'Survivor' recap: Claire Rafson voted out of Soka tribe after losing "Shot in the Dark"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/16/2023
Survivor featured the "Soka Tribe" voting out Claire Rafson after she played her "Shot in the Dark" and two castaways finding fake hidden Immunity Idols during the Season 44 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.
Claire, a 25-year-old tech investor from Highland Park, IL, who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, was voted out of her Soka tribe in a unanimous 4-0 vote on Night 7 of the game at Tribal Council. Claire had lost her vote due to playing "Shot in the Dark," which deemed her "Not Safe."
"I got outplayed. I got eliminated," Claire said in her final words.
"So, I'm so sad, but this experience has been everything. I'm the biggest fan; it's been my dream forever. And I've been so afraid to come out here because of this exact situation. But I'm glad that I took the chance, it was an amazing experience. I just wish I got to see more."
The Survivor broadcast began on Night 5 at Tika's camp following the Tribal Council in which Helen Li got voted out.
Carson Garrett, a 20-year-old NASA engineering student from Rome, GA, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA, said it was "terrifying" but also "so exciting" to pull off his first blindside at Tribal Council. He boasted about how he had tapped into his "crazy and chaotic side."
Carson told the cameras that he loved working with Yamil "Yam Yam" Arocho, a 36-year-old salon owner from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Carolyn Wiger, a 35-year-old drug counselor from North St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Hugo, MN, although he needed to smooth things over with Sarah Wade, a 27-year-old management consultant from Rochester, MN, who currently resides in Chicago, IL.
Carson didn't want Sarah to suspect he's the strategic mastermind in the group, but she was already onto him.
Sarah said she thought Carson was the most dangerous player in the game, by far, because he was a "cute little nerd" and she still trusted him the most out of everyone in her tribe.
Meanwhile, Yam Yam and Carolyn celebrated their victory and how Carolyn still had an Immunity Idol in her pocket.
Over at Ratu on Day 6, the tribe was singing and having a good time, and morale was up.
The "Ratu Tribe" was comprised of Brandon Cottom, a 30-year-old security specialist from Newtown, PA; Jaime Lynn Ruiz, a 35-year-old Yogi from Mesa, AZ; Kane Fritzler, a 25-year-old law student from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada, who currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Lauren Harpe, a 31-year-old elementary school teacher from Port Arthur, TX, who currently resides in Mont Belvieu, TX; and Matthew Grinstead-Mayle, a 43-year-old barbershop owner from Pickerington, OH, who currently resides in Columbus, OH.
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Kane longed to be a hero to people as he ran around camp with his sword, and Brandon wanted people to view him as more than an athlete and former pro football player. Brandon said he's a pilot, musician, magician, scubadiver, cook and more.
Brandon was shown catching fish for his tribe, and he intended to grow during this day by constantly being on the edge of his comfort zone.
Meanwhile, the "Soka Tribe" was viewing Frannie Marin, a 23-year-old research coordinator from St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Cambridge, MA, and Matt Blankinship, a 27-year-old security software engineer from Albany, CA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA, as a potential pair and power couple.
Frannie and Matt were apparently off taking walks together all the time.
In addition to Claire, Frannie and Matt, the tribe was also made up of Danny Massa, a 32-year-old NYC firefighter from Bronx, NY; Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, a 43-year-old engineering manager from Ponce, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA; and Josh Wilder, a 34-year-old surgical podiatrist from Cincinnati, OH, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA.
Danny, who had retrieved the Immunity Idol inside the birdcage, decided to plant a fake idol back in the cage, making it look like nothing had been touched. Danny put the useless silver coin producers had given him into the package, along with his real Immunity-Idol scroll description.
Danny also rewrapped and hid the key to the birdcage, and he was ready to sit back and laugh as his tribemates conducted a search party.
Matt eventually found the key, which Danny believed he had placed in plain sight, and opened the birdcage. Matt was thrilled thinking he had found a hidden Immunity Idol, but it was a fake.
"I need this! Everything in the game has gone wrong for me so far," Matt said in a confessional.
Danny planned to tell the tribe Matt had put something into his pocket, and he also asked Matt flat out about his discovery in front of Josh.
"I didn't find anything," Matt claimed.
"Okay, I don't believe you," Danny replied.
"I swear it," Matt said.
But once Josh walked away, Matt admitted to Danny he had found the idol, and Matt asked him not to tell Josh. Matt, however, decided to tell Josh the news in private as well.
Josh felt close to Matt at this point in the game, and so he no longer viewed Matt and Frannie as immediate targets. Matt also shared the news with Frannie, who wished the idol was going to stay just between them.
Danny proceeded to tell Heidi that Matt had an idol, and he loved how no one was going to suspect that he actually had it.
At Tika's camp, Sarah worried about her tribe being "so weak." She hoped a challenge was going to cater to her tribe's skills or else she'd be the next person voted out.
