Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 43 recaps
Quick thinking pays off
By Damnbueno | Published: October 6, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 3 recap/ analysis

Quick thinking pays off

Last week, I speculated that Jesse should have removed Noelle, because Noelle is a more independent thinker than Justine. Noelle is less likely to stick with Jesse than Justine would be. Jesse also blindsided Dwight by removing Justine. Jesse’s social game will be put to a good test as soon as they return from Tribal Council. I think he’s got a better shot at placating Dwight than Noelle. How will Jesse handle it?

After Episode 1, Sami wanted Owen gone, but went with the flow to boot Morriah. Then all of a sudden, he wanted to form a guys’ alliance that included Owen. Sami is a little flaky, but I’m wondering what does Owen want? Does he even realize how much power he has since everybody seems to want him in their alliance? Elie is convinced the guys aren’t playing the game at all, and that will give her and Jeanine an edge. Is she overconfident?

And on Coco, Ryan seems to be developing into a leader, but does he know where he wants to lead anyone? Who is on his hit list? He’s tight with Geo, but who are the 3rd and 4th members of his majority? Does he even suspect the women have aligned? And what about the Karla/Lindsay/Cassidy/James group? Are they really tight, or just pretending to be? Have any of them secured Ryan or Geo as insurance against the other 3 in their alliance? We saw Lindsay giving a casual effort to get close to Ryan, but did it go anywhere?

And the biggest question is this: Is Cody just a loveable goofball who will need a lot of dumb luck like Fabio in Nicaragua, or is he executing an excellent Rob Cesternino-esque fake out designed to keep him well-informed? It looks like he might have plotted Justine’s exit well, but Jesse did most of the executing there. Or is Cody sincerely a “just here for the adventure” type, who’ll be easy to discard? That’s what I’m most interested in learning.

And away we go …

The episode starts with Cody. I’m gonna guess he “finds” something else soon to go with his Idol.

So Dwight and Noelle lock things up, which of course gives Jesse the power again. If Jesse gets an accurate read on Dwight, he’ll have the element of surprise.

Me staring at Jeanine’s bruise is like the rookie fireman staring at Steve Martin’s nose in the movie Roxanne. Its hypnotizing.

Jeanine gets a band-aid for her shoulder, but nothing for her chin?


Elie is playing a little too hard, and Sami is picking up on it. What’s the advantage to being sneaky about Gabler’s Idol? Does Elie have “big move” disease? Is she like Albert in South Pacific — making a move for the sake of making a move, as opposed to doing something that will improve her position?

Sure enough, in confessional, Sami says he thinks Elie is playing too hard. Elie just put a target on her own back.

Sami tips off Gabler. If Elie is underestimating Gabler, she won’t see it coming if/when he turns on her. Props to Sami for convincing Gabler to execute his plan. Sami’s got some game. He did the same thing with Morriah when he convinced her to pitch others on removing Owen.

In pregame, Elie said people think she looks like Michele from Kaoh Rong. She’s much better informed than Michele, but I’m starting to think Elie plays more like RC from Philippines. RC thought she was super-smooth, and smarter than she actually was. RC went down in flames in spectacular fashion.

Elie pitching to Gabler

James wants everyone to go look for Idols together??? Come on, man! If you love Earl’s game so much, you wouldn’t even mention Idols. You’d very quietly find one, and figure out how it can best help you.

Beware Karla! Don’t open it. Its not worth the risk!

Atta girl!!!!

Karla putting the idol back

Now use this info to your advantage. Who do you want to lose their vote? Nudge that person towards the Advantage. Everyone is cool with you. Make it happen! Then again, it might be smarter to just keep an eye on that spot. Stay around camp. Nobody will think you’re scheming, which is good. But if you know somebody has found something, and they don’t know you’re aware of it, YOU have the advantage.

Nneka’s “personal segment” seems out of place here. It feels forced into place.

Hmm, back to Coco camp. I guess there’s no Reward Challenge this episode … unless they combine it with Immunity.

Is Karla setting James up to lose his vote? Atta girl!!!

Aw crap, she took it for herself. Damn, what a disappointment.

