Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 46 recaps
Lifestyles of the rich and (too) truthful
By Damnbueno | Published: March 14, 20234
Survivor 46 Episode 3 recap/ analysis

Lifestyles of the rich and (too) truthful

So far, Liz has told her Nami tribemates that she’s got plenty of money at least twice. I’ve noted how that’s not a very smart strategy, but for some reason, she’s not listening to me. So, I thought this week would be a good time to take a look bat at some former players who let it be known (intentionally or unintentionally) that they didn’t need the million dollars. I’ll label these players “The (lack of) Humble Brag” tribe.

Carl Bilancione (Survivor: Africa) – Carl’s tribe was evenly split by age – four members in their 40s, and four in their 20s, and that’s how the initial alliances were split. 46-year-old Carl didn’t do himself any favors by talking about how his job as a dentist allowed him to buy several expensive cars. The younger members resented Carl’s wealth and put 4 votes on him at their first Tribal Council, forcing a tiebreaker. Carl lost the tribe trivia contest tiebreaker, and was the first booted from his tribe, finishing 14th.

Brian Heidik (Survivor: Thailand) – Brian didn’t brag about his wealth during the game. In fact, he never mentioned it at all. But his wife did. This season’s Loved Ones challenge awarded the winner a video from home. Brian won it, and the remaining players all watched it with him. In Brian’s video, his wife showed off their two expensive cars, grand piano, and luxurious home furnishings. The entire final 8 – 6 of whom would end up on the 7-member Jury. Everyone found out at the same time that Brian didn’t need the million dollars. To Brian’s credit, he’d solidified his position, and the revelation didn’t affect his game. It also didn’t hurt that he brought the game’s most disliked player (Clay) to the finals with him. Brian won the million by one vote.

Jonathan Libby (Survivor: Palau) – The Palau cast had a unique start to their season as 20 players began the game on the same beach with no tribes chosen. Producers told them they were going for a photo shoot, then surprised them by putting them in a boat and sending them to the beach to start the game. They spent the first day building camp and sizing each other up. Unfortunately for Jonathan, he chose not to speak to several players, and the ones he did speak to had to hear him complaining about how his expensive suit was ruined. Despite being one of the stronger looking players, he rubbed people the wrong way. When tribes were chosen by an alternating schoolyard pick, Jonathan and Wanda weren’t picked, and their Survivor experience was over.

Blake Towsley

Blake Towsley (Survivor: Guatemala) – Blake may or may not have been rich, but he talked like a spoiled rich kid. Blake bored his tribemates with stories of college exploits with his fraternity brothers. After a swap, Brian Corridan found himself in the minority on Blake’s tribe. Brian picked up on the fact that Blake’s original tribemates were sick of his stories, so Brian encouraged Blake to share more of them. Brian’s plan worked perfectly, as he was able to convince the 4-3 majority to boot one of their own. Blake finished 14th.

Gary Hogeboom (Survivor: Guatemala) – The former NFL Quarterback didn’t brag about his wealth. In fact, his strategy revolved around making sure nobody knew he was rich. He called himself “Gary Hawkins,” and claimed he was a Landscaper. Too bad for Gary, eventual winner Danni Boatwright worked in sports radio and recognized him. She told a couple of players she suspected she knew who he was but didn’t entirely expose his secret. Gary played a fairly strong game, but ultimately didn’t have the numbers and finished 7th.

Brendan Synnott (Survivor: Tocantins) – In his pregame interviews, Brendan talked about how successful he was as an entrepreneur. He wasn’t shown discussing this subject with any of the other players during the game, but some of the players seemed to know he was well off. Brendan’s wealth didn’t really affect his game. He got targeted because his original tribemates suspected he was making too many friends on the other tribe. He got blindsided at the merge, and became the first juror, finishing 9th.

