Welcome to this season’s coverage of Survivor! If you’re a subscriber to this site, this post should show up in your email. If it doesn’t, drop me a message at LisaMarieBowman@live.com and I’ll try to fix that. Thanks!
As for last night’s premiere…
Well, every season of Survivor starts out with a gimmick. One of the great things about Survivor is that, even though it starts out with a gimmick and usually pushes that gimmick pretty hard, the gimmick always eventually gets abandoned. After a few episodes, there’s always a tribal reshuffle. Add to that, the castaways are often too busy simply trying to stay alive to spend too much time obsessing on the gimmick.
This season’s gimmick is Millennials vs. Gen X. It’s an okay gimmick as far as Survivor is concerned, though I don’t think it’s quite as clever as Brains, Brawn, Beauty or that time that one tribe got everything while the other tribe started out with nothing. Last night’s premier emphasized the generational divide to almost a comical extent but I have a feeling that it will be abandoned after a few episodes.
To be honest, I would have called this season Survivor: Young vs. Old. Though the majority of the episode was devoted to showing the Millennials screwing up, I really wasn’t the surprised when they won the immunity comp. Even when they were occasionally behind, they were never that far behind. Physically, the Millennials are in better shape than Gen X. And that’s always going to be an advantage, especially in team challenges.
I’m a Millennial but I hate my generation so I have to admit to being a little torn about which tribe I want to see win. And, in many ways, the Millennial Tripe represented every negative stereotype about my generation. Hopefully, that was just a case of editing and they’ll be a little less annoying as the season proceeds.
Here’s my initial impressions of the players:
Takali Tribe (Gen X);
Rachel Ako — Rachel talked too much and said she was great at puzzles. As soon as I saw her volunteering to do a puzzle, I knew that Takali was going to lose immunity and Rachel was going to be in trouble. Never volunteer to do anything.
Sunday Bourquest — Sunday seems like she’s nice but I’ll be surprised if she makes it to the merge.
Chris Hammons — Chris seems like he could emerge as a strong player. He’s one of those hard-working, physically competitive players who always seems to make it to the merge but never to the final three.
Lucy Huang — Lucy did not make a huge impression on me. Maybe she’ll get a chance to shine in a future episode.
Bret LaBelle — Bret appears to be this season’s burly, blue collar Boston guy. He seems like a natural soul mate for Chris.
Jessica Lewis — Jessica is an assistant district attorney. At the start of the game, when the two tribes were grabbing supplies, Jessica grabbed a parchment. According to the parchment, if Jessica makes it to Day 36, she’ll receive an advantage.
Ken McNickle — Ken is the model who claims to have spent the last two years living off the grid. Ken came across as being a little full of himself. If he knows what he’s talking about, he’ll be okay. If he turns out to just be a blowhard, he’s going to get voted off quickly.
CeCe Taylor — CeCe seems like she’s nice but, otherwise, didn’t make much of an impression. For some reason, she received a lot of votes at tribal council. It wasn’t enough to get her voted off the island but still, I was surprised when I discovered people had voted for her. Hopefully, during the next episode, we’ll get an explanation as to why so many people voted for CeCe.
Paul Wachter — At 52, Paul is the oldest castaway this season. He seems like a rather gruff but likable character. According to the preview of next week’s episode, a member of Takali is going to have a medical emergency. I have a feeling it’ll be Paul.
David Wright — I was surprised that David didn’t get voted out. He is way too paranoid and has no idea when to stop talking. A part of me cringed whenever David was onscreen but then another part of me wanted to see what he would say next. If David somehow manages to avoid getting kicked out of his tribe, I think he could be one of the most controversial castaways of all time. He’ll be the guy you either love or hate.
Vanua Tribe (Millennials)
Michaela Bradshaw — Michaela’s from my home state! Otherwise, she didn’t make much of an impression on me.
Figgy Figuero — Figgy is this season’s “I’m too flirty to be smart” castaway. Figgy says that she hopes to go home with both a million dollars and a husband. Bleh. If you have a million dollars, why do you need a husband?
Adam Klein — Adam has a nice smile.
Michelle Schubert — Michelle is in a four-person alliance with Figgy, Taylor, and Jay. Unfortunately, none of them appears to be smart enough to realize that the rest of their tribe dislikes them.
Hannah Shapiro — Hannah is this season’s bitter girl. In the style of last season’s Aubry, she appears to be set on targeting anyone who she feels is too physically attractive.
Zeke Smith — Zeke is an odd one. He’s only 28 but he looks like he’s in his 40s. With his mustache and his Hawaiian shirt and his somewhat nasal voice, it was kind of easy to dismiss Zeke but, by the end of the episode, he was emerging as his tribe’s leader. He stepped up to get the tribe’s shelter made and also started fire. Zeke says that he’s not comfortable with the Millennial label. Zeke is either going to do very well or he’s going to get voted off for being bossy. That’s what always happens to anyone who emerges as a leader early on in the game.
Jay Starrett — Jay is the hot real estate guy, who appears to not be that bright. He started a pretty people alliance with Taylor, Michelle, and Figgy.
Taylor Lee Stocker — Could Taylor be this season’s Fabio, a total airhead who comes out of nowhere to win? I hope not. Taylor’s annoying.
Mari Takahasi — Mari makes her living playing video games on YouTube. Mari declared herself to be the leader of the Millennial outcasts, which I think will lead to conflict with Hannah, who apparently also wants to be the outcast leader.
Will Wahl — Will’s a high school student! He’s the youngest castaway ever! Otherwise, he didn’t make much of an impression on me.
As for last night’s episode, the highlight was definitely the two tribes being evacuated from the beach, as the result of a cyclone. The evacuation reportedly lasted for several days. This was the first time that ever happened on the show and it reminded me of why I like Survivor. You can actually die while playing Survivor. They’re not kidding when they say that the game is about survival.
As for the immunity challenge, Gen X lost because Rachel and David struggled on the puzzle and squandered a narrow lead. I honestly thought that David would be voted out (and he didn’t help himself by clearly searching or an immunity idol) but instead, it was Rachel who was the first voted off the island. (Rachel, it should be noted, never really took any responsibility for struggling with the puzzle whereas David was literally begging people not to vote for him.)
The tribe has spoken!
Next week, it appears that someone will have a heart attack! I’m predicting Paul.
What did everyone else think about the season premiere of Survivor?