It's a close call for a fan favorite. Plus, another one bites the dust.
SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols
S42 E5
  • TV Show

It's no wonder, really, that I have spent the past 22 years of my life writing about television. Especially considering that all I did with my life before writing about television was watch television. Good TV. Bad TV. It didn't matter. I consumed it all.

I was such a braindead idiot that I even obsessed over TV commercials. My personal favorites were usually the late-night ads for cheesy K-Tel type music compilations. Of course, there was the amazing "Hey Love" ad promising "classic sounds of sexy soul" that now plays like some sort of Silk Sonic retro marketing ploy. (This one become famous for the "No, my brother, you've got to buy your own" line delivered at the 1:27 mark.)

There was also the somewhat bizarre "Freedom Rock" ad, in which one aging hippie kept berating his buddy to either turn up or turn down the music depending on how much he felt like interrupting the songs at any given moment. He also appears to have a heavy case of the "shakes."

I also loved awesome low-budget local ads with catchy jingles. Anyone growing up in Washington D.C. in the '70s or '80s is familiar with this infamous Jhoon Rhee jam basically imploring little kids to beat the S#*! out of anyone they feel like after learning the awesome power of taekwondo.

But one of the choicest commercial cuts was not for a corny compilation album or local self-defense academy. It was for a titan of industry. Back in the day, Gillette ran this ad for shaving cream in which they had a roller-coaster go full speed into a giant mound of shaving cream.

To a pint-sized doofus like myself, this was by far the coolest thing imaginable. I immediately began plotting out ways I could somehow pilot a roller-coaster through a mountain of shaving cream. Unfortunately, outside of becoming a billionaire and buying Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens, no truly viable options presented themselves. And since I was too busy watching stupid Jhoon Rhee and Freedom Rock commercials instead of actually, you know, studying, making a billion dollars become more unlikely by the day.

The point of the Gillette ad was that their shaving cream gave you an incredibly close shave, so naturally that's where my mind went while watching this week's episode of Survivor 42. Because it was a very close shave for one of our contestants. Chanelle? HELL NO! I'm not talking about Chanelle! (I mean, I will talk about Chanelle later, but not yet.) I'm talking about the most enthusiastic Survivor and/or Mario Kart player ever: Maryanne.

You all know I signed up as the president of the Maryanne Stan Society approximately 10 seconds into the season, but did you see what was happening this week? Here's Maryanne being absolutely delightful, screaming about the joys of Nintendo and playing a game of "Hot" and "Cold" that in no way should annoy someone who has not eaten or slept in 10 days, and all of a sudden Jonathan is not feeling it.

What gives, big boy? Are you more of a Sega Genesis kind of guy? You don't find it positively hilarious when you are feeling dehydrated out in the wild and instead of allowing you to go refill your water, your tribemates instead make you exert even more energy finding your canteen? You're not down to clown? Wow, seems like someone's being a real Bowser!

I don't care if Maryanne makes everything a 10 out of 10. Have you not seen Spinal Tap, sir? Because THIS ONE GOES TO 11! So what if Marya complained about Maryanne's energy. Big deal if Jonathan can't take all the talking. Boo-hoo if Omar finds Maryanne annoying. Yeah, well I find you annoying, Omar! Okay, that's not actually true. I've gone too far. Got a little caried away there for a second. I actually really like Omar and want to to publicly thank him again for making my entire week with his hilarious attempt at diving into water last episode.

BUT THE POINT STANDS! There will be no Maryanne slander on my watch! And yet, had Taku not pulled an incredible comeback at the challenge thanks to Vati's inability to hit a target, Maryanne could very well be out of the game right now. Yes, she had an extra vote and an idol, but I fear she would have been way too trusting and failed to use them had they headed to Tribal Council. That would have been a tragedy of epic proportions, akin to a litter of rabbits being slaughtered en route to having dinner in a mailbox.

Alas, Maryanne lives to play another day, and my dreams of her absolutely losing her mind after winning a million dollars remain firmly intact. Sure, she may be tough to take for those living with her 24-7, but those naysayers can simply file that one under T for Tough Noogies. Anyone that punks Stephen Fishbach on national television by bragging about not finishing his Survivor season is aces in my book.

Okay, let's get into what else went down in episode 5 of Survivor 42.

Maryanne Oketch
Maryanne Oketch on 'Survivor 42'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Rocksroy Gets Rocked

We started off right after the Swati Tribal, and Rocksroy wasn't exactly psyched about being the only one left out of the vote. But even though Rocksroy talked about how terrible his social game was, I was actually mildly impressed how he kept himself in check here. Instead of taking his tribemates to task or raising a ruckus, he appeared to take the ouster in stride.