Russell Hantz (Survivor: Samoa) – Russell was very successful in the oil industry, but initially fooled his tribemates into believing he was a firefighter from New Orleans. He rode that lie for a while, but after the merge he bragged about his wealth to his alliance. Later, when Russell’s alliance had gained control, Monica from the opposing alliance told him she wouldn’t vote for someone who didn’t need the money. Russell got furious and accused Natalie White of exposing his secret (she didn’t). Russell shot himself in the foot about 20 different ways down the stretch that all contributed to his 2nd place finish. Bragging about his wealth was just one of them.

Jimmy Johnson

Coach Jimmy Johnson (Survivor: Nicaragua) – Jimmy didn’t have to say a word about his wealth because the entire cast recognized the celebrity player from day 1. Johnson tried to use his wealth as a reason to keep him around, claiming nobody would give a million dollars to a rich celebrity. It didn’t work. Ultimately, Johnson got booted as part of a power struggle he never really knew he was in. He finished 18th.

Lisa Whelchel (Survivor: Philippines) – The former “Facts of Life” child actress surprisingly wasn’t recognized by the majority of her castmates. The only two who knew who she was became her most trusted partners – Michael Skupin and Jonathan Penner – two of the three returning players that season. They both kept her secret. Lisa was initially overwhelmed by the game but adjusted well enough to make it to the final 3. She got one vote for the win and tied for 2nd place.

Brad & Monica Culpepper (Survivor: Blood vs Water) – Monica had played once before in One World, finishing 14th. The couple stayed active in the Survivor community, and many former players realized how the ex-NFL player and his wife had many philanthropic interests and were very well off. So, by the time Blood vs Water began, the entire cast knew they didn’t need the money. But their wealth didn’t really affect their game at all. Brad made many early enemies, and finished 14th. Monica made it to the finals, got one vote and finished 2nd.

David Samson (Survivor: Cagayan) – The former Florida Marlins President (and owner's stepson) didn’t have to brag about his wealth. He was too busy creating other reasons to want him gone. He made an early enemy by labeling Garrett – the strongest-looking player on their Brains tribe – as the weakest. Then he didn’t put much effort into connecting with any of his tribemates. He only got close to Kass, who was busy alienating her tribe too. David managed to get himself booted first overall, and finished 18th. Most of his tribe likely never knew how rich he was.

Cliff Robinson

Cliff Robinson (Survivor: Cagayan) – Cliff’s tribemate Woo recognized him immediately, and told his entire tribe, not that it was possible the 6-10 Robinson could conceal his identity. Cliff was likable, and a capable Survivor player, but unfortunately that was his downfall. Eventual winner Tony was worried most of his tribe was following Cliff’s lead. So, Tony’s partner Trish pulled off a blindside on Cliff that shifted the power on the Brawn tribe. Cliff finished 14th.

John Rocker (Survivor: San Juan Del Sur) – The majority of the cast recognized the former pro baseball player, who was best known for the racist and homophobic statements he made while he played for the Atlanta Braves. Rocker never had a chance to make a deep run. It was more a question of when he’d be voted out as opposed to if he’d be booted. Just the same, he managed to get blindsided while holding an Idol despite Producers dropping several hints that he should play it.

Scot Pollard (Survivor: Kaoh Rong) – Much like Cliff Robinson, 6-11 Scot Pollard had no chance of concealing his identity as a former NBA player. When his alliance was in control, Scot actually played a decent game. Only one of his tribemates (Alecia) disliked him. He even talked about how he supported his entire family. But after one merge vote, Scot found himself in the minority. He promptly scorched the earth, throwing temper tantrums and sabotaging the tribe’s supplies. He got blindsided when he thought he’d be saved by an Idol, and finished 8th.

There are other examples of course. I could even cite Survivor: All-Stars here because Tina Wesson, Richard Hatch, and Ethan Zohn all got voted out in part because they’d already won the million from Survivor once before. And there are enough examples of wealthy players who won (or almost won) to conclude that being wealthy isn’t a Survivor death sentence. Just the same, its generally not a good idea to advertise your success like Liz has been doing so far.

Here are a few random notes after my episode 2 rewatch, all from the Immunity Challenge.

