Well the new season in the Philippines has kicked off in the States this week, and it’s time to recap the amazing premiere with our amazing Ozlet Jarryd as well as One World contestant Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson giving his own unique views on episode 1! We’ll also hear Ben’s viewpoint too! Get reading!
(For the Australian viewers who haven’t watched episode 1 yet, clicking the link below will spoil the hell out of the start of the next season, so if you don’t want to be spoiled then don’t click the link!)
Welcome to the first Survivor Oz episode recap covering the premiere of the brand new season in the Philippines!
We begin with Jeff’s entrance. This season they’ve put the helicopter on standby and we’re back to the boat. Jeff begins with…
“We are in one of the most beautiful and remote locations in the world… Samoa!”
Don’t take me seriously, this season is not in Samoa, after four of the past six seasons have been shot in Samoa, CBS have finally moved on from their love affair with the place and have chosen to maroon eighteen castaways on the beaches of Caramoan in the Southern Philippines.
Jeff then begins his usual monologue about what the castaways will be facing this season before boarding the boat that the fifteen new castaways are gathered on. After welcoming them to the show, we are introduced to Jeff (former MBL player), Lisa (former “Fact’s of Life” actress) and the eccentric Zane who likens himself to his tattoo of Frankenstein (“I can give someone a flower and then strangle them”). Jeff then works his magic and informs the castaways they’ll be playing against three returning players who were medically evacuated from their season.
The returnees are introduced, Russell Swan, Jonathan Penner and Michael Skupin. We get the usual sad stories from the returnees about why they have been given the chance to return and believe it or not Skupin is still bragging about killing that boar from all those years ago!
Penner comes straight out and tell’s us he’s going to win, (“Thirty-nine days from now I’ll make a million dollars”), his arrogance rivals Richard Hatch and Brian Heidik but I like Penner and believe he has the skills to pull this off.
All three returnees comment on how they aren’t going to become leaders this season, however as always in Survivor sometimes you just have to adapt.
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that I don’t read spoilers, so everything I write is based on the episode. In saying that, I am about to rule out two castaways who cannot win the game. Skupin and Malcolm will not win. The reason, they appeared first and last in the opening credits. Out of the forty-eight castaways who have appeared either first or last in the opening credits of a season, none of those forty-eight have won that season. Boston Rob is the exception to this. He wasn’t featured in the opening credits of the first episode of Redemption Island, but was shown first in the remake of the credits shown at the beginning of the finale. Basically, Skupin and Malcolm have the odds against them
The returnees are then introduced and inducted into their new tribes (Swan – Matsing, Penner – Kalabaw and Skupin – Tandang).
Swan, Penner and Skupin are introduced by Probst (Image credit CBS)
Probst then mentions that hidden immunity idols are in play this season, then a mad sixty seconds begins in which the castaways have to gather as many supplies from the boat as they can.
This leads to vintage Penner moments, stealing chickens and annoying Probst
Probst: Ten seconds left!
Penner: Until what?
Probst: You gotta get off this boat brother! You’ve played this game before!
With sixty seconds up, the tribes detach their rafts into the water. Unfortunately for Kalabaw this doesn’t go as planned, with many of their items spill into the sea. Jeff (Kent) decides to revisit his MBL days and makes a dive in order to save them however it only results in him twisting his knee (please not another med-evac in the first episode!)
Overall it was a good marooning, one of the better ones from the recent seasons, perhaps it’s the start of Survivor returning to what it use to be
Matsing are the first tribe shown arriving at camp. Russell immediately calls in his troops and informs them he is not going to be a leader this time around. A few minutes later he’s telling people what to do and how to do things… good to know his strategy will be a success.
This doesn’t go unnoticed by Malcolm. He strategizes with several other tribe members to follow Russell’s lead early before voting him off at the first possible opportunity. Malcolm (who has spent time living in Micronesia) uses his knowledge to start a fire, however, Malcolm doesn’t take the limelight and start the fire himself, instead he gets Russell to start the fire and take the accolades.
