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‘Survivor’ 45 Episode 2 Recap: Lulu Votes Brandon Out

(Warning: SPOILERS in this Survivor 45 Episode 2 recap)

Survivor 45 episode 2 ended much like the premiere. By the end, contestants Emily Flippen and Brandon Donlon were both worried about leaving, but instead of someone quitting voluntarily, one of them was actually voted off the island. 

At tribal council, team Lulu opted to improve their chances of winning a challenge by eliminating the castaway they considered to be their biggest liability: Donlon, the 26-year-old content producer from New Jersey.  

In the first episode, Donlon was the contestant so overwhelmed with emotion that cried. He said competing on Survivor was his lifelong dream, and then he passed out during the first challenge. His performance in episode 2 wasn’t much better. 

During Wednesday night’s show, Donlon lost an individual puzzle challenge, which resulted in him losing his vote at his next tribal council, and then he identified himself as the reason his team lost the immunity challenge. For his part, he had to solve another puzzle. 

Afterward, he spent time trying to convince his teammates that he was worth keeping around. 

“Nobody wants this experience. Nobody wants to lose twice. Nobody wants to have a dead firepit. But I’m telling you, this is all I’ve ever wanted — to be out here,” Donlon said. “I just wanted you to know that. I love you all.”

Until the vote, he kept pitching himself as “loyal,” “Lulu strong,” and said, “Socially, I am the bomb,” meaning he was fun to be around.

While his teammates didn’t disagree with those qualities, they focused on his performance.  

Sean Edwards, the 35-year-old principal from Utah, called Donlon a “liability in every single challenge, in every aspect of the challenge. How are we ever going to win?”

Sabiyah Broderick, the 28-year-old truck driver from North Carolina, confronted Donlon about his ability to solve puzzles, which he said would be his skill. In response, Donlon said those were just bad days. 

While the remaining teammate, Kaleb Gebrewold, didn’t say much about Donlon, he had lots to say about Flippen. Throughout the episode, he coached her on how to be more likable and personable.

Flippen, the 28-year-old financial analyst from Maryland, explained that Gebrewold taught her lessons not just about the game but about life. 

“People have feelings and emotions. You can’t brute force things in life and I can’t brute force this game and now I’m taking some of these lessons to heart,” Flippen said. 

Gebrewold, the 29-year-old software salesman from Vancouver, argued in favor of keeping Flippen because he understood her fact-based approach to problems. 

“I think having Emily as an asset is going to be a very valuable thing for me,” Gebrewold said. 

At the end of the episode, Brandon was ousted by a majority vote. During his exit interview, he explained that although his journey was short, he was able to fulfill his childhood dream. 

“My whole five days here have been ruled by my anxiety and my neurosis and my worry. But being on the beach with these guys, with these buffs, it’s been incredible man,” Donlon said. “This has been the most fun five days I’ve ever had.” 

Watch season 45 of Survivor on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.  

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