Survivor 43 Finale Recap Winner Revealed
Five castaways remain: Cassidy, Gabler, Jesse, Karla, and Owen. Who will make it to the Final 3, and who will the jury vote to win the title of Sole Survivor and the $1 million grand prize? Let’s find out!
Jesse says everything went according to plan last time. He blindsided Cody with his own hidden immunity idol, and Karla misplayed her idol too. Jesse has the only remaining hidden immunity idol in the game in his possession. We hear confessionals from the Final 5. Gabler calls himself the assassin and no one is targeting him. Owen admits his game started poorly, so he needs to be perfect these next few days. Jesse says he was subtle at first, but now his threat level is “off the charts.” Cassidy says she has been on the right side of every vote. She thinks she made every move correctly, even though she doesn’t have any flashy moves. Karla says she is struggling and on the outs, but she has the heart of a warrior.
The castaways get tree mail. They have the opportunity to earn one final advantage. They must solve a word scramble to get the clue to a final advantage. They each work individually to solve the word scramble. Karla solves it first, but Owen solves it next. They run down to the beach to find a clue hidden in a tree knot. Owen gets to the tree first, but Karla manages to retrieve it under his nose. Karla wins an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. Owen is furious he let the advantage be taken away from him so easily. He angrily chops coconut with a machete to let out his frustration.
It’s time for the immunity challenge. They must go through a series of obstacles and then transport letter blocks back and forth across balance beams. They must use the letter blocks to solve a word puzzle. The first person to solve the puzzle will win immunity. In addition, they will also win a food reward that includes meat and veggies. As for Karla’s advantage, she will start with 1/3 of her letter blocks while everyone else is starting with zero. The challenge begins, and Karla’s advantage keeps her in the lead. Owen is in second place, and he’s followed by Gabler and Cassidy while Jesse is trailing behind in last place. Karla is the first to start working on the puzzle, but Owen also starts working on it soon afterwards. Eventually, everyone is working on the puzzle. They’re trying different words, but no one can seem to figure it out. Finally, Owen solves the word puzzle first. The phrase is “You cannot hide in a dangerous game.” Owen wins immunity! He can also choose to bring one person with him to the sanctuary. He chooses Cassidy.
While Owen and Cassidy enjoy their reward, they discuss the upcoming vote. Do they vote out Jesse or Karla? Unbeknownst to them, Jesse is still in possession of a hidden immunity idol. Owen would rather see Jesse voted out, but Cassidy prefers to see Karla go. Regardless, Cassidy tells Owen she wants to see Owen, Gabler, and herself sitting in the Final 3. Meanwhile, Gabler feels down that Owen didn’t pick him for the reward. In addition, Karla and Jesse talk about how they’re likely on the chopping block tonight. Jesse wonders if the target should be Cassidy tonight. However, Karla admits in a confessional that she would rather see Jesse go home tonight.
Jesse and Karla pitch their idea to Gabler about voting for Cassidy. Gabler shares in his confessional that he wants to sit with Cassidy and Owen at the Final 3. He wants Karla and Jesse to be the next two voted out. Later, Karla shares her true intentions with Gabler. She lets him know she wants Jesse to go home tonight. Karla pitches this same plan to Owen later. Owen says Karla is making a solid argument, but he’s worried how Karla is also a threat due to how persuasive she is.
Karla tries to persuade Cassidy to target Jesse, but it’s clear Cassidy wants Karla to go home. Karla tells Cassidy that she can’t use anything pre-merge as an argument to the jury. Karla tells Cassidy that Karla and James made the decisions on the Coco tribe, not Cassidy. Karla says she will let the jury know about it too. Cassidy is annoyed Karla is using scare tactics. Cassidy walks away and lets Jesse know that Karla has been throwing his name on the chopping block all day long. Jesse is concerned, but he admits in a confessional he still thinks it would be better for Cassidy to be voted out tonight.
