Survivor 43 Recap: Now That's How You Orchestrate a Blindside!

Survivor 43 Episode 12 Recap

I feel pretty comfortable making the following claim about Wednesday’s Survivor: That was hands down the season’s best episode yet.

While much of the heat was placed firmly on Karla throughout the hour — and with good reason! — Jesse couldn’t help but worry that he might be viewed as second fiddle sitting next to Cody. Why, you ask? Because Cody concocted a pretty damn genius plan to trick Karla into not using her idol at Tribal Council. The pitch: If Cody and Karla used their idols as a bullying tactic of sorts, they could get Owen, Gabler and Cassidy to vote however way they wanted, then save their idols for next week’s Final 5 vote.

Clever, Cody! And it could’ve worked had Jesse not been the strategic mastermind that he is. Knowing that Karla’s blindside would’ve made Cody the clear frontrunner of the season, he took Jeanine’s idol (you know, the one everyone thought was flushed when Dwight left the game) and played it on Owen. This spooked Karla into playing hers, while Jesse, Gabler, Cass and Owen placed their votes squarely on Cody.

Probst loves to buzz around challenges screaming, “That’s how you do it on Survivor!” And, well… that’s how you do it on Survivor!! 

We want to know all of your feelings about Jesse’s BIG move, but let’s break down some of the episode’s other happenings first.

Survivor 43 Karla* The title of the episode was “Telenovela,” and that’s because Karla put on the water works in order to convince Cassidy that Owen was lying to her. As Karla uttered, “I never said your name, Cass. Ever,” a light acoustic guitar straight out of a Latin soap opera began to strum. It was certainly music to our ears, and just another prime example of how much fun the show’s editors are having this season. Bravo, I say! (And for the record, Owen was right to try and pit Cassidy and Karla against each other. It probably would’ve worked had all of the above tomfoolery hadn’t upended things.)

* Karla’s lies may not have worked on Cassidy, but after she, Cody and Owen won a reward trip to the Survivor sanctuary, her skills of deception did work on the guys. And until Cassidy spilled the beans on her (former) No. 1, Cody and Owen were totally seduced by Karla’s social magic. The target may still be on her back going forward, but Jesse could perhaps be the shield she most definitely needs.

* When trying to convince Karla to not use her idol, Cody asks Jesse for the bracelet so he can show it to her as proof. I can’t even imagine for the life of me a reason why Cody would then… give it back to Jesse? (Why else wouldn’t he have played the thing?) It seems to be the only explanation. But one major question remains: Why? I’ll be asking him when we speak Thursday, so definitely pop back here to find out. (Read our Q&A here!)

Survivor 43 Episode 12 Recap* I know I’ve argued against the routine “…and then there’s a puzzle!” feel of every single immunity challenge, but it’s a tough position to take after a photo finish like this one. Watching Cassidy and Cody battle it out on the bat puzzle was a nail-biter, so it’s easy to see why production likes the grand equalizer that is the puzzle. It’s unfortunate that Karla’s cramping took her out of it, but had she won, we might not have had those beautiful fireworks at Tribal.

* One last comment about Jesse’s plan here. I miss the days when the game was emotional. New school players have almost learned to take emotion out of the game. To not take things so personally. But as Jesse noted, he’s there for the experience, but he’s also there to solidify his family’s future. Watching him tear up at the chance of winning life-changing money was a much-needed chance of pace.

And his connection and brotherhood with Cody made the move that much harder for him. AND HE DID IT ANYWAY. Not only was it great gameplay, but it was an absolute backstab. And I loved every second of it. You could feel the tension at that Tribal. You could’ve heard a pin drop after the axe fell on Cody! Best. Moment. Of. Season 43.

Alright, enough of me! Now it’s your turn. Did you love this one as much as I did? Let it all out in the comments below.

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