Lindsay Dolashewich finished in fifth place on Survivor Season 42, the second-to-last player added to the jury. Jonathan Young joined her as the last member after losing the fire challenge to Mike Turner, leaving Maryanne Oketch, Romeo Escobar, and Mike in the Final Three.
Of all the players in the Final Five, Lindsay was the only one who succeeded in all aspects of the game. She won individual challenges, made strong strategic moves, and played a solid social game. Unfortunately, that made her a target. And she wasn’t able to clinch a victory in the last immunity challenge, finishing her puzzle just seconds behind the victorious Mike. She later pleaded to Mike to protect her with his idol, which he ultimately played on Maryanne, leading to Lindsay being the final person voted out of Survivor Season 42.
Here, Lindsay tells TV Insider all about those Hail Mary strategic moves in the finale and explains why — from the jury’s perspective — Maryanne earned the title of sole survivor.
Are you proud of yourself?
Lindsay Dolashewich: Hell yeah. I’m so proud of myself. The fact that I even made it on the show, I was so proud of myself. So then the fact that everything that you think you’re good at, and then to be faced with it and see everything you’re good at, and then be able to achieve all of that, was a really awesome moment that I’m extremely grateful for.
What was your proudest moment?
Continuing to fight. Because I think what the biggest lesson was out there in Survivor was there’s going to be low lows, and then there’s gonna be a real big high after. So you have to keep fighting to ride it out so you can get to that high, which I think really translates into real life.
I was supposed to be on Season 41, then I got COVID and was told less than 24 hours beforehand that I wasn’t going. Crushed. So I quarantined myself for the entire time for the next round, knowing when they were gonna be tested for them to go, and then I got a call and I went. So worth it. Low low, high high.
Then I do the Do or Die [challenge], and I lose. That sucked. That was a really hard pill to swallow. But I’m really happy that I kept fighting. Because of that, I was then able to think of the idea to be able to use the Knowledge is Power against Drea, save Mike, which screwed me over in the end, but ultimately I was really happy that I kept pushing. Do not stop. That is a lesson that I hope everyone takes from that, because that’s their best chance of getting anywhere.
You were one of the only players who beat Jonathan more than once in individual physical challenges. How did that feel?
Awesome. Things were starting to turn between me and Jonathan earlier on when we were at Taku, and it was not fully exposed yet, but I was getting the vibe. I remember one night, we’re sitting in the shelter together, and I just say, “Jonathan, I can’t wait to beat you at a challenge.” [Laughs] I was so happy when I did that more than once.
What did he say when you told him that?
Nothing. I don’t think he realized what he was in for.
Now that you’ve watched the season back, do you understand your arc?
Yeah. I felt that I was excited that we were able to see all the cool things that I was able to do, like near the tail end, and it made sense. I was so excited that I made it as far as I did, because I did feel like I was going to be a big threat in the game. So to maneuver through as long as I did was kudos to me. So I was not upset for leaving at five at all, because I knew that it’d be a really fat chance of winning. I was excited, like “I can’t believe I made it to the final episode. I’m in the Final Five! This is so cool!”
I look back now and I’m like, OK, this is where Maryanne was definitely a better player than me in the sense that she knew when she had to cut her emotional ties off. I didn’t do that as much. I was very tight with Maryanne, I was very tight with Mike, I was very tight with Omar. But the other end of it — and I said it out there, it didn’t show — I was like, I know that this is stupid. If I were on the couch, I’d be like, “What are you doing? This is dumb.” But there’s something when you’re out there. You just have these strong connections with people so quickly that it really does change your perspective of how you want to play. I was close with Drea at a point, too.
I really wanted to work with people that I really liked and felt that I can trust, and I figured I had a good enough game that I could argue my way to the end. I didn’t feel a threat that somebody was definitely going to sweep over me, so I figured what’s the problem? Might as well keep people that I enjoy that I still have a shot against rather than just being strategic and emotionally disconnected. But clearly, there was a better balance than what I did.
The shortened game made making, keeping, and protecting friends harder.
It also made strategy and scrambling a lot more difficult and a lot more quick and precise. Because if the second you notice something weird going on, you get a weird feeling, now you have to digest and figure out what that means, then decide who else do you need to talk to about it to confirm what your gut feeling is. And then, who do you talk to and what is your decision gonna be as your idea out of it? That takes up time, and when you have a very short window, you might not get that chance. So you might go to Tribal when you’re halfway through that process.
