Here we are once again with a brand new season of Survivor. This time, the show heads out to Nicaragua where a cast of 20 brand new Survivors fight it out in order to be the last person standing at the end with a million dollars. Here are this season's cast members:
Jimmy Johnson-Former NFL Coach Kelly B.-Medical Student Shannon-Pest Control Company Owner Jane-Dog Trainer Yve-Homemaker Daniel-Real Estate Executive Wendy-Goat Rancher NaOnka-PE Teacher Jud-Student Kelly S.-Nursing Student Chase-Pro Race Car Jackman Alina-Art Student Benry-Club Promoter Jimmy T.-Commercial Fisherman Holly-Swim Coach Marty-Technology Executive Tyrone-Fire Captain Jill-ER Doctor Brenda-Paddleboard Company Owner Sash-Real Estate Broker
These are the 20 cast members that will attempt to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other in a 39 day struggle to see who will emerge as the sole survivor. Who will come out on top? We'll find out as this season gets underway with this premiere episode.
The 20 Survivors are divided into two teams of 10. Both teams make their way to the beach where Jeff Probst is waiting for them. As the teams walk along, everyone makes initial observations about each other and how effective they will be in the game. Kelly B. is wearing long pants in an attempt to hide her prosthestic leg from the other players. She lost her leg when she was very young and has had to live with a prosthesis for nearly all of her life. She wants to wait until the time is right to reveal this information to her other tribe members. As the two teams stand on the beach and await Jeff's opening comments, Marty recognizes Jimmy Johnson, who is on the other team. Marty knows that Jimmy Johnson (or "JJ" for short) is an accomplished and well known football coach. Marty is very happy that JJ is on the other team because he doesn't want to have anything to do with him.
Jeff finally welcomes everyone to the 21st season of Survivor and tells both tribes of their first challenge. Hidden somewhere near the beach is an object called "The Medallion of Power" (or "MoP" for short). On Jeff's go, everyone will search the beach looking for this medallion and the first person who finds it will claim the medallion for their tribe. However, Jeff does not reveal to both tribes what it is exactly that the medallion does other than that it will benefit the tribe that finds it first. After Jeff gives the word, all 20 contestants scatter and search up and down the beach looking for the medallion. Eventually, Brenda sees the medallion hidden up inside a tree. She climbs the tree and captures the medallion for her tribe. Brenda afterwards has a big smile on her face, lol.
Once the two tribes gather back together, Jeff drops another bombshell. He reveals that the tribal arrangement is going to change in a dramatic way. Jeff then says that anyone who is 40 and older must go to one side of the beach while anyone who is 30 and younger must go to the other side of the beach. The theme of this season's Survivor is old vs. young. The old tribe is given blue buffs and their tribe name is "Espada". The young tribe is given yellow buffs and their tribe name is "La Flor". Because Brenda is a member of the young tribe, La Flor is now the tribe that possesses the Medallion of Power. However, Jeff gives the La Flor tribe an offer. They can either keep the Medallion of Power or give it up in exchange for some fishing gear. The catch is that whichever item La Flor does NOT keep, the Espada tribe receives automatically. After talking it over amongst themselves, La Flor decides to give the Medallion of Power to the Espada tribe so that they can have the fishing gear. I think this was a good decision on their part. The La Flor tribe may be young, but they're already showing pretty intelligent thinking early on by making sure they have the supplies necessary to survive in the wilderness. Let's hope that this tribe continues to make sound judgment calls as the game progresses.
The Espada tribe finally arrives at their camp. As they're all getting to know each other, Jimmy Johnson is starting to feel a little uncomfortable. He says that he's used to being in charge and calling the shots as a Coach, but out here, he has to dial that back a bit in order to survive in this game. JJ then adds that he's going to use his superstar status in order to try and get people on his side early in the game. His strategy seems to be working since some of the tribe members are already taking a liking to him. In other Espada news, Holly goes up to Wendy privately and forms an alliance immediately with her. Wendy is taken aback by this, but goes along with the alliance idea anyway. Wendy then mentions that she is a very talkative person and that her husband jokingly said that her mouth would cause her to be the first person voted out of the game. So instead, Wendy is going to be quiet and not chat so much so that she can maintain her alliances and stay in the game. We'll see if that works out well for her or not. Meanwhile, another Espada member named Jane successfully starts a campfire using a pair of glasses. Very impressive. Jane says that she is a very active person who doesn't just sit around and do nothing. Her husband died back in '09 and winning Survivor would allow Jane to not have to work so hard and she could live more comfortably. Overall, it seems as though the Espada tribe is off to a good start. They may be older, but they're doing a great job of getting their camp up and running.
Now we head over to the young kids of La Flor as they make their way over to their camp. Jud is very happy about being a member of the younger tribe, but apparently, the outdoor life is tough on him right off the bat. He steps on some sharp splinter object when he first arrives at La Flor beach and he also has some weird thing stuck to his finger as well. Shannon remarks that Jud is a complete idiot and he nicknames him Fabio due to his long blonde hair and dumb ways, lol. Shortly after this, Shannon meets privately with Chase and forms an alliance with him. Their goal is to knock out all of the women so that a man can win Survivor. Shannon says that women are controlling in marriage and that sooner or later, they'll be a woman president. Shannon is sick of women in general and wants a man to win. Misogynistic much? Perhaps, lol. Meanwhile, Kelly B. decides to reveal the truth to everyone in the La Flor tribe about her prothestic leg. She shows her tribe members the leg and everyone cheers and supports her. However, Shannon feels a little differently about this reveal. He sees Kelly B. as a liability in the competitions and if or when La Flor loses their first challenge, he would like to see Kelly B. voted off first so that the tribe can remain strong. I remember back on Survivor Vanuatu, there was a contestant named Chad who had a prothestic leg and he did very well in the challenges. So I wouldn't count out Kelly B. just yet. Overall, the La Flor tribe seems a little fractured from the get go, but they have the fishing supplies which will help them do well. I think La Flor's success is up in the air at this moment. This tribe will either do really well in this game or implode upon itself quickly. We shall see what happens as the game goes on.
