This article contains spoilers for Season 42 of “Survivor.”
If you’ve read my most recent recap of Survivor 42 – as you should have – you know that I’ve been getting a little bored watching the most recent episodes. So, to make things more interesting for myself, I’ve resorted to an age-old solution – I picked a Survivor crush. I’ve decided to stan Lydia of the Vati tribe. She hates sand, bugs and running (so relatable). And, most crucially, she’s queer. Essentially, she slays.
Having picked my crush, I was much more excited for episode five. I went into it with high hopes for Lydia content, and the Survivor gods must have heard my prayers: she was the moment in this episode. Not only that, but I realized during this episode that this is the queerest season of Survivor yet, with five queer players in the overall cast and four queer contestants still left in the game. After this realization, being bored with the season was just not an option.
Episode five starts out by focusing on the Taku tribe – the one without any queer people – but that’s okay. I think we’re starting to see Jonathan’s (a.k.a. Thor’s) true nature, which makes me happy because, frankly, I’m sick of the Jonathan hype at this point. Jonathan says that Maryanne and Lindsay, the two women on his tribe, are always talking “baloney” and can’t let there be a minute of silence. This comment rubbed me the wrong way. To be fair, the women are completely ridiculous at times, and I would probably hate living with them as much as I like watching them on TV. But my issue is that Jonathan fails to acknowledge that Omar, the other man on his tribe, is actually just as annoying as the women and participates in most of the jokes and conversations that Jonathan rolls his eyes at. It’s giving double standards.
After this pointless drama, we see the Vati tribe (the tribe that is 60% queer, including Lydia) gossiping on their beach about Daniel. Daniel is the spineless Yale alumnus and lawyer who put up zero fight to save his ally Jenny two episodes ago. He also famously dislocated his shoulder in the first challenge of the season. Since then, he’s been sitting out of all the challenges on account of his injured shoulder. But despite this apparently very severe injury, Daniel confidently goes swimming and fishing in the ocean alone. The rest of his tribe gathers on the beach to watch him swim and whisper about how odd it is that Daniel’s injury only causes problems for him when it’s time to go to a challenge. This is peak Survivor camp life.
In the check-in with the Ika tribe, we get another great Survivor moment. Drea finds the Ika immunity idol and explains in her confessional that she was able to find it because women are better than men. I have no choice but to add Drea to my list of faves this season. With Drea’s find, all the idols are finally activated by each player with an idol (Drea, Mike and Maryanne) saying their secret phrase at the next challenge. This also brings Drea’s advantage count up to three — a merge advantage from the first reward challenge, an extra vote and the idol — proving that women are indeed better than men.
Unfortunately, the rest of the challenge after the activation of the idols resulted in my favorite gay rights tribe, Vati, losing. As a consolation, Lydia was sent to Shipwheel Island, so we'll get to see more of her. She wisely protects her vote at the island and talks about part of her emotional backstory. One of the most difficult parts of being on Survivor for her (aside from bugs and sand) is dealing with body image issues. She mentions how vulnerable she feels on Survivor where she’s constantly being filmed even when she doesn’t feel like she looks her best. Unlike a lot of the backstories they’ve been forcing into the plot in recent seasons, this actually interested me. Whenever I’ve thought, “What would I be like on Survivor?” I realize I would probably never even apply for fear of being on national television without my winged eyeliner or mascara.
When Lydia gets back from Shipwheel Island, this week’s boot is clear. Daniel is definitely going home, given his exaggerated injury and inability to stand up for his allies. This leaves us with an improved Vati tribe with an even higher percentage of queer members (75%) at the end of the episode.
I’m taking the existence of this overwhelmingly queer tribe as Survivor’s way of saying “gay rights.” I can’t wait to see how the sixth episode will further the gay agenda.