Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor 42 recaps
Returns, revisions, and exits
By Brent Sullivan | Published: March 14, 2022
Survivor 42 Episode 1 Recap/ analysis

Keep the 2: Two hours in, two players down

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.

Survivor is back again, baby! So glad we didn’t have to wait as long during this last offseason as we did during the previous one. The greatest reality show on TV is back again for another round. I hope everyone is still staying healthy and well. Survivor is great but taking care of each other and staying safe is always a top priority as well. With that being said, I am so glad to be back again sharing my thoughts on a new season of this show. We got another 2-hour premiere to start the season out and there is a lot to break down and discuss about this 2-hour episode along with 18 new faces plus plenty of old and new twists to break down.

I love doing this, so I can share my thoughts with you, and you will hopefully share them back with me. I am excited to be at it again. So, without further ado, I am thrilled to say once again, welcome to “Top Five Baby!”

1. Daniel pulls a Stephenie

Daniel pulls a Stephenie

What a way for someone to start a season. Poor Daniel falls while running back with the oars during the first challenge of the season. He knows instantly that he has dislocated his shoulder when he does. He can finish the challenge, but he is also clearly in pain the entire time. Medical did come out and fix him up, but not quite good as new. The doctor tells him to be careful, otherwise, it could happen again. A couple of days later, he is clearly still favoring the shoulder during the first immunity challenge. It was never brought up again after Mike mentioned it during a confessional after the challenge, but this may play a role in the upcoming episodes.

Vati is in a decent spot right now being the only tribe with six members, so depending on what challenges are coming up, Daniel could potentially sit out to give his shoulder a rest. However, if they have both a reward and immunity challenge, he will have to compete in at least one of them. If he can get through a couple of episodes, maybe he will heal up well enough, but in the short term, he will have to be careful not to draw attention to it and be able to potentially compete in a challenge without hurting his tribe.

2. Early advantage

Early advantage

I absolutely loved this moment. Right out of the gate, during the very first challenge of the season, three players from three different tribes have a huge decision to make. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that huge of a decision. It was mostly a no-brainer decision, to be honest, but it was still fun to watch them talk it out and then rub mud, sand, and blood on themselves to help cover up the lie. What exactly did they tell their tribemates about what happened when they were back there?

The second part of this is when they get to open it up and read it. The three of them all have an amulet that must be played together to have any power. However, the fewer of them that are left in play, the more powerful they become. When it’s down to just one left, it can be used as an immunity idol. This opens the door for all sorts of back-stabbing between the three of them.

I think they will act like they want to work together, but they will start cutting each other when the time comes to make their amulet even more powerful. Other than knowing that the other two have one as well, there is nothing binding them together. They have their own tribes and own alliances they will have to navigate long before we get to see any payoff from this. But it will be fun waiting to see what happens if and when these three ever get together.

3. The Summit is back

The Summit is back

The Survivor Summit, (or whatever you want to call it) is back again this season. This time with much less fanfare. We honestly spent such a short time there and very little interaction between the three ladies that made the trip. Jenny, Drea, and Maryanne were the ones chosen (or volunteered) to make the trip. They were supposed to get to know each other on the journey to the top, but honestly, it didn’t appear like they did much of that at all.

It’s possible they did bond and make some connections, but we just didn’t see it, but I have a hard time believing that would be cut out since we got to see them just walking anyway up to the top.

However, something did come out of this meeting. Two things actually, both Drea and Maryanne got an extra vote out of it. Since they both chose to risk their votes and Jenny decided not to, they both get an extra vote when they go to tribal council next. We got to see Drea get hers already since Ika had to go to tribal council already. Maryanne will get hers whenever Taku goes to tribal. So, both of them will have an extra vote that they can use to help their game and with only six-person tribes, an extra vote can mean a lot.

4. Tori makes a rookie mistake

Tori makes a rookie mistake

There is at least one on every season. I can’t believe after 42 seasons, there are still contestants who wander away from camp by themselves to go look for an idol this early in the game. Granted … this is Survivor, and everyone should be looking for idols this early in the game, but the one who does it first will always be pointed out as a possible vote out because they can’t be trusted. Even though Zach is the one who got voted out, it was obvious Tori was most likely the second choice. If Zach’s Shot in the Dark would have worked, they would have re-voted and I bet Tori would have gone home. Now she has a few days to scramble and change the way the other players feel about her, otherwise, she may very well be the next to go.

5. Two players are already gone

Two players gone

After only three days in the game, there are already two players gone from this season. Jackson had to leave because of medical issues, so that puts his tribe at a disadvantage right away by having them be down by one player before they even got to the first immunity challenge. Also, based on Maryanne and Omar’s reactions, it makes me wonder if the three of them had some sort of alliance going on that we never got to see.

Then later, we see Zach get voted out when his Shot in the Dark didn’t work. Three days in and Vati already has a one-person advantage over the other two tribes. That puts them in a good spot getting to choose someone to sit out of the next challenge. I’m curious to see if that advantage helps them out or if we will be all even at five people per tribe after next week.

So, there you have it for this double episode premiere week. With two hours of content, there was plenty to discuss. I’m sure there were lots I didn’t get to as well. This cast is full of characters. Which new cast member is your early favorite? Who is the biggest character of the season so far? 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