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
JT, Gabler, Denise
Gia: What’s a final five in the new era without an advantage being offered? The players woke up on a new beach with a combination lock welcoming them. They then had to count various items across the beach to determine the number needed to unlock the advantage. The task was much more difficult than it initially appeared, but Jake was able to prove that slow and steady wins the race after using his knowledge of Survivor winners to remember the code. The code in question? 18 (JT), 43 (Gabler), and 25 (Denise).
Belo Breaks Up (Again)
Christine: After the Belo tribe fumbled the bag so hard throughout most of the merge, Jake and Katurah had the opportunity to finally turn things around at the Final 5 by blindsiding Dee. Jake planned to play his idol on Katurah but didn’t tell Katurah this, resulting in her switching her vote to Julie to save herself after she made Jake swear on his Nana that he would vote for Dee. Jake, of course, was not pleased that his plan failed once again, and the two got into it after returning to camp.
Dee Takes it Home
Christine: After nearly getting voted out at the Final 5, Dee survived and took her victory lap by winning the final immunity challenge and securing herself a spot to plead her case at the end. She made the bold choice to take Austin with her to the Final 3, leaving Katurah and Jake to duke it out in fire. Her decision to willingly take a “strong” player with her to the end didn’t stop her from pulling out a 5-3-0 win over Austin and Jake after a competitive FTC.
Gia: For the idol only being good for one more round, it sure shook up the final five tribal council! The remaining Reba members planned on voting out Jake or Katurah this round, a plan that was further cemented when Austin won immunity. Jake’s idol threw them for a loop, but they were able to work around it when Jake told Austin about his idol on the reward. The underdogs were still hoping to pull out a Dee blindside, but Katurah changed her vote to Julie in an act of self-preservation, as Jake didn’t tell her that he was planning on playing it for him.
The Final Five
Gia: From beginning to end, I loved Julie this season. Despite falling victim to the “mom” label that often plagues older women on the show, Julie went above and beyond to prove she was always a prime contender for the million. She was not here to play nice; she was here to play the game, and I loved her for it. I’d be remiss not to mention that she is also responsible for one of the biggest moves of the season, playing the idol she got from Austin to take out Emily with a single vote. To me, she’ll always be one of the big stars of Survivor 45.
Gia: Oh, Katurah, the legend that you are. By far one of the shining stars this season, Katurah’s been on the receiving end of a lot of animosity from fans for her decision to vote for Julie over Dee. However, I’d argue that with the information she was given, she made the right call. Her game wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed watching her and learning more about her story through her time in the game. She’s an inspiration to many and is now $100,000 richer as the latest recipient of the Sia Award. Final four firemaking may have been her downfall, but I truly hope Katurah left this season feeling appreciated and loved because her story inspired so many along the way.
Christine: With this finale, Jake reached levels of Charlie Brown that I didn’t know were even possible. Jake, like Owen before him, could never get a grip on the game post-merge. He’d been drawing dead for a while now, and things only got rougher for him in this finale, but he never gave up. It’s hard not to love Jake as he kept getting up again and again to try to make something finally go his way. As much as I hate firemaking, I’m glad it finally gave him a small victory in the game, even if it didn’t translate to any jury votes for him.
Christine: Austin played a strong game – always in power after critically positioning himself at the swap, well-insulated in his alliances, and never received a vote against him – but Dee’s maneuvering at the Final 7 and Final 6 votes really gave her the edge here to secure the win. Austin’s decision to tell Dee about the Julie vote was truly the turning point for both of their games and the loss of Drew the following round only hurt Austin’s game more. Still, he made a strong case for his game at the end and makes for a very deserving runner-up.
Christine: In my eyes, Dee is undoubtedly the strongest player strategically of the New Era and the most dominant winner in years. She had a stranglehold on the game from the formation of the Reba Four, navigated the early merge with “big threat” conversations looming over her, leveraged a showmance without having it tank her game, won multiple immunities, and made game-winning decisions at the Final 7 and Final 6 votes. Taking Austin to the end with her also strengthens her winning game: she chose to take the bigger threat to the end, the one person who could claim many of the same moves as her, and she still won. Congratulations to our reigning Queen of Survivor, Dee!