Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Survivor Season 39 Returns With an Odd Start

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So Survivor Season 39 is off to a strange beginning. Everyone has one question in mind: Where is Jeff? The tribes were just dropped off at their campsite without ceremony, without a note, nothing. The two tribes, Lairo (orange) and Vokai (purple), just had to start getting to know each other and establishing their new home. And wow did they get to work. The hour and a half premiere starts now.

The name of the social game this season appears to be “please like me.” Everyone wants to be liked. Those who feel like they are on the bottom start to work hard to prove their worth. One of the first comments stated when going to make fire, was “I think she’s got it over Boston Rob.” Oh, if only they knew that Boston Rob was going to be on this season! Right out the gate, there is trouble in Vokai. Jason runs off to find an immunity idol. This immediately puts him at the bottom of the tribe.

After all, it’s the Island of the Idols right? Why wouldn’t Jason have started searching? But like Edge of Extinction, the theme of this season is presented to the survivors without revealing a thing. “Island of the Idols” was the only information for two days about what awaited them. At their first challenge, they see that the tribal immunity idol this year has two faces. While the flag for Edge of Extinction showed the island, the flag and idol this season represent the idols that they do not realize are only a boat ride away. Still, at this point, the survivors do not know about The Queen and Boston Rob.

The first challenge pulls out all the stops right out of the gate. The final puzzle is actually seven small puzzles. All this after an intense human ladder wall climb. Vokai wins immunity and reward with Lairo having made no progress on said puzzle. Vokai leaves for camp, and Lairo is faced with the twist: Elizabeth becomes the first person to be sent to the Island of the Idols. She has no idea what awaits her. She thinks she will be alone with idols while her tribe discusses tribal council.

When she arrives, she sees two massive statues. She recognizes Rob and Sandra, but is completely shocked when they actually walk out to meet her. They explain that they /are/ the idols. And now they will mentor her. Elizabeth just learned to make fire from Boston Rob and The Queen. What an incredible experience for any survivor fan and player. However, the surprises are not over. She has the option to race Boston Rob in a fire-making competition. If she wins? She gets an immunity idol. If she loses? She loses her vote at the council. Suddenly that comment from earlier becomes even more poignant.

She goes for it! And she loses. Rob lets her know that yes, she learned a skill, but she also learned that she jumped too quickly. He tells her to trust her gut. If you can’t do something, do not say that you can. Rob even reveals to the camera that she had the option to haggle—she just didn’t know it. Survivor is full of pitfalls, and she needs to recognize them. Then, she learns of the final twist: she gets to randomly choose who from Vokai goes to the island next. We do not know who it is, and neither does she.

Meanwhile, back at camp, Lairo is collapsing. The women’s alliance they briefly formed has already broken. Elaine’s name is on the chopping block, but so is Ronnie’s. When Elizabeth comes back, she lies about the Island, and she does not let anyone know she doesn’t have a vote. She definitely learned more than fire-making on that island. While Lairo gets fire for the first time at tribal council, the audience sees Rob and Sandra arrive in a hidden viewing hut above the council. Elaine emotionally begs to stay, even if it is only to be cut later. Ronnie, the other name on the chopping block, starts divulging all the many details of his life. Suddenly Vince’s name comes up. It’s a messy and emotional council. It turns out the first vote of the season was a blindside: Ronnie went home with six votes. We did not see Elaine’s name once.

Check back in next week as the season continues!

Image courtesy of CBS

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