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A Survivor Villain Is Born And A Perfect Blindside | Season 42 Episode 9 Recap

Now that is just a really good episode of Survivor. After a detour last week, Survivor 42 is back on track and continuing to be an overall really solid season. Last night saw a villain be born in Omar, who put on a masterclass in Survivor gameplay. And we had a textbook, perfectly executed blindside. Oh and Jonathan did a monkey run. Can't forget that. 

I'll get into the full recap, but first I must remind you to please subscribe to Snuffing Torches on Apple and Spotify to hear our full recap. Maybe a leave a 5-star review while you're at it! And our full episodes are also on YouTube so you can see our beautiful faces. 

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Alright now onto the recap....

Merged Camp

-The episode opened up after the double tribal council. We didn't see any explanation over what happened at the Tori tribal council, but we have to assume the other four were filled in on what went down. 

-It was clear from the beginning that this was setting up to be either Hai or Jonathan going home. Mike was upset that he had to break his word and vote Rocksroy out, holding some resentment towards Hai over that. Omar sensed this and noticed an opportunity to bring Mike in. 

-Then there was everyone just basically calling Jonathan an idiot. Lindsay told Omar about Jonathan's dumb plan at the last tribal council that would've put Maryanne in danger. Lindsay began to worry that she can't trust Jonathan as an ally anymore. I think it's pretty clear that nobody respects Jonathan's social and strategic game. Could be similar to last season with Xander where all the fans think he's a huge threat and is great in challenges but actually isn't respected by everyone else in the game. 

-With two idols flushed at the last tribal council, everyone knew one would be back in play. Lindsay looked first but couldn't find it despite walking RIGHT past it. Has to be so hard as the cameraman to not laugh or somehow hint to look a certain way. Maryanne was then just walking to the woods and stumbled upon it. So she was able to replace the idol she gave up at the last tribal. So to recap where the advantages stand. Maryanne has an idol and extra vote. Drea has an extra vote, amulet, and the Knowledge Is Power advantage. Mike has an idol. Lindsay has an amulet. Hai had one too but he's now gone, meaning Lindsay and Drea can combine their amulets for a steal-a-vote. If there's only one left, it becomes an idol. There's so many left in play and only two or three more tribals where they can be used. So we're either going to see an advantage bonanza or they're going to mostly go to waste. 

Reward Challenge

-This was like the easiest reward challenge ever. It was just a very small obstacle course and then one toss of a bag. The weather was really bad with a ton of rain and wind, so maybe there was a water aspect of the challenge that they decided to cut since they had that problem earlier in the season where Jonathan basically beat a hurricane with his bear hands. 

-This was the best reward of the season. A night in a warm bed plus pizza and beer. Lindsay won and got to choose two people. She chose Omar and then Mike because they both haven't had a reward yet. This is the most diplomatic way to go about it. I've often said I would never try to win an individual reward challenge because you're just going to piss people off when you don't choose them and paint a target on your back. Plus in this case, they were only 3 and left a majority of 5 back at camp. But on the other side of things, when you're starving and cold and tired after 19 days you might want that bed and food which can give you an energy boost for the rest of the game. Plus people are more likely to talk strategy on the reward challenge when they're all together doing an activity as opposed to back at camp when everyone is probably just doing their own thing. 

-It worked out great for Lindsay here. Nobody was really mad at her, and the three of them hatched the plan to get Hai out thanks to an amazing lie from Omar. He told Mike that "Hai always says you're his puppet and that he has you in his back pocket." Mike ate it up. You know an alpha firefighter old guy like Mike doesn't want to have the reputation of being carried around the game by Hai. Tough look for him to say "I know you're not lying to me" but to be fair, it was a beautiful lie from Omar because it was both believable and also something that would really eat at Mike. Diabolical stuff. Omar is becoming a great villain and is just a masterful player. He's playing by far the best game of anyone this season. Just have to hope these lies don't catch up to him. 

-There was also the surprise family videos on this trip. Can't do the family visits because of COVID restrictions so it's not the same, but the videos are good enough I guess. I first I thought it was just like "Here are pictures of your family" which would've been very funny. The voices in the jungle were also very reminiscent of the classic "Remember the 3 D's Deshawn!!!" from Survivor 41. 

Immunity Challenge

-This is a challenge we've seen before where you have to balance the ball as you balance on the beam. It came down to Jonathan and Lindsay on the final beam and Jonathan couldn't balance his huge feet on it so he fell off and Lindsay won. Pretty unfair to Jonathan because there was really nothing he could do there. I guess it's the one drawback to being a huge, jacked Greek God. 

Pre-Tribal Council

-Before any strategy talk happened, Jonathan just had to show off his monkey run. He was like "Wait we've been out here for the 3 weeks and I HAVEN'T broke out the monkey run yet? Oh you guys gotta see this!" And then ran around the ground on all fours. 

-Just when you think you might be out on Jonathan, he pulls you right back in. 

-Everyone was down to blindside Hai. It seemed to be the easy plan. Everyone realized Hai was a huge threat who was running the show and needed to be taken out before it was too late. Drea mentioned how her husband was probably watching at home thinking "Why did you not vote Hai out???" Mike felt betrayed by Hai between the Rocksroy vote and hearing the lie Omar told him. And we've learned Mike is like Michael Jordan in the "I took that personally" meme. First Chanelle and now Hai. The only person who still wanted Jonathan out was Lindsay but she didn't want to rock the boat so stuck with the Hai plan.

