Survivor Nicaragua kicked off last week with a pretty decent first episode. Usually it takes a few weeks for the characters to come to life for me, but the group of castaways in season 21 appear to be a pretty entertaining bunch.
The adventure begins with the 16 players making their way through the jungle to two familiar mats. The players don’t appear to be arranged in any particular manner but we all know this season is old versus young so I guess we’re about to see our first ‘twist’ in the game.
The players share first impressions of each other with Jeff – it’s clear former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson has drawn some attention – and then our host introduces the Medallion of Power (ooohhh) that will give the tribe holding it a great advantage in challenges. The only problem is they have to find it first. The players scatter and before long, Brenda spots it hidden in a tree. She races up the tree beating two others to the Medallion and claims it for her team.
The players return to their groups and before Brenda’s team has time to relish their victory, Jeff informs them the groups their in are not their actual tribes and the Old versus Young split is unveiled.
The 40+ tribe is called Espada and wear the blue buffs while La Flor is the under-30 tribe sporting yellow buffs. Game On.
At this point, the younger tribe appears a little more comfortable with the split – no oldies around camp bossing them around and let’s face it, a lot more fun. The older tribe is a little less thrilled as they realize they will be tested in physical challenges by their younger opponents.
Another early plot twist comes with Jeff offering La Flor the opportunity to trade their Medallion of Power (ooohhh) for fire and fishing gear. Whichever they don’t take will become the property of Espada. Clearly power isn’t that important at this stage of the game as La Flor trades the Medallion for the gear to the disappointment of Coach Jimmy J.
The middle part of the episode is the usual getting-to-know-you type of encounters where we learn that Jimmy J. isn’t in it for the money, Wendy the goat-rancher talks too much and La Flor doesn’t need a flint to start a fire – they have Jane!
At La Flor we are introduced to Jud, or as he has been renamed by the tribe, Fabio. Jud/Fabio manages to step on a thorn and injure himself immediately to the dismay of his tribe-mates. We also meet Kelly B who is rightfully concerned about letting her tribe know that she has a prosthetic leg resulting from a birth defect. While the team reacts positively when they find out about her leg, many are concerned about letting her get too far in the game and potentially to the end as she might get sympathy votes.
Some loose alliances begin forming and it’s not long before Alina and Kelly B find a clue to the hidden immunity idol while fetching a pale of water. They decide to keep the clue a secret and hide it for future reference – Russell would have found that idol in five minutes.
Time for the immunity challenge. Luckily for the old folks it’s not a highly physical challenge so they opt-out of using the Medallion of Power (ooohhh). Basically the tribe has to create a gutter from the top of a tower and use it to direct water in to a bucket. Once the bucket is full, a bag of puzzle pieces will drop – first team done the puzzle wins immunity.
It’s a pretty even challenge, but the Espada can’t get the puzzle done in time so the younger tribe wins immunity. The older tribe gets ready for Tribal Council with Coach Jimmy J reiterating that he isn’t a threat. He identifies himself at 67-years-old and Wendy as the week-links in the tribe.
At Tribal Council, Jeff probes (not Probst) Jimmy J and Jimmy T about leadership and it’s clear nobody wants the title as ‘leader’ as it’s an invitation for dismissal in Survivor. Wendy, despite her best intentions, manages to talk just a little too much which inevitably leads to her becoming the first person sent home from Survivor Nicaragua.
Not a bad start to the season. I am liking the whole Jimmy J vibe and the way he’s playing the game. Would have been fun to see him coach the younger kids but that might have to wait until after the merge. Not so sure about my pre-season pick of Chase as my sole-survivor. Might need to revisit that decision.
The Scribe Has Spoken…