When the Nami tribe returned to camp, Venus complained about how nobody listened to her directions. Venus said, “It was the moment when I kept saying ‘Left, left’ and you kept going straight, and it (the cart) went right over my toe. You guys can have a celebration, but I’m exhausted right now, so I’ll talk later.” I watched it several times, and I just didn’t see Venus getting run over. She was running to the right of the cart, and the tribe did indeed ignore her shouts to go left. But the cart hit the guard rail, preventing her from moving forward. Then Soda wedged herself between Venus and the cart and moved in front of Venus. But wait there’s more. Venus never said “ouch” as the cart rolled past her. She didn’t pull her foot away either. She wasn’t limping as they finished that section of the course, or at any time when they were putting their puzzle pieces in place. She was even jumping up and down celebrating the first time they got the pieces to fit (even though they spelled the word wrong). One might argue that the adrenaline in that moment numbed her pain. But she wasn’t limping when she left the challenge holding the Idol, and she showed no signs of discomfort when they walked back into camp (presumably after getting a car or boat ride back from the challenge). Then after she told the tribe she wanted to wrap her toe, she sat alone in the shelter never taking off her shoes. Venus also complained that her tribe wasn’t listening to her, but I saw them following her directions several times while putting those letters in place. And of course, they listened to her when she said the word for the puzzle was “Perception.”

On the Yanu tribe, Bhanu, Tiffany and Kenzie all put the blame for the loss on Jess, claiming she kept dropping puzzle pieces. But I saw Tiffany and Kenzie dropping several pieces too. On top of that, both Tiffany and Kenzie bumped into Jess while she was holding a piece in place, causing Jess to drop some pieces. This was a team loss, not a Jess loss.

And finally, I thought it was funny when Siga finished their puzzle. As they celebrated in a group hug, Tim yelled several times “It took everybody!...” as his arm was around Moriah, who sat out. I guess Moriah’s ability to compliment Liz’s glasses on the sit out bench was very inspirational.

What will Venus complain about this week? Will it be about something that actually exists? Let’s find out.

And away we go...

I’m getting used to seeing Bhanu’s “Whatchutalkinbout Willis” face.


They don’t tell Bhanu about the plan. They tell Bhanu they didn’t tell him about the plan. And THAT’s when Bhanu figures out he’s not in the majority? And he was sincerely surprised to find out Jess voted for him?

Bhanu trying to quote Kenny Rogers lyrics is hilarious. But then again, Jelinsky was probably the one who introduced Bhanu to that phrase.


In past seasons, when they’d cut out the opening segment, I knew the episode was gonna be packed with good stuff because they needed the extra time. So, when I see it now, I suspect this episode is gonna have more filler like last week’s song title contest.

In pre-game, I thought Bhanu was a strong strategist because he spotted one player giving the same hand signals to several others. I was wrong. He’s totally a “just there for the adventure” player who thought he was a strategist. I had Kenzie and Tiffany pegged as “adventure players. I was wrong about them too.

Q to Bhanu “You’re my Phillip.” Phillip wasn’t playing to win he was playing to be asked to play again. He got exactly what he wanted, along with 100 grand for finishing 2nd. Then he used his 2nd appearance to pimp his spy book. Phillip was not a bad Survivor player. He got exactly what he wanted out of it. But let me make this perfectly clear: I do NOT want to see Bhanu in tight red underwear.

Bhanu and Q

Bhanu to Q: “Thank you, Coach.” If I were Q, I’d be insulted. I don’t want anyone calling me “Coach” on Survivor. Bhanu shot it right back at Q, but didn’t know it.

I think Bhanu’s head is gonna explode as he runs through his strategic options.

Bhanu, SitD

Wait, the caption says “Siga 4 days ago?” Why wasn’t this in last week’s episode?

Jem finds the Beware Advantage and doesn’t say a word about it. Maybe there’s hope for one of these new era players.

Jem, advantage

Jem had a good plan: Wait until someone starts snoring. That will cover the noise of you leaving the shelter. With my luck, I’d be the one snoring.

