[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Survivor Season 43 Episode 2, “Lovable Curmudgeon.”]
Players were adjusting to their tropical circumstances in the second episode of Survivor Season 43. In the downtime between the first Tribal Council (which saw Morriah from Baka eliminated) and the next Immunity Challenge, the groups got their first solid chances to get to know the people they’re playing with, and strategies were scattered as always.
Each team has all-female alliances forming and all-men by extension this season, and on a smaller level, tight pairs are beginning to come together and jointly strategize.
With their recent loss, Baka knew they had to pull their group together to perform better in the next challenge. But the vibe of the tribe was tense under the surface as everyone had different definitions of being a team player. To add to the stress, their Fiji beaches were smacked with a heavy storm, giving everyone a rough night. And with little resources for food and water, everyone was on edge. Good thing the Immunity Challenge required lifting a 400-lb stuffed snake up and over an aquatic cage!
To win sets of fishing gear (and for Baka to earn back their flint), the players had to dive into the water, swim out to a large cage, and climb up and into it to release the snake. The groups had to use all their beleaguered might to get the snake out of the cage and to the beach in order to unlock number tiles. The tiles were the pieces of a combination lock in need of solving, which then unlocked pieces for a Survivor logo puzzle. Karla from Coco and Noelle from Vesi sat this one out to even the playing field.
Baka was the first to get their snake over, followed by Coco, then Vesi. The snakes had to be dragged under bamboo lattice and onto a winding platform, but Nneka tapped out at one point, prompting the sidelined Noelle to cry out for her to pitch in. She did, but then the rope got caught in the back of the platform, putting them far behind. Nneka and Dwight didn’t perform with urgency on the puzzle, confusing their teammates. Jeff Probst‘s commentary frequently called out the “slow motion” action.
Baka got their flint back and earned the biggest fishing set and immunity by coming in first place. Coco came in second, winning immunity and the smaller fishing gear. Vesi realized one of the bags with more puzzle pieces was never opened, contributing to their loss. “The parade’s over,” Cody from Vesi told Jeff after the challenge.
“It sucked watching from the sidelines,” Noelle said in solo commentary, critiquing Nneka’s physical performance. It seemed Nneka was certainly on the chopping block back at the camp, but Cody noted that no one noticed the unopened bag. In private moments, everyone agreed Nneka was the weakest physical link on the team, but she’s part of Cody’s alliance with Jesse, so he was trying to devise a way to keep her safe.
Nneka noticed the cold shoulders she was receiving. Those against voting her out pinpointed Justine as a potentially “lethal” player. She became the other option for elimination. And then, Cody found a Beware Advantage.
If he took it, he “must do what it says, otherwise leave it.” He took it and received an Immunity Idol bracelet that came with a new feature. In Survivor 41 and 42, some idols couldn’t be activated until one person from each tribe found one and each recited their weird phrase at a challenge. This idol had a special bead representing each Vesi tribe member, each attached to their personal bags. Cody must persuade each of them to give him their respective beads willingly (they cannot be stolen). But how he went about asking for them was up to him.
The bracelet only has power when he has the beads of every player on it at Tribal Council. Until he has every bead, he has lost his vote. That meant both Cody and Dwight were out of a vote, leaving a split decision between the four eligible voters.
Cody began collecting the beads, pretending he wanted to string them around the palm frond hat he made. Noelle didn’t buy Cody’s pitch. He seemingly didn’t get everything he needed, despite Nneka and Jesse’s best efforts to help after Cody spilled the beans about the Beware Advantage.
At Tribal Council, as predicted, the votes were between Justine and Nneka at first, but then five votes were counted instead of the expected four. A flashback revealed Cody did actually get Noelle’s bead, thanks to Nneka, restoring his ability to vote. The plot twist led to Justine being kicked off the island. Dwight felt betrayed by Jesse at the end because he played both sides to send Justine home. We’ll see the aftermath of that damaged new alliance next week.
Survivor, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS