Survivor 43’s Nneka Ejere discusses her performance in the challenges and why Noelle’s behavior should have clued her in on her approaching blindside.
Survivor season 43 is off to the races, and the most recently eliminated contestant, Nneka Ejere recently revealed why she should have known that her tribe would vote her out. Survivor’s more recent seasons have been heavy on blindsides, and the first three episodes of the current season are no exception. Nneka, who was tightly aligned with Cody Assenmacher and Jesse Lopez, found herself on the wrong side of the votes after two challenge losses where she was tasked with completing the all-important puzzle. Due to the many advantages and twists that are thrown at Survivor contestants in the new era, it’s been a tricky task to get your target out of the game. However, in Wednesday night’s episode there was a return to classic Survivor form, as Nneka was voted out to help the tribe win challenges.
While Cody led the Vesi Tribe to victory in episode one, it was all downhill from there. Nneka told EW, “Nobody likes to lose. I do not like to lose.” Nneka expressed confidence in the episode that her tribemate, Noelle Lambert, would be voted out, but now thinks she should have picked up on the clues that this wasn’t the case saying, “You want to pick up everything to go to Tribal. Noelle didn’t take everything.” Although it seems like a minor thing, that was a tell-tale sign that there were different plans in motion, but Nneka says, “I just chose not to dwell on it…There’s no need to like start losing my crap at that point.”
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Nneka certainly recognizes she was not the strongest competitor in the game. Survivor has some intense challenges, but it almost always comes down to who can complete the puzzle fastest. Nneka didn’t necessarily want that pressure, saying in her exit interview, “Nobody felt comfortable in puzzles. So it just seemed like I ended up at the puzzles…they’re not necessarily a strength.” Nneka also recounts “going back and forth with the tribe,” as they told her to put pieces in specific spots. Nneka says, “That piece did not go there and that threw me off.”
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Nneka may not have been a master puzzle builder, but she seemed to have great social bonds with everyone in her tribe. Her unlikely alliance with elevator salesman, Cody, helped her avoid the target in episode 2, assisting in the blindside of Justine Brennan. Nneka is the third woman in a row to be voted out of the game, which many fans claim is due to the small tribes format that forces players to prioritize their strongest players. It seems as if there is no stopping Cody and Jesse, who have a stranglehold on the Vesi tribe, especially now that Cody has a hidden immunity idol (in the form of a palm frond hat.)
Nneka’s absence from the show will certainly be felt by the time episode 4 rolls around. She was an effervescent character, who seemed to always have a smile and a kind word for everyone. Audiences got to learn a lot about why Nneka was competing for the million dollars due to Survivor’s new way of introducing backstory. She stayed positive until the very end and even wished her tribe best wishes on her way off the island.