Spoilers ahead! (Sorry if you’re a Gen Xer and don’t know what a spoiler is)
Survivor is back! There’s nothing like hearing the conch shell/aborigines chanting over vague footage of the upcoming season for the first time in a long time. Gives me goosebumps/snapchat material. If I were a WWE Superstar, it would without a doubt be my intro music. But I digress, let’s recap the season premiere, take a look at my episode 1 power rankings, and make a prediction for next week’s episode.
You would think 33 seasons into this beautiful game that we would be done with “Survivor firsts.” Yes, they do try to incorporate new rules in the game such as Tyler Perry’s idea to have the hidden immunity idol be playable AFTER the votes have been read, or hiding the hidden immunity idols in the actual challenges instead of randomly in the woods. This season we’re getting something called the Legacy Advantage. Although it’s relatively unknown what it’ll actually do come day 36, we do know that once it’s open to the public after the castaway in ownership of the advantage (which at the moment is Jess) it’s going to draw a lot of intrigue and put a target on their back. It’s a fun little way to ensure it’s actually used instead of wasted. Hopefully it’s something a little better than the pepper Debbie, Caleb, and Cydney collapsed over in the previous season.
That’s not only the “Survivor First” that was introduced on the show. We also had our first ever Survivor Evac! The contestants are in Fiji during typhoon season, and the weather was relentless on the very first night. Both the hardened Gen Xers and the laissez-faire Millennials did as good a job building a shelter as I did editing my preview of the season last week. The rain was constant and everyone had without a doubt a terrible night, even though ol’ Figgy had a big smile on her face when she described it to Jeff. It was so bad the producers pulled probably the most unintentionally funny moment in Survivor history. I have to imagine this was the production meeting they had the morning after the first night.
“Hey, there’s a tropical storm coming and these tribes didn’t build shelters.” – Mark Burnett
“What am I supposed to do about it, I just host the challenges, tribal council, and yell obvious things like ‘You gotta dig deep!” – Jeff Probst
“Well we can’t have any Survivor die because of a tropical storm, it’d be a bad PR move…any suggestions?” – Mark
“We could send them a tarp!” – unpayed intern reevaluating their life decisions.
To which a groggy Mark Burnett agreed only to later realize that a tarp vs. a tropical storm is the equivalent of a band aid to a gun shot wound, and yanked the castaways under the diversion that it had been upgraded from a tropical storm to a typhoon. Seriously, a tarp? If a tree falls in the forest and crushed an entire tribe, do they make a sound? Of course not, they had a tarp!
All jokes aside it was pretty exciting seeing Jeff and a boat of old people sail off into the choppy waters in the dark not knowing if they were going to make it back before the first immunity challenge.
The camp life itself after the evacuation went pretty par the course for the first episode of Survivor. The good looking tribe mates on the millennial side teamed up, bro’d out, and talked about how much they loved each other already. We have a showmance brewing between Figgy/Taylor and a bromance between Jay/Taylor that will make for some excellent television. We also witnessed Survivor changing a persons life. Zeke, who openly admitted to feeling like an outcast amongst the outcasts, took all the wilderness knowledge he gained riding the subway in Brooklyn and somehow made fire. It was rewarding to see a character sort of down in the dumps get inspired by his own hard work.
On the Gen X side, we had self described OCD/paranoia king Dave stirring up the pot…and by stirring up the pot I mean annoying the hell out of everyone, including the viewers. Ken McKnickle found a kick ass stick bug, Dave didn’t like that one bit. Paul and Ken had something in their left hand when looking for bamboo, Dave didn’t like that one bit. People went down by the water without him, Dave didn’t like that one bit. He did manage to break a stick in half despite him having “no idea how to build a shelter” which he constantly reminded the rest of his tribe. If Bret doesn’t put Dave in a body bag by the end of the next episode you can color me surprised.
