Arrogance Will Be Your Downfall

There’s a moment during this episode of Survivor that will make you so confused, you’ll be pulling your hair out screaming, “Why would you do that?” And that’s how you can tell we’re getting close to the end, because the stakes are higher, and some of the moves are dumb. But one thing is for sure, during episode twelve of season 46, alliances are crumbling as each one of the players looks to find a way to get to the end.

But before we get into this episode, just a reminder that all season long I’ll be recapping every episode of Survivor 46. Make sure you subscribe to the Parting Shot podcast and my newsletter For the Culture for all things Survivor and entertainment related.

Read this to get a full recap of last week’s episode, but basically the secretly not-so-tight alliance between Charlie and Maria started to break when they both began plotting against each other. Charlie went in the direction of taking out Maria and Q, while Maria focused on taking out Venus. Maria won the Immunity Challenge and Venus found a Hidden Immunity Idol, so it looked like Charlie’s plan to get Q out could have worked. But in the end Venus didn’t play her Idol and got voted out. This season really should be called Survivor: Players Leaving With Idols In Their Pockets. It’s a long title, but it’s accurate.

We then meet them after Tribal Council, and everyone is basically fine with Venus’ departure. The only big question is, who cast that one vote for Kenzie? Is she in trouble?

Nope. Turns out Ben, suffering from exhaustion while also coming down from gorging on pizza at Reward, somehow accidentally voted for Kenzie? Everyone is confused, especially Kenzie, because her and Ben are tight. But in the end, because it’s Ben and he’s kind of kooky, people accept it.

Pictured (L-R): Ben Katzman, Kenzie Veurink, and Maria Gonzalez. Photo: CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Meanwhile Maria is upset by the things Venus said about her at Tribal Council. She says Venus attacked her character and it bothered her, but it also helped her realize she’s a force to be reckoned with.

“If they’re not trying to get me out, then that’s their mistake,” Maria said in a confessional.

Later that night, Ben wakes up in a panic. He’s experienced this from time to time and has talked about his struggles with anxiety before. Kenzie, whom he just accidentally voted for (LOL), wakes up with him to help. You can tell he genuinely didn’t mean to vote for her, and she’s clearly unbothered by it. Sometimes it’s nice when not everything on Survivor is so ruthless. Occasionally a little compassion sneaks through, and that’s nice to see.

DAY 22

We start day 22 with a seismic event. Something so momentous that has not happened yet this season on Survivor: Liz had a bowel movement. Is this gross? Yes. But can you imagine going 22 days without having a BM? I don’t think so. Liz’s BM celebration is warranted and a highlight of the season.

Charlie is still plotting to take out Maria and/or Q, but he’s torn. He also knows he could just stick with Maria, his best friend out there, and do the safe thing. But you can tell that’s not the game Charlie wants to play.


Survivor 46: Ep. 12
Pictured (L-R): Kenzie Veurink, Charlie Davis, and Maria Gonzalez. Photo: CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


They’re starting things off today with some food, but they gotta earn it.

For the challenge, they gotta race over an obstacle to collect a bag containing a ball. To get the ball, they have to wind the bag through a rope that’s twisted over and through a latter bridge. Once the bag is free, they’ll climb under another obstacle before stopping at a maze. They’ll have to maneuver the ball through a maze. The first person to finish wins Reward.

That Reward is a trip to Sanctuary for a yummy afternoon of Chinese takeout.

Charlie and Q take an early lead, followed by Maria. Once Maria hits the latter bridge though she takes the lead, followed by Charlie. Maria is first to hit the maze, followed by Q and Charlie.

Survivor 46: Ep. 12
Pictured (L-R): Q Burdette. Photo: CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


In the end everyone makes it to the final maze because it’s so difficult. Lots of balls dropping in these moments, with each player struggling. In the end, Charlie takes the win and gets Reward.

Host Jeff Probst decides to sweeten the deal for Charlie’s Chinese takeout party, because in addition to the meal, the players Charlie chooses to take with him will also receive letters from loved ones at home. He can choose two other players. First he chooses Liz because it’s food she can eat—she’s allergic to everything—and her daughter at home is a massive Survivor fan. He then chooses Kenzie because she didn’t previously get a reward.

Charlie’s decision crushes Maria. She wanted to hear from her children. She breaks down and cries, but also understands Charlie’s decision.


Charlie, Liz and Kenzie chow down (literally). Charlie says he knew he was going to pick Liz and Kenzie simply because they didn’t get the last Reward. But Maria’s reaction is weighing on him, because it was emotional but also because of the bond they’ve created while being out there.

Speaking of bonds, here come the letters from home. Prepare yourself for buckers of tears. This moment on Survivor is always emotional and it allows us to get to know these players in a way the game never could. It shows us their hearts and their vulnerabilities and what, fundamentally, motivates their games. It’s touching.

It also gives them that boost they need to get to the end of the game, which is quickly approaching. And right now, Charlie has a distinct path to winning it all. Or does he? Strap in, it’s about to get messy!

While at Sanctuary, the three of them discuss the one person standing in the way of Charlie winning: Maria. They need to take her out, and think they have the votes to do it.


While Charlie, Liz and Kenzie are at Sanctuary, Maria is still upset back at camp.

