So Season 27 is underway. It started off last week with a 90-minute premiere that spent a lot of time simply introducing us not only to the 20 contestants this season, but also introducing us to the many new twists that are in play. Yes, this is not Survivor as we've ever known it. But is that a bad thing?
The jury is still out on whether or not this season will be a refreshing diversion or a horrific train wreck of ideas. But stick with it. If nothing else, the first episode set up some intriguing story-lines.
Now that the game is in full-swing, we should learn much more in tonight's second episode. It begins with Rupert, Candice and Marissa (the first person voted out of her tribe at a Tribal Council) facing an elimination Duel at Redemption Island. Need a quick refresher? These three will compete in a challenge where the third place person will leave the game for good. The first place winner will receive a clue to a hidden Idol back at the camps and will be able to give the clue to anybody they choose.
Oh yeah, there is a chance also that loved ones can "swap out" before each Duel. That means that if they chose to, Rupert could swap with his wife to have his wife compete in the challenge while he would take her place in the game...the same goes for both Candice and Marissa. But since the press images and previews for this week's episode already show these three competing in the Duel, we know that the swap won't be used in Episode 2...although each week the contestants will be faced with this option.
But there is much more going on tonight than just the Duel. Here is the synopsis of Episode 2 from CBS:
Episode 2, “Rule In Chaos” - THE SEASON’S FIRST BATTLE ON REDEMPTION ISLAND SENDS ONE CASTAWAY HOME FOR GOOD, ON “SURVIVOR: BLOOD VS. WATER,” WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 25. A new alliance of seasoned players targets one of their own. Meanwhile, the old Colton rears his head and tries to disturb the peace at camp, on SURVIVOR: BLOOD VS. WATER, Wednesday, Sept. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Analysis. What? The "Old" Colton? Already? What happened to the "new and improved" Colton? It will be interesting to see just how Colton reverts to the villain that some have come to loathe from his previous season.
It will also be interesting to see how - if at all - the Immunity Idol clue will factor into people's strategies. Let's say Candice wins the Duel and gives the Idol clue to her husband, John. That action gives John an advantage since he has an Idol clue, but does it also make him a bigger threat to the others? Or, say, Marissa loses and is eliminated, does that make Gervase a more attractive option to align with, since he could make an alliance of two an alliance of three once a merge happens? Or what if, say, Candice goes on a winning streak at Redemption Island, does that make John a target, so that the others can try to weaken Candice if she was to return to the game?
The only real alliance we saw form in Episode 1 took place over at the new player's Tadhana tribe, an all-male alliance consisting of Brad, Hayden, Caleb, John and Vytas. It's an alliance that I'm calling "The Brigade 2.0," referencing Big Brother winner, Hayden Moss's all-male alliance that took him to the end of that game and crowned him winner. Hayden wasn't given much air-time in Episode 1 - Brad took care of most of that - but he seems to be in a great position early on. Not that it should matter tonight, as all of the drama seems to be taking place either at Redemption Island, or over at the returning player's Galang tribe.
There's no question that Laura B. - Rupert's wife - is on the outside of Galang and should be an easy first-vote should they lose the Immunity Challenge. It is especially appealing due to the fact that Rupert will either still be on Redemption Island or he will be out of the game completely at that point. It's too bad that Rupert's heroism constantly clouds what should be seasoned Survivor gameplay - this is his fourth time in the game. Because if the two were smart, they would have swapped back out, giving Rupert a chance to form some alliances with others in the game, like Tina, who initially seemed willing. It would have put Laura B. where she belonged originally, on Redemption Island, but this specific challenge doesn't seem to be one that would see a significant advantage for Rupert or Laura. But of course, the swap won't happen between these two - ever - because Rupert will always lay on his sword before putting his wife in jeopardy. But their best bet as a duo would be for Rupert to be in the game...instead, their best-case scenario now seems to be both of them ending up competing against one another on Redemption Island.
So many different paths this season can take. It is literally quite mind-blowing. But the initial introductions are behind us, so tonight's episode will hopefully be a good barometer for what is to come. But if you are Team Rupert, these first few episodes surely were not ideal...they have a long, hard road ahead.
How This Works: As the Survivor Examiner, I'm here for you each and every season to bring you the most wall-to-wall Survivor coverage out there. Each week, you can expect an episode preview on Wednesday morning detailing the upcoming episode and getting you up to speed in case you missed anything from the previous week. Then later on Wednesday night, expect my full episode recap. My recaps tend to be very detailed from start to finish...there's enough smarmy comedians out there recapping the show each week, I'd rather provide you with the entire rundown of the episode. That doesn't mean it's devoid of opinion...because linked to every episode recap article is my Survivor Episode Analysis column, which I write following each episode over at TheTVKing.com.
And that's not all. It's now been confirmed: Every Thursday, you can join me for my exclusive one-on-one exit interview with each voted off castaway. I have a direct pipeline to ask more questions than ever before - whereas before I was only a part of a conference call with other press members...what that means for you is that you can now let me know what questions you want asked and I will have a chance to ask them! Join me tomorrow for my first exclusive interview of the season, with either Rupert, Candice or Marissa.
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See you tonight for the full recap! Feel free to post your thoughts below!