We now see Kalabaw arriving at camp. Jeff’s knee is still causing him some trouble and he struggles as they unload their raft. They use Penner’s experience about living on an island and immediately get to work on building a shelter. The tribes use their brains and bring their raft up from the beach to act as a section of their shelter. After a monologue about himself, Penner decides it’s time for a swim… alone! Whilst he’s gone the remaining Kalabaw members strategize his demise. Jeff and Dana are particular vocal about the issue, insisting that if anyone is to win, it ought to be a new player.
Tandang are the last tribe to arrive at camp (or at least how it’s portrayed onscreen). R.C. and Abi-Maria immediately form a strong bond, which quickly results in the pair forming an allaince to the end. R.C. lies about her real profession, believe a banker will give others a negative opinion of her. R.C. and Abi talk to Pete who falls into line quickly and then to Skupin who surprisingly wants to play a “go with the flow” game this time and not take the leadership role like he did in the Australian Outback. Let’s just hope another wild boar doesn’t show it’s face around Tandang camp and bring the old Skupin back with it.
The reality of just how much the game has changed begins to hit Skupin as he falls into the “three minute allaince.” However, keeping in line with his straegy he follows R.C’s lead an becomes the fourth member of the allaince
Skupin can’t seem to get his head around the “three minute alliance” (Image credit CBS)
The R.C. lead alliance at Tandang discusses their first victim. Lisa’s name surfaces as the likely candidate, which doesn’t sit well with Skupin. During the night, he meets with her and lets her know he remembers her from “Facts of Life” and that coming out and talking about her acting career might just help her in the game. Lisa disagrees, showing a flaw in Skupin’s game play. Skupin had said earlier in the episode that Tandang are a younger tribe so the odds are that the younger tribe members won’t remember the show Lisa appeared in and instead of being interested in her background, they will use it as a reason to vote her off.
At Kalabaw the tribe gets the low down on Jeff. Unwilling to tell them about his successful baseball career, his cover story is that he owns a ranch in Texas selling motorcycles. Dawson (first name of Sarah) has her say to the camera and unfortunately for Jeff she knows exactly who he is. (Anyone else getting memories of Guatemala when Danni Boatwright knows exactly who Gary Hogeboom is?).
Instead of blabbing about it, she keeps his secret but threatens to use it against him when she needs to.
Is he playing it up for the camera or is Penner actually impressed? (Image credit CBS)
Back to Matsing where Zane is hard at work at making alliances. First on his list is Denise, then Angie and Roxy. Believe it or not he then makes another alliance with Russell and Malcolm and tells them he’s made an alliance with each of the girls and they can now choose who then want to carry along with them! Too much information Zane! Some thing’s are best kept private. Being far more educated than Zane (who reveals he dropped out of school at seventeen), Malcolm quickly makes an alliance with Denise and the pair plan to take out Russell.
Kalabaw is back again and we see Penner off searching for the hidden immunity idol, once again alienating himself from the remained of his tribe. Penner uses his brain to search for the idol, looking around key landmarks such as the ‘tree in the water.’ Eventually he comes to realise that the idol must be back at “camp” and after remembering they were left a very culturally fancy rice container, he looks inside and reveals a clue to the hidden immunity idol. The lid to this box also looks extremely like an idol, so I’ll start taking bets about whether the handle on the top of the rice container is the idol.
Penner finds the clue to the hidden immunity idol (Image credit CBS)
At Matsing, whilst preparing to cook some rice, Russell stumbles across the clues to the hidden immunity idol. Right about this point in the episode I’m expecting all the Survivor forums to go crazy about how Mark Burnett is “looking after” the returning players and how they each knew where the clue was located. Russell isn’t as clever as Penner though and is spotted reading the clue by Zane who is off swimming. Zane jumps to conclusions and believes Russell has the idol. Zane then confronts Russell about the idol which he denies he knows anything about.
Before the challenge we cross back to Tandang to see a ‘Mike Skupin injury package’ where we see Skupin get a blister, graze the top of his head, slice open his foot and then cut his finger cutting up a coconut. Is this guy injury prone or is bad luck still following him around twelve years later?
It’s going to take more than a sliced foot to stop Skupin this time (Image credit CBS)
After two days of getting use to camp life, the competition really begins. The three tribes assemble for their first combined immunity and reward challenge. I’m excited, for the first time in a long time in Survivor we have a water based challenge that doesn’t involve a purpose built pool or knee deep water.
