“Survivor 42” Premiere Recap – A Surprising Early Medical Evacuation

“Survivor 42” (CBS)

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Alright, we kick things off with Jeffrey Montgomery Probst reminding us that our new castaways have not seen the mayhem that took place during season 41 and they don’t know about the new, wacky twists. So, which innovations are coming back? Apparently, we haven’t seen the last of kooky phrases to launch idols.

Boo…not a fan of that mechanic. Now everyone knows where all the idols are!

However, he assures us that there are new twists waiting to frustrate players and viewers alike.

Yikes, this recap is getting off to a snarky start.

From there, we get to meet our new obsessions…

  • Jonathan holds a world record for most pull ups with 100 pounds on his back. He tells us that there are thousands of world records, but only one “Survivor.” Well, the buff you’re wearing has a 42 on it. And there are international versions. And I think there was a Nintendo Wii game…
  • Drea is half blind and is a hurdler?! As in runs full speed at things and jumps over them. That’s impressive, but how many half-blind hurdles can she do with 100 pounds on her back?
  • Omar is an exotic veterinarian who has experiences that range from fixing a canary’s leg to putting his hand up a rhino’s butt. Yeah, but can you put your hand up a rhino’s butt with 100 pounds on your back?! (OK, I’ll stop.)
  • Lydia is up next, and she seems like fun. She has next to no experience with the outdoors and hates sand. So, her and Anakin Skywalker have that in common.
  • Daniel’s been trying to get on the show forever.
  • Marya’s looking to find something. It’s unclear if she’s talking about mentally or emotionally or maybe even literally talking about an idol.
  • Lindsey wonders about her potential.
  • And finally Mike claims you only get one shot. Well, that’s true for Eminem, but less true for someone like “Boston” Rob.

Finally, Jeff welcomes us to “Survivor 42.” Wait, he didn’t say…

39 26 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor Blog

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Ika Tribe (wearing blue)

  • Drea, 35 – Fitness Consultant
  • Rocksroy, 44 – Stay-at-home Father
  • Romeo, 37 – Pageant Coach
  • Swati, 19 – Ivy League Student
  • Tori, 25 – Therapist
  • Zach, 22 – Student

The Taku Tribe (wearing orange)

  • Jackson, 48 – Healthcare Worker
  • Jonathan, 29 – Beach Service Company Owner
  • Lindsey, 31 – Dietician
  • Marya, 47 – Stay-at-home Mother
  • Maryanne, 24 – Seminary Student
  • Omar, 31 – Veterinarian

The Vati Tribe (wearing green)

  • Chanelle, 29 – Executive Recruiter
  • Daniel, 30 – Law Clerk
  • Hai, 29 – Data Scientist
  • Jenny, 43 – Creative Director
  • Lydia, 22 – Waitress
  • Mike, 58 – Retired Firefighter

Three boats loaded with smiling faces greet Jeff on a gorgeous Fijian beach. But, seventeen of those smiles are absolutely eclipsed by Maryanne.

That’s it. She’s my favorite. Sorry, Malcolm.

Reward Challenge Time: One person from each tribe will race into the jungle and retrieve two oars from a cargo net. Then a second tribe member will retrieve two paddles from a distant place on the beach. The entire tribe will then row around a buoy and collect a bag of bamboo sticks. Back at the shore, one player will need to use those sticks to build a pole and retrieve flint. The winning tribe will also receive a machete and a pot.

Then Jeff breaks the news that those supplies are all they’ll get. No rice, no food source, the new “Survivor” is a monster and it’s coming to getcha! (OK, I added that last part.)

Mid-Challenge Twist: When the trio of players race to retrieve the second set of oars, they’re told to stop and are given the opportunity to all claim an individual advantage. Hai, Drea, and Lindsey  agree to go for it. And to cover up how long it takes, they’re encouraged to spread mud and fake blood on each other.

Fake blood? What’re the tribes going to think when they don’t have any wounds? That they had to butcher a hog?

