Warning: This post contains spoilers from Wednesday’s season finale of Survivor.
With only five players left at the beginning of Survivor‘s finale, everyone’s targets were big, bold and constantly shifting. After 23 days in the elements, it was still anybody’s game to win.
As a result of Omar’s blindside last week, Lindsay finds herself in hot water, having voted for her (former?) ally Jonathan. As the tribe arrives at a brand new beach without a shelter or tarp, the gloves have clearly come off. Lindsay demands to know why she was left out of the vote, but since she voted for Jonathan, he wants no part of their “alliance” anymore.
As they squabble, Romeo tells everyone he has an idol. He even fashioned a little bracelet to sell his story. It’s not the best looking thing in the world, but it’s something, I guess. The ploy does feel like it’s too little, too late. Almost as if he fashioned his own participation trophy. (There’s no chance in hell anybody believes him, is there?)
The next morning, Mike tells Romeo they need Lindsay out, only to then tell Lindsay that he’d be willing to use his idol on her. But he also told Maryanne the same thing! (Is it me or does this dude constantly write checks he knows he can’t cash. This isn’t the Big Brother house, Mike!) All of this nice-guy business can’t play well at a Final Tribal, right? If I was sitting next to Mike in the finals, I would use this as ammo against him.
All five players get an envelope with a clue to an advantage for the next challenge. They must unscramble a phrase, and cannot search for the advantage until they figure it out. Lindsay is the only person to crack the code: “Good fortune is tucked in the toes of the sleeping giant.” She treks all over the island until she finally figures out what the “toes” are and finds the game’s final goodie. She rips the package open and it says she’ll have a “slight advantage” in the immunity challenge. Will it be enough to help her save her (sinking) game?
IMMUNITY IS BACK UP FOR GRABS | Players must race through a series of obstacles collecting puzzle pieces along the way. First to finish, yada, yada, yada. But they’re also playing for reward: Pasta, garlic bread, meat sauce, cake, salad and red wine! Yes, Jeff. That is worth playing for.
Lindsay’s advantage: Everyone else will have to untie six knots for every puzzle bag. She’ll only have to untie one.
Jonathan is flying through these obstacles, proving that these players should’ve sent him packing weeks ago. As Probst drools over Jonathan’s physical prowess once again, Lindsay drops from an obstacle and must go back, giving Aquaman time to catch up to her. Jonathan and Lindsay both retrieve all of their bags, and are the first two to start the puzzle. After a few minutes, it seems to be Lindsay or Mike’s to win, and Mike wins it all by just. one. piece. Mike then chooses Jonathan to eat the grub with him. (Which… is pretty stupid? Even if Jonathan’s my homie, I wouldn’t want to give him the fuel.)
CAMP | Jonathan asks Mike if he would use the idol on him if Lindsay pulls one of her own out. Mike agrees. But he already said he was going to use it on Maryanne. And Lindsay! (You get an idol! And you get an idol! Every! Body! Gets! An idol!) It’s madness, I tell you.
Lindsay then makes a heartfelt plea to Mike, who once said he’d love to see her get to the end. She tells him she earned his loyalty, and he doesn’t disagree. Plus, she never lied to him a single time. Her plea is a good one, using emotions to appeal to an emotional player, but will it be enough?
Meanwhile, Maryanne wonders if she should save Lindsay with her idol. She’s still looking to make another splashy move in front of the jury, and a Jonathan blindside could be it. But it all comes down to what Mike decides to do.
TRIBAL COUNCIL | Lindsay talks about being a sitting duck and knowing she’s going home, despite finding the last advantage. She tries to downplay her game based on the fact that Omar duped her, but Jonathan says that’s far from true. You’ve got to admire the fight she has in her. The woman is going hard.
Jeff calls for advantages and idols after the vote. Mike stands up and uses it on… Maryanne. Romeo then throws his fake idol into the fire (which he tries to play as a big show, but no one cares — I certainly don’t) and Maryanne doesn’t play hers. No surprise here: Lindsay joins the jury.
