Following an incredibly intense, important and powerful Tribal Council last week, the eight remaining players heading into this week’s episode of Survivor were reminded of just how close they are to the end of this game. Three players received some much needed food and a good night’s sleep, but they also received a bit of food for their souls, with messages (and some spooky voices) from loved ones at home.
Just like the players, the viewers can feel that the end of the season is in sight whenever we get to experience any sort of “loved ones” Reward. Since the pandemic, this has come in the form of videotaped messages from home, and it didn’t have the same emotional impact for those of us watching at home, although those receiving the love in the game couldn’t have asked for a more important pick-me-up.
Tonight in many ways was the Lindsay show! It was great to finally get to spend some time with her, as she’s received the least amount of overall screen time of all of the remaining contestants. But her end-game stock just rose by a great margin, by winning two challenges during tonight’s episode: The Reward of pizza and a good night’s sleep in an actual bed, and also the all-important Immunity Challenge, besting Jonathan at a balance-competition. Lindsay got to choose two people to share in her pizza/sleep reward, and picked Omar and Mike, leaving the others to spend a cold night back at camp.
But while tonight’s episode might have belonged to Lindsay, this season is starting to come into focus, and it’s revealing that this game right now might actually belong to Omar. For weeks now, Omar has found himself as the main influencer and in the middle of every vote. He’s been able to shape the game to his will, and we see how good a player he is when he contemplated saving Hai once everyone else had decided to vote Hai out. He’s constantly looking at all angles, and using every piece of information he can to put himself in a better position to win week-to-week. After last week’s Tribal, for example, he noticed that Mike had some friction towards Hai, and he decided to use this information to drive a wedge between Mike and Hai. He even told a “smart lie” to Mike, fibbing that Hai had called Mike his “puppet” (he never did, but Mike bought it hook, line and sinker). We’re now down to seven left in the game, and not only is everyone seemingly aligned with Omar, but he is simultaneously off of every other person’s immediate radar. Can he keep it up? Time will tell.
Hai’s exit gives us the first-ever situation where the three-way “amulet” advantage grows in power. With just Lindsay and Drea in possession of amulets, they now have the power to “steal a vote” if they can decide on how to use it. Alternatively, if one or both of them get greedy, they could decide to target each other which would result in their amulet becoming an Immunity Idol if it ends up being the last one left in the game. I do believe that the amulet needed to be used by Final Six, so that means that it is very likely that they will either turn on one another next week, or will utilize their “steal-a-vote.” Remember that Drea still has her “Knowledge is Power” advantage as well as an extra vote, so even after playing her Idol last week, she is still in an incredible position of power. As we’re keeping tally on advantages, there must be karma in the world, because Maryanne once again has an Idol in her possession (she also has an extra vote). Just days after playing her Idol in unity with Drea, she came across one of the recycled Idols put back in play…Lindsay practically touched the hidden Idol while searching but wasn’t able to find it.
While Omar tries to strategize his way to the end, while Romeo just tries to survive and not wither away, and while Drea, Lindsay and Maryanne plot how to use their advantages, somehow Jonathan remains. It’s been shown that not every challenge has been suited to Jonathan, but if there is anyone in history that’s ever been capable and equipped to go on a Challenge-run late in the season, it’s Jonathan. Survivor fandom has flipped on Jonathan after last week’s episode, but even in the game it seems like he’s ran out of his social clout. Winning his way to the end might be his only path, but unlike earlier in the season, would this jury even vote for him to win at the end? If the other players begin to view Jonathan as a player who can’t win the game, maybe that’s the perfect reason to keep him around and end up sitting next to him at the end?
The evenly-divided tribes entering the merge is continuing to provide us with some interesting vote-outs, and even with seven left, it’s hard to even identify any major alliance. Usually at this point, there is also a “power couple” or two, but we really seem to have seven individuals still vying for the top prize. Hai was getting a bit too cocky – which is always-and-forever a bad sign on this show – and as much as I love the dude, Mike‘s loyalty and the fact that he has proven to be dupable (not to mention that he’s so well-liked that nobody would want to sit next to him at the end), makes me think that his days are numbered. No contestant in their right-mind would want Mike to make it much further.
So what’s going to give? There are just two (!!!) regular episodes left of Survivor 42, before the three-hour Finale and Reunion on May 25th. I don’t think there’s any other choice but to say that it’s going to be a fireworks-filled, entertaining final run. Advantages and Idols will be played, votes will be stolen and added, and who knows, we may yet see a successful “shot-in-the-dark” this season. Don’t stop now! You’ve come this far. The end is in sight!
Episode Take-Away: Hai was sitting too pretty and should have suspected that something was up. Ultimately he was a solid strategic player whose own abilities – like so many before him – ended up clouding his vision down the stretch. Somebody better take note of how Omar is controlling this game and do something about it, and I think if anybody is going to sniff him out it’s Drea. And if it comes down to a face-off between Drea and Omar, my money is on Drea simply due to all of the advantages she still has. Lost in the shuffle in all of this is Romeo, who is still in the game but whose game appears to be on life-support. If Romeo squeaks to the end, is there anyone that would vote for him to win? I just don’t see it happening. There are still some twists to come in the game, so nothing is predictable, but I thought this was yet another solid episode in what has been an upper-tier season from start-to-finish. Here’s hoping it ends as strong as I think it will.
Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art. In case you didn’t know (and how could you not?), each week Survivor legend Erik Reichenbach 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 can be found and purchased on his site, DabuDoodles.com, and I urge you to support this amazingly talented former Survivor player!
Out this week: Hai
Won Immunity: Lindsay (1)
Vote Result: No advantages or Idols played. 5 – Hai (Omar, Lindsay, Jonathan, Maryanne, Drea), 2 – Jonathan (Hai, Romeo)
Current Advantage List:
- Drea – “Knowledge is Power” advantage, 1 Extra Vote, also has Amulet (current power: 1 “steal-a-vote” if both are played)
- Lindsay – Amulet (current power: 1 “steal-a-vote” if both are played)
- Maryanne – 1 Immunity Idol, 1 Extra Vote
- Mike – 1 Immunity Idol
Next Week’s Episode: Alliances shift, and everyone is a target. But even the best-laid plans can go sideways, when Jeff Probst reveals that the next Immunity Challenge comes with a twist…and this twist can be “dangerous.”
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? DID THEY MAKE A MISTAKE IN TARGETING HAI OVER JONATHAN? 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]