Well, it really does all come down to this, folks. Five contestants remain in “Survivor 42“: Lindsay Dolashewich, Jonathan Young, Mike Turner, Maryanne Oketch, and Romeo Escobar. After last week’s dramatic blindside of strategic powerhouse Omar Zaheer marked the end of the Taku 4, the game is truly in anyone’s hands.
Here is how to watch a live stream of the finale.
The finale is appropriately titled “It All Comes Down to This,” and following last week’s exhibition of Maryanne’s metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, it would admittedly be pretty amazing to see the lovable 23-year-old self-professed Canadian “dork” emerge as this year’s Sole Survivor. However, there are plenty of worthy contenders, and we are on the edge of our seats waiting to see how the next three hours play out.
Let’s head into the three-hour season finale, which will include the on-location reading of the votes and reunion show we saw last season. All times Eastern.
8:05 – We’re getting a classic fourth-wall greeting from Probst, where he confirms we’re getting another on-island winner reveal and reunion show (something he recently announced we will also be seeing in future seasons).
Coming back from Tribal after Omar’s elimination, the final five are headed to a brand new beach. Maryanne is finally genuinely excited. “Everybody on the jury knows Maryanne is here to play,” she says, thrilled that she can actually truly see herself winning for the first time.
8:15 – Lindsay confronts Jonathan about being left out of the plan, and the two proceed to argue, with Jonathan once again not understanding the essence of a debate, simply repeating “you voted for me” over and over again. Understandably, Lindsay is frustrated. “He’s so freaking righteous and it drives me insane!” she exclaims.
Meanwhile, Romeo claims to his tribemates that he has an idol, and shows us that he made a fake one, just to cement the lie. “My second grade teacher would be very proud of me!” he says.
Maryanne is telling Lindsay that she wants to go to the end with her, revealing that Mike told her that he wanted to give her the idol at 5. Mike then tells Lindsay he may play his idol for her. You can’t give it to both of ’em, Mike. Pick one.
Now, the final 5 are presented with the puzzle we saw last season: a word scramble. This time? “Good fortune is tucked in the toes of the sleeping giant.” Lindsay unscrambles the words first, certain that she’s going home if she doesn’t find it. It turns out, the advantage is on top of a boulder that looks like a giant foot. She’s picking the island apart while the other four collaborate in an attempt to figure it out.
Maryanne, meanwhile, is apparently genuine about wanting to go to the end with Lindsay, secretly frustrated that the boys want to decipher the code together to stifle Lindsay.
Incredibly, in the middle of a confessional expressing her frustration at this wild goose chase, Lindsay seems to figure it all out and runs to the giant toe, where she does indeed find the advantage. She comes back with it, causing a big grin to grow on Maryanne’s face, and declares that she’s going “balls to the wall” to win this thing. And she better – this immunity challenge may be her last chance at salvation.
8:25 – We’re getting a classic final 5 immunity challenge: Out on a Limb, a course of five separate webs through which each of the five must navigate before solving a puzzle at the end. Lindsay’s advantage is huge: instead of untying six knots at each station, she only has to untie one. Wow. Honestly, if she doesn’t win this challenge with that in her pocket, it’s almost embarrassing.
Okay, we might have forgotten about Jonathan. He may not have any advantages, but his body in and of itself is an advantage (he does hold a number of world records in physical strength, after all).
We’re at the puzzle, and Mike has come out of nowhere now, surpassing both Jonathan and Lindsay. (Echoing a comment made earlier in the episode, Romeo, fumbling on the puzzle, tells Jeff that he sucks at puzzles. It’s hard not to love Maryanne, who responds, “Don’t say that, you always have a chance, Romeo!”)
It’s now between Mike and Lindsay, and it comes down to one piece left. This challenge really couldn’t be any closer. In the end, the 57-year-old Mike gets it (by one piece!), and Lindsay will be vulnerable tonight. For the reward, Mike picks Jonathan to go with him, under the pretense that he’s lost too much weight. Suuure, Mike.
8:45 – Back at camp, Lindsay can’t help but complain about Jonathan and his “cocky” behavior, while Mike, betraying his own “loyal” gameplay, strategizes with Jonathan to eliminate Lindsay, even telling him it’s “impossible” Jonathan will go home, and promises he will play his idol on him if one of the others play theirs (at this point, he’s basically promised everyone on the island for the same idol). Lindsay’s strategy is to (rightfully) make Mike feel guilty for breaking his word if he doesn’t give her his idol.
Putting her plan into action, Lindsay even brings on the waterworks, and Mike tells her he “honestly” hasn’t made up her mind yet about what he’s going to do.
Maryanne, meanwhile, is considering playing her idol on Lindsay to eliminate Jonathan, Natalie Anderson-style. She’s not kidding when she says this is a move which could make or break the entire game.