It’s time for tribal council. Jeff reminds them this is the last time someone can be voted out due to the Final 4 fire-making challenge. Jeff asks about the strategy for the vote. Jesse candidly tells Jeff that Karla has been throwing his name under the bus. Karla owns up to it since Jesse is a big threat. She reminds everyone how Jesse was the mastermind of Cody’s elimination last time. Jesse tells everyone he knows he’s safe tonight. He pulls out the hidden immunity idol in his possession. Jeanine is stunned. This was her hidden immunity idol she handed to Dwight for safekeeping before he was voted out. Everyone assumed the idol left with Dwight, but Dwight had handed it to Jesse at the last minute. After the shock of Jesse’s reveal, Karla says there are still two other options if it can’t be Jesse going home tonight. She tells them all she doubts she is much of a threat anyway. Karla then pulls Jesse aside and whispers to him about a new plan. Jesse claims he would play the idol on her, but he doesn’t want the vote to flip on him. Karla asks about pulling in Gabler to take out Cassidy. Jesse agrees, and more whispering commences with everyone. Eventually, they all sit back down. Cassidy tells Jeff she is feeling more nervous. Gabler says everyone has been targeted today. He says it could be anyone going home. Finally, it’s time to vote.
Before Jeff reads the vote, Jesse plays the hidden immunity idol on himself.
The first vote is for…
Karla is the fourteenth person voted out of Survivor 43.
Next is the final immunity challenge. They must maneuver bowls through a channel until they stack fifteen bowls. If a bowl drops, then they must start over. The first person to stack fifteen bowls will win immunity. The challenge begins, and Cassidy takes the early lead. Gabler and Owen are close too, while Jesse is trailing behind in last place. Jeff reminds everyone how Jesse is the only player left to not win an individual immunity challenge. Eventually Gabler is in the lead with twelve bowls while Cassidy and Owen each have eleven bowls. However, the majority of Gabler’s bowls fall after a heavy gust of wind. It’s now between Cassidy and Owen for immunity. Who will reach fifteen bowls first? Owen only has two bowls left, but his entire stack topples over. Cassidy gets her last bowl in place. Cassidy wins immunity! She will get to bring one person with her to the Final 3 and decide which two players will compete in the fire-making challenge.
Cassidy says this win could not have come at a better time. In Owen’s confessional, he admits he feels conflicted. He says his best chance to win the game is to take out Jesse in the fire-making challenge. He wants to persuade Cassidy to let him go against Jesse in the challenge. Jesse knows he’s going to be in the fire-making challenge, so he practices making fire. Jesse also tries to sway Cassidy to go against him in the challenge, but Cassidy says there is no way she is giving up her necklace. Jesse breaks down in tears in his confessional. He says there is only one challenge standing between him and the $1 million. He wants to provide the financial security for his kids that he never got growing up. Meanwhile, Cassidy asks Gabler if he can beat Jesse in a fire-making challenge. Gabler says he can, and he wants to be the one to take out Jesse too. Gabler also says in his confessional that he plans to donate the $1 million to charity if he wins. Cassidy is torn between Owen and Gabler for Jesse’s fire-making opponent. She knows taking out Jesse would be a resume builder for both of them, but who would be the bigger threat against her while also being the best chance to take out Jesse?
It’s time for tribal council. Cassidy says it’s a good feeling to have immunity. She’s proud to have earned a spot in the Final 3. Jeff asks about the discussions back at camp. Cassidy says it was burden to have the final say. Jeff asks about the pitches. Jesse says he told Cassidy to make fire against him. Cassidy says she trusts in the game she played, so she doesn’t need to do that. Jeff asks who will go against Jesse? Gabler says he wants to make fire against Jesse. Owen also wants to make fire. Jeff is amused how everyone wants to make fire and no one is asking to be taken to the Final 3. Cassidy says she needs to make the decision that benefits her the most. Jeff asks who is sitting with Cassidy in the Final 3? Cassidy says Owen will be sitting with her in the Final 3. That leaves Jesse and Gabler in the fire-making challenge. Gabler believes he can win the challenge, and Jesse says he will give it his all.
