Survivor 42: Episode 1 Reaction

Survivor 42 has officially begun! After consuming half of the premeire episode without voice audio (more on that later) and half like a normal episode, the game has gotten into full swing and our first two contestants have gone home in polar opposites ways. Let’s get to it!

One New Twist, Many Old Ones

One new twist has entered the Survivor game in the Advantage Amulet, and many of the ones we saw Survivor 41’s premiere returned again. The new Advantage Amulet was a bit confusing to me but here’s what I understood. Three people recieved the amulet because they chose to take the twist during the opening immunity challenge. They untied twenty knots and were given mud and grass and blood (!) to make it look like they had to go through hell during the challenge. The amulet changes it’s power depending on how many are still in play: if three are in play it is an extra vote, if two it is a steal a vote, if only one is left it is a hidden immunity idol. There probably is more rules to it but I missed all the details. The idea is an interesting one, as you can target the other people with an amulet to make yours more powerful, and holding onto it can be a curse and a blessing. Having it makes you target to people who can gain power by voting you out, or you hold it longer and it naturally gains power. Also, the mud and the blood was a cute way to make a twist introduction funny, so props to production for that idea.

All the episode one twists from last season are back, and because we saw it before we didn’t spend so much time explaining them. Shot in the dark is back with 1 in 6 chance at immunity, the summit and prisoner’s dilemma is back same as last year, and the sweat vs savvy challenge returned again. I noticed the sweat challenge got shrunk from two people to one person, and because of that the tribes went with the triangle puzzle, which was interesting to see come into play.

Let’s see how many more twists stay the same, and what twists got replaced as the season goes on. So far I think it’s:

New Twist: 1

Same Twist: 2

Old Twist, but adjusted: 1

Backstory Central

Survivor has chosen to continue the same cinematic storytelling as last season, giving us six different flashback stories in the first episode. That is a lot of fishing for emotional responses for one episode, especially when the backstories were all about pretty serious subject matter. It’s interesting to see Survivor continue to maunally input information about these castaways rather than letting the backstories and storylines manifest on its own. It’s a lot of story and while it’s good for truly understanding what makes a unknown castaway tick, I’d rather they focus on what’s going on in camp more with dynamics and fun social banter. It’s a two hour episode so we had content to go around, but will we see tribe life take a backseat again for more flashbacks?

One Unorthodox DQ, and One Traditional Vote

I think I feel pretty comfortable in saying that Jackson’s DQ is one of the most unique ways I’ve seen a contestant go home. From what I could tell from the more sensitive one on one conversation between Jackson and Jeff, Jackson had essentially neglected to disclose that he was taking a more “experimental” sleep and anxiety medicine that had side effects that could cause something bad to happen during the more intense game of Survivor. Therefore, Jackson is sent home for failing his medical after two days. I’d recommend not lying about the drugs you take, even if you really really want to be on the show.

Because of this I think they made the first immunity challenge have two winners instead of just one, and Ika falls behind early in the challenge and never recovers. The tribe debated between voting Tori for being sneaky or voting weak link Zach. At tribal council Zach uses the shot in the dark dice and fails, so he goes home unaminously, which makes me think there really wasn’t that much of a debate about who was going home. Zach was the young nerdy Cochran model superfan, but his knowledge of the game did not translate into ideal gameplay. At least he seemed to take it in stride rather than be frustrated or sad about it. Thankfully for us the spectators it means one less Survivor player having meta confessionals about Survivor.

The Survivor Mom Award: Rocksroy

He was so close to falling into the classic Survivor: being to bossy about building the shelter around camp. Rocksroy is clearly the parent of the tribe I think he will absolutely have to tone down the intensity if he wants to go far in the game. I did find it really funny and clearly on brand for Rocksroy when he told Swati she needed to clean her shoes before diving into the more strategic conversation.

The Biggest Smile Award: Maryanne

Wow, Maryanne sure has a ton of energy. Her mouth was so wide open that Jeff Probst had to lead off his introduction by acknowledging it. Maryanne has fallen exactly into my idea of her during cast impressions: super positive and super high energy. I hope we can see more of her personality shine as the season goes on.

Obscure Survivor Reference of the Episode: Stephanie LaGrossa

It’s wild to me why Daniel would pull the Stephanie shoulder dislocation reference out of left field with his own shoulder dislocation in the opening challenge. If you aren’t a walking Survivor encyclopedia (or haven’t watched Heroes vs. Villains recently), he’s referring to the physical opening challenge in Season 20 where Stephanie popped out her shoulder wrestling for sandbags. As a superfan who has all these random moments etched into my memory too, I understand why Daniel remembered it: I would not let my tribemates know that I have that knowledge, however.

Also, he dislocated his shoulder by falling on his face. Is there a more embarassing way to injure yourself than that?

MVP of the Episode: Drea

She has not one, but two advantages with the Advantage Amulet and the Extra Vote in her pockets. That’s how to start a game on the right foot.

Goat of the Episode: Paramount Plus Live TV Stream

Just feel like I should mention that I had to watch the first 50 minutes of the episode on subtitles because the only sound I could hear from the episode was the SHOW MUSIC. Voices were completely absent from the stream. I had NEVER had that happen to me before. What’s even crazier is that the ADVERTISEMENTS played NORMALLY. So yeah, not the best way to start the season. Thankfully it fixed itself, and I’m a fast reader so I can come in the clutch and finish this article for you :)

Oh, also, not disclosing important medical information is the other Goat of the Episode.



18. Jackson

17. Zach


16. Rocksroy

15. Tori

14. Romeo

The names that are at risk in Ika. Rocksroy’s old head mindset and struggle in the challenge makes him an easy vote. Tori is gaining the sneaky label so she could be next based on being a future threat. Romeo lost his skinny ally in Zach, so from an appearance perspective he could be next.


13. Daniel

12. Marya

11. Omar

10. Chanelle

9. Mike

8. Lydia

7. Jenny

There’s just not enough information to go off of, so this part of the ranking is all based on feel. Jenny was smart to complete the triangle puzzle so that’s good on her. Daniel and Marya struggled the most in the opening challenge so that’s bad for them.


6. Maryanne — She got an extra vote and we got a good amount of facetime with her. That’s a good first episode in my book.

5. Swati — Her name was never thrown around in the Ika discussion up to tribal council, which is great for her preservation in the game.

4. Hai

3. Lindsey

Both got the advantage amulet so that’s what I call a win


2. Jonathan — I feel like it’s important to mention that he was MURDERING these physical challenges. I think it makes him safe up to the merge, so he’s got time to get the social game locked down.

1. Drea

Overall feeling after this episode: I was a bit underwhelmed so far. This season is gonna look similar to last season, and right now there aren’t enough players that got me feeling excited. Obviously I can give them the time to blossom.



Reality TV connoisseur writing about the shows I like, especially Survivor. I also watch the Challenge, the Bachelor, Love is Blind, and more.

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Reality TV connoisseur writing about the shows I like, especially Survivor. I also watch the Challenge, the Bachelor, Love is Blind, and more.