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Emily, a 28-year-old investment analyst from McKinney, TX, who currently resides in Laurel, MD, was voted out of Survivor’s 45th season on Night 21 of the game with a single vote after Julie, a 49-year-old estate attorney from Brentwood, TN — who had received six votes from her tribemates — played a hidden Immunity Idol.
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“Nobody wants this to happen to them in Survivor, but what an epic way to go. This has been the most amazing experience of my life,” Emily said in her final words.
“I learned that when I come on really strong and I’m aggressive, it’s probably not the best way to make friends or alliances in this game. But I’m so pleased that I was given so many extra days here to really change myself, pivot my strategy, and learn a lot along the way.”
The Survivor broadcast began with the Dakuwaqa Tribe celebrating the fact they had managed to vote out Bruce Perreault with his hidden Immunity Idol in his pocket.
“You hear the silence? That’s Bruce not lecturing me and not micromanaging everybody,” Katurah Topps, a 35-year-old civil rights attorney from St. Louis, MO, who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, boasted in a Survivor confessional.
“I cannot believe he wouldn’t have played his idol!… That is a testament to his lack of self-awareness.”
Emily revealed to the group how she had convinced Bruce that Julie wasn’t his real ally, and everyone was impressed. Julie gave Emily “major props,” but she noted how Emily’s threat level had gone up because it was “a genius move” and she had come up with the whole plan.
Meanwhile, Austin Li Coon, a 26-year-old graduate student from San Jose, CA, who currently resides in Chicago, IL, felt great about still having a solid alliance with Julie; Drew Basile, a 23-year-old graduate student from Birmingham, MI, who currently resides in Philadelphia, PA; and Dee Valladares, a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Havana, Cuba, who currently resides in Miami, FL.
Austin said he was proud to have the majority in the tribe, and the group of four promised each other that they’d be the Final 4.
“We’ve just been taking people out like the freaking mafia, one at a time,” Austin boasted.
And a showmance appeared to be brewing between Austin and Dee. Austin said he could talk to Dee and laugh for hours.
“I’m definitely going to visit her as soon as this game ends,” Austin explained, adding how Dee was his rock in the game and they had truly connected.
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Austin suggested to Dee that she was his “Amber on the island,” referring to “Boston Rob” Mariano and Amber Brkich’s famous Survivor relationship.
The pair promised each other a Final 3 spot, and Dee told the cameras that while she had promised herself she wouldn’t enter a Survivor showmance, it was okay to let herself have a little fun.
On Day 20 of the game, Jake O’Kane, a 26-year-old attorney from Hanson, MA, who currently resides in Boston, MA, was feeling sad because votes had been cast against him at Tribal Council once again. Katurah told Jake that she’d be down to work with him for the next three votes.
Katurah then opened up to Jake and Julie about her real story, including how her family had joined a strict religious cult when she was younger and so she wasn’t allowed to attend school until she entered high school.
Katurah also shared how she’s a lawyer now and how she’s certainly come a long way as a home-schooled, Black and gay woman.
Later that day, a Survivor boat arrived at camp with a letter, and the tribe learned one person must go on a journey and make a decision. If multiple people wanted to go on the journey, they’d draw rocks to determine who would get to go.
It seemed almost everyone was open to going, and so they drew rocks. The lucky green rock ended up being in Emily’s hand, and she wasn’t exactly happy about it. Emily knew this would put a target on her back, but it could also propel her forward in the game.
“There is always a chance to get an advantage. And now, Emily has a chance to build her resume even bigger,” Julie explained in a Survivor confessional.
Julie pitched to Drew how they may need to vote Emily out, especially because she had made some friends in the jury. Drew, however, questioned if this was the right time to take Emily out.
Drew told the Survivor cameras how Julie was also a big threat because she had an idol and was viewed as “mom” by the tribe. Julie knew if any of her allies wanted to distinguish themselves and make a big move, it was Drew, and so she was feeling suspicious.
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Julie talked to Dee about her concerns, but Dee mentioned how they still needed each other and it was important to stick together because there were still six days left in the game and they didn’t know what Survivor host Probst was going to throw at them.
Dee spoke to Julie about how they needed to convince people to target Emily once she returned to the Survivor camp.
Emily, meanwhile, was feeling vulnerable and on the chopping block. She then walked up to a puzzle, which four castaways had apparently tried and failed before her.
Emily learned that if she could solve the Survivor puzzle, which required her to remove a circle of rope attached to a metal structure before a timer ran out, she’d be safe at the next Tribal Council.
However, if she couldn’t solve the Survivor puzzle, she’d lose her vote at the next Tribal Council.
“Having immunity is extremely appealing to me,” Emily noted. “But at this stage in the game, my vote is my life… If I try and fail, I could be guaranteeing my return home, and I don’t think the trade off is worth it, so I can’t participate.”
Emily hoped the decision she had made was the right one and that her Survivor tribemates would believe her about what happened on her special journey.
Later on, Drew, who wanted to make a big move, asked Katurah and Jake if they’d be willing to take out Dee or Julie. The pair insisted they’d be willing to take out Julie, a big threat, since Dee’s power and force in the game seemed to be dwindling.
Katurah talked to Austin about how they couldn’t go to the end with Julie, and Austin agreed that Julie would be a tough person to beat at the end of Survivor. Austin therefore considered voting out Julie before the Final 4, even though he had a strong alliance with the original “Reba Four” members.
“I would like to do Julie and then Emily,” Katurah told Austin.
“I think Drew would be onboard,” Austin acknowledged.
Drew told Austin that Julie was the right move to make before Emily, but Austin was worried about how Dee was going to feel about this. Neither he or Drew thought Dee would be onboard, and so Austin feared having to blindside his girl.
Austin told the Survivor cameras how he needed to take out Julie because she had the idol he had given to her.
“It’s stronger than the Amulet I have. My Amulet has the power of an idol, but it only lasts until the Final 6. Julie’s idol, which I gave her, lasts until the Final 5,” Austin explained.
“I don’t want to ask for it back… so I need to vote her out and flush my own freaking idol out of the game.”
When Emily returned to camp and told the honest truth about her journey, Dee didn’t buy it at all. Emily then discovered that her allies, Drew and Austin, were going after Julie.
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Emily realized in that moment the vote was probably going to come down to Julie vs. herself. Emily and Katurah were on the same page and agreed not to tell Dee about the Julie blindside.
On Day 21, the Survivor castaways met Jeff for the next Individual Immunity Challenge.
Jeff instructed each castaway to race to gather a rope by untangling it and then run over and under a series of obstacles. A player must then throw sandbags at a stack of blocks, before gathering and using those blocks to solve a word puzzle. The word was “resourcefulness.”
The first person to finish would win immunity and be guaranteed a spot in the Final 6. The next person voted out of the game would be the twelfth person voted out of Survivor 45 and the fifth member of the jury.
In addition, the castaways were playing for Reward in the form of a do-it-yourself barbecue back at camp.
In the end, Drew won Individual Immunity and he was ecstatic. Drew got to choose one person to join him for the barbecue, and he picked Jake, who hadn’t enjoyed a Reward in a while. (Drew later said he wanted to secure a little trust with Jake given Jake was a free agent).
Drew got to select another castaway to eat with him, and he picked Austin.
While the men enjoyed their hamburgers and hotdogs and discussed voting Julie out, the ladies enjoyed a spa day back at camp.
The women, however, had nothing to talk about since Julie and Emily were basically at odds in the game and wanted to write each other’s name down.
Once the men reunited with the ladies, Austin was still afraid to hurt Dee and potentially ruin his greatest relationship out on the island. But it was important for Julie not to get wind of the plan because she could play her idol and save herself.
Austin knew that if he told Dee about the plan, she may warn Julie and ask Julie to play her idol.
Austin wasn’t sure what to share or not to share with Dee, and then he finally confessed there was “a strong movement against” Julie. Austin said his heart wasn’t in it but everyone wanted that really badly.
“Nooo,” Dee lamented. “I won’t write her name down, just like I won’t write your name down.”
Austin said even if they didn’t write Julie’s name down, she’d probably still go home. Dee wanted to cry because she felt like it was too soon to break up their alliance of four, but at the same time, she knew this day was going to come.
Austin and Dee recognized that if they told Julie to play her idol, it would probably come back to bite them both. Julie was also Dee’s No. 1 besides Austin.
“If I tell Julie about potentially going home, then my game is blown,” Dee told the Survivor cameras.
“This is the biggest decision I’ve had to make in the game. Austin is trusting me by telling me this information, and so far I’ve played this game with heart, so I am going to follow my intuition and continue playing this game with heart.”
Dee advised Julie to play her idol that night because she was the option, and she suggested how they should both put their votes on Emily. Dee asked Julie to put her best poker face on, but Julie was mad because she had protected the guys for multiple votes.
“Come on! Man up and face me when there are three left. That was the plan!” Julie complained to the Survivor cameras about Drew and Austin.
Julie then pitched the idea to Jake and Emily of voting out Austin. Jake and Emily didn’t know that Julie had an idol, so she figured the pair was going to side with the majority and not make a move with her.
Emily then revealed to Drew that Julie was trying to rally troops to vote out Austin.
“So she knows!” Drew concluded. “I think someone spilled the beans to Julie, which is exactly what I don’t want.”
Drew warned Austin that Julie had thrown his name out, and Dee looked pretty guilty. Austin didn’t think Dee would have tipped off Julie, but Drew disagreed.
Julie then spoke to Dee about how they should take out Austin because it would leave Drew weak and vulnerable in the Survivor game. Dee insisted that Austin wasn’t the mastermind of the plan and didn’t want to blindside Julie — and that he was her No. 1.
Dee therefore begged Julie not to vote for Austin, but Julie seemed ready to shake things up.
“Dee just told me that Austin is her No. 1. Will she pick him over me? Maybe it’s good that I take her No. 1 out,” Julie questioned to the Survivor cameras, adding how her next decision could either save her or destroy her.
On Night 21 at Tribal Council, Jeff declared how it sounded like anything could happen. Julie said everyone loved each other but the choice was going to come down to Final 3 alliances.
It then became time to vote, and Drew, Emily, Austin, Katurah, Jake and Dee were all shown writing Julie’s name down. Emily voiced in the voting booth how she’d vote for Julie to win Survivor, which is why she needed her gone.
Katurah shared with the Survivor cameras how if the vote didn’t work out as she had anticipated, she was going to blame Austin and his “stupid, emotional heart.”
Dee hoped that Julie was going to play her idol that night, especially because she had written Julie’s name down as well to save face with Austin and Drew and make the guys think that she was still with them.
Before Jeff tallied the votes aloud, Julie did, in fact, play her hidden Immunity Idol for herself. Dee pretended to look shocked, and Austin appeared distraught.
Jeff proceeded to read the votes in the following order: Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie, and Emily.
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“I’m so sorry,” Julie announced.
“It’s okay, do not feel bad,” Emily replied, before declaring to the group as a whole, “My vote is going to the best player!”
About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.