It’s here, folks – we’ve finally reached the official “Survivor 42” merge! Drop your buffs and get ready for an hour of backstabs, betrayal, and duplicity as we begin shortly after last week’s elimination of Lydia Meredith, partly at the hands of her allies, Hai Giang and Mike Turner.
Right now, there seems to be a tenuous alliance of “eight” that formed last episode, but it’s still not entirely clear who exactly those eight are. What we do know is that the #1 targets are Tori Meehan and Chanelle Howell, so let’s see if they make it out of tonight’s Tribal Council alive.
This week’s episode is called “You Better Be Wearing a Seatbelt,” so buckle up guys…this might get a little bumpy.
All times Eastern.
8:05 – Back at camp, Mike comments on how Tori, Chanelle, Romeo, and Maryanne are all on the outs. Chanelle and Romeo are both worried about this. Chanelle, bizarrely, thinks that “I, in my head, was playing chess while everyone else was playing checkers…” Beg to differ, sister. Usually you’re the one playing checkers when you’re left out of the vote.
Interestingly, Drea is distancing herself from her #1 ally, Romeo. Apparently, he’s “totally different,” and is now one of the most paranoid players on the island. “If Romeo has to go, then Romeo has to go,” she says. WOW – I was not expecting this shake-up.
Maryanne is also worried, with a lot of her childhood insecurities bubbling up. She says she feels like “I suck, there’s something wrong with me, and that’s why people don’t want to work with me,” and that it feels like the “cool kids” are excluding her from the group. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for her.
Mike’s the cool boomer. Even though he’s 57, he’s pretty relatable, especially with the young people. He’s curious about Omar’s religion (Islam). Omar respects him and his empathy, and even sees a potential for the two of them going long-term. Remember that if Mike wins, he would be the oldest winner of all time.
At the reward challenge, we’re getting another behind-the-scenes peek from Jeff Probst. Jeff reveals that there’s a Beware advantage hidden under the sit-out bench, similar to how Xander sat out in episode 8 last season, though he didn’t find the hidden advantage. In fact, it’s the exact same bench, almost in the exact same spot in the water! Jeff just loves breaking the fourth wall.
8:15 – They’re dividing into teams of five by rock draw, so one person will be the unlucky sit-out. Turns out, it’s Maryanne.
Just like last season, one contestant is stepping up to take Maryanne’s spot, and this time, it’s Drea. Will she find the hidden advantage? We’ll just have to wait and see.
As usual, Jonathan is killing it in the challenge. Meanwhile, unlike Xander, Drea actually finds the advantage, and tells us that if we know her, she’s not gonna “beware” of anything; she’s gonna take her shot. She does, and stuffs it in her pants. Yet another advantage for her.
WOW…Omar is KILLING it in this challenge. While blue has zero balls in their basket, Orange comes from behind and turns it around 4-0. Jonathan, who was originally in the water retrieving balls, gets out and replaces Rocksroy as the thrower. Naturally, he gets five in a row and wins the challenge, completely lapping Orange. Gotta respect Omar’s drive, though I’m really wondering why Jonathan wasn’t just throwing in the first place.
8:20 – After the reward, the so-called “eight” is once again in agreement that Tori is first to go, followed closely by Romeo. Omar, meanwhile, has secret agreements with basically everyone on the island. “Information is the most powerful thing in the game right now, so having eyes and ears on every side of the island is invaluable for my game moving forward,” he explains. Who would’ve guessed our little villain this season would’ve been Omar?? Will be interesting to see how this style of gameplay turns out for him.
Okay, we’re about to see Drea’s advantage. It’s a clue explaining that there’s another advantage “five paces” from the water well, though obviously that’s a pretty large perimeter. Nonetheless, Drea goes sleuthing and finds something. It’s a hole filled with red paint, with an advantage hidden in it. Gives a whole new meaning to “caught red handed”! Wow – props, producers. Gotta love a good pun.
Uh-oh. Tori notices Drea’s red hand (or, more accurately, arm). She’s immediately onto her. Drea, in turn, is onto her. “I don’t trust Tori,” she explains. “She needs to go.”