Jem says she can’t see, but she’s able to find the exact spot where she found the Advantage. Yeah, those camera lights didn’t help her at all. Domenick tried that line on me in Ghost Island when he found an Idol ... in a bush…at ankle level ... off of the foot path. I didn’t buy it then either. I could see Dom’s shadow on the tree he was searching.

Hunter is building furniture? Who does he think he is, Wendell from Ghost Island?

hunter and his bed

I like Hunter’s strategy to distract his tribe from his strategic intentions. They believe he’s not strategizing. Liz thinks he’s just there for the adventure. That’s good subtle play on his part.

In pre-game, Hunter said he built an entire Tribal Council in his backyard. After seeing his supplies, he’s done a lot more than I thought he did.

Hunter's fireplace

While I like Venus’ observations about Hunter, the way she communicated her idea to Randen was terrible. Randen: “Why do you think Hunter is running this game?” Venus: “Because I’m not blind.” Randen could easily take that as an insult. Most jurors don’t want to give money to someone who insults them. Just ask Russell Hantz. Just the same, targeting Hunter now would be a hard sell. She’d be better served by setting up a reason to remove him closer to a merge when others won’t need him for Tribal challenge wins Randen shouldn’t feel defeated about having a dead arm. Tyson had one in Blood Vs Water and ended up winning the game. It’s a great way to reduce your threat level, especially since people won’t know when you’re back at full strength.

Dr. Will checks Randen

We’ve seen every part of this challenge before. I remember Aras and Gervase laughing while Gervase pretended he couldn’t swim well. Aras “helped” him get over that barrel water obstacle. There was even a secret scene that season with Gervase titled “I CAN swim.” It was a great case of sandbagging because Gervase was labeled a challenge beast the first time he played. He destroyed that image in one challenge.

Why are Liz and Venus doing the backstroke? Don’t they know they’re in last place?

Nami in the water

Just like in the first challenge, Hunter is advertising a reason to remove him before the merge. I don’t think he could sandbag here (pun intended), but he should never want Probst yelling “An amazing performance by Hunter!”

Hunter lands one

Damn, that’s a heartbreaking loss for Yanu.

Soda didn’t try to take the Idol from Venus this time, but Venus was very quick to hand it back to Hunter.

Tevin was pointing at people before Probst told him he had to pick one person from each tribe to go on a Journey.

Tevin pointing

Did Liz get to make the decision on who’d join her on the Journey all by herself, or did the entire Nami tribe get to discuss it?

If I’m Q, I probably want to remove Kenzie. He already knows he can’t trust her. He’s gonna need as many athletic-looking players at the merge to use as shields if he hopes to go deep. In a swap or merge, he’s the obvious target for the other two tribes. But Tiffany and Kenzie should boot Bhanu. They’ve already alienated him, and as Tiffany said, he can’t keep his mouth shut. Then again, if Bhanu gets an Idol or Advantage, he probably won’t keep his mouth shut about it.

Q is beating himself up big time. But if he thinks it’s time for him to step up, now that means he’s got to come up with a plan to manipulate the vote. But what does he do? He tells Kenzie he should be voted out??? That’s a message you should never want to send. Its just short of quitting.

I’m with Tiffany “Give me a break with this self-deprecation!”

Tiffany yells at Q

So, they’re pulling rocks on the Journey to decide who gets to (has to?) play? My first question is can they trade rocks if they want to?

Journey note

As Tiffany predicted, Bhanu spills all the tribe info to Ben and Liz. I remember Evvie doing the same thing in Survivor 41 when she and DeShawn went on a Journey. DeShawn used that info against her. Evvie’s tribe lost 2 of the first 3 booted at the merge.

Hey, Bhanu got the Kenny Rogers lyrics right this time! “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”

And Bhanu confirms he’s there for the adventure, and not so much for the win. Maybe I shouldn’t check out the pre-game press anymore.

Ben: “Its hard when you can’t listen to Van Halen for a week.” I’m that way about Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Steely Dan, the Dave Matthews Band, P!nk, Linda Ronstadt and Queen, but I can last for more than a week. I used to be that way about Billy Joel, but I don’t like the way he screwed over his loyal bandmates.

You’d think Ben would know how to rock the block, wouldn’t you?

Ben, puzzle

Nobody wins the Advantage, but at least the hourglasses survived this loss.

I suppose I should feel bad for Bhanu for losing his vote, but I’m thinking now’s the time to come up with a bluff. Grab something unique and try to play it off as an Idol. Come on, Bhanu! “Did we give up after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Nothing is over until you decide it is!” (Thanks Bluto).

Tim always looks like he’s falling asleep.

Sleepy Tim

Ben has the right attitude. “I’m not gonna sit and think about not having a vote, I’m gonna think about ‘How am I gonna strategize?’”

Look at Bhanu! He lies to his tribe about the Journey, and they bought it. Could he be coming around? They still think he can play his Shot in the Dark. But he still has to sell Q on booting Kenzie ....

Bhanu tells his story

...but he blows it by telling Q he lost his vote. Heavy sigh. Bhanu is hopeless. Q is right. He has a passion for the game but doesn’t understand it.

If Q really wanted to control a liability, he should have booted Kenzie last week when he had the chance. Trying to sell Tiffany on booting Kenzie will probably backfire. Q and Kenzie butted heads over the Jelinsky vote, and right here is where he might end up paying for it. What if Tiffany warns Kenzie about Q’s plan? We might see Q leaving tonight. If not, he’ll leave at the next vote.

Q anmd Tiffany

I’m with Liz. When Dr. Will shows up, its usually not good. Randen might be gone. I wonder if this will save Bhanu? There are 10 minutes left. I think Bhanu will see another 3 days.

Come on, the entire audience is thinking the same thing. Can/will Randen slip his Advantage to Venus?

Lesson learned future Survivor players. Don’t sleep on the bamboo. Randen gets medevaced.

Tiffany’s “Whatchutalkinbout Willis” face is pretty good too.

Surprised Tiff

Q doesn’t look happy about missing Tribal Council. Maybe he thought his plan was working.

Mostly happy Yanu

Q confirms in confessional he believed Kenzie was about to be blindsided.

And next week, Bhanu admits to his tribe that he spilled all the info about them. Bhanu just can’t get out of his own way.


I’m sorry Randen is gone, but from a writing perspective, it’s a relief. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mistakenly written “Rondon,” “Rendon,” and “Ronden.”

The end of this episode reminded me of the merge episode from Kaoh Rong. The game fate of two finalists took a dramatic turn. The majority alliance decided to split votes between Neal and Aubry, knowing Neal had an Idol. Aubry easily could have been booted had Neal not been medevaced. Also, Michele had no idea which alliance to vote with. Neal’s medevac spared her from making that decision. Had she chosen the wrong side, Cydney might not have recruited her to help betray her brawn tribemates at the next vote – the move that ended up keeping Michele safe for several votes.

Now, I absolutely do NOT believe Bhanu’s fate will be similar to Aubry’s. Bhanu just doesn’t have it in him to strategize as well as Aubry did. Aubry and Cydney controlled the entire post-merge game. But could Bhanu dumb luck his way to a win like Michele did? Naaaaah. I’ve never had much respect for Michele’s win, but she did have the ability to come through in challenges down the stretch (even if she didn’t know she was in trouble). Bhanu doesn’t have that in him either. He panics too easily.

It sounded like Venus didn’t get Randen’s Beware Advantage, but does that mean she can’t get the Idol? He told her about it, so it’s not a stretch to believe she read the note. What’s stopping her from getting “Further instructions” if Nami loses a challenge? If I’m Venus, I’m digging up that box and hiding it from everyone else. At a minimum, I’ll make the Producers tell me I can’t use it.

What do you think? Does Bhanu have any chance at all at making a deep run? Was Q able to convince Tiffany to blindside Kenzie? Will Jem be able to keep her mouth shut about her Beware Advantage? Have we ever had a season with more whiny players? How would you handle a player like Bhanu? Do you put his vote in your pocket, or do you remove the information leak? Let me know in the comments.

damnbuenoDamnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.