After an hour into the season premier, we had our first Immunity Challenge. The challenge itself was standard: obstacle course, carrying something heavy as a team, and a puzzle at the end. The twist was their were shortcuts available that made the obstacle course easier, but it added pieces to the puzzle at the end. Clearly this was an attempt to get the millennials to play into their own stereotype of “taking shortcuts” and Gen Xers gritting it out the old fashioned way. Gasp! A twiste! The Gen Xers took the bait and ended up taking both the shortcut on the rope obstacle course AND the balance beam, where as the Millennials only took one shortcut. One episode in and we’re shattering worldly views. It turned out the Millennials made the right call and won immunity, prompting Nick Maiorano from last season’s Survivor to send out the greatest tweet of the night.
Here’s a little Survivor 101: do not volunteer for the puzzle on the first challenge. I don’t care if you’re world renown puzzle maker Otto Robert Maier of Ravensburger puzzles, do NOT volunteer for the puzzle on challenge one. It is the most high risk, low reward move in the game. Keep your puzzling expertise a secret until the merge that way your tribe mates will underestimate you and it’ll seem like you really grew while playing the game.
Rachel’s puzzle prowess was enough of a blunder to overcome OCD Dave (who was annoying and also sucked at the puzzle), and her torch got snuff’d.
Oklahoma Bill Burr, alongside Cop/Coach Bret, formed the first alliance containing 6 people who ultimately decided that the former playboy model had to go. He also wore a suit and button down shirt to tribal (cause he’s a lawyer and all) and then stood up showing he was pants-less. I believe Jack Donaghey would call this the ultimate “power clash.”
Zeke hated everything and everyone on his tribe. I’m surprised he didn’t wig out and snap the chickens heads off from the get. Instead, he provided his tribe with the ultimate tool, fire. He surprised everybody last night, including himself.
I’ll say this, I think Michelle has already set herself up for the long haul. She’s in the beauty sect of the Millennial tribe, but also just seems down to earth to where Hannah trusted her. If she can ride the fence in between as long as possible, and also reveal this secret dark side that she hinted at, we may have ourselves a winner.
Do I know what the Legacy Advantage is? I sure don’t. Would I want to have it? You betcha sally babay. Smooth move by Jessica swiping it up without being noticed. Not so smooth getting a double eye bacterial infection looking like Bob Costas in the Sochi Olympics.
These bro’s/bro-ette are going to be fun to watch while they’re still there. I hope the Millennials keep whooping up on the Gen Xers because these guys don’t seem to have the brain capacity to realize there’s already a mutiny forming against them. Until then I’m going to enjoy all the dudes, bro love, and puppy eyes between these 3 and Michelle.
Ken McKnickle has been playing Survivor for the last 4 and a half years in Hawaii. He was built for this game. It’s a little worrysome he wasn’t involved in Chris’s six pack alliance that voted out Rachel, but he’s a handy guy to keep around. If he makes it to the merge and jumps ship to the millennial side I say he has a good chance of winning.
There’s more than one typhoon coming for the Millennial tribe. Hannah is Aubrey without all the crying. If anyone is taking out team beauty, it’s this barista.
Brett hates Dave and it looks like he’s going to be Oklahoma Bill Burr’s right hand man. Surprisingly quick on his feet as well.
Wil’s here because it’s pretty amazing that the kid wasn’t stuffed in a locker as soon as he admitted to be in high school. Surprisingly deep voice from a kid who’s nuts haven’t dropped yet.
Michaela is getting the nod because I dream of her and Zeke teaming up. They both seem to be the Millennials with the more Gen Xer work style/dedication. It would be the most unlikely pairing to ever take the game by storm.
In the previews it looks like we might have another Survivor first: Heart attack. Scary stuff in a game where your biggest fear should be stick bugs and betrayal and not real life emergencies. The showed a little sneaky preview without revealing who it is. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s probably someone from Gen X, and those hands looked like they were male and the person was also wearing cargo shorts, leading me to believe that:
Paul will be going home next week.