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Survivor: Season 31 Premiere, 9/23/15

September 24th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

So much of Survivor is unpredictable–depending on who gets into which tribe, who aligns with who, who wins immunity, who gets immunity.  Season 31, however, does have some predictability about it because all the contestants have played the game before and some of them together. Last spring CBS asked fans to vote for ten male players and ten female players to make up this fall’s cast. We got to see them in action for the first time Wednesday night, Sept. 23, during the ninety-minute premiere episode. They’re playing amid the strange temples and dangerous jungles of Cambodia, and the tribes’ names refer to Cambodian temples.

Bayon:  Joe Anglim (Worlds Apart), Jeremy Collins and Keith Nale (2nd Blood v. Water), Ciera Eastin (1st B v. W), Stephen Fishbach (the “Wizard” of Tocantins, Brazil), Tash Fox and Kass McQuillen (Cagayan), Kimmi Kappenberg (the vegetarian of Australia), Andrew Savage (Pearl Islands), Monica Padilla (Samoa).

Takao:  Jeff Varner (Australia), Woo Hwang and Spencer Bledsoe (Cagayan), Vytas Baskauskas (Arias’ brother, 1st B v. W), Terry Dietz (Pamana), Abi-Maria Gomes (Philippines), Peih-Gee Law (China), Shirin Oskool (Worlds Apart) and two variants of the name Kelly W-worth:  Kelley Wentworth (with an “ey” from 2nd B v. W) and Kelly Wiglesworth (just “y” from Borneo Season 1).

Some developing plotlines:

Young Bucks:  Joe and Spencer, meaning they’ll be targeted on the basis of sex and age.

Challenge Beasts:  Joe, Spencer, Tash, Andrew Savage, Woo, Terry Dietz, and Kelly Wiglesworth.  Even if targeted, they’ll probably be around a while, since getting rid of them all will be hard.

People who like each other:  Jeff and Kimmi, Spencer and Tash–although Tash has said even her fellow church members are encouraging her to lie and backstab.  Prediction:  if she does, it’ll backfire.

People who don’t like each other:  Kass and just about everybody, Abi-Maria and just about everybody, Jeremy and Keith–they’re agreeing to work together this time, but that’s what they agreed last time, too.

Manipulators:  Vytas, Kass, Abi-Maria, Shirin, Ciera, Peih-Gee (funny how most of them are women).

Some memorable past season moves:  Peih-Gee threw a challenge to get rid of James and it didn’t work at all. Ciera conspired against her mother. Vytas conspired against his brother. Kass caused [k]aos.

Last names:  Jeff Probst often refers to impressive players by their last names.  That means most often Andrew Savage is “Savage,” Kelly Wiglesworth is “Wiglesworth,” Jeff Varner is “Varner,” Stephen Fishbach is “Fishbach” and Terry Dietz is “Dietz.”

Now here are last night’s highlights:

As the tribes are building their shelters and getting settled, some players observe there’s a division between “old school” and “new school” that looks to set the tone for the season.  The “old school” players enjoy building the shelters, making the fires, getting food ready, while the “new school” players are constantly looking for alliances–and immunity idols or immunity idol clues.

At Takao, Spencer Bledsoe and Terry Dietz agree to work together, and Peih-Gee and Abi-Maria have a conflict over Abi losing her bag and finding her bracelet in Peih-Gee’s bag.  (What happened to Abi’s bag or what motivated her to go through Peih-Gee’s bag without asking isn’t clear).

At Bayon Jeremy and Keith agree to work together. Fishbach doesn’t fit in with the men–he’s not the physical type–but he can’t do much braiding and weaving with the women, either.  So he goes idol-hunting but doesn’t find anything.

Kelley Wentworth of Takao goes idol-hunting, too, and she finds a clue envelope hidden in a tree.  It tells her the idol is hidden within the course of the next challenge.  It’s up to her to grab it, taking the chance that someone–or everyone–will see.

The combined immunity-reward challenge is a revival of the first challenge of Season 1, called “Quest for Fire.” Tribes must row rafts and light a series of torches, then have one person tie together enough poles to reach through a gate, retrieve a key from a post, and open the gate. On the other side of the gate is one last torch.  First tribe to get to the last torch and light it wins.

Takao’s first to the gate, but Bayon catches up. It’s between Kelly Wiglesworth and Joe to get the keys.  When all eyes are watching to see which key comes off which post first, Kelley Wentworth sneaks back and grabs the idol from its hiding place.  No other contestant sees.

Joe gets his key hooked.  Since Wiglesworth’s still having trouble, Spencer tries but he’s too late.  Bayon wins.

Jeff tells Takao they must go to tribal council immediately. The tribe has already fractured into anti-Abi and anti-Vytas factions, though.  Some think Abi’s the weakest link (or the biggest threat).  Others think Vytas is the biggest threat. The vote goes 6-4 for Vytas. I couldn’t make out all the votes but it looked like it was the women against the men, and Jeff joined the women to vote out Vytas. (Or maybe Spencer, who took such a long time to decide?) Will the women continue to target the men?





Tags: Survivor