'Survivor' recap: Nneka Ejere voted out over Noelle Lambert at Tribal Council
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/06/2022
Survivor featured the Vesi Tribe voting out Nneka Ejere at Tribal Council after the season's third Immunity Challenge during the Season 43 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.
Nneka, a 43-year-old pharmacist from Weatherford, TX, was voted out of Survivor through a 4-1 vote on Night 7 at Tribal Council instead of her Vesi tribemate Noelle Lambert, a 25-year-old U.S. Paralympian from Londonderry, NH, who currently resides in Manchester, NH.
Nneka was the only person in the Vesi Tribe who voted to eliminate Noelle.
"They pulled it off really well. It was a really cool blindside," Nneka said following her ouster.
"I'm surprised I don't have any negative emotions. I'm grateful for the experiences here and relationships [I] built and the things I did that I never would have done in my regular life. This has been a dream come true, and I don't regret this one bit. I just want to say thank you and I'm grateful for this experience."
The Survivor broadcast began on Day 6 at the Vesi camp.
Vesi was comprised of Nneka; Noelle; Cody Assenmacher, a 35-year-old in elevator sales from Preston, IA, who currently resides in Honolulu, HI; Dwight Moore, a 22-year-old graduate student from Palo Alto, CA, who currently resides in Collierville, TN; and Jesse Lopez, a 30-year-old with a Political Science PhD from Venice, CA, who currently resides in Durham, NC.
Cody celebrated how the previous Tribal Council went exactly the way he and his allies had planned it, with Justine Brennan getting voted out. He was also able to gather all of his beads -- as instructed by the unusual "Beware Advantage" -- just in time to secure himself an idol.
Jesse said he was afraid Noelle was going to come after him, and he knew Dwight probably wasn't happy with him either. However, Jesse felt pretty solid with Cody and Nneka, which put Dwight and Noelle on the bottom.
"Even though Dwight is definitely my island wife, if Dwight doesn't want to get onboard then, you know, Dwight might have to go next. I'll sign the divorce papers -- it's okay!" Jesse said in a confessional.
Dwight admitted he was "wary" of Jesse and the prior Tribal had woken him up to the kind of game Jesse was playing. Noelle also said Justine's ouster was a wake-up call but she planned to do whatever it took to get a better footing in the game.
Meanwhile, over at Baka, the women discussed how Mike "Gabler" Gabler was "unhinged."
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The Baka Tribe was made up of Gabler, a 52-year-old heart-valve specialist from Houston, TX, who currently resides in Meridian, ID; Owen Knight, a 30-year-old college admissions director from Bethesda, MD, who currently resides in New Orleans, LA; Elisabeth "Elie" Scott, a 31-year-old clinical psychologist from Atlanta, GA, who currently resides in Salt Lake City, UT; Jeanine Zheng, a 24-year-old UX designer from South Hamilton, MA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA; and Sami Layadi, a 19-year-old pet cremator from Las Vegas, NV, who currently resides in Las Vegas, NV.
Gabler was struggling and deteriorating physically, and Elie said she had changed her mind about Gabler and wanted him to go next. However, she didn't know if Gabler's idol was still good for the next Tribal Council.
Elie wanted to make Gabler think that his idol was dead and had no more power.
"She thinks she's running the show around here and that she's playing the best game than any of us are. She thinks she has an awesome, close relationship with everybody. Okay, sure, we'll see how that goes," Sami told the cameras.
Sami said he was going to "outclass" a 24-year-old, meaning Jeanine, and a 31-year-old psychologist, meaning Elie. Sami warned Gabler that Elie had looked through his bag to read his idol clue -- to see if it still worked -- and was playing double agent.
Gabler immediately determined Elie was dangerous and he could no longer trust her.
Owen had been playing the middle and knew Gabler wasn't an idiot. Owen said Gabler was well aware of the fact his idol was still good and could be played at the next Tribal Council.
"The fact she's underestimating me is great. I work in an operating room... I may not be a genius but I'm not a dummy either. But if she wants me to play a dummy, I'll play a dummy," Gabler said in a confessional.
Elie suggested to Gabler that his idol was expired and they should use the beads from it to make a fake idol. Gabler declared how he may want to give it to his daughter after the game as a souvenir, and he hoped Elie bought it.
"I'm going to get the last laugh on this one, and it's going to be very satisfying," Gabler boasted while Elie and Jeanine celebrated what they thought was a successful ruse.
Over at Coco, the tribe was on a high and having a good time.
The Coco Tribe consisted of Cassidy Clark, a 26-year-old designer from Plano, TX, who currently resides in Austin, TX; Geo Bustamante, a 36-year-old project manager from Miami, FL, who currently resides in Honolulu, HI; James Jones, a 37-year-old event planner from Philadelphia, PA; Karla Cruz Godoy, a 28-year-old educational project manager from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Newark, DE; Lindsay Carmine, a 42-year-old pediatric nurse from Greensboro, NC, who currently resides in Downingtown, PA; and Ryan Medrano, a 25-year-old warehouse associate from Savannah, GA, who currently resides in El Paso, TX.
It was James' birthday and so the tribe celebrated and made him a bracelet. They also had some good food to eat.
When several tribemates went fishing, Karla ran into the jungle and began searching for a hidden Immunity Idol. She didn't want to play it safe anymore, and she ended up finding a "Beware Advantage!"
In fear of what she'd have to do to receive the idol, Karla decided to put it back where it was and let another player find it.
"I don't want to put that big target on my back," Karla explained.
Karla asked James if he would take such a risk or leave it, just pretending to make conversation, and James said he didn't know but people need to take risks in this game in order to win the $1 million.
Karla decided to gather up the courage, overcome her fear, and go back for the "Beware Advantage" because she wasn't going to sit back and just allow someone else to play an awesome game.
Karla then learned each player on her tribe had a distinctive bead attached to their personal bag.
"You must persuade each of them to give you their special bead," the advantage read. "How you persuade them is up to you, but you cannot steal a bead. It must be willingly given to you by each player."
In order for this idol to have power, Karla had to collect all of the beads and make a bracelet by the next Tribal Council session. If even one bead was missing, the idol would remain powerless and Karla would lose her vote at Tribal Council.
Karla decided to tell James that she wanted to make a necklace for her wife, similar to the bracelet the tribe had made him earlier that day. James gave Karla his bead without hesitation or thought.
Karla then traded Geo his big bead for a string of smaller beads, which allowed Karla to get the one she needed. Karla traded one of her earrings for Cassidy's bead, and she gave her second blue earring to Lindsay.
Karla proceeded to tell Ryan that the tribe was trading pieces of themselves so everyone would have a memory of their initial tribemates, and he offered to switch socks.
Since that wasn't going to work, she offered to give him turquoise beads for his girlfriend in exchange for the last three beads on his bag.
Karla managed to give the idol power, and she was proud of herself because she also got her vote back.
On Day 7, the three tribes gathered and met Survivor host Jeff Probst for the season's next Immunity Challenge.
For the challenge, each tribe -- one person at a time -- was required to leap off a tall tower into the ocean and then climb a stack of crates before diving into the water to retrieve a key.
Once three keys were retrieved, the remaining two tribe members would use those keys to unlock pieces to a turtle puzzle. The first two tribes to finish would win immunity and be safe from the vote.
The tribes were also playing for Reward. The first tribe to finish would receive a large Survivor tool kit and a large collection of fruit. The second tribe to finish would earn a smaller tool kit and a small fruit basket.
The losing tribe would lose their flint to make fire.
After Geo sat out of the challenge to even up the numbers, the challenge commenced.
When doing the puzzle, it was a close call between Vesi and Baka, and then Baka took the lead thanks to Jeanine and Elie.
In the end, Baka won immunity in first place, and Coco placed second.
Baka was in charge and was asked to choose one person from Vesi to go on a journey. Noelle was chosen, and Jeff said she would return to her tribe before Tribal Council.
Baka was also asked to choose one person from Coco to join Noelle on a journey, and they picked James.
Baka also had to select one of their own tribemates to go on the journey, and they agreed upon Owen.
At Vesi's camp, Nneka felt she had let her tribe down with the puzzle at the challenge. She broke down into tears and felt really bad about her performance.
Cody and Jesse discussed how Nneka had been adamant about doing the puzzles and they needed to keep the strength of their tribe intact.
Jesse said the two names on the table were Nneka and Noelle, but he felt a much stronger bond with Nneka. Jesse said Nneka reminded him of his beloved late mother due to her selfless qualities, and so he cried about the idea of sending her packing.
Meanwhile, the three castaways on the special journey had some time to get to know each other before making a group decision on the top of a mountain.
Noelle promised Owen and James that she'd work with them come the merge because she already felt at the bottom of her tribe.
The trio had to choose whether to risk their vote for a shot at an advantage or play it safe and take no risks.
For those who chose "Risk," one player would earn an advantage while the other two castaways would lose their vote at the next Tribal Council. If they chose not to take a risk, nothing would happen.
The players who chose "Risk" would choose one of three numbered bags.
The two men chose not to risk their vote in order to help Noelle out and give her the advantage she needed, and Noelle seemed very thankful. James also hoped Noelle would use her advantage to take out a big threat on her tribe.
Back at the Vesi camp, Dwight worried Jesse was going to vote with Nneka and Cody again. Dwight thought what happened on Noelle's journey was going to be a big factor in how things played out that night.
When Noelle returned to her tribe, she told everyone that she had played it safe and returned with no advantage or idol.
Noelle clearly lied as to not give her tribemates anything to work with. She even told them that they could look through her bag.
Noelle, however, shared the news with Dwight since she felt she had the strongest bond with him. Noelle was hiding her steal-a-vote advantage in her foot shell, and stealing a vote meant she could cast an extra vote.
Noelle said if she stole Jesse's vote, she and Dwight would take back control of the game.
On Night 7, Vesi attended Tribal Council, and Nneka cried about how the tribe was about to lose a member. She said talking strategy with people she cared about was a hard afternoon.
Noelle announced how she had a lot to prove but was willing to work hard and take her leg off in challenges. Noelle said she had a lot of game left to play and wanted the chance to continue.
Jesse also shared how the tribe wasn't totally sure if Noelle had an advantage or idol, which was going to affect the vote that night.
Noelle was only a five on a scale from 1-10 about her confidence level that night and how the vote was going to shake up, while everyone else was a nine or 10 on the scale.
No one played an idol or advantage, and then Jeff read the votes aloud in the following order: Noelle, Nneka, Nneka, and Nneka.