Karla with her idol

Karla made it work, and now she has an Idol. Good for her, but I still think it would have been smarter to set someone else up to lose their vote. She’d know whoever got the Beware Advantage would have some kind of task to perform, or screwy phrase to recite. So whatever unusual act that person did, Karla could start trying to kill it without that person knowing what was happening. Just tell everyone “___ has got something,” then watch them go down in flames like Liana in season 41.

I’ve got ZERO interest in watching this new Love Boat series. I have to write a column anyway.

I hate when Probst says “You’re getting your first look at the new ____ tribe” when they’re already lined up for the challenge. Did Baka and Coco have blindfolds on when Vesi arrived on the platform? This was more like their 5th or 6th look.

I think this is an entirely new Immunity Challenge.

Read this next line in Eddie Murphy 48 Hours voice -- Did that bellyflop hurt, Dwight? It looked real painful when you slammed into the water.

Belly flopping Dwight

Its rare that we get a shot of all 3 tribes while a challenge is in progress. Usually, we only see one tribe at a time so the editors can make a blowout challenge seem close. Its an advantage to be in the tribe in the middle because you can look at the other two tribe’s puzzles.

Puzzle stage

Last week, I thought Jesse should have removed Noelle because she’s least likely to stick with him. Make that move this time, Jesse.

It would have been nice to see how Jesse and Dwight handled the fallout with each other from the last vote BEFORE they lost Immunity.

Is Nneka crying crocodile tears to fool Dwight? If she is, she’s being very convincing.

Nneka and Dwight

Jesse and Cody should not even be considering booting Nneka. Her vote is in their pocket. Why set up a 2-2 standoff at the next vote if you lose again?

Noelle, it’s a no-brainer. Don’t risk your vote!


Noelle is giving away a ton of information, but it doesn’t look like she’s receiving any. Evvie did that in Survivor 41, and regretted it at the merge.

Noelle is trying too hard to convince people she doesn’t have anything. Who’s gonna see through her lie?

Secret hiding place

Props to Noelle for getting a little safety, but it was pure dumb luck that she got sent away to get it. Then again, it was pure luck that Ozzy sent Yul to Exile in Cook Islands where he found an Idol too, and look what happened to Yul.

Noelle and Dwight should remove Jesse. Nneka doesn’t appear to pose nearly as big a threat as Jesse does. Besides, he has already betrayed them once. Keep the votes you can control over the ones you can’t. You can win Cody over, and cut Nneka loose next if you lose.

I wonder if Cody would give his Idol to Nneka? I wouldn’t.

Why wouldn’t Noelle steal Jesse’s vote? Who flipped on Nneka? Did Noelle convince both of them to cut Nneka loose?


So I guess Jesse’s reaction to placating Dwight was to completely submit to Dwight’s will? Or did he submit to Noelle’s will? Did Noelle tell Jesse she could steal his vote? Either way, this wasn’t a good move for Jesse. He has already burned Dwight and Noelle. Did he think about who’d go next when he agreed to boot Nneka? If they lose again, Dwight and Noelle are pretty tight, and already have incentive to boot Jesse. Oh yeah, and Cody has an Idol that Jesse helped him acquire. What’s Jesse’s next move? Does he try to blindside Cody with his Idol? Does he know how much the producers love Cody, and might tip him off? Jesse put himself in a hole, and needs to figure out how to get out of it.

Both Karla and Noelle showed some quick thinking on their feet to make up for a bad decision (Karla) and bad luck (Noelle). Since I’m a huge fan of “Outwit,” I really enjoyed seeing them work. And I’ll say it again, Sami is good at getting someone else to unwittingly execute his plan. I thought he was a flake in pre-game, but so far, he’s proving me wrong.

Aside from Karla, we still don’t know much about what’s going on with the Coco tribe. That’s a little frustrating, especially since we’ve barely seen Cassidy. We did get to see Geo looking for an Advantage on the sit out bench, so at least we know he’s thinking strategically.

Since this season has been so light on strategy so far, its hard to identify any candidates for elite player status like Omar last season. Part of how I identify such players is if/when they’re able to call their shots in confessional. But we’re not seeing much of anyone doing that so far. The last mostly personality-driven season I can recall was probably Edge of Extinction, which doesn’t rank very high for me. What do you think? Is this season too heavy on character development, or do you like the shift in emphasis? 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.