Survivor 45 Recap: Did [Spoiler] Just Pull Off the Season’s Biggest Move Yet?

While having an idol may give a player a certain degree of security, that doesn’t mean he or she is protected by an impenetrable forcefield. In Wednesday’s episode of Survivor, someone learned that the hard way.

With just eight castaways left in the game, Jake is tired of being a pawn, while the gang is hankering to flush Bruce’s idol. But for Julie, the deception of the game is beginning to weigh on her. She says she’s hurt that there are two people out there (Kellie and Kendra) who now think “Mama J” is untrustworthy.

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While Julie’s feelings are completely valid, the “mother” role on Survivor is really a thankless position, isn’t it? We’ve seen time and time again that when moms (or mom-types) play the game hard, they’re judged by a much higher and harsher standard than say, a Cochrane. (Remember how things went for his Caramoan ally Dawn?) It’s unfair and I don’t like it, but Survivor is and always has been a microcosm of our society, a society that doesn’t always give women — moms included — an equal or fair shake. If Julie makes it to the end, will this jury automatically hold her gameplay against her or would they be willing to give her the money? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Bruce tests out a new plan on Katurah. He says he gave Kellie his idol to potentially thwart a Knowledge Is Power attack, and she left the game with it in her bag. He’s bluffing of course (and tells her the truth), but is that just crazy enough to work on everyone else? He leaks the info to Jake, hoping that word gets out to the Rebas… and it almost works.

Survivor 45 Episode 10 recap
Survivor 45 Episode 10 recap

REWARD | After an obstacle-filled challenge that ended with a table maze, Emily pulls out a win, earning an overnight (pillows and blankets!) visit to the Sanctuary, a turkey feast and letters from home. She’s visibly shaken when Jeff calls her name (man, does anyone have as good of an arc as Emily this season?), and she picks Katurah, Julie and Dee to join her. And what does Katurah do the second their bellies are full? She tells everyone about Bruce’s idol plan!

Look. I get it. Katurah doesn’t like Bruce. But does she really think that giving the Rebas this golden bit of information will get her to the end? She’s letting her personal feelings get in the way of strategy, because if your name is Emily, Katurah, Bruce or Jake, you need to split up those Rebas and you need to do it YESTERDAY. That would be this armchair recapper’s main priority, at least.

Back at camp… it’s Kenny Loggins! Well, no, Loggins didn’t show up to teach the castaways how to write a smooth Yacht Rock hit, but we were treated to a montage of farts and flexes set to the tune of “Playing With the Boys.” (This is all sorts of ridiculous and I am so HERE for it.) Jake then does exactly what Bruce hoped: He tells Drew that Bruce’s idol is gone… and Drew seems to buy it! He then relays that info to Austin. The Reba boys are giddy, but clearly, the women are going to burst Bruce’s bubble, right? And like clockwork, Emily squeals on Uncle B. the second she gets back to camp. (Womp, womp!)

Survivor 45 Episode 10 recap
Survivor 45 Episode 10 recap

IMMUNITY IS BACK UP FOR GRABS | It’s another endurance challenge, and this time the players are lying on slanted slabs hanging over the water. As time progresses, they move to smaller and smaller handles, making it more difficult to stay on. Emily falls first and shortly after, Katurah panics. I’m not sure if she has a lack of confidence in her swimming, but I’m glad she got off and took care of herself. Her distress wasn’t fun to watch.

The men are the last four left hanging, but Austin defeats Bruce in the final showdown. Jeff then tries to give Katurah a big “Cirie moment,” and she accepts, electing to swim out to the boat despite her fears of the water. Good on her! We love to see it.

STRATEGY | With Bruce protected by an idol and Julie laser-focused on Jake, the vote seems like it’ll be pretty simple, right? Wrong. Katurah tells Emily that she doesn’t want to go to the end with anyone named “Mama.” Emily tells Bruce that Julie isn’t with him, and he seems willing to take Mama J out. Emily’s goal is to make Bruce feel safe enough to not play his idol because hey, if Bruce goes, everyone’s happy! It’s a long shot, but you’ve gotta respect the attempt. (I can almost hear Jeff saying something about “swinging for the fences in Survivor” and that’s exactly what Emily does here.) But if Bruce does play his idol, there’s always the ricochet to worry about, and that’s what’s bugging Jake out, as he hits what Bruce calls the “Survivor wall.”

THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN | At Tribal Council, Jake speaks about his insecurity and imposter syndrome, and how much not being in the know has affected him. “I just feel dumb,” he says. Julie talks about the “extra burden” of being the tribe mom, saying she can’t even look at the jury because of the guilt. Emily says this is the time to make a move and suspects the power dynamic is about to shift in a big way after the vote. And yes, Bruce’s idol does come up, but is he going to play it?

HE DOESN’T. When Jeff reads the results, Jake gets three votes and Julie catches one, but the duped Bruce claims the remaining four. As for Emily? She gets one ginormous addition to her Survivor resume! (Read our Q&A with Bruce here.)

Did the right person go home this week? Is Emily’s move the biggest of the season so far? Tell us all your thoughts by going full tilt boogie in the comments below!

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