Survivor 42

Episode 1 – Hot or Not

Who is Hot or Not after Week 1?

Photo: CBS

Gus and Ali, a real-life couple and fans of Survivor, will be individually ranking the Survivor 42 castaways into two categories, Hot or Not, based on who they think has potential longevity in the game. Hots are indicative of castaways who we think played well this week or who are setting themselves up for success; Nots are indicative of castaways who we think didn’t and aren’t.

VATI

ALI – Chanelle – HOT

We didn’t get a ton of Chanelle, which is a bummer. But what we did see is a woman who recognized that there were folks on her tribe that were buddying up, and so she picked up the one person who wasn’t part of a duo. It’s that kind of pivoting and methodical thinking that makes for a great Survivor player. Unfortunately, her partner Daniel’s shoulder isn’t looking too great. I’m a tad concerned that the other members of the tribe will try to eliminate Daniel over that weakness. However, from what I’ve seen of Chanelle, it looks like she has the brains to navigate that if she must.

GUS – Chanelle – NOT

We didn’t get much from Chanelle this week, so there’s a 95% chance she’s the winner based on editing (kidding).

ALI – Daniel – NOT

Quickly, I want to say that the stories that these castaways shared with us really touched my heart. Daniel’s already a Survivor in my book, and I thank him for sharing his story with us. Now, here’s the concern… that shoulder still looks bad. He gets huge respect from me for taking it like a total champ, but that’s going to look like a liability to the rest of the tribe.

Daniel also comes across as a big fan of the game, directly referencing Stephanie Lagrossa’s own dislocated shoulder when the doctor was examining him. The others may see his knowledge of the game as a threat. However, I’m cautiously encouraged because he crushed it on the puzzle despite still clearly struggling with his injury. Strategic threat and challenge liability isn’t an awesome combination. I’m concerned for Daniel if he isn’t able to keep pulling out puzzle wins. I hope, for a lot of reasons, that his shoulder looks better next episode.

GUS – Daniel – HOT

I’m concerned that Daniel’s shoulder injury will continue to hamper his performance in challenges and that that will negatively affect his standing in the tribe. But at the same time, he was a valuable asset to the tribe in the challenge by helping Jenny with the puzzle, and it appears that nobody’s had any trouble with him thus far. More than that, he’s got a growing connection to Mike, which I’m hopeful will benefit him in the long term.

ALI – Hai – NOT

I’m always going to love anyone who makes me laugh with a line about “strict skincare routine.” Though, I like Hai’s chances for more reasons than just his comedic chops. Hai was able to get into a close alliance with Lydia early on. However, Hai has one major thing working against him: that “advantage.” The other two recipients will be gunning for him in the hopes of getting that idol. That’s not going to work against him just yet, but I have major concerns for him down the road.

Also, going forward, let’s not splatter fake blood all over his body so that he looks like he’s being exsanguinated with no visible injury. However, I do have hopes for him going forward because I just like the guy.

GUS – Hai – HOT

I went back and forth on Hai. He went a little over the top with the fake blood, and I worried that his tribe might get suspicious about the Amulets. But his budding friendship with Lydia and his connection with Lindsay and Drea (which may prove to be a double-edged sword) bode well for him in the short run. More than that, he’s funny and no slouch in challenges, so I see no reason for him to be eliminated any time soon.

ALI – Jenny – HOT

Jenny’s coming in hot already. She took over that triangle challenge and proved that she could deliver. Now, that’s a little bit of a mixed bag because, on the one hand, now she’s a hero to the tribe. On the other, she just made herself look like a smart woman, and that can raise some hackles. I admired how she was able to show some restraint in keeping her vote too, because ultimately, that can be more precious than an advantage.

Furthermore, I love her dynamic duo, brains and brawn situation with Mike. She once again proved her worth to the tribe when she crushed it on the puzzle portion of the challenge. In my opinion, she’s not going anywhere early game because she’s shown this group that she’s someone they need to win. Don’t be surprised, though, if you start hearing Jenny’s name around the merge as a major threat.

