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Survivor 42's Swati Goel Reflected On The New Era's Lack Of Duplicity And 'How Quickly Chaos Spirals'

survivor 42 cast photo
(Image credit: CBS)

Spoilers ahead for Season 42 of Survivor!

The Survivor twists that were introduced in Season 41 (and continue in the current Season 42) breathed new life into the game, just as Jeff Probst promised. There’s the prisoner’s dilemma, the Shot in the Dark, the three-tribe immunity idol, the hourglass twist, and the Do-or-Die gamble. But this new era of various advantages has also created a lack of the traditional duplicity – because it is very hard for contestants to keep these things secret. Following her ousting, Survivor 42’s Swati Goel reflected on this emerging dynamic and “how quickly chaos spirals” out of control.

In the most recent episode, the way this all manifested was with Drea Wheeler’s extra vote advantage that she received from the prisoner’s dilemma. According to Zach Wurtenburger, the game’s first eliminated player, the entire tribe already knew that she had something. Wheeler confirmed it with some few, such as Swati Goel, who in turn told others, until everyone was in on it. However, the chaos from the lack of secrecy had the surprising effect of not taking out a big target/advantage but Goel of all people. The Survivor 42 star reacted to the way things played out how they did to Entertainment Weekly, saying,

Yeah, I didn't expect information to circulate that fast because I know for myself, I was being so tight-lipped about things. Well, not all things, but tight-lipped about some of the things that I was being told. So yeah, that was a really interesting shift is how quickly the chaos spirals and how quickly this chain of events happened where I said something to Tori and then Tori said something to Rocks and then Rocks said something to Drea and then Drea said something to Romeo. It was just mind blowing how fast that information spread.

Some may argue that the concept we’re speaking about here is just “loose lips, sink ships,” which indeed happens on Survivor. But really, it is something more. The majority of advantages, in the past, would be typically found, known about, and revealed by one person at their discretion. In Seasons 41 and 42, though, it is multiple public productions of advantages. And what that’s doing is generating a layer of chaos, as Swati Goel describes, that can put everyone on edge and take out someone who probably isn’t the most formidable target.

It's also forcing some pretty wild pre-merge tribal councils, especially in Survivor 42, where the unseen advantages become the linchpin. In last week’s episode, all the known advantages allowed Hai Giang to sneakily change his vote last minute – prompting everyone to almost go to rocks! Chaos! The same goes for the March 30 episode, with Swati Goel becoming the third person in recent weeks to use her Shot in the Dark. (A trend which has me and Survivor 41’s winner wondering some things about that particular advantage.) Nevertheless, Goel is still taking some accountability for her elimination. She said,

Maybe the circumstance you had really wasn't geared towards your game or helping you win, but ultimately, you had control over your decisions. In that sense, I can't really blame anybody else. I made a series of choices and those series of choices lead to an outcome. [Laughs] Like, it's fine.

Hard as it is to fathom, a lot of game is still left to play in Survivor 42. And if this is how pre-merge is going, then the post-merge (much like in Season 41) is sure to be… chaos. Tune in to new episodes airing on CBS on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET in the 2022 TV schedule!

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.