Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 44 recaps
Fun, camp life, and fake idols
By Brent Sullivan | Published: March 20, 2023
Survivor 44 Episode 3 Recap/ analysis

Fun, camp life, and fake idols

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.

Who would have thought that someone sitting out so many challenges in a season would become this big of a deal? Unfortunately for Claire, that is exactly what happened in this episode. She actually got voted out for never volunteering to do any of the challenges. Granted at this stage in the game, other people in the tribe are looking for any reason to vote someone out and this just happened to be her method of downfall. Personally, I thought Claire was going to be a bigger character this season and I really thought she was going to make it further than week three, but Survivor got me again with its misdirection… which I love by the way.

Other than that, most of this week was surrounded by just a few events which I will cover in great detail here in just a bit. So, let’s get to the madness of a March episode of this week’s “Top Five Baby!

1. Sarah is cautious

Sarah is cautious

After tribal council was over, most of the tribe was happy. Obviously, both Carolyn and Yam Yam were excited because their plan worked, but Carson was also pretty stoked that the plan went his way too. He seemed to be over the moon at the idea of working with those two instead of staying with Sarah and Helen.

Sarah, on the other hand, isn’t looking so good right now. Not only did she not have a vote last week, but her best ally went home, and her other ally voted against her side. We could talk for a bit about why Carson made the choice he made as well. Stick with the two ladies with whom he appeared to have a great relationship or go with two characters who can also both be wildcards. We didn’t get a great explanation, but he went with the wildcards and now Sarah is down and out. She did gain an advantage by not voting, I’m just not sure how long she will have a chance to use it.

It was funny to see how popular she was after the events that occurred. Everyone was coming to her, and they were having conversations about how she was still with them, and that they are a strong tribe now. But she’s not buying it. In fact, she doesn’t trust any of them and is afraid that Carson is the biggest threat now. Honestly, with Carolyn having an idol and her and Yam Yam being a duo, Sarah’s only chance of survival is going to be them not losing any challenges until they merge.

2. Ratu sings and plays

Ratu sings and plays

What a difference not going to tribal council can make for your tribe. In just a few short days removed from the chaos that went down during the first vote-off, everyone seems to be having a great time together now. They are sitting on the beach together while Kane sings to them, they are having a great time eating worms, and Kane has even been practicing his Dungeons and Dragons sword techniques. The worm-eating sequence was fun to watch.

It seems like we don’t see this sort of fun stuff happening much on Survivor anymore. The other big thing they showed here was Brandon going fishing and providing for his tribe. This is another sort of classic scene that we don’t get to see much anymore and is a big part of everyday Survivor life out on the island. I think all of these scenes show how Ratu is starting to grow into a strong, cohesive tribe and they are bonding along with winning challenges.

3. Fake idol, Part 1

Fake idol, part 1

Honestly, these were both so much fun to watch, I decided to break them into two separate points. Part one takes place in the Soka tribe and is much more entertaining and in our faces. Danny secretly puts the fake idol back into the birdcage and then hides the key exactly where he found it. Later, when the whole tribe is out looking, he pretty much leads Matt right to it.

Poor Matt, who’s had a rough game so far, gets what he thinks is a real idol and then and then has his heart crushed again when Danny confronts him about it. Danny put this whole thing into play for the sole purpose of getting the heat off himself about the possibility of having an idol or having found the key to the birdcage. The short-term effect is that this could possibly put a target on Matt’s back. Not only does he have a relationship with Frannie, but now everyone thinks he has an idol too.

Danny may be overacting a bit on some of his shenanigans, but I do believe this is a good move for him. He is strong enough that most people aren’t going to want to vote him out, and if no one thinks he has an idol or anything else to hide, that’s even better for him.

4. Fake idol, Part 2

Fake idol, part 2

Ok, so part two takes place in the happy tribe of Ratu. I mentioned earlier how they were all getting along so great and because they are, it leads to this moment here. The oddly named duo of Plant Lady and Plant Daddy were out searching for worms when Jaime finds what she thinks is an idol.

Then we get the opposite of what we got on Soka, here we get a nice flashback of Matthew finding the real idol, making a fake one, and then a flashback to her and Matthew celebrating her find. This was another piece of great editing work by the Survivor editors to throw us off on that one.

So, short-term Jaime is definitely going to feel safe as long as she has what she thinks is an idol. Now, she may get nervous and play it when it’s not needed just like she did the Shot-in-the-dark, but this gives her a little bit of a break as of now. As for Matthew, it puts him squarely in the driver’s seat of that whole tribe. First, he has the idol so he knows no one else has it. Secondly, he has a fake one out in the game that only he knows where it’s at. Finally, he seems to be in good with pretty much everyone there. As long as Ratu continues to win, he should be in a pretty good position.

5. Advantage update

Advantage update

Finally, let’s just go over real quick who has what advantages and what they could mean. First, there are three hidden immunity idols in the game right now. Danny, Carolyn, and Matthew. I don’t see any sort of immediate impact coming from any of these idols since all three of the people who are holding them seem to be in a good position in their respective tribes. But could be huge come the merge.

Second on the list are the two fake hidden immunity idols that I’ve already discussed. Matt and Jaime both have one, and both players are in a spot where they could potentially play them soon.

Next is Lauren’s extra vote. Since Ratu still has five people in the tribe, I can’t see her using it until the numbers are even. So, this may be something that she holds onto thinking that she will use it in the merge sometime. So who knows if we will ever see it played.

Finally is Sarah’s Inheritance advantage. This is a neat idea, but as I talked about earlier, with her current standing in her tribe, I doubt that she gets a chance to use it before she is the one that is voted out. I really want to see this one work because I’m intrigued by the fact that someone can acquire multiple objects at once. But, we will have to wait and see, I guess.

So, there you have it for the third episode. I think I was wrong about everything that I predicted last week. How do you think the season is going three weeks in? Is Matt or Jaime going to try to play their fake idols at tribal council? Are Matthew and Danny playing similar games right now? 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