Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 46 recaps
Death seats and deadly idols
By Damnbueno | Published: May 16, 2024
Survivor 46 Episode 12 recap/ analysis

Death seats and deadly idols

I stumbled on to something in my rewatch this week. And because of it, I don’t even have to watch the episode to know who’s leaving. I can just wait until Tribal Council begins.

This season, there’s a Tribal Council “death seat” (sort of), and it became active when the players all moved to the same camp.

When Moriah was voted out, she sat in the back row, on the far right. Tim was in the front row, far right. Soda? Back row, far right. Tevin? Front row, far right. Hunter? Front row, far right. Tiffany? Back row, far right. And Venus last week? She was on the far right too, but in the front row.

All the men booted were in the front row, far right. All the women were back row, far right, except Venus who screwed up the pattern. Then again, her game was so chaotic, I guess that was appropriate, wasn’t it?

Ep8, Tevin boot

E9, Hunter boot

Ep10, Tiffany boot

Tribal Council has assigned seating. Sometimes when one person is a swing vote, Producers will literally place them in the middle of the battling alliances/voting blocs. If two players have been arguing at camp, Producers will often seat them next to each other. After Q left Liz behind on the Applebee’s Reward, guess who she sat next to at Tribal Council? That’s right, Q. So, there’s not much you can do about it if you find yourself in the death seat short of playing your Shot in the Dark. But if you’ve got an Idol, this should tell you to play it.

For the longest time, Producers always put the women in the front row, and the men in the back. I think it was for camera purposes. Producers likely didn’t want the taller men blocking the camera angles on the women. But there’s a slight advantage to sitting in the back row because you’re better able to see everyone’s faces and reactions that sometimes can be telling. Some women players started to speak up about the disparity, and Producers finally listened.

I usually keep track of the Tribal Council seating arrangements, but this is the first time I’ve noticed that the person voted out has always been seated so close to Probst. When Tiffany was voted out, I speculated that if Liz were seated closer to her, she could have whispered to Tiffany to play her Idol as a means of guaranteeing Q would leave. But Liz was seated too far away from Tiffany to quietly warn her. Shortly later, I noticed the pattern.

While Jelinsky, Jess, Bhanu and Jem weren’t sitting in the “death seat,” I couldn’t help but notice the coincidence of all the post-merge boots. The conspiracy theorist in me tells me this hasn’t happened by random chance. Perhaps it’s easier to get the blindside victim’s reactions when he/she only has one direction to look at those who betrayed them? Does Probst just want Tribal Council over as quickly as possible, so he gives the victim less distance to cover?

So maybe I won’t pay attention until Tribal Council begins.

Who am I kidding? There’s probably nothing at all to this series of events, but I needed something to put in my intro this week.

My eyes are laser-focused on Maria and Charlie. Can Maria pull out a third Immunity win? Will Charlie go after her if she doesn’t? Maria has used Q as a smoke screen brilliantly so far. How funny would it be if she got blindsided because she thought Q was finally gonna leave? How many eye rolls will Venus flash at Tribal Council? What if Q wins Immunity, and both Charlie and Maria are seated on the far right? Can there be a double blindside? I can’t wait to find out.

And away we go…

“Previously on” is all about Maria and Charlie, but we also see Ben voting for Kenzie.

Did Q trademark the phrases “Cancel Christmas” and “Big Mistake?”

Q confessional

Ben says he voted for Kenzie by mistake? Why would anyone believe that? Why would anyone give their Jury vote to someone who does that. Kenzie was right. Brain fart or terrible lie, that was dumb either way. Ben just sapped himself of more credibility.

Wow, Maria was really hurt by Venus’ accusation. She showed some vulnerability at about the same time Sophie showed some after Ozzy went after her in South Pacific. Sophie won that season.

Comforting Maria

Maria in confessional: “I’ve been on the right side of every vote.” Uh-oh, she’s messing with the Survivor Gods. That phrase is right up there with “I’m in a good position,” and “This is a fool-proof plan."

Ben’s panic attacks are getting worse. I wonder if they’re so bad they take him out of the game?

Liz: “I pooped!” I don’t think we’ve had this much poop talk since Darnell popularized the “Aqua dump” in Kaoh Rong.

Victorious Liz

Charlie, why are you even considering sticking with Maria? You only have two more chances to remove her. Then it’s out of your hands because of the final 4 fire challenge. Charlie’s indecision is becoming annoying.

The Reward winner also gets Chinese food? Does Applebee’s serve Chinese food? I say lose this one. The food winners haven’t been doing well this season. But if they don’t win, the choices for this one should be easy. Take Liz and Charlie because they didn’t eat on either of the last 2 Rewards. That’s a ready-made excuse.

Football player Q should be pretty good at this, but Maria is moving the fastest.

