“Full Tilt Boogie” – Castaways must land a win at the reward challenge to earn a night at the sanctuary and letters from home. Then, castaways will need to snake their way toward a win in the immunity challenge, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 3 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Lauren Harpe and Carolyn Wiger. Photo: CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Highest quality screengrab available.
I've been shit-canned by Reality Tea.
Oh well. After 13 years and 24 seasons (!!!) of Survivor coverage, my most recent Survivor employer made the jarring decision to end my coverage of Survivor. I'm not being replaced. They are just not going to cover Survivor effective immediately.
Truth is, there was a LOT of behind-the-scenes drama at Reality Tea, and the writing was on the wall. I was informed just last week that they would no longer be covering Survivor moving forward...but I had been given direct word from the top that they were OK with me finishing out my coverage of Survivor 44...which was set to end anyways with its Finale episode on May 24th.
But alas, after being given this guarantee, they reversed course abruptly. I had submitted my Recap for Episode 10, and then was told via email that it would not be published (but that I'd be compensated for writing it at least).
A big thanks to former Survivor player and now friend, Erik Reichenbach. He has kindly and exclusively shared his Survivor Comic Art on my column and I am forever grateful. He will continue drawing, that's for sure. And I'll continue sharing his work.
Never say never, but I don't intend to cover Survivor in any professional manner moving forward. 24 seasons is a LONG TIME, especially in a niche realm dominated by Dalton Ross (EW), Mike Bloom (Parade) and Gordon Holmes (Xfinity)...all AMAZING Survivor writers for their respective outlets. It was an honor to hang in the same pool as them for all of these years. Covering Survivor was never a job, but a passion. It was and is my favorite TV show of all-time.
But as former Survivor player, Coby Archa, just hilariously pointed out to me on Facebook: I've essentially been voted off the island...a blindside I never saw coming.
Oh, the irony.
After pleading with Reality Tea, they at least had the modicum of decency to return to my written Recap that I had submitted into the void.
Here it is, as it was intended to appear on Reality Tea (forgive the shitty formatting, as I am just not in the mood to reformat it right now).
Survivor 44, Episode 10, my final Survivor Recap. Enjoy, and thanks for all of your support!
No, not Frannie Marin! Say it ain't so! As the 44th season of Survivor enters its home stretch, we found ourselves with just eight players remaining. But only one of them - Frannie - had a loyal fan, Matt Blankinship, that was cheering her on from the jury. Anybody rooting for this "nerd-mance" found themselves rooting for Frannie in the game. Despite her domination of individual challenges, she still struck us as the underdog. Love would prevail, if only Frannie could outwit, outplay and outlast the others.
But it wasn't to be. Matt, who was all smiles, all the time and clearly smitten with Frannie, gave us his long face at the closing of Tribal Council. It represented how many of us felt seeing Frannie's torch snuffed.
The good news is that Frannie and Matt are now reunited at Ponderosa and on the jury. A pox on CBS and whoever made the decision to cancel those amazing Ponderosa videos of seasons' past! I think we all would have loved to have seen the actual moment where Frannie and Matt embraced and were finally able to talk after Matt's abrupt exit from the game.
“Full Tilt Boogie” – Castaways must land a win at the reward challenge to earn a night at the sanctuary and letters from home. Then, castaways will need to snake their way toward a win in the immunity challenge, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 3 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Frannie Marin at Tribal Council. Photo: CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Highest quality screengrab available.
The episode began in the aftermath of Kane Fritzler being voted-out. Carson Garrett, who had been battling an illness in recent episodes, seen puking his guts out in the jungle, was attempting a different kind of clean-up this week. His supposed allies (at least they thought so), Jaime Lynn Ruiz and Lauren Harpe, were left out of the Kane blindside, which was co-orchestrated by Carson. Making things even worse, Lauren's "Extra Vote" advantage was basically squandered, wasted on votes for Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, who obviously stayed in the game.
Carson told Jaime and Lauren that it was a decision that had to be made, because Kane had gone around and told everybody about Jaime's hidden Idol. In reality, it was Carson who exposed Jaime's Idol to the tribe. What, a little lie won't hurt anyone, right? Especially if that lie puts blame on a guy who is now out of the game.
In It To Win It
Carson continues to look like the front-runner to win this thing, if he can continue to navigate his way to the very end. That's a big "if." But his strong social game, matched with incredible strategic savvy, is making him a top pick. Plus, his knowledge of Survivor challenge puzzles (many of which he recreated back at home in order to perfect) just led to his first individual Immunity win. The rest of these players would be stupid if Carson was allowed to go too far in this game.
One of his biggest obstacles is Danny Massa, a guy who seemed like a wanna-be Survivor All-Star early in the game, but who is legitimately earning that title, sans the word "wanna-be." Danny is playing hard, and is a huge threat. His magic is that everybody knows it, and yet he's still in the game and largely in power. If you've paid attention, there has been a lot of talk surrounding Danny this season and "great" former players that he aspires to be like. Does Danny have what it takes to be mentioned in the same breath as legends like Tony Vlachos or Boston Rob Mariano?