Gabler and Jesse get started on the challenge. The first to build a fire to burn through the rope will win and advance to the Final 3. The loser will be the final member of the jury. Gabler is the first to get flame, but Jesse gets a flame soon afterwards too. Gabler has a decent fire going after Jesse’s flame goes out. Eventually, Jesse gets fire again, but it’s too late. Gabler’s fire is too strong. Gabler’s fire burns through the rope. Gabler wins the fire-making challenge. Jesse is eliminated and the final member of the jury. Jesse breaks down in tears. He says he’s thinking about his wife and kids. He was playing this game for his family and wanted to give it his all for them.
Owens says making the Final 3 is “beyond comprehension.” He says he’s been the underdog the majority of the game. He’s going to give it everything he’s got. We also hear from some jury members. Karla says Owen never gives up. Sami says he needs to come out strong. Noelle says she would rather vote for the underdog than someone sitting pretty in a majority alliance. Gabler says he never received a vote, and he hopes he will get all the votes. Ryan says Gabler flipped for strategy. Jeanine calls him an enigma. Cody says it’s impressive he managed to fit in with people 20 years younger than him. Cassidy says it’s been a long journey. She calls herself a dark horse in the competition. She won immunity challenges and was always on the right side of the vote. James says Cassidy didn’t rock the boat. It was too late to take her out. Ryan says he saw the danger in her early on. Jesse still believes she should’ve competed against him in the fire-making challenge. Owen says he had to fight harder than anyone else. Cassidy hopes it will be the best night of her life. Gabler says failure is not an option.
It’s time for Final Tribal Council. Jesse starts the discussion. He reminds Cassidy, Gabler, and Owen that they have to earn their votes. Noelle asks them to differentiate their games from the others. Gabler says his game is relationship based. He wanted to be the person everyone counted on. He says he was aligned with every jury member at one point. He claims he had multiple options to make it to the end of the game without receiving a single vote. Cassidy says she always voted correctly. She claims her close bonds with Karla and James on the Coco tribe saved her too. She also points out how she is the last woman standing. Owen says he was prepared to dominate the game as a super fan, but he didn’t play up to his expectations. He owns up to being on the outs of the game, but he had to fight to dig himself out of the hole and get himself to the end. He said he didn’t need to play a perfect game, but he’s an underdog who fought hard to make it to the end.
James asks when did they stick their necks out for an ally. Owen said he viewed Karla and James as threats, so he allowed Noelle to steal his vote to allow James to be blindsided. Gabler brings up Elie going through his bag as a reason to vote her out, but Jeanine owns up to going through his bag. Karla asks for Cassidy to mention a move she made pre-merge. She said it was forming a close relationship with James and Karla to blindside Geo. Jesse wants an example of using social relationships to get ahead in the game. Gabler says he flew under the radar after voting out Elie. Cassidy says she had the right information for every vote. She was always talking to everybody. She also knew whenever someone was targeting her, and she managed to vote them out before they voted her out.
Jeanine wants to know who were Owen and Gabler’s closet ally. Owen says Noelle was his closest ally, and then he made a deal with Jesse, Cassidy, and Gabler. Gabler was with Sami and Owen, but he also had options with others. Sami asks if Gabler was really considering going to the end with Jesse and Cody. Gabler reiterates how he always had options in the game. Noelle credits Gabler for making her feel like he was someone who could be trusted.
Ryan asks how did they manage their physical threat level. Cassidy didn’t see herself to be a threat until she started to win challenges. Noelle wants to know why Cassidy allowed Gabler to make the move to take out Jesse. Cassidy said she didn’t make any mistakes, and she didn’t feel like she needed to be the one to take out Jesse. Karla asks when did they fight until they felt like they couldn’t fight anymore. Owen mentions Karla took the advantage away from him. Owen admits he was very mad and felt defeated, yet he ended up winning immunity later that day. Owen points out how his game has had a lot of highs and lows. James asks how did he handle the lows compared to the highs. Owen admits he didn’t handle it well, and he’s ashamed of the blow up between him and James.
