This season, for the 20th year and the 40th time, “Survivor” has returned. However, this time there’s a difference. This season has donned the name, “Winners at War,” and upped the prize money to the most in reality television history: two million dollars. For those who are new or have never heard of “Survivor” before, “Survivor” is a show where a certain number of castaways get sent to a location pre-determined by producers in the world, and they have 39 days to outwit, outplay and outlast one another to become the one sole survivor.
Twenty previous winners have returned this season, ranging from season three winner Ethan Zohn to season 37 winner Nick Wilson. Leading the charge as always is host Jeff Probst, whose famed quote, “The Tribe Has Spoken,” has echoed throughout television history throughout “Survivor’s” 40 seasons. So far, these past two weeks have brought up a lot of drama, game-playing and crazy immunity challenges. For those who don’t know, “Survivor” has two main tribes at the very beginning of the show, which for this season are the two tribes of Sele and Dakal. Deeper into the season, there is a tribal merge point in which the two become one, and then the remaining castaways fight for individual immunity.
In the two-hour premiere, we got to see the return of legends of the game, or “old-school” players, as well as “new-school” or more recent players. In that span, it also meant the return of a controversial game changer, the Edge of Extinction. This segment gave players who were voted out a chance to get back into the game, and it has already claimed three players so far in this season. On the first episode, we saw the game turn on its head as Sele lost the first immunity challenge to Dakal, causing winner of “Survivor: San Juan Del Sur’s” Natalie Anderson to be sent to the Edge of Extinction in the first tribal council, as shortly after on the second day, Dakal immediately flipped the script, led by two-time “Survivor” champion Sandra Diaz-Twine taking out winner of “Survivor: Redemption Island,” “Boston,” Rob Mariano’s wife and winner of “Survivor All Stars,” Amber Mariano. This sent shockwaves through the Sele tribe, because Rob knew it had to be Sandra who did it because of their work on the season prior to this one, “Survivor: Island of the Idols.” This caused Rob to really lay low, as winner of “Survivor: Guatemala,” Danni Boatwright became paranoid. Thinking that her fellow alliance member Parvati Shallow (winner of “Survivor: Micronesia”) was going to go against her and vote her out, Danni continued to anger the entire tribe. That was not the intended plan in Rob’s mind, which really angered Parvati and caused them to go out and lose their immunity challenge.
At Tribal, Danni continued to speak up about her paranoia, causing Rob to ask everyone to open their bags and see who had a hidden immunity idol (safety if necessary), which nobody was found to have. The second episode ended in a complete flip of a vote from one castaway to another, sending Danni to the Edge of Extinction, joining Natalie and Amber. Overall, this season has gone off to a fantastic start and I know as a “Survivor” superfan, I cannot wait until next Wednesday night to catch more drama and action-packed gameplay. “Survivor” airs on Wednesday nights at 8/7c, only on CBS.
Jeffrey Babcock is a third-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. JB884128@wcupa.edu