While Romeo tried his best to mend fences, Tori made faces and told us how much she wanted Rocks gone, promising to be "the first person to jump ship" just because of how much she hates him. Looks like she'll get her chance next week. I'm kind of pumped to see who makes it further in this game: Rocksroy or Tori. I have no doubt Tori will be aggressive at the "merge" making new alliances. Whether that ends up helping or hurting her remains to be seen.

Three is the Magic Number

Ika finally found the third and final Beware Advantage which… wasn't even really hidden? Am I the only one who found that odd? The idol was literally just sitting there on a branch. Right out in the open. Are we to believe that's where the idol was "hidden" all this time and nobody found it for 10 days???? 

I don't know. Seems weird, unless folks were really not searching for it at all, which I also find hard to believe. To be clear, if producers did move it at some point because they determined the original hiding place was too difficult to locate and the merge was coming up quick, I have no problem whatsoever with that. Everyone still had the same chance and opportunity of finding it relative to everyone else — regardless of whether it's buried under 20 rocks or hanging from the roof of the shelter. Nothing wrong with that. But if that idol really was just sitting there on that branch for 10 days and was not found, well that is something.

After Drea stuffed the inactive idol into her crotch region, it was time to head to the challenge to see if Silent Mike (which sounds like the name of somebody who ends up in a meat locker in Goodfellas) would finally say his phrase to activate all three idols. Mike was considering not saying it because that way, his idol would become active at the merge anyway and nobody would know he had it. (Knowledge is power!) But if he didn't say it, he still would not have a vote at Tribal until the merge. If he did, he'd get his idol and his vote back.

It's a tough call with pros and cons on each side, but after Drea talked potatoes and Maryanne talked bunnies, Mike piped up about his love of soccer, making all three idols live. And here's why I think it was the right call. These are the least secret idols in Survivor history. All five of the Vati members knew about them. All four of the Taku members knew about them. And at least two of the four Ika members knew about them. That's 11 out of 13 players.

Now, yes, it's possible if Mike had stayed silent, the folks on Taku and Ika might assume nobody on Vati ever found one, but if you know anything at all about Survivor players, it is they cannot keep their mouths shut about ANYTHING. There's a strong chance someone (say, Chanelle?) may have let it slip anyway. So get the damn idol while you can, and get your Tribal Council vote back while you're at it. (Had Mike had his vote his last time at Tribal, his island BFF Jenny would still be there.)

Bottom line: I think Mike made the right call, especially since there are a few other idols in play, meaning it's not like he has some crazy power that nobody else does, thereby making him a target. In between all the idols, amulets, and advantages, he's just another Joker in the pack.

Omar Zaheer and Jonathan Young
Omar Zaheer and Jonathan Young on 'Survivor 42'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Trimming the Fat

First off, was Omar throwing that challenge? That's how bad he was at unbraiding that rope to retrieve the keys in the immunity challenge. Like, I don't think he was… especially judging by how angry Jonathan was getting as Omar struggled. (And not unlike the incredible Hulk, you wouldn't like Jonathan when he's angry.) Plus, Omar has had difficulty in tense situations before. Look no further than his rectal palpitation mishap.

But if he was throwing it, then Omar just officially entered Double Secret Probation protocol. Throwing a challenge is bad enough. You all know how I feel about that. Throwing a challenge to get rid of the most delightful contestant this side of Christian Hubicki? I won't stand for it.

Anyway, Jonathan saved the challenge for Taku (his victory once again telegraphed by the musical cues — I hate that I can notice that) after Mike and Chanelle struggled to hit their targets, sending Vati back to Tribal.

But Hai seemed excited about the loss. I know this because he said, "I'm actually really excited about losing today." That was my first tip off. He then proceeded to talk about trimming the fat and there being two weasels in the chicken coop, and by that point I was pretty convinced.

Hai and Lydia seemed to be going back and forth all episode whether to oust Daniel or Chanelle. And once again proving that absolutely anything can be used against you in the game of Survivor, the Vati tribe got all salty about Daniel going out to spearfish after saying he could not swim in challenges due to his separated shoulder.

Now this, I don't get. Dan is out there trying to help provide for the tribe and you're upset? And upset because he is not partaking in challenges because of his shoulder? I'm sorry, do you actually want this guy participating in challenges? Did you see what happened on the very first leg of the very first challenge on day 1? The dude got tackled… by sand! Seriously, if I'm on Vati, I am not only insisting Daniel not compete in any challenges, I am petitioning Jeff Probst and the Survivor Gods to rename the Sandra Sit Out Bench the Daniel Strunk Sit Out Complex and Physical Therapy Station. Again, tackled by sand.

