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The Hourglass is a game-changing twist introduced in Survivor 41. It allows its user to unilaterally reverse the results of a prior Immunity Challenge, stripping immunity from the challenge winners and transferring it to the challenge losers.

Overview

The Hourglass allows its user to "change the course of history". Following an Immunity Challenge, the player who has been handed the hourglass faces a decision between keeping the challenge results as they are, or breaking the hourglass to reverse the challenge results, effectively revoking immunity from the challenge winners and transferring it to themselves and the challenge losers.

Twist History

Survivor 41

The Hourglass was introduced at the "merge" of Survivor 41. The final twelve castaways were told they had to "earn" their way into the merge through a grueling team Reward/Immunity Challenge. The castaways were split into two groups of five, with two sit-outs, Erika Casupanan and Naseer Muttalif. The blue team comprising Danny McCray, Deshawn Radden, Evvie Jagoda, Ricard Foyé and Sydney Segal won the challenge, earning the merge feast and immunity at the first Tribal Council of the individual phase. In addition, the team chose Naseer to join in on the reward, in the process granting him immunity as well. Simultaneously, they made the decision to send Erika to Exile Island, where she would be the first person to receive the Hourglass.

Late into Erika's first day on Exile, Jeff Probst showed up with a decision for Erika to make. She could either keep the game as it is (and remain vulnerable at the first Tribal Council), or smash the hourglass, unilaterally removing immunity from the winning blue team and Naseer, and transferring it to the losing yellow team and herself. Sensing that she was on the bottom of her Luvu alliance, Erika decided to destroy the hourglass, forcing Danny, Deshawn, Evvie, Naseer, Ricard, and Sydney to compete in an individual Immunity Challenge to protect themselves at the final twelve Tribal Council. Ricard won immunity, and Sydney was voted out that night.

Survivor 42

Jeff explains the Hourglass to Rocksroy.

Once again, on the cusp of the merge, the final twelve castaways faced the same Reward/Immunity Challenge as in Survivor 41. The castaways were divided into two groups of five, with Lindsay Dolashewich and Rocksroy Bailey sitting out. The orange team comprising Hai Giang, Jonathan Young, Lydia Meredith, Maryanne Oketch, and Tori Meehan won and selected Lindsay to join them on the reward. Then, Jeff Probst told the orange team that they had a decision to make; they could either banish Rocksroy or exile one of themselves in his stead to keep control over the potential advantage on Exile Island, giving up their portion of the reward in the process. It has been implied in exit interviews that the winning team member that opted to be exiled would lose their immunity as a result.[1] Ultimately, at Tori's insistence, the orange team settled on sending Rocksroy to Exile Island.

At the merged beach, members of both the winning and losing teams made guesses about Rocksroy's advantage. Notably, Drea Wheeler would accurately predict the nature of Rocksroy's decision, and alliances began discussing plans against both the vulnerable Chanelle Howell and immune players Maryanne and Tori.

After spending two days and two nights on exile, Rocksroy was faced with, and eventually made, the decision to destroy the hourglass. This forced Hai, Jonathan, Lindsay, Lydia, Maryanne, and Tori to compete in an individual Immunity Challenge to protect themselves at the final twelve Tribal Council. Tori would go on to win immunity, and Lydia was voted out that night.

Summary

Season Episode Immune Exiled Decision Voted Out
Survivor 41 "Ready to Play Like a Lion" S41 danny t.pngS41 deshawn t.pngS41 evvie t.png
S41 naseer t.pngS41 ricard t.pngS41 sydney t.png
Danny, Deshawn, Evvie, Naseer, Ricard, & Sydney
S41 erika t.png
Erika Casupanan
Yes!.png
Broke Hourglass
S41 sydney bw.png
Sydney Segal
"There's Gonna Be Blood"
Survivor 42 "You Can't Hide on Survivor" S42 hai t.pngS42 jonathan t.pngS42 lindsay t.png
S42 lydia t.pngS42 maryanne t.pngS42 tori t.png
Hai, Jonathan, Lindsay, Lydia, Maryanne, & Tori
S42 rocksroy t.png
Rocksroy Bailey
Yes!.png
Broke Hourglass
S42 lydia bw.png
Lydia Meredith
"The Devil You Do or the Devil You Don't"

Reception

The twist was panned by fans as well as members of the Survivor 41 cast. Notably, Danny questioned Jeff Probst at the first Tribal Council following the twist, labeling the twist as a "lie" that undermined the integrity of the game and the sanctity of winning immunity.[2] Sydney believed that the Hourglass was a stroke of bad luck that effectively ended her game, as well as a symptom of the twist-heavy direction in which the series was heading, to its detriment.[3] While the Survivor 42 cast was less critical of the twist, Tori was shown expressing her frustration at being on the receiving end of the twist and losing her immunity.

Additionally, the twist has been criticized for its overpowered nature. Because whoever breaks the hourglass automatically receives individual immunity, there is a heavy incentive for the exiled player to accept the offer, especially since they are isolated from the social politics happening in the game.[4] The decision-making thus requires little risk calculation on the part of the exiled castaway, making it almost certain that they will accept the choice to reverse the challenge outcome in order to grant themselves safety.

Trivia

  • Both times the twist was used,
    • A member of a blue starting tribe was exiled.
    • A woman was voted out.
  • In Survivor 41, as a result of the twist, a member of a green starting tribe won the individual Immunity Challenge and a member of a blue starting tribe was voted out. Conversely in Survivor 42, a member of the blue tribe won while a member of the green tribe was voted out.

References

Survivor Gameplay
 
Challenges
Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction
Elimination
Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn
Strategy
Alliance · Pagonging · Split Vote (Strategy)
Social Dynamics
Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe
Twists
Casting

Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity


Tribal Council-Related

Advantage Amulet · Do or Die · Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Legacy Advantage · Knowledge is Power · Shot in the Dark · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal


Miscellaneous

Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Hourglass · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · Summit · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch

Post-Game
Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show
Miscellaneous
Buff · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging
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