On Wednesday, May 4, “Survivor” released a stellar episode. Packed with social manipulation and unexpected triumphs, the episode was among the most impactful of the season so far. Its eventful twists and turns culminated into a momentous ending that will have lasting impact on the game going forward.
From the moment the castaways returned from Tribal, all the way through to its closing scenes, this episode was a masterclass by Omar. Mike complained to Omar about Hai’s insistence in carrying out the Rocksroy vote. Mike wants his word to be reliable, so he didn’t appreciate Hai coercing him into lying to Rocksroy. Omar was empathetic, but also made a note of Mike’s unhappiness with Hai.
Lindsay also came into her own during this episode. Jonathan’s subpar gameplay has turned her against him, and she explained to Omar how unwilling Jonathan was to listen to her in the last vote. Despite their Taku connection, both Lindsay and Omar are now considering a Jonathan blindside.
In “Survivor,” when an idol is played, it is typically rehidden by production that night. Since both Drea and Maryanne had played idols the night prior, it was a pretty safe assumption that at least one new idol was out there. Lindsay and Omar both searched, but Lindsay missed an idol just inches from her line of sight. Maryanne ended up finding it later unintentionally, replacing the idol she lost within hours. This was especially important because of Drea’s Knowledge Is Power advantage. Drea knew about the idol Maryanne had before, so she could’ve stolen in at any Tribal. Now, though, Maryanne has an idol that no one is aware of, including Drea.
Later on, Lindsay won the reward challenge, which was this season’s version of the family visit. Usually, “Survivor” brings out a family member for each player at this point of the season, and they compete in a reward challenge to have a meal with them. Due to Covid, the prize this season was viewing a video of their loved one egging them on through the rest of the game. Lindsay was able to take two people with her, and chose Mike and Omar. This was a bonding experience for them, and quite sentimental. Omar also used this opportunity to fully turn Mike against Hai. He told Mike that Hai had been calling Mike his “puppet,” and that Hai thought Mike would do whatever he said. This was a lie, but Mike believed it. Mike’s prior frustrations with Hai boiled over, and he now wants Hai gone.
Continuing her winning streak throughout the episode, Lindsay also won individual immunity, leaving the tribe with two fascinating options for elimination: Hai and Jonathan. People quickly recognized Hai as the larger threat in the game because he had been playing so well throughout. The vote was decided surprisingly fast, but this is one of the issues great players run into in “Survivor.” Top-notch gameplay is a better reason than any to vote someone out. Hai has been stellar all season, but unfortunately, he peaked too early.
Hai was blindsided and joined the jury, but this surely won’t be the end of his “Survivor” journey. He played the Jenny vote perfectly and has been the nexus of power since then. Not only that, but Hai’s social game is fantastic. Players as skilled as he is reappear quickly, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hai on a returning player season within the next couple years. As for this game, a massive threat was removed.
Ultimately, Omar has been running this post-merge, and is somehow doing so without putting a target on his back. With his craftiness and deceit, the role he plays in this “Survivor” story is clear now. He’s the loveable villain, in the vein of Todd Herzog (winner of “Survivor: China”). He’s the one who’ll do anything and everything it takes to win. And he is certainly the favorite to do so.