High-stepping Q

Charlie wins and also gets letters from home. I bet they didn’t tell them they’d be getting letters ahead of time because they know so many people throw the Loved Ones challenge. I was wondering if anyone would get letters this season.

Charlie knows how much it sucks to win the Loved Ones challenge.

Sorry, Charlie

Charlie picks Liz, the person Maria should have chosen first. Then he picks Kenzie and offers a decent reason for it – the other 3 just ate at the last Reward. Is that a little not-so-instant Karma for Maria?

If Charlie doesn’t pitch booting Maria hard during this Reward, he doesn’t deserve to win the game.

The Chinese Food boxes say “Sanctuary” on them?” What, they couldn’t get a sponsorship from Panda Express or P.F. Chang’s?

I feel bad for Maria, but not as bad as I would have felt if she’d taken Liz when she should have.

What’s with the “22” on Charlie’s hand? It’s not there in his confessional, which tells me his confessional was recorded long after this Reward. Is that for Day 22? Is there a Taylor Swift victim song called “22?”

Reward feasting

Kenzie and Liz pitch booting Maria before Charlie does. And Kenzie even mentions Maria is good at making fire. They wanted to do it at the last vote, so why is Charlie wondering if the women will go for it this time? Charlie not only needs Maria gone, he needs to own the move to vote her out. Now it looks like Kenzie and Liz are trying to convince him to do it.

Charlie in confessional “This was the hardest Reward decision of the season.” It looked like the easiest to me, especially after knowing he and Maria already promised not to take each other.

What’s Ben doing while Maria and Q are Idol hunting?

Q finds an Idol and immediately tells Maria. These people will never learn.

Ok, I admit they look very similar, but I don’t think that’s Venus’ Idol. Hers had two yellow beads on one end, and Q’s has 2 dark beads.

Q and his idol

Venus and her idol

Maria: “Its imperative Liz goes next.” What the hell is she thinking? CHARLIE should go next. He’ll lobby for you at the Ponderosa!

Wait, did Q just talk some sense into Maria? Did he just convince her to go after Charlie? I just lost a little respect for Maria’s game and gained a little for Q’s game.

Ben isn’t even around when the Reward trio returns. Wussupwitdat?

I wonder if Maria is buying Charlie’s lie that nobody pitched booting Maria? This moment is reminding me of last season’s Dee/Austin struggle. I think Dee would have cut Austin loose, but I don’t think Austin would have done that to Dee.

Charlie and Maria

Whoever sees through the other’s lie first will probably prevail.

Wait, didn’t we see this challenge earlier this season? I remember Moriah jumping off of that tower. Oh, they changed a couple of elements. There’s the Cirie Fields Memorial balance beam in the middle.

Why was Probst impressed with Q’s dive? It was almost a belly flop. Does his Alpha Male love cause him to lose touch with reality? Maria’s dive was much better.

Q and his not-great dive

Ben is in the lead on the puzzle but is probably the one who needs Immunity the least.

Wow, this one was a blowout. Nobody else was close. Maria wins by a mile. Liz, Q, Kenzie and Charlie all stopped working to watch Maria extending her lead.

Immunity challenge, Maria leading

Well, Maria and Q are in the final 5. With Q’s Idol, they don’t even need to convince anyone to vote for Charlie. Just let everyone vote for Q and put Charlie on the jury. Then Charlie can tell all the jurors how well you’re playing the game.

It’s starting to feel like anything other than a Maria win will be a letdown.

Kenzie looks hot when she’s rockin’ Ben’s leather vest.

Kenzie in Ben's vest

Q just has to sell it. He should mope around camp, acting like he has no other options. That should be a easy sell.

Ben: “The only reason Q keeps avoiding getting voted out is because Maria’s convincing us all to use him as a number.” That’s a line Maria should give to the Jury if she makes it to the finals.

Kenzie: “We’re the four court jesters.” How many Jesters does she think are in this game?

Maria is smart for letting Liz and Kenzie think they are pitching her on booting Charlie. If they think they’ve convinced her, Maria will look all that smarter when Q saves himself with his Idol.

Charlie asks Maria to vote for Q, and she gives an immediate and confident “Yes.” Atta girl!

Good lord, is Q seriously thinking of holding on to his Idol??? Are we gonna go 5 for 5 with Idols this season?

Maria and Q

Both Maria and Q sound overconfident. But that can’t be a bad sign for both of them, can it?

Uh-oh, Q just said “I don’t see how it can go wrong.”

Q: It's foolproof

Ok, here it comes. Who is sitting on the far right? What if Q is in the back row on the right, and Charlie is in the front row on the right? Will the Death Seat claim another victim?

Maria and Kenzie are in the Death Seat. See? I told you there was nothing to that theory.

Ep12 Tribal Council

It looks like they brought all their stuff to Tribal Council. I think they were all expecting to go to a new camp after the vote. Naaah, this game hasn’t gotten too predictable for the players at all.

Kenzie’s family analogy was funny, but describing Liz as “Grandma,” and Charlie as “Our dependable dog” won’t to much for their jury images.

Venus looks very upset that Maria won Immunity. But she still looks hot.

Venus joins the jury

Charlie: “If you tell the wrong person the wrong plan or wrong name, it’s so easy for them to flip the game on it’s head.” That’s why you don’t tell anyone when you’ve got an Idol. Thank you, Charlie.

Kenzie: “Ben wrote my name down and told me it was an accident.” Did that just kill any chance Ben had left of winning the game? Now the jury not only knows Ben hasn’t been strategizing much, but he also can’t even concentrate on voting correctly. Who would give a million dollars to that?

It doesn’t matter if we see everyone’s votes. All that matters is whether or not Q plays his Idol. That SHOULD be a no-brainer.

Charlie votes Q

And apparently Q has no brain. 5 for 5. This has GOT to be a record. Don’t tell anyone when you’ve got an Idol. This has been a very sloppily played season.

So now it’s Maria against the world. She took her shot and missed. She took a hit, but she’s still the frontrunner. How could she advise Q that he was safe? Even if Q burned his Idol and didn’t need it, that would still help Maria because she’d have a chance of finding a recirculated Idol.

Probst mentioned the women who’ve won four Immunity Challenges in one season (who by the way, are in order, Kelly Wiglesworth, Jenna, and Chrissy. Kim is the all-time female leader with 5 career wins). Maria might have to break tie Kim’s record to million now.

Q wasn’t in the death seat, but he did line up on the far right at the Immunity Challenge.

IC lineup


The first four blindsided with an Idol were embarrassing, but they’re nothing compared to Q. I don’t know how it could have been any more obvious that Q was gonna get votes. His name had been written down in three straight Tribal Councils, and everyone knew he and Maria were close. That’s fundamental Survivor – if you can’t get your target, get their partner. Plus, he should have known if the others didn’t know he had an Idol, they’d believe they had a clear shot at him.

Wow, just wow.

Final 4 might be interesting. We’ve seen Maria and Kenzie doing well at making fires, and we’ve seen Ben and Liz suck at it. I can only recall seeing Charlie trying it once, right after returning from Tribal Council, but it wasn’t a long enough shot to see how well he could do it, if he did it at all. That being said, Maria vs Kenzie is the most interesting matchup for me. Liz vs Ben might be a repeat of the Becky vs Sundra yawner from Cook Islands.

Ok, next week is the finale, so I’ll do the frustrating task of handicapping the Jury.

Soda – she’s up for grabs. She doesn’t really have a reason to be upset at anyone left and wasn’t around long enough to get to know any of the remaining players except Liz. I don’t think Jury votes are based on Tribal loyalty, so I’ll guess she votes for the person who most played like she wanted to. That would probably be Kenzie.

Tevin was close to Maria and believed in the alliance of Six. I think he’ll also be influenced by Hunter and Tiffany telling him Charlie didn’t do anything in the game. He votes Maria if she’s there.

Hunter loves Survivor challenges so much, some people might think his vote would automatically go to whoever did the best in challenges. I’m not one of those people. I think Hunter appreciates the strategic element of the game more. He votes for whoever wins the Maria vs Charlie battle because the other four don’t appear to have done much else but follow. Removing Q won’t be an impressive move to Hunter. I think he votes for Maria. If she’s not there, he votes for whoever gets credit for taking her out.

Tiffany is a mystery to me, but since Maria got credit for taking Tiffany out, that will be impressive to her. But friendship might be more important to Tiffany. She votes for Kenzie before Maria.

Venus didn’t get along with anyone left and was upset with Maria as she left the game. Then again, she could do like Kat in One World, and appear to be a bitter juror, only to throw out a “peace, love and it’s all good” vibe. I really have no idea who she’d favor, but I’ll eliminate Liz whom Venus felt dismissed her pre-merge. In a coin-toss guess, I’ll say she goes with Charlie.

Q is voting for Maria if she’s there, mostly because she stayed loyal to him, but partly because she ran the game the way he thought he was doing.

I suck at handicapping a Jury, but what the hell, why not try it again?

It’s Maria’s game to lose, but I don’t know that anyone else has a better story than hers.

Give me your thoughts in the comments – especially any opinions you have on how the current jurors will vote. We don’t get Jury Speaks videos anymore, so jury handicapping is even more guess work these days. Also, let me know what you think of this season overall It’s a top half season just because of the personalities for me, but I’m not sure if it will rank much higher.

I’m mentally preparing myself for post-finale letdown.

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.