Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 43 recaps
Twos and threes in 43
By Brent Sullivan | Published: October 3, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 2 Recap/ analysis

Twos and threes in 43

Welcome to “Top Five Baby!” where after each episode of Survivor, Brent Sullivan will try to break apart and find the top five moments that made a lasting impact on the season or moments that could at least affect the next few episodes. Sometimes the moments are obvious and other times ... not so much, but after years of watching and analyzing this show to myself, I like to share the ones that I think stand out the most.

I am really enjoying the extra-long episodes so far this season. The bonus footage that we’ve gotten so far, with only two tribal councils to go along with it, has been a real treat. So much more camp life has been shown and I really feel like I know we little bit about each castaway (except maybe Cassidy). Even going over to the Baka tribe after they won the immunity challenge was a surprise.

Personally, I am a big fan of any extra Survivor I can get, so sign me up for more of these longer ones. I can also say two weeks in that casting has done another amazing job putting together this group. Lots of great personalities and big characters that we get to explore, and watch grow again this time around. With all the tribe life that we’ve seen, there is definitely a lot to cover, so let’s get to this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. Gabler is sick

Gabler is sick

I’ve seen lots of Survivor castaways come and go and I’ve seen lots of them get sick as well, but just three days in and Mr. Gabler isn’t looking too well. Last season, it took Jonathan most of the season before he started to wear down and show signs of fatigue. Gabler is only four days in and he’s already feeling sick and having to lay around a bunch. As he even said himself, the more he lays around to get feeling better, the more he becomes a target for not being able to help around camp. In the additional footage we got of Baka this week, we even saw Jeanine go through his bag to see how long his immunity idol was good for because want to know if they can vote for him next.

Obviously, he has plenty of time to bounce back from this, especially if he can get some food in his system. Also, as long as Baka can keep winning, that gives him longer in the game to use his idol as well. Overall, based on the last two episodes, he better hope he gets to feeling better so he can help out around camp and not be a liability. Many players have gotten an illness while playing, and many have come back to play a great game. Let’s see how Gabler ends up doing in the next few episodes, that should give us an idea of how the rest of his future in this game could go.

2. LIVIN!!


Cody … what a character! He really does seem to live by the tattoo he has on his rear end! Livin … with two exclamations and a smiley face!

Not sure where they found this guy, but he was made for television. He is really fun to watch and a lot of the players out there with him seem to really enjoy him too. He is not necessarily amazing at playing Survivor, but he’s not bad and he seems to be good at making bonds with people. Seriously, how many people would climb up that giant rock and jump off of it? How many people would grab a Beware Advantage a few hours before tribal council knowing what happened the last two seasons? But Cody doesn’t care and jumps off that rock. He doesn't care and grabs that Beware Advantage anyway.

Instead of losing his vote, he gathers the help of Nneka and Jesse so he can get all of the other players’ beads for his hat. So, now he has an idol. His hard work and perseverance paid off. Now he finds himself with the numbers, an idol, and plenty more rocks to jump off of.

Overall, he is a fun character to watch, but I worry about his longevity in the game. Not sure how many other people could tolerate his behavior over a period of days. In the meantime, I am on board with watching him and his antics.

3. Just like brothers

Just like brothers

So, for all my talk about the extra time we got on all the tribes, we actually got surprisingly little of Coco this week. That is except for the oddly long segment with Ryan and Geo. The two of them seem to be hitting it off as we see them do many, many … many things together. The two guys act like they have known each other for years and seem to enjoy hanging out with each other.

The reason I say it was an “oddly long segment” is that we barely even saw the other Coco members. In the three and a half hours of content we have witnessed so far, Cassidy has been virtually invisible. I know not everyone can get the same about of screen time, but I figured since we had lots of extra time this season, we would get more of some of them.

Anyway, back to the brothers. At least that’s what they say about each other. I think it’s good to have a strong bond, but these two might actually be in trouble since we already know that the three women on this tribe have already mentioned an all-female alliance and adding James for insurance. That leaves these two on the outside. However, if they can pull one person in, they may be able to pull something else off.

Hopefully, we get more Coco next, so we get a better idea of what direction that tribe is going to go.

4. Dwight and Jesse

Dwight and Jesse

The adventure we went through on Vesi this week was quite the show. It really appeared that Justine and Noelle were a pair, Cody and Nneka were a pair, and Dwight and Jesse were the third pair, but at some point, Jesse wanted to side with Cody and Nneka, and Dwight wanted to side with the girls. But each one wanted to bring the other one over with them. So, Dwight and Jesse were the “swing vote pair”.

But ultimately, since Dwight didn’t have a vote, it was Jesse’s decision on whom he wanted to side with. Obviously, he went with Cody and Nneka, but he didn’t tell Dwight, so now not only is Noelle upset because she thought Jesse was with them, but Dwight is going to be upset too, because Jesse lied to him even though he thought they were together.

I am really looking forward to that first conversation between the two of them when they get back to camp. Now, the big question is … was that a decision made just to get Justine out and now he will go back and work with Dwight, or is he now committed to the other group? Either way, it should be a fun group to watch over the next few weeks.

5. The Baka boys

Baka boys

Up last this week is the Baka bunch. Other than Gabler getting sick, the big topic of the week for this tribe was the division of the tribe by sex. Both Elie and Jeanine think they are playing a better game than any of the three guys in their tribe. However, Sami, Gabler, and Owen are well aware of this and formed a guys’ alliance to take them out.

Not sure how strong of a bond they have at this point, but Sami even mentioned it during one of his confessionals, so it wasn’t just something he said as a lie to his tribemates. Of course, if they can keep winning none of this will matter in the slightest, but if they happen to lose again in the next immunity challenge, then these lines will get tested rather quickly.

Personally, I don’t think it will last. I think the girls will pull in either Sami or Owen and they will blindside Gabler without him playing his idol. Everyone needs a Survivor souvenir, right?

So, there you have it for the second episode. Hopefully, with all the extra screen time this week, I covered everything efficiently. I know we are back to a normal-length episode next week, but at least we got a couple of long episodes in already, so we have a good idea of who everyone is at this point. What do you think of the longer episode running times? Is Gabler going to make it much further in the game? What do you think of Cody’s gameplay? I want to hear from you, let me know if I missed any moments or if you think I was correct in my thinking, the interaction is part of what makes this so fun!

Please catch more of me here next week where I will try to bring you more fun top five!


Brent Sullivan - Top Five, Baby!Brent Sullivan is a long-time fanatic of Survivor and has been writing about it for years. When he is not writing, talking about, or applying to be on the show, he spends his time with family, doing nerdy IT stuff, and watching movies. Follow him on twitter: @BSully_13