Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 43 recaps
Moves, mud, and the AlliGabler
By Brent Sullivan | Published: November 7, 2022
Survivor 43 Episode 7 Recap/ analysis

Moves, mud, and the AlliGabler

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.

What the hell! Did they really find a way to wiggle the “Knowledge is Power” back into the game? How dare they not ask me first? For as much as I dislike that advantage, it does always add some drama to the game. Over the last two seasons, we have seen it backfire on the person trying to use it. This season, we haven’t seen it used yet, but lots of hustling around to swap items with one another, which was fun too. Also props to the challenge department for that great three-part challenge. This is something I would love to see more often; they must team up with someone only to go against them at the end. Glad to see a few different things pop up after the start of this season had a lot of recurring sequences. Enough with the rambling, let’s get to this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. Jeanine's tough day

Jeanine's tough day'

It’s more like it was a tough episode as opposed to a tough day, but you know what I mean. The episode starts with Jeanine feeling just as blindsided as Elie was. The two were working closely together and now she felt alone and sad. After a nice talk with Noelle (who went through the same thing earlier in the season), she went on a tour talking to each of her tribemates to express her hopes of working with them and staying in the game. Who knows if any of them believed her or not, but at least she still has her hidden immunity idol right?

Later in the immunity challenge, she got stuck in the net and had to be helped out giving her no chance of winning immunity. Again, at least she still has that nice idol ... right? Well, it appears that Dwight might have been voted out with her idol in his pocket. When James found an advantage, everyone scrambled and started swapping their idols or advantages with other people. Jeanine just happened to give her idol to Dwight, who just happened to be voted off that same evening. So her bad day continued ... or concluded in this case with her losing the hidden idol she had worked so hard to attain.

If you watch her during tribal council, you can see her tapping on his leg two or three times. I assume she was trying to get him to hand it back to her in case he was voted off. I do wonder if he did hand it back to her and we will see some clever flashback next week of that happening. But in the meantime, since we didn’t see it, we have to presume it didn’t happen. So, that might actually put Jeanine in a good position. No allies, no idols, and now no one looking to vote her off anytime soon. I’m looking forward to seeing if a secret idol handback took place.

2. Alli-Gabler is on the prowl

Alli-Gabler is on the prowl

Oh, Mr. Gabler, you are such a fascinating person to watch on my television. You are playing a unique game, which doesn’t appear to be a bad thing, but it isn’t a good thing either. Ultimately we will have to wait to see where his final spot is, but in the meantime, apart from not getting along with some of his Baka tribemates and throwing one of them under the bus right out of the merge gate, he is also doing good at challenges and pulling on the heartstrings a little bit with his minute-by-minute talk of who was giving him strength for each minute of the immunity challenge.

It must have worked since he won the first individual immunity challenge! He even got a nice touching moment where he was talking about our veterans and how he was playing the game for them. I would like to see how he does going to a tribal council where he isn’t immune and what his plans are for the idol he had at Baka that is no longer valid. Hopefully, there is still much Alli-Gabler to be seen and I will be here for every minute of it.

3. James's knowledge isn't powerful

James's knowledge isn't powerful

So, just when we thought it was gone, they found a way to bring it back into the game. While James was at the water well with Owen, Sami, and Dwight, he opened the lid and found a bottle floating inside. That bottle contained a clue to something. He read the clue out loud to them and he told them he wouldn’t go for the advantage that was tied up under the shelter.

Now, here is where things start to go weird in my mind. He then immediately goes for it. I understand why he did it and I would have done the exact same thing, I just don’t know why he told them upfront he wouldn’t. But then he tells Ryan, Karla, and Cody about it even. Now the other three guys he was with earlier also must know he has it already. In my mind, James should have been the easy vote this week based on all of that alone, but they already saw him as a strategic threat anyway, so not sure what they were thinking. Granted there is a lot we don’t see, and James’ name was written down.

I just wonder how long he goes without trying to use that advantage or how long he can keep keeping getting by without the votes moving to him as long as everyone knows he has something he can use against them.

4. Noelle loses more than her leg

Noelle loses more than her leg

What a great moment in that challenge when Noelle’s tribemates come to help her out of the tangled net. I must admit, I was watching that thinking I would probably get stuck in there right before both she and Jeanine got stuck. I’m not sure if that helped her or hurt her movement by taking her leg off, but either way, it was a bold move and very touching to see everyone tell her good job.

But the biggest loss that Noelle received this week was Dwight. She and Dwight have been working together for most of the season and that vote was not only to take Dwight out of the game, but was also a direct shot at her. Jesse and Karla thought she was directing too much of the vote when she was trying to get rid of James, plus Cody wanted to take out Dwight, so this is what they worked up.

Was it a move made too soon, or will this pay off for them and keep Noelle weak and without allies?

5. Jesse and Cody in the middle?

Jesse and Cody in the middle?

So, based on what I just talked about, it looks like both Jesse and Cody are in the middle of everything. With Baka and Noelle on one side and Coco on the other, plus whatever Sami is doing, they can control whom they want to go with. Was the move to get out Dwight or Noelle a one-time thing? Will they be back with Noelle and Baka next week and start picking off members of Coco, or have they made their beds on that side and are stuck working with Coco until it’s down to the last six of them (maybe seven if Sami is included)? With Cody having an idol and James having the Knowledge is Power, I’m really not sure how closely they can work together, but I am anxious to see how this bounces back after turning their backs on Vesi.

So, there you have it for the seventh episode and this week’s “Top Five Baby”. There are still lots of moving parts and lots of various paths for the castaways to take. Do you think Jeanine got her idol back? Is the AlliGabler going to be able to keep his head underwater for a bit? Did you like the three-stage format of the challenge? 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