Chanelle Howell is officially gone, leaving Tori Meehan as presumably the main target of the ten remaining contestants tonight, largely due to the solidified “seven” alliance, which seems to include everyone but Tori, Romeo, and Maryanne. However, Maryanne seems to still be close to her former Taku members, so she may make it out alive if she happens not to be in the group that doesn’t have Tori.
So, let’s see! Will Tori escape yet another episode alive? Will she manage to win immunity yet again? Will the majority alliance still remain intact after two consecutive Tribal Councils? We’ll soon find out in this episode entitled “Game of Chicken.”
All times Eastern.
8:05 – On the heels of the Day 16 Tribal Council, Romeo puts on a bright, happy, and forgiving face to the rest of the camp, though he secretly wants to “kick ’em in the face” for being their backup target. His anger seems to be most directed at Hai, despite their heartwarming heart-to-heart last week (“I just wanna see you squirm,” Romeo said in his voting confessional for Hai that night). Unfortunately, the feeling is mutual, with Hai correctly assuming that Romeo cast a vote his way, though Romeo denies it. Now, Romeo has committed himself to taking out Hai, or die trying.
Rocksroy, meanwhile, wants to make an alliance with the men, and starts with Jonathan and Mike. The two seem open to the idea, though he seems to push it after approaching Omar about the plan. Omar, understandably, is worried about the other men outperforming him in challenges, so secretly has no interest in this deal. Hai is similarly not fond of the plan. “I’m not part of the misogyny club here,” Hai tells us. As a result, his targets are now set on Rocksroy. Well…looks like this plan has backfired.
8:15 – The immunity challenge, Sea Legs, is a “Survivor” classic, where contestants must stand on a wobbly platform in the rocky waters, and basically not fall off. The real twist, though, is that the ten will be split into two groups – Blue and Orange, of course – and will be going to two separate Tribals. They will also be competing for reward for their team, and whoever wins reward will get to go to Tribal second. The breakdown of the tribes are as follows:
Yes, interestingly enough, Blue turns out to consist of five men, supposedly benefiting Rocksroy and his newly-formed “all guys’ alliance,” but…we’ll see how that turns out.
The challenge starts, and everyone’s dropping like flies. Before even one minute is up, about seven of the ten are out, including Tori. Eventually, Hai wins immunity for Blue, while Jonathan beats out Lindsay for Orange. Hai then quickly falls off, so Orange wins reward.
Naïvely, Mike, actually believes that Omar is with him and Rocksroy, so it’ll be an “easy” vote for Romeo tonight. Well…we’ll see about that, Mike.
8:25 – According to Romeo, this is his worst nightmare. He has nothing in common with any of the men, and is even in an ongoing beef with Hai, so he’s pretty much resigned to his fate. However, Omar is more open to the idea of getting rid of Rocksroy, considering his stubbornness in the game. So, he approaches Romeo and divulges the attempted all-male alliance. Unfortunately for Romeo, his fate depends on Hai, who he calls “the sneakiest weasel that ‘Survivor 42’ has.”
Hai, though he wants Romeo out on a personal level, thinks it’ll be better strategically to get rid of Rocksroy. However, he doesn’t want to alienate Mike, so he goes to him for counsel. Mike is opposed to the plan, largely because he already gave Rocksroy his word. However, he also doesn’t want to be split from Hai, so they’re both in a bit of a pickle.
Over at Orange’s camp (fitting, considering that three of the five are former Taku), Jonathan approaches Maryanne with the possibility of blindsiding Drea, in order to flush her idol (let alone the million other advantages they don’t know she has). However, Maryanne is pissed about his patronizing attitude. “Jonathan’s really getting to me,” she says. She then goes to Tori and tells her about Jonathan’s plans…bad idea, Maryanne, if you ask me. Tori just assumed she would be the tribe’s target, but now has a bit of hope.
8:30 – Jonathan tells Drea that the target is Maryanne. She plays it cool, but is secretly nervous about people being targeted for their idols.
When he comes to his ally Lindsay with the plan, Lindsay points his fatal flaw: if Drea plays her idol, their ally Maryanne will go home, along with all of her advantages. “Jonathan is not very strategic,” she tells us. Yeah, welcome to the party, Lindsay. She then tries to convince him that it’s better to convince Drea to target Tori. This leads to a big argument, reminiscent, perhaps, of his 14-year-old self back on “Endurance.” “He’s kind of an idiot,” Lindsay says to Tori.
