‘Survivor’ Season 42 Episode 11: ‘Do or Die’ Returns (RECAP)

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Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Survivor Season 42, Episode 11, “Battle Royale.”]

The Kula Kula tribe pulled off a massive blindside in Survivor Season 42 Episode 10. Hai was eliminated after his strong game became too strong for the players to let slide. Survivor Season 42 Episode 11, “Battle Royale,” aired Wednesday, May 11 on CBS.

The beginning of the episode alone snowballed from a rather relaxing start to the most pre-challenge strategizing we’ve seen all season. “Battle Royale” also marked the return of the “Do or Die” game of chance from Season 41, making for even higher stakes with just six days of playing left. Only seven players are left in Survivor 42. Here, find out who didn’t make the cut for the final six.

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After Tribal Council: The Fake Final Five

The vibe of the tribe is as chill as can be following Hai’s elimination. The group bonded over their successful blindside. And in some solo commentary, Romeo finally revealed his strategy, which so far has been seemingly nonexistent.

“I’m playing this game super chill and under the radar because the inevitable is happening. Everyone’s looking to take out these big threats, and it’s perfect for me. I can just sit back and let these big egos eat each other up. And then, the underdogs can take over this game.”

Drea and Lindsay continue to bond and strategizing over their shared advantage. Drea, Lindsay, and Hai secured a group amulet in the Survivor Season 42 premiere that evolves when any of the the three of them are eliminated. Now that it’s just the two of them, Drea and Lindsay have a steal a vote.

The next morning, the tribe bonds at the camp, with … Maryanne’s pinky toe nails being a main topic of conversation. But she sees this joking banter as a good sign.

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Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

“Clearly, right now, I’m not as big of a threat as people think I am,” she tells the cameras, “which is a blessing because it probably means that I’m safe for the next tribal, but a curse because if people don’t think you’re a threat, how are you going to win at the end? I’ve been really taking a step back, because if you’re someone who’s a big threat, you’re the next one out.”

Maryanne and Romeo bond over being the underdogs waiting for their chance to flip the game in their favor. On the other side of the camp, Mike, Lindsay, Omar, Drea, and Jonathan (the “top” players) eye Maryanne and Romeo as the next players to nix. Mike says they’re the “best five” in the game, suggesting they should vote out Maryanne and Romeo and then battle it out for the win. It seems Romeo is first on the chopping block when Mike points out that he doesn’t help around the camp. Drea says it’s been “aggravating” her, and other players agree.

In a solo shot, Romeo says, “Screw them! I’m not doing anything for anybody but myself out here. Hell yes, I’m going to eat that rice. I’m hungry.” That doesn’t sound like someone strategizing to win. There maybe only be one sole survivor, but you have to be in the good graces of the jury to be made the winner. It’d be one thing if Romeo were a strong player in the challenges or pulled his weight in social game or survival tasks, but he isn’t and doesn’t. He may want to rethink his plan.

On the other hand, everyone in the game is losing time to realize that Omar has been running the show for weeks. Never mind Hai and his game — Omar has been successfully turning the tide of votes all season long unbeknownst to everyone else. For the other six players, it may be smart to eliminate Omar and keep Romeo. Because the jury may favor their stronger games over Romeo’s coasting when it comes time to choose a winner. But Drea makes a fair point after the group agrees to “duke it out” against each other as a final five.

“I’m a competitor. I’d rather play against people who have been playing hard the whole time,” she says. “We came to play for a million bucks, and I wanna go with the people who are playing for a million bucks.”

Drea apparently shouldn’t feel so comfortable in this alliance. After the group splits, Mike reveals his final five speech was a front to make Drea vote for Romeo. Other members of the five-some agree she’s too strong to stay, saying she could win in the end if they let her get to the final. But Mike’s reveal makes Omar lose trust in him, saying he has “become what he accused Hai of doing. He’s become the new Hai, and that’s not gonna work for him out here.”

Hunger starts to grip everyone, and Jonathan (nicknamed “Goliath”) is struggling with the calorie deficit. He fears he won’t be able to perform as strongly, but is determined not to let people see how physically drained he is. But the players notice he’s acting “hangry” while they work on a net. Tensions rise between Jonathan and Drea (who had another tense moment in the Episode 9 Tribal Council) after they get short with each other on the beach. Neither of them likes how they were spoken to, and it (as Jonathan describes) plants a seed in both of them to get the other out.

Lindsay notes that everyone is seeing Jonathan begin to “unravel,” indicating it’s time to take him out. She strategizes with Drea and Romeo.

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Immunity Challenge: Do or Die

Ahead of the immunity challenge, Jeff Probst explains the “dangerous” do-or-die twist to viewers.

