Spoiler alert: This article spoils major details of Survivor 43, including the identity of the winner.Survivor 43 has come to an end, with the unexpected but lovable Mike Gabler claiming the title of Sole Survivor over Owen and Cassidy. This season had one of the strongest casts in a long time. There was a good combination of entertaining personalities and great strategists, but will any of them play the game again?
Survivor weighs a variety of factors when choosing former players to invite back. They look for players who had some sort of impact on the game while also making for entertaining television. Survivor 43 offers plenty of returnee potential, but some are more likely than others to claim a second chance.
10/10 Elie Scott
Elie just missed the tribe merger as she was the victim of the tribal council at which half the cast was safe. She proved to have what it takes to be a good player but just was not cunning enough.
If Elie were to come back, she would use what she learned the first time and not be so noticeable with her moves. Everyone knew what she was doing on Survivor 43 and when Gabler indicted her for going through his bag, it pretty much punched her ticket to be voted off.
9/10 Owen Knight
Owen made it to finale night but is now on the list of finalists who received no votes. Owen showed a lot of resilience throughout the season as he had the underdog archetype.
Owen never proved himself a strategist as he played from the bottom for most of the season. However, he was a likable and entertaining personality that fans gravitated towards. Some contestants give up if they have to play from the bottom, but Owen started in a rough position and made it all the way to the final tribal council. If Survivor does a second chance type of season, Owen could be a candidate to bring back.
8/10 Mike Gabler
Gabler did what was thought to be impossible when he won Survivor. He did a lot of things right on his journey to the $1 million.
For most of the season, Gabler was entertaining and funny. At the final tribal council, however, he explained his strategy, which changed the jurors’ and some viewers’ perspectives on him. He was a serviceable player who had his hand in some big moves. Also, every winner has a chance to be brought back, and who knows, Gabler could become the third two-time winner in the future.
7/10 Cassidy Clark
Cassidy was the presumed favorite to win after Jesse lost in the fire-making challenge to Gabler. However, she was able to earn only one vote, from James.
If Cassidy were to come back, she would need to take more agency before the tribe merger. In Survivor 43, Karla and James did a lot of heavy lifting for her. With this knowledge, Cassidy could be a real threat not only to win but to get a perfect game if she comes back. Not to mention she earned a lot of impressive Survivor challenge wins too.
6/10 Sami Layadi
Sami is one of the few teenagers to play as he was 19 years old. His age belied his wisdom and smart strategic thinking, but he did fall prey to multiple instance of flipping sides, which was the worst move he made to get voted out of Survivor 43.
Sami had that drive and passion that fans always want to see from players. If he just focused more of his attention on creating stronger social connections and less on being on the right side of the vote, he could have made it a lot further. He had a cocky arrogance that was more charming than annoying, so he is someone that will come to play and play hard.
5/10 James Jones
James had a stranglehold on the game before the tribe merger and the first few votes after it. However, his high-profile position was sniffed out as he came in 10th place.
James can control the game in any way he pleases. However, he would need to make sure and establish strong connections, so no one thinks about flipping on him. He was the head driver for most of the votes he participated in, so if he took a back seat in one or two of them his threat level diminishes by a lot, which is a recipe for James to go far if he returns.
4/10 Karla Cruz Godroy
Karla started this season and was in a powerful position in her tribe. She started strong during the post-merger part of the game, but she stumbled near the end and came in fifth.
Karla’s strong start and mid-game is a good enough case for her to see the screen again. One thing she can not do if she returns is pull the “I will not vote for you in the end if you vote me out” card. That tactic never works and turned some viewers against her, even after she played a good game. If she sticks with her original low-key game plan, she could get some redemption if she comes back.
3/10 Cody Assenmacher
Cody is one of the most entertaining players Survivor has had in a long time. He was the victim of the legendary move by Jesse when he came in sixth.
From gathering the beads for an immunity idol to negotiating with another tribe, Cody was a must-watch when he was on-screen. He turned from some goofy guy at the start to an actual strategic threat when he was voted off. Without the move that eliminates Cody, he has a great chance to make it to the finale and even win. Even if he did not have many fans at the start of the season, he won many people over by the time of his demise.
2/10 Noelle Lambert
Noelle was in trouble as her allies were voted off before the tribes merged, but she adapted and got close to Sami and Owen. However, her threat level was too high, and she came in eighth.
Noelle was a joy to watch and an inspirational story. Her social game was fantastic as every time her ally went home, she got a new one. If she controls her threat level and does not win meaningless reward challenges, as she did in Survivor 43, then she could go very far. She would need to win herself there, however, as no one is going to want to take her knowing her story would be almost impossible to beat.
1/10 Jesse Lopez
Jesse was the favorite to win at about the halfway point of the season and entering the finale. He just could not make a fire as Gabler smoked him, so he came in fourth.
Jesse was the best strategic player this season, and it wasn’t close. He made the best move in a long time when he blindsided his No. 1 ally, Cody. Fans also liked how raw he was when he talked about how playing Survivor was more than just the experience and how he wanted the money for his family. He’s sure to come back whenever they have returning players.