'Survivor' recap: Cody Assenmacher blindsided and voted out after shocking Jesse Lopez betrayal
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/08/2022
Survivor featured Jesse Lopez backstabbing his closest friend and ally in the game, Cody Assenmacher, who got blindsided and voted out at Tribal Council during the Season 43 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.
Cody, a 35-year-old in elevator sales from Preston, IA, who currently resides in Honolulu, HI, was voted out of Survivor 43 on Night 23 of the game in a split 4-1-1 vote.
Karla Cruz Godoy, a 28-year-old educational project manager from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Newark, DE, played her hidden Immunity Idol but only received one vote, and Owen Knight, a 30-year-old college admissions director from Bethesda, MD, who currently resides in New Orleans, LA, also received one vote.
"My heart is crushed; it is freakin' crushed. I can't believe this just happened. My main man Jesse backstabbed me," Cody said in his final words.
"At the end of the day, I can't fault my main man, I should've known better. I'm going to continue to have the time of my life. I'll keep trucking and I'm going to keep smiling."
Cody then joked, "But f-ck you, Jesse! F-ck you!"
The Survivor broadcast began on Night 22 with only six castaways left in the game.
Owen called Tribal Council "exciting" after Sami Layadi chose to play his "Shot in the Dark" and still went home. Owen, however, said he was a tad disappointed because he thought Karla was going to vote for Cassidy Clark, a 26-year-old designer from Plano, TX, who currently resides in Austin, TX.
"But Karla realized that voting for Cassidy could leave her exposed, so she decided to flip her vote to Sami when he blew things up with his Shot in the Dark [threat]," Owen said.
"So my goal moving forward is to drive a wedge between Cassidy and Karla just to reinforce that idea Karla is dangerous; she's astute and she needs to go."
Owen therefore told Cassidy that Karla had been targeting, which really pissed Cassidy off since they had been No. 1 allies for so long.
When Cassidy approached Karla, Karla called the allegation "crazy" and "stupid."
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Karla said if she was against Cassidy, she wouldn't be voting with her Tribal Council after Tribal Council. Karla wasn't sure Cassidy believed her, and so Karla brought on the water works and used her emotions to seem convincing.
"I just feel like I've been so loyal to you, and I've saved you twice," Karla cried to her pal, before telling the cameras she deserved "an Emmy" for that performance.
But then Jesse, a 30-year-old with a Political Science PhD from Venice, CA, who currently resides in Durham, NC, warned Cassidy that Karla was going to write her name down and the rumors were true. Jesse wanted the girls to target each other instead of him.
"Karla is good! She laid it on thick with the tears and everything... I feel like the bridge between us has pretty much been burned. I want to get Karla out. Karla, I'm coming for you!" Cassidy shared in a confessional.
The castaways were divided into two teams of three. One player was strapped inside a giant ball, which would be pushed through a long, winding course by blindfolded teammates to a table maze.
The people inside the balls had to guide their teammates through the course and through solving the table maze using only verbal commands. The winning group would be taken to a nearby sanctuary, where they'd drink iced coffee and iced tea as well as eat donuts, croissants and muffins.
The people in the giant balls were Owen, who had Karla and Cody on his team, and Cassidy, who worked with Jesse and Mike "Gabler" Gabler, a 52-year-old heart-valve specialist from Houston, TX, who currently resides in Meridian, ID, blindfolded.
In the end, Owen's team won.
While eating good food, Karla acknowledged to the guys how she looked like a threat. But Karla claimed she didn't have an idol or any advantage, which was a total lie.
Karla said the speculation had been ruining her game up to that point and she was tired of it.
Karla mustered up some fake tears again and made it seem like she desperately needed a lifeline. Karla wanted to get through just one more vote so she could use her idol at the Final 5 Tribal Council.
Owen and Cody agreed that Karla probably didn't have an idol because she would've played it already.
"If she [has one] and didn't [play it], she's a way better player than I even thought," Cody told Owen. "She's very dangerous and I've wanted the girls broken up for a long time."
Owen and Cody discussed taking Karla out and having Cassidy be their backup option.
Meanwhile, Gabler planted seeds to get rid of Cody or Karla, and Cassidy and Jesse seemed onboard. Cassidy then shared with Gabler and Jesse how Karla had an idol and they could flush it.
Jesse knew Cody also had an idol, which made him a threat, but the men had completely trusted each other up to that point. Jesse also felt safe since he had an idol, so he was okay with the idea of taking out Karla.
Once Owen, Cody and Karla returned to camp, Gabler informed Cody that Karla definitely had an idol. Cody determined in that moment that Karla was "full of sh-t" and they couldn't let her win the Individual Immunity Challenge the next day.
"Knock out the girls and we're going to Final 5 -- and then Final 4!" Cody boasted to Gabler and Jesse.
For the Immunity Challenge on Day 23, Jeff instructed each player to race through a series of obstacles, collecting a bag of numbered tiles. The players must then use those numbers to open a combination, releasing a key.
After racing up a cargo net, the key would be used to unlock a bag of puzzle pieces. It would then be a race to solve a large bat puzzle.
The winner would be guaranteed a spot in the Final 5. Cassidy was in the lead, with Karla and Jesse right on her tail, when trying to solve the puzzle.
Karla's hands started cramping and then she said she twisted her ankle. As Karla was faltering physically, Cody caught up -- and the competition came down to Cody vs. Cassidy.
Cassidy thought she had the puzzle right, and she asked Jeff to check it. But something was wrong. After making some swift corrections, Cassidy won Individual Immunity.
Karla knew people were gunning for her, and so she said it was going to be "show time" for her idol.
After the challenge, Owen and Gabler discussed back at camp how two people had idols and Cassidy had immunity, leaving only three people vulnerable of getting voted out. The two men didn't know Jesse had an idol, so they realized they could be in trouble.
Cody then shared with Karla how he had an idol, and Karla in turn admitted she had an idol.
Cody then asked Karla if she'd like to go to Final 3 with him, and she said, "I do."
Cody suggested they should tell everyone that they're going to play their idols -- but then neither of them follow through with it. Cody said they could vote for Gabler or Owen, and Karla called the plan "brilliant."
Karla then told Gabler and Owen that she had an idol. She asked Gabler to vote for Owen, and then she asked Owen to vote for Gabler. Karla loved executing "the scare tactic."
But then Cody ran back to Owen and shared how he was hoping Karla was bluffing and wouldn't actually play her idol so they could vote her out. Cody explained to Owen how he had pretended to be on Karla's side.
"She won't see it coming," Owen said excitedly.
Cody admitted he was lying to Karla but his plan was "genius." He dubbed himself "killer cowboy Cody."
Cody thought Gabler, Owen, Cody and Jesse were all going to vote for Karla that night and then she'd leave the game with an idol in her pocket.
Cody gushed about the bond he had established with Jesse, but Jesse knew this Karla move was going to boost Cody's resume and the men had played a similar game for most of the season.
"I can't be seen as Cody's No. 2... [who] just made some of the same moves as Cody, who is a little bit louder," Jesse said in a confessional.
"It might be time to be openly cutthroat... I love Cody and think he would take me to the end, but I have to wonder if I can beat him... I need to secure my family's future and I'll do anything to [win the money]."
Jesse then told Owen that Cody didn't actually have an idol. Jesse explained how the idol was in his possession, and so he recommended that they vote for Cody and take him out while he's feeling safe and secure.
Jesse said he could play his idol that night, which would probably spook Karla and convince her to play her idol.
"Both idols will go, Cody will go, and then we can take out Karla next time," Jesse told Owen.
Cassidy was brought into the new plan, and so was Gabler.
But then Cody asked Jesse if he could have the idol just to show Karla, which made Jesse feel very uneasy. Jesse had to hand off the idol so Cody wouldn't suspect a betrayal was coming. Jesse told Cassidy that he had to give the idol back so that Cody would trust him.
Jesse therefore had to come up with a backup plan in case he couldn't get the idol back in time for Tribal Council.
Cody said the night's blindside was going to go down as the biggest move of the season.