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Carson on Survivor: Episode 3 Recap

Another episode, another puzzle solved

Survivor host Jeff Probst
Photo via Survivor Wiki

It’s mid-March, which means the CBS family of networks will draw millions of eyeballs over the next couple weeks between March Madness, The Masters, and our beloved Survivor, where Tech student Carson Garrett has made it to episode three after surviving his first tribal council last week.


We go straight to Tika camp to start the episode after Carson successfully pulled off a blindside with Carolyn and Yam Yam over Helen last week. “Pulling off a blindside at my first tribal was so terrifying but so exciting too,” Carson said in his interview when arriving back at camp. “I liked Helen, I just didn’t trust her.”

There wasn’t all that much screen time given to Helen, so it’s not all that clear how competitive she would’ve been. This move though was Carson’s first major statement that he will play the game and isn’t wasting time.

“Tonight, I tapped into my chaotic, crazy side,” a part of him that Jeff Probst also noted in his podcast, On Fire with Jeff Probst. During that same podcast episode, Jeff’s talked about his facetime interview with Carson during the casting process, where he reports Carson to have said “there’s calm clever Carson, and chaotic Carson.”

For now, the chaotic Carson is the one that is leading his tribe and playing the most strategic game right now. His chaotic side I think works better with Carolyn and Yam Yam, who themselves have their own boisterous and chaotic tendencies that have helped the three of them mold together, leaving Sarah at the bottom of the four person tribe.

Carson did have to do damage control after tribal with Sarah after initially aligning with her and Helen, a reoccurring phenomena on the show to frame past votes as purely strategic with nothing personal at hand.

Sarah in her post-tribal interview pretty much nails down where Carson currently stands in Tika: “Carson is the most dangerous player out here by a landslide. Everyone trusts him, he’s the cute little nerd. Out of the three of them [Carson, Yam Yam, Carolyn] I trust him the most.”

This is an incredible spot to be in. His tribemates know he’s smart and can work his way around the game, a potential asset for Tika post-merge to stay off the chopping block, but it is almost impossible that play will last the length of the game, nevermind to the next episode if either of Yam Yam or Carolyn have other ideas.

At the challenge, Carson looked strong in small swimming portion (something to put on the backburner for later episodes). Him and Yam Yam are tasked with a tall puzzle where you have to stack four boxes with different colors on each side so that none of the four sides has a repeating color vertically. After Ratu finishes first, Carson goes further than most do by literally running over to their finished puzzle to study it and solve it fast enough to come in second, avoiding tribal.

So, as far as we know, Carson is sorta still running the show at Tika. Carolyn still has the tribe’s idol and has not revealed that to anyone else. Winning one more immunity challenge would be huge for them considering they are physically the weakest tribe out there. Being at four puts Carson in one of the more risky spots across the entire game, regardless of where he currently stands in the tribe.

Last week I had a laundry list of questions I would’ve wanted to ask Carson, but his week I only wonder if he’d previously thought about literally inspecting finished puzzles as a strategy, or if that was a snap decision. There aren’t really any unwritten rules in Survivor because the nature of the game encourages letting the players determine gameplay, but going over to finished puzzles is still a relatively new part of the game. Probst brought it up in his podcast as something to potentially address in the future.

I don’t like watching the previews to keep everything a surprise, so I have no idea what to expect next week, but with how fast the new era of Survivor is, there certainly will be something to talk about in the #Carsonaut world.