Each week, Christine Pallon and Gia Worthy will round up the previous week of Survivor 44 as they list their top moments in various important categories. This includes the most essential information, the stand-out castaways, and the key moments from the week.
Here, Christine and Gia break down all the action from the latest episode.
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Top 3 Moments
Tika (nearly) implodes
Christine: After Frannie was voted out, Carolyn gave her best Rupert Pearl Islands impression after tribal as she confronted her tribemates. Responding with emotions may not be seen as a “smart” strategic move by many, but I loved how real and unfiltered Carolyn was in this moment of betrayal. At first, it seemed unlikely that Tika would be able to come back together after that fracturing vote, but Carolyn was willing to put aside her feelings of betrayal in order to keep her alliance strong.
Yam Yam wins Last Gasp
Gia: One of my favorite challenges, Last Gasp, returned for Season 44! Last season we saw Karla and Owen tie for the win, but this season had a more decisive result. Yam Yam took home the win, and considering how long it took them to get him out of the water, it’s clear no one stood a chance. Once again, we got to see a superfan win an iconic challenge, and it was just as heartwarming to see this time around. It also helps that Yam Yam would have definitely received some votes had he not won immunity.
Danny is blindsided
Gia: Once Yam Yam won immunity, it was clear that the target was going to switch from him to one of the other Tika members, and considering Carson’s dominance in the puzzles, they knew it’d most likely be him. Unfortunately for everyone else, Tika was able to figure out their plan fairly quickly, and Carolyn planned to use her idol on him. They brought a plan to blindside Danny to Lauren and Jaime, and they shockingly went along with it, splitting the votes between him and Heidi. Carolyn played her idol for extra measure, but it wasn’t even needed as Danny was voted out 3-2-2.
Top 3 Contestants
Christine: What an incredible episode for Carolyn! We got to see a lot of her on a character level through her conflicts with Tika, snorkeling adventures, and how she stood up to her tribemates and Jeff at Tribal. More importantly, though, Carolyn continues to have some of the best reads in the game. She not only clocked exactly what Danny was up to with the Carson vote but went as far as to play her idol for Carson (leaving herself exposed) to ensure her number one target left the game regardless of what Lauren and Jaime decided to do.
Gia: Now is the time for Yam Yam to stand out and apart from his fellow Tika members, and he’s doing just that. Not only was the winner of Last Gasp, but he’s outmaneuvering his opponents and solidifying his case for the million. While he was the target to go before he won immunity, I’d say that Carolyn’s idol play on Carson might be just the thing he needed to make them the bigger targets in the event of a flip. The next two rounds will be crucial for Yam Yam’s winning chances in the game, but I have confidence that he’ll make it happen.
Christine: Heidi, once again, had a bit of a messy episode with her not-so-great lying skills to Danny when she tried to convince him she didn’t write his name down. He still bought it, though, so I have to give her credit for keeping him close despite voting against him in the last episode. She also boldly decided to hold on to her idol after Carolyn played hers for Carson, leaving her as the last person in the game with an idol. I wouldn’t have blamed her at all if she had panic-played it, but her risk paid off even if she did lose Danny in the process.
Christine: Carolyn ultimately took the risk and played her idol for Carson, leaving Heidi as the sole undetected idol holder in the game. Carolyn’s idol play may not have been “necessary” since Lauren and Jaime ended up working with Tika, but it was still the most optimal play here. Given how strong Tika is, Lauren and Jaime had every reason to vote out Carson, so playing the idol on Carson guaranteed Tika’s safety regardless of what Jaime and Lauren did here.
Christine: I found him funny and endearing at first, but in the post-merge, Danny emerged as one of the bigger villains we’ve seen in the New Era of Survivor. This made his ultimate downfall in this episode all the more enjoyable, especially given how much he underestimated Carolyn as a player in these past two episodes. In my opinion, Danny’s biggest mistakes in the post-merge were letting go of Frannie so quickly after saving her with his idol (especially since she would have been a great shield for him in the endgame) and having such a blindspot regarding Tika until this episode. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Danny play again one day, given how big of a character he was, especially with his hammy De Niro exit after the vote.
Gia: I predicted in the premiere that Danny would’ve been the first to go from Soka, and now here we are, with only Heidi outlasting him. Danny proved me and many others wrong with his dominance in the pre-merge phase of the game. Things began to falter once the merge officially hit, but he still held his own until this point. Danny was such a big character throughout the season; this next episode will feel so different now that he’s on the jury. His impact was significant, but it will be interesting to see if any other personalities pop in his absence.