For those that missed my article from last week, current Georgia Tech student, Carson Garrett, is playing on the season of Survivor currently airing. As long as he’s in the game, we’ll be keeping track of where he is in the game and how his moves have played out. If you’re as much of a Survivor fan like I am (I’ve watched almost 40 seasons), this article series is for you. If you haven’t been able to watch the show recently, but want to get back into it, now is a fantastic time! If this isn’t for you, no worries, I’ll see you again when I’m back on a Tech sports beat.
Recent episodes are available for free if you have access to CBS or Paramount+.
SURVIVOR SEASON 44 EPISODE 2 SPOILERS AHEAD
Our favorite Jacket in Fiji (at least last summer when they were filming) easily made it past the first vote in the premiere as his tribe didn’t go to tribal council, and finished first in the immunity challenge.
We get a really good first look of Carson’s gameplay the morning after the first tribal. One of his tribe members, Carolyn, finds a key to a bird cage that has a bag with an immunity idol and a fake immunity idol inside. Carson and the rest of the tribe come back upon the cage after Carolyn has put the bag back in the cage to make it seem like no one touched it, even though it is CLEARLY swinging in the cage as if it was recently tampered with.
Carson is the one who figures out the bag was opened after seeing the top of the bag wasn’t tied as tight as it was before, transporting him straight into investigation mode. In his testimonial audio playing over the scene, he explains how he read books on FBI interrogation tactics before coming out to Fiji, and was using that knowledge in this instance. He cast suspicion on Helen because she had her arms crossed while being asked if she was the culprit. Carolyn later comes to the cage and plays as if she’s oblivious to what happened, and they seem to believe her.
On this, I truly don’t know how they didn’t figure out immediately that it was Carolyn. Before Carolyn went to retreive the idols and put the bag back, the whole tribe went to the water well, and Carolyn didn’t go with them. That same group then went to the bird cage after returning from the well, and that’s when they come upon the bag swinging and clearly tampered with. How they didn’t immediately cast immediate suspicion on Carolyn is beyond me, but maybe the edit did enough to make it seem like the group got to the cage later than it seemed.
Tika ended up losing the immunity challenge, slating them for their first tribal council of the season.
Back to Carson’s testimonial, he talked more about his 3D printed puzzles and his initial approach to play to make people feel like he’s with them. This became poignant in the afternoon before tribal as initially he had an alliance with Helen and Sarah, the three of them targeting Carolyn at the vote. Sarah critically did not have a vote for this tribal after risking her vote for an advantage in the first episode, which the other Tika members did not know about.
Carson though did have discussions later with Carolyn and Yam Yam, saying he wanted to work with them after having made a plan to vote out Carolyn. The edit framed him as playing a critical swing vote, as Yam Yam and Carolyn were voting Helen, Helen voting Carolyn, and Carson being the vote deciding if a re-vote would be necessary, or if Helen went home. In the past, being a swing vote like this would be a quick way to become a target.
From the footage we saw, it didn’t appear he got squarely put in that swing vote position by leaving Helen and Sarah out of the loop of his conversations. Whether this was because he solidified off-air with Helen and Sarah that he was on board with their plan to placate them, or if it legitimately wasn’t an issue, we don’t know.
At tribal, Probst asked how Carson would define tribe strength, to which Carson referenced Bruce as being their initial core member and source of tribe strength, with his departure seriously affecting the dynamics of how that tribe was going to move forward.
In the end, Carson voted with Carolyn and Yam Yam for Helen, reducing Tika to four members and the smallest of the three tribes after two episodes. Besides doing the first puzzle with Carson, we didn’t see much else out of Helen, so it’s hard to say what all they will be missing out on going forward in the tribe stage of the game.
For Carson, he’s taken a more proactive role in the tribe after laying low the past few days. Going to tribal in a small tribe Avoiding tribal will do a lot for him next week, although if he sticks with Carolyn and Yam Yam to vote out Sarah (who is currently without any advantages), it at least gives him a solid three to theoretically take to the merged tribe.
If I had the chance to ask Carson questions, here’s what I’d want to know:
How did you approach finding the key? Was that something wanted to let someone else become a target for? How long were y’all gone when Carolyn did go open the cage? For this vote, how much did being in the middle matter to you? Was anyone else trying to do that and we just didn’t see? Is there a spiritual aspect to showing up to tribal for the first time? Did you have any doubt about your vote at that tribal?
Did you watch the episode? Send me your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter! We’ll hopefully have a short segment on Carson during the next episode of Scions of the Southland.