Survivor is back for its 40th season!
This season’s twist is that it’s a battle of champions. They’re not calling it an “all-star season” but that’s exactly what it is. Everyone who showed up on the beach in Fiji last night was a former winner. Some of them were making their fourth or fifth appearance on the show. (Boston Rob was making his sixth, if you count his role as mentor from Island of the Idols.)
Here what’s I liked about last night’s episode:
- I’m usually a little bit iffy on seasons that are all returning players but this time, it looks like the Survivor producers have managed to recruit a pretty good mix of players. For once, not everyone is a recent player. Instead, you’ve got players like Ethan and Danni mixing it up with Adam, Tony, and Ben.
- With a few notable exceptions, most of the players that are appearing this season all played good games when they were last on the show. There’s so many winners that won just because the jury was bitter or because the other players in the final three were so unlikable that no one wanted to give them the money but fortunately, none of those “accidental” winners returned last night. Arguably, everyone on the beach earned their previous victories.
- When the show started with the men and the women separated, I was worried we were going to be in for yet another boring battle of the sexes. I’m glad that they mixed the tribes up and I’m glad that they did it by random draw.
Here’s what I disliked about last night’s episode:
- Edge of Extinction is back! Once again, instead of leaving after getting voted out, the castaways are being sent to the Edge of Extinction. I hated this twist the first time that it was done and I imagine I’ll hate it again.
- I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to like the fire tokens. Fire tokens are a new twist. They’re like Survivor currency. Everyone starts the game with one fire token and it can be used to buy stuff, like an immunity idol that’s good for three tribals. If you get voted out, you have to give whatever fire tokens you may have to another player. This could be interesting or it could just be annoying. We’ll see.
We’ve got two tribes, the Sele Tribe and the Dakal Tribe. Here’s who is on each tribe:
1, Natalie, you may remember, was on The Amazing Race with her annoying sister and then they both did Survivor. Natalie’s sister got voted out at the first tribal but Natalie managed to win her season, despite not being that smart of a player.
2. Danni. Danni won the 11th season of Survivor and I’m glad to see her back. She was a smart player and if anyone deserves a chance to win a second time, it’s her.
3. Jeremy. This is Jeremy’s 3rd time to play. He previously won Survivor 31.
4. Ben. Ben won Survivor 35 and was the first person to get into the final 3 as a result of the new firemaking twist. In fact, some people think the whole firemaking comp was added just to make sure Ben made it into the final three.
5. Michele shocked everyone when she beat Aubrey during Survivor 32. Michele’s an underrated player. She proved that a social game can be just as important as a physical game.
6. Adam won Survivor Generation X vs. Millennials. He’s the youngest winner on the beach.
7. Boston Rob. Everyone knows Boston Rob.
8, Parvatti. Everyone knows Parvatti, too. Parvatti now has a family and, judging by last night’s episode, seems to be a little bit more down-to-Earth than she was the last time she played.
9. Denise. Seeing Denise made me wish that Malcolm had won that season so he could be there instead.
10. Ethan. Ethan won the third season of Survivor. After his recent health struggles, it’s good to see Ethan back. The question is whether or not an old school player like Ethan can adjust to a game that’s now dominated by immunity idols.
1, Amber, or as Boston Rob calls her, “Ambuh.” Amber won the very first All-Stars and she ended up marrying Boston Rob. They later competed on the Amazing Race. There’s always a lot of debate among the Survivor fandom as to whether or not Amber deserved to win or if she just rode Rob’s coattails. I think she’s a better player than she’s given credit for.
2. Tyson. Yes, self-styled villain Tyson is back. It looks like he’s trying to be a bit less villainous this time around.
3. Sophie. Who cares? Sophie was boring during her first season and she’ll probably be boring again.
4. Sandra. They just love bringing Sandra back, for some reason. Did you know that Sandra’s already won twice? It’s easy to forget since it’s not like Sandra brings it up every time she starts talking.
5. Wendell won Survivor 36. I remember liking Wendell at the time.
6. Yul is a former winner who I have always hoped would get another chance to play. It was good to see him back again.
7. Sarah Lacina. This is Sarah’s second time to play. She previously won Survivor Game Changers and I honestly can barely remember a thing about her.
8. Kim. Kim totally dominated Survivor: One World. I’ll be interesting to see if she can do it again.
9. Tony Vlachos. Tony’s back and just as hyper as ever. Personally, I think he’s going to outplay himself.
10, Nick Wilson. Nick won Survivor 37 and is the most recent winner on the beach.
We had two tribal councils last night. Sele went to the first tribal and then Dakal went to the second. At both tribal councils, the fact that Boston Rob and Amber were married made them obvious targets.
At Sele, however, Boston Rob and Parvatti were able to get the target off of them when Denise and Adam went off to get water. The tribe decided that Denise and Adam might be working together or that they might have gone off to search for an immunity idol. Realizing that he was now in danger, Adam then reminded everyone that Natalie and Jeremy had previously both competed on the same season and that they needed to broken up. It led to a somewhat confused vote and amazingly, neither Boston Rob nor Parvatti got a single mention.
Instead, it was a 7-2-1 vote. 1 vote for Adam (from Jeremy). 2 votes from Denise (from Michele and Natalie). And then everyone else on the tribe voted for Natalie. An annoyed Natalie was sent to Edge of Extinction. She gave her fire token to Jeremy.
At Dakal’s tribal council, Amber was the obvious target because of her marriage to Boston Rob. Also targeted was Kim because of an appearance she had made with some of the other former Survivor players (specifically Tyson, Rob, and Jeremy) at a televised poker tournament. During the game,Tyson had jokingly said that, if they ever got on Survivor again, they should all form an alliance. This led to Sophie, Yul, Sandra, Tony, and Sarah targeting the members of the “Poker Alliance,” Kim, Tyson, and Amber.
At tribal, the votes were split between Amber and Kim. (Amber tried to put a target on Nick’s back by pointing out that he was the most recent winner but it didn’t work.) By a vote of 6 votes for Amber, 3 votes for Kim, and 1 vote for Nick, Amber was sent to Edge of Extinction. Not surprisingly, she gave her fire token to Rob.
On Edge of Extinction, Natalie won the chance to send someone an immunity idol that would be good for three days. She sent it to Sandra, who had to give up her fire token to receive the idol.
And that’s it for last night. It looks like it’ll be a great season and I’m so happy to back to cover it!