Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 42 recaps
Real-life moves, extra lives, and a move driver
By Brent Sullivan | Published: May 2, 2022
Survivor 42 Episode 9 Recap/ analysis

Real-life moves, extra lives, and a move driver

Welcome to “Top Five Baby!” where after each episode of Survivor, Brent Sullivan will try to break apart and find the top five moments that made a lasting impact on the season or moments that could at least affect the next few episodes. Sometimes the moments are obvious and other times ... not so much, but after years of watching and analyzing this show to myself, I like to share the ones that I think stand out the most.

This show never ceases to surprise me. This week’s Survivor proved once again how it’s much more than a reality competition show we sit and watch one night a week. It’s so much more than players voting each other out for different reasons from one tribal council to the next. Honestly, the look on the faces of the second group going to tribal really says it all. The complete shock and speechlessness when they saw Rocksroy sitting there was captivating to watch. I will touch on this more down below, but lots of non-game conversations were had and almost everyone handled it with the care it deserved. So, let’s start right there on this week’s “Top Five Baby!”

1. Real-life move

Real-life move

I know this happened at the end of the episode, but I feel like this needs to be discussed first. As I touched on a little bit above, real-life once again played a huge role in an episode of Survivor. It seemed like everyone had huge reactions when they saw who got voted out in the first tribal council, but Drea was absolutely the most shocked of anyone there. You could tell she was struggling to wrap her head around what just happened. Both she and Maryanne saw Chanelle and Rocksroy sitting on the jury and had to process what just happened and how they were going to handle it. They both handled it great and were very articulate when explaining why they felt the way they did.

After watching the episode, a couple of times now, I could also tell they were both bothered knowing how viewers at home would perceive what they were watching. They didn’t want anyone to think they were saved from being voted out based solely on the discussion of race that had just happened. So, the two of them played their idols to prevent that from happening. That was a bold move, especially on Maryanne who knew that she was most likely safe that night, but still played her idol anyway.

So, for my part in this, I need to discuss how this might affect the rest of the game. So, I don’t think this will come up again other than something during the cold open next episode. I’m sure the players all had lengthy conversations about what happened and I’m sure the first group was filled in on it too. I don’t really think it helps anyone’s chances in the game if it keeps coming up.

The unfortunate part about this is Drea is one of the biggest threats in the game with all her advantages and she could very easily be the target again next week. The other thing that could happen is this gives Maryanne and Drea an opportunity to work together for a vote or two if they want. Especially if they have a chance to take out Jonathan. Hopefully, we get some more information on what went down when they got back to camp. I will be interested to see that.

2. Romeo gets another life

Romeo gets another life

Somehow Romeo survived last week. He plays it cool when he comes back to camp, but otherwise, he was still on the bottom, then after an argument (sort of) with Hai, he was still clearly on the bottom. But once again, he survives the vote.

After a strong start where it looked like he was in the majority alliance, he has been fighting his way across the bottom ever since. With both Chanelle and Tori out of the way now, this might actually help his chances of staying around longer. Like in most seasons, when the minority alliance gets down to just a person or two, the bigger group always seems to break apart before the task of disassembling the smaller group is complete.

We kind of saw that already this week with Rocksroy going home and now that only eight players are left, Romeo may be in a decent spot. There are still some pretty big targets out there, literally big men like Jonathan or Mike could draw plenty of attention over the next few votes, leaving Romeo largely forgotten about until he’s made it to the end.

3. Hai brings out his inner Lex

Hai brings out his inner Lex

Hopefully, everyone understands my reference here, but for those that don’t remember ancient Survivor history, way back in Survivor: Africa, things were going smoothly for Lex van den Berghe, then one night at tribal council, he received a vote and went on a witch hunt to find out who voted for him. He was a great player, but that was not a good look for him.

The same goes for Hai here. He has been a pretty solid player all season, but him getting so upset over one vote wasn’t a good look for him either, and it proved exactly why Romeo voted for him. This could be a huge factor in the next few weeks as the numbers are dwindling and you have to start thinking about who you want to sit with in the end, or what sort of person you are going to have arguing against you during that final tribal council.

Either way, Hai better watch how he handles himself over the next few days so he’s not labeled as someone he isn’t, based on his attitude or how he reacts when things don’t go his way. It will be interesting to see if this was a one-off incident or if he keeps this behavior up.

4. Omar drives the vote

Omar drives the vote

Once again, Omar is showing he has some real chops to play this game. He is very good at talking to people and making them think it’s their idea to change a vote or to vote out someone he already wants out anyway. We have watched him do it all season.

He was masterful when we watched him change the vote to save his ally Jonathan a few weeks ago and he was masterful again in how he convinced everyone to vote for Rocksroy this week even if they didn’t want to by making it seem like it was their idea. I’m not saying I’m going to pick him to win now out of the final eight, but it sure wouldn’t surprise me if he did. If he can wrangle Jonathan in and get the Taku four on the same page, he may have a really great chance.

5. Lindsay and Jonathan argue

Lindsay and Jonathan argue

Overall, this was not a great episode for Jonathan. Yes, he won individual immunity during the challenge, but other than that … not so great. First, he didn’t handle himself well when talking to the other ladies about what sort of strategy they needed to follow in order to vote out Drea. Lindsay in particular was quite upset about his behavior. They have been working together from the first day, but he just wouldn’t listen to her idea about Maryanne being the decoy vote. The reason I think this is huge is because for Jonathan to make it far in this game, he will need Lindsay’s help. Changing it from Maryanne to Tori shouldn’t have been a big deal to him, but he turned it into one.

The next thing he did poorly was handling the conversation at the tribal council. That right there might be enough to get him voted off next week, but regardless of any of that, he won his first immunity challenge, and now even though people already knew it, his threat level has gone up. If he doesn’t win immunity this next time, it may be the last time he has a chance.

So, there you have it for this week’s episode. They are down to eight, and we now have three members of the jury. Whose game is in the most trouble now? I want to hear from you, let me know if I missed any moments or if you think I was correct in my thinking, the interaction is part of what makes this so fun!

Please catch more of me here next week where I will try to bring you more fun top five!


Brent Sullivan - Top Five, Baby!Brent Sullivan is a long-time fanatic of Survivor and has been writing about it for years. When he is not writing, talking about, or applying to be on the show, he spends his time with family, doing nerdy IT stuff, and watching movies. Follow him on twitter: @BSully_13