Result: Taku ran away during the rowing portion, but Rocksroy was able to claim the flint and the win for Ika. That’s gotta be rough for Marya who couldn’t seal the deal with that huge lead.

Also, Daniel incurred some kind of shoulder injury during the jungle portion of the challenge. Medical is brought in and it appears to be dislocated. Daniel encourages them to pop it back in, which they do. Aaand…I guess he’s good. That was pretty bad ass.

At Ika Beach

Rocksroy immediately becomes my least favorite player on this season by claiming to be an “old head” at the age of 43 years old. Get off my lawn, Rocksroy.

We get to meet Swati who’s a member of the Army National Guard, which she thinks will help her avoid being voted out early.

Also, Tori is claiming to be a caregiver instead of her real job which is a therapist. She plans to use her secret therapy powers to get ahead.

It also looks like we’re getting an early age division with Swati, Tori, and Zach on one side and the OLD HEADS on the other.

This divide gets deeper as the young-uns are driving Rocksroy crazy with their whimsical ways.  He mentions that as a stay-at-home dad, he’s used to calling the shots, but Zach sees this as the cardinal “Survivor” sin of trying to be too much of a leader.

Later on, Drea sneaks out to read her challenge advantage (and she doesn’t care if people think she’s idol hunting) and we learn that it’s an “advantage amulet.” Apparently this thing must be played with all of the other amulets remaining in the game. And the less amulets that are in the game, the more powerful it becomes. Three amulets get you an extra vote, two get you a steal a vote, and one amulet has the power of an idol. The amulets are good through final six.

That’s pretty interesting. It encourages you to work together and stab each other in the back.

Also, Tori is confident that her story of “looking for taro” will cover her tracks while she goes idol hunting. Oh…oh…Tori. This puts an early target on her back. But, Zach lets her know that people are throwing her name around. He mentions Drea in particular.

At Vati Beach

The tribe is greeted by a second chance to get supplies. They can either guess the number of triangles in a puzzle or a single tribe member must fill a barrel with water using a heavy pot. Hmm…just one tribe member this time.

As the strongest member of the tribe, Mike is rightfully concerned that he’d have to do the water challenge, which would cost him bonding time with his tribe. So, he encourages them to try the puzzle.

Jenny takes the lead and while she’s doing that, Hai makes a joke that if they’re having trouble, that there’s no way the orange team will figure it out.

CUT TO: The orange team having trouble figuring it out. Point for Hai.

Eventually, Vati comes up with 50 and 51. And Taku has 51 and 52. Only one of their answers has to be correct. And the answer is…51!

In alliance news, it seems like there are three pairs with Hai and Lydia, Mike and Jenny, and Daniel and Chanelle all partnering up.

At Taku Beach

That evening, Jackson tells the tribe that he’s a transgender man who started transitioning eight and a half years ago. He also shares an inspiring story about how his parents didn’t accept him at first but how they were able to mend fences later in life.

Ooof…it’s getting dusty in this living room.

Also, hooray for his tribe being so loving and supportive. What a game changer.

They’re on a Boat

Boats show up at each of the beaches with an offer to take a player on a little excursion. Maryanne, Jenny, and Drea all get the nod.

The trio of boats whisk the women away to the Island of Excessive Advantages, however, they’re convinced that it’s some kind of summit. Nope, it’s a mega hike.

During the long trek, Maryanne makes the case that she should be a role model for all of us weirdos. Yup, that works for me.

When they get to the end of the stroll, they’re told to separate and make a decision. Yup, it’s the return of the prisoner’s dilemma. If all the players protect their vote, nothing changes. If all the players risk their vote, they’ll lose their vote. If there’s a split vote, the gamblers will receive an extra vote.

Drea and Maryanne choose to gamble their votes, and Jenny’s chooses to play it safe. So, extra votes for Drea and Maryanne.

