After a grueling, accelerated 26-day season filled with new twists and advantages, castaways skillfully navigate their way to the final three, with one crowned the Sole Survivor and awarded the $1 million prize during the season finale, followed by the After Show, hosted by Jeff Probst. 44th season finale, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 24 (8:00-11:00 PM). Pictured: Survivor 44 logo. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Survivor 44 Episode 9 Recap: Chaos Rains

In the aftermath of the major blindside of Brandon Cottom, Episode 9 of Survivor saw a lot of players jockeying for their final positions. It’s quite rare that there would be a tribe split of 3-3-3, but that’s exactly the scenario we found ourselves in at we reached this crucial stage in the game. And the evenness of it all led to mass chaos, even among the pouring Fijian rain that fell throughout this week’s episode.

Dark Cloud

Kane Fritzler could easily say that the rain may have been coming from that dark cloud that has followed him around all season. Lightning finally struck, in the form of seeing his torch getting snuffed after a “live” Tribal Council came to a close. As Kane mentioned, he’d been on the wrong side of every single vote, and he just couldn’t seem to find his footing.

He ended up sitting out during his final Immunity Challenge – along with Carson Garrett ,  Lauren Harpe and, Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt – to earn a big bag of rice for his tribe. Admittedly, Kane didn’t think he’d stand (pun intended) much of a chance once he found out what the challenge was, so winning rice was at least a nice consolation. And Kane’s parting words, “Enjoy the rice, you bitches!” will go down in Survivor infamy.

Clearly, Carolyn Wiger is still not being taken seriously as a player. Her correct assessment that there were much bigger threats than Kane was apparently ignored when Kane was sent to the jury anyways. Just as Kane was “woken up” in this game, he was put to sleep.

Ruining Ratu

Kane’s exit leaves the former Ratu Tribe in ruins. His only allies were Jaime Lynn Ruiz and Lauren and both of them left this Tribal Council demoralized, at best. Lauren held on to that “Extra Vote” advantage the entire game, only to squander it at Tribal. And Jaime believes that she just lost an Immunity Idol, having sent it out of the game along with Kane when she asked him to hang on to it (just in case someone played a “Knowledge of Power” advantage that could have possibly stolen it away).

May they take comfort in watching the show back, realizing that the Idol Kane had stuffed in his shoe was actually a fake Idol. Not playing it saved them both the embarrassment.

Danny Goes All In

If there was another major development during Episode 9, it was the public coming-out party for Danny Massa. The viewers had known that Danny was a savvy strategist and someone to watch, but he finally made that blatantly clear within the game as well. Danny had strong opinions when it came to sitting out of the Immunity Challenge, and wasn’t afraid to share them. He actively and openly searched for the hidden Immunity Idol (kudos to Heidi who not only found it but vowed to keep it a secret!). He then swore on his “Scout’s Honor” that he wouldn’t vote for any of the Challenge sit-outs, admitting publicly at Tribal Council, “Yeah, I was never in Boy Scouts.”

Danny made it clear that he is in this thing to win it. It’s a big gamble, as he’s a massive target moving forward. But the bright side of playing loud and out front is, if it works and you make it to the end, the jury won’t be able to deny him the million dollars.

Episode Take-Away

It was a big episode from the perspective of numbers and power shifts. The once mighty Ratu alliance has been decimated, and all advantages (real and fake) have been flushed. “The Three Stooges” alliance of Carson, Carolyn, and YamYam Arocho may feel like they’ve been steering the ship recently, but not getting Danny out of the game when they had the chance might end up being a huge thorn in their side. Or to use a Stooges reference, a poke in the eye.

Danny wanted to gain the numbers advantage over Ratu, and also feared their advantages. Now he has the numbers and the advantages are gone. Is he really going to stay targeted on Jaime and/or Lauren? I think not. He will likely turn his attention towards The Stooges, and they would be stupid if they weren’t looking to weaken Danny next. Carolyn’s Idol was a big reason to believe that she/they may come out on top of that battle, but now that Heidi has an Idol as well, things are looking quite even.

Lauren and Jaime will now be the likely “swing votes.” But neither have a great resumé nor are they in any positions of power. They have to know that Carson and YamYam betrayed them, but they’re not going to have many other options other than to still try to work with them.

But who do you target if you’re The Three Stooges? Danny is the obvious choice, but Frannie is proving to be one of the fiercest competitors in the game. She just won her second individual Immunity Challenge and had someone play an Idol for her. Frannie also has Matt Blankinship on the jury who will be doing everything in his power to sway the jury Frannie’s way (not that she needs it based on her merits, but it’s definitely a plus). So is Frannie the biggest threat and not Danny? How will Heidi’s Idol play into things?

So much more game to go, with just four episodes of Survivor 44 left!

On Fire With Jeff Probst

The Survivor Official Podcast that followed this week’s show has Jeff Probst and the gang taking a look back at some of the most controversial twists in the show’s history. 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.

RELATED: Survivor 44 Premiere Recap: Blood, Sweat, Tears, And Injuries

“The Best Rice in Fiju” Art by Erik Reichenbach –

Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art

Former SurvivorErik Reichenbach, honors us each and every week with his exclusive artwork! He is an amazing artist in addition to being a Survivor legend. Sharing his talents every week in my column and with my audience is a huge honor and thrill. If you don’t see his art below, that means that it isn’t ready yet (one does not rush an art-eest). But it will appear once ready, so check back if you don’t in fact see it. is where you want to go to find all of Erik’s work. I urge you to support this fantastically skilled former Survivor player!

Final Episode Tallies

Out this week: Kane

Won Immunity: Frannie (2)

Vote Result: Lauren gave her Extra Vote advantage to Jaime, who played it. No Idols were played. 5 – Kane (Danny, Heidi, Carolyn, YamYam, Carson), 3 – Heidi (Lauren, Jaime Vote #1, Jaime Vote #2), 1 – Danny (Kane), 1 – Jaime (Frannie)

Current Advantage/Disadvantage List:

  • Heidi – Immunity Idol
  • Carolyn – Immunity Idol

Next Week’s Episode: We hear Jaime proclaim, “The era of alliances is over.” There’s a lot of scrambling going on. And Carson tells us that a betrayal will happen. It’s just a matter of which side will he betray.

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]