December 11, 2023

There aren’t many moments in life where your fate is determined by a bag of colored rocks, but in the game of Survivor, that’s just another Wednesday. (Get it? Because the show airs on Wednesdays and it happens a lot. OK, I’ll stop.) Well, yet again this season, those rocks play a huge role, not only in determining what teams the players will compete on during a challenge, but also shaking up their alliances, game play, basically everything. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning of episode 7 of Survivor 45.

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Also, before you read on, you’re about to read some spoilers. (But if you’re reading this before you watch the episode, that’s kind of on you, sorry not sorry.)

OK, so do you remember the drama from last week? Here’s my recap, but in brief, Kaleb survived a unanimous vote after he played his shot in the dark, which sent J. home—who was behind getting everyone to vote Kaleb out. So now, back at camp, Kaleb is doing his best to try and “tap the breaks,” as he says later in the episode, on his game play. He knows all eyes are on him and he’s likely the next vote out if he doesn’t play his cards right. (Or coconuts? It is Survivor after all.)

And Kaleb might just have an opportunity to deflect some attention from himself, because Bruce and Katurah’s season long frustrations with each other are reaching a boiling point. And it seems like Katurah is getting everyone to see just how “annoying” Bruce is, because Kendra and Kellie, all original Belo tribe mates with Bruce, are getting more and more frustrated with him.

(Sidebar: Whenever it seems like everyone is ratting on one particular player like Bruce, I immediately start rooting for them. It happened last season when people were calling Carolyn “weird.” Like, I get its part of the game, but the weirdo, outcast kid in me immediately goes, well screw everybody else, I’m rooting for the underdog weirdo. Perhaps this is exactly what producers want me to feel for Bruce, and you know what? It’s working. Also, justice for Carolyn, she deserved at least a vote in the end. Anyway, I digress.)

OK, so while the original Belo tribe members are falling apart, Jake has a strategy to get back to Reba strong. He sees that fellow original Reba members Julie and Dee are wielding an enormous amount of control in the game, and he’s ready to be a contender. He knows they want Kaleb out, which is bad for Jake’s game play, so he plots a strategy to be the big fish in the original Reba tribe and take some control.

Survivor 45 Recap - Ep. 7
Pictured (L-R): Jeff Probst, Katurah Topps, and Nicholas “Sifu” Alsup. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Robert Voets/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting

However, just when they all think they have a clear path forward, host Jeff Probst steps in like that substitute teacher who insists on actually teaching instead of letting the kids slack off. (What a drag.) At the challenge—they gotta climb a pole and stay up on it—Jeff announces that once again they’ll be pulling colored rocks from a bag and separated into two teams. Oh wait, there’s more! The last person holding on will win immunity from being voted out at Tribal Council. Oh, and the last person holding on of the two final players still holding on will win a food reward for their team (tacos!). But guess what? That’s not all! The team who didn’t win the food reward (i.e. the person who held on second to last) will have to vote someone out, and that person will not be a member of the jury. Oh, and the team that does win the food reward will also have to vote someone out, but that person will be the first member of the jury.

(Ugh, Jeff, you’re giving me a migraine, make it stop. Actually, he explains the two-vote twist on the latest On Fire podcast, the official Survivor podcast. I’ll listen after I take some Tylenol.)

Anyway, in the end Dee wins for the red rock group and is the last person holding on, so they get the food reward. Meanwhile, Kellie from the blue rock group wins immunity, but they just gotta go back to camp and plot who’s going home.

OK, so after the challenge they all start hustling. For the red rock group, all eyes are on Kaleb at the food reward, for obvious reasons. But Jake still has his eyes set on dominating the game, and he wants Julie out. He works with Kaleb on this, and obviously Kaleb is on board because he’s got nothing else left. They plot to get Austin and Katurah to join in with them, thus breaking up original Reba and crowning Jake as the leader. But as they all chat, we learn Katurah is talking with literally everybody. It seems like she might be siding with Kaleb/Jake—they even admit, as a goodwill gesture, to tricking her last week, when they acted like they were looking for Jake’s “ring,” but really they were helping Bruce look for an idol at their camp—but even with that info, she isn’t quite ready to put a ring on it, if you will.

So then, over at the blue rock group, Kellie is pleased with her immunity win, but now she’s in a pickle. You see, everyone wants Bruce out. (Remember, he’s “annoying.” Whatever.) But Kellie knows that nobody is going to take Bruce to the end, so it’s smart to keep him in the game to protect her game. She sets out to convince the others of this. Oh, and Bruce is paranoid and has an idol, and he’s not afraid to use it. So, if not Bruce, then who? All eyes turn to Sifu. He’s part of the original Reba and really isn’t aligned with anybody. But are people’s annoyances with Bruce too much for Kellie to convince them to go with Sifu?

Well, you’re in luck, because we’re at Tribal Council now, and the blue rock group is up first. (I’m over these goddamn rocks.) To be honest, this tribal was boring, because everyone rolls their eyes at Bruce, but it’s clear they’re all going for Sifu. Bruce still gets some votes, but Sifu is sent home. (And Kellie is turning out to be quite a player.)

OK, now for the fun one! The red rock group comes to Tribal Council, and you can just feel the division, with Julie and Dee on one side of the original Reba tribe eyeing down Jake on the other side. This is a battle Jake is ready for, and he wants that control. Kaleb makes his case, and Jake also tries to make a case that this is now an individual game now, putting a wrench in that Reba strong vibe from the past few weeks. All of this is playing out while Katurah is kind of in the middle, looking towards Dee/Julie and Kaleb/Jake. What will she do? (Honestly, this gave me flashbacks to my parents divorce.) Her and Kaleb had a heart-to-heart right before tribal, so it wouldn’t be wild for her to swing towards him. But alas, she decides to blindside him and votes him out, likely because Kaleb/Jake admitted to tricking her with that ring business last week. (Told you, she is not ready to put a ring on it.) And wow, the face Kaleb makes when he realizes Katurah voted for him. Survivor gold! But hey, it’s not all bad news for Kaleb, he’s the first member of the jury!

Oh, and they teased that the Survivor auction is coming back next week! I love the auction because it really shows you who is dumb.

Who Needs to Get Snuffed?

I’m kind of with Jake on this one, I want Julie to go home. I just haven’t seen her game play yet, and it does seem like she’s got more control than she deserves. But Jake made a big move this week, and well, it’s probably going to come back to bite him in the ass.

Who Should be the Sole Survivor?

I’ve been saying Emily, still my queen, and last week I kind of felt like Austin might go far. But you know what? Bruce has had a hard week, so just to give him some happy news, I’m going to say Bruce. (But I also need to admit that Katurah played the game this week like a baller. And wouldn’t it be juicy to have both Bruce and Katurah in the Top 3? I’d die.)

Watch Survivor every Wednesday on CBS or anytime on Paramount+ to follow along as I react to every episode this season.