Survivor 43

I Wanna Play Like You – Episode 11 – Sami

How did the latest boot compare to their favorite(s)?

Photo: CBS

During the pre-season, each contestant is asked several questions in their CBS bio to gather more information for the public to get to know them. The castaways are all primarily asked about their hobbies, pet peeves, accomplishments, why they think they will win Survivor, and which past Survivor players they’re most like. It’s that last question that is the focus of this new weekly feature.

After each player is voted out, I will compare their gameplay to the past Survivor player they mentioned they were most likely to play like. Then, based on that, see if they played like that particular past player, or if they didn’t, could that have helped them improve their overall placement in the game.

This week’s boot, Sami Layadi, said the Survivor castaway he would play the game most like is Kelley Wentworth.

Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Kelley Wentworth. What I admire and take away from Wentworth’s game is that she never gave up until her torch was snuffed, and even when she was clearly in the bottom, she not only found ways to climb up, but she made everybody think that she was oblivious and not smart enough to foil the fool proof plan they had.

The game is speeding up toward its last few days, and the remaining players are gearing up by stacking their resumes for the upcoming final tribal council. This season has been filled with players willing to do what it takes to make it to the end, and the latest episode saw one of the most influential players getting eliminated in a surprising 6-0 vote.

Sami entered the game wanting to be the youngest winner in Survivor history. Unfortunately for Sami, his strategy of playing in the middle for most of the game came back to haunt him but not before he showed how, regardless of his age, he was one of the ones to beat.

Photo: CBS

He began the game at Baka and quickly proved himself to be a brilliant player when he solved Baka’s challenge to earn their starting supplies. Sami wanted to work with the guys though he also created a bond with Morriah. However, Baka could not secure immunity, and Morriah was the first person voted out after her allies turned on her in favour of “keeping the tribe strong.”

Afterward, when bonds within Baka began to be tested, Sami started to play his double agent role when he exposed Jeanine and Elie to Gabler after the women searched Gabler’s bag, prompting Gabler to turn against them and securing the guy’s majority within the tribe. Through the next few days, Baka went on an immunity streak, and though they were safe, they still had to endure Gabler’s antics.

Sami continued to nourish his relationship with Owen and Gabler, though he still had side conversations with the women, seemingly working with everyone. His bond with Elie, in particular, proved helpful to Sami as Elie later told him about Jeanine having the immunity bracelet. Sami also shared this information with Gabler, further cementing the wedge that would irreparably separate Baka at the merge.

On day 13, the three tribes officially merged though the players still had to earn their merge buffs. Sami was on the losing team. Despite Cody being the main target of the people that won immunity, Gabler decided to take matters into his own hands and throw Elie under the bus by telling everyone at the feast about her searching bag, marking her as untrustworthy. To make matters worse for Elie, she was caught double scheming with both factions and became the first merge casualty.

Photo: CBS

After Elie and Dwight’s eliminations, a majority of seven was formed within the Gaia tribe, which Sami was part of. Though he contemplated switching to vote with the underdogs on several occasions, he decided to stick with the “final seven” and voted out Jeanine. At the final ten, Noelle orchestrated James’ elimination for being a threat. Sami used this move in his favour as he informed Karla about the blindside, which proved fatal to James. Noelle and Owen saw Sami’s decision to tell Karla as unnecessary, and they both questioned if Sami could be trusted.

When Noelle won a reward to get letters from home, Sami was one of the people she chose to share it with. Sami took advantage of being out of the camp by proposing to Noelle, Owen, and Jesse that they should stick together in the future by targeting Cassidy. Sami’s plan came crashing down when Cassidy won individual immunity, and Jesse decided that Sami was becoming too big of a threat. Noelle ended up being targeted and was promptly voted out, as no one saw themselves winning against her.

The beginning of the end for Sami came at this point, as no one trusted him anymore, and Karla later confronted him for voting for her. Sami tried to deny it initially, but he conceded in the end, further cementing himself as unreliable. Sami scrambled after the immunity challenge and convinced Karla to target her friend Cassidy. On the other hand, Jesse and Cody decided that Sami’s time on Survivor had to end, and though Sami tried to save himself by playing his Shot in the Dark, he was sent to the jury by a unanimous vote.

Sami chose Kelley Wentworth as the player he would’ve liked to play the game most like. Wentworth is continuously selected as a player most would like to emulate as she was an enigma coming into Cambodia after being voted out early during her first. She then astounded both players and viewers by being a force to be reckoned with on her second try, and had she won that last immunity challenge, perhaps she could’ve won it all.

Photo: CBS

Wentworth mostly played from the bottom and with a few trusted allies, unlike Sami, who continuously positioned himself in the middle to see which way could get him further and was even part of the majority for a couple of votes. Similarly, both were considered significant threats, though they managed to turn the tables on other players before they received votes instead. Both were also unable to reach the end, as their threat levels were too noticeable to hide. Had Sami managed to gather the underdogs or go on an immunity streak, similarly to how Wentworth played in Cambodia, his odds of either reaching the final tribal council or even winning would’ve greatly improved.

Ultimately, Sami’s path to the end was a tricky one. Many players were onto his strategy of playing in the middle, which could have also cost him the win had he not owned it. Sami was also caught in several lies that diminished his trust with other players as he kept expressing interest in “flipping the game” but then decided to follow the majority. He was willing to use any means necessary to go further, even at the expense of former allies.

Despite being a teenager, Sami proved that his age wasn’t a hindrance to him as he could form social bonds with many. Though he didn’t become the youngest winner this season, who is to say what damage Sami could do if he ever came back? Only time can tell.

Quick Facts

Sami Layadi

  • Survivor 43
  • Original tribe(s): Baka, Gaia
  • Placement: 7/18

Kelley Wentworth

  • Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Survivor: Cambodia, Survivor: Edge of Extinction
  • Original tribe(s): SJDS (Hunahpu, Coyopa); Cambodia (Takeo, Bayon, Orkun); EoE (Manu, Lesu, Vata)
  • Placement(s): 14/18, 4/20, 10/18

Similarities: Both were physical players that contributed to their tribes winning; both were targeted for being social and strategic threats; both reached the merge and jury (Sami in Survivor 43, Wentworth in Cambodia and Edge of Extinction). Though both were overlooked for different reasons, they used it to their advantage to advance themselves within the game.

Differences: Wentworth won individual immunities, found and played immunity idols successfully; Sami didn’t win immunities and he only played his “Shot in the Dark” which was unsuccessful. Wentworth is remembered for being an underdog that fought her way up to the final four in Cambodia, whereas Sami kept playing in the middle as he continuously had several options and was part of a majority alliance.

Written by

Mariana Loizaga

Mariana is a lawyer and a writer from Mexico City, Mexico. She has a masters degree in International Relations from the University of Surrey. Her hobbies include reading, blogging, and of course watching Survivor. The first season of Survivor she ever saw was Survivor: Philippines and she became so fascinated with the game and its many layers that she went back through the archives and watched every single previous season.

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