Described as one of the toughest seasons in Survivor history, Kaôh Rōng is now upon us! After an entertaining ninety minute premiere episode it’s time to recap it. Joining us, we have our recap expert, Clifton, plus Ben and the Ozlets chime in with their thoughts as well! Oh, and we introduce our brand new ‘Ozlet Special’ weekly episode!
(If you haven’t watched this weeks episode yet, clicking the link below will spoil the hell out of it, so if you don’t want to be spoiled then don’t click the link!)
The thirty-second season of Survivor begins with Jeff Probst on a supply boat with eighteen castaways. Jeff explains that while this area of the world is beautiful, it is also formidable, and contestants will face scorching temperatures and stifling humidity. These conditions will punish the body, dehydrate contestants, and leave them at risk of heat stroke. Merely exerting energy will be the biggest obstacle of the contestants in this most-gruelling thirty-nine days of Survivor.
A new season begins! (Image credit: CBS)
These eighteen contestants were divided into tribes based on qualities which are central to their daily lives: Brain, Brawn, and Beauty. Peter, a Brain, warns us that he cannot deal with ignorant people who think they know what they are talking about. Debbie, also a Brain, tells us that puzzles lay down for her like lovers. Scot Pollard, a Brawn, is a former professional basketball player who claims to be willing to do what other won’t do and seeks an alliance with other strong individuals. Jason, a Brawn and a bounty hunter, doesn’t care what he has to do to get his pay check. Anna, a Beauty, is a professional poker player who is more than willing to use her looks against the men in the game. Nick, another Beauty, claims that life has always been a little bit easier because of his looks.
Kyle Jason: Bounty hunter. (Image credit: CBS)
A bell chimes and the contestants begin to race to collect supplies from the boat and gather them onto one of three rafts. Jeff says that they have two minutes to salvage whatever they can. This is their first task to do together as a tribe. During this process we see a few more confessionals introducing us to more contestants. Caleb, a Beauty, is a former Big Brother contestant who is not looking forward to being exposed to the elements. Joe, a Brain, is a retired FBI agent in his seventies who explains that he has experienced hectic situations before where he’s had to think on his feet. Tai, a Beauty, is a gardener who professes his love for all living creatures.The contestants leap into the water and gather themselves onto their respective rafts. Debbie proclaims “We’re having fun now, kids!” Thirty-nine days. Eighteen people. One Survivor.
Jeff delivers the his traditional season-opening monologue. (Image credit: CBS)
As the tribe sails to their new home, Scot declares that it may be the greatest day of their lives. Cydney confesses that she feels comfortable with this tribe. Her life is centred around being physically and mentally strong. Jason confesses that he doesn’t need to prove to anyone he is a badass, but usually people are intimidated by his appearance. His youngest daughter has autism however, so he knows how to be the girly-girl dad. The tribe gathers into a circle and share their professions with one another. Everyone we see tells the truth, including Scott Pollard. During this process we are introduced to Darnell, who is a postal worker and a student; Jennifer, who is a construction worker; and Alecia, who is an adrenaline junkie working in real estate. Scot confesses that he thinks that they have a great group and they set to work making a shelter.
Brawny introductions. (Image credit: CBS)
We then cut to the Brains tribe, who is similarly engaged in introductions. We are introduced to Liz, a quantitative strategist programmer who tells her tribe she is a government worker. She confesses that she feels that their tribe is off to an immediate advantage. Debbie also take the immediate advantage to vocally make note of Peter’s resemblance to Barack Obama. She also is quick to tout her extensive abilities and qualifications to Joe. She confesses that she is a chemist, a photonics manufacturing supervisor, an electronics expert, a bartender, a caretaker to nuns, and a Red Lobster waitress. Among her skills, she is adamant that she knows how to make fire without a flint. Despite her adamant instruction, the tribe is unable to get it started. We are then introduced Neil, an ice cream entrepreneur who feels people will see him as a “dandy”. He feels that Debbie is on a whole different level of crazy and is feeling uneasy about the Brains tribe as a whole.
Brainy introductions. (Image credit: CBS)
Last but certainly not least, we visit the Beauty tribe, where shelter construction is already under way. Nick confesses that life is beautiful. They are all excited and happy, and they are working well together. Tai confesses that people may wonder why he was placed on the Beauty tribe. He hopes his personality will be able to come out, and says that everyone has some beauty inside and out. An alliance almost immediately begins to form among the women as they weave palm fronds on the beach. They speculate that Nick must be “a model or something”. We are introduced to Michelle, a bartender, who is trying to use the social skills given to her by her job to assess who might good people for her to align with. She says that Tai is a whirlwind of motion, Caleb is super strong, and Nick is dreamy. Meanwhile, the men compare notes about the women. Caleb confesses that he is not sure why Tai is on the Beauty tribe. Tai nervously watches as Caleb puts a notch into a tree trunk for their shelter. Tai explains that it is a living thing. He tells his fellow men that he is originally from Vietnam and that this is his neck of the woods.