Karla asks about their biggest mistakes in the game. Gabler said was when he blew an immunity challenge for Baka pre-merge. Cassidy said it was her last conversation with Karla before she was voted out. She wish she handled it better since they did have a genuine friendship. Owen says it’s hard to choose just one. Owen said he doesn’t regret anything since it gave him the personal journey to grow through the game. Jesse ends the discussion by asking how did they manage to persuade others to vote in their favor. Gabler said he was able to point out others for being distrustful. Cassidy said she was able to persuade others due to her existing relationships. She takes credit for the Ryan vote, but Ryan, Cody, Jesse, and Gabler said it was already in motion without Cassidy’s input. Owen wasn’t a driving force behind any votes, but he showed how he could be an asset to anyone willing to work with him. The jury thanks Owen for his honesty.
It’s time for the jury to cast their votes for the winner. We see James vote for Cassidy and Karla vote for Gabler. But who will win?
Jeff reads the votes. The first vote is for…
Gabler is the winner of Survivor 43!
Instead of a live reunion show back in Los Angeles, they will once again discuss the season there at their tribal council set. They all sit together eating pizza and drinking champagne. Jeff begins the discussion with Gabler. Gabler says he’s shaking, and he’s glad he managed to tell his full story. Jeff says it felt like an open tribal council, and the jury admits Gabler persuaded them with his answers. Karla said he checked off the checklist they had for him. Sami said Gabler proved to them he knew what he was doing in the game. Gabler said he made history by being the second-oldest winner in Survivor history. He also says they made history another way. He shares he will donate the entire $1 million to a charity for military Veterans.
Jeff talks to Cassidy next. She says she’s still proud of the game she played. She feels like she evolved as a person and a player in the game and became her own inspiration. She wouldn’t change a thing. Jeff asks Owen about not getting any votes. He says he’s at peace and will hold his head up high. He’s proud to still have managed to make it to the end of the game.
Jeff discusses the advantages and twists next. Jeanine said it might be better to be the right-hand person of the holder of the advantage. Cody tells the story of how he found his Beware Advantage an hour before tribal council. He managed to get all the beads he needed in time. Jeff points out how Jesse managed to get two hidden immunity idols without finding any. Jesse tells the story of how people were “playing musical chairs” with their advantages due to James’s Knowledge Is Power advantage. The idol managed to get in his possession from Dwight. Jeff asks Cody’s reaction for how Jesse blindsided him with his own idol. Cody said he was proud of Jesse for the move. Before the next commercial break, Sami reveals to everyone he is really 19-years-old. It seemed like the jury already knew, but this is surprising news to Gabler, Cassidy, and Owen.
Jeff talks to Noelle about how she’s an inspiration. She has an artificial leg, but she’s a strong athlete and performed well in the challenges. He’s glad to hear she finds inspiration in herself too. He talks to Karla next. Karla says she’s proud of her determination to keep going. She thought she was going to be the first boot, but she proved she could do anything she set her mind to.
Jeff asks them about dealing with their emotions in the game. James says he never cries back home, but he broke down while playing the game. They are stripped of everything, but it was still an amazing experience. Owen says he’s so hard on himself in real life, but people in the game lifted him up during his lowest moments. He says they can leave the game becoming a more self-confident person. Jeff asks Jesse his takeaway after getting so close to winning the game. Jesse opens up about being in a gang and was on a path to prison, but he turned his life around. He enjoys having a small social group back home, so he was terrified on the first day surrounded by strangers. He just wanted to be as genuine as possible. He was surprised by how well he was doing in the game, especially by just being himself. He may have come up short, but he won confidence in himself. Jeff lets Cody have the final word for tonight. Cody cheers Gabler for making the greatest final move. The episode ends with a sneak peek of Survivor 44.
And that wraps up Survivor 43. Thanks for reading, and come back March 1, 2023 for the premiere of Survivor 44.