Survivor 44 Recap: Trouble in Paradise Disrupts the Game's Most Dominant Alliance — Plus, a Secret Is Finally Out!

Survivor 44 Episode 11

Here’s a tip for future Survivor players. Instead of getting all hot and bothered when Tribal Council doesn’t go your way, just be cool, man. Just be Bobby De Niro.

After Carson and Yam Yam left alliance-mate Carolyn out of the Frannie vote last week, the drug counselor from Minnesota did not take it lightly. There was yelling! And swearing! Maybe a few tears? We all know Carolyn can be an emotional player, but she’s also a smart one. Will this little blip dismantle the Tika alliance, the strongest trio currently in the game? Vito Corleone surely wouldn’t go down like that!

But let’s break down Wednesday’s episode in full and discuss how everything shook out.

Survivor 44 Episode 11Maybe the others seeing a little drama amongst friends is a good thing? Maybe Tika’s bickering shrinks their target a bit? Eh, wishful thinking. Danny, Heidi, Jaime and Lauren still want to get Carson out. He’s smart, he’s won immunity and he’s good at puzzles, and yes, that can be a dangerous cocktail should they let him inch further into the game. To try and throw suspicion away from them, Yam Yam tells Danny that Heidi was the one to vote for him at the last Tribal. It’s the truth, but when Danny confronts his No. 1 ally about it, she does the best thing she could possibly do: Lie, lie, lie! And you know what? Good for her! Take it to the grave, Heidi! (Or at least until 9 pm ET on this very beautiful Wednesday.)

It’s a bit odd that the episode spends so much time on Carolyn’s lobster finds. Was there no other footage more important than that? Are producers just smitten with her? Are we losing Carolyn soon, so they’re trying to get as much of the fun, endearing insanity in as possible? Am I simply overthinking the edit, like I do each and every week? (That last answer is a booming “yes.”) Maybe when the show stretches to 90 minutes come Season 45, producers can more seamlessly mix in this type of content, but here it seems a bit out of place, especially since we just spent precious runtime watching them meditate and cry together. (Zzz…)

IMMUNITY IS BACK UP FOR GRABS | I won’t complain about repeated challenges. I’ll say that again: I won’t complain about repeated challenges. Because then I would be repeating myself, which is really what I’d be campaigning against in the first place, right?

It’s the “fight the tide and hold your breath under a grate” challenge. Yam Yam wins. Jeff makes it a moment. Yada, yada, yada…

And they JUST did this one last season! (Sorry.)

WHO’S GOT THE POWER? | No one wants to go to the Final 3 with Yam Yam or Carson. Since the former is immune, Carson climbs to the top of everyone’s hit list, but Carolyn knows she needs to keep him around. She approaches Danny to sniff out the plan and when he pitches her some BS about splitting the vote between Heidi and Jaime, she asks if it’s the fake plan or the “for-real” plan. Smart. What’s even smarter is that she doesn’t buy his lies for a single second, so she finally spills her secret: She tells Carson she has the Tika idol. It’s a big reveal which should pull Carson closer to her — if he can survive the night.

Survivor 44 Episode 11Meanwhile in La La Land, Jaime claims she and Lauren have “all the power.” You hear that? ALL THE POWER! They can vote Danny or they can vote Carson, Jaime tells us. Or… they can vote for neither? As much as I’d like to poke fun and say that the lack of sleep and sustenance has gotten to her brain, my Spidey-sense tells me that perhaps their votes were made in cahoots with Tika. (More on this below.) Still, the level of delusion is higher than average here.

THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN | Lauren accidentally slights Carolyn — it did seem accidental, right? — when she compares emotional players to those who are “more experienced.” Then, a quip from Danny annoys Carolyn to the fullest, prompting Jeff to ask her if she is, in fact, irritated. The host then jokes that if she gets some sleep, “who knows how you’ll see things?!” which causes her to glare and scowl in his direction. “Are you mad at me now?” She responds “yes” but it all ends in a laugh, especially after Yam Yam adds his two cents. (This Tribal is an absolute hoot and let it be known: I am entertained.)

Carolyn ultimately plays her idol for Carson (after taking a full 24 hours — or so it seems — at the voting urn making up her mind), but when the votes are tallied, Carson actually doesn’t need the safety net. Danny and Heidi write down Carson’s name as expected, but Lauren and Jaime place their votes on Heidi (is this a potential back-up plan in case Danny plays an idol?). Tika’s remaining three parchments are enough to kick Danny Bronx all the way back to New York. Upon exiting, he gives Jeff his fiercest “De Niro face.” After all, he did make a promise to his friends, and it was one Survivor promise he intended to keep. (Read our Q&A with Danny here.)

What would you have done in Carolyn’s spot, and was this one of the most (unintentionally?) entertaining Tribal Councils in a while? Let us know by going full tilt boogie in the comments below!

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