The lovely women of the Beauty tribe. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at the Brawn tribe, the contestants are attempting to start a fire. Jason confesses that the sun is really harsh. His shoulders are already fried. He explains that he has zero faith in Alecia, who he merely refers to as “blondie”. He says that he sees her at the bottom and he has no sympathy for her. He approaches Scot Pollard, and they are on the same page. They plan an alliance between themselves and Jennifer. Jason confesses, however, that he wants as many alliances as possible. We see him making deals with everyone on the tribe. He confesses that the alliance is only real when he needs it to be. Darnell confesses that growing up in Chicago was tough, but it instilled him with some instincts that can help him in this game. Talking with Cydney, they plan to get rid of Alecia first as well. He tells us that his gut doesn’t lie to him and his gut likes Cydney. His gut also wants him to go take a aqua dump a few feet away from camp. He does so, much to the shock and amusement of his tribe.
Darnell’s gloriously awkward aqua dump. (Image credit: CBS)
We return to the Beauty tribe where the tribe is chasing after their chickens. Nick, exasperated, exclaims that they are going to burn more calories chasing the chicken than the chickens will give them. Ultimately, the got two of the three back. Tai creates a system where the chicken are tied together and can roam without escaping. Anna confesses that she loves the way that Tai approaches life. He takes his time to explain things to everyone and he clearly respects everyone and everything. She notes that for the women to have the majority, they need one of the guys, and she wants Tai. She approaches Julia, who is on the same page. At this time we are introduced to Julia, a nineteen year old college student, who feels that everyone judges her based on sorority affiliations. He claims that she will be able to make instant connections with people and feels that the women’s alliance could do very well. She reveals to Anna that she is positive that Caleb was on Big Brother. As far as they know, however, Caleb was super loyal to a nine person alliance. They could use someone like him. We then see Caleb approach the two women and they discuss his Big Brother status, him saying that he just didn’t want it to hurt his game here. He confesses that he wants to show people what he is made of. He’s been through a lot in his military life and he will not give up in any challenges. We see Tai and Caleb start a fire.
Caleb and Tai start fire. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at the Brains tribe, they are working on constructing their shelter as well. Joe tells us that he was a hostage negotiator. He claims that he can intuitively see things before they happen. While cutting the bamboo for their shelter, he recommends that she use a saw, but she insists upon using the machete. Neil and Liz talk about Debbie in the water. They both find her to be a bit much. Liz confesses that she just talks, talks, talks. They agree that Joe is also just too old and likely to be a medevac. Neil then approaches Peter and tells him this plan. Peter is on board, confessing that Debbie and Joe are low-hanging fruit.
Brainiacs Neil and Liz plan to target their older tribe maters. (Image credit: CBS)
The next morning, the tribe continues to gather shelter supplies. As everyone is carrying bamboo back to camp, Tai takes off and begins looking for the idol on his own. He comes across an area with a bunch of very small trees and he begins ripping them out of the ground to check beneath them for the idol. After he finishes, he replaces them. His actions do not go over his tribe mates heads and they go confront him. Anna and Nick come up on him and he admits to looking for the idol without a clue. Anna confesses that she is sketched out and doesn’t trust him at all any more. Tai confesses that he screwed everything up. The rest of the tribe has a meeting and they assume that he may very well have the idol, but agree they won’t say anything. Michelle confesses that Tai is now target number one.
A dirty-handed Tai asks for five more minutes. (Image credit: CBS)
We return to the Brains tribe, where the heat and exertion is beginning to take a toll on Aubrey. Joe recommends that she go get hydrated by drinking from their pot. She explains that she works in social media and came straight from Boston in the middle of winter. The heat is a major factor. She approaches Neil and Debbie and asks for help with fruit and water. Neil says he will and tells her to lay down. Debbie vocalizes in agreement with Neil. Aubrey confesses that she feels that she is a thinker and she is stuck in her own head. Liz confesses that Aubrey hadn’t even gotten to the point of chapped lips, it was an anxiety attack about anxiety. She explains that now there is a feeling that Aubrey might be at risk to break down again in the future when the pressure is on.
Debbie is not gracious with her support. Aubrey doesn’t notice. (Image credit: CBS)
That night at the Brawn tribe, a bug crawls into Jennifer’s ear. She confesses that she can’t sleep and it keeps burrowing deeper. She can hear the legs crawling around in her head and each time it latches into her ear drum the pain is excruciating.
The bug-in-ear debacle begins. (Image credit: CBS)
The next morning, Jenn still has the bug stuck in her ear. Scot tries to look into her ear but can’t see anything moving. Alecia suggests that it might just be water. Jenn explains, with some exasperation, that her ear is bleeding. The tribe is worried that she might get pulled from the game if something is really wrong. Scot confesses that he is worried about Jenn, but failure in the challenge is not an option. As Jenn is lying in the shelter before the challenge, Scot and Cydney see the bug crawl out of her ear. Scot grabs it and kills it. Jean’s mood is immediately lifted. She tells them that she feels like herself again and that they are going to kill the challenge.
Jenn’s ear bug makes its exit. (Image credit: CBS)
For the Immunity Challenge, each tribe must swim out to a boat. One person from each tribe will then dive down to collect four paddles. Once the tribe has all four paddles, they can return to the shore in the boat where they will covert the boat to a cart. Then they must push the cart of the top of the beach. There, the tribe must choose between a puzzle and a dexterity challenge. First two tribes to finish win Immunity. First-place winners also receive a massive fire-making kit. Second-place finishers receive a flint. The challenge begins and all three tribes make it to the boat around the same time. Darnell dives for the Brawn tribe and the goggles sink. The Beauty tribe blow through the diving section of the challenge and begin rowing back to the shore, followed next by the Brains tribe. The Brawn tribe suffer from their lost goggles and are far behind. In the time it takes for the Brain and Beauty tribes to push their boat up the beach, Brawn is able to come back. All three tribes choose the puzzle as the final step of the challenge. Aubrey and Liz destroy the puzzle for the Brains and come in first-place. Brawn and Beauty race for second place, and despite giving up their huge lead, the Beauty tribe is able to complete the puzzle before the Brawns, who have to sub out Alecia and have Scot take over. Alecia confesses that Darnell totally screwed up the challenge and her only hope is going to be getting people to vote for him.
Liz and Aubrey claim victory for the Brains. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at the Brawn camp, Darnell immediately takes the blame for losing the challenge by losing the goggles. He confesses that when people aren’t talking to you, they are talking about you. He tells his tribe mates that if they keep him, they will have his undying loyalty. They reassure him that they are voting out Alecia because they can only take so much stupid. Scot tells Alecia that she is safe. She asks him how she can be sure. He tells her she just has to let it happen. She confesses that she is going to have to be a master manipulator. Scot tells her that his free advise for her is that the only thing they don’t like is the scheming. If she will just calm down, they are good. He and Jason ask her is Darnell has an idol. She says no. They ask if she has one. She says she never said she did or didn’t. Scot, annoyed, says that he is done and walks way. In the shelter, Scot, Jason, Cydney, and Jenn make the plan to vote for Darnell. Cydney claims she is fine with it, but she confesses that she would rather get rid of Alecia. She says that she will make her stance clear at Tribal Council.
When it comes to Alecia, Scot can’t even… (Image credit: CBS)
The new Survivors dip their torches in the fire for the first time. Jeff begins by asking Jason about first impressions. He says that he was satisfied. He’s with some people who stand up to his high standards. Jeff probes, causing Jason to reveal that Alecia and Darnell do not meet these standards. Jeff asks Alecia what it is like to be perceived as weak. She says that she doesn’t see herself this way. Darnell admits that he was one of the key reasons that they lost, but he claims says that he did his best. Scot is incredulous that Darnell didn’t know the first rule of diving: Hold on to the goggles. Alecia says that they have to keep the tribe strong and that she is a “mental giant” who will work hard in challenges. She says that she recognizes her shortcomings in the puzzle and she won’t do puzzles anymore. Jason says that it’s not good enough, you have to get it done. No quitting. Darnell says that he knows he messed up but he was a bigger contributor in every other part of the challenge. He has experienced challenges in life and he is tired of fighting and tired of losing time and time again. Jason, Jenn, and Scot quietly discuss their vote. Jason tells Jeff that he is not sure if they are making the right choice. Scot says it is a ping pong match. They vote. Cydney votes for Alecia, and Alecia votes for Darnell, but not before trying to write her vote with the cap of the marker still on. The votes are revealed, and it is a 3-3 tie between Alecia and Darnell. Everyone except for Alecia and Darnell revote. Jeff retrieves the votes, and three votes for Darnell are revealed. Jeff snuffs his torch and tells the tribe that they will need to walk the walk before giving them a flint. Seventeen are left.
