Well, here we are!
Last night saw the premiere of another season of Survivor. Jeff Probst started things off by mentioning that this was the 500th episode of Survivor! Can you believe that? It’s amazing that this show has not only lasted this long but it’s also managed to stay consistently entertaining and surprising. Assuming the world doesn’t end over the next 17 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Survivor make it to a 1,000 episodes.
This season’s theme is Game Changers. That players are returnees who, in the past, “changed the game.” One thing about Jeff — no matter how silly the premise, he’s going to go out of his way to sell it. He insisted that all of the players were game changers and he was so passionate about it that, while I was watching the show, I believed him. It was only after the episode ended that it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure who a lot of these supposed game changers were.
I mean, I remembered the previous winners. And, of course, I remembered players like Ozzy and Malcolm. But then there were others who I struggled to recognize. At the start of the episode, blonde Sierra (as opposed to brunette Ciera) found a legacy advantage that will give her automatic immunity from the 6th to the 13th tribal council. That’s a big advantage and it’s good that she found it because I honestly don’t remember Sierra from her previous season.
Interestingly, some of the players who most changed the game are not playing this season. There’s no Boston Rob. No Richard Hatch. No Russell Hantz. Despite being one of the greatest players in Survivor history, Thailand’s Brain has never been asked to play a second time.
Here’s who did return:
Ciera (Previously on Blood vs. Water and Cambodia) — Ciera is truly one of my least favorite Survivor players of all time. Ciera’s claim to fame is that she voted out her own mother on Blood vs. Water. The main reason she’s famous for it is because she never shuts up about it.
Tony (Cayagan) — Hyper Tony. He somehow won his previous season. He started out Game Changers by shouting that he was going to look for an idol and then running into the woods. Not smart, Tony.
Aubry (Kaoh Rong) — One of the most overrated players in Survivor history. She lost what should have been an easy win, just because she couldn’t bring herself to socialize with the other members of her tribe.
Michaela (Millennials vs. Gen X) — Michaela, who is from my home state of Texas, was one of my favorite Survivors last year. Hopefully, this year will end better for her.
Sandra (Pearl Island and Heroes Vs. Villains) — Still as outspoken as ever, Sandra is trying for a third win.
Hali (Worlds Apart) — Hali is one of those “game changers” that I can barely remember.
Malcolm (Philippines and Caramoan) — MALCOLM! Malcolm is back and just as strong and nice to look at as ever. Hopefully, he’s improved as a strategist.
Caleb (Koah Rong) — CALEB! Listen, I’m really excited to have Caleb back but, again, I have to wonder if he’s really a game changer. He was likable and it sucks that he had to be medically evacuated. But did he really change the game?
Troyzan (One World) — I don’t have many thoughts on Troyzan. If they had to bring back a guy from One World, I’m glad it was him and not Tarzan.
Jeff Varner (Australia and Cambodia) — I have no idea what Varner’s doing there. Judging from how poorly he did in the challenges, I doubt he’ll be around for long.
Andrea (Redemption Island and Caramoan) — I recognized Andrea but I can’t remember much about what she did during her previous two seasons.
Brad Culpepper (Blood vs. Water) — Was Brad really a game changer? His wife was but, if I remember correctly, Brad was just kind of a goofball.
Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains) — Cirie is back! Again. This is Cirie’s fourth time. If she doesn’t win this season, it’s time to move on to another reality show. Still, I did enjoy the rebirth of the rivalry between her and Ozzy. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
Sarah (Cagayan) — I have no idea who Sara is.
Ozzy (Cook Islands, Micronesia, and South Pacific) — Ozzy! I love Ozzy, even if he is definitely starting to age a little. But again, this is his fourth time. At this point, he should know that he needs to be careful about getting blind sided and that he needs to up his social game. If he hasn’t learned that yet, he may need to look for a new show to try to win.
Zeke (Millennial vs. Gen X) — Eh. Zeke’s back. Who cares?
Sierra (Worlds Apart) — I’m not sure why Sierra is considered a game changer but she did find that legacy advantage.
J.T. (Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains) — J.T. is back and he appears to be just as likable as ever.
Tai (Koah Rong) — I know Tai is popular but I’m not sure he was ever really a game changer, unless you count convincing the tribe not to eat the chicken.
Debbie (Koah Rong) — Debbie managed to get through the first two episodes without having a paranoid episode or attempting to cast any hexes on anyone. That’s progress.
As for the first two tribal councils, it was Mana both times and I was happy with the results of each tribal. Ciera was voted out the first time. Hyper Tony was voted out the second time. As of right now, Sandra appears to be in charge of Mana.
So, what did everyone think of the premiere? Also, it appears that they’ll be switching up tribes next episode! No one should get too comfortable. 🙂