'Survivor' recap: Sami Layadi voted out after "shot in the dark" and unprecedented Immunity Challenge
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/01/2022
Survivor featured the Gaia Tribe unanimously voting out Sami Layadi after he lost "Shot in the Dark" and three castaways won immunity in an unprecedented Immunity Challenge during the Season 43 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.
Sami Layadi, a 19-year-old pet cremator from Las Vegas, NV, was voted out of Survivor 43 with six votes at Tribal Council on Night 21 of the game. He was unable to cast a vote for anyone due to his choice to play the "Shot in the Dark."
"The Dominoes started to tumble after the last vote. I started to lose control on my fate in the game, so I played my 'Shot in the Dark' because I felt like I'd rather go out swinging for the fences," Sami said in his final words.
"And sometimes those moves don't work out, but I'm happy with the way I played. A million dollars for a 19-year-old kid probably wouldn't have been the best of things anyway. I like Teslas a lot but my mom doesn't really like electric cars, so I think this works out better for us both."
The Survivor broadcast began on Night 19 at Gaia's camp following Noelle Lambert's elimination.
Sami I thought it was smart to go after Karla Cruz Godoy, a 28-year-old educational project manager from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Newark, DE, but he and Owen Knight, a 30-year-old college admissions director from Bethesda, MD, who currently resides in New Orleans, LA, were left out of the vote.
Sami admitted he had dug himself into a hole, and then he tried to lie to Karla about having voted for her.
Sami threw Mike "Gabler" Gabler, a 52-year-old heart-valve specialist from Houston, TX, who currently resides in Meridian, ID, under the bus, but Karla wasn't buying it.
And so finally, Sami admitted he was the culprit and had written Karla's name down because he assumed she had an idol. Sami said he was trying to flush the idol, hoping Karla would play it and Noelle would go home anyways.
Gabler told Owen that he was trying to signal to him at Tribal Council that Cody Assenmacher, a 35-year-old in elevator sales from Preston, IA, who currently resides in Honolulu, HI, and Jesse Lopez, a 30-year-old with a Political Science PhD from Venice, CA, who currently resides in Durham, NC, had flipped at the last second.
Gabler said he had a plan for them to get to the Final 3, and he felt he was in a good position and happened to be nobody's target.
"I am hiding in plain sight," Gabler boasted.
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Owen laughed about how he hadn't voted correctly once since Moriah, and he clearly felt embarrassed about that. He compared the situation to Charlie Brown trying to kick the football and Lucy taking it away from him every time.
Owen joked about how all the Peanuts kids -- including Linus and Pigpen, aka Jesse and Cody -- were also out to get him. Owen admitted he was tired of being wrong.
On Day 20, Sami said he had been playing in the middle for a while and definitely got burned the previous night at Tribal. Sami then read a letter from his mom at home, which inspired him to keep his head up and make the best of the situation he was in.
Sami then tried to get back on Karla's good graces by saying Cassidy Clark, a 26-year-old designer from Plano, TX, who currently resides in Austin, TX, had thrown out her name first.
Sami was lying in order to create chaos and attempt to salvage his relationship with Karla. The disclosure made Karla feel uneasy and nervous because she had been working with Cassidy since Day 1 of the game.
Karla feared Sami was telling the truth, and then Cassidy pulled Karla aside and tried to assure her that they were still together. Cassidy said she'd love to see two women in the finale, but Karla worried because she had told Cassidy about her idol.
Karla began to wonder if Cassidy was truly her ally in the game. There were only six days left of the game, and so Karla decided to play offense.
On Day 21, someone in a boat dropped Tree Mail off to the tribe of seven. Karla read the message out loud, saying any advantage in the game was worth having at this point. The tribe learned an advantage was hidden in the jungle and they should all go looking for it.
Everyone ran like bats out of hell, and Cassidy was afraid Sami was going to find the advantage. The tribemates then split up into teams to look for the idol together so no spot would go unobserved. Karla nearly called it quits, and the rest of the tribe members considered giving up as well.
The advantage was camouflaged and taped to a tree, and multiple players either stood right next to the tree or even leaned on the tree without noticing it.
Suddenly, Cody, who briefly rested his head on the tree, turned around and saw the advantage while he was talking to Gabler. Cody waited for Gabler to leave before grabbing it, and then he read it aloud in private.
At the next Immunity Challenge, Cody was allowed to bet on one player whom he thought had the best chance to win the challenge. It gave him two chances to win immunity -- either win it himself or correctly predict who does end up winning it. If the person he bet on won, he would also win immunity.
Cody was asked to write the person's name down before leaving the challenge and present it to Survivor host Jeff Probst at the challenge.
Cody learned the challenge was caused "The Last Gasp." Players would be floating in the ocean, attempting to breathe through a metal gate as the tide rises.
This was a scary challenge viewers have seen on Survivor before, and Cody figured Owen would be a good person to bet on because he'd probably remain comfortable in a panic situation.
Cody therefore wrote Owen's name down, and he said he felt very good about it.
On Day 21, the Immunity Challenge commenced and Jeff revealed the rules. He explained how everyone would take a spot in the ocean under a grated steel barrier.
As the tide rises, their breathing room would decrease until ultimately, there would be no place left to breathe. The person to last the longest would win immunity.
Cody then handed Jeff his "Choose Your Champion" advantage. Jeff said he would not unveil the name of Cody's "champion" until after the votes have been cast at Tribal Council -- but before they are read.
Gabler was the first person out of the challenge, and he was then followed by Sami and Jesse.
After one hour of the challenge, Cody tried to grab a breath but it wasn't enough, and so he dropped out of the challenge. After two hours of being in the water, Cassidy was out. The challenge came down to Karla vs. Owen.
The pair was still in the water after two hours and 45 minutes. Jeff said the tide was starting to drop again, which resulted in Karla and Owen's faces being above water.
Jeff therefore made an unprecedented decision to end the challenge and give both players individual immunity. With that being said, Cody also secretly won safety.
"In 22 years, we've done well over a thousand challenges. We have never had players out last the challenge. The tide came in and you were underwater for long periods of time! Players dropped but you didn't, and the tide left! Congratulations!" Jeff announced.
Jeff said Owen and Karla had made history by winning this challenge.
Sami's gut was telling him Cody had picked the right player to win, and so that left only four players vulnerable to the vote. Sami believed the target was on his back, and so he prepared to make "a game-time decision" and possibly play the "Shot in the Dark."
Cassidy cried after the challenge about letting herself down, but then Owen suggested they should vote for Sami.
But Cassidy thought the tribe may try to get her out since she and Karla were tight and taking out Karla's No. 1 would knock her down a peg in terms of having power in the game.
"This is the Final 7. I think it's a make or break number," Karla told the cameras.
"I could do Sami today, but I'm kind of beating myself up about telling Cassidy about my idol. She could start telling anyone she wants... which would blow my entire game. So my gameplan right now, as really bad as this sounds, is to get my No. 1 ally out of the game."
Karla then pitched Cassidy's name to Sami, which was music to his ears. Sami told Cody the news, and then Cody told Jesse the plan. Gabler also seemed onboard with the plan in order to weaken Karla.
But the fact Karla was okay with this vote set off alarm bells in his head. It meant that Karla no longer considered Cassidy a key piece in her game and she was starting to build bridges with Sami, who was "a threat for other reasons."
Jesse, for example, called Sami "a fire magician" who was also flip flopping and playing a wishy-washy game.
Jesse then suggested to Owen that they don't vote Cassidy but they let Karla vote for Cassidy, to help drive a wedge between them. The guys then agreed they could use Cassidy to vote Karla out next time.
"Sami, I don't want to let him slip through," Jesse said.
Owen agreed, but he didn't know if he could trust Jesse at this point. Owen said voting correctly was going to be crucial to his game and he didn't want to be played for a fool once again.
Jesse then told Cody they should vote Sami our, leaving Karla as the only vote for Cassidy. Jesse wanted the women to be at odds, and Cody seemed to like the option of making Karla look dumb.
Cody, however, pointed out how Sami hadn't won immunity and Cassidy, who had won immunity before, was so close to winning earlier that day. The guys weren't seeing eye to eye, but Cody said they needed to get on the same page for this vote.
On Night 21 at Tribal Council, Sami announced how he was going to play "Shot in the Dark" that night and so no one should count on his vote.
Karla thought his decision was "unfortunate" because people had put their trust in him. Sami, however, said if everything went according to plan, his vote wouldn't matter anyway.
It then became time to vote.
Before Jeff read the votes aloud, he revealed how Cody had bet on Owen to win the challenge, resulting in immunity for Cody as well.
Cody then played his "Shot in the Dark," meaning he didn't vote, and Jeff said if he was declared "safe," no votes cast against him would count. Jeff declared that Sami was "not safe" that night and so any votes cast against him would still count.
Jeff read the votes in the following order: Sami, Sami, Sami, and Sami.