Darnell is the first voted out. (Image credit: CBS)
“NEXT TIME ON… SURVIVOR”
“Debbie may have the brains, but she is not fitting in, while Tai makes a big move.” ~Jeff Probst. (Image credit: CBS)
We see Debbie acting wacky around camp, and Peter suggests that she must have forty cats. At the Beauty camp, Tai attempts to lay a kiss onto the Beastmode Cowboy.
SURVIVOR OZ SWEEP!
Well that was a very decent premiere! Pleasantly surprised!
It had a huge amount of screen time just getting to know the players which was great, and even the strategy that was mixed in wasn’t necessarily over the top too. Was pleasantly surprised with the depth of characters as well, even from some of the ones who I might not have been too high on in the pre-game phase of the game. Hopefully it can keep up this way because it’s super enjoyable to watch and we’ll be in for a great season if it stays this way.
A few stand outs too. Scot surprised me, he was a lot more game savvy than I gave him credit for and I can see that working for him. Kyle on the flip side perhaps gave him a bit too much credit as he seemed a bit wayward for the most part this episode and if he keeps that up I’m not sure how that will take him in the game. Anna was amazing just as I thought, although I was sad that we didn’t get to see too much of Nick. Neal perhaps wasn’t as “Peter Harkey” as he came across pre-game and the Obama love is already out there for Peter. Certainly sets it up for some interesting moments!
That bug in the ear stuff though. Wow. That was just incredible. And nasty!
Overall I was impressed with the premiere and am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season develops!
How I wish every episode was a minimum of 90 minutes. The more the merrier, and you can never have too much Survivor. That much is clear from how far this show has come. 32 seasons, it’s great and it’s something we must cherish. But anyway, each tribe has a lot going on and it makes for an interesting start to the season. Between Jennifer and Aubrey’s struggles, looks like we have our first taste of the tough conditions these players are set to endure. The tribe dynamics didn’t stay the same for long, and what could’ve been an obvious vote out for any of the 3 tribes ended up becoming an interesting and conflicting Tribal Council. It’s refreshing to see a tie vote that isn’t due to splitting the votes, which I feel is a little rare despite a tie happening as recently as final 6 of Cambodia (also final 4 Worlds Apart). There’s so many compelling players and I hope none of them get a poor edit although I have a feeling Michele may be on her way to getting that. I’ll stick by my winner pick but my favorite from each tribe would be Neal, Tai, and Jennifer. Definitely not happy Darnell went so soon but hopefully Alecia won’t disappoint given another lifeline in the game.
The start of a new player season always brings great anticipation. The hype leading up to this season of Survivor has centred around the pandemonium of the medevac. Watching as a small insect made its way in and out of Jennifer’s ear, only highlights the start of what I’m anticipating to be an absolutely brutal season.
The three tribe format, starting a season was back and proved once again why it is a brilliant way to start the game. While the concept of Brawn, Beauty and Brains might seem too soon after the immense success of Cagayan, the way the producers were able to give air time and a small insight into every character after the debut episode should be acknowledged.
My biggest gripe with going with the BBB format again, were the decisions to place people on tribes they clearly do not belong on. It devalues the whole concept. On Brawn, Darnell our first boot, hardly had the physique of an athlete, and in no part of his backstory alluded to being an athlete of any kind, and Blondie aka Alecia was the skinniest girl on the island.
Over on Beauty, Tai is an amazing character and well worth a place on this season. But he is hardly a beauty. They do say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and his inner beauty is the only thing “tying” him to the concept of the tribe.
Over on Brains, while I and many expected a repeat of Luzon, this tribe of Brains is both different in style and personality. Liz has made the greatest impression on me this season within her tribe and like all super fans we try and read into the edit. I thought her confessionals in meaning and placement were telling.
My player of the the week was a 50/50 decision between Kyle…wait Jason, and Caleb. Jason demonstrated excellent ability to control his tribe and lead a group of alpha personalities. I however question whether the blatant disregard for Alecia will fly with other more competitive female contestants once a tribe swap or merge arises. My player of the week was Caleb! Having never watched Big Brother and only seeing clips on YouTube, my expectations were incredibly low for him this season. What a surprise he was, being open about his BB experience and forming relationships with just about everyone in his tribe. His interactions with Tai were excellent and I’m excited to see how he progresses in the game.
Overall an very solid opening to a post All-Star season. Bring on week 2!
SURVIVOR RE-CAPPER: OZLET SPECIAL
Our first recap for the season sees a very special ‘backdoor pilot’ as we premiere our new weekly ‘Ozlet Episode’ as some of your favourite Ozlets talk about their thoughts on the first episode of Kaoh Rong!
Join us next week as we are joined by by another former contestant to recap the second episode of Kaôh Rōng!
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