8:55 – At Tribal, Lindsay says that she “knew” if she didn’t win the immunity challenge, she’d be going home, and her feelings seem to have only been cemented in the hours since. Maryanne talks about the moral dilemmas that come into play for her during the game, since, as she says, “I wear my heart on my sleeve.” When Jeff asks Romeo what he would call this vote, he responds, “The Fighter,” hinting that this may be Lindsay’s night to go. She is flattered by the analogy, however.
The votes are cast, and Mike plays his idol for…Maryanne. It’s nothing but symbolic, as she receives no votes and he surely knew that. Romeo reveals his idol was fake, and throws it in the fire. The votes are read, and Lindsay is unanimously voted out.
9:15 – We’re already at the final immunity challenge, and Maryanne already knows the name: Simmotion. They’ll have to drop a series of balls into a metal chute, and catch them as they come one by one out of alternate exits. The final 4 gives their final words before the challenge, and Maryanne reveals that “Survivor” may be an opportunity to bring her family back together, as one member is not in contact with the rest of them. Although she’s sad, she sees it as an opportunity to turn her sadness “into passion and drive,” qualities which could win her the game.
At only one ball in, a ball slips out of Mike’s hand, and he’s out. He can’t believe his luck. Next, at only two balls, Maryanne drops, speaking, as Jeff says, to the mental and emotional exhaustion they’re all enduring out there. Who would’ve guessed that this challenge would come down to Romeo vs. Jonathan, of all people? Soon, Jonathan drops, and unbelievably, Romeo wins immunity! His first, and perhaps the most important win in the game. Romeo will be deciding who sits next to him in the final 3, and who will be competing in fire.
9:30 – Back at camp, Romeo is simply blushing at having beaten Jonathan in the final immunity challenge. Fireman Mike says that “it’s the consensus that I’m the most dangerous,” apparently…though he’s more concerned about Jonathan sitting in the final 3 than Maryanne. “I’m in deep water, but I ain’t drowning yet.” Well, Mike…I don’t know about that.
Maryanne says she’s a “decent” firemaker, but fears Mike winning in fire, as she believes he’s the biggest threat to win. As a result, she’s helping to train Jonathan in firemaking.
Mike, meanwhile, is not such a bad fire-starter himself, despite his job being quite the opposite. “My fate is in my own hands,” Mike says. “And I truly feel that if I win … I will win $1,000,000. So, this is for me to lose.” Well, we’ll see about that, Mr. Mike.
At Tribal, Maryanne says she feels like she’s “gonna vomit,” since she knows that “anything can happen at Tribal.” Jonathan says he’s “pretty good” at making fire, and Mike says that the word at camp is that he, Mike, is “definitely” making fire tonight, adding that he has observed Jonathan to be a very good firemaker. Mike is “absolutely” the target, Mike adds. My my, Mike. Your cockiness is showing.
When Jeff asks Romeo who he’s picking to come with him, he reveals his choice: Maryanne. Mike and Jonathan will be facing off in fire.
9:40 – The fire challenge begins, and Mike is the first to get flame, and after a little bit, it’s shooting pretty high. After a few minutes, his flame practically turns into an inferno, engulfing that rope. And with that, the rope breaks, and Mike wins. Jonathan will be eliminated, and the final 3 will be Romeo, Mike, and Maryanne. On his way out, Jonathan tells us, “You better believe that I’m gonna be right back out there” if given the chance.
9:50 – It’s the day of the finale, and Mike is finally realizing that he has to face a jury. We’re also getting interspersed clips of the jury and their thoughts. When it comes to Mike, basically the entire jury is saying that they can respect him being a snake, but he has to embrace it – essentially, if he has any chance of winning, he has to claim his whole “loyalty” game was a big, fat schtick.
Romeo thinks that he undeniably played the best game, as he was the underdog who came out on top; “Romeo’s strength was the fact that he was weak,” Rocksroy says. If he can highlight that underdog angle, he just might have a shot.
Maryanne, meanwhile, knows she has to embrace her strategic side, despite how she may have come across as goofy and airheaded for a while. Drea says she wants Maryanne to sway her, but can’t in good faith vote for someone just because she likes them. She’s too much of a competitor. And finally, she wants to see the finalists “fight. Fiiiiight!”
At the Final Tribal Council, Jeff isn’t wrong when he tells them that “if you sit back and you’re passive, you will not win this game.” You have to embrace your game, and “demand it.” The final 3 have a moment to think about what they want to say…and then it’s on.
10:00 – The jury speaks, and Omar refers to the final 3 as perfect evidence of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest;” proof that sometimes those who don’t appear to be the strongest can indeed outlast the rest. Now, it seems as though Mike is digging himself a grave the second he opens his mouth. “I’ve absolutely played the game as honourably as I could,” he says. “There’s only one time I went against my word, and that was against Rocksroy … I played the game true to how I wanted to.” Not good, Mike. Not what the jury wanted to hear.
