Survivor featured the "Tika Tribe" blindsiding and voting out Sarah Wade after three castaways were forced to leave their old tribe and join a different one during the Season 44 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.

Sarah, a 27-year-old management consultant from Rochester, MN, who currently resides in Chicago, IL; was voted out of her Tika tribe in a 2-2 vote on Night 9 of the game at Tribal Council instead of newcomer Josh Wilder, a 34-year-old surgical podiatrist from Cincinnati, OH, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA.


Josh, a former "Soka Tribe" member, joined Tika as part of the new Survivor twist, and he played an Immunity Idol at Tribal Council to keep himself safe.

"I kept trying to tell myself not to worry and hold onto the idol. I didn't think he was going to vote for me, and it was stupid," Sarah said in her final words, referencing her fake idol that she thought was real.

"It's miserable going home with the idol in your pocket. I join a special club of sad, sad people because I had the ticket to keep going, and I didn't use it. I got played!"

The Survivor broadcast began at Soka's camp on Day 8 after Claire Rafson was voted out.

At this point in the game, the "Soka Tribe" was made up of Josh as well as Danny Massa, a 32-year-old NYC firefighter from Bronx, NY; Frannie Marin, a 23-year-old research coordinator from St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Cambridge, MA; Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, a 43-year-old engineering manager from Ponce, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA; and Matt Blankinship, a 27-year-old security software engineer from Albany, CA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

Josh said he felt close with Matt and Frannie, and he also thought he had a good relationship with Danny and Heidi. He found himself in the middle of two opposing alliances, who both trusted him.

But then Danny, Heidi and Matt were shown talking about voting out Josh next.

"Josh seems to think he's playing everyone, but all four of us are united at the moment," Heidi said in a confessional. "We are trying to blindside Josh now, and I don't think he sees it coming."

At Tika's camp on Day 8, two red sticks were woven into the birdcage in the shape of an X.

In addition to Sarah, the "Tika Tribe" was comprised of Carolyn Wiger, a 35-year-old drug counselor from North St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Hugo, MN; Carson Garrett, a 20-year-old NASA engineering student from Rome, GA, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA; and Yamil "Yam Yam" Arocho, a 36-year-old salon owner from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Yam Yam thought it was a clue, and Carson believed someone from their own tribe had planted those sticks there. Sarah, however, pointed out that no one would have access to the red string.

Carolyn then told the cameras that she was behind the stunt. She had found the idol, and inside the bag was a fake idol.

The night before, Carolyn had waited for it to get dark and then she went off and found two red sticks, which she put on the birdcage to indicate "X marks the spot." She assumed her tribemates would go searching for a similar "X."

Carolyn stuffed the fake idol inside a log at camp and put another "X" right underneath.

"I'm worried it looks so fake, but part of me thinks it's not unbelievable because there are so many twists, like, why is there a birdcage in the middle of the jungle?... I don't feel it's too out in left field that there would be an 'X,'" Carolyn explained.


While talking about what the sticks could mean, Sarah spotted the red "X" at camp under their bench log. She immediately started digging in that spot, casually bringing her fingers through the sand.

Sarah then discovered a package "wrapped in a pretty purple bow" inside the log. She grabbed it with her underwear, without anybody seeing. Carolyn had put the scroll that went with her real idol with the fake idol, and so Sarah had no idea that she was being fooled and played.

Carolyn didn't know who found her fake idol, but she was excited to observe what was going to happen next.

The three tribes then met Survivor host Jeff Probst for a Reward Challenge on Day 8.

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.

Jeff instructed one player at a time to climb up a ladder across a cargo net to the top of a tower, where he or she would launch sandbags at a series of targets. Each player on any given tribe had to hit at least one target.

The first two tribes to get all five targets would win Reward in the form of tarps, which would serve as shelter from the sun, rain and elements.

At the end of the challenge, one player from each tribe would be going on a journey. The winning tribe would get to decide who goes from each tribe.

"That's important because journeys can change the game," Jeff explained, adding, "It's a power worth having."

Soka sat Frannie out of the challenge, and Ratu sat out Kane.

In the end, Soka won Reward with a massive lead, and then Ratu finished in second place. Ratu therefore received a smaller tarp than what Soka left the challenge with.

Heidi announced her tribe had decided to send Josh, Carson and Jaime on the journey. Jaime was particularly excited to go on the journey and hopefully return with an advantage.

Once Josh, Carson and Jaime arrived at a secret beach, they were asked to get to know one another while climbing to the top of a hill. The players then had to separate and pick a path.

At the end of the path, Josh walked up to an Immunity Idol. Carson also received an idol, and so did Jaime!

The players' idols could only be used before the merge, and then the castaways learned they would not be returning to their tribes.

Josh, Carson and Jaime were asked to reach into a bag and draw a new buff, before heading to their new tribes!

"The game just changed," the scroll read.

Josh thought he was in a great position at Soka, so he was a little worried about the change of events. Jaime, on the other hand, had two idols -- one of which was fake, which she wasn't aware of yet -- and so she couldn't wait for the switchup.


Carson's excitement quickly faded to anxiety because he was going to become a new member of a tribe.

When Josh arrived at Tika, he lied about being a surgeon. Josh told his new tribemates he's a personal trainer, hoping they would think he's "a happy-go-lucky jock who likes to work out" and isn't very smart or strategic.

Sarah, however, had overheard Josh saying at a challenge how he'd be good at the puzzle because he has steady hands. Sarah was therefore confused by Josh's profession.

"He is a surgeon and he's lying to us," Yam Yam said, adding how Josh made him nervous.

"I agree," Sarah responded. "His timeline doesn't add up."

Carson then showed up at Ratu, and he decided to paint the perception that Tika was being led by Yam Yam. Carson downplayed how strategic he was so that they could view him as a number to pull in.

Carson also revealed that Yam Yam and Carolyn were playing the game as a pair.

Matthew knew he'd have to lay the groundwork to get Carson on his side, and so he planned to load up Carson with powerful information to gain trust -- including how Brandon had played an idol on the first night and already opened the birdcage.

Matthew then shared how Jaime had found the idol once it got put back into rotation.

"We made a bond not to talk about it. Nobody else here knows that she has anything," Matthew told the newbie tribemate.

Matthew, however, was just planting a seed. Jaime had a fake idol, but Carson didn't know that.

Meanwhile, Jaime arrived at Soka via boat. Frannie could tell Jaime was open and kind, but Frannie thought the tribe was in an easy position to vote Jaime out right away.

The tribe wondered if Jaime had an idol, and so Danny went through her bag when Jaime went off on a walk. Danny didn't find anything, but Matt still wasn't convinced Jaime didn't have some sort of advantage.

"Even if she does [have something], everyone is so committed to staying 'Soka Strong' that Jaime pretty much has no shot in the next few days," Matt explained in a confessional.

It then became time for the season's fourth Immunity Challenge but the cast's first Immunity Challenge as new tribes.

Each tribe was required to dive into the ocean, one person at a time, climb to the top of a tall tower, and then leap off it while grabbing a key. After crossing a floating balance beam, the person would race to the finish, and then the next person would be able to go.

Once all four players were at the end, two players would use the keys to unlock the pieces and solve a Manta ray puzzle.


The first two tribes to finish would avoid Tribal Council that night, while the losing tribe would be forced to vote out one of its members.

Soka sat out Jaime and Ratu chose to sit out Matthew to even up the numbers in the challenge.

Soka won the Immunity Challenge in first place, with Jaime earning her spot in the tribe with her work on the puzzle, and then it was a photo finish for the other two tribes. Ratu pulled off a huge comeback and finished in second place thanks to Carson working on the puzzle.

Tika was therefore anticipating Tribal Council, and Josh was just thankful to have an Immunity Idol.

"This is the biggest moment of Survivor for me," Josh noted.

On Day 9 after the challenge, Tika was in poor spirits. They were only three pieces away from victory.

Yam Yam, Carolyn and Sarah agreed they needed to stay strong and get rid of Josh. Yam Yam figured that Josh was going to target him, telling the women, "They think I'm a threat and your not. Don't get offended by that."

Yam Yam told the women that they were going to tell Josh that Carolyn was the vote, but Carolyn told the cameras she was sick of being "the decoy vote" under Yam Yam's power. Carolyn claimed she was "done" with that.

Sarah and Yam Yam told Josh that they wanted to play with him and vote out Carolyn because she didn't have the control they needed, and Josh hoped he could trust them. The pair had attempted to make him feel comfortable, but Sarah knew Josh was going to play an idol if he had one.

"If he does, I'm going to play my idol. But I want to see Josh go home. I don't want him to play an idol. That would be a magical, happy ending," Sarah said in a confessional.

Carolyn then told Josh, who wanted to reunite with Soka post-merge, that he could trust her because she didn't have anyone. Josh told Carolyn he had an idol and could play it for her because the others planned to vote for her.

Josh pitched to Carolyn that they should vote out Sarah together. He was trying to plant seeds that the other two tribe members were against Carolyn so that he could take out Sarah, "a big threat."

Josh even showed Carolyn his idol, and Carolyn -- who already had an idol of her own -- was totally shocked.

"I know I'm going to lose Yam Yam's trust, but they don't do a great job of making me feel 'in' with them, so why would I have any loyalty to them?" Carolyn questioned to the cameras. "I did not come out here to be told what every plan was! That's not going to get me anywhere!"

Carolyn considered standing up to Yam Yam and doing something for herself, what she thought would be best for her own game.

On Night 9, the Tika Tribe attended Tribal Council.

Sarah announced how Josh had four people on the Soka Tribe and so it could be valuable to keep Josh and team up with his friends at the merge.

On the topic of just voting out Josh in an easy vote, Yam Yam said "her" when mentioning his target. Carolyn thought it was an accidental slip, but Yam Yam said he never meant to offend Carolyn and he should dub his target "Felicia" to be safe.

Carolyn insisted that she was loyal and her tribe should keep her around, but Yam Yam pointed out how those connections over at Soka would be useful and "powerful" to him later in the game.

"So who's left?! Felicia! Is this all an act? I don't know," Carolyn vented aloud.

After everyone cast their votes, Josh announced that he was going to play his hidden Immunity Idol for himself, and Carolyn pretended to be totally shocked.


Jeff proceeded to read the votes in the following order: Josh, Josh, Sarah, and Sarah.

The episode's closing credits later showed that Josh and Carolyn voted for Sarah, while Sarah and Yam Yam voted for Josh.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.