Happy Holidays, Inside Survivor readers!
Another year of Survivor is in the books, and what a year it was. From shocking winners to feel-good redemption stories to controversial idol thievery, Survivor in 2022 has given us plenty to talk about.
Now, it’s time for you to decide the biggest moments and best characters of the year in the annual Inside Survivor End of Year Awards.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Australian Survivor kicked off the year on January 31, presenting its version of the popular Blood versus Water theme. This saw new and returning players competing against (and alongside) their loved ones in the rugged terrain of Charters Towers, Queensland. The season immediately grabbed headlines for including Survivor US legend Sandra Diaz-Twine and her daughter Nina Twine, in addition to returning Australian Survivor couple Mark Wales and Sam Gash.
Blood V Water brought the usual high physical intensity Australian Survivor has become known for, along with some sneaky gameplay, epic blindsides, and, of course, annoyingly lopsided editing. One of the season’s highlights came when Sam convinced Jesse Hansen to let her hold onto his idol, only to blindside him at the next tribal council. But it wasn’t just Sam stealing the limelight; her husband Mark also played a dominant game that saw him walk away as Sole Survivor.
Survivor 42 was next up, premiering on March 9, and continued the US franchise’s journey into the “new era.” While the season followed the same format and twists as Survivor 41, the cast was more dynamic and entertaining. These colorful personalities brought the drama and the gameplay in equal measure, resulting in surprising tribal councils and splintered alliances, which helped keep the momentum throughout the 26 days.
The season also ended strong, with Maryanne Oketch’s blindside of front-runner Omar Zaheer becoming the move of the game. This propelled underdog Maryanne to victory as she faced off against Mike Turner and Romeo Escobar in an unlikely final three, securing her win as one of Survivor‘s most likable winners of all time.
There was no off-season this year, as Survivor South Africa returned on July 18 for its highly-anticipated Return of the Outcasts. The season was composed of 20 returning players from past seasons who had never won the game, divided into tribes based on if they had made it to the merge of their previous season or not. This immediately gave the season high stakes as fan favorites such as Palesa Tau, Marian de Vos, Francois “Chappies” Chapman, and Pheko “PK” Phetoe returned for a second shot.
It was a massively entertaining season full of twists and turns, with jaw-dropping blindsides and high emotion. It was also a season marked by redemption stories, especially for former pre-mergers Phil Dickson and Dino Paulo, whose friendship and alliance became a highlight of the game and one of the show’s greatest season-long arcs. Ultimately, it was Dino who shed the weight of his past season’s mistakes and took home the win in a feel-good ending.
Finally, Survivor 43 capped off the year, premiering on September 21. Again, it was near identical in format to seasons 41 and 42, with a couple of tweaks along the way. Unfortunately, Survivor 43 never really got out of second gear. It was a season marked by cautious gameplay, resulting in some fairly predictable votes along the way. And while it had a handful of stand-out characters, such as Cody Assenmacher, Elie Scott, and Karla Cruz Godoy, as a whole, the cast didn’t exactly pop off the screen.
That said, Survivor 43 did pick up toward the end, with Jesse Lopez delivering one of the best moves Survivor has ever seen, when he blindsided his number one ally Cody by using his own idol against him. It was a move strikingly similar to Sam’s idol heist from earlier in the year on Australian Survivor, yet even more impactful due to how closely Jesse and Cody had worked together all season.
As for the ending, well, Survivor 43 gave us one of the most unexpected final three combinations in Survivor history and undoubtedly one of the most shocking winners ever. Mike Gabler had told us he’d been “hiding in plain sight” all season, and it turned out he was right, as he ended up sealing the win in a near-unanimous vote. A satisfying ending? Maybe not, based on the editing. But it certainly got people talking.
Each season had its highs and lows; there were moments of laughter, shock, emotion, and a mix of incredible and awful gameplay. There were characters we loved to cheer on and others we rooted against. All in all, there was something for everyone, and it was great to have four seasons of Survivor back on our screens in 2022.
It’s now time to honor Survivor in 2022. As usual, most of the categories are Survivor US-focused, as that’s the edition the majority of our readership is interested in. However, there are categories for Best International character, Best Season, and this year, we’re introducing Best International Move.
Over the past week, the Inside Survivor contributors and Patrons nominated their favorite episodes, characters, and moments from Survivor 42 and 43, plus their favorite International characters and moves from Survivor SA and Australian Survivor. There are four nominations in each category, except for Best Character, which includes eight (Best International Move includes five due to a tied vote).
Now, you, the Inside Survivor readers, can vote on the overall winners from each category below.
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BEST INTERNATIONAL CHARACTER
BEST INTERNATIONAL MOVE
The polls will close at midnight on December 31st and the results will be revealed on January 1, 2023.