Jeff Pitman's S43 recaps
Jeff Pitman's Survivor 43 recaps
Survivor 43 Recaps/ analysis

Everything's ending here

Episode 13: Everything's ending here

Published: December 20, 2022

A surprising ending to Survivor 43 confounded the audience, although it probably shouldn't have (which we'll recap). Either way, there are structural changes the show should consider making soon, which we'll also go through. Feel free to forward these (and your own) to the SurvivorShoutOut email bin.

Dawn of a new champion

Episode 12: Dawn of a new champion

Published: December 13, 2022

After 11 episodes of working from the shadows, Jesse finally decloaked and made a potentially game-winning move in front of everyone in Episode 12 of Survivor 43. It's still not a sure thing, despite having the protection of an idol, thanks to forced final four firemaking (which was supposed to save good players), but it was a thriller of a move and an episode as a whole.

The comic relief before the storm

Episode 11: The comic relief before the storm

Published: December 6, 2022

Finally, thankfully, Episode 11 of Survivor 43 departed from the already well-worn patterns of its two preceding seasons, and ditched the "Do or Die" twist, albeit replacing it with a new advantage. But at least that advantage was minimally destructive, and featured a humorous free-for-all camp search, which was mostly played for laughs.

Hooray and goodbye

Episode 10: Hooray and goodbye

Published: November 26, 2022

Light and dark, success and defeat, and other things like reward and lack thereof, were all balanced pretty successfully in Episode 10 of Survivor 43. Better than the stacks of tiles, anyway. It was an episode where a majority alliance retained control, but was also starting to show cracks.

From many, two

Episode 9: From many, two

Published: November 22, 2022

In a "twist" everyone should have seen coming, Episode 9 of Survivor 43 delivered the same split-IC/split-Tribal at Final 10 format as has been seen for most of the past eight seasons. Yet somehow, thanks to creative gameplay decisions and zig-zagging storytelling choices, it all worked, and even delivered double surprises.

Safety first

Episode 8: Safety first

Published: November 13, 2022

Episode 8 of Survivor 43 was a mix of big surprises, tooth-grindingly predictable twists, a Big Move by a big player that ended up sputtering into nothingness before Tribal, and the unsurprising outcome of yet another woman leaving. It was a result that made sense for the alliance in power, so it's hard to criticize them for playing logically, but the bland samey-ness of the season structure could use an intervention.

There's just no room

Episode 7: There's just no room

Published: November 6, 2022

One of the constants of Survivor over the years has been Jeff Probst's frequent complaints that there's just not enough space in the show's runtime to fit in all the elements that the producers and fans want for the show. Which is generally fair, except when the show makes choices like the ones it made this week with the limited time it does have.

A merge half-empty

Episode 6: A merge half-empty

Published: November 1, 2022

While Survivor 43 made a wise decision in removing the hourglass twist, a game element that annoyed players and fans alike, it left almost all the other "new era" changes to the merge episode intact. As a result, we're left with only half the tribe merging, and the feeling that a big celebratory milestone has now all but disappeared.

Reduced twists in the first half, increased conflict in the second?

Episode 5: Reduced twists in the first half, increased conflict in the second?

Published: October 23, 2022

While the pre-merge of Survivor 43 hasn't diverged significantly from the 41/42 blueprint, appearances are that the simmering tensions in some of the pre-merge tribes could turn into more dynamic post-merge play. With that "merge" (real or fake) coming one episode earlier, hope arrives hand-in-hand with the start of the real game.

The retro calm before the storm

Episode 4: The retro calm before the storm

Published: October 16, 2022

Survivor 43 returned to the "classic" Survivor episode structure with Episode 4, rolling out a reward challenge, immunity challenge, and Tribal Council, with nary a "journey" or advantage or beads in sight. And they tossed in a camp raid, for good measure! It was a brief but welcome return to the twist-free era.

This has never happened before! (Except for the parts that have)

Episode 3: This has never happened before! (Except for the parts that have)

Published: October 11, 2022

As Survivor settled into its always-Fiji location, it relied on "themes" to differentiate between the seasons. With those also gone, all we have are numbers, which would be fine, if the show didn't insist on repeating the same twists and game elements, even in back-to-back episodes. How much is really new in the "new era"?

The give and take of post-42 twist tweaks

Episodes 1-2: The give and take of post-42 twist tweaks

Published: October 4, 2022

After a radical restructuring for its "new era," Survivor's second pair of post-COVID seasons has opened in a surprising way, with two longer-than-usual first episodes. This has been a boon in establishing the new cast of characters, but the game itself feels a bit rote. A look at the changes made, plus a re-evaluation of "keep the tribe strong."

Jeff Pitman's recapsJeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes