Survivor 42 Episode 8 Recap: The Need For Speed

First things first: No, you didn’t miss an episode or a Recap of Survivor…this week was actually “Episode 8.”  Last week’s two-hour episode (a great, great night of Survivor, by the way) was actually “Episode 6” and “Episode 7” according to the CBS episode run-down, so no worries if you don’t see any Recaps here for a seemingly missing “Episode 7.”

With that out of the way, what did you all think? For what seemed to ultimately be an obvious vote-out ended up being another pretty solid episode. How the greatest physical competitor the game has ever seen – yes, I think Jonathan fits this description – is not everyone’s number one target is a giant surprise and a testament to his equally impressive social game. Apparently ole “Goliath” wasn’t the one everyone should have been worried about during these Individual Immunity Challenges. Instead, it has been Tori – the game’s only contestant that at this point would fit the “villain” description – who has so far won both of the two individual challenges they’ve competed in.

Yes Tori, who so far has been the one player that fans have loved to hate, who found herself immune for a second time, and for a second time, not really holding any true power. Her portrayal aside, Tori has proven to be a real “survivor” in this game, having been the intended target numerous times and yet, somehow, someway, she has found herself in the jury-phase of this game and still alive-and-kicking. She does have some good in-game awareness, although it didn’t take her being a rocket scientist to literally catch Drea red-handed this episode. How did Drea not get all of that paint off of her? That seems like an unforced error that could end up leading to Drea’s downfall. I have been one of the biggest Drea fans since the very first episode, and she is in an incredible position of power in this game not just because of her social game and the alliances she has made, but because of the enormous collection of advantages she has amassed thus far. She has one of the three amulets (a twist that has thus far manifested as a nothing-burger), an Immunity Idol, an Extra Vote, and now possesses the coveted “Knowledge is Power” advantage. You may remember that it was used unsuccessfully back in Season 41, but the circumstances were different then. Drea’s new advantage is SO powerful due to the fact that Drea did not appear to share it with anyone, and because it was a new power introduced last season and nobody on this season was able to see Survivor 41, nobody can even imagine this advantage or possibly see it coming. Add to this that the other Idols in the game are common knowledge – with Maryanne and Mike both having one – so Drea knows exactly where to look to get yet another Idol for herself.

In case you missed it, this “Knowledge is Power” advantage allows Drea to ask a question to anyone else, where the person must tell the truth. If she asks if they have an Idol or if they have an advantage, if they say yes, then they must turn it over to Drea right then and there. Imagine the chaos this will cause at some point if used effectively. If Drea can somehow outlast Hai and Lindsay (the other two possessors of the amulet), her amulet would then also become an Idol. That gives Drea potentially THREE weeks of safety with just ten players left, and she would still have an Extra Vote to play with. Has anybody been in the driver’s seat more securely than Drea?

Ah, but as we heard at Tribal Council this week, it’s not all about whose in the driver’s seat…it’s about knowing when to take the wheel and when to let someone else take a spin.

For Chanelle, she admitted in her final confessional that she had basically been ran-over…that she was not playing at the proper speed and others were blazing right past her, strategically speaking. But Chanelle was in a lose-lose situation this week. I thought it was actually her best move to lay low and stay calm…heck, it almost worked and allowed Romeo to nearly sink his own game. But had Chanelle pushed down on the gas pedal a bit harder than she did, she would have still been the obvious target. Her days were numbered after losing all trust earlier in the game, and fell victim to Mike‘s persistence. At least the way the episode was edited, it looked like there was a good push to get rid of Romeo but that Mike basically saved his butt. I’m only a bit surprised that the “shot-in-the-dark” wasn’t played by either or both Chanelle and Romeo, since they both felt like they were the target…and on the off-chance that they BOTH would have played their shot-in-the-dark and BOTH would have been successful? It would have been Romeo’s lone vote that would have sent Hai out of the game! Now that would have been a crazy route for this game to have taken.

But in the end, it went the way it was all supposed to go. So where does that leave Romeo? He’s on the outs, and I think it might be a mistake for Drea to shun him so blatantly. Yes Romeo has grown overly paranoid, to the point where he has become an easy target, so I understand why Drea would want to distance herself from that. But why not keep him close on the down-low? Is it too risky a move for Drea? I guess there are some cons, but having Romeo on her side would not hurt down the stretch. He’s an extra number, and is actually a sound strategist when he’s thinking clearly. It’ll be interesting to see how the Drea/Romeo dynamic plays out.

We see that next week holds another massive twist: Two people will win Immunity but two will go home. How exactly will the voting work? Will there be two distinct Tribal Councils? We shall find out, but as we close out April’s batch of episodes following next week, we’ll be down to just eight remaining contestants, and there’s no sign that the momentum this season has generated is slowing down.

Episode Take-Away: Another good ep on the heels of an epic two-hour night. While the vote-out ended up being expected, there was a lot of good stuff that led up to it. Drea is becoming the front-runner, but man I can’t believe Jonathan is still being allowed to continue in this game. Tori seems to still be the most likely person to be voted out once she isn’t immune at Tribal, but if she can just hang in there long enough, she might end up finding herself in that “swing vote” position among two warring factors in the game. Heck, she’s made it out of so many tough spots thus far, I’m starting to think that she can pull off a deep run. And speaking of a deep-run, do you know a player that absolutely NO ONE is talking about? Lindsay. Fans of the show might point out that she hasn’t exactly been given that “winner’s edit,” but last season’s winner Erika didn’t have a traditional “winner’s edit” either. Lindsay is given a bit of air-time each and every week, and nobody at all is targeting her. Plus, she has that massive hulk Jonathan as a pretty steady meat-shield. She may need to make a big move or two down the stretch to bolster her Survivor resumé, but keep an eye on her! And then there’s Omar, a guy who absolutely has his hands all over this game, who is influencing decisions left and right, and who is also a guy that absolutely nobody is currently worried about. Could Omar be the dark horse to win this thing? And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mike, another guy who is so well-liked and who is such as straight-shooter, it’s hard to believe he’s already made it this far. It is not common for a guy like Mike to make it so far in the game, and for nobody else to be buzzing about voting him out. He’s the “old guy” on a tribe of bigger targets, yet we saw tonight that he also has massive influence. Can Mike win?

I’m still rooting for Jonathan to win his way to the end in unprecedented fashion, but he’ll have to survive next week’s double-elimination in order to make my dreams come true.

Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art. How about a standing ovation for Erik Reichenbach? His original art from last week, “Catching a Ride to Applebees,” was one of his best and most popular works. In case you didn’t know, each week Erik contributes a brand-new, original piece of artwork relating to the new week’s episode. It will appear here usually in the days after the show’s airing, so if his latest work does not appear here now, check back usually by the weekend following an episode and give this page a refresh. All of Erik’s work as well as his “Catching a Ride to Applebees” piece can be found and purchased on his site, DabuDoodles.com, and I urge you to support this amazingly talented former Survivor player!

“Crazy Jeff’s Survivor Auto Dealership”

Art by Erik Reichenbach – DabuDoodles.com

Out this week: Chanelle

Won Immunity: Tori (2)

Vote: No advantages or Idols played. 7 – Chanelle (Hai, Jonathan, Lindsay, Mike, Drea, Rocksroy, Tori), 3 – Romeo (Maryanne, Omar, Chanelle), 1 – Hai (Romeo)

Current Advantage List:

  • Drea – “Knowledge is Power” advantage, 1 Immunity Idol, 1 Extra Vote, also has Amulet (current power: 1 extra vote if all three are played)
  • Lindsay – Amulet (current power: 1 extra vote if all three are played)
  • Hai – Amulet (current power: 1 extra vote if all three are played)
  • Maryanne – 1 Immunity Idol, 1 Extra Vote
  • Mike – 1 Immunity Idol

Next Week’s Episode: Is there an all-dude alliance brewing? A rift forming between Lindsay and Jonathan? And Probst reveals that two people will win Immunity next week, while two will be sent home, leading Romeo to call it his “worst nightmare.”

Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! Those that have followed me also know that I am also a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic and I encourage you to check out my past movie reviews and my movie show (episodes are also available online at the website, www.MovieShowPlus.com.) As always, the easiest way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.

TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE? DO YOU THINK CHANELLE WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE OVER ROMEO? AND WHICH PLAYERS DO YOU FEEL ARE IN THE BEST/WORST POSITION AT THIS POINT?

[Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell]