'Survivor' crowns Maryanne Oketch Season 42 winner over Mike Turner after she shocks the jury
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/26/2022
Survivorcrowned Maryanne Oketch its "Sole Survivor" and $1 million winner over Mike Turner during the three-hour Season 42 finale that aired Wednesday night on CBS.
Maryanne, a 24-year-old seminary student from Ajax, Ontario, wonSurvivor on Night 26 of the game through a landslide 7-1 vote at the Final Tribal Council of Season 42 instead of Mike, a 58-year-old retired firefighter from Hoboken, NJ.
"At first I felt I wasn't being asked questions, and that's so demoralizing because you're like, 'Either they know my story and that's a good thing or they don't want to know my story and that's a good thing,'" Maryanne said during theSurvivor After Show.
"But honestly, I knew the pivotal moment would be telling them about my idol and at Final 6 how I really set myself for the end. I knew, compared to other people who were on the jury, I didn't really play a big strategic game and I had to prove it I was here to play."
Nearly the whole jury had entered the Final 3 jury questioning undecided. The jury was comprised of Chanelle Howell, Rocksroy Bailey, Hai Giang, Drea Wheeler, Omar Zaheer, Tori Meehan, Lindsay Dolashewich, and Jonathan Young.
Mike finished in second place with one jury vote from Jonathan, a 29-year-old beach service co-owner from Gadsden, AL, who currently resides in Gulf Shores, AL.
"I lived the dream. I played Survivor, the hardest I could play, and I have no regrets," Mike said.
"And honestly, Maryanne, after hearing her story tonight, I think she earned it. There is absolutely no animosity and I am good. I playedSurvivor at the age of 57 after watching for 21 years!... It's a great day for me too, it is... I have my fiancee and my kids, I'm already rich."
Romeo Escobar, a 37-year-old pageant coach from Los Angeles, CA, made it to the Final 3 but received zero jury votes.
"For me, I didn't come here for a million dollars. I came here to see if I could make it to the end ofSurvivor, and I did that. And I am leaving this game with life experiences that I would've never gotten had I not been here. So I have no regrets," Romeo shared.
"To me, being able to leave the jungles of Fiji and be free and live the life that I've wanted to live for a long time, means more to me than winning a million dollars. So I feel I'm leaving here as a winner."
Jonathan finished in fourth place after losing the fire-starting challenge to Mike at the season's penultimate Tribal Council session.
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Lindsay, a 31-year-old dietitian from Morganville, NJ, who currently resides in Asbury Park, NJ, placed fifth.
TheSurvivor finale broadcast began on Night 23 at the Kula Kula tribe following Omar's vote off.
The Final 5 was happy to have made it this far, but they quickly discovered they'd be starting over on a brand new beach. They were back at scratch and didn't even have a tarp or any shelter.
Despite the shock of the new beach, Maryanne, however, was thrilled because she believed she had proven to the jury that she came to play -- and ultimately win.
Romeo told his fellow castaways that he had no hard feelings, but he was clearly upset to have been out of the loop on the vote. Lindsay also complained that she didn't know anything about the vote, and Jonathan called her out for having cast a vote against him.
Jonathan accused Lindsay of betraying him, but Lindsay said Jonathan had betrayed her first by not filling her in on the plan to vote out Omar.
"I'm so pissed. Now I have to deal with the stupid wrath of Jonathan being all righteous, like, 'You voted for me, you were the one who's in the wrong.' Like, dude, screw you. If you are telling me Omar was your plan all along and I'm in your alliance, you didn't tell me that -- that means you lied to me to!" Lindsay vented in a confessional.
"I can't stand how he talks to me, and I'm frustrated I need to kiss his ass and grovel just for the sake of getting through the next few days. This cockiness he has drives me up a freakin' wall. He's impossible to talk to!... It drives me freakin' insane."
Lindsay explained to Jonathan how Omar had pinned her against him, and then Jonathan called her "aggressive."
