Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 43 recaps
Idols, advantages, and the joys of searches
By Brent Sullivan | Published: October 10, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 3 Recap/ analysis

Idols, advantages, and the joys of searches

Welcome to “Top Five Baby!” where after each episode of Survivor, Brent Sullivan will try to break apart and find the top five moments that made a lasting impact on the season or moments that could at least affect the next few episodes. Sometimes the moments are obvious and other times ... not so much, but after years of watching and analyzing this show to myself, I like to share the ones that I think stand out the most.

Even though this episode ended in a sort of dramatic way, I felt like there was lots of the same going on this week. The whole sequence with Karla getting the beware advantage and getting all the beads was a great thing to watch … last week when Cody did it first. Then the journey had the same options at the end of the hike. Sure, the hike was different. They went up a mountain instead of through the water but it was basically the same.

It was still a fun episode; I just hope they stray away a little bit more from the same in the coming days. For example, if someone on Baka finds the same beware advantage, obviously we need to know that, but we don’t need a whole sequence of events on whether or not the person collected all the required beads. Ok, enough of my rant, there is still more to discuss on this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. Elie is a trickster

Elie is a trickster

This was by far my favorite sequence from the whole episode. Lots of flashbacks and talk about whether Gabler knew if his idol was still playable or not. Jeanine and Elie seemed to think they could talk him into believing it was no longer any good. Along with that, Sami also didn’t take it lightly that they both strongly believe Elie is closer to Gabler than he is, and it should be them that tries to trick him. So, before they could approach Gabler with their loose plan, Sami stepped in and spilled the beans about the girls looking through his bag and filled him in on everything. Not that Gabler wouldn’t have picked up on it anyway, but now he is on high alert to spoil their plan.

So, Elie makes a valiant effort to trick him, and he acts as if he falls for it and everyone thinks their plan is unfolding nicely in front of them. Not that I want Baka to lose an immunity challenge or anything, but I can’t wait to see how the tribe dynamics fall into place the next time they attend a tribal council. On the surface, it appears that Gabler has the upper hand, but Owen just may be the middleman that could swing to either side during this vote. With Gabler on alert, he most likely plays his idol and then we have to see which way the votes would fall.

2. James's birthday present

James's birthday

Ok, anyone who’s read my articles on here knows what I think about this. I think everyone should go out looking for idols and advantages as soon as possible. This show revolves around those items, and you would be a fool not to do so. However, this is first and foremost a tribe game as well, so you also have to be able to work with those teammates and do the same things they are doing even if it doesn't agree with your strategy.

So, I was genuinely surprised when James said he wanted to spend his birthday looking for idols. The Coco tribe hasn’t been shown a lot since they’ve been winning, but from what we have seen, they are a close tribe, and no one has been suspected of idol hunting yet. For a tribe with no tribal council visits yet, James really doesn’t need to put himself out there like that when voting blocks haven’t even come into play yet. Let’s see how he is able to navigate the next few days.

3. Karla pulls a Cody

Karla pulls a Cody

So, as I mentioned before, we have seen this once already, but with that being said, it’s still fun to watch and see how the castaways can barter, beg, and plead to get the valuable beads away from their tribemates. This week wasn’t quite as dramatic as last week when Cody did it, since they weren’t getting ready for tribal council as well, but it was nice to see a completely different approach to the same end goal.

The interesting part about hers was she actually put the advantage back, then changed her mind after talking to James and went back to get it again. She already had a chance to risk her vote earlier, back in the first episode, and decided not to, so she was toying with doing that again, but alas it worked out for her in the end. We haven’t seen a ton of Coco, but from what we have seen, Karla appears to be in the middle of everything and now she has an idol to go with that power.

Not sure when they will ever lose, but if they do, she will have an opportunity to use all of this in her favor.

4. Noelle's journey

Dwight and Jesse

Man … what a badass Noelle is. Seriously, what a great story, what a great Survivor character, and what a great episode she just had!

Coming off of being on the wrong side of the vote, it wasn’t looking good for her. She absolutely kicked butt in the immunity challenge and really made Jesse and Cody sway away from her and onto Nneka. Then she got picked to go on the journey with Owen and James, and after the hike up the mountain, both of them allowed her to be the only one that risked their vote, guaranteeing she would come away with an advantage. She gets back to camp and finds out that she has a “steal a vote”, which seems amazing since there are only five people left on Vesi and she shared this information with Dwight. However, it seems like her tribe valued her spot on the tribe so much that she didn’t have to play her advantage, she didn’t go home, and she still has Dwight with her.

Overall, she had a badass day and she’s looking pretty good for her short-term Survivor life.

5. Geo looks

Geo looks

Ok, just a quick one to end the week. I love watching true fans of Survivor get on the show and get to play. A lot of times, they have extra knowledge or insights into the game that others just don’t have. The fact that Geo checked under the sit-out bench for a clue or advantage during the immunity challenge was great. But it was even better they showed it to us.

Does it mean anything? Maybe not. Will something come of it later? Probably not. Just the fact that they showed us makes me happy and it makes me confident that they are doing a great job with editing this show, not just for new or casual viewers, but for all of us Survivor nerds who listen to podcasts, read articles, or … write articles about Survivor!

So, there you have it for the third episode.  We are well on our way in this season now, and lots of storylines and characters are taking shape. What were your thoughts on Noelle not playing her steal-a-vote at tribal? Yes, it worked out for her, but when she initially didn’t play it, were you concerned for her? Was James foolish for mentioning the idol search?  I want to hear from you, let me know if I missed any moments or if you think I was correct in my thinking, the interaction is part of what makes this so fun!

Please catch more of me here next week where I will try to bring you more fun top five!


Brent Sullivan - Top Five, Baby!Brent Sullivan is a long-time fanatic of Survivor and has been writing about it for years. When he is not writing, talking about, or applying to be on the show, he spends his time with family, doing nerdy IT stuff, and watching movies. Follow him on twitter: @BSully_13