Warning: This post contains spoilers from Wednesday’s season finale survivor 42
He rocked the Final 5 challenge and beat Goliath at starting a fire, but while Mike Turner nearly won everything, he couldn’t defeat the small but mighty Maryanne Oketch when it came to the final jury vote.
In the season finale of survivor 42 (Read a full synopsis here) Mike, Maryanne and Romeo Escobar ended up in the bottom three after a hell of a 26-day game that saw little food, heavy rain and a cast full of tough competitors. But while Mike’s social play impressed many, he ultimately lost the grand prize 7-1.
Here, Mike talks to TVLine about his Clutch Challenge wins and why he’s okay with losing, and shares his innermost thoughts on Fijian pizza.
TVLINE | First of all, congratulations on reaching the Final 3! That’s a huge achievement.
MIKE TURNER | Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TVLINE | You have won one of the most important challenges of the season. How did it feel to win this Final 5 challenge?
Look, I wish I could sit here and say that I’ve conquered all the other challenges so I’m ready to take this challenge by storm. Not the case. When I took on this challenge, I just said to myself, “This is such a big challenge. Let me remain calm throughout this challenge.” And as soon as I got to the puzzle and started seeing it, it just started falling into place in my head. I saw where the puzzle pieces went very easily. When I won it was a little overwhelming because you’re trying to hit the bucket list things survivor, and to this point I have not won an immunity challenge. It was mind blowing to get in the top 5 and to beat Lindsay and Jonathan, who are undoubtedly the challenging beasts of the season, on a puzzle and physical. I thought about my wife and children and how they would feel. Even now I’m getting a little emotional because it means so much to me.
TVLINE | Then win the Fire Maker Challenge! How convinced were you of this? Did you think you had it in your pocket?
no One thing you learn, you never have anything in your pocket. To be honest I wasn’t the favourite. Jonathan was the favorite. Every day he lit a fire in the camp. He was the guy everyone went to and as you saw everyone wanted Jonathan to go in because they thought he could hit me. Am I convinced of myself? Yes. But I never thought 100 percent that I would win. But when I saw the nature of the fire and the type of wood, I began to know that I could make the fire fast, I just didn’t know how fast Jonathan could make it. But once I got the flame going, I knew I could build and manage enough height that it would burn through the rope quickly.
TVLINE | If you had lost the fire making challenge and had Jonathan been in your place, who would you have chosen and why?
It would have been a difficult decision. Do I go to Jonathan with loyalty because he has been my husband since the merger and gave me the information that helped me get to the end, or do I look to Marianne who I was also very close to. However, we didn’t play the game together. We had a relationship out there, but we didn’t play the game. But if push came to shove, I would have voted for Jonathan.
TVLINE | At the last tribal, it appeared some jurors questioned your integrity claims. Did you feel like the game slipped out of your hands when Tribal disbanded?
Do you know how it felt? It felt like falling off the edge of a cliff and I saw a vine and grabbed it. It’s not a really strong vine, and I feel it. And as Tribal went on, someone put grease on the liana and I felt myself slipping. And I’m trying to hold on and grab things and before you know it you’re falling off the cliff and you’re looking up and this vine is laughing at you. That’s how it felt.
You know it happens! You are caught up in what you think you did out there. And then when you hear it played to you, the reality of what happened out there is not the same. Our perception is our reality until someone shoves it in your face and makes you understand what reality might have been. i think i play survivor, which to me is like a game of poker. If I’m playing poker with all my best friends in the world and I have a pair of twos and they have a full house and I bluff them and they walk out with a full house, that’s a lie, but it’s also a game. You can be angry for a second that you got caught and believed me. But when the game is over, it’s like, “That was a damn damn move!” That’s how I played the game and assumed [the jury] would have. Obviously I was wrong.
TVLINE | Do you regret how you handled it?
I’m not sure I would have handled it much differently because that’s what I base my life on and who I am to try to be honorable. There’s no way in the world I would be sitting out there saying that the social bonds I formed with these people weren’t real and that it was a game. I figured if I admitted that out there, it would hurt my relationships. There was no way I would have done that. It wasn’t worth a million dollars to me. I’d rather go down with my sinking ship than sit there and say something that I feel isn’t really me.
