Image Credit: CBS
The finale of Survivor season 44 begins with five players: Carolyn Wiger, Lauren Harpe, Yam Yam Arocho, Carson Garrett and Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt. Carolyn, Carson and Yam Yam have been dubbed the “Tika 3,” playing together since the beginning of the season. However, with the days winding down, it’s time for them to decide whether to turn on each other or try and ride it out to the end.
Heidi’s immunity idol was played at the previous tribal council, which means the players are convinced that there’s a new one hidden. Lauren knows she’s at the bottom, so she tries to create some waves within the Tika 3 by suggesting voting out Carson. At the immunity challenge, the players have to collect keys while running a three-level obstacle course, then solve a big puzzle at the end.
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The final 5 of ‘Survivor’ season 44. (CBS)
As usual, the challenge all comes down to the puzzle. but Carson eventually starts pulling away, and is the winner. In addition to winning immunity, he also gets reward. Carson gets to choose one person to go on reward with him and he picks Yam Yam. Yam Yam is worried that Carolyn is the biggest threat, but Carson thinks that Lauren has too many close relationships on the jury, and points out that she also won two immunity challenges.
Back at camp, the three ladies discuss the possibility of working together to vote Yam Yam out. Lauren informs Carolyn that Yam Yam was trying to target her at the last vote, and when Yam Yam returns, Carolyn can’t hide her emotions about it. Now, Yam Yam is catching wind that he could be in trouble, and he wants to target Lauren with Carson. As the hours pass, though, they’re also worried that Lauren could have an immunity idol, so they consider writing Heidi’s name down instead.
Lauren and Carson in the ‘Survivor’ finale. (CBS)
At tribal council, Lauren gets emotional as she points out that she thinks she’s going home. She doesn’t have an immunity idol to play, so Carson is the only one safe. Lauren votes for Yam Yam, but she ends up getting three votes and is sent home. Yam Yam puts Heidi down as his vote in case Lauren played an idol. The Tika 3 is going strong.
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The final immunity challenge is an all-time Survivor classic, requiring the players to roll a ball through a maze and catch it with one hand before it hits the ground. As the time goes on, more balls are added to the queue. Carolyn is the first to drop, followed by Yam Yam and then Carson, which means Heidi wins her first immunity challenge and guarantees a spot in the final 3.
Now, Heidi gets to decide who she wants to bring with her to the final 3, and which two players will have to make fire to try and earn their spot. Heidi immediately mentions that she may choose to give up immunity and make fire herself because she knows she has to make a big move to add to her resume. Back at camp, Carson struggles to make fire, while Yam Yam and Carolyn are a lot more consistent. Despite having to potentially go against each other, Yam Yam gives Carson some pointers about making fire ahead of tribal council.
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One of the immunity challenges in the ‘Survivor’ finale. (CBS)
At tribal, Heidi decides to give Carolyn an automatic spot in the final three. She then chooses Carson as one of the people to make fire. Finally, Heidi reveals that she will be making fire against Carson, knowing that if she beats him, it will boost her gameplay in front of the jury. So, Yam Yam also gets a spot in the final 3 with Carolyn.
Heidi wins the fire-making challenge, so Carson is sent home, making Heidi, Yam Yam and Carolyn the final 3. Now, they’ll have a chance to plead their cases in front of the eight jury members. Yam Yam points out that he and the other Tika members always knew where the vote was going after the merge. He also assures the jury that he wasn’t riding Carson’s coattails the entire game — they were making decisions together. Carolyn defends playing an emotional game and points out how underestimated she was because of her quirkiness. Heidi knows she played a different game than Carolyn and Yam Yam, and tries to talk up her social game.
After all is said and done, it’s time for the jury to vote for the player they want to win. Heidi gets the first vote, followed by Yam Yam. Yam Yam then gets the rest of the votes and Yam Yam is the winner of Survivor season 44!
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