It is nightfall and the Espada tribe heads for bed. JJ is very worn out from working to put the shelter up all day and he is extremely exhausted by the next morning. JJ has watched every season of Survivor and even he couldn't imagine how hard this experience would be on him. I agree with his assessment. People watch this show on TV thinking that the survival aspect of this game (going without food, living outside, having bugs and mosquitoes crawl on you all the time, etc...) is easy, but it's much harder than it looks. That's why you'll never see me on this show ever, lol. Anyways, heading over to the La Flor tribe now, Chase and Brenda have a private chat with each other. Chase wants to form an alliance with Brenda, but he also tells her of his other alliance with Shannon and that she can be a member of that alliance if she wants. Brenda is skeptical of this and may plan to use Chase's secret alliance with Shannon against him at some point in the future. Meanwhile, Kelly B. and Alina go to get treemail and discover a clue to a hidden immunity idol. Kelly B. and Alina agree to search for the idol together, however, Alina privately states that she doesn't want to work with Kelly B. because she might garner sympathy votes at the end should she make final two (due to her leg). Interesting analysis on Alina's part. We'll see whether Alina sticks with her new buddy Kelly B. in the long run or not.
We have now arrived at the first immunity challenge for this season. Before the challenge is set to begin, JJ rallies up the Espada tribe by giving them a Coach-like pep talk before the challenge (just like a football coach pep talks his team before the big game). JJ says that no one will give him a million dollars due to his celebrity status, but he wants one of his team members to win the game and if they all stand together, they can make sure that happens by kicking La Flor's "ass" in challenges. Tyrone cheers in excitement after the speech is over and says "I just got a pep talk from Jimmy Johnson", lol. Tyrone looked like he was on cloud nine after that huddle and now, he and the Espada tribe are ready to go whoop some tail. Finally, the two tribes arrive at the challenge and we're set to begin. For this immunity challenge, six team members must fill up a huge bucket of water by using small pipes in order to transfer the water from one smaller bucket into their main bucket. Once the main bucket is full, it will drop to the ground which will then cause the puzzle pieces to be released to the other four tribe members. Those four people must take those puzzle pieces and put a puzzle together which spells their tribe name. The first team to do this successfully will win immunity. The team that loses will have to go to tribal council where they'll have to vote someone off of their tribe. Before the challenge gets underway, Jeff finally reveals what the medallion of power's purpose is. The medallion can be used to give one tribe an advantage in challenges. For this challenge, the Espada tribe has the option of using the medallion for this challenge in order to give them an advantage over La Flor. However, if Espada does decide to use the medallion, it automatically goes over to the La Flor tribe and they will have the option to use it at the next challenge if they wish to do so. Ultimately, the Espada tribe decides to play it safe and not use the medallion so that they'll have it ready for use at a future challenge. This is a good idea in theory, however, Espada seems to pay the price for it. When it's all said and done, La Flor wins the first immunity challenge. One member of the Espada tribe will be going home tonight.
When the Espada tribe arrives back at camp, everyone is depressed knowing that one of them will be the first person voted off. Jimmy T. tells Marty that JJ should be the first to go because "stars blind people" from making rational decisions. Later, we see JJ and Holly talking privately about who should leave. JJ tells Holly that the weakest physical player should be the first to leave. JJ then reveals that he believes the weakest player to be either himself or Wendy, but mostly Wendy. This makes Holly very uncomfortable since she went ahead and formed an alliance with Wendy at the start of the game and now, Holly may have to turn her back on her partner. Wendy herself begins to suspect that she may not be safe because she hasn't developed a bond with hardly any of her tribe mates and her only friend, Holly, is now ignoring her. Later, we see Holly, Marty, Yve, and Jill discussing who should leave first. They eventually narrow it down to either JJ or Wendy, but people are scared to say flat out who they want to go first. It's pretty clear at this point that either JJ or Wendy is leaving the game first. But the question is which one will it be? Well, once we get to tribal council, it all becomes too clear. By a unanimous vote, Wendy is the first person voted off of Survivor Nicaragua. It looks like her husband's prediction about her leaving the game first was dead on, lol.
Overall, Wendy seems to be a nice person who just had no clue how to play Survivor. But I won't be tough on her since it's kind of hard to know what to do in this game when it first starts. Wendy believed that being quiet would help her get far in the game and not be a target. For the most part, Wendy is correct about that. However, in her case, her attempt at being "quiet" worked against her. Wendy claimed in the closing credits that being talkative would've helped her stay in the game. We'll never know if she would have been right about that or not, but it's hard to say what the right decision for her would've been since things could've gone in many different directions. I think either method (being quiet or being very talkative) could've worked well given the circumstances. It's just that in this case, the "quiet" method didn't work and she paid the price for it. Did the tribe make the right decision in getting Wendy out? Overall, I would say yes. At this point, it's important to keep the tribe strong somewhat, so I can understand why she had to go. Even Holly saw the writing on the wall and smartly voted along with her tribe to get her out. Even though JJ may be weak, he's still a good motivator for his team, so I can see why they kept him there over her. I think Wendy was never really cut out for this game, but I still applaud her for coming out and playing the best game that she possibly could.
Well, that's it for the season premiere of Survivor Nicaragua. I'll be reviewing the entire season, so check back for updates as the season rolls along. Till next time. :-)
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