“Survivor”: Season 44, Episode 9

In the recent episode of “Survivor,” Vaughn Armour ’25 recaps this week’s idol drama and competitive immunity challenges.

“Survivor”: Season 44, Episode 9
This is the last recap of the year, so be sure to catch next week’s airing to see how the season wraps up. Graphic courtesy of Nina Aagaard ’26.

On May 3, “Survivor” released episode nine of season 44. The vote left me in despair, but everything leading up to that was highly compelling. This season is top-tier “Survivor”!

Before Kane left during the last episode, Jaime gave him her idol. This was to trick other players in case of a Knowledge Is Power advantage, which would give a player the ability to steal an advantage or idol at Tribal Council. Jaime’s idol was fake, but she didn’t know that — she thought she lost a real one. People were suspicious of her having an idol, so she decided to come clean. She told all the castaways that she gave her idol to Kane because of Knowledge Is Power and he left with it. Hilariously, no one believed her true story. Now, every player believes Jaime still has a real idol, and she’s seen as less trustworthy to boot.

At the beginning of the episode, we also learned that no one had told Frannie the plan to take out Kane. Danny and Heidi left her in the dark, which spelled the end of their tight trio.

At the reward challenge, Frannie dominated yet again for her third post-merge challenge win. It was costly, though, as she solidified her status as the biggest target on the island. Frannie did win tacos and margaritas, along with the opportunity to take three players with her to the meal. She opted to bring the three moms left in the game (Carolyn, Lauren, Heidi), as Jeff informed them that letters from home would be at the reward feast.

Seeing the Survivors read their letters was heartwarming, but they shared more than tears at the meal. Carolyn pushed for Danny to be the next elimination and for the women to continue working together. This was met with consensus approval, but of course, “Survivor” is never that simple.

Frannie and Carolyn had already begun to bond, but their connection solidified during the meal. They both really enjoy each other on a personal level and have a desire to work with one another.

In the immunity challenge, the Survivors had to slither through a sand course with their feet and arms tied together. At the end, they had to complete a complex star-shaped puzzle. Danny demolished everyone in the slithering portion, but Carson beat him soundly in the puzzle section. I’m interested to know if this is one of the puzzles Carson 3-D printed before the show because he zoomed through it for his second immunity win.

Back at camp, Danny pushed for Frannie to be voted out, while Frannie pushed for Danny. Both of them are massive physical and strategic threats, so it made sense for either to go. It was interesting to see them as rivals, though, since they had worked together as Soka for so long. When you turn against your allies in “Survivor,” it often hurts you and your ally.

Frannie ended up going home in this episode. This hurt me deeply, as I’ve wanted her to win the game for a bit now. However, I think it was the right strategic move for everyone except Carolyn. Ratu (Jaime and Lauren) eliminated a massive threat who has been actively working against them. This move keeps the remaining Soka pair (Danny and Heidi) in the game, which is a win, given that they were both mentioned as potential targets in this episode. For Carson and Yam Yam (Tika), this move eliminates the game’s biggest threat and makes Carolyn more reliant on their Tika three sticking together.

Seven players now remain, with three of them being Tika! Carson, Yam Yam, and Carolyn have been chugging along, underestimated throughout. I believe this season will end with one of them winning —  my pick is Carson. He has played brilliantly so far but still isn’t seen as a massive threat. This is my last article for Season 44, but tune in for the rest of the season to see how it unfolds and who will become the next Sole Survivor!