Thirty-Nine Days. Twenty People. One Survivor.
The nineteenth season of Survivor began on Thursday, shot in beautiful Samoa. Marooning twenty castaways in two very distinct tribes (Foa Foa wearing yellow and Galu wearing purple), Survivor kicked off it’s new season with each tribes immediately having to elect a leader purely from first impressions. I’m not exactly sure what else the leader will have to do in the future, but for now they played a key role in the reward challenge – choosing who would do which task, also from first impressions.
Thankfully, the reward challenge in the first episode has returned! Double the challenges always equals double the fun, and seeing how close the two tribes are physically and mentally is exciting. One tribe “ulonging” the other is entertaining once or twice, and certainly is exciting when the underdogs can pull of an upset like last season in Survivor: Tocantins, but enough is enough. It’s time to start really playing the game, and it’s always more entertaining when the tribes are even and anything is possible.
The show had many previews before the first episode, and they all centered around one unique character – Russell H. A vile, kniving, sneaky and utterly ruthless player, described by Jeff Probst as the “biggest Survivor villain of all time.” But with such a big reputation already given to him, the question is will he be able to live up to it?
I have my doubts. Certainly he will be the villain of the season, meaning he won’t be going home until at leasy mid-jury. So if you don’t enjoy watching Russell’s antics, you might as well just stop watching now. But honestly, who can’t enjoy watching Russell’s antics? Even if you hate his guts, no one can deny he is truly a memorable character. Not only does he want to make his fellow castaways lives a living hell, he thinks he’ll be able to do it without anyone catching on. And so far, no one has except for poor Marisa, the first castaway booted from the game.
Foa Foa took the first reward challenge and won flint for their camp, but Galu won the immunity challenge, sending Russell and his fellow Foa Foa’s to tribal council to vote out the first person of the game. After Russell made alliances with EVERYONE on his tribe, Marisa (the young 26-year-old from Ohio) was the only one suspicious of Russell. And if you oppose Russell in any way, according to him “You’ve gotta go” and that’s exactly what happened. He rallied his tribe and got the majority to vote out Marisa. She didn’t even see it coming.
It’s sad, because knowing that Russell H. makes it far means that the smart people on his tribe that will eventually try to get him voted out will fail, meaning they’ll go home. So really, I don’t see much hope for Betsy to make it much further. Besides Marisa, she is the only one currently thinking that Russell is a shady character, and I think if Foa Foa loses another immunity challenge that she’ll try to go after him.
Now since the editors have decided to almost base the entire episode around Russell H., we didn’t get to see as much of the Galu tribe as I would have liked. The only conflict that arose was Shannon (Or “Shambo” as she wants to be called) wasn’t fitting in with the younger kids on the tribe, which is a conflict almost every season. Blah Blah Blah, we need a new storyline here! Come on editors, we know you spent 99% of your time focusing on Russell, but give other people some airtime as well! I honestly couldn’t tell you the names of a few of the castways, and I had looked them up online before the show even began. Hopefully that will change within the next few episodes, or people will be quite sick of Russell before you know it.
So Marisa’s gone, Russell is king and a new season begins. Survivor: Samoa looks to be a very promising season!