Maryanne pushes back against Tori’s perception that she wasn’t taking the game seriously, confirming that her bubbly personality was mostly a façade to protect against negative perceptions of younger players, all of whom (including Tori) were eliminated pretty quickly, especially after showing their strategic side.
Omar pushes back against Mike’s claim that the only time he ever lied was to Rocksroy, naming Drea’s elimination as an example; “I never purposefully sacrificed my integrity,” he responds, and proceeds to stand up for his integrity, which is only serving to ostracizing the jury. Drea defends him, however, saying that his social game was “on point,” especially considering the age disparity between him and the rest of the cast.
Omar brings Maryanne back to Taku, asking her how her social game could have been so good when she was at the bottom of the tribe during their early days. Maryanne responds that she genuinely did believe she was doing well socially on Taku, but had to pick up her game at the fake merge. She adds that her key social move was near the end, when she picked up Romeo to get rid of Omar. For his part, Romeo says that the key element of his social game was making alliances and bonds with each individual contestant.
10:10 – When it comes to the physical portion of the game, Maryanne says that her biggest contribution was helping her tribe with the fish, especially considering how she learned how to do so from her family. Hai praises Mike for his shelter building skills, and Romeo says that despite being last in nearly every single challenge and not even knowing how to swim before coming to Fiji, he nonetheless managed to win the immunity necklace in the end.
For the strategy portion of the game, Romeo talks about making his fake immunity idol, and when asked about why he took Maryanne to the end, says that he didn’t believe Maryanne had much of a strategy. Mike says his key strategic move was organizing his blindside on Hai, and says that he played both an “emotionally-charged” and “strategic” game. He’s also coming to the realization that perhaps his game wasn’t so honorable after all.
As she said earlier, Maryanne reveals that her key move was voting out Omar, as she positioned herself perfectly to sit in the final 3. At this point, she reveals that she had a hidden immunity idol the whole time (and the jury goes wild…or at least some of them).
When it comes to their personal evolution, Romeo talks about how he didn’t want to play from the bottom, but had to do so anyway, and is proud to tell the girls he works with back home that he never gave up. He also feels liberated about his sexuality, happy that he can finally go back home being open and honest about himself to his loved ones.
Mike says that he realized he can still do what he thought he couldn’t do anymore, and is proud of being an inspiration to his children, who he hopes will be able to look up to him on the show.
Maryanne talks about how she is still growing as a person, and gets emotional as she talks about how she used to push people away when she was younger so that they wouldn’t be able to hurt her first. She dovetails this with Lindsay’s elimination, revealing she really did strongly consider playing the idol for her because of their friendship, but realized she would have a better chance without her, so had to cut her loose.
Now, Jeff says, it’s time to vote (adding, in perfect Probst-esque hyperbolic fashion, that he believes it was one of the best Final Tribal Councils of all time)…and I just can’t wait to see their reactions when it’s revealed the votes will be read right then and there.
10:30 – It’s time to vote, and at least a few jurors are taking their sweet time deciding at the booth. To the rest of the jury, Jonathan jokingly asks, “Does he read them here?” to which everyone laughs, and laughs…little do they know…
Jeff drops the bomb, and everyone goes nuts. He begins to read the votes. First vote: Mike. Next, Maryanne. Another for Maryanne, and another, and another, and it’s official: Maryanne Oketch is the winner of “Survivor 42!”
In the aftershow, Maryanne, talking a mile a minute, says that she was at first nervous, and can still barely comprehend it all. When Jeff asks, the jury reveals that they were almost entirely undecided, and Hai in particular says that she was so well-composed and presented herself so well that that was largely what convinced him. Omar, one of many jury members who says they were coming in leaning toward Mike but was swayed by Maryanne near the end, says that her idol reveal was what sealed the deal for her. Mike, for his part, is thrilled about his experience, says he has “lived my dream,” and gracefully and genuinely congratulates Maryanne on her win.
After talking about the rush of excitement that came with “Do or Die” (pretty surprisingly, Lindsay thought it was a “cool twist”), Jeff also reveals that Lindsay was originally slated to appear in “41,” but tested positive for COVID and hence could not go. However, he and the producers liked her and her attitude so much they decided to bring her out a couple weeks later for “42.” And thank God they did, if I may say so myself.
When it comes to managing emotions, Jeff asks how Maryanne was able to deal with them. She responds by saying that one of the most important things she learned was that it’s alright to “validate your feelings,” because we all have our highs and our lows, and it’s alright to accept that. No doubt she’s now on a high. When Jeff asks how many people had a real, emotional cry while on the island, literally everybody (even Rocksroy!) raises their hand. That’s the new era of “Survivor” for you, folks. As Omar says, “I cried more here than I have in the last two years, probably.”
No doubt there will be many tears shed tonight…mostly of joy, but perhaps some in anguish, as fans will have to wait another four months before the new season of “Survivor” starts airing. Nonetheless, it will surely be another hell of a journey, and undoubtably worth the wait.