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
The Sanctuary Boys’ Club
Christine: It was hard to pick the top three moments from the episode because there were just so many little character and relationship scenes this week. But my favorite was Brandon, Danny, and Carolyn’s trip to the Sanctuary, where the men seemingly did everything they could to make Carolyn feel as excluded as possible. This was especially obvious when the two started bro-ing out about their tattoos, despite Carolyn also having quite a few herself. It seems like they completely counted her out since they knew Tika was going to tribal and she might be the most likely boot, continuing the long stream of players who continually underestimate Carolyn.
Carolyn’s ever-colorful commentary was just the icing on top of this great scene. It felt very old school in good ways and bad ways. It was old school in a good way in that we really got to focus on some funny character moments, and old school in a bad way in that I cannot believe we’re still seeing two people strategize so poorly and so publicly 44 seasons into the show. Less decision island, more socially-focused “journeys” like this, please!
Josh’s fake idol
Gia: Even though Josh came out on top last episode, he was well aware of how vulnerable of a position he was still in. In order to give himself more opportunity, Josh told Yam Yam that he also had Soka’s idol, and he planned to use it if they went to tribal council again. His lie fell apart the minute Carolyn asked to actually see the idol and note. The beads were from treemail, the note was the same as the last one, and the idol literally fell apart in Yam Yam’s hands. While the idol wasn’t effective in a strategic sense, it did make us (and Yam Yam) laugh, and isn’t that what truly matters?
Gia: We now have our second medical leave of the game, and time has not made it any less devastating to watch. Matthew had been having trouble with his shoulder since his fall in the premiere, and here we learned that it hadn’t gotten any better. In fact, the pain had actually gotten worse. He finally got it looked at after the immunity challenge, only to learn that his arm likely won’t heal as it needs to while he’s still in the game. After learning this, Matthew decided to pull himself from the game, leaving many of his brilliant schemes going unfinished.
Christine: Over on Ratu, we got to see Carson and Kane bond over their shared nerdiness in what was essentially a free association nerd improv session where the two named all their nerdy interests in rapid succession. With Matthew leaving the game, this potential duo is the only real relationship on Ratu left to track. We know Brandon might still have it out for Kane, but that’s about it, and Lauren has seemingly been completely erased from the tribe dynamics we’ve seen so far. Hopefully we’ll get Ratu’s reaction to Matthew’s exit at the top of the next episode so we can get a better idea of what’s going on over there.
Christine: Our main development on Soka was the deepening of Matt and Frannie’s budding showmance, which could be great for them outside of the game but is only going to make their respective paths to the end so much harder. We also saw Jaime trying to make some inroads at Soka, and with Matthew gone heading into the upcoming merge, it will be interesting to see where her loyalties end up lying. The only clearly defined, strong relationship we have on Soka right now is Frannie and Matt, so I could easily see the rest of Soka turning on them sooner rather than later.
Gia: Our first all LGBTQ+ tribe brought the entertainment and then some. The power shifted from beginning to end, and everyone was pulling out all the stops to ensure their own safety. From Josh’s fake idol to Carolyn’s change of heart after her journey, the only thing that made it even better was the fact that none of them left the game. Tika may be going to the merge, but they are far from a united front.
Top 3 Contestants
Christine: Carson has, without question, been the MVP of this swap. He’s carrying his weight in the challenges on Ratu, and he’s clearly putting the legwork in to get himself well-insulated socially. We’ll never know since we have the fake “merge” next week, but I think he likely wouldn’t have even needed his idol if Ratu had gone to tribal. I can’t help but think he’s going to make himself too big of a physical and strategic threat heading into the early-mid merge of this game, but from what we’ve seen thus far, it doesn’t seem like anyone has clocked him as a huge threat.
Christine: Yam Yam seemed like a dead man walking on Tika’s tribe of three after he isolated Carolyn and Josh idoled out Sarah. Kudos to him for really picking up the pieces this round and getting himself into a more viable position as a swing instead of the obvious target. Josh’s fake idol shenanigans and Danny and Brandon’s “strong guys gotta stick together” talk about Josh in front of Carolyn certainly helped his case. But he did a good job himself of patching up his relationship with Josh in order to keep that potential relationship a viable option for him.
Gia: I think it’s safe to say that Carolyn has become a permanent fixture in our “Top Players” section, and for good reason. Five episodes in, and she’s well and above the star of the show thus far. She’s the perfect combination of a brilliant confessionalist and effective strategist, all tied together in the chaotic force she has been on Tika. She did very well in the game’s earliest stages and has more than proven herself to be capable of securing the win. Now I just hope she does not make herself a target now that she’s going from a tribe of 3 to 12.
Christine: Matthew seemed poised to be a major, major player in the upcoming merge, so it’s devastating to see him go out due to his shoulder injury. After hearing about the extent of his injury in his interview with Mike Bloom, it’s clear that there’s no scenario where Matthew wouldn’t have to leave the game sooner or later. His departure means that a real idol leaves the game so long as the editors don’t pull any flashback tricks on us in the next episode (I’m still traumatized by the Jesse idol reveal last season). Plus, the one person who knows Jaime’s idol is fake is also gone now, too. Even though his time in the game was short, Matthew still made quite an impact.
Gia: Looking back on previous round-ups, it’s impossible to ignore the impact Matthew had in these first five episodes. He was an enjoyable presence, an excitable superfan, and a maniacal strategist. Of all the players who say they’ll do whatever it takes to win, Matthew was one of the few who put his money where his mouth was. It’s clear he had a deep love for the game, so much so that he endured nine days of intense pain for it. His legacy will live on as we see the ramifications of his schemes in later episodes, but I’m hoping we’ll still get a chance to see him again in the future.