The challenge is split into three stages, for the first stage, two tribe members are connected by a rope and race into the forest, climb up a cargo net, untie a box, retrieve two paddle’s, they then run back to their tribe. The next pair then paddles out to a buoy, then dive down and unclip a heavy chest containing puzzle pieces and swim back with it. The final pair then put the puzzle together to win.
As there are three tribes, two tribes have a shot at winning both immunity and reward. The tribe who finishes first wins a complete fire making kit, whilst the tribe that finishes second only receives flint.
Jeff then unveils the immunity IDOLS and the tribes break off to discuss strategy.
Before the challenge, a heated discussion takes place a Matsing. Their “non-leader” Russell Swan delegates the roles in the challenge much to the dismay of Angie, who is hesitant at taking on the role of puzzle maker after telling the tribe she isn’t good on puzzles
And so the challenge gets underway. Tandang (R.C. and Artis) and Matsing (Russell and Zane) take an early lead over Kalabaw (Katie and Dana). Tandang are the first tribe to get to the second stage of the challenge, and even though Zane has a tough time keeping pace with Russell, Matsing are the second tribe in the water with Kalabaw bringing up the rear
Tandang (Skupin and Pete) reach their buoy and release their chest. Some heroics in the boat by Jeff and Carter propel Kalabaw into second place and Matsing (Malcolm and Denise) go back to third place.
Once the chests are back on the beach we have a close race between the puzzle makers from Tandang (Abi-Maria and Lisa) and Kalabaw (Penner and Dawson). In the end, Penner places Kalabaw’s last piece seconds before Lisa places Tandang’s last piece. Once the puzzle stage started, Matsing (Angie and Roxy) had no chance of gaining ground on the other tribes, even if they Angie wasn’t part of the puzzle making team.
Matsing arrive back at camp, with the prospect of tribal council ahead and Russell looking likely to be the first to go. However, Zane speaks up. After telling his tribe that he could hardly run during the challenge, (he admits he quit smoking days before the show began), he asks to be voted out because he doesn’t think he can play the game anymore.
However, in a confessional, Zane admits that his confession to send him home is all part of his plan and it’s actually part of his strategy to see if he has any power in the tribe.
I now quote Zane: “You ain’t never seen a move like this in Survivor history!”
Zane, Zane, Zane… Russell’s head is on the line to be voted out, and then you think it’s strategic to put your head on the line? Have you ever watched Survivor! It’s almost like your giving up immunity!
I speak to soon however when Angie and Roxy try and talk Zane out of going home and conspire against Russell instead. Malcolm jumps on the ‘Save Zane’ train to he and Denise discuss their options at tribal council.
As Matsing go off to tribal council, it’s still very unclear who is going home. Russell cops a lot of heat during tribal council and his fate seems to have been sealed. Zane comes up with one of the most bizarre analogy comparing Russell to an onion – the more layers you take off, the more you cry. Don’t worry if you don’t follow, this even stumped Probst. Zane then reiterates his point about being sent home for his performance in the challenge. Russell apologizes for taking on the leader role at the challenge and lets the tribe know he wants to stay in the game.
The votes are cast, and the first “boob shot” of Angie is shown as she cast’s her vote. It came as a shock to me it took so long, Chelsea had more than one in the first episode of One World, maybe they will just put them in occasionally this season?
The votes are read and Zane’s plan backfires. Matsing decide to let Russell live another day and vote out Zane in a landslide vote.
Zane… the tribe has spoken (Image credit CBS)
Zane heads out of the tribal council area in deep disgust and Matsing return to camp.
Just before I give you my thoughts, I’ve got just a few things left to note
1. Twitter hash tags now appear during the show. I don’t know if I like this but social media is the future, so for the few seconds they’re on screen, I’ll deal with it
2. Castaways dress in tribe coloured clothing. I hate this, eighteen people dressed in either blue, yellow or red just seems weird. Surely the buffs are enough to distinguish between the tribes?
Finally, my co-Ozlet Lancey has bought it to the Survivor Oz team’s attention that a lot of Jeff’s comments can be very ‘suggestive.’ During the season I’ll be looking out for Jeff’s suggestive comments and including one from each episode in the recap. For episode one his comment comes from tribal council, take it how you will:
“Russell, you’re off the box!”
Great first episode! I think the cast is good, the camera time is evenly split between returnees and new players and it’s much better to look at a different location.
Skupin has surprised me. I wasn’t Skupin’s biggest fan in Australia; however he seems to have changed his game and his personality and is much more likeable. He was the only returnee who wasn’t plotted against so we might be seeing a bit of him.
I love Penner and it’s great to see him back. I don’t think his mind had left the game of Survivor since he was evacuated out of Micronesia. If he can get his tribe on his side, I think he can go a long way into the game
Russell is in trouble. If Matsing were to lose the next immunity challenge, Russell’s future doesn’t look bright. For his sake I hope he can work his way into an alliance because he is a likeable player who deserves his second chance.
As for the new players, I’ll go into detail for a few and just give you a few words on others.
Angie has really surprised me. She’s a lot different to how I expected her to be, she’s there to play the game, if she can get herself in an alliance, she might be able to stick around longer than I first thought. If she can use the ‘flirt’ or ‘hot girl’ card to her advantage, she’s got a lot of game left in her
Malcolm is a big thinker, his problem will be becoming too much of a threat.
I like R.C! She’s refreshing and has a lot of potential. She had a lot of screen time this episode which might indicate she doesn’t get as far as you first think, but I hope her alliance works because I’d love to see her get far. She’s a likely player who knows what she’s doing.
Zane – probably one of the dumbest Survivor moves ever. He was almost guaranteed to stay and then he decides to test the waters and see if he has power. Why? I’m not sure… I can’t wait to see what he has to say at the reunion
Artis – Was he even there?
Lisa – I don’t think she’ll last long, she’s to nice of a person
Abi-Maria – An underdog, if she can play a role similar to what Chelsea played to Kim in One World, then pounce on her own alliance… look out!
Jeff – Leadership skills are apparent but I don’t know if he’s likable enough
Carter – Dominated in the boat, did they just fly him in for that challenge or was her there the entire time?
Katie – I think she was there? Maybe?
Dana – Outspoken and different, won’t last long
Dawson – Being called by your last name usually means you have something to offer. Other than a small cameo we didn’t see much of her
Pete – Fell into R.C. and Abi’s alliance very easily, needs to use his head otherwise they might burn him
Denise – Reminds me of Helen from Thailand, in a good position with Malcolm
Roxy – Very switched on and seems like a nice person
I love water challenges so it’s good to seem them back. Whilst I enjoyed the challenge, I wouldn’t have opened the season with it, I love seeing really physically demanding challenges in the first episode so you can sort out the weak from the strong
To wrap it up, this season has a lot of potential. I’m extremely interested to see how Penner will go and how Skupin will find the “generation gap” between “old school” Survivor and “new school” Survivor. I can’t wait for next week!
Well I have to say, that was a fantastic way to start the season! Best season premiere since Heroes vs Villains!
So much airtime spread across the board, and not as much emphasis on the returning three as I was expecting. I felt as though I actually got to know these people, like in the glory days of the show. It was a pleasant surprise and one that I hope continues. I think that a 90 minute premiere definitely gave them more room to move so week 2 will really be the test to see if it continues, but there are promising signs.
The three returning players were all over the shop weren’t they? Skupin definitely surprised me. I said in our preview that I thought he would be the first returnee to go, and well after the first episode I may have to rethink that. He played a behind the scenes game and just sat around and waited for things to come to him, which is working. He already is in a four way alliance, and if it works and his tribe remains strong then he will easily make it deep in the game. But again, it’s only the first episode, so things can quickly fall to pieces. And fall to pieces they did for Russell didn’t they? Wow. From strongly saying he ‘wasn’t going to be a leader’ to basically being more of a leader than he ever was in Samoa, Russell so narrowly missed out on being the first ever returnee in a non all-stars (or half all-stars) season to go home first. He needs to watch out and hope that they can sneak through for immunity next time, or he is gone. You can see how wrong my predictions usually go! Then there is Penner. I have to say three letters sum up Penner: WTF! It’s almost like he is wishing he was on exile island or something?! Just go and swim by yourself, look for the idol and essentially make yourself target number one. And I know Jarryd pointed out that he was very ‘Heidik or Hatch’ like in his approach of being arrogant, but neither Richard or Brian were targeted after the first episode. Penner is in the most trouble I feel out of all of the returnees. Even Russell can have the potential to save himself with a bit of sweet talking and sucking up. Penner? When you have five other people extremely close all gunning for you, it’s just going to turn out like it did for a certain Hantz in Redemption Island.