“It’s a risky game of chance, but it could be an opportunity for somebody on the bottom. If they win, they’re safe. Can’t be voted out. If they lose, they’re out. But there is no vote involved. Nothing can save them. It is them against the game.” Deshawn Radden won do-or-die in Survivor Season 42 and won, which helped him get into the final three.

It’s another balancing act in the immunity challenge, which requires the players to stand on a narrow wooden perch with their hands holding onto handles behind their backs. If their hands or feet slip, they’re out. And then comes the twist. The first person to fall out of the challenge will have to play do-or-die. They’ll play the game of chance at Tribal, where they’ll either be sent home without a vote (and no advantages, idols, or anything else can save them), or they’ll win and the vote will continue as planned with their guaranteed safety. The next big twist: the players can opt in or out of competing in the challenge. If they think they need immunity, they have to play.

Surprisingly, Jonathan and Lindsay are the only ones who choose to play for immunity. Mike, Drea, Romeo, Maryanne, and Omar opt out, choosing not to risk having to play Do or Die. Now, it’s between Jonathan and Lindsay. Whoever falls first has to play the dangerous game later that night.

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Jonathan and Lindsay’s “battle royale” goes on for over 12 minutes, pushing their beleaguered bodies to the limits, but Lindsay drops first. Jonathan will make it to the final six after all, and Lindsay will play Do or Die. She gets immunity if she wins the game, and someone else will be voted off. If she loses, she goes home with no votes being cast.

Back at the Beaches: So Many Blindsides, So Little Time

Jonathan sees her as his biggest physical threat to his game, but says he’s proud of her. Lindsay regrets choosing to play, saying her competitive desire to beat Jonathan drove her decision.

“I’m proud of myself that I gave it my all, I’m proud of myself that I fought, and I’m not out of the game yet,” she says through tears.

With a vote still possible, everyone starts to strategize should Lindsay be safe. Drea and Lindsay both want each other out so their shared amulets become a solo idol. Mike wants Drea out, concealing his plan to her by gunning for Romeo. Jonathan and Maryanne agree that Drea will win if she makes it to the final three, so she has to go. Omar wants to blindside Mike, but thinks it’s too risky because of Mike’s immunity idol. He has no clue Drea has more than just an extra vote and a steal a vote (no one does).

Drea catches on to the “weird vibe,” and then proceeds to tell Omar she can take Mike’s immunity idol. She plans to play her Knowledge is Power advantage against Mike at Tribal that night. With this intel, Omar’s confidence in taking Mike out tonight boosted. They plan to bring Romeo and Lindsay into the plan with Drea’s extra vote to get them the majority. But there’s a third option Omar toys with after talking with Lindsay: convince Mike to give them his idol and blindsiding Drea, taking control of several powerful advantages. But none of this will matter if Lindsay loses Do or Die.

Tribal Council

After some discussion, Lindsay approaches the three Do or Die boxes. They each contain a picture, one of a flame (safety) and two with skulls (elimination). She goes with her gut when making her selection, saying she has a backup plan. Jeff opens one of the unselected boxes, revealing a skull. He tells Lindsay she can change her mind and go with her backup box, but her backup box was the one Jeff just opened.

She sticks to her gut, learning a lesson from earlier in the episode, and it pays off. Her box contains the flame, and she’s safe. The players and the jury all freak out and applaud. Lindsay is relieved speechless. All she can say is, “God, I love Survivor.”

Before the vote begins, Drea plays her Knowledge is Power advantage. She asks Mike if he has an idol, and Mike… says no. A flashback reveals Mike gave Omar his idol. And Maryanne’s reactions to this and her face in the voting booth needs to be meme’d immediately.

Drea plays her extra vote in the booth, but doesn’t play her idol before the votes are counted. And in the end, Drea is voted out. But like Hai last week, her exit was filled with good energy instead of vitriol.

“I went out fighting!” she proclaims before Mike asks, “You threw two on me?”

“I threw two on you,” she says. They laugh and hug, and Mike yells, “I’m still coming to see you in Canada!”

On her way out, Drea plays one last power move by saying “Lindsay, I’m rooting for you. You know why. Jonathan, believe it or not, you were never on my radar. But you were always after me. Mike, if you make it to the end, you’ll probably win. Romeo, you’ve been on the block every time. Omar, you’re the only one I told this secret to, and I want everyone else to know that. Maryanne, keep being you, babes.”

Jeff rightly notes this positivity and camaraderie is the way Survivor should be played. Three main takeaways from this elimination:

1. Romeo has been on the wrong side of every majority vote (credits revealed he voted for Mike). Is playing badly his strategy…?

2. Omar exposed at last!!!

3. Can every elimination be this fun? It is a game… right?

Survivor, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS