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A blindfolded challenge, a crush, crabs, and a crafty advantage plan keep Survivor 42 going strong

A blindfolded challenge, a crush, crabs, and a crafty advantage plan keep Survivor 42 going strong
Maryanne Oketch and Lindsay Dolashewich in the Survivor 42 immunity challenge. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

I don’t want to get too excited, but it seems that Survivor may just remember how to tell stories about people playing the game, instead of about people encountering elements crafted by the producers.

For the second Survivor 42 episode in a row!

After last season, I thought the best-case scenario for Survivor 42 would be that the network and/or producers realized where they went so very wrong, and while they couldn’t re-film the season, of course, they could make adjustments to the editing.

I have no idea if they did that, but I do know that this was another very enjoyable episode, even if it did leave in Daniel saying “Jeff Probst had a good idea” while referring to the stupid Beware Advantage.

The episode had a blindfolded challenge, complete with ball-smashing; friendships forming; distrust and annoyance building; alliances forming and immediately fracturing.

Even the return of the dumb Beware Advantage was fun because 1) Mike found it, hid it, told a bunch of people, and then actually couldn’t find it, and 2) the people he told focused on how they could use this to their advantage. So the advantage produced—get this—content about strategy and relationships!

Also, despite that line praising the Creator of Advantages, I give an A+ to Daniel for 1) narrating in real time as Mike searched for his lost idol and saying, “This is like a Survivor fan’s worst nightmare,” and then 2) realizing that “I have all of the knowledge without any of the penalty right now,” and 3) using that knowledge to tell Chanelle and suggest they either vote Mike out or just encourage him not to ever say the dumb phrase, thereby making the entire Beware Advantage across three tribes useless.

Marya Sherron on Survivor 42, before being voted out at the second Tribal Council
Marya Sherron on Survivor 42, before being voted out at the second Tribal Council (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

Tribal Council was probably the weakest segment, in that there was effectively no strategy talk, and that left me not quite sure why Marya was voted out.

Was it just that Marya wasn’t bonding with her tribemates? She wasn’t exactly ignored, but Marya was underdeveloped as a cast member—probably because she left in episode two.

We did learn this week that her brother, Kious Kelly, was the first healthcare worker to die of COVID in the U.S., but that’s about it. (In a very nice touch, the episode ended with a title card that said: “Thank you to all the Health Care and front line workers who continue to risk their lives to keep us safe.”)

Marya played the shot in the dark, but instead of opening it like Zach, she had to give it to Jeff Probst. With a shot played each episode so far, perhaps someone will get immunity, and the producers are trying to turn that into a more-dramatic moment than have them awkwardly unroll it themselves.

Taku’s only other option for a vote was Maryanne. We did hear several people talking about trusting Marya more than Maryanne, who was basically caught searching for an idol, never mind getting under people’s skin.

I absolutely love Maryanne and her effusive joyfulness—in brief segments in a 43-minute show once a week. As an introvert who is drained of energy when I’m around other people, I can completely understand how “exhausting,” as Lindsay said, it would be to have that all day every day.

Maryanne fun this episode included her swinging a machete like a horror movie villain (“here’s Maryanne!”) and singing the Survivor theme song after narrating a CBS promo.

At the challenge, she also confessed that “Zach is like every type of white guy I have a crush on, so there goes that,” and then said at Tribal Council, “Don’t send me to Zach; I’m not ready! Please!”

She also shared how being “being 23 and always single” made her think that “maybe there’s something wrong with you,” and fantasized about winning Survivor and finding love, too. (At the challenge, Probst said he’s “someone who loves love,” and I gagged.)

Survivor 42's second immunity challenge: the infamous blindfolded obstacle course
Survivor 42’s second immunity challenge: the infamous blindfolded obstacle course. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

At the Taku tribe, there was bonding over religion, after Omar shared that he was a practicing Muslim and that he’d be praying on the beach, not off looking for idols. That led into scenes of Omar and Jonathan’s friendship, which seemed to be both genuine and strategic. Omar hilariously told us, “Jonathan is my meat shield,” and Jonathan said, “together we make the perfect human.”

