Survivor is back! I am so excited for the new season, especially to see Jonathan Penner play again. He’s always been one of my favorite Survivor’s. Michael Skupin from the Australian Outback is returning also as is Russell Swan from Samoa. There are also two celebrities on the show. Lisa Whelchel who played Blair on the Facts of Life and baseball star Jeff Kent. For the first time in several years there will be three tribes instead of two. Plus Survivor is back in the water again after several seasons where they couldn’t do water challenges due to strong currents.
We open up with the 15 new Survivors on a boat as Jeff Probst pulls up in another boat and starts talking about the dangers of Survivor. Soon another boat pulls up with Russell, Penner and Michael. The tribes are divided up and given 60 seconds to grab what they can from the boat and get in their rafts. There are chickens, fruits and vegetables and tools. Jeff Kent twisted his knee jumping off the boat and says he thinks he may have torn his MCL. He’s trying to keep it from the others and says he played hurt his whole career.
The tribes hit their beaches and Russell is already taking over his tribe even though he repeatedly says he doesn’t want to be a leader. His tribe is already annoyed with him and talking of voting him off once he helps them get a shelter built and teaches them what he knows. Over at the other camp Penner seems to be fitting in well. He is so happy to be playing for a third time and got choked up talking about it. Michael Skupin is already in an alliance with two girls and a guy (I’ll learn all the names sooner or later!). Skupin says you have to flow with the game and if they are moving fast then he has to also. So far it looks like two of the three returnees could stick around for a while.
One of the castaways has already recognized Jeff Kent as a MLB star but hasn’t said anything yet. He seems really useful around camp, doing a lot of work and getting along with people better than he did on the San Francisco Giants. Over at Russell’s tribe, Zane is making alliances with everyone then makes the mistake of telling Malcom and Russell that he is in alliances with everyone. Malcom doesn’t like that at all since he was the last person Zane came to. Nobody except Skupin has recognized Lisa Whelchel and he is keeping her secret for now. Lisa seems like a really nice and genuine person but isn’t really fitting in with the younger girls. Michael hopes he can keep her around though.
The next segment was all about hidden immunity idols. Penner is actively searching around his camp and his tribemates don’t like that. He’s making himself an even bigger target. Penner is a smart guy though and when he doesn’t find it in the usual places he thinks it through and searches the rice box that was on the beach waiting for them. Sure enough, he finds a clue to the idol inside the rice bag. Now he just has to find the actual idol! Russell is making rice at his camp and stumbles onto the clue. Zane notices him reading it and gets in a casual conversation with Russell about idols and Russell claims he hasn’t looked for it and anyone who does should be a target. Zane agrees and it looks like Russell is the big target.
Time for the first immunity challenge. It’s an old Survivor challenge that has three legs to it. First two people have to run into the jungle and come back with oars. Then the next two take the oars and paddle the canoe out into the ocean where they dive down and release a chest. They get the chest back to the beach and the final two have to put the puzzle together. Penner kicks ass on the puzzle and overtakes Skupin’s tribe to take first place. Skupin’s tribe comes in second and Russell Swan’s tribe is going to tribal council. Russell’s target gets bigger and bigger since he was bossy at the challenge and assigned everyone their tasks.
When they get back to camp Zane immediately takes the blame for not being able to run. Russell had to practically drag him when they were running the first leg. Zane says he deserves to go home. But it’s a ruse, he explains later that he wants to blindside Russell and he’s “playing chess” the best he knows how and hopes they king him. Umm Zane, that’s checkers!
Angie goes for Zane’s play and urges him not to go home. She wants him to stay bad and also wants Russell to get voted of. Then Malcom falls for it also. Zane tells Malcom he thinks Russell has the hidden immunity idol and they could blindside him and take it out of play. They go to tribal and Russell really gets hammered for being a dictator. It’s not looking for Russell. Time to vote and in a shocker everyone votes for Zane. He is completely blindsided and is the first one voted out of the game!