing scar under Hai’s eye last season. If her chin is completely healed, we’ll know they’re showing things out of sequence again.

Baka Tribal

Bye Morriah. Did you make any friends? If you did, they all just voted you out. Morriah really didn’t get it. I think she got herself voted out.

Owen seemed really rattled at getting a vote. I wonder if he’s gonna pull a Lex/Rupert, and go on an interrogation tour trying to find out who voted for him.

Props to Elie. She swung this vote for sure. If Sami gets angry for being left out, he’ll just be setting himself up to leave next. He needs to pretend to be cool with it like Natalie Anderson did when Jeremy left in San Juan Del Sur. I don’t think Sami’s got it in him.

I’m impressed at how so many players spelled Morriah’s name correctly. Did she get suspicious when everyone asked her how to spell it?


I think Owen got a wakeup call here. Seeing his name written down should let him know he wasn’t in the loop enough to know he was served up as the decoy vote. Gabler, Sami, and Cody all seem like unpredictable types. They’ll keep things interesting if they don’t get themselves booted pre-merge. I’m liking what I’m seeing from Jesse, Karla, Justine and Owen. They all seem like “think first, act later” players, who usually make good strategists. It’ll be hard for them to top Omar’s game last season, especially since none of them saw how it ended for Omar.

I liked that we got a decent amount of content on each player, but that’s to be expected with a 2-hour premiere. Survivor 43 is off to a good start. Let’s hope the Producers don’t screw it up with a new Hourglass-type twist. These players are interesting. Let them provide the entertainment, don’t force it on them.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

damnbuenoDamnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.