Fans Believe This ‘Survivor 42’ Player May Be a Secret Strategic Mastermind

Survivor 42 cast

CBS The cast of "Survivor 42" in the season premiere.

“Survivor 42” has already seen its fair share of standout players and personalities. Tori Meehan has become the personality everyone loves to hate, Jonathan Young has proven himself to be one of the biggest challenge beasts of all time, and Hai Giang is emerging as a dominant strategic mastermind, quickly rising from the bottom of his tribe to the top after an impressive Tribal Council performance in episode 3.

However, one unlikely contender may have just emerged from the shadows as one of “Survivor 42’s” most dominant players.

Here’s what you need to know:

Maryanne Has a Secret Duplicitous Side

Maryanne Oketch

YouTubeMaryanne Oketch in a preview for “Survivor 42” episode 8.

23-year-old Canada native Maryanne Oketch may be best known among “Survivor” viewers for her charm, contagious happiness, and bubbly personality. Only an hour into the show, for instance, fans were already taking great delight in her over-the-top emotional reaction to Jackson Fox’s medical evacuation. The following week, she would become the subject of much discussion online for her revelation of her crush on Zach Wurtenberger, and her disappointment at seeing him get voted out of Ika.

However, in recent weeks, many “Survivor” fans have begun to suspect that this highly animated personality may belie a deeper strategic mind; one which viewers have only gotten brief glimpses of but may be as intrinsic a part of her as the personality as that which she displays.

According to fans, this first became apparent in episode 5, when Jonathan and Maryanne had their notorious bickering session on Taku. Although the Taku 4 was supposed to remain strong and united, cracks began to form as Jonathan began contemplating eliminating Maryanne for being annoying. Maryanne, in turn, casually said to her tribemate Omar Zaheer, “It’s a shame he’s too good of a frickin’ shield.”

Fans took note of this soon after the episode aired, with one popular Reddit post noting how she said it “instantly and coldly,” adding that “the mask slipped.” “Underneath the smiling chatterbox is an ambitious competitor,” the user wrote. “I think she has far more happening than meets the eye.”

Another user responded that they really wanted to see someone pull off the “intentional goat strategy,” whereby a player would be dragged to the finals as a goat, only to explain calmly and eloquently how they secretly calculated and orchestrated the entire game behind a façade. Though we haven’t quite seen that play out in the show as of yet, that player, perhaps, could be Maryanne.

Maryanne Accidentally Let Her Strategic Prowess Slip in Front of Tori

Tori Meehan

YouTubeTori Meehan reacts to Maryanne suggesting that Drea be used as a “shield” down the line.

Indeed, Maryanne again let her inner manipulative side slip in last week’s two-hour merger episode, during a conversation about Drea Wheeler with Tori on the beach. When Tori presses her on her thoughts on Drea, with whom Maryanne went to The Summit in the season premiere, Maryanne responded that she liked Drea, but believed she might be a problem in the future. “But, like if people still like her still, like, I’m fine keeping her,” Maryanne went on. “Because, like, a problem later is a shield in the future.”

Tori responded incredulously, looking at Maryanne in shock and saying, “Whoa, there’s so much more to you than just a bubbly personality.”

In addition, in a promo for episode 8 released Sunday, Maryanne is shown almost in tears, pleading to an unknown contestant to help her, saying, “I could be going home, please, I’m begging you!” In a confessional, however, she smiles and says, “Look at me, using emotions as a weapon!” To this, one fan responded, “[M]aryanne strategic mastermind god.”

The most recent episode ended with Omar upholding his loyalty to the Taku 4 by saving Maryanne from certain elimination, shifting the target onto Lydia Meredith, who would eventually be voted out, garnering him much praise among fans as well. Could these two, along with their Taku tribemates, indeed be a force for the rest of the cast to reckon with? Will Maryanne’s secret strategic prowess, let alone the idol and extra vote she still has in her possession, pay off and land her a spot in the final 3, and perhaps a million dollars? It was, after all, Erika Casupanan‘s “lion dressed as a lamb” strategy which got her the win in the end last season. Only time will tell if the same will be true for Maryanne.

Tune into CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern to continue watching as “Survivor 42” unfolds. The three-hour finale airs Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

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