The first 20 minutes of Survivor 20 were perhaps the best in the show’s history. First, 20 of the best to ever play the game are flown in four military choppers to an island deep in the South Pacific. The cinematography for this segment was stunning and the implication was that World War III was about to begin.
As the tribes convene on their coloured mats and receive their team buffs, host Jeff Probst teases out the first bit of trash-talking by asking some pointed questions. It’s clear that it is game on right from the opening few remarks.
Then, without any further notice, Jeff instructs the tribes that it’s time for a reward challenge where they’ll be playing for fire in the form of a flint.
The challenge is basically a two-on-two game of dig up a bag in the sand and run it back to your team’s mat before the other team tackles, maims, or even disfigures you. First tribe with three points wins.
In the first match, it’s an all girl battle between Stephenie and Cirie for the Heroes and Parvati and Danielle for the Villains. This one got ugly in a hurry as during the battle for the buried bag Parvatti got Stephanie in an arm-bar type hold, which inspired her Villain team-mate, the 95 lb. Courtney to yell out, “Break her shoulder!” Danielle eventually scored the point for the Villains, but Stephanie returned to the mat with an apparent separated shoulder. Fearing that my pre-season pick was already out of the game, I was pleased to see the medical team arrive and pop her shoulder back into place. Game on!
Good ‘ol Boy J.T. won the second round for the Heroes while Colby and Tom (H) faced off against Coach and Russell (V) in an epic third round. After a four-way battle for the bag, Colby eventually ends up with it and attempts to elude Coach on his way back to the mat. The two go down, and Coach – The Dragon Slayer – drags Colby across the sand all the way to the Villains’ mat, scoring another point for his tribe – perhaps the greatest moment in the life of the Coach and the most embarrassing for Colby, the All-American heartthrob.
Next up Sugar and Candice (H) go chest-to-chest against Sandra and Courtney. Sugar ends up in a battle for the bag with the evil Sandra who pulls of Sugar’s bra/top exposing her Sugar cubes. Sugar leaves Sandra and her top behind scoring another point for the Heroes. runs topless to the Heroes’ mat, scoring a point for her tribe.
In the final round, James and Rupert (H) take on Tyson and Boston Rob (V). Tyson, in the world’s smallest bathing suit, gets hammered by James and Rupert while Boston Rob hangs back to pick his spot. When Rob went to make a move, James grabbed the bag and sprinted to the mat to claim victory for the Heroes. Rupert, everybody’s favourite pirate limps back to the mat with an apparently broken toe. Victory is not easy in Survivor 20 and we are only 20 minutes in to the game.
The rest of the episode is a behind the scenes look at the two tribes as they attempt to organize their camps, build shelter, seek out food and, most importantly, strategize. The players try to figure out who is aligned with who and most figure players who played together previously will likely stay aligned in some way, shape or form. Somehow the Heroes are blessed with a couple of chickens at their camp and the Villains are blessed by the presence of Boston Rob, Coach and Russell. These guys deserve a spin-off for sure.
Other developments in episode 1 include the apparent relationship developing between the Dragon Slayer Coach – did he mention that he beat Colby in the challenge – and the Black Widow, the evil Jerri. They cuddled, giggled and gazed into each others eyes on a few occasions already but look for Jerri to use her assets to distract Coach and eventually destroy him.
As he did in Survivor 19, Russell attempts to make secret alliances with just about everyone on his team, he also starts to see how the personalities are playing off each other, including Coach who Russell sees as being in awe of Boston Rob.
I know I’m cutting out some important information here, but there was just so much going on in the two-hour premiere! So, let’s cut to the chase. In a fairly straightforward immunity challenge, the Villains battle back from a slow start to beat the Heroes and win the first immunity. At the Hero camp there is a lot of discussion about who should go first, but ultimately, Sugar’s name gets written on the parchment for her lack of contribution around camp, her inability to compete well in challenges and for her inability to leave Colby alone at night. As predicted here, Sugar never found her protector in Survivor 20 and while she tried to cozy up with Colby, the big Texan didn’t take the bait.
Shocking footage from this week’s episode show Boston Rob out cold in the woods…oh no! Don’t tell Amber.
The Scribe Has Spoken…