TVLINE | Maryanne pulled out an idol, a secret she kept from everyone. What was your reaction to that? It seemed to get a huge reaction from the judges.
I can’t help but be honest. It was like, “All right, so you had an idol? What’s so bad about that?” I really didn’t think much about it at the time. Obviously it made a big play with the jury. I still felt in my heart that as well as Maryanne played, I played the game for 26 days. But Maryanne had a tremendous final tribal. She expressed herself much better than I did. I got caught up in the “Is he honorable, isn’t he honorable?” I think I did a lot of things right, but I also thought I did a lot of things wrong, and I don’t think anyone plays a perfect game. I still thought I played the best game, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. Marianne had the best final tribal. She’s a great winner, she deserves the win. And at the end of the day, she won, and I’m okay with that.
TVLINE | Well, you guys hadn’t seen it 41, So what was going through your mind when Jeff announced that he was reading the voices right now?
“Fk, you’re going to read the voices now? What the hell? I’m about to find out what’s going to happen?” I didn’t have a good feeling. So when things went downhill, I said to myself, “OK, I’ve probably got six months to recover until we get back to the reunion show and I find out what the voices are like,” and then he smacks me in the face in order to! I thought, “What the hell!” To be honest, I didn’t feel like I was going to win at that point. So I thought, “You know what? Let’s get it over with. Let me hug Maryanne.” I love her. And honestly, if I had to lose to anyone in the game, I’m so glad it was Maryanne. She is such a beautiful person. She played hard. She’ll do great things with the money, I’m sure of that.
TVLINE | Omar lied to you and said Hai called you his puppet. When did you find out and what was your reaction?
So here’s that deal. My brother said, “Hey Mike. Can we have a small watch party at my house with my friends and family?” So I’m at my brother’s house. I have my wife, my children, his children, his friends. We sit here and watch and we have family visiting and it was so nice. We all hug. Oh my god it’s so beautiful, tears are streaming down my eyes. And then Omar says, ‘Now that we’re in this moment, I have to tell you, Hai told me you were his puppet,’ and I said, ‘Was that a great move that I got him to teach him to say that? ” Then Omar suddenly says: “That was just a lie.” And like, time stood still, everyone stood still. We all look at each other and I say, “I had no idea.”
That’s when I realized Omar was playing a masterful game. He deserves the recognition. The best thing Omar did was nobody knew he was doing it. There isn’t a person in the game who thought he would play this type of game. For me he played the best game out there. So that blew my mind. I thought, “What the hell? How did he do that?” I wasn’t mad. I was glad he could pull it off. I admired the movement. Though he didn’t have to because I’m the one who put the blindside on Hai. He was like that strong in the game, I couldn’t let him power out anymore. I felt like it was about time. And to be honest, I was a little shocked and surprised at how easy it was. It was unanimous. Everyone was on board. They want to turn it off Done.
TVLINE | Well, Mike, I’m from Connecticut and you’re from Jersey, so we both know a thing or two about pizza. I have to ask: how was the pizza in the island of Fiji?
First of all, in normal life, pizza sucks in the island of Fiji. However, if you don’t eat for 26 days and you get pizza, it was like Sally’s in Connecticut. And I know you know where Sally is! It tasted as good as Sally’s and as good as Benny’s in Hoboken! It was wonderful. Look, since we’re from Connecticut and Hoboken, we don’t believe in pineapple pizza. But I’ll tell you right away: pineapple pizza was the hit out there for me. I ate as much and as often as I could.
TVLINE | Finally, what advice do you have for them survivor Hope out there?
Be yourself. Be true to yourself. And damn it! jury administration is as important as they say it is! But I’m proud of my game. I’m proud to be a part of it survivor Family. It is wonderful.
https://tvline.com/2022/05/26/survivor-season-42-mike-turner-interview-runner-up/ ‘Survivor’ Runner-Up on Importance of Jury Management — Interview