HOLLYWOOD—I seriously have been a major fan of the CBS reality-competition series “Survivor.” There have been some seasons that were phenomenal (“Survivor: Cambodia” I’m talking about you), while others faltered (fingers pointed at you “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”). “Survivor” has returned once again to celebrate its 36th season, this time with the theme of ‘Ghost Island.’ So what is ‘Ghost Island?’ It’s a place where all the bad choices of players from the past rest. This time around the focus shifts to new players being able to correct those mistakes or suffer a similar fate as those players who didn’t play an idol or inappropriately utilized that advantage that was given to them.
This was a loaded episode because it was 2 hours. Yes, two juicy hours of getting to know our new contestants, learning a few twists in the game and two Tribal Councils where two players saw their games come to an end. We have quite a few contestants this time around, 20, to be exact, which was broken up into two tribes: Malolo and Naviti. The first twist of the game: each tribe had to select one person to represent their tribe, who would then select two tribe mates each to compete in a challenge. The tribe that wins earns valuables to eat and a shelter building kit.
Ugh, I can already see ‘Ghost Island’ as being a very twisted season. Interesting as Chris decided to pull the plug on Desiree, giving Malolo the win with a ton of advantages. I can already see friction on Naviti between Chris and Domenick. Yeah, Domenick could be a first boot because this guy is quite bossy to say the least. Chris and Sebastian are already in an alliance ready to go after Dom. Dom isn’t alone, cause he might have an ally in Wendell.
Donathan and Jacob, both members of the Malolo tribe look like they’ll be hilarious characters looking to build bonds anyway they can. Jacob decided to search for an idol, but his quirkiness is a major turnoff (I mean putting all the rice into your dirty sock)? Jeff revealed the first immunity challenge will shake up the game because a member from the losing tribe would be sent to Ghost Island, let the paranoia begin! Naviti had an early advantage in the puzzle, and as a result they took home immunity, which meant Malolo was headed to Tribal Council, and Naviti got the opportunity to SAVE someone from the other tribe, that person being Jacob.
I have to say it, Jacob played that perfectly; he knew he was on the outs, so he talked a big game, became an instant target of the Naviti tribe and found himself immune. Jacob you shouldn’t have made your agenda so clear to your tribe and the other tribe though. At long last, the audience finally learns how Ghost Island works, as Jacob ventured into the landscape of iconic Survivor memorabilia. So it’s a game: you have to risk something in order to gain something. The first advantage he gets is ‘Legacy Advantage,’ however, he doesn’t have it, he has to give it to someone from the other tribe, and he selected Morgan. Problem is I don’t recall her.
Ok, Ghost Island is complicated; it’s not as easy as I think it is. Donathan knows he’s in hot water, so he directed the bullseye on Gonzalez. I like Stephanie, this girl is smart and using her mind to get rid of strategic threats and not weak players. Gonzalez is putting a bigger target on her back than I think she realizes. I seriously love Stephanie because this girl throws subtle hints about people who are bigger threats than what the rest of the tribe pinpoints. Wow, Gonzalez has a lot of guts as she whispered to both Michael and Brendan and then other tribe members at the Tribal Council. Yup, when you play that hard that early, you make the target grow even bigger on your back and Gonzalez was sent packing.
Domenick concerned about his safety, decided to search for an idol while everyone else slept, and found a hidden immunity idol, the one Andrea failed to play in Caramoan and was booted with an idol in her pocket. Jacob is nifty smart, as he decided to create an idol to save himself from becoming another easy target. Ok, this first episode of “Survivor: Ghost Island” really has me sold because it looks like people are here to play. Morgan, now I remember her, she’s the girl with the big mouth. She was giddy to receive the legacy advantage, just as Jacob was crafting a fake immunity idol in an attempt to save himself if Malolo loses again (which they did) and he was at risk of getting the boot.
Dom totally overplayed his cards presenting to Chris the notion that he has an idol. Why in the world would you do that? This guy wants you out, why don’t you just blindside him and leave him reeling. Now he is well aware that you are up to something. Time for another immunity challenge, and this time around it was Naviti who once again reigned supreme. There is a reason I like Stephanie: the girl is cunning, but that is also dangerous. Anyone who is perceptive will easily begin to pick up on what she is doing as we get closer to the merge.
However, she easily got Jacob to start to sing like a canary, and as they headed back to Tribal Council, it was obvious we have a leader in Brendan, who will become a target as the obvious weaklings are taken out. James was on the chopping block and Jacob, but not Donathan. Why? Because he was sent to Ghost Island by the opposing tribe, where he discovered he would NOT be competing in an upcoming game. Hmm, that is quite cryptic to say the least. However, back at Tribal Council it was Jacob, the superfan who was sent packing America with a 5-2-1 vote. James received 2 votes and Michael picked up 1, interesting to see some people are not voting in unison.
I have to say this might be one of the best premiere episodes of “Survivor” that I have seen in years. However, I am concerned that we are getting into territory where the twists might overtake the game and halt actual gameplay. “Survivor: Ghost Island” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.