Anyhoodle, with Hai telling Daniel that Chanelle was going home, and Mike telling Chanelle he was 100 percent writing Daniel's name down, we had a true mystery on our hands heading into Tribal Council. The one thing we did know is that finally, everyone had a vote. That's because Mike had his back after the goofy phrases were all said, and Lydia did not pull a Chanelle and give way her vote on her "journey," instead protecting it to make sure she, Hai, and Mike had the majority.

Drea Wheeler
Drea Wheeler on 'Survivor 42'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Float Like a Butterfly…

For some reason that I still don't quite understand, Daniel brought up Muhammad Ali at Tribal Council, but it ended up being pretty apt as he (Daniel, not the Champ) and Chanelle traded punches. But this was not the chaotic meltdown brawl we saw two weeks ago. This was a far more skillful exchange of strategic, well-positioned body blows.

Daniel threw a bouquet of flowers at the feet of Mike, talking about how they would be friends for life, before Chanelle countered, saying Daniel was playing a game and using friendship as both a tool and a weapon. Daniel later punched back, noting that if you do not ask for forgiveness after burning someone then you are going to have short stint — a move that played into his apology tour and the fact that Chanelle may not have embarked on the same.

By the time we got to the vote, I legit had no idea which way it was going to go. The one thing I did not expect was for Chanelle to vote for… Mike??? I mean, if you are voting for the most dope ass collegiate sweatshirt on the island, then yes, by all means, vote for Mike. (Go Wes!) If you are voting for a goatee model, then absolutely, Mike's your guy. But with so few votes in play, and with all the heat on two people, and needing as many votes on the other person as possible, and needing not to piss anyone off when you get back to camp, why oh why would you vote for Mike?!?

The answer lies in the Shot in the Dark. Chanelle was most likely protecting herself in case Daniel used his SITD. The problem is, she still would have gone home anyway had the SITD worked, because she still had more votes than Mike. (She obviously did not count on Mike, Hai, and Lydia splitting.) Regardless, because of Chanelle's vote, we had a tie between Daniel and Chanelle, with Daniel taken out on the re-vote, Mike fuming that "I kept my promise, somebody voted for me," and Chanelle doing her best to avoid any eye contact whatsoever.

Things are about to get supes awkward back at camp and I am here for it. I know next week we get two hours of Survivor, and I am hoping at least 90 minutes of it is just the Vati tribe returning from Tribal Council. There are few things I love more than a post-Tribal "WHO VOTED FOR ME?!" rant. Knee socks? I guess I love knee socks more. Awkward product placement where contestants go out of their way to praise a mediocre casual dining chain restaurant or far below mediocre Adam Sandler crossdressing comedy in the hopes of scoring a few additional seconds of airtime? That I definitely love more. The Medallion of Power? Sure. That too. But the "WHO VOTED FOR ME?!" rant is right up there. May it play out in full vindictive glory.

Daniel Strunk
Daniel Strunk on 'Survivor 42'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Down Goes Daniel

Daniel's dream was to get on Survivor. And he did! Isn't that awesome? While that may the only time you see the words Daniel and awesome in such close proximity to each other, I want to give the guy a bit of a pep talk. Because here's the thing: Did Daniel play well? Of course not! Not even close! His foibles and Tribal Council struggles have been well documented.

But not unlike JD from Survivor 41, Daniel made his mark. Was it the mark he wanted to make? No, but he was a memorable character. Some stuff was bad (face-planting in the sand, losing the immunity idol, melting down at Tribal Council), but some stuff was also good (bravely telling medical to pop his shoulder back in, and acting as an entertaining narrator through his confessional interviews). Think about how much story flowed through Daniel in these first five episodes.

And although we saw some warts in Daniel's game, better to have them shown than to be completely invisible and irrelevant, so I hope he holds his head up high and doesn't let the early exit get him down.  Hell, I could even see him back playing again. He's the type of contestant production loves. And I bet a lot of viewers loved watching him play, even if they don't want to admit it.

Bottom line: Daniel made the show better, and for that, we thank him. And I was able to thank him personally when we chatted Thursday morning, so make sure to check out our exit interview, which features some really great stuff. We also have an exclusive deleted scene from this week's episode at the top of this here recap involving an octopus, so enjoy that bonus footage. And for additional bonus Survivor musings, you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss and Instagram @thedaltonross. Feel free to hit to comments section below, and I'll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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  • 41
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