That is a really big difference, because we had a challenge that day and Tribal that night. So maybe what, five hours? But then, you’re also getting pulled for individual interviews, and then somebody you want to talk to is on their interview and you’re like, “Agh!” You’re really narrow on time, so that makes a huge change in strategy and game play just by that alone.
Were there other moments like that that kind of screwed you over because someone was doing a solo interview?
What they didn’t show when I was begging my case to Mike, I said beforehand, “I’m pulling the dad-daughter card real hard right now. I’m gonna start fake crying, and if it [turns] into real tears, cool. But I’m fake crying and I’m gonna really sell this.” I really, really was trying to pitch and pitch.
He told me afterwards that right after we had that conversation, he got pulled for his one-on-one interview, and they’re usually about an hour. We were getting kinda close to Tribal, so he said that at that moment, he really was debating saving me, like it seemed like my pitch worked. But then, once he got back, we had to leave. So there was no time to really have a final conversation.
Again, this is from what Mike said. If he really turned, he would’ve played his idol on me, and he didn’t. So maybe it wasn’t gonna make a difference, but it feels good to him to say it was going to. But there were moments like that where by the time thoughts and decisions were made, there was no time to then have a final conversation before going somewhere.
Outside of your own game, what do you think was the most impressive move of the season?
Omar. Hands down. Just Omar as a person. He was so good.
When I was watching, I was like, “Everybody wake up! Omar is running everything!”
I did not realize how well he was working. We were very close; he was definitely my tightest ally. And then Maryanne was my second. Mike too, separately, but I would say me, Omar, and Maryanne were a threesome in that. But me and Omar were the tightest. He would tell me some things that were going on, but I didn’t realize how clever and stealth-mode he was at it. And then, his ways of like, “This is a good negotiating tactic to get them to turn.” I didn’t see all of that, so I would say his ability to do that was extremely impressive.
He had such a great social game, and I realized that if I saved him and we did make it to the final, the only way I would’ve beat him is from a bitter jury because I feel like his strategy game was definitely better than mine. I think I was well-rounded, but ultimately, he played the hardest part of the game, that social strategy.
You voted for Maryanne in the end. During the pitches, did you consider voting for anyone else? What was it that sealed your vote? Was it that touché moment?
I was a little bit more leaning towards Mike going in, but it was still a big question mark between Maryanne and Mike. I love Romeo, but given everything that we saw, it really was between the two of them as the main contenders.
For Maryanne, I was with her the whole way through, but I didn’t know a lot of what she did. She was very good at playing on the side and playing her thing without me being aware or others being aware. So I was like, Maryanne needs to come in strong. She needs to fight her case, explain what she did. What did she do individually that wasn’t part of a herding group decision? That was really my biggest thing that I needed from her.
What’s funny is, the jury conversation was going on for so long, Jeff [Probst] was like, “I think we need to wrap up here.” I said, “I don’t really think I’m ready… are you guys ready? Jeff, we need more time.” He said, “OK, go.” We asked more, and that’s when Maryanne then said, “By the way! I have this idol that I found and didn’t use!” And we’re like, “Woah! Now that you said that, OK.”
That’s when she really explained all the different ways of how she knew she was being surrounded to be in a good position and when we [knew] she was so socially aware of herself, of everyone else, of how to play the game. She was so zoned in and in it. She 100 percent deserved that.
Her hidden idol moment when the entire jury gasped, I was like, “She just won.”
Yup. That was a huge turn for everybody when she did that. Well deserved.
Everyone was so confused, and I know we all went in there really unsure, so the fact that everyone didn’t feel ready, I felt that it was fair for me to speak up. I don’t want to write someone’s name down because I’m rushed, even though it was really long.
I felt comfortable being able to speak up just knowing how personable Jeff is.
Would you come back for more?
Hell yeah. Please tell everybody to bring me back. This was the most fun I’ve ever had ever. This, like, bleeds out of me. I love all of it. The experience, the competition, the social part, Jeff. All of it’s great. It’s just a wild ride that I clearly am sick in the head about. But I would totally go back eight times.