‘Survivor’ Season 42 Episode 12: Risky Move Yields Big Reward (RECAP)

Survivor 42 Ep 12
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Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment


Caterpillar to a Butterfly

Season 42 • Episode 12

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Survivor Season 42, Episode 12, “Caterpillar to a Butterfly.”]

With Drea’s elimination in Episode 11, there’s only six players left in Survivor Season 42. And in Survivor Season 42 Episode 12, “Caterpillar to a Butterfly,” Lindsay is still reeling from surviving the Do or Die challenge, one player lands on the wrong side of the vote, and the players face some of their final challenges ahead of the May 25 finale.

Here, we break down everything that happened in the season’s penultimate episode, which aired Wednesday, May 18 on CBS.

Survivor 42 Ep 11

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After Tribal Council: It’s All About Advantages

Lindsay giddily recalls the events of Tribal Council, reminding viewers that she now has a hidden immunity idol she must use now that she’s in the final six. And while you’d think Omar would be worried about Drea revealing his secrets on her way out, he’s just as giddy as Lindsay.

“Tonight went perfectly!” Omar declares to the cameras about his successful scheme to nix Drea.

“My relationship with Mike right now is exactly where I want it, because he sees me as his savior in the game,” he adds. “I saved his life, I saved his idol, and gave it back to him.” Omar should keep in mind that everyone who tried to control Mike is now in the jury.

“My goal in the next day is to pull Jonathan and Mike apart, make them distrust each other and know that each other has to go next, so that when the time comes, I can pick a side. And it will be a clean swipe. Mike or Jonathan — out.”

Mike knows Omar is afraid of having him in the final and is wary that Omar will cut him loose. His plan now is to cut Omar loose first. He brings Maryanne in first, trying to prove to her that he’s playing both sides. Finally, after 11 episodes, the players are catching on to Omar’s power.

“Mike is right. At Tribal Council, what the jury saw was Omar just go from a caterpillar to a butterfly,” Maryanne says. “This is someone who was sitting in the background and boom — he’s the reason Drea was gone. There’s no way that I can beat him. There always comes a time in the game where you have people that you trust, but the people that you trust, if you know they can beat you, you have to do something.”

In exchange for the information Mike gives Maryanne, she tells him about her extra vote, knowing in the back of her mind that she has to “backstab” one of her alliances to win. She tells Omar that Mike is paranoid, but doesn’t mention Mike’s plan. Lindsay wants Jonathan out, and Mike loops Jonathan in on his plan.

Jonathan no longer trusts Lindsay and Omar, saying he isn’t happy that the jury witnessed Omar’s strong play before Tribal. The once solid Taku tribe is certainly gone.

Reward Challenge: Let Them Eat Cake

We quickly get to the reward challenge, which requires the players to spin to unspool a coil of rope, and then move through a series of obstacles to collect a key. That key unlocks a puzzle, and the first to finish the block puzzle wins the reward. It’s a choice between sustenance and decadence: grilled chicken and veggies, or chocolate cake and cookies. And they’re off!

The players dizzily work their way through the obstacle after unspooling the rope, and Jonathan and Lindsay take an early lead. The puzzle reveals a compass rose, and all of the players take quite a while completing it. But Maryanne and Omar take the lead. In the end, Omar wins, marking his first individual victory.

Survivor 42 Ep 12

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

Naturally, there’s a twist: the sustenance choice includes two more players, and the decadence includes three. Omar chooses to reward as many people as possible, picking Romeo, Maryanne, and Mike. He thinks this will help him build relationships and hopes there’s no backlash. We shall certainly see!

While the four chow down on some sweets, Omar admits he didn’t invite Jonathan to try and make him weaker ahead of the immunity challenge.

Back at the Beaches: Taku in Shambles

The vibe between Jonathan and Lindsay is tense, and Jonathan can tell they’re both trying to make each other comfortable and hide their true intentions. Lindsay campaigns for Jonathan’s elimination to Mike, telling him he’s the next biggest threat after Jonathan. He’s still convinced Omar should go next. But in this conversation, Mike realizes Lindsay has an idol, and she’s open about having to use it at the next Tribal. He decides to tell Jonathan and Maryanne about Lindsay’s idol to make sure they’re on his side.

Survivor 42 Ep 12

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

In talks with Maryanne, Mike offers a deal. If she helps get him to the final five (possibly with her extra vote), he’ll use his idol to get her to the final four. He has no idea Maryanne also has an idol. She’s liking her odds and is shocked to learn about Lindsay’s amulet.

“My heart dropped because I thought we were close,” Maryanne tearfully says. “But basically, I’m just like a sacrificial lamb to her.” She’s hoping her next moves will prove she’s a contender and not a “goat to be herded.”

Immunity Challenge: Don’t Trip

In one of the final immunity challenges of the season, the players race over a series of obstacles, then across a bridge containing puzzle steps. They use those steps to build a staircase, and then maneuver a bag of balls to the top of a very tall tower where a table maze awaits them. First player to land both of their balls in the maze wins immunity.

Untying the planks from the bridge takes up a lot of time for everyone, with each player having a different strategy for how to retrieve each batch. Lindsay and Omar take the lead as everyone struggles to solve the stair puzzle, and they’re also the first to the tower, followed closely by Mike.

Lindsay makes it to the maze first, and it becomes dead-even between Lindsay, Mike, Omar, and Jonathan, giving Maryanne and Romeo time to catch up. But it’s a showdown between Jonathan and Lindsay again after they each land their first balls. In the end, Lindsay wins individual immunity, meaning she has to play her hidden immunity idol for someone else, if at all.

Survivor 42 Ep 12

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Before Tribal Council: High Risk, High Reward

“Lindsay winning was the No. 1 thing I didn’t want to happen,” Jonathan tells the cameras. He fears Lindsay protecting Omar with her hidden idol, and Lindsay tells him they’re gunning for Mike. Lindsay convinces Maryanne and Romeo they need to vote out Jonathan, and Omar agrees. He tells Mike he “needs” to vote for Jonathan, and something tells us Mike won’t like that choice of words. But the majority’s backup plan is to get Mike out.

Interestingly, Lindsay tells Omar she thinks she doesn’t need to play her idol for him, arguing that it protects them from the idol going back into play.

“We don’t want to worry about an idol being back in circulation on the island,” she explains. “Jonathan will be out as planned, and then me and Omar have a nice cruising out to final four and make it to the end.”

Maryanne considers her options between using her extra vote to benefit Lindsay and Omar, or to benefit herself. She wants to make a strong play, so she starts laying the groundwork for her own plan to get Omar out, bringing Mike into the fold for this “risky, big move.” Mike tries to convince her that there’s no way to get Omar out tonight and guns for Romeo instead. He and Jonathan both want Romeo out, and Mike is also scared by Maryanne’s “Survivor 18.0″ game instead of a safer “2.0.” But Maryanne is determined to make a big move.

Maryanne gets Romeo on board to vote Omar, who’s also strongly considering Jonathan. She tells Mike and Jonathan to vote Romeo while she and Romeo vote Omar with her extra vote. The guys aren’t confident about trusting Romeo.

“If we all vote for Romeo, Romeo is gone, but then our way to the end is more difficult. This is a risk we have to take,” Maryanne rightly tells them. Omar’s strong game could help him win in the end. Romeo can’t say the same for himself. And with that, they head into Tribal.

Survivor 42 Ep 12

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Tribal Council

This Tribal marks the last time the Shot in the Dark can be played. Most of the players agree they’re in the phase of the game where people are planning their ideal final three. Omar says that’s what people should have been doing all season long. They all admit their trust in any plans are the true shots in the dark.

“If it works out and nobody lies and everything is all hunky dory, then that’ll be the first Tribal where that’s ever happened. It’s not that easy,” Jonathan tells Jeff Probst. “Something is happening, or somebody’s being lied to. There’s going to be people that keep their trust, and there’s going to be people that lie.”

Lindsay replies, “Unless it’s a clean sweep, then yeah. Somebody else would definitely be upset. And I don’t think there’s been a clean sweep yet.”

“Not with the Shot in the Dark,” Maryanne says, noting the last chance for the game of chance. “There’s also idols in this game, so if you’re trying to do a clean sweep and that person who you’re doing a clean sweep for has an idol, then you’re up the river too, ’cause that person chooses. You can never do a clean sweep anymore.”

Jeff notes the fearful possibility of splitting votes to Omar, and his reply raises eyebrows in the jury. And truly, the tone of his voice alone would make anyone question him.

“There’s definitely the possibility of a hidden immunity idol coming out. We have to be really careful if we don’t have one,” he says. “I don’t have one, so I’m extra nervous when you call out, ‘Does anyone have an advantage to play?’ Because I could be on the receiving end of a blindside.”

He does not sound like someone actually afraid of elimination.

The vote begins. And before Jeff does the tally, he asks for hidden idols. None are played, and no one plays Shot in the Dark. The first vote goes to Jonathan, second to Romeo, and third to Jonathan. They’re tied next, but then comes two votes for Omar. And Omar immediately realizes what’s about to happen.

“You did it,” he whispers through a smile to Maryanne.

“I did it,” she replies.

With the last vote, Omar is voted out. And the jury witnesses the success of Maryanne’s risky plan.

“That was wild,” Omar says. “I was Survivor confident.”

Again, the eliminated player smiles and laughs over how well the game was played against them, reminding viewers that this game is just flat-out fun. And with three of the season’s strongest players being eliminated in succession the last three episodes, the strategic plays of this season have been a delight to watch. Now, Omar takes his place in the jury, impressed by Maryanne’s show of strength.

“Maryanne got me! She got me good. I knew playing with her was like playing with fire, and I should’ve listened to my gut,” Omar says as the credits roll. “But I was Survivor confident, and that is the worst thing you can be. But I still had a blast, and this was the best experience of my life.”

And with that, Maryanne, Mike, Romeo, Lindsay, and Jonathan head into the Survivor 42 three-hour finale.

Survivor, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS