Survivor 46

Episode 11 Recap – Rock, Paper, Blindside

What went down in Episode 11?


We’re down to the final several of Survivor 46, and the messiness continues after last week’s power-shifting blindside. For the first time this season, Kenzie was left out of the loop, and it’s a scary situation for someone who’s prided herself on her stellar social game. The Tiff blindside was her idea, and Maria just stole it without sharing the credit.

Speaking of Maria, she’s on top of the heap for the first time, and the power is going to her head as she ponders doing another blindside and riding with her five-person alliance to the end. But fellow outsider Venus tells Kenzie to hang in there and let Maria get cocky. Let her flame out. Let her overconfidence bite her in the ass. Once she’s gone, the underdogs can take back the power.

The next morning, idol fever hits Nuinui beach as everyone except a snoozing Liz runs off to find the merge idol. Maria and Q can’t let Kenzie find it. Kenzie and Venus can’t let Q find it. Charlie doesn’t even want to look but gets dragged into the jungle anyways. But in the end, Venus sees it, using the known locations of past idols as references for where the idol wouldn’t be hidden. It’s a lot of power this late in the game, and while she’s excited, she wants to make sure it’s used effectively to get her to the final four. But she also doesn’t want to repeat history and go home with an idol.


Venus links back up with Kenzie, and the two discuss getting Maria or Q out next. They can get Liz on board but need a fourth vote to make it happen. Lo and behold, Charlie is getting restless about his positioning on the jury’s tier list of winner contenders. Maria just skyrocketed ahead of him, and if he keeps playing in her shadow, he’ll get roasted at the end for playing too safe and letting his island mom do all the work. So, while Maria wants Q around for another vote, Charlie is willing to roll the dice and go behind her back to get him out instead. 

Charlie meets with the outsider women, and they discuss potentially blindsiding Maria next to get it over with and reset the playing field. Kenzie calls Charlie the camp jester who hasn’t made any moves of his own yet, and it’s not like he’s socially in charge either, so this should be a tempting vote to make, right? So, as much as it pains him to turn on his number one this early, that’s the name of the game this season, and he agrees to the plan. Maria is out.

But there’s still an immunity challenge to deal with first, and after one of the tightest races yet, Venus chokes at the end several times, and Maria takes the win, throwing those well-laid plans for a loop. But that’s not all. This win also comes with a reward: a pizza party for Maria and two tag-alongs. Reward picks this late in the game are crucial, hence why many good players dodge reward wins to avoid any blowback. Well… Maria doesn’t dodge the blowback. She walks right into it headfirst.


First, she chooses Ben. Fair enough. He’s her ally, and he hasn’t been on a reward yet. But then she starts thinking… and thinking… and thinking. Jeff says it’s a record for the longest time spent on a reward pick ever, but Maria finally comes to a decision: not actually making one herself! Charlie and Kenzie say they don’t need it, so Maria asks Venus, Q, and Liz to beg for a spot. Venus doesn’t want to grovel, so Maria asks Q and Liz to play rock, paper, scissors. Q beats Liz, and while she won’t have another meltdown, she’s definitely pissed about another day of starvation.

Back at camp, it’s one big Maria slander party among the losers. She obviously wanted to pick Q because he’s her number one, even though he’s literally still digesting the Applebee’s feast from the last reward. So she should’ve just picked him instead of trying to play nice and coming across as phony. No need for the jury pandering, the nonsense logic, or the rock, paper, scissors debacle. With that move, Maria became the newest villain of the season, and nobody respects it. But she’s still immune, so the vote defaults to Q because if you can’t take out the leader, you take out their number one.

Meanwhile, Q feels no guilt about going on back-to-back rewards and has an evil laugh about it. Maria knows the others are pissed as hell, but she’s immune, they’re not, and that’s how it goes. As for her and Q’s plan, Venus must go next, if only because she’s more likely to win immunity than Kenzie.


Upon returning to camp, the winners aren’t given a warm welcome. Liz is done holding her tongue and even speculates her allergies come from repressing her rage for the sake of others. The “other” today is Q, who gets to listen in on Liz openly calling him undeserving of going on rewards and even being in the game.

But Charlie remains the crucial vote between Q and Venus. Unfortunately, Ben doesn’t seem to be on board with getting Q out, and Charlie starts to wonder about switching back to working with Siga, given that he has assured allies there. Checking in with Venus, he asks about her future plans, and she casually teases him with a “trick up her sleeve” he can learn about if Q goes home tonight. Well… clearly that’s an advantage or an idol of some kind, and Charlie’s immediately spooked even though she denies having anything.

Venus’ strategic snafu spreads like wildfire and only solidifies Ben as a Venus vote in favor of removing chaos from the tribe. Charlie approaches Kenzie about it, too, and the sudden chickening out doesn’t sit well with her. She thinks Charlie is acting like a baby, playing scared and safe as Maria just dishes out his orders. Taking out Venus damages both of their games as she’d be a beatable ally to the end, but Charlie’s still not sure. If he votes out Venus, he keeps the Sigas on his side and keeps Q and Maria around as big targets. But if he votes Venus out, people will be pissed at him for working with the villains, and their stink could rub off on him.


At Tribal, Jeff whips out the stool and some licorice for another spicy show as we have another drama-filled night. Venus calls out Maria for her reward picks, saying her logic and choices don’t add up. She talks about wanting to feed the hungry and then takes the most well-fed guy out there? Come on now. Q tries to argue for Maria’s case and says Venus wouldn’t pick either of them so she has no room to talk, but Venus snaps back and admits that while he’s not wrong, at least she would’ve been honest about her decisions and not left it to a game of chance to cover her obvious intentions.

Once the drama simmers down, the votes are cast. Venus votes for Q. Ben votes for Kenzie (as insurance in the event of an idol play, I’m sure). And the rest vote for Venus… who doesn’t play her idol and joins Jem, Hunter, and Tiffany in the season’s streak of brutal blindside victims. That’s three in a row who have left with idols. Three! And all of them are gone because they thought Q was such an obvious boot! Micronesia’s got nothing on this idol-flushing insanity, and there’s still another around left for us to add another to the list.

It does hurt losing Venus to the 46 idol curse, though. She was one of the season’s breakout stars, someone who brought the old-school realness to the island and didn’t give a damn about the typical New Era niceness. She spoke her mind, didn’t care how many people she pissed off, and wasn’t afraid to play ball even when nobody wanted to catch what she was throwing down.


Was she a good player? Definitely not on the social side of things. But strategically, she had good ideas that made total sense, and I’d love to see what she could do on the return after a bit of reflection on where she went wrong this season. And having a cast she resonates with better couldn’t hurt either.

But now it’s down to six. Three Sigas, two Yanus, and one Nami. Is Maria on the way out, or can she recover from this blunder of a week and maintain her power? Can Kenzie dodge what could be the most dangerous round for her yet, or will the season’s social queen get shut out? Will Charlie find himself in the middle yet again, or will another player rise to the occasion as the center of the action? And most importantly, will Liz finally get to eat some real food?


Written by

Cory Gage

Cory is a writer and student from Texas. He's a die-hard Survivor fanatic who's seen over 50 seasons worldwide, hosted his own season in high school from scratch, and hopes to one day compete on the show himself.

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