Survivor 44 Episode 4 Recap: Felicia Strikes Back

If you’re about to declare, “Bye, Felicia!” to someone, you best make sure that Felicia is well and ready to leave Survivor.

In this week’s episode of Survivor 44, “Felicia” was the eccentric Carolyn Wiger, one of the more interesting contestants introduced to us this season. Hers was the first face we saw this season, in a confessional where it seemed hard for her to even state her name and occupation. Thus far, she’s been portrayed as an unpredictable, loony, wild card. Tonight’s episode made one thing clear: There is so much more to Carolyn than what first meets the eye.


On Survivor, getting “over-looked” or being treated “less than” is something that incredibly happens over and over. We’ve seen it a million times. More “strategic” players who believe they are in power and are running the show, tend to talk down to other players. Or treat them more as pawns and not as real people. In this instance, Yam Yam and Sarah underestimated Carolyn‘s worth. He dismissed her eccentricities as if she had nothing to add strategically. Yam Yam said it himself in this episode, telling Carolyn, “No offense, but…” and basically announcing that she would not be viewed as a big threat. Whether true or not, this is an insult in the game of Survivor. One that Yam Yam fell victim to, treating Carolyn perhaps as an “alliance member” but not as a real “ally.”

RELATED: Survivor 44 Episode 3 Recap: Fake It Till You Make It

The ability to manage your social relationships is the underlying key to this game. Boston Rob put on a masterclass of this ability during his winning Season 22, “Redemption Island. But this simple concept is so much harder to carry out in real life. Season after season, we see players on the “bottom” feeling neglected, who end up turning the game on its head. It’s too early to tell if Carolyn‘s betrayal of Sarah and Yam Yam was “good” for her game. But it definitely wouldn’t have happened had Yam Yam and Sarah done a better job of making Carolyn feel like an important asset. Instead, she felt like just a number on their tribe.

A New Day For Josh

In a “new era” of Survivor that has been touted as extremely grueling, where nothing comes easy, this week we witnessed three Immunity Idols given out for free. Sure, these three Idols are temporary and can only be played pre-merge. But that’s still quite a lot of power gifted into the game. For Josh – a player whom we didn’t see much of over the first two episodes but who has become more and more important to the game – this temporary Idol was a life-saver.

It looked as if he was cooked back at his original camp. Josh thought he was the swing vote between Frannie and Matt on one side and Danny and Heidi on the other, but in actuality had been marked the next to go. He now has an ally in Carolyn. And never knowing of the treachery that might have been waiting for him back at the Green camp, those relationships might end up being key in a post-merge environment. Those two duos may end up needing Josh for their long-term plans.

Sarah Blind-Sided

Carolyn – with Josh‘s help – not only orchestrated the exit of a very dangerous player in Sarah, but Carolyn also showed some savvy that we had previously not seen. Planting that “Red X” in the mysterious birdcage was incredibly smart. It did lead to Sarah finding Carolyn’s fake Idol. Sarah didn’t know it at the time, but she saved herself some humiliation by NOT playing that fake Idol at Tribal.

In one way, this no-play was a good thing for Carolyn’s game. Had Sarah played her fake Idol, Yam Yam would have had to know that Carolyn was the mastermind behind that move. It would have painted Carolyn as an even more dangerous player. Sure, had Carolyn not come up with the “Red X” ploy at all, she’d still possess a fake Idol that she could do future damage with. But all in all, I think this was a great week, not only for Carolyn’s game but for our perception of Carolyn this season.

Don’t forget too that Sarah leaves the game not only with a fake Idol, but with that “Inheritance Advantage” that she had previously earned. We’ll never know how that advantage might have played out…it’s possible it may be recycled back into the game, but we’ll just have to see.

Idol Chaos

The two other temporary Idol owners – Jaime and Carson – seem to have different challenges back at their new camps. Jaime seems to have a tremendously strong social game. But she does have a fake Idol that she thinks is real, and this could end up being her downfall. Carson seemed to integrate a little better into his new camp. But it’s still too early to tell whether or not he’s made his way into the good graces of power player Matthew. Matthew has become a power player by not having to reveal his cards at Tribal (smartly using his “Shot-in-the-dark” a few weeks back to avoid taking sides on his tribe).

RELATED: Survivor 44 Episode 2 Recap: The Devil Made Me Do It

We are suddenly looking at Episode 5 already next week! That means that we are probably just a few short weeks away from the merge. And there’s already a head-spinning amount of advantages, fake Idols, temporary Idols, and legit Idols, to sort through. Yam Yam looks to be in trouble. But as we witnessed this week, just because you start off the episode with a target on your back doesn’t mean you won’t finish the episode in a more powerful position.

Episode Take-Away

I love the many shades of Carolyn that we are witnessing so far this season…a kaleidoscope of colors, all fascinating to look at. Remember, she still has an Immunity Idol in her possession. But what Yam Yam said about her I find to be true: She does not strike others as being a big threat. That could make her a very interesting post-merge player, but people can handle craziness, not unpredictability. She’ll still need to integrate herself into an alliance. If she’s seen too much as a loose cannon, then she will become a target.

I also noticed that we keep getting reminded of Matthew‘s shoulder injury…will this eventually force him from the game? He’s been shown to be a big threat to win this season, but that lingering injury might make him a liability.

On Fire With Jeff Probst

The Survivor Official Podcast that followed this week’s show was all about challenges! Again, this is a must-listen for die-hard Survivor fans and casual fans alike. You can find the podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art

We’re honored here to be associated with Survivor legend Erik Reichenbach, who just so happens to be an amazing artist. As always, we’re thrilled and honored that he shares his talents every week in my column and with my audience. His latest piece is below!

“Carolyn Thinks A Thought” Art by Erik Reichenbach –

All of Erik’s work can be found and purchased on his site, I urge you to support this fantastically skilled former Survivor player!

Out this week: Sarah

Won Immunity: Green Tribe and Orange Tribe

Vote Result: Josh played his temporary Immunity Idol on himself.

2 – Sarah (Josh, Carolyn), 0 – Josh (two votes – by Yam Yam and Sarah – nullified by his Idol).

Current Advantage/Disadvantage List:

  • Lauren – Extra Vote
  • Matt – Cannot vote for one more Tribal, possesses a Fake Idol
  • Jaime – Possesses a Fake Idol, and one temporary Idol (must be played pre-merge)
  • Danny – Immunity Idol
  • Carolyn – Immunity Idol
  • Matthew – Immunity Idol
  • Carson – one temporary Idol (must be played pre-merge)

Next Week’s Episode: Matthew‘s shoulder continues to bother him. And the fallout with Yam Yam, Josh, and Carolyn will be explored.

Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! I am also a TV personality and Film Critic in the Detroit area and a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic. Check out my past movie reviews and my movie show (episodes are also available online at the website, Follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.


[Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell]