I admit I was having trouble getting excited for this season of Survivor. With returning players taking up half of the cast & convoluted twists that seemed unnecessary (Redemption Island, Day Zero, swapping for a voted out loved one who then joins the other tribe), it just seemed like Probst was trying too hard. Asking fellow fans to help boost my enthusiasm netted the following ideas:
-Watch Big Brother, & Survivor will immediately seem like the best thing on TV.
-Focus on the deeper possibilities this season poses, like the moral implications for teams in an individual game.
-Consider this season a Survivor spin-off.
-Tyson is made of awesome - what else could one need?
-Think of the editors as the centre of the story.
-Rupert will make himself look like an ass, so LOLZ.
Turns out, all it took was for Survivor Premiere Day to actually come. I woke up on Wednesday as happy as I was when Malcolm released The Hair just for me.
|*Almost* as happy.|
The loved ones are dropped off in separate spots to spend the night together with no supplies before they're divided into tribes of Returning Players (Galang) & Loved Ones (Tadhana). We don't see any footage from the night, but you can read Dalton Ross' account of spending Day Zero with Gervase & his niece, Marissa.
Probst looks gleeful when he tells the pairs that they will be split into opposing tribes. After digesting this for a few moments, Probst's new favourite word, "Culpepper", says part of him might still want to help his wife, Monica, on the other tribe. The other Loved Ones don't take too kindly to Brad admitting he might try to throw a challenge.
Probst announces that each tribe will vote someone out immediately. Rupert's wife, Laura is voted out of Tadhana - she thinks it's to hurt Rupert, but she's also older than the majority of her tribemates. Candice is voted out of Galang - & it's common knowledge now that Candice & John were last minute replacements for RC & her father.
Rupert gets emotional, watching his wife walk away from her tribe.
|*best read in over-enunciating gruff voice*|
I watched this episode of Survivor with my parents, & my Mom was getting emotional as well. She hadn't seen such a romantic bastard since Tarzan & Terri's quantum entanglement. QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT. That shit's deep.
They are told Redemption Island is back this season, & then Probst adds the next twist - if their loved ones want, they can swap places. Rupert bolts over immediately, much to the chagrin of his tribe, who doesn't see Laura as an adequate replacement for Rupert. Tina says "Rupert is a fantastic shelter builder."
Probst says he never saw this coming, & he clearly went to the same acting school as Ozzy Christ Superstar. John does not swap with Candice & immediately is filled with guilt. Rupert says "Blood is thicker than anything. And Laura & I are blood."
Galang is progressing well - there's initial disappointment that the box of basic supplies doesn't include a flint, but Tyson is all
Tyson makes fire in 15 minutes (made.of.awesome), & Laura is trying her best to learn from the veterans, who are adept in all areas of survival. Most of them, anyway.
Monica is apprehensive about working with Colton again, & doesn't trust him. YOU & ME BOTH. I really like Monica, if for no other reason than she seems really, really sweet.
Tadhana is struggling. Culpepper starts out by assuring his tribe he would never do the thing that he just said would be the first thing he would think of doing. He rushes off to make an alliance with the guys, as they outnumber the girls. "We've got five guys." Culpepper pauses a moment to do the math. Can he count five guys? Yes, he can.
He's looking for a bro-down, & goes on to say "The John Cochrans of Survivor are the big threats now..."
"Vytas, Ciera, & Culpepper" sounds like an indie band that's way too cool for me to know about. They are having no luck starting a fire because Culpepper can't focus as Ciera & Vytas share their stories of hardships. Ciera was a teen mom who is now happily married, & Vytas has overcome a heroin addiction. Both inspiring, but Vytas is most impressive when he explains why he shared his story - to show vulnerability, to get people to trust him, & to strengthen his bonds & connections.
Colton thinks he'll try the same strategy at Galang. He tells a story, which, coming from literally anybody else, would have touched me. Would have made me cry, would have made me feel the feelz. But not when it comes from Colton.
The Moms all flock around him as he cries, but even Monica admits that while a new Colton would be "a beautiful story", she's reluctant to buy into anything coming from Colton Cumbie.
|"Holy shit, there's a scorpion on you!" - everyone to Gervase, constantly, probably.|
The first Immunity Challenge involves obstacles in the water, untying a boat containing puzzle pieces, & paddling it back where the puzzle must be completed. Galang falls behind, as Gervase is not a strong swimmer, & requires Aras' help to get to the boat. Then once they get on the boat, nobody seems to know how to paddle. Kat tells Colton to paddle strong, & he responds exactly the way you expect Colton to respond. Like a spoiled brat.
Despite Tadhana's advantage, Galang blows past them at the puzzle stage, winning Immunity. There is celebration, & Gervase is the most vocal.
Marissa is annoyed that Gervase would throw a win in their faces, hers in particular. "The lion does not roar after it kills its prey", & in this case, the prey is Galang's loved ones, who now have to go to Tribal Council. The Five Guys are debating between Katie, because of a poor challenge performance, & Marissa, to spite her uncle, Gervase. Vytas is aware that the Five Guys alliance is kind of obvious - "It's important for me to keep my alliances with the girls strong." Maybe all the yoga has helped him adapt so quickly & be so flexible. Whatever it is, I am
At Tribal Council, John admits he feels like he let Candice down by not swapping places with her. Marissa expresses her disappointment over Gervase's reaction post-challenge. Vytas says "This twist is different than any other season. No team who wins Immunity is worrying the night the other tribe goes to Tribal Council. But I guarantee you, tonight, that that team is worrying. Because when they see us the next time at a challenge, they know that one of their loved ones is gonna be gone."
Probst says to Marissa, "Wow, that would be devastating to get voted out of this game for something you didn't do, but your Uncle did." And that's exactly what happens. Marissa heads off to Redemption Island after murdering Tadhana with her glare.
|You guys, I've found this season's Swifty already.|
Well, that's just shitty. To think that an over-exuberant display from your loved one could get you voted out adds an unexpected layer to all these twists. I really like Marissa - I respect anyone who names Tia & Tamera Mowry as inspirations in life. There weren't a lot of pale redheads on TV when I was young, & a show with cool redheads would have done wonders for my confidence. Instead, I had Strawberry Shortcake & Annie. I've shared with others that I am a Marissa fan for this reason, & I've been accused of showing favouritism simply because Gervase followed me on twitter before he followed Probst (which, yes, completely delighted me). This doesn't change the fact that Sister, Sister was amazing. So TEAM MARISSA, or GO HOME, ROGER.
What did you think of the episode & all the twists? Who's your favourite? (If it's not Vytas, GTFO. I meant that.) Share your thoughts on the premiere below in the comments, on twitter (@MomofKai), or on this blog's Facebook page.