8:35 – At Blue’s Tribal Council, the men talk about how much the living conditions on Survivor suck. Mike then mentions that you can strategize all you want, but strategy is totally subject to change, especially considering all the new twists and advantages they have to deal with, so players really have to learn how to work with that. Interesting comment, given how we haven’t seen any updates regarding the Romeo vs. Rocksroy debate. Rocksroy then says that he never received any indication that his plans – or the plans in general – have changed. Well, if it really is a vote against him, he won’t see it coming. And this editing is looking ominous for him.
At the voting booth, Mike sure is taking his sweet time, but eventually writes down “Ro…” well, we’ll see where that vote leads after the break.
8:45 – Jeff comes back with the votes. The vote turns out to be unanimous…for Rocksroy. Turns out even Mike voted for him. “Way to go, guys,” he says on his way out. To Chanelle, he says that he hopes Hai and Romeo “freeze” back at camp.
8:55 – Orange comes in, and everyone is absolutely stunned to see Rocksroy sitting on the jury bench. When Jeff asks Drea what she thinks this means, she can only respond, “I don’t know.”
Unlike last season, we haven’t heard much talk of race this season yet. This changes when Drea mentions that seeing Rocksroy on the jury really floors her (even saying she’s “pissed”), considering that means there were two black people voted out in a row. She won’t let herself be the third, so she declares that she will be playing her idol no matter what. Although she is not declaring anyone a racist, she says that “subconsciously,” these eliminations may be a little bit race-related, especially considering black people getting voted out several Tribals in a row seems to be a consistent case on “Survivor.”
Despite a brief attempt by Jonathan to deceive Tori into thinking they’re still splitting the vote, Maryanne is soon brought to tears, and tells Tori honestly that she can’t in all good conscience write Drea’s name down; she can’t contribute to a third black person going in a row. “Survivor isn’t just about strategy,” she says. “It’s not. Survivor is also about bringing the social world – big – into a small thing.”
The gig is up; this Tribal is absolute, unbridled rawness and honesty. This is where Survivor gets real.
Jonathan – a native Alabaman, remember – takes offense at the notion that he or other contestants might be racist simply because of who is voted out. Maryanne and Drea rebut him, however, telling him that these subconscious biases are simply that – subconscious, meaning he may not even know about them. Though Jonathan still takes offense at the idea (even calling Drea “aggressive” at one point, apparently completely oblivious to the negative racial connotations there), he soon seems to relent as Drea points out how easy it is to shut down a nuanced and important conversation like this by simply labeling the black people as race baiters. Who knows – maybe this season will beget a little growth on Jonathan’s part too.
Just like “Survivor 41” – which these contestants are completely unaware of – Drea and Maryanne talk about how they’re well aware that many (mostly white) viewers will see this conversation and get peeved about race being brought into Survivor, even though for them – the black players – it is something they have to deal with, day in and day out.
Maryanne then declares that she will also be playing her idol, which she has taken to every Tribal Council thus far, because she wants to show the people back home that she didn’t just dodge elimination here because of race. “I 1000%…can tell you that if both of us don’t play our idols tonight,” Maryanne says, “there will be someone watching and saying, ‘They used race. Nothing is off-limits on Survivor’.”
Breaking down in tears, Maryanne also says that her biggest fear coming into Survivor was that she would see some sort of injustice and “sit down and do nothing.” She cannot let the pattern of a third black person going home in a row continue. She adds that each contestant’s supposed “one in eighteen” chance at winning could vary depending on their burdens and their privileges coming into the game.
Even Jonathan seems to take in these words. “I’m glad that it’s cleared up that it’s not the tribe that has made them feel this way,” he says. “If I could I would love to let ’em know that I love ’em.” Maybe he is already growing.
In another absolutely unprecedented Tribal Council, Jeff tells the contestants that they can nix all the pomp and circumstance and simply vote verbally if they choose to. Maryanne and Drea, without even exchanging a word, simultaneously stand up and play their idols, rendering them safe. The vote comes down to a mere technicality; Taku – plus Drea – are sticking with Lindsay and voting for Tori. Tori, however, says she wants to play her Shot in the Dark just in case, so she does so.
Jeff comes back with the scroll and unrolls it and Tori is…not safe. She becomes the 9th person voted out of the game. Wow. Yet another Tribal Council that will go down in the “Survivor” history books.
“Survivor 42” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The three-hour finale airs Wednesday, May 25, 2022.