1. The advantage that Hayden Moss has this season, is a major one. While one could argue that the returning Survivor players are in the best position as they have played the game before, I would argue that Hayden actually is. Big Brother is a game that requires much more social interaction than Survivor. In addition, it also requires adapting to whoever is in power. While the elements might be tough on the former Big Brother winner, he has shown us that he is quite good at making bonds with people that won’t turn on him and I believe he will do very well this season.
2. While I love Tyson’s personality and he is certainly a darling of the show’s casting department, it is tough for me to root for him. While his confessionals are certainly amongst the most entertaining in the show’s history, everytime I see his wavy blonde hair, all I see is red. Why? Because I remember his wonky vote destroying Boston Rob’s game on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, despite Mariano warning him to stick to the plan. As we all know, that singular move was chiefly responsible for helping to send both Russell and Parvati to the end game. With that said, I guess if Boston Rob can get over it, I should be able to as well. It’s just hard. With that said, I do believe that Tyson is in the best position to win and will benefit from being on the Favorites side that is physically much weaker than the Family side.
3. While I have many friends on the show this season including Aras, Hayden, Kat, Laura, Monica, Tina, Rupert and Gervase, I am 100% rooting for Tyson’s girlfriend, Rachel. I believe that she is smart, capable, amazingly hot and presents herself as unthreatening. While I initially pegged her for the win, I am certainly concerned that she is on the fringes of Brad Culpepper’s all-guy alliance and if she can somehow maneuver her way to the merge, she is set. Here’s hoping she does.
4. Speaking of Culpepper, while he was completely destroyed by the show’s editing as being a bumbling buffoon, it is clear that he has a lock-solid grip on his tribe. While I generally almost always advocate for not basing an early alliance completely based on gender as it is easily sniffed out (see The Moving Company on Big Brother 15), in this case it was the right decision by Brad. On Survivor, you have to employ the best move for yourself at all times, and right now, it really doesn’t make sense for any of the guys on the Family side to turn on each other. While this will inevitably happen at some point, this is a sure-fire way for all five to make it to the merge and I believe Brad spearheaded the right move. With that said, I am concerned that it will be Caleb who ultimately brings his game to an end.
5. While no one really liked Redemption Island the last time it was used on the show, on this season, I believe bringing it back is the right call. You can’t tell me that it wasn’t compelling television to see Rupert fall on his sword for his wife, while John refused to do the same. Bringing it back for the Blood vs. Water season was a genius decision.
6. For a long time, I heard that Vytas Baskauskas was a guy that producers wanted on the show because of his compelling backstory, and after just one episode, I certainly see why. I was riveted by Vytas’ story arc on the premiere and how he changed his life after some early trouble with the law. I also found the story of how it almost seemed as if he has lived in his brother’s shadow interesting as this almost seemed like an intense foreshadow for what is to come in the new season. He is undoubtedly the player to watch.
7. Aside from couples that are already together, I do not believe we will see any hook-ups this season. Just like real life, it would be a little weird making out with someone in front of your mom.
8. I believe the players that had the best performances in the first episode were Caleb, Tyson, Aras, Vytas, Rachel, and Laura. All kept their head down and silently let others get most of the attention as all seem to wield a lot of power but know better than to flaunt it.
9. Speaking of Laura, I also have extremely high hopes for her this season as well. On Samoa, Laura was one of the few players who knew what the deal was. She was smart, shrewd and just didn’t have the hidden idols necessary to do what she knew had to be done. I do not think that this will be a problem for her this year as I see her as being a force to be reckoned with.
10. This was the best Survivor premiere that I have ever seen.*
*Disclaimer, this does not include any season that featured Boston Rob.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, Survivor, Survivor Blood vs. Water