Survivor Recap: Yam Yam Targets One of His Own, but Did He Take the Shot?

Survivor Recap: Yam Yam Targets One of His Own, but Did He Take the Shot?
May 2023

When the penultimate episode of Survivor 44 kicks off, all eyes are on Yam Yam. And by "all eyes," I mean mine. Both of them. We saw those previews from last week! We know he's gazing at his island bestie and alliance mate Carolyn. Plotting. Scheming. But when is the right time to cut her, and does he have what it takes to make the ultimate betrayal?

The Tika alliance has stuck together thus far, and while Yam Yam is itching to go rogue, Carson and Carolyn appear to be locked in. Carson feels they can beat Carolyn in a Final 3 situation, but Yam Yam isn't so sure. Personally, I'd love to see the Tika three at the end together and may the best man or woman win, but I also can't knock Yam for keeping his eye on the prize! Maryanne cut Omar in 42. Jesse axed Cody in 43. Sometimes on a CBS reality show, you just gotta (I hate myself already for using this Big Brother term) get some blood on your hands. So how dirty did Yam Yam's hands get? Let's hit the highlights.

TARGET PRACTICE | After Tribal Council, the tribe seems pretty dang impressed that Carolyn not only cracked the birdcage, but kept the secret safe for weeks. And it was impressive! But then she makes a cardinal sin in the game of Survivor: She explains every single thing she did and thought after finding the cage key... and she just doesn't stop talking! Her fellow castaways continue to be wowed by her detailed recounting of events, but all she does is increase her own threat level. It's the equivalent of screaming: "YES. I'M DOING VERY WELL IN THIS GAME. PLEASE, VOTE ME OUT NEXT." And it makes me worried. Very, very worried.

Survivor Recap: Yam Yam Targets One of His Own, but Did He Take the Shot?
| Yam Yam, Lauren and Carson win a lunch and spa day, which gives Yam Yam the opportunity to float Carolyn's name. Carson knows she's a huge threat, but back at camp, the challenge losers are floating his name! Carolyn tells Heidi and Jaime that she's down to vote him out, but tells us that she needs him around for at least one more vote. But -- and it's a big "but" -- she knows she can't go to the end with him.

Lauren wins immunity in a challenge that has players balancing a ball on a plate using two ropes. It's pretty anticlimactic, so instead, let's talk about the Heidi of it all. The mom and engineering manager is the only person currently holding an idol. She also has a vendetta against Lauren and Jaime for previously writing her name down. And this is exactly why Heidi will and should lose. Who cares if Purple Kelly or Lillian or Sherri wrote your name down a few times? Do these players have any shot at winning? No! Which is why gunning for Jaime is absolutely not in Heidi's best interests. Joining Tika for this vote only strengthens their majority alliance! What Heidi should do (if you ask this armchair expert -- which you didn't, but I'm going to tell you anyway) is use her idol, force a tie and let the chips fall where they may, hoping that a Tika, any Tika, gets the boot. But that's not what happens at all. Not in the slightest.

TRIBAL COUNCIL | As Tribal begins, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that Yam Yam was gonna take Carolyn out, and from the look on her face (make that the multiple looks on her face), she seems to also think her time had come, right?

Survivor Recap: Yam Yam Targets One of His Own, but Did He Take the Shot?
Everything out of Yam Yam's mouth feels very "I'm voting out my BFF tonight." From, "It might appear that there's groups, but that doesn't mean anything," to "I think the person who's leaving tonight is the person who needs to leave... for everybody's game." Even Carson jumps in with this puzzling quote: "Sometimes you're working with a group, and then the day of Tribal, they break up. That could be the case tonight." Say it ain't so, wonderkid!

To recap the recap: Slick editing + Carolyn's reactions + Tika's tricky wordplay = me yelling Richard Hatch-isms at my TV screen. "I've been bamboozled!"

The tribe votes and Heidi mysteriously (and unnecessarily) plays her idol for herself. Carolyn's name is written down twice, but Yam Yam doesn't stray from his alliance after all. Heidi joins the Tikas and together they vote out Plant Lady Jaime.

But seriously, didn't you think Carolyn was SOL? We want to hear all of your thoughts, so go full tilt boogie in the comments below!