Amidst all the bickering, Romeo announced he had a hidden Immunity Idol and he was going to play it at the next Tribal Council. Mike said, "Good for you," but Romeo was lying.
Romeo thought everyone bought his story, but just to be safe, he created a fake Immunity Idol to hopefully fool people.
On Day 24 of the game, the male castaways wondered why Lindsay never played her hidden Immunity Idol when it was the last time she could play it. Because of that big move, Mike determined she was their biggest threat going forward.
Meanwhile, Lindsay and Maryanne talked about how they wanted to take each other to the Final 3. Maryanne shared how Mike had promised to give her his idol or play it for her if necessary.
But Mike had also given Lindsay his word about his idol, and Lindsay assumed Mike wouldn't split from Jonathan and he'd prefer to take Maryanne to the end.
"If I don't win immunity today, I'm definitely going home," Lindsay said in a confessional.
Mike attempted to make Lindsay feel safe by saying he could possibly play his idol for her, but Lindsay knew he had said similar things to Maryanne. Lindsay therefore felt lied to, but Mike hugged her and assured her that she wouldn't be going home.
"Don't you quit now!" Mike pleaded with Lindsay, telling her to win the next Immunity Challenge.
The tribe then received Tree Mail with a riddle, which -- when solved -- would show the way to an advantage.
The Final 5 castaways had to unscramble the following: EHT KUDTCE PIGELSEN TAGNI OGOD SEOT ERONTUF SI NI HTE.
The riddle turned out to be, "Good fortune is tucked in the toes of the sleeping giant."
Lindsay solved the riddle first and wondered if toes meant "roots" and the sleeping giant was a giant tree, but she looked everywhere and found nothing. She didn't realize a cliff looked like a big foot with toes.
Maryanne hoped Lindsay would find the advantage, and then Lindsay finally spotted rocks that looked like toes, which led her to the advantage.
Lindsay learned she would have a slight advantage in the Individual Immunity Challenge later that day, and Maryanne said she was "ecstatic" for her.
Lindsay said she had a lot of faith in herself and was going to go "balls to the wall" to win the challenge. She planned to give it everything she had.
When the castaways met Jeff, he explained that each player must race through a series of obstacles, collecting puzzle pieces along the way. Once all of the pieces were collected, they must solve a circular puzzle.
The first to finish would win immunity and be guaranteed a spot in the Final 4, which meant, at the very least, that person would be making fire to get to the Final 3. In addition, the castaways were playing for Reward in the form of pasta, garlic bread, meat sauce, salad, vanilla cake and red wine.
Lindsay discovered she'd only have to untie one knot, presumably bringing her to the puzzle first. But Jonathan ended up making it to the puzzle in first place, with Lindsay right on his heels.
Jeff announced how the puzzle was very difficult, and Mike slowly moved into the lead. Lindsay, however, worked very quickly.
The challenge came down to one puzzle piece separating Mike and Lindsay, and in the end, Mike was declared the winner. He said he had been waiting 21 years for this victory and his children would be very proud of him.
"Season 1 I watched in the firehouse, and to be here now, standing with Jeff Probst with an Immunity necklace around my neck with these great competitors and I'm sitting here at the end, thank you," Mike said, almost on the verge of tears.
Mike got to choose one person to join him for the Reward, and he chose the man who had started the game at 250 pounds and was down to 210. Mike invited Jonathan to eat with him, but that was it.
After the challenge, Lindsay lamented how she was a better player than Jonathan.
Mike, with an idol in his pocket, had to figure out what he was going to do with it. Mike intended to play it for somebody and take whom he wanted to the Final 4.
Jonathan pitched a Lindsay vote that evening because she was "an absolute beast" in challenges and a good talker with a good head on her shoulders. He said he didn't want to sit next to her in the Final 3, and Mike agreed, at least to Jonathan's face.
"I have one favor to ask of you. If she pulls an idol, will you play [your idol] on me?" Jonathan asked while the men pigged out on pasta.