I appreciated Omar talking about how, as a Muslim, “we always have to worry what other people think about us,” but also deciding “you need to be your most authentic, genuine self.”

That seems to be such a key part of Survivor: deciding how much of your authentic self to share, and also seeing how much of your authentic self you hold on to in the middle of a game and weeks of survival.

Over on Vati, Hai was struggling with that: as a strict vegetarian, he was blindsided by this season’s lack of rice, and initially didn’t want to eat the hermit crabs Jenny and Chanelle found and boiled. (Chanelle told us she was hoping for a provider on their tribe, but realized “it looks like I might have to be that person.”)

Hai said he did “not [want to] be seen as a liability,” and ultimately decided to eat crabs. “I think the universe will understand in this one nuanced instance,” he said, adding, “eventually I’ll be able to forgive myself.”

How many people who play Survivor think about how they change their behavior during the game?

At Ika tribe, Drea has an extra vote and the amulet, and wanted to form an alliance with the other women. But almost immediately, at least in the edit’s timeline, that alliance turned against her.

Swati pitched voting Drea out to Tori, sharing that she was concerned about Drea’s persuasiveness, and said she had “too much power in this game.”

Speaking of power: At the immunity challenge, Drea, Lydia, and Jonathan were tasked with single-handedly guiding their teams to victory. Yes, it was the return of the blindfolded obstacle course, which first appeared in an episode that is remembered for something very different.

It’s a great exercise in teamwork and communication, hampered by the chaos of three people shouting. Make that four: Doing his usual tell-us-what-we’re-seeing narration, Probst told us that people were “trying to talk over each other,” and then, in his most self-aware moment this season, said, “I’m talking!” Alas, that did not prompt him to be quiet and let the players confuse each other.

I do like the twist of having the caller also have to guide players through assembling the puzzle, which this time meant two people. It came down to a single piece, so it was quite a showdown.

Of course, the challenge is thrilling not for the puzzle, but for people bumping into stuff—and the challenge designers are not kind, putting a lot of things at face level and crotch level. One bump caused this episode’s narrator, Daniel, to yell from the sidelines, “You’ve gotta protect the balls, Roxsroy!” That should have been the title of the episode.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion: your turn

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Happy discussing!

Chuck

Friday 18th of March 2022

I, too, am enjoying this season, but it's only 2 episodes in... they still have plenty of time to make a mess of it. I'm hoping that because they filmed both seasons back to back, they didn't realize how stupid the beware advantage actually is. I was truly hoping he lost it. That does lead me to a question tho.. I know a player can't take an idol from another player when it's in their possession, but if someone else found the Beware Advantage, after he hid it, does it become theirs? Are they told it belongs to someone else and they can't have it?

Clair

Thursday 17th of March 2022

Great recap, Andy! I truly LOL'd several times.

Melissa

Thursday 17th of March 2022

I love the blindfold challenges! Now I just need the tribe with the vegan guy to get some chickens, and I'll be completely entertained. (I know, I'm terrible.)

I would also tire of Maryanne quickly. I'm really surprised they didn't vote her out.

Kurt

Thursday 17th of March 2022

It has been a good season so far, focusing more on the characters than the twists. I considered giving up on Survivor both before and after 41, but I'm glad I didn't. The two hour premiere last week was outstanding as far as allowing us to get to know the cast with a reduced emphasis on challenges and twists. As a result, I can name most of the cast now, which is rare for me this early, and I have a pretty good idea of personalities from most of them, as well.

I very much appreciated the return of the blindfolded, tied together challenge. It has happened enough in Survivor history that I am wondering if anyone has practiced this on the beach. And why does nobody do "clock" based directions? "Mike - 10 o' clock, 10 steps" seems a better choice than "to your left," although "shimmy right" was useful.