“Survivor” has been known for introducing a number of twists and advantages in recent seasons, most notably in season 41 and the ongoing season 42. The current season is re-using many of the twists used in “41,” though, as host Jeff Probst teased before the season even aired, there will be some new ones as well.
The recent inundation of new twists and advantages may be a little overwhelming for some viewers, so below is an exhaustive list of all the new twists and advantages introduced in seasons 41 and 42. Most of those introduced in “41” are being re-used in the ongoing season.
Warning: spoilers for “Survivor 41” ahead. This page will be updated as “Survivor 42” progresses, including with any more new twists introduced.
Perhaps the most controversial (and impactful) twist of all, the famous “Hourglass twist” was introduced about halfway through season 41, shortly before the merge. In episode 6, while all three tribes were expecting to merge with 12 players left, host Jeff Probst told the tribes that they would actually have to earn their way into the merge.
The 12 remaining contestants were split into two teams of five, and each team would compete against each other in an immunity challenge. All 12 contestants would go to Tribal Council, but the winning team would be immune. As for the two not picked, the winning team would also have the right to pick which of those castaways would join them in being immune; the other one would be sent to Exile Island (a throwback to a twist used in older seasons of the show), but would still come back for Tribal, and be vulnerable.
In “41,” that contestant turned out to be eventual winner Erika Casupanan, who was informed on Exile by Probst that she would be given a choice: she could either let the game continue as is, or “go back in time” and transfer immunity to the other team, as well as herself, by smashing an hourglass which Probst provided to her.
Naturally, Erika chose to smash the hourglass. If she hadn’t, or if she hadn’t been presented with the option, she likely wouldn’t have won the game, according to Erika herself.
The twist is likely to reappear in season 42; it is an open question as to whether or not it will play out the same as last time, and if not, how one castaway’s decision could affect the rest of the game.
Introduced in episode 2 of season 41, the “Beware advantage” is essentially one-third of an immunity idol: there are three of them hidden in the game – one at each tribe’s camp. Upon discovering it in the woods, it looks like a regular hidden immunity idol; however, it comes with a warning to whoever finds it before opening: “If you take it, it is yours, but you must do what it says. Otherwise, leave it.”
Once opened, it can only be activated after the other two have been found. The finder will know it has been found via a “secret phrase” uttered by the others who found it; they must also utter it themselves, in order to activate it. Until then (i.e., until all three have uttered the phrases) – or until the merge – the finder will not be able to vote at all.
The phrases that must be said by those who possess the Beware advantage include, for season 41:
- “I truly believe that butterflies are dead relatives saying hi” for Yase, found and uttered by Xander Hastings.
- “I didn’t realize this till now…broccoli is just a bunch of small trees,” for Ua, first discovered by Brad Reese, who bungled the execution. After Brad’s blindside, the advantage then became in the possession of Shan Smith, who uttered it correctly.
- “I’m as confused as a goat on AstroTurf,” for Luvu, found and uttered by Naseer Muttalif.
In season 42, the phrases are as follows:
- “It’s another classic case of the bunny rabbit having dinner in the mailbox,” for Taku, found and uttered by Maryanne Oketch.
- “There’s such grace in the game of soccer it makes me cry,” for Vati, found and uttered by Mike Turner.
- “Potatoes have skin. I have skin. Am I a potato?” for Ika, found and uttered (though not verbatim) by Drea Wheeler, alongside Romeo Escobar, in episode 5, finally unlocking all three idols.
It is unlikely that this twist will return, given that the entire purpose is for contestants to say something bizarre without revealing that it’s actually a part of the game. Since the castaways of seasons 43 onward will have seen these two seasons, any such phrase will likely be immediately detected as part of the Beware advantage, hence rendering it almost useless as a twist.
Although the Summit has been seen in other seasons – such as season 33, “Millennials vs. Gen X,” – it was in the seasons 41 and 42 premieres where it was also accompanied by a game-changing twist, and not simply a cross-tribal get-to-know-you rendezvous.
In seasons 41 and 42, the Summit twist consisted of a dilemma involving a ship’s wheel which one member of each tribe is confronted with. On the ship’s wheel is an option to either “Risk Your Vote” or “Protect Your Vote.” If all three choose to protect their vote, nothing changes. If they all choose “risk your vote,” they all lose their vote at the next Tribal. If there is a mix, the ones that choose “risk” get an extra vote and the ones that choose “protect” keep their vote, with essentially nothing changing for them.