A Visit from Jeff

Our favorite baseball cap wearing Emmy hoarder shows up at Taku beach and he wants to have a chat with Jackson. Apparently, the day before the game started, Jackson disclosed to production that he was coming off of lithium. This was a shock to the producers, but they decided to let him start the game while they figured out what to do about it. The concern is that there are possible negative reactions that can occur when people are subjected to stress, so they’ve decided to pull him from the game.

Jackson is saddened by this news, but he tells Jeff that the past 48 hours have been the best of his life.

Wow, what a rough situation to have to figure out under such short notice. I know they used to have alternate players on location, but I haven’t seen any since I started visiting the set back in 2008.

Immunity Challenge Time: The tribes will row to shore while retrieving chests. They’ll then push the chests and the boat under a cargo net on the beach. The first two tribes to complete the dragon puzzle at the end will win immunity. The loser will have to forfeit their flint.

Ooo…and we’re also getting the return of the Shot in the Dark die. That means you have a one-in-six shot at immunity if you play it at Tribal.

Sitting Out: Lydia and Romeo

Result: Ika had a lot of trouble moving the chests and boat across the beach, so Taku and Vati picked up the win handily.

Quick Aside: Transporting those items was brutal. And remember, this challenge was originally designed for six people, not five.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Before everyone breaks off to figure out what they’re going to do, Zach apologizes for his difficulties with the puzzle and Tori wants everyone to know that she does not have an idol.

When Tori and Drea go off to talk about it, Romeo wonders who spilled the beans. Uh oh…

It seems like Drea and Tori are able to make peace and the topic of conversation switches to how poorly Rocksroy did during the challenge. Drea pitches the idea of booting Rocksroy to Romeo, but he shoots it down because they’re aligned and because he is their strongest player.

In other news, Swati is pushing to get rid of Zach because of his puzzle performance. However Romeo wants to keep Zach around because they have a skinny guy alliance. Fast metabolism men.

Tribal Time

To kick things off, Probst lets Zach say the trademark “fire equals your life” catchphrase. Probst delegating!

Other than that, it’s a lot of vagueness until Zach accuses Tori of throwing him under the bus to Drea.

Voting Time: Zach plays his shot in the dark, Drea receives her extra vote, and the rest of the votes are lost to the magic of editing.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an advantage…and Zach is ready to take his shot. He opens the parchment and he is…not safe.

Alright, we’ve got two votes for Zach and the second person eliminated from “Survivor 42” is…Zach.

Verdict: We’re two hours into this series and we’ve got sixteen shots in the dark, three amulets, and two extra votes. So…so…much…

But, there are a lot of bright spots in this cast. Can’t wait to see where it goes.

And as for a winner pick? I’m going to go with Romeo. I feel like he did a really good job navigating  through that first Tribal.

  • Tori – She could have been an easy first boot based on those idol whispers, but she proved Zach couldn’t be trusted and landed herself an alliance.
  • Romeo – Good subtle nudging with encouraging Zach to roll the dice. It was probably the only way to save him.
  • Jenny – Killing the triangle challenge, making some buddies on the Island of Excessive Advantages. Not bad.
  • Jonathan –  Challenge machine! Your tribe would be stupid to get rid of you anytime soon.
  • Daniel – You got off to a rough start, but taking the separated shoulder like a champ was awesome.
  • Mike – Very savvy to get out of having to do the water challenge by yourself.
  • Drea – You should care what people are saying about you when you sneak off to check advantages. That landed Tori in early trouble.
  • Swati – Ever notice that Sandra Diaz-Twine rarely says a name? People will ask her and she’ll say, “Who do you want?” Be careful with throwing names around. It burnt Zach.
  • Maryanne – I adore you. But there’s definitely the possibility of being too likable in this game.
  • Rocksroy –  Not bossing people around isn’t even “Survivor 101” it’s “Pre-Intro to Survivor.”
  • Marya – Rough start with that first challenge. But there’s plenty of time to get people to forget it.
  • Lindsey, Hai, Omar, Chanelle, and Mike –  I can’t grade you if you don’t show your work.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes