Survivor 42 Week Nine Recap and Power Rankings

Survivor 42 logo, via CBS

One of the best things about Survivor is that when you strip away all the twists and advantages, sometimes the best drama creates itself. The castaways are here for the game of a lifetime, and it’s always entertaining to see just how far they’ll go. In the aftermath of a chaotic double boot episode, things were up in the air. The blindside of Rocksroy and the complex elimination of Tori had left the tribe fractured and taken two idols out of the game.

So in the great Survivor tradition, an idol hunt began. Lindsay went looking first, but it was Maryanne who covertly sneaked off to the woods and pocketed her second idol of the game. And this time, she was not telling anyone. We were soon off to a reward challenge, where the contestants had to balance a sandbag on a pedestal and toss it onto a small platform. Lindsay edged out Jonathan, and got to take two contestants to a sanctuary for a meal. She chose Omar and Mike, mostly because neither had gotten big rewards before.

The overnight stay turned out to be more than it seemed, as it also doubled as a family visit – with the three contestants getting videos from their family and friends back home. It created a strong bond between the trio, especially with Jonathan getting on Lindsay’s nerves in the previous episode and possibly fracturing the Taku Four. But that bond would soon be exploited – in one of the dirtiest moves pulled in Survivor in a long time.

Omar has long been the game’s most aggressive player, being behind several key blindsides this season without anyone really knowing. It was all fair play – but his move to target Hai this episode may have crossed a line with at least one player. Hai has been Omar’s chief rival in terms of scheming, and the two seemed to be closely aligned. But Hai had ruffled some feathers when he engineered the Rocksroy boot and convinced Mike to break his word to him, and Omar exploited those fractures by convincing Mike that Hai had mocked him behind his back and was planning to blindside him.

Mike quickly got angry and was on board with blindsiding Hai – but the problem was, it was 100% a fiction. Mike has been an emotional player since the start of the game, both for good and bad, and Omar essentially weaponized that. Once Mike was on board, he was able to loop in Jonathan and Lindsay, with the former looking for any opportunity to take the heat off himself. From there, the wild cards like Maryanne and Drea were on board as well.

At the immunity challenge, a fast-paced balance challenge involving a balance beam and keeping a ball from rolling off a wooden bow, Lindsay edged out Jonathan after a tense face-off. And with that, the battle between the two biggest targets in Survivor 42 was on.

From there, the scramble was one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. As the targets settled on Hai and Jonathan, Hai pulled a Hail Mary and tried to convince Jonathan he had an idol – one he would play on Jonathan. Jonathan didn’t buy it, sending the information right back to Omar. And at tribal council, only Omar was left out of the loop as the entire tribe voted to send Hai to the jury. His response – essentially applauding the tribe for being able to blindside him – went down as one of the all-time best Survivor exits alongside Chicken.

And so the game shifts again, as Drea and Lindsay’s amulets transform into steal-a-votes and the game gets closer to the ending. Below, the power rankings for week ten of Survivor 42.

  1. Lindsay – After two strong episodes in a row, she’s quietly under the radar but steering many of the game’s key decisions.
  2. Omar – Definitely the guy pulling the strings the most at the moment, but he might be flying a bit too close to the sun.
  3. Mike – He’s in a great social position at the moment, but he’s letting his game be led far too easily. He needs to have some moves to call his own soon.
  4. Maryanne – Her early-game social struggles have mostly been forgotten, but it’s not clear if she’ll be able to make the moves she needs in the endgame yet.
  5. Drea – She doesn’t have any tight alliances, but she’s so loaded down with idols and advantages that she should be fine unless something crazy happens.
  6. Jonathan – He’s all alone as the top target in the game right now, and it’s not clear if his alliance will stick by him.
  7. Romeo – He’s so firmly out of the loop that the only question is if he’s irrelevant enough to squeak by for another round.

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