Survivor 42: Episode 3 Reaction

Well. That was quite the episode of Survivor. In an incredibly uneven but cathartic episode, we are left with plenty of talking points, from a monumental immunity performance to what could be one of the all-time bad Survivor moves. If this is what we get from the rest of the season it will be quite the roller coaster.

Did Jonathan Just Have the Most Dominant Immunity Performance in Survivor History?

Due to the events at tribal council, we go to the immunity challenge very early in the episode, and with brutal waves crashing down on the castaways, one strong boi emerges from the water like Poseidon. Jonathan singlehandedly completed the ladder portion and the sandbag portion of the challenge, while simultaneously pulling tribe members through the water so they didn’t drown. He did everything for Taku except climb the ladder, and completed it all before the other tribes could get out the water. This is made even more impressive given that production had to intervene and retrieve the key from the water so the tribes didn’t drown. I’m pretty confident that it’s the best individual performance in a team challenge I may ever see. There’s probably some challenges where other people have had wild individual performances (like the weight carrying challenges, or a wrestling or shooting challenge), but I think Jonathan may be the only person who’s been on Survivor who could do what he did today. Maybe Brad Culpepper. Maybe Prime Colby Donaldson. Maybe James Clement. But definitely Jonathan.

Chanelle’s Prisoner Dilemma

So Taku wins the challenge and Vati loses. Taku gets to send a Vati and another castaway to the summit for a prisoner’s dilemma. They send Chanelle and Omar. At Vati, the vote is pretty much in Chanelle and Daniel’s hands, as Hai and Lydia are an alliance and Mike and Jenny are an alliance. Mike doesn’t have a vote, so Daniel and Chanelle are the key deciders about who goes home. Chanelle must have an idea of what the situation is at her tribe. And yet, she makes the decision to risk her vote to get an extra one. She is convinced that Omar will want to look out for her best interests and will protect his vote for her benefit.


I’m absolutely shocked that she went for risking her own vote. She must have had some idea of the importance of her input in the upcoming tribal council. I don’t think she is a stupid person. BUT… I think 99% of players would see this risk and, knowing that they are probably a swing vote, would be safe and pick protect and trust in their political game. Omar absolutely thought that was what Chanelle thought. Omar risks his vote because he believes that given the importance of Vati’s upcoming vote (and the fact that we see footage of Chanelle stressing to Omar that the vote is important, btw) Chanelle will protect and he will get an extra vote. That was not the case.

Now Chanelle goes back to camp and, probably realizing her mistake, goes with Daniel to Hai and tries to get them to split the vote over the threat of a possible idol. Hai even sees the nervousness of Chanelle and doesn’t bite. Tribal council would have been completely clean if Chanelle didn’t take an unnecessary risk with complete knowledge that her vote matters tonight. Now we all all but guaranteed a tie, and anything can happen.

Daniel Shifting the Blame and Realigning: What Happens Now?
The vote and the revote are tied, so the un-voted need to come to an unanimous decision or go to rocks, with the caveat that because Mike and Chanelle did not vote (the former because of the beware idol and the latter because of the failed prisoner’s dilemma) so only Hai and Daniel have to agree on who goes home between Lydia and Jenny.

What Daniel does here is not only interesting but will have an impact on the future of his game. Daniel leads by plainly stating that he will NOT go to rocks and he wants to agree with Hai on who goes home. He then shifts the blame for the vote: Chanelle is really the one pushing to vote out Lydia over Jenny, and he only voted for Lydia because Chanelle told him to, much to Chanelle’s shock and frustration. Daniel with this simple move has established his game. He will NOT play this game with loyalty: self-preservation is number one. Hai goes with the loyalty stance, and declares that he will stick with rocks if it means Lydia stays in the game. While the tribe tried to talk him off of Lydia for the sake of unity, the deed was done. Hai saw rocks as a 75% chance of safety with a trusted ally staying in the game, while Daniel saw rocks as 25% chance of going home. So with that, Jenny is screwed over and gets the boot.

Vati is a complete mess after this vote. Hai and Lydia are still together, Mike and Chanelle are very unsafe on the tribe and Mike doesn’t even have a vote. Daniel is a true wildcard. Yes, Daniel went with Hai in the end, but he showed everyone that he will backstab and scramble and that everything is on the table with him. Maybe he can repair some damage and ride with Hai and Lydia, but there’s an equal chance in my eyes that everyone else in Vati will see the unpredictability and determine that they do not want to deal with Daniel at the merge.

Cringe of the Episode: Beware Idol Silly Phrases

Please please please please please do not have this stupid beware advantage in Survivor after this season. Maryanne hit the nail on the head: it is not an advantage. It’s either make a fool of yourself and declare you have an idol, or stay silent like Mike and just pray you never need to vote before the merge.

Best Moment of Unintentional Comedy: Jeff Probst Commentary on How Tough This Challenge is, Paired with Action Shots of Castaways Drowning in the Waves

Need I say more? Jeff Probst pushes the narrative. Dramatic shots of Mike and Rocksroy drowning. Now that’s Survivor!

I like the new editing in general, but this is a step too far in the direction of corny. This is right on par with action shots of Heather last season completely bombing that reward challenge.

Biggest Omission of the Episode: Ika

MVP of the Episode: Jonathan

Goated Immunity performance. Of course he wins MVP.

Goat of the Episode: Chanelle

Pro tip: If your vote is vitally important to tribal council, don’t risk it.



18. Jackson

17. Zach

16. Marya

15. Jenny — It’s really no fault of her own that she went home today. It’s on Chanelle not having a vote, and Daniel having no allegiance to Mike and Jenny to play rocks.


14. Mike — No vote. Lost his number one ally, and his number two publicly betrayed his trust. Bad episode for Mike.

13. Maryanne — She has no vote now because of the beware advantage, and for now still feels like number four in the four person Taku tribe. Needs team immunity wins to reach the merge.

12. Chanelle


11. Daniel — I didn’t even talk about the fact that he nearly lost Mike’s idol. I really don’t know what’s going to happen to him in these next few episodes.

10. Rocksroy

9. Romeo

8. Tori

Good news for Ika fans: having zero early season edit doesn’t mean you can’t win. See Erika from last season.


7. Drea

6. Swati

5. Omar — He’s missing his next vote. That could be dangerous if Lindsay flips on him and Jonathan with Maryanne.


4. Lydia — Thanks to Chanelle’s mistake, she is probably making the merge barring something catastrophic.

3. Lindsay — I’m starting to feel like she may be my dark horse pick to win. She’s in a good place on Taku, and I think she’ll be smart post-merge.

2. Hai — He’s in a great position now because of the chaotic tribal council. My stock on him is down however from an entertainment standpoint. He was all Survivor political speak this episode, and it made me think he is boring.

1. Jonathan



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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.