We're going to find out in the coming weeks. But it's starting to look like it could come down to Danny vs. Carson.
What's the opposite of a "true lie," you ask? How about what's going on with Jaime and her fake Idol? It's amazing how much longevity a trick by Matthew Grinstead-Mayle has had in this game. As you may remember, Matthew planted a fake Idol, which was then found by Jaime, who thought it to be real. In a move of desperation, she gave this Idol to Kane last episode, to guard against the possibility that someone else might play a "Knowledge is Power" advantage. The Idol went home in Kane's boot.
The audience knew all along that this was a fake Idol. Ultimately, it leaving the game has saved Jaime and Kane the embarrassment of having it's true nature revealed during a Tribal Council. But after Carson exposed Jaime's Idol, it no longer mattered whether it was fake or not. The perception by the other players was that Jaime did in fact have a real Idol.
Complicating matters, Jaime tried to "come clean" and tell everybody the TRUTH about what she did. It is a fact, for example, that she no longer possesses her Idol. That is was given to Kane and that it is no longer in the game. But this true story was received as a tall tale by the others. That fake Idol that Matthew planted all the way back in the beginning of the game, is still creating chaos, and making Jaime a target. I don't think the producers could have asked for more out of injecting the game with a fake Idol.
Carolyn Left Out...Again
Frannie's exit will shake-up the game. She had a huge target on her back, first as one part of a power couple and then as a major individual challenge threat. Her presence was shielding others from attention. And someone next episode will have a rude awakening in regards to this fact.
She did what she could, but ultimately Frannie's blindside will lead once again to Carolyn Wiger being cemented as a tribal outsider. I love, love, love Carolyn! She is the quirkiest and most authentic player the show has seen in several seasons, perhaps ever. A few weeks back, I held out hope that she could sneakily win this thing, much in the same way that Mike Gabler seemed to overcome all odds last season. But left out of the vote again, it was made clear that Carolyn just doesn't have the ability to sway the game in her favor. As we saw in the preview, she's not going to be happy that her "number one" ally Frannie was taken out of the game.
We mustn't forget that Carolyn possesses an Idol...a real one! And one that nobody at all knows about. It can last be used at Final Five and we are now at Final Seven. Carolyn may not pose a threat to everyone else - at least in their eyes - but if she can ally with someone, she can still leave a huge mark on this game. I think it's most likely that Carolyn uses her Idol on someone else, as opposed to on herself, in the coming weeks. Heidi also has an Idol, and it nearly got flushed out this week had Carolyn gotten her way.
Poor YamYam Arocho openly admitted that he isn't going to be winning this game. And I would include in that camp Heidi (who I don't think can win), as well as, sadly, Carolyn, Jaime and Lauren. I do realize that encompasses all of the remaining women. I'm not suggesting that they SHOULDN'T win, or even can't win, only that it seems like these players don't have a strong enough in-game perception to win. Who does this leave?
Yep. Carson vs. Danny. I really think that's what it's going to come down to. We will find out for sure, as the Survivor 44 Finale looms. It's set for Wednesday, May 24th, meaning we have just two more regular episodes remaining.
On Fire With Jeff Probst
The Survivor Official Podcast that followed this week’s show has Jeff Probst and the gang taking a deep-dive into shooting Survivor, including cameras and coverage of all aspects of the show. Again, this is a must-listen for die-hard Survivor fans and casual fans alike. You can find the podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art
Former Survivor, Erik Reichenbach, honors us each and every week with his exclusive artwork! He is an amazing artist in addition to being a Survivor legend. Sharing his talents every week in my column and with my audience is a huge honor and thrill. If you don’t see his art below, that means that it isn’t ready yet (one does not rush an art-eest). But it will appear once ready, so check back if you don’t in fact see it.
DabuDoodles.com is where you want to go to find all of Erik’s work. I urge you to support this fantastically skilled former Survivor player!
Final Episode Tallies
Out this week: Frannie
Won Immunity: Carson (1)
Vote Result: No Advantages or Idols were played. 5 – Frannie (Danny, YamYam, Carson, Jaime, Lauren), 2 – Heidi (Carolyn, Frannie), 1 – Danny (Heidi)
Current Advantage/Disadvantage List:
Next Week’s Episode: YamYam realizes that leaving Carolyn out of the vote has backfired. Carson tells us that he's worked so hard but that "it's all crumbling down." Danny tells us, "I didn't come here to take part, I came here to take over."
Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! I am also a TV personality and Film Critic in the Detroit area and a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic. Check out my past movie reviews and my movie show (episodes are also available online at the website, www.MovieShowPlus.com.) Follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE? WHO WILL BE TARGETED NEXT? AND WHO DO YOU PREDICT WILL WIN SOLE SURVIVOR?
[Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell]
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