8:30 – At the immunity challenge, Jeff’s breaking the fourth wall again. He’s gonna try to make a deal with the contestants, once again just like episode 8 in “41,” to sit out of the challenge in exchange for some rice. Last season, it was 4 people sitting out for three extra days’ worth of rice. This time, he’s doing four extra days’ worth of rice in exchange for six people sitting out. He lets us in on a secret, though: he’ll settle for 4 sitting out. But in case any future players think they can outsmart Jeff, he warns us that in the future, “The monster may have a much, much bigger appetite.”
The negotiation starts, and eventually they settle for four, but only three people are willing to step out. Everyone gets into a huddle to discuss, and Maryanne starts tearing up, telling her tribemates that even though she is on the outs, she’s sacrificing a chance for immunity for her tribe’s common good. Eventually, Omar – very reluctantly – agrees to step out. However, Maryanne’s little act may have been just that – an act. “Look at me, using emotions as a weapon,” Maryanne says in a confessional.
8:35 – Hai is out before Jeff even says the challenge is on. Quickly, we’re down to three. Eventually, Chanelle falls out and it’s down to Tori, who won last episode’s immunity, and Jonathan, who is pretty much one of the biggest (at least tribal) challenge beasts of all time. Eventually, Jonathan loses his balance and Tori wins again, once more foiling the majority’s plans.
Drea speaks for the tribe when she says that Tori winning once again really “pissed [her] off.” Now, it’s between Maryanne, Chanelle, and Romeo. We go to commercial break on Drea’s iconic laugh. “If they gotta go, they gotta go!” she says.
8:45 – Back at camp, Hai and Mike are gunning for Chanelle, because they really, really don’t trust her. Mike especially, given her infamous vote for him in episode 5.
Chanelle seems to be convinced by the majority’s lie that she is safe, but Romeo is not, partly because he’s picking up on Drea’s distancing herself from him. And honestly, at least with this edit, it’s becoming pretty clear why her perception of him has changed. Romeo is running around the island asking everyone about his name being thrown out there. Even Omar agrees: “Romeo is so paranoid!” he tells us. “He’s gonna play himself out of the game.”
Now, Omar’s talking with Hai about potentially changing the vote. Hai is partly in agreement, because Romeo has been “causing chaos,” which makes it hard for him (Hai) to maintain control.
It’s becoming pretty clear this isn’t just the edit. Hai tells the audience that Romeo was pretty safe in the beginning, but has basically dug himself a giant hole with his paranoia.
Mike, still desperate to get rid of Chanelle, is very fond of his own social game, and wants to use it to keep the target on Chanelle. He scrambles to do just that, and we’re left on that cliffhanger before we go to Tribal. Personally, it looks like the numbers are there to get Romeo, but you never know what could happen.
8:55 – At Tribal, Jonathan promises that Maryanne, Omar, Lindsay, and Drea won’t get voted out on account of sitting out of the challenge (though interestingly, three of the four are his former Taku tribemates…I’m very intrigued by these four flying under-the-radar, and want to see how far it will take them).
There’s more discussion about how unified the group is. Tori says that, despite her safety, she still doesn’t feel great about being left out of the last vote. Seems like most people seem to think the group is “unified,” even though, obviously, at least one person is not in it.
The conversation steers, if you will, to car metaphors, and Lindsay says it could be a good idea to stay in the passenger’s seat sometimes while sitting in the driver’s seat at others. Hai agrees, saying that if you don’t know when or how to step out of the driver’s seat and let someone else drive, “you better be wearing a seatbelt.”
Time to vote. As the votes are read, we get: one for Hai (spelt “Hye,” in honor of Ralph, perhaps), three for Romeo, and six for Chanelle. Chanelle is the sixth person voted out of the game. Looks like Mike got his wish.
Although everyone is telling her that they love her, she is not happy. She barely gives them a second glance as she heads out. “Wow,” she whispers. This is what you call a blindside.
“Survivor 42” is currently airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern time on CBS. The three-hour finale airs Wednesday, May 25, 2022.