‘Survivor’ crowns a champion when it’s all down to the final council.
by Jeremy Fogelman
Ah, the finale of Season 42 of Survivor has finally arrived, the magic number, and with one of the most engaging and fun casts in the show’s history. Maybe not #1, but this is a great set of players, and especially a great set of jury and final five players. Coming into the finale I predicted that Romeo had no shot while Mike did not necessarily have it over Maryanne, but the way things shook out really was affected by what he did in his last minutes in the game.
For the first vote out where we lost badass Lindsay, there was one of those new “solve a riddle to find a clue to the advantage” challenges, which was pretty amusingly edited -- the show was definitely priming us to root for Lindsay to win that one, with the music stings and big outline of the rock “foot”. But even more amusing was Maryanne intentionally sandbagging the challenge to make sure Lindsay would come back with the advantage.
And yet, when the time came to possibly save Lindsay, Maryanne kept her idol to herself, in what ultimately was clearly the right move because the way she showed it off at the final tribal council was the highlight of that council -- you could instantly see on the faces of Romeo and Mike that they knew which way it was now likely to go.
But as for poor Lindsay, it’s no surprise she was voted out, as like I said last week, she had a legitimate chance to do well at the final three, while I really don't think Jonathan did. Sure, Mike had his “I gave my word” business but that actually ultimately sunk him. The dude was hinting or outright promising to play his idol on three different people, and two of those people ended up on the jury. The challenge where she was literally one piece away from winning was incredibly tense, and she played a really impressive game -- definitely one of the most athletic female players in a long time.
Coming into the next one, it was the classic (now actually named “Simmotion”) twisty ball challenge, and perhaps one of the shortest we’ve ever seen? Mike lost at one ball, with Maryanne not far behind, and Jonathan really didn’t last that long when he was down to just him and Romeo. And suddenly Romeo had won a challenge, not that he needed it as the least likely person to win, but it was nice that he also had a real moment of something in the game after playing so long from the bottom of the pack.
That last firemaking challenge was an interesting one, mainly because the only thing Romeo was really doing was making it more or less likely that Maryanne would win. She might’ve won firemaking against Mike and easily crushed the other two, or lose to Mike who certainly would’ve won in that case. But it was certainly the most entertaining option to watch the two dudes both do well at the firemaking challenge, that’s always more fun to watch.
On the final day, we got a really great (new?) thing where we go back between the jury members talking to us about their thoughts on the final three while also hearing from them too. That plus the fun flashback stuff the show’s been introducing has really made the season one of the more compelling seasons -- see, you didn’t need all of those twists, the cast and editing made it great already!
In the final tribal council, I think that a lot of people wanted to get a different sort of answer from Mike about his game -- he started a bit too strong in the “integrity” perspective, but even he had to admit that yes, of course he lied to protect himself. He also suffered in that Maryanne was a demonstrably better speaker, someone who didn’t stumble once in any of her answers. I think that the jury liked both of them well enough, but needed that justification to really vote for Mike.
It was going in an iffy way for Mike already, but the true nail in the coffin was Maryanne’s reveal of her never played idol at the exact perfect moment. Calling it the “one secret in the game” -- hilarious because everyone was sharing their secrets constantly. I don’t think Mike would’ve been an undeserving winner, but there’s something really nice about someone winning with such a great, fun personality.
At the reunion Jeff is even really nice to Maryanne, calling her a really great winner (and embarrassing her) and hopefully helping to convince the viewers at home. Overall, I’m happy with the winner, even if my #1 winner picks had already been voted out (Omar, Hai, and Drea), Maryanne is a solid winner in my book. I really enjoyed the season, two stupid twists aside, and Survivor has really been killing it with the casting choices.
Next season on Survivor 43, a brand new cast of interesting and diverse people, with some fun new confessionals that are already getting me hyped. Can’t wait!