Time for another “Survivor” season, this one bringing us the second “Blood vs. Water” hook, though this time it’s with all newbies. It’ll be interesting to see how well that works, since there aren’t returning castaways for whom viewers already feel an attachment.
The show gets off on the right foot by having decently long intro segments for each pair of loved ones. It’s nice to see each pair’s dynamic together before the show just jumps right into two tribes (Hunahpu, blue, and Coyopa, orange). What’s also a nice touch is having the first competition be Exile Island for the loser instead of an elimination before the game even starts.
Coyopa is definitely skewing a bit younger than the other tribe, so Dale (who is one of the oldest contestants), feels a bit of the odd man out. So what does he do? He snaps his glasses in half to double up the lenses and manages to use that to start a fire in a gourd. Everybody is suddenly Dale’s No. 1 fan. Way to go, Dale.
Meanwhile, Hunahpu is working on their “levitated” shelter, but only a couple people seem to be helping, which is maybe not the best strategy, considering how important getting a solid shelter built is to a tribe’s well-being.
Also, the resident celebrity is John Rocker, a former pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who is notorious for being outspoken off the field. The jib is up at both tribes, as the father/son pair Keith/Wes from Louisiana both know who Rocker is. Whether they choose to share that information remains to be seen, as Wes tells Rocker he’ll keep it a secret, while Keith went to Exile and hasn’t had a chance to be with his tribe yet.
The first Immunity Challenge is not joking around. It’s an obstacle course followed by a series of very large walls followed by a tricky puzzle. I say this a lot, but it always bears repeating — the “Survivor” challenge designers are amazing. Hunahpu wins, but it was not easy for either tribe and it was very close the entire way.
After the challenge, the Coyopa tribe guys think Nadiya is the one to eliminate, since she played “The Amazing Race” and Dale thinks she can be pretty ruthless. However, Val is busy rounding up female support to try to take out a male player first — but to pull it off, they have to get a guy to break ranks. Nadiya thinks they have Josh, the gay guy, on their side, but every time she refers to him as “a girl,” she’s alienating him (and us. That’s a stupid thing to say, Nadiya). The girls alliance wants to take out Dale. It’s going to come down to whether Josh goes with the men or with the women.
Not much to discuss at this point, it’s not as though anything has been super dramatic yet. Also, nobody knows who Rocker is and he’s obviously a huge part of winning group challenges at this point, so he’s not an option to take out right now in the game.
It’s a little weird that Val feints going for an Immunity Idol right before the votes are left. Why would you do that? Anyway, it doesn’t actually come down to Josh’s vote — he votes for Baylor. What?! Baylor is actually the one who votes Nadiya out. Wild.
This season: Someone quits! Oh, the drama.