“Something died in me today,” Maria said. She wants to hear from her three sons.

I fully empathize with what Maria is feeling, it’s gotta be hard to be away from your kids for that long. But having the reaction she’s having can also work against her. Sure, be upset, but don’t make it all about you. In this situation, she’s making it all about her when she should be making it about the game.

It seems like she finally gets that when her, Q and Ben decide to use this time to look for a Hidden Immunity Idol. The one who really needs it is Maria, because like she said at the beginning, she’s made big moves, they’d be dumb not to go for her. (Just like Charlie is plotting.) But ultimately, she doesn’t find it, Q does. Of all the people left, Q is the last person who needs an Immunity Idol, because he’s got zero chance at winning the game. If Q makes it to the end, it’s only because the two other players in those top spots know that no one is going to vote for Q. It’s honestly a waste of an Idol.

He decides to tell Maria about it. He said he’ll play it for her if she doesn’t win Immunity at the next challenge. If she does, he’ll play it for himself. But one thing they didn’t talk about is what happens if they both lose? Maria starts to plot.

She’s cool with taking Liz out, but she tells Q—for the first time—that she’s open to taking out Charlie.

This is shaping up to be a Maria vs. Charlie game and it’s honestly delicious. (And stressful.)


Survivor 46: Ep. 12
Pictured (L-R): Kenzie Veurink, Maria Gonzalez, Liz Wilcox, Charlie Davis, Ben Katzman and Q Burdette. Photo: CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Today’s Immunity Challenge is on the water, which is always fun.

Today they’ll have to climb to the top of a very tall tower, race over a series of obstacles—yes, still on the water—which ends on a dock where they’ll have to complete a puzzle of a dolphin. The first one to finish wins Immunity.

Charlie, Q and Maria take early leads. The beam towards the end slows the boys, but it’s no problem for Maria, she’s first to the puzzle. Ben, Charlie and Liz catch up to her at the puzzle.

In a surprise, Ben takes the lead, but not for long. Maria takes the lead again and in the end Maria gets the win to put the kibosh on Charlie’s plan to take her out. With Q’s Hidden Immunity Idol, if he uses it—which, let’s be real, isn’t likely considering the season of confusing Idol play—Charlie could be in trouble.

Survivor 46: Ep. 12
Pictured (L-R): Liz Wilcox, Q Burdette, Maria Gonzalez, Ben Katzman, Charlie Davis, and Kenzie Veurink. Photo: CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Kenzie, Liz and Charlie are frustrated that Maria keeps winning. Because she’s safe, all eyes turn to Q. Charlie, Ben, Liz, and Kenzie all agree he’s the one to go, but they don’t know he has an Idol.

Maria and Q agree it’s time to take out Charlie. Then Q tells Kenzie and Liz they’re going for Charlie. (How do none of these players think Q has an Idol? Why is nobody talking about this?) I can tell something is missing from this moment. There’s no way Charlie doesn’t know this plot against him, especially after Maria told Kenzie and Liz she’s open to voting for Charlie.


They all enter calm and collected. (Meanwhile I’m a ball of stress watching, so worried for Charlie.) Liz, Kenzie and Charlie talk about the letters from home, but the conversation quickly shifts to the game.

With the numbers dwindling, how will they vote? Will alliances hold or will they pivot? And how do these votes impact how the jury will vote in the end? It’s a stressful time.

And then Ben explains his accidental vote for Kenzie at the last Tribal Council. He’s clearly embarrassed by this, and it seems like they’ve turned it into something fun.

But as they talk I’m getting antsy, dying for them to vote. I need to know what happens. Moments like this are oddly rare on Survivor, when you don’t know what’s going to happen, and you know what? It makes Survivor exciting. (I’m still nervous for Charlie.)

Then they vote and the audience get to witness one of the dumbest moves every played on Survivor. (I feel like I’ve already said that about another move this season, so forgive me, but oy some of the moves this season…) Just to give you a recap, Q previously isolated himself from every player except Maria. He made one poor decision after another, to the point where people just kept him around because he was convenient for blindsides. And then now, when he knows he only has Maria on his side, with an Idol sitting in his pocket, somehow, he thinks he’s safe enough to not play his Idol. In what world would he think that people weren’t going to vote for him? I’m so confused.

Well, he doesn’t play it. As Jeff reads the votes, Charlie reacts to his name being written down and looks to Q, presumably realizing that was Q’s vote. Q shoots Charlie a look that implies Charlie should have seen this coming. And then as Q’s name is read off vote after vote, he’s the one who looks shocked. (How?!?!) In the end, Q is voted out. (Finally.) And yet again, another Immunity Idol is going home in the pocket of someone voted off. Oy! Double oy!

But now we have a Top 5 going into the season finale of Survivor 46 next week. At this point, it’s a game between Charlie and Maria, but could Ben, Liz or Kenzie catch up to them? Crazier things have happened.

Who Needs to Get Snuffed?

I love Maria, but her dealings with Q just kind of backfired. Because of that, I think Maria needs to go.

Who Should be the Sole Survivor?

This isn’t a surprise at this point, I’m fully Team Charlie.

Watch Survivor every Wednesday on CBS or anytime on Paramount+ to follow along as I react to every episode this season.