Meanwhile, Jaime, Lauren and Kane all ate live earthworms for protein, and they were loving the Survivor experience. Jamie boasted about how she and Matthew were the "Plant Lady and Plant Daddy" of the tribe and clearly had a bond.
Suddenly, Jamie found a small package underneath the water well. Brandon had used the birdcage idol at the first Tribal Council, and so it had been rehidden.
"It's real!" Jamie gushed. "I go digging for worms and I found the idol. I couldn't have written this better; it's perfect!"
But Matthew shared with the cameras how he had the real hidden Immunity Idol, which he had found two days prior in the roots of a large tree. Matthew therefore made a fake hidden Immunity Idol and put it at the well.
"I'm in the power position now. I gave Jaime a fake idol and I did that to, one, gain trust. But if that trust isn't going to get there, then I can turn it on her and put a target on her back," Matthew explained in a confessional.
On Day 7, the three tribes gathered together and met Survivor host Jeff Probst for the season's third Immunity Challenge.
For the challenge, Jeff explained each tribe must dive into the ocean and swim to a large cube. Working together, they had to roll that cube to two large poles, collecting keys along the way. Once those keys were retrieved, they had to dig under a log and unlock a puzzle platform, where a tribe would stack four colored blocks so that there would be no repeating colors on either side.
The first two tribes to finish would win immunity and be safe from the vote. The winning tribe would also receive a large Survivor tool kit and a huge platter of fruit.
The second-place tribe would receive a smaller tool kit and a smaller platter of fruit.
The losing tribe would be forced to vote the fourth person out of this game, and they'd also lose their flint.
Soka sat out Claire and Heidi from the challenge. Claire had yet to compete in an Immunity Challenge this season.
Ratu chose to sit Lauren out of the challenge in order to even up the numbers.
In the end, Ratu won first place and the other two tribes attempted to copy their placement of blocks. Tika finished the challenge in second place, and so Soka would be attending Tribal Council for the first time this season.
Matt said if it came down it, he'd play his idol because he wanted to stay in the game as long as possible.
Frannie was very upset after the challenge, and then Danny and Josh discussed how to keep their tribe strong. Danny mentioned how Frannie, Heidi or Claire probably needed to go.
Danny told Claire that they were going to vote Matt out, but he told the cameras that Claire was his real target. Josh agreed Claire would be an easy vote and it wouldn't be in his best interest to go against the tribe by targeting either Matt or Frannie instead
Frannie and Claire then talked about getting Matt out. Frannie, however, liked and wanted to work with Claire, and she also wanted to keep Matt in the game.
Frannie therefore pitched the idea of going after Josh, who was "unpredictable" in the game. Frannie shared in a confessional that, in a perfect world, Matt and Claire would work with her to take Josh out of the game.
Matt also informed Claire that she was Josh and Danny's target, which left Claire feeling shocked and "insulted."
Claire bashed Danny for not having brains in his head, and she said she couldn't trust Josh as far as she could throw him. Claire told Matt and Frannie that they needed Heidi to vote with them, but Josh thought Heidi was solid with him.
Claire told Heidi that her life in the game depended on her, but Heidi made it known that she wasn't sure what she was going to do. Heidi didn't tell Claire what she wanted to hear, and so Claire considered playing her "Shot in the Dark" that night.
Heidi realized she was "the middle man" of the vote, and Danny asked her, "Don't you want to win?"
Heidi explained how everyone wanted Josh out, except for Danny, but Danny was probably her No. 1 ally. Frannie explained to Heidi and Danny that Josh being suspicious was "not fixable" while Claire competing in challenges was definitely "fixable."
Heidi went into Tribal undecided, feeling like she and Claire were aligned but Josh didn't talk strategy with her. Danny, however, begged Heidi not to go against him.
On Night 7, Soka attended Tribal Council and Claire announced how she had been sitting out of challenges in order to put the tribe before herself. Claire said she trusted everyone and so it was unfortunate the tribe was valuing strength when they didn't even give her a chance to show what she's made of.
Claire suggested real tribe strength is trusting one another, working together, and not doing things that could harm Soka moving forward. Heidi said she agreed "100 percent" with what Claire had said.
Frannie said the night's decision would be based on a lot more than just a person repeatedly sitting out of a challenge.
But Claire didn't feel good at all. She therefore asked Heidi if she had thought things through and was going to act in the way she had mentioned before.
"I think so," Heidi replied.
Claire told Jeff, "I think I know what it means."
When it became time to vote, Matt was unable to cast a vote due to the fact he had risked his vote earlier in the game.
Claire also decided against voting in order to play her "Shot in the Dark." She had a one-in-six shot to stay in the game.
Jeff declared that Claire was "not safe," and so any votes cast against her would still count.