Two and a half months in, and current Georgia Tech aerospace student, Carson Garrett, remains alive in the airing season of Survivor with eight people remaining in the game. His position in the game evolved greatly on this week’s episode, so let’s dig in!
SURVIVOR SEASON 44 EPISODE 10 SPOILERS AHEAD
When we last left Carson, he had just been the focal point for his alliance members during a live tribal that saw Kane go home with Jamie’s fake idol in his pocket. Not only that, Carson and his former Tika tribemates, Yam Yam and Carolyn, now have the most people remaining of the original three tribes.
“Everyone was saying this was such a chaotic tribal and like no one really knew the plan...I knew the plan,” Carson said in his opening confessional.
With the vote being a blindside for some, tying up a loose end with Jamie was necessary for Carson.
“I focus my game upon relationships, and so it’s really important for me to focus on damage control,” he said.
To do that, he made up a lie about Kane saying he had told people about Jamie’s idol to Jamie to cover his tracks to make Kane look less trustworthy, therefore framing Carson in a better light. Jamie buys it, and Carson isn’t blamed for inadvertendly flushing her fake idol AND Lauren’s extra vote.
This week featured an ever increasingly rare reward challenge. Frannie ended up winning by a good margin, and picked the moms on the tribe (Heidi, Lauren, Carolyn) to come with her for an overnight stay at the Survivor Sanctuary.
Frannie’s victory was her third in five individual challenges, squarely marking her as a challegne beast and an easy person for the group left at camp to agree on possibly voting out.
While the ladies are at the Sanctuary, Jamie attempts to comes clean about her fake idol walking out the door with Kane. While her story was 100% true, in the moment no one on the camp belived her, including Carson. All of them still believe she has a real birdcage idol and not one of the fakes.
Quick aside, did we ever get confirmation that Carolyn actually knows which of her idols was real or not? Let me know in the comments or tweet at me if I missed that.
At the immunity challenge, the players had to slither their way across sand hills, get a ball through some twisted rope, and solve a puzzle. Danny at the beginning blasted through the sand portion, reaching the puzzle first. Everyone else was far slower, but Carson still got through at the top of the peloton, reaching the puzzle in the front of the pack.
By the time he was there, Danny had barely made any progress, and Carson flew through it, winning his first individual immunity challenge, guaranteeing his safety at tribal.
The discussions at camp weren’t overly complicated, but at this point former tribe lines have definitely blurred with big threats taking priority over protecting alliance members.
The first plan Carson was part of was figuring out who to vote out between Danny and Jamie, possibly with a split vote and a means to flush the idol they think Jamie still has.
The Frannie plan never was fully gone though, and Carson also began sensing that Carolyn’s bond with her was becoming stronger than he was comfortable with if he was going to stay allied with Carolyn. He talks with Yam Yam about it, and they know that to move forward with the Frannie plan, they’ll need to keep Carolyn out of the loop so she doesn’t blow up the plan.
A Heidi idea is tossed around last minute, which Carolyn tells Carson about it. In comparison to the Frannie plan, it still gets a good player out and likely preserves Carson’s standing with Carolyn. Carson in a sense here really had control of the vote.
“In this game, I feel like I’ve tapped into my chaotic and clever side. But right now, I’m in full chaotic mode, and I know there’s going to be a betrayal either way, I just have to decide who I am betraying,” he said.
At tribal, he sticks with the Frannie plan that originated after the reward challenge, removing a challenge beast, especially on the puzzle side of things.
What stood out to me about this tribal was that it was the first one Carson didn’t have some sort of cover to disguise his vote behind. After playing both sides effectively between Ratu and Soka, he was front and center on this vote after winning immunity, and people knew it. As he mentioned, this was not a vote he could keep everybody happy with.
This leaves him a spot where he likely can still leverage his relationships go squeeze through another vote, especially if he can keep Yam Yam and Carolyn on the same page, needing only one more person to vote out whoever they want. But, Carson is a legit threat now. Any challenge with a puzzle in it, he’s going to be the favorite. Now that he’s eating, his energy levels might be back to a point where he can be a physical threat.
Questions for Carson if I had the chance to ask: When you heard the Sanctuary was a reward, what went through your head? What is it like when half the tribe just isn’t around? Was that another puzzle that you had previously built? At this point, the Tika people weren’t necessarily in the background anymore, did it feel like that at camp? How did you balance the options of who to vote for this time around?