GUS – Jenny – HOT

Jenny crushed the triangle puzzle, securing supplies for her tribe. She also crushed the challenge’s puzzle, securing safety for her tribe. Overall, Jenny’s doing everything right—and not drawing too much attention to herself, either.

ALI – Lydia – HOT

“Day two and I haven’t cried,” needs to be a new iconic Survivor line. I also adored how concerned she was over the ridiculous amounts of blood on Hai’s body. She’s been said to be in a duo with Hai, which sounds like she’s gotten herself a firm ally in the tribe, spelling good things for her social skills. I’m feeling good about Lydia so far.

GUS – Lydia – NOT

Let me just start out by saying that I love Lydia. She’s the most Gen Z player we’ve ever seen that I can think of, and her energy is everything. That said, did she have an exceptionally good week of gameplay? No. All I can say for her was that she’s entertaining and doesn’t have a target on her back yet… but for all I know, that could change rapidly.

ALI – Mike – HOT

Mike’s just a big softie on the inside, despite that tough exterior. He’s a pretty remarkable guy, having grown up in the projects to find so much success as an adult. Also, firefighters have a history of doing pretty well in this game, so he’s got history on his side. I love that he’s gotten into this brain and brawn duo with Jenny, showcasing that he wants to work with people who complement his skills. Was he a wizard at the puzzles? No, but he was graciously willing to step aside and let other people lead in those moments.

In the challenges, he proved that he’s an asset. However, the two things I just mentioned: his puzzle ability and his physical ability, may work against him later on. Come merge time, folks may look at him as a threat, but we’ve seen him be willing to let other people take the spotlight, so I think there may be more working under the surface than Mike lets on. I mean, he quickly realized that if they decided to do the water portion of the camp challenge that he would be missing crucial social time with the group and politely steered them in the other direction. We have a potentially deft player on our hands.

GUS – Mike – HOT

I like Mike. His savvy maneuvering of his tribe into doing the triangle puzzle was very well done. And though I have some concerns (shared by Mike himself in the pre-season) that he might rub his tribemates the wrong way in the long run, I have a good feeling about him regardless.

TAKU

ALI – Jonathan – HOT

This man dragged an entire boat full of people down a beach. That’s pretty flipping impressive physical strength. Furthermore, Jonathan absolutely crushed it in the first challenge, proving that he’ll help his tribe in these crucial early days. If I’m a betting woman, I think that he will make it to the merge, provided he doesn’t do too much too quickly. He’s clearly not a puzzle guy based on his participation in the camp challenge, but that’s not going to matter at the moment.

However, my concern for him going forward will be during the merge when people are looking to pick off the bigger guys. At that point, tall poppy syndrome, where the tallest poppies get picked, may bite him in the butt. For now, he’s not going anywhere, provided he can keep his personality easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl.

GUS – Jonathan – HOT

Jonathan literally dragged his team to the finish line in the challenges. This guy is a physical phenomenon, and there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that he’s going home any time soon unless he takes some kind of massive heel turn. In the long run, sure, I could see him facing trouble for being a challenge beast, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

ALI – Lindsay – NOT

Spoilers: everyone who got that advantage twist early on is going to get a Not from me through no fault of their own. What they have in their pockets will be an excuse for other people to target them, so I think that all of their games took a fairly sizeable hit this week. I think Lindsay might be fine for a little while, but there’s going to be a lot to reckon with come a swap or merge.

GUS – Lindsay – NOT

Not a ton of content from Lindsay this week, but I have to credit her for joining Hai and Drea in the Amulet gamble. That said, in the absence of any other material, all she’s got going for her right now is a potential alliance/rivalry in the long run—and, for that, she sadly gets a Not.

ALI – Marya – NOT

We didn’t get to see a ton of Marya this episode, which isn’t super promising considering it was two hours. Then again, as we saw last season, lack of screen time doesn’t necessarily mean someone won’t win. The only thing we did see, though, was Marya failing at the stick portion of the challenge. In the early days, when people are looking for someone to target, volunteering for a lead position in a challenge and then failing to deliver can really count against a person. I am concerned this could come back to bite Marya if she starts to get a reputation for blowing challenges.

