Survivor officially kicks off its 27th season Wednesday tonight with the premiere of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" on CBS. It's a 90-minute episode that will introduce us to the 20 contestants - the 10 returnees and their 10 loved ones - who will compete for the one million dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor. It will also (hopefully) give us a full rundown of the many new twists that will be featured this season.
So how does this work? 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. Every Thursday, you can join me again for my exclusive exit interview with each voted off castaway. I have a direct pipeline to ask more questions than ever before...and what that means is that you can let me know what questions you want asked.
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So do you got all that? Good. Because you won't want to miss all of my Survivor coverage this season! Now, onto the Premiere Episode of Blood vs. Water. Here is the synopsis released by CBS, in an episode entitled, "Blood is Thicker Than Anything":
Episode 1: “Blood Is Thicker Than Anything” - IN A “SURVIVOR” FIRST, EACH FORMER CASTAWAY AND THEIR LOVED ONE IS STRANDED IN THE JUNGLE OVERNIGHT, THEN ARE SHOCKED TO LEARN THEY WILL PLAY AGAINST EACH OTHER, ON A SPECIAL 90-MINUTE PREMIERE OF “SURVIVOR,” WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 18. Blood vs. Water relationships are put to the ultimate test on Day 1, when castaways are shocked to learn they will be separated from their loved ones and have to compete against each other on separate tribes. Meanwhile, a former castaway attempts to rehabilitate their reputation, on a special 90-minute premiere of SURVIVOR, Wednesday, Sept. 18 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Analysis. So here's the quick version of what you need to know: 10 former Survivor players will start off individually and separately with a loved one, called "Day Zero." They will spend this first night together, wake up the next morning and learn that they will actually be competing against each other...that's right, one tribe of 10 former players and one tribe of 10 loved ones.
From there, they will quickly vote one person out of each of their respective tribes. These players will not be "out of the game" but will instead go straight to Redemption Island. Yes, good old Redemption Island is back, this time with a whole tornado of new twists. When a person is voted out at Tribal they will be sent to Redemption Island. At RI, three - not two like in the past - will compete in a "Duel" with the person coming in last getting officially booted from the game. The other two remain on RI and intermittently throughout the game, they will re-enter the "actual" game. But the person who finishes in first place in the Duel will receive a clue to a hidden Immunity Idol, which they can then give to any active player remaining in the game.
One last twist about Redemption Island? You can "swap" with your loved one competing in a Duel, if you think you are better suited for that particular challenge. So say Monica is at RI and is about to begin a physical Duel, her buff husband Brad could decide to "swap" with her. That would mean Brad competes in the challenge - potentially leaving the game or best case scenario remaining himself on RI - while Monica takes his place back in the game. This can happen every week.
So are you still with me? Is your head spinning yet? So what can you expect from Episode 1?
Well, first impressions will be huge. In this first episode, we probably won't see an actual Duel - that will come in Episode 2 and in subsequent weeks. Instead we will probably get an Immunity Challenge and a Tribal Council, with the voted out person joining the other two at Redemption Island by episode's end. Remember, the other two will be sent there almost immediately when the game starts.
You can count on the former castaway who "attempts to rehabilitate their reputation" as being Colton, the notorious (and perhaps slightly racist?) villain from Survivor: One World who left the game after a stomach virus saw him get medically evacuated from the game. Even having a chance to "rehabilitate" his reputation implies that he is still with his tribe...so who could possibly get booted right away from the returning player tribe? Could people be sick of Rupert? Might they target former winners Aras or Tina?
By tomorrow's recap, we will definitely have a slightly better picture of these players and the tribe dynamics. One thing is for sure, this is one of the most ambitious premises possibly ever in the history of Survivor. I will be here all season along with you for what is sure to be one hell of a wild ride.
Be sure to check out the Video to the left column to watch the first seven-minutes of the premiere episode.
Also, make sure you check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, Survivor Fever.