"Of course I will," Mike replied. "I don't have to say, 'I swear on this...' I'm telling you."
Romeo and Lindsay predicted Mike would give his idol to Jonathan, but Maryanne was convinced -- and extremely confident in the idea -- Mike would give his idol to her. Lindsay, however, argued that Mike's word meant "nothing," and Romeo seemed to agree.
Lindsay said she, Romeo and Maryanne were going to vote for Jonathan and she just hoped Mike would give his idol to one of the girls.
Lindsay then begged Mike to use his idol on her. She played to his sensitive side and tried to make him feel very guilty about the idea of going back on his word.
Mike said he saw his daughter in Lindsay but felt the need to protect Jonathan, who had been protective of him. Mike also viewed Maryanne as a person of good character who had kept her promises to him.
Lindsay swore on "everything" that she had never lied to Mike, and she pleaded with him to show the trust back. But Mike admitted he didn't have his mind made up. He was well aware of the fact he was about to hurt and betray somebody.
Maryanne complained to Mike about how Jonathan had been treating the women in the tribe, but Mike expressed how he wasn't sure either of them could beat Lindsay in the final vote.
Maryanne had an idol to play and wondered if she should save Lindsay and blindside Jonathan with it. Maryanne contemplated whom she could beat, but she also recognized Mike's decision could make or break her game.
At Tribal Council that night, Jonathan announced how everyone recognized Lindsay as a big threat, and Lindsay confessed how she had been feeling desperate. Lindsay tried to paint herself as a physical threat rather than a strategic or social one, but Jonathan pointed out how she had bonded with many players and everyone loved her.
Romeo told Jeff that they were about to take out "a fighter," and Lindsay said, "I'm cool with it. If I'm going to go out because no one thinks they can beat me, that's the best way for me to leave."
When it became time to play an advantage or an idol, Mike stepped up and played his idol for Maryanne. He wanted to repay her for her loyalty, and then Maryanne ran over and gave him a big hug.
Romeo proceeded to toss his fake idol in the fire, and then Jeff read the votes aloud in the following order: Lindsay, Jonathan, Lindsay, and Lindsay.
Lindsay was voted out ofSurvivor 42 in fifth place, and she noted how it was "fun while it lasted."
"Good luck, guys, I'm going to eat so much food!" Lindsay shouted on her way out.
Jury members Drea and Omar whispered to each other how they were "sad" about the vote because they really liked Lindsay.
"I love that my label's 'the fighter,' and I like that that's my tagline for this, because I really felt like I fought my way throughout this whole game," Lindsay said in her final words.
"I am incredibly proud of myself and how far I got. This was so much fun! I got to experience so many Survivor things that so many people don't get to have. Of course I'm a little upset right now, but this was the best -- ever!"
Jonathan, Mike, Maryanne and Romeo all voted for Lindsay, while Lindsay voted for Jonathan.
On Day 25, the Final 4 castaways met Jeff for the last Individual Immunity Challenge of the season called "Simmotion."
Maryanne started to cry, thinking about how her family would be watching her at home and cheering her on. Maryanne said she wanted her family to reconcile "more than a million dollars," and Jeff advised her to turn that emotion into energy and passion.
For the challenge, the castaways were required to drop a ball down a shoot. The ball would spiral around until it reaches the bottom, and then the player would catch it and drop it in again. At regular intervals, another ball would be added, making it more difficult.
If at any point a ball dropped, he or she would be out. The last person left standing would win immunity and be guaranteed a spot in the Final 3. The winner would also be able to plead his or her case to the jury as to why he or she deserves the title of "Sole Survivor" -- and decide who goes with.
The remaining two players would be forced to make fire against each other.
Mike was out of the challenge first, and then Maryanne lost. Jonathan was out next, and so Romeo won his first Individual Immunity, which couldn't have come at a better time. He was going to be in charge of everything that night.