GUS – Marya – NOT

Not much to say about Marya as we didn’t see much of her. But she didn’t do so well in the first challenge, blowing a pretty significant lead. I don’t think she’s at the top of anyone’s list to go home, but I don’t think she had the best week, either.

ALI – Maryanne – HOT

I adore Maryanne. What a ray of sunshine with an infectious smile. It’s been a good week for her so far, considering she did well during the triangle and immunity challenge puzzles, proving her worth to her tribe early on. She was also able to get an extra vote (thanks to Jenny.) I like that she’s willing to take risks in the game, but I hope she also remembers caution is just as much of a boon going forward.

GUS – Maryanne – HOT

Maryanne is going to be memorable; I can tell you that right now. This is a lady with a lot of energy, and it looks like, fortunately enough, she’s found her way onto a tribe that appreciates that! I could see a grouchier or differently-composed tribe not enjoying her bubbly, high-energy personality. But it seems like that’s not the case with Taku. Oh, and she has an extra vote but doesn’t know it yet. Good for her!

ALI – Omar – HOT

We didn’t see a ton of Omar this week, but I liked what I saw. He took over the triangle and immunity challenge puzzles with Maryanne and was able to pull out wins on both. If I were on this tribe and looking for someone to ax, Omar wouldn’t be my first choice.

GUS – Omar – HOT

Omar did a fine job on the puzzle, and he’s not in a bad spot going forward.

IKA

ALI – Drea – NOT

Like I said, everyone who got that advantage twist is getting a Not from me, and it’s mostly not their fault. Drea had a lot of content with the twist and the extra vote advantage. I’m a little concerned that she turned on Rocksroy this early, even though I get why she did. She couldn’t influence Romeo in that moment, which is a little concerning moving forward. In addition, wanting to vote out Rocksroy is some information that Romeo could use against her in the future.

Lastly, Drea getting thrown under the bus to Tori may work against Drea in the future. It’s fairly early days, so I’m not going to say Drea’s doomed by any stretch of the imagination. I do think that she had a couple of knocks on her game that she’s going to have to grapple with going forward.

GUS – Drea – HOT

Drea seems like an all-around badass. She has an early bond with Rocksroy and Romeo, and she, Lindsay, and Hai all have Amulets. She’s got an extra vote too—and an extant friendship / camaraderie with Jenny and Maryanne from the summit. All told, Drea is set up in an excellent position for the long game, as long as her tribemates don’t realize just how good of a position she’s in.

ALI – Rocksroy – NOT

Oh boy… So there’s a lot to like about Rocksroy. I’m always in the corner of a stay-at-home dad, and he was able to pull out an impressive win with the stick. He’s one I would say has longevity if he’s able to not annoy people. However, that’s become an increasingly big “if” considering he seems to get irritated with the other members of his tribe pretty easily. Now, whether he’s actually that way or if editing is going with a rather unfortunate stereotype is something that can be debated, and I don’t know because I’m obviously not on the island with him.

From what I’m seeing, it appears that he has a tendency to be a little direct in his dealings with people, which could rub others the wrong way. I’m concerned for Rocksroy if he can’t pivot and realize he’s not interacting with his children but grown adults who won’t like being instructed.

GUS – Rocksroy – NOT

We sure know how to pick ’em, don’t we? In all honesty, I don’t think Rocksroy is playing that bad of a game. But it’s clear that he has some adjusting to do if he wants to make it deep. His “get it done” attitude clearly grated on his tribe, who, though grateful for his shelter-building contributions, are unwilling to extend that gratitude beyond his utility as an early game asset. I hope that Rocksroy will turn that energy around, back off the aggressive leadership role a bit, and form some stronger relationships. If all goes well, his decent challenge performance should carry him for a little while.

