“Survivor” Season 45: Episode 4

In this week’s “Survivor” recap, Columnist Vaughn Armour ’25 examines the tribe swap and let-down ending of episode 4.

“Survivor” Season 45: Episode 4
“Survivor” episode 4 featured a chaotic tribe swap and emotional tribal council. Graphic courtesy of Nina Aagaard ’26.

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, “Survivor” released episode 4 of season 45. It was a tribe swap, which I always love — the random combinations consistently lead to chaos. Thankfully, this swap did not disappoint.

The split completely separated the remaining three from Lulu. Emily went to Belo, Sean went to Reba, and Kaleb stayed on Lulu. Surprisingly, four of the initial Reba members (Dee, J. Maya, Julie, Sifu) stayed on their tribe, leaving Sean in a 4-1 hole.

The swap put Kaleb in the same predicament, as four original Belo (Bruce, Katurah, Kellie, and Jake) joined him on Lulu. Emily was the only lucky one of the three. She ended up with two original Belo members (Kendra, Brando) and two original Reba members (Drew, Austin) on her tribe. This made her the swing vote between the two pairs.

Emily played this role fantastically. She was relaxed and fun to be around at camp, letting the two pairs come to her. Drew and Austin did this first. They pitched an alliance to Emily, creating a trio I love. The three of them get along well and enjoy each other’s company — I think it’s a partnership that can last.

The immunity challenge was really fun this week! The three new tribes each had to carry a large cage through the water and onto the beach. Once on the beach, one person from each tribe dug themselves out through the sand. This person rebounded for someone inside the cage, who shot three balls into hoops of varying heights. It was close throughout, but Kaleb’s sharp shooting led Lulu to victory. Belo, behind Austin, came next, sending Reba to Tribal.

Back at Reba’s beach, the obvious vote was Sean — he was the only one not initially on the Reba tribe. However, Dee saw the opportunity for a move. She didn’t like Sifu and didn’t think the tribe could trust him to stick with them in the merge. Soon after returning, she pitched J. Maya and Julie on blindsiding Sifu. J. Maya was on board but Julie was against it. Sifu was the strongest member of their tribe, so Julie wanted to keep him for the challenges. Despite Julie’s reluctance, the three women told Sean about the plan and went into Tribal with a tough decision: Stay Reba-strong or take out a loose cannon.

At Tribal, Sean threw their plans into complete disarray. He started an emotional speech about how much he’s learned from “Survivor” and the struggles of his Mormon upbringing. At this point, I thought he was just trying to garner sympathy from other tribemates. Then, after saying how much he missed his husband, Sean told the rest of the tribe to vote him out! This was the second “engineered quit” this season. I was shocked. I paused the show, stood up, and stared at the screen for a while. This is not a frequent occurrence, but these players seem to think quitting is a typical part of the game. Sifu, Julie, and J. Maya obliged and sent him home. Dee was the lone vote for Sifu. I think they should’ve kept him, honestly. The second he said he wanted to go home, his chances of winning a vote at the final tribal went to zero. He would’ve been a useful person to drag along and sit next to at the end.

I never enjoy when a “Survivor” episode ends with a quit, but it was undeniably fun to watch. Next week, we’ll see if Sifu finds out that Dee voted for him and what his reaction will be. Tune in next week for episode 5 of “Survivor 45.”