"I feel like I've been at the bottom of this game for so long," Romeo cried.
"I've just been hanging on by my fingernails. Every Tribal, my name comes up -- every single Tribal, Romeo is always the end case... It's just exhausting. I've been fighting so hard and this feels good... This is a dream come true."
Romeo had security for the first time in a long time, and he called this win his "Miss America moment." Romeo was tiring of being dismissed, and so he really enjoyed this victory.
Mike predicted Romeo would send him into fire because he was the most dangerous player left. Mike thought he could beat Maryanne in the end but wasn't sure about Jonathan.
Mike warned Romeo that if he made fire against Jonathan and won, Romeo would be going against the two most likeable people in the game, Mike and Maryanne. Mike advised Romeo to make a big move while Jonathan practiced making fire.
Meanwhile, Maryanne hoped Mike and Jonathan would make fire against each other and that Jonathan would win. She didn't want to face Mike in the Final 3, thinking she had a better shot of beating Jonathan and Romeo.
Mike told Jonathan to take the out if Romeo offered it to him, but Jonathan knew Mike was just trying to get inside his head -- which made Jonathan want to beat him even more.
Going into the next Tribal Council, everyone was practicing fire, except for Romeo.
"I don't just put them out, I start them!" Mike boasted of fire. "My fate is in my own hands, and I truly feel that if I win at making fire tonight, I will win a million dollars. So this is for me to lose."
On Night 25, Mike shared with Jeff how he was "absolutely" the target, and Romeo announced how he was going with his gut that night.
"I'm taking Maryanne [to the end] with me, and [Mike and Jonathan] will make fire," Romeo told Jeff.
Mike and Jonathan expressed love to each other before taking their spots, and Jeff reminded the players how the first person to build his fire tall enough to burn through a rope would win.
Mike sparked a flame first, but then Jonathan got a flame as well. Mike's rope burned little by little as he threw everything onto the fire quickly, but Jonathan also had a good fire going and tried to make a triangular structure.
Mike burned through his rope first and won his way to the Final 3, and Jonathan appeared very disappointed.
"You know what, Jeff? I was thinking when I got here, if I lose, I was meant to lose. I gave it what it had. Mike just beat me. Yeah, it's that simple," Jonathan lamented.
Mike said beating the best fire-starter at camp made his win every more rewarding for him. Mike confirmed that Jonathan was not "a pushover," and Jonathan said, "I fought the good fight."
Mike, Maryanne and Romeo therefore made it to the Final 3, and the power was going to shift to the jury the following night.
"Ugh, I gotta tell you, I was shocked to see how fast my main man Mike started that fire. He beat me fair and square, and he earned his spot in the Top 3. And if I get the chance, you better believe that I'm going to be right back out here," Jonathan said in his final words.
"Thank you God, thank youSurvivor, thank you for the opportunity."
On Day 26, the jury was shown saying how Mike won people over with his heart and his social game, but Omar wanted Mike to admit that he was a "snake," and intentionally at that.
The Final 3 enjoyed a feast, and Romeo bragged about being "the ultimate underdog" and not a goat. Omar said it's not necessarily more impressive to be an elephant in the game over a cockroach who survives the apocalypse.
Drea hoped Maryanne, a fun-loving quirky and bubbly girl, would sway her because while she wanted to give a woman the money, she's also a competitor who wouldn't just give someone money because they're friends.
"I did everything except win a challenge," Maryanne told Mike and Romeo.
It then became time for the Final Tribal Council during which the jurors put the Final 3 castaways through an interrogation.
In terms of their social gameplay, Tori essentially asked the castaways if the perception the jury had of them was accurate, meaning Mike being a loyal and honest man, for example. Mike said he played a game about deception as honorably as he could but he went against his word only one time to Rocksroy.
Maryanne argued that despite being silly and giddy, she took the game very seriously all along. Maryanne said she pretended to have no strategy when younger players were being voted out one after the next -- until fewer people were left in the game and she no longer seemed like a threat.
Romeo, dubbed paranoid by Tori, denied gaslighting Hai but then apologized for that and said his relationship with Drea intimidated him.
Mike said he only shook one person's hand and lied to him, and that was Rocksroy, but the jury seemed upset about that. Mike said he didn't deceive anyone until they deceived him first, but Hai felt betrayed by Mike and insisted they had been true allies.
Drea announced Mike's social game was "on point" amid all the criticism Mike was sounding like a hypocrite. She said his social game saved him and was the reason why she went home.
Omar accused Maryanne of having "a sloppy social game" that initially put her on the bottom, and Romeo said his strategy was to make an alliance with individual people during one-on-one conversations.
Moving onto physical gameplay, Maryanne said she was very good at weaving palm fronds and scaling and gutting fish, and Mike said he never stopped working and built a nice shelter. Romeo admitted he just learned how to swim and never camped before but won a powerful Immunity Challenge.
When discussing strategy, Romeo said his biggest move was to play a self-preservation game in which he made alliances and created a fake Immunity Idol. He said no one had carried him to the Final 3 and he brought Maryanne with him because he felt she didn't have a strategy.
Romeo believed Maryanne had played a similar game.
Mike revealed he had organized Hai's blindside and then began working with Lindsay and Omar to better his game strategically. Mike thought he played an emotional and strategic game, with his emotions sometimes getting the best of him.
"Maybe I didn't play with as much integrity as I thought I did, to be honest with you," Mike confessed. "Maybe I misconstrued exactly what I was doing, but you have to say some stuff that's not true or else... you're going to be voted out."
Maryanne shared how her big move was to blindside Omar and then convince Mike to give her his idol at the Final 5, which would guarantee her to Final 4. Maryanne said Omar's elimination, although very hard for her, gave her many different options to make it to the Final 3.
Maryanne felt she set herself up for a spot in the Final 3 with numerous combinations.
Maryanne then boasted, "I kept the only secret in this game. I, after your vote Tori, had the merge idol. I told no one about it," which appeared to knock everybody's socks off.
And finally, Romeo shared how he never gave up and he's going to return home with his head held high, even though he's gay and his family won't accept him. Romeo felt he had become a free man during the game and will continue to live that way.
Mike said, despite his old age, he got along with the younger generation and proved to himself that he can still do a lot physically and on a competitive level.
Maryanne announced how she's still growing as a person and was so close to playing her idol for Lindsay but she stopped self-sabotaging herself, knowing Lindsay would beat her in the end. Maryanne said she deserved a chance to lose in order to deserve a chance to win.
Jeff grabbed the votes and revealed to the jury and Final 3 castaways that there was "one more twist this season."
"Because we shoot our seasons back to back, you don't know anything that happened in Survivor 41. And what we did on Survivor 41 is we read the votes in the jungles of Fiji," Jeff said. "And that's what we're going to do right now!"
The cast flipped out that a winner was about to be crowned. Jaws dropped to the floor.
Jeff then read the final votes in the following order: Mike, Maryanne, Maryanne, Maryanne, Maryanne, and Maryanne.
Maryanne won Survivor 42, and everyone rushed over to hug her.
The Survivor After Show commenced immediately, and Maryanne was bawling her eyes out.
Tori, Rocksroy, Lindsay, Drea and Omar all admitted they were swaying or leaning towards voting for Mike to win until they heard from Maryanne. Omar pointed out how Mike had played a more obvious game yet Maryanne's backup plan with her idol at Final 5 was a gamechanger.
"It was a combination of Mike losing it and Maryanne snatching it right at the very end," Omar shared.
Maryanne told Jeff that she truly didn't think she was going to win when she was cast on Survivor 42.
"Until the day before I came out here, I didn't think I had the ability to win. To come out here and play a game... and to pull it out and be able to win... it feels like I'm dreaming right now," Maryanne shared.