ALI – Romeo – HOT

I really love Romeo, but I’m a little confused as to what his allegiances are. We saw him getting into this core three with Drea and Rocksroy, which is awesome for him going forward. But we also saw him bonding pretty significantly with Zach, who he was later instrumental in sending home. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a clear answer on why he chose to oust Zach in place of Tori. Perhaps Zach’s performance in the challenge made him that much of a liability to Romeo, but it’s not quite clear. At the end of the day, though, Romeo is in a majority alliance that he was able to hold together, so he should be safe for now.

GUS – Romeo – HOT

Tough call this week on Romeo. On the one hand, he’s one of the only people who had ins with multiple groups of players (forming a bond with Rocksroy and Drea and also forming a connection with Zach). On the other hand, Zach went home, so that whole “he formed two connections” thing didn’t really pan out for him so hot, did it? All things told, while he didn’t get his way, I got the feeling that his connection with Zach was under-the-radar enough that Zach’s elimination won’t blow back on him too hard. And his connection with the older members of the tribe should keep him going for a while.

ALI – Swati – NOT

I really hope that I’m wrong and that Swati is thriving out there on the island. She’s got a great story, and I’m absolutely team Swati. However, she doesn’t realize that with this core three forming, she’s on the bottom of the tribe. It’s never good to be in the minority on a tribe. Good news for Swati, though, it doesn’t look like this alliance will be all that tight, so there may be some wiggle room for her in the future. I think she has the social ability to make those cracks work for her, but only time will tell if she can pull it together.

GUS – Swati – NOT

We didn’t see too much of Swati this week, but her fledgling alliance went belly-up—and that’s never good. I’m pretty confident she’ll be getting Hots from me again soon, though, but for now, I have to play it safe.

ALI – Tori – NOT

Here’s a positive thing about Tori: she was really fast in the first challenge, and that was impressive. I’m intrigued by the fact that she’s lying about being a therapist, but that can be a tough lie to keep up when all people are doing for most of the game is sitting around and talking. We’ll see if she’s able to be that duplicitous in a convincing way. I’m going to guess not because her idol search was pretty freaking obvious.

Time and time again, we’ve seen people getting too eager on the idol hunt and having that really mess up their game. I think, since it’s early, that Tori could absolutely come back from that initial setback, but it was a mistake that nearly cost her the game.

GUS – Tori – NOT

Tori didn’t go home this week, but that’s about all I can say for her. She made the classic blunder of ranging for an idol in the early days, putting her tribe on high alert, her lie about “foraging for taro root” notwithstanding. Additionally, a third of the young people alliance is gone, so that’s good for very little at this point.

TrashTalkZOne

GUS: Well. So much for agreeing about anything, ever. Good golly.

ALI: Gone are the convivial days of season 41. Season 42 is coming for our whole marriage. So let’s get to this, in what conceivable world is Lydia a Not?

GUS: What did Lydia do? Exactly? Apart from be iconic? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan, but she’s set a very low bar for herself and cleared it. And that’s not enough to earn her an accolade in my eyes.

ALI: She’s in a duo with Hai. And it’s day two and she hasn’t cried.

GUS: I think “Duo” is a strong word that Chanelle threw around that you hung your entire argument on. Besides, if there are three duos, then isn’t everyone in that tribe in the same boat? There are still six people, so… that’s just the baseline.

ALI: Well, I couldn’t make everyone a Hot, and I think she’s neat.

GUS: I mean, fair. What about Chanelle? I had almost no notes for her, and you give her a Hot?

ALI: She had a great assessment of who was working with whom on her tribe and used that information to pick up the person she thought was a free number in that equation.

GUS: I mean, sure, but that’s all just from her perspective. And we don’t know that she’s even in that tight with Daniel. We just know that she said she was “left with Daniel.” That’s not exactly a Mason/Dixon alliance.

Vati
Photo: CBS

ALI: To me, it sounded like she was considering picking up Daniel to work with him. And it showcases that she’s thinking strategically and critically about her place in the tribe dynamics. And, if the editors are showcasing this confessional, it’s likely because she’s not wrong because this wasn’t immediately lampshaded in any way. They’re using her to tell us what’s going on in the tribe right now because she’s correct.

GUS: Okay, yeah, I mean, fair, but her take on that was “everyone else has a friend and I’m alone and hey here’s this guy.” Plus, we saw Daniel and Mike making friendly later on in the episode. I just don’t see this being the ace in the hole for Chanelle that you seem to think it is.

ALI: It’s honestly too soon to tell for me at the moment, but I’m feeling okay about making Chanelle a Hot for now. Let’s discuss Hai. He had a pretty big blow to his game with that so-called “advantage.” Now, the rest of them are going to be gunning for him. How was this week good for his game?

GUS: I’m clearly warmer on that twist than you are. Sure, they might all turn on one another—or they might not! It’s a situation where all three of them have motive to get the others out. But in a group of three, there’s bound to be alliances and shifting power levels. I see this as a potential for them to find common ground later on. Also, yeah, Hai was on the edge for me. I loved his blood thing, but, come on, he looked like an extra from a Romero movie. How did his tribe not get suspicious?

ALI: I think that Hai is going to be the last one standing of the three because he seems like he might be the most savvy gameplayer? But that could also be because I find him freaking hilarious. Yeah, the blood was… a choice. Lydia looked absolutely panicked over it the entire challenge, and that made me ugly cackle more than once. I personally wanted to make Hai a Hot because I really like him, but I’m nervous about this amulet situation. You’re right; I’m a lot cooler on it than you. Let’s talk about his fellow amulet wearer, Drea. I gave her a Not for similar reasons to Hai.

GUS: And I gave her a Hot for partially similar reasons, but also because she 1) has an extra vote 2) found herself in good with Romeo and Rocksroy (yes, I know how the votes were looking at the end), and 3) is a certified bad-ass. Plus, she’s now got common ground with Jenny and Maryanne, having all three been on the summit. Honestly, if anything, she was the easiest choice (except maybe Jonathan) to give a Hot after this episode.

Drea and Tori
Photo: CBS

ALI: Well, okay, getting all shady at me today, I see. I have a couple concerns. She was in good with Rocksroy and then wanted to flip on him. Romeo wasn’t willing to go with what she wanted, meaning she’s not in the driver’s seat of that trio. And now Romeo has ammunition to use against her at a future point in the game. She’s now stuck working with someone she doesn’t want to work with.

GUS: Alright, that’s fair. I can see that working against her. But I’m standing by my call for all the other reasons. Which, with my luck, means she’s going home next.

ALI: Well, that brings me to my prediction on who goes home next… Daniel is toast. His shoulder still looks pretty bad. I’m going with either a medical evac or he’s eliminated because he’s looked at as a liability. It bums me out, but I can’t believe you made him a Hot this week.

GUS: No way. No way at all. He’s too good at puzzles to be a liability for physical performance. Plus, his tribe is now up in the numbers, so he can easily rotate sit-outs if he needs to. Plus, we saw him bonding with the rest of his tribe! I’d put my money on Tori. She’s playing too hard, too fast.

ALI: Tori’s my second choice after Daniel. I hope you’re right and the shoulder doesn’t impact his game too much. I’m just really worried about it. He didn’t seem to be recovering very quickly, and hurt players are eliminated pretty often. I also got a little nervous that they included the doctor saying that he needs to be careful or it could happen again and that it could need surgery if it’s really bad. It felt like foreshadowing to me.

GUS: Certainly possible! Only time will tell…


Written by

Alexandra Shields

Alexandra “Ali” Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and cracked.com. Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018. Ali writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with her fiancé Gus.


Gus Schlanbusch

Gus is a Chicago-based theater artist and Survivor fan. He and his fiancée Ali also co-run a small theater company and produce a podcast about The Wheel of Time called “Wheel Takes.” When he’s not busy with all of that, he’s probably playing board games. Gus writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with Ali.


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