On season 41, the castaways at the Summit consisted of three men – Xander, Danny McCray, and JD Robinson. Danny opted to keep his vote, while Xander and JD risked theirs, each earning an extra vote. In season 42, the three castaways at the Summit were all women – Maryanne Oketch, Drea Wheeler, and Jenny Kim. In that instance, Jenny accurately predicted that both Maryanne and Drea would choose to risk their vote. As a result, she chose to protect hers, giving Maryanne and Drea each an extra vote, and keeping herself safe. It remains to be seen how, or if, Maryanne and Drea will be able to use their extra vote.
The Summit was used more than once in the pre-merge portion of season 41 (with other advantages, such as a Steal-A-Vote, or the Knowledge Is Power advantage (more below) being offered to the contestants), so it is likely that we will see it come back again in future episodes of season 42.
‘Do or Die’ Twist
The “Do or Die” twist was used only once in season 41, in episode 11, and may rival the Hourglass twist for being the most controversial twist of the season. It’s quite simple: at the final 7 immunity challenge, contestants were offered a chance to not compete. If they chose to compete, the first person to fall out of the challenge would be forced to participate in Do or Die, which basically gave the contestant a one-in-three chance at safety.
That night at Tribal Council, the unlucky contestant would be forced to pick a box – completely based on chance – which would render them safe. If so, they would be safe from the vote. If not, they would be immediately ejected from the game without any vote whatsoever. In season 41, that contestant turned out to be Deshawn Radden.
At Tribal Council that night, after Deshawn picked one of the three boxes he was presented with, Probst then took one of the other two boxes away, giving him a chance to change his decision if he wanted to, essentially creating a Monty Hall-style problem. Though the solution to the Monty Hall problem would tell him to change his decision, Deshawn (who was unfamiliar with the problem and said subsequently that he would have gone home had he known about it) chose to stick with his gut and not change. It turned out to be the correct choice, so Deshawn, who ended up placing second, was safe for that round.
Shot in the Dark
The Shot in the Dark advantage is quite simple – it gives user a one-in-six (basically 17%) chance at immunity that they are to play at Tribal. However, they must sacrifice their vote that Tribal in order to play it. Each castaway is given a chance to use the Shot in the Dark at any point in the game. It was only used once in season 41 – by Sydney Segal in episode 6 – as well as four times so far in “Survivor 42.” Each time, however, the contestant was rendered “Not Safe,” and were promptly voted out (in most cases unanimously).
Knowledge Is Power Advantage
The “Knowledge Is Power” advantage was obtained by Liana Wallace in episode 5 of season 41. In that episode, Yase won immunity and was told to choose a member of their own tribe, as well as a member of either Luvu or Ua, to go to the Summit to make a decision. Liana, of Yase, volunteered to go, and Yase selected Shan Smith, of Ua, to join her.
At the Summit, they faced the same dilemma the others did. Shan opted to keep her vote for that night’s Tribal, and encouraged Liana to take the advantage. Liana later discovered it was a “Knowledge Is Power” advantage, which meant that she now had the power to ask one tribemate if they had an advantage or idol. They must tell the truth, and if they did indeed have one, she could take it for herself.
In episode 7 – the merge episode – Liana chose to use this advantage against Xander, who did indeed have an idol. However, Xander, in what was widely considered an excellent move, outsmarted her by giving the idol to his ally Tiffany Seely beforehand, facetiously giving Liana a fake one instead.
In season 42, the Knowledge Is Power advantage was found by Drea in episode 8, shortly after the official merge, after she discovered a clue to the location of a new advantage underneath the sit-out bench. She had to fish through a small well of red paint, risking her being caught “red-handed” (which she later was, by Tori Meehan). How she chooses to use this advantage remains to be seen.
Amulet Advantage (only in “42”)
The “Advantage Amulet,” new to season 42, was introduced in the first challenge of the season, where one castaway from each tribe had to decide amongst themselves, in secret – as the challenge was ongoing – whether to immediately continue with the challenge, or receive individual advantages for each of them. If they chose the latter, they would smear themselves with dirt and fake blood in order to trick their tribemates, upon return, into believing that they were engaging in strenuous physical activity instead of strategizing.
Drea, Hai Giang, and Lindsay Dolashewich ended up being the three put in that position, and they all decided to take the advantage. Later that episode, they learned they had obtained an “Advantage Amulet”, which can only be used with all the other Amulets in the game, meaning that all three must regroup before it can be used. In addition, the power of the Advantage Amulet depends on the number of people holding it. The fewer amulets in the game, the more power they have – with 3 people, it is an extra vote; with 2, it is a Steal-A-Vote, and with 1, it’s a full immunity idol. The advantage will be good until the final 6.
As a result, those who have the Amulet are faced with an interesting dilemma: they’ll have to eliminate each other in order to maximize the power of the idol, but will also have to reconnect with each other before it can be used at all.
How it will be used by any, or all, of them, remains to be seen.
“Survivor 42” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.