Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 43 recaps
We're on strategy watch
By Damnbueno | Published: September 29, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 2 recap/ analysis

We're on strategy watch

After a two-hour debut that was heavy on personality and light on strategy, I’m really eager to find out how these players are gonna try to get themselves to the end, and who they think can help them do it. Who are the good liars? Who is out of the loop? Who is overconfident (my money is on Sami on this one)? So far, Elie looks like a good silent assassin — able to clip people and send them out of the game without suspecting she pulled the trigger. Karla and Jesse are in similar positions as Elie, but haven’t been tested with a vote yet. I’ll also say I was impressed at how Sami convinced Morriah to pitch his plan to others. Elie thought it was Morriah’s idea to target Owen. Sami kept his cover well, even though his plan didn’t work.

On my rewatch, I’m fairly sure Jeanine got that huge bruise on her chin while wriggling under the log in the last immunity challenge. On day 2, her bruise looked more purple than a Galu buff, but looked covered up by makeup when she went to Tribal Council on night 3. Will it reappear in camp on day 4? Will we see it at all during her confessionals? If its completely healed, we’ll know her confessional was recorded long after day 2, and Jeanine is speaking with knowledge she probably didn’t have on day 4, 5 or 6. Like it says at the bottom, I’m completely obsessed with Survivor.

Dwight had a bad episode last week. Everyone knows he’s a risk taker, and doesn’t have a vote. He also doesn’t have an alliance yet, but Nneka and Jesse seem cool with him. Cody, Sami and Ryan are all playing very loud games – standing out way too early. Which one will learn the hard way that its better to play with subtlety? Lindsay, Karla, Jesse, Nneka, and James seem to be embracing a subtle style. So far, I’m not sure what Cassidy, Noelle, and Justine are thinking though. I’m most curious to learn about those 3.

And away we go…

Owen apologizes for being anxious after seeing his name written at Tribal Council. Bad move. Never let them see you sweat. File that info away to use later on. Figure out who served up your name, and start working on getting rid of that person, while simultaneously making them comfortable with you.

They’ve got a rainstorm and no flint to make fire? You’re right Owen, this is not fun.

I don’t think Sami realizes how much he gives orders around camp.

Sami, ordering

Gabler is starting to sound like he’s gonna quit. Even if he’s healthy, he’s a “woe is me” worry wart. That doesn’t make for a solid alliance partner. Nobody wants a partner who constantly needs to be reassured. Everything about Gabler says “Don’t depend on me for anything.” He might even blame himself for bringing the rain.

Jesse is smart to play lookout while Dwight hunts for an Idol, but he should try to get his hands on something without Dwight noticing. He’s also smart to lock up Dwight, but he’ll need a plan to get around Dwight’s lost vote at the first Tribal Council.

Jesse standing lookout

Why are so many of this season’s players so slow to talk strategy? They did watch Survivor 41 and part of 42. They know how fast the game will move. Its like they’re halfway through the 1st quarter of a football game, but playing like they’re still waiting for the opening kickoff to come down. Its time to run some plays already!

I think Jesse realizes if Justine is becoming annoying, that’s a good reason to keep her around. Start reminding people of how she annoys them too. Build her into a finals goat.

Everybody but Cassidy is doing Yoga with Ryan. That’s bad for Cassidy. Brice got voted out of Cagayan when he was the only one who wouldn’t play Cornhole with the others. This is basic Survivor. If 4 people on a 6-person tribe want to sleep, you sleep too. If they want to work, you work. If they want to do Yoga, find your inner Downward Dog.

Cassidy sitting out yoga

However, its also bad for Ryan. If he’s leading the Yoga lesson, others could start perceiving him as a “leader” on the tribe. He’s already taken the spotlight role in challenges twice already. He’s standing out too much.

The Survivor casting department certainly has a “type” in mind. Geo is a lot like Romeo last season. Their background story is almost identical.

Yes Owen, everyone is Idol hunting … or hunting for a Beware Advantage. You should be too. Put the pot down for a moment and search around the Well.

Jeanine’s bruise looks a few days old in her confessional

The exciting saga of Jeanine's bruise

I’m gonna guess its from day 6. But when I see her in camp with Elie, it looks fresher.

Hmm … a day ago, Sami wanted Owen gone. Now he’s devoted to sticking with Owen? This guy’s thinking is pretty haphazard. I keep getting a vibe that he thinks he’s a lot smarter than he actually is. Kind of like a 19-year old Coach, but with shorter pontificating speeches.

Jeanine’s bruise looks darker as she walks into the Immunity Challenge.

We’ve seen this Immunity Challenge before in Game Changers and Edge Of Extinction. I remember this was the episode where we saw Keith could barely swim in EoE (the casting dept. didn’t do Keith any favors here). Players from both seasons talked about how ridiculously heavy that snake was.

In previous seasons, they had to untie the snake underwater. They made it a little easier this time.

Releasing the sanke

From my vantage point, Justine has been doing pretty well in these challenges. Gabler looks really gassed. He and Nneka look the slowest by far.

There isn’t a solo spotlight role in this challenge, but you probably don’t want to be on the puzzle. Dwight looks lost on this puzzle.

