Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 43 recaps
Four vs. four vs. four
By Brent Sullivan | Published: October 31, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 6 Recap/ analysis

Four vs. four vs. four

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.

Merge time baby! I have said it several times in the past, but I love the merge (or near merge) episode. It’s normally one of the more exciting and crazy episodes of the season. There is always so much going on with all of the players being together for the first time. These newer seasons have added a new element as well with half the tribe being immune going into the first vote.

Season 43 did not disappoint. With all of the fallout from Baka that has been waiting to explode and a few other fun gems along the way too. Plus, no one was collecting beads or going on a journey this week, so that was also a plus. Finally, before I get started: Kudos to Elie for going out swinging. She knew her back was against the wall, and she didn’t go out without a fight. Ultimately, she had too much going on to overcome, but she tried and it made some good TV. So, I’m excited to start discussing what happened, so let’s get to this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. Advantage update

Advantage update

Just like Owen wanted, we got some graphics on the screen with who has what advantage. Let’s go over them here at the merge and see which ones can make an impact.

First of all, both Jeanine and Jesse didn’t have a vote but seeing the way the votes went this week, both of those didn’t matter anyway. Next, we have Noelle and her steal-a-vote. In a group this large, a vote steal isn’t going to make much impact. Yes, the numbers are even, but the chances of a 6/6 vote split where it would come in handy is a long shot. Noelle is better off saving this for further down the road. With Baka breaking apart this episode, Noelle might be safe enough for a few votes to hold it, and hope to use it around the final 8 or so.

Next, I’m going to assume that Gabler’s idol is no longer valid. Even though he was immune, he still went to a tribal council, so it shouldn’t be good anymore. However, Elie’s plan could come into play now that she is gone, and he could try to convince others that it is real. He may have some trouble with that plan though since Jeanine is still around and she is going to still be pissed at him.

Finally, there are three more legit idols still left in the game. Both Cody and Jeanine have one that people know about, and Karla has one that no one seemingly knows about. With Cody’s name coming up as a potential target, he could be on high alert to use his soon. The same with Jeanine. Now that her closest ally in the game is gone, she may be feeling vulnerable and may have to play it. Karla is in the best position of all of them. Not only does no one know about it, but everyone in her old Coco tribe trusts her and others don’t seem to see her as a threat. So, she may be in the best position to hold her idol till later in the game.

2. Noelle slips up

Noelle slips up

Sometimes on Survivor people get put in the crosshairs of the other players for reasons completely out of their control. Poor Cody may be in that exact spot and not even know it. During all the chatter after the merge (not-merge) Noelle let it slip about Cody showing up to tribal council with a handmade hat that had beads on it from everyone in the tribe. Elie picked up on it and let Jeanine know about it. Obviously, Elie is gone now, but Jeanine knows, and we don’t know who else has potentially been told.

Voting someone out with an idol in their pocket is always a great move, but if you can do it and that player doesn’t even know that someone else knows about their idol, it makes it even greater. I’m curious to see how that word travels because as soon as someone on Coco gets wind of this, they will be able to put together the pieces about Karla and figure hers out, too.

3. Gabler throws out Elie's name

Gabler throws out Elie's name

So, by throwing out Elie’s name, Gabler’s big plan was to … throw out Elie’s name. Makes sense. Everyone at the merge is looking for someone to vote for and you have someone you don’t trust and want out of the game. It’s almost too easy, right? Well, the issue was/is he did it right in front of Jeanine, who of course went straight to Elie and spilled the beans on what Gabler just said. Which in return led Elie to confront Sami and Owen about it.

In the end, Gabler got what he wanted, but at what cost? What is his plan moving forward? Sami looked frustrated with him but still voted with him. Owen voted for James which meant he was voting with Elie, and we know Jeanine isn’t going to want to work with him. So, does that mean that Baka is no more? Gabler made a big move to get out one of his own and it could get him further in the game depending on how the numbers shake out over the next vote or two.

4. Karla gets hurt

Karla gets hurt

Ok, I won’t spend a lot of time on this, because injuries like this rarely amount to much in the game of Survivor. I think it would have made a bigger impact had she not been able to get up the ramp and net and cost that group the challenge, but ultimately, they were able to get her up, so nothing came of it.

The reason I bring it up here is because we are getting ready to go into the single-player challenge section of the game and there are a lot of challenges that will require her to use her hands for balancing or climbing or something similar. She seems to be in a good spot now, but if anyone finds out how good she is playing this game, she may need an immunity win or two to assist her way to the end.

5. 4 vs. 4 vs. 4

4 vs. 4 vs. 4

So, after all is said and done and everyone has their merge buff, we are left with four each from each original tribe. There are four Baka players, four Coco players, and four Vesi players. Personally, I love when this happens because you really get to see which original tribes made the best bonds early on. The biggest story here is probably Baka. As I mentioned above, since Gabler threw out Elie’s name and she was voted off, Baka has a real shot to split up. Will Sami stay with Gabler while Owen and Jeanine go off on their own? Will each pair join up with either Vesi or Coco?

Now, with the original Coco tribe, I’m not sure if Ryan is still feeling comfortable with his group after they blindsided both him and Geo when Geo was voted out. Finally, we move on to the old Vesi tribe. They have been winning and getting along great over the last few weeks, but does Noelle have any trust in Jesse yet? Both she and Dwight were upset that he wanted to vote for Justine way back in the second episode. Do they use this opportunity to jump ship and re-align somewhere else?

There are definitely many ways this can go over the next few votes and I can’t wait to see how this shakes out.

So, there you have it for the sixth episode and this week’s “Top Five Baby”. Everyone is now in one big, merged tribe. No more Vesi, Baka, and Coco, and I am excited to see how this plays out. What do you think of Gabler’s move to get Elie out? Are you glad the hourglass is gone? Do you also love the merge episode? 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