IMMUNITY #2 | It’s time for a Survivor classic: Simmotion. (Maryanne knows the name of the challenge, which seems to impress Jeff.) Before the challenge kicks off, each player talks about what drives them, leading Maryanne to bring up a family member who isn’t currently speaking with the rest of her fam. Jeff says her being on Survivor could possibly bring them all back together, and she says through tears that she wants that more than a $1 million.
The challenge begins and everyone picks up his and her first ball and drops it into the contraption. Mike doesn’t even make it past the warm-up phase! He drops his second ball and becomes the first person out of this challenge.
Everyone not named Mike successfully adds a second ball, and soon after, Maryanne drops out! (It’s crazy to me that people are dropping so soon, but I also just ate a dinner big enough to feed three, after slamming coffee all day and sleeping like the child-free adult that I am, so who am I to judge?) After placing ball four, Jonathan slips and Romeo earns his spot in the Final 3.
CAMP | Mike knows he’s going to be sent into the fire-making challenge. He feels like he can beat Maryanne, but isn’t so sure he can conquer Jonathan. Knowing its her best shot at winning, Maryanne gives Jonathan some tips to building a fast fire. (Also, I’ll never let a fire-making challenge go by without putting this in writing: I HATE THE FIRE-MAKING CHALLENGE. Hate, hate, hate. I don’t love to pout, but this semi-recent change to Survivor irks me beyond belief.) The general consensus: Maryanne and Romeo do not want Mike sitting in the finals with them.
TRIBAL #2 | Mike is, indeed, the target, and Romeo makes it official: Maryanne is in the Final 3, and Mike and Jonathan are battling it out in fire. The challenge begins, and Mike is first to get a flame. But Jonathan’s flame catches too, just as Mike’s starts licking the rope. Mike’s flame becomes a full-on fire, and shortly after, his blue flag swings up. Jonathan is now the jury’s final member.
FINAL TRIBAL | Tori asks the finalists if her perception of them is accurate. Mike says yes, despite the Rocksroy vote. Maryanne argues against the idea that she didn’t care enough about the game. She says she saw how quickly strategic, younger players were voted out (like Swati and Tori), and course corrected herself at the merge. Omar then calls out Mike for lying to Drea, but Mike is adamant that he kept his word with everyone but Rocksroy. Hai and Omar don’t seem to appreciate Mike’s lack of game-ownership, but Drea calls his social game “on point.”
Omar claims Maryanne social game was “sloppy.” She cops to it, saying she didn’t realize she was being sloppy until the fake merge. From there, she reeled it in and was able to make more strategic plays like the one to boot Omar.
In terms of strategy, Drea asks what each finalist’s signature play was. Romeo says he had to go into self-preservation mode, and explains how he made a fake idol. Hai asks why he brought Maryanne to the finals, and Romeo says he thought she didn’t use enough of her own strategy. Mike says he played both a strategic and emotional game, but linking up with Omar and Lindsay helped him build alliances and massage relationships. Maryanne tells them that by voting Omar out, she set herself up with every combination of players to ensure that she would be sitting in the Final 3. She then says she kept the season’s only secret, and pulls out the merge idol for all to see, which seems to impress the jury.
Chanelle asks about their personal evolution, which brings Romeo to tears, as he knows he wasn’t only playing for himself. He didn’t want to play from the bottom, but those were the cards he kept being dealt. He’s also happy to be leaving this game a “free man,” despite what his religious family back at home may think. He thanks Hai for helping him through that.
Mike says he’s happy that he proved an older guy such as himself could come out and compete with people half his age. He learned that he could still do what he thought he couldn’t anymore, and he’s happy his kids will get to see everything he accomplished.
Maryanne says she realized she was self-sabotaging herself, because she so badly wanted to save Lindsay with her idol. She knew she couldn’t beat her friend, but she was scared of having her friendship rejected after the fact. She knows she’s still learning and growing, but she had to bet on herself.
AND THE WINNER IS… | The jury votes and Probst tells them there’s one more twist this season: The votes are getting read on location. Right. Now. The jury explodes! (Of course, we knew what was coming.) Probst reads the results and Maryanne becomes the winner of Survivor 42! (Read our Q&As with Maryanne, Mike and Romeo!)
Did the right person win? Grade the finale and season below, then light up the comments section!