Jeff Probst is back again, breaking the fourth wall, letting the excited — and maybe somewhat annoyed — viewers at home know that this season of Survivor (S42, as the cool kids say) will be exactly like season 41, but with three minor tweaks. Jeff is fired up to explain the first tweak. “First off,” the showrunner exclaims, “the food is from Applebee’s.”
Wait, what? That’s supposed to be good news to us, the viewers at home, who aren’t partaking in the reward ourselves and more than likely have no particular affinity toward Applebee’s? Ok, but maybe it gets better. Jeff explains of the fast-casual chain restaurant, “That’s big, that’s emotional, that’s home, that’s hard to turn down.” Is it? Maybe if you’ve had no food for a few weeks, Applebee’s sounds pretty good. But why is Jeff whispering like he’s giving away Applebee’s secret recipe? There’s no one within earshot.
SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Survivor 42 Episode 5 Recap: There Is No Grace In A Phrase of Soccer
Eventually, Jeff gets to the important part, detailing how the hourglass twist — one of the fans’ least favorite twists from last season — will play out this time. It turns out, it’s not all that different! Rocksroy Bailey and Lindsey Dolashewich draw the gray rocks, and the winning tribe (and future losing tribe) chooses Rocksroy to live on an island by himself for 48 hours because Tori Meehan doesn’t really like him…until he smashes the hourglass and then she loves him!
Most questionable food item – Quesadilla Burger
When the three tribes arrive on the mat for the immunity challenge that ultimately means nothing, Jeff is determined to keep hyping up a ho-hum eatery. “It’s good. It’s big. It’s Applebee’s!” Jeff says, as if he’s delivering a voice-over while a waitress carries sizzling fajitas to a salivating family of four. The cast knows the drill by now. They watch Survivor. When Jeff drops the product placement, you have to freak out like all your family members and every friend you’ve ever had showed up for the loved ones visit all at once. Maryanne Oketch is beside herself, per usual. Mike Turner, in pure Hoboken firefighter form, shouts, “I love Applebee’s!”
Jeff lists the menu items for the eventual winning team. The appetizers contain a lot of crunchiness: there’s crunchy onion rings and double crunch bone-in wings, the latter of which seems questionable. If your wings are crunchy, they might be overdone. If they’re double crunchy, they’re either burnt or you’re munching on straight up bone.
Before announcing that the dessert is an Applebee’s Brownie — which sounds like the laziest name for a dessert ever — Jeff names three types of burgers, one of which is the Quesadilla Burger. This is where Applebee’s lost me. A quesadilla by definition is not a burger. What makes a quesadilla a quesadilla is the tortilla, and a burger is defined by its buns. Something is amiss here. But no matter: the contestants go wild because they understand the assignment, and before she eats her burger, Tori kisses it. I’ve never seen that type of behavior toward a burger before and as someone who loves food but is not necessarily in love with food, I don’t know how I feel about it. If anyone could outdo the enthusiasm that Karishma Patel showed toward Applebee’s on season 39, it was the entire cast of season 42. I’m worried the next time it appears in the show, the entire cast will scream so loud they’ll all explode and then the season will be over.
Least social player: Rocksroy
Earlier this season, Rocksroy mentioned that he is not the best social player. Good for him. He knows where his faults lie and won’t be surprised when people talk about him behind his back and he doesn’t see a blindside coming. Thus far, though, he’s avoided getting voted out. In the premiere, he was getting the edit of the guy who is voted out because he’s too busy, but the Ika Tribe went with young superfan Zach Wurtenberger — not to be confused with Quesadilla Burger — instead. When Rocksroy was sent to live on an island by himself on this pair of episodes, he should have been worried. But being alone is when Rocksroy rocks the hardest.
Not only did Rocksroy realize that the less time he spends around his tribemates the better — his allies Drea Wheeler and Romeo Escobar made sure he was in the majority alliance while he was gone — Rocksroy was happy he wasn’t near anyone. At one point, in a comment that will ensure he sleeps on the couch tonight, Rocksroy says, “No kids around. No wife that’s bored and wants to nag me.” It’s too bad it wasn’t season 40 and his wife and kids weren’t around the corner on a boat waiting to surprise him.
Rocksroy really gets into the survival element of the show, which seasoned fans know is not the important part but Rocksroy wants to care about it the most because he’s good at it. In an ode to Butch Lockley, the Survivor: Amazon contestant who burned down the camp mistakenly because he was obsessed with collecting firewood, Rocksroy says, “There’s a rule in firewood. If you think you have enough, double it.” I’m thankful Rocksroy didn’t burn his camp down.
You could tell Rocksroy was having a good time by himself. He tearfully admired a full moon. He said words like “Jiminy Crickets” when he scaled the mountain and “Yippy Ki-Yay” when Jeff showed up to greet him. No one gets that excited to see Jeff, ever! Rocksroy was feeling himself when he was by himself. Maybe he’ll opt to get voted out next so he can spend some more time alone on Ponderosa.
Hardest Sob Story To Get Behind: Do It For The Strong People!
After the sort-of merge, Mike and Jonathan Young bonded instantly because they’re both physically strong men. Mike commiserated to Jonathan, “It hurts being stigmatized as the big dummy.” That doesn’t sound fun, and it’s nice two of the most built male competitors on the island found a commonality. But then, in an effort to build a lasting pact with Jonathan, Mike says, “Maybe for once in Survivor history, the people who are physically stronger win this thing for a change.”
It is true that physically dominant players get targeted at the merge. Ozzy Lusth famously never won (although he almost did, twice!) and Joe Anglim never sniffed the final three (although maybe it’s because other parts of his game were severely lacking!). But strong players have won. Denise Stapley is a cinder block. Mike Holloway only won because he was nearly unbeatable in immunity challenges down the stretch. What is this Mike talking about?
Look, I think it would be something if someone like Jonathan can win. But also, Jonathan is arguably the most physically dominant player in the history of the game. If he can make it to the end and garner enough jury votes, it would be a big deal because he’s head and shoulders (and delts and lats) stronger than everyone else on any season of Survivor. If he or Mike manage to win this season, they’re not going to inspire any ripped contestants at home wondering if they’re able to compete on Survivor.
Next: Survivor 42 Episode 4 Recap: Number One Allies & Another Survival Story
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on CBS.
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About The Author
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Justin Fedich is a reality TV editor based in Washington, D.C. He has reported on the need for increased representation in the Survivor franchise and has interviewed stars from Netflix hit shows The Circle, Too Hot To Handle and Love Is Blind.
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