The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Survivor.
In this week’s Survivor, a new tribe member shook up the game for Tika, causing the fabric of its majority alliance to tear. After losing the immunity challenge, former Soka member Josh had an idol to protect himself, as drama between Carolyn and Yam Yam led to a very unstable night at Tribal Council. When all was said and done, it was Sarah Wade, the management consultant from Chicago, who found herself swiftly cut from the game. (Read a full recap here.)
Below, Sarah unravels the complicated Carolyn/Yam Yam dynamic and explains why she didn’t at least try to play her fake idol.
TVLINE | You mentioned in your final words that you were joining a “special club of sad, sad people” who all went home with idols in their pockets, but when did you learn your idol was fake?
SARAH WADE | I learned that when everyone else was done with the game. It was honestly the biggest relief I have maybe ever felt. After, while I was sitting at Ponderosa, I was like, “I just hope more than anything that it’s fake. I have no idea if it is, but that would provide me so much relief.” And to find out that it was, I was like, “Oh my God, thank you.” It sucks to be bamboozled, but also, it removes a ton of regret.
TVLINE | Why didn’t you try to play your idol after Josh played his?
So at Tribal, Carolyn and Jam Jam were going back and forth. After that, Carolyn and Josh had a conference. They were whispering to each other, and it seemed like whatever the plan was, they were changing it. In my head I was like, “That’s probably a good thing. Carolyn and Yam Yam fight, and then there’s a change of plan.” Hopefully in my head, I thought, if it was going to be me, hopefully it’s now Yam Yam. Or maybe Carolyn’s sticking with the original plan and Josh will go home. But in that moment, I was like, “Hopefully this has removed the target from me.” I also just didn’t want to play scared, but I think that it’s… you need to play with more fear than I played with.
TVLINE | I couldn’t tell if the Carolyn/Yam Yam drama was performative for Josh, or if a lot of that was real, stemming from Carolyn’s frustrations. Can you give me any insight into how you perceived the relationship between those two?
At Tribal, Yam Yam, Carolyn and I had gone in saying, “We need to look not unified.” We assumed Josh had to have come at least with some sort of advantage, maybe an idol, because otherwise it’d be unfair to come solo to a tribe. We wanted to make him feel really comfortable, so it was part of the plan for us not to look like this strong three at Tribal. But then when they did start going at it, I was like, “Is this real?” I started to believe it. And I think that’s so much of Carolyn’s strength. No matter how real that was, it was what kind of flipped and made the situation what it was. She has that power in how she can express herself. However real it was in that moment, it certainly tricked us.
And I think their dynamic in general, they got along so well. I think they understood each other so well, and you see them talk about that in different confessionals. They really get each other. But with that, they’re both very expressive and very honest with each other. They are very transparent with how they’re feeling at all times, and I think that forms a really strong bond, but it also leads to frequent conflicts. It was part of our life at Tika.
TVLINE | Do you have any idea why Josh targeted you and not Yam Yam?
You can see a bit of it in the episode, but I probably hit him with too much of my true thoughts, like when I asked, “Aren’t you a surgeon?” and he has this lie that he’s a personal trainer. I also talked to him individually. I pulled him aside and was like, “You have to have an idol. I know they wouldn’t send you here without an idol.” So I think it was conversations like that where I was probably too transparent with what I knew and what I thought about things, which made me a target for him.
TVLINE | Was there anything you think you could have done to prevent being voted out last night?
Probably a million things! There are so many things that can happen. There was a moment where Josh — it was maybe like 10 minutes before we left for Tribal — we were sitting next to each other by the fire and he goes, “Carolyn just told me that you guys are targeting me.” And I was like, “Why would she say that?” But I think that in my response to him, I could have maybe done something more to bring him back with us. But either way, I think he truly did think that the plan was Carolyn because he was ready to give Carolyn the idol. I don’t know exactly. But I do think there’s probably more I could have done with him.
And with Carolyn, we never were BFFs out there. You can tell we’re very different and I admire her for so many things, but we just don’t click. So I think with that, it would have had to be more of a long-term feeling to give her, that we really were close and aligned and valuable to move forward together.
TVLINE | What was the hardest part about playing in this new era of Survivor?
I think the hardest part is probably just all of the unknowns. There are so many fun twists and turns and losing votes and different journeys, and all of those variables become things that you can’t control. So it makes the game so, so exciting, but it also makes it so opaque because you don’t know what you’re working with a lot of the times.
I haven’t been following super closely so forgive me if I missed something, but I thought Carolyn accidentally gave away the real idol and kept the fake one? Meaning Sarah’s would’ve been real? On one of the other tribes, I thought it was established that the coin one was fake and the bead one was real..
• Hidden Immunity Idol: Each tribe has a locked birdcage containing a bag. Hidden somewhere at their camp is a key that unlocks the birdcage and thus the Hidden Immunity Idol inside the bag. The bag also contains a tribe-colored trinket which has no power and whose utility is left to whomever opens the cage to decide. The appearance of the Hidden Immunity Idols is different for each tribe-a bracelet for Ratu, a medallion for Soka, and a coin for Tika-and each tribe’s real idol matches the appearance of another tribe’s powerless trinket-Ratu’s medallion, Soka’s coin, and Tika’s bracelet.
Ah makes sense! Thanks.
I’m very confused. On the very first episode didn’t Sarah win some kind of special Inheritance Advantage after she selected again after she lost her vote for the first tribal when she and the two others had to take that boat trip? It said it allows her to inherit all of the idols and advantages played at a Tribal of her choosing. What ever happened to that?
The rules of the Inheritance Advantage are a bit complicated, but host Jeff Probst has clarified how the new game mechanics work. In an interview with EW, Jeff confirmed that the Inheritance Advantage gives Sarah the opportunity to inherit all idols and advantages that are played at a single Tribal Council. However, she doesn’t negate their use by playing her advantage.
Sarah has to secretly play the advantage in the voting booth at her chosen Tribal, before any advantages are played. Then, according to Jeff, once the other players’ advantages are played and Tribal is over, “those same idols or advantages are secretly given to the holder of the advantage with the same full power.”
Based on this clarification of the Inheritance Advantage, even if Sarah used that Advantage, she would have gone home, since the idols/advantages of the other players are not turned over until after Tribal is complete. Only a good Advantage if you play it, and then manage to survive that Tribal.