-Hai was COMPLETELY oblivious. He thought Jonathan was going home. And he was so confident that he even went over to Jonathan and said "Hey I have an idol and will play it on you tonight if you're in trouble. Just vote for Romeo." This was an absurd move by Hai. Just an example of doing too much that shows why he was sent home. He said he always likes to make the target feel safe so they don't play the Shot In The Dark, but going over the top with the fake idol lie was just too much. I would just always make sure the person on the block wasn't voting for me in case of an idol or anything funky, but I think lying about the idol is too much and can catch up to you, which it did. 

-But since everyone was so down to vote Hai, Omar thought, "Hmmm.. maybe he isn't that dangerous after all." Makes sense. If Hai was that easy to get out, then maybe he's not as big a threat as everyone thought and it made sense to keep him around. Whereas someone like Jonathan might have more allies to protect him and is also a bigger challenge threat. So Omar considered flipping the plan back to Jonathan and talked to Lindsay, Maryanne, and and Romeo about it. Some can say this was Omar doing too much and that it may just be painting a big target on his back, but I understand the thought process here. If a vote is too easy, then maybe it's not the right vote. 

Tribal Council

-Lindsay talked about how hard playing Survivor truly is. The lows are very low but the highs are very high and you keep chasing those shots of adrenaline. And that it's just overall a great life experience. God I want to be on this show so bad. 

-Hai gave a good analogy about how everyone is a blindfolded long distance runner and you have no idea who's leading the pack and who's in the back. 

-Lindsay said the vote was about "leveling the playing field" which seemed to alarm Jonathan as he feared it alluded to him being such a threat in challenges. Hai, still completely oblivious that he was going home, actually tried to calm Jonathan down because he was still trying to make Jonathan feel safe! Pretty funny just how out of the loop Hai was. 

-Hai got sent packing with a 6-2 vote. Hai voted Jonathan. Romeo also voted Jonathan because he's just so oblivious to what's going on. 

-This was a true, textbook blindside and Hai handled it perfectly. It's more entertaining when people freak out and cry, but this is the pro way to handle it. Just tip your cap. I'll probably win my first season and then get blindsided like this in my second one (an All Legends season). I'll tip my cap to Boston Rob, Russell, and Parvati for taking me out. 

-Hai was a good player but I think his social game lacked. He got too far ahead of himself and was treating people like chess pieces too much. He forgot that social bonds are most important. He also had no real allies left from his original tribe after Mike turned on him. He's very similar to Shan of last season. Both peaked too early, but I can see them coming back for a returnee season. 

Winner Rankings

This is a ranking of the players I think are most likely to WIN. This is not necessarily who I think is safest in the game. Don’t look at the person ranked last as the person most likely to go home next. Look at them as the person with the least chance to win. That person could very easily get dragged to FTC as a goat, but won’t win. This is ranking people based on their chance to actually win the game.

Tier Of His Own

1. Omar - He is the far and away frontrunner right now. He's playing the best game, is seemingly aligned with everyone, doesn't have a target on his back, and hasn't burnt many bridges. He also has a really good edit. I almost can't see him NOT winning at this point. I really don't think a winner arc has been built up for anyone else. If he doesn't win, then I truly have no idea who it could be and would be pretty disappointed. I always root for the player playing the best social and strategic game, which has definitely been Omar. The only concern is if he's peaking too early and people catch on to how good he's playing. But he at least has allies to protect and warn him, whereas Hai did not. 

The Rest

2. Drea - I guess? It's hard to choose a #2 behind Omar. But she's definitely played well. Always on the right side of the votes and has advantages galore. If she can play one or more successfully down the stretch, then she can have her big winner moment. She seems well liked enough to get jury votes. I still don't think she's had a great winner's edit, but nobody has besides Omar. So if we're basing it off just game, she's the next logical choice. 

3. Mike - Mike has far exceeded my expectations. His social game is awesome and he's built a ton of bonds. And now he's learning that he can break them if he needs to. But I worry that the jury would find him hypocritical and pick apart his game. He told Rocksroy his word was his bond then booted him out. He also fell SO easily for Omar's lie about Hai. I just can't really see him winning but I guess he's got a better chance than the rest on the list. 

4. Romeo - This is definitely high based on what he's done so far. But it's more about what he can do the rest of the way. I still think he's a smart player even though he is always on the wrong side of votes. He at least recognizes threats (he was onto Hai before anyone else). And he may now be onto Omar after being lied to at this last tribal council. If anyone can flip the game on Omar, Romeo definitely has the brain to do it. But will he have the allies? That's another story. But I liked his game pre-merge and if he finishes strong and peaks at the right time, he just might do it. 

5. Maryanne - She's an interesting case. She's played a pretty solid overall game. Found two idols and has an extra vote. And she has, for the most part, been on the right side of the votes. If she can pull out a successful idol play or extra vote play down the stretch, she can really make herself a contender. But the problem is she's just so annoying. She's rubbed people the wrong way at points and has at times had that "look how annoying this girl is" edit. But she's also had emotional moments and can tell a good winner story at the end. I can't see it happening, but again, if Omar doesn't win then all bets are off.

6. Lindsay - She had her best episode of the season last night. And she's pretty well-positioned in the game. I also think she knows what she's doing and could come on as a late contender here. But she still has just been so invisible all season that it would be crazy for her to win. This season has so many other well-developed characters that it would be absurd to make the winner invisible for 2/3 of the season. You can say that happened with Erika in Season 41 but there weren't nearly as many solid alternatives. 

7. Jonathan - I hate to do it to our guy, but I just don't see it happening. First of all, he has a huge target on his back for being such a beast. But the problem is that I don't think he can win out these challenges as they get more about agility, balance, and endurance. He's just too big. You saw it last night. And even if he gets to the end, it also feels like nobody out there respects his game and they think he's kind of dumb. He could be Xander 2.0

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