Each week, Christine Pallon and Gia Worthy will round up the previous week of Survivor 45 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
Christine: While Survivor 45 surprised us with the first full swap of the New Era, the all-too-familiar mergatory continues to plague us. As far as twists go, it’s pretty innocuous, but it’s frustrating to have the many possibilities of the merge vote be arbitrarily limited based on who ends up on which team and which team wins the challenge. Imagine how much more chaos we could have gotten if Bruce and Katurah had both been vulnerable! The vote we got was pretty damn fun, of course, so I won’t complain too much.
Katurah Lucks Out
Gia: After several episodes of being the odd one out, Katurah is finally seeing some good luck come her way. She’s finally being vindicated in her negative feelings towards Bruce as he continues to rub people the wrong way, and her name wasn’t even brought up as a possible target in the scramble prior to the immunity challenge. Even better, she drew the gray rock in the mergatory challenge and correctly guessed that the Blue team would win, securing her own safety in the process. I can’t wait to see Kaurah’s game flourish from here because I’ve loved what we’ve seen of her so far.
Kaleb Takes a Shot in the Dark
Christine: This mergatory vote quickly coalesced around J. Maya, who the Rebas were more than willing to throw under the bus, and Kaleb, who had done a lot throughout the game to make himself into the most obvious social threat. Kendra and Bruce ultimately succeeded in shifting the votes towards Kaleb, but his relationship with Emily paid off once more when she tipped him off that he was in major trouble. After making a public attempt to get the votes on J. Maya during tribal council, Kaleb played his shot in the dark successfully and negated all the votes against him, resulting in a null vote and a revote that ultimately ousted J. Maya from the game.
Top 3 Players
Gia: Bruce is all over the place, and I’m loving every moment of it. The great news is that he found an idol, no strings attached. The bad news is that his paranoia is rubbing a lot of players the wrong way, and it could set him up for a blindside in the near future. Since Bruce has been immune every round so far, we haven’t gotten the chance to see him in defense mode at a tribal council. I’m intrigued to see if he will immediately play his idol, risk it and be safe, or leave with it in his pocket. Personally, I do think we will have Bruce for at least a few more episodes.
Christine: This whole pre-merge, I worried about Kaleb’s fate once all the tribes met up at a mergatory, and I was clearly right to do so. He was just too obvious a social threat and didn’t do much to combat that perception with all the schmoozing he continued to do this episode. While his social prowess got him into this mess, it also got him out of it: once again, his close ally Emily saved him by telling him that he’s the target and giving him the chance to play his Shot in the Dark.
The resulting tribal council solidified his place in Survivor history as he became the first person to effectively use their Shot in the Dark to negate a majority of votes. While he came out on top this week, I sadly don’t see this success translating into Kaleb lasting deeper into the game, especially since his impressive tribal council performance only further confirmed his status as a threat.
Gia: I’m obsessed with everything Julie does; she and Dee are undeniably my favorite pair of the season thus far. In a roundabout way, Reba did end up getting what they wanted with J. Maya’s ousting, but it wasn’t as clear-cut as anyone was hoping for (except maybe Kaleb). While I know anything can happen in the new era, I also know that Julie has set herself up quite nicely going into the official merge. She is in the strongest alliance with the Reba four, but she doesn’t have the bells and whistles Drew and Austin have to make her a target.
All of this is true, but the main reason she makes my list of top players this week? Her throwing out that J. Maya voted for Sifu at the merge feast, which she knows isn’t true. I’m still laughing about it as I write this.
Gia: With J. Maya officially out of the game, Kellie and Austin’s Advantage Amulet has evolved into a steal-a-vote when played together. I don’t expect these two to work together, nor do I think they have any reason to. It’s a safe bet to assume one of them will be targeted in the upcoming episodes. The question now is who will come out victorious with an idol for their efforts?
Christine: Just before mergatory began, Bruce found an idol at Lulu’s camp. Lucky for him, it doesn’t seem to require him to sacrifice his vote in order to make it more powerful, like Austin and Sabiyah’s idols. Speaking of Austin, he sacrificed his vote one more time in this episode in order to fully power up his idol with no strings attached. If he’s lucky, the chaos of Kaleb’s successful shot in the dark play might distract everyone else from noticing that there was a vote missing.
Safety Without Power
Gia: Nothing new has happened in the way of Drew’s Safety Without Power, as he was safe when the Blue team won the Mergatory immunity advantage. However, if the rumored divisions are true for the upcoming episodes’ split tribal councils, I wouldn’t be surprised if he used it sooner rather than later.
Christine: Although it’s not entirely clear why, J. Maya struggled to find her footing at the start of the season as she found herself on the outs of OG Reba. She could never recover from the lack of strong connections in those first few days, as evidenced by Dee and Julie being so ready to sacrifice her at the swap and here at mergatory.
J. made some mistakes in the last episode by being so willing to take the fall for the Sifu vote and by publicly implying that the Rebas would stick together when she gave her explanation behind choosing Austin for the journey. Despite those obvious mistakes, her biggest undoing was just those lack of strong early-game connections. When Kaleb ended up being safe, she didn’t have much of a chance of surviving when her only close allies were so willing to sacrifice her.
Gia: I was really hoping that the merge would be more kind to J. Maya, but unfortunately, the stars didn’t align for her. Like many predicted, she had the misfortune of being on the losing team for immunity, and she didn’t have any allies willing to vouch for her. That being said, J. Maya was a one-of-a-kind contestant who deserved more appreciation in the edit than what she got. Many players and fans have expressed their appreciation for her and her time on the show, and I hope she knows how loved she is. And finally, make sure to stream her music!