Vesi, slow on the puzzle

No, I don’t think if Dwight or Nneka gets voted out, it will be because they’re Black. Dwight is a sitting duck because he told everyone he doesn’t have a vote. Nneka’s ability to manipulate will be tested. Will she summon her inner Cirie, and lean on her closeness to Cody and Jesse? WWCD (What would Cirie do)?

I think Cirie would break up the Justine/Noelle power couple, targeting the one less likely to work with her. I think Cirie would go after Noelle. Challenge strength never meant anything to Cirie. She took out Tina and Bobby in Panama, and Yau-Man and Joel in Micronesia during the Tribal portions.

Nneka asks Noelle “What are you thinking?” and Noelle says “We need to talk to the boys.” Bad move. Serve up a name to make Nneka feel comfortable. Nneka picked up on it too. Noelle might have sparked Nneka into taking action. She might as well have said “We’re gonna ask the boys to get rid of you.”

Damn! MY face hurts when I look at Jeanine’s bruise.

Jesse has all the power. His set up work on days 1 and 2 is paying off here. He should keep whoever he’s got the best chance of influencing later on. Justine trusts him, so he should go after Noelle. Justine won’t have any choice but to stick with him after Noelle is gone. She’ll be more cooperative. Noelle is a more independent thinker. She’ll resist whoever took out her #1.

Jesse and Dwight both reacted well when Justine surprised them. Justine isn’t playing it well though. Showing your paranoia makes people nervous.

Dwight doesn’t have a vote, but he has the power to warn Justine and Noelle about what the guys are planning. Last season, Omar totally controlled the merge vote when he didn’t have his vote. But he also had Immunity, thanks to the stupid “Turn Back Time” twist. Dwight doesn’t have that luxury.

Is Nneka doing any scheming at all? Its good if people THINK you’re not playing hard, but you should definitely be doing it and keeping it a secret.

Why am I not surprised Cody found a Beware Advantage? He’s confessional gold, of course he found something. Yes, I’ll say it. I think Production nudged him towards this thing. They know he can’t resist it.

Cody just lost his vote because he didn’t pay enough attention to seasons 41 and 42. When it says “Beware,” you should leave it alone. Then again, he said he only binge watched a few seasons, so he easily could have missed a lot. Things just got really interesting. I have no idea how Cody should play this, and I love it.

Cody's beware note

The green screening on Cody’s confessional is worse than the green screening last week. Why not just put a caption that reads “Recorded at Ponderosa, on day 28?” No, I don’t know this for a fact.

Cody telling Jesse about his stupid mistake is also a stupid mistake. Now Jesse and Nneka know he’s not a reliable alliance partner. His next mistake could end up taking one of them out of the game.

Props to Jesse for coming up with a plan for Cody to use. But I think Jesse is smart enough to know keeping Cody as a partner will mean he’ll have to come up with more ideas to cover Cody’s next mistakes. Cody will make the game harder for Jesse. Jesse should be trying to make the game easier for himself.

Hmm, Tribal Council is starting with 20 minutes left? Tie vote, here we come. Noelle has long sleeves on, but I can see the beads on her wrist. Cody can’t vote.

Noelle at Tribal

Justine is spelling out where she thinks the alliances are, and who she hasn’t spoken to? BAD move. Nobody wants to be aligned with someone who’ll spill info they want to keep quiet. She’s advertising a reason to remove her.

Probst’s explanation for why people share so much information makes sense. But its still a bad move to tell everyone all your info. He/she who keeps a secret keeps the element of surprise.

Cody doesn’t have a good Poker face, but he’s got the advantage of sitting in the back row.

Wow, I was wrong! Cody got the beads, and Justine is gone. Nice fake out by the editors. I guess Noelle had more beads than I thought. I think Justine talked her way out of the game. Who voted for Cody? Did Justine and Noelle split their votes? Why would they do that? That makes no sense at all. They knew Nneka wasn’t with them, and Dwight didn’t have a vote. Did they think Jesse and Cody were splitting votes with them? Did they think somebody had an Idol? I’m confused.


Ok, so I found out Justine’s strategic philosophy — just blurt out information when you feel like it. She gave me good vibes last week, but she wasn’t as savvy as I thought she was. I’m glad I don’t make predictions.

Jesse was smart not to tell Dwight about booting Justine. He stopped Dwight from warning her, guaranteeing the vote would work. Jesse has damage control to do now, but Dwight really doesn’t have many choices. He can bond with Noelle, but that will only put him in a 3-2 minority. Dwight should pull a Natalie Anderson, and convincingly pretend he’s cool with it. Then hope for a swap so he can get a new alliance.

Justine and Noelle not voting together really baffles me.

I was happy for Baka when they won Immunity. I thought with Jeanine, and a gassed out Gabler they were doomed.

So far, this season is keeping me on my toes. An unpredictable season means a good season to me, and I’ve been wrong when guessing both boots so far.

What are your thought? Who’s plotting their path well, and who’s getting by on luck? Is Cody just a lovable goofball, or is he constructing a brilliant cover image, concealing his Survivor brilliance? Do you think Cirie would have gone after Noelle like I did? Let me know what you think 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.