As for the other 15, well they’re a diverse group aren’t they? Angie definitely surprised me, there was a lot more to her than I was expecting. Malcolm too was very ‘behind the scenes’ but I’m expecting him to flourish as the season goes along. It didn’t surprise me to see Jeff & Lisa to hide their ‘true identities’ so early. It maybe surprised me to see nobody recognising Jeff, as I thought Baseball was a pretty big deal in the USA and that more people would instantly know who he was. Lisa maybe is a bit more understandable, and obviously Skupin knew who she was based on his age. But can they keep it a secret for the whole time they are out there? Reminds me a lot of the Gary situation in Guatemala with Danni knowing who he was but not saying anything. I will say Zane going home first was a big surprise. As I said in the preview “Zane too looks like a wildcard, and that will see him be one of the first to go or a shoe in for the final 5.” Well I guess I was right? But I think I was leaning more to the ‘final 5’ notion. He was talked up by Probst in the pre-game pieces, and the amount of airtime he got in the first episode really didn’t scream too much about him being the first boot. Guess though we could be seeing a big change in this season in an attempt to bring back some viewers to the show we love.
Overall a great premiere and I’m looking forward to next week! Let’s hope it keeps on with such a great start!
We’ve all met someone who, upon hearing about your upcoming trip, gives you an hour long presentation about where to go, what to eat, how interesting the culture is and every other boring detail you could imagine. You say you’re going to Paris and they start to tell you all about their amazing time in France, and every time you mention something they nod knowingly like they’ve done it all before, and you have so much to learn. Meet Russell Swan. After playing the game once before, he has decided to play the role of annoying know-it-all, only to have to eat his words at tribal council after Zane’s weird onion speech.
I’m happy to see Swan back, particularly after the recent choices of returning players, but it is so frustrating to see him stress how much he doesn’t want to be leader, only to become a dictator (his words) and allocate breathing time to his tribe. Let’s just call a buff a buff. I’m reminded of his terrible choice of blankets over some much more valuable items on offer in Samoa, where again he thought he knew best but perhaps should’ve listened to his tribe’s groans. Swan has great leadership ability and despite what he said, his role as leader was not what lead to his downfall last time around. Just be a leader who listens to their tribe or keep it down and go and find some fire wood or something.
Penner is back in all his glory, though it was surprising to see him swim alone while the tribe started forming alliances and forging bonds. As much as we’d all love to find an idol I’m not sure Penner picked the best time to go searching for one either. Skupin is less jarring than I remember so far, but it seems the younger members of the tribe have got something going on, and perhaps Skupin is just there to make up numbers. If he leaves the island without falling into a fire, I guess it’s still a win.
I’m excited about the returning players and think they all very much deserve another shot, I’m just not convinced they’ve all learnt from their mistakes.
Survivor Re-capper: Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson
Each week we’ll bring you the viewpoint of a former Survivor contestant to hear what they have to think of the episode and their thoughts for the rest of the season!
Our first special guest is Troyzan from One World, as he talks about his thoughts on the returning players, adjusting to watching a new season after his and no longer being ‘the flavour of the month’ as well as being the first person to answer our ‘Philippines Four’, the four pressing questions to find out the tips for the remainder of the season! Troyzan’s ‘Philippines Four’ answers were:
TIP TO WIN: Malcolm
DARK HORSE: Dawson
NEXT TO GO: Lisa
CONTESTANT MOST SIMILAR TO: Skupin
Join us next week for our recap of episode 2, featuring special Survivor guest Gillian Larson from Gabon!