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
Matt finds out his idol is fake
Christine: At the top of this week’s episode, Brandon shared some very critical information with Matt when he mentioned the fake idols that came with each real birdcage idol. This made Matt realize Danny had set him up to find the fake idol to cover his own tracks, crushing Matt’s hopes of using the idol to gain power. Not that it would have mattered this week, anyway, since Matt didn’t have his bag for this tribal council and wouldn’t have been able to play it if he wanted. But this revelation puts a huge target on Danny’s back going forward, and he would’ve been in big trouble last week if the team immunity twist hadn’t been in play.
Ratu vs. Soka: The Battle That Almost Was
Gia: In all fairness to the cast, the first 10 minutes of the episode looked very promising before the twist messed it all up. A battle between Ratu and Soka has been brewing, with Tika firmly in the middle of it all. Danny wanted to target Lauren due to her extra vote, which in turn led to talks of a potential Danny blindside. Safety Without Power ruined what would’ve been a more naturally compelling storyline, but I suppose there’s always the next episode.
The Michelle Yi Memorial Twist
Gia: When I said I wanted more Survivor: Fiji recognition, this is not what I had in mind. This season, production decided to repurpose the Fiji merge vote that wasn’t even really a merge. The tribe of 11 was divided into two teams of five, with Carson having the chance to bet on which team he thought would will win the challenge. The two players from each team that lasted the longest won individual immunity, with the person who lasted the longest securing their entire tribe Safety Without Power. Frannie won for the orange team, and once Brandon was awarded individual immunity, only Lauren, Jaime, Matt, and Yam Yam were eligible to be voted out.
Top 3 Contestants
Christine: I feel like we’re often giving Tika props, but Yam Yam once again narrowly escaped yet another very dicey situation when Matt was eliminated over him. The lingering question for me is whether this narrow escape will translate to long-term power. For now, though, it seems like the Ratu vs. Soka war might really benefit not just Yam Yam but all of our three remaining Tika members. Carson and Carolyn are in indisputably better positions than Yam Yam right now, but Yam Yam surviving two back-to-back close calls can’t be ignored.
Christine: Frannie had some real highs and lows this episode between winning immunity and losing her showmance partner Matt, but I will 100% get behind her making the right call to win the challenge for her team rather than drop and save Matt. Yes, she was safe either way, but the risk of saving Matt short-term at this tribal by dropping and giving him immunity would have had potentially devastating effects on her long-term game. Plus, Matt’s elimination will hopefully lower Frannie’s threat level moving forward without her having to get any blood on her hands to make it happen.
Gia: After Lauren has been horrendously underedited this season, we are finally getting a better sense of what her game looks like. Her extra vote made her a possible target to the OG Soka members, but her bonds with Ratu kept her safe even when she was one of four players vulnerable at tribal council. Her confidence in wanting to keep Yam Yam over Matt, combined with how she spoke out at tribal after getting her vote taken away, makes me excited about what else is in store for her. I truly hope this is the start of something great.
Christine: Heidi found a Control-a-Vote advantage in the birdcage after the winning team was sent on a wild goose chase for keys. This advantage is essentially just a more public Steal-a-Vote. Heidi could control one person on the losing team’s vote for this tribal council only, which she used to force Lauren to vote for Yam Yam. I’m not sure what, if any, would have been the “best” use for this advantage for Heidi, but the use of it we saw was, once again, yet another advantage in the New Era that fell completely flat.
Christine: Matt learned his idol was almost certainly fake, putting more heat on Danny as Soka’s true idol holder. Danny and Carolyn hold the only real idols in the game right now, while Jaime is still in possession of her fake idol that she believes is real.
Gia: Hey, remember Lauren? Remember that she also has an extra vote? Well, Soka sure did, and that’s why Danny wanted to target Lauren before the twist came into play. Said extra vote then came up again when Heidi decided to use her Control-a-Vote advantage on Lauren. It ended up not being used, so this is far from the end of the drama surrounding this particular advantage.
Christine: I was really disappointed in the timing of this twist happening right after Mergatory, but it was made even worse by the absolutely baffling decision to not let the players have their bags if they happened to not bring them to the challenge. It’s such a bummer that Matt didn’t even have the option to play his Shot in the Dark, even if he wanted to, regardless of whether it would have saved him or not.
He certainly made a major mistake in making his relationship with Frannie too obvious, but I can’t help but feel bad for Matt, given how much of his elimination was truly out of his control. Yes, Survivor has always had an element of luck and playing whatever cards you’re dealt to get out of a sticky situation, but the way this twist was set up really left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t think Matt had great odds of winning the season, but in a normal tribal council at the Final 11, I don’t think he would have been eliminated.
Gia: Being the first juror has to be a tough situation, but the way Matt went feels especially like a punch to the gut. It felt like we were being set up for a big moment, only to have any chance of safety crushed in a twist that no one could have anticipated. More than anyone this season, this feels like a player whose game was unceremoniously cut short (yes, including the medevacs). I’m heartbroken for Matt, yet excited to see the biggest Frannie Stannie cheering her on from the jury bench.